Posts Tagged With: feelings

I don’t give a f**k who judges me

The post I wrote the other day about managing my expectations seemed to elicit a great deal of response.
And what I love most about that is each one of those thoughts or opinions had kindness at the root.

Most of you were sympathetic but not judgey. I thank you for that.
This blog is filled with my thoughts. My perceptions of my life. I’m never ever going to point a finger and decree that I’m a billion percent right and the other person is a billion percent wrong. That’s not how life works.
I know I’m difficult.
I can be a real dick when I get frustrated.
I have been known to make bad choices in how I behave or react, however the underlying stuff is real.

I want to thank you for your kindness in choosing your words when you shared your thoughts with me. Your words were sympathetic, they came from a place of knowledge of circumstance. For the most part they were not blaming, and some even shared great ideas about how to circumvent the food drama!
I appreciate the positive feedback.

That morning, I got a message from Thing 1 in our group chat saying she’d read the post and wanted to know how I was. It was right as I was getting to work. I thanked her and promised to talk later.
She texted me in the afternoon that the post concerned her and asking how I was.
I assured her I was fine then explained that I was frustrated and being a dick but didn’t feel like I was terribly wrong.
Her response:
“I’m sure you are. And I’m sure you were a dick, but I still feel like Thing G shouldn’t be running the freaking show.”

We talked a great deal about how much growth there’s been.

About how most of the way he behaves isn’t really his fault. He’s adapted to it. I don’t believe there is purpose or malice in his actions. I believe he’s been insulated from being engaged in his life since his diagnosis, and simply doesn’t have the tools.

This is not to say I blame his parents. They did what they had to do to function as a family. They did what they had to do to make sure he was safe to himself and other children. Every family functions differently. And they did what worked for them.
Only now it doesn’t work.
The kid flat refuses to engage in his own life. He simply puts forth the least amount of effort to get by. Sure, that’s teenage behavior, but this is different. Most teens desire to GTFO of their parent’s house. They desire to be in control of their own choices, etc. (As adults we see the ironic hilarity, but we’ve all been there.)
This kid literally wants to eat crackers or ramen, drink soda, and play video games all day every day. My interpretation of that behavior is this is someone who is not engaged in his own life.
That’s cool if that’s your choice. And if you can find a way to eat and drink trash and play video games all day and remain solvent I say, bravo!
But I refuse to sacrifice my own comfort so that he can continue to live the life of Riley.

This kid isn’t actually the problem. The kid is simply the lightning rod of focus for the problem.
As I see it, the problem is that his family sacrificed their own personal comfort for his.
And y’all I get that! What parent or older sibling hasn’t done it!?!?
Though in most families as children age and develop that behavior changes. We expect kids to learn that we all have feelings. Needs. Things that make us comfortable or uncomfortable.
We expect them to respect these things in others.
I know I’m guilty of behaving as though the world revolves around my girls, especially Thing 2.
I own it. I know I do it. I admit I do it.
There are two huge differences.
The first is I don’t expect anyone else to do it.
The second is they’re engaged, and however they struggle, they’re actively participating in their own lives.

Every parent makes sacrifices for their children. That’s part of being a parent.
Older siblings sometimes make sacrifices for their younger siblings, that makes sense, but still doesn’t seem all that acceptable. But I’m the big sister, so I know it just sometimes is.
This becomes a problem when everyone else is expected to behave in the same manner. It’s not other people’s job to put the comfort of someone else’s child, sibling, etc. above their own. And in all honesty, I don’t believe YBW and his family ever consciously expected that behavior from others, and they certainly never verbalized it. I feel like it was and remains very obvious by the way everyone functions.

I don’t think YBW is wrong for wanting to sacrifice for his kid.
I don’t think he’s an an idiot or stupid.
And I will own the fact that I’m judgey as fuck.
Judgey. As. Fuck.
But I don’t judge him for doing what he believes is best for his son. I’ve done what I believed best for my girls, sometimes it worked perfectly, sometimes I cocked it right up.
No one else has been in our hearts, in our families, it isn’t for another to tell anyone how to raise their children.
I’m guilty of pointing out what his kids don’t know. That doesn’t mean I think he failed. It means I don’t understand why they don’t know how to do X. And instead of examining that, YBW thinks I’m saying he failed as a parent.
Dude. We all fail as parents. I just want people to bring in the mail and trash can when they walk right past it every damn day.

What bothers me so much is that he continues to put the desires of that particular kid above everyone else’s. He doesn’t even know he’s doing it. And he sacrifices so much of himself for that kid.
The difference between YBW and me is that I refuse to do it. I will not choose Thing G’s comfort or happiness over my own.
Because I don’t want to. And because it’s not what’s best for any one.
I’m choosing to do what’s best for me.
Just because I don’t like it, or I won’t do it, doesn’t mean I’m judging him for doing it. It just means I won’t make the same behavior choices he makes. My emotional and physical comfort are important in their own right. No more no less than anyone else’s.
And when I see him sacrifice his, I don’t like it because I believe he deserves more. But I can’t make that decision for him. I can only make that decision for myself.

I spent a long time talking with a friend who also has a child diagnosed with autism. Here’s what I see, in their family, it’s just a thing. It means some tweaking here and there. It means she’s (the mom) working hard to meet everyone’s individual needs. But she’s not letting that diagnosis run their lives.
In this family it is everything. And because it is everything all the tweaking must be done around the diagnosed. It means everyone should work hard to meet the diagnosed’s needs. The diagnosis runs all our lives.
This is not the fault of the kid with the diagnosis. It’s not even the fault of his parents. It is simply the way it is.
I don’t choose to function that way.
I don’t choose for my children to be expected to function that way.
I don’t choose people who enter this house to be expected to function that way.

I don’t believe the desires of one should rule the many.
I mean come on! There were revolutions about shit like that.

I love my husband.
Like, in ways that sometimes have no words! I want to be with him in the life we build. And I want to get old with him.
I want him to feel loved. To feel understood. To feel like I’m in it with all I’ve got, not that he’s something I have to endure.
Right now, I think the best way to do that is to be quiet. Just be quiet and do my thing. Just be quiet and let him do his thing. Because clearly talking about it makes me a dick and him a failure.
I want to stop putting each of us through that.

Only this is a conversation worth having, and because we’re in it for the long haul, we have to figure it out how to have it successfully. Last night we talked a little and seemed to get to a place that’s better. So good for us!

I will be the first to admit I want what I want.
But not at the expense of others.
And that is the little nugget of truth I cling to.
Therefore, it seems just that I expect the same from others.

I choose not to live my life for anyone but me.
I believe YBW judges me for it.
I accept that.
I am not ashamed.
I feel no guilt.

I did the hard work of raising my children. I do the hard work of being the mother of adult women.
I did and continue to do the hard work of keeping myself safe and sane.
I do the hard work of marriage to a man I love all the way to Pluto and back.

I’m doing the best I can to live my intention.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians: Do everything in love.
I’m over here working to do everything in love and still have a sense of self.
I own my truth.
I don’t give a fuck who judges me.

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Categories: love, me, peace and wellbeing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

heal it

I’m in a strange place this morning. So many feels.
Feeling every feel with great acuity.
I find it overwhelming. But not in a bad way, exactly.

On Thing 2’s mix, there is a song called Heal It by a band called Dog is Dead. It’s hitting me hard this morning. I want to turn off her mix…but can’t bring myself to do it.

The chorus, “If you can’t break, then we can’t heal it.” feels particularly powerful. And I’m talking tear inducing powerful.
And I stop and ask myself aloud, “What is with you this morning?”
Because these tears seem to come from nowhere.
Only they come from everywhere.
Every single moment of my life when I couldn’t heal until I was fully broken comes rushing in.
Sometimes you must become absolutely powerless to gain the ability to move forward.
Feeling powerless is devastating. But feeling powerless to help those you love goes beyond that devastation. And when I think of being broken before being able to heal I consider moments or particular incidents in which the people I love most were breaking to the point of broken before the healing could begin.

I find it especially painful to know that I could not ease my own suffering or the suffering of those I love most during these breaking to broken times. The suffering eases when the healing begins. It’s the natural course of things.

This morning I’m feeling ‘rode hard and put up wet’. The weight of my short forty-six years feels like a long one hundred and forty-six years.
I feel all the moments I failed. As a daughter. As a wife. As a mother. As a human being.
But the most incredible thing about all these feelings, is that I also feel the ease of suffering that comes with healing. I feel the hope of what’s to come. I feel the triumphs and joys. I feel the pride and love of being a human being successful in life.

The tears are still welling up this morning. But I don’t ask myself about them. I accept them with love and grace and gratitude.

Here’s Dog is Dead with Heal It.
I’ve shared the lyrics below.
Please listen responsibly.

Come and meet me by the hotel
Yeah, you always lived a terrible life
And thorough the blisters and the heart swells
You always did whatever you liked
It’s a messy situation
No need to feel like you’re on the inside
And with a little conversation
What will take for us to talk for a while
It just takes a little time
When your body breaks on the inside
And we can’t heal it!
And we can’t heal it!
If you can’t break, then we can’t heal it
If you can’t break, then we can’t heal it
Come and see me like you always did
Come and see me when you’re dunking in time
And it’s a feeling that I know too well
Take a beating backing back in the fire
Merry-merry-round when the sun shine
Cause it only makes us sad when it’s burning their eyes
I won’t believe in…
I said won’t believe in ordeal sick in my mind
Which just takes a little time
When your money breaks on your side
And you can’t heal it, can’t heal it!
If you can’t break, then we can’t heal it
If you can’t break, then we can’t heal it
If you don’t feel right, never feel, never hide
Take a random chance, start another fight
And we froze so small, in your… see the world
Take another chance, make another…
..you die, and you don’t know why
Take another one, take another one!
When the men see the light
It’s a birthday light for another chance
Start another fight!
If you can’t break, then we can’t heal it
If you can’t break, then we can’t heal it

Categories: love, me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

thoughts *nearly* ready to hatch

It’s been fourteen days since I’ve written anything. I was so present in the moments of the last two weeks that I didn’t stop to write. It’s almost as though I couldn’t chronicle the thoughts that ran through my head. Too many too fast. And none of them solid, only the ephemeral gray before the dawn.
A visit to my therapist, serious scribbling in my journal, and the peaceful sadness of taking Thing 2 to the train station in the last few days have given me an opportunity to stop and take a big breath.

I experienced an epiphany…
I’ve got ideas bubbling up…
Thoughts nearly ready to hatch…

Only I’m not exactly ready to write about them this morning…
It does feel nice to write though…

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

Billy Wilder said

Billy Wilder said,

“Trust your own instinct. Your mistakes might as well be your own instead of someone else’s.”

Dude knew what was up. I mean, have you seen his movies?
Billy Wilder

This speaks straight the core of me.
My instincts reside in my gut. I trust my gut above all else.
That brain of mine might be bright, but the propensity to obsess negates my instincts. And my heart, while it loves with an endless ferocity, is so busy feeling every last thing that it’s rather useless when it comes to instincts.
71466338

“Your mistakes might as well be your own.”
Were ever truer words spoken? I’m so serious!
Every single time I’ve voiced my instincts and they were not heeded, something’s blown up in somebody’s face. That includes me too, y’all.
BUT(!!) sometimes I have trusted my gut and still had things blow up in my face. That’s OK too.
When provoked, I tend to be reactive. I’ll make a snap decision and then stand on my principles until the cows come home…then stand on the cows, you know?
I won’t back down. That’s my stubborn streak. Even if I’d like to “take back” something I said or did, I won’t. Because I stubbornly stick to my guns, however much I’m cutting off my nose to spite my face. (Yeah, yeah, mixed metaphors, what are you going to do?)
So, if I’ve made a mistake, I’ll admit it…but only to myself. The important part of mistake making is having the strength to own it. I can’t change anything I’ve said or done…sometimes they’re mistakes, other times, not so much…whatever the outcome, I’m content in knowing I made the choices.

We’re all going to make mistakes.
The important part is to remember this: If you’re not trusting your instincts, you’re not making your own decisions, which means you’re not making your own mistakes.
Trust your instincts enough to make your own mistakes. I promise you it’s worth it.

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pretending the bed is a raft

I once had this book called Pretending the Bed is a Raft. It’s a collection of short stories written by Nanci Kincaid. I remember the stories were beautifully written but devastatingly sad. I’m not sure what happened to that book. A quick scan of my shelves and I don’t see it. It may have gone to the used bookstore during one of my annual book purges.
What I have to say isn’t really about the book anyway. It’s about the title.

Pretending the bed is a raft.
I love this concept! Let’s pretend the bed is a raft.
I feel like it’s a game of make believe we might have played when Thing 1 and Thing 2 were little. They would have wanted to be pirates on that bed raft. They would have had us all dressed up with scarves and eye patches and Thing 1 would have wanted to be the captain, but Thing 2 probably would have been calling the shots. I would have been the dutiful first mate, responsible for the safety of the crew while the captain(s) lead us into death or glory. I can hear Thing 2 in her ‘little old man’ voice saying, “Storms a-brewin!”

Pretending the bed is a raft.
I feel like I’ve done this my entire life, only I never used that phrase until I’d seen this book. It stated simply the concept I’ve always understood.
With absolute certainty, my most fundamental belief is: When the going gets tough, get in your bed.

I’m a big fan of getting in my bed when I’m feeling…well, anything actually. I mean, obviously when I’m tired. But, I’m thinking about all the other things I feel. Emotional exhaustion, frustration, or illness. These could all be considered fancy words for depression. Some people use ice cream. I use my pillows. Because nothing comforts me like my bed.
Loneliness and heartache send me straight to my bed.
When I’m craving peace and quiet. If I’m overwhelmed or overjoyed, I take to the comfort of my bed.
That bed is my raft in the seas of all feeling.

My perfect bed is a dark wood farmhouse canopy, made with the most crisp white cotton known to man. This bed is my cocoon. I bought it to keep me safe the first time I ever lived alone. Newly separated, children part time at my home, part time at their father’s, I knew I would need a haven that made me feel safe and sound.
This bed carried me safely through the feeling seas for many years.
Sweet Izzie kitty, so grouchy with everyone but me. She would curl up next to me in that bed and her soft purring would match my breathing and we’d sleep happily together.
My girls snuggling in that cocoon with me. Thing 2 coming in every night for months with her pillow and sleeping with me. Thing 1 didn’t sleep with me that often, she’s an active sleeper, making full use of her bed. But when she came for a snuggle it would be an event.

YBW was invited into my cocoon.
He invited me into his bed, he named it serenity.
The first time I came here, we went to bed and he told me to close my eyes…when I opened them there were stars all over the ceiling. He told me on the phone that when I came to his home, I would sleep in serenity in a sea of stars. He made that happen for me. We could be together in the cocoon or in serenity and it was lovely.

When I moved here, the cocoon moved to the guest room.
We bought new mattress and foundation and I began to sleep full time in his bed. I’d lived here for almost a year when we had a little mishap and broke the bed. I fell in love with a bed and took him to see it. He agreed and the new bed came home to our room. The bed we share is a beautiful dark wood, with a very high headboard and drawers in the footboard. It is made with crisp white bedding.

When I’m in need of pretending the bed is a raft, I don’t often take to the bed I share with YBW. I’ll go to the cocoon. It’s not that that I don’t feel comfortable or safe in serenity. It’s just different. I think it’s tricky when you share a bed with someone. That bed is our shared space. Where we have conversations. Where we make love. Where we occasionally keep the other awake. The bed is lovely, especially when properly made, but it’s not a bed I’m inclined to pretend is a raft. I think it’s because it doesn’t fully belong to me.

In the old days, my bed was a place where everyone just kind of piled in and we hung out. Small children all in it together with story books or soft toys. Grown up girls doing each other’s make up. Sometimes, if they were very lucky, little girls having their make up done. It was a place for snuggles and giggles and opening birthday gifts first thing in the morning. It was a place to simply be. And to feel loved.

My sister in law’s bed is like that too. We all just go in there and pile up on the bed. Sometimes the TV is on. Sometimes there are books or computers or tablets or smartphones. Sometimes we just all get in and talk and talk. Kids, grown ups, boys, girls. It doesn’t matter. We get in her bed and without even knowing it, pretend it’s a raft. It is one of those rare places I feel nurtured without having to do the nurturing.

When my heart was freshly broken, I came to be with Sundance. Her sweet husband went to sleep elsewhere in the house so I could sleep in bed with Sundance. She helped me heal as we talked quietly in her bed. We poured each other into that bed after we’d had way too much to drink. Her bed was a raft that I didn’t have to be in alone at the lowest point in my life.

I have a friend who has the unbreakable rule that no one is allowed in his home. He never shares his bed. I sometimes wonder if he feels like his bed is a raft in a safe way, of if it’s a raft in which he drifts, lost at sea. I respect the desire for privacy. For boundaries. No one in your sacred space ensures safety, but it seems to me a lonely life.

Pretending the bed is a raft means something different to each of us. Our bed means something different to each of us.
Your bed can be a haven. Or your bed can be the place where you live your life. Your bed can be a playground for children. Or a sexual playground for adults. Your bed is a place to rest your weary head.
You can share your bed or choose not to share it.
The bed I share with YBW is the place for us to be together.
But, my bed is a sacred place. The place I feel safe and sound. It is the raft on the feeling sea.
And even though it’s now the beautiful and comfortable place for our guests to lay their heads, it will always be my cocoon. My space.
If you’ve been invited into that bed, know how much you are loved.

Categories: around the house, love, me, on being a mom, peace and wellbeing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

doubt is being a jerk to me

faith
I came across this last night and it stuck a chord deep within me. I had to sit with it for a while before I could really process why. I dreamt about this in my sleep.

I know who Elisabeth Elliot is. I’m aware this references faith in God.
God and I had a falling out many, many years ago, and I turned my back to God. Doubt came. It was the first time in my life I doubted God, and I doubted my ass off! But God never left me. Over time, I was able to find my way back to God. Our relationship is different now than it was before, but it’s better. I have a new kind of faith. Not the faith I was taught, but the faith I earned. God and I are square.

That said, I’m realizing what rang true in me last night does’t have anything to do with God.

I’ve been struggling with who I am in this life. In this world. I’ve become distant and distracted. I’m questioning everything. Every choice I’ve made. Did I place my faith in something that isn’t what I thought it was?
I’m Gob Bluth saying, “I’ve made a huge mistake.”
And it has been eating me alive from the inside out.

I’ve pushed everything to the back burner to spend my time obsessing over this doubt. I’m actively digging up in doubt what I planted in faith. I’ve done almost nothing remotely healthy for a month. I haven’t slept well. I haven’t eaten properly. I don’t work. I just obsess. I have spent an entire month obsessing over doubt.

When Thing 2 was a small girl, and something didn’t work the way she expected it to, she would lose her patience. She’s quick to lose her patience, lose her temper. She’s a bit like her momma that way. She had a little phrase she would use. Here’s one example. If she couldn’t open the front door, she would grunt, stomp her foot and say, “The doorknob is being a jerk to me!”
She’s nineteen and still grunts and stomps her foot when she’s angry or frustrated.
I’m forty five and I grunt and stomp my foot when I’m angry or frustrated.
You know what they say about the apple and the tree…
We are what we are.

I share this story because I want to say, “Doubt is being a jerk to me!”
Doubt really kind of is being a jerk to me.
Actually, I think doubt is being a jerk to faith. But faith isn’t sticking up for itself. That means I have to stick up for faith. Which is much harder than it sounds. It’s hard to want to stick up for something that you think duped you.
But you see, that’s what faith actually is. Believing when there’s no ‘real’ reason to believe. I forgot that. I let doubt come to the party. Um…I let doubt throw the party. I’m kind of over this party.
My mom used to say, “This party’s getting rough. I’m going to get my undies and go home.” She was a curious woman, but she made a fair point. So, I guess me and my undies are leaving doubt’s party. (I feel the need to state for the record that I made the choice to use bad grammar.)

I don’t know how to reconcile what’s going on inside me. But I know that it’s time to send doubt packing. I’m going to pull a Jenna Marbles on doubt and tell it to “Pipe the f**k down!”
Once I get rid of doubt then I can pay attention to faith. Which might actually be trickier than kicking doubt to the curb.
I don’t really want to pay attention to faith. Faith hurt my feelings. Faith frightened me. Faith rocked me to my core. Hmm. Seems as though faith is being a jerk to me too.
Faith and I going to have to get it together. I’m not quite sure how we’re going to do that. What I do know is that I can’t dig up in doubt what I planted in faith.
That means I have to keep believing.
I must have faith no matter how difficult it is to believe. I mustn’t listen to doubt no matter how lovely it sounds.

Perhaps I’ve gone about this all wrong? Putting my faith in other things…
Perhaps I must have faith in myself. Trust that I made all the right decisions that led me to where I am in this life, this world. Believe that faith is stronger than doubt. Believe that I was built on a sturdy enough foundation that I can reconcile faith and doubt without getting lost in the weeds. (Mixed metaphors much?)
It’s easy to say that. It’s even easy to know that. It’s in the doing that it becomes tricky. But I know from tricky. I’m a mom. I’m an Auntie. I’m an early childhood educator. Tricky is in my wheelhouse.

To faith I say, “Bring it!”
To doubt I say, “Pipe the f**k down.”
To God I say, “Thanks for having my back.”
To me I say, “Get it together.”

I know I can balance doubt and faith. I simply have to try. You know what Yoda said about trying…but I haven’t even been trying. I’ve been obsessing. I’ve been swimming in doubt so long my fingers are all pruney. Time to get out and dry off.
Gotta shake it up. Get out of my head.
I’m going to remember to believe. Remember that faith falters, but that’s just doubt trying to throw a party. Faith is still there, just like God was.
Perhaps I need to do it the same way…find my way back to faith and make a better, stronger kind of faith. Not blind faith, not faith on the word of others. But a new kind of faith. One that I earned.
Hey, if it worked for God and me, making it work for my life should be a cake walk, right?
Stay tuned…

If you don’t know Arrested Development…well that makes me sad for you. It’s on Netflix. Check it out.
Will Arnett as Gob Buth:
gob

Thing 2 and her friend Jordan introduced me to Jenna Marbles. She uses foul language profusely, but I adore this concept of ‘people that need to pipe the f**k down’.

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

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

let’s communicate in hashtags

I got a text from my sister in law in Charleston on Friday suggesting a new way to communicate. She said she wanted to send me a hashtag of what she observed in the world and as a barometer of how she’s feeling.
I adore the idea! We can go as sedate or over the top as needed. Sometimes it’ll be ridiculously long and complicated, other times less so.

I present for your consideration as sampling of our hashtag communication.

Friday July 29, 2016
Hers: #sometimesitsbettertojustdoityourself
Mine: #ineedanappy
Hers: #icantbenicetoday
Mine: #justcallmethemistressofallevil and then #f**kem

Nothing transpired on Saturday.

Sunday July 31,2016
Mine: #phantomoftheopera
Hers: #luckyduck and then #ilivevicariouslythroughyou
Mine: #igotyouyo and then #mikesfordinner
Hers: #fml
Mine: #ihatetherforeiam
Hers: #cestmoi
Mine: #iloveyyouohmygoodness
Hers: #validation
Mine: #iwillalwasyhaveyourback

I wrote about my emotional struggles last week in strangest, weirdest, most complicated woman and I’ve written about my beloved sister in law in emotionally safe in the nest.
She and I have a curious relationship. We tease that she, and not Thing 1, is my first daughter. We are truly sisters, but as I am the consummate nurturer, and she grew up without a healthy maternal relationship, we simply fell into that pattern in our own relationship. Neither of us mind, because she has nurtured me when I’ve needed it too.

We all struggle with our lives, with our choices. We have real love for the people in our world and sometimes real dislike. It has it’s own natural ebb and flow.
Her suggestion to communicate in hashtags was brilliant as far as I’m concerned. It’s a simple way to not overthink or overstate what we see and feel. Sometimes it my seem more negative than positive, but that’s the genius of it. One tiny hashtag can expel a great deal of negative energy, thus creating space for something positive.

Yesterday, YBW and I went to see Phantom with friends. Before we even left the house, I told YBW that I was uncomfortable. If it hadn’t been since I was pregnant with Thing 2 that I’d seen Phantom, I may have even begged off. I love this couple as individual people, and I can see how much good they are for each other, but I absolutely cannot stand to be with them any longer than I have to. They don’t socialize in the ‘group’, they socialize with each other which leaves others in the ‘group’ working hard to create a healthy social climate within the group. And I simply was not having it. But I wanted to see Phantom and I’m perfectly capable of keeping my mouth shut and ignoring what goes on around me enough to enjoy the show.
I actually fantasized about jumping from the moving car to get away from these people. Of course, YBW was going damn near 80 up I95…so I considered how much skin I might lose and what sort of head trauma might occur and made the decision to remain safely buckled in the vehicle. #dammit

Now, partly this is me. I’ve been in a strange place emotionally. I’m aware of and admit that. In the last week I’ve been told (by people who love me and have my best interests at heart) I’m quick to judge and that I because I speak my mind, I can come across as abrasive.
Um…thanks? #kissmyfrecklywhiteass
I know these things were said to me out of love, because I trust the person who said them. But if I was to boil myself down to two descriptive things those would not be the ones. #notreallyabitch

I apologized for being caustic, explained that was not my intention.
If I can’t speak honestly and from my heart, why speak at all? I’m a straight shooter. I don’t pull punches. I say what I think and feel out of love. Out of a desire to help others, and continue to learn. #velvethammer

I’m tired of censoring myself for the sake of other people’s feelings. I honestly can’t believe I’m as bad as all that…if I was, nobody would want to be around me ever. And guess what? Folks want to be around me.

I understand my sister in law’s desire to communicate via hashtags. I’m going to continue to text her hashtags and enjoy receiving hers. It amuses me. It’s a playful way to say what you need to say without fear recrimination. Because more than anything, more than judgement, more than annoyance, more than anything, I love. And that right there is enough reason for me. #hatersgonnahate but #ilove

Categories: love, me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

riding the struggle bus

I had a bad day Monday.
It was the day of: Are you even alive?
I struggled the entire day. In all honestly, I should have gone back to bed and waited for Tuesday.
My friend Nora was quick to offer to come to my rescue, even though there was nothing she could really do to help. She’s good like that. I’m blessed to have her in my life. She’s a wonderful human being and she’s a good, strong, and loving friend.

I got a text message from her a little while ago. It said: Now it’s my turn to ride the struggle bus today.
She shared her struggle and we “breathed together” and she asked one question that I answered with truth and love. I think she’s feeling less anxious, and I know I don’t feel as concerned for her as I did when it started.

All that said, (and this is why she’s so great…she has the same wack-a-doodle sense of humor as me) I freaking LOVE that phrase “ride the struggle bus”. I’m fairly clever with words but have no qualms admitting I’d probably never come up with that phrase.
She was amused that I dig it.
She could see past her anxiety and appreciate the humor in the phrase.

Sometimes you can’t help but ride the struggle bus.
But if you’re really fortunate, you’ll have people in your world that will ride with you…or at least wait for you at the next stop.
That’s when you can stop and breathe together. And hopefully be amused.

Categories: peace and wellbeing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

communication is (sometimes a tricky) key

Communication is key.
That’s a saying, right? I’m not dreaming that up, am I? Nopity nope. Not dreaming it up, I just Googled it.

I know that I’m “wordy”. I also know that I’d make a terrible poker player. My face completely fails at hiding my thoughts. Apparently my facial expressions come across as offensive when I’m being wordy. My facial expressions happen as I’m trying to make sense of what I’m saying. But it seems the perception is that my face is saying is that I think everyone else is an idiot.
Do I think everyone else is an idiot? Um…no.
What I think is I’m trying to answer questions I’m being asked…and doing a “double check” in my brain to make sure I know what I’m talking about and that the answers are correct as much as I know. This is what shows on my face.
I grow weary of being told I look like I think people are stupid. Especially when it’s the furthest thing from my mind.
My initial reaction is, “I give up.” So much so that I say it out loud even.
But that’s not realistic. And I’m not a quitter…
So, I have made a bargain with myself to “fix my face” when I talk. I’m hopeful it works to change the perception of what I’m thinking. Because no matter how many times I’ve said what’s actually going on in my head, folks get their feelings hurt.
I don’t want to hurt folks’ feelings. I’m just trying to understand what’s coming out of my own mouth.
Sometimes I wonder if I should just write everything and never actually talk. When I write, I can edit as I go…and that would take care of the facial expressions. (I make the same faces when I write, but nobody ever sees them.)

I don’t want to be forced into changing who I am…but I’m weary of hurting folks’ feelings. I’m weary of having explain myself.
Communication doesn’t have to be this tricky, right?

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

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