Thursday 6 September 2012

Perks from a former jerk

Disclaimer: There are 700 odd words here rather than the 500 odd or the odd 500. If this fact drives you battered and fried in advance, skip to the final paragraph that begins with 'the point.'

"I don't eat butter now that I am a big girl. I am big and I'm fat, and I'm not like you. Just marmite." Then she studied me quizzically for a moment a (my face this morning is grey and looks like it has been rudely fashioned out of the inner tubes of ancient bicycle wheels, so I expected her to say something particularly insulting yet honest.) "Oh and I have white (blonde) hair, you have dark hair and I like salmon and you do not..." and so she went on. This was my three year old's response to my asking if she wanted butter on her toast with her marmite. She is so whimsical when it comes to food, that I need daily updates. She is neither big nor fat, except on the cheek front. She is slim. But boy is she sassy and confident and big on personality. The above statement was delivered to me with chin down and eyes raised, forefingers stabbing the air in front of her to emphasise her points. What I like about this child of mine is that she is so sure of herself and her own opinions whether they are nonsense or not. She has an opinion on everything and is not afraid to deliver them. I hope to help her to stay this way, minus the nonsense of course. As a kid, I had plenty of opinions, but I was afraid to deliver them, although I often did, but usually only in outbursts. Likely due to a fractured early childhood (I am not blaming here, just stating) I had a fractured sense of self. It was not until I went to university as a mature student that I began coming to a place of understanding and confidence, which led me to stop taking **** from men in particular in any way, shape or form and ultimately led to my becoming mentally robust enough to write my book "After the Rains."

For a number of years, I taught creative writing and art in a healing context, as well as straight courses in creative writing and art. I have also run workshops using the arts, meditation and scripture to help facilitate healing and bring about a move to a more spiritual, balanced state. I believe we are body, mind and spirit, but you can believe whatever you like, the 'spiritual' aspects of the workshops worked for the hard core atheists like most of my friends, as well as for the person trying to be a Jesus follower (or someone else's) in a stopy-starty and sometimes stroppy fashion like me: the 'god' part was what you made of it or experienced. The courses were helpful to many and I am still asked years later if I will start them again. I have had therapy myself and studied and took to the poetic language of psychotherapy very well at university. As such I wrote courses for the college I taught at for five years based on my understanding of therapy and the arts to bring freedom and release to the mind and heart. Along the way, I had a kind of spiritual awakening and realised that what works is Biblical too and has been there in the ancient texts all along. Why am I telling you this? I miss communicating what has worked for me and learning in return. The years I spent teaching women freedom through the therapeutic power of art were some of the most rewarding I have experienced. Not least because I learnt so much from them. Most of these women were in recovery from addiction, many had been through prison and some were coping with mental health issues. I had battled many of the issues that they had dealt with, so there was an innate sense of understanding with these women that helped to facilitate the work.

The point: As I cannot go out to work, joyfully and sometimes screamily surrounded as I am by little ones as well as a great, hulking GCSE tackling big one, I have decided to begin teaching women again via skype and e mail. I will be offering one to one coaching for women who would like to begin working towards a state of equilibrium - or work towards this ongoing mission in life - through writing. I do not want to make out that I am some kind of guru scribe, my family will attest to the fact that I am a 'work' in progress. But I am no longer the jerk in transgress that I once was. Pipe down peanut gallery in my head. For women who feel ready to begin writing their first longer piece of creative work, I will provide coaching and editing support for their projects. So if you have a book inside you and you would like that book to come out readable, or you want to laugh your way out of a hole, or reach a deeper place of understanding your own complicated internal universe, I would like to join you for the ride. Check out my website from next week. Things will be clearer there. There will be offers. There will be perks from a former jerk.

PS I will try to go back to the 500 odd or the odd 500 next time. I need to do more writing...