As some of you may know, I’m 33. From around the age of ‘knee-high to a grasshopper’ I’ve been asked – “what do you want to be when you grow up?”
I have dreamt of a hundred different lives from the usual – ballerina, teacher, princess – to the not so usual – travel journalist, interior decor designer, vampire. In fact, it’s an age old question that we ask our own children today and, I don’t know about you but I worry that my kids want to be YouTuber’s or gymnasts (having never taken a class in their life) and even a builder.
I mean, it’s already ALL or NOTHING for them seemingly. It’s reality or a dream. There are no grey areas to settle for and I worry because that’s how its been for me, the majority of my life.
When my health issues become an overwhelming problem and hindrance back in 2012, I was kind of relieved. I didn’t have to think about what I wanted to do for a job or try to build a career. I could just be me for a while. I think it lasted all of a week and then the constant stream of “well what are you going to do about work” began. All disguised as genuine concern of course, but also a fear of my parents that I was going to DO nothing, BE nothing.
I’d always been the kid whom they could preach about until I hit my late teens and became apathetic and zoned out of this world. It fueled my anger, being literally stuck in bed unable to even take myself to the toilet, and panicking that I was wasting my life, that I had no future and may as well resign to being ‘just a mum’ forever.
For so long I carried that picture in my head of what my perfect life would pan out like, would be.
The initial plan at age 18 was to attend and graduate from University with my Dance degree. I would then set up my own dance company and triumph as a choreographer. I would meet the love of my life and get married around age 26 and we would start a family at age 28. There have been different versions of this dream constantly whirring through my mind with adjustments for age and job and education. Ultimately, I am not living a life anything like that perfect dream and it has been so hard to accept that THIS is my life, that I wont ever have that picture perfect life.
So what does my life look like right now? How did I get here?
As I said before, I’m 33. I dropped out of uni after 7 months of pretending to attend lectures and eventually injuring the tendons in my foot to the point where I couldn’t dance anymore. I dropped out of my next degree after 5 months after taking an overdose and realising I couldn’t cope with being a student right then.
I got pregnant at 21, married at 22 and abandoned 3 months after the ‘I do’. Divorced at 23. Gave birth to baby number 2 at age 25, married 6 months later, baby number 3 arrived 11 months later.
My house is messy, my mind is messier. I mean, in comparison to the clean cut dream – my life is an epic mess, a failure.
It has literally taken me until this past week or two to actually figure out what I want to do for the rest of my life. It’s still a little blurry around the edges but the core is bright and fixed and I begin my new journey next month as a mature University student! I have the most supportive husband who I have given the chance to leave instead of mostly working full time as well as being my full time carer and parental partner. He just tells me to shut up. My kids are chaotic, rude sometimes and kicking ass in mainstream school. I’ve learnt that the image in my head wont ever exist and I’m making peace with that.
I have seen that things can and will pop into your life for a reason and if you’re paying attention – they can change it too. Not all surprises are good ones but there’s a lesson in there somewhere.
Being patient is hard but worth it. Don’t trust your emotions and thoughts during dark days.
Friends can be found in the most random of places at the most perfect times and you’ll create bonds that wont ever break.
It is perfectly okay to rest for as long as you need, but don’t give up.
Find people you can truly lean on in times of need.
Be unapologetically, unabashedly YOU in any and every way you can! Wear that bright plastic jewelry, rock those baggy jeans and dresses, cover yourself in tattoos or glitter and don’t ever apologise for who you are or for how you feel!
The main thing I’ve learned over my roller coaster of a life is that a little self belief goes a long way. So believe in yourself and be your own damn cheerleader!
photo credit: Thomas Hawk Movement and Motion via photopin (license)
A 30-something mum of 3 and guardian of a 40-something geek living life in middle England, her
parenting style is a little bit shouty, a little bit sweary, a whole lotta love and tends to rock it
under the philosophy of ‘pick your battles’ – a kind of parenting on the fly. A semi-reformed wine
o’clock mum who can still sometimes be found in the local beer garden, supping a beer and
letting the kids run off their energy. She’s an old rock chick at heart, at home at gigs (so long as
there’s seating!), a collector of piercings and tattoos. An ever-learning passionate intersectional
feminist, a fierce and vocal ally. Most likely to rant about inclusivity and the state of the World;
more likely to moan about school holidays and the state of her hips. Described by her family as
weird, crazy, funny, bookish, kind when she wants to be (or wants something), girly alternative
style with the compulsion to conform. She dreams of living the dream, but is still unsure of what
that is. Living with mental illness, chronic pain and navigating the maze of medication; starting
her own therapy journey (finally) and delving into assistance regarding her children’s mental
health. Always trying to figure out how to love her plus-sized differently-baled body. Probably
best known as painfully anxious with a badass edge. Looking forward to trying to make the perils
of parenting a little easier.