Today I am mad.
I am mad at myself.
Mad that I didn’t believe in myself sooner.
Mad that I believed the story that I had to work harder to be what I thought everyone wanted me to be.
Mad that I believed the story that my eggs were getting old so I needed to settle down.
Mad that I believed the story that marriages get stale and that’s normal.
Mad that I believed the story that kids need two parents who stay together.
Mad that I didn’t even believe in myself enough to keep my own name when I got married, even though my intuition told me to.
Mad that I didn’t believe in myself enough in my 20s to go it alone and never get married.
Mad that I didn’t believe in myself enough in my 30s to leave my marriage.
Mad that I have wasted so much time.
Mad that if I, a strong, amazing, woman can believe all the patriarchal societal stories and buy into them for so long so that half of my life gets wasted away, what hope do other women have who aren’t taught to be strong from an early age?
Mad that men and women are not treated equally in this society.
Mad that my daughters are judged more for their appearance than for their abilities.
Mad that I gave any of my power to men.
Mad that women are encouraged to give our power away.
Mad that women are not respected by so many men.
And the list goes on…
Today I am a mad woman. Anyone who knows me well knows I’m not usually filled with rage. But this week I have been and I’ve embraced it.
I think women are often mad. But we aren’t ever taught that it’s ok to get mad. From the time we are little we are taught to be ‘good girls’ and ‘quiet girls’ and to look pretty and not make a mess or a scene. What’s the old adage? ‘Sugar and spice and everything nice.’
Today I don’t feel like being good. I definitely don’t feel like being quiet. I want to be as LOUD as possible. I don’t give a fuck what I look like and I want to make a huge mess. It turns out I have a wild streak in me that is bursting to be heard right now. I feel like throwing cans of paint at a blank wall and seeing what shows up.
Most of the time, I can play society’s game. I can be good and look good and do all the right things. But I realise that for doing the things that a patriarchal society expects me to do, day in and day out, there comes a point where I rebel.
I rebelled in a big way the day I left my marriage. And I’ve been rebelling in lots of other ways ever since.
And you know what? That wild instinct, that inner knowing, that voice that tells me that I am an amazing woman, no matter what anyone else thinks or says, is coming through loud and clear to me. It’s telling me that I can do things differently. I don’t have to do things just because people expect me to. And I love it.
When I have one of my rages, I’m learning what I need to do. Sometimes I need to scream. A friend of mine taught me a trick to get in the car, have a code word (hers is pandemonium, which I absolutely love!) and when that word is said, scream your head off. It works. It’s brilliant.
Sometimes when I’m angry at someone I imagine them sitting in a chair in front of me and I use a tea towel and beat the shit out of the chair (and the tea towel). If you try this (and I totally recommend it), set a timer for three minutes. If you are like me, you will feel stupid the first time you try it but trust me, by the time three minutes are up, you’ll be much lighter if you give in to your inner wildness. And that feeling is quite addictive.
Once I get the anger out, then I need time by myself to reflect and question my inner self. ‘Why are you so upset? What’s hurting you so much to make you angry? Who has hurt you?’
Listening to the answers to those questions may take some time. But that’s ok. I stay curious and keep asking. I treat myself like a scared child and try to coax the answers out gently. I try to be as self-compassionate as I can.
Self-compassion is something I find difficult. I’ve spent years being my harshest critic. Pushing myself when others would have long given up. Telling myself that I needed to be smarter, better, more creative at everything than anyone else around me. It’s an exhausting way to live your life, let me tell you. I’ve never felt good enough. But I’m working on it. I’ve done a lot of self-exploratory work in the last few years. I’m trying to change my thinking and my actions. I’m trying to be more self-compassionate and realise that I am enough.
In the book Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown says, “Wholehearted living is about engaging with our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion and connection to wake up in the morning and think, ‘No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.’ It’s going to bed at night thinking, ‘Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.”
In the months since reading that book, I find myself returning to that mantra over and over again. And then spending time tuning into my inner self.
I’ve just spent six days in solitude – walking the beach, reading, resting, eating well, watching whales, journaling, healing my inner wild self. Listening to the wind through the tops of the trees. Staring off into space, daydreaming. Eating when I want, not to some timetable. Listening to my intuition, my inner voice talking to me.
And now that I’ve got my inner madness out on paper, I realise that I’m doing the best I can. I think that’s all any of us can do at any given moment. Be aware of our choices and live mindfully.
This is me. I’m not perfect. I’m messy at times. I’m loud and fun and crazy and times. Sometimes I’m wild and sometimes I’m quiet and introspective. All of these things (and many others) make up who I am. And all of that is ok. Today, I’m enough. And today, it’s ok to be mad.
I’m off to the garage to find a few paint cans and a blank wall.
You know – since that amazing retreat I have loved doing pandemonium!! And I find myself mad at a lot of things these days. Usually the injustice of life and of the way people treat me, other people and women in particular. But I have found, since that wonderful retreat, that I am not standing back and taking the shit. Instead, I am meeting it head on – and the people who throw it at me. Not in an angry, aggressive way – but I have found writing letters to these people calms me. It helps me get my anger out in a positive way and lets them know how they have hurt me/my family and how they could avoid hurting others in the same way in the future.
Bron, what a beautiful and constructive way to tackle things head on. I’m curious, do you send the letters or do you just write them to make yourself feel better? And if you send them, have you had any responses? Xx