Following your own arrow

following your own arrow

You’re damned if you do, And you’re damned if you don’t, So you might as well just do whatever you want”

Almost a year ago, when I was embarking on this new path as a single Mama, I had a new tattoo {it’s now been joined by many more}. It was a little arrow on my finger. Late one night, whilst browsing Pinterest and most likely sobbing into my wine, I came across this quote about the symbolism of arrows ~

“An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backwards. When life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus and keep aiming”

For the past fourteen years, I’d played the loyal wife. Even when my heart told me it wasn’t right, I stayed. I was never very good at standing up for myself, for following my arrow, for doing what was best for me. I was always the type of person to apologise for everything. Even when it wasn’t my fault. Years of listening to someone else’s opinion of me, of being told I was crazy, or over-sensitive, over-reacting, that I was the problem meant I actually believed that.

I was trying to live the life that everyone else wanted me to live.

Trying to be who I thought I should be, to do what was right instead of what was right for me. A lifetime of being that person, meant even though I tried this time last year to follow my own path, I was muddled and confused. A little afraid of suddenly being without an anchor, a little lost and unsure which way was up and which was down.

I wasn’t even sure that I knew who I was anymore.

Sometimes it’s easier to cling to another person, someone who is there, who offers support and advice and tells you where to go. The problem with this is not everyone actually wants what is best for you. For whatever their reasons, some ‘friends’ actually only want what they think is best for you. They’re happy to offer advice and kind words, but only so long as you go along with what they say is best.

It took me months to see that I was back in the same place as I’d been whilst being married. Trying to please other people, letting them tell me who I was, letting their opinions carry far too much weight. I’ve been open on here and my IG about my struggles with depression and anxiety over the first half of this year. The turning point for me came around June when I finally realised what I was doing. It was like a lightbulb went on in my mind, and I realised that another person’s opinion didn’t matter to me anymore. IT was time to stop trying to please others, and instead, please me.

I started questioning everything, started doing the things that I wanted regardless of what others thought.

The past three months have been like a breath of fresh air. For the first time in my lifetime, I feel like ME. I am creating the life I want, following my own path, filling my world with happiness, listening to my own voice and letting it be heard. That’s not to say it’s been easy, or the depression and anxiety have magically gone away. There are still days that I struggle, but those days are far less than they were, and I never feel as bad as I did six months ago.

I’ve had to let go of friendships that I thought were genuine, grieving the loss of what I thought were good, lifelong friends. Ultimately, I’ve learned that true friends stick by you no matter what… whether or not they agree with every decision you make, they want what’s best for you NOT what they think is best for you.

I’m probably the happiest, healthiest, strongest, most content I have ever been.

Life isn’t all easy, being a single, home-educating Mama to four is fricking tough work. But I’ve learnt more about myself this past year than I have in the previous 35 years. I don’t crave approval, I don’t feel bad for saying no, I don’t care what others think of me… I’m showing my kids that it’s OK to be selfish, that sometimes we have to put ourselves first and do what is right for us – people who truly love us will understand that and stick around.

I don’t know exactly where the next year will take me, but I feel like there are so many new and exciting beginnings just around the corner.

Live the life that you were made for. Without hesitation. Without an apology.

BTW the quote at the top is from this song, which I love {and sing along too loudly at home, much to my 11 year old’s horror – seems I’ve hit the point of being an embarrasing Mama}

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6 Comments

  1. October 20, 2017 / 15:27

    Hooray!! It’s so lovely reading something like this from you knowing how tough things have been for you over the last couple of years – I’m so pleased you’ve found some inner peace. You’re an amazing lady!

  2. October 24, 2017 / 10:48

    Really loved reading this post Polly, very positive and so true about doing you – I am in the middle of trying to work out what I have to do in my life, I’m conflicted at the moment about so many things but reading posts like this is really positive as you see the other side. Thanks for sharing

    Laura x

  3. October 24, 2017 / 12:46

    You are so inspiring lovely. So many women never have the courage to turn their lives around. They let bad relationships consume them and it never gets any better. You just lose more of yourself over time. Your babies are so lucky to have such a strong Mumma and even though I imagine it has been the toughest road getting to this point. You rock sweets x

  4. October 24, 2017 / 21:42

    You’ve come so far, Polly. Huge congratulations on turning this into something so brilliant xxx

  5. October 28, 2017 / 06:26

    You’re a real inspiration Polly. You’ve been through so much this year and have come out stronger and wiser because of it. I love this post and I love that quote. xx

  6. October 29, 2017 / 21:34

    Love your post Polly. You’ve come so far this year – we could all do to remember some of the things you’ve written here. x

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