I’m admittedly a born worrier which to my surprise seems to be shock other people as several, particularly recently have remarked how chilled, upbeat and positive I am. Glass half full kind of person. Which I am. Yes I am. Bar PMT week but I as with most people are a complex being.
You can be the life and soul and still worry incessantly.
No, not I.
I’m a creative, a mother, the off spring of a long-line of worriers, it’s just not in my DNA to be chilled, and to be honest, once you have kids, it’s rare to just not worry.
Pre-kids and blogging, I was a writer, director and producer and being creative is synonymous with being sensitive and so, naturally, worrying.
But I’m also pretty logical. I like to unravel and understand the science, the tech behind shooting, creating a website, the process of creating a film. Knowledge is power and I like to feel empowered.
Directing and producing projects simultaneously meant the merging of both my creative and logical sides-being clear on my vision as an artist but equally being practical about executing that vision-ensuring the legalities of the shoot were in place, contracts signed, safety measures taken and more.
To do my job properly I had to assess risk, plan for the worst and hope for the best.
I had a duty of care to my cast and crew-both on set and in how they were represented on film-particularly when it came to directing TV documentary.
My personality suited my line of work-as it does now.
If I can channel my creativity-get emotion on screen-make a change however small to others’ lives-I’m content.
It’s why I’m writing this post now. So if you feel like the only one worrying 24/7 you know you’re not alone.
And if I’m honest I’ve been an anxious person for as long as I can remember. Crazily, I started speaking at 6 months old, saying my first word ‘Look’, speaking 30 words by 9 months making me mature for my age since literally birth. I vividly remember looking out of the window at a young age, seeing hot air balloons gliding through the sky, wondering the meaning of life. What happens next. I s*** you not.
My primary school even called my parents in to ask why I was discussing politics in the playground at 4 when I asked other children if they would be voting for Michael Foot.
The head teacher was concerned my parents might be brain washing me.
I was just an inquisitive, bright child, always in search of answers, of meaning.
And that quest inevitably leads to worry because so much is unknown, unanswerable, not explained.
I’m also a control freak.
I need answers.
It’s even more complex because being an anxious worrier doesn’t always mean lacking in confidence either.
Whilst every inch of confidence was knocked from me after the birth of my first son, now, for the most part, I feel good in my own skin.
Age has helped.
I definitely don’t place my own value on others’ assumptions of me anymore. I know who I am. My weaknesses and my strengths.
It’s taken to my thirties to get here but 99% of the time I’m happy being me. It’s all we’ve got right, we might as well love ourselves hey!
And I think that people assume when you’re confident, you’re worry-free.
That’s just not true plus no one can be.
More so, having kids has exacerbated my default to worry. A million times over. You’ll no doubt relate if you’re a parent.
That great love you feel towards your kids, that deeply overwhelming love makes you fear more-most of all the fear you might lose them or they you. you. I can’t even bring myself to write the verb beginning with ‘d’ but that unconditional love, it raises all stakes to off the scale and worry can become commonplace.
Yes it’s manageable but I’ll be truthful and state, it started off, not being so. When I suffered with a traumatic birth with my first child, PTSD manifested itself with a black cloud above my head coupled with an all-consuming worry my baby was in danger, that he might get ill or die in his sleep.
Thank goodness for therapy-eventually-and this blog- which helped me overcome the irrationality of it all.
For the most part anyway.
Because some fear. Is normal.
With love comes fear of loss of love. And coupled with responsibility and duty of care towards our kids makes for worrisome parents.
I do try not to let it stop or hinder my kids though. To not pass on my worry. To play my calm face and not air my worries.
I can’t lie to you though-I often play out the worst case scenario when it comes to my kids. I worry the school bus might crash when my eldest goes on a school trip for example but I don’t let my fear stop him from actually going. I manage the fear, the worry, take a deep breath and realise you have to just LIVE- and let your kids live too.
Having a Buddha like husband also helps!
But that concern, that endless worry, it won’t ever go, I know. It’s there for a reason, I suppose, a bit like my safety checks when I made documentaries. Because sometimes s**** happens and that worry, that improvising the worst case scenario in my mind somehow prepares me for anything that might go wrong.
I suppose we go through a practice-run of something potentially traumatic-and somehow are meant to feel more relaxed because of it. It’s a cathartic experience. The playing out of fear in the safety of our homes.
A bit like watching horror movies.
So that worry will always remain-it will be quieter at time, louder at others.
I still hear it in my Mum’s voice when I mention a trip abroad with work and see it my Dad’s eyes when he picks me up from the station late at night after a long trip to London.
That worry, as with that enduring love will never end.
It’s the con to the life-enhancing pro that comes with having kids.
I’ve accepted it now. I think. And stocked up on a life’s supply of Rescue Remedy to get me through this thing called parenting.
This thing called life.
Motherhood is worth every ounce of worry of course.
And nobody said it would be easy.