My girls are autistic.
“High Functioning Asperger’s Syndrome with generalised anxiety disorder, precociously advanced speech and low muscle tone. And significant IQ.”
Is it wrong that I’m proud? And vindicated?
And just a little in my cups?
#TwoHoursSleep? Probably not THAT smart …
I am a workaholic.
I validate my existence with work. Be it home educating the girls, washing the dishes, or earning a living.
If I don’t work, I don’t feel that I have any worth. None at all.
Since I no longer have bosses or a management structure of any kind to confer worth upon the work I do in the form of praise, positive assessments, awards, promotions or bonuses, the only measurement tool I have is money. If I work hard enough, if the work I do is good enough, I will get paid. If I get paid, I have worth.
If not, I don’t.
While my head tells me that, logically, this is folly, the rest of me blunders on.
I need to work.
Work supercedes every other thing I need to do – family, friends, social commitments, health, sleep – everything is secondary to my secret obsession. Except it’s not so secret.
I have no idea how to break the cycle.
“Oh Mama, pleeeassse can we watch another episode of Doctor Who? Please? Just ONE more … then story time.”
My darlings so badly wanted to spend some more time on that couch with me. It was cosy and familial and wonderful.
“I’m sorry, my love, but I have to work.” (One day, when they write their autobiographies, this will be the title. I’d wager money on it if I had any).
“It’s Sunday Night! Can’t your client wait until tomorrow?”
“The work is already overdue. I have to finish it tonight. It’s hours of work and it’s already late. I really should get to it now and not debate the issue with you.” (It’s just so warm and snuggly under the blanket, a daughter on either side and a fire gently snoring in the hearth. I’d rather be debating bed times than working, it’s true).
All at once, something new glinted in her eye. “When were the deadlines?” Her tone is innocent, curious. Even so, something about those expressive eyes causes me to pay attention.
“Well … three weeks ago,” I confess.
“Huh.” She pauses. “You know how you complain about your clients not paying you … ?”
There it is.
“I’m just saying,” she says, as she skips off to bed.
Yep. Just saying everything in no words at all.
(Full disclosure: the clients who haven’t paid HAVE received their work already. This poor unfortunate has been at the receiving end of the stress-paralysis induced by the malefactors. Just to be clear ;))
Expectations lie at the heart of human suffering.
We develop an image of the life we want, set things in motion to achieve it, and then expect the outcome for which we’ve worked and schemed and plotted. When it comes, we are briefly satisfied and slightly smug.
And almost immediately, we are hungry again.
We expect more and do what we feel is necessary to acquire it.
And so it goes.
Worse, when our expectations are not met, things are not good. We sulk. We brood. We blame. We lash out. We become vindictive.
Things fall apart.
It is better to live without expectations. Rather, live in a state of expectancy. Live in hope and joyful anticipation, while cultivating a deep, authentic acceptance of whatever outcome our lot may be.
This perspective truly informs the heart of my philosophy. Or so I like to think.
Yet with surprising frequency I am tripped up by the expectations I didn’t know I had.
I thought things would be different – better. I thought my brilliant plan was logical and sound. I thought I’d feel better once I’d set it in motion. I thought I’d feel relief. I thought I would be able to move on.
I did not think I would be flat: deflated and empty. I did not know that I expected resistance to my plan. I certainly hadn’t anticipated the hope I’d had that I would be opposed, that conflict would arise and lead to a new and better plan: a strategy. A way forward.
I had no idea.
Some days are bright rays of sunshine.
Some days are full of joy and sparkles.
Some days include movies – in the cinema – and bacon nachos and chocolate cupcakes and sleep overs with BFFs.
Some days, baby girls turn NINE YEARS OLD and wrap the universe around their little diva fingers and spread happiness with every batted eyelash.
Some days spill over into others like too much honey and infect whole weekends with their sweet, warm, indolent light.
Some days are less so.
Some days, brilliant minds are overwhelmed by too much of everything.
Too many ideas.
Too many options.
Too much to do.
Too much lack.
Those days are hard.
It seems like the brief melt down, substantial as ash (and as black) has swallowed up the mellifluous days of celebration that went before and left only cold emptiness in its wake.
Some days, we are so blessed. We have so much.
Some days, it is too much.
Today, you’re a hero. Thank you.
I have had the most AWESOME genius brilliant AMAZEballs idea EVER. In. The. World.
I am going to advertise happiness.
Here’s my thinking (it’s convoluted).
(For a change).
Studies show that when we tell people that lots of people do a certain thing, even a bad thing, more people do it.
For instance, that “1 in 4 men is a rapist” campaign has backfired and now it’s more like “1 in 2.5 men”.
It’s that old chestnut, crowd mentality (also referred to as GroupThink) coming home to roost.
So I want to use that for GOOD.
I am a marketer.
I can write.
I can design.
I know how to use the online space and I have a gut instinct for SOME things.
I’m going to CELEBRATE the awesome things on a GRAND scale.
I’m going to make infographics and articles and put them on my blog and social channels and hopefully people will start joining me and it’ll take off and everything will start being rosier.
Here’s my first one now.
Will you share it?