Life Design Action: Be honest. Are your stories boring?
Requires: Your stories (this includes your moans, your complaints, your blockages, your failures).
Does not require: Disney. I hate Disney. Sorry Disney lovers, but it is true. I’m sure the Waltster was nice enough as a person, but I don’t like how his animations portray women. I also never liked Micky Mouse’s voice. Or the fact that Donald looked like he was wearing a nappy. So.
A Story About Self Honesty and Boring Stories (oh – before we begin sorry that I have been so utterly absent in The House Of Bethan lately. I have many excuses, stories, reasons why etc, but that can wait. For now, however … Sorry. And I love you.)
OK – A Story About Self Honesty and Boring Stories
I was sitting on the Goddess Fosbury’s sofa, surrounded by her myriad cushions and drinking a cup of camomile tea when The Conversation happened.
Opening Question (FG): “What is happening with the house?”
Me: “Well …”
And so I began to tell her The Nest story.
Because, do not be mistaken, the Fosbury Goddess has heard this story many a time.
But I know that YOU haven’t heard the story so, unless you are a friend who knows me in my day-life (and if you are you may want to skip the next bit) I’ll quickly fill you in.
To have a blog is an interesting thing. There are certain things one feels that one can talk about. And there are certain things that one feels one can’t. One of the things I have remained quiet about is the situation around my marriage, my divorce and my home. You see, since my marriage ended – which is coming up to two years ago – the agreement was that our beautiful birds nest would be sold and the profits split equally and then both of us would fly off in our own separate ways.
That was the logical agreement.
The heart stuff was a different matter.
We were both reeling from the break up.
The children were heart broken. The house was a broken home. Looking back, even the Nest itself was like a creature, shocked and distraught. After all, a family had moved in and kept her warm and alive and now … NOW she was now to be abandoned.
But at the time there was no other choice.
So I tidied up.
I tucked things away.
I polished the sides and I put the Nest on the Housing Market.
The Housing Market looked at me blankly. He muttered, “Don’t you KNOW I’m dead? There’s a recession on. Duh. If you think your selling your nest, you are living in cloud cuckoo land.”
I looked blankly back and tried to say something.
No words came out.
The Housing Market then rolled his eyes and in a small gesture of generosity, sent a couple of Potential Buyers to snoop around. For the next six months strangers came in and out, poking around in cupboards and having things falling on their heads. At first I stayed to support the Nest through her auditions, but after a while I couldn’t bear it and would go and sit in a café and bite my nails.
Reality was/is, that I loved the Nest so much and I didn’t want to leave her, but I knew I couldn’t stay.
Over the slow months, me, Pix and Roo lived in our lofty home with a sense of limbo and awkwardness. No one knew where they stood. The place felt like a train station, an impermanent platform with adults and children passing through. The Nest began to grow this weird mildew stuff around the farmhouse sink. I bleached it away but didn’t have the heart to fix the cause. One day I returned from a trip to find that the barge board had fallen from one side of the house and was lying pathetically on the gravel drive way. It was then that I realised that the place was falling to pieces.
Who would want to buy a little cottage who was so heartbroken that she was falling to bits?
The only answer was to take the Nest off the market and repair her over the summer even if our combined hearts did feel as heavy as a sea sponge abandoned in the bath.
I did this.
Then I put her back on The Housing Market.
This time The Housing Market turned lazily, picked his tooth with a cocktail stick and yawned “you do realise it will take about two years to sell? The market is deader than a dodo.”
“I’ve got no choice,” I shrugged.
The Market rolled his baggy eyes, sighed impatiently, then went back to picking his teeth.
The following stalemate was suffocating.
Pix, Roo, the Nest and I were all trapped in a wire birdcage of circumstance in a Housing Market that was dead, with no way to move. And this was where I now stood.
This was the story. As I completed the last sentence – again – Fosbury Goddess got up. She walked into her little conservatory where the cat walked over the corrugated plastic every night and sounded as though a tiger was prowling the rooftop.
She opened the door, leaned out as if needing a big breath of fresh air, then called over her shoulder … “So what happens? What happens at the end? Because this story is getting bloody boring now!”
I sat on the sofa.
My story was getting boring?
I am a writer …. My stories CAN NOT be boring. And anyway. This wasn’t a story. This was real life. Realrealrealreal annoying Real Life.
“It’s really boring,” declared the Fosbury Goddess, billowing back into the room and bringing with her the fresh air of her magical courtyard. “You need to get this cleared up and tied up asap or we’re all going to bloody well die of boredom.”
It was probably the funniest, most generous thing I’ve ever heard.
One bit of Honesty from a friend who has listened to us telling our stories againandagainandagainandagain … can be the exact tonic we need to end it, break it, recreate it.
A new page gets turned.
A new ending can be written.
And so I began to write the final chapter.
I returned to the Isle of Wight, went to see a mortgage advisor and pretended to know what she was talking about until finally I did sort of get it. I found out whether it was possible to take out money from the equity to pay everyone off, securing the Nest as mine. It was possible but the new repayments on the mortgage were beyond what I could afford.
Instead of having the door crunched shut in my face, I picked up my mental biro and began scribbling out new questions … “how can I get this story to some sort of happy ending? Who can help me? What other pathways could be possible.”
The moment me and Nezha hooked up, something shifted in the very guts of Planet Earth. I stepped into warrior mode. My warrior arms went around Nest and my warrior voice told her, “we’re not going anywhere.” Then I began to fix her and clean her and buy her cushions and toasters and a coffee machine. I swept all the cobwebs from her corners, whispering, whispering, “we’re not going anywhere, we’re not going anywhere …”
And all the while I existed in this bubble of determined thanks to the Big Fat Universe Mama for giving us the power to tell our stories and make up new ones. It kept occurring to me again and again that the questions we ask, decisions we make, actions we take … all design the destinies we want to form. Not long after this, a fairy godmother was delivered to me by email or text (I can’t remember quite which one) and brought with her the magic for the Nest to be secured.
It was a strange, powerful, moment.
A moment of trust and love and gratitude and relief all combined in Niagra Falls thunder of force.
Now the Nest is on the brink of being ours and a massive lesson has been learned.
Write your stories well!!
What we tell ourselves, what we tell people, how we narrate our own narrative is like weaving a tapestry of reality.
We Are The Tellers. So let’s not be boring.
(What are YOUR stories? What do you tell yourself about your life – what is possible and what is impossible? What stories do you tell about your childhood, your parents, your experiences? Do you have those stories make you a super hero or do you like to write yourself as the victim?
Do you believe you are no longer creating exciting stories for your future? Because whether you believe that or not – you are always telling your own story, creating and weaving. If you believe you’ve stopped weaving … perhaps your story needs a bit of adventure thrown in.
And finally, if you are a friend who has listened to someone repeating their story againandagainandagain maybe it is time to tell them that their story has become stuck and that in truth, its getting boring.
But be sure – it might just be the medicine for a happy ending.)