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Showing posts from November, 2015

How do I get people to understand I'm going blind..?

It is hard for people to understand that I'm actually, really, truly going blind. My vision has been static since I was three, and so most people in my life (except my parents, I guess), have known me while my vision was static.

This year has been a very difficult one for me. I really hate to all 'poor me', that is not how I roll and so a lot of people don't recognise my struggles, 'I can't even tell you're vision impaired!' they say - it takes a lot out of me for them not to be able to tell. A lot. Privately, that gets me down quite regularly, but I refuse to be a victim, so I don't go there.

On a positive note, the forum I have been attending for the past seven Saturdays, has been a wonderful salve for me. Being with other people going through the same thing as me has really helped me. We have been able to talk out our frustrations, our fears, and the most particularly the feeling of isolation and alienation we have experienced through the loss of…

Stages of grief...

With her trilby rammed down around her ears, she walked into the warm westerly. Thunderclouds hung heavy above her, ready to release their burden. She knew the stages of grief were not linear, but having been through denial, anger, bargaining, and sadness, she still couldn't step into acceptance. Today was a day for anger. She'd rehearsed her comeback.

'Don't come all nice with me in public. You're not nice, you're insincere, and mean, and a coward. You never told me what I did that was so inexcusable that you had to walk out and slam the door behind you. You told our friends I was a toxic person. You never faced me. You want people to believe you're a nice person, but you're no better than the girls at high school who talked to you one day and left you out in the cold the next. Don't come all nice with me, I know you too well!'

Of course, she never said it. She just felt it.

They say holding onto anger only hurts the angry person. She hurt.

Lar…

Knowing when to call it quits...

Sometimes it can be so hard to know when the time has come to call it quits on a situation.

No, no, I'm not separating from the Grumpy Old Man, and I'm not giving up my PhD, so you can all relax.

I'm talking about school. Formal education. Institutionalised education.

When my eldest reached school age, I knew he wasn't ready for a classroom. He had no real concept of rules, or consideration of others.

Honestly, not much changed even when he did start school aged seven and a half. We trundled on though, and for the most part we were able to keep him on the straight and narrow with a massive amount of guidance. In primary school, a lot of behaviour issues are put down to immaturity. This does not continue to work in high school.

So, Erik is just about finished with his third year at high school, and to be blunt, it's been a bad year. We've had ongoing issues with work not being completed or handed in, even if he was allowed to hand it in three months late. He lea…

Thesis plan and summer school...

Here is the promised image of my Thesis Plan...


It is both exciting and daunting to have this laid out like this - well, stuck on the wall, not exactly laid out.
Exciting because I have some sort of handle on what I'm doing (okay, so chapter three is a bit bare and in hind sight, I may have already covered the projected contents in the introduction, and chapters one and two... So, will have to have a rethink about chapter three). It's pretty too, all colour coded and nice. It gives me a great overview of what work I've done and what work I still have to do.
And there you have the daunting bit... I have SO MUCH work to do! This layout doesn't include the timeline for all the paperwork that needs to be covered in the last three months before I submit. By September next year I'll have all the drafting done to a fine level, and then I'll have six months to do a fine toothed comb draft and to get all the elements corresponding to one another in a dovetail fashion. T…

November Thesis Update...

In November I'm working on the second chapter of my thesis. I've got a decent draft of the introduction (basically, the paper I wrote for the AAWP conference last November), and a 3/4 finished draft of my first chapter (I need to add in some Icelandic Flash analysis, for which I picked up some anthologies while I was in Iceland in August and September). So, now I'm onto the second chapter.

Before I left the country in August I was working on an outline for chapter two. I was struggling a bit with it, and so it was good to set it aside for a while. When I got back I spent about six weeks writing a whole bunch of flashes. As you all know, the creative writing well had pretty much run dry by the end of last month and I was excited about getting stuck into chapter two again. This is how it is with a PhD, you work intensely on one part until you, quite literally, feel ill at the sight of it on your computer screen. Then you move onto something else. For conventional theses, the…

Stuff that sucks, and stuff that doesn't suck...

This morning I took the route to Uni I was talking about on the blog on Monday. It went really well, though I was well and truly underdressed for the weather. This afternoon I'll walk home from the local shopping centre via a new route as well. If that is all okay, these will become my regulars because that ensures I get enough exercise every day, and that I get to my 10 000 a day step goal. I'm doing 10 000 steps a day until the end of next week, then I want to move to 15 000 a day after that. I'm trying to get my fitness up for my trip to Canberra on the 8th of December because I know Robbie will walk me ragged (he's quite the boot camp sergeant when he gets going). As well as this, though I know I'll be doing a lot of walking once I get the dog, and the dog will need walks to burn off energy after laying about in an office all day.

Today I saw the friend who unceremoniously dumped me a few weeks ago. She was polite, actually spoke to me once, to offer me her cha…

Shuffling the deck...

I know I keep harping on this, but you know, big changes tend to mean more big changes and that always means I harp on.

So, with Robbie becoming a gypsy, and leaving me stranded here in the mundane to survive the horrors of sameness all on my own, I've had to find a way to cope.

So, to cope, I've basically just shuffled up the deck and rearranged my life a bit - hey, he can't be the only one getting to experience something new!

As of today, I'm back on public transport. Well, not all the time, but a lot more than I was before. This is a massive step for me because of the agoraphobia I've struggled with for years. My post the other day about facing fears head on got me thinking about the fears I have kind of been shying away from in recent years. Going out on my own is a big one. I mean, I do still do it, but not nearly as much as I used to. So, today I took the busses to get to Uni instead of letting the Grumpy Old Man drive me. I wasn't completely on my own. M…

Living in fear is not living...

I came across this Henry Miller quote today and it really spoke to me. I know too many people who live in fear. They fear being laughed at, or they fear failure, or they fear pressure, some even fear boredom. So many people who abdicate all responsibility for their lives. It is always someone else's fault they are miserable and fearful. They feel the world is out to get them, and they run and hide in fear. It's the fight or flight response - each is a form of survive, but one leads to a life in a dark, dark cave. The other may lead to embarrassment, sadness, or even nothing much and these things may feel akin to a sort of death, but it's a death with your eyes open and the sun on your face.
Living in fear is no life at all.
I suffer from anxiety, I am medicated for it, but I still live with it. Still, I fight the fear anxiety brings tooth and nail, just because Fuck Living in Fear.
When I fear something - loneliness, confrontation, rejection - I run at it. I throw myself at …

Dog gone long wait...

So, you can all stop watching this space for the appearance of a, no doubt extremely cute and clever, guide dog.

I called Guide Dogs Victoria the other day to enquire about the status of my matching with a suitable dog. There is a training class starting on Monday - they go for three weeks and it's a live in situation between Monday and Friday for each of those weeks, so as a PhD Candidate and a mother of four, there is a lot of forward planning that needs to take place before I 'go away' to train. Over the past five months I've been putting a lot of things on hold 'just in case' I get the call that they think they've found me a match. I had a vague hope of getting in to the September/October training course, but that didn't eventuate. I thought I might have a better chance with the November course, but when I hadn't heard anything by Monday, my hopes had all but disappeared.

I needed to know at what stage before each training course I can stop putt…

Low Carb, Healthy Fat...

I started doing LCHF on January 1st and stuck to it quite religiously for 7 months, losing about 26kg in that time. In August, I went to Iceland and gave myself leave to eat ALL. THE. THINGS, because, you know, I hadn't been to Iceland in nearly 30 years and they have all sorts of lovely stuff that I had missed in the intervening years!

I got back in September and went back to eating LCHF, but this time I was a bit more free and easy with 'special occasions'. Still, I managed to lose another 2-3 kilos. In the past fortnight though, things went a little haywire.

A lot of alcohol was consumed, what with the $2 pots of cider at Mrs Robinson's and end of exam celebrations (not for me, but you know, I'm a very supportive friend...), and of course, Robbie going away.

So, this weekend I got back on the horse because, honestly, I wasn't feeling too great - no, I wasn't hung over, I just felt bloated and sluggish.

I've been trialling bulletproof coffee, and uppi…

About kindness...

Sitting here drinking my first bullet proof coffee (coffee containing coconut oil, butter, and thick cream - I also added a dash of cinnamon) and thinking about kindness.

There isn't enough kindness in my world.

Last night I lay awake for ages with a knot in my stomach, worried about going to uni. I have to start using my cane regularly again now that Robbie has gone away on his travels. I have been relying on him as my cane - not that he did so willingly, he was always berating me for not using it. My friend, Leigh, jokes about how I don't really need it, I'm not actually blind, I just want a dog, haha! She's a great mate, so I laugh along with her because I know there is no malice in her words.

But, I don't worry that other people think I'm a fraud. My vision loss this year has been quite dramatic. I now wear sunglasses inside and outside because I'm badly affected by glare - I'm wearing them now because I'm on the computer and computer glare is w…

When your closest friend goes away...

Sorry guys, another sad one. This really is my safe place where I can talk about stuff that clogs up my mind. If you're bored, please feel free to skip this one.

You know when you have a great friend. They make you laugh, and they're real. They don't suck up, they say it as it is, even if you don't want to hear it, even if they risk you being pissed off with them. They take that chance because they care about you and want you to be the best that you can be. I have been lucky to have friends like this throughout my life. I am not a brittle person by any stretch of the imagination. I can take a bit of, 'Shut up, and stop feeling sorry for yourself.' I don't break into a million shards of self-pity, and I don't need anyone to prop me up when I'm deluding myself.

I delude myself often. I'm human.

I'm sad today because my closest friend has gone away. The person who always made me laugh whenever we met up, and the person, among only a few, who kn…