Self-Doubt is a Bastard

Self-doubt has been with me since I can remember. It’s a nagging feeling that I’ve made a mistake, said something wrong, gone too far, not gone far enough, been too quiet, been too loud, hurt somebody, done something but not done it well enough, missed some vital underlying message etc.

Take the situation when I was 8, in a new class in a new village where nobody spoke without dialect. I knew from the puzzled looks that something was wrong with the way I was speaking, although nobody said anything or laughed. I didn’t push it aside as something that would probably sort itself out with time, but started consciously studying the dialect to stop those puzzled looks.

Or take a few months ago, when my brother told me that my dad’s new wife had been talking about how “gestört” – socially disconnected / maladjusted she thinks my daughter is. I know that she is not. She is shy, and prefers to observe new situations before being in the center of it, but she is a wonderful person, able to build relationships as well as talk to people of every age she doesn’t know so well, she is able to let me know if she feels uncomfortable (instead of acting it out), etc. Now, this woman is my generation and works as a childrens’ psychologist (which I have always thought was an insult to the trade (and my generation)).

But instead of brushing it aside as a stupid person’s remark and forgetting about it, I still have a nagging feeling that I have failed in bringing my daughter up in a way that will be helpful to her. Maybe, this voice says, I should have pushed her into social situations more instead of accepting the fact that she was extremely shy. Maybe it’s wrong to educate the kids at home without the forced group setting every day – maybe that was a big mistake (not that I could change that if I wanted to, thanks to Mr Ex).

At the same time, I know it’s not true, and I know for example that she is just fine in a group setting, her music theory teacher is always full of praise for how involved she is in class. But that voice is still there.

Another self-doubt situation might be at work, being on a video call with my French client. My French is really not that great, and I should probably be looking after it more. In these calls, I sometimes know that what I’m saying sounds like a drunk toddler trying to explain advanced mathematics. I know that, and she knows that, and I can live with it. But sometimes, the client will just incline her head a bit in a certain way, which will send me reeling.

What did I just say, did I just make a terrible mistake, or did I misunderstand her question? She probably thinks I’m really stupid. Mr Ex always said I was rubbish at learning languages, and voila, apparently he was right. If he was right about that, what else was he right about? How impudent and big-headed of me to even accept this project, knowing my French is so atrocious. She probably has a good laugh about my blunders after she puts the phone down.

This is going on while I’m trying to get through what I am trying to say, and ends with me putting the phone down and feeling utterly exhausted. A few weeks into this project I got an email from the client’s account manager, saying that the client is very happy with me and the project (this is a “historically difficult and unhappy client”). What a clash in my head.

I’ve managed to understand that this voice is full of nonsense most of the time, but I can’t shut it up. I also can’t ignore it, deep down. I only manage to disregard it and hopefully not base my reactions and behaviour on it on the outside. When it gets bad, I remind myself of the things and accomplishments I feel good about, and try to get these to speak up a bit, louder than the unwelcome nagging voice. I find other reasons for the slight inclination of my client’s head – a glitch in audio quality for example. I’m pretty good at coming up with other, more positive reasons for situations which make me question myself.

But it’s a huge and constant effort.

I look forward to learning to quieten that voice some time.

Brownish-grey

I miss you.

Terribly.

Painfully.

No matter how much I keep myself busy, and physically and mentally occupied, I am still missing you. I am growing and feeling better about myself steadily, but underneath that, there is a hollow space that wasn’t there before. This space is always there, lying underneath all the other, mostly positive feelings, giving everything a slight brownish-grey tinge.

All the time

Every day

and every night.

Even a great day full of laughter and sunshine is slightly grey, because you are not part of it.

I miss talking to you, making you laugh and diving into your thoughts and opinions. I miss inviting you to peer into what makes me tick, and how I work. I miss knowing that you care. I miss feeling safe.

I miss kissing you, and feeling your touch. I miss your voice caress my senses. I miss your smell, and the feel of your skin.

I miss being able to tell you this.

I miss you

Journal Update

It’s been a while…

Life has been quiet and incredibly interesting – the currents are changing nicely.

I have changed the way I teach the kids – I now use weekly plans instead of having it all in my head and having the kids practice math/writing/etc every day. This goes completely against what Mr Ex does with the kids – which is only book-based, following his own, very singular curriculum. The kids are still adjusting, but it is more interesting for them and I can see the positive effect of this approach already.

Work is very demanding at the moment, but it has not yet taken over my life, and I don’t think it stands a chance actually. All the same, I’m getting very positive feedback from clients, so apparently, setting priorities away from work is not doing any harm.

I am also preparing a summer adventure – voluntary work with  kids in my new language. So far, the formal stuff is organised, and I know what I will be doing. I still need to prep everything though, fix the dates, make sure that I can actually give yoga classes and science sessions (etc) for kids in a foreign language, practice understanding said language when it is spoken at street level, and so on and so forth. Some days I get really excited and feel this is going to be an amazing experience, other days I’m so scared I consider blowing it all off. But – I have a habit of doing scary things sometimes, and apart from a headache and perhaps a difficult day, I have never regretted this habit. So scared or not, I’m doing this 🙂

The most exciting part of organising until now was definitely informing Mr D that I would be around for an extended period. Although this is not an excuse for getting myself over there, I had promised that I would inform him if I was ever planning of coming over, and inform him I did, with a beating heart.

His first assumption was that I was coming over for SOMEBODY (male) – I think I may have managed to convince him now that that is not the case.

So, we will definitely see each other.

A week after this, he told me he would be “close” to me that same day, and would I be around to meet up? – “close” however was still a 5 hour drive and no other sensible way to get there. So I said I’d love to, but I couldn’t make it. But I wanted to so bad – and the two people I talked to about this both said something along the lines of “oh well, you’re right not to go, but when you change your mind,  xyz…” – apparently it would have been typical me to go after all, on a work day, just for the chance of a few words. It’s really interesting when you see your own personality reflected in such a way – I rather like it too…

Anyway, after opening and closing google maps 826492 times and searching every flight website there is for two days, I sent Mr D another message with the screenshot of the distance, telling him that I can’t decide whether it is too far or not – he managed to silence the chaos in my head by reassuring me that we would see each other soon. The world erupted in sweet-smelling roses with that, and I was my usual balanced self again.

We have been in touch from time to time – even on a video call, when my youngest rang him without warning me and all of a sudden, there was Mr D on the screen… it was lovely, although my youngest was a bit irritated because he wasn’t the center of attention, which he usually is with his big friend.

On a really twisted note, Mr Ex’ new girlfriend is now also practicing THE LANGUAGE with me – because her Ex is from there. Imagine the energies zapping through the atmosphere when I came to pick the kids up and we were chatting in front of Mr Ex, who didn’t understand a word, in the language of her Ex and my current interest. He was close to exploding in his jealousy-laden world. And all I could think was “Not My Problem”. I enjoyed the whole experience.

I am still following and exploring allowing femininity in my life. It feels so good, so much more rooted and right. Maybe I’ll find time to write more about that and my insights, and the effects that this journey of the mind has had so far sometime. I would  like to, but there are other things that come first.

 

I was Scared Last Night

… with the wind beating against the house, forcing it’s way in at the windows, causing doors to bang inside and things to bang and break outside.

I got up all the same at 3 o’clock, when a loud bang woke me with a start. The wind had blown the inside cover panel of a window box into the room, in the children’s bedroom.

Thank goodness they weren’t there, and it only scared me.

I didn’t fear that the house would collapse or that something really bad would happen.

I feared being on my own in the darkness, all the noise and the brute force beating against the house and making its way inside.

I was scared because I knew I was all alone, unprotected from the darkness and the raw sounds from the storm.

I wanted protection of human touch. Receiving and giving trusting protection just by being together.

What a teacher that storm was.

Work-Life Balance

Is it possible?

Surely only if your work is actually something that you would include in your life if you had the choice. Then it is automatically part of your life and doesn’t need artificial balancing…

I’m finding it hard at the moment – I dislike being at the office, doing the stuff that I have to do to fulfill my job. I like the people there – I would in fact choose to spend time with some of them from time to time, so it’s not the social aspect.

It’s having to deal with petty problems all the time. Even when they are solved, nobody is happier and the world is not a better place. The only outcome is that my employer has made a bit of money.

I was rather thrown into the field I work in, IT. It wasn’t my choice, I didn’t study it, I have never enjoyed it, but I landed there all the same because Mr Ex insisted that this was the only field that mattered in the world.

So I’ve been thinking. What could I do that I would be good at, that would be meaningful, provide a comfortable living for myself and the kids, and that I could really make a difference with?

I’m good at teaching, in particular complicated, scientific stuff. I like to break it down, as simple as possible, instead of insisting that it is complex and thus must be hard to understand. I’m good at listening and providing honest feedback. I’m good at being positive, and showing others positive options. I’m good at understanding whole situations and consequences of different actions, and finding good ways forward. I’m good at reviewing processes and adjusting them if necessary.

I  have many ideas of things I would like to do – but they would not provide a living for my whole family, nor would I have the time to build these things up at the moment.

So maybe I will just have to wait until the kids have grown up. This is not something I really want to do, because I feel I am just wasting time and energy in my current job. But it might be necessary for better things to open up when I am ready for them…

Thoughts, thoughts, thoughts…

And frustration…

plus a growing urge for change…

 

What a Ride!

What a wild ride this year has been.

I feel strangely reminded of last New Year’s Eve – same job, same house, same status – but on the other hand, I am so far away from last year.

There is Mr D – and although he has decided not to play an active part in my life now, he has left a big print on my soul all the same.

With Mr D came a new language, and many new people of which some have become friends ♥.

With Mr D also came the realisation of my interfering masculine energy – an energy that is secondary to my nature and sometimes required in my life, but is better suited to play a helping role rather than a leading one. I think this may be one of the big lessons that Mr D came to teach me.

Last year also brought a lot of new direction for myself – yoga, which centers me, running which makes me feel good, and a deepening connection with my running buddy and co-homeeducating neighbour. I had given up on yoga for a bit over the last few months, but have started again and notice now how much it does me good. My smile is coming from my heart again, and I feel more connected and whole than I have done for a long time.

Last year has also been a big one for the children – they have become such grown up people. It pleases me to look back on their development and see that they are growing into wonderful people – people I would choose to have around and spend time with.

I wonder what the new year will bring. I know what I wish and long for, and I think I have an idea now of what my part is in getting it.

Happy New Year!

La Multi Ani!

Bonne Année!

Frohes Neues Jahr!

 

Feminine Energy

Feminine energy – some people seem to have it, some have less. Some should have an ample supply of it, because they are women, but don’t. Some have it but aren’t in touch with it, and wonder why something feels uncomfortable.

I don’t think I have been very connected to my feminine energy much lately. I have definitely never been consciously connected with my feminine energy, though at times I know I have loads and use it well.

Professionally, I have been in a male dominated world since I started earning serious money. Growing up, I sometimes had to take over for my mother, when she got overwhelmed with the need to move house after her divorce, or if my siblings’ needs and her new job clashed. Later on, having kids myself, I was always the mother as well as the “strong, can-carry-anything, can-fix-anything” person in the house, as their father only fills an intellectual role, not a very physical one. Now I am on my own anyway, with the demands on both sides of energy at all times.

So I suppose, it’s no wonder that my feminine energy sometimes gets a bit stuck and overruled by the louder, quicker masculine energy.

I am grateful for the yet persistent strength of my feminine energy, that got me through grieving and healing through Lily, and many other less strenuous times.

Now it’s time to strengthen that feminine energy and let her take control, asking the masculine to help out sometimes (maybe), but she won’t be ignored anymore if I can help it.

I have learned that feminine energy lives through movement, through the process of creating, through connecting and consciously using all senses. Very importantly, we grow strong by receiving – conscious receiving is something I will have to include in my life. I have always seen the role of a mother as a more giving role, but then again, as a woman, one is not only a mother (though sometimes it can feel this way).

I am trying to explore these ideas while I have some days off work. I am hoping that I will be able to explore far enough to be able to keep it up when the usual work-kids-sleep trott starts up again.

Any ideas and experiences are most welcome!

Time to grow again

…little soul.

Time to stretch and go to new, perhaps uncomfortable places, to become more centered, more balanced.

We have done this before, you and I. And I think we have come a long way together – but we have been resting for long enough now. I have spotted some old habits creeping back in. They remind me of the garden gnomes in Harry Potter. No matter how far you fling them and how much you scare them off, if you have the right kind of garden, they will come back.

So, this time, dear soul, we will try to dig a little deeper, and see if we can’t find out why these old behaviours that we keep cutting ourselves on like living with us so much.

You have no reason to be afraid. We are doing well. We have pulled through so many things, together. We have a lot of strength and experience to draw from. I know from experience that we will find good, even if it is a little foggy right now. You have to understand – we can’t stay in this place now. We need to go, even if we are tired.

You forget sometimes, how old and wise you are, dear soul. You hand the reigns to the little girl, who is desparate for safety and love and has been like this for quite some time now. You, wise soul, are the only one who can give that to our little girl.

I know – sometimes it’s exhausting. Sometimes there is no energy left to be the safe haven for the little girl. But she needs it, and there is nobody else in the world who can give her what she needs. Maybe the time has come for her to grow a little wiser – but she can only do that if she is feeling safe. She mustn’t be holding the reigns.

She needs to be free of worry, and she will share her carefreeness with the world. She needs to feel safe, and she will share her endless trust. She needs to be loved so that she can share her love with the world around her. She needs all this so that she can be part of us again – part of you, old soul, part of me, the body being flung from one situation into the next.

Because in the end, we all need to be one.

So, so good

…to hear that “I’m so sorry“.

So calming to hear your version.

So much fun hearing your excitement and disbelief when I jumbled my way through a little sentence in your language.

So funny to hear you get a little bit mad at me for learning it without you.

You need to learn to trust in us enough so that jealousy is never an issue. Because although you are not one for jealousy, you got a bit jealous all the same.

So good to know for sure that you are back. In fact, in your heart, you were never gone.

Journal Update #13

Things are quiet, yet moving here.

First of all the kids – they are developing fast at the moment. The eldest is hitting puberty – a completely new experience for me, I’ve never experienced a boy in early puberty close up before. I like it, but he could really make better friends with the shower.

My second, the musician, finally seems to be picking up on her practice routine. I have been pushing her to try to achieve her best on the violin because I am certain that she would not be happy working in any other domain. She is very talented but until now has lacked the drive to do her best – instead she has been relying on her talent. But now, something seems to be changing. Maybe she feels more capable. Maybe she is seeing herself in a wider context. Maybe it’s only a phase and we will be back to the old ways next week. I will see soon enough.

The youngest has started football and identifies strongly with the local football team. It’s as if he’s found his people. He gets the team thing, loves the sport, wants to improve himself so that the team will improve etc. He is the first person in the family to be into team sports. Neither I nor Mr Ex did anything like that, neither did my siblings. My father may have played a bit of football but he never talked about being enthusiastic about it. So this is also new!

I also took my youngest with me to a rubbish  orchestra I am helping out in, with his cello. I have taught him the cello part of the pachelbel Kanon (also called cellists’ nightmare), consisting of 8 notes over and over and over again. He missed the beginning of the piece, then realised he couldn’t keep up with the rest of the orchestra and dropped out after trying very hard for a few bars. He was devastated, sobbing, hiding his face, so unhappy. I was playing next to him and couldn’t have stopped – so there was really nothing I could do. But I was silently hoping that he would still want to play the cello after this experience… I wasn’t sure he would.

But

He calmed himself down

Wiped his eyes

Gritted his teeth (maybe, I’m adding this to illustrate his determination)

And tried again.

This time it worked, he could keep up and by the end of the piece he was playing with  a huge grin on his face, so happy to have succeeded.

I was so proud of him. Not because he played the piece, but because of how brave he was to try something again that he had just failed miserably at, in his own perception. I feel more and more that this boy is going places…

Mr D is being…. quiet. I miss him tremendously. He has started conversations a few times in the past weeks, and he has always answered when I sent something. But I have made up my mind to stick to what I told him a few months ago – that I would be leaving him alone as long as he is being quiet.

I say I miss him – which is true – but on the other hand, missing him is not making me unhappy. The latest activity that is making me particularly happy is running. I have never run regularly (or irregularly), so this is quite something. I’m following a training plan and so far it’s working. The kids come with me sometimes on their bikes or rollerblades, and sometimes I go with one of my neighbors. Every run leaves me feeling good physically as well as mentally, and I can feel and see my body benefiting from the exercise. I feel this is a perfect addition to my life.

I don’t even mind the wet grey weather at the moment!