Posts Tagged With: angry

two boring sides of one disappointing coin

During a chat conversation this morning, my darling English friend shared with me what he’s working on in therapy. We talked quickly before I had to leave for school, which left the conversation open ended. He suggested we come back to it later “and maybe we can discover where our minds and beliefs agree.”
What I adored about this conversation was that is was in no way aggressive or argumentative. We were just remarking on the subject as we see it.
Oh, but it got me thinking!

Here’s the pertinent bit of the conversation:
Him:
I’m supposed to be working on the Madonna and Whore dichotomy for my meeting with my counselor tomorrow.
So far it’s not going brilliantly. As far as I’ve got is that all women have aspects of the Madonna and Whore, but no women should be looked at in just those lights.

Me:
Interesting
Perhaps you could consider women as activists? Women as world changers? There are a f**k load of those out there. Even though you’re not the biggest fan of liberal minded women.

Him:
Men put the Madonna on a pedestal and objectify the Whore, and both are wrong
I love liberal minded women, I just don’t like angry liberal minded women

Me:
I suspect it is somehow bred into women this Madonna and whore thing. I don’t think we’d come up with that on our own and I believe that’s worth considering.

Him:
I believe a lot of woman is created by what a man wants, needs, desires and expects.

Me:
Yet women oughtn’t be angry?
I think you just made the whole point!!

Him:
As a polite Englishman, I think I struggle with women who are angry, rude, aggressive, opinionated, and political. How odd.

Me:
Interesting!
What if the women were not rude or aggressive? What if they were angry and opinionated and political?

Him:
An angry woman is also difficult for me to accept.

Me:
The opinion you have and share with many men is why women have been, are, and will remain ‘less than’.
That’s something worth being angry about.

Him:
It’s not an opinion, it’s a whole belief system

Me:
Yes it is.
Because I have breasts and a vagina, I’m somehow only one of two things. Neither of which has power unless “bestowed”.

carrie-miranda
Carrie and Miranda know what’s up.
And that right there is why women (and men, and in some cases, children) took to the streets Saturday last!

If the men of the world were somehow either Madonna or whore with no other real identity that foolishness would cease with a quickness!
That makes me angry!
That makes loads of women angry!

On the way to dinner I was telling YBW about the conversation and that it sparked this post. He mused that most men don’t like angry women because they can’t be controlled and that frightens them.
This makes a kind of sense to me, but I suspect there’s more to it than that…

I’m strong and capable. I’m smart and funny. I’m loud and brash. I’m kind and compassionate. I’m confident in my sexuality. I’m “girlie” af. I’m infuriating as hell. And I am sometimes so angry I cannot speak, only shake with violent rage. I am in charge of my own body. I decide what is right for me. I love with an unparalleled ferocity. I have immortal longings in me. Not to mention loads more things I’m not thinking of right now.
But what I am not is some pristine virgin. Neither am I a whore.

Being either Madonna or whore is boring!
It’s one dimensional.
Where’s the challenge? Where’s the adventure? Where’s the trial and error and lesson learning?
I believe women are more complex than that. We’ve got fires in our bellies, hearth fires and holocausts. We are terrifying and strange and beautiful. We are overflowing with much muchier muchness. We are bad ass warrior Goddesses. We are calm and gentle nurturing Earth Mothers. We are givers of life.

Men want women as Madonna or whore. Two boring sides of one disappointing coin.
aint-nobody-got-time-for-that

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

back to school rant

I find myself wondering why certain people simply cannot be positive.
I mean, sure we all have those moments when we feel negative. When we’re at the end of our ability to give one more teeny tiny damn about whatever it is.
But I’m talking about people who are actively negative. Do they lack hope? Are they not skilled in observing the positive in any thing?
Imagine what their inner speech sounds like! Imagine what they heard as children…what they continue to tell themselves as adults. Why, it breaks my heart! What is it like to be inside that head with no idea of how to hope?
Honestly, it breaks my heart.
But it also makes me angry.
It makes angry because these negative people inflict the same things on their own children. The first thing that comes to mind is negative. Hope is a foreign concept.
I’m talking big broad concepts this morning, I know…but I’m angry.

I checked social media this morning to see all the “back to school” posts and photos. Kids I taught when they toddlers are in high school now. Kids I taught when they were toddlers are in kindergarten now. Kids I’ve known since they were toddlers starting college now!
I have so much joy seeing these photos! I have so much hope for these children!

And then I come across a post that made me want to kick someone in the face.
A post of our own Thing G starting his junior year posted by his mother. Who couldn’t put a positive spin on anything if a gun was held to her head. She has a knack for posting things to get positive feedback. When I read her posts,I’m often thankful that I know I’m enough. That I know my own worth even on days when I don’t feel it. I don’t need people to boost my self confidence.
This morning, I saw a photo of YBW’s baby captioned with the saddest bunch of drama you’ve ever seen. Words written with designs on having comments to boost the mother’s confidence and nothing about the child. The words she wrote focused on his diagnosis. Focused on the most negative aspects of his personality. Under the guise of her “being hopeful” his teachers would see his good traits as apposed to these negative ones.

I was so angry. How dare she use him like that to get attention?
I just want to shake her and say:
How about YOU see your child for his good traits!?!
How about YOU focus on what he is capable of doing!?!
How about YOU have a little faith and trust!?!
How about YOU stop putting YOUR stuff on a child that has enough on him already!?!

I’ve posted stuff about my children on social media for years. First day of school pics included. I’m sure that I’ve posted things that may be questionable. But I guarantee I’ve not done it with negativity. I guarantee I’ve not done it to get more attention.
Parents are proud. We live in an age where it’s no longer photos in your wallet that you bring out and pass around. We’re posting on social media, we’re sharing photos online. I mean come on! We’re even creating hashtags for events! Parents are proud to share their accomplishments, and the accomplishments of their children. I love sharing things about my girls.
I worry about motivation. I worry about how what you say and post online will be forever out there. I worry that one day a child will read what a parent writes and hear nothing but negativity. I worry the child will further internalize that.

I’m angry because it’s so not fair!
Children deserve better.
Parents deserve better.
And people who are exposed to you on social media deserve better.
It’s the first day of school, for the love of all things holy! How about a little hope!?! I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

Rant over. Please continue with your regularly scheduled reading.

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my defining moment as a frog in cold water

Acute stress feels like it will crush you where you stand.
I promise you it won’t. Your fight or flight instinct will kick in and save you. Acute stress feels overwhelming and most of us would do anything to get away from it. But, acute stress won’t kill, no matter how much you believe it might.
Chronic stress is what will kill you.
Chronic stress is like putting a frog in a pot of cold water and then slowly turning up the heat. The frog doesn’t realize what’s happening until it’s already boiling! That’s when one of two things happens. Fight or flight kicks in to save you, or you just die.

I’m an expert in chronic stress. I’m that frog in the pot of water. I was lucky enough that my instinct for flight is so strong. It saved my life.
I spent seventeen years with a man who emotionally abused me.
His sabotage so subtle, his manipulation so nuanced, it was poetry of pure unadulterated evil. He brought passive aggression to new and frightening depths. For the most part I was unaware on a conscious level. I went about my daily life feeling anxious without actually realizing it.
Sometimes I would wonder…Why did I require so much sleep? Why did I turn so much of my focus to my children? Why did I feel nauseous when he would come home? But never for long because there would be some sudden kindness and I would smile and believe him when he told me everything was lovely.

But on some level, I did know what was going on. I did know that something was amiss. I focused on my children to be a buffer between him and them so he couldn’t treat them the way he treated me. I presented the picture of the perfect little family to the rest of the world so no one would realize that he was not what he seemed.
I was scared of him. And scared isn’t a big enough word, but I’m honestly too lazy to thesaurus right now. He frightened every fiber of my being. Somehow I knew he’d never lay hands on me. I wasn’t worried about that. I didn’t realize the internal wounds could occasionally be worse.

He used to tell me that I was crazy. That I was certifiable. That they would put me in a straight jacket in the padded cell and that was where I belonged. He told me no judge in his right mind would give the girls to me. I had nothing and I was crazy. He told me that he would take the girls and I would never see them again.
I would have done and would still do anything for my girls. So I stayed with this man.
He read my journals. He read my email.
He even tried to sabotage my friendships…he had to do that carefully because he didn’t want to show his true colors. I was lucky that most of my friendships were strong enough to withstand his tricks.

I was trapped in a hell I helped create.
Every single day of my life I was scared.
Every single day of my life I was anxious.
Every single day of my life I was angry.
I was miserable. My girls were miserable. I was failing at being a mother. I was failing at being a person.
I was the frog in the pot of water suddenly aware that I was boiling!

This was the defining moment.
Would I die in that pot of boiling water?
No! I would save my own life!

The chronic stress was literally killing me. I was dying. I had to do something to preserve my own life.
I told him that I was done. I told him that I was empty and dead inside. I told him that I had nothing left to give. I told him I was leaving because I knew he would never leave.
When I finally left, he acted as though he was surprised. As though I’d never expressed any of my concerns. I didn’t even argue. I just walked away.
That’s when he turned on my girls. He manipulated them. He used them as weapons to hurt me.
That’s the only thing I regret about leaving him…what he did to my babies. You want to hurt me? Come at me directly.
My poor babies had to suffer for me to live.
That doesn’t seem right. But it was how it was.
A dying person is a desperate person.
I had to save my own life.
They’ve moved through that part of their lives. Will they ever heal? I honestly don’t know.
I know the only one who came out unscathed was their father. He has no clue what he’s done…or he doesn’t care. How’s that for crazy?

I was told by friends and family that I was strong. That I was brave. I felt neither. I felt as frightened as I’d ever been. I did what I had to do to stay alive.
It was the hardest thing I ever did, saving my own life. I only wish I’d been strong enough to do it sooner. Of course, the frog doesn’t realize what’s happening until the water comes to a boil…

I’m writing about this because of a conversation I had with my friend Nora last night, and a conversation I had with my sister in law today. Nora and I talked of relationships and life and celebs and sports stars we’d like to have our way with. We talked of previous lives and choices we make. We discussed “winning” at divorce. (When your life is better than it was before AND better than your ex’s current life.) We talked about being mothers. We ate pasta and drank a goodly bit of wine. We were “just girls” together, but we talked of important topics.
She’s actually the one who verbalized the frog in water analogy.

This afternoon I had a distressing conversation with my sister in law about her relationship with her children’s father. Apparently their state of chronic stress has escalated to acute and he’s announced he’s leaving. Knowing him as long as I have, I think he’s having a bit of a temper tantrum and it will blow over and they’ll go back to their life of chronic stress.
It is killing my sister in law. Now, there is a fairly decent amount of her stress that has little or nothing to do with him. She has some of her own shit to sort.
I told I knew what she was capable of. I suggested she tap into that deeply rooted power and make a better life for herself.
She expressed her fear.
Fear can ride shotgun, get it out of the driver’s seat. Fear will never drive me again. But it sure as hell likes to go along for the ride. I was scared half to death to make that huge change. Especially considering what impact it had on my children.
She’s not ready to do that hard work. She will eventually have to decide to save her own life or she will die.

I can’t run other people’s lives.
Some days I can barely run my own life. Seems that way lately.
I have stress in my life. But it’s acute stress. It causes an immediate reaction. And though my flight instinct is the strongest, I’m learning to fight. Fight the good fight. Fight for what’s right.

I fought the good fight by flying all those years ago. The fight to save my life. Because I tell you, I was dying. Not metaphorically dying. Actually. Physically. Emotionally. I was actively dying.
I learned the most important lesson about myself by saving my own life.
I learned that I can do anything.

Categories: divorce, loss, me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

of no party or clique

I’m sad, angry, hurt, and frustrated.

I never pay attention to the rumor mill at my school because I am a grown-up and not a seventh grader with a bank account. But there is a “new and exciting” rumor about me and it was brought to my attention by the one person I really trust. She shared it with me out of love.

I’m the kind of girl who doesn’t really talk about other people. (Well, I guess I sometimes do, but never where I work. I’m not a gossip.) I’m a listener. I have a knack for listening to everyone and never repeating what I hear.
I’m that person who’s not really in any “party” or “clique” but everyone likes to talk to. I hear the most awful things. I also hear some wonderful things.
I don’t know if people talk about me or not. I honestly don’t care. I’m me and that’s quite enough.

The rumor that was brought to my attention is that I “laid hands on” a child and another teacher in the building didn’t want her kid in my class.
I cannot express how much this sickened and upset me. I’m stern and no-nonsense but I am also loving and playful and for someone to accuse me of hurting a child honestly makes me sick.

I went to the curriculum director this morning (our director got hitched this weekend and is out for her honeymoon) with a whole lot of WTF?
She was appalled! She had no idea about this. She has not been told by a parent or another teacher. She says she knows me and knows what I’m like with kids and while “I’m very stern I’m the most loving” teacher. She was apologetic that this happened and she’s going to investigate.
I thanked her and shared the news that I’m considering leaving this summer. I assured her it had nothing to do with this situation, that it was simply time for me to hang up my spurs.

I have spent the better part of the last twenty years working with young children. I absolutely can’t believe anyone would think I didn’t always try to do what’s best for children.

I’m disappointed that my name finally got dragged into the rumor mill. But I’m absolutely heartbroken that this is what the subject matter is.
I know the people that “matter” know there is not truth to it. Parents and children and my co-teacher and the administration know the truth. Most importantly, I know the truth.
Doesn’t make it any less hurtful.

One more reason in my list of why I should be finished here, I guess.

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

standing at the crossroads

I’m conflicted about how to move forward with this Thing 2 situation. YBW and I have been talking and we’ve come up with two scenarios. The first is we can make her come back here, force the legality of the custody agreement that says she lives here full time. The second is we tell her to come get her belongings.
I’m getting feedback from people who love me who are just trying to be supportive. These are some of the points of view I’m receiving:
“If it were me and this was (child’s name) I would hold her accountable for the decision she made.”
“I quite quickly come to the point that she is the child and you are the adult. Make her do what you and (her father) agreed to.”

Interestingly enough, I agree with these points of view. I believe she should be held accountable. It’s the actuality of executing them where I get lost. I can easily force her to be here, but I she is the variable. Or rather how she chooses to behave is the variable. I have no idea what she will be like upon a forced return. Will she make everyone’s life miserable? Will she choose to take out her dissatisfaction on the people who live in this house?
See, if she makes me miserable, I can handle that. If she makes the boys miserable it’s something completely different.

If we just have her come get her things, she goes back to the stagnant life she left. The life that made her feel she lost a year. The life in which everyone around her, her beloved friends, are moving forward and she is standing still. The fact that she’s gotten her GED only means she’s no longer truant. Her friends are in school all day, she’ll be at home waiting. This is exactly the same situation she lived the last year. How long before she’s back against the wall, desperate and miserable and in need of change?

I can’t answer any of these questions. I still don’t even know how to feel about the situation.
I am, however, in a place where I no longer have the desire to worry neither do I have a willingness to “fix” the situation for her.
I’m certainly all about “the principle” which means holding her accountable for her decision to make a home and life here.
But I’m unwilling to squander any more energy or tears for someone who isn’t ready to look or move forward.

Being a teenager is hard. There is no denying that. I was a teenager…actually I was a teenager who was moved against her will during her high school life. It was hard, my God was it hard. I was sad and angry but I persevered, I got to start again. I have realized it may have actually been what was best for me. So I think Thing 2 should find her gumption. She should rediscover her survival instinct, the one that saved her life twice before she was two months old. She should straighten her spine and march headlong into her fear.
She didn’t really try.

I was finally able to talk to my friends and mentor, she liked what I said about respect, that Thing 2 asked to be respected, but was not respectful. She told me the angst was all in the wrong place. That it needed to be placed on Thing 2 where it belonged. She should be sitting with it. Whether it changed her point of view or not…well it didn’t really matter. She asked if I told Thing 2 I thought she was a coward and a quitter. I don’t think I did.

I called to talk with Thing 2 yesterday, she was “busy” could she please call me back later? Has she? No. I will call her again today. I will say what I have to say about respect, I will tell her I think she’s a coward and a quitter. I will wish her well in her endeavors. With a heavy heart.
My heart is heavy because she’s cutting herself off at the knees. She’s pushing opportunity away with both hands.
My heart is heavy because she betrayed YBW, who has been kind to her from the moment she showed up.
My heart is heavy not because she hurt me, but because she hurts people I love, most specifically herself. I can’t protect her from herself.

I’m still standing at the crossroads. Arguing each side against the other and still not sure which way to turn. But I’m going to start moving one way or another, simply to be rid of the angst. Without a doubt it is in the wrong place. It’s not mine to carry. So I’ll drop it at the crossroads and walk away slowly.
Wish me Godspeed.

Categories: love, me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

she’s not coming back

How many tears can you cry for one particular person? I suspect tears are unlimited, but I have grown weary of shedding them over my child.

Thing 2 got on the train Sunday to SC to take her GED test, she was to get back on the train to come home today.
She called me Wednesday with news of passing all four required components. She has successfully completed her high school equivalent exam. I told her I was so glad, that I knew she could do it and then I said: I can’t wait to hug you!
And she said: That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.
Then she told me she’s not coming back. She wants to stay in SC with her friends.
Roundhouse kick to my soul.

At that moment all I could think was, YBW forked out tens of thousands of dollars to finish the basement, to build a loo and kickass closet and bedroom for her and she just “isn’t coming back”. She couldn’t think of that before we started the construction?
I am aware that she believes she’s been here struggling to belong and it’s too hard to keep trying and she is comfortable with her friends and that’s where she fits.
She told me lots of things about why she made this choice, asked for respect regarding her decision.

I love that girl differently than I’ve ever loved another human being in my entire life.
I want what’s best for her but my God, I’m so tired of trying to decide what that is.

I am desperate to talk to my friend and mentor, but she is in the middle of a family crisis and I cannot disturb her. She would help make sense of it, or at least she would take my ‘lemons’ and make her delicious lemonade and I could have a drink of it which would ease me enough to decide how to feel about it.
I can’t talk to Sundance, my pain is too fresh. I can’t go down the rabbit hole with her right now, I’m not sure I could climb back out. I can’t let my negative feelings take over, I have to tread carefully. Not for the sake of Thing 2, but for my own sake.

I feel hurt and angry. Thing 2 came here desperate to start over. She needed new clothes. She needed to have her hair done because of a terrible cut she’d given herself was growing back a hot freaking mess.
She needed help being a girl in the real world again.
I was more than happy to provide these things, as well as the help, love, and support she’d been lacking. She’s my baby. I will always do what I feel is best for her.

I’ve been going over and over the concept of respect.
She asked me to respect her decision. Asked me to respect her.
She has not considered that she asks for respect without giving any.
She doesn’t respect me. She doesn’t respect YBW. I’m not actually sure if she respects herself.
I’ve always considered respect a two way street. I never expected to be respected unless I was respectful. I taught my girls that. Perhaps I taught it poorly.
Thing 2 doesn’t respect me yet asks I respect her. I’m unsure how to proceed…in deed or thought. I have no idea what the practical value of that realization is.

I am disappointed. I am disappointed in her. Disappointed that she is a coward and a quitter, she has let her fear and loneliness control her actions.
I am disappointed that I couldn’t help her any more or better.

I am acutely aware that she is in control of her own actions, but still feel the sting of their reflection on me.

I want my baby to be healthy and content. I don’t believe she’s healthy but her friends make her feel content.
Perhaps it’s time for me to just let it go. Finally let her go. My concern with that is what to do when she needs me after I’ve let her go. I’m not sure how I can trust her again.
She betrayed me.
She betrayed the home we created for her.

I don’t think I choose to make her come back. I have the right to, legally, but I’m not sure I’m willing to put YBW and his Things through anymore negativity. If it was just me, I think I’d force the issue and make her live where she’s supposed to according to the letter of the law. I’d suffer the indignities and let her suffer, because she’d come out the other side better off. But I don’t want to put them through it. I’m not even sure I want to put her through it.

Thing G said: I’m sad she’s not going to live with us, but I understand wanting to be with her friends.
Teenagers are a curious breed.

She deserves better than the life she’s settling for. I have fought the hard fight to give her a better life and she’s turned her back on that. Because she’s lonely. Because she wants to be with her friends.
I can’t compete with that.

I can’t do anything but love her. But what does that mean? Does loving her mean I allow her to disrespect me? Does standing up for myself mean I don’t love her?
This is where the question of respect comes into play and I just don’t have any answers.

I’m tired of fighting the good fight. Tired of trying to do what’s best for the people I love when it doesn’t matter or mean anything to them.
How about somebody respecting me? Fighting the good fight for me?

I want that girl to have the best opportunities to create the best life. She can’t see that. Perhaps she doesn’t want to. Either way, I think it may be out of my hands.
I remember a discussion with my friend and mentor regarding always loving, always having an open heart and open arms. I do love and will always love my Thing 2. I’m afraid I won’t always have an open heart or open arms. I’m afraid the hurt will close them. I’m not sure I could bear that. For either of us.

Categories: loss, love, me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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