On Saturday I attended and spoke at the best conference. I wouldn't even really call it a conference ... a gathering. A coven. A sacred circle of strong tough weak wobbly steel-capped soul-mapped women. And a few men - open, accepting, men.
I spoke. About my journey of becoming a mother and the difficulties and travails and joys since. About the "dark side" of motherhood. The hard parts. The shadows. The immense giving that our babies bring us but also the frustrations at the things that becoming a mother can rob us of - creativity, time, ourselves, our sanity.
Kristy Vallely from The Imperfect Mum put on the entire thing, with incredibly well-matched and intelligent sponsors. I love Kristy. She is not afraid of raw and real and rough. Nothing I say could ever shock her. I wrote almost my entire talk and subsequent slam poem in the toilet or out hidden in the fancy cushions in the pool area, mostly crying, avoiding everyone because wonderful warm-hearted women are terrifying don't you know. Shaming myself so bad because it was like writing out an overdue geography assignment in Year 9 ONE DAY I MIGHT BE ORGANISED .. Saturday was not that day.
I was the last speaker. I had no powerpoint presentation or fancy takeaway thoughts. There was just me in my poetry boots and crumpled heart and I announced to all of the people there that my head tells me that they are all better mothers than me. That this year I have really dropped the ball when it comes to keeping my boys feeling secure and their rooms and hearts tidy and how all of that is about to change in a big, big way. I told them I stood before them a broken woman. Told them a few things, launched into my story and then stripped off my bright green top to don a grey hoodie and performed the hastily scrawled "Mother Hood." An homage to all of you still in the trenches, way out of the trenches, about to enter the trenches.
Trenches. Motherhood is not a war, but it is a constant battle.
I tried to pull out the day before I flew to Brisbane but I got on the plane and went in spite of my head. One of the hardest things I've ever done, actually. Felt like a fraud. But I keep banging on about speaking our truth so I just did, and in sharing my fragile, empty heart and outing myself as a broken woman standing there before them, I set a lot of myself free. Because it's just the truth, which is the whole concept and heart and idea behind Kristy's Imperfect Mum site. I told my truth. I spoke my words. Slammed down a few poems, and set myself - perhaps even a few others - free in the process.
Thank you Kristy, for believing in me. You have made me stronger and more determined to walk ahead the next bit of my life with a bit more substance and strength. I will now be kicking some serious arse in my motherhood, sisterhood, womanhood. Cumulative life events have robbed me of a lot. This year has almost annihilated me in many ways.
There's a huge Spiritual transformation taking place because getting real and owning up to who we are tends to propel us forward. I'm so grateful and glad and lucky and kind of in a disbelief that I'm still here. With a rock-solid yet quiet and scary but hopeful knowing that I have much, much more work to do before I go. Motherhood broke me open. Cut through my chest. Gave me open heart surgery. My boys are pieces of stars sent from the underworld, the nether, the unknown, the "heavens."
It's time I honoured that again like I used to before all the trauma and grief brought me undone. So I will. Made a decision. Handed it over. Let it go. It's excruciating and painful and sacred.
Thank you for being there that day and cheering me on. Thank you for the hugs you meant. Thank you for reading this post and watching this clip. I wrote the poem on some scraps of unlined paper and once I started I couldn't stop, truth and words and pain poured and pored. Wrote it for me. Wrote it for you - yeah, you.
The next Empowering Women Conference is on in Melbourne in August. I'll be talking and performing there too ... a new, improved, tougher version of Edenland. With different things to say but the message stays the same.
Life is hard. Deal and get real, baby.
Tickets to the Melbourne Conference available HERE
Imperfect Mum on Facebook (take a look .. no shirking the big issues.)