I’m not stressed
My very gorgeous happy go lucky eleven year old has recently uttered those famously most overused words on the planet “I am just a bit stressed!” Firstly I joked that he can’t be stressed he’s a guru. He is full of sunshine and wisdom and hello he’s eleven! But he so rightly reminded me that he can’t be a guru every day. Me neither as much as I wish for it, it’s true. I am sure even Ghandi had his moments. What I am also learning is that you can’t have all sunshine without a little cloud.
I live in a house filled with personalities. Quietly reserved brushes shoulders with the drama queen and shares a bathroom with the funny one, the nice one, the one who can’t do it and the one who can do anything. Not forgetting the messy one (so many messy ones!). The one who has faith in God debates with the atheist. The yogi breathes and stretches whilst the boxer throws the punches. Sam Cooke competes with Drake. Books battle with Tik Tok. Each likes what it likes. And we learn to get along. I have questioned recently how the hell there could ever be world peace, when people find it so hard to live in harmony with the ones they love most? The ones they share blood and DNA with. I wish for it but I am not hopeful.
The black lives matter protests made me think how amazing it would be if eventually people stopped seeing skin tones and judging a person because of it. This is an easy idealistic statement to make being fair skinned with my green eyes. I sometimes live in another reality where good beats evil and it is sunny all of the time. But then I got to thinking, as human beings is it even possible for us not see? While our eyes work it’s all we ever do, look and assess then make assumptions and judgements. Too fat, really thin, Turkish, beautiful, great hair, Chinese, man dressed as a woman, nice eyes, big nose, black, deaf, white, well dressed, weirdo. We do that don’t we? It is wrong but our brain can’t help but compute the image in front of us and we individually will all see something different. What we need to be thinking and teaching is yes the world is made up of billions of people that come in every shape size and colour. Hair is curly, eyes are blue. (A beautiful spiritual person I know calls them skin suits.) Beneath the surface we are all the same, how can we really believe that we are superior to another human being, really how? It is so out dated and wrong? We bleed, cry and laugh the same. We enter and depart the planet with the same spectacular efficiency. The differences need to be celebrated and cherished. That is what makes the world interesting and exciting, like the goings on in my house where we may all share the same skin tone; we are all the same underneath whilst being very different. Wouldn’t it be dull if we were all exactly alike? Beautiful brown taught skin, old flabby skin, faces full of young spotty skin is just skin, and how we see it, and it is how we treat the soul residing inside it that matters. We need to start looking beneath the skin. In the words of a friend of mine” I strive always and only to judge anyone and everyone solely on the beauty of their character (or lack of) and never anything else. It got a bit rude after that where he described a rather full and exotic love life where all nationalities were equally cherished. So I will finish on a clean note.
I think as a parent you say that you treat your children the same. You’re children’s perception of how you parented them against how you treated their siblings will tell a different story. But in reality you try to give to them what they need from you and some will need more; more love, patience, time, understanding, money just more. Children aren’t cabbage patch dolls made to order. My overwhelming urge to grow small people didn’t consider that I would give birth to a complex human being full of insecurities and interesting traits that make them unique and possibly drive me a little insane from time to time. A child that is a breeze to parent is like an A* student that barely needs teaching, they make the job look easy. They make the teacher look accomplished. It’s the kid struggling that needs the good teacher! And that’s another story for another day.
During these wonderful times of being locked in with loved ones I have noticed myself more in my children. I like it when I see the kind and the spiritual and the honest hard worker, not so keen when the angry fearful lunatic people pleaser shows up. We can’t say we have favourites, we can but we don’t and I honestly don’t think that we do. I think we have aspects of people that we prefer, behaviours and characteristics that resonate within us and make us feel safe and comfortable. The experts that know this kind of stuff say that it is the thing that you don’t like in others that is a part of you. Rubbish we say to that, I am nothing like that overbearing control freak! But on reflection I think those experts might know something.
So the stress in question is a little bit corona blues combined mainly with a hefty amount of unfinished back to school homework. So as head of emotional wellbeing (I’m the caring one) I have decided we are ditching the homework, joking we are ditching the stress word. I used my analogy of how if I leave washing for two days the pile becomes so enormous that I can empathise with how the hoarder next door became the hoarder next door. It is a feeling of being overwhelmed and where do I start that leads down the path to stress. Isn’t the stress word just a lazy expression that stops us questioning what it is that we are actually feeling? We need to stop speaking to our bodies with such bad language and start listening to what it’s trying to tell us. I am my own worst enemy; I will push myself to my absolute limit instead of admitting that I am totally weighed down. Isn’t it Funny how I can be stressed but that’s not what I want for my little one? I want him to be vulnerable and own the fear he is really feeling but would I be prepared to go there myself. If we hear “I’m stressed” it’s like yeah yeah aren’t we all, you’ll be fine. If we hear “I am overwhelmed” if we listen out for the truth, can we offer help. Can we break it down into manageable bite size pieces that are easier to swallow? Can we greet emotions like grief and frustration and pay them their dues. Stress is getting all the credit, when the real players are being overlooked. Do we question enough what it is that is really causing the discomfort? I guess if we figure that one out we might have to go there and hang out for a while. I think a lot of stress comes from having to do what we don’t want to. The homework has to be done; so does the washing. We reside in a society where many rules are made for us that we have no choice over. I think we are feeling that stronger than ever in these tricky times. I don’t know the answers to that. I guess we are all bound to things that we simply have to do, things that bring us no satisfaction or joy and that’s a shame. What I do know is putting those unwanted things off won’t make them go away.
The clever one has resumed her role as head teacher and devised a strategy for wading through the homework stress. Wish she’d learn to use the washing machine.