In my Year 12 HSC English exam I had a meltdown. Although at the same time, I also had a breakthrough. It was both terrifyingly scary and yet strangely welcome. Because at last I was getting somewhere with things. At last I was getting somewhere with myself. At last I was able to let the words flow. I wrote that HSC English exam like I’m sure no-one else has ever written an education and career defining exam. Why? Because at the end of the exam when the bored old man called “time” on 12 years of English schooling, I ripped it up and left it all behind.
Living With Intention: Writing + Life’s Lessons
Given that I write this blog, it’s perhaps no surprise that I’m rather fond of words. And whilst I’m a very diligent person who enjoys structure and stability and the predictability that goes with a more rigid passion, I’ve always been a bit of a creative. Be it words, or music, or dance or craft – I just get it. I feel it. With words, it’s been a love since forever. I enjoy reading them, I enjoy writing them, I enjoy listening to them and I love speaking them.
I’ve been pinning quotes to a Pinterest board lately to keep me motivated. They’re usually in quirky typography, maybe decorated with a few flowers and occasionally accompanied by a fittingly “pun(ny)” 1 liner.
Blessed with a good memory to be able to place small details that help me remember exact locations, years, and moments, these words come in handy. I can remember where I read them, what I was doing, how I felt at the time, and the significance of those words on myself and others. These words have a dear place within me and serve as inspiration, either for future blog pieces here, for future stories made up on the spot to cheeky children resisting the call of sleep, or to be moulded into song lyrics with Miss7.
Starting this blog was a natural extension of my love for words. I discovered the benefit of uncovering a much-needed way to express myself through writing. I felt as though I needed to document my journey working with children as a nanny and as a way to offer helpful resources to other aspiring professional nannies and in-home childcare providers.
However, I wasn’t always so great with words. There was a time in my life that the words failed me. I was left with an empty black hole in my head, with nothing going on up there. Struggling with severe depression and an eating disorder, I went into my Year 12 HSC English exam and stared at a blank page. Granted I could count on one hand the number of times I’d attended an English class in the lead up to the exam, I sat in that exam unable to comprehend the question, unable to gather my thoughts and unable to eloquently convey anything remotely appropriate. Into the thick blank booklet that was ‘supposedly’ going to determine the outcome of the rest of my life (as many underwhelming teachers had unwittingly preached) I wrote nothing. Aware that this was going to draw unwanted attention, and to quell the rising panic in my head as I began to realise what failing to write the exam would no doubt mean for my future, I channeled by energy and instead wrote a story.
In my Year 12 HSC english exam I sat and wrote a creative writing piece. Not a creative writing piece to match the prompts like every other student. I wrote a piece from the heart I’d felt compelled to let forth. This story spilled out from my brain from where moments earlier there’d been a blank space of nothing. So I went with it. I went with it and for the better part of two long hours I frantically scribbled words down onto the page. Words I then tore out and pocketed as I exited the exam. Words that wouldn’t have gotten me very far in the world of Year 12 HSC english, but that I’ve since toted around with me everywhere. Words that occupy a special place inside of me, and inside my treasure box under lock and key amongst things like baby bracelets and my grandmother’s jewellery.
These words were not even written in the language I was most familiar with. They were not English. Because for two hours in what was supposedly to be one of the most important moments in my life, in where I was supposed to display just how well I understood and could apply the english language, instead I wrote in French.
Because in that moment, I accepted I was unable to complete the task at hand and instead dedicated my efforts to be more productive towards an alternate demand. I practiced intentional living. That same afternoon I was to sit my Yr 12 HSC French exam, and I was determined not to let the events of that morning transpire to psych me out of doing well in my other passions. I took that opportunity, a time in where I could have easily thrown it in and walked away from it all, and I kept going with intention.
Needless to say, I aced that French exam. As for English, well I still got my HSC, I still went on to university, and I still came out on top. The world did not end.
Fast forward the years and my direction in life has altered course to match my evolving ideals and wants. The common theme amongst it all has been the resounding resolve that I’m not a quitter. I know what I want and I go after it. I dedicate myself to what I must do to achieve, and I make it work. Much like that time in Year 12 when I was down and out, and things were holding me back from my full potential, I embrace the challenges and live with intention. I do what I can to come out on top!
And I’m glad I had that experience, those horrible blurred teenage years. For now I know what hard work is. Now I know what it’s like when the odds are stacked against you. Now I know just how much strength and courage it takes to ‘keep on growing’, and I know that I will get there.
As my creative side – my writing and reading and artsy-fartsy – collides with my rigid enjoyment of rules and structure to make a melange of business nouse, I know I’ve got the skills to go forth and conquer in my entrepreneurial endeavours.
So to have been nominated for another bloggers award (by the lovely Norah Colvin) – the Versatile Bloggers award – is another timely little reminder that I’m doing ok here. The fact that you come back each time to read my thoughts, to share in my experiences, and sometimes have a giggle is the biggest thank you and reminder that this is what I’m supposed to be doing and that writing is ‘one of my things.’
Have you ever struggled with something that’s held you back from your full potential?
image: Southern Charm