The Reality of Adulthood

All Grown Up

What was the first time I really felt like an adult?

There have been quite a few instances when others have told me that I’m an adult.

The logic of children is, of course, completely accurate as always. After finding out that I didn’t have a teacher as I was no longer at school, I was therefore diagnosed as an adult.

But if we’re honest, going from education to work isn’t the real transition.

And so the question returns – When does someone know they are an adult?

I have an answer.

The first time I knew for certain that I was an adult was the first time I felt fear and depression, and knew that no one beside myself could do anything about it.

I think the days you are happy are too much like childhood for anyone’s own good. You forget you are an adult, lost in childish grins and giggles.

Then something happens. Something adult.

You lose a job. You get repeatedly rejected in your chosen field. Friends have drifted away. Then it hits.

Then it hits that, even if you aren’t directly responsible for these events, they affect you and there is nothing you can do beside wait for the storm to pass.

You are an adult now. And you fend for yourself. You deal with the horrible things that inflict themselves upon you and hope that you come out the other side in one piece.

I’ve read others stating that awareness of money and financial obligations mark adulthood. That understanding the notion and amount of ‘The Water Bill’ must mean that you are fully grown up. And so earning a wage, paying taxes and repaying student loans should be the things to bring about the thoroughly adult mature mind-set.

I disagree.

It’s the emotions that smother and wrap themselves around the money and around those bills that reveal you as a grown up. Whether it’s stress or pleasure, worry or contentment. It’s there.

The adding up with excitement… or disappointment… how many sweets are affordable, is a picture of childhood. If that picture were to be edited, and suddenly the ten pound note was being looked down upon with a shaken worried expression, that hand would no long be the hand of a child. The age of innocence would have departed.

It would be the hand of an adult.



Learning the Language of the Deaf


After university I was left with no employment and so wanted to fill my days as best I could. Voluntary work was fantastic but, after so many years of exams and essays, I missed the challenging learning environment.

I decided I needed to get back in there, and so took up a course in something that had always fascinated me.

Sign Language

Although expensive, I began a British Sign Language Course.

I’ve always been fairly confident when it comes to going to places and doing things on my own, because, of course, for someone with restrictive disabilities and lack of social life, it is inevitable.

It began brilliantly…

I pushed the doorbell and waited. No one came to the door. I am obsessively early for everything and so had time to check that I was in the right place, at the right time. I was.

Then the door opened and an incredibly enthusiastic woman opened the door. I started apologising for being early, and although her lip reading ability was fantastic, she still had to stop me in order to point of the fact she was deaf. I felt so embarrassed. I had been hammering at this woman’s door, peeking through her windows and tapping on the glass. Being uselessly loud.

She invited me in and through the garden where a small and very well equipped building, that was now the classroom, waited. Inside stood the teacher, also deaf.

And so now I’m stood, the too-early-bird, looking at two deaf people who are happily signing to each other, having a full conversation whilst I’m stood in between the pair of them watching… and waiting for someone else to turn up, anyone really.

And then they did.

They say the pupils make the classroom.

I got on well with two individuals, as well as the teacher who turned out to be very funny.

One of the two was a middle aged gentleman with a young deaf daughter. He was taking the course out of desperation, desperation to communicate with his daughter. He was originally from Slovakia and still held the accent quite heavily. He laughed at my ‘Queen’s English’ accent. Even surrounded at home by the traditional East London twang, I still spoke unintentionally like part of the monarchy. And I laughed at the Slovakian spelling of almost everything.

We both found the other’s sarcasm funny, which was a requirement in a signing partner. In fact after all my cynical sarcasm, he turned up one week with a Slovakian/English Translation Dictionary, and three of us started giggling like school children as I tried to pronounce the words he pointing out. Impossible.

The third in our group was another middle aged man, who, although not quite as sarcastic as myself, was polite in a friendly way, non-confrontational, able to laugh at himself and just easy to be around. Another good choice for a signing partner when the teacher separated us up to practice.

Back to prompt in hand – Learning.

I did pass the course and did gain a Level One Qualification in BSL. But it was one of the only courses that, when awaiting the exam results, I genuinely thought to myself ‘I’m not going to pass this’. It was genuinely difficult. Worse than my ‘Olde English’ modules at University. Not even just remembering the hand movements, but also what order to use them in.

To be honest I was shocked I passed. Proud of myself, but shocked nonetheless.


Brian’s Home #5

Brian finally came out of the kiln in one piece… well two pieces.


Although he doesn’t have the block coloured cartoon Brian appearance, I think he looks like a snail you’d be happy to have sat in the garden, a snail that wouldn’t look so terrible in the rain or slightly muddy.

Brian the Garden Snail.

Anger at Parental Silence


Parents make me angry.

I have organised two outings for the girls in the Kid’s Group that I run. One as a treat in two weeks and a themed party on Saturday.

I began posting information about these events a full month ago, feeling as though by giving the parents such a thorough level of information that far in advance, I was giving them enough time to make up their minds, check their diaries and get back to me.

I was wrong. I heard nothing.

Instead I carried on posting information on the Private Facebook page, at least once a week. Repeating the dates, times, and events over and over. Two out of the twenty replied.

Then a week ago I decided it was getting desperate. Instead I printed out twenty letters about each trip. One even had a named confirmation slip attached. All I needed was a signature. Not only this, but listed on both letters were five ways in which the parents could get back to me. Nothing.

I have to book these trips, select the venues, buy the food, prepare the crafts and other activities. But now I have to do it without any concrete numbers. So I’ve paid it all out, and as everybody knows, everything costs.

So now three days before, feeling a bit more desperate I put a slight threat up on the page, saying that if we don’t hear back and don’t have at least ten then the entire day will be cancelled. Literally within an hour I had nine replies. Was it that difficult??

I understand that non-school related trips and activities often get pushed to the bottom of the pile, that they lose rank in terms of importance. I also understand that these parents and their daughters have other commitments, that they go to other clubs and groups. That they may be taking part in a School Street Parade, be part of a Church Group or have a Dance show – however as a parent you would know about these events at least a week in advance. That would be all I needed. A single week.

So now I’m angry.

I’ve given all these parents equal opportunity to get back to me in a number of different ways, and yet I hear nothing. It seems only when threats of cancellation come out that I suddenly get replies. However, now it seems for the Saturday Party, it will be too little too late.

Now I may have to cancel it and upset the girls who wanted to come. This will be viewed by those parents as my own fault. It is not. It is the parents who don’t get back to me until the last possible second. It is their lack of confirmation that causes the other girls to be upset.

It makes me angry.

I think to myself, imagine if you are throwing your daughter a birthday party, and the other parents weren’t confirming whether or not they could come until the day before.

Imagine how frustrated you’d be. Imagine how angry you’d get.