As I search for meaning and purpose, I find myself going back over the writing course I recently completed. There were eight modules and each module included a couple of writing prompts. Perhaps with some exploration, I can shed a little light on the eternal question – who am I?
The three soul questions: Who are you? Where did you come from? Why are you here?
Well this one is easy – I answered it before 🙂
When last did you tell your story? (Native American question when someone is ill)
I constantly tell my story. You’re probably sick to death of hearing all about me. Prior to starting this blog I talked about myself in the most superficial way – which is not my story at all. Since commencing writing, I have dipped into the over-sharing waters – there’s not much about me you can’t read about here. I’m endeavouring to be a hundred per cent open and honest as that seems the most authentic way of being true to myself. So – if I were to drop dead tomorrow, there’s not much that hasn’t been told now.
What do you want to say no to?
Superficially – political documentaries, committee meetings and olives (blergh!)
On a more in-depth level, I want to say no to overthinking, retail therapy and giving up on myself.
What do you want to say yes to?
Superficially – a weekend away, gin & tonic, and retail therapy 😀
Sensible Simone wants to say yes to nurturing relationships I’m blessed with, accepting myself here & now, and learning to nourish body & soul.
How have you changed?
Physically: I got bigger. And smaller. I got saggier, older and wrinklier. I did all the things that happen as you age. And all the things you’d expect in a life filled with excessive weight gain and loss.
Intellectually: I find I know less and less as I get older. I’ve done a lot of study and learned a lot of shit. But now my learning looks far more inward. I still have a lot more to learn.
Emotionally: I used to think I was absolutely fine – an easy going, optimistic kinda gal. It turns out I was kidding myself. I actually had tons of emotions I’d reached expert level at ignoring, burying and numbing. Being forced to face this reality has brought about an enormous change – not necessarily all positive. If I ever get to the magic land of “recovered”, I hope to think it was all worth it.
Spiritually: I was raised an atheist. I converted to agnosticism in my early 20s. I’ve been searching for higher powers and angels and gods and meaning ever since. I’m just not born (or bred) to understand organised religion. But I really feel a need to connect with something spiritual and I am exploring this at the moment. I am certainly a lot less black and white in this area than I was as a young person.
What are the five defining moments of your life? How did each one take you to the next step of your journey?
Another one previously answered 🙂
What do you want to cultivate?
A sense of purpose. Having a future that counts, so in some small way I can have an impact (a positive impact) on someone else. With the loss of my identity over the past few years, I have struggled with this. A lot! But to cultivate a sense of purpose and to believe there is contentment and joy in my future would be incredible. I see writing becoming an integral part of the new me.
What do you need to devote yourself to?
I refuse to give up on recovery. While I currently want to give up – believing it’s beyond hope and it’ll never happen – I’m not a quitter. So I’m still here. And I’ll keep devoting time and energy and tears and tantrums until something clicks and I make a change.
What has brought you to your knees?
Depression. The culmination of decades of silence and suppressing emotions, an overwhelming fear for my children, and a loss of hope and identity.
What is your deepest wound?
Given how poorly I seem to have managed the consequences of my emotionally deficient childhood, I would suggest the inadvertent damage done by the significant womenfolk in my family, is the deepest wound I hold.
How do you want to feel?
Happy – ridiculously simple and absurdly impossible. I don’t remember being happy – it’s been so long. Which sounds ridiculously melodramatic. But really – what is happiness? I know joy and laughter – and anybody who says they feel joyous all the time needs to visit the nearest psychiatrist for a mental health check – it just isn’t natural.
Happiness is a much softer concept. It includes moments of joy, but I think of happiness as contentment. A sense of peace with the here and now, having acceptance of what is, working towards what needs to be. Of course an absence of external stresses contributes to happiness as well – it’s hard to feel peace and harmony if you’re knee deep in monetary, health or relationship woes.
I remember feeling very happy and content when my children were young and I was performing a lot. I was earth mother, I was musician, I was caring for my family, friends and colleagues. Life was good. I want that feeling back.
What are the themes of your life?
Music is the most overarching theme in my life. (Is music a theme? It is now – I said so.) My father was a professional flautist so I listened to him performing and teaching before I ever drew breath. I don’t remember not being able to play the flute. I spent 42 years playing and 36 years teaching. I loved it! And I’ve left it. I hope to sing again some day – there is something soul stoppingly beautiful about singing. It borders on the indescribable. Although I did try to describe it once…
Motherhood comes a very close second. And the only reason it is second, is because I was a musician for longer. Given I was eight years old when I started playing the flute, I think we can all be thankful for that. Long before I dreamed of marriage, princes, husbands and forever-afters, I wanted to be a mother. I would have kids no matter what. I wanted half a dozen, but my body isn’t cut out for pregnancy, and my husband isn’t cut out for hordes of kids. So we settled on three. I adore them all. I fell in love the first time that little bundle was passed into my arms and I’ve never regretted a single moment. Some moments I wouldn’t repeat (catching vomit, poo-painted cots, toddler tantrums in the supermarket), but if there is one thing I was destined for, it was motherhood.
The only other recurrent theme is caring. I have always been a carer. I have no idea if I was natured or nurtured into it. Does it matter? It simply is. I have always looked after people – sometimes I get it wrong, but most of the time I do okay. Teaching was predominantly one-on-one, which is one way of caring for people. I’ve mothered and nurtured most people to the best of my ability. I love listening and really hearing what people say, and listening extra hard to hear what they don’t say. I cared for my mother, sister and grandmother as they died. It could be burdensome but was always an honour. This all seems a little altruistic but it’s not. Caring is a gift – to me. I receive so much by sharing someone’s darkest, most intimate moments.
What do you need to trust?
The network of good relationships I cultivated – family, friends, professionals – who all believe in me and cheer me on to bigger and better things.
Write your biography in six words.
Born to sing. Bred to sigh.
Simone has a lot of words.