Archive for the 'Self-flagellation' Category

a virtue

Is patience.

At least, it is

for me.

I realised yesterday,

after a tough,

tough, day,

that I need to learn

patience in a

BIG way.

My lack

thereof

makes my life

so much

harder

and, of course,

it’s pretty horrible

for those

around me.

My teeth are sore

from being ground

yesterday.

I assume from

stress.

Every unwelcome

noise,

spillage,

fall,

breakage,

bump,

drove me

insane.

So, without going

on and on

about how

my lack of

patience

kills

our rhythm,

what can I do about it?

I’m not sure

yet

but, hell, I’m

willing to

find out.

This stuff is hard man.

So many days

I just

feel

I wasn’t

made for

this parenting

stuff.

Really.

the day the car hit the wall

My fingers are slowly slipping

And it won’t take much for me to fall.

Apart.

I don’t take care.

I make too many mistakes

I won’t be what I was

I don’t concentrate.

I self-flagellate.

I cry.

I complain.

I tick over the days.

I hate not having much money.

I hate the slippery fall into debt.

I could work.

I hate that I can’t relax.

I forget to breathe.

I forget breathing is all there is.

It’s all I know.

I hate that I don’t want to be here right now.

I hate this weather, there’s no relief.

I hate that I can’t play with my 2 year old

I hate that I feel so bored, so numb.

I hate that I can’t just have moments.

I hate that I know I can change things but I don’t.

I am agitated, anxious.

I am grinding my jaw and tensing my shoulders.

 

But,

I can express gratitude.

I am grateful today that

I didn’t hit anyone when I was driving

There is a breeze through the house

That my baby woke once

For coffee.

That C was with a client when I rang him with the news

That I will survive; we will.

That

We have food in the house

I can cry if I want to

It’s just money – even if we have only a little.

That

Even gardenias with their amazing perfume, still have soiled petals.

That

The glass is still

Relentlessly

Half full.

 

Away and away

I know I’ve been pretty quiet round here lately. I am crazy, crazy busy having taken on more work from another source just at the same time we had decided that I needed to pull back to focus on the boys. Ha! Isn’t that the way things work? This new work is meant to last only 8 weeks but already I have the feeling it could stretch out a bit longer so I’ll really have to reassess things then. These couple of weeks are particularly crazy so hopefully in a wee while, despite working 2 jobs and looking after two young un’s I feel a bit more balanced. Ha! Who said balance was bunk? Spot on.

I have been waiting to write all day about something in particular. Something that struck me so markedly at the time and made me think immediately, I need to blog about this.

Last night, I joined a wonderful, smart, warm, inviting group of women for another meeting of bookclub. We are all very different – in attitudes, lifestyles, looks, preferences, but we are ALL so open and embracing of everyone and everything. I paint this very flattering picture of us all because it is this wonderful atmosphere that provides the somewhat discordant setting of what happened when I made my way to the toilet.

L’s bathroom is mainly mirrors. You can’t avoid them. Even sitting on the loo. And I was. Sitting on the loo. Smiling to myself about our most recent conversation, R’s joke, B’s insight and generally appreciating it all. Then I got a glimpse of myself. Not a look, simply a glimpse; a very quick blur of brown hair and pale skin. And I knew, deep, deep down that I couldn’t look at myself at that moment. That looking at myself would make me very upset. That looking at myself would whip me so quickly away from the lovely buzz we were all enjoying that night. I knew (and when I say knew, it was something bodily, something so intrinsically known that cognition wasn’t necessary or relevant) that what I would see would be truely ugly. That I would find it ugly. That I would be shocked by this ugliness. I would hate what I saw.

And I didn’t looked. I finished. I washed my hands with my head still hanging low and I returned to the laughter and the food and the wine and the warmth. But I also knew that something terrible had happened. Something I was ashamed of. Something I couldn’t control and yet knew was somehow a huge betrayal of myself and even of everyone sitting around that table. Everyone trying hard to accept themselves and be open to others. I had been unable to look at myself because I was so scared of what I would see. Because I knew that I would be disgusted. Because I knew I wouldn’t have been able to laugh as much when I returned.

This all scared me. I can’t really make sense of it. But I do know that I felt profoundly that I was ugly. Grotesque even. And I can’t help but wonder why?

The best I can

I’m feeling sluggish and pretty down today. There are reasons. But more than anything, it seems impossible to get going on the work front. I have been at my computer for an hour and a half and am no further through anything than when I sat down. A few moments ago I wrote a sentence on desktop sticky. “I’m doing the best I can.” It made me feel better for a while but then I glanced at it again and began questioning the substance of it. I’m mean, am I? Am I, right now, doing the best I can?

Because I feel a bit crappy, I can answer yes. It seems I’m not going to get much done today for that reason. On the other hand, if I were really doing the best I can, would I not be working harder to jump start myself out of this malaise and begin doing some real, substantial work instead of distracting myself with blog writing.

I sat down to write this entry in order to try and make sense of these thoughts that are swimming blindly around my head. It has only just occurred to me that this might just be another firm example of why I’m not doing the best I can.

I (we all) put so much goddamn pressure on myself to be working at full capacity all the time. I feel terribly guilty that this morning, my first morning on my own in over a week, I’ve had a quick morning nap, I’ve got little work done, I am finding hard to motivate myself. When I say guilty, I mean I feel pretty much crap about myself.

It seems as a mother, and a mother who tries to work works from home, it feels totally inexcusable to take a moment for oneself. It feels like the soft option; the lazy way; the opting out. Right now, I feel bad because I feel bad and in feeling bad I’m not getting anything done which means that I’ll be madly rushing to get the work finished later in the week when I’ll have a baby or two at home and also working at night when I want to crash in front of the TV. I’ll be madly typing away, staying up late only to get up early to a baby who doesn’t like to sleep in the mornings and then feeling crappy and in a bad mood with everyone because I’m tired because I DIDN’T GET THROUGH MY WORK ON TUESDAY MORNING BECAUSE I FELT LIKE CRAP.

None of it really makes sense does it? I still haven’t answered my question, am I really doing the best I can? Would the best be getting through my work no matter how bad I feel so that I’m more available to everyone else later in the week and feel less stressed when I’m required to give more of myself?

Or does doing the best you can, just mean that you can only do what you can do in any given moment dependent on nothing?

Sick leave

Oink oink…..no, I don’t think it is the swine flu but goddamn it’s the bloody African safari version of something that has bought me to my knees (and flat on my back in bed) this last week. Stuff the pigs, I’ve been sick as a dog and all in the lead up to our little soiree in wine country. More than pissed off. But hey, I’ve now passed it on to both boys who have both turned into their own version of Damian. And I’m leaving them tomorrow to sort it out with their grandmothers both of whom are staying here to take care of them while we are away. Yes, these dudes need two fully competent, mothers and grandmothers to look after them because they are FULL ON!

I’m trying to encourage a love- in with A at the moment because his behaviour has been beyond appalling in the last few weeks. It’s like his head is spinning so fast round and round and round all the time and he has not time to stop and check in on what the hell he’s doing. C has lost it and C has the patience of a goldfish. And he’s begun speaking to A in a way that I know does not serve the situation well. I can only figure that A has become this diabolical entity because deep down he’s trying to attract attention that he feels, for whatever reason, is currently lacking. My secret fear (and I have carried this with me since having the boys) is that this is true. That I don’t give him enough attention. That I’m too often distracted. That it’s easier to fold the washing than build a train track. That I pretend I’ve got very important things to do to avoid running in the park and helping him climb the monkey bars.

There I’ve said it. This fear looms large most of the time. It paralyses me and stupidly makes me self-conscious sometimes when I’m with either of the boys. I also have a pathological fear of not being liked and that too plays itself out in my relationship with the boys. How sad is that.

I’m trying hard to bring my attention to these fears and the way they manifest themselves on a day-to-day basis. Hopefully, then, I can make the most of this beauty I carry through my life in every moment.

Remembering the grace….

I really need to do this again. I’ve had a tough time recently with a crappy medical diagnosis that has made me awful. It’s a condition that I will live with all my life and I feel too young and too on the brink of the great things in life to have developed this. However, I am coming out of the darkest depths of self-pity and self-flagellation and am realising that now, more than ever, I need to see GRACE in small things. So,

1. Perfect ‘research’ dinner with my beautiful other as we discuss at length our wine-bar project.

2. Coffee with a friend about to leave for a wonderful journey through the Middle East. Vicarious pleasure on my part just hearing about the itinerary.

3. My boy’s face as he spys me through the gate at day care.

4. Soft purple tulips brimming with love.

5. Belief in myself and my own strength that I can manage this thing. I never knew I had it in me.

Ahhhh…..that was easy and I feel great now. I go with grace….

Transference

I don’t know why it is that every time I set foot outside the Noosa apartment, the ever present tension in my shoulders disappears. It could be that I’m a working example of Pavlov’s famous experiment. That I’ve been coming here so long and enjoy my time so much that the association my body has with Noosa is immediate relaxation. It could be that for so many years crossing the threshold into my grandparents’ house was always full of such joy. They aren’t here anymore but their spirit and the freedom that they wore proudly is definitely here. It could be that the view of an immense stretch of water framed with low lying stark greens and browns and blue, blue sky has an extremely meditative and calming effect. It could be all of these things combined. C says he feels it too. There is just something about this place.

Anyway, so I’m Noosa and I have to say despite the fact that S is waking for a feed 3 times a night and the four of us are sharing a room and wake up time for the kids is between 4 and 4.30, I am feeling great. The first time in a long time I’ve felt even-keeled. And it lasts. All day. There are none of the ‘eek’ moments that have found they’re way so easily into my life recently. Our view from the apartment is extraordinary. We’re both relaxed despite C feeling under the weather. S is LOVING it with a capital L. It’s like he was surfing the waves inutero the way he’s taken to the beach. A has been more tentative in basically everything he does. He loves the water and he’s clearly appreciating the holiday feeling that has taken over our family but this is definitely a ‘phase’ for him. Well, at least I hope it is. He’s getting a bit weird man. He’s so frightened of absolutely everything. Everything has become ‘dangerous’ or ‘scary’ or ‘I don’t like it.’ He won’t talk to anyone and is just damn rude in response to greetings or conversation attempts. He gets sooo upset if anything doesn’t go his way and not in a “I’m-two-goddamit-i-deserve-the-world-and-icecream-and-lollies-and-chocolate-and-Bob-the-builder-and-new-cars-whenever-I-want-them” kind of way. In the “oh-my-god-the-world-is-going-to-end-and-it’s-all-my-fault-and-i-can’t-bear-to-live-if-things-continue-like-this-if-i-don’t-get-my-way” kind of a way. Sheesh. It’s both exhausting and frankly, a little unnerving. I’m scared I’ve got one of those kids that sits in the corner of the playground studying his lunch box just to look occupied as the rest of the boys play soccer in the car park. It’s scaring me.

More than anything I’m worried that it’s my fault. When he uses the word dangerous, which he does at least 50 times a day about anything that he doesn’t want to do or that scares him, I hear it coming out of my mouth. I here the utterance I’ve made countless times in the three years of his life and I feel awful. Is this what I’ve done? Have I made him scared of the world? Scared to take any risks at all? That’s exactly what it is with A. He simply will not take risks. I wasn’t like that as a child. C wasn’t like that as a child. I don’t think either of us were particularly risk-taking but we didn’t fear much either. I feel I’ve been more frightened of taking risks since the age of 19 than when I was a kid. I spent a good part of my twenties unable to take risks and paid for it with a great deal of unhappiness. That’s what I feel A is suffering now. I feel that his unwillingness to take risks is causing him great unhappiness or potentially will. Or maybe that’s just my stuff.

I am becoming increasingly aware of the part my ego plays in bringing up both A and S. When I get cross with A for being rude, or not replying to someone, or failing to greet someone or thank someone, I now know it’s because I don’t want to be the mother of a child that is like this. And that I don’t want the people I love most in the world, to be rejected. Ok, so part of me knows (or I should say believes) that these little things – call them manners if you will- are kind of important in life. They help you get things and places. But I also know I’ve spent my life wanting always, always to be liked. I avoid conflict to an embarrassingly degree and get caught in awful situations of subservience because of it. I tell white lies just so as not to offend someone but more than offence, so that they won’t dislike me. So they won’t say bad things about me.

I know this stupid, insipid part of myself I’m transferring onto my children. I don’t want them to be criticized. I don’t want them to be disliked. I don’t want them to be rejected. I don’t want them to be judged. All the things I’ve avoided for so long but in doing so, have definitely held myself back. I’m getting better but if there’s one thing I don’t want my kids to inherit, it’s this. The person I want to be stands up for what she believes in all the time in all situations. She admits to her mistakes. She is more open so that people get to know the real her and not the person she hopes they like. All of this I want for my kids.

So when A doesn’t say ‘hello’ or ‘thank you’ or ‘excuse me’. Or he says something rude or inappropriate because he’s feeling uncomfortable, I feel all the hot feelings of embarrassment I’ve felt for so long when I feel I’m being judged. And I lash out at him firstly, to show that I’m a good mother and expect more from my son, but also, to relieve myself and the humiliation I can feel building in me. It’s terribly ego driven but I’m working on it. I don’t want my parenting to be about me. I want it to be about my boys. I want them to have strength, resolve, honesty and integrity. All the things I feel I’ve shirked away from just so that people are nice to me.