Dark Moon Ramble Why I Quit th APS

Well today fuvkn sux.
Soooo yar. Long story, long. I fukn quit. I don't wanna. I'm so disappointed. I tried to hold space for th opportunity to be something other than what I went in for. I struggled with th facilitator personally, th courses lack of structure, their "holistic" approach, constant micro conflicts, and miss communication. They really know their gardening, but they've failed to hold a safe space, th course was falsely advertised and unprofessional,.. And then my physical health made th call for me. This fuvkn sux. 
*update at bottom 
( I want to add non of this is in any way a reflection of Northey Street City Farm, or their management in any way. Its all decisions made by facilitator of APSc) 
I keep telling myself go with th dark Moon, stay in th shadows, bite my tongue, bc you know what comes after Dark Moon?
New Moon. Is what you do in th shadows going to come back to bite me in th ass?
.. or in my case don't keep in th shadows, will it come back to bite me in th ass? 
There's things I do, that I don't put on blast. Nose down, workin away at things, let th results be th speaker. I tie this in to shadow work. It can act as a amplifier for my work. Extra potent energy to launch or anchor a thing.
An then theres things that happen, that I tend to not share bc it's just really fukn disappointing. I put on th rose coloured glasses and just try to make th best with what it is. This can be a trauma response.
If these disappointing things were repeated actions, and not th persons best work, then I tend to just give it no air, y'know. Like it's undignified or something, like 'airing dirty laundry' or what ever th saying is.
It feels like talking about it benefits no one, and biting my tongue benefits them while I sit here uncomfortable. But this feels like maybe theres others who've had these same experiences, maybe me rambling shit will benifit someone. I would feel more confident and validated if i knew others had experienced this. 
(And I'm not talking about maliciously harmful shit rn. If those actions were harmful, then yar ill get shouty if I'm not taking a gentle or labour intensive route educating them). 
I forever wear those rose coloured glasses, especially when it comes to Death by Plants. I invest in things and they don't always turn out as I hoped. If it's my own fuk up, hell yea I'll share that shit. I'm not afraid to say I fucked it.  It's a learning curve,... or it's a winner. Theres few mistakes that can't be flipped on their head. We grow or we repeat. It seems pretty bloody simple. 
So getting to th point, bloody hard pill to swallow, and I've really struggled with talking about this bc like it feels taboo or something, it's no big deal, but it's a big deal to me. I feel like I'm going to get socially out cast from community I'm so desperately trying to be apart of. Maybe thats why its so hard to accept, maybe it just not for me?, but tbh I've never felt more at home in community than in some facets of th Permaculture community. 
Th language these ppl use and th way they use it, creates a safe space, an inclusive, trauma informed space. I exhale and breath freely around these ppl. They aren't perfect, but when there is confusion in communication it doesn't lead to micro aggressions, frustration, blame casting, and me feeling th need to just stop talking, stop expressing my point, stop mid sentence,.. Or feeling th need to raise my voice when I'm being spoken over once again. 
I am choosing to step away from th Advanced Permaculture Skills course, that I was attending at Northey Street City Farm.
And I feel need to share it bc each step of th way I felt deminished, invalidated,  and maybe others have had these same experiences. 
You may have noticed I stopped sharing my APS wkly wrap ups. It's bc I took off th Rose Coloured Glasses. I didn't want to continue sharing all th things with so much spin it makes me sick. It feels fake and against my integrity. 
I didn't want to publicly share my disappointment, fearing what th negative responses to my experience would be. So i had been doing both, I had still been writing them, I just havnt balled out and shared them.
Each wk, every step, id take a thousand pix, and I'd ask every step if i can share this, can i share that. Constantly asking for consent bc that shit is important! i really wanted to blog th whole process, warts and all. I just thought th warts would be more along th lines of "oh no, i fuked up and killed a plant", or had a anxiety attack on th train,.... not th facilitator did a yukky. 
There were some weeks where i was specifically told to only share a thing from a certain perspective, to use certain wording, when that wording was not used at th time.
Eg we where at a small, very square, 'community garden' at St Lucia uni. It didn't feel like a community garden. It felt strict. Not welcoming to me personally. 
When asked if I could share th pix, th facilitator said yes but just call it a community garden in St Lucia, don't mention th uni. I feel this was partly bc maybe it's only for th uni, not a public community? , but more that he was very strongly pushing his bias against Gorilla Gardening and Growing Forwards Gorilla Community Gardens, one of which had just failed at St Lucia. Pushing to prove that St Lucia didn't need another community gardens bc that one is so abundant, (it really wasn't, at th time we were there, you would have to be extremely creative to get a meal for one from it). 
I signed up to this Advanced Permaculture Skills course primarily for th "Full Permaculture Teacher Training". 
A few wks into th course we were told this is not Permaculture Teacher Training as in doing a course that teaches you how to teach PDCs. A course that at th end you get a nice lil piece of paper that says you have completed that specific training, you can now go on to teach PDCs. If you google Permaculture Teaching Course, what comes up, is what most ppl would refer to as "full Permaculture Teacher training". 
It was explained to us that many ppl teaching PDCs these days, shouldn't be, because they have only done one PDC, and then completed their Teacher Training, and that teaching from a text book is not good enough, they need to have years of experience, done multiple PDCs, and multiple Teacher training courses. 
I wonder how Row Morrow, Brenna, or Hannah, feel about that when their creating new teachers. How they feel about th capabilities of their students, when those student go on to teach PDCs. 
We were told we don't need more ppl teaching PDCs, we need more ppl out there practicing Permaculture. 
We were told th teacher training in th APS will be holistic, and I think what he was saying it will cater to us as individuals. Which is great, amazingly even, given there is only three ppl in th class, and one has already been teaching for many many yrs. This was exciting. He said he will teach us how to teach any content. Sounds brilliant. 
Buuut it's not what I signed up to. I'm extremely disappointed and I spoke about this. I feel I was persuaded, manipulated, not validated. Any mention of th 'Full Permaculture Teacher Training' being false advertising is denied and they dictate their narrative. 
I signed up to do this course on th information that was in th flyer. I read it trustingly, knowing th facilitator had been on teams for Permaculture Teacher Training with Row Morrow. I compared th price of th course to other teacher training, and assumed th content would be th same, plus all th extras of food forestry, etc, that were mentioned in th advertisement. I assumed we would get more details leading up to th course, emails, and hand outs on day one. 
We did not.
On day one we signed a basic induction thing and were told by th facilitator he would not be there th next day bc they had a thing on for 'O week' at th uni, they couldn't get out of. First day, first thought, th actual fuk! Excuse me. Umm.. Where is th course info?  couldn't you have let us know that info leading up to day one? Surely you knew you had this other commitment? Why double book yourself? We paid for that day! Dodgy. 
Leading up to th course, when there was no email from th facilitator, I messaged them asking if we would be getting any pre course info? Th answer - Nope. That was it. One word. I thought OK, it will come on day one. 
I haven't done many courses, but th ones I have done have all had some form of out line spanning th entire time of th course, with lots of info given on th first day. 
Th APS has no such thing. On th first day I asked about a timeline, I received non answers. I had to ask repeatedly to get any information about th school holiday breaks, and rn no one can tell me th dates for Xmas holidays.
I also had to ask repeatedly for a finish date. In th end I was begrudgingly told th course started on th 14/2/23 so it will finish on th 13/2/24, its 12 month from th start date. Have you ever know a course to start and finish like that?
Red flag city.
Within th first few weeks i felt so many moments like these. 
Th whole course felt like he was making it up as it goes along, and my persistent need for information like basic dates, or any for of forward planing frustrated them.
It feels so triggering. Won't put any details down in pen so they aren't held accountable, or so they can do what's in their best interests as they go. 
A four wks into th course th facilitator was absent due to booking a consult out at Winton. That's 14hrs drive away. They let us know two wks before hand, great,  but they hadn't arranged someone to cover th classes up until th last minute. They were away for one wk, that's th Tuesday and Wednesday,......and one day, th following Tuesday. 
Th second Tuesday, th day before their return, there was a massive communication failure. We attended, but no facilitator. Whether or not we had been told they wouldn't be there, th response to this was not apologetic. There was no one set to take th class, or even check in on us. Th actions immediately following this came across as passive aggressive, and condescending. 
That day all three participants were present. We had to flag th education manager to find out what was going on. That day all three participants could not recall being given any information about th facilitator not attending.
We together expressed concerns about th course, and th lack of outline, lack of organisation, lack of content
- Eg,  weeding gardens to kill time, during th hottest time of day, in th hottest time of year, while th facilitator whet in to th office to catch up on emails, and then we were let to go home early like it was a reward.
This really was some bullshit. Pay to do a course, and he says OK, you can go kill time for 40mins, then go home early. I'm paying for this time, I'm not getting paid! This happened multiple times. Paying to volunteer. 
Also on that day when expressing our concerns to th education manager, at that time, another person was present, and their communication was so important.
They asked if I needed to be heard. I was angry. And within a few words I was calm, and re-centred. It shone as a reminder of safe space. Of th Permaculture Community I know.
If it wasn't for that beacon, I would have thrown in th towel that day. Wk 5. Ready to bail. There was already enough flags. I was unhappy with how th course was going, th content, th constant micro conflicts. I had spoken about this with th other participants each step of th way. 
Throughout th first few days there were times where th facilitator spoke over th top of me. And not in that excitement joy add to convo, but in that, I think I know what your saying so I'm just going to talk over you, or his experience is more important than holding space for someone to finish talking.
It is triggering. Its arrogant. It's akin to toxic masculinity. But it's micro. Micro conflicts. Micro confrontational. Is this micro? Or is this this just how we are trained to frame th 'teacher' 'student' relationship? To me personally it's not fucking micro at all. It's basic respect and a major red flag. 
On day one, and two, I asked him not to talk over me. On another I asked him again. And again. And again.
I shared that this is making me uncomfortable. 
One response was, and th reductionist energy of, "Yeah that's OK". No it's not ok. I'm telling you this is a problem. We have a communication problem. You have a communication problem. 
I feel as though this translated to them as, Alexis has a problem. And I feel as though that is how theyve framed all of these issues I've experienced, when talking with others. It's not our problem, it's Alexis who is struggling. 
Before starting this course, I attended an online course with this facilitator. Th information was amazing. Chokers with info! Hoooeeee! So so much info. I had to re watch sesh multiple times to really soak it in. Delish! They know their shit.
During this course I saw th facilitator talk over others. It registered immediately with me.
Th way he treated one participant really flew th red flag. Th participant was sharing expertise from their job, that was relative to th conversion, th facilitator cut them off, boasting about some shit they had done. Ego. Yuk. This happened a few time in that course, to that one person. 
I saw this, I know what this communication is, and I still chose to commit to th APS. I didn't think it would be a problem in person. I spoke with friends and family about this exact thing before signing up to th APS. Some friends said they had had horrible experiences with this facilitator. But for some reason I didn't think it would be a problem in this setting.
This was extremely nieve of me, I just really wanted to start moving forward in life, yknow. This course appeared to be th perfect vehicle for that. 
Fast forward 10wks into th course, I arrived one morning feeling less than spectacular, my emotional resilience was very low, due to family turbulence with ND kids. I spoke with th facilitator about how I was feeling. As th convo cycled through aspects of th course, (without sharing th entire conversation), I bit my tongue when he spoken over me. I stopped talking mid sentence again, and again. But then I ended up raising my voice, yelling to finish my sentence, as th facilitator spoke over me again. Not ok. Not a safe space. 
I spoke with management th next day. I wanted to be heard. I wanted a line in th sand to mark that this has happened, and it's not ok. A point to refer back to, when it happens again. When I spoke with th available management about this, they were extremely validating, sharing that they understood exactly what I was experiencing, and I felt heard. I said I wasn't sure if I could continue th course and asked what a refund would look like.
Th education manage was absent for th next two wks, so I would have to wait unless I wanted to talk directly to th Facilitator about it.
I did not.
I do not feel th facilitator has th capacity to have that conversation in a safe trauma informed way, let alone in a conciderate way. 
Aaaaaand then,... two days later I fuked my back, lifting a draw out of th bottom of our freezer. I had a extreme pain shoot through my back, and down my legs, as I lifted a small lightweight thing from about knee height. I have bulging L4/5 disc in my lower back. It's a pretty common issue. Treatment is rest, phiso, or get shots to kill th nerve pain to keep moving. But if I keep moving, keep on keeping on, its going to keep on being an issue and not going to heal. 
So this was th defining thing. 
Across late 2021, and at least th first half of 2022, lived on extremely light duties with severe nerve pain every time I moved th wrong way. I was getting physio, and in th last 6 months, it had healed to a point that I clearly I though I'd be able to do this course. And I had had no real issues up until now. There were still days I'd get mild pain, but not disabling pain. 
I had let th facilitator know my condition and each step of th way I reminded them. I made sure I wasn't doing anything strenuous. But even just leaning across a garden bed weeding would hurt. I would dial it back as I felt th warning signs.
I think I got to a place where I forgot how bad it was, when it was bad. I didn't realise this is me now. This is forever a thing until my ass gets so old, that th discs dry out to th point they're longer soft n squishy, so they can no longer bulge. 
Think of discs like a squishy stress balls between your spine. They can bulge out, like a squishy stress ball would when squeezed between your fingies, only as it bulges out, th bulge presses on and/or compresses a nerve causing disabling pain. Untreated, can lead to herniated discs, which can lead to other issues that I really don't even want think about. 
So two weeks of bed rest, had to find new doctor, get scans, wait for next appointment to get results. Two weeks to over think, umming and ahhing over th validity of walking away from th safe space issues.
Questioning whether or not I am just self sabotaging. All th thoughts of if I could just "suck it up". I was asked, without th communication issues would I be happy to stay, and honestly, it'd be a huge start, but there were other things aside what I've mentioned here. I have touched of them throughout th blog posts that I havnt aired yet. It would come down to trusting th facilitator is able to support my learning in safe space, trust th content is what I want. 
There were times I needed, and asked for more instruction, more guidance. Eg with writing a 'talk', and it wasn't provided until he saw I was basically in tears, It should never come to that, and even then, I ended up googling what I need.
I signed up to be taught how to do talks, how to plan day course, workshops,..and I was not being support for writing a 15min talk. I was not support in th first step to all those thing. Being told to 'just' write a intro, main content, and summary/wrap it all up, is not teaching me how to do those things. I was told "I can't write it for you", " can't do it for you". This made me feel like utter shit. I felt stupid, insecure, unconfident, and unassured. This is not teaching. (edit, information was given out learning outcomes, in reference to th main content. My issue was firstly with writing th intro, and conclusion, and then with actually writing th main content). 
When i was able to talk with th education manager, still undecided as to what I should do, still waiting for results appointment. I was sounding out about what a refund might look like, they said they would have to talk to th other participants to see how they feel, see if th other participants were having any problems. I understand this is based off financial reasons, th need to prove my claims.
I said about th fact that it was advertised as Full Permaculture Teaching, but its not that, they asked me to explain what I meant. If you google Permaculture Teaching course, what comes up?!!!!! Thats what i meant.
So due to my medical condition I can no longer continue th course,....but due to th continuing issues with th course structure, communication issues, lack of safe space, I longer want to continue this course. I had two weeks to really think about this, and while th call was ultimately made by medical, I should have set boundaries and made that call th day he didn't show up. 
I had been trying to express these concerns, and each time I felt like I was minimised, not validated. Not heard. 
When talking about th lack of structure, and content, I kept getting told th course was holistic.
I kept saying to myself to trust th process. Each time something didn't sit right with me, there were other things that were good. 
I didn't want to kill this thing just bc it's not what I expected. I wanted to try and hold space for th unknown, and make th most of what it could be.
And most of all I want that god dam carrot dangling in front of me. To learn all th things, feel confident and capable of teaching, get that 'Permaculture teacher training' so I could co-teach with others, gain experience in successfully growing veg, to be able to to action my "why" for DBP of helping others do all these things, to help them save money and make it through each wk, to take Death by Plants to th next level. 
BUT now I want my fukn money back yo!
Well, settling to pay for th time I have attended, and requested rest refunded, bc I don't think they will refund th total refund at their loss.
A few times acrth course, th facilitator mentioned a past patisipant of a different course at NSCF who "was so horrible, we ended up giving them a full refund just to make her go away". He said she hadn't read th advert probably and complained th whole time. Is this how ill be spoken of? 
Red Flag!! 
If I had personal support of someone who is good with being assertive in these situations, I would most definitely be requesting a full refund on grounds of false advertising and unprofessional behaviour. On top of th course fee, I've lost time, and just over $500 on travel, equipment, etc. 
I could have signed up for th online soil course with Elaine. I could have done Teacher training with Brenna and Hannah, in a female lead inclusive safe space, and paid for travel, accommodation, meals, etc.
Feeling very bitter. 
 *update, I have received a refund for th time unattended. Th course was closed. I don't know all th details. I was told one story, th facilitator had to leave for family reasons, while others were told he's accepted another job which would have ended th course anyway. All that time thinking, feeling I'm doing something wrong, to then hear that *very loud eye roll*.
Through out th course and exit communications, I expressed all of th above plus more and not once did th facilitator acknowledge their communication had caused unnecessary confusion, inconvenience, or was damaging.
Not once did he use appropriate language to resolve these conflicts that should be taught in Permaculture teacher training.
Not once did they take responsibility, or apologise. 
He instead doubled down on what his intentions for th course were. 
*Pattern Recognition*