12 July 2020

The Urge to Write is Upon Me

The Urge to Write is Upon Me

In the past few weeks, I have written multiple stories in my head. So many thoughts, issues, feelings and words needing to be expressed, but where to start? What to focus on?
I just didn't know where to begin.
But today I sat down, opened up my laptop and began to write, without a clear direction, just needing to satisfy this urge to write, while it is upon me.

Over the last four years, after the end of my marriage, it became impossible, then simply difficult to write here the way I once did, but something held me back from completely shutting down this platform. I worked so long and so hard to build it, you see. The stories collected here are a collection of freeze-frames from my life "before". Precious vignettes of childhoods, moments recorded that would otherwise be forgotten... and all those parties.

So many parties... so many good memories

When my kids have looked back on their childhoods, marred as they now are by trauma and loss, the parties are what stands out to them as high points. I'm so glad I did the parties. The parties remain as unblemished memories of pure delight.

My babies when this blog began in 2009

When I started writing this blog, my babies were aged five, four and eight months old.
When I stopped writing regularly four years ago, they were 13, 11 and eight.

My babies when my marriage ended in 2016

Now I have in my care a six-foot tall young man of 17-and-a-half. A nearly-sixteen-year-old goddess and a taller-than-me twelvie.

My babies in February 2020 - now ALL taller than me

This collection of humans that I am responsible to prepare for life in the wide world are most precious.

Their hurts have been my hurts, their anxieties became mine. Their ups and downs have led me on a merry rollercoaster of emotions... and my whole world was focused on trying to help them be OK.
True to form, I put myself last. How could I spare time for myself when a child of mine was in pain and struggling? How could I attend to my own need to heal when my child's wounds were aching?

I forgot the Oxygen Mask Principle.
When traveling with children, put your own mask on first (so you don't pass out and render yourself useless to assist them).

Consequently, I have been dragging my sorry ass through life for the past four years, going through the motions but finding little joy. Focused on my children's wounds, I have ignored the gaping bleeding holes in my own heart and wondered why my efforts to help my kids were yielding faint results.

But about six weeks ago, something finally penetrated my noggin. If my kids can't see me healing and moving forward with anticipation and hope for my own life, how can I ever impart hope to them for theirs?

If my future is bleak and empty and lonely, how will I ever convince them that their future is full of promise?

So I have started to prioritise my own healing.
This is hard for me, because I am not used to focusing on myself. I am not in the habit of taking time or spending money on my own needs.
This is not comfortable. But it is needed.

Me and our family snuggle buddy, Clyde the rescue dog

In the past six weeks I have faced down and worked through more issues - and healed from them - than I have in the last twenty years. Not a word of a lie, no exaggeration.
Deep deep shifts have occurred and the result is that my most intuitive child (the girl of course) has seen the difference in me (the boys are a bit oblivious).

She said to me, "Mum I can see the difference in you. I can see you are happier and that helps me to feel happier too..."

The Oxygen Mask Principle works.
This is not the same as white-knuckling it or faking it til I make it.
This is sitting with the damage, feeling the feelings and facing it all for the first time.
There have been long sleepless nights of tears and prayers.
There has been watching the amazing series The Chosen and seeing Jesus fleshed out on screen just as I imagined him, full of compassion for us humans.
Wrestling with my "religious" upbringing and the way I approached relationships with all that baggage. Reading books which deeply resonate and helped free me from old unhelpful mindsets.
Participating in threads discussing hard issues and realising that I have a unique voice as a peacemaker and advocate.
There have been tough conversations, more tears, and realising that actually, my life isn't over.

A patchwork of Me

I'm not a background character in my own story.
And actually, my story is unscripted. It's a blank page.
Who knows what the future might hold? (Maybe I could meet somebody. Maybe I won't always be alone and unloved. There is still hope.)
All of this has lifted the lid off my life. Where my future looked like a dark cramped lonely thing, now there is a question mark of possibility.

Healing has begun. And as I have started to engage with the healing process I have found that I want to be kinder and more caring towards myself.

Spending money on a haircut. Investing in a good face cream. Colouring my greys. And enjoying at-home spas with my daughter - face masks, candles and relaxing music.

Little things that send the signal that I am worth it. I am valuable. I am not over.

Maybe someone reading this needs to hear this today.
If you are like me, struggling to prioritise yourself because you weren't raised that way, please take this to heart: the best thing you can do for your children is give them the gift of a healed mum who knows her own value.

Much love to you all xx

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