Posts Tagged ‘Peer Support’

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justify my love.

August 11, 2009

It’s ten minutes to midnight as I write this, and as I am waiting for my dad to finish playing Evony and toddle off to bed, I find myself reflecting on the day. I signed off at the jobcentre, embarked on an unnecessarily slow bus ride to the gym, worked it out hard (Dior 33″ jeans, here we come!), then spent the afternoon at Hannah’s on the internet, watching Doubt and learning useless Friends trivia.  I also had dinner with her sister and mother, who has apparently been feeling that since I left university, I have been “lost” because I haven’t immediately fallen into an appropriate high-flying career.  This dinner ended up representing my opportunity to tell my side of the story to her, and justify my decisions and explain why I’ve chosen to go into careers guidance.

Why did I feel the need to justify myself?  Because a) Hannah’s mum is generally a nice person, and I know she’s always liked me, so I can’t help but feel dismayed that a small voice inside me nags that I have lost her approval somewhat.  Her approval shouldn’t matter to me, and it certainly doesn’t play a role in the choices that I make, but because I like her, I want her to like me and to return to thinking that I have my head screwed on.  And b) inside, there is another small voice that perhaps feels I need to justify to myself why I am where I am.  After all, I dreamed that by 23 I would be well on the way to having a successful career and earning tons of money.

Why hasn’t that happened? Well, there is the recession so the decent jobs are not available at the moment.  I investigated a Bristol translation agency soon after I graduated last summer, and they were pretty blunt in the lack of jobs available.  I didn’t have the funds to move to London, so I ended up staying at the Perfume Shop, ultimately managing them at a reduced wage in return for a boosted CV.  It wasn’t ideal, but it got me through.  Music-wise, I have been working on my Quiet Storm project, which I’m excited to say is 99% complete, and I’m hoping to release it on the internet around my birthday (October 25th, mark it down!) – but I don’t have an easy way into fame so rather than go on reality television (which screams tacky to me, and I’m not ready for my music and image to be so controlled just yet), I’ll hustle in the background crafting songs which I am very proud of.  I am doing little bits of promotion online, and my friends and people seem to like it and are very positive, so that touches me.  I always believed if my music could make a difference even to just a few people, and entertain them, then I must be doing something right.  I have bigger plans, but everything in time.

This year off also gave me time to really think about what I wanted to do.  When I graduated only a year ago, I had no idea.  Reading the novel Push by Sapphire finalised an instinct I’d had, that I wanted to make a difference to young people’s lives, to help them establish their own place in the community and make the most of their lives.  I didn’t want to be a teacher, and I had done Peer Support and counselling at Sixth Form and at university.  My experience as a language assistant in Spain gave me awareness that in most cultures, there are a lot of young people who are getting swept along by the education system without really knowing where they want to go.  I want to be there for them, because I know exactly how they feel.  I want to help people find their own direction, and present all the options available to them, because I think that a lot of people aren’t really aware of all the options at their disposal.  It’s going to be hard, and there will be difficult cases who don’t want to listen.  But again, if I can make a difference to even just a few lives, those people can make their own mark on society, and I will be proud of my work and the fact that I helped somebody.  So I hope that it all goes to plan, because I am finally passionate about my career direction. (And the money’s not bad either, without sacrificing my entire social life and relationships for my work and some extra £)  We all make sacrifices – but I’m 23, and I want to live.  I can work til I drop come 30, 35, 40, once my personal life is more rhythmic and established – but right now, I just want to have fun outside of the 9 to 5.  After all, some levity is vital for a healthy, balanced mind and spirit.

I explained this, more or less, to Hannah’s mother, and she seemed to take it on board.  I hope I changed her mind around, because I want her to understand where I’m coming from and more importantly, where I plan to go.  The reality is that I am less lost now than I was even just a year ago.  I shouldn’t need to justify myself, but I did it all the same, and I like to think it was a compelling explanation, because I believe in it.  I guess that this blog will follow me on my education journey over the coming year, and I hope it all works out well – because I have to do what my heart says.  In this instance, I’m trusting my intuition and my emotions to guide me to what is truly right for me.

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no good advice.

July 26, 2009

I’ve always been someone to whom people have come to for advice, or to listen to their problems or whatever’s been going on with them.  As good as I am at talking (which is very!), I am a good listener and I try to keep a balanced perspective as much as is possible so I can evaluate people’s problems fairly and give the best support that I can.  And quite often, the best form of support isn’t advice where you tell them to do something specific, but rather where you just lay out their options in front of them, some possible scenarios of what might happen depending on what they choose to do, and then just leave it up to them.  That’s what I was trained to do in Peer Support and I fully stand by it.  Although I accept that sometimes people may know better than me, I try to listen to what people say and observe what is happening around me, and then choose whether to take certain pieces of advice or go my own way.

Nevertheless, in view of the rapidity with which my life appears to be falling apart and going the very opposite of whatever “according to plan” is, I don’t really feel that I’m the right person for people to come to for advice.  I feel hypocritical talking about relationships because my track record is pretty bad; I feel strange applying for a Careers Guidance course because if anyone could use some serious careers guidance, it is me!  But my friends assure me that I am “rational” and “have a sensible head on my shoulders”; I like to think they are right, and that I was brought up well and I’ve observed the world around me enough to know what is right and what is wrong (though the lines so often blur).  I think it stems from the fact that my advice works so well for other people, but when it comes my turn to take this advice, it’s so much more difficult… That, and the fact I seem to attract people who are batshit crazy (in a variety of ways!).

So I wanted to write this piece of advice down that I dispensed today… it goes against my usual strategy of “hard to get”, and it is an attempt to counteract the stressing of “what if” and strategising behind when to send texts and how many kisses to put at the end of them.  These things are important, but they haven’t gotten me anywhere… the only thing that’s been proved right (and all my friends proved wrong) lately is my paranoia!  So I want to make a record of this, in case it might help somebody, and hopefully I’ll learn to follow it too… :

Just do what you think is right, and do whatever is rational to you.  Men are so random and crazy, they can turn on and off at the flick of a switch, and disappear and reappear at will. So just be yourself, and don’t limit yourself to one of them until you’re sure they are at least temporarily committed to you.

It’s not a long piece of advice, but I imagine at certain moments I’ll find it a bitter pill to swallow. The job of my friends, and of you guys who are reading (hah, I bet you didn’t know you’d signed up for this!), is to make me swallow this pill when necessary… because the pill is, in reality, a vitamin.

(Thankyou to Nick and Hannah for making me blog this 🙂 – please give their blogs a visit, they’re both talented writers!)