New Paths to Comfort

Last night, my daughter just wanted a treat after dance, because it had been a hard practice. I totally get it, but right now, in my life, comfort cannot be taken from food. So we talked it out and had lots of hugs and I sang her songs.

Everything was kosher.

Lately, I struggle to find comfort. A soft blanket, pretty candles, a clean home – these were once things I found comforting. I just don’t anymore.

This is probably going to sound stupid, but I really long for a comfy couch. Our couches literally have holes in them and I’m tired of their awfulness. I don’t even want to sit on them.

We also have ants, despite the cleanish home that I’ve been pouring myself into. There is nothing like sitting on a couch and having an ant crawl on you.

Yet, I think some of this is symbolic. I can’t find comfort, not because of an icky couch, but because sitting is no longer comforting. Perhaps what I really need besides the cozy is an afternoon in the sun doing yoga. Maybe the ants represent the way worry crawls on me and ruins my zen. Maybe I need time in guided meditation away from the creepy crawly thoughts.

Most of all, I recognize these feelings, because I felt them long ago when I was not depressed. I didn’t care for them then so I squashed them.

I had better take care of them now.

*Side note: Yoga in the sun did help. I also poured myself into making the couch nice, which worked. Turns out the ants were following the scent of food Evan had deposited deep down in the couch. Facepalm. Though I still find worry crawls on me….**

Candidly,

Ash

Doing Doesn’t Complete Me

I don’t know what to say. Drudgery and monotony have me laid flat. It’s open space for sadness to play. Perhaps that is really how I am today.

Sometimes life feels really meaningless. I think Thursday is a day that I often feel this way. Most of the week has passed and I usually find myself asking, “What did I do this week that even mattered?”

It’s easy to feel that I don’t matter when my week, my actions don’t seem to amount to much.

I suppose my small actions do matter and that I matter. My brain says that those are probably true things.

I just can’t help feeling empty, dissatisfied. I wonder what I could even do to feel complete.

Perhaps nothing is the answer. Doing doesn’t complete a person.

But what does complete a person? Why do people matter?

Today feels like entropy – a gradual decline into disorder.

I don’t really feel okay with this state. I want to reject it, imagine it’s not there. But the void is there.

Candidly,

AshI must learn its shape.

The Web of Self-Doubt

Raw. Fettered. Burgeoning.

I’m trying to find the right words for what I am lately, but I’m coming up empty.

Yesterday, I cried while listening to Charlotte’s Web during the afternoon kid shuttle. The day before that I cried while listening to Charlott’es Web too. And the day before…

We take many short trips. A single movie can last us an entire week. This week the movie has moved in me.

Perhaps I’m just sensitive, but certain things have just gotten to me. The latest?

Wilbur tells Charlotte the Spider, “I don’t know if the things you write about me are really true!” Things like terrific and humble and some pig.

I think I heard my soul cry those words along with Wilbur.

“God, I’m not sure I can believe the things you have said about me!”

Good things – how God chose me or wanted me or loved me. How God still does.

Why is it so hard to believe the good things people tell us about ourselves? Why do we look down and shrug or give a non-committal ‘thank you’.

Or is it just me or the mentally ill or the overly stressed moms who wonder? Did something go wrong to make me this way or, God forbid, do I make myself this way?

I don’t know the answers to those questions or how to overcome any of it – the downtrodden selfie viewpoint, the self-doubt…

I think maybe, just maybe, listening when my heart squeezes to the sound of Charlotte’s Web might be a beginning. Perhaps the first step in healing anything is simply acknowledging there is pain.

Candidly,

Ash

 

Real Life

Phew. It’s anxiety today. Man, it’s anxiety a lot of days.

I’m tired of anxiety. I think I’m starting to have anxiety about whether my anxiety will ever pass.

Why does anxiety feel like running around in circles? It feels like I’m running around putting out fires constantly, except there are no actual fires. I’m putting out imaginary fires. THAT is frustrating.

And futile.

Lately, I’ve been longing to have a job besides mom. You know, something to consume my time. The idea of going somewhere, working and having my focus be work is really appealing. I think I’m desiring a way to take my mind off of my family things.

The family things are heavy.

I’m homeschooling our oldest. She had a terrible year of bullying and just needs some recovery time. But, god damn, its a lot of responsibility to parent someone AND make sure they learn algebra.

The toddler toddles and whines and is currently attempting to roll up the 8′ x 10′ rug onto himself. He’ll probably get stuck soon…

I get a call, text, email about Evan every day. It’s okay, nothing too catastrophic, but I feel like I’m the teacher’s personal OnStar representative. Like she can just hit the button and I’m there. I suppose I should implement boundaries. I tried that last year…that’s when he got suspended. Sigh…

I think this just might be life.

Yesterday, Tess asked me “Why can’t things be less stressful?” She was referring to her dance class where she is learning something new every single week. It’s stressful for her. In my sage wisdom,  I responded that she wouldn’t become a better dancer without the stress. Someday, once she knows this whole dance, it will go back to being just fun and free. Until then, its stressful.

Maybe life feels so stressful to me, because I’m learning something new. My new medicine has my mood swings controlled and so I’m finally feeling what I’m told is “normal”. Except it feels damn stressful, because I can feel all the things and numbing doesn’t work like it once did.

But maybe, if I take my own advice and learn to handle this anxiety and stress? Maybe then there will come a time when I can dance the routine of life with fun and freedom.

Until then, I’m just learning how to cope.

Candidly,

Ash

In the Doldrums of Toddler-dom

Today, I wish that I had some sage advice or interesting perspective on raising a toddler. Did you know that you can comfort these little creatures and they will still cry for what seems like an eternity?

I sad. I sad. No. I sad.

This is my morning dialogue with the two-year-old. Its set to the tune of scattered breathing, sniffles and full-on wailing.

What troubles the child?

I gave him fruit loops for breakfast. I have no idea why this is displeasing, but it seems to be the issue. He walks in front of the pantry, bangs on the door, then collapses onto the floor in a fit that rivals the appearance of exorcism.

Why does the answer have to be no? Why can’t I just go offering things up from the pantry like a bonafide waitress?

Some people say that you should always look for ways to say “Yes” to your children. You know, to say yes when you can, because these are small humans here. Their requests are usually simple and accommodate-able. Also, something about picking and choosing your battles.

Others say that children need to hear “No” frequently so they can become accustomed to it. In other words, so they don’t freak out when their parent says ‘No” in public.

Well, these are all really interesting theories of parenthood. This morning, I simply don’t feel that fruit loops should  be boycotted and I don’t want to make a different breakfast. This morning I’m a “get what you get, don’t throw a fit” sort-of parent.

I’m not always this way. Just when I feel depleted, which as of late is a thing. You see, I’m starting to feel a bit held captive here in this house with this small person. Frankly, that’s perfectly reasonable and normal for stay-at-home parents.

I’m sorry, future Rhese, that I wasn’t 100 percent all of the time. At least you learned the lesson of limitations early.

Candidly,

Ash

From the Lost Child

Recently, I haven’t wanted to sit here and write. I haven’t wanted to be on Facebook. I haven’t wanted to go meet with friends.

For most of my life, all I’ve wanted was to be seen or heard. As the youngest child, I was doted upon until adolescence. Then, I was the only child at home and quite lost. You see, other things were happening for my parents and I was a good kid — so not much needed to be done.

Yet, I was so lost. Even now, I think of how lost I was and I tear up.

I just wanted to be heard, to be noticed, to be affirmed.

I’ve spent most of adulthood searching for those same things. Grace brought me a friend blessed with hearing, noticing and affirming skills.

Grace also brought me the gift of writing.

To be honest, I don’t write this damn blog for anyone but myself. It is a way of speaking up, doing my part to be heard.

But its only a half-measure, because I can’t guarantee affirmation from it or even that anyone besides my one precious friend is reading. I don’t want to do the attention-grabbing things and Facebook posting anymore. I’m tired of exerting effort to be heard.

Just writing here, that needs to be enough for me right now. Just being candid and true.

I wish I could afford to hire someone to do all of that heavy-lifting – to submit my work in different places, manage my social media.

But I can’t. So I’m going to be content with just writing the words, having them read and affirmed by the select few.

Maybe, maybe someday, all of the hearing and affirming will seep into this deep cavernous soul of mine.

Maybe then, I won’t be so lost.

Candidly,

ASh

Healthy, Vital and Strong

One of the mantras on my guided wellness meditation says, “I see in my mind’s eye a picture of myself that is vital, healthy and strong.”

When I hear this line, I can see her, but damn she’s easy to lose track of.

My health has been an ongoing struggle this year. I am literally still working on my New Year’s Resolution.  It’s September. I should have met the goal or given up by now.

Perhaps I should be proud that I’m still trying to lose weight.

Mostly I just feel angry.

I’ve tried a lot of new things this year – exercise, food, approaches to food, mindsets. I should be a damn Jillian Michaels by now.

I am by no means Jillian Michaels.

In fact, during my last three months of trying to lose weight – I gained 25 pounds. How is this possible? Well, I started a new medicine that has a side effect of weight gain. It has definitely played a role in the weight gain. My doctor even said he was impressed it wasn’t worse given how quickly we increased the dose.

But damn it.

I know I could have done better.

And I’m angry at myself. The picture I hold in my mind’s eye is heavy, pissed and unhealthy. Maybe meditation is over-rated.

The truth though, and I think this is what the writer’s of the meditation had in mind, is that we can view ourselves in a way that will lead us towards a better future. The girl – the healthy, vital and strong girl – does exist inside of me. She spent over 80 hours on her rowing machine. She ate her servings of vegetables 5 out of 7 days for months. She quit Mountain Dew (that’s huge for me)!

She exists.

I can focus on her or I can focus on lazy-ass heavy girl. Well, that’s not a hard decision.

Candidly,

Ash