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Two Steps Forward...

Two Steps Forward...

Aug 11, 2021

And one step back, except at the moment it feels like three steps back.

You may have noticed that it is nearly a month since my last post. It has been a very chaotic month that has left me with little time to think, let alone write an update. Unfortunately, much of the chaos is born of outside decisions that have not gone our way.

Let's get the bad bits out of the way first, then I can move onto the positives and the plan I have going forward. Yes, there is a plan, it's not all doom and gloom so hang on in there for the finale.

So, the bad bits. As some of you know daughter attends a small school that isn't exactly on my doorstep. Getting there in the morning involves either a 20min bus ride with two 15-minute walks or an expensive taxi ride because it is outside of the city.

I applied for help with her travel as you can if you fit certain criteria. We fit the majority of the points but were turned down on one - I chose to send her to a school that was not the closest available to me. Parents have the right to choose the school their child attends and to seek out a school that is most suitable for their child. However, the council then have the right to refuse to support you if they did not choose that school for your child.

Basically, if like me, if you do not think the local schools are suitable for your child's welfare, learning and mental health needs (I have nothing against the local schools, just do not consider them the best fit for my daughter) you will be penalised if you do not wait for the council to agree with you and make the placement on your behalf.

To me, this is just one of many ways that local authorities seek to reduce and even remove parental choice, but that is a post all of its own.

In the same week that our final appeal for transport was turned down, so was our application for an EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan). I won't go into details about why that was turned down because my fight there is not over.

Needless to say that this combined with invoicing issues and finalising details of new work caused a bit of a mental health spiral for me. Those of you that know me well, know that I suffer from depression and anxiety as part of my ME. It was exacerbated by pregnancy and has been an almost constant companion lurking in the dark recesses of my mind waiting to break free ever since my last miscarriage about 10 years ago.

I tend to have a handle on it, know when the symptoms are raising their ugly heads and plan accordingly. Unfortunately, the beginning of this bout coincided with a new work opportunity that has left me physically drained and meant I took my eye off the ball enough for it to creep up on me. I am over the worst, have made necessary adjustments to the tablets I take that work, and have given myself the time out, and away from social media especially, which was needed.

Now onto the positive, the new work opportunity. A little over two years ago my daughter got involved with a local home education DnD (Dungeons and Dragons) group. Even when she went back to school we kept in touch and as the group has grown into a small Community Interest Company, I offered my services where they would be useful, including marketing and writing.

Over this summer, I'm helping out with the holiday club supporting the DMs (Dungeon Masters), providing additional activities, and organising the lunches, snacks and drinks. We have a wide range of young people some requiring additional support with learning, communication and social interaction. It's great fun but, as you can imagine, it is exhausting. While I am enjoying it, it has reminded me why I don't work full time in such a demanding role anymore.

However, it has also fuelled my need and desire to be involved in community projects again, so after the holiday club finishes, I will continue to be involved, but very much in the background with the paperwork and finding funding. I may, if I can ever get my head around it all, even start my journey to become a DM, but that is for the future.

So, what has all this got to do with my writing and my plan. Well, it means in the short term my novel is on hold. With the prospect of needing to fully fund my daughter's travel and continuing to accompany her to and from school for the foreseeable future, my available time is limited. The time I do have needs to be put into paying projects and applying for funding for the DnD company.

I will still be writing on Medium and Vocal, as well as posting updates here, so you will still get to read my latest work. In fact, there is a new piece on Medium now about my fraught relationship with Facebook. I will also be posting a series of articles on the benefits of DnD.

You can help by buying me a coffee and helping fuel the wheels of creativity (as well as keeping the actual transport to school wheels turning) for another week.

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