It’s hard work, this sorting out your shit malarky. But slowly I am getting there. Husband has, on more than one occassion, wondered if it is making any difference. But he can’t see inside my head.
If he could he would see that on the whole I no longer stress about every little thing and manifest it into a huge disaster in the space of three seconds.
Take, for example, my recent trip to a hen party in Bath. The facts of the situation, I had been invited to a Hen Party in Bath by good and exceptionally lovely friends that I realised I have known for over 15 years now. I was due to stay in a house with 10 other ladies and had only met one before. Queue meltdown – or so I thought – but it didn’t happen that way.
Not long ago I would have had the meltdown:
- What if they didn’t like me
- What if I had nothing in common
- I certainly wouldn’t have had any sleep – I don’t sleep well at the best of times, so I certainly wouldn’t sleep in a house of 9 other ladies I barely knew.
- What was I going to to do when they kept me awake all night in the hot tub.
Sadly, I can also see now, that I would have behaved in such a way – quite subtly – to ensure they didn’t like me and I achieved my objective. Very similar to the children I have taught who behave badly, they know they are going to get thrown out of the class at some point, so they fast forward the whole process to ensure that happens sooner rather than later. That’s what I did. I projected my anxieties about situations and achieved the end result.
This time was very different.
- I knew I was going to spend the weekend with lovely people who make me laugh, a lot.
- I explained my concerns about my sleeping in advance, rather than have a tantrum at the time, and was earmarked with a single room, so I could potter about to my hearts content. As it happens I barely spent any time there – due primarily to shocking sleeping habits!
- I took advantage of the fact that I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep until the house was quiet by making sure I was the last to bed! In this one step alone I felt myself turn from miserable party pooper to really enjoying every moment of the weekend.
- I threw myself with abandon into each of the activities that had been arranged – wore the tiara with pride and had a thoroughly good time!
This wasn’t easy for me. I would be the first to admit that I find the meditation bit hard and have not been doing it for a while now, however, I have maintained one aspect of it. Returning my brain to the present. What’s happening now. Don’t create a future that isn’t real, don’t create stories around what might happen, how people might behave, respond to what is here now. Generally, nothing has ever been as bad as the scenario my head has created, so I have had to start trusting what’s happening now.
The worst part was actually the train from Bristol to Bath on a Friday afternoon – the world’s biggest queue waiting to get on the world’s smallest train. I had to remind myself that this service runs every 15 minutes or so – so it really wasn’t a disaster if I didn’t get on the first train. I met up in Bath with two lovely ladies that I’d never met before and that was it – I had arrived at the Hen weekend and from that moment on I had a ball.
I do, however, still have my down moments. We had some visitors staying with us last weekend and I really struggled with having someone in my home whose basic ideas of housekeeping vary so much to my own. Someone who manages to press all of my buttons without even realising they are doing it – and so a consequence the negative monsters reappeared back in my head. I’ll admit that I very much lost the ability to remain in the present, or to see the positives in the situation and so I realise that there is still much to be done. But on the whole I would say that I am making progress, that the down days are much less frequent than they used to be.
Things that I do find are really helping me are yoga and exercise. I am a bit of a nightmare if I don’t do at least a bit of exercise in every day. In addition to this I am slowing starting to realise that I don’t have to like everyone and everyone doesn’t have to like me. Nor do I have to take part in what everyone else is doing. One aspect that I loved about the Hen weekend was I was with likeminded ladies – and I had an absolute ball – it really confirmed for me that I do have a place in the world. It may not be mainstream – but who wants to be mainstream – but I do have a lot to offer other people and if they don’t get what I’m about, or are dismissive, then that’s just the way it is. Move on!
But slowly – day by day – I am getting there and am starting to spot the positives in the situation before the negatives.