posts in category Failure

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Fragility


 It's funny how the spirit soars, the animal body stands erect, and good moods prevail...only to slowly deflate as the weeks wear on. Last week, I was on top of the world, I loved everyone, and felt confident in all that I did. This week, though, I have felt myself falling slowly. Just a downward float back into the land of insecurity.

I chose A Mighty Queen under the impression that I would be writing articles of success and inspiration. That is what the people want. People want a sure-footed leader with straight answers. To be such a person requires such self-denial however. Self-denial which smothers the soul over time. Plus, I used to always sing, "Gonna be a Mighty Queen," because I have no desire to be a king. I like girlyness.

I knew I was falling when I found myself chuckling angrily when someone snubbed me as I said Hello. Now, I know there are a hundred reasons why someone wouldn't return a greeting, but my ego was hurt, and I jumped into self-protection. Ten years ago I would have been disappointed in myself for my lack of control and letting the situation get to me and being mean. Five years ago, I would have been disappointed but understanding and forgiving of myself. Now I am understanding, but I also hold myself to a higher standard. I should have just let my embarrassment in the minute wash away and move on past. 

There are times I look about me and I see how mean people can be. How self-righteous and angry and gossiping and hurtful. I find myself standing there wondering why I ever thought they were cool or admirable or hoped to be friends with them. They are no better than me. They might play the game better, but inside their hearts are just as tainted as everyone else's. It's so disappointing when the facade of idealism wears away and you see people for the selfish, broken souls they are. I guess we all are. 

I feel so fragile today. Every word and expression, every phrase and action is sifted through searching for the needle. And sometimes the sharp needle can always be found. 

And the work piles up around me and I don't want to do it. I want to escape, but I have no escape. I am slowly untwisting my heart strings from my novel having fallen "deeply" in love with a fictional character and fictional life, and am waiting quietly for the surging emotions bubbling over to calm and slowly drain away. I did this to myself, and damn, if it wasn't fun, but returning to homeostasis is a must, I suppose.

And at least another week of falling awaits me, and I think that someday, in a few years time, perhaps this rise and fall won't rule my life anymore, and somehow that saddens me. Who will I be then without the ebb and flow of powerful hormones coursing through my body. Not to mention how rapidly my face will fall. I think about it. I have reached the age that it doesn't matter anymore. The imagined weight loss and tummy tuck and breast enlargement and nose reduction, all the lovely things I was going to do to be just a wee bit cuter are really irrelevant at this point. Nobody cares. And I stand here, shaking in my raw soul, aware of my meager accomplishments, aware of my transparent weaknesses, embarrassed by my failings, and just..wait.. For the clock to turn around again, for the sunlight to burst through once more. It will come. And I will tell you joyful stories of strength and peace.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

When you feel it, but don't want to talk about it


How to talk about  a pain that doesn't like to be discussed. The lump in the throat, wetness dripping down, running across a heart that doesn't care to dwell in the pain. 
August has always been a marked time of year for me, because my birthday falls in August. It was always the last month of summer as a child, with long, hot evenings stretching out as the cicadas screamed out into the starry nights. As an adult, August was a time when college started, and the kids' school started, and later, when I would return to work to joyfully begin preparing my classroom (when I worked in a school where I had one), and getting ready for students to return. It was one of the best times of the year. 

Two years ago, though, everything changed a little. One August day, my 21-year-old son came by for a visit, said goodbye, and walked out the door-forever. Caleb had battled with depression for years. He had struggled with the world since he was very young, even in preschool he stood out, and in later elementary was rejected by his peers. As a young, inexperienced mother, I tried to do what I thought was best-but who really knows what best is? I could talk forever about signs I might have missed-or maybe just didn't know how to handle-but the fact is, August 4th, he said goodbye as if it were just another day and August 8th, they found where he lay. The days between those days stretched into eternity, but a monotonous, uneasy eternity. Although I love using strong, melodramatic words when I write, in reality, I tend to be on the optimistic side-almost to the point of detachment. I can't help it. I truly, truly believe it will all be okay in the end. We just don't know exactly when the end is, and that can be frustrating. 

As his mother, I wish I could jump back into moments long-forgotten and find ways to make it all turn out better. I wish I could find ways to improve myself and make him whatever I was supposed to make him, instead of stepping back to let him become. There must be more I could have done. There must have been a thousand little opportunities to spread light which dropped into the abyss.

There were things I wish I had known. Perhaps groups my shy self should have forced myself into. And now I am faced with---just---an abrupt end to a life which had been painfully blighted for years. And the simplicity in which I can carry on brings a feeling of guilt and "What the Hell is wrong with me, that I can keep smiling?" And the sun still shines and the complexity of human life keeps spinning the world around. 

This is August.

Friday, July 17, 2020

5 Things You Should Know About Life by 30







Life is fantastic. It is an emotional roller coaster filled with ups and downs and sometimes it simply feels too hard. I was walking the halls of the building I am working in, and found myself envying the position and opportunities other people have. And that's when I had to take myself in hand and get tough. Envy might be useful for just a brief moment, but Envyland is no place to live.

Fighting Tooth and Nail


There are so many things I wish I had learned early in life. Some people appear to be born with an inner sweetness and fortitude which helps them navigate the wilderness of life and they appear on top early and stay on top. Others of us had a lifetime of the wrong kind of training forming our brain patterns in ways which seemed beneficial at first, but eventually led us deeper into the fog and away from civilized life (meaning acceptable norms and behavior). 

I am from the second camp. I have used tooth and nail to drag myself (along with the quiet helpful hands of those who have guided me tenderly and forgivingly) out of the self-imposed wilderness into, well, maybe the edge of the woods.  Yes, my mistakes have been totally humiliating, but no, they aren't who I am. I am so much more than just the bad. So I wanted to share some of the thoughts on life I have been having. To some of you, they may seem blindingly obvious. To others, the lesson is still buried in your subconscious waiting for the right time to flip the switch on to self-realization. 






5 Things You Should Know About Life by 30 (or earlier)

Note: You'll notice I have 30 instead of the 40 in the infographic. After reflecting on it, I realized I may have learned the lessons late, but learning them early is, naturally, preferable.


1. Forgiveness is key to happiness- This is one  idea that has been brought up time and time again, but being able to forgive people is essential for a happy life. Forgiveness doesn't mean letting someone hurt you over and over again. You need to do what you need to do to set and enforce your own boundaries for safety and peace of mind. But forgiveness means allowing someone to make their own mistakes without letting the choices they made blacken your heart forever. It is hard not to hold a grudge. Sometimes not holding a grudge can feel like weakness. It can feel like you are letting people walk all over you. But holding a grudge is like a cancer, encroaching upon your heart, eating away at the happy possibilities for the future. Bitterness can feel very right, but bitterness is the language of the ego and the ego is a child. The ego doesn't necessarily have your best interest at heart, even though it will present itself as doing so. Like a pleading child, the ego will tug at your emotions, begging to you avenge wrongdoings against you. But as long as you listen to ego, and struggle to hold anger and hate close, you will be hurt. Learn to forgive.


2. You can't always get what you want- I know it is shocking. It is even more so when others seem to have a golden lighted path leading the way into greatness with strong hands lifting them up along the way. Life doesn't seem fair. Meanwhile you find yourself striving and stumbling, and that which you want just seems to be out of reach. Like grudges, this can lead to a deep and dark bitterness. Learning to visualize the bitterness and anger being washed away has been very helpful to me. When I feel the burden building up on my shoulders I like to imagine golden rays of sunshine lighting my head with warmth as turquoise foaming waves crash gently against my shoulders. Lifting my burden, I am left with all that truly matters. These external desires will all dissipate eventually. The world itself will some day disappear. Learning to find peace and joy with what is inside, with what is real, is the key. 

3. You get to determine your worth- Noone else gets to decide your greatness. Not your parents, not your boss, not your lover. If you are happy with who you are and what you have accomplished, you are a success. Maybe your parents dreamed of you walking the halls in a white coat with a stethoscope wrapped around your neck. But your heart lights up at the smiling faces of your preschool students each day. You are a winner! Perhaps your boss doesn't think you are worthy of her inner circle- but your job gives you time to go home and paint spectacular paintings which thrill your soul. Winner. Maybe your lover wants you to earn more money and bring up their lifestyle, but peace is your ultimate goal. You get to make that choice. This doesn't mean you should be a jerk and not listen to input from others or continue to be valuable in the jobs and family roles that you are responsible for. It means not allowing someone outside of you to dictate how you feel about who you are and the value you bring to this world. That's up to you. 

4. Life is incredibly short- It's really a blink of an eye in the eternities of time. Balance wisdom with childlike curiosity. Save for retirement as early as you can. If you are in your 20's, start now! Don't put it off one more year. Take that income tax refund, or next raise and start investing it right away. There are a myriad of books available to help you get started. At the same time, have fun! Take that vacation. If you are like most people you will have to choose between experiences and things. I can't make that choice for you. My husband and I have chosen an older home with a lower price tag so we have more money for traveling and experiencing the world. If your heart lies in aesthetics, you might prefer living in a beautifully decorated home more than taking a vacation. Only you can decide what your values are. Do some soul searching-discover your values-what matters to you-and start making choices which honor those values. Don't wait. You can always start planning for your amazing life today.

5. Make the effort- If you want to connect with someone, make the first move. Send a text, call, stop by and visit. The worst that can happen? Well, I guess they could go on a radio show and share your heartfelt attempts in a mocking manner, but is that likely? And are they worth your time if they mock you? Take a deep breath and reach out. You might be the light of someone's day. Make the effort in all that you do. Relationship, work, play, rest. Don't be afraid of failure, hiding behind mediocrity, excusing your flaws away. Love yourself immensely and enough to keep striving towards the best version of yourself. Remember number 4. When you have decided your values, go full-force into attaining them. If you screw up, remember number 1. Forgive yourself. We are all learning. We are all perfect in our imperfections. Then stand back up and try again. I won't promise you will reach some arbitrary goal, but I will promise if  you don't try for what you want, regret will sink deep into your bones.  

At some point, life is painful for all us. But it can also be very rich, very rewarding, and very, very good.


Friday, July 3, 2020

Lesson Learned-Thanks Covid!

First of all, after an exhausting day, week, month, I just have to say-Covid 19 has been a real eye-opener. Most of the year, we go to work-I am usually gone before the family is up, because I like to get in and have everything lined out for the day, socialize a bit, and drink all the coffee.  After work I get home around the time my daughter brings my toddler/preschooler back and await the kids arrival from the bus. The big kids play out with the neighbor boys and there is screen time and inside play. I am usually very tired, and lament all the work I have to do, especially if my daughter watches my son (along with hers) at my house, because then I usually have to clean up from the day as well. 
Let's just say, being at home sounds like a dream. 

And it sort of was. Working at home was pretty good for me, because my daughter picked up all three kids for the morning while I did my work and then I picked them up around noon and we relaxed most of the afternoon. The bad part was, we could hardly get the kids to do schoolwork. It was a fight for my daughter and a fight for me on days I let them stay home. You would think even asking them to do 30 minutes of Dreambox (math) and Lexia (reading) was asking them to walk over hot coals for the duration of the time. It was miserable. 

When I got an online summer school job, it was more of the same. When I found out I would have two online jobs, I had to leave them at their sister's longer, but their schoolwork issues remained. They were becoming antintellectual. Working all day at home was MUCH harder than working three morning hours. I still had all the housework. I had all the driving. When I tried letting them stay home all the promises to not interrupt during my class meetings disappeared and suddenly they were bored and attention seeking right as I was trying to explain how to do the four operations on fractions. The worst was during my afternoon class when I was screensharing Tynker with a student and my son climbed on the easel. As I picked him up to get him down, the thin metallic whiteboard side of the easel literally ripped the top layer of skin back on his foot. There were bloodcurdling (sp??) screams and oh blood and grossness. I had to end my meeting (who knows what that poor kid thought) and tend a nasty cut (it's much better, but going to scar). 

On top of all this is lawless kids and way too much screen time. It's been bad. When sweet Gabe loses it, he loses it. Liam is always a challenge and 24/7 Liam would try a saint. Alec can be a messy little terror who delights in smearing peanut butter or toothpaste or even worse things all over everything. It's been hard. I am 46, guys. I am not the sweet patient momma of my twenties. 

So what's my point? 
I don't think I want to homeschool. All the times I thought I wanted to be at home homeschooling. Nope. At least not if I also have to work on top of it. It is too much. I don't want to homeschool unless my days were otherwise free and I have a firm grip on the time usage of electronics in my home. I can't. I just can't.

Now, if my kids were in school and I could just tend the house and just Alec alone. Fine. That's nothing. But this three kids, trying to educate, teach house, work, all of the above is just a whole heck of a lot. 

If we do have to return to online schooling, I want clear attendance hours required by the teachers. Make class meeting mandatory and take attendance. Be the bad guys so we tired mommas don't have to. 

That's all.

Friday, June 12, 2020

I made a business decision!

Photo by Sarah Shaffer on Unsplash

I have decided not to close my business. Now Dagney Taggart might not approve (but we don't like her anyway, do we?), but I get a lot of pleasure out of choosing clothes and sharing them. What I will do is scale way back on advertising and call it what it is: a hopeful hobby. 

I may put a little money into advertising, but I plan to focus on slowly growing my online presence while also signing up to work vendor fairs when I can. I think it will be fine. 

I get a huge amount of pleasure opening the clothes and repackaging them for others, and I am not ready to deny myself that yet. 

I feel very at peace with this choice!

Now granted as soon as I came to this conclusion I was flooded with a remembrance of You've Got Mail,  when Kathleen decides the right choice is to close her beloved children's bookstore. After sharing this, one of her employees, an older woman who had known her mother, stated, "Closing the store is the brave thing to do!" This has always stuck in my mind (and others because when I looked it up to make sure I had it right, others had put it in their own blog posts). And I wonder, am I not brave? Of course, Kathleen  was an ISFJ and they much more practical than I am. And I also wonder, if Birdie would have said the same thing had Kathleen opted to keep the shop alive a little longer. 

One wonders.  Either way, I am happy with my choice and quietly open and waiting for a new and more profitable idea to enter my head. Universe, I await you! 

Thursday, April 16, 2020

My Worst Job Interviews Ever


Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash


Let me start off by saying when you are not a natural public speaker and you struggle with self-esteem, interviews can be a killer. I have watched more outgoing and less qualified people talk their way into jobs that those who knew them knew they were NEVER going to keep, while I was getting turned down by Waffle House and KFC. It was so frustrating!

So without further ado here goes:

1. Kentucky Fried Screw-Up- It was November of my junior year and my mom was pushing me to get a job. Now, I was about the shyest thing since baby Bambi, so it was pretty traumatic. "Just say you are looking for holiday work. Everyone needs to hire more people for the holidays," my much more outgoing mom told me. Embarrassed I dressed up (because Mom) and headed into nearby fastfood restaurants to apply.
I filled out the application at Kentucky Fried Chicken and the manager behind the counter asked what I was looking for. "Um, holiday work?" saying what my mom had told me. The assistant manager chuckled and said, "We don't hire for that." Meanwhile a boy from my year at school was working and I wanted to crawl under a rock and die.

2. Waffle House. I had waitressing experience and yet somehow I could not get hired at the Waffle House. I don't really remember the details other than the north side one interviewed me and suggested I try the one a few miles away. The south side one stuck her nose in the air and made it clear I wasn't what they were looking for. Too old? I was 27. Too young? I don't know. Too fat? I was about 145. Not chatty enough? Most likely.

3. Division of Family Services-Senior division. I was sitting on a psychology degree, not really relishing the idea of getting a masters. I had been in a few master's programs because the ultimate goal for anyone who loved college was to become a professor, right?, but nothing was really calling out to me enough to put that much work into it, and whenever I tried science (the Master's of Geosciences was calling to me), my self-esteem issues got in the way.  I decided to try being a social service worker. I went into the interview so nervous. I was literally sweating all over the place. My hands sweating were a given, this was prior to learning how to stop the hand sweat. However, I had sweat dripping down my back, across my upper lip-it was awful. They actually told me to just relax. I didn't get the job shockingly. They were super nice, though.

4. Another social servicy job. This was at the food stamp office. I had some doubts about the interview time, as I was excited and nervous when they called, but I was too embarrassed to call back so I thought it through and thought I had it right. I went to the interview and they called me up. They asked me questions and talked about what a responsible, organized, and punctual person was, how I kept track of records by writing things down, and juggling appointment times would be not trouble. Then one lady cocked her head to the side and asked,  Why then, had I been ten minutes late to the interview? I was mortified.
They didn't hire me and I am glad. I would have been good at it and trapped in it forever most likely.

5. A teaching job.  I had been working at Greenfield which, while I loved the little kids, wasn't quite what I wanted long term.  It was literally an hour's drive each way.
I was interviewing for a school district which was only 30 minutes away. It was a science position and I felt reasonably confident in by ability to handle middle school science. In the middle of the interview, the principal looked me in the eye and said, "Define loyalty." She was so hostile about it I knew I was trapped. She wanted someone who would stick out the position for several years, I think. Fair enough. But her hostility had me tongue-tied. Clearly I was interviewing for this position from another school (and people do this all the time. People change jobs and look for something closer to their calling ALL THE TIME. IT IS OKAY). The other interviewers looked embarrassed and looked down at the table. And I knew, I sure as heck did NOT want to work at that school. The position was open again the next year, by the way.



Those were my worst interviews. I am sure there are other moments I may have forgotten, like the time I interviewed for a seventh grade social studies job that I REALLLLLLLY wanted and said, "Y'all" when when answering a question.

Or the time when an assistant principal called me to set up a phone interview for a time I had had tickets for over a month to see a movie with my daughters. I didn't handle it well, and then mortified called her back and left a message to go ahead and do it. I sat in the summer-hot car in a parking garage outside the theatre with the windows rolled up in fear of getting robbed. I was definitely sweating. I did get the job, but I don't think I was their first choice.

Well...they say it is good to get uncomfortable and step outside your comfort zone. Noone can argue I haven't done that, right? And I think all these embarrassing moments and all these mistakes are just an indicator to not give up. Go on your interviews, answer their questions thoughtfully, and then adjust your answers accordingly at the next interview. At first this may seem dishonest, but it really isn't. Just as I was unwilling to promise I would stay at a school a certain amount of time (beyond the contract), I also found the the act of changing my answers also changed how I viewed the job and approached the question. For example, if I said I was perfectly comfortable calling parents, well, then I was making phone calls to parents without complaint. If I said the office was a last resort, then I was promising the office would be a last resort. Changing your answers to fit the interview isn't really a lie. It is a learning experience about what the job expectations were and your willingess to meet those expectations.


Man, if I didn't believe in growth mindset before, I sure do now!

Enjoy learning!

Jillian






Don't forget to check out our kids' clothing shop! 

lillemondrop.net

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Embarrassing First Date Confession

First I want to say, being a female is fantastic. Now I am not saying misogyny and sexism don't affect my world and aren't a real thing, but overall I like being me in this time and place.

Basic arm strength aside, I don't really think women are the weaker sex at all. We are amazing in the sheer amount of work we can get done(although my husband's ability to clean a refrigerator or room quickly without tiring is really impressive, and I envy that), the number of things we can keep on our mind (and this is not my strong area), and our ability to reason well and feel deeply(not saying you men can't do this either).  Women Rock! Go Rosie!

But there is an area where I feel some of us are lacking. Maybe not every female, maybe not you. But for me and some women I know, this is a problem.

But I am jumping ahead of myself. Let's get to the date.

My  mom had introduced me to Karl. He lived in the same apartment complex and my mom was always out socializing and meeting people. He had come to a group movie (I started to suspect he liked me since it was my mom, an elderly neighbor, and me only), and my mom's Halloween party. Finally he worked up the nerve...to ask me out as friends. We had a few "friend dates" where we met at a local bar complete with some heavy kissing afterward, but more than anything I was just confused. Finally after a break, he asked me out on a "REAL" date. 

I was excited, but also wary. The three week break we had just come off of had hurt me, and I wasn't quite sure of his intentions, and I have a tender heart hidden behind a layer of false bravado, keep 'em guessing BS (which probably fools noone-but helps me feel safe). We went out for Mexican food, and then back to his bar again. I am not a bar person, and definitely wasn't then, but it was a small supposed-to-be lesbian bar, which seemed to attract its share of single men, hiding out from life I guess. Anyway, I got this amazing, big tropical drink. It had five shots, but I usually stuck with wine or champagne when I had alcohol, so it didn't really register with me that that might be more than enough. I think I even ordered a second. Everything was fine. I was relaxed and having fun, and then we got up to leave. 

And suddenly, the world swayed around me.  Sounds seem to blur as wave of nausea came over me and I clung to Karl for support. We went outside and decided to walk back to Karl's place. Both his apartment and my home were within walking distance, and taking the car didn't seem like a good idea since we were drinking. Outside the winter air seemed like it might clear my head and then...

I threw up. Right in the parking lot by the back door of the bar. That in itself is embarrassing, am I right? But you see, I was a female who had three children. Three beautiful children who barged through the door to my uterus weighing a range of 8 and a half pounds to a chubby 9 pounds 14 ounces. My pelvic wall had seen better days. So when I threw up, I also (you ladies guessed it, right) peed my pants. Right there by the bar, in winter, when we were too drunk to get in a car to get anywhere. 

I was partially mortified and partially 34 and developing wisdom (hey, men will go through a lot to get a little, ahem). I may or may not have squeezed out a tear. There was nothing left to do, but walk the 1/2 to 3/4 miles to his apartment. We got there, I showered, and then embarrassingly, fit into a pair of his jeans, and we hung out for several more hours, watching movies, kissing and eating lots of candy. 

On good days, I think it is a sign of our comfort with each other, that we could move on and finish the date. 

On bad days, I think it is an omen and I should have known better.

:)

Negative Thoughts? Take these 3 steps now!

Image result for mountains sunset
I am feeling a bit like a hypocrite this morning. For one, last week was a fairly negative one. I overshared with a couple of people at work on Friday, due to a stressful situation and feel a bit of regret. Especially since a big thing I overshared about seems better. I should feel better that it is better, but instead I feel I was blowing it out of proportion to get attention or sympathy or something. Then I was feeling anxiety about possible future events outside my control and found myself directing that anger in the wrong way. Don't get me wrong, it was almost entirely internal, but a few less than complimentary comments on my part have me stressing. I am better than that. I know better than that. And if I don't handle the internal struggle, eventually it become external and that's destructive.
 A family member has been ill and is struggling with dealing with illness and weakness, and I fear he is making it worse with his worries. He doesn't seem to be getting out or walking or doing any of the things he has always loved and which ironically probably kept him healthy for so long. It is hard to watch someone flounder, especially when you feel if they would just listen to advice, relax, take their meds, and stop the alcohol and nicotine roller coaster, they would probably be just fine.  But he feels he is dying. And maybe he is. He is closing the world off around him and that is not a good way to flourish. He is saying anxious I love you's, and my brain wonders if it is anxiety and depression driving him or intuition. And it worries me.

And the house is a mess.

And I sit here, feeling like a hypocrite, Who am I to give advice on living to another person? Who do I think I am? That's the feeling running through my veins.
But it is just twisted perfectionism hounding me. This idea I harbor telling me perfection is attainable if I just TRY HARDER, and then I will be fit to give advice.

Nonsense! I mean really. A big load of bull. Everyone struggles.

First thing to be done is take a big, deep breath, and then let it out. And  then another. And another. The second thing is to mentally take this pile of worries and push it away. Seriously, I am visualizing a big brown dirty scruffy Charlie Brown pile with a white sign and red letters painted "Worries," and just pushing it all away by hand. I don't have to carry this load.
YOU don't have to carry this load. Push it away! Now it's all there, but it isn't blocking the path. From perfectionism, to desiring control to ensure a perfect outcome, to worrying about things which are in someone else's hands, I acknowledge that I can't fix all this. I can however stop tormenting myself with it all.

Now, I visualize myself walking right past that pile down an open path (sun setting in the distance, of course). And I feel lighter.

One of the hardest things to do, when you are caught in a negative cycle, is realize what it is. It is just you choosing to focus on the wrong thoughts. PUSH THOSE THOUGHTS AWAY. Unless you are actively coming up with a plan to alleviate your concerns, just thinking about them, running circles around your brain, is not going to help. It is going to keep you stuck.

Newsflash! You are going to screw up. You are going to say the wrong thing, leave the wrong impression sometimes, and deal with family illness. It's going to happen. Ruminating will not take the words back, scrub your impression clean, or heal your sick person. It won't. YOU CANNOT OUTTHINK MOST OF YOUR PROBLEMS. I have been trying for years. I am no Einstein, but I know some things (though I have forgotten so much more than I know-which reminds me,  you know when you meet that person who not only can recall a lot, but can quickly use it in arguments and discussions? I envy those people. Meanwhile I am over here, like, Hmm. My gut tells me you are wrong, but I need to go home read some books, search my soul, and figure this out. I will get back to you next week, how's that? I guess that is why I like to write. Meanwhile, the world is following that quick thinker and easy speaker EVEN IF THEY ARE WRONG, because that's how the world works. Silliness).

When things are just wrong and you believe you have screwed up one of the best ways to get relief right away is to just stop everything. Stop digging that hole. Stop trying to fix the problem with thoughts and words and just be still a moment. Then walk past the problem. I get it. The problem is still there. I do understand that, but you do NOT have to live a life of misery because you are not perfect,  or because certain things are simply outside your realm of control. You don't.  Just stop, gather your wits, and walk away for a bit. And later, when you are busy in a project, doing a hobby, watching a favorite show (and make sure you really love what you are watching or do something else. Life is too short for mediocre), or just sitting completely in the moment watching the world around you, you will find that the problem might not be so bad.

And what if it is? What if that pile marked "Worries" is persistently following you and there are serious problems stacked up in that pile? I guarantee if you take a break from them, if you write them out and leave them to a higher power, and ask for help in solving them, the help will come. I don't guarantee it will be the answer you want or the way you want it. But if you can pull yourself away from demanding it all go down in a certain way, it will all work out in the end.

So my 3 steps in a nutshell?

1. Stop and breathe. Breathe deeply and exhale through your mouth several times. Feel your shoulder, chest, and upper back relax with those breaths.

2. Visualize that pile of worries and push it away.

3. Walk past that pile into the distance and start doing something else. Something you love, something you have to do, something constructive, or something frivolous. Just get busy, even if that means just watching the birds hop along in your backyard busily searching for their next meal.


You can revisit the worries later. Now is not that time. Now is a gift. Unwrap it with joy.



Thursday, February 20, 2020

The Inner Critic

Image result for shame




"Imagine having a friend who always made you feel bad about yourself because every time they came over they told you what was wrong with you." That loosely quoted quote came from my morning motivational series on discouragement.

I have been discouraged! Anxious. Stressed.

I realize a great deal of this comes from my own perfectionistic tendencies. I apply these to myself as well as others. I think part of me sometimes feels there is a positive proactivism in being perfectionistic and that in harshly holding myself in line, I will become the better person I want to be.

As we know, though, the inner critic, often backfires when it is too harsh, too unaccepting. Wisdom tells us we will let ourselves down. I will make a snarky comment without forethought, or a customer will be disappointed because they didn't read all the available information. My natural tendency is to jump harshly on myself. Rude comment? Welp. That's it. Noone will ever like me. Angry customer? Welp. I suck. Why on Earth would I think I could run a business? And I feel this shame over myself.

But Gosh darn! Enough already. The anxiety riding in my belly this week, requiring me to rely on Benadryl to relax into sleep and to wake up in a slight fog is just so absurd.

I made a snarky comment. Most people will know that snarky comment is a reflection on me and my insecurities. Other people make snarky comments all the time. That doesn't mean I should just not care what I say. But rather, the moment has passed, and I need to let it dissipate, and move on.

My unhappy customers? Well, on the one hand, it was spelled out clearly on the item page when shipment would come. Shipment has been slightly delayed due to issues with the supplier and a health scare, but not significantly so. However, as the seller, I have to realize people probably don't take the time to read all the information carefully. I have to either not presell, or make it very clear along with a follow-up email offering a timeline and a way out.
I have to LEARN from this, not throw in the towel in shame and discouragement.

I believe in the inner critic. I believe in holding ourselves accountable and pushing ourselves onto higher moral and professional grounds. However, the inner critic has to also be loving. The inner critic has to offer proactive help, not helpless disappointment. Working towards kinder thoughts and words is always a good thing, but allowing myself understanding and the ability to occasionally screw up is required. I don't know anything about running a business. I have so many things to be proud of including the signs showing that I am on the verge of beginning to figure how to make it profitable. That's a huge leap since we really started up last July. I am becoming more knowledgable and competent all the time.

I need to recognize and realize those accomplishments. I need to continue to work towards giving myself grace and mercy. I don't HAVE to punish myself, just as I don't have to punish others when they let me down (or make the occasional snarky comment-although, I wonder, if my quest to become the loving and sweet Melanie Wilkes, if I will make myself into the most boring person on the planet. Time will tell, I guess). I think that is the balance I struggle with. I spent years self-repressing and hiding because I didn't trust myself, and as I have struggled to break free from those self-imposed prisons, I tend to sway when I make mistakes and upset others. It's a process I suppose.

On a side note, we talked briefly of out-of-body experiences and life after death in the office yesterday, and I was so happy. I think of these things all the time, and it is so fun when other people join in!



Thursday, February 13, 2020

"You Had a Bad Day."


You know it is one of those days when Daniel Powter's Bad Day is running through your brain like your theme song. It started early. It was just off. My classes were fine. The kids were fantastic. We talked and laughed, they asked questions, I answered. Behaviors were great. Even the kids who challenged me had valid points, which was refreshing. I got enough sleep. I liked my outfit. My hair was a little questionable, but nothing is perfect, right? But everything felt off. Every offhand comment felt like a smudge, a swipe, a swat against who I am as a person. And I felt this creeping shame crawling over my skin, flushing my face and branding me as a misfit. I dreamed of a hot bath and a good cry, but nothing was really WRONG. So there are no tears.
There was this thing nagging at me and bugging me, until big girl Jill, came up, snorted, labeled it jealousy, and I had no choice but to deny it and build a story to fight against it, or acknowledge it and roll with it. Big girl Jill is actually pretty wise, so I listened to her.
Then Tierney had a phone call from an upset customer wanting to know where her things were. I get it-she sent us a lot of money-but she neglected to note the page said these were preorders and wouldn't begin shipping until mid-February. So I called her back and soothed her, but this flashing "Failure" sign was lighting up my brain.

I haven't had my morning time this week. People keep waking up early, early before 5:30 a.m. and breaking into my spiritual time. I haven't FELT like listening to deep thoughts this week from my ebooks, and just want to coast along on a romantic song and a cloud. But without that time, my fortitude is down. My emotions are raw rather than cared for. So, I came home, made some brownies, and decided to pull it together.

So! here is my have a better day mini-pack. You're welcome.

First some ideas  https://www.theodysseyonline.com/100-things-to-do-when-youve-had-bad-day

Make some brownies. Seriously. Brownie batter makes everything better. Just don't get salmonella.

Listen to some of my favorite songs (don't laugh at my song choices, I fear I am a simple cliche. That's okay, you know. The right people still love me).
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYjZBZyb8_3DaOm16CLfq4lRNcrXvZpLO

I often go out for a diet soda in the evening to listen to music, get a break from putting Alec to bed, and get my second wind. But I think I might just take a bath tonight and just soak (but I am restless, so I don't know how that will go. It's hard to lay in a hot tub when your nerves are hopping all over the place).

Finally before bed I will watch a favorite show with my husband. Our go-to is Zoolander, but there won't be enough time. We'll probably catch some of The Office. Who doesn't love that show?

And it will be better.

What do YOU do to cheer yourself up?


https://youtu.be/gH476CxJxfg







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