I am living a lie. Actually, more of a parallel reality. In fact, let’s call it a Jekyll and Hyde, or maybe the more current, Hannah and Miley, existence.
To my friends and acquaintances I seem pretty mellow, but behind closed doors, in the company of my nearest and dearest, I show my true colours. My unruffled public persona is poles apart from my neurotic domestic disposition.
I keep my laid back façade in tact around friends and work colleagues, saving my neuroses for home. This outward guise, however, does have its limits. My drive home from any such ‘out of house’ scenario works to recharge my cortisol levels as I resentfully, mentally list all the niggly little jobs, including the feeding and laundering of my family, I will need to undertake on my arrival.
On my return from work, more often than not, I fly in the door, prompting kids to scuttle into corners and my pent up disappointment is vocalised loudly and provocatively. “Has the dog been out for a wee?” “Didn’t anyone think to bring the washing in?” “What about the bins?” Always concluding with my favourite; “Would you ever think to do it without me asking?” The answer is ‘No’. They do not possess the telepathic skills that would allow them this insight. My progeny know how to deal with me. They simply raise an eyebrow and carry out the assigned tasks with no fuss and cast me a look conveying, “Chill out you looney”. Leaving me ever so slightly ashamed.
I justify this flaw by asserting that my populist role is to make people feel better about themselves. A public service I selflessly provide. I embody the epitome of slap dash and devil-may-care. Those with whom I come into contact metaphorically grow in stature as my feeble competitive spirit and lack of action, serve to boost their endeavours. Always being happy to admit ignorance and defeat. I am the past master at talking myself, and my kids, down. I thought that this demeanour was to do with my heritage. It was the English in me that rendered me lacking in confidence and brimming with self-effacement. This national identity is fading with the emergence of a new generation of Brits who are getting good at things and don’t mind admitting it. It seems I am at odds with this new patriotic line. It is no longer ‘un’ British to obviously try very hard, talk yourself up and in some cases, actually win.
Now back to the dark side; the ‘Miley’ aspect of my character to which not even my family are privy. Rather than ‘bigging’ myself up, I’ve taken to chipping away at the confidence of those around me; i.e. only those who have bags of it, of course.
It amuses me to see them visibly flinch when I inform them, quite groundlessly, that I have done all my Christmas Shopping (in October), am halfway through a 12 week miracle reverse ageing detox or have confirmed the booking for my Year 9 daughter’s ground floor apartment for schoolies. It makes me laugh as I imagine them curtailing their current activity to rush home to jump online to investigate. They rightly believe that if I have it in hand then they must be seriously behind the eight ball. Hilarious. Nothing appeals to me more than letting it slip on a Monday morning, to my over achieving friends, that the family and I spent the weekend camping out at a climate change rally. Substantiating this by saying that we feel it’s very important to give the kids a good ethical grounding. Blimey, that turns them green to the gills. They’d assume I’d be lolling around at home eating takeaways and watching box sets. Which in all fairness, is actually spot on.
So I have come to the conclusion the most effective way to de-stress is to ‘dis-stress’ everybody else. Honestly, seeing someone getting into a right tizzy over something that doesn’t warrant it, really puts things into perspective as ‘Big Brother,’ ‘The Shire’ or ‘Australia’s Next Top Model’ can attest.