Posts tagged #things

Breaking Free

"What? I'm igniting my passions!" ;)

"What? I'm igniting my passions!" ;)

Put a video camera in front of my face and suddenly my mouth’s contorted like I’ve just had a root canal, I’ve a vocab of about three words, and I’m all machinegun giggles (this awkward heckling can be heard ringing out through every poignant scene in my wedding video)… So why would I audition for a reality TV show?!  Sounds crazy right?  But that’s exactly what I chose to do on the back of being told I was “boring”.

I realised that I needed to do something drastic – something that completely challenged me, in order to restart my engine.  I’d been idling for years, sitting on the sidelines, waiting for someone or something to come and pull me out of the rut I was in.  I chose to leap, two feet first, guns blazing, straight from Mama Pyjama Syndrome into a ring of social judgement (‘cause that’s just how I do things, but I’m sure that the same can be achieved by taking less extreme steps).

Suffice to say, I didn’t get through to the final round of auditions but what I gained from the experience was the kick-start I needed.  I felt re-energised by the challenge.  As corny as it sounds, I actually felt like ‘me’ again.  I was doing something that for me was completely ‘crazy’, completely on a whim, completely self-driven - and it felt awesome.

When we're feeling exhausted and a little lost some days it seems almost impossible to brush our teeth, let alone get up and do something that falls completely outside the realms of our comfort zone.  But it's so important to do things that increase our energy levels.

I'm no expert, but in my experience, it’s the things that force you into the “now” that set your energy levels flying.  For me it’s activities that get my adrenaline pumping – like rollercoasters, sports (and reality tv auditions!).  Things that force you to think of nothing other than the present living moment.  Activities that elicit the ‘fight or flight’ response.  Obviously this isn’t really a sustainable approach to maintaining our zest for life, but I’ve found it a very effective jump-start tactic, and one that has been pivotal in pulling me out of my Mama Pyjama Syndrome.

I challenge you to take a chance this week.  Say yes to something you never thought you’d be able to do.  Get the blood pumping through your veins again.  Take the time to remind yourself of what makes you, “you”.  Part of being a great parent is knowing who you are and what makes you happy.  Don’t let “yourself” get lost among the dirty nappies and sleepless nights any longer than is absolutely necessary (yes, there’s a period of time where there is little choice but to put our “selves” on the back burner, but that period doesn’t need to last forever).  If you see an opportunity to reignite your passions – seize it!  There’s no shame in being both a “parent” and a happy, fulfilled individual.  We wouldn’t want our children to settle for less than that as adults, so let’s lead by example.  Go on, get out there – break free!

Wild and Free

Free my soul.jpg

For me, the most beautiful words in the English language are “wild”, “free”, “sunshine”.

They evoke passion and desire, they make me feel excited and blessed, they give me a sense of light and being.  Yet, sometimes they cause panic.  I feel trapped.  I feel like I’ve fallen short.  I sense clouds above me.

How can the things that motivate you the most, also suffocate you?  How can love feel like pressure, how can having everything you ever wanted feel like prison? 

I’m like a gypsy clothed in traditional ideologies.  I want the house, the car, to be a wife, to hold down a ‘steady’ job.  I’m not a rule breaker or debater, I fit quite neatly into society’s little ‘box’…yet “freedom” is my greatest motivator, my core driver.  I need this sense in order to feel fulfilled, like I’m whole.  I am so attracted to the wild, the free, the uninhibited.  Yet I could never live to that degree. 

If someone were to ask me the one thing I’d want to be remembered for, it would be “sunshine”.  I want to bring sunshine to those around me.  I want people to shine in my presence.  I want to bring out the life in others.  I want to be energy that attracts energy.

So long I have lived with the internal conflict of trying to juggle my traditional ideologies with my wistful gypsy-ism.  I think along the way to becoming Mama Pyjama, the gypsy was shelved and along with it, my core sense of being.  This wasn’t because of anything particular that anyone else said or did.  This was a result of a lifetime of building up expectations and definitions of what it meant to be the ‘perfect’ child, the ‘perfect’ wife, the ‘perfect’ mother, the ‘perfect’ friend.  In pursuit of living up to my OWN expectations, I found it necessary to park the one aspect of myself that questioned these internal definitions of perfection.  

It’s taken me a long time to realise, but I think I finally have a handle on it.  I can be both.  I can still be "wild and free" within the confines of conventional living.  Because I WANT that.  I love being a wife and a mother and a career woman.  I love having a stable home to come home to.  But I don’t need to be ‘stepford’ or self-doubting.  I don’t need to put myself last all the time.  I don’t need to be an ‘adult’ all the time.  I don’t need to be ‘perfect’.  I can be “wild”.  I can be “free”.  I can be all the things I want to be…and it doesn’t matter that I am in a sense an oxymoron.  It is completely okay. 

A sense of freedom is so very important to me, and it’s taken a lot to work out how to have my cake and eat it too.  It’s little things.  I started writing a journal (more so a scrapbook) collating all the things that inspired me.  All the things that made me remember who ‘me’ was.  Song lyrics, photographs, sayings, places I want to go, things I want to see, stuff I’ve done that’s made me feel alive. 

I stopped saying "no" and started saying "yes".  Sounds so simple…but it is probably the biggest hurdle I’ve had to jump.  You get so used to saying "no" to life because it is just easier.  Can I go and do this full day obstacle course thingo?  Well it’s easier to say no than to organise a babysitter, or seek time away from your family, or prepare to put yourself out there to be made a fool of, right?  Yep, it is.  But trust me, saying yes brings you so much more self worth.  It’s easier to say no to going out than to take off your pyjamas, run a brush through your hair, cover your permanent panda eyes with concealer and get out there and pretend like you’re not dead on your feet, right?  Yep, it is.  But believe me, saying yes brings you such a great sense of belonging.  It’s easier to say no than to ask for help with the kids, or reorganise schedules, or call on someone you wouldn’t normally, so that you can go out on a ‘date night’, right?  Yep, it is.  But the positive impact that it can have on your relationship is huge.

I’ve started learning again.  Taking music lessons, reading new books, entertaining new life philosophies, undertaking skills training for my career, doing yoga.  I’ve had to find ways to fit these things into my life, and I admit it is not always easy, but it really is amazing how the universe starts to respond to you when you put it out there.  I’m super bad at meditation and relaxation.  I’m that person that gets stressed and tenses up when someone tells me to relax.  So I’ve been wanting to give yoga a go.  I had no idea how I could fit this into my already busy life, but I just sensed it was something I needed to do.  Within a week or so of thinking about it, my work offered in-house yoga classes that happened to be being run during my lunch break on the day I was scheduled to be in the office.  Co-incidence?  Possibly, but I like to think of it as the universe responding to my request.  If you want to do something bad enough, things will happen and opportunities will present themselves that allow it to be possible.

Music is a huge part of my sense of self.  It is my outlet and my passion.  So my darling husband recently bought me an iPod.  I’m now plugged in at any opportunity.  It’s on throughout my entire work day (except during meetings, though sometimes I wish I could get away with it!).  It’s amazing how much more sunshine there seems to be when you’re walking to the soundtrack on your life.   The trees look greener, the sky brighter, and your step can’t help but to be uplifted. 

These are a few of the things I’m doing that are helping to make me feel "wild and free".  I don’t feel caged anymore.  I finally feel at peace.  The trick now will be maintaining the balance between gypsy-ism and tradition.