Posted in Goals, inner peace, Life, love, People, writing

Only You Know The Truth

As you know, a while back, I began the messy process of falling apart. Now, I consider myself somewhat of an expert at this particular activity…only, this time, it was different. Usually, it takes some type of EVENT to start my little disaster a-rollin’, but in this case, nothing had outwardly changed. I still had beautiful, healthy children. I still had my home and my awesome job. I still had a roller-coaster of a relationship with the same guy I’d been riding along with for the past four years.

And yet…day by day, my misery mounted. My moods, at first, were mercurial and alarming, but eventually settled down into “horrible”. For a good while, I soldiered on, putting on my Stepford Wives face for work, then discarding it the minute I got home, locking myself in my room, snarling at anyone who interfered with whatever nonsense I was doing. I withdrew from EVERYONE who loved me, either because I didn’t feel like hearing whatever they had to say, or because I didn’t want to bring them down. I desperately wanted to get better, but I wouldn’t do any of the things I knew I needed to do to get there. I was tired of asking for help, and too stubborn to help myself. In short, it sucked. Bad.

One day, I woke up, and I just could not, under any circumstances, do it for one second more. I could not get up, get dressed, go to work, and pretend I was fine, while in my head I was terrified that, at any moment, I was literally going to run screaming from the hospital. I could not pretend I was fine, period. It was killing me.

So I hit my pause button- stopped everything dead in it’s tracks- and I went out on FMLA for mental health reasons. At the time, I felt like I was a full of shit liar, but HELLO! Why is it so hard to see our own dysfunction while we are in the midst of it? I was off my freaking rocker, and anyone who knows me can vouch for that.

I knew it was pretty bad when I told my mom that I had taken leave from work, and, rather than the scornful scolding I expected, she said “Oh, Thank God!” or something like that. I mean, she lives ten hours away, and she could see how ill I had become.

The first three weeks were not so good. I slept a lot, I ate a lot, I gave in to my depression. I spent a lot of time crying, and the rest of the time trying to figure out what I was going to do. Should I check myself in somewhere? Should I get the hell out of dodge? Should I just go back to bed? I thought I was just spinning my wheels, but I see now that I was doing something incredibly important. I was giving myself some time- a LOT of time- to breathe, to think, to grieve, to fall apart- with no pressure. I mean, what an incredible gift I gave myself…a long chain of days to just feel what I was feeling instead of fighting it and masking it and pretending I was fine.

In the midst of all this, my mom, who is the queen of practical gifts for your crisis (she once, when I was in my early thirties, sent me this package that I excitedly opened, only to find a case of laxative TEA. No shit. Pun intended.) sent me a book called “Finding Your Own North Star” by Martha Beck. I had my doubts, but cracked it open anyway. Have you ever been completely lost in the middle of your own life and suddenly found the exact set of directions you needed to find your way home again? Well, this book was that thing for me. Or the first part of that thing, anyway. It described to me exactly where I was, exactly what was happening, and precisely how to deal with it. I am still reading it, weeks later, bit by bit, but every time I open it up, it assures me, yes, yes, what is happening now is what is supposed to be happening.

You see, apparently, the way I was living was so out of sync with who I truly am, that I was losing my mind. When you are doing what you think you are supposed to be doing ( in other words, what your mom and your boss and “society” thinks is correct) and it is in direct odds with what the REAL you, the one that wants to be a cross dressing ballroom dancer, lets say, NEEDS to do- it can make you do exactly what I did. You can bet your ass you are going to wake up one day and, though that good and obedient, people pleasing you will want to get up and go, go, go, happy to perpetuate the facade of happiness, the REAL you is going to refuse.

So, here I am. Doing what I am meant to do, which is write. I don’t care if I am writing MY truth, as I am in this blog, or writing the make believe story of a make believe person in a novel (which I have done, and will be doing again for nanowrimo, yay!). When I am doing THIS, I feel alive and excited. I feel like what I am saying is important and worthwhile, and I feel engaged and full of that fire that I cannot access any other way. For me, this is LIVING.  There is more to it, as well, but this post is getting REALLY long, so I will leave it at that.

What is it that you feel passionately about? What path does your heart long to follow? I want to hear your answers, even if you feel stupid and have never told another living soul. Please don’t wait until it goes to hell in a handbasket before you set yourself free. Can’t wait to hear from you!

Posted in beauty, family, Goals, inner peace, Life, People, Uncategorized

In Honor of…Well, Me.

I am a terrible housekeeper. As much as I dislike the mess, I am just not that great at picking up after myself. My mother, who is not only organized and neat but has a home that could be featured in a home decor magazine, does not understand this.

“If you just get in a routine…” She tells me, “It’s really easy.” All the while looking at me as if she doesn’t understand how she could have missed my learning disability all these years. But I am not so clueless that I don’t GET how ridiculous it is for a relatively intelligent woman to be baffled by a pile of dishes in her sink, overwhelmed by DUST, and incapable of remembering to pick up her panties off the bathroom floor before her company arrives.

The conclusion I have come to is that it is easy for HER, and it is hard for me. Sort of like the way being a bleeding heart liberal is second nature for me, but not so much for all the conservative (insert any other colorful descriptives you want) republicans littering our streets. We are what we are, and until it becomes imperative, or really, really important to ourselves that we change, we remain that way. Sometimes, even then, we can only make a fraction of the improvement we wish to.

I am so not saying that people can’t really change- I believe with all my heart that part of our jobs here as humans are TO change. Especially those crappy little parts we keep hidden from all but those lucky folks closest to us. What I am saying is that maybe, instead of focusing a ton of energy on being who other people think we should be (MOM), we ought to save the bulk of the work for becoming super awesome at the best part of who we are. Yes, it is important to live in a home that has some cleanliness and order- otherwise, your children will contract previously unknown bacterial infections that will then be named after you, and that is how you will be remembered for all of time. Lets face it- you don’t want to go down in Wikipedia as the originator of “Duncholera” or “Duncanyllococci” or something, and have school children cutting and pasting your visage into their essays until an antibiotic is found, right? So for me, that means understanding the difference between being lazy and using my ineptitude as an excuse for slobbishness, and making a solid effort to not wind up on the show “Hoarders.”

I think part of what led to my recent descent into the pit of doom and depression was my despair at being unable to adapt the way I thought I should have into my role as the mother and woman counterpart in a family unit.  I felt like I wasn’t good enough at running my household, at getting dinner made every night, washing the dishes, singing the lullabyes, paying the bills and fixing all manner of domestic wrong. And to make matters worse, I didn’t just feel like a failure…I resented and disliked that role as well. Here I had given up everything that made me happy in the world for THESE PEOPLE (i.e., my children and boyfriend) and I sucked at it. Enter all forms of self sabotage and abuse, causing depression and further dysfunction, blah blah blah.

Well, duh. I was trying to do what I thought I SHOULD be doing instead of what was right for me. This morning, I was sitting outside, sipping my coffee, thinking about things, and it occurred to me that my current happiness is directly related to me being excited about my life again. I have plans to head out of town today with my best friend Grace, to go visit our other best friend, Vera, in San Francisco. Next week, I am starting NanoWriMo, this month long writers event, and I’m excited to be attending the first write-in on the first. The day after that, I am going to Reno for an NA convention with some friends.

Every single one of these things feeds my soul, and makes me happy. When I am happy, somehow the dishes get done, the bed gets made and life becomes easier to manage. The baby and I have even found a new way to cope with each other when things start to get a little tense between us- we get into a warm bath together with about a gallon of Lavender scented bath products and we soak until we can stand each other again. There may also be some rubber ducky antics thrown in, just to keep things fun.

Today, I am going to honor and adore who I am, not who you want me to be, who you think I am, not even who I wish I was. Because the greatest service I can provide the universe is to be the very best version of myself I am capable of being. And not to infect you all with Duncholera. Have a fantastic day!

Posted in family, kids, Life

Motherhood (Raw and Uncut)

Well, hello, you good people of blogger-land, Facebook, Twitter and various other internet locations. I hope you haven ‘t forgotten about me. I know it’s been a few days. I did not turn my computer on once this past weekend (I never sat my phone down once, though)- I needed a break from the constant stat-checking I’d been doing. So on the sixth AND seventh day, I rested. And also the first day of the next week, and then it just started to become a bad habit. I figured I better sit my ass down and dredge up something clever to say quick before you guys didn’t like me anymore. I have no idea if I will be able to achieve that or not, seeing as how I have a headache, Nick Jr. is blaring out of the TV, and my toddler is periodically climbing up behind me and doing something to my hair. I’m pretty sure she is checking me for lice. I hope she doesn’t find any.

So, while I was rushing around trying to cook dinner, keep the baby occupied,  and not accidentally step on the dog (simultaneously)this evening, it occurred to me that this was not exactly what I’d envisioned being the mother-person in a family would be like. I don’t really know where I got my weird idea that it would be this easy and totally gratifying experience…perhaps it came from every woman with a child I know saying, at one time or another, that their children were the greatest blessing of their lives. Not that they are NOT, don’t get me wrong. I’m a subscriber to that particular belief, myself. I think it’s a chemical imbalance you develop at the moment of conception that keeps you from throwing your infant out the window after the third sleepless night in a row.

Now, girls, if you really think about it- how many times have you conversed about motherhood with a childless person, and contributed blatant honesty in your statements? Because when I think about it, I realize that I have been guilty of a whole lot of glossing-over-of-the-truth, myself. Which is weird, because I am normally a really, brutally honest kind of girl. I can’t help but wonder if maybe this is another instinctual glitch deep in our animal brains meant to encourage the human race to be fruitful and multiply. Or maybe it’s just what we’ve been conditioned to say, as mothers-“She’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me.” “I can’t remember what it’s like to NOT be a mom.” “It’s hard, but it’s worth it.”. All of those things are true, and maybe we are scared to tell the WHOLE truth…but here, again, is one of those things that no one really talks about so everyone feels bad about it. Thinking that they are the only freakish, soulless female in the world who ever thought about how nice it would be to have a nervous breakdown just so she could stuck in a mental ward for a week or two, and rest, kid free.

Well, if you are thinking those thoughts, love, rest assured- you are not alone. Here are some other things you either already know or, if you don’t, you really ought to be told:

-Pregnancy may or may not suck for you, but I encourage you to enjoy being the object of such affection and attention while you can. The minute you pop that baby out, it’s like you barely exist anymore. Of  course, that isn’t really true, but after months of people doting on you and treating you so sweetly, it’s a bit harsh when it all gets yanked away overnight. You may find yourself  spouting the words “I just had a baby” an unreasonable amount of times in all sorts of inappropriate conversations. I know I did! I wanted people to know I wasn’t just dumpy, I had leased my body out to a smallish human for almost a year. It got a little too small for her and she had to move out, but she left the place a mess!

-People will give you so much advice that you will not know what the hell to do. Everyone sounds very sure of themselves. When you tell them, timidly, that you plan on going back to work when the baby is four months old, they will look at you like you just added “and I was going to just leave the baby out in the yard with the dog.”  to the end of your sentence. These well meaning folks will find fault with anything you say that does not mirror what they believe to be right. Don’t worry about it.

-After the first two days of being a mom, you will probably have to be alone with the baby. It’s okay if you don’t really feel all that excited about this stranger you just gave birth to. I was shocked by how ambivalent I felt towards both my kids for the first little while after they were born. I mean, I LOVED them and thought they were amazing, but it wasn’t how I thought it would be. It took a little bit of interacting to get to that adoration phase.

-IMPORTANT! The first three months of being a mom is sort of nightmarish. I mean, it is freaking hard. You are fat, tired, sleep deprived, soggy and  isolated from the real world. Your whole life suddenly revolves around this fragile little person that you can’t even leave alone while they are sleeping (I checked my infants constantly for signs of life  while they slept, even poking them when necessary) . It is really a thing you have to go through on your own, no matter how great the dad may be. He isn’t the one dealing with the hormones, the body changes, the life altering craziness of it all. But it will get better. It really does. And I’m not just saying that to encourage you to breed, I promise.

Wow! That was really long, really quick. I think I will have to do this in segments-Yay! A plan! So I’ll meet you back here really soon, and we will talk about the truth about toddlers, ok? Now I’m outta here. I have jury duty tomorrow. Oh! And feel free to add your thoughts about how much infants suck, sometimes. And how much we love them, anyway.