A number of things conspired together yesterday to bring me to a point of serious soul-searching.
Firstly, I've been reading Breath by Tim Winton for book club. Basically it is about an ordinary kid, his friend and mentor who all are desperate to be extraordinary, special, unique, above everyone else. The way they choose to do this is by taking bigger and bigger risks.
They start out by learning to hold their breath for great lengths of time underwater, then move to surfing bigger and bigger waves. Finally the main character has an affair with his mentor's dissaffected wife which includes some very risky sex.
I think about this and realise that I, too, want to be extraordinary. I have always wanted that. Every one of my childhood career dreams involved fame, and to a certain extent, wealth, but mostly fame.
The second thing that happened was that a friend of mine got her book published in a catalogue. Now anyone who hangs around here for long enough has heard me speak loud and long on my book writing aspirations. So to see someone else do it before me (and she's done it very humbly and quietly without all the trumpets I go on with) brings out my greenest jealousy.Why can't I be happy for her without the envy rearing its head?
The third thing that happened was that I began my annual 'review' of the year, with my birthday coming up. In lots of ways the year has been great, but in terms of my personal achievements, it has been extremely disappointing.
I was hoping that this would be the year when my writing took off, but I lost an interested publisher, was rejected by at least 7 more and ended up with a manuscript that no-one wants or at least that no-one says they can sell.
The last 12 months have also seen me disappointed and angry at God. For my birthday a year ago, I organised a prayer party specifically to ask God for Campbell's complete healing from autism. I honestly expected God to do more, and I've been avoiding him, angry at his 'no' ever since.
All these things came together to send me a big fat message yesterday.
Being 'ordinary' is not something I can face. I am desperate for applause and admiration because I think that will make me feel special and loved. So I work to make myself successful, or at least appear successful. Is that one reason I'm not handling having a special needs child? Perhaps.
Do I really think God loves me? I'm not sure right now, to be honest. Why wouldn't he answer my specific prayer with a yes? I feel like I'm the one who has been doing all the work to help my son get better.
And then I feel guilty for saying things like this.
I hope that in the next 12 months I will start to really believe in God's love for me, and that he already makes me unique, extraordinary and special, and that I don't have to have applause and admiration to be worthwhile. I want to be the person who shines naturally with the love of God, not who hides her swear words under her breath and puts on a 'cheerful' face for others (which later gives her a headache).