I knew something was wrong when Dolly Parton’s ‘9 to 5’ stopped working for me.
Everything that had been a strength of my brand was suddenly a weakness. I was too old to be the face of the Alannah Hill Brand, and I was ruining the crumbling empire by the fact that I was Alannah Hill. I needed a makeover. A Woman’s Day article on Kerri-Anne Kennerley’s fabulous new makeover was pushed toward my desk. I needed to be cooler. I needed to be ‘out there more’, out there in all the right places, and not just staying at home with E.
Heightened fear is a different kind of fear. It holds a great deal of power and clings to us with all its heightened glory, and just like Glad Wrap, eventually it suffocates and destroys its victim. With a red-carpet flourish and a perfectly manicured hand, I unfortunately welcomed ‘heightened fear’ in like a long-lost baby shower.
Heightened fear does not work well with feelings of zen, or spirituality. In fact, it nukes all of our more delightful feelings and concentrates on the negative parts of our personalities and psychodramas. I had been running away from my issues at work, E’s drama classes and basketball lessons, school trips, the Alannah Hill VIP events, and attempting the impossible – attempting to be an intelligent, fun, focused and well-adjusted mother, and at the same time, a mysterious, unavailable, cool and ‘happening’ girlfriend.
I worried I was a bad mother.
The small number of other mothers I came into contact with seemed to be doing a marvellous job of being a mother, making sure their children’s emotional, educational, psychological and social needs were all being met while I worried about whether I was too gentle or overly lenient, and that I wasn’t teaching E how to be socially conscious or spiritually aware. I catastrophised over what school to send E to, I catastrophised a little bit more about whether my delivering him a Scotch Finger biscuit with a Kit Kat on a side tray may come back to haunt me in E’s teen years. I didn’t feel I was giving E the best start in life, so I made up for it by giving him everything. Easy!