I missed my deadline to post on Sunday. And while I knew that I had missed it, I didn’t worry about it. Because I was away. Because I had no phone reception. And because I had other more important things to do.
I spend my life with an internal list of ‘should have’ and ‘need to’ going on in my head. And sometimes this even extends from basic things like “I should have done the dishes”, to more flexible things “I should have read that blog post”, “I need to make that craft activity for the kids”.
While these things are ok in their own right, (and let’s be honest there are always dishes that ‘should have’ been done) the problem comes when they become the most dominant noise in my head. When they drown out the voices of the moment that I am in, the voices of my family, my friends or even God (whose whisper is the quietest).
I have spent this Easter with my extended family up at the family cottage. Running the net for mullet, putting pots out on the reef to catch crayfish, teaching my daughters about watching the sea, and showing them the paths through the rocks and the dunes. Investing in family.
As a third culture kid there is something you get to do again and again. Meet new people, make new friends, create a community. You learn to do it again and again, and again.
But that doesn’t mean it comes easily.
I have had a number of experiences in the last few months where I have been finding my place in three new communities. I’m figuring out how it all works, and I’m not loving it.
I grin and bear it, and introduce myself and try desperately to remember people’s names. I try to understand the group dynamics, figure out who is going to be interested enough in me to invest. Interested enough to take the time and effort. I know I seem confident, put on a brave face, extend a friendly handshake, but somehow I flash back to those early days in a new country when I was floundering to find a friend.
One question I often get asked, especially in this season of life, is “how do you find time to write?” For me it always an odd question. I find it confusing that people need to ask that. In fact it is comparable with “how do you find time to get dinner on the table everyday?” It is quite simply necessity.
Dinner everyday for my family is a necessity. I can’t put the kids to bed without some food in their tummies. We all need nourishment to keep us going, to give us energy for everything we have to tackle in life. And writing is the same for me, it nourishes me and sustains me.
Yes, I know getting dinner on the table every evening is often a stretch. I know that sometimes it looks more like reheated nuggets in the oven with a thrown together salad.
I have spent this week looking for clarity. I have had some very useful conversations with people and have been narrowing my focus in different areas to clearly define where I am going.
Heck even the lesson from my poetry course this week is entitled “finding your niche”.
Maybe it’s because I just had a birthday. Maybe it’s because it’s the last year I can say I’m in my thirties. Maybe it’s because we’ve finally had rain and there is a clear change of the seasons. Maybe it’s because it’s a new month, and April is as good a time as any. No matter why – all the conversations have lead me to an element of discipline. Of not letting things slide anymore. Of no longer going with the flow. There is a clear focus in all these conversations on putting structures in place to intentionally grow.
I rail against structure. I feel somehow if I put structures in place then my life will be so ordered that I can’t enjoy it. Whereas in reality the opposite is true and structure is often freeing. I know that mealtimes go better during the week when I have menu planned and shopped for those meals (as well as the smaller bill at the checkout). I know that when I intentionally set aside 10-15 minutes each day by myself to reflect, that the day goes better for me and my girls. I know that when I go to bed at a reasonable hour I have more energy for the following day. Structure is a tool that aids, and not hinders.
I don’t know about you, but I have an internal dialogue that travels everywhere with me, and it sifts through every conversation and every interaction I have with people. It is usually petty, and pedantic, and negative, and so I often get caught up in “when she said red looks good on me, was she saying she liked the colour but not my top?” – Yes it gets that ridiculous!
So I go to an event, or I catch up with a friend and everything is fine, but when I get home, (or even in the car on the way home) my over-analysing brain kicks in, and what was a wonderful conversation and connection, suddenly becomes a point of worry and anxiety for me.
image by Vol25
A friend called me “supermum” the other day. I love her, I know her heart and I appreciate the compliment, but it has been a comment I have struggled with for the rest of the week.
Maybe it is because I have an online forum where I share so openly, where I tell you boldly that my theme for this year is “capacity”. Maybe it is because of the small filtered part of my life that you see via this blog (and let’s be honest everything on the net is filtered). You could think that I’m supermum. And that makes me really uncomfortable because I wouldn’t want anyone to think that at all.
Hi, my name is Jodie. It has been one month since my last post!
Seriously how did that happen? The 1st March, and it’s autumn. Not that you’d know it with the clear blue sky and the top today of 38C.
A new month, a change of season, a time to reflect.
Things have been pretty quiet around here of late, and that is in part to Little Miss Control starting school and just getting my head around that. It is also if I am really honest due to my last post for kinwomen, and how much it took out of me to write that, and a little bit of fear about going back to the computer and baring my soul again!
But actually this post is just a mismatch of things floating around in my brain right now. Not enough to make a proper post, but enough to share, and as I am the one sitting behind the screen right now here goes: