The normal school run route this morning was closed: a Police car blocked the road, lights flashing whilst female PC directed traffic. My daughter gave her a thumbs up and amazingly, officer returned that gesture. My 14 year old turned back to me and smiled, as I apologised over being horrendously late for school: ‘It’s okay mum, I’m loving your story about the weekend. Keep telling me what happened.’
The last three days has already altered so many things, in little ways. Most of that, it occurs to me, came from my own willingness to give so much of myself to total strangers, for that’s what all of these women were. A couple had reached out via social media the week before, but there was nothing to believe I’d get on with anyone successfully across the weekend, yet I did. Connections were forged with so many people.
However this morning the most significant change that presents itself is belief in myself. I’m off to see an old friend tomorrow, to explore a part of my psyche that is still largely untouched after exposure during counselling. It should be a lot easier to do that now, it will be simpler and less stressful than would previously have been the case. I’ve done a write-up of my early experiences here but what that won’t highlight is just how deeply affecting every single interaction was in different ways.
This wasn’t just positive either, and that point needs to be highlighted. A very small number of women I tried to talk to across the weekend were really not interested in returning that gesture. Once upon a time that rejection would have been devastating, but not any more. Not everybody will be your friend. The fact I lucked out over 90% of the time however is a statistic that is a testament to the empathetic skills of the organisers.
Realism is important in the modern world, and although some love to highlight negatives as soon as they appear, ultimately this is a bad thing when the vast majority of your experiences are positive. It’s why the business of online criticism has become so difficult and perilous in recent years, especially in the industry I’ve walked away from to go it alone. There’s almost a blind mentality of dissemination without thinking, just because you agree with someone else’s grumpy take at the time.
To stop and think is what I had to do across the weekend, time and again, processing what I’d learnt or heard and occasionally failing. In fact I reached capacity at Sunday lunchtime and became mentally incapable of absorbing any more. That’s why I’ll apologise now and warn you that over the next few weeks here is where that is likely to take place. To do so that means not thinking too, which is what an early PT will facilitate.
Time to go lift weights and allow ideas to percolate…