Tag Archives: fear

FOMO

I heard that acronym for the first time in years last week. FOMO: Fear of missing out. It struck a chord with me. A great big major C. It was the social disease that I had been living with since my teens. Always the good time girl, always at the party, always the life and soul ( as long as I was hammered), always the one that couldn’t say no to a drink out or a smoke, always just there, always frightened I was going to miss out. Although none of all that was ever really fulfilling. It was all just emotional and spiritual empty calories; unsustaining leaving me hungry and needing more and more to fill the void. A void that had no bottom because the fast burning energy was eating it up. 
I still had it though however much in denial I was about it. The fear of missing out. The FOMO. My week is split into two distinct parts. Four days full on single mum. Three days child free single woman. It’s quite an odd way to live. I’m not going to deny that three days not having to negotiate the logistical hell that is my Wednesday from 5pm to Sunday 10am is very welcome but it also makes for the arrival of the kids each week that little bit harder and the manic momentum which has slowed down for a few days is back up to full pelt again not to mention the loss when I say goodbye to them on a Sunday. 
It is during those child free days that the FOMO strikes. I suppose in the time I have freedom to do my own thing without having to check what the kids are doing first I want to fit in as much as possible. Meeting friends, going to the theatre or cinema, if I’m invited I’ll go. If there’s nowt happening I’ll create it. Even if I’m exhausted. And I am a lot of the time. Exhausted!

Then I heard it. FOMO. I heard it loud and clear and although I realised it still struck that old familiar chord for the first time I wasn’t frightened anymore of missing out on a party, a drinking sesh, or even just meeting up with people for a coffee I was frightened of missing out on me. By feeling the need to fill my child free days with activity it was stopping me from having time with myself and to recharge after the craziness of the other full on days. So I thought about the plans I had made that day and really checked in with myself. When I stopped to listen I heard it loud and clear, ‘ I want to go home’. So I did. I listened to what I really wanted and acted on it and didn’t feel frightened of missing out. 

Life goes by in a instant and before you know it another week, month and year has passed you by. I always burn the candle at both ends never stopping to take stock of where I am in my journey and what I need. What I need is time. Time for me. Time to just be. So saying goodbye to a lot of the old patterns of behaviour and feeding needs that were not healthy for me I will slowly but surely sense and believe that I don’t have the fear of missing out anymore. What I do have is something positive and much more empowering. I have the hope of finding me. 

Nighty night x

Ps 775 days 

Thus far…

2 years, 24 months, 731 days, 17,544 hours, 1,052,640 minutes, 63,158,400 seconds. No this isn’t the title of a musical theatre number but rather the numerical depiction of how long it has been at the stroke of midnight since I have drank alcohol. So much has happened in this time a lot of which I have documented here but there has also been a lot that I have kept to myself or only shared with those closest to me. Somethings we need to keep for ourselves. Some roads are partially walked. Some journeys are yet to begin. Some are too painful to openly share. Whatever the story, whatever the journey, whatever the pain the clarity I have now as a result of the freedom of the misuse of alcohol I had developed enables me to face life. Yes it can hurt, yes it can be acutely painful but in feeling it with all its devastation I am giving myself the chance to properly heal. I look back at my life from 1st April 2014 backwards. Self medicating with alcohol all too often when life became difficult or enhancing the party within me when life was good but never allowing myself to just feel. Scared I couldn’t live up to what was expected of me. Scared of feeling lonely in my fortress that protected me from pain. Scared of being me. 
Two years on I am still on my journey. In many ways I might always be but then aren’t we all on some journey. It’s not about the alcohol or any other substance it’s about choice. It’s about choosing to leave an overly trodden dead end path and forging a different one. One that allows the light in. One that is clear, open and directional. I’m still me but when I think about me before 1st April 2014 one particular songs springs to mind. This song could have been written about me. 

‘I want to swing from the chandelier’ 

Sounds very Oliver Reed. Bizarrely I share the same birthday as the late and infamous heavy drinking actor with a penchant for chandelier swinging. Swinging from the chandelier sounds liberating, fearless, exciting and exhilarating which are aspects of life too easily forgotten or suppressed. 

Yes I still want to swing from the chandelier but if I am I sure as hell want to bloody remember it. 

Nighty night xx

An Extra Hour

The clocks went back last night. Well to be precise at 2am GMT. Just out of interest the Daylight Saving Bill was introduced in 1909, the year my Nana was born although it wasn’t fully put into practise until 21st May 1916 three weeks after Germany had formerly introduced it and by the looks of this photograph it wasn’t always in October. I wonder though with all those years of forwards and backwards what is the actual time had we not been saving? I suppose if it’s just back and forth we’re either here or an hour forward? Argh! The movement of time always bamboozles me. I mean don’t get me started on ‘ Back to the Future’ or ‘Twelve Monkey’s’. 

Yesterday was a day when I wish there had been an extra hour. That hour would have allowed me so much more calm, patience and usefulness. It could have been time well spent. As it stands the extra hour was not afforded me or anyone else for that matter. I mustn’t feel lone persecution in my time lacking anxiety but so often I do. When I feel pressure (usually time related) I change pretty quickly into John Cleese in ‘Clockwise’ striding  through the house in a demented fashion and giving orders out to the kids like a sergeant major. Trouble is the more I bellow like Brian Blessed on acid the more they go into slow mo and give me the ‘ I couldn’t give a figless fuck’ attitude. Yes it can be quite frantic and so predictable in many ways with one striking factor – time. If I had more time we wouldn’t be getting stressed. Sounds plausible doesn’t it but really that extra hour wouldn’t give me much at all because I’d only get up later or find other time wasting activities to fill it resulting in the usual wearisome meltdowns about buses, timetables, school bags, packed lunches, work, homework, appointments, forgotten play pieces, signed forms, money, match attax, loom bands, unofficially borrowed toys to be returned, missing uniform items, football training, football games, brownies, dance classes, play dates, sleep overs or even endless requests for teeth brushing to commence. 

Now that I don’t sit of an evening supping vino collapso and slipping into a numb fuzzy state (where any coherent thought cannot reside because my brain’s addled terrain is not conducive to its existing there) I have much more time to think and reflect on what has passed and it’s quite revealing and sometimes  hard to take. To really look at a given situation and what part you have played in it takes honesty and courage because sometimes you might not like what you see about yourself. When I am panicked, pressured or under acute stress I look to source the blame to make sense of how I’m feeling. It’s because the water wasn’t hot enough, or because you didn’t do as you were asked even after the 8th time or because too much was attempted in too short a time scale. I feel thwarted with a huge sense of injustice. Therein lies the answer to my own dilemma –  I try to do too much giving myself monumental mountains to climb and a self fulfilling prophecy to fail. With that expectation piled upon myself by yours truly I am bound to. I try to keep everyone happy. I try to prevent upset. I try to give the kids as many opportunities as I can because I am their Mum and I want them to participate in stuff that inspires them and makes them happy but in doing that the pressure I put on myself is immense resulting in time wasted by deconstructive means resulting in stress and frustration. I mean they are only with me four days not a whole week. I know I need to let go. I need to give myself a break. I need to be kinder to myself. 

Something I am learning is that it doesn’t make me a bad Mum or a failure if I say no to certain things or prioritise. At the end of the day when the kids have a strop about not getting more football cards or not having their friends over on a particular day are they not just pushing the boundaries and quite frankly being unreasonable at times? At the end of  the day when I have a personality change because ( deep down) I know I’ve not allowed enough time to give the best possible start to the day and I’m cross with myself am I not pushing the boundaries and being unreasonable by taking it out on them?  I know when the domestic storm hits that I am culpable as much as anyone else if not more for at the end of the day I need to show them that I am in control for then they feel safe. It’s hard sometimes when the pressure hits but if I’m not in control neither will they be. They look to me to show  them the way, to guide them, to make them feel safe and loved. I have no doubts that I give them all of those things in abundance and I beautifully and honestly receive them back in full but the kindness, compassion and love I am seeking  in these situations needs to comes from me. It’s not a bad thing to love yourself. It’s not egocentric or selfish, it’s acknowledging when you’re feeling vulnerable, weak or scared and allowing yourself to be honest about those feelings and be kind and generous emotionally to yourself  rather than burying them inside feeling the need to be punished for the stressful situation. None of us are perfect. Each and everyone of us is flawed and full of contradictions and we all need love, kindness and compassion. Let’s try not to forget to give that to ourselves too. 

Nighty night x 

P.S. 573 Days 
  

Motherhood 

Ten years ago today I became a mother. Something I never thought I would be. Something for most of my life I never really had a desire to be. Yet a decade ago there I was ready to welcome into the world my baby, my son, my life changer. As soon as my then husband and I married we decided to try for a baby. I wasn’t get any younger so there seemed no reason to wait. I had also changed my view on having kids and knew it was something I very much wanted. When I try to think what it was that changed in me I am not 100% sure. Partly at that stage I felt in a secure relationship and it seemed a natural progression but it was also something quite personal. I longed for a connection with another human being that was totally unconditional, a unique bond, to feel selfless in my love for another, to think of another before all else, to nurture and to find complete joy. After 18 months of trying in 2004 I eventually fell pregnant… Twice in fact. Both pregnancies were lost. I felt a failure, incomplete and scared that I would never be able to sustain a pregnancy full term. Then in January 2005 I was pregnant again. Third time lucky? It had to be and it was. This pregnancy was not straightforward with gestational diabetes, a separated symphysis pubis and high blood pressure just for starters but what I found most challenging was the psychological effect it had on me. The worry that I would miscarry again and only till I was fairly showing and feeling strong movement did I relax on that. The worry of the diabetes and trying to keep on top of the endless hospital appointments, scans and blood checking. Given all that I still had the biggest concern of all. The fear that I wouldn’t be a good mother. That I would fail. That I wouldn’t meet the requirements of the job. What if I was rubbish at it? What if I couldn’t give my baby what it needed? What if he felt rejected by me? After all Nana had told me enough that I wasn’t a great daughter ( based on the fact that I was just different to my Mum and didn’t pander to her ego like she did) so surely I wouldn’t be a good Mother? These fears were in the back of my mind the whole time as well as the sheer excitement at what lay ahead. 

Then after yet another hospital appointment I was kept in for observation due to high blood pressure. The following morning I was informed that although 11 days early they were going to induce me. You’re not ready! I could hear in my head. You are not ready! Well I had to be. There was no going back or stalling this. My induction began on Friday 2nd of September at a around 6.30pm and my son …our son Max was born at 2.14am on Sunday 4th September. After a monumental 31 hours and 44 minutes, pain, examinations, epidural resulting in what was akin to a near death experience, vomiting, more pain, needles, more examinations, blood, fluids, drips, catheters, cesarean section, anaesthetic, fear, exhaustion, terror, emotion, joy, relief and laughing there he was. A little blue due to low blood sugar but there, big, strong and beautiful. He was the most glorious thing I had ever seen. I remember every time I looked at him I couldn’t believe he had been born from me. That he had grown inside my womb. That he was of me. Of both of us. 

So much has happened since my son was born both good and bad but one thing is clear. Regardless of what departures have been made between the two people that created this human being, this clever, funny, sensitive, loving, supportive, caring, sometimes grumpy young man that is forming in front of my very eyes we did get one thing very right. Our son. In fact little did we know over those life changing hours that only 19 months later the second thing we got right would happen. The birth of our daughter. Whatever isn’t there anymore we always have the joy and pride of sharing the creation of these two perfect children. 

My motherhood has changed me completely. It is by far the most rewarding, loving and special aspects of my life but equally can be the most challenging, soul destroying and exhausting. There is not a day goes by that I do not question myself as a mother. Sometimes my insecurities are hard to bear and the self doubt is overwhelming but that is something I need to work on constantly and now a single parent I am finding my strength in that and it is liberating. Regardless of what mistakes I make the bond is forever, unbroken, unconditional. The love I give and receive is solid, unending and perfect. I am blessed. 

My son you were not the only one born that day. I was too. 

I love you always and forever. 

Your Mummy xxx

Ps 520 days 

Max only hours old.

  

Max’s first day at school ( aged 5)

  

Max on his 10th birthday.