Who Am I?
I know, I’ve been MIA for almost the whole year now, but it wasn’t intentional. Things just … happened. Or didn’t happen. Whatever. I realised last night that what I am about to write about is at least a good part of why I haven’t been blogging.
I don’t know who I am.
I mean, I haven’t woken up with memory loss or anything, I know who I am in that sense. But somewhere along the way, I have lost my sense of self.
So, I need to write a disclaimer before I go further. I love my kids. I love being a mother. I love home educating. I do not want to change any of that.
My days are spent in the company of my children most of the time. I cherish the fact that I get to spend so much time with them and know them so well. It was one of the things I hated so much when Bean went to school – that his teacher spent more of his awake time with him than I did. So, I feel lucky to have them around so much. Luckily, for the sake of my sanity, we also go to plenty of clubs and activities where I get to speak to other adults whilst the children are doing their thing. And let’s be honest, spending so much time with your children, whilst wonderful in many ways, can be hard work too. Of course home educating parents have times when they wonder what they hell they are doing – we are human after all – but we do like spending time with our children. You have to when you choose this path, you’d go insane otherwise. But there are times when it feels too much. Fleeting times, but they are hard all the same.
Before we home educated, before Plum and PK were born, I was a different person. I was a teacher, running a busy department in the largest secondary school in the country. I ran a business. I was a qualified sound therapist. I had a sense of who I am.
But I no longer have a teaching career. The business I was running then closed seven years ago. I haven’t practised sound therapy since then either. I threw myself wholeheartedly into being a Mum. A home educating Mum. And it was good.
But lately I have come to realise that it’s not enough. And I feel that I am somehow betraying my children by saying that. But there it is. Being a Mum is not enough anymore. Not on its own.
I have a business, but it’s still in its infancy and most of my time is spent creating products at the moment. It’s a creative outlet for me at the moment rather than a source of income. And that in itself is a good thing. I need to create. I realised that making crocheted artwork isn’t a great business model because it’s time intensive and the market is small, but making the artwork is a process I love. Making the artwork and then turning it into cards and prints is a much more sustainable model and it gives me the space to really enjoy the creative process – it gives me time to plan from initial concept and really get to grips with the artistic process as well as the crochet process.
It’s a start but it’s not helping me too much with who I am at the moment. I need to define who I am.
I did an exercise at the weekend where I had to talk to another person for 2 minutes about anything I wanted. I had no idea what to talk about. I opened my mouth, thinking I was going to say one thing, and then all of this came gushing out. By the end of the two minutes I was in tears and feeling utterly bereft.
This has built up over weeks, months if I’m honest, and I feel like I’ve been constantly bombarded with messages about change and defining oneself. Song lyrics that hit me like a truck, quotes appearing on Facebook, in books … all of them saying essentially the same thing. I feel like someone’s being hitting me over the head repeatedly “you will get the message. you will get the message.” I’ve got the message.
When you wonder why you’re breathing
Know you’re not alone
It’s so hard to believe
It’s easier to doubt
You’re trying to hold in
But you’re dying to scream out
Everybody’s Broken/Bon Jovi
So where do I go from here? I need to define myself. I’ve made a start. I’ve identified things that I have given up that I want to get back. I have identified some courses that will help my personal and spiritual development and have started one of them recently. I’m hoping to enroll on another next year. I know there’s the potential for me to overwhelm myself, which is why I’m making myself do one course at a time.
And I realised after the exercise on Saturday that bottling it up and not talking about it has not been helpful, so I’ve discussed it with Stonelaughter and let him know how I’m feeling. I think it will all work out OK, but there’s no magic wand for this kind of thing is there?
It’s going to be an interesting journey and I hope we all come out the other side happier and in one piece.