Lil Lemon Drop

Lil Lemon Drop
Happy Clothes for Happy Kids
posts in category Self-Acceptance

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Perfect moments, not perfect planning

 


Photo by Benjamin Voros on Unsplash

Have you been playing the balancing game-trying to give everything and everyone just the right amount of time and attention? I have been thinking about time management lately, and while I  know some schedule out each day, week, month, to perfection-I know this isn't the route for me. 

Schedules vs. Routines

First of all as an INFP (what's that? here's 16personalities description), the word schedule itself makes me a little cranky. I like routines, mind you. A quiet morning coffee in hand, contemplating life and where I stand in it, are just perfect. Every day. Slipping into bed, the perfect amount of lighting in the room, book or ebook in hand, pillows fluffed just right, is perfect every single day. But all that stuff in between? Let's keep it loose. Let's NOT make plans. Let's let it unfold naturally. 

Let It Happen

I don't know how I will feel next Sunday afternoon. How can I possible feel anything but dread if you try to force me into some arbitrary activity outside of my home. That's not to say Aunt Kate's backyard barbeque followed by a trip to Walmart and drive to Branson won't be exactly what I need. But how can I know that now?

I realize I am difficult.

And I have been thinking that maybe for people like me, it is less about perfect balance and more about perfect moments. 

This week I will shower my kids with attention and activities, next week they will play with the neighbor kids and I'll catch up on laundry. Today we have an impromptu game night and whoever can make it makes it. Next week, I'll screen my calls and snuggle in bed with a book and a glass of Cabernet. Perfect moments happen. They can't be planned.

When I discovered my newly remembered love for fiction reading, it changed my focus away from my online shop. And I realized I was done with the shop. Reading has always been a greater passion to me than kids' clothes. Reading changes my soul in a way that trying to earn money cannot. So one was let go and one I continue to pursue.

A Surprising Need for Control

This doesn't mean I am easy-breezy. In fact, I often doubt my INFPness due to my need for control and pickiness. I am not okay with just any background noise (and honestly, silence is golden to me). I can't just let the radio play. I need the right song at the right time, or nothing at all.   In fact, I often think my lack of commitment to future plans has more to do with my need to control the atmosphere by attending to my current mood than any happy-go-lucky easygoingness. And I think people misunderstand that and either steamroll me or think I am being intentionally difficult. I am just being me.

Recap

So, if you are finding you are struggling with finding the right balance or the right schedule or the right PLAN-maybe you are like me. And maybe focusing on your comfort routines and maybe letting your need to attend to your current mood and feelings are what you need in the future (I ALSO easily think I could be an ISFP (description HERE)-despite my lack of artistic prowess-especially when I am healthier and not ruminating on things. I would be totally cool with that, too).

Currently:

Listening  Spotify:

ACOMAF | Feysand| A Court of Mist and Fury | Feyre and Rhysand



Rereading


Also reading:


This post contains affiliate links for https://www.amazon.com/

Drinking:
Reusable K-cup mix of Great Value french roast and Creme brule!

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Thoughts this Week

;Whew! I had fun last night. First of all, I totally overindulged in a really tasty cabernet sauvignon (which don't those words just feel amazing on your tongue?), laid in bed and read, and snuggled with Alec, who is just the best thing ever. I understand increasing numbers of people are choosing not to have kids, but as for me and my body, we make little humans. Well, I mean not anymore. I don't want more little humans, but I am glad I have them! There is just something so incredible about getting together with a person and suddenly (9.5-10 nauseating,  exhausting months later) finding a whole new human emerging forth, with its own little looks and hodgepodge of shared physical traits-I love it!

I woke around 4 and played on Facebook-Oh. I just realized I went to bed after midnight. Hmm. I did not get enough sleep! It's going to be a long day, I guess. 

Being super hungry, I decided to go surprise everyone with some McDonald's breakfast. Karl had hinted at St. George's donuts last night, but they don't have a drive-thru and that requires a whole different level of grooming. So I was thinking about some Mickey D's breakfast burritos and then stopped myself. I had a lot of wine last night. A few quick punches into an online calculator and realized what I sort of felt in my cells already-I should not be driving until around 6 a.m. I can be quite cautious, like ISXJ cautious. I briefly think of the  times out drinking with friends and how I was always watching people and purses, wanting everything and everyone to get home intact. This is a pride thing-it embarrasses me. It is embarrassing to be careful and cautious and worried when I want to be carefree, and fun, and original. But that's my broken record.

So last night, riding the happy wave of red, red, wine (a good deal of it is reading--why do people DRINK so much in novels--do real life people drink so much or are the publishers trying to push alcoholism on us as a society--or maybe it is just that drunk and uninhibited characters are more fun and unpredictable for the author to work with), but craving people. I enjoyed hanging out with Alec of course, but when I drink, I generally want people around me laughing and having fun. I rarely meet people I'd consider peers though. Either they are one or two decades younger, or they are overly religious and well-behaved and wouldn't put up with my shocking words. I mean shocking not in a vulgar way--that's boring--but just maybe, overtly honest? It's a problem. 


I am so happy I am reading fiction again. It is just so exciting to get totally wrapped up in other worlds and other people. The main problem is 1) they are fictional and when I want to get totally wrapped up, I want to be there living out the stories, and 2) I like some not always high quality stuff. I struggle with embarrassment over not reading top-notch quality literature and wanting to just have a good time and be happy. I think the key is to adopt a key phrase and when I start to feel like maybe someone is judging me, repeat my phrase and fuggedaboutit! I am tough. I am strong. I can read smutty romance all I want, dang it! 

I cried a bit too much yesterday. It was awkward because I was at work, and by afternoon I was completely drained, eyes dry and tired. Letting loose a while felt really nice. But today I wake up, optimistic and excited. It's Saturday. The house always, always needs cleaned, and Liam needs a haircut desperately. The little boys can get away with longer hair because theirs lays nicely on their head, but Liam's is thick and coarse and sticks out strangely when it is getting longer. Fascinating stuff, right? Can you believe I am not a more popular blogger? Shocking.


I thought I would wake up sad, but I am not. I feel relieved and refreshed. Relaxing completely last night was needed perhaps. I had planned a good gut-wrenching post because readers like that. That gets shared and looked at. That brings out dozens and sometimes triple digit readers. But, I don't feel that now. I am not going to prostitute my feelings unless they are authentic and genuine. 

I am nearing the end of A Court of Frost and Starlight.



This is an affiliate link for Amazon.
 
This main story has been told in the first three books--this is like the Holiday special, as someone in a Facebook fan group stated. I am enjoying it though. Letting my mind be back in Velaris, dreaming of dreamy Rhys, and Cassian, and Azriel. These fictional characters are living the life, man. The next book is supposed to focus on Cassian and Nesta's "relationship," of which there doesn't seem to be much of one yet. Nesta is a hardcare, withdrawn bitch, but I get it. There is a fountain of mushy feelings she is hiding in there. I think her core is rather tender, so she protects it well. And Cassian. He's like the outgoing dumb jock, the ESXP, the cheerful and hot Emmett of the group, for you Twilight fans. Rhysand is the main man, but Azriel-- I want more of him. Strong, shadowed, and quiet. I want to hear his thoughts.  Anyway. Y'all see why I get embarrassed? I am a mess.

It's funny how a book or movie can change little things about the way you live. Rhys and Velaris are always described as smelling of sea salt and citrus...so of course, I traded out my normal wax melts (usually warm, autumny scents) for the closest I could find. I have two mixed together. I like it.  Jasmine is a scent emitted when magic is used, and Taryn just so happened to get me a jasmine scented face oil for my birthday in August. So using that makes me happy. Usually. Sometimes jasmine reminds me of bathroom freshener.  They don't drink coffee in my book. They are tea drinkers. I don't know if the author is British or what, but it is a bit sad. I am trying to live this imaginary life as much as possible and coffee really needs to be a part of that life. 

I am going to read Crescent City next, and then read the Kingdom of Ash series. 

So that's my weekend plan. Finish A Court of  Frost and Starlight this morning and start reading Crescent City.  I have to work with my homebound student tomorrow. I  took on a homebound student because so much of our money tied up in paying off credit cards. THREE MORE YEARS before they are paid off, barring extra payments. It hurts. But it has to hurt, to feel it. The more it hurts now, the longer I will go before using credit again.  But extra income to continue living a pleasant life with trips and cute things is nice. 

Do you have great Saturday plans? I love it when people share back. Makes this big, cold world feel a bit cozier, you know?

Sunday, August 16, 2020

5 Secrets You Might Not Know About Me

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash



I spend so much time discussing books, self-help, and my internal musings, I thought it might be fun to share a few totally irrelevant facts about myself! Enjoy! Note: I do think I may have mentioned these before, but hopefully it was on a different blog.

1. My right ear lobe is torn. When I was seven, I was sliding down one of those metallic farm pools which had been placed upside down against a fence to dry. A boy had climbed up with me and grabbed my earring accidentally as we went down. My parents took me to the doctor, who felt I was too young to stay still during the minor surgery. Eventually when I was older, it just wasn't a family priority anymore. I use superglue when I want to wear earrings. When I was in high school I tried clip earrings, but they would grow slowly tighter throughout the day leaving me with bleeding and infected lobes. Once I borrowed my mom's tiny diamond studs. The superglue wore off and the stud was lost. She never asked about it, so I never said anything. 

2. In preschool and elementary I was in trouble nearly every day for talking. I was very extraverted. I was always the last to finish a meal because I was so busy talking. I lived with my nose against a brick wall for the first part of any given recess. Unfortunately I was also very honest and blunt and learned it was better not to say anything. Much less trouble that way. I always wonder if I might have fared better with my bluntness had I been male. The expectations of supportive warmth are not the same for males.

3. I have had a completely sober out-of-body experience. It is so hard to put in words, and I totally understand all the more scientific reasons for such an experience-but...I'm telling you I was flying around the room with my body on the bed.

4. My first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. It was planned and I was just 7.5 weeks along. I was so very sad. I was too shy to go to the hospital and the sac/embryo slipped out. As I attempted to wash it off in the sink to get a closer look, I dropped it down the drain. It was traumatic. This is one reason why strong punitive laws against women who have abortions scare the Hell out of me. How could I have proven that was a miscarriage? I have always called the baby Mallory. 

5. I believe my mom woke me up the night she her heart stopped and fatal damage was caused in the hospital. Many of my readers have already heard the story, but it was quite an experience. I won't rehash it here, but here the link: Why Downton Abbey?

Metamorphosis

 


All throughout our lives we are changing. At first the changes are blatantly physical, but as the physical changes slow down and eventually start to pull inward, rather than blossoming outward, the internal changes have the capacity to increase.

Internal changes are more subtle. They can be self-driven or occur due to circumstances. I have always found life is a circle with rhythmic patterns emerging and rising and slowly dipping below to surface to allow others areas to surface for a while. While I am always spiritual, my dependence upon organized religion tends to wax and wane over time. At times, I desperately long to be  part of  some religous organization, and at other times, I am happy with the hodgepodge of beliefs I have put together alone.

On my own, this is fine. I can allow the inner tide to ebb and flow and grow and retract as my soul needs. I think sometimes it confuses my husband. I can't count the number of times he has said, "I thought you liked...." or "but in the past you wanted....."   And all I can do is look at him exasperated, "But that was in the past! This is now. Now is different."

Then I think perhaps I am just trapped in perpetual adolescence with my identity wavering depending on my moon (I meant to write mood, but moon came out through my fingers, and isn't that a prettier thought).  But...I don't think that is it. I think the core of who I am is always present. I am just trying on different dresses to see how each on fits. To really taste what is like to walk a bit in that particular dress. It's just an experience to think about. 

I went to an activity recently which had me viewing other people in a different way. For this activity, I was hugely thankful for outgoing, go-getters and appreciated the role they can fill in getting certain activities done. The more reticent and shy are not as well suited for this activity.  in this activity. It made me think of all the times I technically "showed up," but wasn't particularly useful in that activity. But there are other gifts besides the gifts of recruitment. Some people need more time to feel secure before they open up. Others would prefer to have to have a task and work diligently on that task. I am sort of like that. It isn't who I want to be. I want to be at the forefront and influential and noticed, but...I think my walls are just too high. But I can work behind those walls. I remember in Astronomy club in college. We were doing a public showing at the observatory. I was actually a fairly new physics student (yes, I know. Nothing in me says difficult, abstract, creative math problem solving...but I had to try it out-to taste it, and the Universe is dazzingly romantic). Anyway, it was one of the years when Mars was a little closer to the Earth and relatively bright and prominent.  There were lines of people for hours. I was given an 8 inch telescope, already set up and was to allow people to look through it. I did this. But I didn't KNOW anything. I was just sweetly smiling and shaking my head and explaining I was new. But then one of the professors came over, looked through the telescope, then gave me information about the particular globular cluster the scope was focused on. And suddenly, I had a job. With some general information, I could get excited and share some facts that people could visualize and understand. I didn't have to rely on making awkward small talk. I had a purpose. What is my point? My point is, we can all play some sort of a role, you just have to find that role. 

So Metamorphosis. I don't think I am actively in the midst of a shift right now. I have learned a lot of the past several months, though. I don't have the patience for young children I used to have. Part of it may be, I don't have the large expanses of time I used to have. I always have work to do online, so time shaping my children is taking me away from time developing my plans or doing tasks which need attention. If I didn't have to work perhaps I will feel differently. If all I had to do was get through the day, maybe I could slow down and just focus on developing and enjoying my children. But that is not an option for me. For so many years, I wavered on the edge-desiring to be home and homeschool (not with that online stuff-but my own real, self-designed work for my kids). But now, I realize, I will NEVER get the sense of security I need by staying home. I cannot handle being financially dependent on someone else with the life experiences I have had. It sort of sucks. All I ever craved was a quiet domestic life, with some creative time for writing (I mean who doesn't want to be famous for their hobbies, right?), but that dream cannot be balanced with all the other factors. And it sort of makes me feel weak. Part of me is like, "No! you have to stand up, throw it all away, and go live a simpler life. You have to prove to yourself you can handle whatever comes. You have to do this hard thing because it is the only thing that will make you feel alive! Break out of  the middle class comfort zone, with its insurance and retirement plan and semi-security. Go be real and live where you can feel it." 

But it isn't good for kids to be poor. I feel too much anxiety to rely on the possibility of needing the social nets if  things go wrong. I don't trust they would be there.

Plus I cannot stand the idea of not having enough money to get the heck out of Missouri on a regular basis. Why wasn't I born somewhere romantic like Scotland or Ireland? 

I feel like I am still asleep. I guess what I am searching for is that next change. That next shift that gets me excited and feeling alive. I want more and I am ready for a change and something new to think about. 

And I await the Universe for God's perfect timing. 





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.


Saturday, June 13, 2020

"Your Second Life Begins When You Realize You Only Have One"-Reading now



Photo by David Lezcano on Unsplash






This is an affiliate post.

My most serious book this month (meaning I am going through it carefully, rather than skimming through for nuggets of help), is the book: You Second Life Begins When You Realize You Only Have One, written by Raphaelle Giordano. I am listening to it on Audible, which means it is taking me awhile to get through it because I tend to forget about my audiobooks.

It is a self-help book, written in fictionalized form. Sort of a like a Sophie's World in self-help.


This is an affiliate link.

Another book it reminds of is ... I can't remember. Basically it was a fictionalized book with a simple romance built in and a genie who told the woman how to lose weight in small steps.

In no way are you going to be fooled into thinking this book isn't what it is, a thinly disguised advice book. The character is a little too perfect-good career, 10 pounds overweight (clearly European because 10 pounds is just a barbecue away here, make it 30 pounds and I will believe). She only has one child, which makes her a little hard to relate to for me. I mean how can you complain about raising kids when you only have one?  Anyway, she meets this man who agrees to take her on as a client and give her advice to help her change her life. 

The book does what it is supposed to: helps you imagine the steps to making changes in your life. First you have to decide what you want to change, then you have to start taking baby steps towards those changes. I found myself initially disappointed, because the book came highly recommended from my online book group people, and it is pretty basic. However, I can recognize the genius in writing this way because it does help the lessons to stick a lot better than a dry step-by-step advice book. Fictionalizing it makes it memorable. 

And finally, I haven't finished the book yet. Maybe I am totally wrong, and there is a plot twist making it a true work of literature. But I doubt it.

Camille is sort of the Bella of the self-help world. She is basic and her feelings are pretty stereotypical meaning most women are going to be able to relate to her. We all have fights with our spouse and feel like everything falls on us. We all would rather have a snack and glass of wine than go for a walk in the evening. We all get bored with our kids and feel the pressure of getting stuff done rather than bonding with loved ones.

If I sound negative, it is only in my disappointment in thinking the book was something else. It is definitely useful in accomplishing its purpose: to teach people how to change their lives in a simple step-by-step way. I do recommend it if you are trying to shake up a dull existence and reach for something a little more. 

Sunday, April 12, 2020

The Dichotomy of Personal Choice

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Recently I was super-excited to find a cheap online learning course regarding living a life with poise. I happen to like this author, most of the time, so I was excited to get a little more lifestyle reading in. But even as I signed up for the cheap course (which lets face it-nothing is new-it's always just a refresher of what's already been mind-consumed), I felt the pull against poise. The pull towards authentic honesty.
There are two different camps. The camp of elegance, poise, and a bit of polite mystery stand tall on one side. Meanwhile, the pull towards authenticity, honesty, and transparency rises on the other. True, there may be some who can straddle both camps, but I think that's rare. And I find myself being pulled back and forth. I feel as if I should be on the poise side-the senator's wife is how I would describe it. Cultivating an aura of warmth, while revealing nothing, living the beautiful life and striving towards greater beauty would be paramount in this lifestyle.
On the other hand, I have always feared I would be put in the dreaded Candor group in Divergent, with a pull towards openness and honesty. I want to drag people into my crazy, into my mess, and show them,"Hey, it's all okay."

I see people around me falling into these two camps. There are people on Facebook who only show the lovely parts, who never speak of sick relatives and rarely share photos. Everything they post appears so carefully planned to present an image which helps them climb the ladder of their ambition.
And then there are the real people, the open and honest people, who tell it like it is. And I think these are the people I like more. But of course, there has to be a balance. Feelings change on a breeze, a new thoughts changes the perspective, and creates an all-new terrain frequently. If you always tell it like it is, you'll be a in a mess. I like people who are open about peeing their pants on a date, who ask people for sympathy when loved ones are ill, and who admit when their spouse is being a butt.
But then I read the poise side, and I wonder if maybe they are right. The world certainly rewards them more.

And as someone with a growth mindset, because I too am a product of this environment, I want to be improve and become more and better. I just wonder which way more and better is. Obviously, this is a case of wanting to have my cake and eat it, too. I want to say what I think, have people care, but at the same I want people to take it with a grain of salt and not care. Impossible. Ideally, I would become one of those lucky few who straddle both camps. But who is to be my guide, when I don't know any of those people? Who is to show me where the line is, so I can push it just a little bit, without hopping off the edge?

I was talking to a relative a year or two ago, about my blog just not picking up the readers like I wanted it to. This person suggested I limit the amount of personal introspection and boil it down to a lesson to give people advice on how to better their own life. This leads to doubt and stilted writing as I feel I always have to have a point. Maybe I just need to go with my gut and write what I feel and if noone follows, noone follows. Not having followers and loyal readers though, when I have the urge to write, makes me feel as if I getting it wrong. Writing with authenticity is a matter of laying one's soul bare-or rather pieces of one's soul because if one were totally honest-well, it wouldn't be pretty-and it is raw and difficult. And to not be followed can lead to a such a flushed, hot feeling of embarrassment and shame.

And then I remind myself of all the times I was quiet, and I think a life not expressed is a life not really lived.

Friday, April 10, 2020

What a Wonderful World

Today I was pouring myself out in words, playing up the melodrama, and feeling sorry for myself. I referred to my younger self as poor. Then all of a sudden little things started to happen, and I realized once again how lucky I have been.

What I realized:

  • We didn't have a lot of money, but we had a mother who read to us which is worth its weight in gold. 
  • I remembered a time in high school when we were running errands for French (as juniors). We stopped by my townhome, because I needed something. "Wow," my classmate (with the car) said, "How much do you guys pay in rent?" I told her. "That's what we pay for our house and these are much nicer!" Just a moment before I had been embarrassed over the trials of living in a rental townhome, and she was legitimately saying it was nicer. We stopped by her house after, and I understood.
  • I remembered visiting a friend in a nearby neighborhood. My mom dropped me off with plans to pick me up later. As we walked back to her room, which was on a glassed-in porch, I noted there were no cabinets under the sink, just a cloth hanging there. Now, there is nothing wrong with that and it could be quaint, but it was my first time seeing someone in such a situation. 
  • Then I was also lamenting having to make meatless meals for days on end for my kids when I was in college. Oh the horrors! And then as the day went on I realized, "My God! I had meals for my kids! Some people eat meatless meals every single day. By choice! I was able to go to college as a single mom. Sure our house was a bit crappy in large part due to my own poor housekeeping, but to pity myself as poor? I was so lucky!
  • And finally, I was taking a long, hot bath searching through Zillow. Now typically I look at higher end houses for fun, but today, I decided to look at cheap houses just to see what was out there, and I saw some of those places and thought, my goodness-people live there. People get naked in that house and touch those floors with their bare feet, and I realized again, how darned lucky I have been.
And I had to shake my head at my own foolishness. Perspective is EVERYTHING. I know you have heard it many times before, but there are people out there who only DREAM of things you have. I have more than so many people on this earth, and if half of it went away, I would still have more. 
How is it that we get so lost in searching for what we lack or have lacked, that we fail to see all the abundance around us, over and over again? 

I need to make a sign, like Augustus Waters mom would put up, reminding me just how very lucky I have been in this world. I'll hang where I am forced to see, and I will remember what a wonderful world this is.



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.

:)

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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