Pieces of Me

Bits and pieces of my life and of my heart.


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It’s not Me. It’s You.

This week is World Mental Health Week. Everywhere on social media people are posting their experiences, work, advice and support. This is a good thing, as, in my opinion as a mental health provider, we have reached an epidemic with the broken health of our minds, our bodies and our souls. I defy you to find one person who is not negatively effected by anxiety, self-harm, substance abuse, suicide ideation and hopelessness. I see it in the work that I do and in the people I love, and I see it in me.

I use social media a lot. I have a Facebook account, Instagram account, Twitter, SnapChat and obviously a little blog. I love social media for all the positives it has brought to my life. I have made lifetime friends, found love,  found support and in the face of heartbreak found a community made up of strong, fierce, kick ass women who rallied around me and held me close when I could barely walk.

It has not all been unicorn and rainbows. Every so often a dark cloud came in the guise of a hateful message telling me what was wrong with everything about me. These messages are unwarranted and nasty and stayed with me for a while until I managed to wriggle free of their clutches. I chose to wish their senders good wishes, metaphorically speaking of course, and move on with being my fabulous self.

You get knocked down, you get back up again until you don’t.

This week I have been knocked clean and unceremoniously flat on my powerlifting ass. A man decided to take it upon himself on Mental Health Awareness Day to dump on me his abusive, misogynistic “opinion” of me, with cause, I only assume, to put me back firmly in my place.

He is offended by my Snapchatting, it seems. He is offended by my choice of social gatherings, the way I speak, the way I look, the way I parent. My very existence offends him so much that he wrapped his “opinion” of me in a World Mental Health Day bow and flung it straight in my face.

He was after all, “doing me a favour”. On World Mental Health Day no less.

I blocked him, as you do, but not before I took to my SnapChat account to say something kinda like this.

When you choose to attack personally someone that you do not know it says more about you than it does about me. When you take time out of your day to sit at your computer to hurl toxic abusive, misogynistic paragraphs at someone you may as well be looking in the mirror. The words you used to describe me? Let me break them down for you in a way that you may properly understand.

Self absorbed: This would describe someone who has such an inflated opinion of himself that he believes sending women messages telling them what is wrong with them is somehow doing them a favour.

Vain: See above.

Full of Myself: See above.

Also, FYI, the three things mean the same thing.

A bad parent: You told me you have two sons. Way to go, Dad for being the kind of role model that teaches boys how to abuse women.

Way. To. Go.

And last but not least your lovely sentiment of your love for all things mental health. Dude. If this is your idea of what positive mental health is and how you can contribute to it on WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY, then you are much more of an asshole that I gave you credit for.

Let me tell you something about me that you clearly missed all these months stalking me on SnapChat.

I am a fierce, confident, hella strong force to be reckoned with. I am this way because I have had to fight tooth and nail to dodge toxic assholes like you my entire life. Men who tell me I am weak because I have a period, that I don’t deserve equal pay because I needed maternity leave. Men who have sexually assaulted me, emotionally assaulted me and now SnapChat assaulted me. I have been sent dick pics and such bullshit sexual messages that  I have lost count. Men who tell me they have equal say over my body and who would prefer I die in the name of all that they believe.

You weren’t the least bit original. Soz!

You won’t change me. You may knock me. I may stay down for a while waiting for my bruises to heal but you better believe that when they do I will rise stronger and fiercer than I was before because that is the difference between people like you and people like me. When you send messages to someone you don’t know telling them all you think is wrong with them you fall down a hole that is near impossible to climb out of.

The ironic thing is, only someone like me has the ability to drag you out of it when you finally realise that it’s always been about you and never about me.

Cosy up. I reckon you will be waiting down there a while.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Not Asking For It.

When I was 17 years old I was sexually assaulted.

I was young and I was looking for someone to like me. I spent a lot of my teenage years looking for someone to like me. I felt very unlikeable. Lost even, and I did not know what to do with these feelings. Nobody taught me how not to feel lost. I really wish they had.

The night it happened I was among school friends. We were celebrating the boys school victory in their rugby match. We were drinking. I was drunk. We all were drunk. My assault happened in the stair well of a night club. My assailant a well known member of the rugby team. I said “No”. I didn’t at first. At first I was delighted that he was flirting with Me. Me who felt so unlikeable. It was good and then it was really bad. Bad in a frightening, can’t breathe, I said No, get off Me kind of bad. He didn’t listen. He won. I lost.

The shame is the very worst thing. I didn’t know it then but my shame for that night shaped my 20’s, and not in the best of ways. Shame can kill a person. It nearly killed me.

He told his friends, my friends what happened. Well, he told them what he wanted to say happened. I was called a “Slag”, a “Fat Slag”, a “Slut”, a “Whore”. I remember hiding in the bathroom stall afraid to go to class. I remember hearing my friends talk about me like I wasn’t there. I remember also wishing I wasn’t there. I just wanted to disappear, and in so many ways, for so many years I tried. I tried to make myself go away. The shame got bigger than who I was and it swallowed me whole.

I never told anyone back then what happened to Me. I believed what I heard other people say about Me. I believed I “deserved” it. I believed it was my fault. I believed I was a slut, a fat slag and a whore. There was nobody to tell me any different.

Why write about this today? I work with vulnerable young people. Sometimes their stories mirror my past. Sometimes their experiences remind me of a life once lived, a pain once felt, a shame once worn. The sadness in them reaches the sadness in Me. The story may be theirs but the pain stays the same.Their story may change but the narrative hasn’t moved. When you are sexually assaulted, when you are raped,you are put on trial. You. Not your assailant. Only you.

You who were drunk, who wore a short skirt, who walked down a dark alley, who took a lift from a friend, who didn’t say “No”, who did say “No”, who screamed “No”! You are the slut, the whore, the “asking for it girl”. You are responsible. You are to blame.

I don’t often think about that night anymore. Except when I do. Now I feel nothing but compassion for the lost girl I once was. My shame is no more. I learned that it does not belong to Me and I have handed it back to where it came from. My shame serves me no purpose anymore. I cannot change what happened to me all those years ago but I try and change what is happening to others now. The lost girl in me grew up to be a fierce woman, with a passion to facilitate change. Change in myself and change in others, so when I come across a vulnerable young person in the work that I do and their story resonates with mine, I can listen, I can soothe, I can be a safe place, and I can teach.

Teach that No means No! Teach that being drunk, wearing a short skirt, walking home alone, is not some kind of code for being sexually available. Teach that consent matters. It matters more than anything. I wish that someone had taught it to me, and more importantly to the 17 year old boy who didn’t listen to Me when I said No.

If we don’t teach it, who will?

 


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Why Consent Matters.

This week in Ireland, a man in his 20’s received a 7 year suspended sentence for repeatedly raping his live in girlfriend while she was sleeping. A suspended sentence. No jail time, no punishment to fit the crime. Sure, didn’t he admit what he had done. Sure doesn’t he have another girlfriend who testified in his defence. He is nothing but the perfect boyfriend, says she. Perfect, indeed.

I lay awake last night beside my boyfriend wondering what my life would be like if he did not understand the concept of consent. What if he did not know the meaning of the word? What if nobody taught him what it meant? What if he knew but didn’t care?

I tried to imagine what it would feel like to go through my days and my nights knowing that I was someone’s property, to do with as they pleased, whenever, wherever they so desired. The more I thought about it, the sadder I became.

What does anyone of us understand about consent? Did any of us have a class in school on the topic? Did any one of us have a parent sit us down when we first became interested in the opposite sex and teach us that this is the most important bit of it all? That consent has to come before everything that we decide to share with another person? Consent must come first. Did they? I doubt it. Nobody taught it to me.

I never knew that it was OK to say “NO”. Honestly, I didn’t. Nobody took the time to sit me down and explain what consent was. Nobody told me that if something didn’t feel right, if I did not want to do something, I had the right to walk away. To say, “No Thanks”, and to not be afraid of making someone angry, of not giving them what they want, of him writing disgusting things about you on the school bathroom wall, because that was his failing, that was his shortcomings, that they had nothing to do with me. That I was strong, I was entitled to say “NO”, and I should never, ever feel ashamed for this. Ever.

I wish they had.

I am a grown woman now, who has learned to say “NO”. It has taken years and even though it is uncomfortable and out of my comfort zone a lot of the times, I manage it. This may displease the person receiving my “NO”, but hey, call it the beauty of being middle aged, it is not as scary as it once seemed.

Imagine not being given the chance to say “NO”. Imagine being raped while you slept by your boyfriend with whom you share a home, a life. Seriously, try to imagine it. How utterly helpless would you feel? How confused, ashamed, angry, sad? How responsible? I know, right? You are thinking, “responsible”? How on earth should any of us feel responsible for something that we have no control over? Responsible for someone else’s violating actions? We didn’t consent. How are we the ones who should feel responsible?

How on earth can we not? We as women are taught how not to get raped.

Don’t wear “slutty” clothes.

Don’t drink too much.

Don’t walk home alone.

Don’t flirt.

Don’t behave “suggestively”.

I could go on and on and on.

I have lost count of mothers whom I know that have sons yet blame the girls for “leading them on”, because they are arriving to the rugby club discos in short skirts. How very dare they, they cry! The girls are “aggressive”, the girls are the “problem”, poor Johnny is going to be lead astray and it will be the girls fault!

During conversations like this I find myself taking lots and lots and lots of deep breaths. Would it be easier to agree? Sure, it would. I am raising a teenage boy for goodness sake. I would love to blame the girls for his hours on snapchat and the hole in the ozone layer that he is making with his bloody Lynx spray, but what kind of a hypocrite would that make me? Nobody protected me when I was his age. I believed that if I said “NO”, I would be be blamed for drinking too many Ritz, sure wasn’t I drunk? Wasn’t I wearing a short skirt? Wasn’t I gagging for it? Wasn’t I just a slag?

Am I the only parent on the planet seeing the big ass elephant in the room all these years?? Surely I can’t be. Surely other parents can see that we are failing our daughters by not teaching them about consent but even more than that, we are failing our sons?! WE NEED TO TEACH OUR SONS ABOUT CONSENT. We are failing them time and time again when we pat ourselves on the back for giving them condoms, thinking we are being 21st century parents by being so “liberal”, but thinking nothing of what their understanding of a healthy relationship might look like, and believe you me, if you are not teaching them, they are learning it off every porn sight accessible to them on their phones, and from each other who have also learned it off another porn sight and on and on it goes.

We have a massive, mind-blowing responsibility to teach our boys that real life is not what happens in the porn world. This exists only for a profit. It exploits and it hurts. Girls do not look like porn stars in real life, nor should they be expected to behave as such.

We have a massive, mind-blowing responsibility to teach our girls that it is OK not to look like porn stars and it is OK not to feel like they have to act like one. This is where I believe we need to begin. This is where I believe the learning needs to come from. Not by teaching our girls how not to get raped, but by teaching all our kids about consent and demystifying our porn industry for the smoke and mirrors that it is and coming back to real, tangible, healthy relationships and how they and us, and everyone go about being in one.

Maybe this is how we protect ourselves from being in a relationship, loving someone, sharing a home with them and being repeatedly raped as we sleep. That guy didn’t know a damn thing about consent and his girlfriends life is forever changed by this fact.Nobody taught him that being in a relationship does not mean that he had the right over his girlfriends body. While she slept!!! I know for sure that I will not be a parent who does not teach my son about consent. This I believe is the corner stone for teaching him about what a relationship should be like and in keeping any women he chooses to share his life with as safe as he can. 

All of us deserve to feel safe, respected, loved. This is the only way that I know how to achieve this. Lets start the conversation with our kids. Lets do more than the pill and a packet of condoms. Lets teach them about consent so that no person need ever feel unsafe in their bed, ever again.


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And then it was 3.

I am 3 years cancer free today. 3 years post what has to be the scariest thing that has ever happened to me. 3 years since the debilitation that was the surgeries and the toxins, the exhaustion and the fear. When I was sick I worried that I wouldn’t make it past 3 months, let alone 3 years so I am happy today. Quietly grateful. Respectful of those who have not been so lucky, and of those who are still in the midst of their own personal hell.
It can be tricky, this “after cancer” business. There is little to prepare oneself for how it feels, how it fits, how it confuses, how it requires us to hang on for dear life until the boat stops rocking. This does not happen immediately after the first clear scan. At least for me, this was not the case. I was caught in the middle of joy and panic, relief and fear, love and hate, admiration and envy. It is a tough place to be.
Expectations of others weighed heavily on me. Everyone has been touched by this disease. I defy you to find someone who hasn’t. Some of us live and some of us don’t. The weight of other people’s loss, for me, was huge. Guilt was strong in me. Survivors guilt, if you will. Navigating feelings of fear and loss, of anger and frustration was challenging for fear of being thought of as selfish for not being more grateful for having survived something that not all of us do. Who do you tell when you feel this way? What do you say without sounding ungrateful?
This was my permanent state of being for at least 18 months after this day 3 years ago. I felt like a horrible person. Of course I was happy, relived, grateful. Of course I knew others had not been so lucky but I was also scared, angry, lost, confused, my body recovering from the onslaught of abuse this disease requires to survive, and I have to say, it was the loneliest of times.
The good news about the passing of years is that it takes a lot of these feelings and makes them smaller, more manageable, easier to navigate. The fear lessens, the anger too. You have days that you do not think of your cancer, then these days can turn into a week, sometimes two or three at time. It is the loveliest realisation to have, these “forgetting your cancer” periods. They make you smile, feel fearless, grateful, blessed. You realise you are making plans again, about your life, your happiness and it feels good. Boy, does it feel good.
I spent the weekend with someone I love doing things that I love to do. I surfed, I swam, I ate, I drank. I tried oysters for the first time and met new people. All new things, new experiences. I had moments being rocked by the most unbelievable feelings of gratitude and joy. I made it.
I made it through the loneliest place on earth and I am finally feeling like I am back home where I belong. I am a different me, a more bloody tired me, but hey, I am here. I am here and I am present and I am loved and I am happy. I am so deeply grateful for getting the chance to keep on living and I plan to allow myself be reminded of this each and every day.
Happy 3 years cancer free day to Me.


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Farewell my friend.

My friend died. Just like that. Gone in the blink of an eye.

I loved my friend. I still do, probably always will. He was larger than life, funny, kind, wise, musical & he loved fiercely. I like to think that over the 20+ years that we knew each other, he loved me fiercely too. He didn’t always agree with my choices but that never stopped him from being on my side. I lost my way for a while some time ago but he never lost sight of me. When I was sick he bombarded my time line on FaceBook with funny videos and never stopped telling me that everything would be OK. He was right.

He touched so many people across so many walks of life. This was his way. An actor, a DJ, a radio star, a lover, a son, a friend, to oh so many of us. He leaves a huge hole in so many lives. He leaves a huge hole in mine. Only last Friday did he post one of his funny videos on my wall. I like that. I like that towards the end I was in his thoughts.

I will miss you Mr.Berns. We all will. The world just got a little smaller today.
All my love, my love. xx


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This cannot be our way.

So here’s the thing. I don’t care much for Joan Burton and her politics. She has, in my opinion, launched what feels like a personal attack on lone parents this year, of which I am one. I also don’t ever pretend to know a lot about politics, so if you have mistaken this for some kind of political broad cast, then I would stop reading, now.

What I do know a lot about is people. Mostly because I am one, and a lot to do with my education and the work that I do for a living. It is my job to empower, to lead by example and to do my very best to facilitate change in young people who have been let down, by their parents, their schools, society, and very often themselves. I believe completely and utterly that each and every one of us has this responsibility no matter what the job we do and no matter what number, or not number of kids we have.

Those of you who know me and who take the time to read the words I throw together will probably have figured out I only do this when something is bothering me. It’s like my 21st century diary. I have, and will always use written words to explore my feelings, to make sense of them, and in return make sense of myself. What I find most challenging is making sense of others but today I am going to give it my best shot.

During the summer I had a run in with Irish water meter protestors that left me scared and anxious for weeks. This happened on my own property, in front of my son with only one neighbour coming to my assistance. I was verbally abused by ten grown men old enough to be my Granddad and physically shoved by one of them. They claimed to be “peacefully protesting’. They deemed it fit to speak for me and refuse the installation of my water meter, bullied and scared me back into my own home when I chose to stand up for myself. These men roared obscenities at me and took photos of me on mobile phones without my permission. I was a woman on my own without anyone to protect me, and it scared the pants off me.

Yesterday in Jobstown a much grander version of this happened. Like her or not, a woman was held hostage in her car while an angry, aggressive mob refused to give her passage. I cannot imagine how frightening that must have been, for anyone at anytime. It could be your Mother, sister, daughter, friend neighbour. It could be you. It most certainly could be me. Again.

Is this how we deal with things now? Is this where our anger leads us? Off down a path of no return with our children and grandchildren watching, taking note and keeping score. Is this what we really think will bring about change? Really?

We are all hard done by in this country of ours. We have been savaged by our governments and we have a right to how we are feeling, yet it pains me to see what we are becoming. How was what happened yesterday, or what happened to me a “peaceful protest”? Have we become so numb to the violence and destruction that is pumped into our homes on a daily basis that we have now reached the same place? Violence begets violence. Hatred the same. Surrounding a car with people inside and flinging bricks cannot be something to celebrate. Can it?

Where will it end? When will people feel like they have gotten their pound of flesh? When someone dies? When our children who are following our lead are the next ones out of the gate? When?

I don’t have the answers. I wish I did. What I do know is that we, the Irish people, full of saints and scholars are better than this. Much better. And I hope and pray that this ends before it’s too late. Before our actions cannot be reversed, and from what I can see of late, we are closer to that than we think.


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Breaking the frame.

When I was training to be a psychotherapist there was a term that was frequently used by those who trained me. “Breaking the frame”. This is used to describe when something intentionally or unintentionally is done by the therapist that does damage to the therapeutic relationship. Say you had a client coming to you who you knew to be angry by the way they carried themselves, the way they spoke, looked,by the way they made you feel. Say this client believed themselves to be the very opposite of angry, almost angelic. They were completely unaware of their anger, or just too afraid to deal with it. Try as you may to create space for the anger the client came week after week unable to have the awareness that the anger was the one thing blocking all other things. This can take it’s toll both on the client and on you, the therapist, hoping each week that the space you create will be enough. You speak about what goes on for yourself in supervision in the hope of doing no damage to the therapeutic relationship you are trying to maintain. Sometimes this is enough to hold the space. Sometimes working on yourself allows the client to move forward, and then sometimes it is not. Something happens either to you or to the client, and the anger that has been floating around comes to the surface and all hell can break loose. Your client, depending on how much they have the ability to cope with their reality, may in some cases never return, or it can be the very best thing that can happen, outing their rage and giving them a whole new perspective.Either way this is a huge risk. Either way a lot is asked of client and of therapist, with neither knowing the outcome. This is called “Breaking the frame”.

Last weekend a frame in my life was smashed into a million little pieces. This frame belonged to a loved one, and it belonged to me. We have both held this frame very tightly since I was a little girl, neither of us daring to break it for fear of what may come to pass. The thing about holding onto something so tightly is that sooner or later it will crack under pressure. Nothing, or no one can sustain pressure forever. The break came in the blink of any eye, so fast neither of us noticed it had dropped, and when it smashed into a million little pieces neither of us could take it back up off the floor and put it back where it belonged. That’s the thing about things we break, they are never really the same after we glue them back together, and worse than that, sometimes the breaks cannot be fixed.

I am sitting here today with all these broken pieces sitting in my lap and I have no idea what to do with them. “Put them back together”, some might say, but do I really want to restore the frame I had? The frame that was held so tightly I could barely breathe for most of my life. This is where the courage comes. The courage required of both parties when the frame gets broken, and in this one person may have more courage than the other. I cannot know what my loved one will do, all I have is my side of the street. What do I want my side of the street to look like? Will it be scattered with broken frames, or will I choose to have it clean and clear?

I know which one I will choose. I am weary of frames that take too my of my weight to bear. Maybe this is the freedom I have been been seeking lately. Maybe it is time to let go. Let go and have the courage to break more frames. As scary as it is maybe this is where my happiness lies.


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If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.

On Monday morning I was verbally abused and shoved by members of a group campaigning against water meters. All men, on my own property. To say it was a frightening experience for me and for my son who witnessed it would be an understatement. In my life I don’t know any man who would treat a woman this way, let alone stand back and watch while other men did. There were about ten of them, all fully grown men with, I imagine, wives, daughters and granddaughters at home. I have been wondering ever since how they might have felt if they happened upon a gang harassing a loved one, all on her own with nobody to save her.
I have been through pretty much every emotion imaginable since then. Fear, anger, sadness, despair, some all at once and some by themselves. I have spoken to my friends, to my family members, to the garda, work colleagues, and even to a radio DJ about what happened trying to take my power back and trying to make sense of it all but to be brutally honest my account of what happened that morning, in most people has mustered what I would describe as a “half assed response”, with one of these people telling me they thought it was “hilarious”.
Hilarious to whom I now wonder? Not to me, or to my son but there you go. I worry that most people go through life not really caring about things unless it has happened to them. I wonder am I guilty of this with someone else? Chances are I probably am.
I have been deep in thought and in tears since last Monday morning. What makes some of us care and some of us, not so much? What is the difference between those of us who take action and those of us who do not? Those of us who stand up for ourselves and others and those who don’t.
I am currently trying to decide whether or not to press charges against these men. These men who frightened me, who have made me feel less than safe in my own home, vulnerable as a woman living on my own with nobody here to protect my son and I if they get angry and come back. I have been through a lot in my life but nothing like this. How do I teach my son to stand up for himself and for others if someone is hurting him? How do I do that and not stand up for myself? I have sought people’s opinion, some helpful, some not so much. I am always left with the reality that it really is every person for themselves, as nobody can decide for me. Nobody can feel for me, take action for me, move forward for me.
I am scared. It is a horrible way to be and I don’t know what it is I should be doing to lessen the fear. If I don’t press charges I fear that I am weak and am not setting a good example for my son and each and every one of those horrid men win. If I do press charges then they will know I did and they could come here and scare me again. It really is a horrible way to be when you don’t know which is the right thing to do and the only person who can decide is me.
I have three quotes that I go too when I am in a bind and cannot find an answer. One of these applies to now.
“If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.” I think the anything in my case is the fear that has been with me since Monday. If I don’t stand up for myself I will still feel afraid but yet, if I do make a stand a whole new load of fear may come crashing down around me.
I don’t normally ask for help when I write my blog, as writing it is really all the help I need but today that won’t be enough. What would you do the ease the fear? I would be really grateful for any thoughts you may have.


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Why compare??

I feel like I am swimming in a vat of molasses of late. Stuck.
Doors shut. Windows too. Every road a dead end.I rarely feel like this but when I do it is so incredibly challenging to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I am trying everything I know to come unstuck.

Running. Gratitude. Kindness. Wine! O.K. maybe the wine is a bit of a laugh but you catch my drift. How do I become unstuck? How do any of us?

When I am like this I don’t enjoy my own company much. I am impatient and I compare. I compare myself to everyone. All the time. Comparing is like some slow toxic form of poison. It seeps into every vein and cell and does untold damage. Damage to me, to my relationships and leaves me utterly exhausted. Nobody likes to be compared too, especially the way I do it. I always come up short and I always feel less than and it always makes me cry. I never win when I play the comparing game so I sit here wondering why the hell it is I begin in the first place?

It catches me off guard most of the time. Sneaks up on me when I least expect it, triggered by something or someone. A job I didn’t get, money that I don’t have, holidays I can’t afford. I allow myself focus on these things for too long and before I know it I am off playing the game that nobody wins. Least of all Me.

It’s even horrible to talk about. To write about. Comparing oneself to others is not an attractive trait, one that most of the time I prefer to keep hidden for fear someone somewhere would out me. Out my impatience, my envy, my discontent. It’s not pleasant feeling this way and yet, as of late I do.

If you had a magic wand what, if anything would you change? I ask this more for myself than you. There are somethings I would change in a heart beat and some I would leave well enough alone. I think the trick here is to put my focus and energy on the people and things that I would never change and leave the rest to it’s own devices. Things find their way in the end, don’t they? It’s all I have been telling myself anyway for the last little while.

I know I have a lot to be grateful for, I really do, but what do you do when the things you don’t have, or aspire to achieve seem completely out of reach? How do I stop the feeling of being stuck without doing damage to the rest of Me? For once as I sit here and write I have absolutely no idea. God, how I dislike that.


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Dear Son. In the blink of an eye.

 

Dear Son, 

I promised myself that I wouldn’t cry. After all I am not a school gate kind of Mum so I reckoned my joy at not having to do school drop offs and pick ups would well outweigh the sadness of my only child finishing primary school, and I was right, until today. Today I had to drop off some baking for your graduation mass and gathering after and one of your favourite teachers asked me how I was doing and I burst into tears! God, love her. I don’t think she was expecting that. To be fair, neither was I.

I remember the day that my boy began primary school. 8 years ago. 8? My, how time flies. Off you toddled with a back pack that was too big for your little body, waving away at me, blowing me kisses (you would NEVER do that now) and all full of wonder about what school would bring. I cried then, as I do now, but for very different reasons. That day, all those years ago I cried for the worry of it all. Would you like school? Would you like your teacher? Would she like you? Would you make friends? Would the other kids be nice to you? Would you be nice to others? And I went back to my car, not driving it anywhere and I waited. I waited for this little boy, the most important person in my whole universe, the one I loved the most to come back out and to tell me all about it. And you did.

In those early years you told me everything and I hung on to your every word. These days, the “pre teentude” days, all I get is “2 seconds” and “K” to most everything I ask you. It drives me bonkers but it makes me smile as this is exactly how it is supposed to be. You are exactly how you are supposed to be, a young man about to finish a huge chapter in your life and make the transition to the next chapter, which excites you and quite frankly scares the life out of me.

Back then I had to protect you from monsters at night and ease your worry about making the football teams. Now? Now it’s peer pressure and alcohol, smoking and girls! As I sit here today I fear that I was a lot better at the monsters than I will be about the girls! 

Another mother said to me on that first day at school all those years ago to enjoy it as it goes by in the blink of on eye. Watching my son toddle off to his classroom with your oversize school bag I thought her a tad dramatic as you were only 5 and sure, weren’t  you going to be in primary school until you were 12? Oceans of time, I thought to myself. Oceans of time indeed.

So, to my amazing, funny, bright, kind, loving, 3 worded son, I wish you the very best in all that you do. Enjoy these last few primary school days, as they will never be more innocent.  It has been a pleasure and a privilege to be by your side the last 12 years and I will continue to be there for the rest of them, if you don’t manage to suffocate me with all the bloody Linx in the meantime!

All my love, to the moon and back, 

Mum x