I’ve changed. My goodness I’ve changed. And although the change has been gradual, I am living a version of my internal life I have never lived before.
It all has to do with my heart, and maybe (probably, absolutely) hormones. You see, the thing is, empathy for humans has always come easily to me. But now, empathy is changing the way I see the entire universe.
Once, I would have seen a cut flower and been very pleased to have been given such a lovely thing. Now, I feel for the flower. It has been cut to make me happy, and yet it is dying in my hands. Is this the way the world was meant to be?
Once, I would have read a book, held the pages close to my face and inhaled. Oh, the smell. It would have brought me such pleasure. Now, I think of the trees and all the animals who’ve lost homes because of the glorious romantic story I’ve called books. Is this the way the world was meant to be?
Once, I would have seen a spider on the wall and swatted it, killing it instantly. Now, I deliver it outside and onto a bush (if I can). I think of my children and wonder how I would feel If someone swatted one of them just because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Killing for convenience? Is this the way the world was meant to be?
And lastly, I would have gotten a pet and loved it as my own child. Those innocent, melty puppy eyes, how they would capture my heart and soul. Now, I connect to the primal core of its mother, and I hate myself. Taking her baby (or the baby of any living being, without permission) to meet my own needs. Is this the way the world was meant to be?
I am not at all saying that anyone who has a pet, kills spiders or reads books is doing ‘wrong’. I am one of you. I do these things, too. All I’m saying is: I see this world anew.
And because of this, I fear I see too much to go back.
Cultural differences. Familial differences. How could you ever say a person is wrong in their beliefs, traditions or values? And what do you do if one person in a relationship is satisfied with the chosen boundaries, and another is left feeling unfulfilled, unsupported, traumatised, even.
What do you do?
One mother may birth a child with the expectation that her job is simply to raise a child to adulthood and set her free when she comes of age. The child has been given life. She will be guided. She will be taught to fend for herself. But a mother is a mother, says the mother. Her boundaries are strict, yet fair, and she has no intention to provide for her child beyond basic care, until she dies. She has provided well, therefore, she has loved.
Another mother may birth a child with the expectation that her job has only just begun, and will never end. She is love, and she will give and give and give, in every way, to this child until her final breaths. She will provide the role of parent. She will provide the role of best friend and confidant. Her boundaries are far and wide: anywhere love lives, she and her daughter will wander, together, always. She has provided, therefore, she has loved.
What is a mother?
It is an individual question.
It is an individual answer.
And it is only one of the question answer combinations of life with no black or white answer to relieve us of conflict and struggle.
The rules of life and love.
There are none.
But there are many.
How easy it is to fight for our right to be right.
How difficult it is to find true peace amidst the chaos of life.
The oddities of humanity. The neuroses that so often become us that really have nothing to do with who we are, at all, or what’s best for our health, wellbeing and growth.
Take breakfast, for example.
My body doesn’t know that breakfast is a man-made occasion, and yet, still, I choose to feed it specific foods such as toast, cereal, orange juice or coffee at the very time it expects to find them in my life. The morning.
My body, I’m fairly certain, just needs food. To be nourished. It doesn’t care if what I eat in the morning is not, what I might consider, ‘breakfast food’. Only the odd little whisper of my brain cares about that. Should I listen? Or should I challenge what it has to say?
It’s not just cultural expectations around breakfast that rouse me. For too many years, I allowed the cultural narrative of suppressing emotional vulnerability to rule my choices, and, as a consequence, I lost the ability to live with my heart. Goodness gracious me. My precious life moments. Potential soul singing moments, destroyed because I succumbed to a life story that, ultimately, had nothing to do with the truth of who I am.
I have no regrets. Every wrong turn has brought me to this place of strength, wholeness and home, and I am grateful for the rocky roads I’ve travelled thus far. How could I be anything but grateful for the ways it has all helped to shape and expand my perspective?
I’ve come to realise that creativity is just the art and flow of being yourself. There’s really not a lot more to it than that.
At its core, creativity seems to be made of the absolute depth of who we are. And the depth of who we are is always waiting, somewhere beneath the surface, to be shared in its most resonant form. (I believe this is true for every human being. Not just those who are considered creative types.)
For me, the purest form my creativity takes is music. My voice, in particular, seems an extension of the calming, soothing essence that naturally seems to spill from the deep, internal parts of me…and so my music always does seem to reappear in my life, no matter how far I stray from it.
For a lot of years I judged myself (my voice, my performance capabilities) based on what others were doing with their own musical talents. Somewhere in my teen years I grabbed a hold of the idea that, although my talent was constantly being validated, I didn’t have a voice that could compare to a real singer. According to young human me, real singers had a range that reached far beyond the heights that my limited range could. Real singers were perfect, never to stray a note in pitch at all.
How sweet it is to have found the most beautiful new gift of evolved perspective when it comes to my music: that being…my music is my essence. Unique and beautiful, and only mine, never to be compared to any other. My voice and my music are here to achieve their own purpose. And this purpose has nothing to do with an out of this world range or perfectly crafted technique.
There may be singers who use a wider range of skills to express their musical essence in order to thrill…but to thrill is not what I am here for. I am here to express the depths of my heart. I am here to heal with my voice and perhaps to bring peace, calm and emotion to those who connect with my music, writing and creativity. How beautiful, to finally come to know this of myself.
And so I continue to release my musical essence as it is.
No more excuses.
No more foolish voice within trying to compare my musical self with others.
They are all beautiful fruits to be savoured and cherished in the fruit bowl of musical life. I am a different fruit, who finally understands that apples and oranges never will compare.
The perfection of life is beyond the boundaries of good and bad, sad or happy.
2015. My fourth miscarriage. The loss of pregnancy at ten weeks.
The doctor looked into my soul and told me, ‘I know the obstetrician for you. Here are his details. If this was happening to my sister, I would be telling her the very same thing. Go to this man. He will treat you beautifully.’
At the end of the day (this day, to be specific) I feel like a 38 year old mother of twenty. I’ve managed a super healthy lunch, yoga in the morning…and yet.
My husband just came in from work and said the most beautiful words I’ve ever heard. He said, ‘Honey. You can go and hide away, if you want.’ In other words, ‘Honey. I’ve got this. Off you go. Pop your feet up. Go be a lovely, shiny pregnancy unicorn, again.’
I cannot tell you how those words (even the less dramatic version) made me feel, but I can say I’ve done exactly that and I feel the world melting off me.
I had to giggle, the other day. Thinking of my first pregnancy, versus this one (I’m currently 35 weeks pregnant with baby number three). Back then, I specifically remember shouting across the rooftops with glee in my third trimester. Boundless energy. Very few aches. So much lovely, delicious time for life.
Even though I was pregnant during summer, my ego happily yapped to the world, ‘I don’t know what every one is on about. I feel completely fine.’ It was the absolute truth of things. I did. And I didn’t even think twice about judging those who’d complain about every ache and pain of pregnancy because, for heavens sake, it really wasn’t that bad.
Fast forward eight years and two small children. I still try to maintain that beautiful glass half full attitude I’ve come to value in life, although I’ve got to say, I look back now and think: ‘Oh my goodness. How funny my ego was to be so gloriously blind.’
Obviously there are many factors that contribute to whether the third trimester of pregnancy is going to be sunshine and rainbows, but with my limited life experience at the time of my first pregnancy…I wasn’t to know that. I thought: If I can do this, all of you can do this. It is as simple as that. Really quite black and white.
Well, it’s not, actually. It’s really not.
A huge amount of energy goes into raising children, and it’s lovely to have this current pregnancy reality check keeping me real, however awkward it is to look back at the old me and giggle (with a slight edge of horror) at my naivety.
Childless pregnant me wasn’t wrong to celebrate the ease of pregnancy, but I do wish she had been able to see the wider perspective in advance. She didn’t know that one day she’d be heavily pregnant, homeschooling and caring for a house and two little ones (during a pandemic). Even if she had have known, she probably would have said, ‘Oh, you’ll be right.’ Because she was alright. So why wouldn’t I be?
The truth is, I am alright, and really quite proud of where I’m at given the exhaustion that quite often pops up and zaps me in all the places I wish I was more alive. For instance, in a perfect world, I’d bound out of bed and get straight into painting and gardening: our new home is calling for me to do those things all the way.
But I am only human.
And because I am human, I am limited to only the things my body will allow.
But how beautiful, too. Because without this pregnancy, and the limitations my waning energy is presenting me with, I’d not have had the chance to tell my ego to back off and stop being a dick to myself.
I have been forced to see the truth of what is, as opposed to what I wish it was…and completely surrender. To adjust. To learn to be happy with taking baby steps in getting the house done, in getting life done.
So, good on you, baby number three. You’ve been a wonderful lesson.
And even though you’re taking all my energy, I adore you.
I’ve become an expert in solving problems that may or may not occur. It’s both a wonderful and a terrible thing, depending on the perspective you take. Problems do not exist, for instance, until the moment they occur and are perceived, and yet in my world they both exist and are solved in an invisible home of my own mental creation…before they’ve even happened.
Often times, they never do happen.
And yet, because I have perceived them, and mentally lived their many aspects and outcomes, they are as real as the real, real thing.
No wonder my nervous system is a little frazzled.
Apparently this sort of hyper vigilance is a result of early life trauma, and although I had an absolutely beautiful childhood, and was extremely loved and well cared for…I was, for whatever reason, highly sensitive. My teen years were dotted with trauma. My early adult years were flooded with emotion, confusion and anxiety. And all the while, every little eye brow raise came to mean something frightening to me, and so you can imagine the aches felt when I truly was being attacked by life.
Enter problem solving territory. I learnt to recognise and run from the beast before he’d even thought to attack, which I gather is quite a common thing among human folk, actually. Probably more common than most choose to admit.
Obviously, this sort hyper-vigilance has caused quite a few issues in my life, and relationships, so I’m learning to become aware and catch myself in moments where I am constructing a damaging story for myself to pre-live. And yet, I’d also say that having the ability to pre-think situations has added to my spiritual tool kit.
It’s allowed me the extra space needed to find the beauty in even the most disastrous of situations.
It’s acted as a rehearsal period for the painful moments of life, and I’m grateful for this, despite psychologists and spiritual kings out there declaring ‘now’ is best.
Of course now is best.
Now is the only truth.
And yet, while we are human…now is just another dimension of the everything reality is made of.
We will never understand the fullness of the universe.
But we can live bits and pieces of it, and pick up its interesting, thoughtful breadcrumbs along the way.