I lied yesterday. Not completely, and I didn’t mean to, but all the same, the truth wasn’t told. I began writing in a calm and peaceful mood, eager to explore the things I’m grateful for. But gradually, as my writing continued, so too did the interruptions by a small child, and my irritation grew. By the end of the post, I may have been writing about gratitude, but I certainly wasn’t feeling it.
I actually made my irritation worse by trying to deny it. I was determined that gratitude was what I was going to be feeling, and so I was trying to shoehorn my feelings into that box, rather than accepting what I was truly feeling. I felt wrong you see. I felt like I should be grateful. Because, look! On paper! How could I be anything other? What kind of a monster am I to be so ungrateful in the face of what everyone else has to put up with and in the face of all I have fought so hard for, to not appreciate it now?
There’s this whole Tragedy Top Trumps game that gets played in discussions sometimes. We get sharply reminded that there’s no space in the world for our “minor” complaints because “people are dying in Syria, don’t you know?!”. And so you’re a horrible person for complaining about anything less than death, destruction and absolute devastation.
Yes. Really really shitty and horrible things are happening all over the world, and I can only to do tiny things to fight back against even a small portion of that. But it doesn’t stop my kids being irritating. Yes. I went through a pretty hellish few years battling to have these kids, but I can love the hell out of them and still need some bloody space to myself – and not on their schedule – on mine.
I contain multitudes.
I just got called away from writing here to attend to children. The irony is not lost.
Anyway, here’s the thing. Despite what I was actually feeling, I was determined to be feeling gratitude. And the fact that I wasn’t was making me even crankier. I was snappish. I was unhappy with myself, snapped at husband, children and dogs. And then I sat down for a few minutes and breathed. And I realised that the irritation in me was going to make itself heard. And all I had to do was listen, and it passed. If I can accept the “unwelcome” feelings in me as well as the perceived-as-good feelings, then all of us (the bits of me) get on so much better. Like an upset toddler, sometimes my parts just want to be heard and accepted.
So, life. Life in the small moments of what I’m feeling. Life in all its changing ways, not one dictated mood for the day. And I think I’m good with that kind of life. (I’ll forget again though, I think.)
On a completely different topic: I had my first “drinking” dream last night! Not my first ever, of course, just my first since I stopped drinking. Here are some things that I can recall:
- I was out at some kind of work party. On a boat, I believe.
- Initially I wasn’t drinking, and I was noticing urges to interrupt, but reminded myself to listen instead.
- Then I got very drunk and very inappropriate – interrupting, being “front and centre” of the party, and varies other
- I suddenly found out I was pregnant(!) during these festivities, but continued drinking anyway.
- The dream continued to the next day when I was sober and remembering the party and feeling embarrassed and wishing I hadn’t been drinking.
I woke up feeling ridiculously relieved that it wasn’t real. And that I don’t ever have to feel like that again.
I think that it was partially triggered by a conversation I had had at work the previous day. A friend of mine had been on a hen weekend in West Cork that had included a boat trip. They’d sneaked cider on board in coffee cups and gotten a bit squiffy by sipping away across the whole journey. And listening to the story, it did sound fun and I did feel a little twinge of “will I really never get up to that kind of mischievous fun again?”.
I think there are way different kinds of fun in my future though. I am looking forward to paying attention to the details of my life, and accepting the fact that I’m more of a quiet observer type of person. I don’t have to dance to the beat of an expected drum.
And … no-one was ever asking me to.