A trashy soap opera.

I was once told that my life was like a trashy soap opera that I was full of drama. I remember the conversation vividly, at the time my daughter’s diagnosis was official and I held the letter in my hand and on that same day I had also received a call to tell me my Nan had died. 

The literal definition of a day from hell. 

It was a defining moment for me as I realised at the that point that my pain was my own. That others could not or would not understand it.  I felt ashamed for being a burden for bringing others down and for basically existing. It was the reinforcement of what I had always believed of myself, I was broken, I was drama, I was too much. 

You see this was the narrative I had been taught, my emotions were my enemy, my empathy my foe and my heart well it was too emotional and too much. 

How I wish I knew then what I know now. How I wish I could have just put the phone down on that call or even challenged the uncaring, unthinking compassionless attitude of the caller. How could a so-called friend see a life -threatening diagnosis and the death of a grandparent as a soap opera? 

I mean how? 

I have worked hard over the last few years, I’ve had to challenge the nurtured narrative of my life that “I am too much” into a more truthful one of “I am”. 

I am a human being that deserves to exist, I am a woman who has faced heartbreak and loved hard enough to feel the pain. I am strong, I am powerful and I am a survivor. 

My life has faced tragedy, pain and loss but I am lucky that I got to experience a life of emotion. To grieve means I have loved, to have lost meant I have cared. 

Yet people are still so quick to judge others, only yesterday a conversation with a friend broke my heart. She is facing a tough time right now but feels she cannot be honest about how hard it is for fear of people thinking she cannot cope. As if feeling fear, exhaustion was a crime. I find it ironic that when someone has a physically demanding job their exhaustion is allowed, it’s ok, it’s understandable and often respected. Yet when people are emotionally weary they are judged “you need to pull it together, stop thinking about it, you need to be stronger”.  A world where those emotionally struggling are seen as weak.

We need to show compassion not judgement.

You see instead of calling my life a trashy soap opera my friend should have been a place where I could admit how my heart ached for my Nan and how the fear of the future for Livvy my daughter was often overwhelming and she should have told me how proud she was that I still showed up. That in the midst of this emotional tornado I was still fighting to give my girls the best life I could.

She should have loved me through it. 

Loved me in it and through it. 

You see, the British stiff upper lip crap needs to end. People need to feel free to say that today is hard. People need to support others where they are rather than where they feel they should be. A end needs a beginning and a middle before it is reached. 

Emotions are messy, they are often uncomfortable and can be hard work, but they are what makes us human. We should never have to hide our hearts. What I know now is that I need to surround myself with people who love me for my heart.

So if like me you often find yourself apologing for your heart stop, find your people, find those that love you as you are, find your tribe. It’s not about  changing to fit in, you cannot live a lie. You don’t need to be anyone but you. 

Be you, be proud, cry, scream and love hard, because you are beautifully and wonderfully made. 

No, I’m not OK… 

I’m tired of the word O.K.

We hand it about so often that it’s become a nothing word.

It has no meaning.

No substance.

Often we use it because we think we should. 

It’s up there with the sentence “I’m fine”.

It’s polite, it’s expected, it’s crap.

You know what , it’s actually ok not to be ok.

To feel upset, angry, hurt. 

You don’t have to be ok. 

“You look tired is everything alright “?

“I’m ok” No you are not you have been up all night with children and are surviving on caffeine, you are tired and exhausted. You are not ok.

I heard you have lost your job, you ok?

“I’m ok” no you are not you are worried about paying bills finding money for the kids new school uniform. You are feeling rejected and confused. 

“I heard what that woman said to you, are you ok?”

“I’m ok” No You are raging she embarrassed you for no reason other than pure rudeness. You are angry and hurt.

Why do we say I’m ok when it’s obvious we aren’t and why do others take it knowing that we are not? 

Is it politeness?

Is it a fear about getting involved?

Or a general don’t really care ? 

Maybe all of the above, I don’t know but I want to banish I’m ok. 

I’m challenging people today to be open and say “you know what today is hard I’m struggling”. Or even “I’m feeling fantastic today is a good day”.

I also want you to challenge others “I’m ok” when it’s obvious they are not. “Can I help” or simply “I’m here for you”. Could seriously make someone feel less alone. 

Because “I’m ok” can destroy you, it can leave you feeling so isolated . It can make you question yourself and drive yourself crazy ” why aren’t I ok” ? “What did I do wrong? Why do I feel this way?

When the truth is our emotions are part of who we are. We feel, we laugh we cry. We know joy and we know sadness. 

Our emotions are our humanity. 

By pretending we are ok we don’t allow ourselves to validate our hearts. 

Let’s leave the polite bullshit behind and be open and honest. 

Let’s share how we really are feeling today. 

Let’s be be vulnerable. 

Let’s be transparent,

Let’s be true.

No, I’m not ok… 

Loving hard

Being emotional.

Is it a bad thing?

For many years now I have felt it is.

I have held back my heart, my feelings, my emotions.

And I feel suffocated.

 

Years ago when I was a teenager my Nan told me that wearing my heart on the outside would get me hurt.

She was talking about my heartbreak over a boyfriend at the time and she was trying ease my pain.

She said that I needed to hold my head high and act as if it didn’t matter and that i was ok.

I know she meant well but I believe I took that advice a little to literally.

 

You see I do love hard.

Its as simple as that.

But over the years I have held back.

Tried to be someone I’m not.

Taking words as emotional, dramatic, as insults.

Changing who I am to please others.

 

Even when Livvy died I never allowed myself to let go.

I didn’t fall apart, scream at God or generally let rip.

I held on.

I could tell you that it was to be strong for my girls, or my husband but that would only be partly true.

I held on because I was scared to let go.

If I let myself fall apart would i be able to put myself together again.

Well I was praying about this last night and God gave me this beautiful image of a mosaic and he reminded me that some of the most beautiful things in life are made from broken pieces.

Mary-And-Jesus-Mosaic

I have to allow myself to break,

Allow myself to really feel.

Holding back is suffocating me.

I can’t breathe.

 

I do love hard.

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It is who I am

I am emotional

I am dramatic

I am all or nothing.

But I love with all my heart.

I will fight to the death for those I care about

and I will be by your side always.

Remember if I love you, I will love you hard.

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Protecting ourselves

“We discover in ourselves what others hide from us and we recognize in others what we hide from ourselves.”

– Vauvenargues

 

I read this quote yesterday and it really got me thinking. I know I have often been chatting to people and recognised my worries, my fears in theirs.

But do they really see mine in theirs?

Can people really see my heart?

Then I got to thinking about what I hide from myself.

Thats sounds crazy doesn’t it?

How do you hide from yourself?

When we really look deep inside our hearts, our minds we will find thoughts, fears, worries that we are actually trying to hide from ourselves.

I know I do.

Its in the quiet morning hours when I cannot sleep that my mind becomes my greatest nemesis.

Attacking me with thoughts I believed were completely buried.

Its not nice and its never pretty.

 

So why do we hide these things from ourselves?

If we know them shouldn’t we face them and move on?

Its not that easy is it!

We protect ourselves from ourselves.

Now that is crazy.

 

But think about it remember the last time you felt panic.

Somehow you slowly talked yourself calm.

Reminded yourself to breathe.

You protected yourself.

 

So we know we do it but why do we do it?

My answer is simply because we have to.

Life has to go on.

We cannot live in the moment of our emotions all the time.

We have to be mothers and fathers.

We have to be employees or employers.

Wives, husbands, daughters, sons and friends.

We have to move forward.

Some will call it survival

call it life

 

Aftershock

Yesterday I had a hospital appointment to discuss a cyst that had been found on my liver. Although my GP was sure it was nothing to worry about she couldn’t rule anything out and wanted me to see a specialist.

I was sure that it was all good but in the back of mind I was doing my normal “what ifs” in full panic mode.

My health hasn’t played fair and I was frightened this would be another knock back.

Thankfully the specialist isn’t to worried she is sending my ultrasound for a second opinion but that’s just to be thorough. Liver functions are all good and I only need to just keep my diet healthy as most of us do.

So why now after the appointment and good news am I feeling so freaked out?

My husband believes because I was pretending I wasn’t worried that the relief is actually a counter shock and that’s why I’m so emotional.

An aftershock

Sounds about right.

I guess you go through life knowing about cancer and liver disease but you just pray it’s never going to happen to you. So when a GP has to mention it you find yourself tumbling into worst case scenarios.

Yesterday my tumbling got stopped and I’m truly grateful for that.

But it has also been a good reminder that I need to take care of myself.

My healthy diet has been slipping recently due to being so busy I need to work on this. Keep to my swimming sessions and generally take better care of myself.

I was lucky this time and I won’t take that for granted.

An aftershock or a warning shock ?

A good place.

You know what I’m in a good place right now.

The beginning of this year has brought me many changes, hard decisions and a lot of heartache.

I have doubted who I am, stood in judgement on myself.

It wasn’t good and for a while there I was scared.

Scared of falling into the darkness.

Thankfully I didn’t, even in the midst of it all I held on for the light.

And it came.

I’m happy.

Yeah that feels so good to say that.

I’m happy.

I don’t find it easy to be in that happy place. I struggle so much with guilt, fear and just the burning desire to be liked.

Happiness isn’t my natural go to point.

But finally I’m in that place where I want to shout out.

HEY YOU KNOW WHAT, IM GOOD

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