This blog started out as a deliberate attempt to draw connections between my BIG experiences in the last few years and my gratitude for having had them. Then it trailed off on way too many tangents, such as the results of my gratitude, my love hate relationship with time wasting and my constant desire to communicate and relieve my brain from bubbling, often over-flowing thoughts. And who knows what else, but ultimately it lead me to feel guilty. Something that happens more often than I want it to.
Read on if you're up for it and be warned…I wrote this at 3am on a Monday morning! An attempt to help me go back to sleep. It didn't work for me, but it could very well work for you.
When I started jotting down words to accompany the images of my artwork for my first few blog posts, I couldn't stop the connections from forming (in my mind. To EVERYTHING) and soon the words flowed more freely then the images did. I often find myself having to stop thinking (haha not possible) and typing and just post pictures...less words (because I consider it uninteresting mind rambling) because I'm an Artist and surely everyone wants more pics of my Art and less of my mind rambles!
But it helps me. And I'm grateful for the release of thoughts.
If I don't jot them down from time to time the following things end up happening:
- I can't sleep. I can't get back to sleep so I end up thinking even more and then writing notes in my phone.
- I spend way too long in the shower thinking about EVERYTHING. Which wastes our precious tank water.
- I feel dissatisfied after conversing with people. This is most annoying. It's as though I haven't had long enough to talk, vent, communicate how I really am and I'm left feeling frustrated, anxious, misunderstood and super chatty at bedtime, when Matt needs me to just stop talking, so that he can sleep. Which he seems to have no problems doing!
- I daydream when I should be focussed on the daily tasks at hand (driving, cleaning up, organising my STUFF, marking student essays, listening to Matt, cooking food...you get the idea). Sometimes I miss important things and basically lose time. Which I hate doing and consequently end up feeling guilty about.
- I end up writing emails and text messages that are WAY TOO LONG and basically unnecessary. Again this wastes more of my precious time and probably my friend's and colleague's as well. How annoying is that?
I have a love hate relationship with wasting time. But that's a whole other blog post I probably need to write, preferably before all of the above is repeated. Arghhhh!! There I go again...Wasting time!
What do I want for myself that simply won't land in my lap?
What should I do with my time?
How do I want to be remembered?
What will I regret not having tried?
Who do I want to be for those that love me?
Running through this little list of questions (often) makes me feel less guilty and more entitled.
Teacher syndrome? Guilt factor? Procrastination? My Mother's Daughter? I don't know the exact answer. But it is something I find hard to shake. This constant inner voice that says 'Why should I be so lucky?' often terrifies me!
Every few years ( particularly when things are going ridiculously well) I start to fear unexpected 'bad things'. It's as though they must be due to happen. Any minute now. When I would least expect it. This (probably) stems from having lost too many loved ones (tragically and unexpectedly and too close together) from the age of 8-20, as well as family and relationship break downs and in recent years deteriorating health. It's hard not to cherish life and the privilege of actually getting older, when you've said goodbye to too many lives and experienced too many days with the puffiest eyes imaginable (or as my friend Amanda says "having a case of the frog eyes") from shedding too many tears, for too many hours, instead of sleeping. But I've got to shake this fear. It hinders true happiness and I don't want to believe in that theory (what's it called?) that if two areas of your life are going well, then the third must be suffering. What a horrible way to think.
When I was pregnant I was moody. Whingey. Negative. It made me feel ungrateful, which led to feelings of guilt which lead to a lack of energy, lack of smiling and generally feeling miserable. Matt suggested I focus on the positives and set me up with 'Happy Rambles', an online daily diary that records 3 positive things that happened each day. It helped, a bit.
Until this little person arrived, I honestly didn't feel at all myself in the previous 9 months. My energy and optimism came flooding back once she was separate from me physically and of course the overwhelming love you end up feeling (daily) further fuelled my everything. And yet staring at this little face still makes me feel guilty!
Why should I be so lucky?
The cycle I previously mentioned continues. Gratefulness followed by guilt.
I've made the past mistake (too many times) of letting others inflict guilt upon me (unfairly) for their own selfish gain and often as a result of their own personal insecurities. I don't tolerate this form of guilt anymore and since turning 30 I now feel stronger in actively cutting off from situations and people who attempt to inflict it upon me. It doesn't serve me and so I walk away (as peacefully as possible). But if I'm honest I still care way too much about what others think of me. I hate that about myself. I want to care less and I think I do care less. Less than I used to.
I do acknowledge that I have come a long way. I've shaved my head bald and held it higher than ever before. I've chased my dreams and cut back from a stable career in teaching. I've finally taken that big life changing leap and become a parent and I do believe I can still put myself first (just enough) to do what ultimately makes me happy. Which is to PAINT and make ART...that is just for me. I'm feeling in control of the 'parent-guilt' thing so far, which totally surprises me, but we've got a long road ahead of us to be further challenged and surprised. But I'm grateful for that! I'm always grateful and we will continue to make our own rules.
I really hope that remaining grateful in life, each and everyday will outweigh feeling guilty. This is just one of my many big life hurdles that I personally intend on overcoming. Preferably before I turn 40. I do acknowledged that we need some guilt in our lives to remain humble and grounded, the challenge is recognising which guilt is 'effective' and which guilt is 'detrimental'. There's a huge difference.