Aggression: Love, Lust and Exs

I guess I touched on my views of looking back on your past in my previous “What are You Without a Past?” post. Honestly, I’m definitely one of those people who believes that “those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it”. My friends simply think I have a problem with letting go of things… And I guess that’s true as well.

One of the biggest moments in my past, which some would say I haven’t fully given up, is the two years I spent with my ex. We broke up a month before we came to university, him being on a gap year and having deferred his entry to UCLan and me awaiting my A Level results and hopefully heading to the University of Liverpool. He didn’t take the gap year for my sake, as many argued, he’d been planning to work in Africa back when we were simply friends. The same for us breaking up just before we came to university, we never even considered breaking up due to the distance or going to the same university to prevent the distance. I think we were good at knowing what we each wanted.

Of course, I did end up at UCLan and yes, we did break up just in time for university.

These things happen…

However, it’s what happened since the break up that confuses me tonight. When I came to university here at UCLan it was because I’d screwed up big time with my A Levels and UCLan had been my insurance. This was because UCLan, out of my other three choices (I put Liverpool down twice on UCAS), was the only other university I had visited and that had only been because my ex wanted to revisit and it had been the same weekend as my Liverpool Open Day. It gets weirder when I got my accomodation through: out of the dozen or so halls on campus I had ended up in the same halls as him (since he had applied months before me so I knew where he was going to be living). It gets weirder when I drive up on the first day of university and see him walking out of the halls… and ever weirder when I found out he was living in the block next to me… out of 10 blocks. Wonderful. Throw in the fact that my flatmates, who ended up being my closest friends in first year, were good mates with him flatmates and those who believe in Fate would start chuckling to themselves.

Don’t get your hopes up though, this isn’t a “Happily-ever-after” love story. When me and him broke up, we both had the understanding we couldn’t be friends. Though he had argued with my theory that ex-lovers couldn’t be friends after a break up, when the moment happened it was him pushing me away… I mean, I still cared for him and yes, I still do, but I don’t think I could go beyond this “somebody I had a past with but don’t know anymore” relationship we have now. It’d hurt too much.

But today was one of those days. I met a mutual friend of ours and he ended up coming into the conversation. It was ironic that what she was telling me was essentially a reflection on our entire romance; his eagerness to cuddle in bed, his untidiness… None of it was new until she mentioned his aggressiveness. Now, this guy I refer to as my ex would not survive in a fist fight. I know a huge spectrum of male personalities and he definitely wouldn’t make it as King of the Pride when it comes down to it. I’d seen a few, though definitely not many, attempts at gaining an argument out of him when we were together and he’d simply tried to talk it through. We had had a very argumentative relationship because of his passiveness compared to my own aggressiveness. He had this inner calm you gain from having a pretty supportive family network around you, and it was something I couldn’t understand. Now I’m hearing about him slamming doors off their hinges, threatening to punch someone he considered a best friend and refusing to listen to other people’s side of the story.

The scariest part though, apart from the fact I’m completely helpless, is that I actually believe I had some part in it. Maybe that’s a bit arrogant, but when someone treats you badly in a relationship it’s not uncommon for you to turn around and treat someone else in that way. It might be to prevent yourself getting hurt, or maybe it’s completely by accident. But the stuff they’re saying he’s now doing is exactly how I treated him at the time- and it’s exactly how he told them I’d treated him.

Now I’m seeing my friends go through the same thing in their relationships and I’m starting to realise why I’m so weary about getting back into that situation!

Day *54

So today is my last day before going back to Preston for a few more months. At the minute it looks like I’ll be heading back in April which means, apart from this last skint, that’ll be my shortest period between two visits. Which is weird since you’d imagine I’d spend longer away from home as I go through university. But I don’t think it’s purposely getting shorter. When I’m at university, I think about home a lot less than in first year. Though, on the other hand, I have started talking about home a lot more and comparing Preston to the Isle of Man… So maybe, there is something else to it.

One thing is sure though, I’m definitely not ready to move back here just yet. This entire week I’ve been updating Twitter and Facebook much more, even running up a huge phone bill due to the roaming charges. I’ve been hassling friends back in Preston, reminding them that I’ll be home tomorrow. I can’t imagine moving back in with my mum and sister either, especially without a guaranteed job here on the island. Mum hassling me for rent when I was 16 and had a job was bad enough!

At least, if anything, this visit’s helped me get my head straight though. I know I want to be an Educational Psychologist. The practical placement has also helped set a few theories that I’ve been learning about into my head. Which is actually fantastic! Even if it has got me itching to get back into the library…

Primary School Placement: One way to guarantee aging.

So that’s it, I’ve survived my week long placement at a primary school. On Monday morning I was terrified, and at 5pm on Friday I’m sighing with relief that the weekend is rushing towards us. The week went quick, in all honesty. There weren’t any aspects of the placement I particularly disliked, besides the forced smile at 9am when I’d much rather still be in bed…

So what did I get to do?

Well, because I wanted an all round classroom experience, I told the head teacher that I’d like to be placed in all the years over the week. Though she didn’t do this in order… On Monday I was with reception and then Year 3; on Tuesday I was with Year 3 and then a mixed class of receptions and year 1s; on Wednesday I was with Year 5s and 6s; on Thursday I had the joys of Years 4, 6 and another mixed class of Years 1/2 and finally today I was with the Nurture group, the mixed class of Years 1 and 2 again and finally, Year 2.

The best part about seeing all the years was seeing how the curriculum varied through a child’s life in primary school. For example, in reception they were asked what they’d like to learn about “Water, Water Everywhere” which was the topic for that half term. However, this lasted a short 15 minutes and was followed by a long play session before break time. The Year 6s on the other hand had a much stricter timetable of play (in set groups and activities) before Literacy, Maths, Science. One thing each year had in common was guided reading, which I helped with in Year 3 and Year 2, and distracted half the class while the mixed reception and Year 1 class did theirs.

Comparing it to high school, or at least my memory of high school, I can see I barely remember primary school at all. I doubt I paid much attention besides faking illnesses to go home and using any excuse to sneak into the staff room- Yes, now that was a strange experience being allowed in there at lunch time.

One thing that I really struggled with was controlling the class, or at least the group I’d be assigned to. On the one hand, I knew screaming at children constantly would get no response  on the other acting like their friend wasn’t too great either since it was usually me causing the chatter! Another matter was memorising names and I’ve got to admit, it would be near impossible for me to recall more than a handful even now.

 

“You’re 21? How come you’re not married yet?”

There’s nothing like wedding bells. Or lack of. Especially when you have a bunch of year one and year two students exclaiming at the fact that no, you are not married and no, you are not in a relationship.

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Getting questioned about my relationship status isn’t anything new of course. From my friends at primary school and high school I would probably say I’m part of the minority who went to university. Of the majority who stayed on the island, most of them are on their second child. Otherwise they have one who’s at least one year old. I have two friends, off the top of my head, who are engaged and one has her wedding booked for July.

It’s scary to think that I was the oldest out of that whole group!

Personally, going to university isn’t something you regret but on the other hand, I guess neither is having a child. Though I can’t see myself ever gaining a maternal instinct even a close relative who shared my “can’t deal with children” views had her own recently and he has quickly become the center of her world. Maybe it’s not entirely impossible.

But my point is what people expect of you. Clearly the children I was teaching today were set in their view that in your 20s you are old and therefore should be married. Certain people may argue that being 21 is a perfect time to have a child and settle down. For my teachers, university was always the target. For me? Well, I’m a third year at university and in all honesty, I have no idea what I want out of life just yet…

Though I guess I have a faint idea forming now.

 

Teacher (Assistant) Woes: Two days into placement

Primary school though to leaving high school is a funny old time. In technical terms, it’s “compulsory education”, and your family will keep reminding you how it’s “the best years of your life”. To me it was pretty much loud teachers, slamming rulers, exercise books and dreaded swimming lessons.

I’ve been doing a work placement in a primary school this week actually. Since it’s Reading Week at university, which essentially means no lectures, I chose to come home. But there was no way I was spending it purely at home, even I’m not that lazy! Mum told me that she’d suggested to some teachers at the school she works at that I was studying Education and they offered me a placement. I’m only two days in of course so I’m not writing a summary just yet but so far it’s really struck me how different it is to when I was in primary school.

Though it’s doubtful it’s that different. I’m looking back on it after a decade of high school and university education- I keep forgetting who uses “little letters” and “big letters” or if they’ll understand the sound of “-tion”. It seems different because it’s all tiny. I don’t ever believe I was taught in such a way. I’ll get more technical in my reflective summary but the most exciting thing for me is the curriculum and how teachers go about teaching it and explaining it.

However, what bugged me is the strictness of playtimes. It’s something that’s always bugged me since it began in my primary school: banning games like British Bulldog and conkers. Everyone must have their coats on, the electronic locks on the doors. I mean, I fully understand why they’re there and the rules aren’t absolute nonsense in the least. But being a teacher has gone beyond the general exchange of knowledge and into a lot more of a complicated role.

It’s exhausting!

Friends. Who are they?

When you go through your friends list, do you ever consider these questions:

  1. Who have you known the longest?
  2. Who do you know the best?
  3. Who do you trust the most?

I mean, in terms of “looking through your friends list”, well that can be complicated enough.

When I was 8 I kept a diary on my computer, using good old Notepad. Looking back on it a year later, I’d happened to write a list of all of my “friends” at that time. I remember doing it because I remember wondering why the hell I’d put certain people down. And by certain people, I mean a good 3/4 of the list. In actual fact, the list had ended up listing around 100 names. I’ve never been friends with 100 people.

Having friends in high school was a comfort blanket, especially for me. I hid behind my “cooler” friends because I wasn’t popular, I got bullied throughout primary school, I didn’t have their confidence or attitude. They’d go around drinking WKD on the prom and kissing guys four years older than us and I’d just stand back or run away. We all hated the same people, we all loved the same things. They did it, I did it. But the thing was, I hated WKD. Wondering along the prom in December at 9pm was miserable. I wasn’t interested in older guys who led you on. The gossiping bored me. I simply didn’t slot into that click anymore when I was 16 and sure did I realise it when they all turned on me.

So going back to those all important questions. Well, in terms of who I’ve known the longest that’s easy, I’ve known Joy since I was three and she wanted to play Power Rangers at Sunday School. I’d been banned from watching that show so she was pretty cool in my eyes. But the other two? That’s complicated. Not a single person jumps into my head. That’s not to say I don’t trust anyone, I mean not one person but more of a few. For different things.

Now I’m 21 I realise that trusting one person whole heartedly will get you hurt, no question about it. You raise your expectations of that person to high and no-one is perfect enough for that commitment. Even those who get married rely on those outside of the marriage if they need space from the relationship. A mother or father may escape from the children in order to rant to their friends for a while. It’s not that the trust isn’t there, it’s reality though. Human nature means that we are naturally sociable in varying ways. Only swans, that I know of, mate for life and then die of a broken heart.

But on the other hand, you do hear of friends who’ve known each other since they were born. Sisters in the sorority, frat brothers, the friends who grew up next door to each other. I guess it is possible. But in all honesty, I doubt they had an easy ride.