I’ve never been too good at finding my middle ground. A place safe from extremes. The middle always seemed such a boring place to be, so I would swing wildly between over indulgence and self-deprivation, reigning myself in completely when I had realised I’d swung too far. Without even realising what I was doing.
One extreme to the other.
All or nothing.
It’s only now as the years tick on and I learn to sit quietly with myself that I realise the middle isn’t such a bad place to be. And by middle I don’t mean a life of compromise and half-arsed attempts. I mean living in a state of self-awareness, acceptance, a life free of extremes. Where you can taste a bit of everything but just not have everything at once.
My weight, the often only outward sign of where I might be at in such a cycle is slowly creeping down and I feel a sense of control that’s not stifling but peaceful.
I have now lost 6.5 kilograms and am at a place where usually I’d crack open a celebratory bottle of something and indulge in a large cheese platter, but this time I feel resolute. There is still another 3.5 kilograms to go to reach my ultimate goal. So I put my head down and ignore the distractions. There is work to be done.
At the same time, I am finally reaching an acceptance of myself as a mother. Something that has taken some time, if I’m completely honest.
My opinion of myself could be heavily influenced by how I felt I was being perceived by others. Of what company I was in. The seasoned mothers or my single and childless friends could both leave me feeling that little bit ‘less’, but in very different ways. Which was crazy, but if I’m honest it’s the way it’s always been. But when your opinion of yourself affects the way you relate to that little person who relies on you for everything, it becomes an even bigger problem.
I am far from cured of my old ways, some days I still rage against what I have become – the old impulsive me spits ire in my general direction and accuses me of ‘selling out’ and becoming a pathetic one-dimensional mother in the suburbs who will never amount to much.
And for a second I believe it. I believe that’s how I must be seen by the world and I let it wash over me. But thankfully reason rides in to remind me of how much I have, how much I want to do and say and how much there is in the here and now to love and be loved for. That my voice and experience counts for something.
And I revise my own view of myself. I am a dedicated and loving mother, partner and friend who likes to laugh and to dream and to pull apart things in my head sometimes and occasionally write them down.
And that’s the clincher, the things that people say with their inherent judgements and opinions can’t ever affect you when you don’t believe them yourself.
Here in the middle there is as much surrender as there is perseverence. I am learning to surrender sometimes and let life teach me the things I need to learn but also recognising that there are just as many times when I need to push and persevere to make it past an obstacle on my own.
To sit in that uncomfortable place, the middle, where there really is no easy way out. But that is how it’s meant to be.
Photo: IntangibleArts @ Flickr.com