Let’s get serious…

Alright?

It’s been incredibly quiet from my end for quite a while, I apologise. I don’t know how I’ve managed it seeing as how I’m an incorrigible chatterbox.

A lot has happened during my hiatus. Hiatus. I sound like I’ve been in rehab. (I haven’t, by the way, so no snidey comments about how I couldn’t blog because I’ve not been on the sauce…) I’m going to hold back on a few details because they’re not really any of your business. They must be pretty heavy topics seeing as how I’ve shared incredibly intimate subjects with you during the life of this blog. I will share this with you though; I’m not a carer any more. Gasp. Certain events transpired that have rendered me almost obsolete and that’s as much as I’ll say for now.

Oh. I’ve got a boyfriend. He’s very handsome, look:

His name’s Adam, we’ve been together for 11 months and I love him :) I don’t know how I managed to keep that one quiet either. I’m a changed person! Again, no rehab quips…

Another exciting thing that has happened to me is that I have been honoured with the appointment of National Ambassador at Carers UK! Remember in my last post about 50 years ago, I said I’d had a surprise through the post? Well, that surprise was a lovely letter asking me if I’d consider the post of Ambassador as a thanks for all the work I’ve done for the charity. How exciting! So far I have attended a Parliamentary reception, given a speech at the Carers UK Founding Members’ lunch at Lambeth Palace, spoken on the panel at the Carers Summit and have lots of equally important events lined up that require my speaking talents. Good job really seeing as I’m rather loquacious… ;)

It does mean that I should now be doing less of this:

And more of this:

Paul Burstow MP (Minister for Care) and I in Parliament – June 2012
 Making my speech at the Mary Webster event at Lambeth Palace – October 2012
 Beautiful Lambeth Palace – yes, they did let me in!
 So. Back to my de-carer procedure. Sounds kinda painful and my goodness it has been! It’s been a complete roller-coaster. I’m now in limbo between the Carers World and the Real World. There are a few of you that would argue that caring really is part of the ‘real world'; seeing that it delivers constant, harsh doses of reality along with regular kicks to the crotch, but I’ve found it to be more of a microcosm, a bubble if you will. You’re so wrapped up in something that you tend to block out the outside world and ‘the future’ is something you dread thinking about. You’d think that your life would reach a plateau of calm outside this bubble but it really doesn’t. You’ve spent so long thinking about somebody else that you tend not to pay much attention to your own life; your life outside of caring and what you’d do with it once you’re back on the scene. I feel as though the Carers World has politely asked me to leave but the Real World is being that bitch who won’t invite me to the party.

“But I like to party!”

I now have absolutely no sense of identity. Most carers feel the same kind self loss during caring; the feeling of being just another slave to the government, but now I’m not a carer, I feel like I’ve been kicked out of the Carers Club. Even carers on the Carers forum I’m part of don’t want to know. I went on to introduce myself and nobody will speak to me; maybe because they can no longer empathise with me. I feel like a leper. Just to validate my existence I’m now referring to myself as ‘a former carer’ or ‘Amy, Formally Known As A Carer’, like Prince only with less plastic surgery and a deeper voice.
I’m also now known as a job hunter. I like to use the word ‘hunter’ because that’s exactly what you need to do. Hunt to survive. Weekly visits the Jobcentre have inevitably ensued (cringe) and now I’m no longer viewed as do-gooder statistic, but as a skid-mark in the underpants of society. I’m sorry Mr Government but you need to learn how to wipe your arse properly (Refer to my previous posts. I could help you out.) because no one will employ me. I have “too big a gap” in my employment history. Oh, I’m sorry…I didn’t realise that 24/7 caring isn’t a work substitute. Silly me, thinking that administrative skills, excellent telephone manner, advanced and specialised vocabulary gained through my carers role could possibly be applied in the workplace. Yes, you should definitely ignore the fact that I’ve met the Prime Minister, spoken confidently in Parliament and at Lambeth Palace and have an aura of general brilliance. I’ll just go and munch on some mothballs in The British Heart Foundation shop and let you call it work experience because I clearly haven’t got any…

Yes, I name drop Dave Cameron on my CV…

I’ve always had a reputation of being a little dippy (I once thought that Milan was in China because it sounds like Mulan and the other day I managed to sew my hair into my trousers. Don’t ask..) but I have absolutely no idea why I’m so unemployable? I’ve got good qualifications, even better life skills and I’m the bloody Ambassador of a UK charity for goodness sake! What more do they want? For me to pull a bunch of flowers out of my hoo-hah whilst singing the National Anthem? Because I could try…

Would you employ this face? I’m even wearing my Carers UK badge!

The badge!

This is why I have created a petition to ensure that skills gained through caring are recognised by employers as and when they apply to a role. It’s a serious, well worded petition with no swearing. You can have a look HERE. Read it, sign it, share it. Anybody could become a carer, at any point in their lives. You don’t have any warning and you certainly don’t ask for the sodding responsibility that comes with it. It’s a hard task but even harder is the struggle you face getting back on your feet after caring – for whatever reason you leave the ‘profession’. And it is a profession, we’re good at what we do. Did. Might do. If I can do just one small thing to help people post caring get back into work, then this is it. I don’t want you to have to go to the jobcentre all the bloody time because it’s a no good hole that smells like weed, desperation and Paris Hilton perfume.
To summarise, I have absolutely no idea in which direction my life is going but I’m 23, the world is my oyster and I’m the pearl. A grain of sand that’s been spat on so many times that you have no choice but to shine yourself up and screech to the world: “Crack open this shell; I may not be gold but damn, I’m valuable”.
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