Me, myself and I

 Me, myself and I

I totally get it now. Some days, well most really, I feel I can be three, or more different people. Just like Alice in Wonderland. 

Or you could look at it like I've had three different lives so far. My childhood, my teens and twenties and now my thirties and forties. Perhaps the me is my past, myself my present and I, my future? Another good quote from 'Alice in Wonderland' shows it's hard when you are trying to get back the old you. From thirty years ago, from a year ago. Going back to the past you might not work now. That past you belongs just there, in the past.

I've always, up until the last decade, been ok with who I am. Well, fab as a kid, really good as a teen, good in my twenties then kapow! The self doubt kicks in as to who you really are. It started chipping away in my thirties and now, in my forties, I'm, to be honest, a bit lost. I know I'm not the only one. Other friends and family get me because they've had a passport to their forties also. I started them happily, embracing it, loving my cards and prezzies. Then the hormones blooming well kicked in. Big time!

It all makes sense now. Watching 'Shirley Valentine' and 'Educating Rita', both in awe at these two women, my mum's age and also being entertained. Now, I am their age, I totally get it. That knowledge that your life is flying by, time is ticking on. Those questions: 

Am I where I wanted to be twenty years ago? 

Is there another career I could aim for?

How come I got two spare tyres round my midriff?

Where did that thin person go?

They run around your mind. The only running that my body actually does!

It's the pressure. From everywhere but mainly from ourselves. We feed ourselves, well I do, these things we need to be doing and keeping up with and if we aren't, well then, we're obviously failing aren't we? I was the worst at this in my teaching career and unfortunately, it went downhill from me being 40. I listened to negative criticism and instead of shaking it off, Taylor Swift style, I let it sink in and take over me. I became a different person,a different teacher and employee. It only takes a few people to constantly question you until you mimic them and do the same. Or you make fun of your failings before they can. Now, I see, instead of hiding the real me, pretending to be someone I wasn't, squashing my personality and not being true to myself. Instead of all this, I'm being truer to myself. As a fellow teacher friend said to me, she loved my flowery edges. Well, I'm letting those flowery edges bloom, instead of letting their petals droop!

I'm hoping that person has been replaced. Healed in fact. I will never be the teacher I was before. That confident person who knew she was very good at her calling. Perhaps, it will be a new calling now. I spent ages trying to refine her, clinging onto the memories of her. 

We spend so much of our lives trying to recreate ourselves. For me, it was the thin, fit, quirky, self assured teen. I had a hard time in my teens and early twenties, grief wise but I still missed being the person I was. You can only cling on for so long to that person and take parts of you as you move along through your life. 

So, I spent ages, after being ill and leaving teaching, trying to get me back. But that old me wasn't to be found. I spent some amazing time at Recovery College and did this course, Renew You, where I met some amazing women. It did renew me, it rejuvenated me and got me feeling positive again. This book looks really good. I love the title. It's like a compromise, keeping some of the old you and adding some of the new. It's good to re-invent. We do it with our home decor, a new car, hair colour and style. Why not with ourselves?

I felt better about my purpose not necessarily being another career at the moment but just focusing on day to day things and coming out the other end. Also, the fact there's no rushing the healing process. Other people, who have been through similar, say this. You can have a fab few weeks, going forward then wham! One thing sets you back and you have a flare with your illness. It's remembering you can back on track with the love and support of those around you. But also, with your own inner strength.

We carry around with us so much guilt. It's so refreshing when you unload some of it. We set yourself goals and plans but can't feel guilty when these don't get met. We are only human! 

I'm finally learning not to fire so many questions at myself. They just feed the anxiety and pressure. I have been supported so much by friends and family. Having an invisible chronic illness, these people get me. I have friends with fibromyalgia too and they are brilliant. So, I'm being kinder to myself. I love this next quote from pinterest so much.

Once you have a chronic illness, especially when they are mixed with other illnesses, you're not the same person physically anymore. You can't do what you once did. You have to pace yourself. Your life changes massively and you put pressure on yourself to do what you did before. I was so, so busy. A social butterfly, fluttering all over from activity to activity, thriving on always doing and having places to go to. Now, I have to pace myself and say no to social occasions. I struggle with not being as busy. I do feel lazy at times. I have to remind myself, that if I rested that day, I needed to. I read about 'the glorification of busy'. As a society, some of us do this. I was bereft when I first stopped being busy. But you know what? Turned out being busy, dashing about, stressing, rushing on to the next thing was actually not good for my health. Resting and pacing myself is. 

Add to that a loss of career and you are changed mentally. I, as others I know who have left professions, let these careers define us. We are still the same people. Just not on the same wage! Add to that a few losses of friendship as we change, and that's a knock to your emotional and spiritual settings. 

So, as I write this, I am going to stop feeling so guilty about not being where I should be and give myself a hug for coping. I also spent some time redoing my CV. I'd spent ages focusing on the leaving my career that I totally forgot what I had achieved. As I read through it, this fab teacher unfolded before my eyes. That was me. I was that amazing teacher who had done so much and formed so many good relationships with kids, parents and staff. I can embrace that and move on. Start seeing yourself as you did back then. See yourself through the eyes of those who love, respect and admire you.

We do pressure ourselves to live up to other people of a similar age. I have done it too much. I need to stop doing it. I know it's not helpful, comparing yourself to others but we are only human. Thing is, when we do it, we compare with people we feel are doing better or are dressed better, or have a better car. I'm still me in my little Vauxhall with a dint in the back and a few scratches. 

We sometimes feel we need to apologise for ourselves. Well, I did! Something else I've been working on. If you are ok with you, your close family and friends are, then they are the opinions that count. 

This quote is so true. You can't have both your old and new life! Sacrifices made and hurt along the way but we have to make them. We have to feel uncomfortable. It is worth it.


  1. Covid time gives us too much time to overthink and reflect. Always happier when keeping busy and getting on with life!!! Not a normal world at the moment. Not good for the mind, body or soul. Just take one day at a time and things will get better!!!

  2. Yes. One day at a time at the moment.


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