This is just an attempt at a funny little post about the visit to my Mum this afternoon. My Mum is one of the world’s perfectionists when it comes to appearances and house hold cleanliness. Things are always immaculate in her home, no crumbs, no tears, no worn surfaces, nothing left lying around on any surface apart from the carefully displayed pieces of art or other memorable items she loves.
There is nothing wrong with this if its the way my Mum wants to live. The problem is only that I am the EXACT opposite. My home is clean enough but look around at any surface and there may be books, pens, pieces of paper, pair of shoes or socks recently discarded. The sink drainer often contains dishes (usually washed, but not always) unlike my Mum’s sink which gleams immaculately with not a stray dish in sight. I battle with my messy self a lot as it as not the conditionally approved way of being for me growing up. Most of the time I know where things are.
Anyway this afternoon my dog Jasper and I dropped in for a spontaneous visit with Mum after a visit to the dog park. Jasper had rolled in the grass and I couldn’t detect any smell on him at all, but after I served Mum and I a glass of water he jumped up on Mum’s leg. Mum wrinkled her nose “wow he’s smelly,” she said to me followed by “he’s a bit bit woolly isn’t he, isn’t it time he had a haircut?”
Did she notice my barely visible eyebrow raise?
This incident has somehow come to mind this afternoon as I find myself half way into Chapter Two in Anita Moorjani’s book What If This Is Heaven? In it Anita is talking about an experience with a friend who is complaining about everyone around her not measuring up to a certain ideal that she is imposing all of which Anita sees as arising from her own lack of self love. As the chapter progresses Anita shares how it took death for her to realise how little she truly loved and accepted herself unconditionally.
I am not meaning to imply that my Mum doesn’t love my dog, she is very fond of Jasper. It just seems to me that so often my Mum focuses on the broken or damage or dirty part and sees only that.
As a child she disproved of my bucked teeth and way of speaking. I was threatened with elocution lessons and my teeth were braced and for over a year and a half I had to wear a painful bib brace at night designed to push my teeth back, it was agony as it made my whole face ache down to the roots of my teeth. As soon as the braces came off I crashed and burned in a motor vehicle crash and lost my front teeth ripping my tongue to threads in the process.
Today writing this blog I can even almost laugh about how literally that crash showed the pain my soul was experiencing from being boxed up so by age 17. At around that time I had my first boyfriend but I was so deeply scared and ashamed of my own body and sexuality that our early sexual explorations left me feeling too exposed. In the end too my fear of being honest and showing my vulnerability led to the undoing of that relationship and many others.
Chapter Two busts the myth that Loving Yourself is Selfish. We are often taught this often more by omission than commission. If we are subtly or not so subtly given signs that tell us we need to change because deep down we are not okay as we are, do we truly learn to love ourselves? If those around us focus only on our faults and flaws instead of focusing on our good qualities, don’t these end up becoming our focus of attention too? Doesn’t our inner critic grow in this situation? Don’t we learn to change our shape and not focus on loving ourselves exactly as we are in this moment?
Anita writes :
Self love is not just about constantly giving yourself praise and telling yourself how awesome you are. It’s about loving the real you – the person who has feet of clay, who comes undone under criticism, who sometimes fails and disappoints others It’s about making a commitment to yourself that you will stick by yourself – even if no one else does!
Yeah Mum, Jasper smells, we had a great time at the park and his winter coat keeps him nice and warm.