Lessons from Nature

Today, I tried to be in nature.

I’m reading this book about re-enchanting your everyday life. Everyday has seemed boring and mundane lately so it sounded like a good title. The book suggested being in nature so I tried to take to the back porch while I wrote my goals this morning. Three giant spiders later, I found myself on the front porch instead.

I’m not sure I like nature.

Nature is not controlled. I can’t control it. Our yard is evidence of my relationship with nature. We literally have weeds five feet tall out back, because, well, my 14 inch mower won’t tame the 1 acre yard. I mean, it would if  I spent 14 hours mowing each week. You can guess, I’m sure, that never happens.

Yet, that’s not all. I don’t love the creepy crawly things and I’m allergic to most trees. Literally, I’m allergic to 14 trees, plus ragweed and every other common plant on earth.

Nature and I are not friends.

Perhaps I spent too long in the suburbs.

This book I’m reading says that nature has something to teach us, if we only take the time to listen. The lesson nature is trying to teach me?

Go hide inside.

Or perhaps it has more to do with control and standards that I impose. You see, growing up in the suburbs, lawns were finely manicured, weeds exterminated. This is just one example of the standards I have for nature, which I’m finding are rather unreasonable. Perhaps if I let go of the perfect suburb ideal, I may find more acceptance for the overgrown areas on our acre.

Deeper still, perhaps it is time to relinquish the control I desire, but cannot have. Perhaps the lesson here with the spiders is becoming okay with the creepy crawlies of life, because they do exist and are out of my sphere-of-control. Perhaps learning to sit next to the things which make me uncomfortable is the real lesson nature teaches me.

I just wish, metaphorically and physically, those spiders weren’t so big.

Candidly,

Ash

End the Spectrum

In the world of autism, I’ve found there to be a myriad of parent types. There are the parents who just want their child to be accepted as they are. There are parents who want their child to be healed. There are parents who refuse to acknowledge their child’s problems. There are parents who are great at intervention and advocating.

I could keep going.

A little while ago, there was a video of a mom that went viral. In the video, she tearfully talks about the struggles she faces with her son who has autism. She also talks about her worries and her grief. It was very moving and I loved her authenticity.

Not everyone loved it though.

In one of the support groups, she was bashed for not accepting her child as he is. This broke my heart, because her grief was ignored.

I think the hardest part of having a child with autism is carrying the grief. Unfortunately, talking about this grief can be labeled taboo. Shouldn’t you love your child just as they are – no strings attached?

I do love my son just as he is.

The problem is that the way he is inhibits his life severely. Imagine never being able to talk. Imagine never hearing your child say “I love you”. Can you? Can you even imagine that? Can you imagine watching your child bite himself until he bleeds?

I recognize that Evan’s autism is more severe than others. For many, autism is a social awkwardness that just needs acceptance. For a few, autism is a nightmare. Calling it a spectrum does not  do the disparity justice. In fact, it destroys true advocacy for these children as a whole, because they all need something different.

Someone once said to me that if their child had autism that it wouldn’t change a thing. My response?

Smile. Nod.

Say bad words in my head.

Autism changed everything. It limits us in every area of our life – spiritually, physically, financially. I grieve for these things.

I do not love my son less.

Stop stifling my grief with judgements about my child’s acceptance. No one accepts him or sees his reality more than I do.

Candidly,

Ash

Facing Resentment

You know when the person next to you can do nothing right? I mean, they are just driving you nuts with whatever they are doing – chewing loudly, tapping their feet, etc.

Turns out that says more about you than it does about them.

Exhibit A.

Me.

Lately, my husband could do nothing right in my eyes. Poor man. For weeks, I’ve walked around with a chip on my shoulder, resentment and a bit of irritation to go with it.

You see, I was feeling resentful, because he has two college degrees and I do not. I helped put him through college for one of those degrees and so I felt there should be something to show for it (monetarily). I also felt bitter, because I don’t have a degree and that seemed unfair since I helped him get one.

The truth is that all of this resentment wouldn’t work out of my system. I tried processing it, feeling it deeply, trying art to work it out of my system. Yet, it still kept rising up. I was beginning to give up hope when it suddenly dawned on me.

Maybe I don’t resent him so much as I resent myself.

All of the angst, the bitterness, the short fuse – wouldn’t go away because I wasn’t really angry at him. I was angry at myself.

For not succeeding. For failing. For not finishing a million times. For not doing what it takes.

Because as much as the shit is his, it is also mine. We don’t make a lot of money as a couple, because I don’t contribute. And I sort of hate myself for that.

I also know, deep down, that living is more important than trying, succeeding and the rest. For me, a job is probably too stressful to manage on top of my current responsibilities of being an Evan-guru, mom to three others and mentally-ill (but stable) person.

I wonder if now that I know the resentment is towards myself, if I can process it and be less god damn irritable….

Because that would sure be nice.

Candidly,

Ash

 

Part of Being Human

Let’s face it – rejection pretty much always hurts. I applied for a job recently that I didn’t even want. Big surprise – I didn’t get it. (Can’t imagine why….)

It still hurt! Even though I didn’t want it. Maybe especially because I didn’t want it.

The reality is I often go for things I don’t want so that I can fill a whole that I don’t know how to fill.

It’s that void thing I talk about all of the time.

Searching for meaning, purpose, etc.

I often think affirmation will fill that void so I do things to please others or try for things I don’t really want, hoping I’ll get that little bit of affirmation.

If affirmation filled the void, then I think mine would be full. I do have people who love me and affirm me. try to affirm myself.

Why haven’t I learned that people pleasing and even self-affirming don’t fill the void? Why do I keep completing the same types of circles in my life? When will I learn?

I’m probably being too hard on myself. Sigh.

There is a part of me that says The Void isn’t meant to be filled by anything other than God. That is the way I was raised. Unfortunately, in years of seeking God, I still have this emptiness.

I suppose maybe it is because I have bi-polar disorder, but I know other people who feel the void too – and they don’t have bipolar disorder.

What is the void, this emptiness?

Maybe its just humanity.

Candidly,

Ash

 

It Is What It Is

Today, I just feel a bit sad and lonely. Nothing significant is troubling, but I can’t help wondering how life can be so busy and boring all at the same time.

I feel like my days pass by at light speed, but all I have to remember them by is the sense of light speed itself. Sort of like the Doppler effect , but with light. I know things have been happening. I’ve been doing the things.. All that I see is blur, all that I hear is a whirr.

I want my life to be meaningful. Some people say this is a particularly millennial viewpoint and maybe they are right. Yet, I can’t help feeling that most people, millennial or not, want their life to be meaningful in some way.

It *should* be meaningful to raise my kids. It *should* be meaningful to sit and write, creating something. It *should*. It *should*. It *should*.

Today, and for many days prior, it hasn’t felt meaningful.

Perhaps its the *should* of the matter. Assigning meaning based on *should* is probably not a great idea.

The Bible says things like “Everything is meaningless.” or  “Eat, drink and be merry.”

Well, I just don’t like that.

I want there to be purpose. I want things to happen for a reason. Yet, the hard truth of life is that not everything has a purpose. Not everything has a reason or a meaning. Sometimes things just are, because that is the way life goes.

As for “eat, drink and be merry”? Well, I’m overweight and I’ve discussed how I feel about THAT quite a few times. It’s not merry at all.

Does the Bible have it wrong? Or is it just me?

I’ll always wonder.

Candidly,

Ash

 

Instant Sympathy Not Appreciated

I just want you to know that this blog runs about a week behind my actual life. I do that because if I sleep before publishing something then I usually find the typos.

But I’ve noticed a weird natural by-product of this strategy. I get condolences when I’m happy, congratulations when I’m sad.

It’s the nature of life – the ups and downs. Sometimes I wish people wouldn’t respond to the downs with such drama. Is it bad that I don’t want people to be writing “I’m praying for you” in response to my blogs.

I don’t need prayer. I don’t need sympathy. I really just need to put this stuff out there into open space and let it breathe, let it air out. Ya know?

I might delete this post all together. I might not. Again, it needs open space, air to breathe.

I stopped posting the links to my blog on Facebook, because I got tired of the instant sympathy. I just….I’m frustrated, because that’s not why I do this.

There is an ink spot on my blanket (the one I curl up with while typing). It looks like a butterfly and I love it. It occurs to me that viewed from a different angle or by a different person that the ink blot looks like a ghost or an eagle or a dove.

I think that’s how I need to understand the responses to my writing. Each one is looking at it from a different angle, in a different light.

Candidly,

Ash

But First, Write

My morning pages come more easily today. I don’t hate them. Morning pages are essentially just the bare minimum of writing that I encourage myself to do. The term is not mine, but one I learned from a book called “The Sound of Paper”. It’s a good read for any creative type.

I’m beginning to feel that writing for the sake of writing is valuable – that my thoughts maybe could be valuable? I like the idea of putting them on this blog, chronicling them, maybe assigning some pretty pictures to go with them.

It’s fun. It’s creative.

I have no idea how I could do any of this if I were working. Its so hard to find time for even the bare minimum. I know, from some experience, that if I write like this daily, then usually I begin to write more during the day – even 2-3 hours more, which is a lot for the mom of four.

I’m feeling so much better, so relieved after setting aside the need to “market” myself and submit things all of the time. Blech.

I do think I will submit things from time to time, but first I will do the work. Write first, then see if it fits for  submission. I had transitioned to developing work for submission.

All of it sucked.

I can’t create that way, I suppose. I think this was the first time that I really experienced a block in my writing. I *think* I’ve come through it.

At least that is what I am hoping.

Candidly,

Ash