Love and Fear and Motherhood

Last night I had a dream.  I had a dream that I lost a son.  I don’t have a son, or at least not one that I know of, but I have to admit that I feel like the baby I miscarried so many years ago was a little boy. In fact, I can picture him in my mind, with his dads blue eyes and little tiny ringlets falling around his face. Some days I imagine him driving the tractor with my husband in grass filled pastures. Sometimes, I see little boys playing with cars and hugging their mama’s, and I think back to that dreadful day in the hospital when my insides, literally and emotionally, were somehow ripped from inside of me. I will never know for sure whether that baby was a boy or a girl, but it really doesn’t matter.

What does matter is that love, and fear and motherhood – are often so intricately laced

that being a mom can leave you breathless.

Like the first time you saw your child get hurt. You could feel the pain inside your own body. When my kids get hurt even now, my hands ache from a very deep spot. While I recognize the pain is not my own, I feel the pain nonetheless. Just last year my 6-year-old came home from school with tears in her eyes telling me a story about a little girl that she asked to be her friend.  The little girl said no, and that NO broke my daughter’s heart. She didn’t understand it. How could she when she had up until that point, lived in a world that was filled with nothing but the soft vapors of love?

My kids are getting older. My love for them is not as new as it was in those first few years after they were born. But it is much, much deeper. So  much so, that my love for them is no longer something that I do, or feel.  It is something that I am. While I tell them that I love them often, and they return the words – time has made them unnecessary verbalizations of the feelings of the heart.  It is those feelings, the ones that we feel so deeply, that require no words or actions, that are simply expressed through the statics of electricity that pass from person to person.  You could put 45 people in front of me (some of them other family members), blind fold me, and ask me to tell you which ones were my children by allowing me to touch only their hands, and I would get it right EVERY/ SINGLE. TIME.  Not just because I love them, but because I am the love for them. It is part of me. And part of them. It is what is familiar to me.

And here they are walking away from me. Those younger years when they stayed under my control, when I could watch them constantly and feel their breath as they slept, that always gave me the sense that I had things under control, in no way prepared me for the walking away.  With each step they take, a part of my heart – bound by an imaginary heart string, walks with them. There are many sayings that say fear cannot exist where love resides, and although one side of me wants to believe this, my motherhood side smells a rat.

mothers_day_quotes7The fears that they might get into a car accident, that they might experience an illness, that they might get hurt, or be sad, or have their heart broken – are all REAL fears.  The fear that something might happen to me as their mama before they are ready to be ‘let go,’ is a REAL fear of motherhood.

What amazes me is how exponentially far our maternal heartstrings can stretch.  I imagine that they can wrap around continents and cross oceans and even make the slow voyage from life to death should we ever lose our children. I see other moms whose children have journeyed into the military, or into careers that put them in danger - heartstrings still in tact, love still vibrating from their hearts with as much fever as a penny on a train track.  And of course, I have witnessed the slow passage from adolescence to adulthood that all children take, that I have taken, in which our children leave our brick and mortar homes that smell like sugar cookies and vibrate with memories to pave lives for themselves. Each step, never disconnecting the love, never extinguishing the fears – no matter how far they go.

The best way, maybe the only way to deal with this cocktail of love and fear and motherhood is to live by the words of Benjamin Franklin, who tells us:

Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen.

Keep in the SUNLIGHT!

Yes, keep in the sunlight.  Lately, when I find myself drowning in the sort of love that causes fear, I try to stay in the sunlight.  Have faith. Pray silently over my children, for my children, for myself. And mostly stay positive and pulsing with gratitude.

 

 

Who is Mom?

Maybe its been a rough week.

Or maybe, the universe is trying to tell me something by nudging me over the edge with annoyances and frustrations so that I will finally develop a backbone and STICK THE HELL UP for myself.  I realize that no one, and I mean no one (not even the dogs) realize that I am a human being with needs and wants and desire of my own.  I realize that being taken for granted is part of the grand scheme of family life – even though I don’t believe that it is the way it is supposed to be.  And most of the time, I am perfectly okay with this.  But every once in a while my ‘cup spilleth over,’ and I become angry and frustrated and pushed to the brink of tears.

When I lift the toilet seat and see the mess that my family folk left me, it makes me feel like I am nothing but a shit picker upper.  Last night, when the entire family ate dinner without me (Chinese takeout) and then left the table and left behind their paper plates, utensils and remnants of rice and peas all over the place, I felt like I must be the hired help.  When my kids see me on the phone, or see me working yet continue to barrage me with questions and cries of “Mama, will you,” I question whether my children have any iota of what it means to be respectful to others.  Especially those ‘others’ in their life who take care of them and love them the most.

Simply said, loving our children and doing as much as we can for them, is NOT the way to foster children who are compassionate and considerate of others.  They won’t just have the revelation one day that mom is such a thoughtful, considerate person that “I think I want to be one too.”  In fact, being a doer of all things, inversely makes them selfish little overly dependent brats who never seem to grow out of the stage of thinking that the entire world revolves around them.

Guess what kids.  It doesn’t. It never will. Get. Over. Yourself.

So, like any mom – I have those moments where I just sort of get sick of it all, and blow up.  Suddenly, everyone in the house is minding their P’s and Q’s and at full attention.  The lingering tasks and chores that I have been nagging them to do for what seems like forever, suddenly get done.  They pick up after themselves, use kinder words, clean up their rooms.

Then, in the aftermath – they accuse me of being bipolar. Or about to start my period.  And say in their sweet little voices, “Mom are you okay!”

Here’s the thing.  Sometimes I get tired of doing every thing.  I get tired of being taken advantage of.  I do not exist in the world of Leave it to Beaver where washing clothes and ironing and cooking meals are the highest extent of my fulfillment.  I need MORE than that.  I want MORE than that.  And I believe that when I am triggered into a tirade, the universe is basically saying “Hey you – your gas tank is about to be completely empty.  Make some quick changes lest you lose yourself completely!”

Plus, I do want my girls to grow up as women, who may become mothers day with the knowing that it is okay to have a personality, a side of yourself that lacks any hint of maternal instinct.  I want them to know that they can have kids and a husband and a house, and not be the sole person amongst the family responsibility for cleaning up everyone’s shit. (Literally and metaphorically).  And, at some point in their lives, I want them to see me as a person of substance, who has something to offer, who has skills and feelings and talents and abilities that are beyond those compartmentalized within being a mother. 

Even more, I want this gentle awakening of realization to occur WITHOUT me having to go all freak nuts on them. 

Is that too much to ask? 

Seriously.  When you take away the curtains of motherhood, our children shouldn’t have to ask, “Who is mom?” We should give them the gift of knowing us, not just as the doer of all things, the creator of life, but as strong, happy, fulfilled women of substance.

Another Blogger Idol!

Last year, I submitted the worlds worst Blogger Idol audition.  I don’t know, maybe I was drunk after the inhalation of too many cleaning products, or suffering from mom-brain, or perhaps I just cracked under the pressure.  It was embarrassing really.  This year, I have decided to try again.  So try again I will.

What does this mean?  This means that all 6 of my blog followers (thanks mom and dad and Aunt Sally) will be inundated with sappy and whiney requests from me on a fairly continual basis to VOTE for me each and every week.  And hopefully you will, not because you are family – but because you actually like the things I write.

On a more serious note, I am constantly telling my kids to follow their dreams, to take risks, to put themselves out there. The reality is that while I am a freelance writer who has become fairly established and actually gets paid to write – I don’t put ME out there.  Maybe its the fear of criticism, or the fear that people who disagree with what I write will turn internet trolls, or maybe it’s just because of FEAR  PERIOD, that I make excuses of being too busy (blah blah blah) as a reason for NOT putting ME out there.  Whatever it is, telling my kids to do something that I am not willing to do makes me a hypocrite.  Which is exactly why I am trying again.

So here’s to Blogger Idol 2013!  If you are hiding behind fear, you too should audition!  Here’s a link to help you do so.

Conversations With My Daughters

Many moons ago, when I was a young girl – and I honestly felt like I was placed in a world where I didn’t belong, I read (and wrote) a lot of poetry.  The stuff I wrote then, was raw, so much so that I rarely if ever drag it from my treasure box and read it now, fearful that pain I felt in those uncertain times, will come crashing down on me all over again.  It’s not a place that I want to revisit.  But it is the same place that my teenagers and most teenagers are in today.  One of my favorite poets then (and now) was Kahlil Gibran.

I remember reading his poem on children.  Back then, I read it from the perspective of a child who was trying to find her way, trying to figure out who she was, trying to find a way to expand my clipped wings and fly.  If you have never read it, I suggest that you do.

          Your children are not your children. 
       They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.  
      They come through you but not from you,  
      And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.  
      You may give them your love but not your thoughts. 
       For they have their own thoughts.  
      You may house their bodies but not their souls,  
      For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. 
       You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.  
       For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.  
      You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. 
        The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.  
      Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;  
      For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable

Just this week, I read it again, but this time as a mother.  A mother going through a somewhat difficult (New world’ish) problem with her twin teenage daughters.  A problem that I had the answer to.  In our conversations, I was jumping up and down waving the solution to my girls’ problems in their air like an attention starved school child trying to be the teacher’s pet.  I literally had the hall pass in my hand.

I tried to tell my kids what they needed to do, how they needed to think, the best way to handle things.  Only because I love them, and want what is ultimately best for them.  I even resorted to the tough love speech that goes something like, “Do whatever YOU WANT, I don’t care.” Then, I jumped up and down some more. (Looking rather desperate I suppose.)  I kept thinking if only, they would listen to me.  Why won’t they listen to me dammit? 

It’s frustrating when we, as adults and parents can see something so clearly but our children cannot.  Even more frustrating is to sit back and watch them learn their own lessons.  And then, this poem popped into my head and I had to read it again.  And again.

I am “the bow from which my living children are sent forth.“  I am nothing more.  They think on their own, make decisions for themselves, have their own emotions that no matter how much I love them, or how much I think I know them – I will NEVER be part of.  No one really knows what another person thinks, and we are naïve and perhaps egotistical as parents to think we know our children better than anyone else, or can read their minds, or that we even know what they need.

Perhaps they need to learn the lesson the hard way.  Maybe, they need to come to their own conclusion – find their own way of getting over a bump in the road.  Maybe I can offer assistance, and guidance as the BOW, but once I let it go – I am helpless to steer it.  And even if I did ‘steer the arrow,’ that is my children – it would only postpone their own growth. My solution to THEIR problem would only be temporary, because the solution belongs to me, NOT them.

Regardless of where you are right now in your life as a parent - you will wake up one day and be in my shoes.  What feels like forever when your kids are young and impressionable and housed both emotionally and physically within our bodies turns into a blink of eye when it’s over.   We help our children the most when we empower them, and ALLOW and encourage them to make their own decisions – even if they are going about it asshat backwards.

I see so many parents today clinging to the destiny of their children, as if it the highest marker of their ability to parent.  I see so many mothers and fathers playing political games, butt-kissing, literally and metaphorically buying what they think is their children’s happiness in life – force feeding their kids the answers to every problem and taking control and ‘fixing’ it themselves if their children are unwilling.  What on the surface may seem like being the best parent in the world, or just loving their children and wanting happiness – is really all about fear. And that fear doesn’t belong to your children.

I won’t say it’s easy to watch my kids make mistakes.  But I know it is what I must do.  And I will ”allow my bending in the archer’s hand to be for gladness;  For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable!

The Mom Funk

Behind the mask of every mother there is at some point an undefinable emotion curdling under the surface that reeks of sour milk.

It hits each of us at random times, and no matter what – we, as women, refuse to talk about it with anyone but our closest friends – and sometimes we dont even trust them worried that they will think if we reveal our feelings, they will think we are an ass.  Instead, we put on our happy faces, cart the kids to school, show up at their games and performances, cook them dinner, wash their laundry and smile and coo as much as possible – hoping that no one will notice.  We even take it one step further by perpetuating our lies and denying our feelings that along the parental path we are slowly but surely forgetting who we are by defining ourselves by our children.

This emotion, this state of mind if you will is called “the Mom Funk!”

imagesCASBAD1HUnfortunately, the mom funk hits and then suddenly all of those day-to-day duties such as changing diapers and filling the fridge with yummy foods and kissing sweet-smelling foreheads goodnight, doesn’t make us all that happy.  Even children laughing in another room and colorful drawings brought home from a kindergarten classroom can do little to stir the soul of a mother who is in the mom funk.

Sadly, because we are nearly forced and programmed by societal expectations to always be grateful, loving creatures, who are supposed to feel constantly showered with blessings from above simply because we have children to call our own, the mom funk goes without cure.

And moms in the funk, ashamed of feeling sick and tired of doing everything for everyone (but herself) hides behind the mask of motherhood and pretends that she is happy.  Still smiling on cue.  Still pretending to listen.  Still getting up in the morning and cutting the crust off peanut butter and jelly sandwiches so that no one will notice she is fading on the inside like a shadow does when thunderclouds roll in.

I know this.  I have been in the mom funk many times.  I am currently in the mom funk, where I wish I could lock myself away for a 3 day stretch and do nothing that involves doing something for anyone else.  At this very moment, I resent spending my entire waking hours doing for others, driving my kids around, and feel caught up in a scene from GroundHog day the moment my feet hit the floor in the morning.  It’s hard to be excited about the day ahead when you know exactly what to expect – and have become so regimented that you even drink your coffee at the same time each day.

Truth is, that just because you feel the mom funk from time to time, doesn’t mean you are an awful person or horrible undeserving mom.  You are, after all, a human being – separate from your children. 

But as moms, we cannot easily endure the mom funk without beating themselves into smithereens.

We tend to take the mom funk even further and internalize every sad story we have ever heard to make ourselves feel even worse about feeling stuck in the mom funk.  We start wondering what kind of asshole could be tired of holding hands with her daughter, or having in-depth conversations with her teenager – especially when there are so many women in this world without kids, with sick kids, or who have lost kids.  Then we wonder what the hell is wrong with us for feeling so ungrateful, so tired, so exhausted and so unenthused about motherhood.  Every god damn book we have ever read prepares us for the notion that motherhood is the mack -daddy experience of a good life, right?  So we face palm ourselves even further into the mom funk.

I am huge proponent of the fact that we shouldnt find our own gratitude by measuring another’s misfortune. 

And I also believe, wholeheartedly, that if we were a little more honest with one another and sent out the “hey I am in the mom funk signal” to other women – we would be able to get passed this phase before it turns into depression, or before we lose ourselves.

We would realize that we are normal to have these feelings.

We would be able to understand that in order to GIVE to others, we have to first GIVE to ourselves.  Just like when our cars are out of gas they don’t run, when moms are out of fuel – they too break down on the side of the motherhood road.

So many of us remain quiet and dishonest and ashamed of feeling what we feel.

And I am here to tell you that it is okay.  It is okay to sit down some days and wonder why in the world you had kids.  It is okay to not feel like talking to your children, and it is okay to be overwhelmed and frustrated and bored with motherhood.  There is a major difference between being busy, and being fulfilled.  Most of us are busy.  Not as many are fulfilled.  And your children cannot do that for you – only you can do that for yourself. 

With experience and several bouts of the mom funk, I now realize that in order to be the mom I want to be, I have to take time to recharge me.  Sure, this may mean that there a few days where the kids don’t get as much mommy attention – because mommy is trying to pay attention to herself.  We have to rearrange our thinking to see this hiatus as not selfish, but as a way to stop being SELF-LESS.  Think about the difference between being selfish and SELF-LESS.  When you are self-less, what is it that you have to earnestly offer your children.

I am working through my current mom funk as best I can.  And in a few days, or maybe a few hours – it will pass.  Your own mom funk will pass, if you pay those feelings attention and commit to doing something for yourself.  And by all means – cut yourself a break. 

If you are in a mom funk, then don’t mull around and beat yourself up.  If you cannot admit it to your friends or your husband than email me at momspirational@live.com and we can work through it together.  I promise, I won’t judge.  Because the mom funk my friends is REAL!!!!!

 

The Gift of Sincerity – A Guest Post

The following is a guest post from my friend, my sister from another life.  The fact that she can concentrate long enough to write this while raising like 457 kids – makes her a hero.  She blogs (not enough) at http://kittyhague.blogspot.com/.

Last night, as I was reveling in the comfort of finally sinking into my soft cozy bed (seriously… if you don’t have a bed that is absolutely heavenly you owe it to yourself to make it that way. Even if you have to eat Ramen for a month. Make your bed the most awesome place…ever.) Anyway, I was laying there with nothing to think about except how good my new fabric softener smelled when my husband (who was obviously less affected by the bliss which was our bed) says to me, “If you could teach the kids one thing that they really grasped and held onto… what would it be?”

Damnit.

Why must he be philosophical at bedtime? Always. I mean, Always.?

I considered faking sleep… but I know him. It wouldn’t have mattered. He wasn’t going to let it go. I wiped the drool that was already beginning to pool on the pillow side of my mouth (yes, I’m a habitual sleep-drooler) and began the process of clearing the cobwebs. My first thought was “I would like to teach them that when someone has spent all day mothering seven children and a man-child and she has finally climbed into her happy place and engulfed herself in Mountain Sunshine scented bliss;  if you love her…even a little bit… you should never, ever, wake her to ask her to participate in a conversation for any purpose other than the prevention of the death of an immediate family member. If the house is on fire… try to put it out yourself, call the fire department, evacuate all the children to the pre-determined meet up spot, and THEN come ask her if she would rather get out of bed… or wait a little bit to see if it burns out on its own.”

That was clearly the cobwebs speaking though. So I bit my tongue and gave myself another moment.

What would I want my children to really take to heart of I could teach them one thing.

“Sincerity”, was my answer. The importance of being sincere. Always.

See, children are born with a perfect understanding of sincerity. It is natural to them. It is why we all roll our eyes and joke that “Kids say the darndest things…”. Kids don’t say they “darnedest” things. Kids are honest, and kids are sincere, and that strikes us as funny. Unfiltered sincerity makes us a little uncomfortable… so we laugh about it and chalk it up to kids being kids. Somewhere along the way, as kids grow up, we teach them that sincerity is not a good thing. Kids will say something honest and we correct them.

“I don’t want to play with Johnny. He breaks my toys because he plays too rough with them, and he smells bad.”

How many parents first reaction is to say, “Now now… don’t be mean. Johnny can’t help that he smells bad. It isn’t nice to say that. He doesn’t mean to break your toys… you need to be nice and share with him.”

Here’s what the response should have been. “You know, you’re right. Johnny does stink. Maybe his mom didn’t teach him to wipe his bum properly. Maybe he doesn’t brush his teeth as often as he should.  I will talk to Johnny’s mom about it and see if maybe she can help Johnny out.”

No… I’m being serious.  Honestly, it would probably be best for Johnny and his mom to know that people are talking about his smell… wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t they then be able to take measures to correct it so that Johnny isn’t the smelly kid….forever? In theory, most of us believe that. But it is really hard to be the one to tell Mrs Smelly Kid that there is a problem. Its easier to just fake it.

And what about the broken toys? Is it okay to force our kids to allow other people to mistreat their belongings? Society, with a few awesome exceptions, tells us that we must teach our children to share. But sharing when it is forced, isn’t sharing at all. What we are telling our kids, when we force them to share with someone they have deemed unfit to use their belongings, is that their happiness is less important than the happiness of others.

Some argue that is a noble idea; teaching that the happiness of others should always come before your own happiness. They teach that selflessness is the most favorable of all attributes in a perfect society. I disagree…but that is another rant, entirely.

If a child has a valid reason for not wanting to share, why would we force them to share?

Kids who are told over, and over and over again that it isn’t “nice” to be honest or that their needs come after everyone else’s needs are being set up for failure in what can be a harsh world.

If I could teach my kids one thing that they would really hold on to and apply every single day, it would be that you should always say what you believe. Even if it seems mean. Even if it isn’t popular. Even if it makes you, or others uncomfortable. We say, “honestly is the best policy” and yet most of us don’t actually believe it. Most of us believe “to pacify is the best policy”… let’s make everything smooth and easy and comfortable. There, that’s nice isn’t it?

But that isn’t what life is about. Life isn’t about making everyone like us, all the time. Life is much bigger, and much more important than the opinions of others. Life is about making hard choices, and making real progress. It is about trials and failures and successes and heart breaks. How can we ever hope to know ourselves, to make any change for good in this world, or to affect anything of importance if we fear the consequences of sincerity?

I want my children to be happy. I want them to have friends…real friends. Friends who value them as forces of nature; strong and kind and independent and honest… not friends who like them because they are doormats. I want them to know, and understand, and apply every single day, the idea that if everyone likes you… there is a good chance that you have never stood for anything.

And as I felt my “Philosopher husband’ twitch next to me, I realized I had lost him at the Smelly Kid.

Pfffft… Amatuer.

The 4-Day Q-Tip Experiment – IT SUCKS

I guess that I am bored – or OCD, or perhaps just uninteresting.  Any one who has the time or inclination to actually follow through with  4-day Q-Tip experiment, definitely doesn’t have enough to do and shows signs of some sort of ‘disorder’ right?

Even so – I did it anyway.

Firstly, It’s summer time, which of course means that the mess in my home has been amped up like a zillion times the norm, along with noise levels, food consumption, talking,  towel washing (because of the pool), toilet paper usage, the non-flushing of toilets, wrappers and trashed being stuffed in the couch cushions and of course bickering.  I pretty much spend my time from dusk till dawn on the edge of my seat just waiting for something frustrating to happen.

Well, the other day – I had enough already.  I told the kids that they had been off for two weeks now and that there would be some rules. No one is allowed to put a dish in the sink and instead has to wash it. When the dryer beeps, they have to stop what they are doing and race to empty the contents.  Trash goes in the trash can. When they are hungry, they have to find something to eat for themselves rather than whimper, “mama, I am hungry!” And, if they don’t want me to bitch about how dirty their rooms are – they need to keep the doors closed.  So far it’s worked out well.

Then on Wednesday, I noticed a bent, dirty Q-tip lying on the hallway floor between the living room and kitchen.  I am not a fan of used Q-tips. Probably because I find them everywhere, with the ends tinged yellow and brown.  (Yes, I am that crazeee mom who actually lets kids use Q-tips in their EARS….I know shock and horror).  It’s just plain gross. Grosser than a used tissue, and just as gross (to me at least) as going into a public restroom and finding someone has forgotten to flush their floating friends. But a Q-tip lying in the most traveled pathway of the house?

find-2(NOTE NOTE NOTE – THIS is NOT the ACTUAL Q-TIP)

“Whose Q-tip is this?” I quipped, of course only to receive the generic response NOT MINE!  “Well, I AM NOT, picking it up – so I suggest that someone picks up this gross, bent, discolored, germy Q-tip up and puts it in the trash”  (Which by the way is only a few feet away.

Whatever happened after that, I promised myself that I would not sweep, vacuum, or bend down to pick up that said Q-tip.  I figured the kids, by hearing my tone of voice when I ‘suggested’ it got picked up, would swoon in and take care of this little oversight.  I figured if they didn’t my husband would.

Now, fast forward to Sunday.  Yesterday.  And guess what little visitor was still lying practically unscathed in nearly the exact same spot that it was on Wednesday?  Yep – THE Q-TIP.

How do my family members not see it?  How do they invite their friends over, and not feel embarrassed that there is a used ear cleaner lying on their floor?  How many times did they just look down, see it and walk on over it over the course of 4 days?  Why is it so damn hard to pick up a Q-tip?  Or throw away an empty toilet paper roll?  Let me just say, I noticed that Q-tip practically 641 million times over the last four days.  I dreamt about the Q-tip.  I closed my eyes hard and prayed that someone, anyone – would pick up the Q-tip and throw it in the trash so that I could dance in circles under the full super moon.

Nope.  Nada.  Not a chance.  As of last night, the Q-tip – which has now collected dust and dirt from the hard wood floors, still sat in its happy little home on the hardwood floor.  Really!?!

Apparently, I am raising a bunch of gross and disgusting kids, girls nonetheless – that although will NOT step foot in a porta-potty, and have an emotional meltdown when one of their siblings take a sip from their glass, or touch their food – they are not bothered by some persons unknown ear wax lying on the floor.

The good news is that this morning the Q-tip was gone.  Maybe some big roach came and picked it up and carried it off.  Maybe it got stuck to the bottom of someone’s shoes and they unknowingly carried it out of the house.  Maybe the friendly ghosts that creep around my home at night just decided to extend their immortal arms and remove it so I could move one.  Who knows.  Who cares. But I do know, that I DID NOT PICK IT UP.  And when I asked the kids who picked up the Q-tip, they all quoted from The Little Red Hen and said, “Not I!”

My advice.  Don’t bother with a 4-day Q-tip experiment.  You will only be disappointed. Instead, choose to move on and pay attention to the positive things in your life rather than the dirty Q-tips.  Trust me, you will be much, much happier.

Over IT – Letting Go – FU People

I have realized as of late, that I am not very good at letting things go.  Especially things that just aren’t fair.  Sure, I understand that the world is not a ‘fair’ or ”just’ place – but I do have certain expectations of adults in particular.  So when adults act like complete and utter assholes, it sort of sticks with me and I ruminate about it for days, weeks, months – okay, years!

One of the most important things to know about me for anyone that gives a crap, is that I am believer in karma.  I carry myself with the sense that what I give will come back to me.  This makes me very conscious of any of my OWN actions that may be rude, immature, inappropriate or downright wrong. And it helps me avoid acting on impulse (most of the time).  Am I perfect?  Hell no.  But I am not  a fraud, a fake, a phony. I am not mean spirited and don’t try to create ways to hurt people. Most of the time, my INTENTIONS are good – even if the turnout is not. And I work on myself, and my life, and on being a better person every day.

So when other people – ADULTS, don’t do the same thing, I wonder how they sleep at night?

How can people do some of the things they do that are so freaking malicious and ill-spirited and hateful and WRONG and still fall asleep at night without a heavy dose of NyQuil?  How can people lie, cheat, steal, spread rumors, spew hate, hurt children, be so self-serving and selfish whilst remaining indignant and elite.  And this doesn’t even mention that most of the people who have done these things are bible thumping Christians who are constantly parading their religious perfection on Facebook all the while standing in judgment of others.

Two of the situations that have pissed me off even involve two people who are considered ‘upstanding’ and ‘stellar’ people in the community.  “What a good man/woman he/she is people will say?  And I am left there thinking WTF?  These folks are phonies, crooks, assholes.

So today, I am OVER IT.  I am letting go.  And here is a big FU to a few particular situations in my life that have pissed me off. This post serves as me letting it go.

First to the old lady matriarch Christian-church-going-snooty-snotty-grandmother-popular person in a small town-witch who ran into my new car in the school parking lot a few years ago while I was loading my infant in her car seat.  Yes YOU!

When the police came, she admitted she backed in to me, she apologized profusely, she said she didn’t see me.  She was parked illegally and I WASNT EVEN MOVING!  Damage was minimal.  But it was a new van for Christ’s sake and I wanted to have it fixed.  When I went to get a copy of the police report it was all wrong.  It said we were BOTH at fault. WHAT THE HELL?  When I called her up – this honest, hardworking, fine Christian woman who speaks the word of God as if HE lives in her very own brain – she said, “Oh is that what it says.  I guess that’s right then!”  I called the witness to the accident – a person I didn’t even know and she called the police department to tell them what happened.  “Well, the lovely Mrs. R had the eye doctor in town call us as well and he said that both of them were moving!”  “I don’t think either of them would lie,” the officer said.

A victim of small town politics.  I see this lady all the time at school and she still cannot look me in the eye.  Seriously!?  Meanwhile, everyone talks about what a beautiful person this bitch is.  NOT!  And I know the truth.  And so does she. So here’s a big FU to her and a thought that perhaps karma will one day come her way.

My next big FU goes out to the pussified stay at home loser of a father who had coached, along with my husband – our daughters softball team. Long story short, he ended up hurting a lot of girls with his mischievous and deceitful ways, has lied to at least 50 people, and has done his best to try to make sure that some young teenage girls would not have a field to play on. (How sorry ass is that!)  He broke up some pretty awesome friendships between young girls and made an ass out of himself along the way. All the while HE KNOWS the truth.  But since his ego is in such pitiful shape that he needs it to be bolstered by promoting his own self-importance, he walks around town tooting his own horn when he is nothing but a sorry piece of shit excuse for a man.  And he knows that too. While everything worked out best for my kids in the end, he created a karmic mess for himself, broke the hearts of many teenage girls, lied and cheated – and yet still has the audacity to act holier than though.  I wonder if he knows what people really say about him the moment he turns his back? Go cut some more grass shithead.

Here’s another big FU to the idiotic woman who abuses the system and takes advantage of every damn person in the United States, and the love of others, by making herself out to be a victim, who causes a drama whirlwind everywhere she goes that ALWAYS hurts the kids in her care and has an excuse for everything all the while raising innocent children in a drug infested, white trash environment that will only create another generation of losers no matter how hard or how much other people try to help the kids. Sealing the destiny of children by raising them to be loyal to hatred, victimization and drama should be a crime punishable by law.  Again – self-righteous and spiteful, despite the fact that there isn’t a person around who doesn’t know the real truth.

How about another big FU to the moronic father who doesn’t have the balls to talk to other men about his problems or issues so decides to target ME or other children, knowing that I nor they are not emotionally equipped to deal with confrontation?  Seriously, who uses the “F” word towards their own daughter. Grow a set of balls dude, and congratulate yourself for hurting your own kid through your immature behaviors. She’s only learning to hate you – and just so you know, the rest of the world thinks you’re an idiot.

Another FU goes out to all the people in this world that think they are so important, that their feelings and thoughts are so important and  prominent- that they can cause a divide among families that love one another, simply to suit their own egotistical agendas.  Let me just say, my family is just as important as YOURS!  Don’t think for a second you treating my family with rudeness has gone unnoticed. Funny thing is the jokes on them, because all they did is finally let their true colors show.

I think I have it about covered! I tried to blow these issues up in balloons and let them go into the sky to disappear, but that didn’t work. And this is my blog after all, and what I do best is write away my worries and problems. Today, I lie them all to rest and HAND THEM HAPPILY over to the karma gods.

OH WAIT – There’s one more!  A Big FU to my vacuum cleaner that decided to break last night while I was trying to clean up pixie stick dust. You big old piece of shizz.

Old People and ATM Cards

I really love old people.  I don’t always like the way they smell, but I love the way they walk around this world with the knowledge that it doesn’t matter what other people think.  With confidence regardless of whether their boobs are hanging out of their shirt or not.  With assertive drive that indicates their sense of accomplishment at having made it so far in life.

Their wisdom comes in all shapes and forms, sizes and colors and I whole heartedly believe that they have something to teach each of us.  Lets face it, they have been around this Earth longer than we have, and they have life experiences that stem from an entirely different way of living (one in which few of us could handle today) that can definitely give us some insight as to where we are being led astray in today’s crazy ass world.

One thing I really love about old people is getting behind them in line at a store and watching them try to use their ATM or Credit card in the new and fancy machines that us younger folk can likely operate with our eyes closed.  Heck, my 6 year old knows how to swipe my card and sign my name.

Old Woman Using a Walker Equipped With a Horn ClipartEach time they approach the machine, there is at least 55 seconds of hesitancy, followed by an instinctive feeling that these new machines are completely for the birds.  Last week, while shopping at the Piggly Wiggly, I assisted an older lady who was trying to use her debit card to pay for her purchases.  She was clearly pissed, and clearly annoyed that the store wouldn’t allow her to write a check, and announced that in this world she was too frightened to carry around cash.  Her clear annoyance for the dreaded swiping machine was deeply rooted in mistrust that these machines will  actually work and her belief that this was just another trick and scheme that our government was forcing her to do so that they could one day steal all of her hard earned money.  “She worked for 57 years she told us,” shaking her head in disgust. She admitted quite loudly, that she still buried money in mason jars in her yard and told us that if we were smart we would start doing the same.  I smiled.  (And secretly wished I knew where she lived because I imagine there are hundreds of mason jars buried at her house).

When the machine asked for her PIN number, she was of course clueless.  “PIN Number!?” She screeched.  “I don’t have no PIN number, hell I cant even remember my granddaughters phone number, how am I supposed to remember a PIN number?”  More frustration.

The nice check out lady then convinced her to use her ATM card as credit.

This led to a lengthy conversation about the evils and perils behind credit cards and that she had just received her social security check and would not be charging food of all things.  She also explained that her grandson had gotten into some trouble with credit cards and pointed her soft finger and warned us younger folks to avoid the credit card scam.  Again, with a quart of ice cream melting in my arms, I explained to her as nicely as possible, that it would still come out of her checking account just like it would if she used the card as debit, and that she would not be receiving a bill, and that she wasn’t in reality using her card as a credit card.  “Well it says credit right here young lady!”  It was sort of hard to argue with that.

My words fell on deaf ears.  Not literally deaf, but ears that had likely heard so many lies and seen so many methods of deceit in one life that it makes it easy to mistrust.

“This would be so much easier if I could just write a check,” she grimaced – sliding her card through the reader one last time.  “This world is out of control.  If they don’t want us to use checks, then everyone should be forced to use cash.  I used to pay for my groceries with dollar bills and dimes back in the day before food became so dang expensive,” she quipped. “At least when I right a check, I can use my signature.”

Seeing a hole I told her, “You will get to sign your receipt here too!”  For a moment in made her feel better, until she realized that her signature would be taken on what she referred to as an etch and sketch, and that she was certain the bank would not accept her transaction because Lydia at the bank would know that was not her handwriting.  As she packed up her backs and left, I was just left to ponder.  What is it that we younger folks are missing?  What is it that the generation before us finds so frustrating about the way we handle day to day life.

Is it us that are so far ahead – or does this generation have something to learn?

As the clerk checked out my order, she said, “Like the banks really check handwriting anymore,” shaking her head in clear disdain about what she considered less than intelligent behavior from an elderly person.

But for me, this was proof that long ago, things were VERY different.

This was also some sort of proof, that perhaps our generation - as trusting as we are, as nonchalant as we have become about money and spending, are headed down a disastrous road that enables us to take too much for granted too far.  Be real, its easy to swipe a card and go.  There is something very detached about the way we handle money today, trusting technology and cable wires to transmit every little thing we do.  Maybe we are moving too fast in the wrong direction.  What if the innuendos about our money and bank accounts being tied to electronic tracking devices in our arms are true.  (Yes, a little apocalyptic and paranoid, but nonetheless thought provoking).  Chances are if you would have told today’s elderly that they would be carrying around plastic debit cards instead of cash or checks they too would have shaken their heads in utter disbelief.

Soon, as the years fly by – there will be fewer and fewer people who remember what it was like to know bank teller by name, who know about writing checks and balancing checkbooks without getting online.  And our detachment with our money will become even greater.  The people who lived through the great depression will no longer be here to teach us the simpler side of life, or to remind us that perhaps we are getting a little carried away with things.

There is a part of me that has to wonder why the older people today feel such a deep sense of despair when it comes to something as simple as a debit card and a card reading machine.  Maybe, just maybe – they are trying to tell us something.

 

 

The Four Agreements

I so want to be funny right now.  I would love to come up with some wildly hysterical blog post about me taking a shit on the side of the road while my kids cringed in the backseat, or about how goofy my children are, or about the silly animal control dudes who showed up at my house to catch a threesome of donkeys without a rope, or sweet feed – and in a truck designed for simpler critters like cats and dogs.

But humor, at the present moment, is not in my heart. And I know my heart.  If something is not there, it cannot be forced.  My heart is a focused entity that forces me to walk through all the appropriate feelings, one at a time – even if they are not ones I want to feel, before I can move on.

Recently, my heart weighs heavy on some of the larger issues in life.  Like family.  And rifts in that said family. And folks who seem so determined to cause dysfunction within a family unit simply because their feelings were hurt and they want to try to CERTIFY (and demand) that others are ‘on their side,’ so to speak.

In a situation that should have been silenced out of an utter wave of respect (and love) for OTHERS, and the uncomfortable, unfair position that ‘airing the dirty laundry’ would put OTHERS in- one person took it so selfishly and shamefully upon him or herself to bully and manipulate an entire family unit around him or her to facilitate purely egotistical needs.

I will say this again.  No one can hurt your feelings unless you give them permission to.  And 90% of the times, when we (or should I say I) personally feel most offended, it is because we (or should I say I) are being mirrored with something that we already feel internally.

Yet this never means that we have to force others to suffer or hurt, or feel pain WITH US.

Years ago, I read The Four Agreements, based on Toltec Mythology, and regardless of any situation in life, I have found them to be true.  If you follow these agreements – you will live a happier life.  Here they are just in case you haven’t heard of them before.

1. Be Impeccable with your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.

2. Don’t Take Anything Personally Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Don’t Make Assumptions Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

4. Always Do Your Best Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

When people stray from these agreements, especially by manipulating the power of the spoken word to inflict pain, by making assumptions, or by thinking everything revolves around you personally - or force people to choose sides, or say mean things – the result is never good.

Quickly, remind yourself of a gaggle of high school girls.  One girl gets mad at another girl, and suddenly the girls each conspire to form an army, and spread their ill feelings to others.  “She’s a bitch,” they say to other friends.  “You wont believe what she did,” they hiss. They start texting and calling and using Facebook to rally up soldiers on their behalf because they think they are right and another is wrong. They become driven by spite and anger, and although they try to hide it, it is obvious for the world to see.

And, also obvious to everyone around them, is that all they are doing is trying to validate THEIR OWN position, which is obviously on shaky ground, by getting others to ‘silently’ or at least ‘perceptively’ agree.  These ‘others’ are following the first agreement (which is actually intuitive in life) and trying to be impeccable with their word so as to not end up in further turmoil.  .

The problem is that these other high school girls don’t wholly agree.  They may shake their heads and smile in agreement, may say something negative themselves making the complainant feel validated in the moment, in order to keep things on the up and up, but on the inside – they are wishing that the two girls in the fight would just shut the hell up already.  The others wish they could put their hands over their ears, rewind time, and not know.  They might seem like they are on high school girl ones side, but that too is a matter of perception.  Chances are when high school girl number 2 comes around, they perceptively agree with her too, right?

Think about it – you have been in this spot before, where two people you love are having a disagreement – and one (or both) try to get you to be in their army.  It’s awful, right?

These ‘other girls’ get instantly put in an extremely precarious position to choose sides – to choose armies.  They get stuck in the middle of something that doesn’t even involve them.  And ugliness abounds. And more people get hurt.  And at the end of the day it’s just not fair to do the onlookers.  Bottom line, it isn’t their fight.   Rules 1 through 3 – and probably even 4, are now miserably broken.

When this happens within families – units of people bound together by love and blood, and history and time – the repercussions are never, EVER beneficial to anyone.  Except temporarily for the person who broke the first agreement initially, to be impeccable with his or her word. Who feels validated in the moment but who is in actuality seen as the martyr.

It’s such a sad day when this happens within family.  Or with friends.  As adults, it comes down to the choices we make.  As adults, we are able to see (or should be able to see) around corners and see the potential for pain and the suffering of those that are innocent.  That’s why we don’t blaspheme our child’s teacher, or piss off the coach, or curse the priest, and we learn to stop spreading rumors around.  Because doing so has a negative affect on innocent others - even our own children. 

When two people agree to disagree, it means they agree to stay impeccable with their word – and that they feel validated enough to hold their position without trying to destroy other things – unrelated things, around them.

And quite clearly, it’s an extremely personal and revealing choice that people make by either furthering negativity – or stopping the pain in its tracks – by respecting others (and themselves) enough to feel bound to any of the four agreements and not involving those whose heart may be hurt by our choice.

And that, my friends, is what is in my heart today.