Saturday, 11 November 2017

Accepting Yourself - You're Good Enough

So today I am going to write a very personal post and then decide afterwards whether or not I am going to publish it!

Life is trundling on.  I'll admit September & October were not the easiest to get through. Change of routine, a birthday, transitions and bad weather left tempers high and spirits low and it was largely a case of simply getting through the days.  We seem to have ridden through that and are now looking forward to Christmas and all the fun stuff we have planned until then.

Home Ed wise we are more unstructured than ever!  Sometimes I worry that I am not 'doing enough'.  The devil on my shoulder is constantly whispering that DS should be doing more formal learning, and would DD achieve even more if I pushed her?  I already know the answers, I saw it with my own eyes when they were in school.  What we do is right for them.  They will, hopefully, not have to unpick a life of damaged self esteem, bad decisions and poor mental health because they were pushed into holes they didn't fit in.  I have to remind myself constantly that this, above all else, is our goal.  Anything else can be learned as we go, when needed.  Quality of life and their mental health is by far the most important thing to me.

But, as I have shared before, we are judged. Constantly.  On our choice of lifestyle.  Undoubtedly by those who are unhappy with theirs.  The ' What's she got to be so happy about?' crowd....

Well, do you know what, no more than you to be honest.  But I choose all the clich├ęs, to see the glass half full, to look at the stars.  Because I tried it the other way.  The comparisons, the judging and criticizing others, the discontent. The carrying everyone else and never even knowing or acknowledging my own needs.  All of it.  And it was miserable.  Dreadful.  And slowly but surely it was killing me - metaphorically and in a very actual real way.  My health suffered, I was always ill.  There is only so much negativity you can absorb, only so long you can stay in the shadows before it starts to take it's toll.

I've also shared before that I completely lost my sense of self.  It was a big part of why I added my name, my actual real life name, recently on Twitter.  Because although I am fiercely protective of my children & their privacy - we discuss everything I share & I hope we are careful always - it was important for me to step out of the shadows and own who I am.  Be a person again.  Not just Mama.  (Not that there is any such thing as 'just' Mama).

I shared this quote this morning -

And it resonated with me because I know I have been apologizing my whole entire life.  I am still apologizing.  For being too big, too tall, too ginger, too outspoken, too sarcastic, too socially awkward, too opinionated, too clever, too quick, too slow, too capable, too strong, too female, too successful, too emotional, too much.  Always trying to fit other people's molds and apologizing endlessly when I don't - even when my only 'failure' has been that my wings cracked their mold because they wanted to fly.....

This week I had a horrible experience that unceremoniously transported me to my darkest place.  The place I don't like to visit but I accept is there.  Sadly I do visit, more frequently than I would like but in my life I have been blessed with The Most Amazing friends that pull me back.  I have friends that have been with me my whole life long, others 30 years, 20, 10 and they keep on coming.  Beautiful, wonderful, special souls that see into your heart and laugh and cry with you and love you fiercely. And I cannot ever put in to words how very grateful I am to each and every one of them because I know I am unutterably blessed.

But, anyway, back to the sad bit... I had to pop to the hospital for an assessment this week.  I did not want to talk about this but unfortunately it is relevant to what follows. So yes I hate hospitals blah-de-blah and because of the infection control guidelines now, I had to be swabbed even though my last surgery was 14 years ago - and I've written about that horrifically traumatic debacle previously.  I wasn't expecting this.  But more so I was not expecting the nurse to gasp at my scarring, ask 'what is it?' and 'is that what we are 'fixing' when you come in?' .........  It's not.  That's just my life that I have to live with now.  But thanks SO much for asking!

She regained her composure, while I fought to regain mine, she was over-compensatingly nice to the kids (because yes, of course, my kids are always there....) and then I took them off the McDonalds as a treat for them while I stared at the ceiling willing myself not to cry into my coffee & DD asked me a thousand times if I was ok.  'Your face isn't ok Mummy' she kept saying 'I'm sorry I'm fussing you but your face isn't ok.'

So Mummy laughed a little and said things about feeling a bit tired this morning, and not particularly enjoying going to the hospital and how silly that was of Mummy because hospitals are good places....

And we went home, and I settled them in to their activities in other parts of the house, and retreated for a private cry.  Well, lets call it a sob, a real broken wave of sobs.  Because that nurse's reaction was everything I fear and everything I feel and everything I chastise myself about daily.  I know all the things to tell myself.  That it doesn't matter. That I lived. That it doesn't change who I am as a person.  That people all over the world have so very much worse to deal with and are brave and beautiful and strong. That there are people who would give anything, anything for my life in comparison with theirs.  And I know all these things are Truths.

And ok we could talk about her lack of professionalism in that moment and be all blamey but that's really not the point either.

And so I reached out and talked to a friend. Because I couldn't pick myself up. I wanted to lock my door and never leave the house again. And of course that is not reality.  I had the day to get on with, my kids be there for, so I couldn't let these feelings settle over me.  And I knew this friend would understand, and she did. She said all the right words, and more. Everything I would have said to someone else and so very much more.  And left me smiling, and sniffing, and ready as I would ever be to carry on my day.

But still it sat perched on my shoulder, will always sit on my shoulder. My proverbial parrot.

And so it occurred to me, when I shared that quote this morning that this is yet another thing I shouldn't feel I have to be apologizing for.  I am not Wrong.  I spend my life telling my kids they are Not Wrong, to embrace all their wondrous quirks and magnificence and throw love and kindness out into the world as if they were the only lights in the darkness.  And then there's Mummy, apologizing for what?  Surviving?  Not having a beautiful body?  Oh the irony!

So this is why I am blogging this morning about something that makes me feel I want to hide and die of shame. 
Because there should be no shame. 
14 years ago I had very traumatic emergency surgery that changed my life and saved my life.  Why am I sorry?
I think it's time now to let that go, or if not 'go' then at least let it out and hopefully be a little less afraid, a little more brave and be a bit more Emma Jane.

Thanks for reading x

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