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Archive for the ‘Frustration’ Category

I have a teeny tiny problem with perfectionism. If I can’t do it perfectly, (I tell myself) I can’t do it. So projects pile up, clutter collects and my life goes from order to disorder in a blink. I have journal entries dating back to 1997 that say the same thing: why can’t I get my crap together? What’s wrong with me? Do I need a professional organizer? Should I pay someone else to clean my house? Why does life feel so hard for me??? (Haven’t I written this blog entry before…)

I’ve tried all kinds of house systems and ordered all kinds of de-clutter organizing books. I joined Flylady.com and bought a Bubble Planner. I’ve asked everyone I know: what works for you? How do you manage kids/house/stuff? Because I seem to suck at it. Even just as recently as last week, I went on an info spree and spent 5 hours (over the span of a few days) on the internet researching organization and productivity and housekeeping. Oh. and how to stop procrastinating. Years and years have gone by while I have tried to find the answer.

I was watching Kung Fu Panda with Sadie when I had my aha moment. Po’s dad finally reveals the secret to his best-selling noodle soup: ‘there is no secret ingredient.’ Then it dawned on me: I have everything that I need within me already. I haven’t been trusting myself. I’ve been beating myself up for not ‘succeeding.’ But what does success even mean? For me, doing something is better than the overwhelmed NOTHING I have been doing. So I decided to change my expectations of myself. Instead of a job well done, I’m going to settle for a job done half-assed. At least it’s done.

So I came up with a Plan for Half-Assed Success. I will add one or two things to my schedule and do them every day until I don’t notice I’m doing them anymore. I will write said one or two things in my planner every day and then highlight them when I’ve completed them. So last week I put in my planner: ‘make bed as soon as you get up,’ and ‘unload the dishes while Sadie eats breakfast.’ I was already doing these things sporadically–so it wasn’t earth-shattering to add them into my life. By the way,  I’m using the words ‘planner’ and ‘schedule’ loosely– I started using a planner at the beginning of January (a cheapy one from Walmart), and by ‘schedule’ I mean ‘the random stuff I do at random times in my life.’ So I did it. I wrote those two things down every day and highlighted them when I finished them. So YAY me! I will celebrate the small successes along the way: I now have unloaded the dishes AND made my bed all of last week and today.

My mom used to say ‘you don’t get praised for stuff you should already be doing…’ but I’m going to disagree with her. I made my bed and I ROCK! (I love you, Mom :))

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Well, I didn’t hate Christmas. It didn’t suck. Surprisingly. Though I did have a few moments where I wanted to hurl myself off of the mountain side because the physical pain would have felt much better than the waves of grief that shoved me hard underwater at random and unexpected times. I found myself muttering dumb dead sister; sad and mad and totally resistant to the fact that I had to be without her. I’m just glad it’s over.

But all in all it really was ok. I mean, we didn’t have to spend 20 hours in the car to see our family–AND Dan and I got to stay in a hotel while Grandma Judy supervised the cousins sleepover party at the Noyes house. Sleeping in never felt so good. I also must mention the hours that Sadie and Grampa John (Smith) spent together watching the strongest man contest on ESPN. I kept hearing Sadie gasping and yelling Grampa! That guy just pulled a TRUCK with his BARE HANDS! And then he would make some comments and I would hear him chuckling. She was so into it.  I think it was a highlight for him too. Nothing like a FULLY ALIVE six year old to ease the pain of loss–even if for a short time.

Now that I’m back, I’m concentrating on making some changes that I think will help lift the funk I’ve been living under. As usual, it starts with my House. I’ve been so paralyzed since August. Not like I was super house functional before (um…….) but for the last few months it’s been TORTURE to do even the smallest thing around the house. I’ve done a lot of wandering and napping and more than my share of self-loathing. I’ve felt lost and listless and just plain despondent. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that grief hangs on and hangs on and looks sometimes like depression and/or laziness and a lot of times like personal failure. But I’m not going to beat myself up anymore. I’m not going to stare helplessly around me and believe that I cannot move forward, because I can. I can take teeny tiny steps–I can start small and declutter one shelf, one drawer, one lazy susan at a time. I can decide to look through a smaller frame and refuse to be overwhelmed. I can believe that I don’t have to be perfect.

Also, I’m going to do a lot of running. I need all the endorphins I can get.

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I was doing ok today until I went to Tate’s Myspace page. I watched the images of her slideshow go by, and I just sat here and choked out sobs. She looks so happy in the pictures. So fun to be around. So smiley and gorgeous. The conflict for me is that I haven’t seen her in that way these past few years. All I have been able to see was her neediness–this bottomless hole that sucked all my air away when I was with her. There was always drama, always a crisis. Always some desperate attempt for my (everyone’s) approval.

How do I reconcile this? I’m so sad that I missed her before she was even gone.

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It’s the usual summer stress: convincing Sadie that she DOES NOT need to be occupied every second of the live-long day. She does NOT need a friend over the minute her first friend of the day leaves. Same issue, different state. What is most frustrating to me is that I have created this world for her. I have scrambled and schemed and made plans and provided her with a fairyland life where all her almost 6 year old dreams come true. She doesn’t have to learn to entertain herself…not when Shelley-the-Cruise-Director is at the helm. Bored? Let me fix that for you. I’ll dance and sing and win the Camp Counselor of the Year award. Meanwhile, deep inside me rumbles resentment and anger. I’m upset because she NEEDS me to entertain her. But I can’t be angry at her…though I want to. I want to say Stop being so demanding of me! I want to shout Leave me alone for two seconds to read the paper for crying out loud! I want to run away and escape, but I can only blame myself, and I’d be taking my stupid-self with me.

It’s sticky; sticky. I have this anxiety that Sadie will have the same experience as I did as a kid (following my mom around while she cleaned…) so I do the OPPOSITE, which is not get a thing done around the house when she is home for fear that she’ll feel that cleaning is more important than her. There is no balance here. Because I end up wanting to send away my demanding child, the monster that I have created with my own dysfunction. She hounds me, hounds me, hounds me, and then I lose it and shut her out completely in a stompy huff. AND the house is still a mess. Same coin–different side.

It’s not like this is a new issue in my life–I’m sure I’ve devoted many blog posts to it. Which is why I created a category called “Things I can’t stop talking about.” I’ve had this suffocating attention/resentful ambivalence issue with Sadie literally since the day I brought her home from the hospital. Sometimes I think it’s because Sadie is an only child. (Another subject I can’t seem to stop talking about…) Like I believe the solution in a perfect world would be to say “Go play with your sister!” But my rational brain tells me that if I had two children, I’d have twice the anxiety, and I’d be worrying that one or the other one would need to go to therapy and talk about how I didn’t give them enough of my undivided attention. As it is, my one child is going to go to therapy because her mother is alternately ‘let’s play’, and angrily ‘leave me alone.’

A big fear of mine is that Sadie will get this message that she is a burden, or just an issue that needs to be slogged through, and not a person who I deeply love. As it stands, she is a tool in God’s hands for sure, and I know I need to learn these lessons quick: setting boundaries, allowing her negative emotions, finding my own healthy detatchment, and basically figuring out how to NOT bend my life around the whims of a six year old.

Yeah, she’s going to need therapy for sure.

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We went to Walmart the other day. Usually this wouldn’t be eventful, or the cause of any emotion except, maybe, exasperation. But this time, I had a teeny panic attack. I knew the magnitude of this move would hit me eventually, but I didn’t expect it to happen at WALMART.

First we drove 27 miles to get there. Now I knew when we signed up for living the rural life that STUFF would be far away. But I’ve been on this hear-the-wind-in-the-trees high for a week now, and real life hasn’t really set in yet. Let me tell you, the honeymoon came to a screeching halt when we walked into the Warsaw Walmart. As Cinderella so aptly put it in the ’80’s: You don’t know know whatcha got ’till it’s gone…

Wait, this is not a Supercenter three minutes from my house. We’ve been in the car for 45 minutes. It looks like the old Siloam Walmart, and it doesn’t have any natural lighting…where is the Great Value kitchen cleaner? The Walmart brand light bulbs? What? You don’t carry them? I want the cheap Light Ranch–you only have Good Seasons? No Altern? Feeling short of breath…

Holy Culture Shock, Batman. I had a routine, a grocery shopping schedule. Get in, get out. Bam. Now I’m in a panic because I don’t know when the next time I’ll be able to find cheap Suave hair products, so I have to THINK AHEAD and compile this Little House on the Prairie list for the next time we head into Sleepy Eye for supplies. And what I really want to know is, why is milk 3.99??? The answer I get around here is “Welcome to NY.”

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Well, first of all, the Nibblers made an offer on another house. We were next in line if the sellers rejected their offer, but alas, offer accepted. We have now lowered our price and are hoping that will make a difference. We’ll be okay even if we don’t sell before we leave, but life would be a teensy bit easier if we sold it. Or at least had a contract on it.

I cleaned my house today in preparation for all of the traffic we’re hoping to get. I’m getting to be a real pro, by the way. Today I didn’t even realize I was cleaning. I totally tricked myself. WHAT did I DO before I had my ipod? Oh yeah. Nothing. At present, we have spatulas, knives and other kitchen essentials in the garage, and everything else (except my coffeemaker) that used to grace our counter tops now live in Dan’s car. This could get dicey since I need the canister of Splenda for my coffee…but you do whatcha gotta do.

11 days and counting.

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Here’s my question: WHO puts fluorescent lights in a coffee shop?? What is up? Lamps, people! Lamps or indirect lighting. First of all, there is a glare on my laptop screen. Second of all, have we NOT heard of ambiance?

I am aware that I have lighting issues. ESPECIALLY if it has to do with fluorescent lights. But I also have a problem with unbalanced light (too bright in one part of the room, and not enough in another–like maybe I’m facing a window or something.) I’m just not a fan of overhead lighting. Yes. I realize that there far more legitimate things to complain about (like the foul odor emanating from SOMEWHERE near the coffeshop chair I’m sitting on…GROSS!) Or maybe starving people in the world or global warming or something. It still baffles me how someone would open up a coffee shop without thinking about lighting.

That’s all I’m saying.

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