adventures in quarantine, Uncategorized

I can live and breathe and see the sun.

Alright. As my week wraps up and I review the hellish “through not around” that I waded in with my daughter this week, I want to take the opportunity to note some tangible tools I have learned.

Embrace the steps.

Step one. It’s not about me. It’s unmanageable. It’s not mine. Step two. Someone else has got this. Step three. Take a step back and let it be that someone else’s. Step six. Practice the pause.

I realize I’m skipping four and five here.¬† It’s not to minimize them. Those ones have deeper digging. They do not pertain quite yet within my immediate, tangible action.

Create the tiniest gap.

My goal–that I haven’t taken much time to write about–is that I want the voices in my head to quiet. That quiet is the peace I am aspiring to. That quiet is a return to my best and highest self.

When the thought loops run rampant, as they are wont to do unchecked, I spiral out. I want so much more than that for myself. I am so much more than that.

I have options. I can tell the voice to fuck off. I can turn my attention to constructive actions. I can write down the thought loops and walk away from them. I can mantra in my head “words and opportunity”. I can ask to have it taken away. I can journal longform about it. I can ask myself “Am I acting from a place of love or s place of fear?”

Whichever I choose, the act of pausing and deciding creates a gap for the universe to come in and support me.

Move.

This is just a good go to on any day. Gets me simultaneously in my head and out of my head. It grounds me to the earth and the universe. It provides the connection back to self.

Reality is kinetic.

Perspective dictates that not only can people have entirely different experiences to the same situation, but those experiences can morph and muddle with time. Reality can shift and transmogrify, and none of it is real and all of it is real. Whatever we remember and however we filter it creates a picture through our lens and it becomes our truth.

This isn’t good nor bad. It’s life. This is something I’ve always been aware of, but I had many attachment thoughts about it. It is now clear to me it is something I need to accept. I don’t have a “how” for that right yet. But all the other tangible things I’ve come to acquire this week tell me that I can ask for the how and then I can wait and it’ll be given to me when I need it.

So….I’m learning to do the work and also just stop. Both and neither. Click click and click.

~~~~~~~

I want to add. My process normally is that I write and then I share and talk about it with Chris. I’ve found in the past that when I talk it over first, I never write about it, and I don’t like losing that part.

I’ve been trying to write this particular post all week and none of it came. It was too wordy and circumvented all the tangibility.

I was finally able to, yesterday, share with Chris the events that unfolded over the week. His week began with a seizure and recovery, and mine was full of navigating Tuesday with R and the week with the boys.

After connecting with Chris last night to share the story of my week, and after he listened so attentively and responded so compassionately, it allowed this post to flow easily. We were us, with all the extra personal growth we’ve worked for. It is goodness.

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Being what you are does not make a change.

It’s never any surprise to me that the universe continually shows up for me.

I will never stop finding it both amusing and fascinating, even amidst the heartache.

R’s session shook me. I kept feeling compelled to have the whys and the hows or even the minutest detail or example. I wanted to know how she could possibly feel this way and how I could possibly fix it. I had question after question. I wanted to be heard. And validated.

The funny thing about having had so much therapy and actively pursuing personal growth and having so much self-awareness is that all the questions just make me make that squished up face. That feeling of “I wanna put the square peg in the round hole but obviously that’s not gonna work but lemme try to quasi attempt it this way and I know it’s pointless, but, like, if I can match them up juuuuuust right then….maybe…”

The problem is I want to ask all the wrong people the questions. Because I want to be validated. Because I don’t want to be seen as what I’m not. Because of my disbelief. Because it hurts to show up over and over and be pushed away and to show up more and, at the end of the day, have all that showing up feel to someone else the exact opposite of what it was to me.

They aren’t the right people tho.

All of my reasoning and logic and personal growth tell me that my daughter and her therapist are not to be my source of validation.

It’s moot. No matter how much it hurts and no matter how much I want to stomp my feet.

So after we left the appointment I shut up. And I didn’t burden my already hurting 16 year old with my pains. And I told the voices in my head to fuck off. And I considered, “If she views me as the person in her life who has made her feel worthless, despite all my effort to the exact contrary, does it change anything? Would I call it quits on her because her lens is skewed? Would I throw guilt and resentment her way because her translator is broken? Would I go against my who merely because this hurts so damn much?”

Nope. Nope times infinity. Nope to the core of my being.

So when I ran into the store on the way home, I bought her a succulent. Because she said she feels invisible. And you can’t buy things for invisible people. Thereby practically saying, “You aren’t invisible, girl. I see you. Take this tiny succulent and know I love you. I am here.”

And then I went home and called my sponsor.

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A song to take the pain away.

I sat in for a therapy session with R. It was supposed to just be five minutes. Enough to tell her counselor that we’d be starting the process to get her on antidepressants. It is time.

It was not a decision that I came to lightly. There were a multitude of factors. Mostly it was that she was getting so much more explosive, and to me, that meant her pain and hurting were at its max. Unfortunately the only factor that really stuck out for my girl was that her behavior was scarring her brother and his¬†trauma was my highest priority and that’s why I finally agreed to the medication.

This turned a five minute conversation into an hour and a half session.

She hurts. I know this. I never know just how much. And it always catches me off guard. The one person who it would be helpful to be privy to said information doesn’t get to know. It’s just part of the mom deal, I suppose.

Being a parent is hard. Knowing all the logical psychology doesn’t really help much. I mean, sure, in the long run sorta. The short run is a different beast.

The long run tells me that she can lash out at me because she feels safe with me. The long run tells me that she will viciously push me away over and over in order to see if I’ll abandon her.

Depression runs her short game.

It requires her to believe she is nothing and not worth sticking around for. Pushing me away and me following suit gives the depression its validation.

Depression begets depression. We feel like things are shit. That we are shit. We feel worthless so we seek all the ways we’re unworthy. And because we get what we look for, all she sees are examples of her nothingness. The cycle feels impossible to break.

~~~~~~~

Depression is a big fat liar and not even this strong, badass mama can contend with it.

I can show up. Over and over. No matter how much it hurts. No matter how it can bring excruciating heartache and practically break me.

But it can not change her perspective. I learned that today.

It hurt a lot.

I have always known that she is hard on herself. I have always known that she has ridiculous expectations of herself. Expectations that no one could ever meet. I know she thinks in black and white and that she truly believes perfection does, in fact, exist.

I know I have always been the first to say “you did great!” and “what do you mean a B on your chem test isn’t good enough?!” and “of course I’ll be at your musical!” I have supported her through countless endeavors. Providing moral support and transportation and peptalks and space when she asks.

Despite her spending so much time trying to convince me she’s nothing, I haven’t faltered in being her biggest cheerleader.

This is my lens. This is how I see it.

No, I don’t notice every single thing that happens. Yes, there are things she’s told me about that I’ve forgotten. Yes, sometimes I’m annoyed that she needed to be picked up at 5 and she still isn’t ready at 5:40. I’m human. I’m fallible. I make mistakes. I don’t always show up how she prefers, nor do I show up 100% of the time. But I show up. I show up often and to the best of my ability.

And then today, the short run played its game. She tells me that I make her feel worthless. That I make her feel like nothing. That she feels like a nothing because of me. That I have instilled this in her.

No amount of logical psychology could have kept my feet firmly planted. The short run won.

~~~~~~~

Her lens is so much different than mine.

I never knew–I never understood–that the voice in her head feeding her all that bullshit is my voice.

It is a devastating blow.

~~~~~~~

Not all hope is lost. I’m silver lining girl after all. Navigation is required. A whole fuckton of navigation. As well as extra reinforcements for this sad mama’s heart.

Above all else, I show up. I may not be able to contend with her depression through her lens, but I won’t go down without a fight. Especially when it’s my daughter’s life at stake.

I don’t know what that looks like yet. I don’t quite know yet what I need to do. I know that whatever it is, I can do it. I will do it.

First tho, I will cry and grieve.

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I would not want you any other way.

The psyche fascinates me so. A friend said the other day that her boss expected so much from her, so much so that she feels like he’s setting her up to fail. And then she took a step back and said, “why would someone want me to fall?” and came to see that she just kinda has the mindset. She is always subconsciously thinking people are out to get her.

I do this too. I think people are out to get me or out to sabotage me. I think people will be disappointed in me–strangers and loved ones alike–or won’t like me. It’s not conscious and it’s no longer commonplace, but it happens. I have worked very hard to navigate away from that habit. It’s interesting how it creeps back in when I don’t expect it.

I’m doing my declutter challenge and Allie was offering a hundred dollars off her huge decluttering course for the people doing the challenge. I wouldn’t spend $300 on the course, nor would I spend the reduced $200 price. I’m certain the course is worth the money. I’m certain it’s a sound investment. It’s not Allie; it’s me. It literally hurts me to think about spending that money on the course when I make do just fine with the free challenges and webinars.

But someone made a mistake and a fb ad went out for a special promotion price of $99. People were all up in arms that some had to pay $200 and some just $100. Blah blah blah the drama. I went to sleep.

This morning Allie addressed it in what seemed to be sincerely genuine horror that people would think she was being shady. I believe it to be true that it was just a mistake.

I also believe that when I realized I could have the whole course and for only $100, my first thought was “this is exactly what she wanted!”

Because above all the “people are out to get me” or to see me fail or fall or to be disappointed thoughs….the one thing I expect people are actively doing is trying to manipulate me.

“What will Jill fall for next?”

And that’s so interesting, isn’t it? Even more than doing me harm, I imagine people are just seeing how I work and what they can get me to do.

It certainly speaks some volumes about my childhood and my past relationships and my first marriage. Here is a moment where some random woman was probably having a super terrible day because she’s human and made a mistake and put the wrong promotion up….and here I am going, “this was all a ploy! She’s going to make even more money from quantity of sales than she would have from a regular sale price! And I fricking fell for it!”

I had to talk myself off the ledge. I’ve done this many times. I just re-have the conversation that my therapist (who I haven’t seen in a good few years) and I had seven years ago.

Me: He said he’d changed and I trusted him. I fell for it and he didn’t really change and I was duped!

Warrior goddess: This says something about him, not you. This says ‘he did this again’, not ‘I fell for it.'”

Me: *stomp stomp stomp*

Warrior goddess: Don’t lose your sense of trust in others. It closes you off from having experiences. Trust yourself. You are trustworthy. The important part is not “I got duped again.” The important part is “I got up again.

So. I don’t really think Allie manipulated anyone intentionally. Although, also, it’s a truly genius marketing strategy. But still. I got the course for $99 and it’s a smart and brave investment and I’m proud of me. And I’m trying to not consider that while I got a course…..I am out a hundred bucks, while she is just raaaaaaaaaaaking in the dough.

…..

*laughs out loud*

I just can’t keep myself from having the thoughts. Ha. But I can redirect them. I can listen to them and then let them be. The mind is fun. Sorta.

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Trusting my soul to the ice cream assassin.

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My daughter has taken to saying thank you to me recently. Try as I might to show gratitude for all things–to be the light in all the places–she has yet to emulate the skill at home. In fact, oftentimes I think she doesn’t do it at home on purpose because my optimism annoys her. I have heard many teachers say she is kind and inclusive and goes above and beyond. I usually only get glimpses of those.

But recently, she has brought that home sometimes. She’ll initiate play with L or look at him compassionately. She’ll call S an idiot more quietly. (It’s something…) She’ll say thank you as soon as she gets in the car when I pick her up. It’s all tangible progress and I’m so proud of her. I don’t take credit for this change in her, but it warms me.

 

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The outside turning in.

I haven’t written in a long time. Again. I don’t even want to be writing right now.

I have been actively participating in life. I have been staying on top of responsibilities. Actions that, in the past, have paralyzed me. Phones call to find three different new doctors/specialists for my kids. More phones to set up appointments and preregistrations. More phone calls when something comes up and the doctor needs to reschedule. Filling out paperwork. Going to new appointments. Navigating my daughter’s desire to have nothing to do with me. Navigating my son’s desire to have no confidence in himself whatsoever. (Okay, he probably doesn’t *desire* this…but also…kinda?… He’s a conundrum.) Also add in school supply shopping and orientations. And R’s eye exams and new glasses.

I’ve wanted to tell actual stories about all these things, but after accomplishing all these really hard for me things, I’m just too exhausted to sit and write about them.

And now that I’ve typed all this out I have to navigate the sadness that I haven’t found room to do both act and process. I will need to be gentle with myself as I find a way to balance back out before I burn myself out.

In the meantime, I’m going to sit here with L for the first quiet morning I’ve had in weeks.