Thursday, 21 March 2013

when worlds collide


It's odd isn't it when you sit and carefully look at your life and you realise that you have multiple personalities.
There's mummy-me who bakes, and referees sibling squabbles and kisses bumped knees and has fishwife moments about lost PE kit or overdue library books.
Duck with ducklings
Duck with ducklings (Photo credit: KP Tripathi)
 The playground crew probably see a slightly harassed, not always well-groomed middle aged woman in sensible shoes and a variety of hats herding small children. I have actually been compared to a mother duck as I tend to walk along the road with the children in height order following me whilst I quack, I mean shout, warnings about oncoming traffic, dog poo and the perils of dragging your feet or scraping your coat arm along walls.  The perils being mummy will get cross and mutter stuff about the cost of shoes and the effort of laundry, both of which children don't care about of course.
more tea vicar?
Then there's church-me. From a high church bells and smells background to a tiny village church where I'm allowed to clap, heckle and occasionally lead. I'm "that woman with 7 children" who glares at the junior choir when they are messing about, picking their noses or dripping candle wax onto their robes, lights candles, writes intercessions for fun and giggles with the priest on her days off to help her de-stress.
Work-me was a bit of a cow. My staff used to look at DH with curiosity wondering what kind of man would take on this sarcastic sharp-tongued harridan. An Editor once told me I had a menacing walk as I prowled round the sub-editors on deadline day silently daring them to mess with my copy. I had an unfortunate reputation for being the journalist press officers dreaded to hear from. One famously cried every time I called. I'm a bit embarrassed about that but to be fair journalism is not a world for gentle folk.
hen-night me
Me as the family sees me is a mystery to me. My wider family seem to have had me pegged for years as dumb blonde, prolific breeder, mumsy soccer-mum. It's only now they appear to have started to see my better qualities as trouble-shooter, problem-solver, book-clubber, internet-surfing savvy-mommy.
Party-me likes stupid high heels, shiny things, vodka and the sort of coloured sweet alco-pops that teens favour. I like to dance, get even louder and more inappropriate and the mommy-me seems a long way away.
Last year two worlds collided when I went to a friend's ordination and in the pews of a magnificent cathedral with thousands of other Christians my God felt very close and truly Awesome. An hour later I was changing into stacked heels ( no good for ancient and uneven church floors!) and heading for a vodka bar followed by a range of nightclubs for a hen-night. Too few hours later I changed clothes and personas again and was leading prayers in a packed church. Prayers prayed with heartfelt faith and devotion - and a cracker of a hangover!
Yesterday I had a moment of two lifetimes colliding. I bizarrely met an old friend I had not seen for years at Champneys.
Chatting to her took me right back to when my age started with a 2. When I had the usual number of children (2!) and a lot less scars and wrinkles. We compared memories, chatted about old mutual friends and then after exclaiming disbelief about the age of our children now and the changes in our lives we said our goodbyes and went back to our "now" lives.
So what's the point of this blog? Well, I'm not entirely sure but that bizarre meeting in the steam-room highlighted for me how complex life is. A friend described it to me this afternoon as having layers with veneers. Like phone covers you can pop on or off. Sensible, silly, sparkly, you can change your veneer at will. But be careful and be happy with each of your pop-off covers because people who experience it will probably only know that "you" that they see in the relevant setting and you never know when two worlds might collide.
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