Showing up

It has been a while. Nearly 6 months. That’s the longest time off I have taken here, and the longest time I have felt like not writing at all. Here, or anywhere. I have found it hard to write, because everything I tried to say bored me. I bored me. I didn’t want to read something that didn’t seem to be saying any of the things I wanted to say.

And the trouble was, I didn’t know how to say those things. Or actually what those things are. Trying to keep parts of your life private is hard, in a space like this. Trying to meet expectations whilst listening to what feels right, is also hard. And I think it’s especially hard, maybe impossible, to write anything that seems truthful when you feel as if the grasp you have on yourself is flimsy at best.

So I took a break from writing. I very much want to talk about certain things in this space. Parenting, unschooling, making. But I also found myself not wanting to think about those things for a while. Those things, in particular parenting and unschooling, take up a lot of head space. I am over-analytical and critical at the best of times. I wanted to take a break and simply breathe. Do, instead of write. Sometimes it’s hard to do both.

I imagined, as I often do, that time away would lead me to a place of resolution. I would come back armoured with a new, clearer sense of purpose for this space (which would of course stem from a new and clearer sense of myself). But that didn’t quite happen. Instead I am here, simply because I felt like it was time to show up.

Well, I still want to write about unschooling and about parenting and the Big Things. But today I just want to say hi. Hello. If you’re still here, great. Thanks for hanging around.

New year aside, I do have some intentions, but they are similar to last year’s intentions. Be more mindful. Be less busy. Two things which go hand in hand for me, and, until I become a bit more practiced at mindfulness, will be closely tied I think.

It was my honest intention to stop glorifying busy last year, and I responded to this genuine need in my life by being busier than ever. I don’t fully know why. Things with Mama Make seemed to snowball which is a good thing in many ways but meant I had little time to anything else. I didn’t write, obviously, and I tried to fit a lot of things around doing what I want to do which is mainly hang out with my kids and spend time with them. I think I often failed at this, and I know I have to slow down, but this is truly a challenge for me.

So I’m trying to be clear about what I want and what kind of time I can give to everything. I don’t want to spend any more time making things than I do already. I want, perhaps, to do a bit less, and I want to finish my Doula course, and write more, and just chill out. Relax into these passing months. I want to mentally declutter.

2014 was a really hard year for many of my closest friends. It was certainly full of challenges, but most of them felt timely and necessary. I felt like there was also a lot to be grateful for. More than anything, last year reminded me how important kindness is. I understood in a big, real life way, for the first time, that it’s much easier to be kind towards others when you are also kind to yourself. It’s hard to accept this, if it’s not a concept you grew up with. If self-love is seen as selfishness or self-centeredness. If putting others first, even when your health and happiness are at stake, is supposed to be the best thing.

I know that doesn’t work. I know how easy it is to become resentful and bitter when you feel as if you give all the time without making time for yourself. So making time for myself, and things that are important to me, have become something that I am trying to honour. I can see the benefits ripple outwards when I have this time. I can see how it models the things I want to model to my children. And it makes it easier to care for them and treat them the way I want to. Valuing myself, which seems, even in writing it, like such a corny concept, is actually so very important to all the people who surround me.

So that’s where we are. I want to find more time to do less. I want to protect myself more and do more things that nurture me. I want to keep thinking and exploring unschooling, and the many, many things it constantly brings up. And I want to try writing about some of that here.

I also want to write about the last few months, but another time. Showing up is enough for today.


About Kendal

I'm Kendal Mosley-Chalk. I live in York with my husband and four children.
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