A BAD HAIR DAY

I don’t know why I woke up like a bear with a sore head this morning. Perhaps it was the fact I drank too much red wine last night? Perhaps it was because today was just going to be one of those kind of days, the kind of days when you just feel flat and sorry for yourself. You see now and again, and particularly, for some reason today, I get fed up with the discussion around money in our daily life. I know there are a gazillion people worse off than us. I know I’m lucky to have all of the amazing things I have in my life. But some days, the discussion just gets me down.

Frustrated, and in an effort to save some cash, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I took the scissors out of the bathroom cabinet and like any hungover, grumpy, frustrated bear with a sore head would do – I cut my own hair. I mean seriously how hard can it be?

I should mention that I am not a hairdresser. In fact, my only experience in the hair cutting department was with clippers when I trimmed an ex’s hair almost 2 decades ago and cutting hacking my 4-year-old daughters curly locks last week. My daughter did mention afterwards that she looked like a boy. If I’m honest her new cut does bare a strong resemblance to the bowl style that was so fashionable back in the 80’s and early 90’s. That said, all things considered, I  thought I did an ok job. It was straight (ish) and with her continued aversion to washing or combing her hair, the new do was considerably easier on the eye than the nest that had been growing there previously.

I had a taste for it now.

As I stood in front of the bathroom mirror, my arms bent and hands contorted like an octopus, It soon became apparent to me that cutting one’s own hair is incredibly awkward, unless you are double jointed or indeed, an octopus. Initially tentative, I made a few small snips here and there. Soon I was feeling more confident and began chopping larger clumps of hair off and placing them into the bin. I couldn’t really tell how it was going at the back but from the front, it seemed ok.

Unfortunately my husband’s facial expression when I walked out of the bathroom suggested otherwise and only added to my bad mood.

So, it’s fair to say the day didn’t start out on its best foot. Although my bad mood came and went throughout the day, on the whole, it clung on like a quivering crustacean to a rock. I knew I was being dreadful, like a spoilt ungrateful brat. I couldn’t look my husband in the eye as I moaned away with my self-pitying tirade.  I willed a wave to splash me in the face and wash my bad mood away with it far out to the horizon.

That’s when it happened.

I got way more than I bargained for.

The wave came. It didn’t just splash me in the face. It enveloped me, sweeping me up in its undulating swell.

The girls, of which I have 2, requested some music. We dug out the cable for the iPod docking station and began to recharge my iPod. They waited patiently for the iPod to charge. I went out of the room for a moment. When I returned the music was playing and my 2-year-old daughter was held up in her  Daddy’s arms giggling hysterically as he danced with her around the lounge. My eldest daughter, age 4, was on the sofa laughing. I bundled her up into my arms and began swinging her round and round dancing to the music. We danced and laughed until we felt dizzy.

Rushes of ecstatic joy and gratitude ran through my veins. How did I get so lucky to have these 3 people as part of my life?

I was no longer a bear with a sore head. The day wasn’t so bad after all, even if I did have a terrible hair cut.

We need to listen to music and dance more.

 

 

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Crushing Self-Doubt

I am participating in the Writing Contest: Writers Crushing Doubt. Hosted by Positive Writer.

When I first started writing in August 2015, I did so because I felt compelled to. With 2 toddlers keeping me busy my sleep deprived self was often pounding the streets of Sydney, double pram in tow. On these daily expeditions my head began to feel like it was bursting with stories about the craziness and often hilarious moments we were experiencing. Terrified I would forget it all, I frantically jotted notes down on my phone.

This overwhelming urge/need to write was something I’d never previously experienced. Every chance I get now – I write. I didn’t have a plan. My husband suggested a blog. I liked the idea of having my words recorded in a structured chronological order – but didn’t expect to share it with anyone (other than my mum).

One day, whilst flicking through Facebook, I noticed a friend had posted a question about whether to have more children. Having just written about this exact thing (To Three or Not to Three) I decided it was appropriate to share my article with that person. To date, the day I shared that link remains my ‘best views ever’.

insights

My phone went into overdrive, pinging nonstop as the notifications came through. Positive comments, likes and shares. It felt amazing. The ‘number of views’ graph on my website insights page rising as rapidly as my excitement. From that moment on I craved positive comments, likes and shares, continually checking-in with my insights. It was addictive.

I set up a Facebook page, feeling a little awkward calling myself ‘a blogger’. This was when the doubts first began to creep in. I was delighted so many people accepted my Facebook invite, but why didn’t more people accept? They don’t like it? They think I’m being annoying or worse arrogant, trying to be something I’m not. Who did I think I was? I’m not a writer. I’ve got no writing qualifications. I started to review the comments I’d had again. Just to make sure I hadn’t imagined the positive feedback.

I became obsessed. Each time a new post went live I continually checked Facebook for notifications. Once again the self-doubt began to creep in. Sometimes, convinced I’d written my best post I was disappointed when comments or lack of, weren’t reflecting that. I craved positive feedback for how good it made me feel and reassurance.

I decided to get more objective feedback by submitting my work to an expat website. They shared it and asked for more. Confidence restored, I became more ambitious, submitting pieces to various publishers . I have now been published on  various sites including The Babyspot, Kidspot, and Parent.co. I’m a regular contributer for Mamalode and Parent Talk Australia.

There have also been some rejections. Each rejection seems to allow negative self-doubting eeeby jeebies to creep back in, questioning my ability once again. I re-read the post. Make a few edits. Submit it elsewhere – success! Perhaps my writing style is just not suited to every parenting magazine or to the person who reviewed it on that particular day. If I re-submit it elsewhere and it’s unsuccessful then I may have to concede it wasn’t right for sharing however that’s not happened yet.

When I first started writing I decided I wouldn’t read other mummy blogs, I didn’t want to risk being influenced. It didn’t take long for curiosity to get the better of me. Constance Hall – so raw, honest and courageous, The Unmumsy Mum – so funny and she’s had a book published (my dream). The self-doubt gremlins returned, “I’ll never be as funny as them”, “they have thousands of Facebook followers, I don’t”, “I’ll never achieve what they have”.

With self-doubt comes guilt. I’m spending every spare second I have writing or reading about writing or trying to figure out what avenue to go down next with my writing or what course I could do if I had the money or the time. I feel guilt to my family that I’m being so self-indulgent by spending time writing, a hobby rather than an income generator.

I’d begun to notice that some people who were commenting on my blogs at the beginning hadn’t done so for a while. I also kept seeing that statistic glaring at me every time I visited the insights page ‘August 19th best views ever’. Surely after all this extra exposure and experience my blogs should be getting more views? I started to wonder if the reason my initial ‘fans’ were no longer commenting was because my writing style had changed or worse – they just didn’t like my writing anymore.

It didn’t make any sense. Their feedback had been incredible – surely I hadn’t changed that much in 7 months. I was still getting lots of positive comments, new likers and submissions accepted. I decided to write to some of those early commenters and ask them directly, explaining I needed them to be honest. The words of reassurance I received in return put a lump in my throat and tears to my eyes. ‘Honest’, ‘funny’ and ‘relatable’ some of the words that came back. The relief I felt washed over me like a tidal wave. So I’m not completely sh*t then? Apparently they read every post that they saw in their newsfeed. What became apparent was that Facebook wasn’t showing them all.

I write because I love to write. Whilst it’s become a cathartic passion for me, driven by an innate need to get these words out of my busy head it is also motivated by hearing of other people’s enjoyment they get from reading it. Therefore, I know I will continue to crave positive feedback and check in with my insights page regularly. What I have learnt is that whilst there will always be rejection and moments of self-doubt, I must focus on the reasons why I write and the fact that whilst my writing may not appeal to everyone it will always appeal to someone.