Be kind to yourself

In the quiet of our house, while everyone else was sleeping, I sat with my son’s friend in our pj’s, where we talked about life, and death and pain and forgiveness, and how to let go of pain without hurting yourself and why some people can’t say they’re sorry when they’ve done terrible things.

I am not the poster child for this, as I have had a fair amount of self-destructive behaviours on my own to-do list, but I do understand it, and I do own my shit. For me, part of me growing up was learning how to say sorry and mean it.

I once read that people who can’t apologise are those who can’t differentiate between their actions and their character.

Just because you said an asshole-ish thing doesn’t make you an asshole. Just because you acted like a bitch, doesn’t make you a bitch.

Being able to say , “I’m sorry I was a terrible mother/father/friend/daughter/son, when I did that thing,” doesn’t make you a terrible mother/father/friend/daughter/son for always.

Looking at your behaviours and saying, “Gee, I was off my dial when I did/said that,” shows maturity. If you can apologise without letting shame enter the emotional space and you decide you’re the worst person ever, then you’re on your way to being a grown up.

I was recently a massive fuckwit. Like a huge one, and said some really shit things. It took me a few hours to apologise because I didn’t know how to come back from it. I knew I was wrong but the shame of admitting how wrong I was,  stopped me from being honest with myself and those I had hurt. I assumed I was the worst person in the world, instead of seeing I just said some shit things at a shit time. Eventually, I let go of pride and shame and owned it. I owned that I had been unhinged and I knew why I was, and I apologised sincerely for my actions.

But I didn’t apologise for who I am because I’m pretty great,  I just said sorry for acting like an assholey bitch, because I was one in that moment.

Can you see the difference?

You’re not an asshole if you act like one. You’re not a bitch if you act like one.

You’re great. Don’t be afraid to say sorry. Don’t be afraid to self-recriminate and then move on and don’t let it happen again. Owning your mistakes means you’re a grown up.

And yes, growing up is hard, but just because you act like a kid, doesn’t mean you are one. Grow up and learn to say sorry and mean it. I promise you, life is so much easier after!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Choice To be Childless

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Yesterday Jennifer Aniston released an intelligent op-ed on why she is sick of people asking if, when and why isn’t she yet pregnant. The conjecture around the state of her eggs and if she plans to fertilise them is really none of our business, yet we are made to care, because it’s constantly in the media, which has become a place for inane bullshit to nest so we can avoid the real issues of life. If we see something enough, we end up caring because of repeated exposure. (E.g. The Kardashians and Gigi Hadid.)

Also, this week, Andrea Leadsom quit the Tory leadership in Britain, after her comments in which she suggested that being a mother gave her more of a stake in the future than Theresa May, who does not have children, were made public.

Why is it assumed that a woman is better at life because she’s a mother?

I know a woman, a smart woman, who once said to a friend of mine, that she wouldn’t understand real empathy and pain because she doesn’t have children. I also know women who are mothers, who are pretty bloody bad in their role, and their empathy to their children isn’t something that crosses their radar.  Being a mother doesn’t make them better at life.

A part of me believes that some (most) in society desires women to be mother’s so they can be controlled. The more freedom women have, the more they threaten men who hate them. The more babies they have, the less they will threaten males in the workplace, and start demanding equal pay and in some countries, a right to vote and drive.

Just because a woman chooses not to have a child doesn’t make her less able, or less compassionate. One of the most compassionate people I know chose not to have children, and instead uses her natural nurturing skills in her role as a doctor.

Am I more capable because I’m a mother? No, I don’t believe so. Years of my brain atrophying from reading Spot the Dog books nine times in a row, and sleepless nights when I could have been learning another language, or how to code JavaScript instead of getting through the day on endless cups of java, has dulled my edge somewhat.

Years ago, I heard someone announce they were pregnant again (fourth child). This was someone deeply artistic and yet lacking in confidence in her talent. My immediate thought was, there are other ways to create than to just make a baby. Of course,  I never said such a thing, but I believe her choice to have a baby was to avoid growing her talent or committing to work, and even responsibility in some ways because she was fed the myth that all women need to be mothers to be worth something in society.

The woman I know who chose not to have children are brave and wise, and immensely capable and compassionate. They are also tired of having to explain and defend why they made a very personal choice, or sometimes their body made the choice for them.

You have a right to have as many children as you want, and you have a right to have none. What we do not have a right to do, is assume a woman is better when she’s been planted with a man’s seed.

My capacity to love my kids is enormous, but I love my dog with the same intensity.  I do. Not going to lie about it. I also love my nieces and nephews the same way, and my friends, and partner and family, and  friend’s kids and so on. Love is love. Having kids doesn’t make me better, and people not having them doesn’t make them better. There is no better. There is only choices, and respect and love.

I will leave it to the great Claire Underwood to put the full stop on this opinion.

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Before I speak, I have something important to say.

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