My Outlet

I’m not talking about shopping or electrical ones. 

I began this blog because I needed to write for pleasure, express my ideas, and blow off frustrations of life. 

Lately I feel very light, mentally speaking. My frustrations, creative and otherwise, have lifted. For now, at least. 

My fight against my depression and negativity have provided fodder for hundreds of my blog posts. Now I need to learn how to write about being happy without being cloying, content while making sure readers know my life isn’t perfect, and about good things without forgetting the bad. 

This is sort of like when I had to relearn how to cook after I decided to live as a vegan. That hasn’t turned out amazingly well (so far), so let’s hope this transition is a bit easier. 

Are we? Are we? Are we?

Done, that is? Gah. Daddy issues abound. I shouldn’t have read Post Secret yesterday, because holy crap so much unresolved anger or else deeply missing Daddy.

I have a great stepdad, with whom I have no issues and sent him a nice e-card for Father’s Day. Husband had a great day yesterday with his kids. End of story. It doesn’t need to be an ordeal. 
This aft is boy midget’s grad from grade 8. We did it; we made it through elementary school, something I couldn’t fathom 10 years ago when he started junior kindergarten. 

I’m not one of those moms who laments their kids getting older. I love seeing them grow and change. When I see a random baby on the street, I want to eat it or at least smell its head. But I don’t feel wistful. Maybe sometimes I marvel at how much time has passed, but that’s about it. 

Today we got a parking ticket. This after carefully parking in a real spot and reading the signs to make sure parking there was allowed at that time of day. Oh but we forgot that parking is allowed there only the first 2 weeks of the month. $40 later, I am reminded again how hard it is to live in the city, and how difficult it is to raise a family here. Would I trade it for suburbs? No effing way. How about a small town? Probably not. So we are left with this option, of fighting our way to pay taxes, tickets, and other paperwork to keep our home, vehicle and lives in order with the powers that be. 

It’s Ok to Hate Your Job

Courtesy of Reddit:

Somone I trust and lookup to told me the other day at breakfast that I should write a book on my experiences and how I got off my ass and helped myself. I laughed and said I knew I didn’t have that kind of focus or care to write.

Even this post I’m just dictating into my computer mostly. But I did want to share this with you because it helped me.

You hate your job. You try to pretend like you don’t but you do. You get in the car every morning, with your coffee in hand, and take a deep breath. Right there, in the quiet of your front seat, you have the same conversation with yourself day after day. It goes like this:

“You can do this. Just one day. You can make it through.”

Of course, you know that. You know you can make it through the day. You’ve been “making it” through days for months now, even years, by repeating this very same routine, this coffee and breathing and driving and numbing and “you can make it” routine.

But is this what life is supposed to feel like? Like you’re just “making it” through?

Does everyone feel this way? I fucking did and I hated it. Thankfully I was fired for my diminishing performance at work.

Chances are, you’ve worked a handful of jobs and most of them have felt this way. In the beginning you think, “great opportunity,” or “exactly what I need for now” or even, optimistically, “this one is going to be different.” There’s always such a freshness and excitement and urgency and enthusiasm when you begin something new.

But then, after a few weeks, or maybe months if you can hold out, this old familiar feeling starts to sink in: Exhaustion, depression, loss of motivation, the fear that you’re just pushing papers or running TPS reports or barking at a room full of students to calm down. The feeling you have to drag yourself out of bed in the morning.

What about the thing you want to be doing? The thing that gets you out of bed in the morning and keeps you up at night? Why can’t you get paid to do that?

Never mind, you give up. Nobody really loves their job. Do they?

You worry it must be you.

It must be an attitude problem, or a gratitude problem, or maybe you were just born lazy or entitled. Maybe it’s because you live in a rich country, or because you grew up in a rich family, or because you grew up in a poor family and you always wished things could be different. Maybe this is a “first world problem.”

At least you have a job, you tell yourself. Some people don’t even have that.

I’m writing to tell you it’s okay.

It’s okay to hate your job, and it’s okay to want a new one. It’s normal. You’re normal. You don’t have to hide it or feel guilty anymore and you don’t have to talk yourself out of it. What you want is saying something. It’s trying to tell you something. It’s a special message for you from deep inside your gut.

Don’t ignore it.

When you’re hungry, your body tells you by sending signals to your brain. Your stomach growls. You crave something. Your mouth waters. You respond by giving it food.

What your body craves isn’t always best for you. Anyone who has dieted knows this. Sometimes our bodies are addicted to sugar, or to fat, or to salt, or even to chemicals, and we have to recognize and intervene and feed it something different than what it craves. But we don’t do this because hunger is bad. We do this because we know what’s best for our body.

Because what we really want is to be healthy, to have more energy, to live longer, to lose weight.

The worst thing you could do, when your stomach growls, is give it no food at all.

Don’t ignore your hunger.

Instead, ask yourself what you really want.

What do you really want out of life? What is the most important? You can’t have it all, so you have to prioritize, but it’s okay to want stuff. It’s okay to want a different job, a different city, a different job, a different way of life. Different wants crop up in different seasons (career, family, marriage, friendship, healing, etc.) but wants always help us to zoom in and focus and feel thankful and see progress and find meaning in our life.

So, what do you want right now? What matters most?

If you woke up this morning and are dreading your job, listen up. You’re normal. This is normal. It can be hard to find meaning in what you do, no matter your job title. But it is possible. Everyone doesn’t hate their job. And it’s not irresponsible for you to ask yourself the questions you need to ask to find work you love. (Like, what do you want?) You may discover you need a new job. You may find you simply need a change of perspective.

Either way, what your feeling is not bad or wrong. In fact, it might be trying to tell you something important.

Don’t ignore it.

 

I can’t handle a bunch of screaming pre-teen girls

I can’t handle having a house full of kids for a sleepover, and it takes a lot of convincing for me to agree to having more than 1 extra kid at a time. So when girl midget approaches me about having a slumber party (was there ever an event more poorly named?), my initial reaction is NO. Inevitably, I’m asked Why Not, because what possible objection could I have for not having 5 pre-teens in my home for a sleepover?! God, Mom, we’ll just take over your living, dining, and kitchen, never sleep a wink, scream regularly, and make a terrible mess for which we will feel no responsibility to clean up. But mostly, I can’t adequately explain my No to my child.

How can a child understand clinical depression when most adults don’t either? It’s much more than being sad. It’s like an ever-present inertia, and I’m trying to force a gigantic cruise ship do a sharp 90 degree right turn. I never succeed in that turn, but I turn the ship enough to stay on course. I hold onto the wheel with all of my force, make the turn, then loosen my grip a little. Bit by bit, I loosen my grip, veering off course slightly but still generally going in the right direction. Soon after that, I find myself too far off my path and I have to make another dramatic turn to: get myself to work, work at my job, clean the kitchen, get the laundry started, walk the dogs, scour the bathroom, and do anything besides sitting or laying down, staring at a tv, a wall, my phone, or a book. I doubt my midgets would be able to understand that analogy. I’m not sure I understand it. I’ve felt this way for so long that it feels unfortunately normal. I talked to my doctor last week about all of this and nothing came of that discussion. So….I guess I have to keep pushing for a remedy? Depressed people are not good at pushing, not most of the time. Sporadically, yes, but not when I’m in a lull.

Little things help perk me up: an iced coffee, a walk with my dogs (if I can get myself out of the house), quiet time with one of my midgets, dinner with husband, working on a crochet project with a well-written pattern, surveying my tidy home that I just cleaned, or creating a vegan food item that looks and tastes good, and is eaten by members of my household.

Deathly Fear of Happiness

Everything will be destroyed. My heart will be broken slowly over time. and I will be unhappy, so let’s get it over with. There is no happy ending to love and marriage.

Husband and I are insanely happy together, but some day one of us will die, leaving the other all alone. And while I do enjoy my alone time, I really like having husband live with me. So this will be a huge bummer.

Also, I’m starting to think parenting is useless. Children grow up to be who they were always meant to be. Their personalities of mine were noticeable since they were aged 3 months old. Mostly I want them to go to post-secondary school and never get a tattoo. Everything else, such as their behaviours, interests, and personal habits are secondary and beyond my control.

I’m Super Grumpy. So effing what?

This morning I walked my dogs 3 kms, returned home, got ready for work and then rode my bike to work another 7.5 kms. (Don’t be too impressed. I still look all of my 44 years and not in a 44-is-the-new-34 sort of way) During my trudging, I listened to the Monday Morning pod cast, produced each week by Bill Burr. He is a grumpy comedian, my favourite kind. I’m reveling in my sour mood because I’m not at this moment able to do anything else about it. I might as well relax and accept what is.

I am also a big fan of Mom of 4 is Tired. It’s honest, funny, and relatable. And she is often grumpy too, or at least a little pessimistic about the state of her world. My sister in arms, basically.

Keep yourself entertained today and don’t think about the suffering in the world and all the children and animals who are in peril and how much your job sucks that you’re lucky to have, and how messy your house is, and how you have no idea what food to assemble for dinner because it’s all so overwhelming. And don’t think about how wonderful your kids are and marvel they turned out so well (so far) given how much neglect they have probably (but hopefully not) suffered because of your own depression and other shit.

Amy Schumer is another one to watch. Check out this little skit on pious dog owners.

 

I Think These Thoughts Alllllllll The Time!

I fight a near-constant internal battle, and I win more than I lose.

Mom Of Four Is Tired of thinking she is FAT.

 

Putting ourselves last

Our kids’ emotional needs come first, because whatever our needs are, our personalities are already formed and our emotions largely predictable. Even if they aren’t, we are adults. It’s too late for us. The clay has dried. It’s not too late for our kids though. My midgets have a great relationship with their Dad and with me, because their Dad and I have consciously grown those relationships and supported each other’s involvement in the lives of our midgets.

Maybe I’m so passionate about this issue because if I give this situation my ‘all’, and my midgets turn out emotionally stunted or damaged in spite of this effort, I don’t have to blame myself. My first instinct is always to avoid offending someone or affecting them in a negative way. This has led to my avoidance of conflict, although I’m working on that. So perhaps my passion comes easily to me because my life goals are aligned with the goal of raising my midgets surrounded by love. I saw an episode of Grey’s Anatomy where a working mother was jealous of the bond between the nanny and her child. I have never felt that way toward my caregiver, and in fact used to call her my midgets’ day-time Mommy. She is still an integral part of their development, and, together with her husband is one more element of love added to my midgets’ lives.

Just this morning I was patting myself on the back once more, after I read an article in the newspaper.

I can’t imagine how guilty I would feel if I screwed up my chance at perfect parenthood. Perfection is a pipe dream, I keep telling myself, but I don’t believe that. I am doing the best I can, same as all parents do, so what makes me think my method is correct? Will I look back on this in 10 years and see I was wrong? What will I do then, to console myself? I’ll probably tell myself I did the best I could, and at that time I will have to admit I didn’t do a perfect parenting job. Perfection is always my goal; through all of my schooling and achieving traditional milestones. That’s what got me into the wrong marriage, into a beige cube job that probably doesn’t suit my personality, and pushes me to push my midgets into socially sanctioned roles of good helpful teens who will be university educated and gainfully employed. And then I see a TED talk like this, which makes me question my effectiveness in preparing my midgets to be happy successful adults.

I want my midgets to be proactive, creative, and independent. Does achieving a university education and a ‘regular’ job promote these qualities?

Do This and Your Home (and therefore life) Will Be Perfect

But be careful not to be too perfect! Case in point: Article from Apartment Therapy.

Seriously?! Who goes around telling people not to be perfect. Now we have to worry about being too perfect?! Fuck and No. I have already been dealing with keeping the devil way down in the hole, the one that tells me I’m not good enough. Now I have an angel on my shoulder scolding me for being too perfect? HFS I can’t deal.

Lately I’ve been so effing tired. I feel like I’m trying to walk through the shallow end of a pool. Husband offered to lend me his brain for the weekend, but I don’t think I could handle having such an even temper. My creativity might be stifled. I’ve been drinking coffee, my personal Hail Mary, trying to get back up on top of my body. Currently, my head is laying on the ground and the rest of me is as inert as one might expect when one’s brain is repeating ‘Two Weeks’ like the costume Arnold Schwarzenegger wears in The Terminator.

This weekend I’m going to visit my parents, sister and her family, as well as my gramma who lives in a nursing home. My gramma used to be a beacon of light for me; she thought I was amazing no matter what I did. I suspect she still does, but at age 91 and after 2 strokes (that we know of), she can barely get the words out. My gramma was not a person to me while I was growing up; she was the physical embodiment of unconditional love. Too busy to listen to my silly stories and dreams? Never. Too busy to cuddle? Impossible. Too busy to notice what I like to eat, play with, and do? Ha, that’s ridiculous. It’s these memories that make her current state so difficult for me to get my brain around. Her latest antics in the nursing home make her seem like a virtual stranger to me. I’m not proud of that feeling, but there it is. I can’t even tell myself that I’m improving her life by visiting her. Sure, she knows who I am. She usually sits and looks at me. She has a raft of nurses, doctors, and attendants, plus my parents, tending to her physical and emotional needs, providing her with all the basics and then some. What does she need me for? She is trying (and sometimes failing) to comprehend what her life has become, I suspect.

Don’t worry, I will suck it up and continue to visit her, and I’ll thank myself for it later when she is gone. I’m nothing if not dutiful, and just in case I’m helping her in some way, it’s worth it for me to see her. Am I being too perfect though? I remember really resenting false politeness, and still do I suppose. I want people around me who WANT to be there, not because they think they HAVE to be there. Want to vs. Have to is a recurring theme for me. As the butt of many jokes in my family while growing up and well into adulthood, I recognize my role is essential. Someone has to be a foil for the hero, and that person is me. Mostly I don’t give a crap about this but when a family visit is imminent, I start to reflect a bit too much. Usually I keep all of that angst/pity under a thick coat of varnish. The problem is I’m no longer a kid, and I don’t suffer fools gladly. But I also don’t like to make waves if there is no accompanying progress. Plus my brain is tired these days. Family dynamics are fun!

 

 

Girls

HFS I love that HBO show, Girls. This week’s episode featured the aftermath of Hannah, the main character (played by Lena Dunham who also writes and directs the show) talking to her recently self-proclaimed gay father for brunch. Her father and mother have been married for about 30 years and for the moment are staying together while they figure out this new situation.

During the brunch, her father sympathizes with Hannah, telling her he knows this information must be difficult for a child to hear about a parent. Hannah replies indignantly that she isn’t a child. This conversation goes on for a few lines, and then Dad pulls out the trump card that will show Hannah how much of a child she still is: He asks her if she brought her wallet. When she says Yes, he asks to see it. She demurs, saying she doesn’t need to show it to him.

Eventually, she says just came from the gym (didn’t bring wallet).