my quote of the moment: "if you can attain repose and calm, believe that you have seized happiness." ~julie-jeanne-eleonore de lespinasse

September 24, 2015

trigger warning

there are certain phrases that i feel have been corrupted, taken over and used again and again so their impact is watered down. or used in a different way than their original intended meaning, so that their present definition has skewed from what has been intended. slang has a way of doing that to words, and i am fully aware that i do it too. one phrase, though, that i wish hadn't been corrupted by the populace is "trigger warning."

now i see that phrase used by those that don't want to offend. or i see those that ask for it's usage so they know the steer clear of certain articles that they might be upset by because it is filled with different opinions than their own. but that's not how it's meant to be used. it is not a phrase that is supposed to help those pushing a completely politically correct agenda. it is not to be used lightly, placed at the beginning of any article that might offend or upset. there is nothing wrong with getting upset about things, especially if it leads to a discussion on differences. or if it highlights a point of view that was previously unknown to a person. sometimes we live too much in our own safe sphere, never venturing out to explore other viewpoints or dissenting opinions. how can we changed and grow and understand each other if we only ever surround ourselves with those like us?

but that is not the point of this post. the point of this post is how upsetting i find it that the people who need the protection that phrase provides aren't getting it. but then, that also bleeds into a larger view on the corruption of mental illness and its descriptors. people use the word "depressed" all the time to mean sad, but that word means so much more than that. i've heard people describe others with the term "bipolar," when they really mean that someone is moody or changes their mind a lot. people sometimes say they think their kids have "ADHD," even though their child is just showing the normal signs of being a kid. all these phrases, tossed around so lightly, are actually medical terms, diagnoses and diseases, and the people who have these illness (as determined by their doctor) probably don't appreciate what could be construed as the belittling of their difficulties.

(i will not say i speak for the community as a whole, i only speak for myself)

and so stories and articles with the phrase "trigger warning" don't use it to signify that they are posting something controversial, they use it as a true warning, and follow that phrase with a short description of why the follow might be a trigger for some. the warning may explain that the piece could talk about self harm or suicide or abuse of alcohol, and those that also struggle with the problem should be aware. not everyone that self harms needs to worry about reading an article on dangers of cutting, but there are some that might read it and think that it sounds like a pretty good idea. so instead of showing the possible dangers, the article would inspire those to begin again. hence the need for a warning, because some people need to be more careful than others about what they read or see or do. and maybe one day they'll get to a point where it doesn't matter, that they are strong enough read things like that without backsliding into a bad place. but then there are those that are still at the beginning of their journey, or are having a hard time, or it is just a bad moment, and then they need those warnings so they don't accidentally fall deeper into the pit.

i am all for not offending others, but a line must be drawn between being unoffensive and being ridiculous. people also must realize, though, that there are so many other views than their own, and people are fighting struggles with demons that others don't even know exist. and if we can help those that need help, or even just make their fight easier in some small way, why is that a bad thing? in the end, i guess i just wish we could take back the meaning of things, use words as they were originally intended, until we don't need those words anymore.

September 22, 2015

still alive

"we do what we must, because we can, for the good of all of us..."

i think i might have talked about my views on responsibility here once or twice before. if not, there's something in my "dead letter file" that just never got posted. it's a topic i think about often. about how sometimes my personal views on responsibility and requirements and being an adult differ slightly from those i know.

i believe that life is made up of choices. i believe that we need to stand by the choices we made. i also believe that once made, you can't just go around changing your mind all willy-nilly, that wouldn't exactly be honorable. if you did that often enough, people would be begin to doubt your word. or your convictions. so if you make choices, stick with them, stick up for them, stand by them, and follow through with them.

that doesn't mean that you can't change your mind down the road. but, personally at least, it does mean that you should have some reason for your flip-flop in attitude or behavior. and i know that it seems lately people have the opinion that it shouldn't matter what others think of how you live your life, you should do you and not worry about them. and that is fine in theory, but if that is how you live your whole life, then people won't  think that they can depend upon you when they need to, that you're only out for yourself. and then, when the day comes that you might need to depend upon someone else, there won't be anyone else there.

also, there are times where i believe the appropriate course of action might be counter to your personal wishes, if it means helping out the greater good. sometimes we have to do things we don't want to do, if it means that we can help keep the peace or do good for others or help in a situation that no one else can help in. and it doesn't mean we need to like being selfless in these situations, it just means we need to keep our complaining to ourselves and pitch in once in a while for the greater good. that is, by the way, my personal definition of being an adult, doing things you might not want to do just because it really is the right thing to do. and no, i don't mean you should bend your convictions to help someone, there are lines that need to be drawn, just draw them in pencil in case you ever want to change them down the road.

it is a careful balancing act, though, that we must do, between helping people out and helping ourselves. sometimes the choices are easy, but sometimes to help and put others first means we put ourselves last. i am a fan of this approach, because i believe that people are inherently good, and when down the road you need a hand, those you helped with likely return the favor. it doesn't always happen, and i have been burnt by those that i've helped in the past. there have been a few that have realized my giving nature and asked too much. and i, being me, never said no until it was past the point of stopping.

still, i try to see the good in all, and help out where i can. i might not like it. certain times and in certain cases, i flat out hate it, but i still do what i think i must do because i want to be helpful. or because i know there isn't anyone else that can step in. or, in a larger picture, i am following through on decisions i made ages ago, decisions that i have come to regret immensely, but i stand by my choices and will do what i must do because i feel i have to. because if not me, then who?

September 17, 2015

not like you

so it's been a few weeks since i've posted anything here. we are still trying to get back into the swing of school and scouts and sports. plus last christmas it was decided that taking a family vacation during the fourth week of school would be a lovely idea, so once we were finally getting used to our routines, we took a break and now have to embrace them again.

i've also had a lot on my mind, things i've been working through, things i want to share here. it's the thoughts i have that pop up every year around this time, when our family schedule changes. it takes almost all school year for things to settle and everyone to accept their roles and duties. and then school ends and summer starts and all the routines and schedules and set daily plans go out the window in bits and pieces, until we find ourselves at the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year and we have to start all over again.

i don't mind the starting over again, i like routines and schedules, and my kids really thrive on knowing what comes next and what is expected of them and the plans we have for the day and week ahead. the part that throws me for a loop every year is that the school year also includes scouts and sports and all the other activities that my kids are involved in. all summer i can luxuriate in my agoraphobia, but at the end of august i am expected to be an adult and mother and go to meetings and practices and interact with other adults. and that is when, unfortunately, my differences always shine.

i don't like talking to people, i am terrible at small talk, and i always feel like i have nothing to say. but small talk is almost a requirement at these kid events, or it used to be until the age of smart phones and my new ability to stare at a small screen and pretend i am busy. i also have a "bit" of social anxiety, where as soon as i leave my house i start to panic. once we finally get to where we are going, the kids jump out of the car to join their peers and leave me milling around with the rest of the adults. those adults who i am convinced are laughing and pointing and talking about me, secretly belittling me because they know i am not like them, that i don't belong, that i am different and not the same and not worth being here. and so the panic sets in, and invariably i feel like crying or vomiting or hiding in my car, or all three if i happen to be at a boy scout meeting. so then, to pass the time and look busy and give me something else to focus on, i live tweet my panic attack, describing my cold sweats and nausea and racing heart and fear (it's a good time, you should follow me). and eventually, it ends, the kids come back, we get in the car and go home, and in the comfort of my safe space i am better.

all of my issues about leaving my house are tied together, and to fix one i must work on fixing them all. i know i would have an easier time if i was better at small talk, i would feel less different if i could hold a conversation with the other parents. because i know that they really aren't standing around making fun of me, they probably don't even notice me, but because i don't interact with them, my mind jumps to worse case scenario. the problem i have is that (especially at scouts, which is the worst) i don't have anything to talk about with the other parents. our interests are too different to be able to talk week after week about anything more than the weather. beyond the activity at hand, our kids don't even have much in common, so after all these years of seeing the same people, i have run out of ways to talk about the weather.

also, the simple fact that i struggle with anxiety sets me apart. but how to explain that i am not stuck up or bitchy but flat out scared is the reason i sit quietly and don't say anything? especially when in so many places the discussion of mental illness is taboo? last tuesday, while sitting around with the other parents, bumble ran over to me and said that i should try to make friends. it kills me that even he realizes i am not like the other moms. he has enough he is dealing with and has to personally overcome without being the kid with the weird mother, but i am at a lost with what to do.

on the internet it is easy to find people who share your interests, who are similar to you and with whom you can talk to about anything. in real life, in the more conservative circles i am forced to travel, it is so much harder. i don't watch sitcoms or care about the latest celebrity scandal or agree that this country was really founded on christian principles and the bible should dictate the laws we pass. i would much rather talk about superheros and space exploration and environmental conservation and the best way to build pneumatic steampunk fairy wings. but finding physical people to talk about stuff like that with, instead of just digital, has proven impossible. so i will continue to sit quietly and stare at my phone and try to slow my racing heart, and hope that, even if others do think i'm different, they don't hold it against my kids.

August 27, 2015

sackcloth and ashes

so all my kids are in school full time. and i am happy. my house is quiet, it gives me time to think. i know i have my mornings to finish all the things i didn't get done the night before, which has helped to ease the bedtime routine. i have flipped chores around, instead of washing the dinner dishes, i leave them to soak in the sink for the morning, which leaves me more time to focus on the kids and making sure is done and books are read and showers are taken and hair is brushed. there is enough to do at night without worrying about getting my house to tip top shape.

and i am developing a morning routine that i like and works for me. we get up and get breakfast. while they eat i make fish's lunch (the boys pack for themselves), and then it's getting dressed and ready and getting out the door on time. i walk my dear fish, which i totally count as my daily exercise, and then i come home and clean the house. it still leaves me with most of the day to relax and enjoy the peace and quiet.

the problem is that i am getting many comments about how people think i must feel, which is making me wonder if how i really feel is wrong. everyone i've talked to was surprised that i wasn't in tears on the first day all the kids were in school. that i don't miss them terribly and am all sorts of upset and wonder what to do with myself all day.

does not being upset make me a bad mother? does it mean that i love them less then those that are inconsolable? is there a standard level of grief that i am not reaching, a socially acceptable amount of tears that i should have shed by now?

because i like to think that i do love my kids, in my own quiet way. i provide for them and encourage them and help ready them for the outside world. i feel like going to school is just the next logical step on their journey to independence. if this is the normal and expected direction they are to be going in and growing in, why should i be upset? i feel like i should count the lack of tears on all our faces as a victory in preparing them to face the challenges of the world at large.

and yet some of what i have read on facebook during this back to school time has made me feel like less of a mother, like i didn't reach some predetermined standard of grief. because i didn't hit that level of sadness, my love for my children must not be as real or as true or as much.

i am me, and when it comes to feelings about things outside myself, i know that for me, the highs are never as high and the lows are never as low as i have seen expressed by others. but that doesn't mean that i don't feel anything at all, it just means that i don't express it. i had to learn not to show emotions, unless i wanted those emotions used against me. i am careful, i am cautious, but i also know that my children know how much and how deeply i love them. i am tired of the social media competitions, i refuse to wear sackcloth and ashes. it's not my style, but that's ok. those who matter know the truth.

August 26, 2015

three good things

i am a sucker for book stores. i can browse for hours, looking at spines, flipping through pages, a flood of "must read" lists all coming back to me. and yet i know that my pile of to-read at home is big enough that i don't buy anything new. usually don't. unless it's a really good sale, because then it would be almost a crime not to.

one thing i do end up with more often then not, though, is a new journal. for a long while i was writing in them in my scribbly cursive, jotting down fragments of sentences and thoughts and half formed ideas, almost a scratch pad for this mass of words that is my blog. i know i could do that all digitally, but like i prefer holding physical pages to holding an e-reader, i prefer writing with a pen to typing things like this. the only reason i have an online presence is because it's really hard to share words on paper across the miles, unless you're willing to pay for postage.

so over the years i've grown a lovely collection of blank journals. but i stopped writing for a long time, and even those empty pages started stacking up. i felt like i needed to do something with all of them, lest i waste their endless possibilities. and so i started a daily journal of sorts.

somewhere along the line, someone told me (or i read it or just made it up, even though it sounds like it might be true) that to change your outlook on things, you need to focus on the positives in life and not the negatives. the negatives in my life have built up over the years, drowning out the positives. and being who i am and what i am, i would focus on them. obsessively. i would ponder on past mistakes, years old, wondering if any still thought i was a terrible person for all the things i did half a life ago. or i thought about all the things that i would have done differently, all the things that i did wrong, all the things i didn't do and then inaction turned out to be the wrong course. the random thoughts that would keep me up at night for hours, that i couldn't shut out of my brain.

so i've decided to focus on the positives. again, not sure where i came up with the idea exactly, i decided that no matter how crappy the day there were at least three good things that happened. then i would write those three good things down. so instead of my journals chronicling my angst and worry and fears, i would write down the good that happened in hopes that those things would be all i would remember.

i started on new years day, and am now more than halfway through the year. being me, i didn't keep it up everyday. there have been many times where i would sit down and try to remember my past week, thinking on all i did on those days, trying to come up with the good things to write and remember. and there have been a few occasions where i couldn't come up with three things, a few days only have two. i'm really not sure this little project has helped me much, but i do know that down the line, when the years wash some memories away, i will be able to pick up this particular journal and have good memories come back. so it's hard to remember, and some days are a struggle to come up with items to write, but i know my future self will thank me, somewhere down the line.

August 19, 2015

something like normal

my social anxiety makes me worry. such is the nature of anxiety. but specifically, i worry about what other people think. i worry about being normal, i worry about whether people will see me as weird or different or strange. i worry that my reactions to events won't be quite right, so i hold myself back and don't react. and then i worry that not reacting isn't quite right and that people are judging me any way. and so sometimes i take cues from my peers and mirror their reactions, even if it goes in the opposite direction to my own.

and then, of course, i worry that people can see through me. can see that i am just acting, just pretending to be like they are, that they know that i am not. that all of this is a facade and that i am not like them. and so i worry that they are judging me, that every one is talking about me behind my back, laughing and pointing and saying terrible things.

so i avoid as much social interaction as possible, because all of that worry is stressful. all of that pretending and then second guessing every action taken leaches all the fun out of any and every activity. i can't relax when i am out, because if i let myself relax then i worry that i will let my crazy show. of course then i worry that by not participating in activities and putting myself out there socially, people are still talking and judging and laughing.

so yes, most days and places, no matter what i do or say or how i act, i feel not quite right, not in line with the expectations of others. and even though a much more rational part of my brain tells me that i shouldn't care about the opinions of others, that i should live for myself, that i should do what makes me happy, i can't. i just want to be normal.

all of this probably stems from me living in my own head way too much, and that most of those that i interact with don't notice me at all, let alone think of me much, that i really am mostly invisible and unimportant to others. still, i worry that people will see me as a fraud. that they will know i have no idea what i'm doing and am secretly panicking constantly. and that, because i am a ball of stress wound too tight, i would much rather go home.

August 18, 2015

on edge

i am trying to keep everything straight this week. school starts, and football is in full swing. this weekend there is a big party we are not only attending, but i agreed to help set up and make food for. plus i have house guests to deal with. one has been here for a week and will be here for another week or so, and two more come this weekend for the aforementioned party.

needless to say, i am a bit stressed. i am afraid i am going to miss something. i am afraid something is going to remain undone and i will let people down. there are so many moving parts and pieces this week, and it falls to me to get everyone in place backstage so when the curtain goes up, we are all ready.

the other side of this, the more crazy less rational side (and isn't there always?) is that i think i am not as stressed and upset about certain things as i should be. i like my home a certain way, i have routines and schedules in place, but i also try to be an accommodating hostess. and so, with house guests, i have deferred to their preferences and let some things go so i know they are comfortable. which has left me uncomfortable and stressed out and unable to fall back on my routines to get me through. so i am personally upset. but on friday, my dear fish goes to kindergarten all day, and i am ready to push her out the door. and i am more than ready for the boys to go back.

and so it stands as this: friends and beloved family come for a visit and stay causes me panic, but a milestone that proves all of my children are growing up and will soon leave me makes me feel next to nothing. and because i think that this is not how things should be, i feel the need to pretend that i welcome all my guests with open arms while acting visibly upset at my children heading off to school.

i know i am me, that nobody else is me, and that if this is how i react to my life, i shouldn't feel bad about it. but this is just another one of those times where i feel less than normal, and that my reaction to things isn't quite right, and over so many years i have been trained to feel bad about my choices and my feelings, especially when they don't fall in line with those of my peers. part of me knows that i shouldn't feel bad about how i feel, but i also know that i'm not there yet. society's pressures are still too strong, and i am not like the brave women i've seen who don't care what others think. because honestly, i do care. i want so much to be liked and accepted that there are times i am willing to go against who i am if it gets me closer to who i think people want me to be. maybe one day i will be strong and brave and will find my tribe who will support me no matter what i do or say. right now, though, i still feel like i need to hide all this crazy.

August 12, 2015

summer's almost over

this summer has seemed to fly by. and there are so many regrets, so many things that i wanted to do and see while i had the chance. and now, with the kids soon going back to school, i really feel like i have missed my opportunity for those experiences.

the crazy thing is that their going back to school doesn't mean an end of fun for me. in fact, some would argue that my fun time can actually begin, seeing that fish is going to start kindergarten next week. with her in school all day, i will have hours to myself to do whatever i want. so i can watch the list of movies that i wasn't able to get through, read all the books that have been piling up for months, and create all the things that i have been putting off attempting while i was surrounded by little fingers that "just want to help."

my husband thinks that i will be bored, that i won't know what to do with myself or how to fill all the empty hours. and i suppose he might be right, but i think i'll be ok. i think i know myself well enough to know that, if i get really desperate for activities, i can always get to all the cleaning and organization projects that i've been putting off, like scrubbing the carpets on the steps and cleaning out all the kitchen cupboards.

really i doubt that it will come to that. i was always able to entertain myself when the kids were away visiting family over the summer. and if worse comes to worse, i could always get a job.

August 5, 2015

the weird family

as summer winds down, i have been taking an inventory of things i have learned over the summer. some of the basics aren't really new, such as sometimes my boys are super amazing together and sometimes they're like rabid dogs at each others' throats. i have seen how fish can play well with other kids, but only on her terms; when she is done playing and wants to be left alone, she is loud enough and big enough that she can get her way.

other things, though, are truths i suppose i should have realized long ago but have been blind to. this summer, and all of the activities we've participated in, have reinforced those truths. or truth, because there is one that is all encompassing and umbrellas all small nuggets of wisdom. it is that my family is strange.

now yes, i know, in this day it is kind of hip to say that everyone should be their own unique person and kids should be themselves and be proud when they are. still, there are social acceptable norms that a family shouldn't stray too far from, kind of like it's ok to be weird, just not too weird. my family blast through those lines without looking back.

like when we all go to play at the playground for some outside family fun, and it is my kids that are yelling and screaming and carrying on too loudly. and bumble is playing with the very little kids because he doesn't get along well with those of his size. and fish is jumping off of things and crying that she hurt herself, and when i call her over to see if she's ok the first thing out of her mouth is she wants to know if she's in trouble. and lumpy making everything into a gun or weapon or some war game, making very specific references to violent video games he probably shouldn't know. and all the while i am getting judgy side-eye from all the other parents for ruining their peaceful day out.

it's also fun to get confirmation your kids are the weird ones when they go to scout camp by themselves. and one doesn't play so well with others because they are a very strict rule follower, and they get into fights with other kids who want to play and maybe don't follow the rules to the letter, and that's not ok by them. and then the other one, who has known social issues, has so much trouble interacting with the other boys that the leaders have to sit everyone down and explain that bullying is not ok.

i already have issues going out and interacting with others in public, i would be very happy never to have to leave the house. the fact that my kids are the weird kids does not make going out any easier. i don't really help myself though, because i am always overly prepared, with a giant purse filled with just in case supplies, and i am terrible at small talk so i don't try to make any, and when i do end up talking i trail off mid-sentence or talk too fast and too loud.

so yeah, all the interactions we've had this summer has just confirmed what i always feared, that my family is the weird family. and so much these days says to revel in your strangeness and embrace your differences, but it's hard when you live in a conservative area and being different isn't always celebrated. at least i know it'll never be boring around here.

July 30, 2015

controlling the volume of my voice

one thing that i have always appreciated is silence. it's not that i have ever taken it for granted and then am reminded of how awesome it is when the kids are away (like now). no, i have always loved the quiet. as soon as they go to bed, i shut off the tv and just sit. even when my hubby and i are up watching shows together, and we stay up much later than we should to watch just one more show on netflix, even then when he wanders off to bed and wants me to join him, i will sit in the silence of my living room for a little.

too much noise has always been too much for me. when the world around me gets too loud, the voices and thoughts that are constant in my head start turning up the volume. then everything feels like it's shouting and i can't reason or think or function. i feel swallowed up by the noise. i need quiet to breath and to think and to calm myself. because if things stay too loud for too long, i feel like i get wound up, going around and around, tighter and tighter until i can't breath. and then i feel like screaming.

so yes, i appreciate the quiet, i enjoy the silence, i need to be noise free everyday to recharge and regroup. but in this house, with three boisterous children? silence doesn't happen. not very often during their waking hours at least. as they all get older, they have gotten louder. they shout over each other, vying for my attention, until they are literally yelling at me and i can't process what they are saying. so they yell louder, thinking that turning up the volume will help with understanding.

i am trying my very best to get them all to understand that being loudest doesn't mean that you win, it's the one with the best reasoned argument that gets the point. also that taking turns speaking means that everyone can be heard, and it doesn't matter if you were the first one talking, and it really doesn't matter if you get the last word in. most days, though, these finer points of debate are lost on my children.

and so they talk loudly at me, as excited kids do, and they talk very loudly at each other, to make sure they are heard. then, so that i know i am heard, i talk louder over them all to get them to be quiet. there have been many days when my husband has come home from work and heard me yelling at them for quiet, i can only imagine what my neighbors think.

today i go and pick up all my kids from their grandparents, with whom they stayed this last week. and though it might make me sound like a terrible mother, i would love to leave them there for a few more days. i don't mind physically taking care of them anymore, making dinner everyday and making sure they've bathed, picking up after them and laundry and driving them places and all the other million things that make up my day. no, all of that gives me something to do. i am loathe to get them because i will miss the quiet.

July 27, 2015

13 years

i am not sure how it happened, but i woke up this morning and realized today is my 13 year wedding anniversary. it's still boggles my mind. it also happens to be the 15 year anniversary of our first date, because back then we were super sappy and decided to marry on our dating anniversary.

ok, full disclosure, i wasn't super sappy. i'm not still. but for whatever reason, the people i knew felt like remembering when you went on your first date was an important milestone, as was when you had your first kiss and your first... everything else. but i'm terrible at dates, so i decided to make it simple for myself and have just one anniversary date. especially since i knew there would be eventual children's birthdays to remember and i have a habit of losing my calender. so that is the real reason we picked this date to get married.

well, i picked it. my hubby back then didn't care what the date of the ceremony was, as long as it was happening. like i said, i'm not super sappy, never was never will be i suppose, but he is and always was. he likes to say that he knew from the moment he saw me that he would marry me. and he did try for a very long time. like he kept asking me to marry him early on. i didn't exactly put him off, i just told him i wanted to take it slowly. so we dated for a while. then, because i'm very particular about my home environment, we moved in together to see if we could successfully share a space. and things seemed to go along pretty well so i decided that we might as well get hitched.

i was very practical back then, i tried to be very rational, and there are benefits to being married, through jointly filing taxes and sharing health insurance and such, and so because we got along so well, i said yes. less then six months later, we were married at a very intimate ceremony that we planned and paid for ourselves. honestly, i do have some regrets over how we handled "our special day," but i never regret saying yes.

as someone with a dark history like mine, i had very few qualifications when it came to finding someone to spend my life with. first and foremost was someone that would always be there for me. they didn't have to be the best person for the job, or the most qualified, or even the most capable, but i needed them to be there, to keep trying no matter what happened and to never give up. because i know how crazy and terrible and wonderful life can be, and i needed someone who would help drag me through the bad times and stand by me through the good times. i never needed fiery passion or butterflies in the stomach, i needed a rock and a support, and i knew i had that when i met my husband all those years ago.

and there have been trials and hardships, dark times and tragedies. we haven't always gotten along, but we've always been together. and there have been many good times too that we've celebrated together, wondrous joys that i never thought i'd find in this life. intense emotions can sometimes fade over time, but i knew that finding someone who grounds me and supports me and can lift me up when i need it, would help me get more out of life than i ever thought possible.

July 24, 2015

guilt and shame and selfishness and motherhood

i could write pages and pages on guilt and shame. i feel guilty over everything, whether it was my fault, whether it was beyond my control or not, whether i even actually did anything or not. and when my anxiety flares up so much that i am frozen in place and can't actually do anything, then i remember things that i did in my past to feel guilty about, or i feel guilty about all the terrible thoughts running through my head, even when i don't act on them or share them with anybody else.

and the shame, oh the shame. i feel shame for feeling guilty about all the things that i know in my rational mind i shouldn't feel guilty about. i feel shame about who i am on the most basic level, so much some days that i can barely function. and so starts the cycle over again.

now, if i had another life, i don't know if i would still feel like this all the time, if i would always find some crazy, not my fault, thing to feel guilty about, but i am a mother, a job with guilty built right in. any failing on my children's part i take as my personal failing, and so i feel guilty for it. every time i failed to protect them (even if i tried and they didn't listen), i feel guilty. all the times that i feel like i should be doing something with them, something more helpful or enriching or pinterest inspired perfect, and i'm not, i feel guilty.

and then comes the shame of feeling that i've failed them. or that i can't be the mom that they deserve. or that if i was somehow magically better or different or not me, they'd all have the perfect life. and so i feel ashamed of just being me, even if that's all i can be.

this is all to say that, because of all my shame and guilt and random feeling bad for not being enough, i don't take much for myself. like ever. even the times i actually need a break from them, some time away to recharge, or really need to buy myself things to replace falling apart shoes or clothes worn through, i don't. i feel like i have such little time to give them, with taking care of this home and running the household and trying to find time to spend with each of them individually, that i don't have any time left over to take for myself. (unless i forgo sleep, but running days on little sleep with no way to catch up doesn't make things better.) and i don't go out and buy things for myself, even when my hubby says i should, because for every shirt i pick out for me, i think of all the other things i could be doing with that money. i know kids want things, they are kids and they want all the things, but as their mom i want to try to give them all the things that i can.

and so most days it all comes down to the fact that i feel guilty for not giving them everything i think they deserve and in the same breath feeling guilty for not taking better care of myself so i can take better care of them. i know i need to be selfish, but taking time to relax and then feeling guilty the whole time isn't terribly relaxing. i'm still striving to find a balance, something that works for everyone that i can feel good about. some days i feel closer to it than others, and i think i'll know when i achieve it. i've been a mommy for almost 12 years, maybe in another 12 i'll find it.

July 22, 2015

droning on and on and on

let me preface this post with the fact that i love my kids, i really do, and hopefully no matter what i say that fact remains unquestionable. there are many facts, many truths, that pop in my life, some which seem contradictory. such as the fact i love my kids, but there are days that i can't stand them. that they are a joy to be around, but i really don't want to be around them all the time. that i know they love each other and miss each other when they are apart, but they fight like cats and dogs when they are together, and i am surprised there hasn't been more blood spilled (literally) when they do get into scrapes.

but what is true for all relationships is true for a mother and child bond, that i can love them more than anything but that doesn't mean that i love everything about them. such is another one of those tricky truths that i am working hard to accept. and it doesn't mean that i want to change them, because they are not clones of me, they are their own people with their own personalities. still, they have these little quirks that drive me up the wall, such as monologging.

seriously, they monolog like super villans, talking on and on with no pause, whether i am listening or not, whether i am trying to pay attention to something else or not, about whatever they are doing or thinking. and i've told them before that i don't care, i've told them before that i am busy and if they want to talk to me they need to say "excuse me" and wait for my attention, and i've told them that if they want to narrate their own life, they should try to do it quietly in their heads and not bother other people. or write everything down on a stupid blog on the internet.

really, i haven't said most of those things to my lovely children, even though i've thought them, because i have enough guilt from all the things without adding that i yell at them to shut up. i have become adept at tuning them out though, because all the rambling and senseless talking drains me. i can't handle all the noise, the way that i recharge is in silence. too much sound overwhelms me, it's really one of the main reasons that i don't like going out places or doing things with other people. i have so much going on in my own head, too much sound on the outside makes the voices on the inside shout that much louder. and then i'm done, all panicked and crying in a corner, social anxiety for the win.

so yes, i love my children. and i do love that they are creative and imaginative and expressive and clever. i want to know what is going on in their heads and in their lives, what their opinions are and views on life, just some days i'd like the cliff notes version.

July 21, 2015

starting again

i am floating along and feel like life is missing something but i'm not honestly sure what that is. and so i've decided to bring back into my life some of the things i used to have and use and do, things that gave me a small sense of happiness, so see if that might be what i am lacking. so i'm reading more and writing more, and now i've decided to try blogging again. not that it ever made a huge social impact, but this was really all for me anyway.

which is really the point, isn't it? making something now that is for me and about me and from me, which all sounds terribly selfish, but it's important to be selfish sometimes. for so long my life has been lived only in relation to those around me, my hubby and my kids, they took all of my time. in truth, i gave them all of my time, i can't stand back and blame them for not living a life of my own. i let myself be defined by my family. and along the way, i lost myself. but as my children grow older and more self sufficient, i find i have more time on my hands that i can be using to do the things i like to do. though it's been so long, i've kind of lost what those things are. which brings us back to this, rambling on, stream of consciousness style, about whatever pops into my head, whether or not it has anything to do with those who share this roof. because maybe, along the way, it'll help to remind me of who i am, beyond "mom."