Lil Lemon Drop

Lil Lemon Drop
Happy Clothes for Happy Kids
posts in category doubts

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.

Friday, July 10, 2020

When Breath Becomes Air Book Review

Photo by Artem Sapegin on Unsplash


Biography and Autobiography is not a genre which I find attractive typically. When I picked up the book When Breath Becomes Air,  by Paul Kalanithi, after it was recommended in a Facebook book group, I found myself initially disappointed to see that it was an autobiographical book. However, it was fairly short, and I decided to give it a try. Within a few pages, I was hooked. The writing was interesting and the tone was one of a calm friend, explaining his world to me. I wanted to know this person.
 
This is an affiliate link. 

What interested me first was his casual dedication to excellence. The importance of a top-notch ivy league education to his family and the lengths his mother went to in order to ensure he was properly educated to be a competitive applicant to the top schools was fascinating. Honestly, it was a whole new mindset for me. All my life has been focused on reminding myself it was not a race-life was about experiences-prestige doesn't equal meaning. Suddenly, this person is earnestly talking about the importance of striving, and it was just--fascinating. My working class worldview couldn't help but be shook up a little. I found myself wondering how the mindset of his family and his friends was so different from mine. Are they just naturally more intelligent and thus striving towards excellence in their field is the only way of life they can fathom? Is it snobbery and keeping up with the Joneses-a life filled with achievements for bragging rights? Is it to build up a strong financial future so they can spend more time later working on wants rather than needs. I don't know. I was completely intrigued. My whole life was built around consoling myself that it is okay not to get what I desire because that isn't where meaning was to found anyway. To have someone so easily speak of achieving major accomplishments as if they were base expectations for life was just incredible.

The book itself is a heartbreaker. You will feel the wide open expanse of time as Paul briefly describes his childhood and feel the time cave in as he discusses his struggle with lung cancer. Paul struggled towards finding meaning and throughout the book, I found myself slightly unsatisfied. I kept waiting for that aha moment of illumination, when understanding of the purpose of life would shine on me, but it never came. His discussion of his childhood religion, and his belief that mercy trumps justice, left me feeling a bit in the dark. Of course, mercy trumps justice. Isn't that Jesus' point? Mercy and grace-giving people more than they deserve- are hopes we all cling to desperately as we feel life slipping away. But...why? Am I a sociopath in that I don't feel tremendously guilty about things? I feel bad when I hurt someone's feelings, particularly if it was intentional, but I don't writhe in my bed at night worrying about coming hell fires or even karmic vengeance. We are all just babies learning. My mother converted to Catholicism the year before she died. I struggle to understand this conversion. What had she done that was so bad she felt the need for someone to tell her God's grace was waiting. God's grace is all around us. God's grace is within us. We don't need Father Joe to tell us this-but maybe some do. Maybe some need that external validation that God loves them and will be merciful in light of their failings. It's a mindset I just don't struggle with. I've spent my share-precious few- less than two hands-of nights on the floor wrestling with the darkness and God's seeming absence. I've known what it is like not to feel another human's tender touch (besides my kids) for years, and finally broke down, staring at the carpet fibers as waves of darkness crashed over me. I've cried out in silent tears to God about the loneliness and despair of a world in which I just couldn't see or feel God's presence at all. But then, the loving arms of sleep would pull me in,  and in the morning I would rise once more.

But perhaps I am lucky. Perhaps my brain chemistry is just so that optimism is bound to peek around the corner even in the midst of the darkest thoughts.

And I started to feel that dark futility after I finished the book. For a brief moment, no matter how interesting and entertaining the book was, I wondered where Paul was. I wondered where the people I have lost are now. Are they there? Do they exist? My mom is deep within my cells-I am made of her. But Caleb? I can't feel him in my cells. I can't feel him around me. Is it because he takes me and goes out somewhere else? Does he feel me within him? If anyone has disappeared and ceased, it is him. And the darkness of death fell over me for just a moment or two. What happens when we die? Not the stories of old books, not the desires our heads have created, but what really, really happens? Is there this whole other existence, elsewhere? Is that the fairy tale we have created to make the days happier? Does the truth even matter? And then I pulled the sunshine out again. I will choose that which makes my soul sing. 

And the book was good.




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







fblikes

Instagram