A Dead End

 

I don’t know at which point it began but I’ve wanted a good career for years. You’d think most people do but from the people I know, that’s not true. I loved English as a subject, language and literature since I found out I wasn’t entirely useless at it like most other subjects. I thought I could do A-levels but I didn’t get the grades. My exams, all of them, were a flop. I failed there, taking away nothing with me from the years of school. I cared about school but I didn’t fully appreciate that not paying attention and not doing my homework etc would result in not being where I had dreamed to be years on. I remember the embarrassment of being told I couldn’t do my chosen A-Level subjects despite being sat amongst the kids who had achieved the grades. I guess I felt rejection. I felt inadequate. I can’t remember the details but someone must have told me to look into doing a BTEC. An inferior qualification. I remember being a grumpy teenager listening to the course leader tell me about Media Production. I grumpily applied for the course because I had no where else to go. Surprisingly I enjoyed the course. In my last year of college everyone was applying for UCAS. I spent my EMA and somehow couldn’t afford paying the UCAS fee. I assume my mom wasn’t interested in helping or more likely didn’t have the money. I doubt she even knew what was going on. Anyway I missed the UCAS deadline. I had no place in the world. No one was expecting me.

Following this I spent 2 years doing nothing. I only noticed how bad this seems when my old boss was trying to help me find other employment. She asked what I had been doing during that large gap. What had I been doing? How had I passed the time? I only know that those 2 years were unhappy. I lived with my mom. We were both on the dole. Woo! Wine was always on mom’s shopping list. Shall we buy extra cat food so I don’t have to go to the shop tomorrow? No, we can’t afford it but let’s get this bottle of red. Alcohol. I soon learnt that this was the way out. A way to cope with any situation. Birthday? Drink. No money in the bank? Drink. Break-up? Drink. Everything seemed lighter with a drink.

When I was 19 I applied for an Access To Higher Education course at Cannock, I wanted to do psychology and English. This course would get me into university. Back on track. I had been given another life line. I went to the induction and everyone was a mom it seemed, wanting to do midwifery. I was never going to fit in and it’s just as well. I couldn’t enrol because I didn’t have any relevant benefits. You had to be a mother on benefits or had to have your rent paid by the Council. You had to prove your lack of independence. It wasn’t enough to be a pathetic 19 year old desperate to change her life. That day I drank until my failure was amusing.

Less than a year on I applied for an apprenticeship at Wolgarston High School. This was a game changer. I got the job and I had never felt such elation before. I wanted to jump up and down on my bed. I had something. I was wanted. Things would get better. In the beginning I didn’t like my job, I wasn’t given much work and the work I was given was menial. I would fall asleep at my desk and dread the following day once I got home. Soon after the start of my job my mom and sister decided to move to Liverpool. I couldn’t go with them, I finally belonged somewhere. I needed the experience and the qualification. They left. I had to live on my brother’s sofa. After a while things got better, I had a proper job but paid fuck all for it (£2.80 an hour because I just wasn’t worth anything). I couldn’t do anything with my wages but I stuck at it. Thinking back now I’m proud of that struggle. During a process meeting with my managers I was told I wasn’t going to be kept on. That hit me hard so I hit the bottle just as hard. A few days on I made myself snap out of it. I had a plan. Be the best. I worked hard. I spit polished some shoes. I said yes and I fucking smiled. After a few months I was offered an extension and a chance to achieve the next qualification. Yes! I was utterly delighted. I was that bright cherry atop of whipped cream, sat there all smug. I was on my highest of highs.

Late in 2014 my relationship broke down. Everything went wrong for me. I had no support around me. My comfort blanket of a life was torn from beneath me and I was alone. I went back to live with my brother. I drank everyday. Wine bottles adorned the floor. That whole time is a story in itself. I was lost. After 3 meetings at work I lost my job. Another story.

With some encouragement I decided to go to university. I applied for a foundation degree in psychology. To my absolute delight, I was offered a place. I was pregnant in January 2016. I planned to take a year out to look after the baby then I was going back. No big deal. Later on I decided I didn’t want to go back because 3 more years of psychology wasn’t actually going to get me anywhere. Not a defeatist attitude but a realistic one. Despite this I changed my mind again. I was reading a psychological thriller 2-3 months ago and I found the perfect course and it’s a post-graduate. It’s the most unusual course as it doesn’t require an undergraduate. It practically leads to a counselling job. I desperately wanted to be on the course so I applied instantly. I read that I would be sent a questionnaire as part of my application and I could hardly wait. I even called to ask about when I’d receive it. Over a week ago I was accepted onto the course. Think of a huge, fat cherry this time. A perky son-of-a-bitch. I had to figure out how I would pay for the course. It turns out that The Student Loan Company don’t fund the course. No matter though because Mike and I had already discussed that we would be able to pay the course. The trouble is is that the course fees for the first year are £2500 and childcare fees are £76 a week and thus around £300 a month. After the first year I could get a post-graduate loan but that means nothing if I can’t pay for the first year.

I’ve thought of everything. I’ve thought we can manage. I’ve thought of getting a loan. I’ve thought of getting a weekend job/ I’ve thought of getting a full-time job and putting Eva into full time nursery. I’ve applied for arround 10 jobs. Eva hasn’t been weaned yet and that’s a slow process so she’s not ready for nursery. I’m not ready for her to go either. Not matter how I look at it we can’t afford the fees. A £200 deposit has to be paid by Wednesday and Mike won’t pay it unless we find a way to pay for the 10 payments that the £2500 has been split into and the nursery fees.

I need to let my dream go but I don’t know how to. I don’t know how to be an ordinary mom. I don’t know how to be a housewife. I needed this course. Everything has prevented me from doing it and I keep telling myself to fight. Don’t let this slip away. Fight like you always have. I don’t know how to live my life if I know it’s not going anywhere. I have days left until this opportunity slips away along with my hope…

 

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