by Ariana Ray, UK
I WAS TWENTY-ONE WHEN I GOT MARRIED
Everyone my age was getting married and I didn’t want to be left on the shelf as my mother put it. I was in an unstable relationship, but he was a man and he seemed willing and available for marriage.
BY THE TIME I WAS TWENTY-TWO I WAS HAVING MY FIRST CHILD
The fourth came within less than six years after that, at twenty-eight I had all my children, two girls and two boys. When the youngest child was two I started studying at the local University for an Honours degree. Within six months of starting the degree course my marriage ended and I became a single parent.
I WAS A FIXER
When things broke, when things got difficult, when children cried or knees were scraped, when bills needed to be paid and the all-important Reebok trainers were needed, the sports equipment, the label clothing, the trips abroad, the emotional traumas – I FIXED it all. It was how I fooled myself I was in control, how I mothered my children no matter what the scrape we got in as a family, MOTHER FIX-IT would step in.
TO ME MOTHERING WAS ALL ABOUT FIXING
It so it was ‘better’ for my children, so they would have a ‘better way’ to live that protected them from what I had experienced as a child. Mothering was like a defence class 24/7 where I protected them and fixed it so they would have this ‘better’ life, which I ‘knew’ was right and fought so hard to control. As they grew up, the fixing became harder as they stepped into making their own lives, but I didn’t let up. I wanted to be the cushion that protected them from feeling the consequences of their actions, the defender against painful moments or poor choices.
With hindsight, I can see that I’d been a fixer long before my children came along; it had started when as a child, I could feel how my parents could not cope with my childhood distress over abuse I experienced – they couldn’t fix it for me, so I fixed it for them by burying what distressed me. I quit on myself and buried my feelings to stop others being upset.
I began to heal these old wounds with the help of Universal Medicine courses and sessions with practitioners. It became an ongoing process from 2005 onwards. I began to let go of the beliefs I had about what it was to be a mother and a woman. As a result I was able to consider the impact my FIXING was having on everyone around me. I came to feel how, in seeking to fix someone, I was saying implicitly that they are broken or there’s something broken about them that needs fixing, something not good enough or right enough. At the time, I clearly thought that my way was the right and only way and what did not fit with my way had to be fixed. Fixing was how I thought I controlled my life and those I had relationships with. Of course there was no such control, it was an illusion of control, life happened regardless of all my efforts to change it or prevent it.
As I was able to heal, I stopped the control and began to trust that I could be responsible for my life and others equally be responsible for theirs. I have noticed that this is a very simple way to live, there are no games, no defence, no drive for certain outcomes and no demands that others be protected from the consequences of their choices – just an allowing of us all to make whatever choice, in recognition of our equalness to choose.
LETTING THE FIXING GO
This has made a huge change to my relationship with my children, I notice that letting the fixing go enables them to freely choose to be who they are, as the remarkable people they are, as I am free to be me also. I am still a mother and a grandmother, but I am me first – me – the woman I was born. I love this simplicity of me being me and feeling the equality as we all choose our way to be in life.
WHAT IS IT THEN TO BE A MOTHER REALLY?
The only thing that makes sense to me now is to be me, the woman I am first and foremost as fully as I can be – even if this breaks all the ‘rules’ and stereotypes and even if this fails society’s expectations. I now know that my way of being a woman and a mother is not what my mother chose. It is though, an incredible opportunity to connect with my gentle breath and my innermost, day by day and moment by moment, so I can feel how to be as me as I can be, to be the most me I can be. Every now and then I still get the urge to fix, but now: I gently tell myself
‘LET IT GO AND JUST BE YOU, THERE’S NOTHING MORE TO DO.’