*Warning! This piece is heavily bracketed!*
Hello! I’m sipping hot tea whilst watching the hypnotising, pattering rain fall out of grey English skies and the wind bend and sway the winter trees. In a way it’s quite beautiful, quite moody and ‘Heathcliff-eques’ if you Bronte lovers know what I mean?
This sort of weather always makes me feel nostalgic for past times. Times when I was a kid playing in sodden fields or stomping on wet concrete, enjoying the feeling of rain on my face and not caring if my socks and feet got soaked. As children we never let the British weather bother us too much did we, playing was the priority and wrapping up warm was secondary. I still love the feeling of rain on my face but I hate the feeling of wet socks now. And wet jeans – ugh! Taking them off is like peeling the skin off an ancient salami, revealing pink, wobbly sausage-like slabs that begrudge the day I ever saw a cake, and salami. Hmm, I’m ruining my own mood. Let’s get back to the nostalgic stuff when I didn’t have so many hormones and ate cake without giving a shit.
I think most of us were similar as kids; climbing trees without fear of heights, jumping in puddles with our best shoes on without caring if they got wrecked, cutting chunks out our hair just to see what it looked like, playing pirates without caring about being overseen or appearances, doing gymnastics in the buff without a flash of thought as to how socially acceptable it was, analysing our farts to see who’s was the stinkiest and the worst one won – and it was a good thing, when imagination led, when being in the moment was real and fear of other people’s judgment and worrying about, well everything, didn’t our frame of existence so much as it does now.
Earlier this week I was surprised to see my 38 year old face in the mirror. Just to clarify, I haven’t been wearing a canvas bag on my head for years and this week was the big reveal (“ta da! See how much you’ve aged in the last ten years!” said the imaginary gorgeous, perfectly groomed hostess and her imaginary male host colleague with plucked to perfection eyebrows and oddly over white teeth that are disproportionally large for the natural size of his mouth said “So Bea, what do you think of your new crow’s feet?” Bastards!). I was surprised because in my mind I’m still a kid in many ways. A few moments before “The Mirror Moment” I had been mucking about with the kids dancing to The Proclaimers in the kitchen, after breaking a bit of a sweat I checked in the mirror to see if my mascara had smudged. My God, I wish I hadn’t. For the first time in my life I saw my face, my exterior as it were, for the grown up person that I am and I was actually surprised to see that I wasn’t young anymore. “Why the fuck is there a Terrahawk in the mirror!” I exclaimed aloud. The kids came running out and asked what a Terrorhawke was, so I told them. Then they asked what the F-bomb was and funnily enough I didn’t tell them what that was, I told them they misheard me and not to use that word and that I actually said “Flipping” and that they shouldn’t say that either. I’m picking up my ‘Greatest Parent Ever! Award’ next week.
The thing is, in my head I’m young, like 12 years old young and I’m just as much of an immature goofball as I have ever been, so to see in the mirror a grown-up woman who looked like she carried the weight of over-thinking, worry about other peoples’ thoughts, worry about things out of her control (Trump, Brexit, fracking, how women are portrayed in the media and the price of cheese – the good stuff’s ever so expensive, too expensive for me right now but then again dairy farmers have got to get their fair share etc), worry about if the kids will hurt themselves, worry about being a good parent (I am, I’m getting an award nest week, see above), worry about money, worry and thinking, thinking, thinking about the future, the past, the left, the right, the good, the bad, dwelling on the “what ifs”, a woman who’s face that reflected everything but the kid in her, the fun bit, the bit she likes about herself, the beautiful and loving part of her. It was quite overwhelming and I don’t mind sharing that I shed a tear or two, I felt oddly detached from myself.
So, what’s all this got to do with grey skies? Well I’m getting to that. Admittedly the mirror thing did get me down for a while and I analysed the hell out of it (more than I have ever analysed a fart, and that’s saying something) and came to realise it wasn’t about aging in the cosmetic sense, it was about loosing my inner child, letting my carefree happiness become drowned by the worry that comes with adult life. But today, looking at the grey skies and finding beauty in it, I’ve realised there must be also be beauty in my grey skies too (how many buckets do I need to order for you all to puke in? Was the analogy too much? Should I have gone with building and knocking down walls instead of skies? No, touchy subject right now. Bugger it, I’m sticking with ye olde over-used sky analogy). The point is, if I can still find pleasure in a grey, seemingly miserable day, then perhaps my inner kid is still hanging on in there and just needs a bit of nurturing. Right now the kid in me wants to go out and jump in the puddles bulging outside my front door, so that’s what I’m going to do with Edi, we’re putting on our welly boots and going jumping in muddy puddles (Can I say that? Has Peppa Pig copyrighted puddle jumping yet?). Although I will never do gymnastics in the buff ever again, I want to recognise the person who I see in the mirror, not because of vanity but because I want to see the ‘carefree’ in me reflected back, not all the worry I’ve created for my adult self. So from this day forth I vow to be more ‘kid me’, to live in the moment more and to try to see an adventure and the fun in every situation.
Goodbye dear friends, I’m off to jump over oceans, sail treacherous seas and fight the wind! Hurrah!