I am lost.

I am so totally, utterly and completely lost.

I don’t know which parenting book to read first, which website to visit, which therapist to call. I am struggling with the heavy weight of despair closing around me like a cage. It’s not so much my own depression that I am battling – though that war wages on (and on and on), it’s the added weight of feeling lost in my own family.

My beautiful baby girl – Beanie – I don’t think I could feel further away from her than I do right now. I think I have spent more time crying in the last few weeks than I have in the previous few years. I’m sure not having the buffer of the antidepressants makes things that much rawer but I also feel that it is the cumulative weight of my mothering grief that is really pouring out of me right now. Every day there is a new row, a new argument, a new drama to negotiate. Beanie is not yet 6 and she behaves like a hormonal teenager right down to the ‘”I’m not listening!” and the slamming of her bedroom door.

The hubble and I are struggling to understand what happened to our happy, funny little girl. When did this angry, sullen, overly sensitive teenager slip into our home and take her over? When did she decide that the only way to get our attention was to defy, challenge, ignore, scream, shout and push against us continually? Is this what being 5 is normally like? I keep hoping that it is a phase but I don’t think that it is. I had hoped that starting school would help her settle into a rhythm, help her to learn to listen and act as part of a little team. It has not. Her teacher, a lovely woman very experienced in teaching, has told us that Beanie is very ‘challenging’. Tell me about it. But where does that leave us? If a woman who has over 20 years of teaching calls our daughter challenging and finds her difficult to deal with, then what hope have we? We have a grand total of nearly 6 years experience of having children and most of those have been fraught. At least they have for me.

I can honestly say with my hand over my heart that I do not enjoy parenting. It’s not that I don’t love my children. Of course I do. With my whole conditional, demented heart but I do not enjoy the endlessness of this ‘difficult’ phase in my mothering journey. I have been on this road too long and no matter what help I seek, I am still here, still sitting in the shit and wishing it smelled differently. I cannot seem to move away from the sadness and the grief and the enormous guilt that I am forever saying and doing the wrong thing. I say things in anger that make my cheeks sting with shame afterwards. I try to reason with her like an adult, even though I know that she is still so very little. I lack the ability and the tools to know how to manage my angry child and not make it all worse. Not make my own anger and sadness worse. I’m sitting here, sobbing over my keyboard and trying to empty it all onto a page, so that i can at least find some space inside of me to figure out what to do next. Where to go now with my precious, rebellious, angry daughter.

Discipline doesn’t work, time-outs don’t work, consequences don’t work, taking things away from her doesn’t work. We have tried time-in’s but they are not working. I am desperately trying to master active listening, so that she feels heard – God knows with me for a mother and my own rage evident much of the time, she probably feels completely unheard – but I am trying so hard. I truly am.  Nothing changes her behaviour. She is rude and disobedient to us in particular, but it has started spreading to other adults too – her grandparents, her aunty, whom she absolutely adores, and to people she barely knows. I’m only surprised that it hasn’t been more evident at school. She isn’t rude there, just disobedient. And she doesn’t listen to anyone. Not ever. And then we will have a week where very little behaviour is evident, where we seem to have turned a corner and then BANG! for no apparent reason, she overflows with brattishness all over again and we are left standing in the debris wondering what the fuck happened. And I sit there feeling like it is ALL my fault. That my anger, my difficulties with mothering, my impossibly high standards for myself (and therefore probably others too), have just fucked up my bright beautiful little girl and I deserve everything I get. And I’m sure everyone feels like this from time to time but I know how bad it gets here when I am way out of control with frustration and resentment and every little thing sets me off. I am on simmer all the time with this PND and yes, I decided to come off the medication anyway. Mainly because it was simply detaching me even more than I do myself, every time things got tough – which is EVERY DAY. I don’t want to be emotionally disconnected from my children. I don’t want to not feel anything or feel through cotton wool. I thought that it would help, but it didn’t and the withdrawal from even the low dose of SSRI’s that I was on, was phenomenally bad. I will not ever take that kind of drug again. Not ever.

She is struggling and I don’t know how to help her because I am struggling too. I can work through some of my difficulties with my therapist, but what can she do? The only person she really has to talk to is me, or the hubble, and obviously we are the last people she wants to talk to right now. So we have made the decision to take her to see a child psychologist/family therapist. This is a major step for me because I feel so horribly responsible for the whole situation. I am terrified that when I explain honestly to the therapist what has been happening, that he will recommend that Lily be immediately taken away from me. Thus realising my absolute worst nightmare – that I am such a shitty excuse for a mother that I am not safe to be around my babies.

What the fuck do I do? How do I turn this horrible heartbreaking situation around and make it into something good before she hits her teens and we find ourselves in every parent’s worst teen nightmare. I am scared for our family and I am scared for her. This much wilfulness needs to find an outlet that is positive and self nourishing or it will destroy her and everything around her. I know. I’m jumping ahead wildly, she is only 5, but I can see it coming the way a rabbit can see the headlights of an oncoming truck and can’t seem to move out of its way. I am a staring down a semi with ‘out of control Wild Child’ written on its grille. And it terrifies me.

Wildling in the Forest

Wildling in the Forest

If you could see her – you would immediately know how wonderful she is. She is so smart, and so capable and she has such perseverance – she will try something over and over again until she masters it. That’s not to say that she does it with any kind of patience – we have many, many tantrums over her inability to do something initially, but she keeps going back. I know that feeling. I am the same. I don’t want her to be like me. I don’t want her to carry my issues as her own. I want her Spirit to remain intact. I just also want her to understand that in finding some way to express herself that is not defiance or downright rudeness, she is giving herself tools to manage her own volatile emotions and that can only be a good thing.



But if you did meet her, you might be amazed at how often we have to ask her to do something before it gets done. Or you might notice how cheeky she can be, how inappropriately she often behaves – like flashing her bottom at people for no apparent reason, or at us because she knows it incenses us. Or you might notice that she has seemingly boundless energy, which she more often than not uses to get into mischief or to just push buttons until something snaps and we go spiralling into another argument, another weepy tantrum, another round of screaming and door slamming. Even my patient, kind, playful hubble is losing the plot.

Dancing Queen (from the 1980's!)

Dancing Queen (from the 1980’s!)

When she sleeps, I go and sit by her bed and tuck her into her blankets. I kiss her softly on the cheek and stroke her head or hand and I tell her how much I love her. I tell it to her as she sleeps because I keep praying that in that open unconscious state, she will hear me as she can’t seem to when she is awake. My heart is breaking for our relationship. I don’t know how to move forward with her. I don’t know how to mend all that is broken between us and it is torture and pain and so much sadness I can’t contain it all. I think that I have spent most of the time between school drop off and this entry, crying. I am not someone who cries much. But these last few weeks I have made up for that in spades. I have never felt so ineffectual and there is only so much gentle discipline I can try with my exasperating child before I revert back to the disciplinarian and get angry again.

Me & My Girl

Me & My Girl

I am crying for myself and for her – that she feels so wounded that all we have is this fractured connection. I am crying for my wee Bear who is already picking up on her behaviour and copying it – as he does everything else she does. I am crying for the strain it is putting on my relationship with my beautiful, compassionate husband – and though I know he loves me and trusts me and understands how hard I’m trying, I also know that in his heart, he blames me a little too. I am crying for the nurturing mamma in me who can’t seem to catch a break and who would tear herself in half if she thought it would make everyone happier. I am crying for her because I so want to step into the role of mother and I cannot.  I just don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how to travel this path with any kind of grace or understanding. I feel as if I am just swinging wildly from one problem to another with no way of making the pendulum stop.

I keep asking the Great Mystery to reach out a hand to help me. I need some guidance to figure out how to do this right. I don’t expect a life filled with roses and sunsets on the beach but it would be nice to know that there is even a chance I can spend one whole day with my child where we love each other and enjoy each other’s company. One day in which there is no drama, no tears, no anger, no pulling away or withdrawing. One day in which I can hold her hand and see the child she is inside and make her laugh again.

For her and for myself I am asking The Powers That Be – please, please help me. Please show me a way to make this right before it gets stuck in wrong, forever.


Don’t Make Me Angry…

You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.

And I’m angry a lot.

You can call it frustration, irritation, having ‘the shits’ (Australian vernacular), being pissed off but it all amounts to the same thing. Anger. And if that anger is not positively expressed, then it becomes depression, guilt, resentment and self-loathing. I think I’ve experienced them all in varying amounts but the fact remains that I have ridden this frightening roller-coaster of exhausting and self-defeating emotional turmoil for far too long. I’d love to say that I’m coming out of it now. I’d love to say that I can see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel but honestly, being in a tunnel suggests forward movement. I feel like I’m at the bottom of a very, very deep pit. And that’s where I’m stuck.

I made the decision to come off my PND medication a couple of months ago. I have gradually been reducing the dosage and it’s been bumpy but bearable. However, I have noticed that the anger is amping up again. Certainly the anger was there even with the anti-depressants, but I guess I wasn’t as connected to it. I wasn’t as connected to anything actually – hence my decision to come off. But I am concerned about what it is happening to me right now.  I am yelling so much. I am swearing so much more. I plunge into irritation and frustration at the slightest provocation and, today, the cherry on the cake, my anxiety started to resurface. I had that fear, for the first time in ages, that something was going to happen to my child and that our last exchange was an angry one. I had to fight hard to not give in to the wave of panic that rose. I had to remind myself fiercely that, as Beanie is in school, it is unlikely that anything bad will happen to her and that I am simply feeling much of what has been dampened down by the medication. Honestly? I was quite happy to have this particular feeling dampened. It gives rise to this sense of hopelessness and guilt that is horrible to sit with. Because there is always a chance, isn’t there? Always a chance that this horrible ‘un-wish’ could come true. And then where would I be? How do you live with something like that? I hope that I never have to find out because just scanning that scenario is enough to send me limping for the Nutella and Gin.

It’s funny but nobody ever tells you how very scary your own mind can be. I have had times in my life, though thankfully they were short, where I truly wondered if I was losing my mind. Or if our family is just genetically more pre-disposed to mental, what shall we call it, disturbances? That sounds a little bit too ‘Psycho’. This is more of a mental gloominess. Understandable on many levels and yet, the spirit is strong in almost all of us. These stressful wonderings are made worse by the presence of real mental illness in the form of my older brother. The childhood thing was just too much for this sensitive boy and he turned inwards and became inaccessible with cataonia, and then unreachable with schizophrenia. Suddenly there were just too many ‘other’ voices in his head for him to hear ours and he changed from being a handsome young man with his whole life ahead of him, to a reclusive and increasingly paranoid late middle aged man who looks much older. A visibly shrunken, wizened version of himself, prematurely grey and with his troubles written all over his beautiful face. And there he stays. Taunted by voices from the past who berate him and keep him pinned in such a dark, dark place, very little light or love can reach him. So you can imagine how the thought that I might end up like him crosses my mind from time to time. Because I was there too. Not for as long and thank all the Gods for that sweet mercy, but long enough for just a little of that darkness to stick to my insides and cause these glitches in my otherwise happy existence.

It’s amusing because before I had children, I never thought of myself as a depressive personality. Sure I had been sad before, even experienced some real grief, but I always knew that it was fleeting and that it would pass. Even the depression I suspect I experienced after my relationship with Adam fell apart had an end. But our family don’t get depressed. At least I didn’t think so. Until, that is, I look hard at what feelings where experienced during difficult times. Understandable levels of grief at loss, and sadness where it was appropriate but when my mum’s sister died, she grieved alone and not for anywhere near long enough. She didn’t want to upset anyone else even though she was completely devastated. Our family has this toxic history of never truly expressing our emotions. Of never truly connecting with that big wall of ‘ack!’ that lives inside of each of us and that stems from all of the horrible psychic, emotional and physical beatings we have endured. And why would you want to? Because healing cannot come through such high walls, such well guarded fortresses. And so, with each tiny prick of sadness, each small niggle of grief, each small spark of rage – another brick is added until we are convinced that we are coping beautifully, while everything smokes and slowly burns away at our happiness unnoticed by our brisk, busy and cheerful air.

It’s all so deeply ingrained that we don’t even know it’s there most of the time. We just ‘get on with it’ or, my personal favourite, we ‘grin and bear it,’ as so many people do. As so many people of my mamma’s generation had drummed into them and indeed, there is most definitely a place for that. I don’t want to wallow in a big pool of self-pity, or at least not long enough for my skin to get all pruney. I want to ‘do’ and keep moving, even if I’m going around in circles at the bottom of this fucking pit. At least I’m doing something. I’m not waiting to be rescued, though clearly I would need someone to at least chuck down a ladder in order for me to climb out. Unless depression gives you wings anyway. And I hate feeling lethargic and useless. I am someone used to doing, achieving, action. So when the depression is at its worst and I can see no point in doing anything because it will only be there to tackle again tomorrow, it’s demoralising to my accustomed gusto too. I have been here for far too long now. I am missing so much of my children’s lives, bogged down in regret and self-loathing. I know that I am not a wholly bad mother. I realise that I am simply a loving mamma who has anger issues, but that’s not what I live with daily. I live with the outbursts, the foot-stomping, tantrum throwing, unreasonable, resentful mamma, who just wants everyone to fuck the hell off and let her alone to sew, for fucks sake! And that is who my children live with too. And that is what I find hard to forgive. I am so far from who I imagined I would be that I’m not sure who I am any more, and that’s more worrying than most things right now. I am, once more, in this process of unravelling, or revealing all the scarred and wounded places I would really rather not look at. Thankfully, I have a good woman by my side who can be stern and soft in equal measure (and believe me, I do need both, for I am an artful dodger when it comes to uncomfortable emotions) and who offers me a place to empty out. It’s slow going and I admit I find it frustrating sometimes. WHY do I need to go back to these pockets of darkness in order to feel the sunlight on my face again and be reminded of who I am? Why? Why? Why? (A question i get asked a lot by my nearly two year old!). Surely the past is exactly, exasperatingly that? THE PAST. But know, delve we must. Blah blah fucketty blah.

So this is where I am. Sitting in a big pile of my own emotional shite at the bottom of a very deep well, wanting a ladder and ignoring it when it’s there, in equal measure and trying to negotiate this progressively more unmedicated state with some degree of grace. Most days, it’s broke and I feel like I’ll never fix it. As I think I said to my hubble just the other day, some days my life feels like a Mike Leigh film and he’s not known for his rainbow unicorns. Ho hum.

Anyway – as this has been largely a big pile of emotional doodoo to write and, I’m sure, to read, I will leave you (or is it just myself I’m talking to?), with something cheerier to think about. Just be grateful Mr Leigh never brought out a fabric line…

Stuff I have made (and look, it’s in cheery bright colours too, ooooh:

These Little Earthquakes

I am here because I don’t know where else to be. Today was a Bad Day. The anger was so close to the surface, the frustration and the impatience all mixed with an incredible lack of grace. A resentment that yet again my time, my space, my soul are all sacrificed to the good of the child. I feel greedy and grasping and want only to escape the (seemingly fraudulent) needs of my demanding little girl. Add to this the many and continuous frustrations with the internet, its temperamental speeds and connection issues which anger me instantly because they have gone on for so long. The strangeness of my new Mac has also fed the furies today. I am such a novice and have no skill with it and that too has been a source of frustration. And don’t even get me started on the reasons why it won’t upload any of my photos or even show most of the pages properly. I am at a loss to explain any of it.

And so, like the earth tremors we have been experiencing recently, these little earthquakes shake me once again. My angry outbursts are, as always, quickly followed by remorse and a gnawing, aching guilt. Today the tears got the better of me. I never know whether to hide my tears from my daughter lest she grow up thinking that she needs to parent her flaky, neurotic mother or whether its ok to let a child know that you are sad and that its ok to cry when you are sad. In the end I went for the latter and explained that mummy was sad but not because of her. She was soothing and empathetic, as only she can be and eventually after much “It’s orrite mummy,” and “You thad?” she suggested that we ‘hold hands’. Well that nearly ended me. Smiling through the tears I suggested that this would be a good remedy for nearly all of my ills and that she suggest it next time mummy goes off on one.

Sadly this wonderful, warm and touching moment was soon followed by more anger, more tears and more frustration as my curious little muppet refused to do as she was bidden, refused to listen and became increasingly difficult to handle.

I stood at the sink entirely enveloped in a feeling of hopelessness and cried. I do not allow myself to cry often, I don’t know why. Perhaps it is because I am embarrassed to be so often this overwhelmed, to feel so powerless to change, to improve what is becoming an intolerable situation for me. The endless conflicts with my two year old cause me great pain at the moment. Mainly because I seem incapable of finding some better way to deal with them. To deal with myself. I cried because it seems that no matter how often I ask for help, it is never given or at least not in a way that I can understand and which is therefore as good as invisible to me. My fear of damaging her tender spirit is a daily shroud. I am terrified that there will come a point when her eyes will dull and she will simply stop reaching out to her emotionally unstable mother and give up, withdraw and leave me heartbroken and bereft. And yet I can see no other outcome if this situation continues. I don’t know what to do. And I can very clearly see that I need to do something to shift things.

I had hoped that the St John’s Wort would help me level out enough to find a clear space to stand in and walk forward from. It appears that this is not to be. Maybe what ails me is not curable by external means. I feel increasingly fragile and unsure of myself. I have never hated myself before. I have hated aspects of my life and my experiences, but never myself. Never like this. I hate myself as a mother and I try not to because I know that the cure does not lie in the misery and the doubt, but in hope of a change. I know too that without focusing on the positives in the situation, I will never truly break free of this horrible emotional and mental affliction that seems to have welded itself to my skin and to my heart. This is not me. At least, I hope to God that it is not me. I am so unhappy. I find myself cursing my life and though I know that it is born of frustration, it does not mean that it is not how I feel on some level. I have counted my blessings, I am more than aware of how much I have to be grateful for and yet there are days when sinking into the ground and disappearing are all I wish for. How can I deserve to be the mother of this beautiful child? Why can I not see a way forward? I am not stupid. I don’t even know how to talk about everything that I feel because I feel that I am letting down those people who rely on me to get my shit together. I am embarrassed to be this down, this incapable of self-mastery and this miserable when all around me is real suffering, real misery. It doesn’t feel right somehow to cry when I have so little to really cry about. I have just finished reading a book called Sorrow Mountain about a Tibetan Warrior Nun who suffered so much at the hands of the Chinese. Next to that, what are my little struggles, my minor sufferings?

I am going to miss the best years of her life if I can’t get myself out of this rut. I know it. And I fear it greatly. Why should she suffer because of me?

I thought about calling friends to talk but didn’t. Most of my friends have more than enough on their plate without me adding to their load. I don’t want to tax anyone else’s adrenals. A friend actually interrupted my crying earlier but I am no good at reaching out. She called at the wrong (right?) time but I felt incapable of talking. What else can I say anyway? What can I say that I have not already expressed a thousand times and more? I wasn’t even sure that I wanted to write about it in my own blog for fear of boring the shit out of you yet again with the same old same old. I did because at the end of the day, it is where I am and I cannot move on without accepting that. It’s my day off tomorrow and apart from a trip to the vets with the cat, I am alone. I know that I will miss her as I always do when we are apart, fearing that we will be forever parted because I do not deserve her and that my last memories of her will be these. I know it sounds stupid but it happens every time. Every time something good comes into my life, I feel as if I am waiting for it to be taken away again. She is the best thing to come out of my life and the most ferociously challenging. I tear myself apart as I try to come to terms with a life so altered, so drastically and forever changed by her. I try to let go and accept and become that which I am now that I have her. But I cannot. I am stretched between my own need to create something of my life, to achieve, to live my music and not die with it still in me and my own inner knowing that she is something wonderful that my life has created and that maybe I should give up any other dreams and accept that. Maybe there is simply a time for mothering unencumbered by loftier missions. Maybe there is only today and today and today and looking into the future simply brings misery. So why then is my spirit still restlessly searching for something intangible, something that hangs just out of reach but releases its perfume into the air every time I walk by it? Why am I so tantalized and so unfulfilled?

I don’t have any answers. I don’t even know where to look for answers. Or maybe I’m simply not asking the right questions. Who the fuck knows.

So I wait for the earth to steady beneath me once again. I wait for the tremors to stop and the earthquakes to subside. I wait for that gentle touch of grace that can take me home again. Home to myself. Pray that it happens soon.

May your caravan be pitched on solid ground.
May all beings be at peace.

Idealism, Motherhood and Being a Rooster

Well. As often happens when I am gnawing on a particularly meaty problem, wisdom pops up and bites me on the ass whilst I’m driving. In this case, the biter was the lovely Wayne Dyer, of whom I am a big fan. I know he’s not everyone’s cuppa but I like him because he’s very Zen about everything. Being present is so not a skill I possess yet and I therefore admire it greatly in others. Like my darling hubble.

Anyway, as also often happens, I digress. So there I was – daughter sleeping gently in the car seat, on my way home with a Mocca and a sarnie, when it hits me (a realisation, not a car), I have been idealising motherhood. (Was that a resounding ‘Duh!’ I hear?). This is an interesting revelation because for a lot of my life I saw only the drudgery of motherhood. My mum was a slave to a demanding, violent bully of a husband and four kids and she had to try and fit a job in around all this chaos. Not my idea of happiness I have to say. Not many people’s I would think. So the sudden realisation that I had idealised motherhood to the extent that I was now driving myself completely insane with trying to achieve impossible dreams, was nothing short of shocking. Yet it makes sense of so many things that I’ve had trouble understanding recently.

Firstly – I don’t idealise ALL motherhood – just the type of motherhood in which i believe. Hence the ability to both loathe it (because of the drudgery and demands) and idealise it (because of what is possible) at the same time. It’s not that on an intellectual level I honestly think that motherhood is all roses, kittens and sunny days spent cooing at a smiling, impossibly good natured baby. I don’t. I’m nuts but I’m not that nuts. It’s more that I have this idea of myself as a mother and I am falling miserably short of it. This ideal can do all of the things that I have often talked about on this blog. She can cook wonderful nurturing wholefoods for her family, she can play for hours without boredom or a stiff gin, she can raise a happy, well- adjusted little camper without Ritalin and she can make stuff by hand. Well, that’s all fine and dandy but it’s not me. At least, not right now.

Idealism is one of those strange things. It seems like a good idea at the time, to imagine a wonderful, better future for ourselves (and it is – but within certain parameters). But it is also a constant source of frustration and misery because we put off everything waiting for those idealised ‘magical moments’. It doesn’t matter if it’s a new job, a promotion, achieving a certain level of financial security, a new house, a bigger car, a family, a relationship or whatever, if you are always waiting to reach that goal then you are simply not ‘living’ now. You are quietly existing and waiting for that moment to arrive and THEN you can be happy, be content, be relaxed. It never comes. I’ll repeat that in big letters for emphasis, IT NEVER COMES. There is no magical day when everything will be better, there are just more days like today. The trick is to make the absolute best of these days, in the here and now, living them fully even if not always happily. Otherwise, you are stuck in a constant cycle of Idealism followed by Frustration/Anger (as you fail to meet your own ideals), followed by Depression/Inertia (as in, ‘what’s the frigging point anyway’) followed by Apathy (‘I give up!’) followed by a new idea of what is right, what will makes things all better again, which leads to Idealism again and so on…

A beautiful and wise woman wrote me an email in response to my last posts and she said basically the same thing to me. I know. It takes me a while to ‘realise’ things as opposed to understanding them intellectually. She reminded me that who I am is enough. Even when it feels like anything but. Even when I’m crazy and resentful and bored and disinterested and reluctant. Even though I am the very definition of a messy mother (psychologically at least), it’s still ok that this is who I am. And, more to the point, it’s ok that this is who I am for Lily. On some level she chose me precisely because I would make a hack of these early years, (more or less), and she would get to learn about anger and how to make rude suggestions to motorists who drive up one’s bottom on swervy bendy roads. That is who I am. I’m a mess sometimes. I’m a control freak at others, (which is interesting because I have been gifted with the world’s grubbiest little girl. I kid you not, there are boys who are more fastidious about their clothing and person than my little grubnut – Ah, the letting go. The letting go.).

This wonderful woman, who has so often been an inspiration to me because she is such a kind and gentle and amazing mother, reminded me that I don’t have to be something else. If I can’t nurture, if I can’t play, if I am angry sometimes and wildly happy at others, if I’m inappropriately humorous, it’s all the same. I am the mother I am and that has to be enough. Has to be because to try to squeeze myself into even my own wide definitions of motherhood, is to try and fit myself into a shape that is not my own. Of course, I can want to be better. I can want to find better avenues for my aggression and my anger. I can want to nurture and to play. But it’s ok if I don’t. Maybe, despite my beliefs to the contrary, what my daughter needs from me is not excessive amounts of play-time or country soups, but the drama, the poetry, the love of literature of reading and dance and magic and imagination. That I can give to her in spades. I can give her an opportunity to be herself only if I am truly myself around her. Myself around everyone. It doesn’t give me cart blanche to be a crap mother but it does give me room to make mistakes and not give myself blunt force trauma when I fuck up. Which I will.

It reminds me, strangely, of my primary school nativity. I was a pretty precocious little kid (I was the kid who wrote and staged and acted in a play at the age of 10. You know, the annoying one) and i was good at two things English and Acting. I longed for the part of Mary in the nativity – not because she was cool but because she was the LEAD. I so wanted that part. Anyway, I didn’t get it. Nope. I didn’t even get to be one of the Angels or the Shepherds or anything. No. I got to be…The Rooster. Yes, I know. It’s like that moment in ‘Love Actually’ when Emma Thompsons’ (love her SO much), daughter proudly reveals that she is the ‘Second Lobster’ in her school nativity and Emma incredulously replies, ‘There were TWO lobsters at the birth of Baby Jesus?’. Well, yes. I was the Rooster whose gift to Baby Jesus was not to crow on his first morning and wake him up. However, I did get to sing a song which, from memory, had the lines ‘Cockadoodle do’ repeated a lot. My mum made me a stunning jumper full of crepe paper feathers and I donned my red tights and sang with all my heart. And I stole the show. Everybody remembered my part. Partly because it was so bloody ridiculous and partly because I was doing what I do best – being me. Annoying, precocious and pretty bloody interesting for the most part.

And so, this well warm groove slides around me again. It’s not the first time I have realised this little message, but it is the first time that I have gotten it so fully. I expect I will be back here again. Wisdom is a bit like an onion, it has many layers and as you peel back each one it is likely to make you cry. There are evidently levels of understanding about the same situations, the same processes, that we come back to again and again until they are fully realised and we are healed of the need to tread that little groove again. We then move on to the next and the next. Is there a place of no groove? Possibly. (I think its called ‘middle-aged white people dancing – particularly men’). But I’m don’t think I’m anywhere near ready to go there yet. In fact, I think I’m like that Goldfish that Billy Connolly sings about, going ‘Round and round and round. And round. And round.’

So this is where I’m at right now. Not bouncing off the walls with happiness but not drowning in a pool of my own anxiety either. I’m sort of quiet, if that’s possible for me. And listening. And learning to be okay with the accepting and the not accepting, the struggle and the ease. I expect that it will take me quite some time to really stop the striving to be something different, to let go of the idea of perfection in motherhood. More importantly, it will take time to let go of the idea that if I am less than perfect my daughter can still turn out to be a strong, confident and amazing woman. I mean, half of my friends had less than perfect starts in life and have continued to have interesting dynamics within their families and they are some of the most amazing women I’ve ever met. I’m proud to know them.

And I expect it will take me longer still to really understand who and what I am as a mother. In the meantime, I guess I’ll just stay here until something moves me in a different direction. Sitting with the ‘what is’ instead of trying to get to the ‘what may be’.

This is me, signing out.

Cockadoodle Doo!

“There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one” Jill Churchill

The Challenge of Acceptance, The Art of Nourishing


Have this playing as you read this.

I would love to come to you healed and say that all of your words had made a difference. They did. They do. But they do not undo, unknot, unravel the many shields of my self. I am deeply grateful for such kindness as has been shown to me and ever humbled that people whom I will most likely never meet, have taken the time to share their experiences, offer wisdom and advice (all of it good, sound advice) or to simply ‘be’ with me for a moment. It has been unexpected.

I am feeling a little less ‘Noir’. There are moments of light, laughter and happiness – of course there are. It’s just impossible at this point to tell what is going to happen next. I am, for once, not anxious to ‘fix it’. I am allowing the ‘what is’ to visit and not feel like I have to escape from it. I know that I have been touched by some sort of sadness that goes very deep and that will not let me loose just yet. No matter how much I struggle against its silky grip.

I’m so tired and so weary to my bones of trying and getting nowhere. I’m so tired of never living up to my own expectations. So tired of always falling short and getting up and trying all over again. And so I have decided to stop. Not stop living obviously, that would be stupid. Just stop striving all the time. Stop trying to sit on my anger at the expense of my passion, my joi de vivre, my soul’s yearning to be heard, to be free. Of course, it is easy to say and not so easy to do. Not so easy to ‘surrender’ when one does not know how to bend to the prevailing winds. How do you describe the act of surrender? What does letting go look like? Feel like? How do you know when you have achieved it? And what of anger? My anger is a part of it all too. I have yet to learn how to express my anger in more appropriate and manageable ways. I have sat on it for so long, all of my life really, and now it wells up at the slightest provocation and is destructive to the one person I want to protect from it more than any other. And yet. I don’t know how to let go and it’s not something anyone else can tell me how to do. How do you explain the process, the art, of surrender to someone who does not know what surrender feels like, what being empty feels like?

I have always known what I have to do. (Have to?) I have been searching for a way but seem incapable of actually doing it. Incapable of finding that middle pathway between self-loathing and self-love, between anger and passion, between nurturing others and nurturing myself. It was quite the revelation to discover that I don’t trust myself. I don’t think that I know how to.

My acupuncturist, Aisla, is an amazing and intuitive woman. Today, as I dissolved into tears in her office (yet again), grateful for just a moment when I could be ‘me’ and let the overwhelm come and not pretend to be on top of it all, to be coping, I realised that this is who I really am. This tear streaked, overwhelmed, oh so tired mummy who wants so desperately to be a good mummy and not a bad mummy all the time, who wants so much to be all that she hoped she would be as a parent, but isn’t. This is it. This is as good as it gets. At least for now. And in her office, for those few moments, it’s ok. Or at least, if not ok, ok that its not ok.

She sits her needles into my skin and they crawl or throb or itch and then she asks me what I think that I do well. I am quiet for a long time. Then I realise that I can offer her nothing. I can say nothing good about myself. Find nothing good to bring forward for us to talk about. ‘That’s very telling.’ She says in her quiet way. ‘Your inner critic is dominating. You need to bring out your inner encourager.’ Yes. I’m sure I do. But what I need most of all is to let it go. Let go of the striving for constant perfection (especially when I don’t know that this is what I am doing). I was moulded for the challenge, for the winning of battles, for being the best at stuff and honestly, it pretty much came easily to me. I didn’t fail that much. But I did get scared of making mistakes. I don’t know how else to play. So now I sit with the knowledge that this parenting, nurturing thing may be one battle that I cannot win. And why is it a battle anyway? Surely these things should be soft edged and soft focused and easy, not iron and unyeilding and frosty. If the way is hard, if the road you are on constantly brings you back to the same stiff, cold place of hatred and angst, then you are on the wrong frigging road. You’d think that would be obvious wouldn’t you?

But its not. It never is. We can never see the beauty that stares us in the face or the courage we have in the face of adversity, when we are the ones doing the looking. I am well aware that this applies to me, of course I’m too busy looking at you.

It’s not that I want to be someone else. I don’t. I do sometimes entertain wild fantasies about being somewhere else, but I don’t actually want to be someone else. Unless that someone is Cate Blanchett perhaps or Kate Bush. I’d trade lives with them for a day. But then I’d want to come back here and be me again and cuddle my girl and hug my man. So no. It’s not about that. It’s about not knowing who I am. It’s about not being able to find something lovable, something bright and good and inspiring about myself to offer up to this life. It’s about truly not understanding what about me makes this path so bloody hard when I have so much love to give to it.

If I abandon everthing to a single moment,
then I reach you.
O light-hearted beautiful of the world,
give me that heavy cup.

Give it,
and then I’ll be saved
from sorrow and helplessness both.
I’m so tired of feeling oppressed by anxiety
and all of anxiety’s troublesome friends.

give it to me,
for then I’ll be drunk with God’s glass
and be annihilated completely.
I’ll open my wings in absence and fly away to the placeless place.

I have spoken before about the process of ‘becoming’. And it is to this that I want to surrender. I have no choice really because what I am doing is breaking me into a million tiny little pieces. But how? How do I reach into the deepest still beating part of my heart and bring it forth into the light? How do we touch that little part of ourselves that is Divine and allow it to lead? I am so used to putting my intellect before my heart. My mind over my body. But thinking has brought me to here. Again and again. There is no thinking my way out of this.

And what is nurturing?
I can tell you what it is not. It is not driving yourself daily to accomplish the impossible. It is not running like a greyhound around the same well worn track after the same scabby rabbit who is always out of the reach of your snapping jaws. It is not trying to make yourself something that you aren’t and never were. But I cannot tell you what it is. I could reel off some trite magazine worthy observations about ‘time for you’ like having a long soak in a hot bath (my bath isn’t long enough to lie down in – why do they not build them with a sodding head rest for Gods sake?), or taking a mini-break (not when you are mini-broke), eating well and getting enough rest. But then what if you don’t cook well or just simply don’t enjoy cooking? What if your rest is held entirely in two chubby little hands over which your deepest desire to get a full 8 hours have no dominion? What if you truly don’t know what nourishes your deepest self? What then?

Nurturing does not come naturally to me. I’ve said this before. I can’t tell if its because I’m lazy (as I sometimes am) or because I am just lacking in energy and inclination (does that class as lazyness?). Right now, with so little time and energy and freedom, it feels like I have nothing left to give. I am having to learn about nurturing myself and my family one day at a time when I thought that it would all come so easily to me. I realise now that I simply don’t trust myself to be a good parent. I believe in instincts, just not mine.

* Sadness & Light

So in this place of ‘no trust’ I sit. In this place of ‘self-loathing’ I wait. Inbetween these moments of sadness and light, I open. I wait to accept myself and this and it. And I know that nothing can truly change until acceptance seeps as deeply into my skin as the striving I wear like a tribal tattoo. I am unravelling and it feels raw and frightening and my skin feels blistered with all my shattered hopes and dreams. What comes out of this blistering darkness I wonder? I guess there’s only one way to find out.

‘Some hearts are ghosts and they drown in dark waters,
just as silt grows heavy and drowns with the stone.’

I Chose The Road Less Travelled…

Now where the hell am I?

Can I preface this post by saying that I am deeply fed up and therefore am sighing a lot. Perhaps it’s an unconscious attempt at inspiration, inspire meaning to ‘take in breath’.

I am so bloody over absolutely everything. I have had such a bizarre and stressful three weeks with my hubble working late and doing much overtime and with all the fire issues to work out and prepare for. And if I have to have one more bloody fire threat, I may just scream. My darling daughter seems to have decided that her raison d’etre is to ‘Make Mummy Crazy’. This not only taxes the one shredded nerve I have left but also taxes my overburdened and severely burnt out adrenal glands. I struggle daily to find new ways to communicate with my increasingly defiant, willful and sometimes downright horrible child. I know that as the ‘adult’ (and I use the term loosely here), that I’m the one that’s supposed to have control over my emotions and be able to step back and be all philosophical and reasonable and loving. What I actually feel like doing is throwing her in a box postmarked to her Nanna’s and calling for a cab to drive me to the nearest fucking airport. There have been numerous smacked bottoms and smacked hands in these past few weeks.

What I hate more than absolutely everything else right now (and there is a lot that i hate) is that I am so not living the ‘attachment parenting’ life with my precious girl. I look at her sleeping and I am lost. I love her so much it tears me apart that I am this shadow of the parent that I want to be for her. I have no patience. I have no calm. I have nothing but anger and resentment and these moments of pure white rage that I struggle to keep under control lest I do something (else) that I’ll regret and shed tears over later.

I have struggled for so long with parenting and just when I think that I’m getting a handle on one thing, something else comes along to shift my centre of gravity away from me again. I am not someone to whom parenting comes naturally. I could sit here and blame my parents or my upbringing or my conditioning for all the problems that I have with parenting and I’m sure some of it would be true but the point is it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t help me to know where some of these patterins originate from if I can do nothing to change them IN THE MOMENT. It’s no use telling someone who is about to explode after the 100th rendition of ‘what you doing mummy?’ when youare still doing the same exact thing that she asked you about originally, to take a step away from the situation and count to 10. I could count to 1000 and it still wouldn’t help because she’d be right there with me saying ‘What are you doing mummy?’ Believe me when I say that the endless questions are aggravating in extremis. Then there is the ‘No! I don’t WANT to’ which is also trotted out endlessly followed by screaming tantrums if she doesn’t get her way. I never imagined that she would be like this and I blame myself. I know that some of it is my difficulties with parenting, with connecting and playing and being totally present for my divine little brat, being reflected ‘child style’ back at me. And some of it is just a two year old expressing her frustration, her anger, her will and not understanding that she can’t have the lollipops that she loves because they make her sugar crazed for hours and drive her poor flaky mother to distraction.

So what do we do? I am so sick of trying a million different things. I am utterly sick of reading parenting books to try and find the solution to the many issues I find myself facing with my daughter daily. I am totally responsible for how I feel and how I react – somehow though I just can’t seem to find the shift that will allow me to react differently. I’ve been to counselling and I’ve been to several different alternative practitioners to help me get my anger under control and to help Lily and I relate differently to one another. You name it and I’ve probably tried it. I still find it terribly hard to ‘play’ with her. I try so hard but I just don’t enjoy it. And then there’s the million other things I have to do daily. My business, cooking, cleaning, writing and all I want to do is sleep. I have one day a week to myself and its not enough. That makes me feel like a selfish asshole. I love her. I truly do. Yet I just want to get away from her at the moment because being with her brings out the worst in both of us and all i feel is shame and sadness and pain after the anger has gone away.

I had these great visions of myself becoming some kind of mother earth type when I had a child. I envisioned the wonderful home waterbirth, the carrying and breastfeeding (which we did for the most part), the blissful connection to my child and feeling nothing but serene and loving towards this brightl ittle being that I had so longed for. It all went to shit with the labour and it has not improved a massive amount since then. Ok. So maybe I’m being a tiny bit overdramatic but that’s how it feels. There have certainly been a lot of very hard times. PND post-dated for the previous 16 months that went unnoticed by everyone, including me. The child that barely slept during the day but slept all night until she was 6-months old and has barely slept all night since. I am not a natural nurturer. I realise that now. It’s not that I don’t have some of the urges but they are simply not that strong. I take full responsibility for myself and for my failings and I am striving to do better, to be better but today, recently, its just been too hard. Too all uphill with very little improvement.

I believe in gentle parenting, gentle discipline, nurturing and respecting the child. I am doing none of it. I chose the road less travelled when it came to the parenting norm – I co-slept and breastfed until she was nearly 2, I gave unlimited cuddles and she could not be more loved (better loved yes, more loved, no), I read every ‘Sears’ book there was plus a whole bunch of other attachment parenting books. I mean, I have TWO shelves of a bookcase groaning with love and care. I believe that it is important how we treat our children and I don’t think that what I’m doing is even remotely ok. Yet when faced with a defiant, challenging and difficult child, I lose my temper, yell and smack. I am NOT awakened in my parenting and I don’t know how to change it. That’s what kills me. I am not a stupid or ignorant person. I am pretty smart and pretty astute when it comes to other people but for some reason that I just cannot figure out (despite my analytical probings ad nauseum) I seem unable to change. Not unwilling you understand. God am I ever willing. Just unable. Whatever switch you have to throw to move into some kind of better relationship with yourself and your child is broken, missing or miswired, like most of the light switches in our house. I am overwhelmed with the magnitude of mothering and I don’t do surrender very well (if at all) even though I keep trying to slow down and ‘let go’. So where does all of my self-examination get me when I seem to be unable to do the one thing that matters most to me – mother Beanie well.

Here it seems. Dissolving into snot and tears, writing to simply ease the internal pressure and to give myself something else to do other than beat myself up. I am not the world’s worst mother, I just feel like I am. I know that I have a good heart otherwise this wouldn’t get to me the way it does but it does not help me to know that.

Nurturing seems to be such a natural thing for other people, so why not for me? Do you know that I struggle daily with what to eat because I lack imagination in the kitchen? I have a million cook books but if left to my own devices I will eat toast and drink tea as my main meal of the day. I have horrible cravings for sugar and starch that I cannot seem to control for the most part and I do not know how to nurture myself. Maybe this is why I am doing such a shit job of nurturing Beanie and Hubble. The poor man is lucky to get a home cooked meal when he gets in from his job. And, bless him, he never expects it from me. He can see how frazzled and tired I am and he just puts on his apron and gets on with the show.

I read blogs daily that celebrate nurturing from women who seem to just be able to create magic in the kitchen and I am jealous and perplexed and humbled by them. I just don’t seem to have what it takes to move into this part of my life without frustration. I am not a domestic goddess. I’m more like a feral kat.

I know that this is terribly depressing but I need to get it out because if I don’t then I’ll explode and the callatoral damage from my anger is more than I can bear right now.

I am not looking for sympathy, I am looking for a way forward, for solutions, for something that will shift this twisted paradigm into a new and a great and a glorious future. Failing that, not being reduced to a screaming banshee every five minutes of the day would be just great.

I don’t know what else to do. I don’t even know how to begin to make this different, better, work. I am lost and split apart with all the trying.

*Photo by this amazing site

These Schizophrenic Days

I want to begin my blog today with a long loud *SIGH*. It has been a good, bad, up, down, laughing, shouting, frustrating and funny sort of a day and I have enjoyed it and hated in equal measure and often within seconds of each other.

I don’t know why I find the whole mothering thing so hard some days but I do. There are days when I could just curl up inside the fridge vegetable crisper just to get a few precious minutes to myself – to rest, recuperate, rejuvenate and find the strength to just get up and carry on. Beanie is not a difficult child, not really. Like most kids she becomes her most destructive and her most challenging when she feels she has to compete for my attention with anything – a phone call, the toaster (being used, I might add, to make her favourite snack, raisin toast!), my husband, the tv – whatever. These are the times that all her shoes come out of the cupboard and get thrown around her room, the DVD’s are unpacked from the cabinet, the TV gets switched off, then on, then off, then on – all to an endless chant of ‘No Lily!’ by an increasing frustrated mummy-bear. Today I went from smiling and chatting with her to snarling like a rabid wolverine because she asked me for ‘nana’ and when I gave it to her, she poked her fingers through it and then flung it onto the kitchen floor (which is so dirty that it makes me tired just thinking about cleaning it). She spent the afternoon whining and crying every time I moved into another room and wanted to be carried everywhere. She refused to eat the lovely pumpkin and goat cheese risotto I cooked for her and screamed when I tried to put her into her baby-seat to eat her freshly made toast – so, I decided to put her in the bath. Ohhhhhhh. Let’s just say that the carpet will be wet for a month and she was hyper by the end of it.

However, I suspect that she was just overtired having missed her afternoon nap (because she refused to go to sleep despite 6 books and lots of encouragement from an eager to nap mamma) and so after her usual ritual of hair-drying, pj struggling and 3 books, she requested ‘boobie’ (which was refused as I am both sore and trying to wean her), had a cry when I refused and then dropped to sleep in about 10 minutes. Normally it takes between 45 minutes and an hour and a half to get the child to go to sleep and this is with either myself or my husband in the bed with her. Attachment parenting is so labour intensive and yet I love the idea of raising a well-adjusted, secure baby. The only problem is that I find myself shouting at her and calling her a ‘stupid girl’ (to be fair, she was hanging off the 600 different computer leads under my desk and I was terrified she’d be electrocuted) or something equally reprehensible and it makes me wonder if I shouldn’t just abandon the whole ‘attachment parenting’ style in favour of something that has me just popping her in a cot to go to sleep on her own in her own time. It seems to be a case of maintaining my sanity whilst still creating a nurturing child environment and on some days the two just don’t gel. Days like these.

I sometimes hate myself as a mother. This is not too harsh a statement. It’s the Gods honest truth. I sometimes say and do things to my child that I absolutely hate myself for and I then become crippled with a guilt that eats away at me like a slow-burning cancer. I have talked about how hard the first year of mothering has been for me before but I have to admit that it hasn’t really gotten much easier. I still feel regularly overwhelmed with the difficulty of raising my child when I can’t seem to control my temper or my tongue. I know that part of the problem is that I’m trying to be a ‘perfect’ mummy. I know this and yet i still can’t seem to let myself off the hook. I guess I feel that my mistakes are crimes against childhood and that I should get life in the prison of guilt. It sounds dramatic doesn’t it? That’s bloody actors for you. Not to mention writers. Always the drama, drama, drama. Yet I feel that I deserve all the shit I give myself because I have yet to go a whole two days without some kind of ugly explosion and it shames me. There are days when I feel I could literally strangle my child and yet I could not love her more. My heart aches with the love that I have for her and I would give up my life to keep her safe. How then is it that I still fall so often into these old patterns created in my own childhood? How is that I have still not learned the art of self-control? How is it that I cannot protect my child from myself? From my weaknesses and my failings.

It took me 16-months to realise that I might be suffering from post-natal depression (and that was an amateur diagnosis by a stranger) and I have still not really accepted that this might be really, actually, true for me. I hate the idea that I might be a ‘depressive’ person despite the fact that many of my closest (and most loved) friends have visited this dark and torturous place called depression from time to time. I have always prided myself on my ability to ‘cope’ – just like all the women in my family. We shrug and get on with it because that’s what needs to happen. The fiery Celtic spirit that resides within this woman is both my truest nature and my fiercest critic. We Celts don’t rest until the work is done and we never ask for help. We are kindness itself to strangers but would run ourselves through with a broadsword for any minor fault or flaw. It’s tiring. I am tired. I am sad. I am at war with myself again because I have not lived up to the (ridiculous) standards of parenting that I have set for myself and which I still manage to find time to write testily about. See – nice, normal, schizophrenic mamma in action.

What I hate is the feeling that tomorrow I will still not know how to do it any better than I did today because this is who I am right now. This is all I am capable of right now. This is the ‘what is’ as they say in Buddhism and to fight the now, the what is, is to be unavailable to the present moment which is the only moment in which I can effect change. That’s the double edged sword of it all. I have to be at peace with my failure and allow it to sit within me like a big black duck quacking maniacally (not sure about that image!) and just be with it. Did I mention that I have a little difficulty with surrendering? Well that means surrendering to this feeling of failure and despondency. It means letting the tears come and trying not to be ashamed of myself and my mothering. It means letting the light into the darkness by not shutting myself in or down but by simply allowing it all to just be.

And I don’t want to.

I don’t like it.


Terrier Mind

Well, it’s been a strange couple of days made all the stranger by the coffee throwing nazi who painted my car with his beverage for some imagined parking offence yesterday and whose aggressive and petty actions caused me a lot of anger, some fantastically graphic imagined retribution scenarios involving a sledge-hammer and a large amount of my urine and a rather swift descent into the awful ‘terrier mind’ syndrome by which I am often afflicted. I did rather cure myself of most of it last night be writing an Anger Letter – this is, of course, a letter in which you say exactly what you feel. I wrote mine in true technicolour detail and I have to say that when I had finished I was absolutely pissing myself laughing. It actually brought tears of mirth to my eyes. Who knew I was so funny when I’m angry? I let my husband read it because he wanted to know why his wife was cackling like something demented but the part that we laughed at most was the sentence ‘you have all the personality and charm of a 12 day old sheepdog carcass, partially burned and then shat in by a hobo’. Ah, good times.

Anyway, despite laughter being the best medicine (which is something my mum always says), I still find my inevitably overanalytical mind revisiting the incident and worrying at it like a dog with a rag. I imagine what I’d say or do if it happened again and it is always invariably graphic, violent and, very, very angry. For all my explorations into the spiritual and in spite of my best intentions I still find it hard to deal with these situations in a rational or even-handed manner. Mainly because they fire up so many different conflicting emotions in me. I feel slightly frightened by the display of aggression, I feel powerless to do anything about it in case it escalates or people I love get hurt. I slip back into feeling like a victim because I am a woman and therefore physcially less able to handle myself. It drives me crazy and I have to keep consciously bringing my mind back to the present, disentangling my energy from the incident and trying to move on from it. The anger letter helps because every time I remember it, I have a little chuckle. However, I would really like to know how to handle these situations better, faster and so that they don’t get a hold inside me that takes days to let go of. I also don’t feel very inclined to send love in the face of aggression which I think is normal when one is feeling attacked. Anyhoo – the terrier mind is a bitch and I’d like to find ways to soothe and redirect her energies into something more productive and enjoyable than revisting past hurts. Answers on a postcard please.

Apart from this things have been ticking along nicely really. My wee wun and I have been spending more quality time with one another and by that I mean playing together and connecting more than is usually possible on an average day. We spent a lovely hour reading Hairy MacLary amongst other things.
I am particularly in love with The Gruffalo and The Gruffalos Child which Lily absolute adores even though they are a little old for her. i really recommend these books for children of any age as they are beautifully illustrated and so enjoyable for mums and dads to read too. Of course, in order to bring something of home with me to my mothering, I recently purchased the DVD of Meg and Mog who I absolutely love. Well, I would wouldn’t I, all stories about a Witch, Meg, her cat Mog and her Owl, Owl who is voiced by one of my all time favourite writers from the UK, the fabulous Alan Bennett. I was once lucky enough to have my own writing mistaken for his at an audition for Bristol Old Vic Drama School. You can imagine how much that little comment buffed my ego when I still find it necessary to tell the story! If you haven’t already do check out his Talking Heads stuff – funniest writing and best acting by some of Englands best talent including another much loved personage, Julie Walters. I digress – I was talking about Lily and me – she’s now tucked up safe and warm in bed and I’m free to witter on in my usual fashion and empty my head so that the terrier has room to sleep or bite her fleas or whatever.

Before I leave, as indeed I must for my brain is becoming mushier than a 10 day old banana, I will just say that I have been listening to the most amazing music by Yungchen Lhamo a gorgeous Tibetan refugee who has the most achingly beautiful voice and with such longing that I am moved to tears whenever I listen to her. Her music is divine and since I’m already in love with all things Tibetan, including The Dalai Lama (or Daddy Dalai as I call him), I wanted to mention them here. I could add more but let’s leave it for another time.
Nighty Night.