I am in love with the word 'whole' at the moment, particularly as a prefix. Having read a lot of Brene Brown recently I'm all over the word 'wholehearted' and the general concept of wholeheartedness.
I'm also big on wholesomeness. I thought today, watching Cherry and Violet stare transfixed at an old-fashioned petrol lawn mower (the kind that you have to start by yanking repeatedly at a long cord. I don't even know what the word for that is. I probably used to. I reckon I've started a fair share of mowers that way) that if I were to sum up the childhood I want to give them in one word, it would be 'wholesome'.
It being September my thoughts are getting pretty wholesome anyway, full of lovely things like knitwear and apples and crackly leaves and morning frosts and rosy cheeks and bonfires and toffee apples and hearty stews and apple crumbles. Autumn lends itself so beautifully to wholesome but I like to apply wholesome year-round, as much and as often as possible.
I'm outdoorsy, enthusiastic, physically expressive, excitable. I'm really, really uncool.
This is how I want to be, and this is I suppose how I want my daughters to be too, although I have to caveat that with the disclaimer that I want my daughters to be whoever they are going to be. Somewhere within Cherry or Violet may lurk the angular limbs, nonchalance and aesthetic mastery of a hipster but you know what? I doubt it. With Noel and I as parents their chances of inheriting any street cred are less than zero.
I suppose it could be learned. If it bothered them that much.
I hope it doesn't. I love being uncool. I haven't always loved it (you'll notice I cannot deny that I have always been uncool). Not being a cool kid at school is pretty tough sometimes, even if you are very wholesome. But at 34 I love having the freedom and confidence to embrace my wholesomeness wholeheartedly, to practice cartwheels and handstands at the playground with Cherry and Violet despite the sniggering teenagers, to still derive such deep joy from being ruddy-cheeked and breathless in the chilly air then coming in and getting into a hot bath.
Today I saw an article about a spoof Instagram account poking fun at the kind of wholesome, authentic, wholehearted Instagram feeds that seem so very divisive. Some of us, and I fully include myself in this category, absolutely love the arty shots, styling, whimsical captions, liberal use of inspirational quotes (yep I'm a sucker for them) and hefty dose of positive thinking. I don't just love it, I aspire to it. I want MY IG feed to be all wholesome and pretty and apple-cheeked and authentic and heartfelt and genuine. I find it a really, really lovely way to live.
It's not that I want to stick my head in the sand and ignore THE WORLD or pretend that my life and everything in it is perfect, it's more that I have no interest in cynicism and criticism for criticism's sake. The sarcastic ranty blogposts, the hilariously knowing opinion columns, the look-how-hard-I'm-not-trying-to-try-too-hard spoofs and swipes. Having had my time of finding all of the above really 'me', I know for a fact the only reason I was drawn to any of it was to cover and conceal my own vulnerabilities. It's cool not to care - not to care so much that you write great big long rants about how much YOU DON'T CARE.
I care and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I care about being a kind person, about thinking positively, about choosing my language carefully because I really feel that language plays such a huge part of how we think and feel, and often we don't even realise it. I care about the kind of world I am borrowing from my children and grandchildren. I care about my own boundaries, and the impact I make and the effect I have on the people around me.
I care about having the strength to be vulnerable, enthusiastic, and very uncool. I care about the kind of role model I am for my daughters but most of all, I care about how I feel about the life I live, right now. Having tried the odd other model on for size and always found it ill-fitting, constricting, scratchy or just downright wrong, I can wholeheartedly say that I can think of no better life to live than a wholesome one.