I love the first pages of books, opening scenes in movies, the first post someone puts on social media.
The first thing is important because it captures the essence of what is to come. It is a book end.
In scene one, we usually meet the main character. We are given a glimmer into what this story is about, what it will feel like to let ourselves dive into this way of seeing the world. We taste the plot and peek into the stage set.
In fact, I believe some of the most profound stuff ever written or said is in the prologue, because the story teller is forced to craft this tiny introduction is a way that captures attention and generates your audience.
You know pretty quickly if this is for you. Or not, of course.
So welcome to Post Number #1. My introduction to whole new blog.
A new page. A new chapter. A new season.
What do I tell you so you know enough to flick past or press in?
This is a love story.
It is the story of a 40-something who is finally learning to love herself enough to go through the process of becoming and unbecoming. I have spent a long time trying to become – as a mum and wife, as a daughter, a Christian, in my work as a teacher, a coach, a writer. I tried to become someone good enough, impactful enough, fancy and established enough… I have sought and sought to be enough for so so long.
I wanted to become someone who made a difference, who gave their life to something that matters. I wanted to become well known for what I did for a whole bunch of good and bad reasons. I wanted the right people to see my work and support me – I wanted them to tell me this was going well enough. I was seeking someone who had shown they were enough to tell me I was enough.
I wrestled with being enough in my home when I had to see behind the curtain every single minute. I knew every weakness I had as a mum and every insecurity I had as a wife. I saw my own nakedness in every aspect and knew every flaw and ugly. I saw behind myself and often disliked what I saw. I knew how to dress to hide the bits that felt less or awful, but even as I did I couldn’t un-know what lurked beneath the surface.
I tried to be a great Christian, as my faith was vital and central. But, yet again, I was privy to my own doubts and failings, my own cynicisms and questions. I knew how to play the game and what it took to not say the wrong thing in order to keep climbing the ladder. I played nice as said the right stuff. I stayed quiet on the things I disagreed with on stages whilst wrestling with the same things sat on my bedroom floor.
By the age of 35 most people would look at my life and see a successful woman with a great family, a beautiful home, a fantastic career. I was being asked to travel and speak after publishing my first book, I was climbing the ladder of leadership, I was often found on platforms and with a microphone. And all of this was wonderful and real – except it was only a part of me, a part of my whole. I realised that in order to keep on going I had to keep dressing and covering and hiding, shrouding the parts of me that could jeopardise the rest.
It’s not so much that I lied or was dishonest, I was just a fraction of my whole self. I was playing a part, in every sense of the word.
At 35 I realised that the cost of this was huge, that I always felt that I was pretending. And something changed.
At 35 I stopped hiding, and started unravelling.
Unravelling sounds scary, like I was having a breakdown. This was less of a breakdown and more of an unbecoming. You see, I realised the reason I was hiding was because I had believed so many things that I had been taught about what it meant to be a mum, a wife, a woman, a Christian, a leader, a success… I had been conditioned to play these roles, and I was playing them well. But the cost was my wholeness.
I am five years into a pursuit of my own wholeness. And now, just about, I feel like I’ve done enough to be able to start telling the story.
So welcome to my love story. Welcome to the story of a normal, average middle aged, Christian mum and wife learning how to love herself back to wholeness layer by unravelled layer.