I’ve spoken a little about this topic before on my Youtube channel but this is the first time I’ve actually addressed it in writing.
On my ‘About’ page I make a promise. I make a promise to be honest, open and transparent. I will not sugar coat my life but equally I will not overly dwell on the harder times. I want to give a measured and realistic impression of what my life is like.
To begin with I have to say that I am a very lucky lady. I have two parents who are completely supportive and who have given me confidence, thoughtfulness, intelligence and independence. I also have a brilliant older brother, who although is not particularly close to my age, is someone who I consider a friend as well as family. We have lived a fairly comfortable life both financially and emotionally. There have been tough times but I think we all know how fortunate we are that nothing too terrible has happened to any of us. We’re still standing and we’ve all got good relationships and families that fulfil us.
However, there have been tough times and to deny that is to deny myself the opportunity to process them, learn from them and move on from them. When I was five years old I was run over. I sustained some very serious injuries and although 24 hours after the accident they proved to not be life threatening, some have stayed with me. I am, for example, deaf in my left ear as a result. I also feel that the trauma of such an incident at such a young age has also left a mark, one that doesn’t obviously plague me but is still there and I think influences my desire to be in control of things.
In my early 20s I entered a relationship that was less than good. It was with a man 7 years older than me and he had problems of his own. He was an alcoholic and had a quite a deep sense of self-loathing. While I can now, years later, have compassion for the problems he faced, I can still not excuse the actions that he took. That man was controlling, verbally abusive and eventually physically abusive resulting in rape. Say what you want about rape and whether you can really be raped by someone you were in a relationship with, I feel like I was raped, I felt it at the time and I carry that fear and the resulting issues with intimacy to this day.
I have also been through a birth trauma which I have certainly spoken about at length before and there have been other things too in my life that have challenged me both in physical and mental health.
But I am lucky and for the most part I am happy. The kids drive me absolutely crazy most days and I often find myself desperate for a little bit of peace and quiet, but I wouldn’t change my life. I think, like most people, about what it would be like to win the lottery. I think about the things I would buy, the help I would offer to other people, the freedom that kind of money could afford us, but who doesn’t like to dream? Mostly, if I could change anything it would be to give myself more time. I wish I had the time, the headspace to actually affect some change in the world. I would love to get into campaigning for issues and policies that I am truly passionate about. I would also like more time to spend with my kids, undistracted by all the other things that flitter through my mind. However, these aren’t complaints about the life I have, they’re more about my desire to keep improving upon what is actually a very good life.
We have reached a point now with social media and reality television where it is easy to believe that people, both famous and not, lead idyllic lives. I know that I look at my friends’ photos from their weekends with their kids and wonder how they look so calm and well rested. I struggle to imagine them yelling at the kids the way that I sometimes do, but I know deep down that that photo of them looking calm was just one moment in time. It was a moment preceded by extensive planning for the day, packing all the things they needed and cursing at their inability to find the youngest child’s water bottle. It comes after long car journeys, stuck in traffic while the children complained that they were hungry, thirsty or just plain bored. It comes after struggling to find parking (or at least affordable parking), getting kids out of car seats, forcing them to hold hands crossing roads, panicking in busy streets when for a split second you think you’ve lost a child only for them to have been distracted by a toy in a shop window. It comes after lunch being spilled on the floor, juice going everywhere, holding a child while they wee in a side street because public toilets are few and far between, and debating over which treats you’re prepared to buy given budget and ability to carry them restraints. That perfect picture of my friends’ day with their kids is not the whole story, it’s just the best part. The part we want to remember, the part we want to show the world and we could all do with remembering that every now and then.
So, as I said before, I will not lie on this blog. It will be an honest account of my life – both the good and the bad – and I hope you’ll share some of your ups and downs too. I want to know that I’m not alone, that we all have tough times but that we’re all also trying to keep going and make our lives better.