2014, the year of the fail

Its impossible for me to feel like I have everything all together at any moment. I may do well on one front in my life but I always feel like I am failing somewhere else. This year has been a big one for me in terms of pushing limits, testing boundaries and really trying to figure out where I belong in the world. Is this what happens when you realise you are turning 30 soon and have no actually clue what you are doing with your life?

This year I feel as though I have failed more than I have succeeded. Work has been a challenge to say the least, I am presently in my third job of the year, after having worked at the same place for nearly four, and I can see this is not going to work out either. I cannot work for a boss who speaks in contradictions and I need some level of normality to function. I cannot work with a bunch of middle aged women who behave like teenagers, I just can’t. Thankfully I have a few options and prospects on the horizon so I am not about to be unemployed and destitute. I do however feel like I have failed at work this year. I feel like I should have a career by now. Like I should have more of my shit together. Meh.

The whole girlfriend/fiancé/partner thing has, to my mind, been a dismal fail as well. Me, being me, I have stood up for myself against his family and now he is caught somewhere in the middle of the drama. He won’t speak to his brother, he hardly speaks to his mother and all this because they hate me and don’t think I am good enough for him. I wonder if they realise how often I feel that way myself? I don’t even dislike his family. I dislike the way they felt they could treat me, I dislike the way they behave toward D but I find myself wishing often, that things could just be ok. I am not exactly sympathetic in nature, which is another fail because D needs those words of validation and the pick me up and encouragement. I am more the ‘walk it off’ type. He needs things from me that would take a supreme effort on my part and to be honest I just don’t see myself doing it. I am not going to suddenly revert to being sweet and sympathetic over every little bump in the road. My role has been to roll with the punches and remain calm in the face of chaos, there is no room to kiss boo-boos in my role in our relationship. That said, he still loves me and wants to marry me so maybe I haven’t failed completely.

I am not even going to get into how badly I have failed as a friend this year, suffice to say I have to do better and be better and I will. I have just not liked myself enough to impose myself on people I like on purpose.

As a mother I have felt my biggest failure this year. No amount of begging, pleading, threatening or offering incentives has gotten Mycaela into school. She will more than likely repeat grade four next year. She does not need to be in a remedial environment (I asked) she just needs to give a damn. It si so hard for me to admit this to myself even but something just isn’t right with her. She went to the psychologist for three months, according to her there are no deep seated, genuine issues that have not been dealt with deterring her. The crux of the issue is that she gets bored easily and just doesn’t care. She has a high IQ but lacks a little on the emotional maturity side. I have begged and yelled and tried to talk to her calmly. I have studied with her and made her study on her own. I have met with teachers and written countless notes. I have sent her to extra lessons and asked teachers for extra work. She is still most likely going to fail. I feel like I am failing and no longer know what to do. I spend so much time on her issues I fail to encourage and support Haedyn who is always doing so well and playing sport and getting chosen for Scholar Patrol. I have failed him because I have not been around enough to tell him just how awesome he is. Sucky mommy! The two little ones seem to know when things are hectic and then become very needy and demand attention. Blake often tells us how we are the worst parents ever and though he is a very dramatic five year old I can’t help but hear the ring of truth in his words. We don’t listen enough, we do tend to let Kyra get away with murder and yes sometimes in not taking the time to really hear him we do hurt his feelings.  Then there are just no words for when Kyra cries when I leave for work in the morning. She is so little and doesn’t understand and I wish I had more time to spend with her but we have to make money to pay for her love of tea and Teletubbies. Sigh.

I have read so many posts on having it all and getting it right but I honestly don’t want it all. I don’t want to be super mom, CEO and charity worker in my spare time. I just want enough of each to feel like I have done enough. I want my kids to feel loved and encouraged and supported. I want to do well enough at work to settle into a career. I want to be a good (soon to be) wife.

For now though I am treading water in an attempt to just keep my head above water.

My heart is heavy and my mind is racing

So last night I was sent off to GIBS (cos my boss didn’t feel like it) for a screening of a short film titled Testing Hope which was filmed in 2005 and takes you on the journey to pass Matric in a school in Nyanga in Cape Town.

It was a dismal fail in terms of networking for business, which I imagine was my primary aim for attending, but I thoroughly enjoyed the film, the debate that followed and truly being able to hold my own in a room full of MBA and doctorate holders.

That said, and I am not sure anyone knows this about me, but I tend to battle with emotional boundaries. I want to adopt all the dogs on my Facebook newsfeed, I want to help all the children and all the elderly. I then tend to internalise and berate myself for not doing more and can go from thinking something is sad to somehow taking responsibility, in my sole capacity, for poverty and hunger and unemployment. So while I loved the film and the event, it has profoundly affected my ability to just carry on with my life as usual.

These kids don’t need money (well they do but that is another issue) they need to be recognised as committed and hard working and be given the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty. Their parents have put everything into getting their kids to pass Matric. Their parents pin their every, poor, sad and uneducated hope on these children. Yet even the top performers in these township schools do not have what it takes to earn a place at a prestigious university.

There are not enough teachers who actually give a damn who make it their priority to equip these children with the correct information to get out of the township and make something of themselves. Why? Because despite the fact that education gets the largest allocation of the national budget, that money is not making its way to where it is needed most, the salaries of the teachers. Passion does not, sad as it is, pay your bills.

How is it that as educated and empowered South Africans we can allow this injustice to continue without asking someone to be accountable. Yes education is a basic right, and we make education available but should we not have an equal platform for every learner. Should my child truly be at a disadvantage in terms of their basic education because I cannot, for whatever reason, afford private schooling?

I have this need to recruit people, industry experts, mothers, teachers and just educated people with access to information to take the time, genuinely just time, and mentor or guide or just talk to some of these kids. Answer their questions, tell them what they need to get to where they want to be. Print them some information, get them some brochures. Tell them about bursaries and student loans. Present options like skills programmes for those not likely to thrive in mainstream education. Share your knowledge, share your time, you could change a life.

These kids have dreams, and drive and motivation just like we do. There is a gap between what they know and what they need to know to get there. Can we in some way, some small way, start to bridge that gap?