Curiosity isn’t a swear word

Growing up, the family motto seemed to be “Don’t make waves”.

It was so habitually thrown around that to me, as a curious, intelligent, eager-to-know-things child, the words in the phrase lost their meaning. “Don’t make waves” just became the response to a question that was too hard; or a reaction that was a little too left of the very, precise, exact, absolute centre.
Don’t make waves. Keep quiet. Don’t ask questions. Don’t challenge authority. Do as you’re told. Don’t think, just do.

Don’t make waves…

When my partner and I first got together, he would frequently ask me why I didn’t ask questions about his life, his feelings and his thoughts.
My response at the time was so ingrained with that social norm of my family. Shrugged off as “just how I am”; dismissed and defended with “not wanting to be nosy”; “I don’t like to pry”; “If I’m supposed to know it, I’ll find out about it”… THAT was the one that sent a little red flag pinging up in my brain.
“If I’m supposed to know”… Like I’m not allowed to want to know more about my partner. Or a friend. Or a colleague, or a job description, or anything ever.

It wasn’t until my first clinical supervision session of the semester, that I realised I’d been disagreeing with the concept of “not making waves” for most of my life. Trouble is, I’d become so practiced at sailing a calm blue ocean that I kinda forgot that I didn’t even enjoy it!
Another student was presenting a complicated client case, and our supervisor calmly urged her to: “Be curious about that”. About what? I thought… Be curious? How is that going to help anything? She continued; “Be curious. Always be curious. It’s how we learn more about our clients. It’s precisely how we help them”

Be curious?

Curious?… Doesn’t make sense. Curiosity killed the cat.
Saint Augustine wrote that God ‘fashioned hell for the inquisitive’. Being curious meant prying, and prying into other people’s business was a sinful vice…

No, see, what suddenly dawned on me is that curiosity removes judgement. Being curious about something means innocently, openly asking for more information, clarification and striving for understanding. Curiosity is how we learn! Puppies, kittens, foals, calves, baby-anything’s learn about their world by questioning it! “What happens if I touch this?”, “What does that taste like?”, “Can I jump over this thing to get over there?”.
What if no-one was ever curious?
What if EVERYONE made no waves?
We’d still have a flat earth, would never have made it to the moon, be afraid of the dark, and would probably still be walking everywhere. EVERYWHERE.
Curiosity is defined as “A strong desire to know or learn something”. How can that POSSIBLY be bad? I live in one of the most privileged regions of the world. HOW can I have been taught, (with two exceptional academics in the family, no less) that curiosity is a BAD thing!? Ask the family and they’ll deny ever teaching me that, but that’s child-raising, I think; the intentions of the adults and what the child actually takes and latches onto, don’t always align… Perhaps they’d say it has nothing to do with curiosity, but everything to do with respect. But how can we respect people if we’re not doing what we can to understand their situation better, and understand their feelings.
Maybe I’m being a counsellor when I say that… Because my JOB is to understand people… But maybe it really is important for everyone.

Curiosity didn’t kill the cat. Curiosity showed the cat a whole new world! Curiosity sees something it doesn’t understand, and wants to know more. Curiosity questions why things are they way they are and searches for more possibilities. Curiosity isn’t gossip. It isn’t judgement, it isn’t inappropriate, and it isn’t a dirty word.
I’ll make waves now. I try to be gentle around my family so I don’t make them too uncomfortable… but making waves is a side effect of passion! And passion is (should be) a symptom of life! Passion for something or about something. And passion is what led us to modern aviation, space travel and mobile phones.
Be curious. Without judgement.

Learn more.
And love more.

Self-care vs laziness

For some reason, my titles are starting to tie in more with the content of the posts… Eh.

I think, over the course of this blog, I’m going to post about this again and again. And if you get sick of reading about it; I’m not sorry. This is important. And if it keeps coming up for me like it does, then it clearly needs to be talked about.

“Get up, finish that essay, ride Sam, work Immy, go to work. *nod decidedly*”

The reality was get up an hour and a half later than the alarm (that was still before 6.30, but not the 4.45 I’d been aiming for), feed horses, open essay, scroll through Facebook, yawn, feel depleted from placement yesterday, shut down computer, watch hoarders and eat toast.

And the guilt only flickered across me for a moment. I’m super proud of that. Every week, I’m making decisions based on what’s best for my mind, body and spirit. Sure, a horse ride would do me good, but there’s no reason I can’t ride tonight after work. And sure, having that essay submitted would be cool this morning, but it can also be submitted on Saturday. What I can’t put off is rest, recuperation and self-care. If I need rest now I need it now. Most things are flexible. Most things can be rescheduled. What I’m starting to realise, is that it shouldn’t be rest and self-care that keeps getting put off. …

I’ll find/make time to ride, I’ll push to get the essay finished, but I won’t push to get a nap in or take some relaxation time. That’s not “a priority”. WHY!? Why isn’t it a priority!? How do I expect to be able to carry on without proper rest!? I can’t help people if I’m not helping myself. You can’t pour from an empty cup is becoming my daily mantra. A constant reminder to listen to my body and care for it.

So now I sit in trackies on the couch, under a blanket, watching hoarders and eating Nutella toast and it’s not even 8am. Here’s to a morning of recouperation after a heavy day counselling yesterday.

Cleaning out my closet

How do we come to terms with the awareness of undesirable traits in our parents?
For many of us, growing up, our parents (or maybe parent, singular) is the knower of all and can do no wrong.

So what happens when we start to really see things from the adult perspective? See both sides of a marriage? and what happens when you give yourself permission to draw from your own life experiences without assuming you know less than the pair that gave you life.

I think we slowly start to work things out, but still want to believe that they’re superhuman or magical because they always knew the answers or always made us feel safe… But in the end, they’re just another set of perfectly flawed, learning, growing humans. Just like me. They’re not the same people they were at my age, and they’re not the same people they were yesterday… And they’re certainly not perfect.

Trying to keep the disappointment of this fish-slap of reality at bay is, no doubt, challenging… And the transition from rose coloured childhood glasses into clear, adult frames might cause some friction and hurt feelings… But it’s a crucial part of becoming your own human.

This bit is the hardest for me. We spend so much of our childhood trying to live up to our parents expectations that we feel like we’re throwing it back in their face when we say (verbally or otherwise): “thanks for the guidance and advice, but I’m gonna do it this way; because that’s what’s best for me right now”…

“I release myself from the expectations and limitations of my parents in order to become the truest version of myself”