Contemplation Station

I have been thinking about this for a few days now and tried to work out how to get down what I want to say here without being all over the place. I fear that I am a little all over the place, what for the lack of sleep, and too much work, and pregnant Mumma baby brain dealing with a toddler and all that jazz, so bear with me, I could be a little scatty.

A few years ago (actually it is probably much longer than that now. Let me see, OK it’s actually 13 (!) years ago now – as I said, scatty) we had our first (actually it could have been second) Christmas after my parents had separated. It was a shitty time, it was still in those early days were it hurt that things were different – that we had to try and seem like things were a ‘new’ normal and that was OK when it fact it just plain sucked. And it wasn’t like I was all that young, I think I was probably 19 at the time, but it was my world, my normal that had changed and I was still getting used to it. I was also at the time, dealing with the fact that I was seeing my parents as real people, just like me, not these “untouchable” adults that I adored and admired, but just real people, like me, with flaws and problems, trying to be happy and make the most of the life that they had left for themselves (for the first time in their lives) and not for the sake of me, or my brothers and sisters. It was eye opening, and challenging and sad. Anyway, I digress, and I do have a point, I think, somewhere here.

We were celebrating Christmas dinner at my Dad’s sister’s place with his parents all “trying” to be normal and have a “nice lunch”. During lunch, it came up that my Dad had been to Christmas Mass with his partner (now wife) and his parents and how nice it had been. Now, I will have to digress further here and give some background and in doing so know that I will probably get myself into trouble, but it again reiterates my point of this post, so bear with me. My Dad had been seeing his partner for some time (read through the lines here that this occurred whilst still married to my mother) AND this person was not a stranger to us – she had been a part of our lives for as long as I can remember – so it was kind of (read OF COURSE IT WAS) hard for us to deal with THAT too. There was dishonesty, and no facts and confusion and lies about the whole thing that made things, well, complicated. Additionally on top of everything else complicated. And the mention to them going to Mass (of all things) in a casual, nonchalant way, made me choke on my turkey. I couldn’t believe that this was OK to these people, that we were just to accept it, and say “indeed, how lovely that they should celebrate Christmas Mass together, with you, dear Grandparents on this lovely, Christmas Day. I was FUMING. I looked at my brothers and sisters who were equally as mortified and awkwardly pushing food about their plates. But I couldn’t just sit there and NOT SAY ANYTHING. It went against every fibre in my being to NOT SAY ANYTHING. My brother, I think, squeezed my leg hard under the table to NOT SAY ANYTHING, imploring me to shut up, but I could not. I can’t even remember what I said now – no doubt it was something abrupt, and rude and mortifying for everyone around me, and as I recall there was a request to leave the table, and go outside, away from everyone. I do remember my Aunt saying to me though “Why do you always have to say what you think” and then something about ruining Christmas for everybody (yeah I was the one who had done that!) but that one line cut deep, right through to the bone and I will always remember it, and often think about it. It was such an accusation, like it was actually something wrong, you know saying what you think or feel.

Which leads me to here and now, as I said, a HUGE digression. Why do I always have to say what I think? Why do I come here most days and write about what is going on (warts and all)? I was speaking to my Mum on the weekend about it. She mentioned to me about how upset she (& others) get when they read me complaining about how hard it all is. Even just last night, my father in law was over for dinner and was asking about this – why I would possibly want to ‘put it all out there’ and how it was such a different thing to what people of his (and my parents generation) would do. How it is difficult sometimes to read what a battle it is for me, a juggling act, about reading my fears and frustrations that seem so many. I remember I wrote a Post last year about the very same thing and having just re-read it, it had only reinforced my thoughts on the whole thing. I DO have to always say what I think. I know that it will make people uncomfortable, and sad, and frustrated by me, but I do it for me. It’s the way I am. The essence of who I am – I have to get things out there in the open, down on paper, or in here, to deal with, work out how I feel, and document so I can come back and remember and try to learn from my mistakes. And warts and all (and there are SO many warts), it’s all part of the story. My story. As a mother, and wife and daughter and aunt and sister (& in law) and all the many other roles I play on a daily basis.

I am a different person to that sad, angry 19 year old all those years ago and boy am I glad to have all that difficult stuff behind me. I now have a great relationship with both my parents and their respective partners who I honestly love and respect and am really happy with the ways things are now. I like to think that I have a little more tact now, a little more patience and more understanding and appreciation of people’s differences and their challenges that they may be facing, BUT, having said that, I wouldn’t be who I am now without having been that angry person. I wouldn’t be the mother that I am now without having been so freaking frustrated at Daisy that I can’t see straight, or without being able to express to myself, and I guess to others that read this just how much joy she brings me, how much I love Rob, how important my family is to me – all things that I write about daily, weekly, monthly and now yearly in this little space.

I do always have to say what I think because it’s honest. It’s me. And it’s the only way I know how to be. And if it makes you uncomfortable, or sad to read, or if you worry about me, then I can only apologise that it makes you feel like that, and say try logging into smh.com.au for a lighter read. I know that all the hard times seem easier and more frequent to write about than the pure moments of joy that pass me by each day. The frustrations are far more regular than the short moments of counting my blessings and being grateful for everything that I have. It’s for this reason that I have this space, so I can always remember all the small things that I know get clouded by daily dramas, and life, that have been documented for me, for Daisy, for Rob. It’s a weird forum to do it in, why to the whole of the world, but why not? When I stop freaking myself out (and I will admit I have these freak outs on a daily basis) about the fact that my ex probably reads this, that some stalker will one day come and find my family, or whatever people do whatever things with photos that I put on here, I stop to remember that some of the people that have stopped by here, and offered advice to me, virtual strangers are real friends to me, and I value the things they have taught me and the support that they have offered me SO MUCH. This big world doesn’t seem so big after all when you realise that you are not alone, that other people, all over the world, or in my own family, share the same problems and frustrations and pure joy and I LOVE that they too, have to share and say what they think. It’s getting it out there, for all to see, because that’s who I am. What do I have to hide? And without getting it out there, these conversations would never be started, the advice never offered.

The most important thing to me is that all these little moments have been captured forever. And stringed together form a story. My story. Unfortunately there are just a few clouds that you have to wade through along the way to get to these moments. But that’s life. Right?

Comments

  1. i think its good to be honest :) and always say what you are thinking. i do it too.

  2. The most therapeutic thing in the world is to get your thoughts on paper. I applaud your honesty. Have a great day. xxx

  3. I’d LOVE to be more honest. I was always taught to hold my tongue and never say what I was thinking and it’s so hard to actually try to open up and express myself.

    Life’s tough and you deal with it the best way you can – and you deal with it by sharing it – and that’s fantastic. You’ve got to do what’s right for you!

    Hugs x

  4. I think it’s fairly important to say what you think to those you are thinking about and to tell them how they and their behaviour affect you, both positively and negatively. I’m not so sure that sharing negative thoughts about others publicly with everyone else is such a good idea. Just being honest! You know I love you to bits xxx

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  6. I think you are very brave to share such honest and open stories about your life, and especially to allow your family to read them. I have been afraid to show my family my blog, up until yesterday when I told just 4 people about it (who are sworn to secrecy!). Be strong! It sounds like you are, and also very self-aware of the way you deal with and digest your emotions and hard situations : )

  7. I too think it’s great that you say what you’re feeling. Too many people bottle everything up, and that’s really not healthy. Expressing yourself through words is a good thing, far better than destructive behavior or other unhealthy methods. Don’t sensor yourself if that’s not how you feel, everyone else can just deal and accept that you’re not like that and they shouldn’t try to change you to be otherwise.

  8. larry bfax says:

    Betty,
    I’ve known you for a long time now and the reason we all love you is exactly because you are so honest and open. I don’t think you give yourself enough credit for how good you are at expressing how you feel. After going to my “therapist” post break up, they really encouraged writing everything down as a way of really dealing with things. You’re way ahead of all of us. It’s such a taboo of the older generations not to share how they’re feeling, but that’s them, not you. Your blog is on my list of things I check every day and I love it to bits. More often than not I either laugh or cry or stare in amazement at that child of yours growing by the minute. It gives me so much realistic insight into whats ahead for me, and I don’t know anyone else who gives me that invaluable information…

    You’re on special woman Betty, don’t forget it.

    xx

  9. This makes me laugh because JUST the other day my neighbors and I were discussing a mutual friend who was going through a divorce, and some of the details that are coming out about the “behind the scenes” activities are leaving us all a little mind blown. And my neighbor said it’s just so hard to imagine that this was what the husband was really like (nothing criminally horrible, just that he was a real jerk behind the scenes and apparently put on a good show for the rest of us) because he always seemed SO nice and SO friendly, and I said to her, “But this is what you always hear, ‘he seemed like such a nice guy.'”

    My point being that NO ONE lives without warts. It actually bothers me when people look at me with my three kids and tell me “I don’t know how you do it, you make it look so easy” because IT IS SO NOT EASY. I love it (the being a Mom to three) and I love them, but it is NOT easy. I imagine it ever will be EASY. And it bothers me when people comment on how easy I make it look because I feel the need to be REAL and HONEST and let people know that for as presentable as we may look out here at the park, it took LOTS OF YELLING AND TANTRUMS to get ourselves here.

    In real life I think I tend to hold my tongue. But it’s only because I HATE conflict. And I should add, I prefer to hold my tongue, but I think one can read what I’m thinking all over my face. So now I’ve started working on that too. ;)

    Beth, I just think it comes down to authenticity. I would prefer to be a real, authentic “me” and it seems you’re the same way. I don’t see the benefit in ideals, because at some point the reality of the idea is exposed and it’s like a let down.

    I love how honest you are here in this space. I love that way up here in Massachusetts I can read what you and the minx are up to and say, “OH MY GOD, TOTALLY!!!” It makes the world seem a little smaller.

    Maybe this is a generational thing? Maybe it’s a personal preference? But either way, you are who you are and I feel like it’s better to be authentic than not. You’re a role model for Daisy, and I think it’s okay (read: ENTIRELY APPROPRIATE) to teach that people don’t have to be all sunshine and roses to be well adjusted and accepted.

  10. From every experience we have had in our lives be it good or bad, it makes us what we are today.I have never really been able to really say what I think.Maybe I am not as eloquent as yourself or not as confident.I have always been shut down,”what would you know”or just “shut up”.I admire your ability to do what you do.I love reading your blog it brings back so many memories, things I never had anyone to tell or was able to .( crying now) Feeling sorry for myself…I don’t want to turn this into an “all about me”,but you are so lucky to have your friends and family help.You keep writing from the heart it’s a brilliant read and how fantastic for Daisy to have when she becomes a Mum.It’s who you are and we all love you for it.If people can bare to read it,yes I agree go and stick your head in the sand. Love you Krinny

  11. I’m a sharer, too…my husband is far more guarded and doesn’t always agree with how bare naked honest I am on my blog. But, for me, it’s therapeutic so I keep doing it. Also, I figure if I can help someone else by sharing my experiences it’s all worth it!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Why should other people think that they can tell you not to say how you feel Betty – don’t you listen to them. Your blog is an amazing thing and a part of my everyday life now. I love nothing more than coming into work, going into my favourites and reading babymac to start my day off. It tells me so much about what I have ahead of me in life that you never hear from anyone else. Plus it is also my way of being a part of your everyday life when I am so far away. Most importantly though, it’s yours. Noone else’s, so if they don’t like it, don’t come back…

  13. Anonymous says:

    your blog is amazing. it has made me laugh, cry and realise it is normal to be experiencing these feelings and thoughts as a parent. I am a friend of a friends so I almost feel like I am intruding on your life when I am reading your blog. However, I don’t think I can stop as your way with words is so clever and your ability to be so honest, addictive.

  14. Anonymous says:

    well said, all of you…. thanks to this blog,you are able to share in Beth’s baring of her soul… to give her support,understanding,friendship,as she, and all of you seek to discover a greater perception of self.
    How wonderful, that from each corner of this world you can hold each other’s hands and just “know” what it feels like to try and navigate everyday life…As someone who kept a diary from the age of 15, a journal all through my40’s,and now a gratitude book in my 50’s….the written word , once out, becomes your greatest friend.
    Treasure the words and all that they say about you…..from them, know who you are.

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