People Pleaser

I had the benefit of a friendly send off from my muse before embarking on a long drive with my Dad.  We’re just friends, but he has this shadows and light effect I enjoy.  The light is about the purity I see in him.  He’s genuinely a nice guy.  The shadows are about the muted grays and soft blues.  There’s an edge of sadness and it bites softly – tentatively. There’s just something about him that brings out my gentler side that wants to Momma bear and protect him.  That and he thinks I’m selfless when it comes to being Mom and it makes me enjoy keeping him around.

Some of our interactions are his attempts to annoy me.  It’s lighthearted and silly.  I think it’s fun because he sees someone that is generally happy and hard to ruffle.  I’m an autism Mom that has been in controlling relationships where I couldn’t choose what I wanted to do, let alone have free time to do it in.  I’m a bit of a challenge in that way.  I don’t even realize he’s trying to annoy me until it doesn’t work and he tells me he was trying. As for him, he’s just incapable of the darkness that was offered as love by boyfriends in my youth.  There’s just too much good in him to be capable of true malice.

Today there was a moment where I was telling him about my plans to drive to Laughlin with my Dad and the parts I wasn’t looking forward to.  It was a moment of transparency where I was not shining in the best light.  We were texting and in a space of quiet, I panicked because I want to be the person that gets along with others and I didn’t look like that.  We found something to ruffle my feathers and yet he didn’t pounce.  Later we were in my car and I asked if he wanted windows or air conditioning and he asked what I wanted.  He was calling me out on being a people pleaser without saying it. Maybe he said it, but is was a gentle nudge.

On the nearly 5-hour drive, I spent quiet moments singing along to the playlist I made, talking to my Dad about anything and everything, and thinking about the ways in which I don’t speak up. I spent about an hour picking out a playlist to drive to.  I was enjoying it, and thinking about the look on my muse’s face when he commented about my pop music.  It was disdain, but there was fun in it.  As I was enjoying the memory, my Dad mentioned he wanted to listen to Christian music.  Just like that, I switched, not paying attention to my wants.

Several hours later the conversation drifted to the point where I talked about my upbringing. I was telling my Dad that I know he always did what he thought was best and I never doubted he loved me, but I’m only now beginning to speak up for myself.  I brought up the playlist. It wasn’t to hurt him but to show him I was taking notice of my actions and responsibility for my choices.  As we talked, I brought up one of his favorite phrases, “children should be seen and not heard.”  He defended it saying that he was doing it to prepare me.  I said it prepared me to follow someone else’s lead because I shouldn’t have to fight myself to say what’s on my mind.

With my upbringing, it’s hard to speak up for myself.  I was taught to make others comfortable.  I was expected to follow my Dad’s leadership and I spent a life looking for a man worthy to lead me, without fully appreciating the fact that I can lead my own life. I defer to the comfort of those around me instead of deciding what I want for myself.  I will remain silent.  I’m still figuring out what I like to do in my time alone because for so long I didn’t have time alone or I didn’t have permission to do what I like, so I have no idea what that is anymore. I have to teach myself something different – something new.

Right now my lessons revolve around my ability to move forward without looking toward the past as a point of reference.  I can do different and be better at it because I won’t live in the fear of yesterday and tomorrow.  I have this moment and right now, I want to BE.

 

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Hooker Heels and Self Representation


I’m really a jeans and t-shirt kinda gal. When those jeans don’t require a belt, I’m in my happy place.  I have had enough pregnancies to know the value of clothes I can schlep around the house in.  I also know that when I start to get comfortable wearing yoga pants or sweats outside, it all runs downhill, and I stop caring about other things too.  I’m not super high maintenance in the makeup department.  I wear makeup, but aside from my eyes and lips and a little blush, the rest of my face gets moisturizer.  I keep it simple.

In the mornings when I wake up, I put on a pair of heels and walk around.  I have a sister that loves shopping and I always benefit from her closet.  I have more heels than I know what to do with and they aren’t practical.  Once I’m dressed and my makeup is on, I walk around my house in heels because it’s an ego boost.  Try it.  You’ll like it.

This morning, I was still in my heels when the ex brought the kids over.  He was in a mood and that always gets directed at me.  He said I looked like a slut in my hooker heels.  Then he was angry because I was laughing at him.  What can I say? It was funny to me.  I decided to wear my heels out today. I’m walking around in heels that are maybe about 5 inches.  I’m already 5’6″ and I feel like I could be part giant, but it’s working.  The people at work seem to dig them.

I find myself in a mood tonight and these thoughts won’t leave me alone until I purge.  It’s a follow up post to another post about my comfort zones.

As amused as I was about the ex’s anger, I was yelled at and slut shamed in front of our younger sons.  It was a moment of anger from him, amusement from me, and then my shock at the look of helplessness on my 9 year old’s face.  I held him and assured him I was fine, and that mom isn’t actually dumb or a slut.  I told him Daddy just needs to learn better ways to express his anger.  At the same time, I see the example he’s given and the thought that I have to figure out how to fix the damage being done was overwhelming this morning.  It was in telling my son that Mommy isn’t what Daddy called me and shoes have nothing to do with what we choose to do that I decided I would wear the heels to work.

There’s a sense of entitlement that weighs on me in bouts of doubt.  When I decided to stop looking for companionship online, I had already ended a few conversations with people I just wasn’t interested in, or they moved on.  It was pleasant enough that I didn’t feel the need to block everyone.  Just 12 or so people.  I deleted contact information for the rest.  I love myself enough that if you ignore me and move on, you have to be really amazing or cute to have an open invitation.  Random texts much later tell me you are lonely and hoping I might bite at a limp carrot.  It was a wonderful day when a conversation shifted my perspective enough to stop dating online, and I haven’t looked back fondly since then.  I’ve written so many posts on how horrible online dating was for me.

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I keep telling people I’m not a nice person.

My point is, it’s not the shoes that make you a slut.  It’s not what you wear, or how you look, but the choices you make.

When the choice to share your body is taken from you, you still aren’t asking for anything other than to look the way that makes you feel good.  You are not deserving of any ill treatment. No one asks to be raped, or catcalled.  No one wants to be whistled at like a dog.  It’s not okay to judge a person by what they wear or don’t wear, or how they walk or the way they flirt.

I am a woman with real thoughts, feelings, and dreams.  I want to be loved deeply, and madly.  Being roughed up by life might make it easier to deal with the peaks and valleys, but it doesn’t make that a first or second choice.  I want to be thought of first, and not as an afterthought.  I want to have meaningful connections, and you won’t see that or be open to it if you can’t or won’t see past what I wear or how I walk, or the confidence I manufacture from within me each and every morning.

Vocabulary Lessons

So much of what we say comes from what has been said and these words hold the meaning handed down from those that taught us.  Your values are handed down in diluted milk from bottles with cracked rubber nipples and only transform once life has offered more than you ever wanted and the new normal looks nothing like it did.  At that time we start gulping down mouthfuls in a heavy stein because we know how to breathe through our noses and don’t need to be burped.

I must redefine life in order to keep from being swallowed by it.  I need new reference points and new meanings to make it okay.  We need to make life better in the new frame things sit and shift in.

What is your definition of success?

Once upon a time success meant enough disposable income to hire someone to clean up after me.  Now it’s more about my state of existence. Am I happy?  Am I joyful? Does my joy rely on situations or people?  I see joy as something that comes from within.  It’s not peace as much as a fluid state of accepting the many things I can’t control, knowing I can always control my reactions.  I don’t have to control or complete anything.  I can appreciate this moment and my ability to be present in it.  That is success to me.

What is your definition of failure?

There are times when my ability to step back and see what is important is given away.  I will give my strengths away to the rage that clouds my judgement.  It’s often part of life when what I expected looks nothing like I thought it would and what I see needs to be redefined because nothing fits.  I lost it almost a week ago.  I’m usually calm and level headed, but I wanted things to go my way and I couldn’t have it because I can’t control what is outside of my reactions.  I was biting my nail (right thumb only) down to the quick.  I was weaving through traffic and speeding and creative was almost reckless.  Failure was getting home and having a drink in defeat, rather than in celebration.  Failure is reacting in a way that others are afraid to share their truths with me and about me because they have to dance on eggshells because of my possible reaction.

What do you call the in between?

The space in between is full of power and possibility. It’s where I can evaluate what is before me and control my reaction to what I can not control.  It’s where I can gauge my fear and boldly act in spite of it, stepping out in bravery and strutting around in courage.

What is home?

Home used to be where my husband was. I used to tell my ex  that it didn’t matter where we lived, because my home was with him.  Home is where I feel most at peace.  It can be in a snuggle and tickle session with my sons.  It can be in my car and facing the ocean.  It can be alone in the car because I love being alone lately.  It can be deep in a conversation about everything and nothing all at once.  It’s where I am seen and heard, if only the thoughts afraid to emerge because I will not give them the credence they deserve.

The friendzone.

I once joked about this place.  It was where bitter men go when they aren’t chosen and they’re too passive aggressive to have a tantrum and call me names for my rejection.  And yes, I’ve had some really angry men try to hurt my feelings for not being interested in them. It was also where I stuck some of the greatest men in my life.  If I never got romantically involved, I could always rely on them listen to my deepest thoughts and know that their friendship (and mild attraction to me) would keep them around.  Then I was put in the friendzone.  It was a first for something that wasn’t mutual.  I enjoy the idea of being worth keeping around, but I finally get the allure of sticking around.  It’s really not a bad place to find yourself.  I’m also in a place where I wasn’t too excited about a real commitment.

What is work?

I felt that work was about getting paid for what you can do.  I see it as getting to go somewhere that challenges you, makes you happy while doing it, and then pays you on top of it.  Work is no longer about doing something I hate, but about finding a happy place to be passionate about what you are doing.  I have yet to find joy in down time, but the times when I am challenged and pushed and concepts are expanded are happy.  I leave work feeling really happy every day.

What is family?

I once saw family as obligations and duty.  It was the family you were given, and the one you chose, and creating a bridge for the two that often had me straddling two sides while making repairs and feeling like I’ve been walked all over in the process.  I see family as a network of support.  My family supports me in all the ways they think are best for me, and the reward is huge if I really look for what that means and looks like since the shift that removed the floor I stood on and threw me off and into amazing love that is stronger than I ever thought I’d have a right to feel.

What is love?

I grew up on love songs and ideals.  I know what I thought it would be and I went for it. I bought that dream and set of ideals and stored all of my souvenirs.  I see it differently now.  It’s fluid and flows around all of us.  We have a choice to confine our love to a single set of people we trust, or we can love completely and blindly, throwing everyone and everything into the shadow of our protection.  We can consistently choose what is an action in perfect love for humanity, and I find that choice usually benefits me profoundly as well.

What is beauty?

It’s what I choose to look for at every opportunity and in everything.  It’s finding you have a beach body because you have a body at the beach.  It’s the fall of rain in my desert home and not complaining about getting wet or drivers that follow too closely.  It’s the sweet fan of dark lashes that shield the eyes you enjoy looking into.  It’s the warmth of a hand to hold when you are most afraid or close to losing control of the crazy thoughts and emotions taking you hostage.  It’s the smile of someone that wants your smile in return.  It’s a field of California Poppies and butterflies floating while hummingbirds hover.  It’s friendship that spans decades and knows just how to pick you up, no matter how many months or years have gone unnoticed . . . because they will always know and love you at your core.

Dear Younger Me

Dear Younger Me,

You are beautiful but you’ll go through school and meet classmates that will try to convince you otherwise.  One day girls will stop trying to pick fights with you and you will understand how much love, support and strength you were born into when your sisters go to bat for you. You won’t fit the features of your classmates and cultural contemporaries and you will find love and friendship in other cultures.  Never lose your wonder and curiosity for other people. Your hair is different and you’ll hate to brush it, but one day you’ll make peace with your hair (but not a curling iron) and you’ll grow into confidence to match your beauty and it will be okay.  One day strangers – both men and women – will stop to tell you that you have a beautiful smile and they’ll want nothing more than to keep that smile on your face.  The names you were called for your full lips and messy hair will be a painful but distant memory and it’s not your fault that you look different.  You are different and different is amazing.

There will be silly boys that will make it seem really likely that they are the only ones that see how amazing you are because they were the only ones brave enough to ask you out.  They will want you to touch them when you just want a hug.  They will make you feel like affection is an obligation, but it’s not.  You are in control of your own body and no one is entitled to it but you.  You’ll find your day brightened by the random people that go out of their way to say hello because there are really nice people in the world and they know that you usually are one of them too.

 You may never get the concepts of team sports, but you will love the many ways your body proves how amazing it is. Childbirth will empower you in ways that you won’t be able to properly verbalize.  You will see the world differently through the act of raising children that came from your body. You will find joy in hiking down and then up a cliffside because it can feel amazing to push the limits of what you thought you were capable of. Wear knee pads during all of your drill team practices because knee pain at 23 is unfair and you will find any excuse to accept the responsibility of your injuries and beat yourself further for it.  Fake it until you feel it and above all, remember there is fun to be had and that feels better than a trophy that needs to be dusted looks.  You’ll get more satisfaction from academic achievements anyway. You love the ocean. Don’t let anyone steal that freedom from you. Learn to ask for help (this goes for the 38 year old writing this to you as well).  No one is worth the words that need to come out of you.  Never stop writing and never feel bad about loving literature. You can make a game of a stick and a plastic bag and you create worlds out of the thoughts in your mind.  You are amazing in the life that flows through you. Love freely and madly, but love yourself first.  When you take a risk and end up with a broken heart that feels beyond repair, know that pain needs to flow through you so love can take its place.  Muting pain in distractions will only leave a festering wound for later.  You’ll heal and the scar tissue makes you stronger in the long run.  You can take as many chances at love as you want, but you must do it in the time that feels right to you.  Any faster or slower and you’ll miss out on the beauty that love wants to offer you.  Volcanic ash leads to fertile soils, but the cost is total devastation first.

Never stop singing and dancing.  You don’t have to do it well, but you have to do it because it makes you happy.  Sing and dance with your children because your depression will be a burden they will try to carry for you.  You have to break the cycle of depression you were born into and that means learning not how to cope, but redirect your reactions in a way that your children can learn healthy choices from your example.  Remember how much hurt feelings really do hurt and do your best to think of your children’s fragile feelings because fixing a mistake is so much harder than being mindful in the first place.

Be yourself.  One day you’ll realize you prefer the cute boys that are passionate about things that require more mental acuity than physical agility (because slightly geeky is hot) and think of you as smart.  You’ll really hate talking to boys that only see you as a face or a body.  Try not to give them hell or be so vindictive in hurting their feelings. You can’t expect better of them than they expect of themselves.  You were not created to fix anyone else’s Mommy issues.

You have empathy in you and it is the greatest gift.  You will be blessed by giving it away.  You feel more than most and it gives you deep insight into others.  You see the unseen and when you take a moment to tell them they are seen, it brings you pleasure to gauge their reactions.  This doesn’t make you responsible for how others feel and you need to release the burdens of the world.  Don’t bother watching the news because you will feel the sorrows of the lives shattered and weep with mothers that have lost children.  You will learn from everyone that touches your life if you allow your heart to remain open.  Your best friend will teach you that you can’t be angry at the ignorant, but you can pity them. You will forgive people for the unimaginable but it will give you freedom and peace.  One day you will realize your Uncle was right when he explained we are all children or parents in our relationships and it’s a choice.  You will decide you are no longer a child and you will talk to your parents as an adult and that day is when they will start to respect the woman you’ve become.  You are not a victim to the life you get to lead.

You will gain so much patience from mothering your children and your tolerance will be high, but you don’t have to be a doormat because you are patient.  Stand up for yourself because if you don’t, others will think you’re on the ground for their benefit.  At the end of the day, it’s about your perspective and it’s important to let it shift from time to time.  You will feel the weight of rejection based on how much you valued the acceptance that you never needed in the first place. You are enough.  Just be. Keep your value in your own hands because only you can appreciate it.

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You were born to be more than you have been and I’m giving you back the authority you so carefully handed off to others.  Your life is your own and it’s time you wear your glass slippers and straighten that damn tiara.  I’m the grown up and it’s time I take care of you. It’s time to pick up every fall and check our battered knees. It’s time to tell you that I know it hurts, but we can bandage our own injuries and I can help you through the painful parts because it’s time for you to release them.

Music

The students that took the Advanced class after our Basic class together through Mastery in Transformational Training had their graduation Sunday night and I witnessed the LP class graduation after it. One of the students that graduated was a young man that was in my class and I went to support him.  I’m so proud of him.  The room was full of people that seemed to have a new outlook on life and they embodied love.  It was beautiful. During the graduation, my adopted son couldn’t see who was surrounding him as he was singing a group chant with closed eyes.  We were asked to join in and as I stood in front of him with his eyes closed, I began singing with him and to him and I could see the immediate joy on his face from the recognition of my voice affirming what he was imprinting on himself.  There was so much emotion in the voices lifted in solidarity. I don’t remember what we sang, but I remember how humbling yet fiercely powerful it felt to be in that room.

Just the night before I was preparing to go to a music festival and as I sat in my car, I couldn’t ignore the fact that I’m really not a fan of live music.  The first time I heard a live recording of Mariah Carey singing, “I’ll Be There” I was sad.  It wasn’t as perfect and to me it wasn’t as beautiful.  I don’t want to hear crowds cheering.  I want to hear the songs that wash me in memories and nostalgia, not songs that are only performance. I have all kinds of weird about concerts and I accept that.

Last week while on the way to the beach with a carload of kids, they listened to songs they found on YouTube.  I loved listening to them sing together and even joined in on the parts I knew.  I love having music I love playing on iTunes, but that means I don’t know any new music and I can be lost when listening to the radio. I’ve talked about music before. Briefly.  I talked about removing my ex’s music from my iTunes because the things we stop sharing hold so much significance in this post and when I finally did it, I wrote this.  It kinda paid off on the car ride to keep his music because my son was in the car with me and asked if he could play it.  It was in my iTunes.  It was available and I was able to be the parent my son needed and at least pretend that the sound of his voice wasn’t irritating me.

I enjoy new music being played live.  I love being a private audience.  It’s an honor to be the first to hear someone’s heart bleed so beautifully and privately.  I’ve enjoyed jazz music in bars and clubs . . . Once upon a time.  Music that’s way too loud for the sake of being music and not an excuse to dance bothers me.

My ex’s rap music was a different.  His music came with days and nights being home alone with the kids.  It meant he was in the studio and might be drinking and spending the night out and my knowledge that the studio often had strippers hanging out. His rap was my abandonment and rap in general makes me feel like less of a person because according to the rap I grew up with, I’m a body and a bitch and nothing more.

A couple of weeks ago during my Basic class I was in the middle of several group hugs.  I’m a hugger so it was bliss, but I took that moment as an opportunity to serenade the people that were in the center of our group hug.  Music was playing and I was close enough that these people could hear me sing to them and I did.  It wasn’t about performance but an offering of the deepest part of me and it was my way of showing them that they are beautiful to me.  Toward the end, there were several people singing along with me and the camaraderie resonated in all of us.

In high school singing was about performance to me.  Singing a solo on stage from Les Miserable in high school was about belting it out and being seen.  It was about attention and being popular.  I kept trying and it was years later when I would run into strangers that remembered me that I really felt like I was trying too hard because I was already there for other people. Singing in church wasn’t about worship.  I wanted to be seen and heard and I was way too concerned with how I looked or what it sounded like.  Now it’s about offering who I am for the gift of what parts of themselves they’ve given me. It’s about playing music that I love and singing while looking at my kids, or grabbing hands for playful impromptu dancing sessions.  It’s expression.  It’s love.  It’s joy.

There is always music in my home and my heart.  It can help me develop a deeper emotional moment or curb a bout of sadness.  It gets me through traffic with loud singing and driver’s seat dancing and classical music is what I write to when I’m crafting or writing more than how I feel or what I think. It was an amazing weekend and a terrific Monday.  Right now my soundtrack is super happy and upbeat and on my way home there will be singing. Loudly and purposely off key.

 

What you are telling me is . . .

In my restlessness last night I called my cousin and told him I was due for shenanigans.  I went to his place and he took me to a barcade.  We grew up together and he’s the same special guy that talked me through a night of self discovery here.  There were figurines and dolls that were all about the 70’s and 80’s all over the bar and walls.  I saw all of the classic arcade games that we used to walk to 7-Eleven to play when we were kids.  I picked out songs, three at a time on the jukebox and loved that it reminded me of all of the nights we hung out at my place or our favorite pool hall.  Of course we were in a bar with other patrons and they played their preferences which I had never heard of and I had this moment of realizing that if the music is setting the tone, I may be overthinking things.

Before I got hitched, I had a bunch of guy friends and not many female friends.  It’s not about female drama I needed to avoid. It was about friends that wanted to be around me.  They accepted me and all of my damaged parts that allowed me to destroy a few of my female relationships.  I was one of the guys.  Apparently I still am.

I was at the bar with my friend when a few hours later we were joined by another friend I had not seen in over 16 years.  The hugs were huge and it felt like home.  It was a night of catching up and being silly and for a while I found that confidence I had when I was in my 20’s.  During the laughter and catching up and selfie sessions being posted, there was a moment of jealousy from a significant other directed at me.  I had lost touch with my snarky side, but she was ready to play.  I’m not sure if I regret that right now but it opened a discussion about our current relationships and the people we’re talking to.  The conclusion is we’re all doing what works for us because in our damaged ways, the people we’ve chosen fit the needs we have. We’ve found the right fits for our dysfunctions.

None of us are in a serious or committed anything with anyone.  It’s all very casual and in the moment.  We’re not complicated people and very straightforward about what we want but as we talked, I thought about the many ways people will always tell you want they want, assuming you aren’t too focused on your selfish needs and wants.  You watch the actions, listen to the words, pay attention to the body language, and don’t over think it.

We all crave attention on some level.  We want to be seen and heard and looked out for.  The things we’ll do to get that itch scratched will always vary.  On a daily basis, I will walk somewhere just for the attention.  It’s not really a walk.  I strut. There is one foot directly in front of the other, and it throws me off just enough to pretend I have more junk in my trunk than I do.  I walk with my posture straight and making eye contact.  I don’t just step.  My steps are forceful and intentionally overconfident.  I focus on where I’m going and when I catch someone’s eye, they get my friendly smile.  A smile can make a scowling woman smile back because you’re slightly less threatening. Usually my ear buds are in and I’m listening to something upbeat and I step to that beat. Sometimes it comes with catcalls, but often it’s just a look and that is enough.  And then there are times when the stakes are higher and I’m nervous and clumsy.  It happens.

Is the attention worth the cost?

The attention we crave means we’ll take a call from someone we would be okay not hearing from. We’ll justify it by thinking we’re polite people. For me, it meant online dating for two whole months instead of quitting after the first week and the second bad date.  For the guys, it means answering calls and texts just to show the women that won’t leave them alone that they can be jerks.  They purposely made the women in their lives jealous and called it a taste of the dish they were being served.  I don’t bother trying to get someone jealous.  They care or they don’t.  Sometimes I don’t care enough for the small things to matter.  It’s wasted effort.  When I decided I was done with someone I told them I was done and if they kept reaching out, I blocked them.  There’s no reason to give someone else that much authority over the joy I tap into.

If you really want it, you’ll do what you can to get it.

We consistently put our time, energy and money into things we value. You call or text someone you want to talk to.  You ask them to join you when you are doing something or doing nothing because you want to be around them.  You tell them what you like and hope what you said was what they heard.  You make time or you make excuses and there is an answer in that if you pay attention.

What remains unsaid or unseen can have it’s own library to study.

There are parts of who I am that I withhold.  Last night was so freeing but it threw into sharp contrast the parts of who I am that I keep hidden.  As transparent as I am here, and elsewhere, there is so much I hide, and it was so clear when I was with old friends and not holding back.  I feel it’s about protecting my vulnerabilities but also about not frightening away others with other things. I can be intense and I’m not always nice. I’m constantly turning over a million things in my mind.  There’s always a thought or reaction that I’m gauging.  Where does the conversation pause, and is it a comfortable silence? Do you feel like enough was said, or do you need to explain deeper or is withholding about trust that has yet to be earned?

What do you see in the body language?

Once I get past the beauty I’m ogling, I want to see what the posture says.  Is this person relaxed or is he a bird ready to fly away and why does he feel this way around me? Is my confidence intimidating or am I being mean and it’s more than he can handle?  Is he reaching out for my hand or is he keeping polite distance?  Is he turning his body and head toward me? Is he looking away for the most part and reaching blindly because he’s afraid of the rejection he might see in my face?

Are you invited in or being pushed out?

In this area I’m a bit cynical.  I have had some meaningful and beautiful relationships, but I’ve also had plenty of guys try to treat me as something they wanted to play with.  I listen for the familiar script that I’ve come to expect first. I really evaluate how I’m being approached.  Is it late at night and he’s lonely? Is it just before lunch and he’s gotten through the bulk of work and has a few minutes to kill before leaving for his hour and he doesn’t want to start a  new project so I’m a distraction? Is he trying to see how I’m doing, or is he hoping I can make him feel good?  I pay attention to what is being said and I over think his motives because I do want to know if I’ve been crossing his mind just because I’m always on it or if he’s bored and lonely and he needs me to fix that.  I don’t always reach out when someone crosses my mind unless the moment becomes a while and then they deserve to know they’ve held my attention.  I’ve been known to shoot off random texts while letting them know they don’t need to respond.  I want to see the spaces I’m invited into.  Do they want to tell me about themselves or their ideas and dreams, or is the topic of conversation generally superficial? Am I invited into his circle, or am I far removed from the people that mean something to him?

You’ll always be told where you stand and what you mean, but you have to pay attention to what isn’t being told to you in addition to what is.  Try not to paint their monologue with the colors of your desires and decide what you are trying to take away from what you do share.

Early Morning Reflections

Being a light sleeper and living on little sleep is one of my gifts of motherhood.  It’s the one without a gift receipt so you never know it’s value and you can’t take it back. When I say this to people they usually assume I’m super productive because of it, but I’m not.  That may be up for interpretation.  I’m laying it out for you to decide.

Often I lay in bed, scrolling through social media on my phone so I can pretend I’m keeping up with friends.  Once my curiosity is satisfied, I will think about the day I had and the day that’s coming.  I’m sure I got these questions from a book or something.  I don’t remember where but I started doing this at a really painful time in my life when I needed the work each morning to help me get through each moment because pain comes in waves and sometimes riptides.

What am I grateful for today?

Sometimes I’m grateful for a moment to snuggle Kid3.  This morning I thought of the back and forth messages from that friendship that always reminds me that he wants better for me than I do at times.  He makes me feel beautiful and wanted and he’s safe because we plan to keep each other into old age.  He’s amazing.  You should have one of him, but not him.  He’s mine.  Other mornings I’ll think of how great it is to get to do the things I once had no control over or things that took an ability I hadn’t mastered to do because that was the life I had chosen to accept.  I wake up grateful that my aging body chooses to not remind me of the years I’ve abused my knees. I’m grateful that avoiding wheat makes me feel like a normal person.

Yesterday was winning because . . .

I think of a concrete example of a moment of joy or excitement or even peace.  Yesterday there was enough work to keep me happy and the challenges stroke my brain in all of the good places.  There was a space of goodness under heavy skies when my night was full of promise and the conversation was interesting.  I couldn’t ask for more in that moment. There was hope on my way home.  It got away from me after a few hours, but it consistently sneaks into my dreams throughout the night and I woke up in a good mood.

What was the payout for the risks I took?

I want to take more risks.  That step in bravery despite my fear is where I find amazing payouts.  Last night it was in writing something that isn’t likely to be shared.  I posted this story because while it started out interesting to me, I didn’t invest totally in the dystopian world I had in mind, and it embodied every single one of my fears about writing that great big novel.  It is my definition of crap. I shared it because if it’s out there and being what it is meant to be, I can no longer fear the unknown that is far worse in my mind.

Did I keep the agreements I made?

This part was something new from the MITT class I took. I’m often over committing to things I have no interest in doing because I want to be nice.  But at the point of agreeing, I’ve broken a commitment to myself to do what makes me happy.  It’s a moment where I need to step back and take notice.  I’ve entered a space of inauthenticity.  What was more important than my honesty? What makes my thoughts, ideas and feelings any less valuable than the person I gave my pseudo existence to? I’ve also been meaning to watch a movie or television because I haven’t been doing that lately, and there’s a museum or two I’ve been wanting to visit.  But there’s always tomorrow.  These are promises I’ve made to myself and I want to follow through on my desires because I matter.

What goals do I want to kick into existence today?

This morning’s goals look like a to do list.  I have plenty of things to fill out and file because that is what autism mom duties often look like.  I have housework to get through and I want to write something that washes the remorse of last night and my mild hangover away.  I want to write something that changes me as I process what flows freely and I need pull out the stubborn thoughts that nibble quietly at who I am.