Archive for the 'Love' Category

All by myself

I’ve spent most of my life believing that I am a highly extroverted person. I’m great socially and until my late twenties, spent most of my time out, with people.  When a significant relationship ended for me at 25, my lifestyle changed dramatically and I put it down to the fact that I was mending a broken heart (albeit at my breaking) and was rebuilding my life. But, in rebuilding my life, I realised I wanted some things to change. While I’ve always had an active social life, I haven’t ever had a lot of good friends. To be honest, I’ve never really needed many people in my life. Sounds strange doesn’t it – I was very social and yet not sociable.

As I got my life back together post-breakup, I moved out for the first time on my own. It was this step that opened up a whole new way of being for me. I LOVED IT. I had a sanctuary from the world. Somewhere I could breathe. Somewhere I could be. On. My. Own. It was as if, I fell into some sort of coma, my identity repairing itself from years spent constantly around other people. Often people I didn’t know well and people I didn’t connect with. Years spent being ‘on’. All the time. In my own place, I could just be.

I found I enjoyed being with myself. I felt reenergised. I felt wholly happy for the first time in years. I felt more complete. And, I met someone amazing, someone like me. Someone very adept socially. Someone who others sought out in social situations, but someone, like me, whose preference it was to be quiet. Alone or with someone close. Very quickly we began a family. We knew so soon that we had found an answer in each other.

It was when I allowed myself to identify as an introvert, to live my life this way, to acknowledge that I sought energy from time on my own, preferred aloneness, that I found true peace within myself. I made decisions in my life based on my need to be quiet, to avoid large social situations or situations that required I meet a lot of new people. This drains me considerably and has so often made me feel inauthentic. I accepted that I had a few close friends and that this was enough. I began searching for a career that would allow me this quiet, which would not demand significant social interaction. I planned a family to provide community and connection in my life. All of this made sense.

And what has happened has been transformative. I have ironically, met more people and made more friends with whom I share real and authentic connection. I find social situations much easier. I no longer dread my social engagements in the same way. This is because I have found a way to be present, to be me.  I don’t have to pretend anymore. I don’t need to always make conversation. I don’t need to always be funny, be interesting, be pretty, be known. I enjoy being social now because I feel more real.  And I don’t feel obliged to do it again tomorrow or next week or even next month. I enjoy it for what it is and then retreat into the space that I feel most alive. I write this having come across this website the other day.

It felt like I’d come home.

 

fatigue

I am continually

blown away

by the effects of fatigue.

It is like a drug which

absolves

actions, behaviours, and

thoughts.

I enter each day

with the best intentions

but

if my night has been

chaotic

full of waking moments

full of feeding

full of that whinging cry

full of wet beds

full of nightmares

full of heat

or

full of cold snaps

I wake the next morning

awfully

regretful

that I have

to start the day.

My tone of voice is

sharp and shrill.

I snap or

I am silent and each time

I forgive myself

because

I’m tired.

But it’s not fair and

it’s not enough.

And little people can’t achieve

that level of empathy

yet.

How are they

to understand?

That mummy

is

damn

tired and

therefore

not

expected

to be

nice.

I have spent

5 years now

tired.

It’s nothing new

so I shouldn’t act

each time

with such

entitlement.

This is

life

right now.

I’m back

I’m not sure the protocol in these situations.
Am I meant to start a new blog.
My purpose is gratitude.
Which fits too neatly with half full glasses.
I’m sticking around until
I think of somewhere better,
if I think of somewhere better,
to house my thoughts.

These days we are quiet.
There are now five where there were four.
We’ve added another little boy.
Four and a half months and every day more.

The reason these days are quiet,
is because 2 little boys leave
the house early in the morning
3 days a week.
These days are my solace, my substenance
my necessity.

So gratitude seems to me
one very real way
of making sure I live
squarely in every moment.
Looking for the things about which
I should give thanks.
Maybe looking will help me
be.

So where does the love go?

C and I were not together long before we fell pregnant. We’d talked about it, how much we both wanted kids together but we hadn’t really committed to it, or at least I hadn’t in my head. We were lax about contraception and voila, A was born 9 months later.

The speed with which things have happened have, until now, worked in our favour as a couple. We were still going through the honeymoon phase of our relationship when our first was born and fell even more in love as new parents. I really do believe that the newness of C and I helped us cope with first newborn hell and made us even more starry-eyed.

And for so long since then, even after S was born, I’ve thought how lucky I am to still feel so utterly (and newly) in love with my husband. Until about a month ago, when I had the inevitable reality of the relationship shakes. I believe that these ‘shakes’ truely are inevitable and probably a necessary part of any relationship. My guess is that they play an important role in making a relationship stronger.

Having said this, it threw me. It was unexpected. It scared the hell out of me. We’ve recently moved states and I’ve left friends and family to be here in Melbourne. I was always looking forward to the challenge and I’ve always been impressed by Melbourne as a city, but as leaving day drew nearer, I realised I wasn’t so fine with it all. I freaked out. And C kept getting more and more excited as I got more and more resentful.

We started fighting. As you know my health has also been crap and that was getting me down. The boys are sleeping that well so add to all this a good dose of sleep deprivation. We bickered, I was irritated and irritating. He was nasty. I was very angry. So was he. This pattern has played itself out on and off for about 4 weeks now and it’s getting tired.

I realised the other night when we were out to dinner that it was the first time where we were on our own that I didn’t feel excited and heady with love for him. It seemed mundane. No fighting, but no intensity of conversation and emotion that usually comes when we actually get some time on our own. None of this speaks of any underlying troublein our relationship – at least I don’t believe so. But I guess what I’m coming to realise (and perhaps dread) is that this is just a natural part of any relationship and I need to get used to it. Or at least not get so despondent about it.

C says I have not been nice to him for a long time. He says I snap and always look for the negative in what he says. I realised for the first time yesterday, that he’s right. It’s been relentless, and while we’ll survive the inevitable boredom, the lessening intensity, we will not survive my constant niggling and undermining.

So, I realise that the love is obviously still here. No question. It’s changing form as it will continue to do for years and years to come (I hope). We’ve now been together long enough that negotiating one’s physical and psychical space is challenging but necessary. It’s hard but we have to do it and we have to do it better than we have been.

I need to improve and yesterday, I realised, I am totally committed to doing so.

We’re here

I’ll write more soon but we’re finally here, altogether now and while it feels so nice to be a family again, I cannot help feeling loss. Tears well in my eyes as I inspect our new home finding the linen cupboard and the breadboards, the nappies and the toothpaste.  

I am thrilled at the making of a new home but I can’t help but wonder why, oh why, did we need to do this 800kms away from the people I love.

I’m not sure I’ve made the right decision but my first day, tired as I am, in this new house, in this new city, in this new state, must just be that – a first day, rather than a last.

Toddler totals…..

I had completely forgotten the highs and lows of having a toddler. While I spend much time delighting in the fact that I am getting to know the little person S is, what makes him laugh, his favourite books, his favourite rabbit and the way he hugs her for his dear little life, I also spend equal time pulling my hair out (or screaming because someone else is pulling my hair out) as his little body catapaults through our lives.

I forgot that toddlers can’t communicate but desperately want to. I figure they go from, “nah-can’t-be-bothered-trying- to-tell-her-what-I-want-cos-she-won’t-get-it” to “why-the-hell-can’t-you-work-out-what-I-want-goddamn-it-are-you-crazy?” in a matter of days.

S screams all the time for things he wants but gives us little indication of what that might be. He throw his head back or his body to the ground, opens his little mouth and lets out an almighty wail and then stares right at me as if to say, ‘here’s your chance to change my life. can you do it?” and of course I can’t because I DON’T KNOW WHAT HE WANTS.  Have I said that already?

He’s bloody cheeky I can tell you that much. A was mellow. The mellowist little toddler dude (although I think I”m paying for it now) so I guess some of this with S is novel. S is N-A-U-G-H-T-Y. And while that rocks my socks fleetingly it’s also beginning to be a bit painful. REALLY. Like the little adventure below. I heard a draw in the kitchen open. I heard a rustle. I heard giggles. I heard little pellets drop like rain across the wooden floor.

010

013

015

He’s been sick which doesn’t help things. So he’s really been trying to tell us how he’s feeling. After an overdue visit to the doctor yesterday (desperate enough to pay Sunday rates – sheesh!) I realise he’s been trying to, croakingly, tell us that he’s got bacterial conjunctivitis, a middle-ear infection, and bad, bad tonsilitis. Oops. Doctor will be visited more promptly next time. It was a good lesson for me not to blame everything on the craziness that toddlerdom is.

All you need is friends

I was listening to an interesting piece recently on a new favourite podcast. It was women talking about female friendship and while that seems like the most banal and standard discussion for women, I realised (as the participants realised) that we don’t often talk about the nature of female friendships. Sure, we talk about our friendships – we usually bitch and moan about all of them at some stage but we don’t often ‘out’ ourselves and the way we conduct our friendships.

I’m useless as a friend. Particularly since having a family. But more than that, I’m pretty introverted. I’ve always had a handful of good friends (close? I’m not sure) and make little effort with others; others that would consider me a friend and that they are one of mine. But what can I say? 

But I guess what I was most fascinated by on the programme was the capacity women have to talk about each other to each other. Not often to each other’s faces but about each other. How this form of communication is really quite normal. Par for the course. We all do it. We can’t help but do it. But I’m just not sure why. I know why I get frustrated and annoyed with friends but I don’t know why I have to talk about them with my other friends. For reassurance? For guidance? I don’t think so. It confuses me.

I’m leaving this city soon but more importantly I’m leaving a group of wonderful women who make me feel better (usually) when I’m with them. Only now, faced with ‘starting again’ on the friends front, am I truely aware of what my friends mean to me, what they bring me in life and how much I share with them. It’s going to be tough and I’m not great socially. I’m already at risk of failing to share all of myself with others but over the last 6 or so years, the friends in my life have inspired me to be more open, to share more, to give more, to care more, and to laugh more. It was quite a long time coming. It took a while for these disparate women to come together regularly and just be with each other. But we do it now (albeit not as much as we’d wish) but we are a team I guess.

What team will I belong to now? I’ll be teamless and I can’t help but feel that my natural reaction will be to look for one-man sports, avoid the groups, the many, the glasses of champagne. I also know that this isn’t healthy for me.

Only time will tell and in the meantime, I’ll be flying when I can back to Sydney, back to the arms and the laughter and the too-many-bottles-of-wine of my nearest and dearest.

Happy birthday to you….

I’m writing tonight because I’m know I’m not going to have a chance tomorrow and then we’re going away and then, before you know it, this special and beautiful moment will have passed without so much as a whisper from Mumma.

Tomorrow is S’s first birthday. All day today, I’ve been madly rushing walking around, thinking of just how damn proud I am of him. Proud that he’s turning one and all the bye-bye to babyhood it entails. Proud of the cheerful, charming little boy he has become. I’ve been so busy all week, I was kinda scared of letting this moment rush by. I had bought his present (very organised of me) and had even organised some family to attend a little birthday tea tomorrow evening. But I thought his birthday would pass too quickly in the flurry of all the work I’ve got on at the moment. But today, while scarily busy and struggling a bit to breathe trying to work out when everything’s going to get done, I managed frequently to think about the first year of S’s life. Think about him and his disarming smile. Think about him and I and our ever-developing relationship. Think about the little unit he has made our family.

I whispered to him many times about his birthday tomorrow. He smiled and looked at me as though I was about to give him more toast because that’s all he was hoping I was whispering about.

He sure has changed my world. In tough, raw ways. In ebullient, joyous, life-filling-up-with-great-stuff ways.

Tomorrow marks the first year of his life and the first year of the rest of my life. My life as a mother of two beautiful, impish, open-armed, quick-to-chuckle, kiss-on-the-lips boys.

Happy birthday S! You totally. And utterly. Without question. Rock. My. World.

Birthdays and love

Although I wasn’t around much Wednesday night to celebrate C’s birthday we made up for it last night with an awesome night out with great beer, indulgent dessert wine, the best food and our newly discovered favourite dessert – affogato. It was a night full of chatting and love and it was nice just to face each other again without any distractions.

All mothers love Raymond

I’ve written recently about the angst of working from home as a mother. It seems that others too are addressing the issue. While for a long time I’ve eschewed the label WAHM (thinking that soon I’ll be going ‘back to work’), I’ve realised from my reading in the blogosphere that this label now sticks to me.

How funny then to find a beautifully written essay by Raymond Carver in which he addresses this very issue: work and family balance. How to work well while looking after you children effectively. How to commit to your writing,  but also be a present parent. He speaks of similar struggles that we all have.

…the fact that I had two children. And that I would always have them and always find myself in this position of unrelieved responsibility and permanent distraction.

YES!! Could he have said it more eloquently. This is exactly what I find myself thinking time and time again as I search frantically for that 10 minutes (10 minutes for god’s sake) every day to write!

He also writes about his own assumptions about ‘writers’ and the lives he assumes they lead. This idea completely tapped into the excuse I seem to come up with time and time again as to why I’ve never truely committed to writing despite my passion for it.

At that moment I felt – I knew – that the life I was in was vastly different from the lives of the writers I most admired. I understood writers to be people who didn’t spend their Saturdays at the laundromat and every waking hour subject to the needs  and caprices of their children…..At that moment – I swear all of this took place there in the laundromat – I could see nothing ahead but years more of this kind of responsibility and perplexity. Things would change some, but they were never really going to get better. I understood this but how could I live with it? At that moment I saw accommodations would have to be made. The sights would have to be lowered.

YES!!

He goes on to speak of the myriad and multitude of jobs both day and night that he and his wife were compelled to keep in order to support their family. So yes, on top of having children, Carver accepted mutual responsibility for their care in order that his wife assist in their financial support. And he tried to begin writing, to begin being a writer at the same time because it was compulsive. Because he had to. Because he’d ignited a longing that he couldn’t ignore.

In those days I figured if I could squeeze in an hour or two a day for myself, after job and family, that was more than good enough. That was heaven itself.

Oh yes it is.

And I felt happy to have that hour. But sometimes, one reason or another, I couldn’t get that hour. Then I would look forward to Saturday, though sometimes things happened that knocked Saturday out as well. But there was Sunday to hope for. Sunday maybe.

We’ve all been there.

But what I loved most about his essay – aside from the consistently spare and beautiful writing – is his comment that his children are his work’s influence. Asked time and time again which other writers have influenced his work, he cites his children has giving him more influence, more consistent creative fodder than anyone else because they were his everyday. “I’m talking about real influence now. I’m talking about the moon and tide.”  So, I guess, while having children and looking after them limited his opportunity to write, the fact is he wouldn’t be the writer that he is were it not for them.

Influences. John Gardner and Gordon Lish. They hold irredeemable notes. But my children are it. Theirs is the main influence. They were the prime movers and shapers of my life and my writing. As you can see, I’m still under their influence, though the days are relatively clear now, and the silences are right.


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