June 2015 archive

Unstable

I found this quote today:

“No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.”
– Alice Walker

deep+holeIt struck me. The last three years have been so full of ups and downs and changes…and GROW I have. I’ve grown in both direction, honestly. I’ve gone down into the depths of pain and sadness. It was like I was GROWING DOWN. And I’ve also grown up. I’ve learned so much about what it actually takes to be in a successful relationship, how much I have to compromise and how strongly I have to hold tight to certain parts of myself.
And you know what’s weird about growing down? Not everyone goes with you. Not everyone even stands at the top of the hole looking down at you and waving, as if to say, “I’ll be here when you get back but I ain’t goin’ down with ya!” A lot of them just…leave. Your downward spiral, your learning curve makes them uncomfortable. It doesn’t fit into their life. And so…they back away slowly. Sometimes they turn up on the other side and sometimes they just steer clear because, let’s face it: you’re unstable.

How many times have you been unstable? It’s happened to me a couple of times and you know what? It’s embarrassing. It’s painful. And you kinda don’t want anyone to know it’s happening. But when life gets hot-messy enough, everyone notices. And it separates the forever-people from the ones who just can’t hang. It’s a super painful process, that curd from the whey separation so to speak. Mostly because you’re standing at the bottom of the hole looking up and wondering, “Don’t they see how far down this is? Why are they all leaving?”

We’ve all been the person at the bottom of the hole, and we’ve all been the person who has left. We’ve been the ones who climbed down into the pit with the people we love to reassure them they’re not alone. And we’ve been the ones who backed away slowly because we aren’t sure how to handle our own feelings, let alone theirs.
My point is we’ve probably been on both sides of that quote, and it doesn’t make anybody wrong or better than anybody else. Some people are meant to stick around your life. You are meant to stick around for certain people. If you owe someone an apology for not sticking around, give it to them! But that doesn’t mean you have to make it up to them or show up now to re-friend. I look at the people who peaced-out during my rock bottom/digging through the rock phase and think, Yeah. That’s ok. I get it. Your not a bad person. You’re just not my friend.

Has it ever occurred to you that the people who are no longer your friends might not actually be BAD people? They just might not be YOUR people. And why would you want not-your people taking up space in your life when more of your people are waiting in the wings to get in?! Bless them. Let them go. And keep an eye out for someone else who might just throw down a rope and climb into the muck with you.

Aaaaand I’m Drinking Again

You ever heard the old phrase that if you pray to God for patience, He’ll give you a line at the bank?
Well, be careful. Because depending on how much patience you actually need…he might just break your leg.
14 months ago I broke my leg in an accident. I had surgery to fix it.
6 months ago I had a second surgery to remove hardware from my knee so my bone could finish healing.
2 months ago I got the news that my bone had fused and I was good to go.

I just HAD to open my big, fat, mouth.

Patience_LogoI’ve had this little, nagging pinch in my lower back for about 7 months. At the time of my final appointment two months ago, I mentioned it to my doctor. He suggested acupuncture or perhaps chiropractics. A doctor there in his practice could see me the following week for an evaluation, so I made an appointment just to get it checked out.
Dr. INCREDIBLY TALL walked into the room wearing a slick grey suit and askedmehowIwasdoing all in one, smooth word. I explained what I’d been experiencing and added that I didn’t think it was too much of an issue. He told me he would justdoafewsimpletests and then we’dmakeadecision.
He asked me to liedownonthetable and he did a bunch of funny things to my legs, hips, and waist, asking me ifanythinghurt. Nothing did and I got ready to leave with an Rx of ice and rest. And then…
“So, this left hip here moves. This right one doesn’t. And that’s because this right one is rotated downward. I wouldn’t say it’s frozen, but it’s in the wrong position. And it’s not moving.”
HEY LET’S HAVE ANOTHER PROBLEM RELATED TO MY BROKEN LEG YOU WANNA?
“Alright, so what do we do?”
“Well, right now we can start some physical therapy to help move that hip back where it goes. Then we’ll need some more physical therapy to keep it there so your lower back is no longer being pulled by your hip. Because, you see, that’s what’s causing your pain. It’ll be about 8 weeks.” He was so damn tall.
“Oh, yes, ok, 8 weeks. And can I…”
It’s so stupid when you ask a doctor a question you don’t want the answer to.
“…continue on with yoga?”
“No, unfortunately not. We’ll need to keep you as stable and symmetrical as possible through this process.”
“So…no yoga.”
“No, unfortunately no.”
“So…no yoga teacher training?”
“Oh. No, no unfortunately no.”
“Ok so…so no yoga.”
“No. Unfortunately.”

PATIENCE. PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE.

So…I had to cancel my yoga teacher training. I had to start PT at 7am today. (Do you know me? DO YOU KNOW I’M NOT A MORNING PERSON?) I’m sore. I’m mad. I’m tired. And I’m not crossing my legs, slouching, sitting for too long, lying on my back, lying on my stomach, or shifting my weight to one side. Because PT.
I’m drinking, though.
I’m drinking.

(Eventually I’ll give you lots of delicious details about physical therapy and how incredible it is, but for now I hate everything.)

Get Pruned

6a00e553b4c06088340133f5b398e8970bSo, there’s this awesome bible verse:
John 15
1“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.

You can read it in a lot cliches:
It’s always darkest before the dawn.
When you’re flat on your back, there’s no where to go but UP.

Basically it means that life ebbs and flow. There are times of great abundance and growth, and then there are times when all of that is stripped away and you feel like you’re back at square one. (Which of course you’re not, because you’re starting over with all the knowledge and experiences you earned.) Everyone goes through it. No one grows great big, bushy green leaves forever.

But I heard this sermon the other day that added a level and it blew me out of the water. When he referred to John 15, he noted that we all love being the big, fat, bushy, green leaves. AND. We all have a choice of whether or not we are honest about the fact that we’re being pruned, that God’s working on us…that we are not, in fact, the image we project.
Because, let’s face it. Nobody wants to admit they’re a sad, bare little tree.
So we pick up the branches and we hold them up where God’s pruning. We smile big, we buy new cars with credit we don’t have, hell we even lie. We avoid God’s plans for us to lose the house by ignoring that mortgage payment we can’t make, to change majors by avoiding the teacher we know is failing us, to get counseling by pretending our partner’s laziness doesn’t bother us. We remain unconscious and we hide…behind all those fake leaves.
Why do we ALL do that?
Seeing as how EVERYONE does it, everyone knows everyone ELSE must have done it at least once. What makes it so difficult to be HONEST about the fact that we’re in the midst of a downslope, that God is re-working our lives, that something we THOUGHT would be a success just…isn’t. Is there a soul on the planet who hasn’t been there/done that?

Most of those people holding up the dead branches and leaves in an effort to hide the sad little mess underneath haven’t yet found a way to be honest without THEMSELVES. Let’s face it. Being honest with yourself is the damned hardest part. Other people realize you got fat before you acknowledge it. Other people notice your business is tanking before you admit it. Other people are aware your marriage is hanging on by a thread before you come to terms with it. And other people even try to TELL you!! But do you listen? Nope. Because it’s far easier to fool yourself into believing it’s just a few pounds, the business is fine, and your marriage will see it’s way back to happiness eventually.
I hate to say it, but Dr. Phil was kinda right on this one all along…
“You’re fat. Don’t sugarcoat it ‘cuz you’ll eat that, too.”
But seriously, folks, I don’t think the message here is that you should bare your all to the whole world when God prunes your branches. But getting real with yourself and the people who have earned the right to your honesty is a good place to start. Because once you put all those dead branches down and let God do his work, giving up CONTROL and the WISH that anything could be any different than what it is, you have an amazing opportunity to eventually be even MORE fruitful than you once were.
Also from Dr. Phil:
“You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.”
“I don’t care how flat you make a pancake, it’s got two sides.”
“Dogs can’t pee on a moving car.
None of these are really related to this particular blog, but still. Dr. Phil.

 

Haters Gonna Hate

I work for a number of different people. My jobs range from virtual assistant to copywriter. I’m often in charge of client care or a customer’s experience. And yesterday…I got an angry email.

It was dramatic. It was accusatory. It was…kinda mean.

A client was dissatisfied with the fact that she’d waited several hours for a reply to her initial email. While her threats couldn’t ACTUALLY do anything to change my life, it’s a terrible feeling to be the recipient of someone else’s angry rant when you KNOW you’ve done your very best. And what was my gut reaction?

To tell her what an absolute idiot she was.
I mentally wrote back an entire letter:
“OH REALLY? You’ll be taking your business ELSEWHERE? You should. You should do it. Because I can’t imagine anyone else who would WANT you as a client. I like to work with people who are REASONABLE and dare I say ENJOYABLE to communicate with. This, being our first communication EVER, demonstrates to me that you are NEITHER OF THOSE TWO THINGS. So take all of your ‘money’ and let some other company deal with your and whoever it is that hurt you so badly in the past.”

I did not say any of those things.

I apologized for the several hours-long delay and immediately addressed her concerns as quickly and best I could. I gave her everything she needed/wanted. And she went along her now-happy little way.
But I was mad about it.

I heard a Pastor Furtick sermon last week. He stopped in the middle of his message to say, “When haters hate on our church and on me, it can get consuming. So, what I have to do in moments like that is realize God didn’t put me here for them. I’ve got to get the right ‘them’ in my mind or I’ll never be able to release what God put in me.”

Isn’t it great how these little messages turn up at the right times?!

FullSizeRender (1)I realized that the energy I poured into the fake-writing of a response to that angry woman, and equally the amount of energy I pour into other non-issue people in my life, is not just a waste. It’s actually INHIBITING me from spending that energy on the people in my life who deserve it. For every ounce of stress I allow to consume my mind, I’m robbing someone I love or someone who NEEDS me.

 

Worried about bills.
Angry at a driver who cuts me off.
Annoyed with the idiot waitress.
Hurt by the unreasonable client.
Afraid of the boss who belittles me.

It’s not just depleting me (but oh how it IS depleting me). It’s also depleting the people God actually put me here for.

Ok so now, when I’m concerning myself with “haters” or the wrong “them” or the wrong FOCUS, I going to try and think of my son. Of Bear and his son. My mom and my dear family and friends. Of people I don’t even KNOW who need my joy, my attention, my love. I’m going to save my energy for those people. Because somehow it’s not that hard to let stupid things go when I think about where that energy COULD go. Y’know?

STOP TALKING

please-be-quiet-poly-350x200-polyI treated myself to a manicure today, which I’m trying to do more often these days. I sat there in near-silence when a woman sat down at the table behind me. She immediately started talking about herself. In my VERY humble opinion, NO ONE SHOULD TALK IN NAIL SALONS. This is happy, quiet time away from our children and families.
But alas, she went on. And on. And on. I was likely already a little annoyed that she was speaking during quiet time, but what she went on to say REALLY got under my skin.

She was talking about being delayed on her way back from her Dominican Republic vacation. She got stuck in Atlanta.
For three hours.

She shared this story as if this was the largest and most outlandish inconvenience of her lifetime. She went on and on about how Southwest ought to be partnering with more airlines so that in times of overbooking or late flights, they had back up planes. She even went so far as to say, “I was supposed to be home at 9:30. I didn’t get home until AFTER MIDNIGHT.”

And here is what I was thinking…
You flew.
You decided you wanted to go on vacation to the DOMINICAN REPUBLIC and you got on an AIRPLANE and FLEW there.
You likely stayed in a hotel. Ate delicious food. Soaked up sunshine and fun experiences. And seeing as how you walked in here unassisted, you did so without requiring any special equipment.
You are now getting a manicure. The day after you arrived back home from your vacation to the DOMINICAN REPUBLIC.

The more she complained and shared the HORRIFIC details of her stay in the Atlanta Airport for three hours, the more I wanted to pick up the bright red nail polish and apply it to her face. Then I remembered Louis C.K. bit (starting around 2:45 but watch the whole thing for fun):

Is there anything in your life that you can zoom out, look at, and realize, “Oh. Yeah. I’m being incredibly ridiculous for being upset about that. I’m going to stop now.”

Then, of course, I realized I was getting upset with this woman about the VERY THING I WAS UPSET ABOUT. So I’ve decided I’m not going to be upset with her or anyone else for being upset about nothing. Because then I’m just contributing to the ridiculousness of it all.

But seriously, stop getting so upset about stupid stuff. Please.

Am I Supposed to Like This?

I feel like I’m a pretty good mom.
I make nice meals. I pack sweet little notes in Abe’s lunch box. I make him do his chores and practice things like buttoning his shirts and mowing the lawn. (Just kidding. He doesn’t own button-up shirts.)
But there is one part of momming that I hate, and I feel terrible about myself for hating it. It’s answering this dreaded question:

What do I do here? Does it fly? Do I throw it?

What do I do here? Does it fly? Do I throw it?

“Mom? Do you want to play?”
No. No I don’t.
I usually answer with something like, “Play what?” Because I’m hoping he’s suddenly really in to reorganizing kitchen cabinets.
“Play cars.” I hate this response. Because playing cars usually consists of me sitting and staring at the floor while he intermittently tugs on my hand to tell me, “No, mom. That car goes over here and it says, ‘Chirp, chirp’ like a bird.”
And suddenly I want to ask him, “Why the hell would a car chirp like a bird unless it’s switching gears on the highway and showing off for a girl?”
But I don’t. I ask sweetly, “It chirps?”
“Yes,” he responds promptly. “Because it’s a bird car. And this car is an Octonaut. But right now we’re playing Paw Patrol.”
I mean, how am I supposed to play when we don’t even have clear characters, let alone a story line???
“Oh. Ok.” I go back into my catatonic state until I eventually say something like, “Well, it’s 3:30 and I’ve GOT to cook dinner or we’re never going to eat tonight!”

It’s not that I don’t adore playing with my son. If we go to the park or the library or read a book together, I love it. But his games make no sense and I feel like I’m supposed to just be OK with this. Like I’m supposed to love playing Chirp Cars or Farm Animals or whatever. Do other moms love this? Do they love setting up Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and then “putting them all to bed”? Because love gardening. And Abe never takes me up on an offer to weed the herb bed (except for that one time when he “weeded” all my basil right out of there for me).
I’m not sure at what point in his existence that the gap between what he likes to “play” and what I like to “play” will narrow and suddenly we’ll share in a glorious game of sweep out the garage. But until then I will probably continue playing Lego Crashing for a few minutes until I am forced by NATURE to reorganize the book shelf.

Babies

33579_10150098139804829_6273727_nWhen Abraham was about 2 months old, we had an official naming ceremony at the local temple. This was before I knew about Xanax, so I sat in the congregation sweating and holding my new son TERRIFIED that he was going to wake up and start screaming. But he didn’t. He slept through the entire service, even through the ceremony when the rabbi kissed his head. I took him into another room to nurse him as soon as the ceremony ended while everyone else filed into a reception area wherein snacks and beverages were served in small plastic cups. When I entered, I immediately began passing Abe around to cooing and oogling men and women surrounding me. I ate a sugary cookie and probably stared mindlessly at a wall, not having slept for as long as most moms of two-month-olds haven’t.
Eventually, someone handed my son back to me. I held him up over my shoulder with a big burp cloth running down my back.
“How old is he?” she asked with a smile. She was a member of the congregation I didn’t know.
“He’s 2 months,” I smiled back.
“I remember that time.” Most people with kids who’ve met me and Abe in the past almost-5 years have said something like that. As if they’re remembering how grateful they are they’re no longer in “that time.”
“Yeah. It’s pretty crazy,” I muttered because I didn’t know what else to say.
“I think my son was about…five when I started feeling like a human again.”

Now, I realize that she didn’t MEAN to completely crush my soul. But when she extended my “Maybe I’ll get three straight hours of sleep tonight” goal to “Maybe I’ll feel HUMAN again in oh, say, about 5 years,” I immediately wanted to weep. Five years prior to that moment, I was 24, which felt like a LIFETIME ago. That little fact lead to this figure in my head:
I will not be human again for an entire lifetime.

Now, in 3 months, my son will be 5 years old.

I don’t want to admit that the woman was right, but she was. It is only in the past few months I’ve begun to feel normal. Sure, I’ve been sleeping regularly for about 3 years. I’ve not had to bring a diaper bag or massive amounts of toys everywhere I go for about 2 years. But traveling has gotten easier. Going to restaurants is no longer terrifying. Taking a shower is easy.
Life is becoming…normal.
There are days that I miss holding and feeding my baby boy. There are times I wonder what it would be like to start over knowing what I know now. But there are MORE days that I see a two-year-old having a complete and total screamy meltdown in the grocery store with a red, sweaty mother trying to pry a banana or can of beans out of the toddler’s OBSCENELY strong hands while keeping her head down with hopes that no one would recognize her and I think, Yeah. I don’t really want to do that again.

I always said “one-and-done” when Abe was young. When I met Bear, I thought maaaaybe I would try it all again. But the truth is, I think I’m very happy being the mother of an almost-5-year-old and the part-time mom of Bear’s almost-11-year-old. I love other people’s babies. I just don’t really want them to wake me up.

It almost feels sacrilegious to admit that, as a woman, I don’t long for more babies. It feels selfish and strange. I see my friends having two, three, even four kids. I envy them, in a way, not because they have more kids than me but because they WANTED to have more kids than me. I wish I did want a litter of babies. It would make me feel more like a woman. But I just don’t.

I once read Elizabeth Gilbert saying, “…but the ‘momming’? I’m not made for that.” I thought it was so incredibly brave of her to admit she didn’t want to be a mom because I see her as being so giving, so selfless, so thoughtful, so lovely. And it’s certainly not to say I didn’t want my gorgeous boy. I fought hard for him. And I’ve said many times, “If I never had him, I would mourn never knowing what it was like to have my own child.” I adore him. My love is so beyond anything I knew was possible.

But I really, really love sleeping.