me

practice makes perfect or don’t come in here with your bullshit

If I learned anything this week, it’s that I must continue to work at accepting what I can’t change, paying attention to my feelings and behavior, and creating healthy boundaries.

I feel good that however wrapped around the axle I was in my frustration, I did not behave reactively.
I sat with my thoughts and feels and made an attempt to sort through them by writing.
I’m willing to admit I may have overreacted. But I did that in my head, and here on this blog.

To be perfectly honest, I’m not even mad about it anymore.
I’m concerned about the unfairness of YBW being taken advantage of, but trust he’s capable of handling it.
I’m concerned Thing 1 felt responsible for causing drama, but I was clear that I didn’t believe she was at fault.

I was mad because people I love were unfairly treated.
Do not fuck with my brood.
I am the mistress of all evil and I. Will. Cut. You.

But the reality is I cannot change anything about how anyone else behaved in the situation.
Only me.
I was respectful to Thing C as he was explaining the conversation with his mother. I was less respectful when YBW read the text from his ex.
I sometimes wonder if he tells me those things because he knows I’ll get fired up. And if I’m over here being mad AF, he can just breathe. He doesn’t have to get frustrated and angry with her behavior because he knows I’ll do it enough for everyone.
I don’t mean he does it purposefully, he may not even be aware that it happens.
But I know she frustrates him. I know he will sometimes feel angry about her behavior. But perhaps it’s simpler for him to not because I do.
I don’t know. I could be way off base.

I work very hard to walk my talk. And I’m committed to paying attention to what I can and cannot change, and accepting as much as possible.
So if I’m honest and unmerciful with myself, I have to admit I got more spun up than necessary.
I said more than once, I’m so tired of the drama.
YBW was over there like, only drama I’m seeing is you overreacting to this bullshit.
He’s not entirely wrong.
I didn’t start the drama, but I reacted to it.
I mean, I know why I did. I felt protective of my husband. I don’t think he gets treated fairly and I’m not afraid to say it.

I’m also struggling with being apart from him for Christmas.
Like I’m choosing Baby K over him.
Of course it’s not actually like that.
I’m stuck in my feeling place.

Can I control the situation? Perhaps not.
Can I control what I feel? Perhaps not.
But I can sure as fuck control how I behave based upon what I feel.

I said it just last week, we are not our feelings.
I am not my feelings.
I feel them. Oh, I feel the fuck out of them.
But I am not them.

I am working hard to pay attention, working hard to accept.
I realize not being able to change something might frustrate me, but doesn’t have to impact my behavior.
So I keep working.
Sometimes I’m better at it than others.
So, I practice.
They say, ‘practice makes perfect’ but what they mean is, ‘don’t come in here with your bullshit’.
And I’m coming in with my bullshit like,

Practice is life long.
I’m never going to be perfect. I’m going to do the best I possibly can.
That’s not me coming in with my bullshit. That’s me being self aware. That’s me doing the hard work of making a better me.
My me won’t be perfect. I don’t want to be perfect. I want to be the best possible me.

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Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

and the momma lioness roars

No sooner than my post about cookies published, did I received a text from Thing 1 apologizing for causing drama.

I hate that because I expressed my frustration, my daughter apologized for starting drama.
The truth is that’s drama I started by writing about it.
She shouldn’t feel responsible for it.
I reassured her she did nothing wrong. That her comment was innocent and she was not at all responsible for any of it.
She said she shouldn’t have said anything about Christmas, and she was OK with me staying here with YBW for Christmas if that’s what I decided.

I told her I was angry at the mother being manipulative, and at Thing C for not being honest.
She agreed. She wondered how YBW was feeling about it, how he would choose to deal with it.
She said: It just sucks because nobody is fair to him.
She said: I can’t help feeling bad. I should have kept my mouth shut.
I replied: Your comment was innocent. The information was abused.

She said something that surprised me, the truth of it I mean.
She said: She’s almost as bad as dad

And that’s why she pushes my buttons.
She is so manipulative. She does it with such skill those she’s manipulating don’t even realize it.
Because I’ve lived with this type of behavior the majority of my life, I’m acutely aware of it.

She asked if Thing G would be alone on Christmas.
She designed her message specifically to push YBW’s buttons. She saw an opportunity to have her sons with her on Christmas day and used her words to manipulate the situation.
Neither YBW or I would leave the kid alone for Christmas. I mean, come on.

She invited YBW to come to her parents house for Christmas.
Now, to the casual observer, that seems kind and welcoming.
But with all passive aggressive, manipulative behavior each word is chosen with purpose.
She used those words to appear inclusive.
If questioned, the manipulative person can say, See! I said ‘this’, to be interpreted as appropriate. Knowing full well they were manipulating the situation to get what they want.
She wants what she wants and is capitalizing on an opportunity made clear to her by one simple sentence written by my daughter.

Is there drama because she creates it?
Is there drama because I’m overreacting to it?
In all honesty, it could be both.

I don’t want to feel the urge to protect my husband and my daughter from this woman.
I know they’re capable. I know they don’t need to be protected.
But I feel protective of them.
When my husband is being manipulated, and when my girl apologizes for starting drama, it triggers something deeply protective in me.

Categories: me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

I just wanted some f**king cookies

It all started with a cookie recipe.

Salted Caramel Snickerdoodles

I love salted caramel, and I love snickerdoodles.
This recipe was a match made in Roby Heaven.
I posted it on social media and tagged Thing 1, asking her to make these cookies for her Momma.
She asked if I wanted them when she was here for Halloween, or when I was there for Christmas. (Um…both!)

Apparently YBW’s exwife, the mother of Thing C and Thing G, read the comment and texted YBW to see if he was going with me to Thing 1’s for Christmas and would Thing G be left here alone.

I’m over here like, OK, first of all…(actual content not fit for public consumption)

In the past, as part of their informal custody agreement, YBW and his sons mother have alternated holidays. You know, one gets the kids for Thanksgiving, the other for Christmas, and the swap each year.
Well, since the boys are adults, and one of them is currently living with his girlfriend, YBW is of the mind that they should do what works best for them. They’re no longer obligated to abide by the system in which they grew up.
That said, if they continued following the system, this year, holidays would be Thanksgiving with their mother and Christmas with us.

Baby K will experience her first Christmas this year. Both YBW and I want to share that joy, only here’s the problem with that, YBW just started a new job, and we’re going away for three weeks in November.
He has no PTO.
He’s figured a way to bank hours between now and when we leave to get through the first pay period, but the second pay period, with the exception of Thanksgiving will be all leave without pay.
Now, he was paid for his unused leave from the company he left, and it’s not like we’re going to starve or be homeless if he doesn’t get paid. It’s just that he’s trying to be mindful.

So we’ve kind of landed in the space that looks like me going to Baby K’s for Christmas, and YBW staying here and going to work.
I don’t love this arrangement.
But I want to be with Baby K for her first Christmas!
It’s so selfish though. She won’t know WTF is going on. She’ll just be her cute, chubby self. But I’ll know, you know?

Returning to the text…
It turns out that the mother already had a long conversation with Thing C about going to his grandparent’s house on Christmas. I watched him ‘song and dance’ around the subject with his father yesterday.
I felt at once sorry for this young man, and fiercely protective of his father.
Thing C is borderline incapable of making a decision when it comes to his parents. I’ve seen him do it more times than I can count. And it hurts my heart. He seems so desperate to keep the peace, to walk the line, that he won’t make a choice lest it err on the ‘wrong’ side of either of his parents.
He simply cannot be honest with either one of them.

As of last month, the plan was Thing C and Thing G would celebrate Christmas with their mother and grandparents the Saturday after Christmas, and we were considering celebrating together the weekend before Christmas if that didn’t interfere with Girlfriend L’s family plans.
Yesterday, Thing C was doing everything in his power to not admit he has decided to be with his mother and grandparents on Christmas day.
Their mother did send YBW a text inviting him to come too, so he didn’t have to be alone on Christmas.

I feel frustrated, and I’m struggling to distinguish whether or not it’s one of those things I can or cannot change.
YBW is more accommodating than most people, and I feel like he gets taken advantage of because of it.
It feels to me that his exwife saw an opportunity to get exactly what she wants and is doing what she can to take it.
It feels to me that his son is caught up in this opportunity, an accomplice, if you will.
That may sound harsh to call Thing C an accomplice, but that’s his behavior.
Meanwhile, nobody even considers Thing G.
I believe with my whole heart that their mother is pleased to be loosed her responsibilities towards that one. I mean, she loves him, but she is perfectly content that he’s here and she’s there.

So because I want to celebrate Christmas with our granddaughter, YBW is getting the shaft from his eldest son, who is actively following the plan concocted by his mother.

I am indignant!
They cannot treat him this way!

YBW doesn’t seem to think he’s being mistreated.
He seems to just kind of take it all in stride.
I suspect he’d rather be with Baby K for her first Christmas.

I am struggling.
Is this a situation I cannot change?
Is this a case of me needing to shift my whole ‘it’s the principle of the thing’ point of view?
I feel like YBW deserves better.
I cannot change the way other’s treat him. I can only control how I treat him.
I am seriously considering missing Baby K’s first Christmas to ensure he has a lovely Christmas.
I won’t disappoint the baby, she won’t know or care that it’s her first Christmas. I’ll be disappointed to miss it. But, I don’t want YBW to have a disappointing Christmas either.

Is this even about YBW or Baby K?
Or is this about me?
Do I just need to get over myself?
Is it just the principle of the thing?

I suspect if the girls and their father were treating me the way YBW’s son and his mother are treating him, YBW would feel defensive for me. I’m not sure he’s considered it that way. I’m not sure he understands how fiercely protective I feel about him. I mean, I know he’s a grown ass man and doesn’t need me to protect him, but that doesn’t stop me feeling protective.
He is my beloved, I want to help keep him safe.
If he did the kind of shit his ex wife does, she’d string him up so fast it would make everybody’s head spin.
But he doesn’t seem all that fazed.
I suspect it’s because he’s been conditioned.

I’m so disappointed in Thing C.
He will side with his mother every single time yet never actually own that to his father. He doesn’t want to hurt his father by being honest, yet hasn’t figured out that by not being honest his behavior is more hurtful.

It doesn’t have to be this way.
Yet this is the way it is.

I can’t control what they do.
I can only control what I do.
I can create and maintain healthy boundaries.

What I want to do is go full on flame thrower.
What I’ll most likely do is go be with our granddaughter, and trust that my husband will make the best choice for himself.
I know he can, and will.
I hate that he has to.
He is so precious to me! Even when he annoys me and I want to kick him in his face, I love him and want to help keep him safe.

I’m inclined to admit I’m getting worked up over the principle of the thing, but this is the principle of my husband, and I will get worked up over him until the end of time.
I love him and feel protective of him.
I believe he should be treated with more honesty and respect.

And then I find myself over here like, all this drama because I wanted some fucking cookies.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

“No, thank you.”

I’ve finally spent some time at school subbing.
I like it.
I like the social aspect of being around young people.
I like the freedom it gives me.
I like being able to go to school when it suits me.
I like being with the staff and kids I care so much about.

The principal came to see me in a classroom the other day to offer me a part time position.
The position is to shadow a kindergartner.
This little by has epilepsy. Because he has epilepsy, his physical development is delayed. He has almost no use of his entire left side. He suffers mini seizures throughout the day and occasionally can fall over while simply sitting in his chair.
I spent about an hour with him on Thursday. Cognitively he’s on it. Socially too. He’s got a great little personality and quite the sense of humor.
The principal and classroom teacher are eager for me to start working with him. They’re fighting to get his part time assistance to full time assistance.

After spending time with this little dude, I know I can help him. I know I can provide the support he needs to be successful in the classroom.
However, if I’m being perfectly honest, it’s more labor intensive than I want. It’s more responsibility than I want. If something happened to this kid on my watch? I mean, just NO!
I want to substitute teach. I want to spend time in different areas of the building, with different kids and adults. I don’t want to be responsible for this little boy.
I want to have the freedom to choose. And if I committed to this kid there would be no choice for me.
Subbing fits perfectly into my life right now and I’d like to keep it this way.

I’m going to say no.
I’m anxious about saying no.
Why is it so hard to say no?
Is it because I don’t want to offend, or disappoint?
Is it because I think saying no will change other people’s opinion of me?

I don’t know how honest I can actually be.
I don’t know how what I say will land.
And the biggest part of me knows I must speak my truth, but there is a small part of me that doesn’t want to offend or whatever.
I’m thinking of all the excuses I can make. How elaborate must they be?
How much explanation will be enough to assuage my guilt of saying no?

It seems to me that saying no is particularly hard for women. I mean, doesn’t it feel like we’re trained to be compliant from the youngest age? Like we’ve been bred to feel so bad and guilty about making decisions for ourselves that we are borderline incapable of saying no? Like we’re not meant to have the power to decide what is and isn’t right for us?

I must remember my work.
Where I have power.
Be honest and unmerciful.
Create healthy boundaries.

It doesn’t matter why I don’t want to accept this position.
Only that I don’t.
I can say ‘no, thank you.’ without worrying about how to excuse it.

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September gratitude

As September closes and we’re still having days in the upper 90s, it’s hard to pay attention to anything, much less what I’m grateful for. But Indian summer or not, I’m aware. And I’m grateful.

finishing my degree
celebrating finishing my degree

one of my alternative healthcare providers twice
my therapist
a truly amazing WHNP-BC who not only has helpful ideas but also really listens
YBW’s and my therapist

Rendon bobblehead even though Nats lost this game

my girls
Friday the 13th
finally going to school and teaching 2nd graders
my big sketch book
the shift in me
colored gel pens
productive conversations with my husband
making real plans for the future
watching Good Omens the second time
Rimmel Scandaleyes Curve Alert Mascara

porchlife drinking vodka lemonade with homegrown basil

Amber (she does my hair)
playing Superfight with Thing C and Girlfriend L
bookshop and lunch with Mike and Josie
celebrating a dear friend and neighbor’s birthday
hitting the game tavern with Nora and Dale
a whole afternoon baking with Holly
one rainy morning

reading books
particularly Daisy Jones and The Six
this line from Daisy Jones and The Six

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y’all gotta watch Crashing

Crashing
2016
6 episodes
BBC Channel 4

I binged this show on Netflix Wednesday in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep.
I absolutely adored it!
It’s an early work of Phoebe Waller-Bridge, creator of Fleabag and writer of Killing Eve.

Crashing seems to be Fleabag’s slightly more appropriate older sister. (Fair warning, you’ll experience the C word on this show too.)
In some ways, I actually liked it more than Fleabag, I found myself laughing out loud more. I also found myself enjoying the other characters more than I did on Fleabag. (With the exception of Andrew Scott, of course.)
The ensemble cast made the show for me. I absolutely adored how these strangers all living in a disused hospital (disused may be my new favorite descriptive word) ended up becoming a weird little dysfunctional family. And the moment you’re completely committed to them, and their story, BOOM! It’s over. But that’s actually the way it should be. We don’t really need to know what happens to these people. We’re just amused by a glimpse into their lives for a moment.

It was an inappropriately playful romp and I enjoyed the hell out of it.
Thanks, Netflix!

Adi Tantimedh writing for Bleeding Cool had this to say about the show and it’s creator.

Crashing can be seen as an apprentice work. The media and PR agents like to present the myth of a unique genius who just shows up out of the blue and fully formed – but that usually isn’t true. Everyone has to start somewhere and make their “mistakes” before they create the good stuff. Crashing feels like the show where Waller-Bridge learned the rules of TV writing before she could bend and break them to unleash the innovation of Fleabag.
Crashing does not lessen the impact or brilliance of Fleabag. It shows the missing stepping stone in Waller-Bridge’s evolution as a comedy storyteller – and viewers are all the better for it.

If you liked Fleabag, do yourself a favor and check out Crashing, I promise you it won’t disappoint!

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

be honest and unmerciful

The other day when I was writing about covert incest, I sent Thing 2 a message letting her know I was writing about that subject matter. That I was keeping her personal work private but that I was discussing her and I wanted to make sure that she was OK with it.

Her response?

One of my most beloved scenes from Almost Famous is a late night phone call between William and Lester Bangs in which the latter says, “Be honest and unmerciful.”

Thing 2 is a also fan of this movie, and that particular line.
I love that about her.

Honest and unmerciful.
I feel like that’s my current state of being.
Perhaps it’s Thing 2’s state of being as she does the hard work of self?

Recently, I attacked a situation that’s given me great grief, with an honest and unmerciful look at myself. I came up with an (equally) honest and unmerciful plan on how to proceed.

Y’all might be questioning the whole ‘unmerciful’ bit.
To be perfectly honest, I don’t blame you.
Unmerciful sounds a bit…what?
Cruel? Harsh?
Sans mercy.

Here’s the thing though, when I say ‘honest and unmerciful’ I’m using it the way I feel Lester Bangs did.

I believe it’s my job to be honest about who I am and what I’m doing in my life.
I’m no longer trying to be what other people want or expect.
I’m being honest to myself, and unmerciful with both the beauty and ugliness of my truth.

I am viewing everything I was, am, and shall be through this honest and unmerciful lens.
It makes me a more real me.
It helps me bring my truth to the world without feeling guilty, or fearful, or shameful.

Not like, ‘This is me. Like it or lump it.’
More like, ‘This is me. I see me. I present myself to be seen.”

If I am honest and unmerciful with myself, I become a better human, because what I bring to the world is as true and real as possible.
Yes. That’s it.
I will be honest and unmerciful as I look at myself. At my life.
For that is the mark of a true (and uncool) friend.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

let’s keep it to a minimum

Do y’all ever feel like this?
I do. Like, every day of my life.

Nothing is currently ‘bad’. Neither am I annoyed about anything.

I just want to live a less complicated life.
And that starts with me.

So, while there is always dumbfuckery afoot in the world, I’m paying particular attention to my own personal dumbfuckery.
On occasion, I actively engage in my own dumbfuckery while considering it the dumbfuckery of the world at large.
I’m my own worst enemy.
Aren’t we all?

How much of what spins me up each day/week/month, or at random, is my own dumbfuckery letting its freak flag fly?
More than I’d like to admit.
And that’s OK too.
Because I’m more aware now than I’ve been before. Perhaps I can stop the dumbfuckery in its tracks by simply being aware.
I mean, if I can’t vanquish the dumbfuckery, I can at least keep it to a minimum, right?

I’m beginning to wonder if my new mantra should be something along these lines:
Be aware.

I wrote of getting my ducks in a row, and I think a big part of that is shifting my perspective. Paying attention to what I’m putting into the world more than what’s already in the world around me.
I can be the catalyst for change.
Dumbfuckery abounds.
But, by paying a different kind of attention, perhaps I can keep my own dumbfuckery to a minimum.
And wouldn’t that be lovely?

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments

so far, so good, what’s next?

Now, you know I’m a planner.
I like lists and calendars and color coding by subject.
So, once I recognized what I can and cannot change, I broke it down further.

I ask loads of questions.
I know that.
Y’all know that.
My family and friends know that.
But what’s different about this process is that I answered my own questions.

I asked and answered questions to come up with a plan.
I used the same system of dividing the page in my big sketch book so I could see it all together.

The first question is:
What frustrates me?

*stagnation
(no real growth, no movement, no real participation in life or household, etc.)
*lack of effort to create growth or movement
*caring about (these things)
*wondering if it will ever change

OK, now what do I do about it?

How to stop being frustrated?

*accept that these are the choices YBW and Thing G are making
*accept that nothing I do will change their choices
*focus on myself and my choices
*accept that this is the situation I’m in…until…?

So far, so good. What’s next?

I know it’s hard to read.

Ways to feel more comfortable.

*let go of wife and ‘mom’ guilt
*stop apologizing for choosing growth
*accept as much as possible
*pay attention to myself and where my power is
*be kind and courageous
*stop judging
*accept limitations (cannot change situation, only how I function in it)

Ways to regroup if I’m triggered.
(frustrated)

*immediately stop and breathe
*quickly assess if it’s something I can change (if not – do my best to accept and let it go, if so – make the appropriate change)
*accept that this is my work and I may not ever be met with the same
*remove myself gently from the situation
*tap into vast support network without engaging in ‘shit talk’

OK, so in the meantime I have a plan.
But…

How to remain sane in the long game?

*accept this is my work
*accept change may never come
*be peaceful in the knowledge I did all I could do the best way I could
*love

I don’t know how or even if the situation will change.
I do know that if I can do these things I will feel better. I will make the relationship with my husband more positive.
Maybe that’s all I can do?
While I know I have magic down deep in me, I only have power over myself.
If these changes I’m making serve only to keep me from being frustrated, angry, and resentful in an unchanging situation, at least I’m content in the knowledge I am going at this in a mindful and loving way.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

accept don’t judge, or the time of ‘if this then that’ is over

When I got to work on my me things, I meant business.
I used my big sketch book so I could see both what I can and cannot change at the same time.
I wrote in pen so it remains as I wrote it. It is unchangeable. (the irony is not lost on me, further proof of my commitment to this process)

What I cannot change:

*the living situation
*YBW’s point of view
*Thing G’s willingness to do or be
*why it frustrates me

This is what I’ve been on about. I want all this stuff to change. I want it to be different.
I can’t do anything about these things.

What I can change:

*how I function in the living situation
*how I choose to behave when I’m frustrated
*the way I go about discussing it
*what I pay attention to
*how I apply myself

This is where I have the power!

These are the things I can do something about. Now to figure out the how.
I think it must start with to what am I paying attention.
The trick with this is to decide what I need/should/desire to pay attention to.
I’m hopeful that by paying attention to the ‘right’ things, I’ll automatically change how I go about functioning, and behave when I’m frustrated. Perhaps not get as frustrated?

Is that how I can facilitate change?
Not that that’s the goal.
I. Cannot. Change. Any. Thing. But. Me.

I have to figure out how to shift my whole ‘it’s the principle of the thing’ point of view.
I mean, is that really getting me anywhere?

Maybe the concept of ignoring that which bothers me isn’t quite right. How can I accept it without it bothering me so much?
This is a conversation to start with my therapist.

I think I need to brainstorm a bit more.
Maybe it’s baby steps, not jumping in up to my ass.

Accept, don’t judge.

May be key.
This is the situation I’m in. What can I do or not do to be comfortable and content in it?

The time of ‘if this, then that’ is over.
I can’t change the situation. I can only change myself within it.

You might find yourself asking:
How much responsibility can one person take in a multi-person situation?
Is it equitable if one person is making changes for the betterment of the group?
What happens when one member of the group achieves their change making goals and the situation remains the same?
I’m asking the same questions.
Stay tuned for the answers…

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