A couple of blogs that I follow that have recently brought up the issues regarding bulling and harassment around the gay issue in schools. There have been four known suicides of boy’s in the last month who struggled with this first hand. Lesbian Dad talked about it openly this morning, referring to the responsibility of not only the schools and administration to put a stop to it but for the gay community to share with these youth that things do get better. I normally am not emotionally drawn into these issues but being a lesbian who has two boys that someday will have to face these issues either from having a Mom who is gay or their own individual journey, it breaks my heart.
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In these moments, I would like to put my boy’s in a bubble not exposing them to the heartaches of this world. Yet I know that my job is not to shelter them but to educate them about acceptance and tolerance. Teach them that there are adults in their world besides me that they can trust and who love them exactly as they are. However, mostly how to love and accept themselves, a journey that many of are still traveling into adulthood.
I wish there was an easy answer. I wish my children could stay innocent and unscathed. My hope is that 10 years from now when they are entering adolescence the level of acceptance and tolerance will have grown. Moreover, if not my hope is that they will have a strong foundation and a unshakeable sense of self. I know big dreams!
This week over at Mama Kat’s Writing Workshop the prompt I chose was:
Childhood fears you’ve taken into your adult life.
Well that list could be long! I remember being quite fearful as a child although I didn’t share that with many people. I have been told I came across as a very mature child who could take on anything. It was all an act! I was afraid of heights, not being accepted by my peer group, making someone I love angry, the list could go on. The one fear that I know I have whole-heartedly carries into my adult life is my fear of abandonment.
I am not totally sure where that fear came from, I have some suspicions. We moved a lot until I was in middle school, so friends and schools were never the same one year to the next. My mom was quite sick when I was young and spent some time in the hospital, which felt like she was leaving me at the time. Then my Grandparents who I was very close to, moved to Florida and I went from seeing them a few times a month to a few times a year. I do not know which of those scenarios caused my “abandonment issues” but they are ever present.
Today that fear of abandonment shows up in my life less, but when it shows up I feel like a small child again. The behaviors that come from this fear are mostly my people pleasing because I am afraid if “you” are not happy with me, then “you” will leave and sometimes I get very anxious if someone I care about is not reciprocating in our friendship, thinking that they are ending it. Neither of these are healthy behaviors or helpful in my relationships. The good news is that I am aware of them and awareness is the first step to changing any behavior. Also when that small child shows up today I am usually able to tell her that everything is alright!
I was driving yesterday afternoon to visit friends and family on the other side of the state. I was running behind the schedule I had set for myself. I called a company to follow-up on a job interview and didn’t get the response that I expected. The errands I had run in the morning did not go as planned and by the time I got the boys in the car they had hit their nap-time wall. I was ready to say forget it to the whole trip, which everyone would have understood.
We got going on our trip and 5 minutes into it they had fallen asleep and I took that chance to give God an ear full. Because really I don’t understand what’s going on right now. In my mind I know that I did not get this far for God to drop me on my rear end but I don’t alway believe it in my heart. So I need people to constantly remind me.
As I was driving and praying and yelling and crying. The words to a song came on:
“If it all just happened overnight, you wouldn’t know how much it means? If it all just happened overnight, you would never learn to believe in what you cannot see” ~ Amy Grant
Then I looked in the rear view mirror and saw my little guys. So I took a picture to remind me of that moment of when my heart was open to the idea that it is a process and just like they can’t learn it all in one day. Neither can I.
This week over at Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop the prompt that I choose was:
Write a letter to a reality star of your choice.
Dear Jillian Michaels,
I have been watching you on “The Biggest Loser” for 5 or 6 years now and I have to say I have a love/hate relationship with you. I would love to have your expertise, wisdom, drive and personal experience be a driving force in my own weight loss journey. Not to mention that you are quite nice to look at while working out. However, you scare me to death and I am not sure that I would be performing to avoid having you yell at me or because I truly wanted to do well.
I decided before writing you to look at your biography. I knew that you had struggled with your weight as a child and an adolescent but I had not realized that the martial arts had been your saving grace. I have had a real pull towards cardio kickboxing over the years and the few times I have been able to do it I have really enjoyed it. As much as I talk about not liking, how much you yell there is also a level of jealously in me. Anger has never been my strong point. It has not been an emotion that I have been able to access easily then given myself permission to feel. Therefore, when I see someone feel angry there is a level of jealously on my part. However, since becoming a mom that emotion has been more easily accessible unfortunately.
As far back as I can remember my weight has been an issue. I have a connective tissue disorder that affects my joints and I vividly remember the doctors telling my parents that it was important that I maintain a healthy weight to protect my joints. I do not ever remember being a healthy weight. Eventually my weight became the least of my worries when my other addictions came to the forefront of my life. I do believe that someone who struggles with addictions has to go after them in the order that they are killing them. Weight was way down that list. After I had my boy’s was when I started seeing the importance of taking care of myself, and not wanting to be the “fat” mom that my boy’s are ashamed of as they get older. To date I have lost 104 lbs. I would like to lose 40 lbs more. It has been a very slow process of me being gentle with myself, making small changes and working through the emotions behind the weight. Sometimes being healthy and thin is scarier to me that being heavy. But I know that is just fear and not real.
I would love to meet you someday. But I don’t think I’d want to be on your bad side. I have noticed a lot of change in you over the last few seasons and I like the gentle side we see when you let it out.
Thank you for caring enough to be real and human so that others can heal!!
p>This week over at Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop the topic I chose was:
Where does that fear come from? Write about something that frightens you that other people might find ridiculous. Write about it in a poem, a story, or whatever.
I was working down in my basement a couple of September’s ago. It was a partially finished basement and I was working from home so I had turned part of it into an office space. I was on the phone with a patient giving out medical advice when I saw two black things go quickly by my feet out of the corner of my eye. As for mentioned I was on the phone with a patient so no screaming was allowed and I could not pick up my stuff and run. So I picked my feet up, finished my phone call and just to make sure I wasn’t seeing things I hit the side of the desk. Which resulted in two black rodents (most people refer to them as mice) darting out and running quickly down the wall. I then grabbed my work stuff never to work down in that basement again except to do some laundry and pack when it was time to move.
Now the average person from what I can tell is not fond of having creatures in their living space. Well I was hysterical. I cried, panicked, cried, and did not sleep. I told anyone who would listen and really anyone who would not listen. I argued with you if you told me that maybe, I was making a bigger deal out of this mouse issue than necessary. I researched the possible health implications of mouse droppings on infants if they ingested any of it. I called my landlord, I wanted the little vermin’s executed, and I did not care about animal rights. The sent in the maintenance people and in the end caught five mice over eight weeks. I would not check the traps and I did not want to know where they were set.
This level of fear was not new to me but it had been quite a while since I had felt it. Since getting sober a couple of years prior I had been practicing facing my fears one by one and finding that if, I pushed on them, they would evaporate. It was not the case with this one. My sponsor was away at the time of the mouse situation and then my son ended up in the hospital after having a grand mal seizure so I do not think I ever really gave myself the chance to “lift the rock” and see what that fear was really about until this winter.
We were getting into the car and I saw that the boy’s car seats had been torn and that same woman who is my sponsor had to inform me that they were not torn but that a mouse had eaten at them. Well the scene was not much different. Tears, yelling, you name it. This time was different though. I received a big gift. I had someone there to walk through the fear with me when I was ready and see that it is not the mice that are the problem. It is what the mice represent. It is the fear that I am not capable of protecting my children or myself. That at anytime some unforeseen animal or person can just come in and hurt us. Those fears come from a time and a place that are no longer part of me but sometimes they show their ugly head in a way that I least expect it. Like in the face of a field mouse who is looking to get warm and for a yummy snack one of my toddlers left for him!
Mama Kat’s Writing Workshop:
I never imagined that I would be grateful to know what my weaknesses were. Pieces of my character I was ashamed of, could not talk about and thought I had no control over. When I hit the lowest point in my life just a few years ago, the gift of sobriety came into my life. However, a gift I had to work at to keep and the biggest part of that job is learning what my weaknesses are and becoming willing to let them go. One would think that letting go of weaknesses or defects would be exciting, I have found it to be quite frightening. These defects have also served as my coping skills when I did not have healthy ones and it takes practice and gathering of evidence to start to trust the new ones.
The dance looks something like this:
- Become aware of a weakness or coping skill that is no longer serving me
- Start to see it glaringly throughout my life
- Become willing to let go of that behavior
- Starting kicking the crap out of myself for continuing to behave this way despite knowing that it’s not serving me
- Have someone remind me that it is only through practice and awareness that these things change
- Start to see a new, healthier coping skill that might replace this one
- Practice the new one a few times with success
- Revert back to the old one, then get angry with myself again
- Find myself repeating the new behavior more and more
- Realize that it’s been awhile since I’ve done X,Y or X, but remember that old tool is always ready for me to pick up if I want it
The biggest challenge has been finding patience with me, especially when those behaviors involve my parenting. However, there is a saying in recovery “progress not perfection” and if that is the yardstick then I am doing pretty good!
The Question of the Week over at Multiples…and More! is:
Do you believe in Mother’s intuition?
I found this topic to be quite thought provoking. I do believe that as I have developed a relationship with both of my children that I have gained some “intuition”. Part of that is spending 24/7 with them and knowing every inch of them. Part of it I believe is a bond created throughout the pregnancy/birth process. Now that is not to say by any means that Mother through adoption or surrogacy does not have that same intuition, I have heard that there is just a bigger learning curve.
There have been times when I have known that something is just not right, long before the ear infection is diagnosed. I knew before the ultrasound that there was more than one baby; I was just praying it was not more than two. I am frequently awake before they wake up in the middle of the night when they need me. I am not sure if that is intuition or coincidence.
What is definitely becoming intuitive for me is when I know what to do as a mom or when I need to ask for advice or help; knowing how to explain a difficult situation or feelings at a child’s level; knowing when I need to take some time for myself and many other situations that I could name.
I am sure that did not gain these skills because I birthed children. I know that developing a conscious contact with something greater than me and trusting that, has invited that level of intuitiveness into my life. My job is to keep that connection open……
There is this idea in recovery of doing the “next right thing”. In making decisions about work, relationships and living life in general, our goal is to do the “next right thing”. These become instinctive with time and practice. For me it is like driving in a snow storm only able to see 20 ft ahead but knowing that is all I need to see and when I hit the next 20 ft I will know then what I need to do. This idea has worked well for me all areas in my life except parenting. With parenting, I think that I need a more encompassing view. There is much evidence that how we nurture and discipline our children influences their self-awareness and their coping skills, as they become adults. My innate desire to be perfect as a parent frequently has me up at night wondering how the day’s events are going to play out into their adolescence and adult lives. The problem is that they are only 2 years old and I know better. I know there is no perfection in any areas of life. I know that being aware of my weaknesses and strengths is half the battle in trying to change any behavior. I also know that regardless of what kind of parent I am my children will probably need therapy. Therefore, I ask myself at 3 am “why are you torturing yourself about perfection if there is no such thing?” The answer is always fear and habit. It is a bad habit of mine to stay in the negative and beat myself up whenever possible. And my biggest fear is failure. I do not know how to get rid of that fear except to remind myself that I have lots of evidence that as long as I am doing the “next right thing” it is all happening exactly as planned. Thankfully, it is no longer my plan.