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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Nothing Compares To You

Wonderful (but just the tiniest bit tiring?)
Reading through other people's blogs gives me inspiration. I love the colour, the thoughtfulness, the raw edges exposed. One of the reasons I trained to be an actor was because I wanted to live all those other lives. Lives that were not open to me, that I would not choose or that I would. Lives that I admired and despised. And so it is with blogging. I visit, I enjoy, I swoon, I covet, I crave, I am inspired. And yet. Sometimes the very blogs that give me the most pleasure are the ones that can make me feel the guiltiest. Strange really. How something that can give you joy can make you feel bad about yourself.

Paint my skin with the poetry of truth.
I realise that for me it is in comparison that the folly lies. I compare my life to the (seemingly ideal) lives of women who, to me at least, are doing it 'right'. The women who grow their own veggies, make their own clothes, knit with love, clean their houses naturally, recycle, reuse, repurpose. All things I do or aspire to do, with varying degrees of success. Our veggie garden being one of my failures this year. Most of what we planted didn't grow and I didn't have the energy to give it sufficient attention. See, I WANT to be someone who loves gardening but I'm not. It's just one more thing to do. One more responsibility in a life that already feels over full. I WANT to be a grounded, down to earth mamma with nothing more pressing in my life than raising beautiful, happy children. Sometimes I can feel myself getting closer to that ideal but then my Rooster self pops up with a 'What about me?' and I slip into resentment and yes, guilt. It seems I can never convince myself that I am enough. I know myself only in the failures of my mothering journey. Never in the successes. It is a slippery slope of wanting to be more than I am and never quite getting there.

Comparing myself to these wonderful women is not inspiring. It is depressing quite frankly. I love the lives they lead. The quiet purposefulness of their approach to living and loving. I love their brilliant creativity, their beautiful prose, their still souls. Yet. I am unlike them. My soul burns with this restless fire. I long to create but when I do get the time, I waste it with seemingly important tasks which do not feed this creative fire. I am permanently dissatisfied. I have so much gratitude for the life I live and the people in it, yet it never seems 'enough'. I am part of the universal malaise that is a constant craving for 'more'. More what exactly? In lives that seem simpler, more profound with less - what is there to want, to need, to buy? And yet, there it is. In all it's shameful glory. This ache within me that wants more. More recognition, more time to myself, more time to create, more skill, more patience (oh yes please God - more of that), more wisdom, more stillness, more life, more passion, more money, more freedom, more space, more, more, more. I am never satisfied with what I have. Worse - with who I am.
I am an open book, in want of a reader.

I try. I do. I have come to this place time and again. I know myself to be a Rooster. A bossy, loud, disorganised, funny, colourful, lazy, impatient, sarcastic, know-it-all Rooster. But I want to be a swan. A glidy, quiet, silken, peaceful, compassionate, patient swan. Why? I crave peace. I crave silence. But when you go into the silence - hoo lordy - the noise that emerges could deafen you from 20 years away. And I ping pong back to reality and lose myself there with a million excuses so that I don't have to truly sit with any of it. And so, instead of 'doing' well, anything actually, I lurk around other people's blogs like some creepy cyber-stalker with one hand down my pants, and dream of being someone who home-schools their progeny, cans their own produce, eats well and takes fantastic photographs. Someone who exercises and loves it. Someone who loves their kids and never gets frustrated with them or swears bilingually at them. Someone who is splendid in her mothering and spectacular in herself.

Coming up for air.

But that's not me.


This is me:

  1. Overweight but too feckin' tired to do anything about it.
  2. Eats badly and craves too much salt, sugar and chocolate. And I'll admit it. I LOVE McDonalds. I do. I hate the business but love the food. Please don't hate me. 
  3. Is frequently impatient and grumpy with her beloved children and hubble. 
  4. Whinges frequently. (Well, I am British).
  5. Is never satisfied because the grass is always greener...
  6. Spends too much money (even though it's on charity shop buys and books).
  7. Says 'fuck' a lot. A real lot. With 'bollocks' inexplicably making a reappearance recently. (I do like that word though. It's satisfying in the mouth - if you'll excuse the horrible double entendre).
  8. Is driven crazy by her willful, beautiful, funny but seriously stubborn and feisty daughter. She  make me want to tear my hear out, cry and laugh all at the same time. Every. Day.
  9. Has a terrible, unseemly obsession with books. Library books, second hand books and new books. It's an addiction. Relentless Book Sluttery. I buy them and then they sit on my shelves unread. I currently have over 65 library checkouts (though some of them are for my girl). I think I have OCD.
  10. Am chronically sleep deprived yet often sit up until 1 or 2am being aforementioned online stalker of superior blogs.
  11. Hates cooking and is frequently found slumped in front of pantry bulging with 'stuff' unable to come up with any kind of creative combination that is edible. That hasn't stopped me buying beautiful 'wholefood' cooking books obviously.
  12. Loves the cloth nappy idea (and my gorgeous colourful itti's) but detests scraping retch inducing poop off nappies, before putting them in the washer, (over and over again), until the stains come off. The smell of ammonia is unbelievable and it is not water friendly in our drought ridden state.
  13. Loves plants. Loves the idea of homesteading. Hates gardening. 
  14. Loves to write but just doesn't.
  15. Has grand dreams and ambitions (and is often jealous of other people's successes even though she is glad for them) but does buggar all about them.
  16. Is a good friend most of the time but doesn't seem to have that gene that disposes one to be really thoughtful. I wish I did. I think of things after the fact and then am sad that I didn't do more.
  17. Is often creatively inspired and excited about some new idea or project, but then gets bored or discouraged if its too hard or if I can't 'get it' immediately.
  18. Is lazy.
  19. Irreverent.
  20. Judgmental.
  21. Loves her bed more than her husband and children. Almost.
  22. Let's her girl watch too many movies in an effort to have a moment to herself. (Or to sneak a nap with the wee bear).
  23. Is guilty of setting the bar way too high for herself in just about every area of life.
  24. Doesn't know how to adjust bar.
  25. Hates reading manuals. To anything. But has more parenting books that Barnes & Noble, Angus & Robertson and Waterstones combined.

The Naked Truth

However, this is also me:

  1. Funny.
  2. Excitable.
  3. Fun (at least, I used to be).
  4. Loves Nature and yes, that now includes camping. Who knew?
  5. Loves books.
  6. Loves poetry, literature and writing - even if she doesn't have time for any of them.
  7. Loves her man and her babies. A lot. A very lot. An inescapably, frighteningly, overwhelmingly lot.
  8. Hates letting people down.
  9. Gives generously when the mood strikes.
  10. Loves op shops (thrifting) and would throw them down by the fire and make sweet love to them if they were people.
  11. Is eclectic and let's face it, a wee bit eccentric.
  12. Is passionate about many things but mostly about being a good mamma.
  13. Is very creative. Even if what I make is shit by my own standards.
  14. Talks a lot but is learning to listen well.
  15. Occasionally takes great photos.
  16. Loves craft of any type.
  17. Is deeply spiritual but lazy.
  18. Always has the best of intentions but frequently falls short in their execution.
  19. Is soft hearted, kind natured and compassionate.
  20. Cries easily and often.
  21. Is dramatic.
  22. Is very adaptable and quick to pick up new things.
  23. Isn't afraid to try new things.
  24. Is charismatic, charming and engaging.
  25. Is inspiring.
  26. Is brave. Often. Because life often scares me.
  27. Tries really, really, REALLY hard.


So - there you have it. The truth in all its gory or glory depending on your perspective. I know that there is a way to find the balance and to not be so hard on myself all the damn time. I am not saying I know what that answer is but at least I'm searching for it. I'm trying. Even if some schools of thought think that trying is wrong.

The Doors of Perception

I am calmed by the sea. The flow of the water reminds me to breathe in and breathe out. And that really, that's all there is. Breathing, watching, walking, eating, loving, sharing, talking, listening, reading, hoping, wondering - it's all just one long extension of the whole breathing thing. And so I lurk and I read and I compare and I feel sad and then I remind myself that this is not all that I am. I am also the second list and that I have parenting wins sometimes. I remind myself that no-one could ever say I didn't try. I know that my roosterness will come in handy one day, I just don't know how yet. And I promise myself to spend less time looking through rose tinted glasses at other people's lives and spend more time living mine. Imperfect as it is.

So there.
Now that's more like it.
All photos courtesy of Bohemian Shoebox 
Please go there to see where the originals came from. Thanks.

8 comments:

jumbleberryjam said...

I had a date night with my DH. As often occurs during these rare events, our discussion turned to the future...if we have to go back to Australia...we could do Melbourne. Yes, Melbourne...the bonus is that two of my favorite Mamas are there - you and nettles (Dark Side of the Broom). Thank you for sharing what is and is not you. I think that all that you are is far more impressive than all that you aren't!

Moonroot said...

I may not be a feisty Rooster (just a wussy Cancerian Rabbit) but I really recognised myself in this post! I think most people would. It's just that most of us aren't brave enough to write about it.

Confession: My garden has been pretty much a dead loss the last couple of years due to crappy weather and me being too preoccupied with firstly pulling myself out of a post-divorce slump and then having too much fun beginning a new relationship to want to be bothered with such mundanities as weeding...

Confession: I wish I looked like Audrey Hepburn and was effortlessly chic. I'm actually a short, well-rounded redhead who's getting more rounded by the day. And I couldn't do chic if my life depended on it.

Confession: I have a basket of Seville oranges on the countertop that has been sitting there for a month waiting to be transformed into marmalade. And I'm beating myself up about it while I procrastinate by blog-surfing and waste time on Facebook.

Confession: I wish I could write as beautifully and passionately as you.

Take heart. You are not alone! You are just more honest than the rest of us.
XXX

Charlotte said...

Try not to be too down on being a Rooster. Just remember all those swans out there are paddling twice as hard to maintain the illusion of gliding along elegantly. Roosters are exuberant; swans are spiteful and hissy.

Nettles said...

I'm with Moonroot: you're just more honest than most of us are, and yes, brave. Both those qualities are very much you. You need to add those to your list.

And remember, those gorgeous blogs with those amazing mamas doin' all that stuff? Well, it's not that I think they aren't authentic, nor that I want to diminish their loveliness, but they are so often reflective of the moments that people want to share and remember. Often because, like the rest of us, they are wading through the crap as well. But they just want to record the pretty, happy, tra-la-la stuff for posterity.

For all those beautiful bloggers darlin', there are few that match your humour and colour and vibrancy. I love your fire. Just let it rock. So we neither of us are earth mamas, and have more fire than calm.

And so what if you don't like gardening??
As Dylan Moran once said, (and forgive the length)...

Go and get a job. Go and find a flat. Find somebody else. Put them in the flat. Make them stay. Get a toaster. Go to work. Get on the bus. Look at your boss. Say, ‘fuck.’ Sit down. Pick up the thing. Go blank. Scream internally. Go home. Listen to the radio. Look at the other person. Think, ‘WHY? Why did this happen?’ Go to bed. Lie awake! At night! Get up. Feel groggy. Put the things on—your clothes—whatever they’re called. Go out the door, into work—same thing! Same people—again. It is real—it’s happening to you. Go home again! Sit. Radio. Dinner—mmm. GARDENING GARDENING GARDENING death.

xx

Southern Season Exchange said...

Love it and feel an affinity! thanks for your honesty it is so appreciated.

Kelly said...

I'm so glad I found your blog today. You are just loveliness.... your honesty, humor, and yes, vulnerability are so refreshing.
XoKelly

M. Bloom said...

Hello! I just tried to email you but the email address you have attached to the email-link on your profile doesn't seem to work. Hence my comment here.

Just have to say, I *LOVE* this post and love your blog. So glad you found me over at we bloom here and left a comment under my little "hoots." Will cobble together a tutorial for you just as soon as I'm able to...

xo
MB

The Awakened Heart said...

I just wanted to say thank you for all the lovely, supportive comments. It means a lot to me that you come by and it's nice to know that I'm not alone! Thank you.