This time last year I was stretched to my limits, like a good many others, as the school I was working at prepared for an Ofsted inspection. For those of you who don't work in UK Education, these inspections are dropped on you at 48 hours' notice these days, and most teachers would agree that they are very stressful.
So there we all were, monitoring each others' teaching and marking and preparation; putting together portfolios of 'evidence' of progress; making seating plans and updating our mark books with the latest news from the SEN register and the EAL lists. We knew it would be some time in the Summer term, and so we had to be "on our toes" at all times, because you really can't do it all in 48 hours. It was a nightmare. By the time we reached the middle of May and still no sign of the hit squad, my body decided it needed a rest. I went to bed one night, and as I lay down I started to feel ill. I had no idea what was wrong, but I knew I had to get up at once and go downstairs. The dizziness persisted as I made my way through the kitchen and I lost the power in my legs twice before I reached the bathroom. I'm diabetic and I eventually decided I was having a 'hypo' as I pulled myself back to my feet having slid to the floor once more. I had no pain at all.
It's a darn good thing that I wasn't home alone, because I was convinced there was nothing serious going on. My husband's first attemps to call an ambulance were thwarted by my insistence that all I needed was a cup of tea and a biscuit to restore my sugar levels. Thank God he eventually ignored me and made the call.
The pain came several hours later, like someone drilling through my chest. I tried to curl up to make it go away, but strong hands restrained me and kept me in position as the voice without a face told me I had to lie still, I was being treated for a heart attack. I have never been so frightened.
Anyway, long story short as they say, I'm OK. It's almost a year and I'm teaching again. A lot of paper's gone under the bridge since then, ha ha! One of my arteries functions with help of four stents. Yesterday, I was working in a school that was being inspected. The inspectors didn't come into the lessons I was taking, but you know what? I wouldn't have cared if they had. In the grand scheme of things there are so many more important things in life. In the last 12 months, I've been present at the birth of my granddaughter, had my book published, reconnected with several old friends and former pupils. I've laughed, cried, read books, written stories. I've loved and thanked God for all of it, because it's wonderful to be alive.
...instead of making up their own answers, dammit?
Back in February I said that if my book didn't reach the desk at Authonomy by the end of March, I would be taking it down and leaving the site to pursue other avenues. I said it several times both publicly, and privately to individuals. It appeared in forum posts, personal messages on the site, emails to other members and in convos on Facebook. Therefore, my plan to remove myself and my writing was NO SECRET. Neither was my motivation for doing so.
I now find out that various 'well-meaning' people are convinced I've been 'forced' off the site due to recent events which I don't need to outline here. I didn't make a song and dance out of going - a quick goodbye and that was it. I thought everyone knew why I was going. It had nothing to do with other people's tactics, neither did it have anything to do with not achieving my goal. I needed more time to get on with my life and more especially my writing.
Apparently, there are a number of people who are holding a wake because they feel I was manipulated in some way and left with no alternative but to quit. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am an intelligent adult, not nearly as naive as people think I am, and any decisions I made were made with my eyes wide open. As I said, the decision to leave in April was made and announced months before the recent onsite fiascos.
I'm truly grateful to all those who really care, but I'm fine and there's no need to worry, To the rest of you - stop using me as an example of some pathetic creature who didn't know her own mind. I clearly did most of what I set out to do :
I networked, I made friends, I worked on my book, I learned a lot, I self-published. (It's selling well - I'm happy) and now I've moved on.
I can be found here, and on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. Always happy to hear from any of you.
PS - I hope some of you get the message. I didn't want to rejoin as a sock just to make a point - that way madness lies!
I shall ask one of my authomates to post a link to here in the forum.
I finally decided that the most important thing in life is to be true to myself, so I bit the bullet and asked Authonomy to delete my account. It's been such a time drain for so long and after a while it really interferes with the writing.
Four days later and I'm still awaiting deletion, but I have been staying away and feeling better for it. The writing has resumed and so has my life. So where to now?
Well, serious submissions and completing the short stories to get that bug out of my system.