Have you heard of the blogging movement called Things I’m Afraid To Tell You? Amazingly, this movement was started by Jess from Makeunder My Life when she wrote a post called Things I’m Afraid to Tell You. EZ of Creature Comforts took the idea to Twitter, posting about Jess’s original blog post, and thus setting the challenge for others to become involved (she also designed the image above). The Huffington Post (US edition, written by Laura Rossi) also heard about the TIATTY movement and thought it was such a good idea they too decided to participate. Now there are hundreds of bloggers around the world sharing their innermost thoughts in what can only be described as a “safe” community. Yet another example of the incredible power of social media – both scary and inspirational!
The reason I feel compelled to write my own list is because of the inspiration provided by other mums suffering postnatal depression who have bravely done the same, they include:
So… With a focus on my family, here is my list:
1. The battle I’ve had over the years reconciling how I feel about my biological father has been a great deal harder on me than anyone is actually aware. It’s extremely difficult to say out loud, “I do not have a father.” Yes, I have a man who is my biological father. Yes, over the years our relationship has settled into a kind of “friendship” (and more so since the LM was born). But a father he most definitely is not. He left when I was 4, my older brother was 5. He has been “present” but not wanting an emotional bond with either of us. “We are in contact”, he once told me when I was 16, “only because we are blood-related. Otherwise we would have nothing in common.”. And that about sums him up. He is indifferent, but not cold. He is there, but doesn’t “care”. He is blunt. He is hurtful. He saw us because it was expected of him. He never wanted a girl. In my mid-20’s, I finally decided to let go of the desperate need I had to share a “father-daughter” bond with him, and simply started to move on with my life. It was only then he began to make any kind of effort. Is it sad? Yes, for both of us. Do I feel anger towards him? No, I don’t. Do I feel sorry for him? Yes, absolutely.
2. I am more like my father than I would ever care to admit. Given everything I’ve just said in 1. above, this reality is one that does not sit comfortably with me at all. I am different to him in so many ways, but when it comes to my intolerance of people I feel are not worth my time and energy, we are very much the same. My relationship with my older brother, who is similar to my father in other ways, is the perfect example of my ability to cut my losses and move on. Am I proud of this? No, I am not. But what I have learned about this particular trait, for me anyway, is that it is one focused on self preservation. On not wanting to be hurt.
3. I have experienced vivid dreams my entire life where my mother decides she wants nothing further to do with me. In every dream, though the scenarios change, she looks at me and says simply, “I have nothing further to say to you. I want nothing more to do with you.” My reaction to her varies depending on the situation depicted, but most often it’s violent with me grabbing her, hitting her, yelling at her to “just walk away then!”. Other times my reaction is one of acceptance, of knowing why she has come to this decision. I cry, and turn calmly and walk away. Every time I have this dream, regardless of the setting or reaction, I wake up feeling sick to the depths of my stomach. I know it has to do with my inner struggle of who I am as a person, my need to embrace the bad along with the good. But this knowledge doesn’t make the dreams any easier when they occur. They are confronting, and they hurt in a way I could never explain in words. I have never told my mother I have them.
4. My family pidgeon-holes me in a role within my family I no longer wish to play. Yes, I grew up feeling second-best to everyone else around me, particularly my siblings. Yes, I had a MASSIVE chip on my shoulder throughout my teenage years. But with a serious period of taking a good-hard-look-at-myself and with life experience behind me, I feel the person I am today in no way reflects the person they still (for whatever reason) need me to be. Whilst my closest friends, work colleagues, and everyone else understands and knows me as the person I feel I am, my family continues to drag me back to a place I no longer belong. It is a really negative place and one with which I no longer wish to be associated. I have tried on numerous occasions to explain how I feel, by means of examples of how I’ve felt undervalued and with direct conversation, but believe my attempts are only seen as melodramatic (again, focusing on the past). No one seems to take me seriously, to the point of then making jokes about things I’ve said or issues I’ve raised at later times. How then can I change their perspective after all this time? The answer, quite simply, is that I can’t. The only thing I can do is focus on the positives I do have around me and hope that maybe one day they’ll get it… One day.
5. For all of the above reasons, and more, I never wanted to have a girl. When we were told at our 19 week scan we were going to have a boy I cannot explain the sense of relief I felt. It was as though a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. My whole life, all I heard was how much easier my older brother was to care for as a baby, how I was so difficult in temperament and so much “hard work”. I needed to be rocked to feed, to sleep, not to mention the tantrums, the “princess” moments. These references continued throughout my teenage years and when the time finally came for me to think about having my own family I knew there was no way I could have a girl. I was by this time so conditioned to the terribleness a girl would bring to my life – the drama, the problems, the hard work! Whilst I know this issue is ridiculous, and perhaps if we had a little girl my whole perspective on this would be changed by the intense joy and love I would feel for her, the fact of the matter remains… I am so relieved we had a boy.
And that’s all I can write for now… (big deep breath)… This has been a HUGE offloading of feelings and in some ways I believe it’s for the better, in others perhaps not so much. Such intense honesty rarely sits comfortably with people. I now have so much more respect (if that’s even possible) for all the amazing mums who have blogged about TIATTY topics before me… So, so incredibly brave!
Thanks so much as always for sharing this part of my journey, and look forward to sharing more with you soon.