Forever Hold Your Peace

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I wasn’t nice to my brother’s girlfriend. She was 17, and he was 20, and I was jaded by the string of girls he brought along before and thought “it’s not like he’s going to marry this girl,” and so I gave her the cold-shoulder. And then he married her. And boy was that awkward for awhile (like, even now, 8 years and a sorta-divorce later). I didn’t have the decency to treat her nicely at the beginning, though, deep down, I have a pocketful of reasons to give in defense of my bad behavior, if it’s ever necessary. What I learned from that experience, was my relatively shitty inability to articulate my feelings in the moment, which could have saved years of conflict down the road.

All of this was brought up in my mind, yesterday, when I was chatting with my bestie Ruth about a conflicted experience she had recently. In my brilliant wisdom (sarcasm? maybe?) I reminded her that emotions are stored on one side of the brain, and language on the other, and that sometimes it’s hard to get the language and emotions to match up nicely and to be able to articulate all those fee-fees that you’re having. Not to mention, it’s fucking awkward to confront someone, regardless, because very few of us were taught how to do this type of communication in our formative years (and as adults, do we really want to risk losing relationships if the conflict goes badly?).

It’s reminiscent of the “forever hold your peace,” line they say in movie weddings (because, that’s not a real wedding thing…right?). But you know what, this ‘forever hold your peace,’ shit is pretty fucking hard when you’re someone who has lots of opinions and thoughts and wants things to be logical.

I don’t like things that feel incongruent. I have a hard time when I see people say one thing and then do something else. I have a hard time when things don’t seem to add up or make sense, at least on some level. When I sense these mixed messages, I feel confused, and frustrated, while also unable to articulate my feelings in a way that doesn’t seem rude or attacking because it’s hard to verbalize frustration with unspoken energy actions. Does that even make remote sense?

I’m good with conflict in the moment, when I feel something and am able to say, “I’m annoyed,” or “I’m feeling uncomfortable.” What I have a hard time with, is feeling annoyed or uncomfortable with something, brushing it off as ‘no big deal,’ and then having something else happen, and something else, and something else, until finally I’m at the point where I’m unfriending them on facebook (true story: hi sis!) and they’re like “um, wtf just happened?” If I had just told my sister that I was annoyed with her inconsistent love and open acceptance paired with terribly racist retweets on facebook, the first time it happened, maybe I wouldn’t have been so far down the line that I either wanted to shut down (or cut off) or scream and throw things.

So I’m stuck in this dilemma and I don’t know what to do, how to change, to be a different person. It feels unfair to bring up conflict or frustration over something that happened six months, two years, ten years, ago, especially when realized that is bottled up and I might not be able to say it in a nice way. And yet, I feel like trying to live in the ‘forever hold your peace,’ camp is eating away at me. And I would feel shitty, too, if a friend came to me six months later, I might be like “why didn’t you tell me when this happened? Why did you pretend everything was okay?”

What to do?

Because avoiding it is only adding to the pressure, and I don’t want to be a fucking psycho, you know?

 

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The Price of Anger: Exhaustion

Typically my anger is directed toward others, and is mostly in the form of smallish annoyances. The emotion is like a match: quick to light and quick to burn out. For those that see my annoyance on an almost daily basis they get used to the quickness of it, though I suppose some would say that if you’re burned by a match it leaves a mark even if the flame goes out quickly.

My sister says that I have the ability to change the temperature in a room. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I do know that my energy is powerful and when not harnessed it has caused destruction. Maybe I’m thinking of Rogue from the X Men type ‘powers.’ At any rate, I cycle through annoyance on a daily basis, but the anger I felt the other day is much more insidious and harder to shake. It’s exhausting.

I feel like I’ve run a marathon through mud or molasses. My mind wants me to believe that I’ve learned something from that experience on Tuesday, but I’m not quite sure that it’s accurate. What’s challenging is that I KNOW that being a teacher is like being a therapist and that the cliche of leading horses to water is true. I know that. I really do know that. And believe it. And I’m still stuck. Which is the most frustrating part of it all.

The self-loathing that comes with this level of anger (dare I say rage?) is awful. I could curl up in bed all day with this shitty stomach ache. It leads to more destructive activities, like an obsession with alcohol (for which I haven’t consumed, because I am mostly afraid that choosing alcohol while I’m so angry will only make things worse), and a desire to give up yoga completely, and to lash out at all the lovely supportive people around me.

And I don’t want to hear about your damn problems, either. That’s the thing…I tried calling a friend the other day, and as she chattered on about whatever she was talking about I found myself seething with even more anger. I didn’t want to hear it. Not one more complaint about her job or her schooling or her dogs who chewed something up. Nope. Wasn’t going to have it. Emotionally and mentally spent.

It’s the end of my work week. Today the student’s are giving their speeches. And we will all go home early. I’ll probably go to yoga and hopefully can pull myself out of this funk, because it’s a terrible feeling.

Two Buck Chuck

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I’m not too proud to admit that I keep a few bottles of “two buck chuck” around for occasions like these…you know…when you need a good cry into a glass of cheap red wine. Because yeah, that’s where I am. Snivelling on the couch after a long day of work (which was really just as long as any other day, and in retrospect actually a ‘really good’ day). And more than actually sobbing it’s the feeling like I’m going to sob that’s overwhelming.

I don’t know where it came from, but I saw some baby pictures of chubster Potamus and I just had this incredible nostalgic longing for those times. The sweet little pudgy arms of my firstborn as he reaches out to touch the water in the summer fountain. He was six months old and it feels like forever ago. And I can’t imagine never getting to experience THAT moment again. And yet there’s been hundreds of moments since then that I’ve actively chosen to ignore, or numb out through sleep or Facebook or because motherhood is so fucking exhausting.

I want another baby. And it makes no sense whatsoever. With the first go round I was naively unprepared and spent far too long (from my judgemental mind’s eye) focusing on my shifting identity from non-mom to mom and pining over all the things I’ve ‘lost’ rather than savoring all that I’ve gained. Like a heart that’s too big for my chest and comes thumping out in big crocodile tears that I didn’t experience often as a non-mom. I want to know another child from the beginning. To see them grow up and experience life and learn who they are in the world. It’s a beautifully insane idea, and yet I am struggling so much  as it is in this very moment of motherhood.

Though, in the wise words of Mari’s therapist, “people don’t choose to have another kid because it’s easier or less money,” which is true truth that should be put on a bumper sticker in my brain.

But for now I’ll sip the sauce and hope the tears subside.

Vacation Hangover

Bye Bye Hotel

 

Bye bye hotel. Bye bye vacation. The cruel trick of coming home from a few days in a new reality. It’s like coming off a drug, where you don’t simply go back to the normal baseline, but take a dip into depression before the bouncing back happens. Our final meal together, at our hometown brewery, only a few minutes away from home, I could feel us slipping back into the REAL us, not the vacation us that held hands and flirted and drank too many mimosas to keep track. Our return felt right, but the crumbs on the carpet grated against our nerves, and we slipped into checking our phones and trying to catch up on all our DVR’ed shows. The baby was clingy. The dog was barking. The grandparents wanted to hear, and tell, every detail of the weekend.

It was like being hungover. That cotton mouth, shitty sleep, headachy feeling after a long night of drinking. I think it’s worth it to go on a vacation, especially since it had been two years since we’ve had an alone weekend, but the yucky re-entry feeling sometimes doesn’t feel worth it, you know? If it was shitty on the front end, maybe, but shitty on the re-entry…it’s almost enough to make me think about holding off on another vacation any time soon. Good thing I have my Albuquerque trip in 5 weeks to get my feet wet again!

Monday Blues

Driving slowly through the fog on 405 I notice the almost-bare trees. It’s mid-October and already fall has settled into Seattle’s bones. And Mondays seem to come so fast these days. When it’s still dark and my brain is half in dream-land and half in reality I find myself feeling melancholy and musing about why I can’t seem to muster the energy to be excited anymore. Are the pills not working? Is the happy light not working? Am I not getting enough sleep? (well, the answer is clear on the last one, surely).

As both a kid, and teenager, I hated waking up. It’s not that I wasn’t rested, it’s that I preferred dreaming to being awake. I sometimes wonder if my soul picked a difficult body to live in, and whether my obsession with dreaming is an obsession, a longing, for the other world of souls, where flying and walking through walls really does exist. Now that I’ve been at work for a few minutes I feel the real world settling back into my skin and I know that I’ll have an action packed day, week even, and that I’ll forget all about the hazy Monday morning transition until it comes around again.

And I know I write cliches, because Monday mornings are bitched about across the world. I think it’s hard going from time off to being chained back to work-week reality. It’s even hard for Potamus, who cried a little at daycare drop off. He was moving slow. Seemed hesitant. Just wanted to stay snuggled up on daddy’s chest watching morning cartoons. It’s dark and I try to keep a soft smile on my face so that he won’t realize how hard I’m struggling to convince him that I want him in daycare and that I want to go to school. Because really I just want to be snuggled up in bed with him, sleeping, like we did yesterday, and the day before that. Dreaming, with his warm little body next to me.

On Mondays I have to look ahead only hour by hour, because the week in it’s entirety begins to be daunting. Therapy. Yoga. Houseguests. Yoga. Husband gone working. Work. Teaching. Grocery shopping? Cleaning. Making endless dinners. Traffic. It all swirls around in my mind and these mornings my emotions feel raw and unable to handle any surprises or changes. I write this to remember, because, in an hour, I will be fully in the swing at work and will forget that every week I have this difficulty…

Will the sun come out tomorrow?

I have no idea. But the sun is out today and my mood is that contentedly happy sun-napping-cat feeling. You know the one. And just like I know that my nervous-breakdown crazy feelings are complicated by the time of year/horribly raining weather/darkness/crazy schedule, it’s moments like today where I realize all the little things that make me super happy.

Like the fact that Potamus slept through the night last night. Why yes, the first time in almost 22 months, and I couldn’t be more proud. The fact that he did it IN HIS OWN BED, even better! I’m also ignoring that sleeping through the night meant waking up at 5 (because we were then able to get him to snuggle in bed with us until…wait for it….NINE A.M.!). Yeah, that’s right, adding it up (taking into account his 5-5:45 am crying in our bed jag), I got 11 hours of sleep. Sleep feels amazing. In that book I mentioned yesterday, she said that research shows that parents are about 5 months behind in sleep by year 2 of their child’s life. That’s about how it feels. So getting 8 uninterrupted hours PLUS 3 snuggled up…feels freaking awesome.

Family time. I’ve seen Boof so little the last few weeks that it’s nice to just get to do stuff together. Boring family stuff, like daycare open house, and dog-training. And eating Chipotle. That was yummy too. And stealing kisses in the kitchen while Potamus is eating his blueberries. It’s just being around my husband that calms me, makes me feel like I’m not alone in the world of insanity. We don’t even have to have any deep conversations, just existing in the same breathing space.

And the weather. Hot dang I love fall. I mean, the leaves are turning, if you stand really still the sun warms you (but you still need a sweater), and it feels crisp and new and exciting. Normally fall is like this until November, but then it’s Thanksgiving and looking forward to Christmas so that I can get through the dreary rainy season. So the record rainfall has seriously cramped my style lately. It feels good to sit in my big comfy chair with the sunshine beaming through the window.

 

Gut Punch

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It takes a lot for me to feel safe somewhere, to let my guard down and really just hang loose. Like when you come home from a long day of work, take your bra off and slip into your favorite long-sleeve track t-shirt from high school (so what if it has holes in it?!) and your husband’s oversize hand-me-down sweats. Even better is when you feel so comfortable with someone, that they can come over for a glass of wine and you don’t scramble to put the bra back on, or even contemplate changing back into those skinny jeans you wore all day at work.

So when I’ve nestled in, gotten comfortable, really let myself BE MYSELF somewhere, and then it’s….taken away…it feels like the wind is knocked out of me. Like I’ve been punched in the gut, and I am left wondering, ‘how will I survive this?’ Not to get overly melodramatic (is it my seasonal affective disorder talking?), but it feels like mini-deaths when something changes or goes away. I grieve. I find it hard to put into words. I mope about and scramble to try and fill a void that is my community-hungry heart.

This summer my beloved massage therapist Courtney Putnam took a sabbatical. And when she announced her blissful 3 months off, I knew…the writing was on the wall so to speak, that she’d be gone from the realm of massage therapy. While she has re-invented her practice to encompass many more awesome things (like healing retreats! and art sessions! and growth-coaching!), I am sad that I will no longer be able to afford regularly scheduled massage visits with her. I’ve been going to her since 2007, when I googled ‘body memory’ and found a blog post that spoke to my cell memory from a car accident. And then she happened to be in Seattle. And happened to be a few years older and had gone to my same elementary school, and was a Sagittarius. It felt like the stars had aligned. And now, I’m having to shift my perspective, to reinvent the way in which I want to have healing done, and it is exciting, but also a little bit intimidating. So in the meantime I’m dabbling in psychotherapy with a psychologist through my insurance, and working on some Groupons for massage, and delving into my new found love of bikram yoga.

And if that change wasn’t hard enough, today I learned rather abruptly, that my absolute favorite parenting community Offbeat Families, is being shut down. The site I wrote into a few times, that has featured my baby’s picture, that has propelled me forward into understanding different parenting topics. Gone. Like that. Sure they give a nice little summary, and it wasn’t good for business, but…as I said on my personal Facebook page:

I guess…I guess I just sorta feel blindsided. Like with the new branding, and everything felt really good, and I know that we readers aren’t entitled to the behind-the-scenes, but it sorta feels like being in a relationship that feels really comfy and good and then BAM one night of fighting they peace out and are gone for good (except they’ve left all their clothes behind, that still smell like them, and you randomly come across that picture of you two on the mantle, etc). I think I wouldn’t feel so freaking sad if I had seen it coming. Like a farewell Montage last week as we’re prepping to close the doors. Or a final blast of birthing posts to get us through the next week. I mean, Mondays are hard enough…

In the grand scheme of things, these are small losses. I will find other websites. I will make other friends, and expand my circle of healing goodness (as well as head back to Courtney for some extra special sessions when I get the cash), and life will go on. But god, in the moment it sucks…when I’m feeling vulnerable and the little losses seem to be adding up to one great big identity and life shift. And, sometimes I don’t want identity shifts. It feels exhausting trying to be all the me’s already.

How do you deal with the “small losses,” of everyday life? The coffee shop that changes their name, or the pizza joint that goes out of business? Or the bus route that gets re-routed or the jeans you wake up to find don’t fit anymore? Or what about when your favorite show ends for the season (or for good) or you put a good book down knowing the author has died and no more books will ever be published? What do you do then? How do you cope?