Christine, Wondering

Random Musings of a Human Becoming

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Oh yeah, I have a blog...

Well, that was a bit of a hiatus. Sorry about that. Life's been ticking along at a rapid pace, and has been distinctly lacking in long, quiet, blogging-suitable alone times. Which is a good thing, in a way, but also means I have been keeping everyone waiting for an update!

I managed to finish the term without going insane, but I am still very much feeling that I don't want to be back in a mainstream classroom. Supply is fine, but the whole-deal classroom teaching thing just isn't doing it for me any more. I've found a couple of really neat museum education jobs to apply for, so the plan is for me to get a reasonable junk job / work supply and keep on sending in applications to kinds the jobs I want, until I get one. So I've been doing a lot of applying for jobs, and a lot of pounding the pavement handing CVs to any shops or caf├ęs willing to take them. It's frustrating, and means I haven't really had a holiday, but it's all for the bigger picture so I don't mind too much. What makes it even nicer is that it's *our* bigger picture, something SK and I have agreed upon together.

I spent most of the first two weeks of the summer frantically making SK a full set of Viking garb ahead of Ffair Rhaglen VI, our first SCA event together and SK's first SCA event of any sort. It's an incredible camping event, held amongst the ruins of a medieval castle in Wales. During the day the public were allowed in, but we didn't demo, exactly - rather we just went about our merry business as if they weren't there (apart from chatting to interested-looking ones - recruitment is a good thing!). Several times I had a funny feeling of dislocation as if they were the ghosts from another time and we were the reality. Total immersion events are awesome! In the evenings we had the place to ourselves. On the Saturday night there was a masked ball, where we danced bransles by flaming torchlight in the courtyard of the castle, to live music using medieval instruments... it was amazing. And on the Sunday night, under clear cold skies, we had bardic circles and some impromptu dancing (yay for spontaneous Goddesses), while the leading edge of the Perseids meteor shower lit up the sky with sporadic falling stars. That is a night I will never, ever forget - it was truly breathtaking.

SK barely stopped grinning his face off the entire weekend, and also won some lifelong allies by wading through the castle's moat and battling through thick brambles to rescue a hat that had blown off the head of a lord while he stood chatting to some mundanes. The hat had on it site tokens and award tokens going back years, and the lord was devastated to have lost it, so SK was roundly applauded for his gallantry. He's a good 'un ;)

We made some new friends and I reunited with some friends from the Winchester Pilgrimage, and I'm once again amazed at the way the SCA brings me into contact with kindred spirits. Sometimes I just want to stand around going "SQUEE FRIENDS!!!!!" and jumping up and down :D

Some pics from Raglan Castle:

 Fighting in the courtyard

This was really very close to us, and apparently worried some people on top of the castle's tower! 

 Yes I know it's not really a TARDIS, but...

Various views of SCA period tents and the castle itself:

My other big adventure for that weekend was that, halfway to Wales, SK decided that his legs were tired, and therefore I was driving. o_O It was my first experience of driving in the UK. Luckily his car is small, the road layout is similar, and we were mostly on the motorways. It was a little nerve-wracking and some laws are different (you can change lanes in roundabouts! You can change lanes without indicating!) but SK is a good teacher and I did fine. Driving over the Severn Bridge was a big thrill. The whole thing was a grand experience.

My biggest bit of news at the moment is that, resulting from some conversations at Ffair Rhaglen, I am now the chatelaine of Thamesreach. It's my first SCA office and I'm both excited and intimidated over it! I'm also putting together a costing / bid for my first run at autocrating an event (a winter feast, probably in February). I feel enlivened and excited. Good times :)

Since moving in with SK I've begun running regularly. He's a keen runner and cyclist (he's run marathons, and recently cycled from the southwesternmost point to the northeasternmost point of Britain ... yeah, he does that :D) and has been kicking my butt about fitness. We live close to a big park, so I've been running a ~5.5km course around that, approximately every second day. I think I'm about two runs away from being able to do the whole thing without dropping to a walk, which will be awesome! I'm booked in to run in a 5km fundraising run on the 18th of September so the aim is to be well and truly ready for that.

Si recently acquired a new heart rate monitor and gave me his old one, so you can see my more recent running stats here (that was today's, click through to see the others).

It's been interesting for me, as I've learned to run and to keep running, just how much emotion is caught up in it. When I'm pressing myself to keep going, just another minute, just to the end of that... I'm pushing against a whole avalanche of negative emotions. At first it was distress, hoping I'd collapse or break down so I wouldn't have to keep pushing, and an overwhelming belief that I couldn't do it. Then that phased into anger. Boiling, frustrated anger at everything and everyone who has ever fed me negative self-belief, intentionally or otherwise. I had no idea I was still so angry inside. When I got tired the anger would dissipate into grief for all the mistakes and stupidity and neglect and wrongheadedness that went into moulding those self-beliefs in the first place. Crying while running has become very normal for me over the past few weeks!

Today I tried listening to music while running, as I'm now confident enough in the route to afford the distraction. I was amazed at how that changed the dynamic. The running became something that my feet were just doing in time to the music. I still had to push and encourage myself, but a lot of the fight went out of the activity. I found that listening to the music freed me from the desperate, churning thoughts and let my mind rest while my body got on with it. There was still a little grief flowing through (I chose uplifting music and some of it reminded me of the murk from which I've emerged) but I generally felt better about myself, about running and about my life as it is now. I think I'll keep listening to music - while I do like the catharsis of using exercise to work through this stuff, sometimes one just needs to give it a break.

Ok, this has been a huge post and I hope everyone's appetite for updates is now sated! I shall attempt to be a little more forthcoming from now on. You can expect squeaky excited posts as the season turns ... my first northern autumn! Deciduous trees! Whee! ... etc ;)

I'm glad I'm in London, glad I'm living with SK, and glad my life is moving forwards. Oh, and I've lost 5cm off my waist. Good night :)

PS: The old template was borked (as are a lot of others from the site where I got it) so I'm trying this one on for size. I like the general look but I'm still fidgeting with details. If anyone can tell me how to move the blog title down, I'd be very appreciative! My html-fu is letting me down.