Friday, April 29, 2016
Long-time readers of Craving Fresh will know I didn't blog much last year. I didn't feel like I had anything worthwhile to share. Not just on the blog, but in all areas of my life.
Things started to turn around for me when I attended a Tree of Life course with a few friends from church. In the course, we drew a tree of our life - the roots (where we come from), the trunk (what strengths we have) the branches (our dreams for the future), the leaves (important people in our lives) and the fruit (the gifts we've been given).
After we had drawn our trees, we presented them to the group.
I went last.
While presenting my tree, I cried so hard I could barely talk at times. I felt like I was describing a dead tree. And then the day was over and because we had run overtime, I had to rush out the door to pick up my children from school/preschool/babysitter.
I had been hit by a bus, but there was no time to process it. Once the kids were there, I was back to Mummy-land, dealing with their needs, answering their questions. My own needs were once more pushed to the back-burner.
It nagged at me though. Knowing I felt dead inside, but was trying to live through it. I talked to one of my friends from the Tree of Life course about it, and she recommended I book in with her counsellor. Then she went one step further by offering to look after baby J so I could actually go and see her counsellor. It proved a life saving offer, and I am so grateful to her for it.
My first session with the counsellor was unreal. Here was a person totally interested in me, totally committed to hearing my story, and totally on my side. Other Mums will get this. No one ever listens to us with complete attention, mostly because there are always kids around demanding attention for themselves.
Through my counsellor's eyes, I started to see myself differently. I saw the scars I hold from my childhood, and realised those scars are not me. I heard the words a family member had used to describe me with new ears. That family member didn't see me. I didn't have to keep believing them.
I learned that it was OK to make decisions for myself, even though I'm 'just' a woman, 'just' a mother. My conservative upbringing had indoctrinated me with the idea that a woman's needs are second to a man's.
Even though it was really hard for me, I told Paul that I wanted a house of my own. I knew he didn't want to move and I felt (feel) terrible guilt for insisting that we move, but it was something I needed for myself. Somewhere in time I had lost my "Emma-ness", as my counsellor would say, and I knew I wasn't going to find it keeping house in a Mt Eden rental.
In our rental I felt constantly on edge, waiting for inspections and worrying about what marks the children were going to make on walls and carpets. We were living next to a neighbour who hated our children making noise and complained regularly to her friend (our property manager) about it. So I was wired tight with anxiety, wondering how much noise was too much, trying to shush the children or keep them inside watching TV. I lost the joy that I used to feel listening to my children play. After one nasty confrontation with the neighbour left me shaking for days, I talked to my counsellor and realised I didn't want to be there any more.
So I started house hunting.
It was somewhat disheartening because houses in Auckland are waaaaay overpriced, but I hoped we would find something that would suit us and just kept looking while we got our finances together.
Once Paul got a short reprieve from the intense busyness of his work, he looked at some houses with me. That's when we found this house. It's small, on a cross-lease and shares a wall with another house. But it has a pretty big section for a small house. And it's walking distance to a really great school. It's also in a part of Auckland that feels like me. More environmentally-conscious, less capitalistic. People are free to be themselves here, however messy or flawed. I don't feel like we have to pretend to have our crap together.
As you know, we won the auction.
Then Paul had horrible buyers' remorse and I felt SO guilty. I had forced his hand and he was miserable. He didn't want to swap his 10 minute walk to work for an hour commute, missing out on family time in the bargain. Seeing him upset made me sick. I barely ate for weeks because my stomach was constantly roiling.
Then I spoke to friends who told me buyers' remorse was completely normal and that Paul would cheer up when he saw that I was happy. So I let the happiness take me. This is what I wanted.
Our settlement period was short, just three weeks. Paul spent one of those weeks in San Francisco, so I packed up most of the house on my own. But I embraced it. Every nasty thing our property manager did made me look forward to moving all the more. Bad things became good things, because they were the impetus to get us out of our rental and into our own place.
And I needed my own place. I am Ma Ingalls from a Little House on the Prairie. Give me some land to grow vittles and a kitchen to cook them in and I am a happy woman.
This actually isn't what I was planning to blog about today. I was going to share my menu plan, of all things. But I was reading some posts on my friend Elizabeth's blog, and decided that every now and again it's worth getting real and sharing the messy parts of life because it might just be what somebody else needs to hear right now.
If that's you, I'm glad you're here today.
Posted by Emma at 2:06 PM