Throughout my childhood I took on roles so that the world would see me, and so that I knew who I was. Sometimes the ‘tidier’, sometimes the ‘wrecker’, sometimes the ‘quiet one’ and sometimes the ‘screamer’. As time went on I began to cement these roles, becoming known as the peacemaker and carer within my family.
If I had a role then everything made sense. Without thinking, I could work from the script.
During this time I vaguely remember feeling that everything was totally topsy-turvy and did not make sense. I would have tender moments with a dog or in nature when I could see the chaos in my life for what it was, but since I had already made myself smaller than I truly was, the enormity of that realisation was too much and I resorted to familiarity and the role that fitted in with life as it was in my house. When the boat did get rocked in our family by someone ‘breaking the rules’, the lash-back was monumental and I learned from this not to challenge the status quo: a status quo that thinly veiled the devastation of lives lived in slavery to social expectation and ‘what the neighbours would think’.
Roll on a few years….. At school I was ‘obnoxious’ and ‘stupid’. At work I was obedient and efficient. Within my family I continued to care take and micro-manage.
All this time the chaos was becoming harder to hide. I took drugs with my brother in the evenings and at weekends and then turned up to work pretending it was all OK. I became mother, wife, housekeeper, confidante to my father after my parents got divorced and mother, sister, chauffeur to my two brothers.
Superficially I was pulling it off (it felt so precarious), and the world celebrated that.
Roll on a few more years….. Married and pregnant. Now, motherhood I was going to totally nail. I knew how not to do it, so with determination I embarked on my most important job to date. I immersed myself completely. I had trained in midwifery so was well qualified for the job and was going to be the perfect mother.
Children have the beautiful ability to expose all the lies and whilst I maintained the myth of there being such a thing as a perfect mother, my son showed me otherwise. I was sure I could bring a child up without them ever crying. If I got it right there would be no need, right? He cried. And that was the beginning of the breaking of the fantasy fortress I had built so carefully.
I remember sobbing silently after my son developed allergic asthma following exposure to horses. I raged at myself. I couldn’t even do this job properly. I had diminished myself to a role and every failing within that role was another lash of the whip.
I have 3 sons now. I lost control a long time ago (a good thing) and had to relinquish the need to hold all the reins all the time. In so doing I found a pair of neglected, dusty, abandoned reins on the floor.
Mine. In amongst all this play acting, fitting in and following the crowd I had snuffed out the only thing I truly was. Me.
I have been building myself back to me ever since, ably assisted by the work of Universal Medicine and its practitioners and workshops. As my relationship with myself has developed everything else has started to make sense. I can work, I can mother, I can be organised, but I am not these things. First and foremost I am me, and from this foundation I can walk alongside people in my life – loving them without need, supporting them without control, enjoying them without an agenda. If I am honouring me I am naturally honouring them and that serves us all.
It has been really painful at times. Particularly to realize that I have known this all along and just chose to not live it.
The magnitude of accepting that I am not a role, be it mother, wife, sister, midwife, organizer, great cook etc., but me first, is HUGE. The magnitude of accepting my children for who they are rather than as actors in my play is GINORMOUS. The magnitude of accepting that the greatest service to the world is to do nothing but just be me is VAST.
I am a work in progress, but the willingness to accept that this is not a striving to get somewhere but an allowing something that has always been there to emerge, makes more sense to me than anything ever before.
by Matilda Clark