It’s funny how being faced with an interview or CV update makes you look at yourself and the ‘story’ of your life objectively.

A friend of mine insisted that I am eligible for an application I wouldn’t have believed myself a candidate for. As she went on to explain all the ways in which she thinks I am perfect for the role, she wrote a story of me and my life that I absolutely had not had the vantage point to see.

I see only the absences. What she was saying had so much more form and structure and positivity than I see. I am only familiar with a drifting, shapeless failure with ever-widening gaps.

We all like to be flattered of course and that was what she was doing. But in the eyes of another we see ourselves. I’ve just read Rachel Cusk’s ‘Outline’ with perfect timing for this new Outline of myself. Although the gaps I berate myself with are painfully present in their absences, I can now see that an alternative story might be written. It is not just through the eyes of friends we see ourselves, but the eyes of children, strangers, animals, even landscapes. Positivity and perceptibility are needed to give shape to otherwise empty spaces.

I ate my lunch in the Learning Lab at school today and read the motivational classroom display:

Change Your Frame of Mind.

‘I’m rubbish at this’ > ‘What can I do to improve?’

‘I can’t get it right’ > ‘Mistakes mean I’m learning by trying.’

‘That’ll do’ > ‘How can I do better?’

I understand that how we feel about ourselves, our failures, each event, big or small, comes down to attitude or frame of mind. That’s what we’re trying to teach our young people.

It’s just so much easier said than done.

Lucy hugged me mid-class on Wednesday. I was crouching  on my haunches behind her classmate, supporting his learning and for no reason she got out of her chair, came to me, put her arms around me and nestled her face into my neck. “You’re my favourite” she told me quietly. I could cry.

It was like a blessing. As magical as a songbird choosing to land on me for a moment. Like being filled with a golden light, totally out of the blue and totally without warning.

All these gaps and regrets and worries regarding the trajectory of my life, when life is really moments like these.

(Also, there really is no protecting oneself from the risks of a pandemic in Primary education).



I seem to be on a ride I can’t get off at the moment. I obsess about my age. While anybody would scoff and say I’m young, at 31 I don’t have a home, a reliable income, a baby, or a relationship. I’d say if anything, that I’m too young for my age. There is no fix that I can see and time is running me down. So I can’t get off the ride, if anything I need to speed it up; get qualified, get money, get pregnant ASAP, before it’s too late. I’m fucking up.

In an attempt to stay well and whole I grab and make moments wherever I can. I have so much to do on my days off, not least sleep as demanded by my autoimmune disease. On my last day off I walked on my crippled feet for 2 hours.

I saw my raven again, except this time there were two.

It was roughly where I saw it last time, except this time I was on foot.

I trespassed into a field with the most beautiful view I can think I’ve ever seen. I miss the Canon all the time. My iphone can’t touch views like that.

I sat out of view of the farmhouse and road in a field I had no right to be in, I ate my dried fruit and was causing no harm to the fancy breed sheep near me or the Ruby Reds down in the valley of the field. Above me croaked my ravens.

They were playing.

One would fly up high, turn upsidedown with its feet sticking up into the sky, close its wings tight to its body and tumble a revolution or two, let out a croak and then extend its wings to catch itself. It was so clearly for pleasure. It’s mate was doing the same thing, but seemed more half-hearted, more like it was just joining in to see what the fuss was about rather than being as wholly absorbed in the act as the first raven.

I caught myself grinning watching them, whirling effortlessly about above me on the updraughts of the valley that stretched beneath us.

My thoughts had pulled me off the here and now, as they do, and I found myself crying that I don’t and can’t see how I will have a family of my own, jealous of the parents of my students. When I came back to myself I also realised my ravens had left and I hadn’t even seen them go.

I saw a dead hare on the road on my way to work yesterday.

It was along the straight fast stretch after Halwell Business Park.

It was a shock.

It cleared my mind of what I had been thinking about and I thought it was a bad sign or ill omen. Then I pretended to myself that maybe it’s a good omen; they’re in such high numbers that they now make appearance as road kill, but I knew that was a lie to myself to try to quiet the dread I was feeling at my diaphragm. How can something that ethereal, that alive on the periphery of reality, be killed by something as mundane as a car?