Black + White Equals Blue

[CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)],

By Johnny Edward (Metal Mickey) via Wikimedia Commons

I have wasted two whole days already. Both of our daughters are back in school full time as of Wednesday, and I am paralyzed.

I’ve been looking forward all summer to having long stretches of time to myself and now I’m struggling to enjoy them.

I envisioned writing for hours at a time every day, something that would bring me joy and a feeling of accomplishment. I envisioned blogging daily and tackling some of the many writing projects I’ve put on hold for that magical day when my youngest daughter would be in preschool and I’d have time. Time to accomplish.

I anticipated jumping in and accomplishing immediately. I’m a doer, a go getter. Except when I’m not. And then the whips come out. I know how to pressure myself to get things done – push, push, push. I know how to avoid – no, no, no. The in between, go-with-the-flow gray place eludes me.

I have time now and I don’t know how to begin. I’ve avoided my computer all week in favor of finishing two novels and taking naps. Not sure what I’m so exhausted from, but something is up for me and I’m having trouble accepting myself as is.

If I’m not accomplishing, who am I? What value do I have? Doing and accomplishing justify my existence.

I could get busy. I certainly have plenty of tasks to do, everyday living type things. (I could even tackle the 15 loads of laundry I folded while watching The View but can’t bring myself to put away.)

I’ve often preferred myself as human doing rather than a human being. I don’t like being human. I don’t enjoy having human emotions and human blocks and human failings. I’d rather be a robot:  punch in the required tasks, push go and move into action.

Except I love myself enough today to want more for me than just getting busy to avoid these feelings. I want pleasure and joy and lightness of spirit. I want to pursue my interests that bring me joy and feelings of passion. I want to believe I deserve those things.

Apparently, the only way to the lighter feelings is through these uncomfortable ones.

I don’t want to turn writing, blogging into a burden or a measure of my value in the world. If I write x number of posts a week, I’m good, I count, I matter, I’m on the right path. If I don’t, I’m done, worthless and washed up.

Happy you’re reading such an emotionally stable woman’s blog right now, aren’t you?

I recently signed up to receive daily affirmations from some guy called “Tut, The Universe.”  The messages are quirky and fun and sometimes poignant. Today’s message pushed me to write this post instead of avoiding the computer for another day:

Mary, when you move, I move. When you reach, I reach. And when you go the extra mile, I clear the way. But not a moment sooner.

Which is why before you move, reach, and go, things sometimes look so scary. 

Just like that,

    The Universe

I’m aware that mine are luxury problems. And I’ve avoided sharing these feelings with you through this blog this week out of shame that I’m just a pampered, spoiled woman “boo hoo-ing” through a minor depressive episode. Perhaps that is true.

What’s also true is that even us spoiled, pampered whiners deserve to let go of fear and shame and enjoy loving support and guidance from “the universe” and some incredibly loving friends.

Please send hugs (and cookies).

What a Shame!

I’m never writing another blog post. I’m done. It’s too scary, too vulnerable; the feelings are too hard to control. And control is my middle name. It’s actually Lynn, but I’m convinced Control was my parents’ first choice. 

An aside:  while many parents today go out of their way to find unique, often unusual names for their offspring, in my mother’s family, a hearty Italian crew, her parents opted to take a less creative route in their naming. They recycled names with ease and impunity. Two of my aunts are Marie Angela and Angela Marie. Two of my uncles are Anthony Michael and Michael Anthony. And don’t get me started on all the Josephs and Marias! My family is a biblical naming wonderland.

I digress. Back to me and my feelings. Posting these blogs over the past few days has highlighted my feelings of fear and vulnerability in ways I haven’t felt before (and have felt all my life). I tell myself I don’t have the tools or the strength of character to handle this kind of public vulnerability. Granted, I’m defining the word “public” loosely. As of today only a handful of people, most of whom are dear friends and family members, are following my blog. But, but … I’ve never been one to let pesky facts get in the way of my opinions. I’m talking about feelings not facts here, people!  

Even after many decades of practice, I still care too much what other people think of me and not enough about what I think.

I spoke with a mom friend this week who commented on my blog. She asked me an innocuous question about the personal stuff I share on my blog. I immediately felt shame that I was doing something wrong by writing these blog posts. I doubt this mom was insinuating anything malicious. I’d like to assume she was being curious, interested and loving. But that way of thinking hasn’t yet taken hold in the synapses of my brain. Shame is still my go-to feeling, the roadblock that keeps me from growing, keeps me from trying new things. I’d rather focus on this mom’s reaction than on what feels right for me.

Apparently I’m modeling this insecurity for my girls.  This morning Rhys donned a new hair clip and asked Ava “Do I look pretty?” I interjected before Ava could reply. “Rhys, do you think you look pretty? Your opinion of yourself is the most important one.” She gave me a look that meant either:  “WTF are you talking about, Mom?” or “Butt out, Mom. Don’t locate your insecurities in me!”

Yes, I’m insecure about how others view me. I love the saying “it’s none of my business what others think of me” and while my brain believes it, my heart and gut have yet to catch up. I don’t like to learn new lessons, behaviors or skills. I like to acquire them, just not through the practice required to learn anything new, especially a new skill to replace one that has a well-worn groove in my psyche. So, rather than getting any more practice, I’m quitting. That’s it. I’m done.

While some of my legion of fans likely will breathe a collective sigh of relief, others will urge me to work through the shame and come out the other side. Ugh. Who would willingly sign up to do that? That must be the ultimate mark of mental illness! But, I am also aware that it is much more fun to obsess over what others think of me than to feel my own feelings of fear and joy. And today, right this minute, I’m willing to try something different (put my “big-girl pants” on).

So … here’s what my rational, loving, kind and trusting self has to say on this topic:  I love writing this blog. I’m having so much fun writing AND I’m enjoying the positive responses I’ve been getting from you. I’m human. I like validation. I’ll be explicit and ask for what I want even though it scares the shit out of me:  I’d like your continued support. I’d like your feedback.

Sharing myself in this way is a risk I’m willing to take. For today. One post at a time.

Thank you for reading. If you’ve gotten this far, I’d love it if you took a moment to comment, follow my blog, like my blog on Facebook (see button on sidebar above) and/or take this quick poll: