Tuesday 24 January, 2017
With the resounding success (!!) of my previous post, Message In A Bottle, I decided to get straight on writing all the stuff that I left out of the first letter to myself. Yes, we’ve already covered the technicality that this isn’t a bottle, it’s a blog. Move forward, please. Again, may or may not be particularly interesting to you, blah, blah, blah. Move forward. Here we go for part 2 . . .
Let’s pick up from where we left off in the first letter, with me, in the future, passing on some advice (if that’s what you’d like to call it) to you, in the past. There may, perhaps, be a few “fun” pieces of advice in this letter, but that’s all based on whether or not what I write comes across as funny or sarcastic. Take it however you want. Either way . . .
I’m going to start with tattoos. You’re going to want to get a tattoo . . . or seven, at the time of writing this letter. Be smart. Don’t rush in and get whatever comes to mind. Think about it. Get something important or meaningful to you. Maybe something Egyptian – you like Egyptian history and hieroglyphs. And make your first one smallish, just so that you don’t end up regretting it. Ooooh, and go to a decent tattooist. The guy I recommend for your first one might look like a scary bloke, but trust me, he’s a damn good tattoo artist. The second tattoo you get, maybe take the artist’s advice and get it a lil bit bigger than what you actually want. If you don’t take his advice, you’ll like the tattoo, but it’ll be the one that you always think could have been inked better. On the plus side, the tattooist is very nice to look at, and I believe him to be Italian. Now, tattoos three to seven . . . you’re going to love the work that this artist does. He’s going to ink you with some pretty big tattoos, and they’ll each take between five and seven hours a piece. The good news is, you won’t tap out. The artist will need a break before you. You have quite a high tolerance for pain. Yes, people will think you’re a weirdo because tattoos don’t hurt to you, but that’s their issue, not yours. Now, just a lil note: when you get tattoos three to seven, you won’t actually think that they look that big, but people are going to tell you just how big they think your ink is. The fact is, yeah, they are on the big side. I’m not talking full sleeves, but as single images, yeah, they’re a good size. Oh, and you’ll like them a lot . . . get used to saying that because people will ask if you like them, and your instant response will be along the lines of, ‘Noooooo, I just randomly picked some sh!t off a page and hoped for the best. Of course, I bloody well like them!’
Mental health is important. I wrote about overthinking in the first letter. You’re exceptional at that, and at catastrophizing. Be aware of what your stressors are, of what triggers you to feel depressed, and know when you should make an appointment with your doctor for assistance. While I’m at this point, as much as you hate the idea you will, voluntarily, see a therapist. A psychologist of great experience and compassion and logic, who will help you through a lot of sh!t. There will come a time when you are comfortable enough to admit that people who are often perceived as strong can and do have nervous breakdowns. Learn from it. And it will make others feel quite uncomfortable, but when conversation turns to mental health, tell people you’ve been on, or are currently on anti-depressants. After all, what’s not to like about not feeling guilty? Or just not feeling in general? It works for you, so know when you need it.
Friends will come and go. That’s something you and I are familiar with and realistic about. We have known this since we were about ten or eleven. Our friend became our nemesis . . . perhaps not that bad, but we really enjoy saying the word ‘nemesis’. It’s a cool word, with great connotations of malevolence and evil. We like the word ‘nemesis’ . . . look how many times I’ve used it in this paragraph already. Nem-e-sis. In all honesty, you and I don’t actually feel anything towards our once-friend, and I don’t think we ever really hated her either. You and I, we felt nothing at all for her. Nor do we now . . . except occasionally we might feel a bit sorry for her because she doesn’t have the great advantage of having you – me – us on her side. What you will find though, is that after her, because of her, you’ll be an excellent judge of character, and almost all of your future friends . . . well, you’ll be able to tell the sh!t from the diamonds. You’ll also learn that some friends are: fun time friends – those with whom you’re friends, but it’s nothing deep or meaningful, they’re just good for having a good time with; shit-stirrer friends – the ones who like to joke around, but a lot of the time they’ll push the joke a lil too far, and you’ll get pissed off with them; alternate friends – this is in the vein of the #alternatefacts that we’re seeing in the political landscape at the moment, they are people who will lie about being pretend to be your friend in order to get something from you, a.k.a. users; and finally, the stayers – the people who will put up with almost anything from you because they value you for who you are, not what you can give them or do for them, y’know, real friends. You probably don’t tell those people enough that they’re – actually, you don’t. You don’t tell them enough that they are important to you, valued, cherished. Borrowing words from a writer that you’re ever so slightly enamoured with *ahem – Sally Wainwright*: it’s either because you’re a snotty bitch, or it’s because you’re selfish and hopeless, or you don’t know how to be a good friend to anyone, or you don’t know what normal relationships are – you see them but you don’t know how to do them. Okay, so I really just wanted to throw in some dialogue by Sally Wainwright . . . that’s my excuse for that bit up there, after the *ahem*.
By the way, you’ll have a sh!tload of people telling you throughout your life that you’re a snotty bitch and a snob. One of those people will be your biological male unit. It’ll take you a long while, but one day, I can guarantee that you’ll wear that label quite well. Because it could be a hell of a lot worse – people could refer to you as a slapper, a whore, a slut, any manner of derogatory terms, none of which you are I’d like to add. Stick with snotty bitch. There’s nothing at all wrong with being a snotty bitch. Let’s face it – snotty bitch is one of the facets of your personality, dependent upon who you’re with at the time. Mind you, the people who really know you, know the truth and will probably argue that you’re not a snotty bitch. Now ‘snotty bitch’ has become a bit like ‘nemesis’ – I want to keep using it throughout this letter! But that’s because I’m a snotty bitch.
One thing that I’d really like you to learn is the art of being calm. We’re not good at that – not all the time. There are moments when you’ll be so freaking calm you’ll amaze yourself. But there will be a lot more times when anger and frustration will take over, and you’ll have no idea how to be calm. I don’t know the answer to this problem, because I’m still working towards being calm in the face of sh!t. I do advise that you make the most of that lil habit you have of people-watching. Analyse what people do and say when they’re calm in the face of adversity and sh!t. Figure it out, whatever it is that they do to stay calm, figure it out.
You don’t see yourself the way other people see you. Now this might seem obvious to you at your young age, or it might be completely baffling to you. Either way, there’s quite a great divide between how a lot of people, particularly your friends, see you and how you see yourself. A cavernous divide at times. You’ll not be able to reconcile their image of you with your own. We’re still working on that. We probably take self-deprecating a lil further than most people would, but that’s just us. I don’t really know what to say about this, but I felt I needed to mention it, make you aware of the fact that what’s in your head isn’t necessarily what others see of you.
A final note for you: not all women in power are arseholes. It takes you a long time to see this, but again, trust me on this. In time, you’ll get to work under a brilliant Deputy Head. She’s intelligent, compassionate, educated, understanding, quick-witted, forward-thinking, and brilliant. You’ll have some great conversations with her about the state of education, education theory, behaviour management, and a whole heap of other topics, and at no point will she be patronising or condescending towards you. At no point, will she treat you like ‘just a relief teacher’. She’s one of those colleagues that you’ll happily go to for advice, and you’ll look up to as someone in the same profession. She’ll restore your faith in women leaders, so let her. She’s someone you’ll admire and greatly respect.
Again, no doubt I’ve left out something important, and yeah, there’ll probably be a part three somewhere along the line. In the meantime, we’ve got a concert in February to look forward to, and a week-long trip to London in June to see the same artist as we’ll see in February *ahem, Adele*. We like her a lot . . . especially ‘Hello’. But could you please get on to liking that song a hell of a lot quicker than I did?! Just as a favour.
L & F Always,