Spring-Cleaning

I love this time of the year. It’s just the right time for the cold weather to calm down a bit, and we get to enjoy some beautiful sunshine without the sticky and stinky humidity our summers bring.

Whilst March is always a tough month, one I do not like at all, it also heralds the beginning of spring. And of all four seasons, it is most definitely my favourite.

I associate spring with new beginnings. After March, April starts with the promise of warmer breezes and bluer skies. I finally put my heavy jackets to rest and take out my cardigans and lighter layers, with the hope that I am not tempting the fates into throwing at us more wind and cold. I set my boots aside with a huge sigh of relief. I can finally wear sock-less flats and perhaps even dare to show my feet if the weather permits. That is after getting a pedicure, with a pretty coral colour perhaps. I slowly start removing layers and layers of clothes, scarves and socks. Skin is scrubbed and buffed, dead and dry skin discarded of,  and body parts hidden by the winter cold start getting properly prepared for the outer world to see. I start pushing myself that bit harder at training because visions of me in a bathing suit start popping up every morning at 6am whilst squatting, and panic starts kicking in. The days become longer, and so can our walks. Gozo at this time of the year still stubbornly holds on to the last of the green grass, before the brown, dried-up ambience sets in – typical of our summer.

Now is also the time when I start pining after a new hairstyle, look up new, fad diets and amazing superfoods. I restart my Bucilla kit for the tenth time because I suddenly realize that I can finish it in time for next Christmas…but only if I continue working on it for more than a couple of days.  I start a frenzy period of internet shopping because suddenly not one single female in our household has any single item of clothing to wear. I go through the girls’ wardrobes with a heavy heart because I have to empty the winter clothing, half of which will never be worn again.

After reading Island Fairy’s post, I immediately downloaded the Headspace app. Today is Day 2 of my meditation practice. With it just being ten minutes long, it’s something I can find the time for more easily than an hour-long session. I have also grabbed hold of my copy of The Universe Has Your Back, and started reading it again. I go through periods when I can not read some books. They just do not appeal to me and I physically hide them away till I feel ready to give them another go. After reading the reviews on this book, after eagerly waiting for it to arrive, once it did, I was just put off it. I read the first chapter, found myself blocking over it, and I had to stop. I now feel that the time is right to give it another go. I’m thinking that ten minutes of meditation a day and some pages of this book, will help my mind go along with the sense of new and fresh beginnings this time of the year brings.

This is perhaps my own version of spring-cleaning. I think we all have our rituals this at this time of the year. Some which we perhaps do not realize unless we sit down and think about it. I can go through spring with a clear head. It is perhaps the only season where my energy levels are higher than usual, and things are that bit more possible and happier. Summer is too hot for me to muster any enthusiasm, autumn is too busy for clarity, and winter I do not particularly like. I guess spring is my season.

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Chasing the Sun

Choices

When we make a choice, we are choosing something over something else. We choose A over B.  And in that split second we make a decision, we are setting the path for that part of our life.

Do you ever think of the path you didn’t choose? I very rarely do. The temptation is great but I do not see much sense dwelling on that which did not happen.

The way I see it is that every decision is taken in a particular moment. It is one instance, with a background of events going on around it, and with a specific mind frame and set of emotions. Every choice is made in that arena, in that moment. A choice made a second later could lead to a hundred, different results.

Actually, thinking about it is pretty intimidating. We make on-the-spur decisions, in a moment, and they are binding ones. We rarely get second chances.

Thinking about the untaken choice is unfair, because all those factors which featured in making the first choice might not be present the second time round. Thinking in retrospect is a bitch. We are all experts afterwards.

My friend L and I were talking about this the other day. That question, “What if?…” Is it worth anything? We can’t live life thinking about the choices we didn’t choose. Think of all the useless energy we would be wasting!

My comment earlier on about not revisiting the past? Confession time.Here goes.

There is one instance which remains with me always. It took me 8 years to fully understand how much it had affected me. The minute it happened, I very conveniently forced myself to forget it and I went on living as if it had never happened.

And then my 2014 life upheaval happened and I had to face the facts head-on, without any cushioning or downplaying.

One Monday evening back in 2006, my father called us from New York. He talked to my mother, then my brother and he then asked to talk to me. For a silly reason, I didn’t want to. I had just returned from America a couple of weeks before with luggages and luggages of things, all sponsored by him. So when I asked for something else for him to bring me, his, “Didn’t she buy enough yet?” made me angry. Mum told me not act in that childish manner, but I kept on refusing.

He hung up and the next day he passed away.

I remember blaming myself for what happened, hating myself for not talking to him on the phone, and yearning to turn the clock back a couple of hours. The guilt added to the pain and suffering of those days was too much for me, so I made myself forget and dismiss the incident. It came up later on (oh yes it did), I dealt with it and life was clearer and lighter in a way.

The choice I made back then was insignificant at that time. I did not think about it again till the moment my life shattered into a million pieces. With hindsight of course I would have done things differently, but I learnt that I could not undo a choice, and I could not judge myself over something which had already happened under different circumstances.

So I stopped judging myself,  I accepted the fact that it was a choice I made, a very bad one as it turned out, but I would not feel guilty about it anymore. Because that was the way it was meant to be. That was the way things had to turn out.

And if life has taught me anything so far it is that we are the sum total of our choices and decisions. They shape us and make us. We are where we are now because of our choices. Stop blaming yourself. Again, hindsight is a bitch. A Bitch.

Own It!

Have you ever found yourself starting to say something and stop yourself before you do? There are many situations when I think something, disagree with someone or really want to say something but don’t. I keep quiet and keep my thoughts to myself.

And then I ask myself why I don’t just say what I want and mean to say.

Maybe it’s the looks I am afraid of gathering, maybe it’s the reaction I don’t want to see. Whatever it is, this holding back bothers me. I have always been a strong believer of saying what you believe in and owning it. Yet sometimes I can’t even practice what I believe in.

So yes, I do spend time on Facebook, and yes I do play Candy Crush Saga. I also buy ridiculous items on sale which I never use and I then remove tags and receipts to make it less obvious to anyone other than me.

I still love reading a trashy fiction book every once in a while, and deep down I know I’m not the ideal housewife. Cooking is sometimes a chore, and I do sometimes keep the girls quiet with sweets in order to get something done round the house.

I love seeing other people’s photos on Facebooks, more so if they’re not my friends. I am constantly filling up online shopping bags on every site I know of, not necessarily resulting in a purchase. And I procrastinate, too much for my own good at times.

Phew!

What about you?

 

Self-care

I’m liking the way my year is turning out to be. For the first time in a really long time, if ever, I am in a happy place. I’m appreciating my life and those in it. I’m proud of myself for taking the step of ridding myself of what I do not need. I’m embracing the positive and shunning the rest. I’m moving forward, skipping actually, perhaps with less people around me but with an overall much better aura.

The decision to stop pleasing others and focusing on myself proved to be the turning-point. Perhaps it’s my age or reaching a saturation point of sorts, but my priorities have changed and with them, my life has shifted. I have come to realize that any time spent on things or people who are not worth it, is wasted time. I have given up on past friendships not with any antagonism, not at all. I just choose to spend the time I have with friends and family who give me something worth holding onto. It is a hard decision giving up on something or someone who meant so much to you in the past. But when you do so, the feeling of lightness and rightness which accompanies the action, is mind-lifting.

I do not care for any bull in my life. At 36 years of age, I finally know what I want in my life. And I consider myself fortunate to have people in my life who can and are giving it to me. Gone are the times when I used to set off, going out of my way to please someone, without any acknowledgment, thanks or reciprocated action. How many times have I done something for someone, only for them to shun away when I used to ask for something in return? We are all humans. We all expect help from our close ones in times of need. And when your priorities are not theirs, then there is a problem.

In every post I have written this year, I have always said how this year was going to be my year. I made it a priority to better my life and myself . It was not easy and it took hard work and keeping my eyes on the prize to move forward. Today I am with less people around me. I probably come across as sometimes direct and abrupt. But I am no less sensitive. than I was before. I am not crass or arrogant.  I only choose more carefully when to show what side of me.

I have, in a way, spring-cleansed my life. I have opened up myself, let the negative air and presences go out, and allowed the positive in my life. I have found the courage to admit to myself what I want out of this life, whom I want in my life, and what I need to do to achieve my own peace, and I’m slowly getting there.

I will not apologize for this. I am looking out for myself and my own. I suggest you try doing this. Clarify what and who you want in your life, and set out the way to achieve it.

I am telling you – the feeling is great.

I may not be doing it right. This may be the least correct way of doing it, but what works…works.

 

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This is not about hate or disrespect. It’s about self-care.

 

Strolling By

I haven’t written in what seems to be ages. Not from lack of events, far from it. Finding the time to put thoughts into words is the ultimate feat.

Bettina turned one, Cesca started her second year at school, I started full-days at work, our house is slowly being erected. Life is good. Hectic, tiring and exhausting, but nothing to complain about. Our life sometimes resembles a family sitcom show – the evenings especially are crazy, and when I finish cleaning up the kitchen, Anthony handles the toys and the girls are put to bed, I let out a huge sigh of relief. For as much as I love the girls, I love them that bit more when they’re both laying in bed, clean and happy and ready for the night.

Juggling work with family is not easy.

I am not one to complain. Yet sometimes I yearn for the stay-at-home lifestyle. Returning home after a full day of work to start what is a second full-time job is tiring. Sometimes I struggle to make the bed or think up the evening’s menu. But I think motherhood toughens us up, and we move on and forward. I falter, I trip along the way, but I try and move on. Sometimes, I hobble along to end the day, but somehow we’re all good. So things must not be as bad as I sometimes think they are.

So two months of not writing here is because of this. It’s not about not having anything to write or say. It’s just not having the energy and time to sit down and concentrate for an hour.

For now I’ll probably just write small snippets here and there. But I promise I’ll be back properly.

Can’t promise when though.

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Let Them Go

There comes a point where you have to just let it go.

The first and most difficult step is realizing that things change, situations alter you and your perspective and thoughts change in the process.

The ‘you’ of ten years ago did things differently than ‘you’ today. You may live in a different village now, you may have a family, you may have certain life experiences under your belt, you may have been hurt, loved, betrayed, forgiven, you may have hurt others yourself and learnt from it. Small knicks that shape your life and make you the ‘you’ of today.

You may think that some people will remain in your life forever. But it is not so.

I have learnt this lesson through several episodes in my life. More so recently.

So as much as it hurts, I accept that we all change and we all move forward. I will treasure some people and my memories of them in my heart forever. I will smile and laugh when I remember past times, but I will not stay stuck in the past. I will not wallow in sadness and cry for the ‘why’s’ and ‘how’s’ and the ‘what-if’s’. We are all responsible for our actions. We take our decisions and we move on.

The most important thing is letting go without regrets. It’s waking up in the morning with a clear conscience, knowing you did what you could, and realizing that sometimes you can’t fight for something alone.

Single Dose or Double the Double?

It was only this week that I ventured a delicate subject with a friend – a fellow mummy of three. It is a subject which I never discussed with anyone, basically from fear of the looks I would get from other mothers. I have always wanted to pose the question, from the moment we started talking about children right up until the minute Bettina was born. I never found the courage to ask the question, not even to my own mother, but somehow I have been thinking about this subject recently and this week the topic popped up when talking to my friend.

Looking back now, it is a ridiculous question, one I have no idea why I feared, but at the time it was on my mind. Constantly.

Do you ever love the second child as much as you do the first?

Motherhood opens up a universe of emotions. Everything comes to surface, all is new, and the amount of love you feel towards this small and fragile stranger is amazing. You find yourself doing things you never imagined you could, and you smile through it all. Everything is fresh and bursting with love. It is the reason why many mothers say how they can never imagine going back to a life pre-baby. It is because life and priorities shift so tremendously that even if you put feelings aside, there is no rational way of ever going back. You give birth, you become a parent and your children are with you always and forever.

So big and enormous is this mass of love you feel for this tiny little baby that it is frightening, elating and surprising. Ten years ago, would someone have ever told me that I would be waking up at 6.30am on a Saturday and Sunday morning to a cooing baby, and smile about it, I would have called them crazy. Whenever we went out I would start preparing for the night out for at least an hour before. Now I am lucky if I get fifteen minutes to prepare myself for an evening out. My bags are full of baby wipes and empty biscuit wrappers and my pots of makeup are now under lock and key or else destroyed. And somehow it is okay and I don’t mind.

Now imagine being so enamoured and so wrapped up in this tiny being who you’d move earth for, and then find out another little on is on its’ way. With our situation, we were waiting for Bettina eagerly. She came at the perfect period for us all. Cesca needed a sibling to ground her a bit and we did not want to let too much time pass for a second baby because we knew that the more time passed, the more difficult it would be to start the baby-routine again. Things were happening in the background, and add to that the silent fear I would sometimes experience when I’d think of a new baby, my panic attacks started and they threw me off balance.

I now know that the cause of it all was fear. Too many things were happening at the same time and I did not know if I was prepared for it all. Funny really, considering how I did the first two and a half years of Cesca’s life alone with her and I never ever doubted I could do it. But a second baby, a job and a new school for Cesca, made me worry about handling it all. Luckily enough they all turned out to be unfounded worries, but try telling that to a pregnant woman midway through her pregnancy. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to handle.

Underneath it all, and perhaps at the root of it all, I would start questioning how I could love another baby as much as I did Cesca. I spent so many hours during Bettina’s pregnancy thinking how I would be cheating Cesca out of my love for her, with the arrival of a new baby. I feared showing preference towards Cesca in front of the new baby and having the latter notice this.

And then Bettina arrived and everything shifted. Suddenly everything was clearer and simple. I had gone round the whole issue the wrong way. For it was not halving the love I had for Cesca in order to share it with Bettina. But it simply was doubling the love I had for one, for two. The enormity of emotions Cesca brought with her just doubled. As my friend told me, each child comes with their own universe of love. And that is true. I then understood so much more than I did before. Cesca and Bettina have different characters, each come with their own baggage of love, they are both unique and I can not think of one without thinking about the other. Cesca makes me laugh, and a minute later we’re both smiling at something Bettina did. There is never any hint of jealousy, of preference, for they are two separate portals of love.

So I finally got the answer to the question which had been brewing in my mind for ages. Each child is a blessing, and the most amazing thing is that whether you have one, two or six, you love them equally, in different ways perhaps, but somehow they all hold your heart. Parenthood is an amazing blessing. It baffles you at times, drives you up the wall at others, but rewards you with the simplest and purest form of love. Or loves.