Posts Tagged With: honest communication

expressing all the irrational feels

LA wrote this post and it jump-started the hatching of thoughts.
In case you don’t actually click the link and read the post, she had some allergy symptoms mixed with anxiety, and before she knew it, she’d panicked herself into full on covid mode. She knew better, but couldn’t shake the feels.

I’m suffering from allergies, I’m taking my allergy meds, but if it’s sunny, I’m opening the house and letting the pollen in by the bucket load just to get fresh air in this place.
I know it’s allergies, but the ‘what ifs’ are actively punching me in the face.
I know it’s allergies, and even though I know it’s allergies, I continue to talk myself off the ledge.
And I think, ‘FUUUUUUUUUUCK I have this virus’, instead of thinking, ‘I’ll probably get this virus sooner or later.’

It’s natural to feel all these irrational feels, with all our heightened anxiety in a time when the world is in pandemic mode.
It’s especially tricky when you logically think and understand one thing, yet feel so strongly another.
When the feels are big, logic goes out the window.

This week YBW is home. I don’t feel comforted by that. It’s actually more stressful.
That feels awful to say, but when he’s at work, I can focus on what I’m doing, and even though he’s coming in and out of the house, I feel hopeful we’re still safe.
When he’s here, I find it distracting. I have more trouble staying focused, or on task.
As much as I want to spend time with him, I’m more panicky when he’s here than when he’s not.
That has nothing to do with him, and everything to do with me. It’s one less thing I can control about my environment.

I was fired up Wednesday morning.
I was mad the kitchen was a mess. I was mad there was food on the coffee table from where Thing G ate the night before when I was folding laundry and needed a place to put it. I was mad that before 9 am I’m showered and dressed, doing laundry, and putting a pork shoulder in the crock pot so we’ll have dinner.
I was grouchy and complaining and YBW was sighing.
I went upstairs mad.
About twenty minutes later, I went to YBW and told him I wanted to apologize for being grouchy. That because I’m tired of feeling anxious and cooped up everything I feel is heightened. Things like feeling frustrated that the kid takes no responsibility for himself or as a human being in this household.
He sighs when I express my frustration. When I say that, he asks what he should do instead of sigh.
I stopped and worked hard to express the sighing is fine, it’s that he’s taking it personally is what I don’t like.
He feels responsible that the kid does or does not do the things.

I’ve come to the realization and acceptance that Thing G isn’t going to change his behavior. But it still frustrates me. So, to stop YBW from feeling responsible, I’m going to stop expressing my frustration.
The kid is what the kid is. He has no interest in being different. No amount of ignoring, shouting, guidance, or love makes a difference. No matter what we’ve said, or done, he doesn’t change his behavior. At this point, I’m honestly just counting down the days until he goes to live with his mother and I don’t have to watch it anymore.
At some point YBW has to let go of feeling responsible because the kid chooses not to be responsible for himself.
These are the real and frustrating thoughts I have, but can’t express because they’re hurtful to the man I love most.

When we express ourselves, we can’t control how it’s received. Especially in the current environment of heightened anxiety. What we can control is the way in which we express our thoughts and feels.
LA was feeling anxious and reached out to a friend she loves and trusts, but her friend was at the same level of anxious and it just went sideways.
I was feeling anxious. Cooped up. Tired of these four walls. Tired of doing the things that run the house while other people don’t. I took out my anxiety and frustration on YBW.
Neither LA nor her friend intended to make as stressful situation worse. I didn’t intend to have my frustration escalate to the point of starting our day off in a such a way.
It took me twenty minutes, but I knew how important it was to nip it in the bud.
I needed a pause.
I chose to press reset.

We love our friends and family dearly. We’re all in an anxious state. This works against us when we’re expressing ourselves.
We’re off kilter just enough that logic takes a backseat. Instead of being able to say, I’m having a crap day and need some loving reassurance, LA expressed her anxiety in the form of verbal vomit about how allergies were covid.
Instead of going about my business and quietly cleaning up the messes, I expressed my anxiety as verbal vomit about being frustrated over normal everyday occurrences.
But in addition to the anxious expression of our feels, they were received by those in a heightened anxious state.

Now is the time for us to do the hard work of effective communication.
To be crystal clear about our communication expectations.
We need to do our best to state clearly at the beginning of a conversation, or to ask clearly before engaging in the conversation, I (or do you) need a listener. Or I (or do you) need help problem solving.

We’re going to fail at this sometimes, because we can’t be in both the front and back of our brain at the same time. But if we can stop for a moment and move from the back to the front of our brain, we’re going to be able to communicate more effectively even though we’re anxious.

This whole situation is stressful!
I’m having moments of hanging by a thread. I want to have the biggest fucking temper tantrum you’ve ever seen.
The anxiety in me thinks that sounds straight up amazing!

Y’all it’s a crap situation.
It’s going to get worse before it gets better.
And that’s even if none of us or any one we love gets sick.

At the end of her post, LA wrote:

I verbalized all the stuff swirling in my head, which in turn released the fifty pound weight that had centered itself on my chest…

Same, LA, saaaaaaame.
It feels wonderful to be able to say what I think and feel in a safe and neutral environment.
I’m grateful we’re all here to read and respond to each other’s words.

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

let us treat self expression with respect

There will be those with differing opinions. And that’s fine with me.
Isn’t that what makes it interesting to be a human? To think and feel things that may be a bit different than the things thought and felt by the people you know?
I’ve learned so much about myself and the world by engaging in conversations of differing opinions.
Here’s the most important thing I learned.
It’s all about respect.
I respect your right to your differing opinions. I expect that same respect in return.
Easy peasy lemon squeezy right?
(Yeah, I know.)

I received a snapchat from my daughter two days ago. It amused me so. I was amused because I too have been where she was. I was also struck by the truth in it. Her truth. Where she was in that moment.
It was real. It was honest. And it was a true representation of her sense of humor.

I know the differing opinion folks might have something to say about her attitude or language. I know I would never have sent something like that to my own mother.
But my girl, she is different.
And I’m a different sort of mom.

Here’s the what.
Honest self expression is not always the simplest action. So if one can manage to speak their truth I say, Bravo! Sometimes that truth comes via opening credits of a television show and quippy language.
I was amused enough to take a screenshot.
At the time, I had no idea I’d be using it for a post, I just knew it was a perfect encapsulation of who my daughter is and why I love her.
It really does come down to respect. I respect her enough to encourage her self expression. She respects me enough to know that she can be herself with me.
And the respect from those of differing opinion to acknowledge that my daughter has an interesting way about her without judging it.

This is what I know.
Be respectful. (of yourself and others)
Speak your truth.
If you do the first, the second will be much simpler, no matter how you choose to express yourself.

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

cardinal rules

I have a friend who’s second unbreakable life rule or, “Rule # 2” is that no one is permitted into his home.
I find this fascinating. No one in his home. Ever. (my suspicion is that emergency medical providers are the only exception)

I don’t know that I could ever have his second rule. Let us disregard for a moment the fact that I share a dwelling with YBW and his children (part time).
I need that energy that people bring…and I like to be in my own space. So, that would never work for me. I occasionally want to be around people while also remaining in my own physical space.
And that’s OK. I’m me, not him.

That got me thinking: I’m so me. Like, all the freaking time! And that me is an unholy mess of a girl, as well as put together AF.
I like that about me.
I embrace it, and I celebrate it.

It occurs to me that so many people don’t embrace and celebrate the “me” they are. Folks are so busy trying to be something they may not be because of any number of outside influences, societal rules, or even to impress a potential mate.
In trying to become something else, bits of the me get lost.
Some of those could be OK to lose, crap bits to bid a “good riddance” to. But some of those are important pieces. Invaluable and irreplaceable.
The me is the best and most important piece of the puzzle. Even if you haven’t completely figured out your me.
I learn about the me I am every day.
I learn stuff I love, and want to keep, I learn stuff I feel ambivalent about but realize may have value. I learn stuff I know I can chuck in the bin because it’s bad for me and anyone I come in contact with. But even the chuck it in the bin stuff can be embraced, because I learned something from it. At the very least, I learned I didn’t need it…at most, I may have even learned why.

Some folks are so concerned with improvement they don’t stop first to examine what’s there that might be handy. They just dump it and begin searching for new stuff to fill the void.
That will never get anybody anywhere!
If folks are externally motivated, they’re never going to experience the all-important A-ha! moments. Never experience the all-important I did it! moments.
I believe you lose the most important aspect of the me when you’re externally motivated. When you need to be filled up by other people, or things. It doesn’t seem to me that you’re even aware of the me inside you, much less embracing and celebrating it. That makes me so sad. I cannot stress enough how much that (those) someones are missing out!

Embrace and celebrate what you have within you. Learn it and learn from it.
Accept and release some of it. Accept and embrace other of it.
But, above all, celebrate the “me” inside you.

I’m me.
I’m a hot mess and a tight ship. And that is the way I like it. I’m so over trying to be what external influences expect me to be.
I’m just the me I expect me to be.
I’m amazing and wonderful because I’m flawed.
Each lesson I’ve learned, the good, the bad, the indifferent have made and continue to make me this wonderfully flawed woman.

I think that’s the most important of my Cardinal Rules.
If I decided to create unbreakable rules for my life they might look like this.

1. Embrace and celebrate the me I am.
2. Live my intention.
3.

(yeah, I sort of borrowed that one, but I feel it keenly)
4. Communicate with honesty.
5. Know my limits.

That’s just off the top of my head…I might mix it up a little, I might keep it the way it is. But, over all, that’s how I intended to live my life.
Cardinal Rules.
It occurs to me that I already lived them, just never stopped to write them down.

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

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