Thank you so much to friends who offered constructive criticism (in private emails). I have taken your thoughts on board and made some refinements. At the same time I have had other ideas borne of the act of doing. More will be done soon to make the original idea rounder and smoother and prettier and more workable. I am so excited because I know that these extra ideas couldn't come until I made a start. I had to believe in myself enough to make a start and be prepared to be laughed off the internet or pooh-poohed before my thinking could move to the next stage.
I hate being vulnerable, don't you? I think that has stopped me from living life as freely and wonderfully as I might have in the past, but I am learning to embrace vulnerability and that will bless me immeasurably I know. I can feel it already. It's not something that happened overnight. Most worthwhile things don't. We have to chip away at them...or at ourselves. I have journals spanning several years of chipping and agonising and tears as I've gone through the process of 'growing up' as an adult. Part of that has been learning to be vulnerable.
When I was a teenager I drank a lot. I don't mean water. I am by nature a guzzler. Yes, I know, not a pretty picture. I didn't know that back then and I just thought everyone drank in the same way and I kept on drinking along with everyone else. Anyway, with the wisdom of hindsight, I know the drinking was a way of hiding my low self-esteem, so I took to it with great enthusiasm (to my own detriment I hardly need to add). The point of this is that I read somewhere many years ago that when someone drinks to excess as a teen, and establishes what one might call a 'drinking problem' then they effectively stop maturing in an emotional sense. I believe this to be true, and I believe I stopped maturing at about 14 or 15 which is pretty sad really. Although I didn't drink daily, when I did drink it was so excess every time. I believe that is why it was so hard for me to make decisions, to make good choices for myself, to take responsibilities seriously.
I bumbled along through life for a long time creating all sorts of mess and then one day I was sitting in a dentist surgery and picked up a brochure with a bold title "Do You Have A Drinking Problem?" I read through it while I was waiting and on the back page was a list of questions, about twenty in all, with yes/no answers. I went down the list...yes, yes, yes, no, yes, yes, no, yes, yes, yes,yes...right at the bottom it stated IF YOU ANSWERED YES TO THREE OR MORE OF THESE QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE A DRINKING PROBLEM. Gee, wish I'd read that before I started. I might have been able to rig it a bit!!
That day, that moment, proved to be a turning point in my life. Everything changed. I stopped drinking. I didn't take an alcoholic drink for three years. This is pretty impressive when you consider that I was living on a boat at the time with a very keen home-brewer, and I used to sleep with the hop flavoured burps of the brew kit right behind my pillow! There was beer 'on tap' - cheap and plentiful and a very big part of the lifestyle (never while we were sailing of course, but once we were in a safe harbour, look out!).
I think that was when I started to grow up. I was in my late twenties. Since then I've had my two children, home-schooled them, left my marriage and went to university. I was still struggling to grow up then. I was fearful that I wasn't good enough. I was getting Distinctions and High Distinctions for almost everything I did but I didn't think I deserved them. Eventually the counselor at the uni convinced me to give some credit to the lecturers and that they wouldn't give me those grades unless I deserved them. It's been a long journey to believe in myself and my abilities. I still have things I battle with, and I now wonder if any of us really 'grow up'. I wonder what that really means? But I think I'm doing ok and I'm going to be gentle with myself and be comfortable with not being perfect. I always knew I couldn't be and I think that was part of the problem. Crazy.
Drink of the day - mineral water!
Here I am making myself vulnerable all over again by sharing that story with you. There might be some things there you can identify with. I rarely drink these days. If I do I only have one, but most of the time I really feel it the next day so I'm better off with soda water! So today is about being vulnerable, about embracing imperfection and about pivotal moments in life. Love to hear from you if you have something you'd like to share.