[5.6 minute read]
The prompt for #FoodForThought this week is relatives who’ve inspired me, which hammers home how very fortunate I am. I looked up to both my father and mother in different ways. I was also close to my granny – reading this I wished I had more details of her life to share her story with you.
Anyway this post goes a different route. A recent conversation made me think about how I interact with people. I often gravitate towards forming maternal relationships. At work I was ‘Office Mum’ – I’d like to think because I am just as ready with the painkillers /safety pins /lift to the station as I am with a shoulder to cry on / encouragement / advice.
Thinking about my blogging and Twitter friends, it feels as if I repeat the pattern there. It doesn’t seem long (2017) since I was a fledgling a sex blogger learning to juggle writing, promoting, gaining visibility and attracting followers. Many were generous with advice and support so I want to reciprocate, pay it forward. I do it publicly with #SoSS posts and re-tweets but I also do it quietly, getting to know people via DM.
I’ve built some genuine friendships here – many are too far away or guard their anonymity so we’ll never meet, but a few come to London for Eroticon or live near enough to meet for a museum trip and a coffee / something stronger. These friends enrich my life and widen my world experience. I don’t ‘mother’ everyone! With some it’s to enjoy a harmless flirt or a meeting of creative minds while others take me under their wing to give me guidance.
My mother was a wonderful woman, an only child whose parents doted on her. She found this oppressive sometimes, so with her own clutch of chicks she gave lots of freedom and support while making a strong 2-way channel for us to communicate and feel her love anytime. We flew off in very different directions, knowing there was no judgement for following our dreams: one of us had a nomadic life on the road with various bands, another settled down very young to start a family. Some of us had office jobs while others utilised their creativity.
With my mother the door was always open, you could talk to her about anything and I frequently did! I’d ring her for cooking tips, discuss my love life, enthuse about the books I was reading or how my children were doing at school. For my adult life my mother wasn’t in the best of health, having suffered a heart attack in her 50s. I treasured this ‘bonus’ time spent with her. It’s been 15 years since she died, but still I’ll forget I can’t ring her for a chat.
I’ve noticed the strongest friendships I form are those with people whose own relationship with their mothers are weak or bad – perhaps I unconsciously gravitate towards them to plug this gap. Coming from a big family there was competition for my parents’ attention, possibly making me hungry for praise and/or recognition. I heap my friends with congratulations for their achievements and encouragement for endeavours; with Twitter it’s not hard to re-tweet something or leave a positive remark. Perhaps I’m like a mother helping with their kid’s homework, but if I can point out a meme a blogger could link to or competition they should enter, why wouldn’t I?
I view some of my virtual friends as my progeny, making me very proud. I get a buzz from everything they achieve. I hope I’m leading by example while keeping them motivated for their journey. When they outstrip me (because they will, I’ve no doubt, having recognised their talent at fledgling stage) I’ll be in the audience clapping and whooping loud and proud.
Others I look up to, my inspiration, my muses, spark me to continue growing / developing to keep up (is there such a thing as passive competitive? If so that’s me!) These ones make me feel like Fangirl. I can’t get close to their greatness yet I bathe in the glow of: wonderful writing, editing, photography, podcasting, film-making (the list is long) because they enrich my life and shape my own ambitions for what I create and share.
Mother Hen, little chick, I’m happy and fulfilled by either role, so thank you mum -you set a great maternal example.
The header image was created by May More, this post links up to Food4Thought check out who else has contributed on this theme.