Thursday, January 17, 2013


So I’ve promised myself that I’m off looking for the truths of me. I want to find myself beyond what I believe I am. Not who I want to become when all the growing-up is done; not who I think I should be. Not who my mother would like me to be, and not necessarily anyone’s next best friend, either! I’m going to be spending time getting acquainted with myself – with the little girl inside, as well as the she-devil! I’ve embarked on a trip to learn to embrace myself, warts and all!

& it goes deep. It means I need to change my operating system – update my software to run on a new promise. I’ve always been working the idea that I was growing towards a better version of myself, but I just don’t believe that’s true anymore! I’ve always sort of held back from really looking for myself inside my life, because I thought I should wait till I’d be right-er, better, ready-er. But when will that be?

Never. That’s when. When the bottom-line is growth, you’ll never be fully grown. You can’t be, because when you are, the bottom falls out! At least that’s what I think by now. I’ve never quite put into words what I wanted to be at the end of all that becoming, because I’ve never felt equipped to know who I’d be when I’d finally find myself as something that I’m most certainly, quite seriously NOT, yet... Do you know where you’ll be when the growing is done? It’s a never-ending process of looking at lack, looking at not-quite, looking at room for improvement.
This whole new way of being – as opposed to becoming; learning – as opposed to perpetually ‘growing to measure up’; it’s a process, again. Of course! I’ve lived with the old words for so long, that there is no way I won’t slip up, fall back, get left behind, forget to bring my je ne sais quoi! And the beauty is – it doesn’t matter! It’s all me, it’s all you – it’s the being human in ‘human being’! I don’t have to berate myself, belittle myself because I think I might have missed an obvious signpost that’s supposed to point me towards my life. I’m not missing the point; there is no growth chart, no manual, no map to guide me on the Road to Me, because I’m already there! I’m the me inside this skin, beautiful, warts & all!

This is all new, and it feels good! It feels solid! It feels right to walk towards myself, showing up to meet me, instead of dreaming about who I might be when I’m finally finished! Yes it does! In moments, it does. In theory it does. When I’m chatting about it with myself, in my head? Awesome idea! But in reality, trying to live this? It doesn’t just feel awkward, it feels utterly alien! Who am I when I can’t curl up into a tiny ball, feeling like I’m always coming up short when things spin out of reach?

I’ve got a beautiful answer, here it is: “Well, I’m the little girl inside myself who can feel like she’s coming up short, and curl up into a tiny ball! But I’ll tell myself I’m not always coming up short. That feeling this doesn’t change who I am inside. That it’s okay to feel what I feel, as long as I don’t swallow it, become it, wear it like it’s mine. And that curling up into a tiny ball really feels comfortable, at times.”

But the truth is – in daily life, I’m back to baby-steps again, and it feels really, really weird to be kind to myself. I know that rock-solidly means I’ve been chewing myself to the bones of me for too long, but I have – for most of my life. And there is no quick fix.

In a way, the idea of perpetual growth, the not-quite-ness of it all? It’s a perfect excuse! Which is why it worked for so long – especially the past three years, when I rubbed it in more gently than I did before. That means I’ve been patronising myself, of course, but it feels – comfortable, looking back! Like a sweater worn soft by years of daily wear, never mind the gaping holes... When you’re not quite anything, quite yet, there is a lot of room to manoeuvre! Because you’re not all there yet, anyway, so it doesn’t matter all that much. But of course it did matter! & why wasn’t I ‘there’ yet?! There was a whole bloody castle worth of room to get really angry and endlessly frustrated at the whole process – so what, exactly, am I calling comfortable?! I mean, I’m not going to pretend that I’m here trying to embrace those dratted warts because I was bored ;) 

But this whole new thing? It’s just – really hard work. And I’ll admit that somewhere, deep down, I’d hoped that – because I already am that Me with Those Warts, it’d be sort of easy... That all I had to do was see and embrace and we’d be done with all this crap! Okay, it might need some tweaking, some fine-tuning – but essentially, it’d all fall into place, land softly, and I’d be on my merry way to where I was meant to go! No! Hold on! That should be where I already am, albeit unbeknownst ;)

Instead, of course, I find myself utterly lost and unable in so many ways – this woman I already am? Uncharted, alien territory, people! – and I can’t even tell myself “don’t worry, honey, you’ll grow into your skin, one fine day!” Can you see why that would help? Why that, to me & to how I’ve always done things, would be a sweet song (like a lullaby...) right about now?

Because the new answer is harsh! It could be something like “I know you’re lost, sweetie, but that’s a truthful part of you, right now. You need to lean in, see the bottom and embrace it.” And while that’s true, while I know that if I let myself be where I find myself, without fighting it tooth and nail – I’ll get back up much quicker, I might learn that it isn’t such a scary place to be, because the little girl inside does know how to swim – yes, while that really is the bottom of how I want to learn to see, I just don’t know how to talk to myself like that, be patient like that. I’m really trying, but to my untrained inner ear, it sounds more like “That’s the you inside the you, silly cow. Yup, that’s the pathetic extend of what you’re trying to be happy with! Lost? Again?! Sounds about right! Good luck with that!”

I want to hold myself accountable, this year. I want to chart this process & stick with it, because it really matters. It feels good to realise that I do know how to answer my own questions with love, even when at times I feel utterly unequipped to hear myself beyond the twisted, loveless version.

It’s more than a learning curve, it’s about mothering myself! It’s about learning how to listen to the wisdom inside. As told by the person who knows me best. To meet myself as a friend, instead of someone I need to grow away from. Because when put like that, isn’t that a crazy thing to strive for?! Leave yourself as far behind as you possibly can! That way... Uhm... Yes, well... Indeed!
“Stick with ME, sweet pea!” This mantra popped into my head the other day – just like that, walking back from taking the kid to school; out on my lonesome, minding the dog poo, not looking for wise, per se. But the words stuck with me, and they help me focus! I don’t know who Me is, exactly, and it might take a whole year to make a mere dent in all that, but wisdom is mundane at times, especially when it comes unbidden. Sometimes, all you can do is not wander off. Even if that – almost paradoxically – means meandering on a new path without a map. Sometimes, courage is nothing more than telling yourself to stick with you – because you’re worth it. & that’s not a small thing!

So stick with you! I’m sticking with me! I really believe, right now, that the courage to do that is the start of everything else!


  1. I’m not sure what to say here. I’m not sure there is anything I CAN say. What I want to do is wrap my arms around you and tell you that you are perfect just the way you are and the only person you have to be better than is the person you were yesterday. Relax and enjoy who/what you are because you are the perfect you (warts and all!) {{{hugs}}}
    PS I am in AWE of your mittens! How you show the stitches is amazing!

  2. Wow Yvonne, what an emotion filled post. Beautiful words about confusing feelings... But positive. and yes, can I also wrap my arms around you and make it a group hug?

  3. I almost forgot to say that I love both of the drawings! I saw the start of the toilet cleaner, and when I saw this, in colour, I gasped! It's so well done, with the light on the rims... And the text is beautiful. Your a writer, a poet and a darn good illustrator. Wth that handwriting of yours, it's all so complete! Aout those mittens: i had to take a very close look. i thought the stitches were actually a photo! You drew each stitch! It looks amazing! And so sweet.

  4. "To meet myself as a friend, instead of someone I need to grow away from." Oh yes! I get that one, I'm striving to achieve that one too. And "Sometimes, courage is nothing more than telling yourself to stick with you – because you’re worth it." Yes! Yes! This whole post also reminds me of one of my favourite quotes: “Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” - Buddha. Which reminds me that life is made up of practical actions, 'showing up' if you like. And that's it. That's all. Beautiful post. Even more gorgeous illustrations!

  5. Lieve Yvonne, ik sta iedere keer versteld hoe mooi, helder en recht voor raap jij het leven, jouw leven, verwoord. Het raakt en doet nadenken, mooier is er eigenlijk niet.
    liefs nicole

    PS and yes, let's have a group hug :D


Thanks for letting me in on your thoughts!