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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Mom

Charlie has recently discovered that she likes birds.  Why, I don't know.  They are creepy as hell if you think about it.  Their beady little eyes, their beaks (really?  What kind of creature has a protruding mouth that is hard?), their unnaturally small legs and feet...CREEPY.  I hope to God she never finds out that people keep them as pets...

At any rate, she will constantly point out birds to me when we are driving.  Most of the time she gets an "Uh huh, I see..." because hello, remember I ignore my children whenever possible?  Also there is the whole I am driving and it usually does not work out so well when you turn around to look while going 60 MPH thing.  This morning, though, she was insistent and finally goes, "MOM!!!  LOOK AT THE BIRDS!!!"

Mom?  MOM?  WTF, child?  I am not Mom.  I am Mama.  Mom is entirely too grown up.  Next thing I know she will be putting on lipstick and listening to the devil's music, AKA anything sung by Katy Perry or Ke$ha, while casually trying to figure out ways to have boys shimmy up the pine tree in the front yard to sneak into her room and smoke pot that turns out to be oregano.

Mom is what a teenager calls you.  Usually accompanied by slamming doors and rolled eyes.  Sometimes both if you get a twofer that day.  Mom is not what my little Char-Rambo calls me.  She calls me Mama, ever so sweetly while looking me right in the eye and defiantly pulling her shoes off after I just fucking told her to put them on and GODDAMMIT STOP FEEDING THE FUCKING DOGS OR THEY WILL NOT LEAVE YOU ALONE WHILE EATING!!!  (For the record, I have never actually said that to her but I totally thought it.  All caps in my head, too...)

I am not ready for my baby to be grown up enough to call me Mom.  I want her to stay innocent.  Elizabeth was talking to me about prom today.  Fucking prom.  Do you know what kids DO at prom?  That is big kid stuff.  Who gave her permission to talk about prom?  Who gave Charlie permission to call me Mom?  Next thing I know, Alexis will be talking about getting her driver's license.

I think I need some oregano...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Laughter

So since I was off work this morning, I was posting a lot on Facebook.  Mostly just the random ramblings of a deranged mind, really, but I hadn't had time off during the week for a while so it felt good to make an ass out of myself during the week.  Someone posted a comment on one of them, something about always making her laugh.  This of course got me thinking about some kind of touchy-feely metaphorical bullshit that I can post here about the importance of laughter in my life.

One of the main ways that I knew something was wrong after Charlie was born was that I had no desire to laugh.  I still did, of course (given that my husband was shocked as hell when I told him what was going on) but I did not actively pursue it the way I do now.   I went through the motions on the outside, but on the inside I would have been screaming if my psyche had the motivation to get itself up out of bed and to pour the gin out.  All I really wanted to do was to crawl into a bed and fade away.  I did not want to hear my children's laughter or to joke with my husband.  I had no motivation to seek this out.

Monday through Friday during the week, I see very ill people.  I see people who actively want to end their lives, or other's lives.  I am pretty sure that I have looked into Satan's eyes a few times too.  I see people who are hearing voices telling them to do awful things.  I hear people tell me about the awful things that others have done to them.  I see misery, sadness, despair, and a kind of grim trudging through the day to go to bed to get up to see another.  Bleakness.  Pain.  Sometimes evil.  I am steeped in it. 

Yes, I know I chose this.  I still love my job.  However, I would not be able to cope with it if I stopped laughing.  Any mental health professional who is reading this will be nodding their head because they know.  The laughter is the antidote to the poison of what we do.  It can truly numb your soul.

But even before I entered this field, I sought out laughter.   I tend to be a sucker for men with a sense of humor.  I strongly preferred comedies over dramas or horrors (and now I just really tolerate dramas and will not watch a horror.  Or anything with violence, really.)  Now, even more so, I have made it my mission.  There is not enough laughter.  If I can make someone laugh through my ridiculousness (and honestly, it is a little frightening how ridiculous I can be); if dropping the f-bomb at inappropriate times and engaging in hyperbole can brighten someone's day, I'm all over that like a teenager is all over news of Harry Style's most recent break up.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Desk

I realized the other day that my desk at work is strangely symbolic of my psyche.  It is for the most part, on the outside, neat and organized.  The inside is another story completely.  The top drawer of my desk is full of post it notes with important information jotted on them, mints and eye drops to address my chronically dry eyes and mouth, my phone, stickers with the hotline number on it (I hand those out like candy in my job...), paperclips, old pictures of my children that used to hang on my wall, my car keys...basically a modge podge of my life.  The drawers to my desk are crammed with papers that I need, filed in neatly labelled compartments and easily accessible...but full to over flowing. 

That is how my life is.  Full to over flowing, but with things I need...work, my children, my health, my social life.  All neatly organized on the outside, but a million different things going on at once.

There is somewhat of an illusion there.  I guess I appear to have things together, but in reality there are always many different things on my mind that I worry about.  This is the curse of the anxiety that I carry.  No matter how much I am able to organize, how many lists and plans I make, it never feels like it is enough.  There is always more I should be doing, ways that I am lacking, people I have failed.

If I were to look at my life as lived by another person, I would probably be pretty impressed.  I was teenage mother.  My child that I had at that age is a pretty fucking fantastic kid.  I did not fall apart after I had her.  I fought and worked and scrambled to get my education.  I make a difference in people's lives on a daily basis.  I own a house, and (mostly :p) pay my bills.  I have a husband who loves me unconditionally, and two other children who are pretty neat as well.  My kids have not killed anyone yet, and if they have they are smart enough to know how to not get caught.  I have creative outlets that I enjoy regularly.  I have taken many steps towards becoming a more healthy person, inside and out.

Why is it that I am so hard on myself?  All of these things, when looked at in someone else, are pretty damn awesome.  All I see when I look at myself is the mess that is inside the desk.  I see all of the things that I feel I should be doing.  All the info that I can't remember;  all the reminders that I need to function. 

I surely can't be the only woman who feels this way.  Society judges me in myriad ways, despite all of the successes I have.  My kids aren't learning Mandarin, my house is not spotless, my assessments at work aren't as polished as I would like.  I must not be a good enough mother, wife, worker.  I feel tremendous guilt when I drop one of the many balls I have going, and external forces that show others who appear to have it together more than I do certainly do not help.  The external "desk" that we all have is deceiving.

I need to remember this.  I am not the only one.  Should, must, have to...words I need to eliminate from my desk, and from the desks of others.  I am human.  Not a desk that can be manipulated to suit someone else's needs.