Updated: Jun 3
Oh the layers of nonsensical thinking to go through. This photo (taken by kid #3 on a recent family trip) is now my desktop photo on my laptop. I love it. If I could float in the warm, calm ocean for the rest of my life it would be heaven. Here's the deal though. Even saying that brings up feelings of inadequacy for me which is maddening.
It's a dream. A human cannot float on the ocean for the rest of their life. It's completely and totally impractical and has no bearing on reality yet somehow I can't completely escape it. The oddest bit is that it taps into my insecurity as a mother. Why???????????? Listen, I know why. I logically can trace back the conditioning and cultural programming so that's more of a shake my fist at the sky rhetorical question.
Even in my fantasies I have to be a mother or I'm a bad one? I'm not allowed to float alone in my brain in the warm ocean? Believe it or not I almost didn't save this to my desktop. Why? Because the photo didn't contain my children and if I'm not involving my kids then I'm a bad mom? In a desktop photo? Really? Ugh.
I'm self aware enough that I absolutely understand that I'm allowed to enjoy activities on my own. In fact, it makes me a better mother when I have soul filling activities outside of motherhood. The whole put your air mask on before assisting others thing. I'm chuckling that these messages, while they don't hold weight, are still bumping around in my brain enough to cause me to pause. Thought I'd share my nonsense in case there's another parent/caregiver today wishing for some solitude only to bump into shame. Invite shame to float along with you. Heaven knows, if anyone needs some peace it's shame.
As an aside, for most of my life I didn't have a "happy place" to go to in my mind. Most places I had physical access to were tainted with trauma and imagining a happy place felt insincere and fake. Over the last several years I've been able to build some incredibly safe and joyful memories to tap into when the demons come to play. Both at home and away. My heart fills with gratitude when I see this photo. Safety, peace, and joy are no longer strangers. They may not be constant companions. However, they do come to visit more than I ever imagined possible.
Image description: Me (non binary person) serenely floating in the ocean wearing a floral and striped bikini, sunglasses, and a yellow ball cap.