‘It is spring again. The Earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.’
– Rainer Maria Rilke
Today is the first day of Spring, here in Britain. The leaf shoots are just emerging from my apple tree, the winds have quieted, and I thought it would be a good day to reinvigorate my blog.
The last year has been busy for me with both ups and downs. I have been working. I published a couple of books under a pen name just to prove to myself I could do it. I am working on the reception at a local tourist site which opens again for the season next week. My children are all grown up now, and living their own lives, so I thought it was time to spend some focused time on things I want to change about my life in the coming years.
To that end, I have decided that my blog will have a bit of a change of direction.
I cannot tell you the number of times I have spoken with women who are of a certain age – usually aged 35 and over – who think that their life is more or less over. They have given up on any dreams they might have had to focus on their families. And now their children are older they feel lost. They might have tried and failed to make the changes that they want in order to feel fulfilled. They might feel like no matter how hard they try they just can’t seem to make it work. I turned 48 in January and this has been my experience for the past thirteen years. I have swayed between hopeful and hopeless like a never ceasing pendulum, suffering from depression, anxiety, and despair. I just couldn’t see that I was making any real progress.
When I was a child, like most children, I was very creative. I loved to make things. I wrote stories, I made books full of pressed flowers, wrote poetry, I would knit clothes for my soft toys, I painted, coloured, made weird sculptures with straws, sewed misshapen bits of fabric, cooked mud pies in the drain in the garden, kept a diary, read books in all kinds of genres, loved dressing up, pretending, and sang and played to my heart’s content.
At the same time, again like most children, I also had many difficulties. I was abandoned by my alcoholic father and by my stepfather, my mother struggled to bring us up on her own, we had little money, I was bullied at school, I received little love and affection at home, all of which led to being stuck in a destructive cycle of abusive relationships as an adult. My only brother eventually took his own life when he was 24. I retreated further and further inside myself.
Most lives are a mixture of these two sides of the coin. We might say they are good and bad, we might say they are just life and its accompanying challenges. I suppose life would be dull and boring if we didn’t have anything to overcome, nothing to fight for.
For the last thirteen years I have tried to improve my life and overcome the psychological issues that were affecting my mental and physical health. It usually felt like I was standing still or going backwards. Yet there was movement. It was excruciatingly slow, but like a turn in the tide that you can’t really see up close, I can now look back and see that there has been a lot of improvement and lately it seems to be picking up speed.
Over these years, I’ve read blogs, met and been inspired by many women in a similar position. Women who are trying to improve their lives, take care of themselves and their families, and find fulfillment. I’ve noticed too that often women hide huge parts of themselves, perhaps for reasons of privacy or embarrassment or lack of self acceptance. It is usually obvious to me as a reader and empath how cautious and closed many women are. We often present a sanitised, prettier, version of our lives even as we hint at secret suffering. There are parts of my life – failures, stupidity, darkness, ugliness – that I don’t want other people to know about. But I am beginning to realise that it is perhaps these things that most need to be shared. To say, hey, this is me. I am a creative positive useful wise woman, but, at the same time I have all this other messy stuff in me too.
I have also been helped by hundreds of self-help books and articles. I feel I ought to be embarrassed to admit it. This is a much maligned genre. You either love it or hate it. But, for people like me who were damaged as children and who were unable to seek professional help they have been a real lifeline.
So, back to this blog. I have decided to share some of my ongoing experiences in trying to lead a more fulfilling life in overcoming my issues and making the changes that result in a real difference. I hope to continue to rediscover that vibrant playful child I once was. I am going to be as open and honest as I dare. Some of the subjects which I will be covering include creativity, relationships, finding fulfilling work, home life, sexuality, femininity, self-care, psychology, and personal development.
I think we can prove to ourselves and to the wider world that we are never too old to change our lives, to blossom, bloom and find a way to make a difference however small. It is my dream to eventually create a community of like-minded women who can help, encourage, inspire and support each other in our quest to lead more fulfilling lives.
So, I don’t know if anyone is still around here reading blogs. I do hope to reconnect with some past readers, as well as meet new ones.
I wish you all the blessings of spring, or whatever season is turning for you in your part of the world.