For the past 5 weeks my blog traffic has doubled, trebled, quadrupled. It’s been very exciting and at times vistas of possibilities have opened up in my mind, tension has eased, life has seemed sweet. I’ve felt light-hearted more often than not. I’ve been believing that the heartache of these last six years is drawing to a close, that I’m the phoenix arising out of my own ashes. Even finished the 2nd draft of my 2nd film script. Yes!!!
Then for the last 2 days the traffic has dropped right down again. The first day wasn’t too scary, because it’s just a day, right? But when it begins to look like a trend then suddenly it’s not so easy to believe in the brightness of my future. All the old messages come flooding back in. The image rises in me of being a small child in a playground surrounded by mocking bullies.
Messages like “what makes you think things can change for you?”, “who do you do think you are?” “You? Successful???? You’re kidding, right?” And so on. They still have too much authority in my head. Even now, as I’m typing I wrestle with them.
And it’s very easy to believe I’m doing something wrong, that I’m a complete fuck-up through and through. I keep finding myself thinking that thought. Keep having to say to myself as if I was talking to a child – which in essence I am, really. It’s the child in me who still doesn’t totally know I’m okay. I say to my child “you’re not doing anything wrong baby. You don’t have to change anything. We can’t judge from this, it’s too small of a snapshot. And there’s definitely nothing wrong with you! ”
Conversations with my child.
I tell her “everybody starts like this, honey, it’s not a sign that anything’s wrong. Remember somebody saying ‘when traffic dips, go to a film, go to the beach. The thing you absolutely have to NOT DO is change your blog’? Remember that? They were talking from experience, they’d made it through this stage. You haven’t been forgotten, nothing’s gone wrong. And those bullies? You hang on here, baby, while I go and deal with them. How dare they do this to you!”
In my image of the playground, I the mother stride over to the bullies, outrage personified. The bullies’ laughing turns to nervous giggling. They back off. “You, you leave my child alone”, I say. “Look at you! You should be ashamed of yourselves!” my voice dripping with disdain. They slink back, embarrassed.
I march back to my child. I get down on my haunches, put my arms around her. “I love you Jennifer” I say. I look into her eyes, wipe her tear-streaked face.
“I don’t want to come back here, Mommy”, she says.
I nod, seriously. “I promise. It’s my fault, baby, I should have checked it out.”
Her face clears, she holds onto me tightly. This precious child of mine. This child with so much life and energy and joy, so bright, so beautiful. I embrace her until I feel her settle down. I look in her face. It’s clear. I see her joy bubbling up, iridescent. I smile, stand up.
“Come, baby” I say, “let’s go find another playground”.
“Mommy”, she says. All serious again. Thinking.
“Why were they mean to me?”
I stop and get down on my haunches again, look into her face. This beautiful child of mine who doesn’t have a frame of reference for cruelty.
“Bullies pick people who are kind and won’t hurt them back.”
She digests that. I know there will be more questions later on.
If I had a child, that’s what I would do for her. And if you didn’t get that sort of protection when you were a kid, the real bullies in your life turn into messages in your head when you’re older. They can be really difficult to eradicate. Some people call it hard-wiring. Good news is, you can fix it when you’re an adult. Just don’t do it in public, people will think you’re a lunatic…
Well, lunatic or not, that part of me that was worried that I’ve been forgotten – by life, by god, by people – has settled down. I haven’t forgotten me. I’ve learnt how to hear my inner child, and I’ve also learned how to be the mother that my own mother couldn’t be to me. I guess when we get disconnected from our ability to believe that life is for our good, our benefit, that everything is moving us towards prosperity on all levels – when that natural belief slips away it isn’t because people have forgotten us.
It’s because we’ve forgotten ourselves.
I feel remarkably comforted and safe in the knowledge that whatever else happens in my life, nobody and nothing can strip me of that primal choice. To remember that nothing’s wrong with me, that I don’t have to give in to the bully beliefs that I’m useless and going nowhere, that I’ll never become financially independent, never be able to eat properly again, have warm clothes for winter, never have a safe home, never play a grand piano, drive a safe car. Never have the kind of exciting fulfillment I crave with every cell in my body.
The only truth around those things is that they aren’t happening at the moment. There is nothing, nothing, nothing in reality, that I can conclude about my future from this fact.
My present does not dictate my future. I never have to give up my desire for prosperity. I often have to remind myself of that. As many times as I have to I will. Whatever it takes.
Conversations with my child is a good way of reminding myself. Works for me.