I ask too much of myself. I say this isn’t good enough. You need to be better. This house isn’t what it could be. You need to work harder to make it nicer. You are too fat. This is shabby. You are too scruffy. This is dirty. You shouldn’t feel like this. Or that. You shouldn’t be exhausted/hungry/dis-organised. On and on I berate myself, using up precious headspace conjuring up plans to be a better me and forcing myself to listen to this relentlessly cruel inner dialogue.
So I create routines and rituals for betterment. I eat better and shop better and work better and life gets better and I can see tomorrow and next year and I like myself more and for a while all is well. And then optimism is dampened by little blots of gloom. I start to tell myself that I don’t deserve good things. That it won’t last. That I will not be able to keep it up. That I will be exposed as a fake something. A fake cheery person. A fake Mummy. A fake writer. A fake everything.
On Wednesday I woke up blue. My body was sad, throbbing with discontent and refusing to cooperate. I knew before I opened my eyes that the ring on my finger was once again wedged in swollen flesh and that my feet would hurt when I pressed them to the ground – the physical manifestations of a thyroid swooping up and down at will. And with the throbbing came the anxiety. And the red hot poker jabs at my confidence. I had a bad case of the what’s the points and knew not how to fix it.
High on my list were worries were the results of my babba’s biopsy the following day. The fact that Brocantehome was painfully slow and my emails were still being eaten by the email monster. That my authentic self definitely preferred hot chocolate to green smoothies and that I could not predict the outcome of the next few months. High on my long list of burdening emotions were subdued fright, disappointment and something like disgust. Disgust. A killer if ever there was one. After weeks of being a wonderful me, without warning I had lost momentum. Crashed and burned and depleted.
This happens doesn’t it? We set out on a new path and just when the Emerald City seems to be in sight we let fear push us off our own wagon and leave us stranded, shocked and bruised in a field full of poppies. This happens. It has to be normal. Something to be expected. And when it does we don’t have to lie in the grit and wait for help to go galloping past us. We can instead stand up and dust ourselves off and sit quietly nibbling at the picnic we have wrapped in red gingham, letting slumber take us when it chooses to, and then working up momentum all over again to climb back on board and re-commence our journey.
And so I went out and treated myself to something on my 100 things list. I wrote page after page of nothing in scrawl never intended to be read. I washed my little boys curly hair and told him blood tests didn’t hurt at all and the doctor wasn’t going to do anything terrible the next day and that even if the news was a bit rubbish we would always have each other and I was his Mommy and I could make everything alright no matter what.
And he believed me and I almost believed me. So when Thursday dawned and the kindest, oldest doctor in the world told us that yes Finley did have the very rare Ora-Facial Granulomatosis we were so hoping he didn’t have, I asked a million questions and made it clear I did not live with Mark and could not be held responsible for the one ridiculous question he asked, and agreed to put my child on a Cinnamon and Benzoate free diet and worried out loud about the likelihood of OFG being a precursor for Chrohns Disease, and all of a sudden I was me again. A little bit shaken, but strong and determined and willing and absolutely able: for in Motherhood we find all of this and more and even if we never, ever make it to the Emerald City and find ourselves living in long, tangly grass instead, we know that we will manage and that all the routines and rituals for betterment we have created can be picked up and put down again as and when our souls say… now please, now I can carry you a little bit further along that path. Now is the right time again.
I don’t really know what I am saying here. I wanted to tell you that I am like you. That I disappoint myself. That sometimes I am scared witless of what will be and that above all else I am a Mother and that even when I am at my lowest I have reservoirs of strength barely touched. I wanted to say that I too am at the mercy of physical ailments and emotional trenches and that when I am, Motherhood gives me strength and says thin/organised/tidy doesn’t matter. Your little one matters but everything else can wait. It’s all just gravy.
Yes. I think that is what I wanted tell you: It’s all just gravy. Don’t sweat it Sweetheart.