On starting things and swearing and taking MY time

I listened to episode one of Brene Brown’s podcast, Unlocking Us, yesterday.

It has taken me – literally, exactly – three months to click play. (The episode is dated 20th March.)

I knew it was going to be good. I have read several of Brene’s books (and watched her TED talks and netflix documentary) and I don’t speak lightly when I say they have contributed to changing my life. (It’s extremely rare if not impossible for any one thing to truly change our lives: it’s always the combination of many things, with one repeated pattern, which results in change.)

Because of what I’ve taken in from what she shares, I’m more comfortable with vulnerability and real honesty. (A little. Working on it.) My business is better and I lead it better. (That’s hard to say, but the team tell me it’s true and I trust them.)

Best of all, I have more tools in my toolbox than I did before. Tools for dealing with emotions, relationships, problems, fears, change, concerns, and even pandemics.

So I knew listening to her podcast would be amazing. Inspiring. Encouraging.

I knew I would like it, I knew I would be a better person for it, and I knew I wanted to listen to it.

But I didn’t listen to it until yesterday. 

It was, indeed, all those things I expected. After the episode finished, I texted one of the PF team (she’s a Brene fan too, and that’s putting it lightly), and I literally typed this: “FUCK, brene, how do you do this. How do you be so legendary and yet I don’t hate you. How do I feel like crying and am grateful for it. How do you lead well and I’m not playing the comparison game. These are my thoughts on episode one.”

Most of you know I don’t swear often. I’m not overly bothered with it in general, although I’m not a fan of the really crude ones, and I have a full stop on taking Jesus or God’s name in vain. Super short version, Jesus is important to me, He exists, and His name matters, a lot. So throwing it round casually or angrily isn’t okay by me, although I completely get that most people who do it just haven’t thought about it much. I still love you and Jesus does too. (Side note: those ‘karen’ memes have given me a tiny indication of what it means to “take someone’s name in vain”. I’m not saying I know how God feels, but…wow. So much hatred for me and they don’t even know me. Anyway.)

If I do swear, I tend to do it with people I trust. People who I know won’t judge me or be shocked or horrified or wonder if I’ve stopped being a Christian or something. And I tend to pull out the big guns when I feel really overwhelmed. Like I can’t find the words. Like there’s no words strong enough to get across how I feel.

I’ve probably sworn more during this pandemic than any other time in my life.

It’s like….what even is happening. I don’t know. I don’t have the words. This is so new and confusing. Everyone is confused. People are dying. Or are they? We can’t trust anyone. I feel this and that and the other thing. I’m doing better! I’m having a great day. This day sucks. This week sucks. WTF, 2020. Wow my business is doing so well. That’s good. Covid isn’t good but new business is good. I love helping people. Oh my word I’m so exhausted. The team are amazing. I can’t do this. I am doing this. What is even happening?

And that’s in the space of a day, or maybe five minutes.

When I went to click on the first podcast episode, I noticed it had the little “E” next to it, for “Explicit”. It almost made me laugh. Brene, the quiet calm soothing helpful encouraging honest researcher, with the explicit episode?

But I know Brene by now. I know how she talks about a “Shitty First Draft” (SFD), but also calls it a Stormy First Draft for those who want to go cautiously with swearing for the sake of their children, or for any other reason. And she did this, too, with the ‘Fucking First Time” (FFT), which you can also call the Terrible First Time (TFT) if you want.

The point she was sharing was, this is an FFT for all of us. We’ve never been through a global pandemic before. And there are a lot of other FFT’s we’ve got to work through – in our businesses and relationships and churches and feelings and all the things.

So if the podcast is so great (and it is, I highly recommend this particular episode), why did it take me three months to get to it? Why didn’t I see it had launched and go “ooooh, Brene, she’s amazing, I will have new tools for my toolbox, I’ll listen today?”

I didn’t know at the time, and I didn’t even really think about it. I just thought “that will be amazing, I will listen sometime”, and went on with my day and my life and the things I had before me.

But I thought about it this morning, and I thought about how I tend to approach things. I thought about how many years I lived with M.E. (also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and how much of that was connected to emotional issues and trauma I had gone through. I thought about how when things are super hard, I pull in like a turtle first, before I start poking my head out and looking around and confirming it’s safe enough to start inching out.

Not everyone is like this. Some people power ahead, instantly. Some people go into over-work mode or over-sharing mode. Some talk it out, some go silent and say nothing. Some think a lot and some try not to think at all.

And, as I mentioned in a previous post, playing the comparison game doesn’t work. No one ever wins at that game, because we’re not supposed to match other people. We’re supposed to be the best versions of ourselves, not more like someone else we think is amazing for whatever reason.

I take time to get going on big things, particularly those which require change. Thinking differently, creating new products or apps for my business, changing churches, drawing boundaries, hard conversations… it takes me a while. I pull in a bit and think of nothing at first, then I let some of the ideas float around a little, then some of it starts to settle, then I take a little action, then I take some more, and then I consistently press on with it day after day. It’s just how I do things. And (mind blowing concept) that is okay. 

It doesn’t mean I think I’m perfect the way I am. I want to change, and I want to be okay with change. But when I realise it might take me three months to get to the starting line (and someone else was there ages ago), then I put less pressure on myself and can actually enjoy the process. Maybe next time, or for something else, it will take two months. Or two weeks. Or three days. It depends on the ‘thing’.

So I loved the podcast, and I’m glad I listened. But even more importantly, the 3 months it took me to think “Yea, I’ll listen to this today”, have taught me something too. I’ve gotten just a tiny bit more comfortable with who I actually am, and why I take time with things. Especially first things, and FFT’s.

You take YOUR time, too. Whatever that time looks like.

And we’ll all get there. In time.

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Well. So. Small update.

Was out hiking on mull and slipped on a rock crossing a burn, and broke my ankle. (I remember hearing an audible “crack” as I went down.)

No signal on phone. Managed to climb down a ravine to get to a more open place and hopefully signal. At that point still convinced it “wasn’t that bad”. Tried to walk along the path and realised yes, it was that bad.

Phoned coast guard, who were utter legends. Sent a boat AND a helicopter. Sun was setting and they didn’t want me sitting in the dark. Oh my word it was cold. Helicoptered out to fort William hospital (nicest people ever), then down to airdrie where I got a cast.

Ankle broken in one place. Doctors pleased (as much as you can be!) it’s a clean break & lining up well. I’ll be down for 4-6 weeks.

I’ve repeated myself a lot over the last few days so here’s the short version to all the questions, with appreciation for the care.

Yes, I’m okay. I’m also utterly exhausted & have hit the “damn, this is going to be a long road” phase. Taking it one day, one hour at a time. 

I’m being looked after. Very kind friends and things being delivered. My amazing sister @secondsunrise2 flying in tomorrow from america to be with me for a few weeks. SO grateful.

What do I need? I’m good on the basics. There have been unexpected costs and more coming so if you want to PayPal monies for deliveries or getting my car & belongings back or all the taxis or whatever, feel free. I’m hardly destitute so only do that if you want to send something useful and aren’t sure what. PayPal username karenlreyburn. Amazon wishlist in bio. Random care packages also happily received!

My car & belongings are up on mull. I have people to help and we are working on timing. But if you’re on mull and want to return a car near Glasgow, let me know :)

Shout out to the Coast Guard for being so swift, & that beautiful combination of sympathy and practicality.

Download the @what3words app. Literal lifesaver.

That’s all for now. All the love. Oh - and no, I don’t hold this against mull at all. It’s still my happy place. Things happen & the mull community has been beautiful. Shout out to @treshnish who couldn’t have been kinder. ❤️
Morning walk. I stood and watched the ferry come in and the sun lighten this little edge of the world.
Been going through old photos and letters - the last of the boxes i had stored at my sister’s house in america. 

When I first moved to Scotland, I only planned to live here for a few years and then go back. Then after a few years I wasn’t ready yet…then I got my residency…still not quite ready….then started a business…then Scottish citizenship…bought a house …finally accepted this is my home and I wasn’t moving back. 

And with every visit back to the states I would go through more boxes, more photos and letters and memories. I’d keep some and throw others away; take photos out of frames and give away the frames; and as time went on I was able to distinguish between the ones I definitely wanted and needed to keep, and those which were lovely at the time but didn’t need to be saved anymore.

Over twenty years on and this past trip I went through the very last of the boxes. I joked to my sister that I’ve now officially settled into Scotland 😆 

This photo of me and my Gramps is a fave and definitely a keeper. Most of the photos and letters I’ve kept are those of family - parents, grandparents, sisters, nieces and nephews. And as much as I love taking landscape photos, I noticed that 20 years later it’s the people photos I am more likely to keep. Thankful for the traditions and patterns of seeing family every year or so since moving to Scotland. They’re small things - baking Christmas cookies and going for walks and going for road trips - but it’s the time together and the continuing family jokes and the memories which remain. And a few photos.

My grandfather (and all my grandparents) have now passed on, but I remember with fondness sitting around at their kitchen table, eating fresh vegetables from the garden, playing scrabble, laughing and talking and drinking coffee.

It’s the small things, and the rhythms of family, which last. ❤️ 
#family #memories #grandparents #oldphotos
Made fresh mince pies for the first time ever. Over twenty years in Scotland and I’d never tried to make them from scratch, so I figured…now is the time! I’m doing lots of thanksgiving baking (yes, we stretch it out here so I’m still prepping!) and decided to buy the ingredients. 

Dried fruit…mixed peel…lots of spices…and Venezuelan rum :) I made up the mincemeat last night, and then today put it in the little pastries and even cut out the wee stars to go on top!

I think I can safely say they’re the best mince pies I’ve ever had. Fresh out of the oven sprinkled with icing sugar and with a glass of said rum alongside :) 

Now we are curled up with a Harry Potter marathon, with plenty of mince pies AND a thanksgiving feast still to come. Happiness! 

#mincepies #homebaking #maryberry #maryberryrecipe #happythanksgiving #happychristmas #harrypotter #hpmarathon