At 6am i’m awake, the pidgeons are tapping and scraping their beaks across the flat roof of our loft bedroom. I hear the familiar rippling of water which must pool just above my head. I’m going to blame the roofers, they did a crappy job for the crappy construction company that did a crappy job of our conversion, before they went bust. Actually lets blame the owner of that construction firm for his poor business management and greed!
The bastard pigeons are a constant reminder of that stressful episode during these summer months. I imagine them up there, living the life of Riley…. sauntering around in the sun in between rehydrating and bathing in their own personal plunge pool. I’m beginning to think vengeful thoughts towards them, i slide out of bed, open the window and bash the guttering as hard as i can, hoping to frighten them off. I swear i can hear them laughing at me. The scraping and tapping continues.
It’s 8am now, I’ve had coffee and breakfast which consists of 2 fried eggs and 2 rashers of Naked bacon, apologies non meat eaters. (Naked bacon! Yes, thats what i said… its a sulphite free version I switched to when bacon and beans became all that two of my boys would eat for breakfast). These days while my body is vehemently telling me ‘no’ to any kind of grain or dairy, including chocolate (horrendous). I’m eating anything and everything else i can to try and maintain my body weight.
I sit down at my desk in my bedroom office, loft-bedroom office, and notice the pigeons are still going at it. ‘Perhaps they’ve invited the neighbours round for a pool party this morning, they’re normally quiet by now’ i think. I shove my earbuds in and select Music for Relaxation/Meditation Sounds of The Ocean. That should help (it’s literally just white noise, bit of a let down if I’m honest).
Ddddddrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Dddddrrrrrrrrrrrr. OHHHH FUCKING BRILLIANT, HERE WE GO! The builders have started up in next doors garden, 5 months they’ve been out there, FIVE solid months. whistling, raised voices, naff 80’s music playing from one of those radio stations that caters for people who don’t really care much about music. Of course all of that is interspersed with various hammering, cutting, drilling sounds… that come at me out of the blue just when i’ve found a sweet spot of flow and i’m in deep with my coursework, only to be rudely pulled up to the surface where every little thing starts to distract me again. The dogs are outside my bedroom door now, scratching to get my attention. It’s time for their breakfast. I give up.
I come to terms with the fact that today is not a day i’m going to get any coursework done, ‘thats ok’ i tell myself. I’m here to enjoy the ride too, if the ride is not enjoyable I can get off and try again tomorrow. In takes me some time to settle in to this transition, to allow myself to release the idea that i would achieve some study time today and turn it around to make something of this moment.
This is a skill i’m still honing. For so many years i have beaten myself up for not being good enough, smart enough, organised enough, productive enough, never having achieved enough… but now i am ready to let that go. To quieten the voice of my inner critic, to meet myself where i am. To do what is possible and let go what isn’t.
This is one of the greatest gifts my ADHD diagnosis gave me. The ability to see that I wasn’t faulty or broken, just that my brain was functioning in a different way and i needed to learn how to work with it and not against it. That it was time to stop beating myself up and start building myself up instead.
I catch myself circling my head and feeling all the cracking and crunching in my neck, i circle my shoulders round and stretch a bit. So. Much. Tension. In this moment I ask myself, ‘What do i need to do now? What will release this tension that i’ve built up inside and how can i bring myself back to a place of calm?’
The sun is shining, the dogs need walking, i decide to put on my silver New Balance trainers (they always lift me up), plug some soothing music into my ear’oles, get out for a walk and just, breathe. I get the dogs ready, remember i need to put some washing out on the line so i leave them standing there…. all dressed up and nowhere to go. They are not impressed.
They roll their eyes, ‘fucksake what is it this time?’ I hear them say, while i tend to the laundry. I march back into the kitchen ready to go. ‘Morning Mum, you ok?’ One of my son’s has appeared.
‘Yep. Good. Walking the dogs, back soon’ and i march straight past him without a glance in his direction. ‘STOP’ i tell myself. Go Back in there and give that beautiful big boy a hug. He opens his arms to embrace me and i give him a good long squeeze. I need this as much as he welcomes it. Connection, tenderness, love. He is 14 now, there is not much time left and there is still much work to be done. I was not the mother he deserved in his early years, i was there but i was not truly present for him.
I see him, i see his need for reassurance and his willingness to please. He is vigilant and searching in his interactions with me. Wanting to make me happy, checking in that i’m okay. When he needed me the most, from birth to about 3, i wasn’t as attached and present as he needed me to be.
‘Am i over thinking this?’ i wonder. I’m not beating myself up or feeling guilty but I’m interested, i’m deeply curious. I want to un pick all of it… the dysfunction that has trickled down from the generations above. I want to stamp it out hard, like a flamenco dancer putting out a cigarette.
Snap back to reality. The dogs, the park, my peace. Must escape the noise. Go out and breathe… so off i go. A deep breath in, followed by a long slow exhale and repeat. In my ears i’m playing ‘Music for Creativity- Soothing mixture of classical, ambient, minimalist, ancient, old, and modern music to inspire the soul’ Catchy title.
It’s funny the tools you collect on this sober journey. Over time you begin to learn what you need and you build a box of tricks you can delve in to, to meet your own particular needs. The box needs upgrading every now and then, occasionally you might need to hire a power tool and definitely make your it’s spacious so you can keep chucking bits in as you grow.
Since i started writing this post (Monday, its now Friday) i’ve had my first session with a therapist (power tool on hire). I’ve also finally caved in and bought myself a really good pair of noise cancelling headphones (self-care tool)… and a pair of fluffy cashmere bed socks, because even my size 7 feet deserve to be wrapped in love! ❤️