It’s been a week

This week, this WEEK. It’s been up, down, all around. I am not coping in the most stellar manner, and it leaks out in the weirdest ways.

I have touched upon it in the past, but I had a horror-filled childhood with significant trauma from sexual abuse. I rarely write about it and never in a lot of detail, because I simply cannot go there. If I let go of the safety net that keeps me on this safe side of my mind and memories, I have paralyzing fear of what will happen to me. I foresee a kind of madness for which there is no recovery.

So I do not really talk about it. Periodically, if I am disturbed and on edge and feel that creeping into my consciousness, I have to book some time with TM to talk me away from the edge of the cliff so I do not start staring into the dark abyss and contemplate jumping into it. I would be lost. Once upon a time, in the darkest times of our marriage, M unskillfully pushed me to try and talk about it. It was nearly the undoing of our marriage and pushed me to a point of hatred for him that I did not even consider myself of feeling. Recovery from that is part of what makes our marriage better and stronger. Neither of us ever forget how awful those months working through it.

It occurs to me fairly routinely that I’m fortunate to be here, still standing, and pretty well insulated and safe. From myself. From my past. From a history that should never have been written. I have no illusions about how unpriviledged my upbringing or how broken and incapable my family of origin, and I completely feel the limitations of my own emotional range. My life works as well as it does because I work at it. Every single day I have to make choices and do some level of work to strike the right balance between two extremes. Honestly, I do not see myself as unusual in this characterization of life and living, but I do feel handicapped in some areas other people take for granted.

My bias against those with entitlement or similar inclinations is pretty strong. The princess complex, as I think of the female of the species who are spoiled and want what they want and typically get it because of their physical beauty, is a huge blindspot for me, one I have to consciously battle to restrain assumptions based on facts not in evidence.

I may have a similar chip on my shoulder about those crying “poor me” about the state of their lives and blaming their upbringing for their lack of success or unwillingness to make the sacrifices and do the work to improve their circumstances. The cycle of poverty is a symptom of a malaise in our society and there are no easy answers or solutions to overcoming it. However, not excusing ourselves from taking more responsibility for our lives is a start and a step in the right direction.

Sometimes I wonder if it is simply my generation that leads me to such impatience with those who spend most of their time weeping and wailing rather than trying to make small changes that will improve their lives. This is where I know my feelings are not completely functional, because I know how crummy I felt inside for too much of my life and yet still managed to take care of myself and my family. I look at my upbringing, I look at how destroyed I was and wrecked I remain from the weight of those emotional scars and wonder why I am a productive member of society and others are sitting around wringing their hands in angst and distress and making excuses about how awful their lives. I want to react with sympathy, I want to be compassionate, yet much of the time inside I am screaming “shut the f**k up and get some professional help to grow up.”

I guess I wonder how far we should reach out with sympathy and compassion. Depression and anxiety are real afflictions for many people, and I do not want to be a jerk about accommodations for such conditions. But there has to be balance, a tipping point.

Except I feel too strung out with my own history to be a rational judge.

It comes up this week in particular, with a child committing suicide and wrestling with an emotional distress issue in an employee and trying to oversee our current recruiting campaign. Thus far this week I have met with three candidates with strong resumes and yet seem to be suffering from some sort of personality disorder in face-to-face meetings.

Like so many posts, I am simply trying to sort out my own thoughts. Mostly, I think I am frustrated with those who have expectations of obtaining something unearned. Natural talent is rare and most of has have to work hard to earn whatever it is we are seeking, and sometimes that involves swallowing our pride and sense of self and just doing what is necessary to remove or dismantle the obstacles in our way, whether it is bad things befalling us in childhood or the shit work in our jobs to get to the next raise or the general education to get a college degree or having a conversation with firm administrator – not an attorney peer – when seeing an attorney position in a law firm.

Days like today, weeks like this one, I am weary of being underestimated or my conscientious efforts to do better, be better minimized in the face of someone else’s ambitions.

I also recognize this … stuff … comes from no one I care much about and whose thoughts and opinions should not impact me. Unfortunately they are still people I have to deal with on some level or another and their clones are everywhere. It is just tiresome.

At the same time, I am grateful for the bland normality of my life and times. Living the dream? Oh my yes. From where I started, I never anticipated, nor did anyone else in my family of origin, ever imagine me achieving this or any other level of success in life.

I wonder if that chip, and the lingering resentment it instills when faced with similar attitudes and projections, can be surgically removed? Today I might seriously consider it.

Peaks and valleys

This is a first for me – blogging from a local Starbuck’s. Everything is fine at home, wifi is fully functional and working perfectly. But I wanted/needed caffeine this morning and felt a strong desire for a change of scenery for this post.

Because honestly, I’m having the good, the great, the really shitty this weekend with the whole mom thing. Even better, more in balance with the way my life runs, the really shitty is but a spare slice in the overall cake. Unfortunately it’s too large a fissure to be concealed with frosting.

I am honoring a standing promise to my children to never express fury at their father in this forum. He and his spouse are the source of my extreme dismay on what should be a relaxing and delightful Sunday. I am so angry I had to leave my own house to write this post. That sounds illogical, I know; perhaps I fear my home zen will be tainted if I stay there and stew.

Anyway, I’m back on caffeine with a vengeance. Unfortunately it always happens this time of year – air race week is coming up and I’ll be slamming coffee in the morning (we take the first shuttle at 7 a.m.) and iced tea throughout the day. I will detox as usual when we return.

Work on work-work yesterday, a couple of my clients gave me lovely gift baskets and congratulatory cards for my son and his bride, just as they did when my daughter and A married back in April. I have the best clients. They have only met my kids a couple of times, and they are both very kind and very generous to remember them and buy them a gift.

The good and the great in my being a mom weekend – my kids are fabulous. They love each other fiercely. They take care of each other. I love, Love, LOVE that about them. Having never been close to my sister or my family of origin, I am beyond grateful for the relationships I have with them. It matters to me.

I was listening to M was watching on TV last night and there was a line that stuck with me: some people are not meant to stay in your life, but that doesn’t mean they can’t stay with you. Is that actual wisdom or just a good sound-bite of entertainment for the masses? If my head were in a little more positive, uplifted, less angry place would I even remember hearing it and picking it out of the white noise of background? I suppose it doesn’t matter. I am where I am and it’s running through my head and making me ponder it and all the implications it brings. Even the junk food sources of food for thought are still food.

This weekend, I have a few of those, ghosts of people past who meant so much to me or taught me something important before they exited. While I am angry and upset about things well beyond my control, I cannot and will not hold a grudge or let my anger taint the rest of what was a milestone in our lives. We hung out yesterday with dear friends who remind me that my dignity and my self-respect are far more meaningful now that the self-destructive emotions I might want to indulge. I have a bigger toolbox and better, badder tools to help me cope and stay focused on what’s real, what’s important in my life.

While I woke up late this morning and did not make it to the pilates class I typically attend and did not feel like the gym either, I do not feel guilty or even badly about it. Rational mind says I needed the sleep, and I tend to agree. Instead I went on a long walk, the same route my neighbor and I would pursue on weekends before she died. Rather than wallowing in my fury, I walked it off, mostly. Then I came here for a rare (anymore) cup of coffee and to write it all out.

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And that was this morning … and I wanted to give myself a buffer of time before posting. Anger is good fuel for getting through a few thousand steps of cardio and slamming down a cup of coffee.

It has crossed my mind more than once today I am so glad to be back in the gym and training with J tomorrow morning, because being off the work clock for 2.5 days (out of 4) makes me feel disconnected. In my distraction, it feels like I have been away from the gym when I have not been away from the gym for any unusual amount of time. It does feel as if I have been slacking, even if I haven’t really been slacking. Basically, I have been thrown off my routines and am feeling the impact. Not a terrible thing, just another reminder that I a creature of habit and require my routines to feel normal and safe and in control of my life in its own little groove.

I return to work tomorrow for 2 days, then off on vacation. I know I have a lot to do, but it’s work – it will still be there when I get back. My self-employment clients are pretty well squared away for the week, although I will be available by phone or email if something comes up.

Mostly I feel almost back on track. I knew these couple of weeks would be messed up, and I am looking forward to the next dimension of being back to normal life and on track. Probably, possibly everyone I deal with regularly will be relieved I’m on vacation and out of their hair for a week. But for me it feels like this big chunk of time where I am without direction or focus while I am still at home and struggling with my routines.

I do know a couple of my friends are feeling the heat from my out-of-step-ness this weekend. Not to worry – the email deluge should be winding down to a trickle. I have been on Facebook more in the last 48 hours than I have in the last 2 years I have had a profile.

Winding down this Sunday night, the unevenness of the weekend ends on high notes. The jarring lows are behind me and in my rearview. And I am intentional about leaving them right where they lay.

Good week ahead, everyone!