I’d planned on leaving my ‘Shout’ post up for a week, until White Ribbon Day , an Australian campaign to end Violence Against Women. As John Lennon noted though ‘Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans’. I need to start by thanking everyone who stopped by and read my Speak Out piece ‘Shout’. Over the last five days there have been literally hundreds of hits on WKDN as a direct result of that post. Thank you. It’s a bit mind-blowing. Those of you who left comments here or by contacting me directly, or shared stories of your own in your own posts have my ongoing appreciation. So, it’s been a big week here. The thing is though, is that I managed it. I thought long and hard before joining ‘Speak Out’ and I put in place strategies around the day, and the things that flowed from it, and it wasn’t always easy or fun, but I did it.
As if ‘Speak Out’ wasn’t quite enough of a challenge last Friday night was also the night I was going to see a friend play in his band, plus meet up with another online friend in real life – the first time I’d seen him play and the first time I’d met my friend. To set the scene for you a little bit, I am no social butterfly. In actuality I find most social engagements excruciating to the point of near muteness. Read ‘engagement’ with a military slant and you start getting the picture. Going to the pub, to see a band, where there’s a crowd of strangers. Meeting new people. Anxiety, anxiety, anxiety. Even though I was seeing my friend in the band, and even though two of my friends were coming with, and even though I’d had lots of online interaction with the friend I was going to meet. Still. So. Hard. But I did it. That’s two big social challenges in the last fortnight that I’ve met and managed. And two for two that have been so worth any angst I may have suffered. Ironically, the two friends who came with me and the too cool for school bass player in the band are only friends because someone challenged me about my lack of social interaction last year. It’s good for me to know that I can share Daughter Number One’s story and not come completely undone. That I can put myself out there socially, and actually have fun.
The enchanting Courtney Beck has written a beautiful piece today titled ‘Vulnerability’ . It’s a cracker of a post and illustrates why I enjoy reading Courtney’s writing so much. She puts it out there. She speaks her truth. Courtney’s post today linked to a video of a talk by Brene Brown on the Power of Vulnerability. It’s worth watching. For a start, she’s funny. Any of you who’ve gone into caring professions, or been in therapy or bared your soul on the internet or in any other way will find something to chuckle at, in recognition. For me, what I found was more profound.
If you go to the ‘Shout’ post, and read the very kind comments you will see that I struggle hugely with being thought brave or courageous for surviving my Daughter Number One’s death. I find no achievement in it, no honour. As I have said here before, surviving my Daughter has just been about the passage of time. Not any skill I have. I don’t pretend to have any answers for anyone else. I just do the best I can, day-to-day. The words ‘courage’ and ‘bravery’ and ‘strength’ are not associations I make with putting one foot in front of the other. Life goes on. It just does. Even sharing the small part of Daughter Number One’s story in the ‘Shout’ post was not about me being brave. It was just about my being her mother, speaking for my child who can not speak for herself. So, as you can see, I have always vehemently denied any courage on my part. Then Brene Brown spoke about the origins of the word courage. That initially it meant ‘of the heart’ or ‘from the heart’, ‘wholeheartedly’. It was a lightbulb moment. That I can claim. Did I write my ‘Shout’ post from the heart? HELL YES. It is how I try to live. It challenges me and sometimes I’m more successful than others but I live from my heart. I speak from my heart. Wholeheartedly.
Someone else who speaks from her heart is Eden, from Edenland. She writes good. This video may be one of the MOST. GENIUS. THINGS. EVER. What I love here is that it’s all about perspective and self-determination plus it’s wet your pants funny. And that’s it really. At a certain point I realised all bets were off. This is my life, no one can live it for me. And I’m giving it my all. From my heart.
We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;—
World-losers and world-forsakers On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.
from ODE by Arthur O’Shaughnessy 1874
Postscript: Today marks the latest in at least a half-dozen times someone has found this blog by using the search terms ‘sexually frustrated widow’; surely not coincidence. I first wrote about it here. Whether it’s a friend having a laugh or someone searching for something else I hope they find what they are looking for. If not, and you pass back through, let me know what you are looking for ’cause I’d love to know!