Drastic Action + A Time For Change

By Alison May 10, 2019 7 Comments 4 Min Read

I did something drastic today. Well perhaps that’s a bit of an exaggeration: I didn’t shave my hair off, or pack my life into a tartan suitcase and leave home. I archived ALL my Instagram posts. No biggie, right? But it felt drastic. As if I was turning my back on all that I was. Which is of course ridiculous, because I still am. (Aren’t I?) With or without my own little museum of my former life.

I did it because lying awake last night listening to the man next door’s most awful cough reverberate through these old walls, it struck me that I have been spending a lot of time recently focusing on what I have lost (or chose to give away) over the four years since Mum died and so very constantly comparing what I have now with what I had then. Not so much envious of other people’s lives on Instagram, but envious of my own. Before I sold my little cottage, and sent our dog to live with my sister. Before we moved here, so that running down the lane to my best friends house is no longer an option. Before Finn grew up and I lost the community at the school gates. Before I got so very caught up in the need to sell in order to survive, so that my authenticity was swallowed up, and a kind of shame took over. Before, before, before…

Envy is an emotion that dilutes gratitude and allows a little bit of rot to set in. Envy says “well now what is the point in celebrating this when it will never be that again”, and chuck in a little bit of both grief and trauma and before you know it, hope and gratitude have packed up their own suitcases and headed off in search of she who knows how to appreciate them again.

So today I am starting again. And again has to start with archiving my old life, so that I can bring fresh eyes to this one: eyes tainted not with regret or disappointment, but brimming with possibility as I finally recognise that all my angst has been about what I had, not the abundance I have now. That this is a new season for me emotionally, hormonally and as a Mother.

(Pah! I’m such a do as I say, not do as I do person aren’t I??)

Recently everything about BrocanteHome, from my posts to my workload, the graphics I was creating and my writing, has felt noisy to me. I have been muddling through, pretending I’m OK, but if I’m totally honest my heart hasn’t been in it, because my body called time on the manic way I was churning out words and finally, forced me to take stock.

Of my daily routines around social media. The way Facebook has slowly but surely consumed my mind. (An insidious addiction I am determined to break once and for all).

Of the way I have recently been consuming news and news apps and allowing the overarching sadness of life to affect me. In tears this morning because Freddie Starr is dead! Freddie bloody Starr!

Of how very lonely I feel recently. How claustrophobic it feels in these four walls.

Of how very detached I have become from the house and my old rituals: treasure hunting, puttery shopping, coffee with my girls, early nights with my books: all the things I was before my Mum died.

What I know deep down inside is that I need both a clean sweep and a new attitude (Tsk. Isn’t it just awful when one has to take oneself to task!!). That I will not fill myself up following billions of business groups on Facebook and allowing myself to carry the weight of this very silly Brexity-Trumpy world we live in on my plump shoulders. That despite having hidden evidence of my old life from view so it doesn’t feel like an endless round of water torture to merely remember, I do need to use who I was to steer my way through to a better way of life again, or else I risk losing everything and my marbles with it.

So here we are. On the brink of a new season. What it will mean here at BrocanteHome, I do not know yet. I still have so very much to say. So much to share and teach. And my heart still so very much wants to be writing. But I don’t think building my business around Facebook has been good for me and I want to make changes there for a start. Financially it is no longer viable for me to run the site the way I have been doing so perhaps there is drastic action to be taken there too. But above all else I want to be living what I teach again. Inspired by my own creativity and not endlessly searching through other peoples lives for who I used to be.

In the words of Miranda’s friend Tilly, bear with! Though should you find a little bit of me in your comfort drawer or on your bookshelves, do send me home again won’t you? I miss who I used to be. And honestly worry really is the most awful bore.

Perhaps I really should shave my hair off? Or pack a little suitcase? Somebody stop me: I’m a woman of a certain age. Frankly anything could happen


  1. Tiffani says:

    I really enjoyed reading this post. Thank you for being so vulnerable with us. Your feelings resonate with me often. I wish you the very best and send my love across the pond.x

  2. High Desert Sakura says:

    Oh, my love! I think you’re having a bit of the “OMG I’m almost FIFTY!!!” crazies. It’s okay. All will soon be well again, just differently. (((((((((HUGS))))))))) to you. The emerging woman will be every bit as interesting & lovely as the one giving birth to here (a.k.a. the old” you). ??? ???

  3. Having known you over 20 years, I have accumulated so many images, phrases, dreams, and inspirations through your gifts of sharing your authentic self. It is always scary to admit that something and sometimes someone we loved is not serving us well any more. I now know a good deal of who I was really grew out of who I wanted to be for having the best life with my Mom. Not only are those things not as fun without her and kinda sad, I was shocked to discover I didn’t even like them… So no fresh plants grow in my yard. I never make Angel food cake or wedding cake cookies… I don’t like the same movies or decorate with deep sage green… What really gets me through is that same idea that struck me when I mourned my gramma… They, both Mom and my grandmothers, also lost their mothers… and they staggered and rocked the boat but then managed for years to somehow buck up and create beautiful homes, arts, foods, holidays, and memories for the rest of us. All this to say… if you decide for any reason you want to change, update, revamp, or overturn any of your previous methods, just be yourself and follow your own north star. As long as you share with us , we shall be continually in awe of your dreams and ideas about living your best life.

  4. Susan says:

    Sounds like you are feeling better–and this is such a powerful place to be, where you can literally do or say anything : ) I am about ten years older than you and (bad news) when I still feel like this from time to time, I have found doing something I have told myself I am afraid to do (like wear the unflattering dress, paint the room the color I like without running it by anyone else, take the run even if the grading doesn’t get done) and finding out the world doesn’t end to be very helpful. There are so many things I tell myself I can’t do that really don’t matter at all–(and I’ll be so much happier if I don’t spend the time agonizing about my appearance, giving someone the opportunity to convince me neutral would be a better option for paint, or telling myself work has to come before the exercise that might prolong my life)–somewhere we all get these notions of what should come first, what we should do, what should be the responsible thing, that we give away the freedom we do have. For me, this kind of feeling is rooted in the realization I don’t feel free anymore.

  5. Debbie says:

    Alison, you’ve spoken some things from my own creative heart. Erase what you need to, in order to go on to the next season of your journey. And, without even knowing it, you’ve inspired me to do the same.
    Hugs from Texas!

  6. Kate says:

    Though I am ten years older than you I have been going through some very similar feelings lately. Almost all of them in fact. Who am I? Who is this woman now? So much is different from what I’d imagined it would be and so different from where I want it to be and I have to agree with you that getting off Facebook is one step I’m taking that has significantly reduced the noise in my life. I also gave up the community group feeds because, well frankly, they are just a bunch of fighting, and who needs it. I took the Facebook app right off my phone because I was wasting HOURS there, and quite frankly I’m missing nothing. I check it occasionally on my computer from work but honestly, there is little to nothing I am missing in the way of meaningful communication with anyone I want to communicate with. I’m still stuck on the newsfeed but, like you, I’m feeling weighed down by the negativity and fear churned up by the USA’s own version of Brexit madness (Trump as President, how TH did that happen??!!), and the constant feed of negativity, fear, and anger that fills the pages from all over the world. As you say, it fills us with so much fear that it becomes difficult to hear our own voices, focus on our own lives, or dream of or take care of the many small details of our own lives that we would be better off focusing on. I was inspired by your earlier books to bring my focus back to my home and my close family, and to try to create a life I enjoy inhabiting. I’m inspired by you now, to admit that the life that was working for so long, is no longer working for me, and it’s time to take some downtime and reassess. I didn’t know that you’d left your little cottage though, or that you were now in a long term relationship that was now so difficult, I must have missed something along the way (I only recently began following you on FB) but our lives constantly fluctuate, change, and morph and all we can do is reassess, make some choices, try them out, and move on. Good luck to you. Good luck to me. I’m still subscribed to your blog so whenever you do decide to put something there I’ll be sure to stop in and hope that you are finding your way back to yourself as I hope to do. And yes, I’ve thought of shaving my head or stuffing my life into an RV, (but not a tartan suitcase) and running away too. Unfortunately that one phrase keeps following me, “Wherever you go, there you are.” But maybe a nice break from routine? Somehow?

  7. Linda says:

    In many ways I am sorry I had to drop off some of your teachings earlier this year due mainly to financial constraints, but I have to say I found the Facebook part too much as well. I think it wise to not give FB so much time and effort as it is a draining force. I have purged my personal account to 5 close friends and that is it – no more the endless prattle will I put up with as it becomes all encompassing and sure is not healthy in any way. For my other pages I have made them completely private for me to look at when I want to but not to share and try and get likes. I really do not care what others think of things I find meaningful so do not need to share. Alison on a more personal note I wanted to say that grief turns us into rudderless ships, and we flounder and get lost at sea for what seems like eons, until that lighthouse appears and we slowly start to find our way to safety. This happened to me after my mother died and then my father a couple of years later, we were so very close, and I was lost. Being an orphan so to speak did not suit me at all, and boy did I flounder, I floundered because they were gone, I floundered because I was and am living in a country I do not understand and even today I occasionally have a floundering moment. In the end I decided to get back to the person I really was, no more trying to fit in, no more trying to show I had it all together, but instead show I had weaknesses and today I am stronger, though not whole. With all that has happened in your own life, I am sure that floundering is a huge part of where you have been in the last year or so, but it seems you too may have seen the glow of your lighthouse and I am so happy for you. I hope your new ventures will be successful, put yourself first and do not sell yourself short, and one day I hope I can rejoin whatever amazing thing you have created. Love and hugs from one who really does understand.

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