Originally posted May 31, 2013
I currently feel like I’m drowning in life.
Probably because I am. It’s been mollasses thick, lately.
I believe that the hardest things we experience are always easiest to tackle if we can find a way to live in a vacuum. Life would be so much easier if we were just handed one big problem at a time. Yet, the second one other tiny piece of your life has a complication, then the other, bigger thing feels like an explosion.
When something erupts followed by a snowball of other smaller eruptions, all of the sudden it feels like a fate worse than death to simply cart your family around to another thing, or to get one line knocked off your to-do list or … did I mention it’s scorpion season and we’re finding more in the house this year than we ever have?
It’s never about the scorpions, but when you find the third one on or near your person in a week’s time, you erupt into a ball of bitch, throwing blankets and cooking up chemical concoctions that will grow everyone a third nipple. You. The hippie who cleans with water and vinegar.
You lose yourself.
You get stuck in stress and anxiety.
Oh, wait, did I say you? I meant me.
I am currently stuck in stress and anxiety.
Yesterday I did three things that I did not want to do. But I needed to do them. And they were ultimately good. Good for me. Good for others. But when I’m in this stuck place, they are the very last things I want to do.
First, I yelled* … loud and aggressively … for the first time in months. I’m a reformed yeller. In our house, it’s one thing to show emotion and be firm and curt. Yet, outright yelling hurts people. Yelling in anger has never, ever once brought about good. We yell to induce fear, because of our own fear. In our home when you do that, you then do something to put love back into the heart you hurt. That keeps my butt in check a lot. But alas, I yelled at my kid.
Wait, wasn’t I saying I did a good thing? Yelling’s not a good thing. It’s not. I want to say it is when I yell at someone, but when someone’s yelling at me … that’s a pile of hooey. Where is the good in yelling??
Here’s where the good was: I can never teach my kids by example if I don’t ever let my humanness show. Yesterday, I blew it, and then showed my kid what it looks like to calm yourself, to eventually go to them and say, “I’m very sorry I allowed my voice to spew hurt at you like that. I would like to put some love back into you. Is there something I can do for you or with you?” That is good. That is gold.
Last night, I had another kid freaking-the-cow out. I’m digging in deep these days to be more of an emotional coach. Oh, and I despise it. I despise it because it means keeping myself under control when I want to scream again (I had just screamed earlier in the day, so it was going to be easier to do it again – I know myself, and that’s how I roll).
This didn’t exactly go therapeutically.
Me: “It seems like you are very angry. Maybe something is stressing you out?”
Kid: “I wish you were dead.”
Me: “Well, thankfully I can promise you that one day I will, indeed, die.”
Kid: “I wish you were dead RIGHT NOW!”
This was followed by stomping off and a beautiful string of cursing. Under my own breath, I may or may not have said, “That actually sounds lovely.”
All behavior has meaning. Even mine. My kid was hurting. I was hurting. But I did it. I went to them. I brought a peace offering (the entire pot of leftover Hill Shade Love Salad with a giant spoon sticking out of it). I didn’t do it right away. I calmed myself first. I did belly breathing. I pretended I was one of my coaching clients (“What would I say to someone else right now? Really? I would say that? I’m so stupid. I have no idea what I’m talking about. I need a new parent coach.”).
I was then able to go in and listen. Not fix. Not offer opinions. Just listen.
Kid: “You don’t know me. You don’t know anything about me.”
Me: “I would like to know, if you would like to tell me. I’m listening.”
Kid: “My life is hell.”
Me: “That must really suck. What is that like for you?”
And the conversation went from there. My kids and I all went to bed closer than when we started.
Okay, so two good things right there. Fixing it after I blew it. Doing my own work first so I could be present for my kid. What was the third thing I did really well?
I let a friend be present and empathic with me. I dumped throughout the day. And my friend did not offer fixes or solutions. She just kept agreeing with me. She kept joining me right where I was. I knew what she was doing. I do the same thing to her sometimes. Yet, many times I find that I get very resistent to it and change the subject early on in the conversation. This time, while I did also take time to ask about her … I let her give to me. She was only doing it because she wanted to. I let her. It was healing for me.
She and I both suck at the receiving thing. We need each other. We are life lessons for each other.
Just like I encourage my kids to do, I could sit here and beat myself up over how awesomely I sucked yesterday. Or I could dig in for the good. What did I do right? I did plenty right. Including the fact that I wanted to sit and whine and say, “I give, give, give and I never receive!” Nope. Had a friend, wanting nothing more than to give to me. I could’ve whined that she lives far away and I didn’t have someone sitting right here to give to me.
I’ve done that before. When I get in my really dark, depressed place I can’t be pleased. Whatever I do have is not good enough. Whatever people in my life are capable of doing is not enough. The people who are giving to me are not appreciated, because I’m too busy complaining that they’re not the people I want to be giving to me.
Why, yes, I have expected my kids to be giving to me emotionally. While in their struggles. And I’ve gotten very bitter that they don’t.
What’s the moral of this enormously long post? Let me offer several:
Today is a new day.
I do sucky things but I do not suck.
Even when sucking, I do some things right.
I’m just like you.
*If one is able to refrain from yelling at their children for several months, and then finally has that day when they just lose it …. “What?” you might ask, “does one choose to actually say in that moment?”
“BECAUSE!” That’s what I yelled. Out of every phrase/sentence/word in the English language, I chose … “BECAUSE!” Yes, I know. I completely slurp at the art of losing your sh**. I’ll try harder next time. Promise.
Tags: pacing yourself