Effects of pressure on man in the moon marigolds

Something is wrong with me.  I have always known that I am not OK.

No one has ever been able to make me feel OK for any length of time.  Especially me.

I scream my rage and frustration into the silence and it is swallowed whole.

I claim responsibility.

But what about the bouts of depression? Does some part of me know best and allow pain and sorrow, depression and grief, for my own good?

My spiritual friends think so.  They also believe some Force is watching out for them.

I am jealous.

There have been intensely disappointing moments.

I wanted to be a cheerleader with all my heart.  I thought, if I was a cheerleader I would be Popular and I wanted nothing more than to be Popular.  And I would be skinny, too, because there are no fat cheerleaders.

I tried out 3 years in a row.  Adolescent, chubby, unlovely me.  And I lost every time.

Soul crushing.

Then I thought if I could be Drum Major…but I lost that competition too.

A couple of years ago, I began to think if I could just be a Writer, everything would be OK. And I do get so on FIRE from writing–I’m luminescent.  I experience intermittent feelings of everything falling into place.  I feel exactly right.

And it is unspeakably delicious.

Then I get a voice mail from someone asking about creating a web site.

I haven’t returned the call.

Oh no.  Another client.  Actual work to do.

Pressure.

Self esteem might be a palliative of pressure.

I’ve watched my child take steps toward building his own self esteem.  I’ll never forget telling him that the man who was able to drive himself to downtown Atlanta for college inception could figure out how to get his own tag registered.

The way his eyes lit up as he realized the truth of it for himself.

I have made lists.  Oh, yes.  Gratitude lists.  Achievement lists.

For example, I am the woman who gave birth at home.  Couldn’t she write posts single handedly?  She would not be afraid every time a client calls that this will be the assignment that exposes her for the fraud she fears herself to be.

Pressure is being pushed against.

I recall years of vocal and band competitions.  I’m sure I was afraid.  But I don’t remember even being nervous.  And I earned a medal every single time.

What changed?

Music was so integral to my soul that I viewed every occasion to perform as an opportunity to showcase what I could do.  I was confident.

Where did my confidence go?

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Hard Stuff

My mother called this morning to let me know her dog, Sugar, had slipped away–with a little help.

Instantly, I’m reminded of when we put Midnite to sleep, and then Lacy, our cat. Both lived long lives–15 years.  And I know I’m supposed to be comforted by that.

But I was so lonesome without them.

Midnite was dying, as I struggled to live with what would be the last three months of dialysis.  We had become very attached since I stopped working and spent all my time at home.

Alone.

Except for Midnite and Lacy.

It was a particular kind of relief for me–Midnite had needed help getting outside and accidents were frequent.  I was so sick, I felt crushed with the burden of caregiving.

Then, I began to compare my health problems with his.  And I couldn’t help but think putting me out of my misery should be an option.  A kindness, even.

My husband was oblivious to Midnite’s degeneration until the very end.  I think he kept the rose colored glasses on, until they broke and he really SAW how hard living had become for Midnite.

He seemed not to see the pain and misery I was going through, either.  Relentlessly upbeat and invalidating.  He would not listen to the darkness within me.  I craved a sympathetic ear to just witness my process for me.

Nancy was my witness.  She was struggling with breast cancer and seemed to really get what I was trying so ineptly to express.  I am so grateful for her kindnesses.

Maybe losing the family pets–one just before transplant, the other just after–was the impetus for my spiral into depression.  Or the drugs.  Certainly helped to focus my obsession with “to be or not to be.”

Fear, not of dying ,but of living.  I’d lost any reason for being on the planet.

My son is in college and is busy building his life.  And that is so cool.

But with no children and no pets at home, I had no purpose.  My husband is extraordinarily self-sufficient.  He would be sad and then he would go on.

I was stuck in a world where I was completely at the mercy of my emotions.

My core needy weakness was exposed.  And I felt so vulnerable and afraid.  And Needy.

I didn’t handle it well.

It helps to know that the meds I was taking at the time were partially responsible for the tangle of emotions–even without all the real life drama.

Almost three years passed before I set out to actively find a purpose.  I struggled with the desire for doggie companionship.  I’d promised I would not give my heart to a being with an expiration date ever again.

On 12/12/09 (my birthday, too), Forte came to the planet.

I collected weekly pictures of his progress.  And I KNOW he’ll  only be with me, at the most, 15 years.  Assuming the kidney holds up for 15 years, I’ll be in my late 50s when he exits.

I cannot help loving him.  He’s every inch a yellow lab, with all the requisite lab puppy tendencies.  So, he’s annoyed, irritated, and amused us since he came to live with us.

He will make me lonesome when he goes.

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Corporal Punishment (and wtf does THAT mean?)

Just read about the Judge in Texas whose daughter filmed him and her mother “whipping” her.   Beating her with a belt.  Verbally abusing her.

She was making a lot of noise, anyway.

So, I’m concerned.

According to Alice Miller (thank you, Nancy, for introducing me), physical punishment received by the child is so painful emotionally and the need to retain the parent’s love and protection so strong, the child will internalize the sense of betrayal and helpless rage caused by “corporal punishment.”

And because of this internalization, she believes a strong correlation exists between “spare the rod” parenting and illness in later life.

Interesting.

Alice Miller has pioneered a form of therapy to help the adult child release these internalized and semi-forgotten emotions.

She describes her therapy as a sort of witnessing.  Forgiveness of the parent is not necessary, just expressing the events and reactions to a Listener, who will not try to “fix” the adult child’s suffering–just acknowledging.

So, where does my kidney disease come from?  I can’t even begin to think about addressing that bulging folder where I file things that I can’t process.

And then, what have I done to my own child?  I was very seriously anti-corporal punishment when he was a child.  Mostly, I would take away something that he liked.  Did he feel betrayed?

I also used to flick his ear.  To get his attention.

I SO wish I could do it over.  I’ve grown up a little since then.

Oh.  And the Texas Judge will not be prosecuted.

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Adult Literacy Tutoring

I love teaching. I fancy I have a knack for it. So, I signed up at the Literacy Volunteers of Atlanta.  They gave me a little training and matched me with a student.

I’m so inspired by this young lady.  She has a baby, can read at about the 2nd grade level, and dropped out of school in the 8th grade.  Oh, and she’s African-American.

And she yearns to read.  Is hungry for each new vowel sound and consonant blend.

I want to fix her Life Situation.  Find her rent assistance, government services, get her a car.  Save her.

But she is saving herself already.  Must be very careful to let her do that and not interfere with her process.  Practice the ‘Prime Directive’.

I see so many pitfalls in front of her, though.

See, we are not so very different.  I dropped out of school, had a baby out of wedlock.  But, I knew how to read–and I taught myself  how to learn from books.

And that has made all the difference.

When I was 18, I spent an entire year trying to get hired at the University of Oklahoma–so I could take classes at a reduced fee.  I signed up with their temporary service and got to know the ladies at Human Resources.

They must have felt something like I feel for K.

And when I finally did get hired as a permanent employee, they must have rejoiced.  Just as I rejoice when K. gets a difficult word.  I live to see the light come on in her eyes.

So we have tutoring sessions at the library twice a week.  I like to get to the library early and plan my lesson there.

Looking forward to our session today.

 

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(Not) Writing This Blog or How do I Express Myself?

I have:

  • cleaned the bedroom
  • started laundry
  • and hung out on Facebook

All to put off writing this post.  Scared, but nonspecific fear.  There’s absolutely nothing to fear because no one even knows about this blog anymore.

I have been practicing Dance of Shiva and writing on my blog keeps coming up.  Writing because I have so much happening internally and such a small mouth to express with.

I’m on this side of the movie screen and everybody else is on the other.  I’d like to do some controlled merging.

What to do?  Well, I can get my whole house organized and sparkly clean for free OR just start writing.

Tough choice.

So, here I am at the keyboard typing.

I notice all the updates I need to make to WordPress and widgets and things.  I have not maintained the site.

I notice a pattern of silence on my part.  I’ve complained about being interrupted and talked over.  I feel frustrated and hurt because I want to participate in conversations around me–not always the listener practicing active listening.

People talk to me about their stuff.  And, in all fairness, sometimes someone will ask how I’m doing.  I roll out that good old conversation killer, “fine.”

Or I go for the truth and search for the words to express the gi-normous shifts in my internal world.  By the time I can come up with a sentence that isn’t too heavy for public consumption, the talking stick has moved on.

Possibly, there is a connection between my sense that no one is listening to me and (not) writing in this blog.

I’m denying my own voice, my own expression.  And I’m getting a sense of what “you write because you have to,” means.

Writing out loud like this, could save my life.

Or not.  I’m not really sure what I hope will happen. I just need to work through the scales on my heart so that I can open in love.

That sounds weird.

Truth is, I was reading old blog posts at The Fluent Self and suddenly felt as though I had permission to write for expression.

  • Not in competition.
  • Not to earn money.
  • Not to inform.
  • Not to master.

Writing as therapy.

Writing as beloved friend.

So cool.  Thanks, Havi.

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So, do we talk about the cockroach in the living room?

I’ve had some trouble with this blog thing.   And, in retrospect, it seems so obvious that the solution seems to go without saying.

Write what you know.

OK.

So, I’m wracking my brains to come up with a topic that I know that I think other people will be interested in.

Today’s epiphany: It isn’t about what other people are interested in.  At least not for purposes of this blog.

I just need to write, man.

I didn’t want to write about what’s really going on with me.  Somehow, I thought that would define and confine me.  Paradoxically, it sets me free to speak my truth.

So, let’s talk about the cockroach in the living room.

I am a kidney transplant recipient.  And that really does define and confine me today.  Kind of like being a mom.  I can be other things, too, but being a mom is part of the definition of me.

I kept a blog for the year or so leading up to the transplant.  Talked about the hell of peritoneal dialysis, the uncertainty, the sheer gross-ness of having tubes surgically implanted.

But I was determined that 2008 would be the year of the kidney and then I’d get a transplant and live happily ever after.

Getting a kidney transplant is not a cure.

It’s actually just another treatment option.  There’s dialysis–peritoneal or hemo–there’s transplantation, and there’s dying.

A percentage of people have “issues” after transplantation.  That would include me.

August 18, 2009 will be a year since the operation and it’s been…difficult (excruciating, humiliating, terrifying, exhausting, debilitating, and painful).

I’ve had two serious rejection episodes, the BK virus, the CMV virus, and now some kind of ongoing viral syndrome.  I’m having serious doubts about whether  this kidney is going to make it.

And my whole life has been derailed.

So, that’s what I’m going to talk about here.  And believe me, progress does seem to be at a snail’s pace.

That’s the cockroach in the living room–not to be mistaken for an elephant.  This little guy can hide, breed, and scuttle just out of view so that you think there really isn’t a cockroach.  Sooner or later, he (or his kindred) show up, though.

What’s going on with me is what I know.  Now you’ll know, too.

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Do You Talk About This Stuff?

While I love the Zen of Inaction (especially since I stopped calling it “being lazy”) I have had a splendid afternoon in action (get it?  Inaction, in action…sometimes I just think funny things).

So I installed Thesis on my WordPress blog.  OK, took a short break to watch two episodes of “Supernatural” (hey–it was a 2-part episode arc, I couldn’t stop in the middle).

I also ordered Darren Rowse’s 31 Days to Better Blogging (this is a link to Naomi’s link at IttyBiz cause she’s doing some cool stuff with her affiliate money–like solving world hunger and building a better mouse trap) and the print edition is ready to be picked up at the printers.

Yes, I broke my solemn oath to buy no more courses, ebooks, community memberships–cold turkey–until I actually started DOING some of these things.  Which was of itself breaking an oath not to beat myself up about patterns…and buying information and sitting on it is a definite pattern for me.

So, when it feels right (yes! I can tell) I’m going to start actually dipping my toes in the water and putting these concepts into practice.  Today, it feels very right.

And I want to tell you all about it, as I go.

So…some days I’ll be talking about stuff in my head and heart, others about stuff in the physical and sometimes just plain old hard stuff.  And, if you feel like it, you can share your stuff, too.  That would be cool–but strictly voluntary.

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