Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sleeping IS The Enemy

I remember when I was young and dreaming of having a family, I knew everything would be perfect. Yes the first couple months would be rough, there would be late night feedings, and I had heard that teething was hard. But that was such a small part of the time, and the joy of having my happy baby would more than make up for a few sleepless nights.

That was then, this is now. I have often wondered who came up with the whole secrecy thing when it comes to child rearing? No one ever told me that having a baby would be the end of sleep as I knew it. My first baby decided that everything was far too interesting to ever willingly go to sleep.  Hours were spent bouncing and patting, singing and soothing, all to no avail. I finally found I could lay her down and nurse her to sleep. I couldn't move her mind you, the slightest shift would rouse her immediately so I would sleep next to her. Now I know there is a huge controversy about the safety of your child when co-sleeping, but we made out just fine. The success was due, in part, to the fact that I am a light sleeper and I was so sleep deprived that I could easily sleep in an awkward position with my arm creating a protective arc over her.

Unfortunately I was so successful with this method that now, at age nine, she still wants Mommy to sleep next to her when ever she has trouble falling to sleep. Even more unfortunate, for me anyway, she has trouble falling asleep more often than not.

The other night my little Miss was not feeling well. So I did what I always do, I climbed into bed next to her. This is a technique I learned from my mother. When I was sick, she would make a bed for me on the love seat in the living room, and she would sleep on the couch. I remember the comforting feeling of knowing Mom was right there if I needed her. So my sickie and I snuggled down for a night's rest, knowing I would not be the one getting much rest. Sure enough, I rolled over on my belly and started to drift off. That when my little one rolled over and slung her leg over my back. Seriously? There I lay, her knee between my shoulder blades and her foot in the small of my back.   What was I to do?

I did what any good momma would do. I fell asleep.

Don't Say I Didn't Tell You.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Defining Moments

We all have them, those moments we look back at and say, "yeah THAT really screwed me up."  Some of us have more than others, but truth is we all have them. I was having lunch with one of my dearest friends the other day. She is one of those friends that you can just pick up where you left off no matter how long its been since you last spoke. She gets me.

I asked her a question that has been bothering me lately. "Why do I just give up? Why is it that when I meet an obstacle, ANY obstacle, I quit pursuing my goal no matter how much I want whatever I am pursuing?" She looked at me and said, "Good question, you do that. But I will have to think about it before I give you an answer." Fair enough.

As I pondered the situation I came upon some insight, oddly enough sparked by a group on Facebook. I logged in for my daily fix of checking up on people, yes I am one of those people, and I noticed a new group in which I had been included. The group was from high school and you could go confess your secret crushes. I thought to myself, why on earth would I do that? I wouldn't admit it then for fear of being laughed at and that is all that would happen now.

So, like any good face book stalker, I took a peek. There were a lot of people I didn't know who liked a lot of other people I didn't know. There were a lot of guys who had crushes on the "popular" girls who we already knew everyone had crushes on. Same could be said for the "popular" guys. I had that bitter, self righteous burning inside me that made me avoid high school reunions for 25 years. I was an unknown then and I am still an (insert explicative here) unknown. I have to admit the whole thing threw me into a serious funk.

But I got to thinking, after reading one of the "pretty girl" conversations, about how they were always worried about their weight and how they looked and even went so far as to say that no ever felt worthy of the one they had a crush on. Huh. Very insightful for a "pretty girl" (okay when reading that, firmly plant your tongue in your cheek).  Maybe this is where my hang up comes from, my lack of self worth.

So in the midst of my funk, I started thinking about old crushes, and I choose to hide my feelings rather than take a risk. My mind went back to grade school, back when I was a trusting soul and thought everybody was my friend. I had a crush on a guy who was a friend of mine. He was cute and hysterically funny (I've always fallen for funny guys). I told a girl who I thought was a friend and she promised she wouldn't tell anyone. This promise was forgotten as soon as she saw the young man in question. She let him know and, as it often happens when you don't feel that way about someone, things got awkward. In fact, from that moment on he didn't speak to me unless absolutely necessary. I was heartbroken.

In one fell swoop I felt the sting of rejection, lost a friend, and learned a hard lesson about trust. But here is the sad thing, I allowed what I THOUGHT he was thinking define me. By his avoidance, I defined myself as unworthy, ugly, and believed I was an embarrassment to anyone who had the misfortune of being the object of my desire. In reality, I have no idea what he thought, or even what she told him. My own embarrassment likely colored everything and perhaps he didn't really avoid me, but I shied away from him. At this point who knows? What I do know is that experience became a defining moment.

Where does one develop their self concept? I imagine most of us develop the belief of who we are from the feedback we get from those around us. Like it or not there is a pecking order in human relationships just as there is in the animal kingdom. I decided early on that I was going to stick myself nice and low on the order BEFORE anyone else could. I my mind, if I make myself feel bad about being me, its a whole lot better than someone else making me feel bad. This is how I developed one of my many forms of self defense. I make fun of me before you can.

The bad part of all of this is I am so steeped in this faulty thinking I am finding it hard to break free. If I look back there have been people that have tried to instill in me a sense of worth. In fact, the input from these people have been so jarring to the insecure and worthless cloak I wrap around myself that I still remember each event with a sense of awe. In junior high school, there was a teacher that told me he believed I could be the first female president. A guy in my English class saw a picture of me from a Halloween party in which I dressed as Sheena of the Jungle. He said I could swing through his vines anytime (I didn't say they were all enlightened comments). I had a comment written on a piece of creative writing in college. The head of the English Department said my writing was worthy of Edith Wharton. I couldn't believe my eyes! Granted there was a slight possibility that she hated the writings Edith Wharton...

My point is this, I had allowed the negative influences of my life so define me that when confronted with the positives I simply could not believe them. That said, these positive moments are forever etched in my mind. I have made it my mission to protect my daughters from the pit I fell into. I want them to develop a healthy respect for themselves and not fall prey to the doubts and insecurity that can steal the joy from life.  In order to do that, I have some obstacles I need to overcome. Which brings me back to the start of this little stream of consciousness, where I find myself quitting in the face of adversity. Perhaps I will now find the incentive I need to overcome.

I guess I am a work in progress, we all are. We can't allow ourselves to believe that it is all over, that there is no point to go on. I will continue the cling to the promise from scripture that says, "He that began a good work in you, will carry it on until completion until the day of Christ's return." Philippians 1:6   I know that Paul was talking to the church of Phillipi but I also believe I can count on this personally.

Now I need to get started on some goals, so if I seem stuck give me some encouragement. You may be another person engraved in my mind (and end up on my blog).

Don't say I never told you.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Color Me Red

I find them everywhere, spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, they glare at me from social media, sign posts, you name it. I find them everywhere but in my own writing and THAT my friends, drives me crazy! I would be completely lost without spell check. But the problem I encounter so often is I will inadvertently spell a word I had not intended to write. Of course that word I spell correctly. Spell check cannot tell me, "hey knucklehead do you REALLY want to say that?"

Sometimes this has hilarious consequences.  Take my last post example, now before you quick look for the error, another writer friend pointed it out and it is now corrected.  In my case, I wanted to say "paint that as well" instead I said "paint that ass well." One little letter and a totally different meaning. Embarrassed? Yes, but I also found it funny.

I once had a proof reader spot on my college's newspaper. What a mistake! Yes I caught quite a few errors, but honestly I was down there because I had a thing for one of the guys who also worked on the paper. Let's just say my attention for detail was lacking a bit when he was around.

I remember a mistake that my boyfriend in college made. It was such a great blunder it made the list of best mistakes for that professor's class. The paper was a well written piece on George Washington. However, one little typo changed history. The final sentence read, "this is why George Washington will go down in the anal of history." Again one little letter makes such a big difference.

So I invite you to share with me some of the best (worst) mistakes you've made and didn't catch in your writing. How did you end up finding it?

Don't Say I Didn't Tell You.


Monday, March 5, 2012

See Here

Today I had an eye doctor appointment. I was so excited because that meant I was getting new glasses! Whoopee! New glasses, new glasses, I get new glasses! Why am I so excited about this? I hate wearing glasses but I love changing my look. When I turned 40 I decided that life was too short to have boring glasses. That year I went with a whole new shape for me, kind of a granny rectangle but they were magenta with these little stripes. When I got home with them, my family stared in shock. I loved it.

Next time I got glasses I went with a similar shape by the same maker, but that time the colors were black and clear with a touch of silver. They were pretty cool but in my opinion a bit too tame to hold my interest. I am not one of those people that needs the validation of other people in order to be comfortable with what I am wearing, I certainly don't mind shaking thing up a bit. Lets just say I was having an off day when I picked them out.

This time around I went a bit nerdy. The frames are tortoise shell on the outside and Vera Bradley's "Happy Snails" on the inside. Now I am not a huge over the top Vera fan. But I have to say, having worked with the Vera Bradley products, the stuff grows on you. And come on, "Happy Snails?"  The name alone makes me happy.

So I am looking forward to getting the new glasses, but for me this is a bit like when you start a painting project. Do you know how the project starts with just painting a few walls? Then you notice that the trim looks a bit dingy so you paint that as well. But with the walls and trim painted the ceiling is really looking bad so that must be done. By the time you finish, you've gotten to the point where you are looking at carpet and checking out catalogs for furniture.

That is where I am, if I have new glasses then I am bound to get my hair cut. If I get my hair cut then maybe I should think about changing the color. And so it goes, I love reinventing myself, who knows where this will end? I may even start shopping for a tattoo!

By the time I get settled, it will be time for new glasses.

Don't Say I Didn't Tell You.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Your Memory Muscles

I read an article once that was written by a daughter whose father was in the latter stages of Alzheimer Syndrome. One of the things that stands out in my memory was when she would go to see him she would mention golfing and he would stand up and show her his swing. As his muscles remembered the action they used so long ago, his mind would begin to show signs of memory as well. This amazed the writer, and it amazed me as well.

I have been endeavoring to exercise and eat right in order to get my body into a healthier state of being. Let's be honest, I'd love to feel confident wearing shorts this summer in addition to the better health. Today, I had a glimpse of the memory that your working muscles can spark.

As I was struggling through my last reps of my bench press, tears came to my eyes. I felt exhaustion for sure but I also was hit with a long repressed memory from my past. I was at once in my own basement, and back in time in my parents' garage. Both times exercising to the point of exhaustion, but in that garage so long ago, there was nothing healthy going on. Back then I thought I was in love with a misunderstood young man I will call Mr. X. I thought that if I could just love him and sacrifice enough for him, Mr. X would turn his life around, and he would love me in return. Sadly I was wrong. I thought if I exercised and lost weight, then Mr. X would love me, so I went on yet another diet and allowed him to be my "trainer."

It was one of these training sessions that came back to me. This particular time, Mr.X put me through a grueling workout, in fact pushing me to the point of exhaustion and beyond. When I admitted I could do no more, my muscles were twitching from the exertion. I remember the feeling of being crushed as he went out with his friends and another girl that night. In the days that followed, the pain and soreness were a mocking reminder that you cannot make someone love you.

Though the memories were painful today, I'm glad they were brought to the surface as a reminder of that lesson I had long forgotten. You see, sometimes we start out with the best of intentions, only to have our motives and priorities subtly twisted. Each time I make healthy choices in my eating, or exercise my body, I must remember the reason must be to show love for MYSELF, and the one who created me. To do these things for anyone or anything else would be pointless.

I am glad that I am in the present, though I may be heavier than I was then, I am so grateful that I am also wiser.

Don't Say I Never Told You.