"Mum, why do I have to go to school?", asks my 8 year old son from his bed as he rolls over. I seriously can't answer the guy without feeling I am taking other people's words in my mouth. I feel for him, dragging himself out of his room filled with Lego creations, a terrarium filled with spiders, insects and frogs and Dutch Donald Duck magazines scattered by the side of his bed. His passions are real boys' things like fishing, cutting bamboo, making spears, building structures both in real life and in Minecraft, catching spiders and other adventurous stuff. I have also seen that he loves cooking and drawing. And he is great at board games. He really enjoys helping in the kitchen and I regularly find him making potions with all kinds of stuff.
The 'I don't really want to go to work either, but I have to, we need to pay the rent, blahblah' just doesn't roll over my lips easily. Are you serious? I love working, I really enjoy contributing to something, but yes, I do have a need for flexibility and I experience pressure at times trying to balance different needs. I enjoy staying present with what is needed in the moment. (I am not always the best judge of what is needed and that's how I create that pressure...) And no, what is needed in the moment, that isn't the same every day. And when I ask my boy why he doesn't want to go to school, his response is often: "It's boring, I have to do the same thing every day...I am being told what to do the whole day." He loves having choices, coming up with options himself and changing his mind. I love that he is open to ideas. Now let's face it, I know there is a big part in him that is in resistance to school and resistance is a really sticky place, like sticky stuck, not like sweet sticky gooey if you know what I mean.
So then I challenge him and remind him of the friendly principal who last time we spoke with her asked him to come to her and let her know when he was not having a good time. I recall her saying that she wants all kids to come to school because they want to and sees it as her job to do something about it if they don't, so I ask him in the rush of the morning, please find your voice and be pro-active dude, just speak up. "Mum, you can't just do that!" and then "That's not allowed." And now that is the place that confuses me, he has been asked one thing, but doesn't feel like he can do it when the moment arises. How does this work? In an environment where its not the norm to speak up, you will stand out if you do...that is an uncomfortable place to be. So you end up just accepting what is, if ever so boring and you walk in line to fit in. And if you're not careful you keep doing that your whole life, missing the opportunities to do stuff you really want to do and saying important stuff that other people really need to hear.
So yes, I have felt torn...I have high expectations of myself in general, which is another great creator of pressure, but in my role as a mother I want to encourage my children to feel comfortable with who they are, learn through following their passions, dare to be different and question what is being asked of them if it doesn't feel good. It's that kind of intuition, the inner knowing that I hope both of them will carry through life more than the need to fit in. So how do I best support them in embracing life and feeling free to speak up?
It's a big fat layered cake isn't it...the school is doing their best to create a good environment within the expectations that the government puts on them, the kids have to deal with the pressure that the teachers put on them, then they come home to parents that have been dealing with employers who have expectations and somehow there is always some party that wants to be in control. I find it a fascinating journey finding my own way through this all, watching myself still wanting to fit in and really really really wanting to show my kids that I can walk my talk.
So as I have been feeling a bit out of control myself lately, finding myself in a reassessment of my relationship to work, hitting another deep layer of grief with the separation of my husband and lover, crossing my own boundaries and looking in the mirror and seeing a range of patterns that are not serving me anymore, I wrap my arms around myself and reassure myself that my inner knowing is loud & clear: just be yourself and now get up & let your voice be heard.
Friday, January 13, 2017
After my first blog post a few people were surprised to hear about my separation and expressed sympathy, empathy or cliché well meant comments. I am not saying that separation is a walk in the park, but like anything in life, I have a choice on how I deal with it, I am creating my own story. This is part of my story, my experience of how separation brought me closer to myself, my kids and my husband that left our home. I choose to share this, so it might inspire others, who are on a similar journey, to stay connected. This blog post is written to my husband, my closest friend and father of my kids. He read this, he knows it’s now a blog post and he is cool with that.
Ode to the man that moved out of the family home
- my 8 months separation celebration -
Our life was a Clash song for a while already: Should I stay or should I go now? We were both asking ourselves this question. And then the day arrived that we had a real full-on, real life clash and told each other to fuck off and you did. You walked out of this house that I never liked living in and chose to separate from me, your wife, your partner, the mother of your son & daughter. That was a hard time, it was a shock to the system, it pulled the rug - that so many things had been swept under - away from under my feet. I had been set on working out how to keep doing our relationship for 12 years in total, that what the hell was I going to do now? Focus on myself…focus on our kids. Ofcourse that last one was the most important one, because the tension between us had been in these kids’ space too, in their beautiful little minds, bodies and souls. We could sometimes see it in their eyes, if we weren’t too caught up in our own stuff. So yes, the relief when you left was also there, right next to the shock. I remember feeling my heart ping a sharp ping when I realised that I was now so much more available for my son & daughter, my presence was more clear with them now that I didn’t have to figure out how to be around you, how to dance our dance in the day to day. I was shocked at how much space had been taken up by us being in process with our relationship and parenting issues. Man, that was hard, I felt sad, guilty and embarrassed towards these kids.
Back then, when you very soon after leaving found comfort in someone else’s arms and shared how you thought that this beautiful woman and me would surely like each other, how you were in love with her, but that there was still love for me too…I remember in my sadness, anger and intoxicated by a cocktail of emotions, that I tried to just push you away. I remember the well meant advise that came from people close-by to just cut the cord, draw the line and let go, be clear, take distance, black & white. And no, I didn’t, I understood and made a choice to connect with you. Fuck that ‘maybe we can be friends later on’, I want to be friends now. It could have been me in someone else’s arms, let’s keep it real. And I have been with you for 12 years, I know that it doesn’t just happen for you to connect deeply with someone, so I actually felt happy for you to have had that experience when you needed that, even though inside my sensitive soul my own turmoil was as real as that understanding.
And now almost 8 months later, the separation has become a new dance. It keeps grooving and moving. We are separated, you live in a house truck, which always was my New Zealand dream, but I am really stoked for you and the kids to have that special place together. Even though they think the house where they live with me is even more boring than it already was when we all lived there together. This is quite comical really. And in general, I have been having way more laughter and fun recently. That is a choice too.
We are financially separated, you have your own business, I still have my part time job, we are independent apart from left over shared loans to repay and necessary individual support that comes from the government, hallelujah for that, thanks to the system for easing the cash flow. We are still married officially, because the law in New Zealand doesn’t allow you to divorce until you are separated for two years. You still introduced me to someone the other day as your wife…and yes, that is confusing, but just a fact really. We have both not met anyone else yet.
Thanks for walking out that day. I know some men that waited 30 years to make that same decision, until the kids were in uni, what’s with that?…life is just too short really. Thanks for making that change happen in your own life. I have tried to make change happen in our shared life for years and see now that it was not possible. It’s not mine to fix. Nor was it yours. I see my own part in the puzzle so clearly, picked up the pieces and have moved on welcoming transformation of our relationship. I consciously let go of the past between us, let go of the picture I had in my head of what family looks like. We have done this break-up thing before and got back together, I am not holding my breath for that to happen again, but I am also not closing my heart. I feel free, awake and in love with life. I love you for keeping your heart open and being real with me and most of all with yourself. I am celebrating that we continue to share the path as parents, until death do us part, and that we both consciously choose to do that well, together, with respect and support for each other. And I still see the same patterns we both would like to transform, but haven’t figured out how to. Yet. I am also celebrating that we each walk our own path. I feel the relief that I do not share the biggest part of your path anymore. I enjoy having that distance from you, it does me the world of good and I know that you feel the same about having distance from me.
We fell in love. We made beautiful babies. We shared many wonderful adventures along the way. We got stuck and disconnected. We tried our very best to do life together and stay close to ourselves. Instead we got more stuck and more disconnected. And now we are both getting unstuck, detangled and more connected. More connected to self and more connected to love, to each other and to our children. Whoohoo, we are finally working things out!
Monday, December 26, 2016
24 December 2016
My hearing loss started after I had babies 10 years ago, caused by a condition called otosclerosis which is basically the calcification of the tiniest little bone in your body which helps with channelling sound through from your middle ear and no, this is not a medical journal, so I will not bore you with the details. The fact is that I was managing my hearing loss with hearing aids for the past 4 years already and not a lot of people actually knew I was wearing hearing aids. The truth is, I wasn’t able to fully take life in without the assistance of these magic little amplifiers in my ears. And honestly, that was fine. Some of the time I actually enjoyed being a bit muffled up, distanced, separated. It was like I had the ‘unplugged’ version of life at the end of the day when the hearing aids came out. Other times I was feeling frustrated at missing out, being different, feeling embarrassed and fearful about not being good enough… My kids specifically got bored with me asking them to repeat themselves, which in a way is great learning for them, developing patience and compassion for a ‘disabled’ mum. And by golly gosh, I have been repeating myself the whole time with them, so good on them. J I learned how to manage, I relied on other people’s ears and my hearing aids were my number one accessories and a reason to drive back home when forgotten. When earlier this year my husband moved out of our home, my night-time ears left with him. And on my journey of independence I realised that actually I needed to explore surgery and do all I could do in getting my hearing possibly fixed or at least the hearing loss slowed down.
Now 5 weeks after a stapedectomy - a friend asked: A stickadicktomy?? J - I am living life without hearing aids and I have become aware that this surgery has been about so much more than fixing a hearing issue. I am actually dealing with deeper issues and patterns around listening. Listening to myself, following my intuition and trusting myself. Listening to my children, stopping myself from talking to them until I am being spoken to. Listening to my body, without judgement and negative self-talk. Listening to my heart, allowing any feelings of hurt and grief, be vulnerable and be open to love. Listening to my self, my beautiful, loving, kind and powerful self. Wow, what an awesome opportunity I have to break some patterns that have served me well until now, the pushing through, the making shit happen no matter what, the adapting, conforming, playing my part in the whole picture of my family, my work, my community. And wow, what amazing skills I have developed. The time just now has arrived to turn these skills on towards this new project of self-love, self-respect and self-care.
It’s like, hellloooooooooo, can you hear me?