Some of you may have noticed a new photo appearing in my side bar.
What does this actually mean? About a month ago, I was recommended a book by Brene Brown – The Gifts of Imperfection. I couldn’t download it on my kindle here in the UK but I could download it via Audible. Now, I am not normally an audio book person, we have lots of children’s audio books for my son but I have always been a “reader”, not a “listener”. However, the book was so highly recommended that I had to have it (and being me I had to have it there and then – no waiting for anything to be delivered).
The Gifts of Imperfection talks about being who you are and not who you think you are supposed to be. It’s about admitting that you are not perfect, admitting that you are vulnerable and feel shame. It was one of those books that I couldn’t put down (or turn off). As I listened I kept thinking “that’s me, that’s what I do” and then pausing it while I had an “a-ha” moment.
There is one chapter, near the beginning, where Brene talks about being a guest speaker at an event where it just went wrong. She acknowledges how she felt so much shame as she left the building, how she was cringing and reliving every moment; also doing that thing we all do where we say “why didn’t I…..”. As I listened to this section, I was cringing with her but in total recognition. I have been there and felt that pain.
Another example Brene shares is the mum who arrives late for their child’s show. The shame of walking in late, seeing your child upset and knowing that everyone is looking at you. I could relate to this so much – I had an incident where my daughter was going to a cinema event with her Rainbow group. I was so impressed that we had got there on time – on a Sunday morning – in clean uniform; only to see the others turning up in “Princess” fancy dress. I was mortified, I felt like the worst mum ever and I felt as if every mum was judging me – then one mum walked over and said “we had her uniform on too but I had an outfit in the car – I left it there two months ago after a party, the dog’s sat on it, my shopping has been thrown on it and I’m sure it smells so please don’t feel bad”. This helped enormously.
I always had this goal of being a mix between Bree Van De Camp and Gabrielle from Desperate Housewives – an amazing home maker with time to also look toned, groomed and glam. I dream of a life like a Pinterest Board but I’m nowhere near reaching that goal – and if we are honest, it’s not going to happen.
I have now started reading “Daring Greatly – How the Courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent and lead“. I have been reading it and thinking “can I do something like this” so this week, I dared greatly! I shared with our Special Needs Jungle readers that my husband is my superhero. Being a tough old northern bird – someone’s description of me – meant this was actually quite hard to admit publicly. It felt “soppy” and out of character. However, I realised that the facade I show to most people made it difficult – the real me wants to shout it out because I know how lucky I am.
So I dared greatly and the post went out. Do you know what? Not one person made a negative comment, the feedback was positive or amusing (one lady suggested that the post was just a way to guarantee a morning in bed this weekend) but no one came back with “oh you have failed us, you are not what we thought you were”. This was really eye-opening.
Tania and I are about to launch on a new project, which will take me totally out of my comfort zone. Special Needs Jungle is fine – I know Special Needs, I live Special Needs and I am confident in my knowledge. However, this new venture (which is not SEN in any shape or form) leaves me very vulnerable. I have images of several people thinking “seriously? Debs – you think you are the person to talk about this – not a great example, are you”? When I shared the details of this venture with someone close to me, their silence said more than any words. This was followed by a quick change of subject, this was a “well I can’t think of anything nice to say so I’ll say nothing” moment.
However, I am going to Dare Greatly and do this. Watch this space as we will be announcing our new venture very soon – be nice to us, please.