Day 25- Time for some serenity

Phew, this was one busy weekend! Swap-shops, fundraisers and all the usual chaos that comes with having excitable youngsters, who were in particularly exuberant form these last few days. I thus felt I totally deserved a Clover Club cocktail at 5-45 in town by myself, but it was a pretty hectic lead up to the indulgence.

This morning I was up before six, which is un-heard of unless I’m catching a flight or soothing an ailing infant. However, I didn’t mind forgoing a Sunday lie-in as I popped down to Radio Ulster  to have a chat with Kim Lenaghan about my ‘Do One Thing’ project. After such a cracker soirée on Friday and the response to the coffee morning yesterday I was bursting with vim and vigour.

My only worry is that I’m beginning to sound like a bit of a tool: banging on and on about cups and being nice to people. I’m sure there’s folk out there, who would happily do me an injury with the plastic cutlery I keep railing against if they see just one more of my posts on facebook. So be it, I have to say. I firmly believe there’s a better way, and if more of us make a conscious effort to scrap or limit our reliance on disposable products, then we’re onto something, both for the sake of our wallets and the environment.

I have recently read Emilie Pine’s excellent memoir ‘Notes to Self’, and in her final essay she writes about fear, and how it stops her students, and girls in particular, from speaking out in class, lest they are ‘perceived as being brash or arrogant.’ She goes on to say:

They were not born with these fears. They were not born feeling inferior. They were taught it. I know this because I was also taught it.

Always when I’m writing or telling a story or speaking on the radio, there’s a voice, (or several if I’m honest,) telling me to sit down and shut up. ‘What would you know?’ it says. ‘Think you’re  some sort of authority on well-being?’ Scoff scoff, it goes. ‘And who would want to listen anyway?’ It’s a right auld targe, this voice.

I don’t know whether it’s because I’m a woman, and we’re taught to sit quietly and behave and not annoy anyone, or whether it’s just my insecurity. There’s many I’m sure, who couldn’t care less what I think about the environment or my bouts of depression or my career change. But I they can always unfollow me or stop reading if I prove too much of an irritant. I’m clawing my way out of that place of feeling frightened all the time. It’s an exhausting and frustrating experience, being afraid to speak up.

But it’s not just about talking, it’s the doing which makes a difference. This morning my older daughter had a special Mass with her Beaver Scout Group. Afterwards there was a ‘spread’ and tea and coffee and I baulked a bit when I saw all the disposable cups for juice. I gathered up what I could to reuse and stayed behind to help and wash up the rest, having a great chat with a couple who I’ve barely met, even though their child is in my daughter’s class. It was lovely and we discussed better ways to recycle at the events and ideas for the future. (Poor folk got my life story.)  I took home a bag of mixed waste to see what I could recycle and compost and I thought to myself, well if I show I’m committed then maybe people won’t mind me sticking my nose in so much.

And then, what bliss, LSB took the kids to the cinema and I took myself into Lush and had a hand and arm massage with a ‘Pearl’ hand cream bar, as part of Serenity Sunday. I bought the hand cream and a bath bomb for the kids, then instead of shopping for stuff I didn’t need, I took myself off for a cocktail in Bert’s Wine bar, just myself and the Guardian magazine. It was the most gloriously stress-free hour I’ve had in a long time and it was delightful. Not so sanctimonious after all then, turns out I can treat myself rightly.