Monday, 22 April 2013

"I ain't gonna die wonderin"

Many years ago, there was a radio broadcast of a Rugby League match.  One of the commentators was Australian. A particularly powerful tackle had taken place on the field. The commentator, in rich 'strine' said, "Well, he ain't gonna die wonderin'." It's was a wonderful expression and since then, it's been used quite often as a motivational quote at home.

On a visit to Australia, we learnt that its origins may have come from the world of prostitution, which makes sense and provides a smile.

So what's that got to do with this blog?


In 2006, I had a idea about writing down some of my thoughts and ideas, as a psychotherapist. I had always enjoyed writing and items or letters I had written had been published over the years. The first published letter was in the Guardian in 1969, in response to an article about Nannys going off with their charges' fathers. My employers, a couple of barristers, were quite amused when colleagues asked whether it was their nanny, who had written that she had no intention running off with the husband. (It was the address that gave me away.)

My colleagues, Wendy Amey and Gail Rhodes were supportive of my ideas, which gave me encouragement to proceed. Wendy and I got up speed and by 2007, publishing a book in 2008, was looking a strong reality. I spoke and wrote about my ideas, where they met with strong challenges and some opposition. All good experience, not only for the future, but to help me clarify my thinking.

Then life events intervened in a big way. Family ill health and an unexpected house renovation took over my life and while I just about kept the practice going, with the support of Gail, book writing disappeared. Though I started to write this blog, which helped fill the gap.

The years passed and I entered another decade. One life event took over from another, providing me with loads of reasons and excuses why the book couldn't be written. Then last October, my decks cleared, the reasons disappeared and I was left with no excuses for not writing the book.

Motivation and confidence was low, so I took a chance of going on the book publishing workshop in December. It gave me the 'kick up the backside' that I needed.

I have an intetested publisher, a supportive blog readership and strong feelings on mental and emotional health problems. Social networking has grown and is a great tool. E-books that five years ago were being rubbished by the publishing trade are now being given equal status as hard backs and paperbacks.

The time is right, but I'm nervous. I feel like a diver, who started off jumping in from the pool side and then progressed through the different height boards. Even as I'm writing this, I'm amazed to find my legs are a bit jelly-like, as I prepare for a leap off a height I've not done before.

Most of the time, I have complete faith in my thoughts and ideas, but then I wobble. Just as I start to wobble, something in the news steadies me and I feel as if I'm given a gift of support. I never know where it's going to come from, but it appears. Today the support comes from a footballer called Luis Suarez and the Childcare Minister, Elizabeth Truss.

The two may not seem to go together, but I believe they do.

I have given myself a pseudonym. This is for a variety of reasons. Some personal, Some professional. I have a website, Twitter name, Facebook page, LinkIn page and a different blog. There are business cards, a graphic artist working on the book cover and a publisher waiting.

I had a little practice last Saturday, when I announced my intentions officially to a small, friendly, supportive group of colleagues. I am more than happy to speak to a room full of people on a variety of subjects, without notes and do so, quite often.  So I was slightly taken aback to find myself feeling nauseous and wobbly. That was a valuable lesson.

Today, I'm going to jump off the next board (the top one is publication day). I going to let my previously shy, twin sister, take over.

And the main reason for doing this?

 I realised that the years are passing by and whatever happens...

"I ain't gonna die wonderin!"

Here goes.........................................


Rita Leaman jumped off and Alison R Russell surfaces.


Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Workplace behaviour

The Easter holidays have finished. A parent in a group I was with, said she was relieved to get away from the constant bickering of her children, particularly the "They've got more than me" variety. She explained how she was now weighing their cereal, to ensure equal portions.

Some of us commiserated and the discussion proceeded to our own childhood experiences. I had to admit, that though my grandsons' bickering drives me to distraction on occasion, my sister and I were no better.

Then I remembered another  conversation I had recently. I attended an event for a group of women, mostly over pensionable age. One woman recognised me and told me that she had been in a local group, where I did some chocolate tasting, as a fund raising event.  I said that I hoped she had enjoyed it. "Well,  I didn't get any chocolate." I explained that there were platefuls of various chocolate around the room for everyone to enjoy. "Well", she said petulantly, "I didn't get any."

This woman held a senior position in a voluntary organisation, was certainly of pensionable age, yet looked at me like some bolshy child. I thought her behaviour was pathetic. Interestingly perhaps, the organisation was one for young girls. It wouldn't be the first time I've observed adults behaving like the age group they work with.

Last month I was invited to lunch in a large organisation. One of the middle managers sat next to me. On finding out that I was writing a book, asked me what it was about. "Emotional maturity", I explained, "particularly focussing on why adults sometimes behave like children." "Oh, we could do with that here", was her immediate response.

This manager had an abrasive manner and ran her department on a "do as I say and don't argue" basis, which I believe came from above. 

As a group of us were being shown around the new building, another employee gave us instructions to hold the handrail, while going up some stairs. There was even a picture and written instructions on the wall by the handrail. "If you are seen not holding on to it, you will get into trouble." 

Is it any wonder that there are problems with adult staff behaving like children. They are not allowed to think for themselves and common-sense has been replaced by the fear of a Health and Safety report.

My behaviour at school at 17 wasn't great. It had never been great. As a result, I never achieved any position of responsibility and was often in trouble.

For some unknown reason, somebody thought of making me a sub-prefect for the last term and half. My behaviour changed almost overnight.

I belong to a group, where one member is disrupting meetings, by making undermining asides to whoever she's sitting next to. It's becoming a problem. 

I recognise the behaviour. It's what I used to do in the back row of class or church - when I was under 18. This woman is a 70 year old, highly intelligent professional, who had a high profile in work.

The behaviour is similar, but the reasons are different. I had the attention span of a flea and was just a silly, immature girl. This woman has lost her professional status due to retirement and is having trouble adapting to a different life. 

I grew out of my behaviour - most of the time. She has some growing up to do.

You're never too old to grow up. Keep the childlike qualities, but leave behind the childish. 

There's a difference? Yes. Basically, childlike moments can bring happiness and delight, while childish behaviour tends to create misery for the giver and receiver. 

“ I knew he was childish. I just wanted my childhood back.” 

Woman on phone talking about her husband