Jul 5, 2012
Twenty years ago, I remember giving a guy friend some advice. He lived at home with his Mom and they had a rip- roaring dysfunctional volatile relationship. I suspect this was the same thing she’d had with his father. I said, “Choose not to play the game with her. She’ll keep trying to engage you but she’ll give up after several failed attempts and you’ll change the relationship”. He was baffled. Change his reaction? But he had always made the same choice.
He had no idea how to not choose to react that way. Mothers install the buttons for which there is no defense. She’d taught him lack of choice so he would play her game until her dying day. I realized, we all take part in a form of this. Whether it’s with our parents, spouses, children, or ourselves, we often don’t recognize our compulsory choices for what they are.
Recently, I was reading a self-esteem book of some sort and this idea reappeared. Again I thought, “Brilliant!” If you are A and another person is B, together your inter-relating dance equals C. A + B = C. The yester-me, attempting to fix a primary wound, tried hard to change the ex’s of my past. I scheduled fix-it operations for all the broken boys I met. I thought my past and I would then be fixed. I wanted that outcome D instead, but achieved in my way.
However, I have no control over my past or the other person who is B. All I have is me, A. As much as I may wish it, I’ll be dead and buried before I effect a change on B. But if I tweak my outlook, the outcome called C changes to E or K or X. I have been hard at work tweaking my A.
And it works. Yes, it requires letting go of the hope of fixing and changing those you love. I believe leading by example is all you really can do anyway. Continue to offer your support but stop asking others for that which you can give to yourself . And you’ll get your needs met for once. The trick is to be extremely honest about what your needs are and to be entitled to fulfill them. Even if that means the person you had slated to do the job is out of commission.
What if you are the one not stepping up for you? Changing choices move you from sad to glad? Do whatever it takes to change your perspective. Seek the insight and help you need. Travel outside your box or comfort zone to find that perspective above and beyond your comfort zone. Because either you will be telling yourself your life is worth just accepting the same old equation or you’re saying another outcome, and your happiness, is worth fighting for. If you are the change, your happiness equation may be one different choice away. Change nothing and nothing changes.
My changes have included ceasing my need to fix everyone. Choosing to trust that what I needed would be provided for me. And mostly not choosing white flour and sugar, except some white bread week-ending for the cookout season. I am less anxious, ten pounds lighter, and feeling pretty positive that I can do whatever I set my mind to. I am now busy setting my mind and my new intents. Do me a favor and ask yourself, what is the change you’d like to affect? What more could you choose, or stop choosing, to get there?
Apr 25, 2012
I followed through an idea today that I want to share.
Sometimes people talk about artist’s dates. Or a day-cation. The initial idea is that you need a break, even a 15 minute respite, from the slave driving critical parent that’s usually at the helm. The trick, of course, is to decide your worthy of halting the protestant work ethic record to listen to your heart. Because your heart needs to play or dream or do something else other than focus on production constantly.
My idea was a jar where I could put papers with happy tasks on them to draw from when I needed a jolt to my esteem or a change of perspective. I had thought this up a week ago. And nearly forgot about it until I was talking to a friend. When my husband and I were dating, we had a date jar like this. We’d put in places to go and things to do that we considered an adventure..
I made the jar today. And made up a few papers to draw from it. And when I think of more, I will run upstairs and put them in. And then I spent the afternoon pulling out my clippings and making a new scrapbook for the redecoration of my house. The hallway, boy’s room, my bedroom, and the dining room are all slated for overhauls. Not to mention the unfinished projects everywhere.
This all means I have a reason to keep living. And hoping for change. What do you have installed as a safety for sanity? A regular therapy session or lunch with a friend? A dog walk or run at theY scheduled for tomorrow. Why the hell not?
Recipe for jar :
Mason jar, horizontal card or postcard,ribbon, paper and pen.
Add thoughts on what would make you happy for at least 15 minutes if you had it. Then add permission and you have yourself a beautiful jar of hope.
Apr 24, 2012
I really wanted to just get on with some normality yesterday and today. After all the drama, I wanted some same old. No “thought thought” I told the husband.
So yesterday, I made granola, pita chips, and brown rice. I ironed mainly long sleeve shirts Mark just put into the deep storage closet today. I labeled and sorted my clothing to help make me feel more ready for the unknown days and weather to come.
Unfortunately, I also balanced the checkbook. I discovered, as if I didn’t know, we’re still in a financial sink hole after the taxes got paid. I feel sick to not be contributing monetarily. Except I keep our heads above water and our credit scores clean. I had put aside the school pictures order for the next check to come in. But then I realized yesterday was picture day. I began to curse and had to run a check up to the school. The son got pulled out of class to get his picture taken and then go to recess. It better be a good picture.
I kept thinking, what would I be doing to make money that wouldn’t take me away too much? I used to be a valuable money-making member of society. Now, recently, I had to prove to the powers that be and decide, I was actually a real member of America’s in-crowd.
Back to normal. Today, I went for a run. I haven’t done that in a couple of weeks. I did all the laundry and folded it and put it away. I went out in the backyard with my kid and made an effort to boost his esteem by having him prove to himself he could hit a tennis ball with his bat. He got a hold of a couple. The unloaded dishes and made the dinner. My exhaustion says I contributed.
We stay at home moms have a hard time valuing our contributions. We feel powerless to make the money but we manage it. We provide all comforts and services that make the home not just a house. I thought that if we all actually carried as much weight of the world as we think we do, the world would then weigh nearly nothing.
I want to blame myself somehow for not having healthcare or savings. For not being a financial wizard. But that’s ridiculous. So I have requested some research into folding some business debt into larger loans and hopefully empowering me to feel less like a loser mommy and more like a winner Mommy. When I feel good, the boy feels good. I got a little of myself and my confidence back today. But I feel I’ve a ways to go.
Apr 15, 2012
I am finding it very hard to be me these days. I stumbled a month ago. Then the chance to recover never came and I kept stumbling. How do you not take your own life personally?
The story starts with me wanting people to like what I’ve created. And when they didn’t, I tried not taking it personally. But I raged and ranted, rejected my rejection, and wanted horribly to reach the outcome I’d expected where I was wonderful. My attempt to jam a round peg in a square hole backfired on me. I was mortified. I felt compelled to apologize for wanting to rush everything. For trying to make people do stuff they didn’t want to do. For not paying attention and not being ready.
And I wished that was all that had happened to me. I might have recovered from the hormonally crazed temper tantrum I had. But you never expect the Spanish Inquisition. When it ends, I’ll tell the real story because it’s my ongoing nightmare. Nobody is hurt in this story except my self-esteem which apparently was sacrificed to the angry gods to allow me to live.
Do I have an alternate personality? Maybe Nancy? Was it she who wrote that check I don’t remember writing for the amount that over drafted my account. And she who forgot to take care of that very mundane but important detail that, when neglected, threw my life into a self doubting tornado of chaos and hell reminding me of places I’d left and no longer wanted remember.
I’m so tired of the burden of shame I’ve been feeling and the tears I either endured or stuffed this past week . I am hoping this isn’t some perverse form of unconscious self-sabotage to revisit a shameful place I left a long time ago in a marriage far far away. A place where I wasn’t safe from myself.
I’m wondering where the reset point is? When am I allowed to forgive myself and accept the fact that I may mess up again. When do I get to wear my force field coat allowing me to regain my confidence from this time forward? Soon I hope for my and my loved ones’ sake. I feel I’m in danger of losing the self-confidence ground I worked really hard to gain.
Although surely a visit to an oncology wing or a homeless shelter would give me some perspective, maybe telling my story will lessen its evil spell. Or maybe if I stop trying to bear it by myself and ask for support, I’ll feel lighter. Or maybe I need to ride it out because perspective is a square peg I can not jam in the round hole of my now.
I’m the one person I may need to truly apologize to. To say “I’m sorry Shalagh for dropping the ball. For having everyone else’s back but mine.” Next week I intend to talk back to the loser-speak. I’ll make better plans to keep me safe, organized, and clear of unrealistic expectations which might further damage my tender state of existence. “The best way out is always through”, Robert Frost said. Soon, I’ll tell you my bad story from the beginning.
Apr 2, 2012
I can be a little slow on the uptake, especially in beauty and fashion stuff. My friend once told me to at least trim my eyebrows. I knew all about kohl eyeliner, henna, and stirrup pants in my twenties. But my fashion know-how expired even before my son was born.
Motherhood was not just a fashion setback, it was my burial. Who knew I’m supposed to care if all my t-shirts have oil spots and pants should be long enough to cover your ankles? It felt like I was expected to just know stuff and then the fashion fairies could forgive me. Like I needed to create a whole new life to decorate myself for.
Before attempting any of it, I had to decide I was worth feeling good about. And that I could like me without being a conceited narcissistic egotist. Then I slowly made small changes.
I tossed all but one holey spotted “painting” shirt. And admitted beige washed me out no matter how soft the sweater was. The TV show What Not to Wear taught me to dress my body for my shape. Now I notice when a certain color or style makes me feel really good or really bad.
I have made progress and have collected some beauty tidbits my darned self. I thought I’d share because I know how everybody lovey love loves a list. Here’s eight of my beauty and fashion aha ideas.
- There’s two lengths of jeans, one for flats and one for heels. Take your pants/jeans to the tailor at the dry cleaners and make that choice for each pair.
- Scarves are my new go-to accessory and clothing doesn’t have to be expensive but it must fit. Low cost can’t be the deciding factor. If you don’t feel good in it, you wasted your money.
- Primer is the stuff that makes a smooth canvas on your face before you apply your foundation. My friend informed me, it’s the same stuff sold to keep your thighs from chafing (if you had that problem). She also said make sure you apply these with a damp make-up sponge.
- Use concealer on blemishes, not on dark circles. On you face, white out draws attention. Shimmery deflects. I use foundation to even out my skin tone and dab zits only with concealer.
- While I dye my own hair every other month, I like to get professional hi-lights once a year before Summer. I get the pedicure redone around then too and I am ready for the Summer scrutiny.
- Re-dye the fine hair at your temples before you’re done you dye job. The dye there tends to evaporate and you end up wondering why you even bother.
- If you cut your hair at least every six weeks, it’s happy and so are you.
- Even people in the beauty business get someone else in the business to cut their hair and wax their eyebrows. Don’t do it yourself.
- Electrolysis is well worth any and all money spent to never have to fiddle with tweezers again.
The most you can do on the outside to elevate your esteem is groom your eyebrows, hair, and nails (even just every once in a while), and try out some make-up. It is up to the person to decide, or want, to like who they see in the mirror. And ask for help to get there. I have had a veritable army of women (and a male chiropractor) aid me in bettering myself. Ironically, it’s through women’s eyes we’re judging ourselves.
The doctor’s office has a poster that lists all the actions to take to keep the body healthy. I noted I do all of these. I stay active and eat well, etc. So I deserve to reap the rewards of pride and compliments that I denied myself for so long. I am making more of an effort recently as my thirties have slid into my forties. “Looking good for her age” is coming my way sooner than later. Might as well make it memorable. And know I did my best with what I had, body and soul.