‘The Good Enough Mother’

With a background in acting everything I write has music to it, or rather in my head as I write. Cancion De La Noche

I love reading and I don’t ever read enough but there always comes a time when perusing a book from someone you know can make reading that bit more special.  ‘The Good Enough Mother’  was certainly a piece I was looking forward to reading as I hadn’t spoken to the writer, Anoushka Beazley for some years; and was just genuinely excited to see someone who I had crossed paths with doing extremely well!  I think sometimes, the worry is that someone will read/see your creative output and dislike it. But we put ourselves out there, sometimes with our hearts on our sleeves and not only take risks but hope to connect with the reader in some aspect.

The story opens with Drea who becomes a single, non biological parent to Ava over night due to her Teacher boyfriend who runs off with his Research Assistant to live in France. Drea’s character is funny, dark, sarcastic and shows the sad complexities of humanity that reside in all of us. Why did I love this novel, well firstly I could hear Anoushka’s voice, and even though I hadn’t seen or spoken to Anoushka, it was great to hear her voice in Drea. Secondly, the story of Drea has so much heart and made me seriously think of ‘Motherhood’.

I lost my Mum several years ago and it’s still difficult to know she is not here anymore, that I can’t take her shopping, meet up in a coffee shop, have family get togethers, or simply share my life with her. I contemplate whether I will be a ‘Mum’, ‘Mummy’ or ‘Mother one day, to my kids or someone else’s. Do I want to be a Mum? I ask myself “why this has not physicalised?” I blame the notion of not meeting the man who has wanted to have this “lifestyle” with me, but is this fair?  Did I meet him but not clarify my needs? I always said “never say never to kids” when someone asked me, but then some how the cycle of men in my life that I attracted were the guys who could never commit, disliked children maybe because they hadn’t grown up themselves or possess the required emotional maturity,  or had kids already and didn’t want anymore.

As with Drea’s story I could associate with other issues that perhaps prevent us as in ‘I’ from making those clear decisions. Maybe it was never high up on my priority list, maybe I thought it would happen naturally, maybe I didn’t think I would be a good Mum  or be any good at being tied down and didn’t want to repeat the mistakes of my parents. So, “fear” prevented me? Maybe because my parents were so adamant on me having a career and in doing so gravitated towards people who wanted to take rather than share. Maybe my needs became second to their needs?

With main characters in novels, conversations happen in their head which only the audience can hear and identify with. When I started this post I was debating on whether to call it “Conversations in my Head” partly because we all have them and I do try to stem the demonic ones; but this is about how “The Good Enough Mother” stirred emotions and thoughts I have had all of my life. Maybe because my biological clock is ticking, maybe it has ticked? Oh look, there’s one more thing I cannot add to the bucket list but if I could, would I? Probably yes, most definitely yes if there was someone who wanted this with me. But unwittingly I chose and choose the men who do not and that is one of the most painful decisions I live with daily.

Drea’s internal dialogue is utterly insightful, I guess this is why I connect with her. There are reflective moments that made me feel completely broken, the way we compartmentalise so much until we are forced to confront our issues. The mirrored moment is never necessarily with a person or situation but pages in a book, a scene in a film, even down to the most boring of chores can have you crying because something you read in a novel made you think. Denying how we truly feel about our circumstances and who we are, and whom with we can be ourselves. Sometimes, being alone is preferable than being around people who constantly judge you, analyse you or your situation, who offer advice when it’s not needed or asked for – “The fixers”.

Drea deals with her problems internally, and I wonder if this is a symptom of modern life. We feel guilty for sharing our problems, we consider it “dumping”.  We feel a failure if a relationship has broken down, there’s always blame. We feel shame for not being what Society says we should be, in a relationship that leads to marriage, children, financial and domestic security. There’s nothing wrong with wanting them but there’s equally nothing wrong without having them.

The fear is not loneliness or am I settling for second best or wondering if I had made different choices would I be somewhere else? The thoughts are what if there is someone out there who wants to live the life I want to live, should I keep searching? Maybe I do want to be a Mum? Maybe I just want security because I never had it as a child or growing up? Maybe being a Mum will fill the loss of not having one? Maybe I still don’t know and it’s okay to not know especially if you’ve been through the “I thought I’d met the one” phase and they turn out not to be.

Drea wants to be provide for Ava and though there are lots of ways she doesn’t see, in so many ways she does. She’s responsible, she cares, she admits to not being the ‘typical’ parent that gets stuck in with PTA or makes friends with other mothers for the sake of school. But there is something in Ava’s need to belong and be part of something that also resonates with me. Maybe it’s being a Mother, maybe it’s to say I did well, maybe because there is nothing left of me after I have gone and maybe that’s they way it is and should be. Why does their need to be a legacy of Maria Thomas? There doesn’t.

‘The Good Enough Mother’ is definitely about the human condition and the complexities of how our minds work. The trauma of childhood, the confusion within ourselves by not really knowing sometimes who we really are and we come from, our parents/families influence on our lives or non-existent parents/families in our lives. It all seems to boil down to who am I? Who I am can be anything I want it to be, how I live and whom I live it with is my choice as long as I am happy why should it matter? Who put the time clock in my body and do I have to listen to them? Listening to the conversations in my head can be harmful or amazing, and everyday I have to consciously choose to listen to the voice that keeps me going.

Thank you Anoushka, if ever I do become a Mum, I hope I remember like Drea, it’s okay  to fall as long as I remember to pick myself up and carry on.

Daddy dearest…

There are some days where as a stubborn person in life means you do not learn anything but your own opinions and hear the sound of your own voice. Then there are times where you realise how much you learn from listening to yourself and the experiences you’ve had. But no matter how hard I try to keep an open mind about my own experiences and my Dads, the generational gap cannot change his way of thinking; it can merely bend it to a degree. But that degree is not a win on my part that he came round to my perspective on any thoughts I put across. It merely meant that in a second he heard what I said and will choose to keep it, ponder on it or has already forgotten it.
What have I learned in this process is that my POV is mine alone and attempting to alter, change, offer a wider perspective to my Dad is not lost, not wasted and certainly not a defeat of me trying to change his/ the world; but that at least I connected with him. At least we laughed and at least we shared that time together. We talked a lot about “destiny” and “what if” moments, the last part of the conversation was “what if I won the lottery tomorrow, that would be my destiny” and I argued this was a “what if moment rather than destiny, and was based on statistical facts that you would not win”. Ultimately, there are odds that the outcome could go one way or the other but in the end who cares whose right and whose wrong.
“What if” I had the opportunity to live life again and make different choices. I wouldn’t choose to do this moment any differently as I know these moments will be far and few between.

I love you Dad

‘What If’…scenario

What if…

This blog has been in the making for three weeks, I’ve edited it, re-edited it, the new draft didn’t save and with so much happening politically at work one’s perspective has been affected.

So, without further ado, two things have been on my mind recently due to being ill (the mortality clock starts ticking, let alone the biological clock) and a video I watched on youtube. I thought I would attempt to tackle both in the same ‘What if’ scenario as they are connected.

The first scenario is ‘what if’ I had two days to live (ok most people have one in their scenario, but this is mine and I am feeling generous) what would I do? Well for a start, I wouldn’t sleep, why would I sleep or as some people would say “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”. (Whoever invented that saying should be shot!) I would spend time with loved ones and friends. Now, being a generous, loving person (modest too) I considered I’d make amends with people whom I’ve had tiffs with in the past…and then I thought fuck it, why would I waste time and energy on those who didn’t give a shit about me. Besides, how do you heal that baggage over hours if you couldn’t do it when you had days and weeks, I wouldn’t want anyone feeling sorry for me and I certainly would want to be two-faced. Instead, I would spend it with those whom I loved.

I would make films, short ones and post them on fb, twitter, LinkedIn (my legacy…ha ha ha). I am now filled with awe and wonder at the different spaces/places in London (or wherever I decided to live out my final hours) to visit. I would ask those whom I love to share the journey, even for an hour, just be with me. (Would I be disappointed at those who couldn’t be there? No, life is a journey and it evolves, adapts, grows and my path isn’t for everybody. It doesn’t mean they don’t care or don’t love me, but ego would have to STFU as there wouldn’t be time or room for both of us).

I would want to wake up in a swanky hotel, have sex in a King size bed and have everything on the breakfast menu (even if its to sample pure indulgence, it’s my last moments). I will dip into the Fifty shades of grey…hell yeah, (and more of course) if it was the last time my lover and I would spend together. Most people forget to mention this in their ‘what if’ scenario, but what the hell, these are my last two days on the physical plane, there’s no time to waste on contemplating.

I know at this point of realisation (if not earlier) I have two routes, the “ring of optimism” (as someone recently said so eloquently) or “the ring of pessimism”.  Well, the easy route is to freak out, cry “why me”, allow myself to fall into a state of depression, drink heavily, take drugs (hell I’m going to die anyway) blame my parents; the world for being the cause of this scenario. (Of course we are all allowed our moment of breakdown, hell we are entitled to it and only we can decide how long we allow ourselves to stay there).  And then I would look back at all the amazing things I had achieved in my life so far, all the small moments I wouldn’t even had considered or given much thought to. All the details of life that so many of us miss day to day due to inconvenience or our plain irritations. The rain on my face, a smile from a stranger, the sunshine whilst walking to work during a tube strike, a voicemail that I had saved to hear a loved’s voice, a hand in my hand. The architecture of buildings around me, poems on the underground, posters that made me giggle, street art and sculptures that made me think creatively or inspired me, music on my smart phone that moved me, a street that took me back to my childhood.

Would I go to the gym (being health conscious) probably not, but I would want to do something crazy like bungee jump off a cliff, skydive out of a plane, cut my hair for charity (not the hair, I hear you say) or a dance class that would highlight my hopeless co-ordination.

All I know is that I would want my last moments to be filled with laughter, love and as much happiness as humanly possible until I breathed my last breath because truly I knew this day would come. I just never prepared myself for it or maybe I did but ignored the inner voice because I thought I had more time. (It’s precious and short).

This list would be endless but let’s move onto the second scenario.

What would I do ‘If money was no object’? Hmm all this from watching this link by Alan Watts. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSyHWMdH9gk

What would I do? Well, I would take care of my family first and foremost so they would not need worry about money again, and hope they would live or begin to live and fulfill their own dreams too. (It’s never too late and it doesn’t matter how old you are).

I would share some of that love with my friends, now how I view money as important. (I am about to use a loving relationship with a partner as an analogy – bear with me on this one) As with love for an individual, there’s a respect and understanding but also a journey of discovery and learning along the way.  All the money in the world will not comfort you if you do not respect it or yourself. (Maybe a little far fetched but it was the best I could come up with at stupid o’clock in the morning).

I would wish to take my closer friends on some of the journey with me, maybe a holiday, maybe a yoga retreat, maybe a massive piss up or all of the above.

I thought I would apply for my 01 Visa and do some acting in the states, go across the world, explore different disciplines in each country but I realise I can do this without a Visa and would I really want to settle in one place. LA doesn’t hold the key to the Acting world like London isn’t the be all and end all of the Acting hub. I want to travel the world, learn about different countries, envelop cultures, eat various foods and meet people. I would write stories, poems, create short films and make a feature film of mine and others’ experiences; maybe based on truth or entirely fiction. I would love to dance, try many styles, do more physical theatre. After breaking my ankle and watching the para olympics, I knew nothing was impossible or hold you back apart from yourself. It’s not an easy mental and physical journey sometimes, but everything is possible with adaptation and support!

I would invest in charitable organisations and look at helping people around the world to understand about communication, love, sharing and discover their own talents and abilities but encourage them to take responsibility of this within their country, village, town etc.

I would look into sustainability and apply this to my life, home, career and eat organically from locally sourced butchers, markets or grow them at home. I would spend more time exploring homeopathic alternatives, practices and medicine.

I would continue my love of working with children, teenagers and adults in every capacity and teach drama to instill confidence, communication, self-esteem, belief in oneself and others. These are the legacies I would wish to leave behind and with people who may not be blood related but who are affected by inspirers, role models of their generations and others.

In all of my ‘what ifs’, I always felt I would be more material, want that miu miu purse, the swanky apartment in each corner of the world and not to say I wouldn’t want to be comfortable but it’s not the same “material” I want anymore. How I feel now is immaterial toward objects, things as it cannot teach me, communicate with me, allow me to grow, develop or love me.

If money were no object, would these really be some of the things that I would do? I ask myself, how many of these things am I doing already?  Do I need more time and money to feel limitless in my objectives, dreams or goals or am I negating the truth that I hold the power to take the initiative to implement these ideas anytime; just like anyone else.

“If you build it, they will come” (Field of Dreams – one of my favourite films). What would you do?