Wow! I haven’t blogged in a couple of months…..but that’s ok.
I’m not here to just produce endless and pointless posts. I may not publish every week but I WILL write something when I feel the need to share, muse, review or discuss.
This morning I started writing this in my head as I lay in bed…..so I knew it was time to sit down and share some more #northof45 thoughts from this greying head.
I hope you enjoy.
As a Mother of two beautiful (and yes, I am entitled to be biased as I am their Mumma) teen girls who both have a zest, freshness and innocence to life, I have to admit I like to live a little vicariously through them.
They are entering those years that I am actually still capable of remembering clearly how I felt, who I loved spending time with, and what I loved doing with those people.
My first decade of life has been sadly reduced to glimpses and fond memories of important milestones, people and events that are starting to fade in clarity and the distinction between solid facts and childhood fantasy is getting greyer, much like the hair on my head.
I watch my girls throw their heads back and belly laugh til they cry. Dance when they feel moved to move regardless of where we are. And sing at the top of their lungs with abandon like they are auditioning for The Voice.
I remember those years and I miss them.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am still the type of person who will break into dance in public because it feels good. My laugh is definitely on the ‘raucous’ side, although doesn’t seem to happen as often as I’d like. My singing voice is something that should not be shared, and yet I’m more than happy to grab that microphone when my girlfriends and I hit the local Karaoke bar.
But somewhere along the years, this girl DID turn into a woman that is, to my disappointment, much quieter, more reserved and a little too serious for my liking.
I can’t exactly pin point when this change began and I started to morph into the ‘me’ of today but if I could I’d want to go back and change it.
Maybe it was when I was in Uni and I was obliviously enjoying one of my weekly runs around a local waterway and some young boys across the water were yelling and making fun of me and my ‘larger thighs’ at the time. The humiliation was excruciating and it was a long time before I started running again.
Maybe it was my parents telling me to not wear this, not wear that, tidy myself up, lose some weight, don’t eat that, take more pride in yourself…..ALL things that as a parent you feel you must say to your child out of love, but in hindsight now, all things that make you want to rebel and push back twice as hard.
Maybe it was when the boyfriend at the time tried to pull me back into my seat at a concert because he was embarrassed that I was singing and dancing…..yes, at a concert! #dickhead
Maybe it was when I was told that I needed to swear less on Social Media in case I offended people…..clearly I ignored that advice (see above sentence).
Maybe it was when I became aware that other people around me were more concerned about what people thought and said than I had been growing up. Social media is DEFINITELY responsible for this becoming more and more an issue for our sons and daughters and I so hope that the ongoing effect isn’t a population of people afraid to speak their voice and who all look the same.
Whatever the catalyst was for my change to a more socially acceptable, less loud version of the younger me, I wish I had ignored it.
You see, even though I am definitely not a shy, retiring flower and I do have most of the time an overabundance of confidence, I feel a sense of loss for the wilder, younger, louder and less inhibited girl I used to be. The girl I see reflected in my own daughters.
I have an amazing memory that I often smile about when I start to hold my tongue, or feel constricted by what I think I ‘should’ say or do.
It’s one that I look back on and think, YES! Yes, that’s the woman I want to be!
I lived with a wonderful woman for 12 months in the US when I was at Uni.
Patricia was funny AF, generous to a fault, had a glorious mane of long, straight golden hair and in my 21 year old mind, so very, very glamorous (admittedly a lot of this was attributed to the fact that she was blonde, American and I was obsessed with all things Stars and Stripes at that age). Patricia was a true Southern Belle who gave zero fucks about what other people thought. She spoke up when she saw injustice and she looked after every little injured sparrow (eg person) that she came across. Patricia laughed loudly and loved fiercely and heaven help anyone who crossed her.
Anyway, the memory I wanted to share was the two of us driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina one day with the radio blaring and the two of us singing at the top of our lungs.
Patricia and I were frequent visitors to Ashville in NC to marvel at the grandeur of the Biltmore Mansion and its garden; pretend to be Upper Crust by dining at the fancy Grove Park Inn (straight out of Dirty Dancing in my mind); and immerse ourselves in the bohemian, arty Ashville community.
So there we were on the Parkway when one of Patricia’s favourite songs came on the radio. Without a seconds hesitation she pulled the car to the side of the road, turned the radio up FULL BLAST, jumped out of the car and started dancing madly on the side of the road. Just like it was the normal thing to do….and for her, it was!
By this age I was already starting to lose touch with my louder, wilder, uninhibited side and I immediately shrank down into my passenger seat in embarrassment. But then I clearly remember the internal battle the 21 year old me had with myself at that point when I realised that all I really wanted to do was get out of that car and start dancing like a fool right beside her!
So who won??
Who do you think?
On reflection, this is probably the time that I started to realise that it is pointless, and actually a tragedy to deny your true, authentic self.
As much as society had told me already by this age to be more quiet, laugh less loudly, blend in more, don’t draw attention to myself and whatever you do, DON’T embarrass yourself – the REAL me could not wait to jump out of that car and groove alongside my beautiful friend. Even if it was on the side of a Highway!
And so I did.
We danced, we laughed, we waved at the cars honking as they drive past and we created a memory of a lifetime that I will take with me to the end.
A memory of freedom. A memory of wild abandon. A moment of pure liberation that I have since compared so many moments in my life to.
I’m so glad I have that memory to look back on. So grateful that I can draw on those feelings in the many times since where I’ve been unsure of whether to talk or act for fear of being shushed or laughed at.
In fact, I’m pretty sure that this is where the seed was planted for my lifetime memo – what’s the worst that could happen?
It’s also made me so determined to help teach, guide and encourage my girls to remain the loud, wilful, fun-loving, spontaneous and uninhibited individuals that they currently are as they transition into young women. If I can do that for them, I will feel I succeeded at ‘parenting’.
I posted this image on Instagram last week and I think it captures it all perfectly. Don’t you agree?
Here’s to being irresistible AND invincible!