I have a confession to make.
Lately, I have been a little bit difficult to live with.*
You see, when I don’t get to write, I get cranky. Writing is the thing that makes me feel like me. It fills me up and chills me out and it’s simultaneously my therapy and my entertainment. (We don’t have a television friends, so my imagination is all I’ve got.)
Lately, I’ve felt like I just haven’t had a spare second around here other than to put on my blue checkered apron and dutifully serve the members of my household. And so I don’t feel me. And when I don’t feel like me, I get very confused because WHO THE HELL AM I THEN and the only conclusion I can come to is that someone’s cheating me out of my happy little life because they want to take over. I secretly think this person must have seen Joel without a shirt on and decided to steal him away. And quite smartly too, because he’s in equal parts incredibly handsome and incredibly intolerant of Miss Cranky McCrankyton. I’m quite sure he is one Rachel Meltdown away from packing up his things and moving back in with his parents.
Anyway, the point is, I need to write. Then this whole problem will be solved. Then I will feel like I have filled myself up, ready to spill all my energy and love and time onto my partner and my baby.
This week has got me thinking about the thing that makes you you. Some people have had a thing since the day they spoke their first word. Brother Chris for example. He loved birds the minute he was born. By the time Brother Liam was mobile enough, Chris would drag him around the forest at the back of our house saying Look – a Zebra finch! And there – a Chestnut-breasted Mannikin! (yes, there is such a thing, trust me) and Liam would coo and repeat the birds back which made Brother Chris very happy. He drew pictures of birds, he learned all their calls, and he could spot a flicker of one in a tree far away and tell you exactly what species it was. And still to this day, birds are his thing.
Other people don’t have a thing, at least not that they know about yet. I never knew what my thing was until I wasn’t able to do it anymore. And I firmly believe that to find a thing that makes you you is absolutely crucial to your happiness.
Before I was with child, I was a massage therapist and an acupuncturist. The majority of my clientelle were women who gave up so much of themselves to keep everything running and meet everyone else’s needs that they had burnt themselves dry. Yes, they were wives. Yes, they were mums. Yes, they were employees. Yes, they were daughters and sisters and friends and aunties. But the fact is that they were so busy BEING all these things that all the things turned bad anyway. And it made me realize that you have to be married to yourself first. You have to mother yourself first. You have to work for yourself first. Not in a selfish, narcissistic way, but simply because all the other things flourish only because you’ve filled yourself up and actually have something to give, something to offer the world.
And that’s what writing is for me. That’s what this blog and the red tent is for me. It’s the place I go for time out. It’s the place I go to connect me to myself and make me feel like I’m part of something greater. And it’s the place that joins me to all of your lives and your stories.
Actually, now that we’re on the topic, could you do me a favour? If you come here from time to time and you like hanging out in this here tent – could you tell me so? Could you leave a comment at the end of this blog or like the facebook page or communicate to me somehow? Because, well, I’m insecure, and I spend an AWFUL lot of time at home caring for a small baby and the more people I know are inside this here tent, the happier I feel. After every post, I spend an embarrassing chunk of the day coming back to the computer and obsessively checking if any new comments or likes or follows have occurred. Like, every 10 minutes.
It’s my thing friends, it’s just the way I was born. I can’t really help it.
Anyway, we have gone waaaaay off track. Back to the story about me never having enough time to write and Joel being one meltdown away from leaving town with the circus.
Today, Joel came up with some new rules.
He tells me that some nights he will cook. I tell him how is that possible since most nights you are either at work or at aikido and I’m not waiting until 9 pm to eat. He tells me he will cook dinner in the morning if he has to – he will menu plan so there will be at least something in the fridge to reheat for dinner. I tell him that’s lovely but he has a hard time remembering to put the bins out so how in the sam hill is he going to cook us a meal as well. He tells me I’m being negative. I tell him he’s being unrealistic. He tells me that he cooked dinner every single night in his last relationship and that I’m just being controlling. I decide to just shut right up and let the man cook. Preferably without his shirt on.
Joel cooking shirtless. Me writing.
It could just be the revolution this little family needs.
This is the only picture of Joel cooking I could find – it’s a rare sighting and he’s not really cooking – we were in Bali doing a cooking class and his job was just to crush up the stuff. Sorry he doesn’t have his shirt off. I tried.
P.S I’ll ask for his permission to post this photo of him just as soon as he’s finished making his sweet little way out of the kitchen.
*This may be a slight understatement.