Creating a Space

Wow, it is a new year and so much has happened between the time of my last blog and the present, it will take me a year to share the life leaping news. First things first I wonder if I can start with a little humour, literal humour. Humour, that's my writing theme for this month.

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Instead of me judging myself and calling this self-reflective satire, which is what I would normally do. I will leave it for you to judge. Did this make you laugh? Does writing ever make people laugh?

Once upon a time back in 2018 I had hoped to write a few articles and submit them to Psychologies Magazine and more. I wanted to take the leap with my writing career, but in honesty I had two pipe dreams. I had wanted to become a teacher too. A teacher of English or Art or I.C.T. talk about a broad list.  I’ve learned over the last couple of years that a broad list is good because it can create a sense of resilience, as one opportunity flows and fails there is another opportunity around the corner.  The problem was, I had been afraid. I had a self-diagnosed ‘phobia’ about public speaking and I was filled with self-doubt.

This phobia was also holding me back on the writing scene, too.  

How could someone with such little confidence in themselves either write, mentor writing or teach others? I laughed at myself, but not in a kind way, I was mocking myself.  Where on this planet had I learned to do this to myself.  

Thanks to the online coaching with the Psychologies Team I began to realise that I needed to firstly make sure I absolutely and fundamentally had no desire to become the Teacher. What did I have to do to find this out? Tony Robbins would say I needed to be more active, to put myself out there. I had to face my fear head on. I had to accept that I might be rejected. I had to accept that I may become the Teacher. I appreciate this may sound odd. If I believed I wanted to become the teacher, then why would I not believe it would happen?

Emotions, they can be testing and this part of my life-leap experience was interesting to learn about.

On my big journey exploring the realms of education, I realised I would have to set aside my writing, and focus, fully commit to an educational role. As a super-hero-female who manages the home, the kids, the pets, the garden and the rest I had enough plates to juggle already without continually adding more and more to my agenda, so I did what I had to do and set aside the writing. In writing down that I set aside the writing it fills my eyes with tears. I’m holding them back. I am on the other side of this journey now, the writing is back, all is well. Sigh…this too has certainly was such a tough decision to have to make. I felt like I was separating from my passion.

Needless to say:

Life became busy, busier with business not with busyness… it was crazy… I had always believed whilst full time parenting that I would fall back into a working profession effortlessly because being a home maker and mature student had been the most challenging lifestyle shift of all.

I was always dedicated and committed to being the best when employed and paid. I shifted this dedication into parenting skills and a degree, both unpaid monetarily and the degree was actually very expensive. I can pat myself on the back and call myself the supportive partner and the wellbeing self-accredited coach for all things wonderful in my life, especially the free elements. This is me praising myself. I have certainly come a long way on my journey to finding a role that fulfils my personal core passions in life and actively praising myself. Complimenting myself had always been at the bottom of the list of things to do. I always just did what I had to do and got on with it.  Today, it’s at the top of the list to compliment myself, not in an egotistical way, simply a thankful way. Pat on the back again. The unpaid elements of my life had provided me with an emotional sense of positive wellbeing and thankfulness that I can hand on my heart say I never achieved within past employment.

Then, whilst I was busier than ever applying for a job as a Cover Supervisor, the linking role to becoming a Teacher, I began to have a little affair with my writing profession. Remember, I had to give it up. I couldn’t juggle it I told myself.  What I was doing was in fact quite naughty. I was going against myself.  I had become the in-secret blogger.  If anyone came into the room whilst I was typing I would flick screens to a social media page to make it look like I was only time-wasting. The beauty of these moments was that I only had a limited amount of time to write creatively about anything and found that I mostly wrote poetry. I would quickly pop it online as soon as I could and then get back to applying, in an effort to becoming officially employed again.

I received a couple of interview invitations back in April 2019 and I was successful, there is a blog on here somewhere about the experience. It was an eye-opening time and I realised as a Cover Supervisor that I truly had a phobia to public speaking. On a daily basis I would physically shake while presenting lessons hour after hour. No matter how much I tried to explain that I found it tough, the response I received was to keep going and the nerves will wear off eventually, practise makes perfect.

I recall Suzy Walker suggesting that I should always have a safety net when I take the leap, and at the time I did think, I have one. I am secure. I have my health. A positive mindset and wellbeing. I am social and unafraid of voicing my concerns, all relative to Maslow Hierarchy of Needs.

However, the safety net I certainly lacked in relation to the Physiological; no matter how much deep breathing exercises I attempted to calm myself down, it wasn’t working. I lacked peer support and essentially training, everything was so hands on. This may sound like madness. I had access to my Facebook Community didn’t I? No, because I chose to give up facebook after listening to the hype about it invading our privacy.

Maybe I had friends I could talk to, I did. However, because the role I had taken on was so unknown to me, I wasn’t sure what I needed support with and finally, could I have tried to do something about my nerves when public speaking? Sadly, no matter how many books I read about being more assertive, prepping and creating a relaxed environment. There was a constant mind fog generated when I stood up to present. It was bizarre.  I've heard that some people take medication for this. Sorry, but I didn't want that either.  I did a bit of journalling to see if there was a childhood issues attached to the problem, maybe a prejudging issue. I continued to draw a blank. My only option was to leave the role, or so I thought at the time. I did leave. I was becoming a fabulous actress at hiding my lack of confidence, yet physiologically I had become a bag of nerves. I chose to leave. I had to for my own health and wellbeing. I had to get to the bottom of my issue when public-speaking which would determine my capability to be able to teach or do anything public and social in the future. My in-secret passion continued to remind me that, Authors, they read at events and can be very vocal online.

I had to focus on powering through this issue, a self-diagnosed phobia regarding public-speaking - with a safety net. Thanks Suzy.  

I worked for a wonderful supply service for a while, they were extremely supportive and offered me plenty of work in a variety of roles and I continually generated positive feedback about my persona in schools. The beauty of supply work, if I felt my health or wellbeing was being affected, I could choose to take a step back. I have no intention of name dropping. The supply team know who they are and over on my LinkedIn I continue to be connected.  However, this post was supposed to be funny and humorous and instead it is becoming all deep and meaningful and too long, some things haven’t changed.

During my in-secret writing time in 2019 and 2020 I changed the name of my website and risked losing followers, but I didn’t, I gained them. I changed my twitter name, to then in January 2021 return it back again. Julie Spencer 4d it works for me. All is well.

I set up a few writing tips for me to hold myself accountable, and in secret I did.

Truth is, I love the writer side of me. I love the creative elements in writing and designing and sharing ideas. I think my website became my safety net for a while, still is. It became a space for me to go to when I needed a light release. Some people like yoga, or meditation or breathing exercises. Me, I love to simply creative write.   

I am back in permanent work, but part-time and I am still within learning support in Education, but a much more 1:1 role which suits me, for now. I am still learning how to be confident whilst public speaking, baby-steps, a gradual immersion. I have benefit from the learning experience of been thrown in at the deep end, but there were not enough pros to balance out the cons. The year of the pandemic has absolutely turned the world upside down, but thanks to my joy and pleasure for writing I’ve an in-secret writing plan that keeps me sane when the world around me feels rushed, nerve-racking and uncontrollable. No matter how confident and capable we are, we all have our weaknesses and flaws. 

I have a lot more balance in my life right now. I’ve chosen in 2021 not to be so hidden creatively. If you would like to see what I have been doing in-secret, take a look at this Writing theme or how about this piece of Creative Writing called Hilarious blog, if it is anything like this blog it will be far from funny.

It's been a pleasure chatting with you today, hope to chat again next month. Thinking Reflection in February. Do feel free to contact me if you want to share any of your own words.

Happy New Year


Julie Spencer

Ambassador and Learning Support Assistant, Psychologies Magazine

Proud Ambassador for Psychologies Magazine. The magazine encapsulates many of my core values: being kind, have compassion, look after your health and wellbeing, be professional and be supportive of others. A little self belief can go a long way. I have studied as a mature student. I went into a writing frenzy and spent 3 years writing in solitude. I was a stay at home mum, too. What I learned: being alone for long periods of time is bad for your health and wellbeing. Thanks to a little nudge from Psychologies Magazine I am reconnecting and rebuilding my C.V. I'm a creative. I have lots of ideas and I need to constantly realign my focus onto one project at a time. Until recently I had a real fear for public speaking, but after reading a book that suggested I acknowledge my fears and challenge them anyway; with the support of the Psychologies community and more I'm working through my fears one blog at a time.