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A new box for my garage

Caffeine today: 4 coffees and 1 tea. Incidentally I have also eaten two packets of crisps, I feel like I’ve reached some sort of salty snack low.

Today I’m veering away from all the inning and outing and eventual outing (although I have to admit the whole thing does bewilder me, but not in an amusing way) I’m not writing a political blog so if you feel like reading something unrelated to Brexit then please continue.

This week has been a little bit bollocky. The self-doubt worm has wriggled its way into my head making me feel insecure and shitty. The problem lay with a short story I’m working on and I keep typing, deleting and rewriting it, this story is a git, I’ve created my own gitty, boring story – the magic just ain’t happening. It’s not “not happening” like ‘I really want to shag Tom Hiddleston but it’s never going to happen’ sky in the pie way, because I started it and it was happening (which alas will never happen with Tom) and it was going well and then all of a sudden it wasn’t, I hit a point where it became crap and the narrative wasn’t flowing. But what made me feel shitty wasn’t the (crap) story itself but what I’ve attached to writing, but in order to explain why I’ll have to take you back a few years to when I first became Mummy…

Every mother’s experience is different when they first become a parent. For me, even though I had my beautiful baby boy there were times when I felt lost, almost as if I had been stripped of my identity because the things that once made me feel like ‘me’ such as my job and my buzzing social life no longer had the same footing they did before. I had to rediscover myself in this new world of being mum and working part-time. Then when we moved to Australia and I gave up work to become a full-time mum, a decision I embraced, I again found that I had to rediscover myself. Not having the ‘formal validation’ a job gave me left me feeling wobbly and unsure of myself, no one was there to pat me on the back saying “you’re doing great, here’s a pay rise as recognition”. It seemed that the bare bones of me weren’t good enough and without the coat of armour of a job I was actually pretty insecure and not the confident person I thought I was. Time moved on and I’m now a middle-aged mum of two, back in England, loving, giving, tidying, washing, cleaning, wiping poohey bums, guiding two other human beings through life and trying my best not to scream at the walls. I am of course very much loved but sometimes in a bad moment (normally when I’m exhausted) it feels as though what I do is invisible and that I am no longer visible to myself. In those moments I don’t know who I am and it’s horrible, I feel useless and worthless and so to stop myself from slipping through my own fingers I started writing again. Writing helped me to get to grips with ‘me’ and gave me a wonderful sense of grounding. However, this week I stumbled and for a moment I was feeling lost again.

The problem is, other than eating chocolate spread straight from a jar with a spoon, writing is the one other thing I enjoy doing, but unlike chocolate spread writing gives me a sense of self. This week however the fun exited the building leaving the self-doubt worm to munch away on my self-esteem. Thoughts of “I’m shit” and “who am I if I can’t write?” and other bollocky thoughts manifested leaving me unsure where my talents lie and what I’m good at. I know that being a mum is hugely important, I don’t underestimate that and I do love it but is it selfish to want more? I don’t have my own income and one day I want to earn one from writing, but this week due to my crappy story I have felt like a job at the local supermarket is probably more of a reality. To top it all off this week has bought some other little turds of joy: I have a mass of acne along my jawline which makes it look as though I’ve been shaving, Edi bit me so hard on the arm she left me with a blue and green bruise, the same day I said “for fuck’s sake” in front of Edi after stubbing my toe and she parroted “fuss sake”, my son asked me for the second time in a month “Mummy why do you look old?”, I’ve forgotten to buy batteries three times in three consecutive days, I’ve overspent on the food budget and we’re now skint and whilst I was having a wee Edi found my sanitary towels and handed them to me saying “Mummy stickers”.

The latter are only the ugly mites of self-pity but not becoming a writer is something else, that’s fear. I’m frightened because writing is one of the first things I think about when I wake up and one of the last things I think about when I go to sleep, it’s what I really want to do, it’s what I enjoy and if I’m no good at it then where does that leave me? A bitten, old, spotty, forgetful, sanitary towel laden, broke, clumsy fish wife fuckwit?

So what to do? Through in the towel? Let Fear win? Give the Self-Doubt worm a free all you can eat buffet ticket to my brain? Stop writing because I’ve come across something hard (not Tom, unfortunately)? Fuck that! Today I realised that if I can take all the shit that’s thrown at me as a mum then I can eat Fear for breakfast and use the Self-Doubt worm as fishing bait. So, I’ve decided to put Fear and Self-Doubt into a box which I’ve labelled in big capital letters “TOTAL BOLLOCKS” and I’m going to put it in the garage and let it get lost along with the paddling pool and boules set (I think there’s some sort of portal in my garage). I’m going to keep writing, hell! I’ve only just began! So what if I write something crap? For every one thing I write that’s rubbish I’ll write ten things I’m happy with. Today I’ve decided that I’m not going to define myself by the crap stuff, writing or otherwise, we all do crap things from time to time but we are all, including me, so much more than that.

You better watch out Self-Doubt and Fear, I’m a middle-aged mum and I’m coming to get you.

Bea x

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