*NB The ‘real stuff’ is a little further down the page- I’ll even throw in a heading so you know where to start (I’m super generous like that), so feel free to skip this section if you’re easily bored by navel-gazing re-introductions.
So, I’ve been in what I’m describing as an ‘Ecclesiastical’ funk. And not ecclesiastical as in the dictionary definition- that would be too ‘mainstream’, I talking more the general existential angst that permeates the biblical book of Ecclesiastes. You know, the whole “what is even the point?” deal. This is my funk. Nothing is new under the sun. Nothing will be said that hasn’t been said before. Consonants may be slightly rearranged, inflections added, but thoughts are rarely new.
I feel as if my writing is just noise, merely an addition to the already cacophonous internet. There are plenty who say what I say, and execute it with a written cadence and elegance I lack. The thing is; I’m actually okay with it. Really, truly okay. So feel free to put the finger violins and feigned sympathy away. I’m not sad. I’m not wallowing in self pity, I simply chose to remove myself from what I felt was no longer serving a purpose… that and writer’s block. It’s easy to take the self-care, community-conscious high ground when your creative juices have soured, or straight up stagnated! But then a thing happened…
My nearest and dearest started asking what had happened to my blog. Why was I not writing? What was going on? And upon hearing my insightful, mature and pragmatic responses, they all provided the same, incredible, life-giving encouragement: They told me to get over it, pull my head out and punch out some words. Who needs enemies, you know? Nevertheless, this ‘encouragement’ helped a little. So all that ado, simply to say “Hi”. I’m back. For today at least.
This may kick off a season of prolific, eloquently rich and inspired writings, or I may head back to camp Ecclesiastes. Who knows? But what I know for sure (*channels inner Oprah), and what I want you to know for sure, is that I’m happy. I’m travelling well, and Self Pity and I are currently not on speaking terms. Life is good. xoxo
The Real Stuff
A friend of mine posted the below pic on Facebook today. I read, and kept on reading, knowing there was a punchline coming…
But it wasn’t what I had hoped for. Yes, I get the joke, I just don’t think it’s funny.
A few people have mentioned that I’ve become ‘so serious these days’, and I’ve lost my ‘sense of humour’. Perhaps there is truth to their observations, I probably have. I’m seeing the world a whole lot differently these days, and I’m weighing the words we use as women, as men, as a community, on much more critical scales. The words in the photo above, or more accurately the message they send, comes up lacking. I perceive imbalance in the scales.
I am a woman. I am a wife. I am a mother, and because I look through these lenses, the joke’ above arrested my attention. So as a woman, a wife, and the mother of a sixteen year old son, and two daughters; nine and fourteen, I write because some messages need to be countered, and the more voices, the more noise, the better.
My concern, especially as Jordan and I raise our children in a Christian community, where deeply traditional (read: archaic) views, are still held by a handful of the more conservative folk among us, is that my kids, especially my daughters will be fed the idea that they are to be submissive, subservient, long suffering and sub-par. Jokes, that inadvertently normalise this traditional thinking are of concern to me.
I want my children to know that love is in many ways a choice. The feelings are not, but the actions that accompany those feelings, are.
Long before a marriage happens, acts and behaviours should be mutually observed before an equal partnership is entered into. Watch. Observe, and then love yourself enough to make a decision about relationships based upon the information you’ve gathered. This is the message I want our kids- your kids to hear!
This is my uninvited rebuttal to a joke that is less innocent than it seems…
Love Does Not Demand
There is a huge difference between ‘asking’ and ‘ordering’. If your person demands a tea, coffee, sandwich or paper aeroplane, they’re being a massive jerk! Reciprocal acts of service are a beautiful aspect of partnership. But expectations that create an environment where one person is expected to serve the other is not beautiful, it’s ugly.
Love Doesn’t Just Listen, it Hears
Tiredness is part of life. Sometimes conversation, even with the most precious person in your life, can become a little yawn-worthy. But hear me well dear poppets: If your person regularly makes you feel as though the words you say, or the topics of conversation you choose to discuss are boring, pointless or stupid; love yourself enough to save your words for someone who has ears worthy to hear them.
Your words have value. The things that are dear to your heart are worthy of acknowledgement and discussion.
Love Honours The One It Is With
We love to excuse people, especially men, for their ‘wandering eyes’. How many times have you heard someone say “men are visual creatures”? Hello, women aren’t turned on by looks either? Pffft. And yep, I acknowledge that’s men’s brains are biologically geared toward visual stimulation. However, wandering eyes can be controlled.
It does men no good to stereotype them as testosterone-driven cavemen, incapable of controlling their own behaviours. All of us notice beauty, each in the eye of the beholder (everyone say ‘awwwww’), but brief recognition of beauty, and prolonged anticipatory stares toward beauty, are entirely different things. The latter being creepy as heck.
Love yourself enough to know the difference, and love yourself enough to know what you deem as acceptable behaviour from your person.
You can’t control another person, but you can choose for yourself what behaviours you will comfortably accept from a partner.
Love Is Grateful
Cooking can be a powerful act of love. Or, if you’re like me, it is a love-less chore you despise, or anything in between- the spectrum is large on this one. So unless you specifically invite feedback or flavour input; any criticism of your cooking should be swallowed by your person along with their mouthful of unappreciated food!
A relationship where one person is continually criticised, mocked, belittled or disrespected is not a partnership. This type of emotional distress is abuse. Love yourself enough to recognise it, and acknowledge it. Knowledge is power. With knowledge we make informed choices.
Love Prioritises Wellbeing
Deep, refreshing, relaxing, regular and uninterrupted sleep is important for all of us- if you’re a new mum, then it is but a distant memory and the stuff desert mirages are made up of. Hello, this is why sleep deprivation is a form of torture, it’s misery! New mums, you are zombie queens! Hang in there you gorgeous humans, you’re doing an incredible thing, and sleep, I promise, will come… eventually.
If your person snores and it disturbs your sleep, don’t put up and shut up! Discuss some options around how this can be dealt with, either as a partnership or as individuals. Discussion is important.
Do not excuse not being a priority. We prioritise what matters to us. Even when money is tight there are ways to gift love. The best birthday present I have ever received was a box from my best friend. Inside were 63 things she loves and appreciates about me. SIXTY-freaking-THREE!
I’m sure your person has access to paper, and a pen too. It’s really not that hard to make a person feel loved. Don’t settle for partnership that fails to regularly celebrate each person within it.
Love Doesn’t Trap
This one is serious guys, like actual.
If you are in a relationship that does not feel like a partnership, one that leaves you fantasising about how you can get away, if violence becomes an idea you genuinely start to entertain as a means to escape: talk to someone you trust! Open up to a friend, a doctor, a teacher, a pastor, a community leader, a helpline. Love yourself enough to dream of a bright tomorrow. Because unlike some beauty company that’s is trying to sell you, you; you really truly are worth it!