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Well, it’s been quite a while since I’ve blogged, as you can see. What have I been up to? End-of-school-year Music Teacher stuff, end-of-school-year mum stuff, and THE BIGGY – BUYING A HOUSE stuff. Finally, I understand the reason why people who are doing all the admin, never mind the physical preparation, for a house purchase become (no offence- I am now one of you) super-boring, rather stressed and – let’s be honest – a little bit SMUG.
Since my early twenties I’ve watched pretty much all my friends buy houses, all the while inwardly weaving myself tightly into a tapestry of self pity that featured the words, “I will never be able to buy a house”. As I embellished my sob story with alcohol abuse and repeated words of self-hatred daily like a sinister mantra, it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Obvs.
I worked hard through my twenties, bringing up my eldest son whilst working nearly full time as a teacher, ploughing a lot of my earnings back into funding my simultaneous part time training as an opera singer. And flushing a great deal away with alcohol, too.
Looking back, I suspect that my childishness around money reflected my inner child throwing its toys around. I’ve always felt much younger than I really am, and I wonder if the pressures of becoming a mother at the age of 24 were more brutal than I admitted to myself at the time: despite the straight “A”s, good degree and confident air, I was emotionally the same girl that I was at 13, having hidden from all stresses of life inside self-starvation, booze and approval from the opposite sex. Applying bucketloads of perfectionism over everything, I only ever ‘allowed’ motherhood to be a joy- I channelled Mary Poppins, pasted on a smile and liberally anaesthetised the whisperings of negativity each and every night. Until it didn’t work any more. Being shit with money and drinking too much were my outlet, my pressure valve.
One of the many unexpected benefits of these past sober 14 months has been the pulling back of the blinds and the revealing of all sorts of shitty self-destructive tricks my fragile ego had been inflicting on me. And I’m beginning to nurture the ability to – firstly – step back and witness the fuckwittery of my subconscious, and secondly, gradually change these negative patterns.
The trick, I’m learning, is to talk to this non-sensical part of myself, like the toddler it is.
I mean, it really is.
Like my therapist said, our core beliefs are formed in childhood, so that’s why we often have these weird, unhelpful, childish rules for living.
I read a great couple of books, “You are a badass” and “You are a badass with money” by Jen Sincero, a few months ago. Yes, I know, the titles are weird to my English ears! But the books were an absolute game-changer. Highly recommended. Full of wisdom, easy to read and funny, too.
Anyway, yep, I’ve saved a bunch of money since I quit booze, but the house-buying thing ……it’s crazy how really, we could have afforded to buy a house years before, but I was trapped so deeply in my web of self-hatred that I didn’t feel like I deserved to own a home. It sounds crazy, but there it is.
You have to step back and witness the crazy, with love and patience, before you can let it go. Like I do when my 3 year old daughter hits the deck with the mother of all tantrums because she can’t have 2 ice-lollies at once.
Witness the crazy, then break it down with persistent love, not frustration. That’s my general approach to myself these days.