Thursday, 1 April 2010

Don't do it my way

Dear Tiger. Someone suggested I use this blog to tell people stuff about myself.

That's a difficult challenge. Mostly because there is stuff about me you don't know. Hey, I am yet working out how to explain that stuff to you without making you want to run for the hills.

Rest assured. I am unlikely to drag out the decapitated skeletons from the family closet. Not yet.

I promise. I will not scatter those bleached bones before the entire world. No. I will humiliate you privately first, and afterwards I will blab.

My other problem with this challenge is that my own life now is without sparkle, consisting of laundry, cooking, dead work. On that, I better not think too hard. And it's not like I have two heads or five hands or anything else interesting to report.

So I thought I would tell people something I notice about you. Because things I know about myself, the person I am now, and the mother I have become, I learned from you.

Tiger, I recognise you. You shock me. Your spirit knows what it wants to do. But it is at conflict with your head. Your spirit is creative, free, and is filled with feeling, and it wants to break out and express itself. But your mind is made of barriers and boundaries and off-limits. It tells your spirit to damn well shut up and sit down. Then I watch you wrangling with yourself, beating yourself up, and generally torturing yourself in frenzied angst. And we haven't even hit the teenage years yet! Wow, am I looking forward to those.

Girl, let your spirit lead. Let it lead, even to pathways that scare the shit out of your head.

How can I know that your spirit should be in charge?

I see the things that you do. The things your spirit loves. Put a pencil in your hand, and in quick and simple strokes that you never feel the need to correct, you bring that page to life, and I stand amazed.

That drawing your head hated, of a penguin. I snatched it from you and sealed it in my heart. I swear that penguin has a soul. And with that facial expression, it is a pissed off soul. It should get up off that page, balancing one flipper on its hip, curling a sneer at its beak, and make a smart arse comment about fish.

Little Tiger, you will answer me with a head-thrown frown and a loud, dismissive tut. Then you snort that of course I see talent, because I am your mother. Therefore you can discount me. Oh roll on, my thirteen-year old wise one!

But do you remember the architect who looked over your shoulder to see you sketch? He'd never met you before. His eyebrows went up, his mouth dropped open, and he pointed to your page and cried 'She's got it! She's got it!'

You see? Not just me. Your talent is there, and your spirit knows it, even though your head makes you look at your work, and your mouth opens in a cry and frustrated tears come and you screw up that page and weep it's nothing but rubbish rubbish rubbish.

I don't want that voice in your head to win. I don't want it to control you, and stop you. I want you to feel your talents, follow your spirit, and free yourself up, because I think if you do, you will find your way in life. I want you to have the openness and confidence, and wilful bloody-mindedness, to take those routes before you. And where those opportunities don't exist, I want you to make them.

I did not. I never fought for those paths that I felt I should follow. I didn't do things I instinctively wanted to do, because I was too scared. I let my head stop me. I am too weedy and too easily made fearful.

Maybe now, because of you, I am making up for that. Now I determine that we will live this life in a way which protects you, and your sisters, and gives you the space and the freedom to find your own way, on your own terms.

Tiger, this is my advice. Follow those paths of yours that you think will lead you to fulfilment and satisfaction. And if I grow fearful, and try and pull you off into another direction, one that's more sensible, more contained, filled with controls and boundaries and off-limits, I want you to fight me, every bit of the way.

But stop short of a busted nose, OK?