I've been reflecting on my last post and I realised I have some confessing to do.
The first is that I rarely ask people how they are and really want to know the answer. I'm no saint. I'm usually too busy to stop and chat.
I do have a lot of love for my daughter's classmates and I honestly feel that their parents are beautiful people. I love having so many friends here in our local community, lovely people that I bump into every time I leave my house. And I really do care how they are. Just not every day and especially not when I haven't had much sleep. Maybe it's because I don't feel like there's a lot of space for me at the moment and I just don't have capacity to hold their answers, particularly if they have some gravity to them.
The second thing I feel I should share is that I know I am a moving target. Someone asking me how I am will rarely get a satisfying answer... unless we have a lot of uninterrupted time and I feel it's safe to tell the truth. I am very good at manufacturing a sense of urgency and highly skilled at deflecting conversations away from myself.
Thirdly, it somehow seems like the greatest admission of failure to share that my baby son is a crappy sleeper. Maybe because early signs were that he was a champion sleeper and self-settler. Probably because my daughter was an amazing sleeper. And although this came with its own issues as far as early feeding patterns went, she was so brilliant that I could help but feel a bit smug every time other new parents complained about sleep deprivation. Smug and, if I'm going to be honest, more than a little judgemental. They must be doing it wrong, I reasoned.
I guess I fear being judged in the same way. I don't want to look like I am doing it wrong. I don't want it to look like I am not OK.
Being honest about not being OK, in my experience, engenders a level of interest that I do not want to attract. I don't want you to ask me. I don't want you to sympathise. I don't want you to worry. This will somehow make me feel even worse.
I'm not advocating for this sort of attitude It's a pattern I'm trying to notice, an assumption of isolation I am challenging gently. I'm not sure I'll ever change, the current runs pretty deep.
But this morning, after we dropped my daughter off at school, we walked home a slightly longer way than usual. It was cold but sunny and there was a hint of wood fire smoke in the air. There were brambly bushes with unusual berries covered in morning dew. Ornate lattices made pretty patterns on the hawthorn brickwork of heritage houses. We crossed the creek and the rippled reflection of the bridge and the trees reminded me of a Chuck Close painting.
And somehow all this helped.
This post is in response to the ninth prompt of the Reverb14 reflective writing challenge. You are warmly invited to share your response and link to it in the comments below, if you feel called to do so.
The next opportunity to connect in this way is April Moon and we'd love to have you join us!