Confidence, Coconuts & Cherry Kisses
This weekend was spent at home. So what? I hear you say - but I can probably count on one hand the amount of entire weekends I have spent “at home” over the past few years. Weekends are often my busiest times. When I work on events - nine times out of ten - they are at the weekends. Funnily people don’t seem to want to get married / have a babyshower / launch a restaurant or host a dinner party on a Tuesday afternoon, finishing just in time for me to conveniently do the school run and help Charlie with his reading homework. Times when other people are enjoying family and leisure time are when I have been working behind the scenes to ensure someone else’s said leisure time goes off without a hitch. This is not a complaint, far from it, it’s merely a fact.
Over time, and with shifting circumstances and locations, I have worked to evolve and grow my work in such a way as to strike some semblance of balance in my life. Striving for that elusive “sweet spot” between satisfying my own creative aspirations, earning a living and being the person I need to be, I want to be for that little man of mine. I have turned things down; said no, changed direction and closed the door on things in pursuit of “ticking all the right boxes”, that in truth no parent ever really achieves.
When things get busy I am around most days, but away on evenings and weekends. When it’s quiet I am around all the time in body, but constantly absent mentally; planning, pitching, preparing and pursuing my next project. It may not be the most conventional way of life, but in my humble experience, when you scratch the surface of anyone’s “set up” - it’s rarely as “conventional” as it appears outwardly anyway.
I have a constant mental battle over whether I am making the right choices, going down the right path and making the right impressions. As a creative person I question my talents, my originality, my achievements and my ideas. As a parent I question my patience, my ability to provide, to guide and to sacrifice. But I never question my ability to love and to be there to kiss him goodnight and wish him sweet dreams. Maybe this is not achievable every night, but enough nights to know that those kisses will be ingrained on his little soul forever more. When I put Charlie to bed and smother him in those kisses you see before you, he says “mummy you smell like coconuts and cherries” . This is simply because I use coconut oil on my face and cherry lip balm, but it makes me smile as I turn off his lamp and creep out of his room. I smile because I wonder, when he has his first kiss will he question the validity of her lips if they don’t have the same saccharine scent? Or even better…when he is a weathered and wrinkled old man, with a lifetime of love and adventure behind him, will he smell coconut sun lotion hanging on some summer breeze and think of me?
The thing is, despite all the questioning, I have such confidence. A confidence that only came with age, experience, a sh*t load of mistakes and a healthy dose of perspective. This year I have spoken openly about a life long struggle with anxiety, which I have come to realise the sheer burden of hiding has in fact been the source of the problem in the first place. I accept this shade of my character as a mere colour in a whole rainbow that makes up my personality, and you know what.. I’m cool with it. I realise that without this frenetic mind of mine I wouldn’t be blessed with the creativity and awkward softness that defines my very soul. A mind that may not be able to approach simple life admin tasks, such as transferring council tax bills from one county to another without having a mini meltdown, but can read the nuance of a persons body language and adapt my approach accordingly so that I can make them feel the most valued and comfortable as possible. I have a peace in the path I have chosen, or rather the path that has chosen me. Above all else, however, I know we have a great thing going on over here, which I genuinely thank my lucky stars for every day.
When you "put yourself out there” in any way by doing as I’m doing now - and writing thoughts and opinions down for anyone to read - you open yourself up to a dialogue that isn’t always positive. I understand that, truly I do. On the most part the interaction I am blessed with receiving, is so overwhelmingly beautiful that it often brings tears to these soft little eyes of mine. Messages from (mostly) women, who have found some truth or joy, comfort or humour in an observation I have made and an experience I have had. They thank me for sharing it and send their best, but in doing so I’m not sure they realise that it’s actually me who should be thanking them. For I suppose (in its worst guise) these ramblings of mine are not only intended to uplift and entertain, but they are also my own little yardstick. My way of saying “hey guys…do you feel this way too?!” Like a school girl in a locker room comparing her first kiss with a group of mates, I find myself sat crossed legged and pig-tailed, spilling my heart out to a sea of strangers. Sharing and hoping the reply will be “yep, we accidentally bit his lip as well” and breathing a sigh of universal relief that we all, in fact, have no idea what the hell we are doing.
May is a big month for us. Things I have been working towards, for weeks now, are coming together and the diary is literally jam packed with good stuff. Stuff that is going to stretch me and challenge me and fulfill my personal goals to bursting point. I am relieved, full of anticipation and excited in equal measure. It will mean more stolen kisses from the boy who will no doubt be engulfed in slumber by the time I get home, but so confident am I in my place in his heart that I know he will forgive me. Whilst he is dreaming of swashbuckling with a band of fearsome pirates, my cherry kisses will imprint upon his forehead for a lifetime.
Happy Sunday to each and every one of you, my much loved and appreciated tribe of fellow dreamers, mistake makers and merry revellers.