Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Haunting Words of Mr F

Artwork by Katie Daisy

I awoke, determined.

I often make promises to myself, many I have failed to keep.

Changes needed to be made.

My intentions are (mostly!) good and pure, in this one and only precious life we have.

While half of me is grounded in the domestic drudgery of cleaning, cooking, shopping, organising things for school, entertaining kiddies and le Husband and just trying to catch up on stuff, the other half of me is soaring in the clouds, dreaming of adventures and Pretty Little Things to create.

I have a special little shelf in my cupboard for my 'When I Have Time...' projects.
Beautiful fabrics, golden threads, bamboo handles, glass beads, earring backings, embossed paper, silk ribbons, watercolours, vintage flowers, nuggets of turquoise, Yiayia's unfinished embroideries. My collection has been sitting there patiently for about 6 1/2 years, since the day my first borns came into this world. My Box of Pretty Things is awaiting the moment I latch onto the Runaway Horse of Creative Inspiration when it hits, holding tightly on its reigns, galloping and yee-haaa-ing with joyous glee instead of shrugging my shoulders and waving glumly as it passes me by, yet again.

My heart cries out as I scrub another crusty pasta pot:

"Oh Spirit of Creativity! Do not abandon me!
We will be together! We will create!
I promise! I'll Try!"

The words of my 4th Grade Teacher, Mr F come back to haunt me. 
Mr F was tall and dandy. He had a head shaped like an egg, bald and shiny on top. 
He had round black-rimmed spectacles and wore pinstriped pants that made him look as tall as a tower. To these pants he would attach silver bicycle clips near his ankles so that his trousers would not get caught up as his long, spindly legs powered his bicycle to school.

Mr F was very Proper. He relished in the Queen's English and rolled his R's when he spoke: (Rrrrrrrodney! Please stop harrrrrassing that poorrrrrr girrrrrrl and rrrreturrrn to yourrrrr seat prrrromptly!). He was very theatrical and was in his element when conducting our music lessons. We would sit on the floor as he took position at the schools piano, under a portrait of HRH Queen Elizebeth II, resplendant in her puffy yellow gown and majestic crown. 

"Zippedy Doo Dah! Zippedy Ay!
My Oh My What A Wonderful Day!
Plenty of Sunshine Heading My Way!
Zippedy Doo Dah! Zippedy Ay!"

His energetic fingers would thump away at the piano keys, like an octopus flailing it's tentacles. Mr F would bob up and down, the piano stool squeaking threateningly. It was a wonder he never broke it or fell off it.

It was the night of parent/teacher interviews and my parents took their places on the little squeaky wooden chairs positioned in front of Mr F's desk. I sat meekly behind them.
"Well!", exclaimed Mr F, "What can I say about Jessica? She is a puuuuuuuuuurre delight!
A's in writing, A's in mathematics, she loves herrrrr arrrrrrrt and parrrrrticipates most joyously in ourrrrr musical prrrresentations".
"Therrrrre is one thing, I could add, howeverrrr....." 
He leaned in closer. His change of position set his spectacles ablaze reflecting the light of the classroom. He looked almost Supernatural.
"She is a most fabulous student, but...... I have neverrrrr seen herrrr trrrrrry....."

I have mulled over those words all my life.

Was this good or bad?

Things would just naturally click in my mind while I was at school.
A quiet achiever.
I loved reading and I loved writing stories. Maths just seemed to work in my head.
My grades were always high (except for Physical Education, but that's another blog post. You'll get your chapter, Mr S).
If I could achieve things without trying, wasn't that a good thing?

" I have never seen her try...."

Mr F was right.
Many things in my life seem to have happened effortlessly.
Whether it's been willing it with all my heart and soul or putting it out to the universe, things just seem to fall into place. But not always. 

In some instances I have tried and failed badly. I have fought hard. I have tried to make relationships work, putting all my heart and soul in them but to no avail. What more could I do? What more could I give? It wasn't meant to be. And in hindsight that was a good thing, the best thing. For I was not being honoured or respected or cherished. Those lessons made me stronger and wiser.

The biggest battle in my life at the moment is balancing the needs of my family against the needs of My Self. Family inadvertently always wins. But maybe I should rephrase that.

It's not about Winning and Losing.

This is about Winning and Winning.

My first pledge is Not To Give Up.

Even as I type, my children are fighting, spilling milk, shredding tissue paper all over my loungeroom floor, my husband is shooing the cat off the kitchen bench, my sister is asking me to drive her somewhere, I have 5 baskets of washing waiting for me in the laundry, the fridge is practically empty, I have no idea what I'm going to cook for dinner, my grandmothers want me to come to visit, I still haven't done our taxes, the plants in my garden are withering, I'm wondering what's going on in Facebook Land, my floors are crunchy, I'm still in my pyjamas, and I do believe I'm due a toilet break.

But look here, Mr F!
I am trying!
I am perservering!
It would be so easy for me to succumb to my Haus Frau Guilt, get off this laptop and tend to Life's Messes like I usually do. Deny my passions, deny my Right to Write.
But I'm not, am I?

Right now, I choose me.
I choose to ride my Creativity Dragon and release these humble little words.
I have created a Blog Post!

And do you know what, Haus Frau Guilt?
I have picked up my Yiayia's unfinished embroidery and I am doing a little section EVERY DAY.
Little by little.
Each little strand I weave makes my heart smile bigger and bigger and bigger.
And next week I am going to make some earrings.
Dangly ones, with gold and turquoise.
And the week after that, a handbag with bamboo handles that I will fill with treasures and carry proudly around with me when I go to the shops to buy more fabric softener and cat food.

I am going to Keep On Going.

And as long as I keep on going,  I am Winning.

What happens when you 'try' in Life?
What would you like to 'try'?
Are you afraid of failing? Or succeeding?

I'm so excited to be nominated for a spot in the Circle of Moms 'Top 25 Aussie Mum Blogs!'.
If you'd like to help me get there, please feel free to click on the link and Vote!
Thank you for your Love & Support, my precious ones!


toushka lee said...

great post! "winning and winning!" YES!!
This week I am going to make time to hang all the pretty pictures that make me smile.

Jess WhoaMamma said...

Thank you beautiful Toushka! Have fun hanging your pretty pictures, they bring so much joy, don't they? x

Laura Wells said...

I adore your writing style. I can see Mr. F in my mind and I love him because he knew enough about you that your grades were not all he noticed. And as a mom, you must find creative outlets. And you are. You have a fabulous blog. Great work mom.

Jess WhoaMamma said...

Oh Laura! What a beautiful comment! Thank you so much, and thanks for stopping by! xxx

Tricia said...

You have inspired me this morning! I love that quote - what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life. Every time I read it I want to go out and do something amazing. I also get caught up in the normal needs of everyday life but today, I think I might break free. Thank you!

Visiting from SITS and so glad I did :)

Jess WhoaMamma said...

Hi Tricia!
So happy to have been a source of inspiration! The 'Wild & Precious Life' quote is one of my favourites too, and one that always inspires me to live a bit more passionately and earnestly. I hope you did get to break free today!
Thank you so much for stopping by! xxx

c @ annuary chit said...

Jess what an amazing post. See what happens when you fly off on that creativity dragon.

I have to admit I never worked very hard in school, although I liked it, and now learning to try... can be trying. But like you I'm trying to keep moving forward. That is why I made a yearly list :)

Kate said...

I voted for you! I always find out wondrous things through your posts on facebook - Thank you! XX

Caz (The Truth About Mummy) said...

That's such a well written and fun post. Love it Jess. I hear you big time on finding the balance between the family and yourself. It's HUGE. Keeping trying girl - I'm guessing all those pretties will be waiting for you to create something as soon as you get some spare time.

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