I Give Up

Love is a funny thing. Some people jump in with both feet. They are more than satisfied not knowing what will happen. Some people wade in slowly, testing the waters and then easing in a little bit at a time as their comfort grows. 

Me? I swan dive. Face first. Every time. Sometimes that water can be pretty shallow and I wind up nursing my injuries. But other times, the water is so deep, you wish you could hold your breath forever. And just as quickly as I dove in, I can jump back out if the temperature changes.

When I have a job, I’m absorbed. I do everything I can picking up tasks the second the first is finished. I find things to do that no one knew needed to be done. I organize. I clean up. Then I try to make things easier or better. And if I work from home, I am a slave to the “one more minute” theory. It’ll just take me one more minute to finish this email. Two hours later, I’m still working. 

Books. I devoured books as a kid. Then there was a long stretch of time where I didn’t read at all. I like to refer to this as the zombie-parenting era. In the past few years, I’ve picked them up again. My bookshelves are overflowing. My husband is complaining. Thankfully, he bought me an ereader or I would start stashing them in any open space. 

This is me. I get addicted. I obsess. 

The good news is…I know it. 

We try to hide the characteristics we don’t like. We deny them. We don’t let them come out. But I find that the more I discover about myself, the more I have to find a way to like that quality. Somewhere along the line I stopped trying to fight my personality and now I work with it. I no longer try to change everything, I embrace it.

There is only so much you can change. There are certain aspects of ourselves that are simply rooted in our personality. Figure them out. Learn about yourself. And then see the positive. 

If you are told to build a cabinet, it’s easy if you have wood, nails and a  hammer. But if all you are given is some dinner plates and a hot glue gun, you’re going to have to figure out a new plan. 

MacGyver did it. So can you. 

 

 

What Have I Done?

It’s happened.  I have finally succumbed to the peer pressure and set up a Facebook page.  What have I done?  I am already regretting my decision.  I am a Twitter addict, tried and true.  I like the anonymity and the brevity of it all.  I actually receive useful writing information on Twitter.  There’s something to be said for that.  I’ve learned quite a bit about writers, rules and tricks of the trade.  That was my goal from the beginning. 

But now…now I’m looking at a page of gobbledy gooked comments all over the place.  There’s no organization.  There’s random updates of which I have no idea what they are.  I like order!  I would look at one person’s page and find they know someone else I might know so I keep going from page to page saying “I know this one!” and “Hey, I havent seen her in forever!”  What have I done?  I don’t want to open this door.  I don’t want to invite a flood of people I haven’t talked to in ages to chit chat about stuff I don’t care about.

Am I selfish?  Am I conceited?  Maybe I’ve turned into a hermit?  I’m not sure, but I feel like I’ve opened Pandora’s box with this stupid page and I just want to shut it.  I want to fill it full of concrete and lock it up tight and drop it to the bottom of the nearest river.  Is it too late to turn back?  I am really trying to convince myself that this was a good idea, but I can’t do it.  There is one person that I haven’t talked to in ages that I have been dying to talk to.  Maybe I can just send her my email address and then shut it all down.  I’ll shut it down and pretend like it never happened.  That sounds good, right?  No one will ever know? 

Right?

RIGHT?!?!

Crap…how did I get 24 friends already?

Discipline, Talking and an Afterschool Special

In the spirit of school starting, I think this post’s lesson should be about parenting.  I’ve seen some discussion lately about parents and the different ways that they discipline, or don’t discipline their children.   My favorite being the following:

http://rockonmommies.com/paris-hilton-was-an-undisciplined-child/

As our kids grow up, we really hope that we’ve done right by them and they won’t end up some sad story on the nightly news.  It is hard to decide if the actions we take when they misbehave are going to be beneficial in the long run.  It’s essential to be able to say no to your kids.  So I would like to follow up on the above video with the next step after discipline.  Sometimes,  it is the actions we take after the scoldings or punishments that are what create the foundation for a solid future.

Part of being a parent is talking to your kids.  They aren’t just a small person that wanders around the house attempting to break one of your rules.  You brought that child into this world to love, support and one day send off to live his own life.  Unless your intention was to provide a nanny with a job, I think maybe some interaction is required on your part. 

I am under the impression that many of the problems kids face could be solved with some genuine conversation with family.  Let’s be real here.  I’m not talking “afterschool special” conversation.  You don’t have to get out the milk and cookies and a reference book.  All I am saying is show your kids that you do care about what is on their minds and talking about it shouldn’t be an uncomfortable situation. 

I have always been very open with my son, who is now 10, about many topics.  Example 1, two girls in the neighborhood keep pushing him off his scooter and then when they get it, they don’t give it back.  He’s afraid to do anything because he doesn’t want to push a girl.  Ok, so I don’t have the perfect answer for this.  But, we talked it out.  We tried to figure out some options.  Point being, he felt a little better afterwards.  Example 2, for years there has be a certain nearby store that we pass that is for, ahem, adults only.  For ten years my son has never noticed this store…until there were protesters outside with signs that say “Pornography Hurts Our Children”.  How ironic.  So, as I am driving by praying he didn’t see them, he asks “Mom, what is pornogra..what does that say?”

*facepalm*

Ok, sometimes we are gonna have conversations we don’t want to have.  If you can put on a brave face and an even tone, you can show your kids that they can come to mom or dad with anything without feeling embarrassed.  That’s the real lesson here.  Just asking how they feel once in a while can be beneficial.  School is approaching.  Ask if they are nervous, excited or scared.  Let them tell you what they think and give them advice if they are unsure about starting school.  Get them to look at the big picture to show that even though things may be tough one day, other days will be better. 

Do you remember what it was like to be a kid?  Were you afraid to raise your hand to ask a question in class?  Did you feel confused in health class?  Did you loathe having to change in front of classmates in the locker room?  There are LOADS of embarrassing moments for us to choose from.  If we can remember those times, we can surely help our kids get through them knowing what we know now. 

Maybe we don’t have all the answers, but just being there to say “I understand” can mean more than you realize. 

Fish…It should be “What’s for dinner”

So far, my posts have been written on days when I’m feeling philosophical and reflective on the lessons of my life.  Never do I feel motivated to start typing when I’m annoyed, frustrated or in any sort of sour mood.  Let’s turn the tables today, shall we?  It might be interesting.

I will be the first to admit that I can be selfish.  I don’t like to share food that I love.  I have the general say on how the house is decorated and I decorate it the way I want it.  I make probably 99% of the rules of the house.  However, I buy my kids things they want, even when I’m broke.  I clean the house, do the dishes, take care of the laundry, all without a complaint.  When the cat or dog makes a mess on a rug, who cleans it up?  Me.  Diapers need to be changed?  Me.  You need to take in food for a party at work?  I’ll make it.  Fine.  Great.  No problem. 

However, today, something as simple as my husband buying fish made me completely irritated.  Let’s start by saying, I only like fish on a plate.  To me, a fish cannot be played with.  It does not greet you at the door showing you how much it missed you.  It does not curl up next to you knowing that you’ve had a bad day.  Sure, they are lovely in the doctor’s office waiting room.  Beautiful at the pet shop.  I just don’t want a tank of them living in my house.  I made my case clear to my husband.  I do not want fish.  I won’t touch them and I won’t take care of them.  They are completely your responsibility.  After setting up the tank and putting the fish in, he proceeded to explain how I should help my daughter feed them.  No, no…I’m pretty sure you heard me the first five times.  Those are YOUR fish. 

Do you know what fish mean to me?  Another fire hazard full of wires plugged into a power strip.  Another energy sucking increase on the electric bill.  Another wallet draining resource.  And most importantly, surely a quick way to teach my children about the death of pets.  All in all, a waste of the few pennies I have.  Let’s remember, folks, I’m unemployed. 

Here’s my dilemma…is it really as bad as I think?  Will the kids still care about them next month?  Next week even?  Am I overreacting and this is a wonderful pet to have in the house?  Please, someone convince me.  All I see is another way to spend money that I don’t have.

All’s Fair in Love and Exes

It may be that my iPod hit too many Alanis Morrisette songs the other day, or maybe it was one of those mushy quotes that I read on Twitter.  Either way, I thought it would be theraputic to let go of some old ex-boyfriend baggage and look for the lessons I’ve learned from them.  In my journey of making my life right, I’ve continually reaffirmed my happiness by counting my blessings.  So, I decided the ill wills that may have laid dormant in the back of my mind needed to be cleaned out.  The more I pondered it, the more I realized each one held some valuable lessons whether it was a good or bad relationship.  In order to protect the innocent, and guilty, I’ll simply number them in chronological order with just a first initial.  No names will be shared…lucky for them.

#1-J:  Dating should be fun

Being friends after a break up is possible

Never “re-date” after a break up

#2-S:  Don’t stay in a relationship just to have a relationship

Know when you are done and end it

Being respectful of someone’s family counts

#3-J:  Listen to your instincts

Consider your friends’ advice

Friends who care will show it when it counts

#4-J:  Communication is key

Anger is not worth holding on to

Two wrongs don’t make a right

Be yourself

#5-M:  Know who you are

Stand up for yourself

An argument is okay, a fight is not

Music can be a therapist

Spirituality can be healing

You deserve better than you think

#6-R:  Some people deserve better than you

Don’t be suspicious of being treated well

Learn to recognize when someone genuinely cares

Trust is precious

Never say never (see boyfriend #1)

#7-M:  Soulmates exist

Timing is everything

Fight for what you want

Broken hearts will eventually mend (even if it takes years)

#8-T:  Fun doesn’t equal serious relationship

Figure out what you want from the other person and TELL THEM

Never return to bad habits

#9-M:  Trust is necessary

Even though you might grow up, it doesn’t mean they will

Have faith in yourself and your strength

Children change everything

No one ever said dating was easy.  I never assumed it.  I just never thought that the day I got married would be the day I could shake off all those old feelings and pack them away.  We are approaching our fifth anniversary in October and I’m glad that I have finally realized that the lessons I have learned from the past have guided me into a truly happy marriage.  I wouldn’t trade any of the heartache I experienced because it made me who I am today.

 

Give Your Guy a Break

One night, long ago, my boyfriend and I were getting ready to go out.  I spent quite a bit of time picking out the right outfit.  Took my time putting on the perfect make-up to compliment the clothes.  Then I worked on straightening my hair which takes at least 30 minutes.  This was a long awaited date and I wanted to get my look just right.

Seeing as he only takes five minutes to get ready to go anywhere, he was becoming impatient with me.  He paced up and down the stairs. 

“How much longer?” he would ask. 

“Just a few more minutes,” I would reply.

We did this several times until he came up the stairs and to the doorway to say he had been ready to go and we were going to be late. 

“Who would you like to go out with tonight?”  I snapped.  “The pretty girlfriend, or the ugly one?”

As he turned, I heard him mutter with exasperation, “Well, the ugly one is nicer.”

Metaphorically Speaking…

A long time ago, I suffered a deep wound.  I had received cuts like it before, but this one went a lot deeper than the others.  And even though I knew it hurt like no other, I simply slapped a Band-Aid on it, like I always had, and moved on.  Every now and then, I would feel the ache from it and see that it still had not healed.  All the others had healed just fine.  I even forgot about most of them.  But, this one, it still lingered, never able to close on its own.

So, recently, I came to my senses.  I realized that if I just rip that Band-Aid off, I could clean it up, sort out the damage and stitch it up properly in order to get some real healing.  Sure, it might leave a scar, but it would finally be healed. 

It’s a funny thing, ripping off that Band-Aid.  You stare at it.  You wonder what is the best angle you can grip it at to tear it off quickly.  You might even contemplate whether it is worth it at all to rip it off, or just let the adhesive wear down and it will eventually come off itself.  However, this Band-Aid was never going to fall off on its own.  It was holding on for dear life.  Every day it would convince itself that it was doing its job. 

I gave in.  I ripped it off.  What a relief!  I have to say, it was a very liberating feeling.  I thought that keeping that bandage on was what was keeping me going.  I agonized for days anticipating the pain of getting rid of it.  I even thought that tearing it off was going to be the beginning of an ordeal of stinging antiseptic and piercing stitching.  It turns out, the first step was the final step.  I already feel like I am healing.  And no matter what the cost of the medical treatment in the end, I think that I have already paid the price. 

To be continued?  Maybe…