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.

Winding down, gearing up

Been a very long and crowded weekend. Friday and night we attended a client/friend’s birthday party. Where we thought for sure we would be home early – parties are typically not our thing – but a serendipitous turn of events and face-to-face introductions with people I have interacted with via email and phone and we were among the last to leave. It was a really great party, and there was amazing cake.

Saturday was spent on the cleaning decluttering frenzy prior to family dinner at the house. I managed to ruin 2 pans of brownies in a single afternoon, but the rest of the food turned out and tasted fine. So dinner was good. Apple pie was delicious as well as the brownies C and A brought over. Dual pans of ruined dessert quickly forgotten, until today when I was trying to clean the burned pans, which will soon be at the landfill.

Today brought more rain and an opportunity to inventory the pantry, clean out the refrigerators and freezers. Sadly we are/have been terrible food wasters, and hopefully the purge will remind allow us to keep better track of what we have lurking as far as leftovers. I also found package of crackers and other junky stuff lurking in the back and on the top shelves, which are now neatly emptied or where I have stashed the rarely used bowls and equipment. Until I can either bring myself to declutter and donate those.

A lot of big and little things coming up in November. Work alone is going to be a little nutty this week with lots going on in the office and a couple of unanticipated client projects as well. All good. Tomorrow is training Monday and I’m super excited about it.

In my drafts folder there are 6, maybe 7 posts started and still needing work to complete them. Like so many things in my life right now, they are in progress and being nudged along to completion. I need to nudge more, nudge harder, nudge faster. Or so I think, anyway. But when put like that, it’s more like push more, harder, faster.

But for right now, I’m have podcasts to listen to and an hour of reading to enjoy and wind down from a zoom-zoom-zoom weekend. Trainer J just turned me on to a podcast with Scott Abel, and I have a couple dozen to get listen to in order to catch up and be current. Yep, turning into some kind of exercise geekette.

And it is a Very Good Thing.

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere

Today started out as wonky, confusing weekend, but not at all bad or unpleasant – just me trying to catch up on unusual happenings the last few days.

So Thursday I mentioned having weird shoulder and neck pain and suspecting my office desk set-up being the culprit. By the time I was finishing that post from my treadmill desk at home, that pain had pretty much subsided on its own. However, following trainer J’s recommendation to take it easy, I did legs and very light upper body on Friday morning even though I felt fine. The leg routine I selected is perplexing – as I told J, it’s like bad tasting food I cannot ever bring myself to cut from my diet. “Kale for the legs” is what J laughingly referred to it, and the label is sticking.

Anyway, working from home yesterday felt no bad twinges anywhere. It was a relief. Exercise and better health quest is cresting and cruising along the awesome sauce road and I was going to be bitterly disappointed if I had done something to curtail and/or redirect that.

But since I rarely to never work from home on Fridays, it felt like Saturday to me. Then J was discussing our session on Monday, which my brain interpreted as a Sunday event, and I woke up this morning first thinking it was Monday and I was late, then remembering we had scheduled noon, me for the sheer novelty of being in the gym at an unusual time. So from there I realized that no, Monday is a holiday, and thought for sure it was Sunday. I got dressed for my pilates class at the yoga studio, when I finally figured out it’s Saturday from a brief period of panic that I blew off a regular Saturday appointment with a client. I start to text him an apology for standing him up without calling when phone points out it IS Saturday. Thankfully back on track.

If it’s only Saturday, why am I getting dressed to go to Sunday’s pilates class? F**k it, I think; not a soul in that entire gym will care if I am wearing my usual t-shirt or my yoga tank top. So I don’t change my clothes. However, I do put on socks and sneakers. I can only imagine the talking to (and rightly so) I would get for trying to go through my practice barefoot on the gym floor. I admit to seeing five fingers on feet anywhere and cringing inside.

And guess what? There was no ensuing scandal or people running from the gym screaming because of the blinding white of my skin that sees very little sunlight. The funny thing about Bikram yoga, it is the only place I have ever been to regularly where I have felt self-conscious for being too covered up. It seems to me those people would practice naked if they could get away with it, and it honestly does not seem to matter at all what size or shape of their bodies. I have to admire that kind of confidence and focus on doing their own practice.

Thus far, it has been a fantastic Saturday. Got my gym practice done. Chatted with my client (he is actually out of town for the holiday and we were not scheduled to meet face to face today) and received some surprising and amazing bonus news. I am digging deeper into my endless closet and pulling crap out and rapidly filled several bags for donation. Because the clothes are TOO BIG or no longer suit me. I am closing in on fitting into a couple of tailored skirts for next winter, so they got to stay awhile longer. Favorite things are still favorite things, and thankfully it’s way, Way, WAY too hot for wool blend skirts.

Then there is cooking. Grocery shopping is on the list this afternoon, because I don’t think we have anything left to prepare food with. Bananas and protein powder are not going to cut it.

And it’s hot. And my day is still wonderful despite the heat. Although if you ask M, when he eventually straggles in from a 20+ mile run/walk in the bright sunlight and heat, it’s miserable out there. Okay honey; you know there are these treadmill things at the gym, with air conditioning and everything, right? We are different that way, and I get it. Run on a treadmill? There would have to be nuclear fallout and deadly levels of radiation to make that happen, and even then I’m not really sure – hazmat suits could make than manageable, right? Another lady I see most Saturdays working with her trainer was heading outside to do cardio today and I felt so sorry for her. Outside, with the bugs, and the sun, and the warm temperatures. Ugh. Maybe swimming would be okay. But I might have to work harder on that whole blinding white skin thing. Unsuspecting bystanders, small children and such; it seems a safety hazard.

Glorious, liberating Saturday. Practice and work-work is now done, some decluttering accomplished and more yet to do. Get some groceries, cook some food for the upcoming week, and then I can get back to cleaning house to get it back into some semblance of order and diving back in to my disorganized chaos closets (because I have 1.75 closets and M has a very spare quarter to third).

Or not. The nice thing about weekends with no real commitments is being able to do whatever I want, even if that includes curling up on the couch with a book. Or floating in the pool with my iPad. Or taking a nap. Possibilities are truly endless, AFTER grocery shopping and restocking the fridge and pantry.

Happy weekending everyone!

A blissfully uneventful Friday

It has been a fabulous day. Work was quiet – just me and one project manager and the PM’s little dog. Phone were relatively silent as well, and I spend most of the day catching up on several months of filing. Yep, I was filing. And it was absolutely glorious.

After yesterday with the drama with my sister-in-law, I was happy to have an almost empty office and piles of paper pushing to keep me occupied. There is something infinitely satisfying about just sorting and putting away paper and having that neat and orderly file room … which will last until Monday, when everyone is back in the office and emptying out their in-boxes.

I also got my out-of-control emails, voice mails, and desktop organized and sorted. When I return on Monday, it will be to a clean desktop, an empty voicemail (I hope, anyway), and a fairly empty email account. Something to look forward to for the new week, and also a first for this year.

On the home front, M and I are met friends for dinner tonight. He has also had a fairly quiet day, out for a long run with a buddy and back to mostly ignoring his sister’s landslide of texts and friend requests on facebook. He is still perking on the situation, and I am happy not to have to talk about it right now. Our friends are funny, distracting company we see once or twice a month, so it was a pleasant evening. Their youngest son is in a Marine and expected to be back from Afghanistan next month, so they are counting the days until he is safely back on US soil.

Tomorrow night my son and K are bringing a group of friends over for poker night, since their apartment is a bit tiny to host. That will be fun. I offered to make dinner and snacks for the crew, so it will be quite a houseful. This is not even my party and I’m excited about it. M is crewing a friend in an ultra race and is unlikely to be home until Sunday morning sometime, so it will be me and a group of semi-sober 20-somethings. I will prep the guest room and get out the air mattresses. My son does not even live at home anymore and still has parties at my house.

This weekend I MUST be productive here at home. I have a long list in my head that needs to be transported to a to-do list so it gets done. Mostly it revolves around garage cleaning while M is out of my way and not here to agonize over every item in boxes we have not opened in at least 3 years. Perhaps some bulk cooking as well. We have been eating a lot of odds and ends, nothing particularly nutritious, and I need to get back to doing weekend meal prep so we get more balanced meals. With two temporary crowns on either side of my mouth, food does require a little advance planning. But I can certainly do better than yogurt and cold cereal.

Have a great weekend everyone!

oh the Drama ….

We tend to be relatively low-maintenance around here. M and I have our dust-ups like any other couple, the kids come home with issues or problems to talk over. Friends have problems and we try to be good listeners and help when and where we can. But drama tends to be something that happens at arm’s length, almost like it touches us second-hand through one of the kids or close friends.

Work has me feeling a little tense. Nothing serious, but like the sound of a dripping faucet will drive even the most patient person insane subjected to it long enough. Whenever my boss has personal issues or something going on at home, he tends to get on everyone’s nerves at work with amplified passive-aggressive behavior. Whenever this happens, and it is like 3 or 4 times a year, my response tends to be something abnormal like the urge to spend money. On something. Anything. It is a triggering type of stress I have come a long way in overcoming and controlling, but I recognize the signs.

If that was not bad enough, I received another note from my future sister-in-mother-in-law land inviting me to lunch. Just me, her, her two sisters, and her mother. I have not yet responded to the invitation, but I want to ask if I can invite my former mother-in-law and sister-in-law as well. I am feeling a bit outnumbered and do not want to be hostile towards her. My boss trying to tip me over the edge of crazy somehow is not putting me into a good frame of mind to meet with my daughter’s future in-laws so they can lean on me to lean on her to make some wedding plans.

Yes, hostile is a good word toward how I am feeling toward her right this minute. I will reply tomorrow. Maybe. Perhaps i’ll go with M on a 10 mile hike before then, so I will be dazed with thirst and fatigue and be therefore agreeable to anything that includes food and drink.

Just to set the stage … this was my frame of mind before we set off to Costco this evening: frustrated, hostile, and itching to spend money. On something. Anything.

It is the Friday prior to a 3-day weekend and Costco was out of a lot of our organic lettuce, organic milk, and never-seem-to-expire hotdog buns. However, they did have the organic chicken burritos M likes and the organic pretzels we have been impatiently waiting for weeks to return. We try to buy organic whenever we can find it, and our local Costco has a pretty good selection of produce much of the time. Tonight they made it up to me with organic red and green grapes. The biggest splurge, though, was in a set of gardening tools (shovel, pitchfork, and 2 hand shovels and 1 hand trowel) that have a gorgeous ash handle and shiny stainless steel shovel and fork parts. So attractive we plan to hang them on the side of our little storage house as a decorative attire when not actually in use. That and 3 short sleeved t-shirts I will wear to work. Our firm has a very casual dress code and everyone wears t-shirts and jeans or shorts year round. It is really time to replace a few of mine, as they are getting ratty.

Unfortunately my grocery shopping and splurging on garden tools and t-shirts has not really alleviated my sense of dread on dealing with my daughter’s future in-laws. I feel sure I like them, A’s mother and her immediate family. Or I at least like them well enough, and I truly believe her heart is in the right place. That said, I know my daughter, and I know my daughter is reasonable unless pushed too hard, at which time she becomes the LaBrea tar pits of stubborn. It seems to be falling to me to make her future mother-in-law understand that relaxing, backing off, and not bugging the kids about when they are going to do some wedding planning is far better than the bull-in-china-shop approach presently underway.

I sort of wish I drank alcohol, because tonight would be the night for a glass of wine or a shot of something stronger. But I don’t. So I’m going to have to settle for another glass of water and to see if I have another bottle of dill pickles stashed in the pantry. Yes, it’s been a very stressful week. Thank goodness I have a 3 days weekend to recover from thoughts of strangling my boss or being less diplomatic and possibly unkind with my future sister-in-mother-in-law hood.

(Edited for dumb typos that jumped off the page as soon as I posted.)