The Hardness: It’s Just That Sometimes Life Is Hard

I have an amazing life, I am the first to recognise this. I know it. I have three beautiful healthy children. A gorgeous, generous, thoughtful and hilariously funny husband, a comfortable home. I am healthy (mostly). But sometimes the hardness comes and sits on my chest. For no reason at all.

When I say hardness, I mean the hardness of life. When easy things become hard. Life is ticking over, the world is turning as it does, but suddenly life is like swimming against a tide.

I go into a zone where I am critical of myself. I convince myself of all sorts of not good things. The world beneath me is shaky and uncertain.

This partly why I decided to have a break from Facebook, as I think if your armour is fragile social media (but particularly Facebook) can easily crack through it.

My husband has had surgery recently so my workload on the home front significantly increased for a time (testament to how much he does at home). I also have a dodgy hip and because of this I can’t sleep properly. I get sciatica at night and it continuously wakes me up. I feel like I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep in weeks. Sleep deprivation alters your world view. I know this from experience.

And Christmas… And I miss my Mum.

I got a text message from my daughter’s ballet school to say that I should make sure that I am at their Christmas party because she is getting an award. So proud and happy. But sad too, because Mum is the first person I would call to tell.

But, no one to call.

Everyone is busy, and frazzled, and tired.

I think there are more people than we know who feel like I do. Particularly at this time of year.

Why do we hide vulnerability? Is it so bad to be human? Struggle is a deeply human experience so I am perplexed about why we try to pretend that life is peachy all of the time.

Social media certainly perpetuates this. But I think it’s ok for life not to be peachy all the time. And it’s ok not to pretend that it is.

But I know that tomorrow is a new day.

There is sunshine ahead. 

How are you feeling at this jolly time of year?

 

Self-Actualisation: Pushing Through the Hard to Find the Sweet

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I’ve never been interested in self-actualisation through my career. Business is too cut throat for my liking. I’ve seen people whose entire identity is invested in their job suffer enormously because of it.

It can never end happily. Indeed, a woman I knew was so invested in her work that a shock redundancy left her so blind-sided she had a breakdown and then joined the ranks of the long-term unemployed, simply because she couldn’t find the strength to put herself back together and get on with things. It stripped her of her confidence, her sense of self, and her self-worth. She became a shell of herself. [Read more…]

Womenfolk Series: Julie Hassard – Doing Dying Better

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Julie Hassard is the Founder and Principal of Doing Dying Better, a holistic consultancy specialising in the end-of-life experience. Julie is helping to demystify death and dying, in a way that makes living better. She is on a quest to help improve the profile of dying. “I want to make change. I want to change the way people think about, and do dying.”

When we caught up we spoke about life, death, family and creativity. Before we begin it’s important to make clear that Julie’s business, Doing Dying Better, is not morbid, sad or negative, it is life. And it’s the pointy end of life – where what you do and what you say really do matter.  [Read more…]

Our History, Our Mother’s History and the Family Dance: How It Impacts Us Now

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Last week I watched In Utero, a fascinating documentary screened by Suburban Sandcastles. The documentary was based on how trauma experienced by the mother whilst pregnant or prior to pregnancy can inform the foetus’ experience of life, their development and their behaviour.

I found it amazing and I have written about this before, for Sunday Life. I specifically wrote about how my experience of recurrent miscarriage prior to my oldest daughter’s birth has affected her, and her world view. If you’re interested, you can read that article here.

So this is something that I’ve had first hand experience with, so for me it was amazing to hear of the scientific research that backs this up. It was no longer just a personal experience, it is something that has been backed up by research.

[Read more…]

Womenfolk Series: Elizabeth McDonald – Meet My Mum

IMGP1039As most of you know, our family lost our Mum three years ago and we still feel her absence keenly. On Mothers Day in particular – not just because it’s Mothers Day, but because Mothers Day marks the beginning of the end of her life. Mothers Day was the last time I saw her at home. It was the last day we shared a cuppa, and the last day that we had a proper conversation. After that, for the next couple of weeks, it was just the hospital bedside, and Mum, asleep.

But I don’t want to dwell on the sadness, or how keenly I feel her absence. Or how much I know she would have loved my three-year old, if she’s had the chance to get to know her. I’m not dwelling on that, because it makes me sad.

I want you people to get a feel for the woman that she was. So today for my Womenfolk series, I introduce you to Elizabeth McDonald, my Mum. [Read more…]