Posts Tagged With: self expression

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

we are not our feelings

Thing 2 was feeling her feels this morning.
Anxious and fearful.
Her sister and I (and Baby K) showed up ready to rock.
Y’all, I’m talking loving, supportive girl power to the nth degree. But that’s what we do for each other.

Thing 2 works in a cool Asian fusion restaurant. She is currently the senior-most server.

She wrote in our group chat: There’s a 35 top coming in as soon as we open
Me: May the Force be with you!

Thing 1: You are amazing, just be your charming self and you’ll get good tips and you’re going to be OK

I stopped for a moment. I realized we both jumped in to ‘rescue’ her. I considered that she might simply be expressing herself. Perhaps she didn’t need to be bucked up, perhaps she needed to be heard.

Me: It sounds like a complicated situation. Your anxiety makes sense. It’s overwhelming af! You’re feeling your feels

Thing 1: You got this!
Me: So wig out for a couple more moments. Like, seriously, set a timer. Then steel yourself. You are so capable. And(!!!) you can guide them along instead of waiting to see what they want.

Thing 1: (FTW) Don’t do that. Be pleasant and gregarious, and you’ll be great!

Thing 1: You’re the Thing 2est Thing 2 that ever Thing 2ed!

Me: Your anxiety makes sense in this situation. However, you actually possess the skills and abilities to make this situation successful for yourself and your customers!

Thing 1: And once it’s all over, you’ll be done! My therapist always says there’s a finish line, you just have to get to it and you can move on to the next thing. It will end and it will be behind you and you can move on.
Me: YESSSSSSSS!
Thing 2: Wow. I like her.

Thing 1:

Me: Breathe. You’ve got this! Look, if chubby, somewhat drunk looking Baby K believes in you…you can’t possibly fail!
Thing 2: I WAS JUST GONNA SAY SHE LOOKS DRUNK! What a beautiful tiny encourager
Me: You have the most powerful women on your side! We’ve got you, and you’ve got this! I love you more than the moon and the stars!

We did that.
We were her cheerleaders.
We encouraged her.
We reminded her of what she’s capable of doing.

We also honored her feelings.
We acknowledged her fear and anxiety.
We reassured her that her feelings are valid, and in this situation, made sense.
We reminded her she is not her feelings.

I think we all need to be reminded of that.
We are not our feelings.
We experience them but we are not them.
I read somewhere, I can’t for the life of me remember where, but it went something like this.
Feelings are like the rain, we might walk in the rain, but we are not the rain.

We don’t become our feelings.
We feel our feelings.

Thing 2 was feeling the hell out of her feelings today.
But, with a little bit of love and support from her momma, big sister, and baby niece, she didn’t let herself become them.

Later this afternoon we got this:

Me: Brava, Thing 2! You DID it!
Thing 1: Way to go! We knew you could do it!!!!

Taking a break to sit in the grass.
(I’m purposely ignoring the smoking.)
She needed to feel connected to the earth. She needed to feel grounded.

35 people came into the restaurant and Thing 2 served them.
The world didn’t explode, and neither did she.

Though she be but little, she is fierce.
Even the fiercest among us need a bit of encouragement now and again.

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

I’m a ray of f**king sunshine

I really like cuss words.
Profanity.
Dirty words.
Offensive language.
Bad words.
Expletives.
Swear words.
Obscenitites
Whatever you call ’em, they make me happy.
I find them excellent descriptive words great for most any situation.

I have been told that my passion for, and abundant use of curse words denotes a lack of intelligence on my part. (You know I’m saying a great big ‘f**k you’ to those folks.) But, According to Richard Stephens at Keele University,

The fact is that the size of your vocabulary of swear words is linked with your overall vocabulary, and swearing is inextricably linked to the experience and expression of feelings and emotions.

Unlike the vast majority of women in the world, (some men too) I am a fan of the “C word”.
I know.
I don’t mind if you judge me. Most folks do when it comes to this particular word.
To me it’s just another bad word. It doesn’t offend me in any way, and in some cases I find it amusing.
So much so that I had a bit of a squee when banter cards ran a half-price sale on their ‘not quite perfect’ hardback notebooks!
I ordered a few. I mean honestly can one ever have enough journals?
And they’re just so me.
(“C word” alert!!)

As happy as I am with each one, and My C**ting Notepad brings me the biggest smirk, I’m going to have to admit that List Whore just might be my favorite.
Like there was any doubt…but y’all! It even has a little heart! I (heart) lists!
Though a reminder to not be a bitch is always helpful, because some times I simply can’t help myself.

Going to contemplate the perfect use for each one…
In the meantime, I got fun stickers for immediate use in my planner.

Organized as f**k.
You know it!

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

undermining myself

I have this terrible habit of not expressing precisely how I feel if I think there’s a chance it’ll be met with resistance. Example: I sort of wanted to go to a partly last night. A party for a woman who is the mother of a child I used to teach in preschool. She’s celebrating a milestone birthday and I thought it might be fun to “show my face”. It’s important to say that I was not clamoring to go, I just felt like I might want to. YBW asked me earlier in the day if I wanted him to go with me. I told him, yes I did. (And here’s where I begin to undermine myself) But I also told him that if he didn’t want to go, that was OK too.

Later on when it was time to think about leaving the house, I got frustrated because he chose to take the out I so graciously gave him. I came upstairs and changed into my pajamas, brushed my teeth and got ready for bed. I was cutting off my nose to spite my face, but I was in no frame of mind to be around people.

I set myself up to fail.
I’m so adept at it, I almost never realize I do it.

Last night I realized it.
YBW and I had a conversation that began on an unrelated note, but found it’s way to this particular subject matter. I said something about how when the roles are reversed, I would go with him because I knew that he wanted to go and would like it if I went with him.
He said something to the effect that in that case, I’m being the better person.
At first I thought he meant I did it purposefully. That I thought I was a better person than he is, that I do these things to be the better person. He assured me that wasn’t the point.
So I asked then why did he choose not to be the better person.
I don’t remember if he answered me or not.
But here’s why: What I did was give him an out and hope that he wouldn’t take it.

I’m not skilled at saying what I want.
I spent a lifetime learning not to express those kinds of things. I learned quickly that what I may or may not want didn’t matter. I learned that I was to do what was expected of me without question. This was my childhood.
The moment I began to do what I wanted, I was unceremoniously ejected from my home.
Let me assure you, a traumatic event like that will give you pause. And reinforce the fact that anything I may or may not want were irrelevant.
I chose a passive aggressive, master manipulator as my first husband. I was expertly fooled into believe I was not only able to express what I wanted, but that I would also get it. This was tricky for me. It looked like I was finally able to articulate what I wanted and I was amazed by it. Only, it wasn’t really what I wanted most of the time…the sabotage was so subtle I didn’t realize it was happening.
I might express my desire, but for the most part it went unfulfilled.
Eventually I began to understand how it worked and stopped expressing my wants all together. I would simply deffer.
Example: If asked where I would like to go to dinner, I might have something I really wanted to eat but I would never say it, I would simply respond with something like, It doesn’t matter to me, where would you like to go?

It was hurtful to be specifically asked what I wanted and then not actually get it. So I learned to stop wanting things. I learned to stop expressing my opinion.
But I didn’t like it.
It created a toxicity in me. A bitter resentment.

A pattern is created and then it creates how one functions. I knew better than to express myself, but I hated it. I hated the people who started it, and I hated myself for perpetuating it.
Most of the time I try to be hyper-aware, but it’s so easy to fall back into a lifelong pattern…

I am creating a self-fulfilling prophecy with YBW.
I’m not giving either of us a chance.
If I don’t say what I want, I won’t get it. And then I get mad. At him. At myself.
If I say what I want and then add a caveat based on his wants, I hope he’ll show me how wonderful he is and do what I want even though I’ve given him an out. I’m setting him up to fail. I’m setting myself up to fail. And then I get mad when we fail.

Now, I’m not saying this is entirely my responsibility. It’s his too. But I need to trust that he’s not going to repeat the same patterns I’ve already experienced. I need to be clear and then see what his choices are.
If I’m clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that I want him to go with me to a birthday party and he chooses not to go, then I have a right to be hurt and frustrated and mad.
But if I’m not clear, if I say, but if you don’t want to, that’s OK, then he’ll choose what’s most comfortable for him. And when I get hurt and frustrated and angry it won’t make any sense.

I’m not good at expressing what I really want, sometimes I’m even worse at even understanding what I really want. It’s a skill set I need help with. I need to practice more.
It’s just so much easier to deffer, to say, “It doesn’t matter to me, whatever you want.”
I’m still getting hurt, but I’m not letting anyone else hurt me. I’m doing it myself.
I’m aware that is some kind of twisted logic…but it’s my logic.
And I’m working on it.

I’ve tasked myself to journal about expectations.
I have a feeling I’m going to surprise myself.

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

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