I’m better at making titles for blog posts, than writing them sometimes.
In my living room is the over-stayed sleepover of twin girls who just turned 14. These girls are genius at throwing together impromptu social gatherings. They take after their mother. It’s a good group of girls I am lucky. I was just musing about this with a fellow mother. These girls are having wholesome fun, singing and being silly. As a mental health counselor I am often privy to the darker sides of how some adolescents end up. I feel fortunate to have the resources that I do, and that my kids thus far for the most part make good choices.
We are leaving soon. I will pile all of them into my Jeep and take each to their respective location, then my girls and I will pick up a bottle of wine for dinner at our family friend’s house. She’s making chicken parmigiana from scratch. The girls will chase her little three year old around. We are always surrounded by opportunities to be with good people. Hard working people who have seen their share of suffering and yet continue forward with their lives; sustained by the warmth of friends and love ones. My heart is grateful.
Lately I’m surrounded by books, but can’t seem to settle on one from cover to cover. My ADHD forbids it. I wonder if it’s all that or something else? An invisible puppet string that somehow knows a plan for me. Is there a method to the madness, or is it all just madness and we make up stories about it as we go to feel better? Either way lately I vibrate with a restless energy that I can’t place words or a name to. I suppose when you solve such a large piece of the mystery it feels as if everything else might just settle in. That would be too easy I think. I spent most of my life trying to sort out this love and security thing, and now that I’ve earned my space in that land… now what?
The next natural step is my book, but life has not slowed for me to be looking out over the horizon yet. Perhaps it never will? Then how will writing happen? It’s so difficult for me to focus. I seem to need total privacy and silence, and also I can’t be distracted by not feeling well. These conditions seem to happen once a month, if not less. Like the full moon of my personal inside biology. Those are my windows to write, and everything else is a resulting irritability of seeking that space, after having delighted in its light. Sigh
With a house full of girls there is certainly no silence and I am not allowed to be irritated by this, because I must give thanks. If I think back actually I didn’t have this. I had one or two close friends, always the misfits, which made me look less a misfit (or maybe not). I have always been eclectic in my friendships. I want to know everything about every person. Their personality, their dark places, the things that excite them. People have always been my thing.
Victoria’s (twin B) fierce devotion to her friends is adorable. She always wants to buy them things. Her recent contribution being rings with a lightning bolt; since they like to watch the Flash. (I think that’s what it was). I am proud beyond words of her.
That’s the thing… how am I supposed to watch life as it is unfolding and pause enough to craft writing about it. I don’t want to miss out on either. I can always reflect on the past, but I can’t get back moments I miss when I’m lost in the creation of my art. Is that just an excuse? Fear wearing a costume?
Lindt Truffles came into my life as a brand new mother. Gifted them by a not so new mother. The dark blue ones (dark chocolate), since then my repertoire of them has expanded. They have stood by my side. Novels and Lindt Truffles are my poison and my savior. I’d be happy to surrender a thousand irreplaceable minutes to them.
Fiction or truth? Am I Stephen King-esque due to my wildly over active imagination? I am poetic and can create wonderfully when I am in the zone (in those rare moments), but can I put it all together into a coherent experience? That’s always the big fear. I want to write an experience… I want to create an experience for my reader, something that will leave them breathless with emotion. I feel unwilling to accept anything else…. and I may have to to begin…
Hmmm. Ok the troops are restless my window has expired.
For as long as I’ve remembered I’ve been deeply concerned with what kind of person I was. Even as a child my constant focus of movie watching (even Disney) was making sure I felt like “the good guy”. I have had an over-sized conscience always. I remember often wanting to rid myself of it, so I could partake in normative teenage experiences. But I would over-think/ deeply think about everything. Nothing could just be done. Which is an interesting compliment to my natural ADHD blessing of impulsivity. Later in life after I had decided to choose to rid myself of religion as my reason for “trying constantly to do everything right by someone else’s standard of right”. When I finally started to allow myself my own life, which created tons of inner conflict, then impulsivity took me far out of balance in the other direction. Then I had to face the most egregious of all wars, knowing full well when I had made an action that was unfair to someone else. They say ignorance is bliss. “The mysterious they, whoever they are.” They in this case would be more correct than they even know. Ignorance is a bliss I have never been afforded. I was gifted with a keen awareness of self and others. I can make connections in an instant that others have kept carefully out of their awareness for years.
I cause pain. This gives me great conflict. But then pain opens up the possibility for healing. I don’t just rip off the band-aid. I apply salve and anti-biotics as well. I am saying this to myself for the first time. Realizing I am not sinister, even though the feelings of the actions suggest it to my “Jimminy Cricket.” Being unwittingly tasked with being a person who reveals painful truths for a living, I am only now coming into the full realization of how this mixes with my shit, and creates a dangerous cocktail. I am proud and it is an honor to do this work, and it also takes a toll. It takes a toll more when it is personal, as it is for me right now. When I am inside the pain, not an ally and observer.
I shake up systems. Family systems that have operated on unspoken rules for years and been “just fine”. The thing is those unspoken rules often create great invisible pain for those that are silently expected to repress in the name of someone else’s comfort. Do the others not realize the discomfort of the person asked to adjust? Do they literally shield themselves from painful truth that much? Or does some part of them know and refuse to look?
Part of my coming out process included me learning to introduce myself as gay and not wince. It took awhile, but I recognized early on that if I seemed ashamed people will hop right on that bus. I knew the feeling of repression before I knew how to name it, as most of us do. It’s a silent and slow death by poisoning. It saps just a tiny bit of your soul in each interaction. And since it can slide by so unknown the damage resides on the inside. A beautiful smiling husk that keeps others happy while the inside is rotten and burning with pain. The holder of the families pain, struggles under their burden sometimes named depression, all the whole elaborate defense mechanisms as intricate as scaffolding’s you see on skyscrapers in New York City. They deem themselves the weaker of the flock, when really they are the strongest.
I seem to always be the common denominator in the equation of relationship that demands truth to be fully seen and listened to. I have never been able to stay quiet about truth; my gift and my curse.
Today I sit in extraordinary pain as the love of my life and I experience what it feels like to be seen as different, somehow less valid. I am tasked suddenly, like being faced with an oncoming accident in progress, with navigating this treacherous terrain. Of behaving with grace and compassion in the face of invisible and subconscious judgment. It’s innocent enough. My partner being asked by a sibling to not make their father uncomfortable on his birthday by me coming to dinner. That’s in the name of justice right ? It’s his birthday after all. So my beloved is expected to take a seat at the table, hold back her tears, and her self. She is asked to present the husk, the representative only, her true self is not welcome to the table. “Forgive them because they know not what they do”, it is ironic isn’t it that religion should come to mind right now. The pain is searing. I wonder if they know that? I suppose they also take for granted their permission to get married, be a couple, and to show up at events not making anyone uncomfortable with their presence. She is “asked” to only talk about things that won’t make anyone uncomfortable. Keep it light you know, work, whatever can be accessed without revealing too much. Exhausting. I wonder if they know how exhausting to be asked that?
I am in a raw state of pain right now. So I turn to my writing and my speaking truth out loud. It is salve. It is bandage and medication. I am angry and hurting, and I promise to turn all of this emotion into something that helps others and not into the pain that caused it. That is my promise. My place at the table of warriors who protects those who don’t know words for their feelings, and who have been silenced by lethal expectations, sometimes unspoken: the ones the highly sensitive notice and take on themselves. Too heavy a burden for anyone, but their heart will try nevertheless.
I don’t trust myself right now to write any further without being unkind. I have learned to stop short of that and process and synthesize my feelings until how I express them is of my choosing. Using wisdom rather than weapon.
It’s been a weird couple of weeks. I wonder if it’s something in the Universe and others have felt this way as well, or if it’s just unique to me? I feel like when I haven’t written (on here) in awhile, I need to find my way back to my writer self. The muscles groan and protest, as if they are saying “you can’t just come and go as you please and expect us to function, this is a commitment. That’s how it feels anyway.
I’ve been consumed in not feeling well lately, and exploring the emotions that arise here. Lots and lots of anxious thoughts, and worst case scenarios. Probably not helped by the fact that I recently saw a campaign to raise money for a woman with stage 4 lymphoma. The woman was someone who traveled in circles of friends of mine at a significant time in my life. During my newly being “out” as a gay woman phase. I knew people who dated her. I hadn’t thought about her since. And here she is with a wife, two adorable children, and cancer.
As humans we protect ourselves in a variety of ways. One of those ways is a powerful, fully operational form of denial. It is constantly present. This idea that could never be you. The less degrees of separation bordering you from a truer realization or your fragility, enter more anxiety. I often function by thinking thank goodness that isn’t me, and quickly busying myself with a protective layer of every day life that holds no room for morbid thoughts. But I am the type of person who possesses a keen awareness of the whole truth and nothing but the truth, as much as my human mind can comprehend. Often I wish I wasn’t, because then my mind would not be able to drive me as crazy with its frenzied thoughts of madness. To live fully is also to be mad I think. Mad with desire and mad with fear. Because if you know how much true beauty there is to be had in even the simplest of moments, you also know how fleeting those are. Always outracing an invisible force, that only I seem aware of. Or only I appear willing to acknowledge, and when I talk about it frankly I know the darkness in my thoughts frightens others. It’s like we know but don’t say it. You’ll jinx it. What superstitious creatures we are.
The first of the not feeling well began with some odd pain in my upper back, and extreme fatigue. I remember laying with my partner and feeling the first 2 fingers on both my hands be sort of numb and tingly. This driving me crazy of course, firing all my alarms there’s something wrong here, and the story tells if worse horrors then a flare up. It always does. I couldn’t get warm to save my life. I’m often cold. As all the weird feelings took their turn on my body I steadied myself in her arms. A safe space. Thank God for my safe space these days. It’s the only reconciliation I can find for knowing that my days are numbered. All of ours are, and someday maybe, like my grandparents, we will be resigned to checking the obituaries page daily and reading aloud to one another about the latest friend who has passed away.
The episodes include flushing. A delightful thing that is triggered by being over-tired, alcohol such as red wine, and sometimes stress. It feels like you’re on fire, mostly just your face. Hot, head achy, and dizzying. All you can do is lay down, maybe and ice pack and wait to it to pass. Often this is followed by a bad stomach and then elimination that leaves you shaking and freezing in an exhausted heap after. Either too hot or too cold always, the days you feel good being remarkable in their noticeability due to rareness. During times like this it’s a guessing game of what yuck Unidentified symptom will be the flavor of the day, and how you will keep the silver linings ever present as protective cloak. After only so many days you feel your spirit being eroded away at, and the irritability sets in.
Being overwhelmed happens so easily when you’re trying inside your head to manage your invisible symptoms so no one worries or feels sorry for you. Trying to feel normal. If you fall into the trap of thinking about them too much, or too much validation you run the risk of letting it take over your spirit. I refuse to do that ever. But then I think of how draining this is, and cannot imagine fighting cancer to keep my life. It’s hard now. I fear I would not be up to that task.
After the couple of draining days follows a moment of hope, a good day. I bask in it, soaking it up to carry me through the rest. And then the back injury, ironically it happened when I wrote my last blog post. Sat too many hours in a tall kitchen chair without lumbar support (apparently). Because when I got up my back was sore and I couldn’t figure out why. But with as many ailments I thought par for the course and carried about my day. What was supposed to be a quick trip to The grocery store to drive my son to work, became a nail in the tire and 3 hours at a shop with bored twin teenagers. We ate McDonalds, gross no wonder I’m sick 😉 it was 16 degrees and the only walkable distance to bide our time. By the time I sat and got up a few dozen more times into that evening I was nearly paralyzed. Could not walk without agonizing pain. Since I’ve also been down this road I called a physical therapist I know and trust and got in right away. This story could become so long… so let’s just say I finally won the round for much needed pain medication. I may have won the round, but it feels like I lost the game. Going on two weeks of limited everything. Co-pays, heating pads, one wrong move and spasm again after so much hard work… the back let’s up and I get 1/2 a good day and the migraine strikes. Pulsating, furious, making me nauseous. I take the migraine medication and feel weird like I may not actually be breathing, like my heart may have stopped altogether, like if I go to sleep I may not wake up. All this has been in between work and life and dogs and snow and ice and teenagers.
So here I am today at the beginning of two much needed days off, and I’m so afraid they will need to be spent resting, because the migraine remnants have left nausea and a sapped spirit in their wake.
Amidst all of this writing is my breath of fresh air. This is me when I can find hardly the will to do anything still fighting for what I love. I have wanted so badly to write, and yet my mind has been consumed with pain. It’s nearly impossible to think when your body is racked with one symptom or another and you’re just trying to catch your breath in between. This is my way of honoring my experience. When I see it on the page I judge myself. I sound so dramatic, it’s not as if I have stage 4 cancer. This perspective becomes a slow dance with denial, so I can live as fully as I want to. I was blessed with an iron clad will. My gift from the Universe. It must have known I would need it. I choose my reality regardless of my circumstances. I have chosen for it to always be this way.
This is an experience I am having currently with chronic illness. Right now it refuses to be ignored, and constantly sucks at my writer’s soul. Stay tuned because I refuse to give in. Stay tuned because between the night sweats, pain medication roller coaster, confusion of “the correct approach at healing”…there is wisdom between the lines, and between the symptoms.
Remember that song by Meatloaf? I used to really like it. In fact I really love the 80’s and 90’s genre of music in general.
I’ve spent the last several days in a tremendous amount of pain and it’s taken me on quite the emotional journey inside myself. It’s amazing the more we exercise our awareness and noticing muscles, the easier it becomes to clearly connect the dots on the why’s and how’s of our behavior. For example I notice how short I become when I am trying to manage pain (in this case physical) on my own without asking for understanding and stating my needs openly. When I try to be strong, but that model seems to fail. The “suffer in silence don’t scare your children one”. I want to create a more in depth post about chronic pain versus acute, and a story about some of my experiences with both.
But first what’s on my mind tonight.
I am learning to realize you can apply some of the same concepts of romantic partnership to parenting. That in fact the old school model of parents and adults very separate from kids has its flaws. Of course on the other end of the spectrum is too enmeshed, which has its own set of issues. So what I was thinking about when I drove home is getting a bouquet of flowers and splitting them amongst my kids/partner. It was a daydream of sorts and random, but when I considered it’s meaning I found not to forget the little ways to let someone know they are special. And I know how to do this so much better in adult love when it’s only one person to please. With 4 people it becomes so overwhelming financially and thought wise that I usually give up. I show my kids they matter in all the normal parent ways, my responsibilities. But do I show them how much joy they bring to my life and not burden? I fear this because it is my nasty core fear that I keep trying to feed, and because I speak so openly about my struggles at times.
So on the way home I was brainstorming the how’s of this all… and then now I am still thinking about it. I thought what common ground do we have? How can I show them without being unfair or being accused of that anyway regardless? So I came home and laid down with one of my daughters in her room. And just decided to sit down and not rush or expect anything, to just talk. Meanwhile the other one became very frustrated that her Star Wars movie she had been watching with my person (her person too;)) was on pause and kind of blew her top. Alls fair in love and parenting. You can’t please them all, and you can’t take personally when a tiny, over-tired, irrational dictator, finally lets go of all the feelings she has been holding tightly onto. But because I am a human being I did. I came to hide in the bath. This is 1/2 good. It’s a healthy coping mechanism. I wrote through my feelings and much more peaceful now. But not before I told her very sternly that she won’t get what she is looking for by speaking to me like that. I was very angry. She really blew up and kept going and going. You can’t please them all, especially your own children. You will need to find validation and gratification for all the hard work and sacrifice you have done for your kids elsewhere. You most likely won’t get it from them anytime soon. I’m 37 and still learning lots about perspective and gratitude.
Anyway I had an adult temper tantrum, internally this time thankfully, and came to soak it out. I came to commune with all the invisible parent spirits before me who have been down this road. In the quiet of my magical sanctuary I can do this. So I started to think about ways to relate and to do things together. Things that aren’t focused around money spending and extravagant gestures. Just authentic connection. But also trying to feed their interest and encourage growth in that way. Tall order ? I think so….
And of course the mall popped into my head…. and I could nearly picture Rian beam with joy at a new outfit and shopping date. And picturing that even almost made me go out and arrange it right away. “I could be a hero just for one day.” In a music artsy mood tonight. I could. But at what cost to them?! What would I be taking away in all the giving.? If we are to consider things in one direction, always for good measure I try to run the opposite scenario.
Do you know how many people (myself included), give in to make their lives feel easier, and to feel better by the immediate gratification of a child’s smile. The problem is when it empties as quickly as it spread because their mind is already onto the next moment they get what they want. So the mall would be the easy way, but only on the surface. I don’t wish to live on the surface…. not ever. So I must dig deeper in myself for ways to be close with my kids and connect that don’t involve stuff, or getting their way. It works folks.
I’ve watched my children be better people when they constantly are forced to remember how fortunate they already are. Perspective is everything…. perception is important to look at. We are the teachers and the students and it’s harrowing work with very little observable gratification. Long hours of overtime and very low wages. But at the end of the day would you change a thing. You have only to call upon a special vivid memory to recall why anyone would want this. It will be your most meaningful work. Meaningful and gratifying are two different things… I think in the end it will be both. But both require you to see further, to see past the end of your nose, to see below the surface of the dawn lake water glistening under the first peek of sunlight, to see the gifts that lie deeply beneath what the eye can see. Your children are gifts and they have gifts, unlocking that potential lies in how much we build them up and encourage, not in one thousand trips to the mall for a desired item. Don’t lose vision and perspective, especially when it gets tough, that’s when life is asking you to step up, to grow. Rise to the occasion, and you will light the way for them.
*this blog became by unrefined process very disjointed. So here’s a little help. If you are interested in parenting and the struggle involved, if you are a Highly Sensitive Person, if you struggle with Chronic Illness. If you are seeking balance in your life in any way. If you have a blended family, or are struggling with co-parenting with an ex partner. If you enjoy reading other people’s story, and delicate weavings of past, present, and dreams for the future, then you may enjoy this. If you are willing to sit through a writer who goes off on tendrils of branches, and who is currently finding her rhythm and tone.
So here I am in the midst of daily struggles with teenagers. I want to share with you a raw accounting of my personal experiences, again so you may resonate and find something helpful within. I do this for myself and for my readers: gorgeous reciprocity. I know intuitively and from my daily work in my career that I am not alone in this battle. I spend the largest chunk of my time trying to sort through the insurmountable task of ever keeping the big picture in mind versus getting caught up in moments. This feels nearly impossible. I believe in fact we are wired to respond and react to what is right in front of our face in any given moment, and it takes a considerable larger amount of effort to sort through how we choose to act on any given impulse or reaction to the entire process. Exhausting. I am exhausted a lot of the time. So let me first lay forth the extra complexities of my personal situation at hand.
Factors to consider: I am divorced, their Father is involved and pays his share, which lessens my burdens considerably. I am always aware of this, and how much better I have it than others. Since scales of comparison are rarely helpful I usually don’t use them. But I am careful because parenting is the hottest of all topics I think. We are ever wanting to do it well, and mostly in situations that feel like we are failing.Everytime we figure out the system and make a grand jump over a hurdle clearing it with strength and agility, the course switches up on us, landing us on our faces.
Back to the factors: Despite his support and involvement in the kids lives that I am ever grateful for, our working together to parent has intense complications. He remains at a certain point in our lives that I have moved much further beyond, this means that he has an idea of me that is constantly creating complications. Think believing in the worst possible version of someone, and this is of course MY interpretation and I am aware of that as well as the fact like we all do, I have blind spots. I think it’s being revealed to you this is a loaded topic. So for the purpose of not losing sight of the original plan of this post we shall summarize as the logistics currently are probably the most difficult part. This means that due to his career in the Coast Guard he has mostly lived far away during their lives. Ohio, then Boston, and now Staten Island. He comes for all things important for the kids and shows up, which is lovely. BUT he has no space near here to have them at overnight etc. This is further complicated by the fact that Tyler now has a job and needs rides to it, and he can’t just go to his Grandparents in upstate NY on the weekends. So the time I was able to have just for me while they are with their other parent is really only decided last minute, and often with just hours spent with him, but not overnight and all of them away. This allows for tensions to build between us and difficulty to arise and not much of a break to get insight and recharge. I understand that with families not in divorce perhaps they get no breaks, but also this is their set up. Each of us have unique struggles. I can only write so intimately from my pool of truths, and subsequently learn from those.
I am definitely going into detail to the degree that I might be losing “the point”. I am learning about how my writing process works or doesn’t haha. I try to be concise and summarize, but perhaps in the feeling space, that is more difficult to do. You are getting unrefined writing here. Perhaps the flavor is not nearly as good as something that has been perfected, but we are not there yet. We are just beginning.
So factors: An ex who isn’t my biggest fan and navigating his military career and how that changes the choices, and map of how we handle divorce and co-parenting. The careful tip toeing of honoring another parent’s journey with their kids in the face of criticism and bitter old wounds, that the smallest of things seem to resurface, even all of these years later. A non-traditional, non-consistent custody schedule, a new partner that they are learning, after several partners they became used to who departed, (severed connections are no joke on the heart) their personalities, my personality, their wiring, my wiring. Add in a healthy dose of misunderstandings, high sensitivity, strong strong personalities and character which I love, but is impossibly difficult in practice….
I used to go eat out at buffet’s when I was little. My grandparents loved buffets. Always buffets. JJ North’s Chuckwagon and Home Town Buffet, low in quality and large in quantity and variety, food excursions. They disliked needing to tip (which I think that you are still supposed to, what can I say they lived through the depression), being limited to one type of meal, and not “taking care of it themselves I think”. Also they appreciated the affordability. And my Grandmother bless her church going soul, loved to pack as many cookies as she could possibly nab from the dessert area into napkins and into her cavernous handbag. I recall snickerdoodles and peanut butter being favorites. I chuckle at this memory. He most egregious of sins being all the VHS tapes we rented that she copied with glee and a touch of shame (as the warnings exclaimed that this was a federal offense), and her stolen cookies from the buffet. I imagine she experienced much guilt over this, and yet another part of her was exhilirated with the mischief. Anyway the point of this story was that if life was a restaurant I would choose a buffet (even though I won’t eat at them now, yuck) and I would fill probably 5 plates full of every possible food, and try to eat them all. Yep that’s what I do. And then I end up sorting through the indigestion and gastrointestinal distress of it all. Which is quite the fitting metaphor for someone with Crohns Disease.
Maybe I should have just called this blog post factors? Maybe I’ll just keep going and it will be the book. “Maybe it’s Maybelline at this point”…this popped into my head, a charming and witty line from a dear person who has been in my journey from their blog that I highly recommend. Credit Kat “the Wizard” from. http://www.seekerandthewizard.com
So here I am at present day with three teenagers whose turn it is to be allowed to learn/audition to navigate the world, when some parts of me are still so delayed in my own process. Here my partner and I are trying to establish a new connection and have enough time and resources for that, while having our main task be loving and teaching these kids well. This has gone quite poorly in the past, and my assessment of readiness and also the want to spend life in this way of people I chose in the past did not end up working out in the whole story. But in the scheme of things I have embraced each of those journeys as completely necessary and can find nothing but affection and gratitude for each of them.
We have a full home. We enjoy entertaining and offering what we have in love, food, comfort, and space to others. We both, all of us really, enjoy this. We like entertaining and cooking for others and inviting them over. We are very social creatures. However that takes a huge amount of effort in terms of upkeep. We have two dogs. One of them an overly neurotic border collie with a gargantuan pile of issues, whose favorite pastime is barking at the highest pitch you can imagine at the mail person the entire time they are on the street. We have a couch, it’s a funny story really in the scheme, perhaps I will tell it at some point. But both my person and I came with “stuff” from our past. We have a very over-priced couch she was forced to pay for in their break-up, and it has no place in our home of children, and misbehaved pets. So a great deal of time and stress is keeping this thing nice in a house that is not a museum. We even had a therapy session surrounding it once. This couch is the perfect couch for a single couple (gay of course because of it’s impeccable taste ;)), and for dinner parties and a gorgeous, clean, non-chaotic, floorplan. So both dogs attempt to scale the couch to get into the bay window to bark at anything they could possibly bark at. They are breaking down the cushions and increasing the wear and tear. And my second dog Sigmund Freud the therapy bulldog occasionally likes to mark it as his and relieve himself on it. This of course distressing my person greatly, as if nursing the wounds of the financial inequalities of that relationship were not enough, now the thing she was forced into buying herself is being peed on. To keep perspective I suppose if one of us was to fall ill the couch would become an after thought, as we should train ourselves to make it be without. Learn to have it be a funny story based on a lesson. I know personally I luxuriate over having such a piece of furniture as I probably would have gone my whole life without ever 😉 There are a variety of ways to look at this.
So we have five different personalities under this one roof. Five different people who each hold their priorities and process sacred, and need to learn to work together to acheive balance individually and as a family. How does anyone do this? My guess is with a lot of space, a great sense of humor, and not taking life too seriously? And this is a problem in our home. Highly sensitive people take everything seriously, and they also become easily overwhelmed. If you aren’t overwhelmed by reading the factors in my daily life, whether you have the High Sensitivity trait or not, I would be shocked.
Let’s list the complex factor’s without going further into each one, the blog itself will do that. I’ll just list words and see:
ADHD (most of us, if not all), High Sensitivity, Stubborn, Opinionated, all internal factors of our wiring and personality, how to fit each person’s needs and balance with their wants. Crohn’s Disease, Financial concerns, namely cleaning up after beginning my career very late, and being a “single” mother in the state of Connecticut for many years. I have debt that is impeding the larger than life dreams that I have. Which includes the possibility of another child, wanting to travel and explore, actually more of late really wanting to move to another Country, but seriously. Knowing with evermore certainly that some windows on my dreams are closing in that I cannot have them all. I have to CHOOSE. I have to choose which dreams to give life, and this is a Sophie’s Choice for me. This is deeply painful for me. Apparently I can’t list without elaborating, that has always been present, now how can I capitalize on it rather than thinking it is wrong? In addition to this I want to author books, I want to organize and produce theories from all my labors of love and learning as a counselor. I want to tour, and to talk to others, and to teach. I want to share my gifts on the largest scale possible, not for the wealth and the fame of it (in fact I think I would hate that), but for the purpose of it. I want to help. I want to contribute to society, and my process of needing to heal myself before I had room to do so has been lifelong and taken up so much space. I am aware and grieve that. I can’t help but indulge the what if’s of that.
I burn with desire, sometimes I burn up, and it’s not good at all,…..I burn to create. It is a drive, a compulsion, a non-choice it always seems. It is a brooding and painful thing all of these thoughts, that if I could just untangle I could help. My mind is painfully cluttered, and as I try to de-clutter it, more piles just topple over into the space I have cleared, and on top of it I just continue to add more ALWAYS rather than staying with what I’ve got and putting down roots. This task before me now is to SLOW DOWN and STAY with things, see how much more richness can be produced by choosing three things in particular and sitting with them and seeing them, and allowing my eyes to graze over my greatest works of art. And the fear in this? In this noticing? Is that it could hurt that much more if the connection is ever severed. And severed connections have been a thing most of my life, they are more consistent than safe ones. It’s all I know in a way. Being severed from these: unthinkable. I stop breathing even thinking about it. So I stand at a careful distance at times, from my own life. It is terribly painful knowing my kids can feel that, and may perceive it differently, personally as a way I feel about them, or don’t. And part of my life’s work is at least trying to put down in words enough that they will be able to read and understand who I am inside, and the why’s of my choices. That was something with both of my parents that I will never know. If I do nothing else right in my life: I will always show up for my kids. They may not always understand this or interpret it the same. Sometimes they will have to sort through the pain of their experience, without it being unthinkable to me or a threat to my ability of parenting. We are not there yet. I am a work in progress. But I will never stop trying. I’ll always show back up. These are connections that only death will sever, and perhaps not even that. This is the thing I’ve been so thirsty for in my life, and yet I so often am blind to the ones I already have. Or I move too quickly to stop and see. This is my current task as a person to slow down and develop my relationships I have now, and find a way to still do that while helping others along their journey.
My writing continues to take on a life of it’s own and go on a direction I never planned at the beginning. This is like all of life though. This is something we can count on. So I’m going to try for that to be ok for now, until my next victory opens up before me. They sneak up on you, you know. For one thing I’m writing so much more in so many more ways than I was last year. I write more, and more comes. It is unfolding.
I lost sight of the blog that was meant which was to describe a singular situation that happened with my daughter this morning, and to explain the different choices and outcomes of how it was handled. To illuminate what I have learned. Let’s hope I can learn to come back to this and also make that post. Or maybe it will get lost in the land of ADHD and life in general.
Thanks for listening….I wrote this in the midst as you can probably tell. The midst of real and everyday life. Not at a writing retreat, not on top of a quiet mountain. In the midst of scheduling, random questions (many), my daughter being up set over an overwhelming project, the dogs, the phone… LIFE… I write in the midst of life and I have ADHD, and I am trying to find out how I can produce great works of art without sacrificing my childrens childhood. Without us both missing out. How to be a driven thinker requiring quiet space, and a fully present mother. It is difficult. I think of Pema Chodron and her admissions on parenting at the end of Fail, Fail Again, Fail Better. This was comforting to me.
Good morning readers! It is 1:31 pm and I am still in bed. My immediate view is the one you see in the first picture. My son who no doubt stayed up most of the night “nerding out” on the computer, and my fir son snoring together gently at my feet as I write. What isn’t pictured here is my daughters that were also in the bed, and my person. Storytelling, snuggling, them listening (in short spurts, we all have ADHD) to me reading about writing. I am noticing (realizing) in this very moment that several years back my mind would have been in total chaos and none of this peaceful contemplation space was able to exist. This is heaven right here on earth.
This home that I live in…. I have been in it for six years this March. Six years is longer than most things in my life have been consistent save for my children, everything else has been constantly changing. It was move in ready when my ex and I bought it. The previous owners favored yellow, orange, and brown paint colors, but it was fresh and clean and bright. At the time we said it was ours we knew, but hadn’t told the kids. They were ten, eight, and eight years of age. Her parents video taped their reaction in the living room to us saying “do you like this house”, and they jumped around excitedly, an emphatic yes uttering with sheer glee from their innocent mouths. And then we said “good because we bought it”, and we all jumped up and down together in the empty clean living room and celebrated. I wonder if and where this video still exists.
Since then this house has seen many changes, and it has become a refuge for many a “lost traveler”, someone needing something in their lives, and they found some piece of that here with us, in the roaring of our beating hearts. This home is full of life, and strong strong personalities, every one. Members of this home that have lived here and departed include; my one almost marriage partner of most of my children’s young lives, this one came with a lovely supportive family that I am ever so grateful to to this day for all they taught me about family. The woman that I dated after her who lived with us for about 1.5 years. A magical wizard of a chef who wore her heart on her sleeve, and shared similarities with me in family of origin shit. Our triggers lied within each others triggers. We were mirrors. The roommate and still bestfriend and her son who is like my own, who gave birth to her second son here in our home. A single mother who always put her son first, and loves with every ounce of her heart. They rented our downstairs, and still to this day some of my fondest memories are of them being here. Then there was the last of my life changing relationships of someone who would inhabit this home. There is still much unfinished work in processing this relationship. This person brought the nurturing, almost parent like capacity to our lives. She was the first person I ever co-habitated with that I functioned well with. We worked very well together. She helped me get my practice off the ground and managed my business for a time. She taught me how to fiercely love myself, and to self-care. She showed up for us, and it all felt very safe. I was trying to crack the code on my inability to last in a romantic relationship. I broke my pattern by not turning this into a romantic relationship it wasn’t, just to belong and to not be alone. So we lived together like a family, with the best aspects, without the tearing at one another with expectation. I didn’t need to because she just took care of anything and everything we could have wanted, the missing needs, without being asked. Because she enjoyed being loving and nurturing. However there were some unseen flaws in this model and it ended quiet abruptly and unexpectedly. The lack of her presence is felt, I wish we could have kept eachother in our warrior tribe of women. I think fondly of her. To the best of my knowledge she does not share that sentiment towards me. I took more abrupt actions in her leaving our home. It would be very hard to explain. But I still think we each took things we desperately needed from that situation, but that it didn’t have to end how it did, with the severed connection.
Throughout all this time I was mostly focused on school, my career, and internal processes, this left no room for home improvement. The only small scale experience I had is when the almost marriage partner moved out and I was devastated for a period of weeks. I repainted and changed my bedroom in attempt to pick my devastated self up off the floor. I also watched Under the Tuscan Sun every single day and night on repeat. I read Eat, Pray, Love, and a Year by The Sea by Joan Anderson. I walked, and read, and exercised. I even “saged” at one point I believe. I got massages and Reiki. But I never knew much about DIY home things, inside or outside of the house, and learning proves to be daunting, and leave a slight flavor of irritability as I would rather be writing. Maybe it just isn’t my thing, or maybe I just allow myself to become so overwhelmed I don’t do it. In any case it was time for a change…. so my person this time is partially the catalyst for this. In a home with so many memories of others lingering, as part of our process to make this feel like our story, we are painting. Also on a longer term plan we would like to relocate closer to both of our jobs. So either way the house will be ready for market etc,. Initially I resisted this movement mostly due to all the effort it requires and financial resources it takes. But after a long while of having stated an intention and not doing anything about it, one day, in true me fashion, we just picked up and bought the supplies and began….
So far the guest bathroom has gone from this horridly abrasive yellow/brown color, to a smooth, creamy, and calming Avenue Tan. It’s very zen-like. Though the outlet covers are naked, as we haven’t found the right fit yet, the towel rack with one hook broken on it remains unreplaced, and the new espresso cabinet we got to go over the wall where the toliet is still remains in the box from Amazon. I abhor attempting to assemble and hang things. I have very little patience for such tasks. I often wish this were different, and I try to make up my mind a new adventure will be different. Alas, each new attempt just tries my patience, and makes me wish I never started. Also although I appreciate thoroughly the beautiful view of a finished product, and the ensuing sense of accomplishment, I often thought that I hope this is the last time I can’t just pay someone to labor for me. :p I always wanted to be one of those “do it yourself people”, I admire them. But I am thinking as I write that they find a joy during the act of such work and crafting, that is not the same for me. Maybe those type of people would just as soon have a root canal as put their most inner thoughts and feelings into words, let alone allow the world to view them?
Maybe there is a lot more to this “wiring” thing than we think sometimes. I always tended to think you could do anything you set your mind to. But then again I also thought if I set my mind not to be gay, that was also a possibility, as it turns out, it wasn’t. I think it is true that you can (try things way outside your comfort zone/capability). But to further extrapolate on this, I realize now that while you can “try on” anything, and have many adventures, some will speak to your soul and be enjoyable to you, and some will not. With regard to hard work it’s not that I don’t appreciate it. As a core value I really do actually. But anymore I get physically tired so much more easily. I give so much more of myself to the rest of the world. And since I do so sitting in a chair in a cozy office, on a schedule of my own-making, I often am unfair to myself in my perception of how much I give, and how hard I work. I also attempt to constantly deny the fact I have a Chronic Illness, because I can’t find balance on this. I either am dying from it, or choose to pretend I don’t have it at all. There is no in between. Historically I am not so good at balance, or regulation for that matter. It’s been a big task of mine. It is ever a work in progress in my life.
My daugher is making “bids” for my attention as I write this, and the thing is happening. Where I become frustrated at being plucked from my reverie, every few seconds as she asks me questions that could easily be figured out by herself. She wants my attention. She has wanted it often. She is still “younger” than her other siblings in a certain sense. She still wants to play. Bless her heart. The other twin (A) is probably thinking about her boyfriend and brooding about her phone and the complexities of life. My son is sleeping off his computer all nighter “hangover”, the bullodog encouraging him by joining. It serves me more to pull myself from the reverie to be present, it gives myself and my daughter something we both need, but again it is in ways so against my wiring. It is if I am wired for lots of peaceful quiet, books, cups of tea/coffee, being cozy or as the Danish call it Hygge (Hoo-Gah)… a post on that later. I am wired for contemplation and to ponder the mysteries of everyday society, unmet needs, and the complexities of the Universe. I could basically do that all day everday, and yet I dislike my mind tricking me into perceiving my children as a burden. This has been a battle of my existence for certain.
This morning’s writing was clearly all over the place, nothing that I expected that is for sure. I expected a summary I suppose of the current year. Some tender musings on hopes for this next one. The obligatory Resolutions. Today most importantly is the one year anniversary of initially reaching out to my beautiful person. We celebrated not with fancy dinner or fanfare, but with allowing ourselves to wake slowly and lounge in the comfort of one another this morning before she left for work again. It was the best feeling. Maybe the fact that my posts have less of a beginning and an end means its meant to be more of a book. My daughter has the hiccups and she is desperate for my attention from the next room. She has been asking someone to play a game with her constantly. So I am going to go be present and hope to write more soon. I did want to share some of my thoughts on Anne Lamott’s “Bird by Bird” that I started reading this morning. At first read of her I was a bit turned off by all the religion speak, and something about her disjointed style (hmmm pots and kettles), but as her language familiarizes itself to me… it’s a bit like falling in love. I guess that’s how it happens really anyway, right ?
Unchained Melody is on Pandora. I think of days of glamorizing Patrick Swayze and in Dirty Dancing, when these days I look back at tomboy Demi from the movie ghost and swoon. Life is funny.