Narratives to Self.
So last week was different for us. Well not different in the ‘first time’ sense of the word. But different because we were all staying at different homes. Kids and I had gifted husband a week away at Goa as one of his Christmas presents, and he cashed that in last week. He needed a spiritual and physical retreat by himself, but that’s a whole other blog post. Anyway, point is that I took this chance to send my kids away to their dad’s place for a time with their grandmum and their friends from that side of town. Win-Win week as I see it😉.
Now what generally happens is this:
Day 1. Just laze: Bible, Netflix, Kindle, bed, teas, prayer, set phone to favourites’ access only and sleep.
Day 2. Clean in random spots: I start by attacking the mysteriously full kitchen sink.
Then go to the sofa to check on the dog and find some bits of paper and corners to clean. So I now start dusting the TV console and the sofas while letting my dishes “soak”. Then I take a break with some tea and watch an episode of something to ”rest my back”. Then I think about how nice it’ll be to just get this over with and go back to attacking the dishes at full speed and so finish up. That done, dog and I congratulate each other and permit ourselves to do the rest tomorrow.
Dinner with a chick flick, a long hot shower until the bathroom looks like a sauna, and then it’s time to tuck in under the covers with some nice smelling Rose green tea and skincare products. Trust me, this last bit feels as awesome and pampering as it sounds!
Day 3. Some version of Day 2. Make a checklist to finish up all the work in 3 hours the next day, which could’ve been slowly tackled over the last 3 days if I hadn’t taken the time to laze.
Day 4. (Day of kids’ and hubby return)
Checklist Driven Work Attack.
Everything is spic and span and ready to impress my fam about how “nice you made the house look, love”!
An interesting thing that happened to me this time though, was this. I had told my fam that I’m going to try and not be wasteful right? I mean, as we all should try to be.
And as part of that, I decided that I would be finishing up the leftovers and eating healthy as part of the time off from mom/ wife duties, and part of the 'focus on Prats' week.
And as I put that spoonful of healthy gumbo leftovers into my mouth, it felt like cardboard on my tongue and I literally spat it out!
It was just a day old, and it was healthy and it was tasty and it was not the Domino's stuffed garlic bread that I craved:(.
That was what caught my attention immediately!
It's so interesting that I was trying to sell an Instagram worthy, eco-friendly, health-conscious narrative about myself. To Myself!
And this is what I noted on my phone: "Sometimes we like the narrative, and how it'll look on our stories, more than what actually makes us happy."
I realised that how it looks seemed to take precedence over what might work to make me happy.
And I'm generally not bothered about how it might look to others. I mean, have you seen me dress? I ultimately don't care for the fad, as much as I do about having a good fit and style for me.
And that's true of my choices in music, books, occupations, lifestyle and even friends.
So for me, this was a bit of a shock that this culture of picture-perfect has managed to take root in my subconscious.
Now, this, to some of you might seem like a trivial thing to write a whole epiphany style blog post about, but I think it's worth looking into.
The outcome of investigating further into this also will be different for different people. Someone might laugh it off and someone else might make it a fast and pray issue. For me, it was these conclusions:
Cultural influences are a very strong thing. I am not talking about practices at the moment. I’m talking about mindsets.
We are all getting influenced by something or the other. If you’re fighting to not be narrow-minded like say your aunty, you’re being pulled in by whatever is the current in the other direction.
To survive me, to be able to look myself in the eye and say that I’m being true to myself, I need to know what my absolute Black and White areas are. These are my basic foundational values, belief system, a relationship with God and all that that entails.
Also, to survive me and stay happy and love myself, I need to give myself allowances for some grey areas.
These are NOT foundational, but more about short term benefits and disadvantages scale and calculation.
Ex: “ yes I couldn‘t post a story about being healthy with my food, and I didn’t stick to the no junk plan, but I felt happy and more inclined to feel like I gave myself a well-deserved treat.”
( In case you still didn't get it, Domino's was devoured that night. Hey, I was nice about it! Made it last over 2 meals, so saved a bit of money there methinks😎)
5. Life is not a series of hall passes. I’m an adult with teen kids and I need to make better choices with health and food and sleep, what my mind accepts and what voices I listen to. Just because I want to have a cheat meal, I cannot coast life in the above mentioned grey area only. And while that is all self-care too, it cannot look like a no-consequence, selfish, mannerless childish person ”living my truth”.
So here’s what I’ll leave you with. I will continue to blog, post stories, send updates, Twitter, Pinterest my fantasy boards and all of that.
I just want to be able to look up from my device after that and be living the snapshot for real.