Posts Tagged With: understanding

feeling hopeful at the end of the second month

I’m beginning to feel more at home in my own skin.
In my own home.

The first year of teaching is often called survival year.
The first year of anything could probably be called survival year.
This is the end of the second month.
End. Of. The. Second. Month.
Of a survival year.
During a global pandemic.

All the changes came so hard and fast. And came during the strangest possible time.
Pandemic kept us cooped up for safety. And just when that started to feel unbearable, three more people and three dogs joined this household.
Initially it was exciting and new.
Then it was all about getting settled.
Then simple logistics of cohabitating.
How do we make this work? Two small families creating one big family…how can we be both?

Expectations are being ironed out.
Anybody else hear Hamilton in their head?

“I’m past patiently waitin’. I’m passionately mashin’ every expectation. Every action’s an act of creation.”

Just me? OK…
Anyway, we’re beginning to managing expectations. We’re learning how to navigate each other’s personal language. We’re asking what did that mean when you/she/he said that? We’re figuring out how to cohabitate successfully.

I’m used to being alone the majority of my time.
Now I’m never alone.
My daughter is used to being in charge of her own environment.
Now her environment is not her own.
YBW continues his routine of going to work each day.
Now he supports more people.
Husband N is becoming more and more anxious about finding a job.
YBW and I agree he needs gainful employment, we want him to make the best possible choice instead of taking any job because it’s a job.
Baby K alternates between being so delightful it nearly kills us, and being a tiny terrorist demon bent on destruction. (as a toddler do)

And doesn’t even include the chaos of construction in the house.
YBW and I have no access to our own bathroom. And trying to make due with the bare minimum in the hall bathroom is taking it’s toll on me.
I know I’m feeling the stress.
I am acutely aware everybody experiences me feeling the stress.
I do my best to make sure to explain myself and/or apologize if I’m irritable or querulous. (more than normal)

It’s simply too much all at once and my adaption rate is lagging.
To combat this, I am actively carving out time for myself.
I’m reading again. That simple act sparked a change in me. Shifted me from the back of my brain back to the front. My brain moved out of survival mode and into all the good stuff.
I’m so much better off for it. (so is everyone else)
I’m engaged in a mindful way, not simply navigating fight or flight.
I will work as hard as I can to remain here in this healthy brain space.

I will learn to balance my needs with my wants when they’re at odds.
I want to spend every possible moment with Baby K.
I need some quiet time for myself.
Every time I think I’m on it, I fall. Honestly, she’s hard to resist…
But then I remember we’re at the end of the second month.
End. Of. The. Second. Month.

And I offer myself empathy and understanding.
Which, if I’m being honest, I never do.
My personal expectations are residual from my childhood, keep my head down and do the hard work and don’t complain about it. I received no empathy or understanding. I was expected to do what I was told without question.
I end up expecting myself to manage all ‘the things’ and be resigned to do so without complaint.
When triggered, we all go to the place we ‘know’.
So, if I offer myself some grace, it can be a place where I can stop and breathe. I can bask in that grace and encourage understanding for myself. I can stop the triggers, and in doing so I can find balance.
I can manage my own expectations.
I can take the time I need.
I can take the time I want.
I can feel strong and grateful instead of anxious and overwhelmed.

I feel indescribable love and joy having my daughter and her family here.
Now I’m working on making it comfortable.
For me.
For my husband.
For Thing 1 and Husband N.
For Baby K.
Though, let’s be honest, she’s in high cotton as the tiny princess in this multigenerational household.

At the end of the second month, I feel tired. But more than that, I feel hopeful.

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

apparently, I need to “calm my stress”

At the holistic doctor on Tuesday, “Your adrenals are pissed. You need to calm your stress.”
Um…Ya think?

I’m staying off social media.
I’m not watching the news.
I’m trying not to listen when I overhear folks talking.
This is what I’m doing to calm my stress over the school shooting in Parkland Florida.

It is not lost on me that I spend my days in a public school. In a huge, open room with no safe place to corral children to hide. With doors that do not lock.
Would I do whatever it took to keep these children safe?
Yes.
Would I die for them?
Possibly.
Do I feel like that’s my job?
Hell no.

Do I want to keep the children in my school safe?
Absolutely!
Do I need to give my life to do so?
I’d rather not, thanks.

I’m a mom. I’m a wife. In the Autumn, I’ll be a grandmother. However grown, is it acceptable for my girls to be motherless because I died protecting other peoples children? And YBW? Is it acceptable for him to be a widower before we even gain traction on our greatest life adventure together? And little Shrimpy, the bebe I long to know and love. To teach and learn with. To watch irritate his or her mother and Auntie. Is it acceptable for that child to miss out on what might possibly be the coolest grandmother-grandchild relationship ever?

I carry this in me each day I arrive at my sweet little suburban elementary school. (Which, BTW shares physical campus space with an equally sweet suburban high school.)

Now this concept is always and has always been in the back of my mind. And to be quite honest, I lived through something similar during the sniper attacks in October 2002. Keeping children safe through that was a bit more simple, we just never let them go out of doors. At school, or at home.

Do I honestly believe someone will come into our school and start shooting it up?
No.
Is my concern understandable?
Yes.

And then we had a two day heat wave. And I mean record breaking warm temperatures.
I opened the windows wide!
I let the cruddy stale winter air be replaced by delightful breezy spring air.
We needed the sunlight. (My vitamin D is so low.) We needed the beauty of the past two days.

Of course, we’re not the only house in the neighborhood with windows open. And so it came to pass yesterday from the hours of 3:00 to nearly 8:00 the horrible shouty man screamed obscenities and threats at his wife.
This is not new in our neighborhood. There is long standing knowledge of the chaos that is their relationship. Apparently it isn’t physical, just verbal. She drinks too much and he shouts horrific things at her. He shouts horrific things at her and she drinks too much.
Which came first?
We may never know.

I’ve been anxious and bordering on depressed for a few weeks now, to such degree I’ve begun conversations with YBW about me talking with my doctor regarding mood meds.
I’m dull. I’ve lost my sparkle. I’m sleeping too much. I’m suffering insomnia. I eat nothing. I’m bingeing.
I can’t seem to shake myself loose from it.

It’s partly because of this that what happened to those kids in Parkland feels…more.
It’s partly because of this that the horrible shouty man screaming at his wife on and off for five hours did me in yesterday.

Early on in the afternoon, his shouting made me anxious. I knew it then, but I was busy with laundry, and had the TV on for sound it was easy to not hear his actual words. And somehow that kept me feeling safe in my own house while I could hear him in his. But as it wore on and on I could feel myself flooding with stress hormones.
But then as suddenly as it began, it stopped.

Just as I began to feel comfortable again, YBW came home. Even though I’m struggling, I had momentary joy.

Before long, the shouting started again. Only this time, it was closer.
From what I can deduce, the wife went over to one of the neighbors to get away from him. So when his shouting began again, they were at the house directly behind ours.
I was sitting in my comfy chair right next to the window. I could hear every word.
I was on the computer in the middle of something that I needed to finish immediately. I turned on music to drown out his shouting. I wanted to close the window but I was hot and the breeze felt nice.
As I sat here, I became more stressed and more anxious. Realizing I was feeling fearful in my own house!
My face was hot and my head began to hurt and I forced myself out of the shallow breathing pattern.

When I finally finished my task, I went downstairs. YBW was watching the Olympics. I came into the room and said, “I’m so anxious from listening to him shout for so long.” YBW immediately wrapped his body around mine and held me close and quietly. I actually felt as though I melted into him for a moment. That embrace was powerful enough to calm my body and my spirit. YBW’s love grounded me, and I’m so grateful.

Just writing about this now I’m feeling nearly as anxious as I did yesterday.

The actions of others are impacting me with a greater force than I would like.
Normally I have the skills to fend off these outside influences. I normally repel them with the strength of my character. My strong will, and sense of humor.
Seems I’m tapped out of late.
I seem unable to calm my stress.
I hear Hagrid’s frantic voice in my head, “It was dark times, Harry. Dark times.”

I have an appointment with my therapist.
I have herbs and supplements from the holistic doctor that are meant to aid in improving my sense of emotional well being.
If I can’t seem to shake myself from the place I am, I’ll go my general practitioner and have a conversation to see if spending a bit of time with Wellbutrin might make a difference.

In the meantime, I’m only watching HGTV, Food Network, and the Olympics, and I’ve closed the windows on my computer and my house to help block things that only make me more anxious.
But I left the curtains open to let in the ever helpful and hopeful sunlight.

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

To understand the living, you got to commune with the dead.

On my way home from the doctor’s office this morning, I went to the cemetery where my beloved Grandaddy is buried. I wrote about the cemetery in a post called memories. But today it wasn’t about the cemetery itself. It was about talking to Grandaddy.
It’s been a while since I was there to spend time. The last time I was there was to reattach the broken angel statue quickly before it began to rain.
Today I went for advice. To talk about how I feel and see what it might mean.
I’m fully aware that no “real” or tangible answers come as I’m sitting in the grass while the sun warms my body and the granite of the headstones.
But somehow I get what I’m searching for for.
Today was no different. I felt what I needed move through my body like a wave, and I had my answers.
Does that mean what I’m searching for is already inside of me?
Why do I have to go to the cemetery to talk with my Grandaddy to access it?

You know what Minerva said, “To understand the living, you got to commune with the dead.”

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

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