amwriting, Inspiration, Uncategorized

Forgiving Ones Self is Harder!

When you have an extensive network, and you know a lot of people, you feel blessed when you can say you have more than five intimate friends. All my life, people have moved me from one house to another, from one city to another, and from one state to another. Networking became second nature.

Last night I learned that a man I’ve known for seven years passed away suddenly. He was a heavy drinker when I knew him, but that increased over time and the profound sadness of losing both his parents ended with the crescendo of Sorosis of the liver and failure of his kidneys. What could have been completely avoidable, ended by taking his life.

The minute I heard, thoughts of how I could’ve reached out flooded my soul. The guilt of not keeping in touch, not cultivating, not even picking up the phone to see if he was okay, because he was such a alpha male, that it never occurred to me he wouldn’t be okay?!

Which brings me to the topic of this discussion. It’s so much easier to forgive others when they offend us, then it is to forgive ourselves for our transgressions. How do you forgive yourself when you know there is something you could have done and yet did nothing? What are the steps that you take to forgive yourself?

Guilt is poison! You can’t hold onto it! It cannot be resolved! It is the toxic chemical that poisons your soul and your mind. Living with guilt is harder than living with pain or sadness because it is all consuming. Releasing that guilt is what is necessary, but when you have the understanding the fault lies with in your actions, how do you get to resolution?

Thoughts?!

Human Interest, Inspiration, Reflection, Revelations, The Children

Epically Unfun

Very much like the title says, I have been told I am “epically unfun” by my three teens. When I remind them that the ONLY time I get cross with them is 1. When they do not do what they’re asked, 2. When they lie and tell me they did what was asked, 3. Go out of their way to complain or whine about what they have to do, and finally 4. Throw an attitude and make what’s asked of them torture for those around.  I explain that if they were pleasant with the knowledge that they have been given so much despite what they’ve lost; they should learn at their age that reciprocation is part of the deal.

What surprises me at every turn is how fundamentally wrong I am with the expectations. I expect kids to be decent little happy beings?  My bad!  Kids are great when you’re doting on them, giving them things, telling them how much you love them, but speak of disappointment and they turn into the little devils they are with all the eye rolling of a teenage queen and the lip speak of satan himself.

The thing is that in my head I think, “Well, they will understand if I just explain it to them.” You know what that brings? More opportunity for them to use my words against me, to manipulate an outcome they would rather have, and ultimately I still end up being the bad guy. I wonder, is it this hard for all parents?

Some people will “hate” on the truth that kids are not always the angelic creatures that they show on TV.  Kids are sometimes filled with contempt for their parents.  Kids who have lost parents like mine have conjure even more sympathy than normal.  If you set them in line parents want to tell you, “Well, they’ve lost their parents.” As though you don’t already know.  Rules have to be followed, restrictions and boundaries are part of life and ultimately building character isn’t easy.  Let’s face it we all wish we could have ice cream parties and cake.  At some point the daily list of homework, chores, and simply being respectful is going to come up.

I have to remind myself that I have been here before. I’ve raised two amazing adult children.  Both independent and capable of achieving great success.  They’re fine, despite I always felt like I was flying by the seat of my pants.  These kids will be too. Not because I’m a great drill sergeant, but because I love them.  My boundaries are to tell them they have restrictions they shouldn’t cross in life.  My rules are to teach them independence. My firmness comes from the fact that I know that unless they are successful in being in a harsh world when they’re of age, they won’t be happy.  It’s in love that I commit to teaching them there is a way to accomplish goals, and then there is just being lazy. You cannot do both.

Sadly, I still sit and wonder how I can say something and it be turned into something completely different from it’s intent. I sigh, heavily sometimes. I wonder if anything I do will enhance any part of who they are to become.  I wonder if they love me in some small way or if they even know the harshness of the circumstances we find ourselves in.  What do they really think? How do they feel?

I have to do what I think is best and hope that flying by the seat of my very wildly inappropriate pants won’t cause harm or foul to these precious souls I love with every fiber of my being. I pray that if I can sometimes get myself out of the way, they might actually learn the lessons they need to, and hopefully one day find happiness of their own. That’s what I think about all the time.

Inspiration, Reflection

Time to Serve Only You

One of the hardest things for me to do is to ask for something for myself because after I ask, I feel selfish.  In the era I grew up, women were taught to be “quiet about” the things that they could do better than a man. We were put in our places, told that we had a place along side a man, but certainly never in front of one.  Biblically we were taught that a woman’s place is in supporting her husband. The community of men aspired to get that message out to every single woman.  So, when it came time for me to want a little alone time (something every human on the planet SHOULD have) I felt selfish.

Today, I sit here knowing that after 3 harsh months of school, activities, behavior modification for the kids, husband schedules, date nights, friends, family, and my adult children I feel horrible that this is the first day I got to sleep in. What’s going through my mind? The numerous things I SHOULD be doing not the numerous things I COULD be doing. Instead of taking the day off for me, or carving out some much needed writing time, in my head is a laundry list of items that still need checked off.  “Ortho appointment for the eldest.” Check.  “Dry cleaning for my husband.” Check. “Pick up kids at three separate times.” Check. “Plan dinner so husband isn’t mad.” Check. “Take dog for grooming.” Check… and the list goes on and on. So much so that I honestly do not have two consecutive hours of my own.  There’s no time between travel and duty.

Nights offer no downtime because the kids are old enough to go to be at 10 o’ clock.  So after dinner, homework, activities and being available to “look at” my husband as I listen while he talks, there is no room to escape for some me time.  Life becomes all about pleasing someone else, and the more you do, the more they have no concept of the lengths that you go to make them feel included, happy, fulfilled; until you’re brain is completely fried and you’re an empty shell.  It’s a mother’s life and we have all felt those moments from time to time.  Serving other’s is a powerful gift, but when is it time to serve yourself?

My advice, is to do it. It’s that simple. Put off the chores and take a day off.  Go do whatever it is that fills your cup.  Whatever brings you a blissful moment.  If you have to ask in advance, stop beating yourself up. Your husband clocks out. Your kids some home. Your friends can wait.  You never clock out. You keep going like that annoying pink Energizer rabbit.  It’s time to replenish the batteries and NOT feel guilty for it.

Psychology today says, “Being alone allows you to drop your “social guard”, thus giving you the freedom to be introspective, to think for yourself. You may be able to make better choices and decisions about who you are and what you want without outside influence. Often, we are swayed by the thoughts, feelings, attitudes, beliefs, and behavior of those in our immediate sphere. Of course, you may ask others for their advice and opinions but ultimately, consulting yourself and making up your own mind about what you want to do will lead you into the life that’s best for you.”

Don’t wait. Make today great. Make it about you.  It’s normal and it’s so very necessary. For me? I am going to Louisiana to see my adult kids for one weekend. I’m leaving behind the people who need me the most so that I can gain a newer perspective about where I should lead them, about how much patience I should have and maybe gain some joy along my journey.  Just a moment of peace.  That’s all I ask. For me.

Inspiration

Making a choice to put myself last!

Not that I believe in horoscopes. I just happened to be perusing the yahoo page when I came across mine. Gemini. The ad said, “The role that money plays in your life is going through a transition, and it is beginning to seem like there are a few things in the world that are more important than account balances and shiny new things. Material goods are losing their luster and your eye will be drawn to humbler objects. Other people in your life might be confused by your new focus. This change in your attitude could cause a wrinkle in your social life for a little while, but only until everyone adjusts.” I thought to myself, there has been a change. It was my conscious thought to change recently. A friend reminded me that my actions although crucial in point, were without the best of intensions. I acquiesced and here we are. Modified and humbled by the woman who epitomizes grace and love. Thank you, Mary. Sometimes my actions need to be called into check, because people ruffle my feathers. I cannot for the life of me understand why it doesn’t happen that way for everyone, but that’s my burden.

Last week according to my sister I was in my own little private pity party. It’s something which I do from time to time and usually when something seems a tad unjust. However, given the fact that she lied about her concern fueled a fire I haven’t had in quite some time. Being the extra-introspection guru that I am; I quickly began a dialog with my inner conscious. Was it me? Did I do something again that wasn’t justified? Was I thinking only of myself again? (Admittedly something else I do as well from time to time.) I beat myself about it for about a day and a half when it hit me after receiving the following email from another of my most eloquent of confidants.

Leanna wrote: “You are a deeply introspective soul. Probably the most thought-provocative person I know. In every human interaction, you come away with a deep lake of introspection and probably most everyone else walks away with a puddle. You are rare, Rebecca… and wonderful. Society needs people like you to help keep us from degrading into a culture like “Lord Of The Flies”. Tell yourself often that “this conversation will be a puddle to the other person” … but yours will be something complex and thoughtful. You see human interactions much like a symphony composed by Mozart and thank you, God, for you. I need your introspections to know how others think, and feel, and regard others. But, never forget… most people really don’t care about the subtleties; they just want the “Like” button tapped.”

I thought all weekend about what she said because she gets me. She really truly gets me. I began to read the words, “Don’t define yourself by your family’s opinions.” I know this to be my truth and so I decided to make a list of all the things I’ve done, without hesitation or question or thought to show my family I love them. So from the weddings I went to, and the Christening, and the birthday parties for a father who never acknowledged me, to throwing a surprise 40th that was 1,200 miles away to trips to see children, and sick relatives, and the list goes on and on and on. Then it hit me. In the times when I was either on the phone with them or at their doorstep were the worst or most celebrated moments in their lives. I was there. My actions are pure. My sentiments revealed, and my time was given freely without the benefit of my whole immediate family because of costs. If I needed to go, I showed up.

I looked back on the last 15 years of my life. I’ve been married, had two kids (of who know very little of the extended family). Both of my kids were christened. My son was in critical condition at age 5. I was devastated when I had to have my hysterectomy because I wanted more children, and then I got gravely ill about a year ago. None of which did I get one phone call, or did anyone show up. It hit me. It’s not me. I have engaged, supported, encouraged and dreamt of a union a whole lot stronger than my siblings and I have. What need to accept is that this fantasy of mine is mine and mine alone? They just want to hit the “like” button. They don’t want to create puddles. Okay. Got it.

I think for me and all the waters of my soul, what I have to come to terms with is the unconditional love that I have for my siblings regardless of their actions. Is that being a doormat for their actions or can I freely and wholly accept that they will be someone I speak with or potentially see every decade until I am dead? We won’t really have any more than that. I’ve accepted reluctantly. It’s never what I wanted.

To the gal pals who keep me sure footed in the reality that I am no better or worse than any other girl on this planet thank you. For those who share my daily life, create joy, lift me up, say silly things and have cocktails; you are my support, my life and my love. To those who let me know I’m being self-centered, and focused on the wrong things thank you too, because without you my pity party (unjust or not) would probably continue. I need you too.

Today, I’m going to let all this should I or shouldn’t I feel about what did or didn’t happen affect me. Today my goal is to seek out a better more amiable attitude and force a perspective change to include those who might need me to make their day a little more kooky or crazy or fun. It’s my turn to lift, to elevate, to be there, and to listen. Thank God I get that chance.