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MARY-JANE DUNCAN: Things I am actually good at

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Aggressively it is STILL January, and I’ve wasted a tonne of time hoping for pay day to hurry along.

In the meantime, Kat Cordiner, and two of her friends, have just rowed their boat, ‘Dolly Parton’, across the Atlantic, smashing the world record into smithereens.

All while Kat copes with her incurable cancer diagnosis.

Meanwhile here I am entertaining a spell of imposter syndrome.

British rowers (left to right) Abby Johnston, Charlotte Irving and Kat Cordiner after they shattered the world record for rowing across the Atlantic.

That pesky little voice in my head making me doubt my own abilities or feel like a fraud.

While not a diagnosed mental health condition, I’ll admit, it is exhausting.

I used to believe my ‘not being good enough’ feelings were helpful, urging me to do more.  To be a better mum, wife, friend.  I never quite felt I’d earned a day off.

Searching for perfection

Searching for a perfection that no longer exists these days and any subsequent rewards tantalisingly just out of reach.

Recipes remain unpublished.  Blog posts hidden.  Opportunities missed.  Enquiries about publishing books, left unexplored.

Convinced other’s recipes were more interesting, had better styled photos and edgier writing.  All while I continued to burn toast.

An infinite sense of freedom develops when you dispel the ideal of being ‘good enough’.

What MJ is actually good at 

Tentatively stepping towards more creativity has positive repercussions and I am trying to evolve into a strong, independent being, even as I sit here cosied up in a blanket hoping someone might bring me a hot drink and a biscuit.

So, the ‘what is MJ actually good at’ list 2022 concluded with the realisation my purpose in life is to collect people and help make them feel better about themselves.  I am all in.

This weekend I roamed westwards to meet two fabulous gals I was at school with a rude length of time ago.

When we left school, no mobile phones or social media helped to keep us in touch, and we lost each other.

Lunch and cocktails soon dissolved the decades and while some might find it difficult to cover 28 years in a few hours, we breezed it.  With an abundance of love and hilarity.

Mary-Jane and mates in Glasgow, covering 28 years in a few hours.

Normally I leave social situations thinking ‘that wasn’t my best work’ but I don’t believe I totally disgraced myself.

They were even kind enough to have nice memories of me from school days.

Fuelled by the glow of numerous French martinis, and from being with these beauts, I decided I was maybe, just maybe okay at this friendship lark.

Our house will always be messier…

More proof?  Okay.  Our house will always be messier than yours – that’ll give your confidence a boost.

Our kids are loud and messy, the youngest even swore yesterday – so yours will never be able to surprise or upset me, ever.

I’m pretty good at sitting round and doing literally nothing and I know all the good box sets.

I will ALWAYS order a portion of chips (without waiting to see if anyone else does too) and if you’re ‘being good’ I’ll supportively eat them from under the table.

Stand next to me in pictures

I hate choosing restaurants, so it’s always your pick.  I don’t answer my phone, ever, please just text plans and as I don’t do much, I’m probably free.

I carry lip balm, blister plasters and tissues in my bag and I have a full range of clothes in every style and size, which you can borrow anytime.

I consistently look terrible in photographs, I have a weird face, so stand next to me in pictures and feel better about yourself.

Snacks are important to me and I still remember all the lyrics to Alanis Morisette so I’m a whole lot of fun on a road trip.

My role as a friend is important to me and believe life is always better with chocolate.

I will constantly be myself, which will free you to be your real self too.

Not my place to judge

I am quite often a complete disaster, barely functioning as an adult, so I am not in a place to judge anyone.

When I’m in, I’m all in, even after two lost decades.

Just please occasionally, (and I mean every single day) text me to let me know you’re not mad at me and I promise to be here always.

We just need to hang in there, it’ll be March in a few short weeks bringing with it warmer days, daffodils, lighter evenings, new beginnings, and better mental health.

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