The Invisibility Myth part 12 – Failed Samaritan moi?
➨Negative language is never helpful in the quest for self – no shit Sherlock. For me it’s been a personal learning curve that’s lasted many years and led to more self-flagellation than I would freely admit to…I don’t find masochism a pleasurable experience.
➨On a wet Monday morning recently a 1991 life memory came to me, which started a whole train of initially negative language and thinking:
I was 34, newly married, new baby, new life, new me. I decided I wanted to be a Samaritan, so I signed up for the in-house training sessions. I fail the final test. It never occurred to me that I would… Apparently I sounded bored on the telephone and even though I was great with the face to face stuff (actors acting out grim scenarios) my phone voice sounded bored. I did feel it was a tad judgmental as you can only get so much nuance into the words: “Samaritans how can I help you”, but rules is rules I suppose.
➨Before I had given birth I had signed up to start an Environmental Studies Degree. Three assignments in and I dissolved into a pile of blubbering snotty tears having to admit that I couldn’t deal with the enforced loss of my previous business, a new life, a new baby, and a degree.
That word – fail niggled away at my self-worth. Was this altogether remotely surprising, unexpected or unusual? No of course not, but it didn’t stop me beating myself up.
➨Ten months after giving birth I enrolled on a business development course and used as my small business concept the idea of frozen fresh, organic baby food. The working title was Baby Organix – at a time when fresh frozen food for babies was unheard of. Did I follow through past the development, drawing up a profit/loss account stage? Nope. A few months later the trend for this kind of product took off big time, making the few who followed through gazillionaires. Oh well, fail again. Reality check – could I/would I/did I want to spend 23 hours a day making it work? No I didn’t, because what I really wanted to do was learn how to be a good enough mother. At that point in my life I was competing with myself to prove that I could do it all, have it all, be it all, with babe in arms. Zap, Bang, Pow, Frickin Wonder Woman…
➨I was so desperate to contribute a little financially that I often failed to benefit from living in the moment. This continued even after having my second child. Most of my peers had returned to their former careers, leaving me with the impression of being the most invisible and insecure I have ever felt in my life. Then, after years of volunteering in various capacities other than The Samaritans, taking odd jobs here and there to pay for holidays and extras, my man often working away from home leaving me to juggle with the parenting thing, what is now recognised as the peri-menopause kicked in and robbed me of my forties. What a shame I didn’t know what I know now: Motherhood was actually the unravelling and re-making of me on a deep, profound level. My own re-birth of sorts. Instead, many things physical, mental, real and imagined froze my development and sense of self. Flipping hormones were on overdrive, a runaway train driving me into uncharted territory. Lordy it was horrible – like the worst bits of being a teenager all over again, with responsibility…
➨At the age of 50 the fog palpably lifted, albeit with the welcome help of hormone patches! I finally came alive again and things started to make sense. My confidence returned, the anxiety departed and I felt like a newly emerged version of my old self, the me who was comfortable – even proud of the successes and failures in my life. I felt liberated, strong and in my prime. It’s that literal and metaphorical carrying of scars thing; they show you have survived, which is an incredibly empowering and comforting realisation. I could see the short periods I now have of negative thinking as another fail, but the enlightened me sees it as a necessary part of the journey – one side of the coin. To dwell too long on the darker moments without at least finding personal growth from it would be a sad waste.
➨I currently have two years of a Humanities Degree completed with really good marks, I am totally committed to my new project The Invisibility Myth, a topic which perfectly encompasses and embraces my life journey and experience. I’m meeting amazing people through the wonders of Instagram and being an Airbnb host. My man and I are spending more time as a couple once more and this means working positively around and along with the various health issues that age has sprung upon us. Re-connecting with one another and returning to our love of global wandering, going to gigs, drinking coffee together and binge watching Netflix series is somewhat different from our young life together, but not in a negative way. My wonderful family are now mainly happy and self-reliant, off writing their own life scripts, so it is time to give myself permission to pursue my creativity without boundaries… No such word to me now as fail – by eventually selecting the right attitude, I have been able to change my perceptions, not only for myself, but also to help empower and bring out the best in others, which is in and of itself a source of great satisfaction and pleasure. Learning, learning, learning. This week it’s been about wearing well being – a whole new, colourful and enlightening experience!
Cue WhatsApp message from Fam member asking whats for supper, another asking whats happening with the Chrismukkah family play; Macbeth the Musical (don’t ask), the Airbnb guest politely pointing out that her bed has sagged in one corner, closely followed by pooch yakking up, tyre going flat on car and the kitchen roof springing a leak in the August rain. Hmm, think I may need staff and a bit of positive affirmation…Practice what you preach woman…