So I’m the kind of girl who feels envious of others when they are ill and get to stay in bed and watch mindless rubbish on the TV, sleep without being woken up, waited on and felt sorry for. “I never, ever get ill!” was the sentence I muttered to my husband last week, feigning an air of the grandiose, ‘there is no way on this earth you could ever do without me, could you, so it is a good job I am unshakeable’, type of super mum. A few days later my throat began to hurt. I went to work and gave it my all, knowing that all it was, was a sore throat and there was no way I’d be so lucky as to get something more serious that would result in actual forced rest. Well, this was obviously my time. I’m sitting in bed with a chest infection, antibiotics and an inhaler, my little family have all gone to Sainsbury’s to spend their pocket money. And I hate it. I’m missing out. I’m bored. They are coping without me. Tonight a whole day will have gone that I’ll never get back. It’s me, myself, and I. I’m rubbish company. It’s too quiet. My legs feel hot.
I’m the kind of girl that has dreams. Dreams about doing a parachute jump, leading worship at church, creating a family photo book every year, venturing big time into the field of SEN, using my creative and therapeutic skills to enhance those precious little lives and help them to feel seen, valued, be given a voice. Dreams of sitting in the evenings and expanding my mind by watching informative documentaries, learning to crochet, calling friends. Being the type of Mum that reads the ideas on the ‘Happy Hooligans’ facebook group and actually sits down and does them with her kids. Adopting a child. Writing a book. I also have dreams about running across a football pitch completely naked and following someone down the aisle on their wedding day in a flesh-coloured body stocking, but somehow I don’t think these dreams will ever be realised, which I think will be a relief to many, many people.
But I’m the kind of girl who feels fear. Not the nervy sort of fear that makes your tummy feel like it’s full of bubbles but you know those bubbles will pop if you just do what it is you feel scared about doing. The kind of fear that feels like someone has their hands gripped tightly around your stomach, that prepares your whole body for a fight and makes you feel like every single noise around you has risen to a level that feels unbearable. The thought that if you make one false move, one mistake, something terrible might happen. So in order to make sure you are doing everything in your power to protect others from this terrible thing, in order to keep yourself completely blameless so you are not constantly weighted down by intolerable guilt, you’re on full alert. Because THAT is the responsible thing to do. Your mind has explored the channels of every single possible thing that could go wrong, every single possible outcome, so it’s ok. You are ready for whatever the day throws at you. But you can never be ready enough.
I'm 33, and have lived with varying levels of anxiety for as long as i can remember. As a little girl I loved doing the monkey bars. I used to lick my hands and rub them together to make them sticky so i could get all the way across without falling down. The feeling of elation and sense of pride was great. I wasn't particularly clever, but I was the gymnast of the family...which is quite hilarious now (witnessing me cartwheel is really something quite special). One day someone told me that eating dogs muck makes you go blind. I remember staring at them and a new feeling encompassing me that I didn’t understand. I remember deciding that what I was doing was no longer safe, because what if I had a tiny amount of dogs muck on my hand and I licked it and went blind and then couldn't see forever and ever and it would be my own stupid fault? This feeling felt too big, this feeling made me freeze, obsessively smell my hands, vow to never put my hands in mouth ever again 'just incase'. This feeling was the start of something bigger for me, and led me to believe that my little world wasn’t safe.
I laugh now when I recall this story, as i'm sure you are reading it, because it's funny! I was tiny, but not so tiny that I would crawl along the grass and stick my hand in a massive pile of dog turd with no awareness. Dog poo stinks! I was never alone, my mum has the nose of a blood hound. I think it's safe to say that the chances of me eating dogs muck and going blind were 1 in a million. But, be it microscopic, there was a chance. And this is the story of my life so far.
So i am a girl that dreams dreams, that is full of life, colour, ambition, with a heart bursting with love that's bursting to be seen. But i am also a girl that stands still, that puts my boys to bed, gets in the bath and thinks about all the things that I want to/should be doing so watches crap on the TV and gets an early night to shut off.
And this blog is the start of me stepping forward. Putting a marker in the sand and moving, and I hope you'll journey with me as I embrace all that God has for me. As I begin to feel the fear, and do it anyway…