Out of kilter

It’s easy for me to think about and work on being authentic, true to myself and steadfast when I’m in my comfort zone.

It’s another thing to be this when I’m thrown into another dynamic – Christmas with my in-laws, when I feel vulnerable at work, with old friends when I’m trying to be seen in a way that I haven’t myself to be allowed before.

I’m wondering how I might try to be true to myself when I’m slightly out of kilter and feeling a bit unbalanced.

My go-to in the past would be to wrap myself into different forms to fit the situation at hand.

Swallowing my own thoughts and feelings. Showing or feigning interest in other people. Being the ‘happy one’, easy, breezy Amy, go-with-the-flow when I’m not often that sort of person.

I’d drink myself away.

Or secretly eat my feelings in moments of solitude.

I’d worry about being too much or not enough.

And I’d get frustrated with other people for not being like me. Not getting me.

But now I find myself in a different situation.

The people pleasing Amy doesn’t seem to fit me anymore. I feel such a desire to be true to myself, to show the real me.

But I don’t know how to do this in a way that doesn’t cause offence or marginalise other people as I assert myself.

I feel this way much of the time. Walking a tight rope between knowing who I want to be but not knowing how to put that into practice.

And so I find myself seesawing between the ‘me’ of the past and my real self.

One no longer fits and the other doesn’t know how or doesn’t feel safe coming forth.

It’s hard.

Really hard.

But just writing this and acknowledging it makes things easier to bear.

And I hope in me sharing how I’m feeling, you might not feel so alone if things feel similarly hard for you too.

As I sit here pondering on all this, I remember that we’ve just celebrated the winter solstice.

The darkest day of the year.

Now, as the days get lighter, there is promise of new growth, the turning of the seasons, a new start in the new year.

And so I take hope that what I’m longing to see this year – being able to step into my full self – will mature in 2019 and, when Christmas arrives next year I will be able to look back and see how I’ve grown.

And with this thought I wish you and all those you love a very merry Christmas.

Driving home for Christmas

We’re en route to Chesterfield for Christmas with the Shemwell family and I’m feeling nostalgic about the trip we made last year to Bristol for festive celebrations and the birth of Jenson.

I’ve got a mix of excitement for the big day with my bubba and sadness at not being with my parents and sister for Christmas Day.

This is no slight on my parents-in-law who show me nothing but kindness. It’s just sad to think we won’t be with my sister for her last Christmas before starting a new chapter in her life over in Australia.

I so wish I could split myself to be with her to get wrapped up in Christmas excitement, give each other a sneaky Christmas present before church, sing the descant to carols together (her like a boss, me voice semi-squeaking at the high notes), wait in anticipation for presents post-lunch (which always seems an age away).

My sister means the world to me, as you may have guessed!

But with this melancholy is a real excitement for Christmas Day as a parent – my first one.

I can’t wait to get up early as a three on Christmas morning, excited at the day ahead.

I can’t wait to dress Jenson in a reindeer onesie for the day.

I hope we’ll go out for a walk in the crisp daylight, wishing ‘merry Christmas’ to others out on a similar stroll.

I look forward to feasting as a family, giving Jenson new food to try and sneaking him a bit of my pudding to enjoy.

I’m looking forward to Jenson’s interest in all the wrapping and none of the gifts!

I can’t wait to mark the first Christmas milestone as a parent.