It’s a funny thing, Bank Holiday weekend…..
Huge human swarms mobilise themselves to a new temporary location in order to live life differently, often with different people in the hope that they will be renewed, replenished and have some fun. Of course, for some this is utter purgatory, leaving creature comforts and familiarity of routine behind. Children in particular, struggle with the uncertainty, a heady mixture of excitement and the unknown wrestling with each other, ultimately play out as challenging and unpleasant behaviours.
The family dynamic is shifted, Superwoman is unleashed and the stress levels soar. Sometimes, so much pressure is in the air that it can feel difficult to breathe. Why the hell am I doing this? Because someone said it would be fun. That’s why.
Fun. That thing you never really considered “a thing you have to do” when you were a child. Now, we have to consciously manufacture opportunity to have it. “I’m going to have fun” was never a sentence uttered from the mouth of babes, that’s a grown up sentence.
So, it’s Bank Holiday weekend and we’re off to Cornwall. A beautiful part of England made more desirable by the epic adventure you have to undergo to get there. This is no ordinary adventure though. We’re off on the Pirates Rugby Tour 2019. What the hell happened to my life? I love rugby, yes I do, the big proper stuff of rugby but I never ever thought I’d be spending long weekends of my life in the spectating of it and that this is junior rugby, well let’s just not go there, my boys might read this one day and think less of me.
So Dad gets his first win, he has booked a premium van for the weekend. It’s clean, modern and even has a dishwasher (teasingly broken but it’s the thought that counts right?) so nerves are less frayed and I’m imagining quiet romantic evenings staring out onto the stunning view of Cornish countryside. Ha ha ha me hearties, I don’t think so!
The boys disappear within seconds and we unpack the (far more than we needed even if we stayed a month, must learn about this packing light tactic) contents of the car. Then it’s off to the clubhouse we go. Ok, I’m not going to dwell on the clubhouse itself, yes it was a disappointment. Paying for a cheap G&T just isn’t floating any of my boats. I’m lamenting the half decent bottle in the van and wondering what’s wrong with me. Anyhow, then it happened.
I look around at the masses gathering and I’m struck by the diversity of the people I see. Okay, the diversity of the men is what is most striking, the women less so because I guess I’m used to seeing Mums of all backgrounds and lifestyles come together in common pilgrimage to some sporting or hobby event. My attention is drawn to the men and that they are all having fun. That unconscious, unrestrained, unlimiting kind of fun that happens for kids as readily as breathing. Real proper grown up men caught in belly laughs over fart jokes. I’m not kidding you, it was surreal. I’m privileged to know what these men do in their day jobs and I’m telling you, you could not have identified the landscape gardeners from the finance directors.
I’m getting to the point, bear with me as I share my journey through Superwoman to joy. Joy, there it was, these (mostly) men were just lapping up any opportunity to have fun and be joy filled. I’m here to tell you, most of that came for absolutely no money down. They just turned up. Some of them even managed a level of parenting and had fun and felt joy. Don’t ever tell me again that men can’t multitask.
Now at this point, I have to say that I would have, once upon a time, looked upon this spectacle and observed how irresponsible, base and unbecoming all of this was. I’d have been rolling my eyes and lamenting that men never grow up. Something has shifted for me now. I have awoken to the deep need to know joy in my every day and so I’m like a dog on the scent, when I see it I want to know how it got there.
It was a beautiful thing, watching these men have fun. I saw hugs and back slaps and giggling huddles. The lost no end of time and didn’t care, not one bit. Watch any group of women having fun, its really not that different at all – ok maybe the back slaps are different but that need to connect physically with the people you are sharing the joy with, that’s definitely the same. So this was a human display of fun, no gender required.
And here’s the revelation. I allowed myself to settle into the group and be a part of it and before I was even aware, joy found me. I was finding joy in the watching, contributing and believing without doubt that we are truly meant to be together as one. We fail in this oneness when we allow our gender distinctions to become barriers to this kind of joy. I believe that our partnerships, friendships and family can be without gender bias and that’s where the joy lives. I’ve always felt this and been at odds with why the world around me can’t see that we are whole when we accept the other humans around us and love them just for them. Growing up I learned that our society needs rank and order so that it may function and yes, for sure I know the value in a good routine, especially for my kids. It just doesn’t have to permeate all parts of us so that we shut down that soulful joy of laughing at things like fart jokes.
I lived most of my formative years believing that I was a bit odd because I preferred hanging out with the lads. They didn’t judge, they knew how to have fun and I could turn up and be a part of the group without having been assessed for my worthiness. I believed that this was because the females were absolutely the opposite. They were conditioned to behave in certain ways and became trapped within boundaries completely perverting the world’s perception of who they were. Having become a graduated grown up (or so they say) I can see how this just wasn’t the truth. The filters that I was conditioned to put up mixed with those of the other females in my world meant we had a completely messed up picture of who we each were.
I know that there is a big belief that it was men who did that to us, I’m sure you can demonstrate many occasions where that would seem to be the truth but I just don’t believe it all sits with them. I truly believe that we were just as culpable of wearing warped masks as they were. We all got very fucked up. For a very long time. And yes, women undoubtedly came off really very badly so sometimes its not easy to see how we could ever have this union of oneness. I just believe we can and that men want this as much as we do.
It took a childrens’ rugby tour weekend for me to be reminded of this. I know it’s ok to write about this now because there is a tide of change happening. I want to help other women find a way to sit in joy, regardless of the gender of the humans she lives with. I believe this starts with waking women to knowing their own power and build confidence in their ability to take off the warped mask and let the world see just how ready they are to be at one with all of the humans in their world. So for me it’s not about the rise of women, its about the reconnection of humans in balance within and without. Imagine how much we could achieve, how we would turn around our parasitic existence and begin to shower this planet with love so that it may heal. Instead of living in fear of how little time we have left, let’s love each other enough that we take action to ensure an earthly future for generations to come. Let’s have some fun building, renewing, restoring and creating. That’s a brand new distinction for me, and I bloody love it.