I haven’t quite been myself lately. I’ve made some poor decisions. Said things I shouldn’t have said. Eaten things I shouldn’t have eaten … and I’ve let myself be treated quite poorly by someone recently when I’m old enough to know better. It goes to show that even aged 47, I still have a lot to learn.
I remember thinking when I was 25, happily married with a young child, “Life is good, I’ve got this on lock. I’m happy, what can possibly go wrong?” I was divorced by 27. And then when I fell in love again aged 32, I thought, “I never thought I could be this happy again, this is it, I’ve finally got my life sorted.” And then we all know how that relationship turned out. And it continues to haunt me.
But it was three years’ later, when Mum died, when my world truly came crashing down. I made a comment in my last blog post about still needing a cuddle from my Mum and I feel like that every day. Seriously … every day. And I know a lot of you feel the same. Today is one of those days.
The question is, how do you cope with life when that most fundamental support system is no longer there? And the answer is, I guess (because I’m still trying to work it out), that you become your own support system. You have to. You develop an inner strength that you didn’t think you ever had so that you look inwards instead of outwards for support. That’s not to say that I don’t have great friends and family I could turn to if I needed them, but really, when it boils down to it, you have to support yourself.
I struggle with this. People see me as this strong woman on the outside, and I am for the most part, but I constantly have to keep re-evaluating every single decision I make because I’m all there is. I have no mother. No partner. It’s just me. And the constant need to always do the right thing is exhausting.
Dexter made me laugh today. He said, as we were watching a cooking programme together, “That reminds me of that time you cocked up the pork crackling by not putting enough salt on it and it was rubbish.” He was right, it was awful, but it was about two years’ ago son and I’m pretty sure I’ve made way more awesome crackling than rubbish! But my worry is that I’m going to be remembered for the few, minor shit decisions I’ve made, instead of the good ones.
Does anyone else feel like that? Constantly worried that everything you do is the wrong thing? That you’ll only be remembered for that one time you did something stupid. Got lost. Said something mean in the heat of the moment. Kissed someone not deserving of it. Or cocked up the crackling? I hope to God not.
I need to remember that I’m human. Everyone is always telling me to be kinder to myself, but I find that quite difficult. I’m very hard on myself. If I’ve done something wrong, I’ll beat myself up about it for weeks. If I’ve fallen out with someone, I won’t sleep for days. If I’ve got something to say to someone but can’t find the right words, I’ll toss and turn, waking in the early hours, until I find them.
Is this what being a woman is? Or a mother? Or just a human being? Does everyone else struggle to always try and do the right thing … all … the … bloody … time? Or should I just care less?
I’m waffling … now that’s something I’m actually quite good at! But I guess becoming middle-aged means that I’m start to question the meaning of life a lot. What’s it all about? What will my legacy be? What will people say about me when I’m gone? Will my children be proud of me? What would Mum have thought of me were she still here? It’s a bit morbid, and I have no plans to bugger off for at least another 50 years, but being half-way through my life means I think about this a lot. You start to question every decision you ever made – the right ones, but especially the wrong ones – could you or I have done better? How would life have turned out if I had made different decisions?
Would love to hear your thoughts – if you can actually disseminate what my actual point was. Good luck.