Earlier today I received this comment from Lisa
Wow, you had such an interesting childhood- with both the good and bad elements. And your life now has so many elements to it… but most importantly, you’re not shy to blog about it. I am much too shy to blog about really personal things. Have you considered writing a book about your life? I think it would be super interesting, and you write really well….
First of all I was so touched by this comment. I write this blog mainly to help process things that have happened and are happening in my life. Sometimes I forget that people are actually reading.
For the record – I consider myself to be a deeply flawed person…in other words, human. One of the things I found so tough when I had my daughters was being on parenting forums and in playgroups. I know that sounds strange…but there seemed to be the bizarre phenomenon that people would ramble on about how glossy and wonderful their life was. I sometimes felt like I was the only one in the world who some days wanted to run away and join the circus. I loved my daughters – but dealing with nappies, screaming, lack of sleep, toilet training ect. ect. ect. while trying to look after my alcoholic/drug addicted/bipolar mother and my two young brothers, while we had no money in a dead end town, while suffering from depression while trying to figure out a relationship that was equal parts amazing and painful….was tough. I really started to wonder if I was the only one. So one day I posted that on that particular day I hated my life. I was worn down and desperate. It received hundreds of page views….before one other brave soul commiserated with me and said she felt the same.
I wondered what it was about saying “this is hard” or “I’m not perfect” was so tough. I decided that I was going to start talking. I talked about parenting. About being sexually abused as a girl. About not knowing how to cope with my mother. About raising my brother while my mum took off when I was 15. About struggling with thoughts of being gay when I was a teen. About being bullied so relentlessly that I thought constantly about suicide.About the pain of miscarriage. About being married. And more recently often and loudly about mental health issues.
Often I was looked at as crazy. I mean really….who shares that much about themselves and expects people to stick around? But occasionally someone opened up back. It was so moving to have someone just start pouring their heart out to you because you are the first one that gave them an opportunity to say something other than “I’m fine”. How often is that the standard response to “How are you?”.
I discovered how many women have had a miscarriage and suffered alone. After all so many people choose not to tell anyone they are pregnant until it’s “safe”. So when they lose their baby they are completely alone. I have had seven miscarriages myself. Even my husband couldn’t even remotely understand the pain. He wasn’t attached to this baby that he wasn’t growing inside him. We only had one before the twins and six after…in his mind at least we had the girls we did. I consider myself extremely blessed to have been given the four most amazing, intelligent, articulate, funny, caring, wonderful children. But I have lost 7 babies. Being sad/devastated/hurt/angry at my stupid body doesn’t actually make me not grateful for what I have. It just makes me human.
The other day I wrote about the most painful realisation that I may have hurt my children in a way I could never take back. I know there will be people who read that and think I am a bad person. The reality is I am just human. Sometimes my emotions get the better of me. Sometimes I cry and scream. Sometimes I hurt so bad I say the worst thing I can possibly think of just to try and make someone realise just how truly bad I feel. But I also usually am the first (and often the only one) to apologise, accept I made a mistake and try to make amends.
Last year I was diagnosed with bipolar. It came as such a huge shock – which is ridiculous as my mother has it, my grandmother had it and her mother was in an institution at one point…my guess would be bipolar. Years of this “illness” causing havoc in my family and not once did I think I had it. The reality….I thought I was “better” than my mother. I never thought I had it because my kids weren’t terrified of me. But I said “Ok. Lets do something about it”. I spent the next 9 days in a psychiatric ward of my local hospital. Then almost three months in a recovery facility where I was slowly introduced to the drugs that would make my life easier. I lost friends over that one word “Bipolar”. One girl refused to see me and confessed to a mutual friend that she just “couldn’t deal with that”. I was so angry. Here I was, the same person I was last week, but now better managing my “illness” and she thought it was too much. Apart from my husband, kids and the little brother who lives with me just three people visited me in 3 months. After all who wants to visit someone who lives in a house with 9 other mentally ill people.
I know my brutal honesty about myself scares alot of people away. But I try to keep in mind the quote “Those that matter don’t mind, and those that mind don’t matter” but I’m human. It hurts like hell when someone hears you have a mental illness and decides thats a reason not to be your friend. Yes I have bipolar – but I don’t set my house on fire, call people screaming in the middle of the night, or end up in a brothel for the night during a manic period. I’m surprisingly boring. I sleep alot during depressive phases and don’t sleep at all during a manic phase. I didn’t cry for a year because I was on a medication that just wouldn’t allow that to happen. Then I came off them and cried for days. I felt amazing after that. It wasn’t like I hadn’t had pain and hurt for a year, I just had no way of expressing it. When I finally cried I felt like I was being cleansed inside and out. Yet people were worried. A “normal” person doesn’t cry for five days straight. People saw me as “broken”. Maybe I am. I sure as hell no how to ramble on.
The reason I share so much on the blog, is the same reason I do in real life. I want to wash away the thoughts of how someone “should” talk. I want to make a real connection with someone. Someone who meets me and loves all of me – the sarcastic-ness, the fashion loving, old movie addict, the size 22, the bipolar talkative mess that I am. I don’t believe in hiding my flaws to capture someones attention and then hope they don’t abandon me when they discover it. I am me.
I would also like to add that while I wasn’t always as confident about being me, my beautiful amazing ten year old daughter has paved the way for me. The day I bought her home I KNEW she was different. She didn’t like to be touched or held. She preferred to sit quietly. She became fiercely independent early on wearing only what she wanted, eating only what she wanted and only letting the people she truly cared about get close enough to touch her. At eighteen months old we took her to the child health clinic for her routine check up. “Does she talk?”, we answered yes. She then asked us what words. We were baffled by the question….but she answered it for us by saying “Mummy can I please have my sandwich now?”. She has this amazing capacity for remembering the tiniest details from a million years ago. At two and half she tested on the autism spectrum. The second child in my family to be diagnosed with Aspergers. She had what others called a “learning disability” and what I called a unique take on life. She has never been afraid to show herself to the world and has a “take me as I am or piss off” attitude that I love. How could I not be inspired to act the same?
So this blog is about me. It’s about my life – good and bad. It’s about the days that I am so low I have no idea if I can just make it through the day and the days I am so happy I feel like I am going to burst. It’s about pretty clothes. It’s about heartbreak. One day it might be about finding new love. It’s about my favourite tv shows and movies. It’s about my obsession with tea. It’s about worshipping my awesome children and cursing my little brats. It’s about hoping to one day, make one single person ok with who they are – warts and all.
I don’t ever want to be scared to show who I am and I hope that more of you eventually feel the same.
And as for now – I don’t plan on writing a book. I jump around too much and I am currently trying to read Stephen Fry’s biography…he has an english degree and bipolar and I still can’t keep up with the jumping around. And while I am not ashamed of who I am or where I came from, alot of people could be very hurt if I ever did write a tell all…for now, my blog is semi anonymous. There are people reading who know me and some that don’t. If you did some digging it would be easy to find out who I am. But the reality is not that interesting (I am a stay at home mum who homeschools my daughters and spends 99% of my time at home watching tv and reading books). If you decide you have to meet me (because lets face it I am truly awesome) just use the contact form or leave a comment with your email address and I will get back to you. Ask me questions if you want.
I also want to apologise in advance for poor grammar, spelling and sentence structure. I went to thirteen different schools in 12 years. I am learning all these things for the first time along with my daughters (homeschooling rules by the way). I can only write from the heart and my currently over medicated brain.
edited to add: If you have a burning desire to hear me discuss my life in 140 characters or less feel free to follow me on TWITTER until you just can’t stand me anymore.