the power of forgiveness

As far as I can tell, this holds true for each and every one of us.
It’s easy to want to rid yourself of the ‘bad things’. It’s actually rather simple to begin the process. But what happens when you just destroy your monsters without really examining them? I agree with Erin. I think you have to really understand your monsters before you can kick them in the ass. With examination comes the ability to truly understand. Understand not only your monsters, but yourself.
Knowing and understanding oneself is a pretty scary concept. I think that’s why it’s simpler to choose to destroy that which we don’t like about our selves. Destroying those monsters (or demons, or whatever you like to call them) is freeing! We’re so strong! To rid yourself of the absolute worst bits is a truly empowering experience.
But it’s fleeting, y’all.

Let’s be real, the majority of the monsters inside you originated externally. They were formed in childhood, they exist as part of your belief system. But at some point these monsters are nourished by you. You’ve grown accustomed to them. Sometimes so much so that your belief system becomes dependent upon them.
The most elaborately designed catch 22 in the history of all catch 22s. You and the monsters are trapped together, woven into one curious being because of mutually conflicting and dependent conditions.

Once (most of us) realize we’re dependent upon these monsters that conflict with our concept of self our simplest solution is to rid ourselves of our monsters for good.
Destroying your monsters without accepting and releasing them leads to more chaos down the road. To know the monsters, to really know them is hard and scary work. Most folks aren’t brave enough to tackle that.
Here’s whats tricky. That bravery is really reactivity in disguise.
As humans, we tend to be reactive.
What we need to be is mindful.
I get it, y’all! It really does feel brave to destroy those monsters. But going about it all willy-nilly, slashing and stabbing and standing over your (seemingly) dead monsters is a delusion!
They’re not really gone.
Sure, you may feel victorious, bathing in their heart’s blood as empowered as you’ve ever been, but I promise you they’ll be back. It may seem different versions, but it’s the same old monsters dressed up all shiny and new. And because they exist based on rigid belief systems they come back stronger and meaner than before. This fight will never end.

This is where being mindful comes in.
Until you understand and make peace with your monsters, you’re destined to lather, rinse and repeat for your entire life. (And after bathing in heart’s blood, you better be washing that gore right out of your hair!)

The monsters don’t function from their own cognition. They function from the oldest patterns. The monsters aren’t actively malevolent. They’re just doing what they’ve always done. What they were trained to do by others before we learned to take over that job.
Destroying your monsters will ultimately destroy the precious me inside you.
We cannot truly embrace the me inside us unless and until we accept and understand our monsters.
It’s the most difficult work you’ll ever do.
That is what makes one brave.
It’s easy to slay dragons (monsters)! That’s just a bit of blood, sweat and tears with a sharp blade at the end.

But to examine those monsters, to do the hard work to understand their very existence, that is real bravery. By being mindful and doing the most difficult work, we can accept and release our monsters.
Forgiveness is harder than slaying.
The monsters didn’t create themselves. They simply exist.
We must forgive those who may have created the monsters in the first place. We must forgive that part of ourselves that fostered the monsters growth.

The most precious part of who I am is that me. By learning to embrace and celebrate that me, I was able to understand and accept my monsters. I work each day to forgive them, even though it’s not their fault.
I promise you, I’m a better me for it.
A better human for it.

My bravest moments are ones of forgiveness. (even though I didn’t feel particularly brave)
Yours can be too.

Stop looking outward. Stop pointing fingers and laying blame. Stop picking up your sword.
Forgive your monsters and set them free. They’re just as much prisoners of the belief system as you are.
Forgive yourself and accept that your me wouldn’t exist without your monsters.
Embrace and celebrate the me.
Be the me inside you with grace and humility, and as much love as humanly possible.

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bless his heart

Even after all these years, I’m still flabbergasted by the madness that is the father of my children.
I’m not talking shit right now, I’m seriously over here like:

(a quick bit of backstory)
Thing 1’s car gave up the ghost. She sold it for parts and moved on in her life. She and Husband N share a vehicle and they’re OK with that for the moment.

Out of the clear blue, the Things’ father purchases a (used) car for Thing 1. I get this information first from Thing 2 who drove the car home and was tasked with cleaning and detailing it. The next day I get the information from Thing 1 with photos of the car in her dad’s driveway. Later that same day (which happened to be yesterday) I get a call from their dad, telling me with great pride he bought Thing 1 a car. How and what he paid for it and asked me if I would finance the taxes, tags, title, etc. Then he told me he was going to take it his mechanic. I expressed my surprise that he made the purchase without having the mechanic look at it first. Blah blah blah…

This morning at 7:30 I received a facebook message from him.
My first thought (which I said aloud to an empty house) was “This is how we communicate now?”

(When there was still a baby, I was planning a baby shower for the week after Thing G’s graduation while the girls were still up here so we didn’t have to coordinate a second trip this summer. He and Husband N’s mother agreed to split the cost of a rental car so they could bring home their baby haul. Because that changed with the miscarriage, he felt it wasn’t appropriate for Husband N’s mother to pay for a car when there was no baby shower. That made sense to me, and he and I agreed to split the car rental instead.)


Having no idea what it will take to make the care safe, etc. is kind of why you have your mechanic look at a used car before you purchase it…just sayin’.

So apparently after we got off the phone yesterday, he rang up Thing 1 and tried to triangle her into this situation. She shut down his complaining with the logical idea that if he wanted me to give him money, he should have asked me.

To these facebook messages, (I’m sorry, but again I ask, Is this how we communicate now?) I responded as carefully as I could. Essentially I told him that purchasing that car was a decision he made without consulting anyone and since I had no say in the process I have no responsibility in off-setting the cost. I explained that quite honestly I don’t have that kind of money just lying around anyway. I reminded him that there is still a hole in our house and we’re still fighting with the home owners insurance company and we spent several thousand dollars out of pocket to have the tree removed. I closed with “I’m disappointed and disheartened you complained to Thing 1 about it. She doesn’t deserve that.”

I called YBW and he and I talked about it. We agreed that I did the right thing. We agreed that the money that I was contributing to the rental car would be better spent for gas and food on the road as the Things journey to and from for Thing G’s graduation. YBW used the word unilateral and I nearly kicked myself for not thinking that word!

I sent a warning text to each girl explaining that I’d been asked for and refused money and apologized to them if it gets taken out on them.
Thing 1 called me straight away. She apologized for not warning me she told him to just talk about it instead of complaining about it. She and I decided how to deal with getting the car legal and she agreed the money would be of better use for them on the road. She was gracious and thankful that I was willing to help them with that.

So I stopped and breathed deeply and composed and email to my ex-husband.

You caught me off guard this morning and after more time to think about it, I want to respond even more mindfully than I tried to earlier.
Our agreement was for me to pay half of a car rental fee.
When you bought that car, the rental agreement was negated.
Because there is no rental car, we no longer have an agreement.

My initial thought was that I would use the money no longer going to the car rental to pay for their gas and food on the road.

Purchasing the car was a decision you made on your own. Expecting me to offer to pay you after the fact is also a decision you made. Asking me to pay for a decision you unilaterally made is not OK.
I know that’s not what you want to hear. But that’s how it is.

I find myself wondering what is your motivation at this hasty purchase…especially when you’re frustrated I’m not offering to pay you for making it.

I spoke with Thing 1 and we discussed how to handle the taxes, tags, title, insurance, etc. and that’s all taken care of.

I feel good about that. I was clear. I was respectful.

His response email was filled with mad backpedaling and ended with, “Good luck on getting your house repaired and thank you for helping Thing 1 cover the tags title and insurance. I did not intend to create a misunderstanding between us I merely thought that you may want to contribute.”

Here’s the thing.
My daughter didn’t ask for help finding a car. My daughter didn’t ask her father to purchase a car. My daughter knows that she’s an adult and she and her husband are responsible for their decisions for their life.
Her father wants to be “Daddy the Hero”.
He wants credit because he is the one who found her a car. That he swooped in and made everything “all better” for her. If that’s how he stays relevant and special, good for him.
In my experience, the problem with the whole situation is he’ll hold it over her head until the end of time. She better be grateful af and he better know it or he’ll trot it out every chance he gets. That young woman didn’t ask for anything and now she’s being held hostage by it.
She can handle it though. She’s got mad “dealing with dad skills”.

I just want to be left out of the foolishness all together.

I’m curious what y’all think.
Did I do the right thing? Was I respectful to everyone involved?
How would you handle this situation?
Let me hear your thoughts!

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sometimes a girl just needs her mommy

Sometimes a girl just needs her mommy.

Thing 1 lost her baby.
Husband N lost his shit.

Instead of a fun and relaxed visit over spring break, I left out of here Monday before Palm Sunday to help them put their lives back together.

My daughter has told me she needs me exactly twice in her life.
The first time was when she was suicidal.
The second was Sunday morning two weeks ago. Her voice sounded small and frightened as she asked me to come early. “I just need my Mommy.”
She called me Mommy.
She said need.
I knew I was going to do whatever it took to get to her as quickly as humanly possible.

I normally have mad crisis management skills. But this day I felt anxious and frantic. God love YBW, he prepped out so much of my getting ready. He patiently told me the weather several times while I pulled clothes from drawers and the closet. He even sat on the bed and talked with me the entire time I packed. Normally he’ll make sure I have what I need and leave me to it. This time he knew I needed him to kind of hold my hand through the process. He knew I wasn’t functioning in my normal way. I am so grateful!

Thing 1 was still so angry with Husband N when I arrived. She needed him to spouse up and he just shut down. That wasn’t a problem I could solve. I could, however, clean the entire house and do every stitch of laundry. I could also get Thing 1 organized as she moved forward. Lists became schedules and she seem(s) satisfied.

Thing 1 and Husband N had an important conversation in which they discussed their feelings regarding the events and how each of them handled them. That changed the atmosphere drastically. I am hopeful they’ll get what they need from each other and find the best way to move forward together.

After her follow up visit, she said she felt so much more relieved. She was anxious about having a D & C, but her body did what it was meant to do and the doctor gave the all clear. He told her he wanted her to have two normal cycles before they could start trying again. I never asked her intentions, I feel like it isn’t really any of my business.

She was still getting tired really quickly and needed to stop and have frequent breaks, but by the time I left, she seemed to somewhat back to normal physically.
Emotionally she’s exhausted and not ready to process anything. She said she needs to “stew in it” for a while before she can even begin to understand how she feels or consider talking about it.
She snuggled with me more than she normally does. (She’s never been a snuggly sort of human. Sensory integration issues make that difficult for her.) Her codependency was more pronounced than it normally is.
This makes sense to me. She needed people she loves around to support her.

The day before I left, she thanked me for coming. She told me she needed an “adultier adult” around her. She was weary and needed help carrying that burden. Husband N was weary and needed help carrying that burden. His solution (albeit unintentional) was to shut down and escape. This left her holding the bag all by herself. She needed help holding the bag. Actually, I believe she needed to put down the bag for a little while.
Fortunately for both Thing 1 and Husband N, Thing 2 and I were able to carry their load for a little while.

I would do anything in my power to ease the suffering of my daughters. Even though they’re grown, I firmly believe it’s (at least partly) my job to keep them safe. I couldn’t keep my girl safe from this, and that frustrated me so. What I could and did do was love her through her pain. What I could and did do was bring her comfort and joy. What I could and did do was manage her household for a few days. What I could and did do was have honest conversations with her and her husband. What I could and did do was work efficiently with her sister when it came to getting things done. What I could and did do was be the adult when she wasn’t sure she could.

My girl is made of study stuff. She has a strength down deep in her.
That’s what kept her going when Husband N shut down. That’s why she can survive this even though she’s not sure how she really feels about it. That strength will be what heals her and help her start again when the time comes.
I am truly awed by her.
But sometimes, even the strongest of girls needs her mommy.

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I look forward

It has been a long time since I wrote anything.
I’m finally ready to write, only I’m not writing what I intended when I sat down at my computer.
This morning I received an email that sits ill with me, and that’s what I’m going to write about today.

This email is from JM, the former husband.
We met on April 1, 1988 when my (then) boyfriend began renting a room at the house owned by JM.

My initial reaction was a combination of irritation and sadness. Irritation that thirty years is not a flash, but an entire lifetime. My entire (adult) lifetime. My sadness is because it’s still so important to him and not at all important to me.
I honestly hadn’t considered that today was anything other than a curiosity that Easter fell on April Fool’s. Yet here he is the moment he wakes, (check the timestamp) considering this thirtieth anniversary of the day we met.

That speaks volumes.
And what I hear fills me with pity.
He continues to live in the past and refuses to move forward and that makes me feel sorry for him.
Yet I know he is choosing to live this way.
I can’t imagine why he would choose to remain so focused on a woman that is no longer in his life.
How sad for him.

It’s curious though, I thought recently that while I’m well shot of him, I’m grateful that we were together.
I benefited from knowing him.
I learned a great deal about myself and my place in the world during my time with him. That knowledge is invaluable. I am stronger and more capable than I ever believed. I wouldn’t trade knowing for anything.
I have three incredible human beings in my world because of him.
My Sally.
She is his cousin, though they behave like brother and sister. I always say, “I got to keep her in the divorce.” Though she is his blood kin, she and I are sisters of the heart. I cannot imagine my life without her. Our love is deep and wide and transcends the lines of family.
Thing 1 and Thing 2.
Without their father, they would not be. It’s as simple as that.
He gave to me the most precious gifts I’ve ever received.
They are worth every single moment of time I spent with him.
I’m lucky enough to be free from him and still have the best parts of him.
I regret nothing.

Thing 2 recently told me something her father said to her. He said something to the effect of: she does pretty well for a ‘lunch lady’.
What an awfully unkind thing to say about anyone.
What an awfully unkind thing to say to a child about her mother.
How miserable must he be to feel the need to say such an unkind thing? Is that how he makes himself feel better?
And you know, I’m not even mad. All I feel for him is pity.
I feel sad for him.
I feel sorry for him.
I feel pity for him.

But here’s the ultimate truth.
I only feel those things when I think about him.
And I honestly don’t think about him all that much.
Only when the girls talk with me about him, or Sally says she’s seen or spoken with him.
He is not a part of my daily life.
I have so many other, more relevant, things to think about.
I am looking forward.
I look forward with hope, and courage and kindness, and love.

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Sundance knows all the things

Sundance sent me a package late last week.

The inside of the card says, ‘add vodka and soda and call it a day’.
That is so us.

She knows I’ve been struggling emotionally. So she sent a little something to say, “You got this.” and “I love you.” all in one.
How kind of her.
I look at that little red haired girl on the book and smile. She’s a little bad ass for sure!
Somewhere inside me is that little warrior goddess. The one that won’t take shit off anybody. The one that really does “got this”. She must be taking a nap or something, because she doesn’t seem to be showing up of late.
I wonder if I need to be all, “WAKE UP!!” or if I need to continue to be patient and know I’ll come out the other side of this low point when I’m meant to.

I have no choice but to wait and see.
I’m so tired of feeling this way.
YBW asks me, “How are you feeling today, baby?”
It would be lovely to respond with something other than, “I’m me.”

But I am me.
I’m depressed.
I am also a bad ass warrior goddess.

Sundance knows this with certainty.
She’s my anam cara. My soul friend. My soul sister. She knows all the things.
I am truly blessed.

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never a dull moment

So this happened yesterday.

Yeah. It was awesome.

That wind was no joke. Schools were closed the night before. Seems silly to think high winds closed schools, until you realize how many kids ride the bus and actual school buses blew over in this storm.
The wind began to howl in the middle of the night and got even more howl-y in the morning.
Thing G and I were home, we ate breakfast and started watching a little Beat Bobby Flay when the power went out.
That’s cool, we had sweatshirts and blankies. I had a stack of magazines I’ve been trying to get through and Thing G had a full charge on his Switch. We got this.
About an hour later, Southern Living in my hands, we hear the damnedest noise and I found myself watching the tree coming straight at the house

My God that was so scary!


We’re lucky in the fact that the hole in our house is only in the attic. The corner of the ceiling is buckled in what used to be Thing C’s room but not damaged enough that you can see the sky.

Power came back around 4:00 pm yesterday.
Small victories, y’all.


Tree guys came yesterday and again this morning. Need a crane to remove the tree from the house, so the first company recommended the second company.
State Farm still hasn’t returned a call or even emailed the name of an adjuster. So I’m feeling a pretty big “f**k you” to them.
We gotta get this tree out of the house and get it tarped up before rain rolls in on Tuesday.

This super sucks.
There is a big ass hole in our house.
Other random house and porch damage.
It’s a hefty chunk of change for the homeowners insurance deductible we weren’t budgeting for.
But…
We’re all safe.
There’s only minimal damage in the livable part of the house.
Thing C no longer lives in the room where the damage is.
We were planning on replacing the roof this spring or fall anyway, and now at least part of it will be covered by State Farm.
If they ever freaking call us back…

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learning that love is safe

From approximately 2:00 to 6:00 am Saturday morning I was up. And I mean up.
Wide awake. Downstairs on the sofa. Dressed (well, jammie pants and a sweatshirt).
Ate a bowl of cereal, and drank 60 oz of water.

I watched a little Whose Line?
I’d forgotten how funny those guys are.

I cleared the DVR of Beat Bobby Flay.
I wrote a little bit.
Since I’m still limiting my time with news and social media, I got creative with my online reading, and came across another powerful post by Peg Streep.

I became familiar with her work in the fall when I experienced the understanding of how being an ‘unloved daughter’ shaped my adult relationships.
The article I read in the wee hours is called 6 Things Daughters of Unloving Parents Need to Unlearn.
I see myself in her words.

The insecurely attached daughter sees things quite differently. If her mother has been unreliable — sometimes emotionally present, but sometimes not — she grows up wary of both needing love and those individuals who could provide it. Her attachment style is called anxious-preoccupied, because she worries constantly about whether she’s loved, whether the relationship is genuine, and whether her lover will stay true or betray her. She is on constant watch for signs that things might not be what they seem, and that makes it more likely that she’ll both read into and react to words and actions more strongly than she needs to. She’s high in rejection sensitivity, which makes being with her hard, as does her temper when she feels slighted or in danger.

I feel like this most of the time.
Always waiting for the other shoe to drop. That I’ll do something to displease and love will be withheld and I’ll be left with nothing but unanswered questions.

YBW and I had an emotional experience with this vulnerable unloved part of me in January. I hated that he was there in the place where that small, frightened, insignificant feeling part of me resides. I hated that he saw how unlovable I feel. I hated that he had that knowledge, and without actually understanding it, I was fearful of what he might do with it.
When I’d run out of tears I finally said, “I’m afraid you won’t love me.” He assured me he did and would continue to do so.
I nodded and said, “I believe you, but I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop.”
That precious, kind and loving man picked up his feet and said to me in the most sincere voice, “I have two shoes on my feet.” And then he hugged me.

I struggled with how to feel about that encounter for several days. He was aware, and expressed his love through simply checking in with me, lots of hand holding, and more hugs than usual. He understood I was trying hard to make sense of it and when I did, he’d be ready to go through it with me.
After actively journaling, and an honest conversation with Thing 2, I was finally ready to unpack it with YBW.
Thing 2 cried happy tears at the two shoes story and then said the most powerful thing!
She said, “Momma, he’s YBW, not Dad, not Grandmommy. He’s not capable of using that against you.”

He had been to the place where I am the smallest, most pitiful me. He saw the me that all the other layers of me protect with an unparalleled ferocity. He was there humbly. He was there with kindness. He was there with acceptance. He expressed love. He reassured love. Never once was he gathering ammunition.

The next day over dinner, I was ready to talk about it with YBW.
The one thing he said that nearly killed me was this, “I don’t even know how I could use that information against you.”
The man does not function that way. Does not begin to understand how to use a vulnerability to manipulate or humiliate.
Maybe I am safe after all.

6 things that unloved daughters learn about love. (that need to be unlearned because they’re crap)

1. That love is a transaction.
2. That love is conditional.
3. That emotions (and true feelings) need to be hidden.
4. That love needs to be sought and searched for.
5. That love makes you vulnerable and weak.
6. That love hurts.

This article might as well be written specifically about me. It rings true down deep in me. This is how I have felt my whole life.
But I’m learning something new.
YBW is teaching me love can be safe.

I sent him an email with the link for the article and the following words.
This might give you more insight into why I am the way I am. And how hard I work to see and do it differently.
You are teaching me that love is safe. You! Thank you for that.

I always say I spend my days teaching and learning. I’ve mostly meant it in relation to children. But YBW is teaching and learning with me too. To teach and learn with love is the biggest blessing of all.

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perk me up playlist

I couldn’t sleep for a few hours in the middle of the night Thursday. I was kind of cold, and not exactly awake enough to get out of bed. But not really able to sleep either.
I thought about the positives and negatives about my day. I considered ways I could trick myself out of this emotional state so that the old adage ‘feelings follow actions’ might just come true. I thought a load of other things too, but kept coming back to this one.
How can I jump start myself into a healthier emotional place?
And a song came into my head.
Or rather the way it feels to play the song in the car with the windows down singing my heart out.
I caught myself smiling.

I decided then and there to create a playlist filled with songs that perk me up the moment I hear the first chords. Obviously I did this in my head because I just told you I didn’t get up.
I did eventually fall back asleep, but when I woke, I remembered most of the songs I’d considered in the middle of the night. So I did the only thing I could possibly do.
I made a list. In my brand new List Whore notebook.
A quick list of songs that perk me up the moment they begin to play.
Please listen responsibly.

Zero to Hero
Hercules

Balance Beam
Blue October

Suite: Judy Blue Eyes
Crosby, Stills & Nash

Platinum Blonde Life
No Doubt

SexyBack
Justin Timberlake

Dancing Queen
Mamma Mia! (the movie)

N17
Saw Doctors

California Gurls
Katy Perry

A Punk
Vampire Weekend

Wild Wild Life
Talking Heads

Who Do You Think You Are
Spice Girls

You Can’t Stop the Beat
Hairspray (the movie)

They’re not in any real order. Which is OK, because this isn’t a play list you can listen to in order. You gotta hit shuffle and turn it up! They probably don’t make much sense to the average listener, but that’s OK too. These are my perk up songs so they make sense to me.
Now I’m curious, what do y’all listen to to perk yourselves up?

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

yay and boo (a homework assignment)

I follow this wonderful blog written by a woman in NYC. Like me, she writes about life and her observations. Yesterday she wrote this post.
In closing, she wrote:

I’m giving you homework tonight. At the end of the evening, go back and reflect on your day. Write the highs and the lows.

She went on to say the highs must be equal to or outnumber the lows, and wondered at the process.

I’ve actually been considering this as a way to keep me looking for the positive while I’m in this state of mind, so I was inclined to accept her homework assignment.
It was a quiet, and mostly uneventful day. Here’s what I came up with.

As you can see, I made two columns.
A yay column and a boo column. I felt making it playful might possibly cut the edge.

Under the yay column is written:
*pampered with pedi (a curious Tiffany blue color that reads a bit greenish)
*chili for dinner (seems self explanatory)
*ladies free skate (thanks, Olympics)
*Beat Bobby Flay (love to binge this show while I’m doing things around the house)
*sold 4 items (at a discount, but still made profit)

Under the boo column is written:
*stuffy ear cannot hear (also hurts, but already on antibiotics)
*rainy af (especially after two days of gorgeous, the rain just seems to make my emotional mood worse)
*low (seems self explanatory)

I actually enjoyed this exercise. Of course I already mentioned it was an uneventful day, which made it simpler to watch a little TV after coming home from a well executed pedicure at a new salon.
But taking that time for myself, stopping to have my feet pampered, then watching Bobby Flay while I prepped dinner and did a few things around the house made me feel comfortable and content. Simple ways to live my intention.

I’m going to continue this daily exercise for a while and pay close attention to where my focus is during my days.
Thanks, LA for putting it out there so I could pick it up.

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apparently, I need to “calm my stress”

At the holistic doctor on Tuesday, “Your adrenals are pissed. You need to calm your stress.”
Um…Ya think?

I’m staying off social media.
I’m not watching the news.
I’m trying not to listen when I overhear folks talking.
This is what I’m doing to calm my stress over the school shooting in Parkland Florida.

It is not lost on me that I spend my days in a public school. In a huge, open room with no safe place to corral children to hide. With doors that do not lock.
Would I do whatever it took to keep these children safe?
Yes.
Would I die for them?
Possibly.
Do I feel like that’s my job?
Hell no.

Do I want to keep the children in my school safe?
Absolutely!
Do I need to give my life to do so?
I’d rather not, thanks.

I’m a mom. I’m a wife. In the Autumn, I’ll be a grandmother. However grown, is it acceptable for my girls to be motherless because I died protecting other peoples children? And YBW? Is it acceptable for him to be a widower before we even gain traction on our greatest life adventure together? And little Shrimpy, the bebe I long to know and love. To teach and learn with. To watch irritate his or her mother and Auntie. Is it acceptable for that child to miss out on what might possibly be the coolest grandmother-grandchild relationship ever?

I carry this in me each day I arrive at my sweet little suburban elementary school. (Which, BTW shares physical campus space with an equally sweet suburban high school.)

Now this concept is always and has always been in the back of my mind. And to be quite honest, I lived through something similar during the sniper attacks in October 2002. Keeping children safe through that was a bit more simple, we just never let them go out of doors. At school, or at home.

Do I honestly believe someone will come into our school and start shooting it up?
No.
Is my concern understandable?
Yes.

And then we had a two day heat wave. And I mean record breaking warm temperatures.
I opened the windows wide!
I let the cruddy stale winter air be replaced by delightful breezy spring air.
We needed the sunlight. (My vitamin D is so low.) We needed the beauty of the past two days.

Of course, we’re not the only house in the neighborhood with windows open. And so it came to pass yesterday from the hours of 3:00 to nearly 8:00 the horrible shouty man screamed obscenities and threats at his wife.
This is not new in our neighborhood. There is long standing knowledge of the chaos that is their relationship. Apparently it isn’t physical, just verbal. She drinks too much and he shouts horrific things at her. He shouts horrific things at her and she drinks too much.
Which came first?
We may never know.

I’ve been anxious and bordering on depressed for a few weeks now, to such degree I’ve begun conversations with YBW about me talking with my doctor regarding mood meds.
I’m dull. I’ve lost my sparkle. I’m sleeping too much. I’m suffering insomnia. I eat nothing. I’m bingeing.
I can’t seem to shake myself loose from it.

It’s partly because of this that what happened to those kids in Parkland feels…more.
It’s partly because of this that the horrible shouty man screaming at his wife on and off for five hours did me in yesterday.

Early on in the afternoon, his shouting made me anxious. I knew it then, but I was busy with laundry, and had the TV on for sound it was easy to not hear his actual words. And somehow that kept me feeling safe in my own house while I could hear him in his. But as it wore on and on I could feel myself flooding with stress hormones.
But then as suddenly as it began, it stopped.

Just as I began to feel comfortable again, YBW came home. Even though I’m struggling, I had momentary joy.

Before long, the shouting started again. Only this time, it was closer.
From what I can deduce, the wife went over to one of the neighbors to get away from him. So when his shouting began again, they were at the house directly behind ours.
I was sitting in my comfy chair right next to the window. I could hear every word.
I was on the computer in the middle of something that I needed to finish immediately. I turned on music to drown out his shouting. I wanted to close the window but I was hot and the breeze felt nice.
As I sat here, I became more stressed and more anxious. Realizing I was feeling fearful in my own house!
My face was hot and my head began to hurt and I forced myself out of the shallow breathing pattern.

When I finally finished my task, I went downstairs. YBW was watching the Olympics. I came into the room and said, “I’m so anxious from listening to him shout for so long.” YBW immediately wrapped his body around mine and held me close and quietly. I actually felt as though I melted into him for a moment. That embrace was powerful enough to calm my body and my spirit. YBW’s love grounded me, and I’m so grateful.

Just writing about this now I’m feeling nearly as anxious as I did yesterday.

The actions of others are impacting me with a greater force than I would like.
Normally I have the skills to fend off these outside influences. I normally repel them with the strength of my character. My strong will, and sense of humor.
Seems I’m tapped out of late.
I seem unable to calm my stress.
I hear Hagrid’s frantic voice in my head, “It was dark times, Harry. Dark times.”

I have an appointment with my therapist.
I have herbs and supplements from the holistic doctor that are meant to aid in improving my sense of emotional well being.
If I can’t seem to shake myself from the place I am, I’ll go my general practitioner and have a conversation to see if spending a bit of time with Wellbutrin might make a difference.

In the meantime, I’m only watching HGTV, Food Network, and the Olympics, and I’ve closed the windows on my computer and my house to help block things that only make me more anxious.
But I left the curtains open to let in the ever helpful and hopeful sunlight.

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