Friday, April 21, 2017

#confessions of overwhelm

Dear Life,

Thank you for making April one of the hardest months of the year thus far. I think because you've given me my fill of jerks, pranksters, a**clowns, and imposters, I should be given a "Have a Great Rest of the Year" card. I've paid my dues for 2017, Life. Make this happen. Pretty please.

#straight shooter
Do you ever have that realization? The one where you are smacked in the head with the cold, hard fact that you're tormenting yourself? That it's not that guy, or that girl that's doing this TO YOU, but rather, that you're kinda doing a lot of it to yourself? either. Fine, for reals, I maybe sorta a little bit know what that's like.

#the rocky theme
So, I've said this before, but I'll say it again, my life is a little bit nuts. I'm positive yours is, too. This is not a competition. This is my admission of personal overwhelm. Work is a lot, single-mothering is a lot, and trying to keep my perspective all at the same time is not often a piece of cake. I'm not whining. I really do feel like even with all of my chaos, I'm pretty centered, but the truth is that recently, mainly April, it hasn't taken much to push me off kilter, to dent my zen, or to make me lose my least tip/dent/lose me for a moment. I try my bestest to get back to reality and fight a good fight. Let's just say that I don't always feel like I win.

#lay me down
This morning as I was rushing around, saying good-bye to my bed (really the only relationship I have right now - don't judge me), I distinctly noticed the night stand on the side on which I don't sleep (passenger side)...

Empty glass jar (not mine), my glasses and work out book, and a small handful of legos (also not mine). This made me stop for a second. I stepped back over to my side...

Computer bag (mine), book (mine), book in progress (mine), books to study (mine), mail (mine), glass jar (mine), all the things (mine). So much more happening here. This is my life, Life. That passenger side glass jar and those legos - my youngest left those there. For me, actually. At least, that's what he'll tell me. "I left the legos there for you to play with, Mom. They're lots of fun." (It's really because he didn't want to put them back in his room...and it makes me smile when I see them, so I'll leave them there.).

Sometimes on a Saturday, when I pretend that I don't have anything going on, I REALLY like to bury myself in my (amazing) bed (don't judge) under pillows and blankets and take solace in my only friend, Hulu. Sometimes, my kids like to join me at playing this game. We've watched many an episode of Stranger Things (in one sitting), many a series of Harry Potter, or Lord of the Rings, or Star Wars (well, we try to get through them, but then it gets too hot...or we need a drink, or need to grocery shop, or I have to do some form of adulting)...Please don't misunderstand, it's not like the only way my littles see me is if they burrow into my bed. We see each other every day in a meaningful way. It's just Sunday through Friday, there's a lot of business. There's a ton of managing, and many commitments, and an equal amount of follow up. So, I admit, I'm not as structured on Saturday as I am on all of the other days. All of the other mess on the driver side of my pictures shows that I'm making an effort at having a normal (ha! that's funny) life...but like, doesn't work all the days. For anyone.

True story, I used to HATE Saturdays. My mom traveled a bunch for work and the weekends were all we had to clean and clean and clean and laundry and clean and clean. Mind you, while I was home during the week, I chored. Every day. I used to try my most hardest to get out of Saturday chores. UGH..but sometimes it didn't work, so I did them. Begrudgingly. Well, mostly, I mean, I could/would/should not cross my Mom. I put on an agreeable face and grumbled to myself. Maybe cut a few corners. Meh.

My mother taught me (many, many things, but in this story, she give me the skills) to really clean. My brother is a cookie cutter version of my Mom and he has the "I must clean" bug, too. It's kinda sick - I mean, when I'm sad or overwhelmed, I clean. Correction, I clean regularly, but when my mind is buzzing, and I have something I need to work out, my bathroom and kitchen usually reflect that even more so. (No, I don't want to come over and clean for you - my issue is not THAT extreme.)

Another true story, I had to have been 12 at the time. My mom and I were in New York. We checked in to this 4-star hotel close to Central Park. I was excited to be there. It was summer and we were going to do a bunch of stuff for my birthday. We got into our room and the FIRST thing she checks is the bathroom. NOPE. Dirty tub. We're not staying in this room. We switched 3 TIMES during that stay. And finally, after all of the switching, she sent me down to the corner store to buy a bottle of bleach to do it herself. Yup. I don't know where my mania comes from, do you?

So, yeah, I hear you out there, judging (even though I told you not to) - making this a simple fix - just say 'no' more. I was with someone once who said actually said to my face, 'it's your own damn fault that you're like this.' Ouch. (No, we're not together any longer. And no, he didn't get me.) But true, I suppose...depending on how you see things. I get it. The easy solution IS to put more things down. Put more things away. Right? No. I mean, yes, it makes sense. But do you understand that I'm intrinsically this way and have been since childhood? The issue is that I've ALWAYS ALWAYS been like this. I think I'm non-diagnosed ADHD with a little OCD mixed in and a sprinkle of attitude and a splash of I don't Care. I don't know how to do JUST ONE THING at a time. I'm working on it (being fully present, being mindful of the moment - all yoga-like). Mine is a mind that needs feeding - reading, trying my hand at new things, drawing, planning, wrapping my thoughts around whatever is at hand. This is who I am. And writing about it - AIRING it out to you, Life...this is just another way of discovering. Another way of being painfully accountable. Another way of trying to tell the other lives out there that they're a) not crazy, b) not alone, c) straight killin' it in their own way...even if it's unconventional, even if it's wacky. Even if no one else does it the same way. You're all good.

#hard things
This gig is a lot, but I get it. I can play it to my own degree. I say this more to confirm to myself that I'm capable - this is not a 'look at me' rant. This is a reminder...most of my/our hurdles are mental. Doubt. Distraction. And yes, this is who I am, but I'm still working through things to be a better version of myself. I can train for a half and do a crazy eating program at the same time and not lose my mind. I can make difficult decisions, knowing that my intent is to do what's best. I can raise kids to be healthy, good people who have the perspective to become the best versions of themselves, I can give. I can work full time and NOT be married to my job...(yeah, I keep telling myself that one, but more and more I'm not sure of the total veracity of that statement). Ok, maybe I'm a little bit married to it. Maybe. Regardless, I can be all of the things that I am in days - like last night, my cousin needed me. I was standing in the grocery store in the middle of the detergent isle walking her through the good things and the hard truths because that's who we are for each other. And because this is ALSO who I am. And because really, that's the only place we could hear each other over the phone in the store. I'm not EVER going to say "I don't have time for you" or "I can't play friend right now, I'm shopping." No, I'm always going to listen. I'm always going to take the moment. One of these days, it's going to be me. I'm going to need a voice of reason...and there's never a really good time or place to be that because we ALWAYS have something happening. You just have to roll with it. And I feel like that's the theme of my days so often - roll with it. I have 20 things on my calendar, but someone needs time - ok, I'll make it work. Yes, let's talk. Yes, I can walk out for a minute to look. Yes, you can call me. No, it's not a problem.

I feel like the best medicine for what ails me is not cutting things out, but rather adding meaningful connection to others. It grounds me. Gives me a sense of healthy perspective. I've seen intense circumstances in other's lives. Serving them makes me forget about all of my stuff for a moment - and that's a rare gift. It gives me a taste of gratitude when I may have forgotten. It brings me back to fundamentals, like the need to love, and the freedom found in unselfishness. It also gives me a moment to step away from my self-harshness and give some gentle to myself. This life experience is not a simple feat. I need to be friends with myself, or I'll fail miserably. There's a try in my life to find that 'place' inside of myself.  Also not easy, but overall, a better mindset for me.

No, I'm not losing my head. Not yet. Yes, it's a lot, but there's happy, and that's what matters. The madness does offer me some satisfaction - some joy. If I wasn't happy, I would stop. I would make it different. I would alter the course, but the what all of this has taught me - the various experiences, the passes, the fails, is that the rough waters don't scare me. If anything, I'd like to believe that I've learned that swimming through them will make me a stronger fish/mermaid.

SO, hit me up with that card, Life. 'k? I can manage my own stuff...even if my driver side looks out of control, it's not too bad for's all of the other peeps and things upon which I sometimes/lots of times/all the times can firmly, emphatically check a 'No' vote. Work on THAT, will you? Pretty please, again. I'll just do my deal over here. Away from all...of...THAT.