Monday, February 28, 2011

Anxious



I'm just anxious. There are reasons for the anxiety that I'm quite clear about and make perfect sense (you don't need a list), and reasons that are nothing short of ridiculous, but are nonetheless causing me great angst. I spent a full night tossing and turning over what Rojo will wear to high school IN SEPTEMBER, because he currently wears a uniform with elastic waist thingies that allow him to just pull them up and never have to button or unbutton, or bother with a belt. When Rojo has free dress he wears elastic waisted sweat pants. In high school I want him to wear jeans, just like the other boys, and I've yet to see a pair of elastic waisted jeans in the men's department, actually, I have, but not in the stores/men's departments from which I intend to make a purchase. Got myself all in a stew about it before STM noticed I was a wreck and asked me what my problem was.

"What will Rojo wear to high school?" I blurted out.

"You mean, in SEPTEMBER?" he asked, incredulously. "Don't you have things you need to worry about that are going to happen today or tomorrow? Why are you on September??"

Well, there is no short answer to that question. I have been "on" September 2011 for about four years, and there is no question that is a major underlying cause of my anxiety. When STM realized that yes, indeed, the sheer panic was coming from something that was over six months away, he quickly came to a reasonable solution. "We'll just buy him jeans that are long enough, and have a tailor take them in, or put in elastic somehow so he can still just pull them up without unbuttoning them or wearing a belt."

Hadn't thought of that.

And therein lies my problem. I have 1001 worries that go head-to-head with the elastic waist crisis, but zero solutions. I cannot get my brain to unhook from the panic, long enough to explore solutions.

Often when I get myself all worked up about nothing, I think of all the people in my community dealing with serious, life and death type issues. I couldn't throw a stone from my front porch without it hitting someone with MUCH bigger problems than I am dealing with. And while that really helps me on one level, it only adds to the anxiety on another, then I have just one more thing to feel anxious about, my lack of appreciation, realization and gratitude of my relatively easy life.

Three years ago I withdrew from my anti-anxiety meds. I hesitated at the time chronicling that whole thing, but I'm glad that I did. Ever since, I've had people come up to me and tell me about their own anxiety, their own medications, and their own withdrawal stories. The withdrawal alone was enough to make me swear I'd never again consider going back on any SSRI. I am still not considering an SSRI, but the tools that have served me well, for the most part, these past three years, are not quite enough now. I need more tools. The tools I add may include going back to yoga, may include more time on the meditation cushion with mindful breathing, may include a visit to the naturopath for something to help, may include starting Beer O'Clock a little earlier each day, I'm not sure just yet. Right now all that I know is that I'm anxious, and perhaps touching that with gentle awareness is all that I'm called to do at this time.


* Photo from http://www.erikbohlin.net

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Limited Skills



I am very, very bad at a very long list of things, and as it turns out, many of those are pretty much life skills: cooking, even a crude sense of direction and with alarming increase, memory of any sort.

When I was visiting Terry I was wiping off the kitchen counter with a soapy sponge. “I wish you lived here,” she said with sincerity.

“It’s one of the very few things I do well,” I said, to which she said, “True,” which is true, and she is the truth teller, and that is just one of the many things she does well. I was not offended. It is true. I am excellent at wiping down a surface. Now, while that comes in handy several (hundreds) of times a day, it is not all that great or useful in the overall scheme of things.

I honestly don’t think I am any longer hirable. I have no job skills to speak of, and forget about being technologically minded. There is literally no job on the planet, that I am aware of, for which I am qualified.

Don’t get me wrong; I think I’m it on a stick. This is not about my self-esteem, which is excellent and in very good working order. I have just slowly and surely come to understand and accept that I have my own set of challenges, and that is okay. One of the many gifts of having a child with challenges, is over time, you just don’t care anymore about the things at one time you cared very much about: keeping up, looking good, and being normal.

My conversation with Terry turned into what I am good at, and the thing that is most interesting to me about that process, was not only how hard it was to come up with a list of more than a few things, but to look at the list and be good with it. Here's what I mean: what I am good at, I am very good at, and recognizing my strengths and not only acknowledging them but being good with them, was harder than recognizing and being good with my weaknesses. Why is it that we, as humans, find it easier to list and accept our weaknesses, than to list and accept our strengths, not only accept, but really step into? Really become our highest selves by embracing our path, the one our strengths help illuminate?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Family


I've been staying at my cousin's for the last few days. We look enough alike to be sisters. We have some of the same mannerisms, and I see and hear her sisters and mother, and my mother, in many of the things she says and does. It's like a part of you, or many parts of you, are reflected back to you for your review and consideration.

It's weird and comforting to see that someone else buys the exact same soap, same shoes, cooks with the same cook ware, laughs at the same things, enjoys the same music, buys the same brands of food, makes the same choices about a million other things for the same reasons.

When separated by thousands of miles, very different lives and different situations entirely, it's nice to know there are others walking around the planet that get you, that you get, even if you don't get to get together very often at all.


* Photo from http://www.expertclick.com

Friday, February 18, 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Yes, Dear


I was at a class last night on moral decision making - fascinating! We broke into small groups and were to discuss how is it we make our decisions? Consensus? Do we just do whatever is going to make the other person(s) happy? Do we do what others tell us to do? What our parents would do? What our parents would NOT do? What our religion tells us is right or wrong? WHAT goes into our decisions and how mindful are we of all that goes into them, if anything? One of the things we discussed was the sheer knee jerk reaction that drives many of our decisions.

One thing the women in our group agreed on (and Kathleen and I were "the" women in the group, so this is no surprise), is that we no longer make decisions the way we once did, which was primarily to please. We now (for the most part) try to first buy ourselves some time before making any big decision so we can really sit with it and fully process, and we check in with our bodies to see what they have to say about the matter, as we all know, the body never lies.

One man in the group said he just makes his decisions. He also has a history of trying to please and do what a good son/husband/employee/etc. would do, but is working now to be more mindful in all regards, especially more mindful of what he wants and doesn't want. Another man in the group said he gives no consideration whatsoever to what others want or think or believe or expect of him.

The conversation veered into the influence our spouse has over our decisions. One man joked, "When I got married the priest said the key to marriage boiled down to two words, 'Yes, dear.'" I object to this for a thousand reasons, but the biggest is that I want no part of a marriage that is "successful" because one person is dominated by the other. I also resent that this advice is historically given to men, and that assumes all women are shrews and that the only way to live with a shrew is just to agree with her. I know plenty of marriages where the one saying, "Yes, dear," is the wife, and still, not my idea of a great marriage.

Now, by the same token, there are a million times in a marriage where the kindest, wisest and sanest response to a partner may very well be, "Yes, dear," but that must come out of wisdom, and not out of fear or avoidance, the no answer answer must be a decision, not a default.

Later STM and I were talking about the whole "Yes, dear," thing and he said, "I don't think those two words are the secret to marriage. I think the secret to marriage is three words, 'Thank you for __________'"

To which I said, "Yes, dear!"

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Day to One's Self



Yesterday was my birthday, and I had many sweet and wonderful offers to do many sweet and wonderful things to celebrate. In years past I have enjoyed celebrating the big day in a big way, but this year I knew for sure I wanted to low key it.

I spent the entire day doing what, and only what, I wanted. It was heaven. I went on an extra long walk with Kathleen. I didn't shower until noon, then once I finally did, I stayed in my bathrobe another couple of hours. I got to leisurely read my e-mails and Facebook greetings, open my cards that came in the mail, and just hang out with myself for the day. I read a People magazine (didn't know 75% of the people in there, but still enjoyed the heck out of it), I napped, I talked on the phone to my dear friend that called, it was just wonderful.

We farmed both kids out for the night, STM came home early from work, we ordered a pizza, drank a bottle of wine that cost more than $5 (but not that much more), visited, laughed, then watched a good movie ("Secretariat"). We were in jammies and ready for "The Bachelor" by 8:30, which was awesome because we were watching what the DVR had recorded while it continued to record, thus avoiding all commercials entirely and still getting us to bed at a reasonable hour (any hour after 10 is unreasonable).

Happy.


* Photo from http://cardiophile.com

Monday, February 14, 2011

For My Valentine



STM,

I love you, will you be my Valentine? Here is a Top 10 list to sweeten the deal:

TOP 10 THINGS I LOVE ABOUT STM

10. Chiseled good looks

9.  Never gets annoyed with me for asking him for directions, and is willing to provide said directions when called in a panic, and can figure out where I am and where I need to go, despite my failure to provide such helpful information

8. Does not throw old "stuff" back in my face, even though he has some good "stuff" from which to choose

7. Has empathy for middle aged women, one in particular

6. Sees the big picture in all things

5. An angel in the lives of many

4. A great son

3. A spiritual seeker with great insights

2. Funniest person I know (and I know some doozies)

1. The father that he is




* Photo from http://www.digitaltrends.com

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Member of the Big C Club


I am now a proud member of the colonoscopy club. Yes, a couple years ahead of the big 5-0, but let's just say there was "cause." Good news is, I have a very healthy colon! Yea! Bad news is, I may never be able to look at Jell-O again!

No, seriously, the procedure itself is a complete non-event. They give you fabulous drugs that knock you out in about half a second and when you wake up it's over.

I won't go into details about the prep, but if you're someone that is due to have a colonoscopy and is putting it off because of all you've heard, let me just tell you this, ask for the split dose. Schedule your procedure for late morning so you can drink the OTHER 8 glasses of solution in the morning, because I don't know how it's humanly possible to drink 16 glasses in one evening and survive to tell the tale.

The other thing I wish I'd done was ask more questions in my initial visit. They told me not to take any vitamins or supplements for a week prior to the procedure, and being the good girl that I am, I did not. Well, with the help of my wonderful naturopath, my high blood pressure and menopause are all eased by natural supplements. Not being on them for a solid week was not fun, plus I caught a cold, the first one in years, because I was no longer taking all that Vitamin C (2,000 to 3,000 mg. a day). I wish I'd advocated more for myself and learned more about what could possibly have been the harm of taking those at least until the day before the procedure.

If you are needing to join the Big C Club, plan it around a time you can really care for yourself before and after. The day before you will need to not do much of anything, since you won't really be eating, and will be as weak as can be and as crabby as all get out. Load up the DVR with "Jerseylicious," and make the most of it! Following your procedure, plan on sleeping and resting, again, more time with you and your DVR! I have officially reached the saturation point with the OWN network, nice as it is.

But, I am healthy, it is over, and all is good.








* Photo from www.thegeminiweb.com

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Essence



While visiting Terry, I spent some time with the book, True Purpose. In it are several wonderful exercises to go through in determining why you're here. Through the process you determine your essence, your blessing and your mission. I did not read enough of the book (yet) to speak to anything besides the way of determining your essence, which goes a little something like this...

You are to ask ten trusted people, "What walks in when I walk into a room?" I've only asked three people so far and one said, "efficiency," one said, "light," and one is carefully considering her answer. When she gets around to asking me what her essence is, I will probably say "care," as she never does anything that isn't gentle and careful, something I could learn a few things about. That, of course, would not be all that she is, and not the sum total of her essence, but that for sure walks into the room with her each and every time.

I think I'll ask Woohoo and Rojo what they think, can't wait to hear their answers. It would be interesting to ask someone that you know doesn't particularly like you, but I'm not sure I'm that brave.


* Photo from http://www.orientaloutpost.com

Monday, February 7, 2011

Priorities


Rojo takes his shower at 7:00 PM on the dot, dries off, puts on his pajamas and says to me, "Mom, I just love you. I am going to tell you that again at 8:00. I am going to tell you that every hour from now on. It's important."


* Photo from www.lifeprint.com

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Empathy

I had a really interesting conversation recently with a woman I barely know, who is going through an ugly divorce. UGLY. Long. Drawn out. Brutal. Took years to separate and years after that to decide to divorce, and even after all that there is still a lot of energy between the two. The woman was explaining the whole mess to me and I wondered if she might be thinking it would be easier just to stay together than to go through all this, so I asked her that.

"No," she answered, "and I'll tell you why we didn't work and why we'll never work, we don't have empathy for each other." She was quick to own her own part in all this. "I think for a relationship to work you need to not only admit you've hurt each other, but to understand what that must feel like to the person. We don't."

I think she's on to something, and the more I think about it, it's not just having empathy for the ways we've hurt each other, which is big, but just blanket empathy, what it must be like to be the other person on any given day. To truly put ourselves in their bodies, their minds, their psyches, their souls, their beings.

I can think of lots of relationships I've lived through, with, in and around and there are lots of causes of death, certainly, but lack of empathy has to be a common one, and perhaps the most reconcilable of all differences.

* photo from http://philosophy.fullerton.edu

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

It on a Stick


Lest you think we spent all weekend looking showered with our hair and makeup done (and a camera man with Photoshop skills), here's a picture of the real deal. It's just a cryin' shame no one thought to capture all my glory on film, so you'll just have to picture this and mark up the grunge factor by at least 10.

Only someone with enough self confidence would give me their blessing to put this picture on the Internet. If I could bottle Terry's sense of self and sell it to every deserving soul, I'd be rich, rich, rich, but better than that, we'd live in a problem-free world. I'm convinced low self esteem is the root of all evil.

I think, personally, she couldn't be cuter in this picture, but the best thing about it is, she couldn't agree more.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Little Like That



We laughed. We talked. We walked. We laughed. We shared. We laughed. We probed. We solved. We suggested. We laughed. We listened. We heard. We laughed.

And it was just what the doctor ordered. For four nights and nearly five days I didn’t have a care in the world. My every worldly need was provided before it fully developed into a need. Meals. Warm bed. Own room. Own bathroom. Warm fire. Coffee. Beer. Good wine. Yummy snacks.

Once all those pesky worldly needs get met, the soul can reach out for a stretch and get its needs met, too. And that, that is heaven.