I’ve been looking for a way to talk about so many things that have happened in my life. A way to release so much of the tension that lives coiled inside me and has for so many years. There is something about writing especially in writing to be read, that enables me to give and at the same time receive clarity to my thoughts and feelings.
I’ve never considered a blog in fact I’ve only just started to use Facebook and I probably wouldn’t have done either except for two significant events that have occurred in the last few months. The first I will get to as it has a very long and somewhat convoluted back story but the second came from a place that I would never in my wildest dreams considered.
My sister-in-law from my first marriage sent me a link to a blog site for Sarah Nathan who does the Stay at Home Territory blog. I’m not sure why it was sent to me but it may not have had the reaction it was meant to or maybe it did, it’s one of those things you’ll never find out. So I decided to check it out and was very much against my will completely and utterly impressed. Not so much with the content though that too was impressive. What overwhelmed me was the obvious work and dedication she put into every aspect of the site and how much joy you could feel in her posts as she talked about family and what went into creating the life she and her husband had built.
It started this train of thought that just wouldn’t go away. That while I have no desire to build something similar to hers that maybe I could build something for myself and for anyone else who may just want a place to Unload and Unwind. In doing so I may find a way to leave behind those things that have crippled me emotionally for years and what led to knowing her and owing her.
You see the irony here is my ex-husband is her husband and one member of her family is my son. Due to a number of good, bad and downright awful decisions and circumstance on my part Sarah and my ex-husband raised my son from a young age with slim to none assistance from me. They did an amazing job for he is the young man he is today in a large part because of them.
Due to circumstances I have recently been in contact with my son and we are both trying to work around the minefield I have made of our relationship. That contact was the first significant event I spoke of earlier.
So it seems that yet again, and this time without her being aware of it, I have cause to be grateful to Sarah and that just blows. Sounds awful doesn’t it – that’s because it is awful no getting around that. But I’m human and when someone like me, who has royally screwed up their life and damaged those around them, is faced with acknowledging that and the person who stepped up while I practiced Denial Martial Arts (run, duck & hide) I have to tell you, it a truly awful feeling.
Once upon a time I would have buried that mental hurt and hidden from anything that would rekindle it. I would have shut down, shut off and shut out anyone and everyone who could make me feel and it would have worked – for a while – and the only price to pay would be everything that mattered to me.
What’s changed you may ask – well funnily enough I think I have and have been slowly for some time. My husband works in mental health (another irony there) and is also pursuing his masters in the field. I’ve been working with him first in Toowoomba designing teaching aids and lesson plans in Recovery Based Practice based on the material he would supply and more recently acting as his research assistant for his minor thesis which will then springboard into his PhD.
Somehow, by some form of osmosis I suppose it the best term I’ve begun to hold those ideas inside of me and they have been slowly but surely impacting on me over a number of years. One of the components of this practice is the articulation to ones self of what it is that drives a person to certain behaviours. Now I do enjoy talking but not about emotions but funnily enough I seem to have better luck with writing about them.
I made a decision over a decade ago to start over but it wasn’t real, it was just a cowardly way of running from difficulties and pain. I justified the loss of connection with my son and other members of my family as ‘for their own good’ and ‘they’re better without me’, which as anyone can tell are bullshit reasons based in denial.
But as I said something changed but I didn’t know how much until I received a phone call from my father. Now I haven’t been able to hold a job for the last decade due to both physical and mental health issues and as a result it has been financially difficult for some time. It is only in the last 18th months that things have begun to change in that area but before that we were barely getting by on my husbands salary alone.
As a result my father has given financial assistance to Matthew and Sarah over the years for Michael’s education and other activities. Just after Christmas he called me to let me know that Michael had spoken with him about some assistance with university as he was moving to Qld to study in Brisbane. He wanted to know what I wanted him to do and how I thought he could be of help.
It was right there, right then that I felt something elusive hovering and I knew it was time to make a decision one way or the other. I could simply tell Dad what it was that I wanted him to do and rest safe in knowledge that my father would help my son or I could take a huge chance and reach out to Michael himself and ask him if he would let me help him too.
I told Dad that I’d call him back and spent about and hour pushing down the panic that threatened at the idea of speaking with him and of reaching out. You see once I did this I would have to be constant in it, I couldn’t let myself drift in and out again because I knew right down deep it would be the last time.
I was going to have to face up to my failure, deal with the guilt and resist the urge to run away and shut down just so I wouldn’t feel bad. I was going to face the biggest fear of all – the reason that down deep had driven everything else that I would reach out and he’d say no, the fear of not being good enough and the fear that he would justifiably not want anything to do with me.
So I did, I made the call that changed much more than I thought it would. We spoke and he agreed to let me help and agreed to something so much more than I expected. He agreed to meet with me in Brisbane not just about setting up for uni because I was very clear that if he didn’t want that he would still receive all the assistance we had to give and that it wasn’t reliant upon any contact with me. But he wanted to and that was the beginning.
There is a lot more to say and much to revisit in my life but it was those two events the led me here and from here I’ll continue the journey, because after all that is what life is – a journey.
I hope over time other people may want to tell their stories and share the lessons they have learnt over time but for the moment I am content with this beginning and will keep this as a place to Unload or Unwind. Not all entries will be so long and as time goes on I hope that by talking about the past as I make my way in the present I will gain insight and courage to face the future. Until then I will leave you with the last stanza of one of my favourite poems “Invictus”
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
William E Henley.
It has alway meant (to me anyway) that regardless of circumstance at the end of the day we must answer to the choices we have made.