Monday, November 29, 2010

An Unbalanced Post

I am choosing to come clean. I was going to write a private email to a dear friend, but the correspondence so far has shown me that my only choice is to be completely outed because that's why I started this blog in the first place. I have, in a way, been hiding from it because to write here is to tell my story. I worried what people would think instead of trusting that I'll find a way to say it.

I have been feeling different. Different from everyone else, and therefore, afraid to say what no one would "get." But how can anyone get it if I don't share it? And I also know, deep in my soul, that others can relate, in their own way.

Seeing Next to Normal again this weekend helped me to see that, too. Because I shouldn't be able to relate to a mother whose baby died. I shouldn't be able to relate to a husband who is willing to stand by this woman, even as she falls deeper into the depths of depression, despair, bipolar disorder, and even herself asks him, "why stay?" I shouldn't be able to relate to a 16-year-old girl who was deprived of her parents who were lost to grief, to simply surviving the day. But I related to all of them because no matter what our circumstances, we all experience the range of emotions that is simply being human. So while you may not be divorced, while you may not have children, while you may not struggle from paycheck to paycheck, I know that you can somehow relate to some of this. Maybe not in this moment, but sometime, through some experience, you have experienced this sense of feeling alone, of feeling different, of feeling like no one gets it.

Part of me, too, is ashamed of feeling this way. I have so much, I know. I am so lucky in so many respects. I have wonderful friends, wonderful family, a job I actually love that is as dependable as a job can be, and while I have money issues, I know that so many have it so much worse. I actually do know that I can pay my rent every month. I do know that some choices I make for what I call "quality of life" aren't needs, but wants. And I do know that some problems I have are self-inflicted.

So this isn't a "pity me" post, but rather a "this is me" post. I do love my life, but I want more.

I know that there's still a lot of work for me to do to achieve some of my goals and missions, but at the same time, I'm fighting the resentment that I feel for somehow never doing enough. Like a petulant toddler, sometimes, I just don't wanna. I feel like I certainly do my share of basic responsibilities every single day, and sometimes I just want to feel like that's enough. And that's not to say that I don't take downtime because I certainly do, but I want to take it without also fighting the guilt.

The guilt. The guilt is the overriding emotion that affects everything. I spend ten minutes rationalizing to myself that it's okay, I can spend $1.29 on a new song, or taking the time to read a book that's not for a Book Club or assignment is okay because I can't really focus on "serious" reading anyway. Or even when I am doing something productive like washing dishes that it's okay to tell Riley that I'll listen to her story in a few minutes when I'm done.

It feels like every moment that I'm doing something, I'm also spending trying to fight the guilt that I should be doing something else. I even feel guilty that I don't spend enough quality time with my cat! Or convincing myself that it's okay to be doing whatever I'm doing.

And then there are the really embarrassing things to feel guilty about; for really wanting a netbook so that I can sit on my couch to read blogs, for buying myself lunch at work instead of going home, for buying myself an avocado.

And I feel guilty for feeling guilty because I am not a bad person and while I could be a better mother, I know that my kids are nourished both physically and emotionally. 

I started this post thinking that I had something entirely different to say. I feel guilty if this post lead astray.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Finding my Balance again

So last week was crazy. My home scheduling idea was not possible to implement given that every night, we had something going on. But that's okay. We did what we needed to do.

I'm hoping that the holiday lull will start at work today. We've had a lot going on. Last week, I wasn't sure I'd get everything done, but it's starting to look possible.

The girls are doing well. Sylvia and I visited my old high school last week, and she loved it. It was crazy being back, seeing that so much of it is the same. The students act and sound just like we did, the teachers spoke about the same philosophies, and it was just as warm and welcoming as I remember.

Sylvia won an arts contest! I'm hoping to have pics soon to share.

I've tried to sit down and start a post a few times, but my mind is going in so many directions right now, it's been hard to find a focus.

So this is just a quick update to say I'm not gone forever (hopefully), just trying to find that balance. Again.

Friday, November 12, 2010

F.A.B. Fridays: Scheduling

So I had a few free hours (that originally I was supposed to be using for laundry, but since I didn't have enough quarters, they were now free). Couldn't decide whether to catch up on my Reader (did some of that), clean off my desk (did a little of that), clean the girls' room (and a little of that), or clean out my email (yep, a little of that, too). Of course, as those hours were coming to a close, I felt like I'd accomplished nothing.

I like to think of myself as a free spirit and hey, we do need to be flexible, but I think I'm finally starting to appreciate the idea of having a routine.

I took a baby step last week by organizing my weekly dinner menu. That worked out! So now it's time to start putting together a plan for my free time. Which sounds kind of oxymoronic, but it's worth trying.

Of course, there will still need to be wiggle room, and I absolutely will schedule in downtime, but my plan is to put together a schedule on Sunday for the week ahead, and then review it nightly (and yes, schedule the time to do that review). I'm not going to reprimand myself for not sticking to it in these early stages; instead, I will look at what's holding me back and try to adjust.

For more on FAB Fridays, visit WannaBeBalancedMom.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A post

I'd apologize for being absent so long, but most of you were probably just grateful there weren't more posts in your Reader so instead I'll say, you're welcome! Things are good, really good, and busy, really busy, and no signs of slowing anytime soon. However, I have to find a way to keep blogging as a regular part of my life, because I miss it too much!

I missed F.A.B. Friday last week because I was sick. I had a tiny lull, and lo and behold, a virus took over. If ever I needed a reason to believe that busy is the way to go...I'll probably miss it this week, too, because our weekend's already packed.

I was disappointed, but not surprised, that X missed the girls' birthdays entirely. No phone call, nothing. He finally called yesterday, but didn't remember how old the girls are now.

The girls weren't surprised, either. I think about how much they've been hurt before, and all I can do is feel grateful. That's not to say it doesn't hurt them at all, but the fact that they didn't let it ruin their birthdays is a good thing.

Truth be told, none of us will ever be over it entirely. I still have reminders of those years I lost, in saving for retirement or starting college funds for them, in therapy bills and bad credit. I know how far I've come, but the consequences can only be diminished so much. They are there, they will always be there.

I know that the girls have a lot of love and support in their lives, but they will never know what it's like to be able to rely on two parents.

I think sometimes, we (in the universal meaning) get entirely too caught up in wanting to be positive all the time, wanting to dismiss the pain. But we can't get to acceptance if we never move beyond denial. And these stages aren't linear, but a constant process.

I have been better off since I realized that I will never be over it. It feels less like a sucker punch if I don't feel like the past is coming back to haunt me. The past is part of me.

And my present is...weird. In a good way! It's a transitional time, and there are a lot of unknowns right now. We don't know yet where Sylvia will go to high school, or where Riley will go to middle school. I want to move, but don't know if we should, and/or where. I don't know yet what will nurture my soul once my leadership class is over, but I know I will have to be doing something. Once again, I'm trying to figure out who I'm going to be when I grow up!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Love Election Day, Hate campaigns

I voted and I've got that warm and fuzzy feeling right now :)

The morning of Election Day for me is full of possibilities. Even though I know that in the end, most politicians are the same, even though I know that not nearly enough will happen quickly enough for me, I allow myself to indulge in a little ignorant bliss on Election Day. That is, until the talking heads and pundits slowly chip away at it. Until some results come in that devastate me, until certain officials I elected (or didn't) say something that makes me want to spit nails, until the next election cycle...I give myself these few hours to bask in the glory of American democracy.

But I think what I'm celebrating even more than our civil liberties is the knowledge that I won't have to see another campaign commercial for at least 6 months.

The amount of money spent on campaigns drives me insane. I haven't checked for this election, but in 2008, in California, billions was spent on campaigns. Billions. Billions on those horrible, mean, sometimes completely dishonest ads. Billions where they don't actually tell you anything about where they stand on issues, but just try to beat each other up. Billions on style over substance.

I think about the homeless, the education funding lost, the millions without health care, those who lost their homes, those who lost their livelihood and it just seems so wrong. We have an abundance of wealth, obviously, but our priorities are so out of whack.

I am political, yes, but I don't give money to candidates. I don't have much in discretionary funds available and what I do, I will spend on my daughters, my loved ones, and me. Instead, I use my time to volunteer, to read candidates' platforms, to watch debates, to contribute ideas to the Club and the PTA. I will pass on info that I think is important, but I will not spend my earnings on these wretched campaigns that have nothing to do with governing.

So vote. Wear your sticker proudly. And enjoy a campaign-free America for a little while!