“Once you become self-conscious, there is no end to it; once you start to doubt, there is no room for anything else.”
~ Mignon McLaughlin
I’ve had a cranky few days.
I could explain it away as lack of sleep – too much noisy koala sex outside my bedroom window keeping me awake all night – but that would not be it. A contributing factor? Sure. But still, I know my own mind.
Which is why I have a handy question for such instances.
‘What’s really going on, Nicole?’
That’s what I ask myself. Because I know that I know…
So, yesterday, I asked myself, ‘What’s really going on, Nicole?’
‘Oh, just shut up!’ I told myself in my best cranky voice. ‘Leave me alone. I’m just tired. I’m just busy. That’s all.’
The word ‘just’ is a huge red flag for me. It’s my cop-out word. It’s my loaded word. It’s nothing… It’s just…
It’s just that I’m obviously avoiding some big fat thing that I don’t want to talk about.
Does that sound familiar to you?
Are you sniffing, and flicking your hair, and shaking your head, and turning away, and saying ‘Fine, I’m just fine…’ at something too?
It’s no good living with a stompy five-year-old in my head having a temper tantrum. That’s not how I want my year to be. 2016, among other things, is about bringing what is hidden into the light. It’s about owning our shadow, and the unclaimed and rejected parts of ourselves, our families, our societies.
I decided to make a pot of tea and do some journalling using a technique called Left Hand Right Hand Dialogue for connecting to that cranky inner child.
Let me show you what followed:
Big Nicole: ‘Hi, Little Nicole’ I asked with my dominant hand. ‘What’s really going on?’
Little Nicole: ‘Your planner is dumb!’ I responded with my non-dominant hand, in words so cranky they made stab holes in the page.
Big Nicole: Surprised, (I love my Planner and have been using this method for years) I asked ‘Why do you feel that way?’
Little Nicole: ‘I don’t want to do it. I don’t like it. It’s stupid.’
Big Nicole: ‘Why don’t you like it?’
Little Nicole: ‘I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to have to do that thing.’
I immediately experienced a sinking feeling in my stomach. My stupid Planner. Yep. It’s four days into January and I still haven’t chosen or brainstormed my One Big Thing.
Last year when I was working with Bek, my graphic designer, she asked for an example of a mind-map that we could use as an illustration in my Planner. I happily obliged, telling myself, ‘I’ll just choose this thing, because it’s a good example, and it’s not really my One Big Thing. ‘Next year I’ll choose something different. Something business-y. Or health. Or… something.’
Here’s that thing I keep avoiding.
What’s really going on, Nicole?
Shut up, alright. I just don’t want to do it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
People will know I’m weird. I won’t be able to take it back once it’s been said. People will judge me. I’ll be laughed at. Rejected.
It won’t be good enough.
I won’t be good enough.
I don’t want to do it.
Except that I really do. It’s the thing I care about so much. Every time I think about the manuscript, finished and needing editing and sitting in my bottom drawer. Every time I think about it, or avoid thinking about it, or do it, or actively avoid doing it, Black Cockatoos fly over my farm, squawking loudly. My Aunties, encouraging me. Reminding me. I am this thing. I need to be this thing.
That’s what my Aunties told me about Black Cockatoos, all those years ago as I sat in the dirt in a circle of wise Aboriginal Women.
“Dis fella keep you company too. Remind you of your black sisters, up here in dis country. Even when you leave and go far, far from here, dese black fella birds and their yella-tailed cousins will find you. Sing to you and say ‘Remember, Remember,’ No way we let you forget. Dat story in you now. You belong part of our family now.”
“One day you live somewhere, you call dat country home. Smell like dis place. Earth. Sea. But make you happy again. We send all dem black fella birds remind you your promise. Remind you your story. Then you know it’s time. Time to be dat story. Live dat story in your heart. Live your true Dreaming.”
Already, people who are working with my Planner have been sending me encouraging messages about my memoir. Because I used that stupid example, and it’s there on the page for everyone to see.
Have I started it yet? they ask. Can’t wait to read it!
Do you need an accountability buddy?
Today I will sit with my Planner and map out how to properly make my memoir my One Big Thing.
I’m not resisting now. I’ve had my little moment. It’s time to own this thing in me. To own my story and put it out into the world. And then move on to something else.
I am what I am. My ‘Otherness’ is what shapes me. It will all be okay.
I highly recommend asking yourself the question.
What’s really going on?
Examining stuckness, resistance and repressed emotion is always a good thing. Bring that which is hidden out into the Light.