Let The Record Play

I felt as though choosing motherhood meant I had no right to desire let alone attempt to achieve other wants. I thought that deciding to be a mother, twice, meant there wouldn’t be enough time or money to study something I’m passionate about or pursue a career. When my husband started his Masters, I was breastfeeding a newborn, our second, and it looked and felt to me like we had each chosen our path; he would work and study, not only to provide for his family but also to follow his passion both in his career and education, while I wasn’t ready to pass up the opportunity to be a mum again. The tapes in my head told me that I had no right to want to take more from our family, that wanting to go to university would be a drain on what little time we had available to us, not to mention on our single income. I thought that trying to get back into exercise outside the hours of my husbands work day would be selfish, expecting my husband to use whatever little alone time he might get, to stay home with the kids, the kids I chose as my path, while I enjoyed the benefits of social interaction and exercise. I felt like I didn’t deserve anything other than being a mum and that I wasn’t even fulfilling my full potential at that.

I carried these feelings with me daily – waves of resentment trying to drown me, selfishness and pity trying to consume me. Before I could open myself up to vulnerability, to talking to my husband about these challenges I wanted to add to our life, the tapes piped up on repeat, reminding me that I could disappoint. They sang old songs about an inconsistent and undeserving woman that given the chance will most likely fail and fall on excuses.

In my experience, these nasty, self-empowered, zealous tapes usually start playing when I’m on the verge of finally making a decision or possibly even succeeding. For example, if I decide to go for a run and I tell myself I want to run five kilometers, it is at the four kilometer mark that the self doubt kicks in; You can’t do it. Five k’s is too far. You’ve over reached. You’re too tired. Today’s not your day. You’re not fit enough. Just stop. Stop. STOP! The mind has an unfair advantage; it’s been training to disempower me since as far back as I can remember, and I assisted it like a slave, perhaps I even welcomed anxiety and depression, like tools to help carry the weight.

When I finally decided I wanted to enrol in University this year, only eight weeks after having my second child, the tapes told me it was too soon, that I wouldn’t be able to handle the workload, that my husband and children would suffer, I would fail and in the end have wasted time and money.

One day, I was reminded that time would inevitably continue to roll on despite what I did with it and so I could either repeat the time gone or spend it differently. That simple reminder was so profound, and with it came the confidence to admit that I wanted more in my life and I wanted it now. Over wine I confessed to my husband my hungers: I wanted to enrol in University and start running again. I listed all my concerns with both of those goals, the tapes taking over the conversation and pulling from the cons list but my husband, my saviour, a professional verbal tennis player returned every con with a pro and served up bursts of logic. To him there was no reason why I shouldn’t, only reasons why I should. I wish I could borrow his tapes, I wonder what person I might be, what else I might be able to achieve.

So it was done; I ran five k’s and I enrolled in my first university degree and it felt so good. I’ve no doubt that the tapes will continue to try and slow me down and inevitably there will be days where I can’t run or where I need to nurse my baby girl or tend to my little boy instead of study but my path did not end when I chose motherhood, it extended; adding to the journey of building me.

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Quarter Moon

She blamed it on the moon cycle: Its feverish beam uniting melancholy with high voltage twitching, a confusing combination.

She wanted to howl at the moon: a loud organic moan from the deep pit of her despair, bare chested atop a mountain peak but all while hiding under a heavy blanket eating comfort food.

Staring severely into the sky, beyond the stars and past her better judgment, she blamed it on the moon cycle.

Infinity And Beyond

Her thoughts went dark: to a place that bared no window. There was no air to provide her food for thought: she was settled. Into a dust that had fought a storm, a dust that rested on a ground of lost adventures. She was done. She was defeated. Arms splayed for forsakenness, she had to remind herself of her needing: who would call her name as she turned to sand? Who would cup her into a vase and carry her across the desert to a cool salvation? Who would hold her, until her true end?

Only time.

Only time could hold her.

Just Two

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Yesterday I didn’t see a two year old; I saw a reflection of me on my worst day. I saw exhaustion, frustration and emotional anxiety brewing a tantrum.

Yesterday I saw my failures trying to trample my triumphs.

Yesterday I saw a dark cloud and it walked around my better judgment leaving post-it notes of what if, why not, should have, could have and didn’t. It pushed buttons and left unadvisable suggestions.

Yesterday I measured motherhood by progress, not patience.

Yesterday I thought I saw myself as good a Mother as I am ever going to be and the vision was disappointing.

Yesterday I cried.

Today I saw him for what he is; past the milestones been and to be, past the communications via tears and/or cuddles, past the hopes I have for him and the mistakes I’ve probably already made and may make.

Today I saw his cheeks, white and fluffy, feeling their bounce with my gaze. I saw his clear blue eyes appear confused, glazed and tired even, because he should be tired. All he does is run, jump and destroy. That’s got to be tiring.

Today I saw his pouty pink lips, a gift from his father, pursed together to say a word or sentence that he can’t quite get out just yet.

Today I saw his little fingers tapping at the car window as he counted trees, starting from four and counting up in three’s, then two’s and then backwards; basically not really counting at all. My initial response was to feel discouraged as I know he can count perfectly well from one to ten, instead I saw his little mind bouncing as quick as the white lines disappeared under our moving car.

Today I saw him smile, not at me, (god forbid) but just at whatever, whatever it was that flickered past his thoughts and made him smile.

Today I saw my two-year-old son for the age that he is, two. A pleasant reminder that allowed me to catch my breath, slow my roll and give the finger to yesterday.

Today I smiled.

For better or for worse

My better self smells like aftershave, the expensive type from the store with symbols as letters.

My better self talks with vindication and nods politely when it hears mistruths.

My better self drinks red, when it wants to drink black because it’s had a red day.

My better self sways a tired child to sleep, a moment to rest its own eyes.

My better self says yes when it feels like saying no.

My better self rests my head to sleep when I cry into its chest, that I have not done my best.

My husband.

Those days

Her limbs refused to hold her; they just hung around her body feeling sorry for themselves. Listless she slumbered on the closest piece of furniture that would keep her from the floor; too close to the ground and she feared she might melt into it and become the underlay of other peoples paths. Her face palmed into the crook of her shoulder as she slouched upon the kitchen counter. Today she would just be a body, a shell.

Nudge her and she will fall.

Let her sleep a while.