My head has been working hard for the last month or so, processing many things, some of which I do not have access to.
My birthday is coming up.
I generally love birthdays but the last two have only served to remind me how different I am. How alone I am.
Not lonely but alone. I blame my 38th birthday for this. That was the birthday that changed me. I came home from a lovely dinner to reflect on and then act on my childlessness.
Six years later I am still childless.
And I’m not sure how I feel about that.
I sacrificed a lot to undertake that path. And I have lost a great deal as a result. And I’m not quite sure where that leaves me.
I’ve always felt like I’m different to other people. My life hasn’t ever really followed a mainstream path and for the better part of my life I have been grateful for that. I have done a lot of things; achieved a lot of things; created a significant life for myself.
And I do acknowledge that I have been mother to many.
After my 41st birthday I stopped organising birthday celebrations for myself. Very unusual for me but I didn’t feel like I had much to celebrate. By my own choice. I’m weird.
I’m not married. I’m childless. I don’t own property (yet). I’ve been in my school for a long time (people have said that I’m too scared to move and fail to understand that I am just, most of the time, happy there – still learning, still growing, still making a difference – so why must I leave). I’ve travelled. I’ve written. I’ve done many things; learned many things. I feel deeply. And I give way too much.
Usually to the wrong people.
I’ve almost accepted my weirdness.
Liz Gilbert posted about shame this morning. Last night I watched Brene Brown’s TED talk on vulnerability, connected to shame.
As much as I have lived my own life and been very authentic throughout the vast majority of that pursuit, which has yielded great fulfillment, and funnily this sentence now needs to change but I can’t delete what I’ve written. Aha. Epiphany. I have spent most of my life fulfilled in service. And happy. Blissfully.
I have also experienced extreme depression, been suicidal countless times (none recently – in 2008 I painstakingly prepared my death and organised my life and only stopped the process when I realised someone would have to find me and that would cause trauma to them), but have accepted all of that as part of the process, my process on my journey throughout my life.
And whilst I’ve always held strong to doing what I feel called upon to do, I still feel guilt sometimes for who I am. Shame. I don’t live a normal life and I’m not a normal person or teacher or writer or healer. And whilst I am good with that inside of myself, the older I become, the more shame I feel that I have not been normal.
Childlessness has forced me to appraise myself and my life along a continuum of normal that I have never subscribed to – NEVER. In fact, that I have intentionally flouted for most of my life. And the last two years, since I lost connection with a soul mate, have left me feeling lost, disconnected and broken.
Epiphany after epiphany this morning lol.
One of the reasons I haven’t written much recently is that I’ve had minimal clarity in my thoughts; they’ve been swirling aimlessly trying to roost after consuming too much Red Bull (my thoughts, not me – I don’t touch the dangerous stuff). I feel like that is reflected here.
I think the point that I was supposed to reach this morning is that none of it matters. None of it. It doesn’t matter that I’m childless or different. It really doesn’t. As long as I live my life, not just exist, and as long as my life is rich. And my internal life is very rich. My external life lacks balance – yep, still trying to rein that balance in. Have I spelt rein correctly. I don’t think so. Goddamn I used to have flawless spelling. There just isn’t enough time in each day to do all that I want to do.
I think my childlessness will scar me. Many things have in my lifetimes. But I tried. I think there is more that I could have done but I wasn’t able to at the time and I’m at peace with that. I think that maybe I was just meant to try.
I think I’m meant to do lots more in my life too. My head keeps returning me to my idealistic 15 year old self. I think that there are children in Africa and Nepal that I am supposed to meet. Not yet but soon. Other places to visit. And I’ve almost successfully conquered the fear regarding those adventures that have kept me reined in (again with that word. Why does the brain select words which create uncertainty in its own peace). Should there be a g or is that the one where we are in power. MFC! Exasperation. And I can’t google it because I’ll lose my flow. Nuts.
I need to write my list. I need to set more goals. I need to say no to things that don’t fit me anymore. Work to do.
Gotta love holidays.
I’ve also come up with the first few chapters of a new book. Just need to start writing them outside of my head.
PS. Hours later I find the following image on Facebook. Timing.