The other day I discovered, through a process of rigorous self analysis (not really), that I Am Not A Barbie.
I am a Weeble.
(I’m probably not a Marshall Weeble, but this is all I happen to have in my weeble-repertoire).
I am a Weeble because, much to my surprise, I get back up, again and again, after every knock that leaves me reeling.
And there’s been a good few.
The only problem with the Weeble description is that it seems… involuntary.
The weighted marbles in my base (and I’m reliably informed that I have giant hips) forcing me upright.
But it isn’t.
It’s a choice. (Unlike the hips).
Sometimes, of course, it doesn’t feel like one.
It feels like there is very little choice but to keep going – especially when you’ve got to keep two Smalls going too, for instance. It feels like there are no options.
But there are.
You could throw in the towel, give up, stay in bed, abdicate. It’s an option – you’re just not succumbing to it.
So it IS a choice.
In fact, it’s more than that: it’s a Superpower.
Because if I have ever had any sort of Superpower at all, this – this is it.
It is the power of TRYING.
You see, I am not just forced back up by the inevitability of gravity.
I choose to shake it off, and start again.
Do it over.
Turn up again and again determined to make it work –
My superhero name, I think, would be Finnegan –
Finnegan Begin Again.
I would wear red, like Marshall, with a big F across my chest.
Every day I would get up ready and raring to try harder and do better.
And that’s exactly what I DO do, on a macro and micro level, in real life, right now. I just don’t wear the costume.
Every bad day when my anxiety has pounded me from the inside out, every day when I’ve got it wrong, in the wrong places or by the wrong amounts, every day I have to deal with more idiocy and control, or domestic disasters, every looooong day of summer with grumpy kids taking all the change out on me, every failure, every knock, every time – I go to bed making up my mind to do it right the next day.
I have been so concerned recently about the dangers of bringing the old crap me into my fresh start. But actually the old me is the Queen of fresh starts – or at least the Superhero.
She is less Girl, Interrupted and more Woman, Continuing. Or at least Weeble Continuing… Rolling back up, trying again.
The thing with Trying, as a Superpower art form, is that you’re not always successful. And rarely the first time. But that’s not the POINT of trying. The point is to show up. And show willing. That’s the (heavily weighted) bottom line. And that’s the BEAUTY of it.
The old me is the new me, every day. Or the potential of her. There isn’t just one fresh start: I can orchestrate a thousand – just through the power of trying.
They say the Lord LOVES a tryer.
They also say that the definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome.
And I think that has in the past been my Achilles heel. My kryptonite. Finnegan’s flaw…
Even my ex knew I was a trier.
When I told him, during the mechanics of our breakup, that I got up everyday and tried to make us a family and tried to make everyone happy, he told me he’d seen me do that. It’s just that, by then, he wasn’t interested in doing anything but watching.
Sometimes, I’ve had to learn, you can try TOO hard.
Sometimes you can force things, and break them.
Sometimes, you can be fixated, in a rut, grinding through a groundhog day of awfulness because you can’t see any other way, or any other choice but to put your head down and plough through.
And then try it again.
I hit that magic reset button too often.
Instead of learning from my mistakes, I made the same ones.
Instead of spotting patterns that were damaging me, I kept turning the paper over to a blank sheet. I kept starting with me. Starting again. Assuming I just needed to try harder to make it better. Doing it over.
I missed important signs.
Hell, I missed the writing on the wall, drawn by my own hand.
By going back to factory settings I erased too much – eventually even parts of myself.
My Superpower became my downfall.
I suppose that’s the trouble with the whole weebling thing. Sure, it’s kinda handy. But a Weeble doesn’t just go down and up again. It spins around. And when you come back up you’re disorientated, and you don’t know which way you’re facing, or where to turn, or what is true, and constant, and real. It is all too easy to become confused. It is easy to do the same thing, the same way, the next time. And every time after. Because your head is still spinning and your heart is still lurching and you can’t see or don’t know any other way. And you hold on to too little, too hard, for too long, because that’s the way the manufacturers designed you.
Sometimes – not often – you have to STOP trying.
Sometimes, you have to stop flogging a dead horse.
Sometimes, you have to stay down, for a moment, a beat.
Sometimes you need to regroup.
More times than all of those put together, you need to get back up and try something NEW.
So, fellow Weebles. Keep on weebling. Do it with deliberation, with intent.
Don’t let yourself believe it’s just happening to you. You are CHOOSING to get back up, every time, every day.
And it IS a Superpower.
Now you just have to choose what you do when you get there.
And you have to avoid the Tryer’s Trap…
When you begin again, don’t go back to the beginning.
When you reset, don’t rewind.
Bring your effort and your energy to the front and centre, and let it centre you.
And then go from THERE.
At least that’s my new Weeble Plan.
And maybe one day I’ll start to enjoy the roll and the ride again, and not just endure it.