I have here with me, on this side of the screen, a couple – well, technically seven (does this mean it’s several? I always imagine several to be in the vicinity of seven, much like a couple is two …anyhoo, I digress) – several blog posts sitting in draft mode.
They’re not posts that cause me any particular sort of anxiety nor worry about what others may think of them. They’re not controversial, nor confronting. They’re little more than getting the myriad thoughts and feelings and observations out of my head, down my arms, through my fingers to dance about the keyboard.
I’ve struggled to hit the Publish button after my last post, Behind the Silence, and the long gaps between words on this online journal that both preceded and proceeded that post.
It felt a bit wrong, just popping up with some sort of random musing that is (possibly) our of context from the tone of this blog of late. I feel, as I often do, that I need to preface things, provide some sort of explanation or introduction or something. Almost a launchpad to allow myself to carry on as I was, or with what I need to do. For me.
Maybe it’s a safe way to ease myself back into the game.
There’s so much that goes on in my head and in the blogging world (the blogosphere if you prefer) and in the world in general. When I consider how this space started in the first place, it was about me sharing what was going on in my life, my world, my pyjamas, that aided me in seeing the funny side of things.
I am, at heart, a rather avid fan of humour, so it wasn’t hard to have a good, long, hard laugh at myself. It is equally as easy for me to slip into a deep, dark hole of self deprecation and, ultimately and without much effort, self-hatred.
Either way, it helped me considerably. I also did it to bring a smile to the faces of others. I wasn’t after comments or acknowledgement or, when the social media scene expanded beyond blogs and online forums and into Facebooks and Instagrams and Twitters, the collection of likes, friends, or followers.
I just wanted to make someone else laugh. And perhaps assist them in seeing the humour in things, to allow them to lighten up a little, and not take this parenting thing so damned seriously.
Given the feedback I received, I succeeded in this and more. I “made” other people feel normal, feel adequate, feel okay in themselves. I helped them to feel happy, and less stressed. In a small number of cases, I also stopped people from killing themselves.
This filled my heart and made it sing.
(It is just as hard to acknowledge now as it was back then.)
I had fallen, for a time at least, into step with the Rules of Blogging, where I made attempts to follow the ten steps to successful blogging and seven way to monetise your blog and the events and product reviews and … following all the rules. All. The. Rules.
The didn’t exist when I started – remember, I was blogging way before it was cool. Before, I think, WordPress was even a thing. Or, at least, when it was in its early days, before we’d heard of it here in Australia.
And I miss the writing just for me. The online journalling and the retelling of the funny, crazy, chaotic events that happen in my life that make me laugh, and, at times, force me to actively seek the humour in these things. And, so I am led to believe, do the same for others.
I know way back then that my driver was a deep depression fuelled by frustration and a lack of fulfilment. I had a brilliant idea, and I ran with it and it filled me and gave me purpose and made me happy.
I know the world has changed considerably since then and, as is wont to happen when one is a parent, my life has changed considerably. Now, unlike back then, I don’t really give a flying fuck that I had C-sections to extract all my kids from my womb; something that caused me great emotional stress for many years, and now I’m just trying not to die from Teenage Boy Smell, and do things that I enjoy.
I am no longer the mum of three young children, running a business form home, and married to a chef.
I am a the mother of two teens and a tween, working full time, married to a teacher (same dude, by they way, and he still does the chefy-type things).
What hasn’t changed is my passion for the mental, physical, and emotional health and wellbeing of Australian mums and their families.
I just haven’t been able to work with the rules in order to do this in the way I’ve wanted to.
That is a bit of a cop out. It’s kind of an excuse, really. Like, sure, there’s the rules but if I don’t follow them, no one will die.
It’s not like the drink driving or speeding rules, where lives are at risk, and there are impacts on families, friends, the health care system, the taxpayers etc etc.
It’s just a freaking couple of words on a digital page.
There has been the worry about what people with think, and then the fear that I would inadvertently hurt someone with my words, even though I am careful with them and know that some people will choose to interpret things in their own way. I accepting that others have their own views and passions and even though I’m not writing for them, nor even intend for them to see it, they will and they’ll be sad.
I don’t like people being sad, and it’s worse when I’m responsible for it … or when my actions have caused it, even though I know the choice is with them.
What’s stopping me though, is I’m scared.
Not just for me, but for others. I had, in my Utopian-style ideal of creating an online community was brought a bunch of mums together. it grew and thrived and people came and went and it became a core group with a few on the peripherals, yet still part of the core.
(Jeebus, this is WAY harder than I thought. I don’t want to feel the feels. I also know some reading this don’t know the full extent of all the things, and some of you don’t have a clue what I’m talking about. This is hard …)
I was praised and thanked repeatedly, from the heart, a number of times for creating this space for so many.
I can’t, however, accept this gratefulness without also accepting the responsibility of letting it become what it did.
Although many would absolve me of guilt should I provide a quite acceptable and understandable justification, I allowed people to be (unknowingly) , thus creating a selective, exclusive community.
I’m not proud of myself for it, and feel really awful about it.
That a grown woman, whom I loved and trusted at the time, effectively had a tantrum over whom I allowed in does not, in my opinion, excuse the fact I allowed it to happen.
Nor that I allowed the standards to slide, because I was too fearful of confronting people I considered friends, too fearful of losing them at all, to the point it became an unsafe place for some. Judgemental. Shallow. Hurtful.
I let that happen.
Because I did nothing to stop it from happening.
To be clear, I know this continues to be a safe place for some, where they feel loved, heard, and supported – which is SO COOL! I’m beyond happy about that. As I said, it wasn’t toxic or unsafe for all, just for some.
I guess, like happens in life, some of grow in a certain way, others in another, and some stay the same, and some change dramatically, almost overnight. It’s just what people do. I know I have grown and changed in many ways.
The crux of it is … I let things that conflicted so immensely with my own, personal values happen. So incongruous was it that my heart hurts, I am filled with a loathing I cannot articulate, and I am so scared of doing it again.
I am so deeply, deeply sorry for allowing the exclusion, the judgement, and the selfishness carry on, unchecked and for so long.
I am fearful of re-creating the same.
And it is hard … so hard to take the steps I need to take to do the thing that fills me with love and satisfaction … but to not is just as hard.
I like to think this prefacing of my reconnecting with my blog, myself, and whatever community I still have around me, will allow me to step backinto this space, and for it to be the place it was when I started it back in, what, 2005 I think it was. Or thereabouts.
I got stuck in the About Me of it all, where it was about sharing a household with boy toddlers when it began, and, well, I guess I kept thinking that I needed to continue to focus on Mums of Toddlers. But that’s just silly, right?
I mean, as said all the way up there, life changes, people change, and those toddlers become tweens and teens and ultimately adults, and in those years they go to different educational facilities, their interests change, they make friends and lose friends, they partake in different activities or they grow and thrive and stick to one activity for a long time – either way, they change what they do, or they get better at it and things still change – and, fuck me, do they take up far too much room, or what?!
I forgot the About Me was, quite literally, about me, and I can damn well write whatever I want, even if the Rules of Blogging says I should have a schedule for what topics I should post when, and what the best time for Facebook engagement is and how many blogs I should comment on each week for maximum engagement.
Because, you know, I want people commenting just because one of the Ten Blogging Tips on a particular group say you have to.
Oh, and please, I’m not, not at all, having a go at the blogging community, nor the rules or recommendations or guides or anything like that. Fuck me, they’re awesome.
What I am saying is that, for this blog, and for my on personal fulfilment, I allowed myself to get caught up in the rules that just don’t work for me for where I am now. I did a bit of the ol’ “I can’t maintain that” so I did nothing.
Don’t do that. Don’t ever do nothing. It’s a stupid idea.
Blog rules are awesome and really super helpful and supportive. But only when they are.
Also, I really don’t want this post to go down that path of whether blog rules are okay or not, and which ones are the best.
That is not what any of this is about! ‘kay?
Anyhoo … I am a mum. I am a full time employee. I am married.
I am extremely passionate about the mental health of mums and dads and kids.
I am equally passionate about the physical and nutritional health of same.
I don’t believe these things are mutually exclusive.
So I don’t have a blog that is focused solely on tips and tricks for depression.
Nor on diets and healthy eating.
Nor on the best sort of exercise and how to burn fat in 7 minutes or 25 days.
Whilst I have great (university level) knowledge and decades of experience in these industries, I cannot in any way separate them from each other, and cannot talk about one without considering the relationship with the others.
I may even write about this one day. Especially now as I’m reinventing, reintroducing, and reconnecting. Although not really reinventing. Not in myself, anyway. Maybe it’ll look like that from your side of the screen.
I love hiking and being in nature.
I love baking and creating stuff with food and experimenting with my family and find it a great stress relief.
More recently, I have discovered how much I love photography.
So what I’ll be writing about is about me. About my life, the things I love and that fulfil and/or de-stress me, the things that amuse me, and my observations (my Moosings) of the world around me.
I hope that it helps you to love and to laugh, too.
I hope that you can see that it’s okay to read about my hiking and baking and photography and really not be into those things yourself, but get some joy from reading. More importantly, I hope you can see that although these things are my things, they are also a metaphor for Doing Stuff In Life That Makes You Happy.
That you can take my hikes and think “Fuck that, I’m not doing that” and at the same time go “But hey, I freaking love crochet / gardening / dirt bike riding” and be inspired enough to just go and do it.
I don’t say things to make you think the same as me. I say things so those who feel the same know they’re not alone.
Thank you for getting this far (it’s a freaking long one – sorry).
Thank you for not taking any of this personally – non of it is about anyone but me.
Thank you for sticking with me. I so totes understand if you didn’t.
Thank you for letting me speak.
Thank you for being there for me when I have needed you.