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Archive for the ‘Hang ups’ Category

It occurred to me in the shower this morning that I am paralyzed by fear. Stuck stock still, feet set in concrete. I’m scared out of my mind. And here is what I am afraid of: that I will never change. That I will always be wondering where my motivation is hiding. Wondering what my problem is–blaming the stagnant patterns in my life on OCD, or depression, or my childhood, or something else external that I have no control over (my sister’s death…). Scared to death that if I start something–anything–that I will just run out of motivational gas and go back to wondering when my life is going to change. I have started and fizzled out so many times–the memories of pushing off and heading out full speed only to fail and stop lay on top of each other in my head like a pile of unmovable rocks–heavy and unyielding.

The other obvious related bullet I’m trying to dodge is failure. I haven’t written on here because I’ve been so fearful of having nothing to say. A friend of mine over at Snarkington Post told me wisely on facebook the other day: “Blog about being blog-blocked.” Good advice. Of course the conversation started because her sister, my dear friend, told me gently (and I quote) “Update your blog you wiener!” I would link to HER blog, but she too has been on hiatus (wiener!).

So I guess that is what I’m doing. I’m just going to start and be boring and make mistakes and sound stupid. I found this super inspiring blog yesterday by Christine Kane. Her tagline is Be Creative. Be Conscious. Be Courageous. I love that. Especially because I’m in need of some courage. She wrote this great post about taking imperfect action. How taking action–however imperfect–is better than taking no action at all. Which is where I have been hiding. Where it is safe (but boring and terribly unsatisfying…)

I want to look my fear in the eye and not flinch. I want to roll my eyes and shrug my shoulders and just dismiss it.

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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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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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Here’s what I should be doing: getting my house ready for our Big Open House tomorrow. Even after two cups of coffee and a lovely stroll around the neighborhood garage sales, I still can’t seem to gather up my motivation. SO MUCH needs to be done. Over and above  the normal stuff that already makes me cranky (i.e.  unloading the dishwasher…) It is just so painful. You’d think someone was making me staple my tongue.

I feel all this pressure, like if everything is NOT perfect, it will be my fault that the house doesn’t sell. This is irrational, like most thoughts that run through my head. And with a little effort, we can achieve a state of house bliss, but I must say, this house selling thing is getting old. I’m just tired of it.

I’m boring myself with my complaints. Bleh.

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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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So I was talking to my good friend Charlie today about mommy-guilt. She was saying that it comes with every baby. Well I feel plagued with it right now. I mean, simply PLAGUED! I have to keep telling myself that I do not have to be my child’s sister. You know, the one I haven’t provided for her since she is an only child?? I almost have to say out loud that I am not depriving her and that she is not going to be crazy or demented or damaged in any way because she doesn’t have siblings. I do not have to feel bad because I don’t feel like playing with her today. And I don’t feel like making 50 calls to find someone else to entertain her.

Why do I feel so frantic about leaving her alone to entertain herself? I mean, she resists it for sure. She asks me every three minutes who she can call and when she can play with some one. I don’t want to entertain myself, she says. Many times I give in instead of giving her the gift of solitude and imagination. I don’t give her the chance to enjoy her own company, because she resist so. loudly.

So I feel guilty about catering to her need for entertainment, AND for not. For playing with her when I don’t feel like it, and then for saying with an annoyed sigh that I’ve had enough! It’s not my job to entertain you! Which isn’t something she needs to hear, necessarily, but something I need to say to myself. Because I know it’s not my job. But yet I still feel compelled to do it. Then feel angry at myself for not being the mom, and for giving in to my own compulsions. I worry that I’m putting her off and off and she’s going to get this message that I don’t want to be with her. And the truth is, I DON’T want to be with her in the role of ‘playmate.’ Mom, yes. Playmate and Cruise Director, NO. But that’s what I feel like sometimes. LIke I HAVE to be the cruise director–like that’s my punishment for having only one.

Sometimes I wish for a second child just to entertain my first. I don’t want another child to love and cherish and train and get to know as their own person. No. I just want someone there to let me off the hook. Which is why we ARE not having a second child by the way. Because I just want a servant girl at Sadie’s beck and call so I don’t have to fight her off. I get so weary of the battle. So I don’t REALLY want a second child. I want a child-in-waiting who is assigned to my daughter so I don’t have to be.

Of course this discussion always leads to OVERCOMPENSATION. Worrying that I’ll be so busy that Sadie will have to follow me around and talk to my back (i.e my own childhood…) but that’s so irrational. I’m not my mom…and my mom’s not even that person anymore. But I’m stuck there just the same.

(Damned if I do…damned if I don’t.)

There has to be some spacious free place within motherhood that lets me make mistakes. And allows me to be myself and trust my instincts and think of what’s best for Sadie, even if she is protesting madly. I just haven’t found it yet.

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