A WALKING REFLECTION

Self-reflection is a powerful tool for personal growth. For me, self-reflection has become an important part of my life journey and mental health. The practice allows my brain the opportunity to press pause on the hustle and bustle of life, to unravel and shift through interactions and experiences, and to consider my actions and words. By doing so, I can examine and learn from them and therefore, challenge myself to be a better person. In saying this, self-reflection is not always an easy practice.

Self-reflection can bring forth uncomfortable truths. For some, it’s your ego that helps to protect you from unwanted feelings and thoughts and keeps your fragile identity intact. It makes peeling back those layers of yourself difficult, especially if you don’t like what you find. It can feel unpleaseant and vulnerable to open yourself up for self-critism, but increasing self-awareness and achieving personal development and growth is a worthwhile goal.

I started the practice of consciously considering and analysing my actions and emotions when I began this blog. In essence, this blog is my journal where I reflect on the past week’s events and express my feelings and thoughts. Don’t get me wrong, self-reflection sometimes feels like I’m beating myself up over something I said or did. But once I get over the initial feelings and look deeper into the whys and hows, I get to a point where I can begin to understand and learn. And I believe self-awareness is a gift worth giving to myself.

So… I’ll give you an example of some recent self-reflection that I did. 

On the weekend, I took the children to see their uncle at the park for a picnic for the first time since this sixth lockdown started almost two months ago. I think we’ve been under lockdown for 270 days since this pandemic began back in 2020. With easing of restrictions and because my brother lives within 10 KM of us, we were legally allowed to meet up. 

My younger brother reminds me a lot of what I was like in my younger years – a bit rash, brimming with confidence, and somewhat temperamental. He’s also incredibly fit. Remember how I wrote about him being my personal trainer for a while? Anyway, lockdown has changed him. He’s not as fit as he used to be. In fact, he suggested, like it was a great idea, for us to drive the car 100 metres down the street so that we would be nearer to the cafe where we were going to get hot drinks. He wanted to save us 100 metres from the 500 metre walk. Obviously, I told him that he was being a ninny and to walk it.  

Later when I relayed the story of my brother being so lazy that he wanted to save 100 metres of walking to my husband, he gave me a look of disbelief.

He replied with, “Who does that remind you of?”

Our 8-year-old daughter chimed in with, “You always want Daddy to park close to the shops!”

Our 4-year-old son reiterated with, “Yeah Mummy!”

Upon a bit of FORCED self-reflection, I admitted to them and myself that I probably couldn’t really laugh at my brother seeing as I do the same thing. You see, sometimes it’s not easy to see your limitations and it can be even harder to admit there are parts of you that could be improved. 

So next time, when my husband parks really, REALLY, far away from where we should be, I’ll endeavour to remember the time I ridiculed my brother, and bite my tongue because a bit of walking never hurt anyone. 

Copyright © 2021, KN J Tales and Snippets. All rights reserved.

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FALLING OUT OF BED

“Mummy! Mummy!” – my six o’clock wake up call sounds the same every morning, with my four-year-old son calling out for me from his bed. I know that if I don’t go over to tell him to be quiet, he will fuss and wake the whole household. If I brave the morning chill, I might be able to squeeze in another ten minutes of peace. 

Pulling back the blankets, I swung my legs to the side of the bed and stood up. Then I fell to the ground in a crumpled heap. My legs were not doing what I thought my brain was telling those porkchops to do. 

“ARGH!!!!” My son’s morning whinge might not have woken anyone yet, but my screams of agony certainly would have done the trick.

Three worried pairs of eyes peered over my prone body.

“What’s wrong with Mummy?!”

“Mum, what happened to your foot?”

“Are you ok?”

On occasion, I’ve woken up with pins and needles in my limbs and have collapsed getting out of bed. Never have I fallen in such an awkward position that I’ve injured myself in the process. Unlucky for me, I fell forwards and bent the toes on my right foot upwards. I wasn’t sure if the toes were broken or sprained but it hurt – BAD. Other than grab my foot, I could only manage to whimper in pain. After I had managed to collect myself, we examined my foot and came to the conclusion that if I could wriggle my toes, it probably wasn’t broken. To the kids, the excitement was over. 

“Mummy, I’m hungry!”

“Mummy, can you make me a toastie?”

“I’ve got to get ready for work.”

It was time to get back to Mum duties, bruised toes or not. So I hobbled about to get things done.

“Mummy, can you pick that up?”

“Mummy, can you get my water bottle from my room?”

“Mummy, can you get me a snack?”

“Mummy, can you wipe my bottom?”

Have I mentioned that being a parent is a thankless job? 

“I have broken (maybe) toes you know!” I had to remind everyone that I was an injured person and perhaps people could cut me some Mum slack and go do things themselves. I dread thinking how anyone would cope if I was really out of action. Dropped items would stay dropped, water bottles would never get refilled, no one would do a poop. 

Anyway, I’m sure you are all thoughtful folks and want to know how my toes are faring, right? I am unhappy to report I am back to 90% servant/cleaner/cook duties. Maybe if I want a break from Mum duties next time I’m injured, I’ll need both hands broken.

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THE CURSE OF IMPULSE BUYS

My husband and children like to gang up and tease me. It’s probably because I give them lots of reasons to… I’m giving in that way. I have a tendency to be explicit about obvious things and non-explicit about non-obvious things. What does that mean exactly? I’ll give you some examples. I might say “You should park here” when my husband is practically reversing the car into said space. Or I might say “Can you pass me that thing?” and no-one has any idea what that “thing” I’m referring to is but me. What can I say? I have my flaws.

I blame it on the fact that my mind is on constant overdrive, mentally juggling the billion life tasks that need to be done. That’s my excuse anyway! My husband suggests I should apply the “just in time” strategy to my decision-making processes and not waste time thinking too far ahead. In doing so, I might free my mind to make better choices or decisions in a timely manner. He’s probably right but then again, he would rather be wet than use an umbrella and thinks thongs have no place in footwear, so it’s hard for me to take him seriously at times!

Anyway, recently I went to a bookstore with our 8-year-old daughter and on an impulse buy, I bought an adjustable travel book holder that was sitting at the counter. Those merchandisers are sneaky bastards, and I’m the perfect example of an impulse buyer. I see colourful products and red on-sale signs and my brain goes off like a circus monkey on speed. I can’t help it! I reasoned that our daughter needed help keeping the pages of her book opened. She complained that one time, a few months back somewhere, and that was reason enough for the $17 purchase.

My husband took one look at the book holder and declared it a useless invention made to con easy prey like me. How dare he?! My daughter quickly sided with her dad and wanted nothing to do with the product despite originally agreeing to try it. My son joined in on the fun and soon, dissension was rife.

“I’m going to use it to keep MY research books open!” I argued, attempting to win the debate on the worthiness of a travel book holder, despite not travelling anywhere.

“See? I’m using it right now,” I said, as I failed miserably to prove the book holder useful. Instead of placing the thing on the sides of the book, I put it on top so I couldn’t turn the pages. Then when I realised my mistake and tried putting it on the sides of the book, it wouldn’t stretch far enough for the book I was using as my demonstration. Sigh.

The against team rebuttal included a Google search of the most pointless items ever made and my product happened to make the top 10 list. It didn’t help that my book kept slamming shut because the book holder was a useless piece of junk. Suffice to say, it destroyed my credibility and rendered my arguments invalid.

“That thing is cursed,” my husband joked, “you better get rid of it!”

He and the children went off on a tangent about what cursed objects were and ways to rid one of it. They even drew a pentagram symbol on a whiteboard and placed the book holder within it to keep the curse from wreaking havoc on our household. And to strengthen the protection spell, they drew three more pentagrams around the original symbol. They came up with the idea that the curse could only be broken if the cursed item was accepted by someone else. I couldn’t re-gift or throw out the book holder.

Obviously, it was all done jokingly and the children knew it was all said and done in good nature. But two weeks on, they are still taking the piss out on me. Every time there’s a misfortune, they joke that it’s because of the curse. Like when we couldn’t find a carpark at the shopping centre during the peak hour weekend crowd… it was because of the curse. Or when we had to walk up the broken travellator… again, the curse.

Every day, my 4-year-old son asks if today is the day I’ll rid myself of the curse and therefore, his curse through his association with me. I really don’t want to give it away because it cost me $17 and a stubborn part of me doesn’t want to admit that the book holder is in fact, useless. I’m still holding out hope that one day it’ll prove handy.

BUT at what point does a lie become the truth? If you believe something hard enough, would you eventually create an illusion of the truth? Because at the rate everyone is saying I’m cursed, maybe it’ll really end up that way. Maybe if I really think bad things will happen, it’ll end up true. And if that’s true, then shouldn’t happy thoughts lead to happy things? What if the Universe knows that I’m purposely thinking happy thoughts for happy things, will that mean something bad will happen? What if the Universe is really trying to speak through the curse?

Wait a minute! Maybe this is going too far. Before I book myself into a bootcamp for cosmic curse cleansing…

Does anyone want a free and really useful travel book holder?

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