Brave new book club?

SO , last week I decided that I had a distinct lack of friends in my life, real friends, the kind you go and spend time with to rejuvenate you , the kind who live round the corner and you can just knock and collapse in their garden demanding a G&T. I have only one of these who are in my vicinity. I have other close friends, who probably fit the old adage that I can count them on one hand, but they don’t live within spitting distance, one is far far away in Australia , which may as well be the moon.

Anyway , my one friend who is my treasure , could one day up it back off to South Africa. She has no plans to , but life is a funny thing and no one really knows. I guess the only person who I can depend on to be with me for the rest of my days is my husband. And yes , he’s my best friend too , but he’s also my husband and that’s just not the same. Sometimes he’s hard work. Sometimes we argue. Sometimes you just need the simplicity of friendship with other women.

So , In my infinite wisdom and rather impulsively driven nature , I decided to post on the app ‘ Nextdoor’ to see if I could join a book club nearby , or if not , try and start one. I love books and I need more doorstep friends so this seemed to be a perfectly fabulous idea.

This is my habitual trend in my life, I have an idea and I throw it to the wind , or commit to it in some way and then it happens. I love this about myself , but I also go through a whole process of regret while it unfolds!

So , I sling it out there, 45 year old nurse, mother of teenagers, lover of books, nature and wine requires book club type post. A couple of days pass and I get a couple of eager responses , then it suddenly gains momentum and I have 12 women all desperate to join a book club. So at this point, regret and panic is setting in, I have committed to creating a book club, I have 12 women at my disposal. I quickly shut the post down , as I envision all these women trying to fit in my home … I now have to actually set things in motion to begin ! I have never been in a book club. I read books like a small child gobbling up sweets , but I know nothing about the nuances of a book club.

So last night , myself , my dear friend who was reluctant to join ( she’s a I only read a book a year person ) met with 6 other women in the local pub. It was like going on a blind date! It was such a surreal experience. There were moments of awkwardness as we started conversations, but overall we all had a pretty amazing evening! We laughed and got to know one another , shared our favourite books, shared what we did with our lives and who our children were. A right eclectic bunch of 40 something women creating new friendships. Who would have thought it would be so easy!?

I think as you get older you fear making friends, or that it’s a past-time of the young, where somehow you only make friends in the situations that life puts you in, like work, or the gym. Who would have thought making new friends off your own back , pushing yourself out there could be such a ride! We have made a plan , we have chosen a book and we all meet later this month to discuss it. With another 5 women who we haven’t met yet!

I think it was partly to do with the freedom of being yourself? Going out with work colleagues in my new (ish) job is a painful experience – I am naturally an outspoken , gregarious person , with a tendency to blurt stuff out without thinking, this gets worse when I drink wine! So I often spend the day after the night before, in a cloud of shame and anxiety about what I have said or done! This has got much better with age, as I learn to not give a fuck.

But what struck me as I remain on quite a high from this simple experience , is how easy it would have been not to do it. To spend my life in the same place, avoiding people generally is my usual disposition , not really sure why , as they obviously make me happy when they are the right people.. I think I have this odd tendency for being an extrovert while at the same time yearning for solitude, which can be a tricky balance as last night made me realise that I need to be around other women , they feed my soul..

Guilt ridden Motherdom.

Motherhood is or perhaps has become so heavily guilt ridden. I don’t know if a day goes by where I don’t think to myself that I should have in some small way acted differently to have achieved a more positive impact on my children’s well-being . How I could have been a better , less selfish person. How I should even discard my own immediate needs to improve their immediate ones.

I then have moments of shame , disappointment or even ridicule at myself for not being the best I can . I feel sad , heavy or just downright shitty. How long does one live like this for ? Does it last a life time? Is motherhood always destined for a life of Judgement ?

This weekend I’m busy keeping my daughter alive.

“ I will kill myself , I’m obviously not going to tell you how “

I feel a level of tiredness that I don’t think I have experienced before , the fatigue is burrowing deep inside my eyeballs and my soul feels ever so weary that moving feels such an effort. I want to slip away into a deep level of unconsciousness and escape life.

Mid – week my 15 year old daughter took a large overdose . Last night we got discharged from hospital & told that the team will come and start work on Monday – ‘ but you have to keep her safe till then’ . My daughter doesn’t want to be safe , she wants to die. She wanted to be admitted , but they don’t ‘ do ‘ that for distressed , suicidal, risky children or in fact for worn out families who feel that their resources have been well and truly depleted .

So here we are early Saturday morning. We have lasted the night on shift work. My husband has gone to bed and I’m up , but I feel like a zombie. The last few days having taken its toll. It makes me wonder how people in a consistent stressful environments survive ?

My daughter is asleep. Snoring softly . I know this because we have taken her door away. That door has blocked my way to my daughter for many years . Many nights I’ve looked at That door in despair , wondering how she is behind it . Feeling utterly helpless to stem the flood of sadness and self loathing. To have it removed is like removing an old , nasty tooth . The relief that I get access to my girl whenever I want is huge. The decision to do it done with utter confidence considering her resolute pledge to die.

Taking each hour as it comes .

Continue reading “This weekend I’m busy keeping my daughter alive.”

Softening the edges..

Photo by Jara on Pexels.com

There are so many things that I want to do , so many habits that I want to cultivate. Journalling here , how long is it since I have done this? Months. Yoga regularly , daily meditation, putting a load of washing in each day and putting it away, taking my supplements, going to bed early , not drinking wine. . The list is often the same yet nothing much changes. Sometimes this gets me down , all the things that I want to do but don’t. What is this consistent cognitive dissonance in my life?

Today , I let my bike go. It literally fell apart a couple of weeks ago, the gear box and chain just fell off as I struggled up a steep hill. I took it to get fixed , but it just wasn’t worth it. I have had my bike for over 10 years. I felt oddly emotional about leaving her in the shop to be recycled (for Africa!) That bike has taken me on a long symbolic journey , in the last 10 years so much has changed in my life and I have really reached a point where I don’t really recognise my life or myself back then , so much has changed ; for the better . And my dear old bike has been there all through out that time. Carrying me hundreds of miles to my destination today.

Today , I did some things on my list. I did a yoga class in my room which was just divine , no itchy irritable desire to stop , just divine deliciousness. I am writing here & I will take my supplements. You just got to keep trying haven’t you? And not beat yourself up .

Next month , I start a new job as a manager in my current team . I am going full time, something I blogged about never doing again. But I have also leaned into the fact that I can change my mind. I am softening out the edges of myself bit by bit.

Ashes to Ashes.

Coincidence ? Synchronicity? Power? Intuition?

The strangest , mind -blowing event in my life happened this week. I am nearly through Deepak Chopra’s 21 Days of Abundance course . Tuesday’s task was to write a letter of recognition and gratitude to someone who I felt had hurt me .

The only person who came to mind was an ex of mine from some 25 years ago. I have blogged about him in my ‘Descansos’ post so I won’t repeat myself , but basically I wrote a letter of peace and ending. Thanking him for all the lessons I learnt under his rather discarding treatment. I was Young & vulnerable and well he wasn’t .

I have seen him a couple of times in the last couple of decades and it was friendly , we had friends in common. As I sat up my allotment on a hot June night , I put to bed some stuff I didn’t even realise was there. I wished him peace and happiness in the letter . I then burnt the letter with a deep sense of closure and acceptance . Watching it curl up at the ends and turn to ashes.

The next day , our mutual friend rang me . Which he never does . He told me that last night , my ex , died in a house fire . To give this some context , I don’t think about this man from one year to the next but I chose him for this task as he shattered my confidence in my youth. A couple of hours after I wrote and burned this letter ; he burnt to death.

I was and still am freaked out by this. In the abundance course it asks you to start looking for coincidences- well wham bam in my face … but what does it mean?

I’m inclined to believe that it was a way of showing me that the path of love and peace that I’m on is the right one. That it is a way of showing me that grudges , resentments & pain are to be set free . That I have power that is unleashing . And in romantic moments , I like to believe that my part in the universe sent him on his way with goodness & love. But yeah . I’m still freaked out.

Shedding the skin of unimportance

Yesterday , I read through an old diary from 5 years ago . I was taken aback by how needy I was for importance and recognition and how much I have grown in my management of my insecurities.

It was littered with a need for inclusion , a huge desire to fit in with the crowd and be recognised for someone who is liked and wanted. My decisions and goals were often based on what other people were doing or what was expected of the culture that I was immersed in at the time . I had a strong sense of freedom that those days are gone and I have a real sense of self orientated functioning. Growth is often imperceptible and I am grateful for my journaling to expose the truths of my journey.

It’s taken me a long time to just be me. And the wonderful result of that metamorphosis is that my relationships have improved and become deeper and more rich in love and joy. I still sometimes struggle with getting my needs met , particularly at work but I have felt a descending peace upon my psyche lately . One which demands that people have to accept me as I am or move on. And when I am rejected , in whatever form , I know that it is due to the other person not being able to accept who I am and that isn’t my problem.

I attribute these changes to age & wisdom , which come as an intrinsic pair , leaving a conform- driven religion and group therapy. I have also got to know the little girl I once was and honour her needs for nature , dancing , Solitude & creating .

Eve was BRAVE!

I am mid way through the new best seller by Glennon Doyle

” Untamed : Stop pleasing , Start Living “.

I was really struck by the ending of one of the chapters

Own your own wanting 

Eat the apple

Let it burn.  

Years ago when I was a new Christian ,  I was in a women’s bible study group .   We were studying the ‘ Fall ‘   .    We were talking about Eve and her crucial mistake of eating the apple and its subsequent domino effect on the earth.   I remember being really struck by this;   all around me were murmurings of her calamity & in my natural openness and perhaps naivety to the Christian faith ,  I said   ‘  I think  Eve was brave ‘ .   The flurry of voices filled the room admonishing me for my comment ,  albeit in a loving ‘ she’s new to us ‘  type way    : ‘  she was stupid more like ‘.       I then spend another 8 years as a christian but I realised that perhaps my initial reaction never left me ,  my intuitiveness that Eve was brave was damn right ,   but under the scrutiny of my new friends I submitted to the new way of life that I had forged to myself.  I ,   as many women are , was pressured to feel,  fit in ,   agree,   submit and to follow  that which went against  a deep feeling  in my heart.

I realise that I have always been brave.   I was seeing what was in my own heart inside Eve’s   and I was denying it.    As I leave the Christian life behind ,  there are still remnants which need to be swept up and put away ,  taken to the dump in fact.   Eve ,  you were fantastic.   You were brave and true to your instinctive nature to need to know what is true and what isn’t .   To seek that which is unknown.  To step out of the boundaries which have been placed around you by man,  society , culture :  the list is endless.  The things you were told as a little girl ,   the lies you were fed by your mother,  your friends,  the bullies,   the bosses ,   the teachers .    That which doesn’t serve you ,   trash it .  With a big whack in the bin like a basket ball hitting that ring.

Pick that apple  ,  it’s ripe , it’s juicy and despite that you might be told it is the way to sin &  estrangement with God ,   it’s actually a secret pathway to freedom ,  nature,   death , new life , more death ,  divinity itself.   Mother Earth ,  God,   oceans , trees,  everlasting oneness and love.     It’s a gateway to Love.   Its a pathway to trueness to oneself .   And that ,  my friends is the one thing left for you to have which is your own.    To mould , shape, change , convert,   put away , pick back up , chase , follow ,   create !

Eve was a bad ass mother fucker.

 

Radical Acceptance ?

So , the Prime Minister is up tonight at 7pm,    as the nation waits with baited breathe to see what he will unveil!   The nation is clearly divided between those which want the lockdown to continue and those who really yearn for some freedom and normality.   The disputes , fights and discord online between these 2 groups are at the forefront of every swipe you issue.    Perhaps it’s the difference between those who like to control and subsequently also like to be controlled?   Or those who want to vent and spew , those who just can’t stand authority, those who can’t see past their own situations.     I think I am a mix of all of them.

I feel tired .    I wonder if it’s just the energy and anxiety at a macro level which is depleting me of energy.     I miss having my friends over without worrying about the corona police.    I miss my old job and the freedom.  There has been so much change.  I think change is exhausting in itself.

I drink  ,  smoke ,  eat ,  work ,  decorate and repeat.    I find myself in this little whirlwind  of life.   I am learning to take what I need and leave everyone else’s shit behind.    There’s so much time yet the days just fly by.

My mother drives me insane.   She’s at that age where she constantly repeats herself,   always shoving her phone in my face asking me what to do about so and so’s spam messages warning her that her account could be hacked.   Arguing with my husband about how much she feeds the dog ,   drinking all my wine.    I moved out when I was 19 to get away from her and here I am at 44 now living back in the same house with her.   It’s like having a 3rd teenager in the house ,   4th if you count my husband’s tendency to lean toward teenage behaviour ,   arguing with the kids about who ate all the icecream.   I used to have days to myself in the house.     I can’t remember the last time I was alone.

I seek solitude up the local common or my allotment.      I don’t know what I would do otherwise.    Sometimes I just want to run away to a little cottage in the country all alone. But then I would probably yearn for busyness!     I guess I have to just learn that new buzz phrase ‘   radical acceptance ‘  .    Bloody hell.

 

The Red Skittle

Today was a great day. My 14 year old daughter has suffered with depression & anxiety for a long time , on and off now for 2 years. I have learnt to deal with my own sadness with her struggle – if I let it get me down then we both lose . I just have to be there for her when she wants me which isn’t often . Yesterday she tidied her room, today she tidied it again and said that she felt her depression had lifted. .

She sat outside and we looked through jewellery and chatted about stuff in the sunshine. This may seem average , but my girl hasn’t been out her room or the house for months . I asked her what had happened , if there was a trigger , a moment where she felt different and she proceeded to tell me this wonderful tale of a teenage moment of clarity. That early morning , she had woken at 4am. She was laying there and she couldn’t move very well on the floor – ( she sleeps against the door to isolate herself ) –

She then says …. “ I had my suitcase from the holiday a month ago still on the floor , then I looked around and saw all the bowls and cups under my bed , then I found a red skittle in my hair and as I was trying to get it out I realised how greasy my hair was and I just thought to myself , what am I doing? I might be depressed but I ain’t gonna feel any better laying here in a pile of shit “. Oh my , how I laughed . She is a natural comedian and we couldn’t stop laughing at this Red Skittle , which changed the world. She then spent 3 hours cleaning up all her room , she deleted apps on her phone , she said she was horrified to discover how much time she was spending on it . She changed all her depressing music on Spotify to uplifting stuff !

Then tonight , we went out on a bike ride. She said YES , to an outing. Well blow me down with a feather . “ I feel Free “ she screeched as we pedalled along.

So this simple day as been so special . It might be a one off , it might be a turning point , who knows . But it’s a taste of change and hope. I have always thought that my intuition is right with my daughter , that I shouldn’t be pushing her to do what she can’t. Professionals will say otherwise . But today , I saw what she can become , a woman with drive and passion for life , which can take time to harvest . Her time. No one else’s . As long as I can be there in those moments then that’s all that matters .

Continue reading “The Red Skittle”