Being Wrong is So Right

I’m self centered and egocentric enough to know how powerful it feels to be right.  I love it when knowledge, history, and intuition become vindication when others have doubted me.  The flipped coin of that feeling often looks like being wrong.

Being wrong can feel wrong. We’ve all been there.  What starts as confidence takes a swift turn into uncertainty.  You’re pulled up short in a moment that sends chills up your spine and raises the hair on the back of your neck.  What felt like a powerful strut through life is suddenly met with doubt and confusion.  What looked like certainty requires a back pedal and that’s covered in shame.  How often are you proud of not knowing the answers?

Being wrong is covered in negativity.  What happens when you make a mistake at work? You get written up.  You get fired.  You aren’t promoted or asked to lead or teach others. When you’re right, it leads to raises and bonuses.  It’s a place where you’re recognized and appreciated.

Life is rarely about dualities.  There are so many shades and flavors to every life situation. There is too much beauty to simplify any concept.  I mean, even gender is fluid and changeable, and most humans start as either female or male. 

As a student, we’re often called on for an answer that we might not know.  I hated standing and giving an answer I didn’t believe in.  If I was wrong, I was wrong in front of a whole class.  That embarrassment would have followed me throughout the day.  I would have wondered what my classmates thought and believed they were making fun of me even though no one ever cared.

I remember the first time I walked into Victoria’s Secret for a bra fitting after dropping about 40 pounds (divorce diet miracles look a lot like eating like I might love myself). I knew I was going to be larger than average.  I always have been.  I just wanted a fitting to know what my size was and I was prepared to look elsewhere.  I was right about my size but wrong about the sizes they now carry.  It was a good feeling.  I got to buy something cute and the person correcting me upsold a matching panty.

I like being wrong lately.  It means I get to learn from the experience and grow.  It means my understanding and knowledge and expectations are expanded and stretched.  

I’m temping at a company that requires at least an hour commute each way.  I was so set against a long commute for so long but the rewards on this position were big enough for a short term compromise.  On the first day, I accepted the stretch in working at a company so far from home.  On the second day I was grateful that I could see what it was like to work in a huge company that has a basketball court and lactation room for employees with a welcome dog culture.  I was able to see a company that has a lot of the good things I have heard about but never experienced.  By the third day, I realized that sitting in traffic for over an hour doesn’t matter when I sing and dance in my seat every time I drive somewhere.  I was wrong.  A long drive isn’t a big deal.
I expect to have many wrong answers as a mom.  I won’t always see the repercussions of my choices. I expect my boys to call me out and they do. 

I grew up with a narrow enough view of the world to believe the news about Muslim people until I met a Muslim couple. She was a dominant A type and he was quiet and respectful. . . Maybe submissive by American standards. I was wrong about who I thought they were. My life was made richer by knowing who they are as people and letting my compassion and love for them show me how to see others in the world that I know nothing about. I was wrong and there is a reward in seeing that. 

I was wrong about a person.  I had my judgements and ideas and I let my know-it-all moment decide the depth and fate of a relationship for me.  I had an opportunity for a do-over.  A few different do overs have made me so happy lately. My ideas were met with understanding.  My perception expanded in empathy.  I can say I was wrong, and I have been so lucky in being able to really experience this person.  I’ve met more than I knew to ask for in so many beautiful ways.

Be a safe person that someone else can admit they were wrong to. Admit you were wrong and see the many ways it can be right. You get to shift your perception. 

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Pulmonary Embolisms

Two years ago I was just getting used to eliminating wheat from my diet. I was prediabetic and eliminating sugar, but starting to walk more. My car was dead. I was working part time and taking the train to get to work, calling it exercise. The mini storage I worked at was 8 1/2 acres and it was inventory day so I was walking to every space to make sure the locks matched our records. 

That night I woke up with horrible leg cramps. I figured I just needed more potassium and planned for bananas and avocados from the store the next day. I rubbed out the cramps and went to bed without even waking the ex. 

The next morning I had mild chest pain. It wasn’t bad. Every so often it caught my attention and I’d rub that spot without even realizing it. I was also working as a driver for my ex, so I ran to Costco for him to pick up the cookies for resale. I delivered an order. I was going to do a second one when I felt like I should get my annoying little pains checked out. You aren’t supposed to feel your chest. 

I drove to the emergency room and walked myself in. I mentioned chest pain but I probably didn’t look like I felt it. I have a high pain threshold and have had a few natural childbirths, even with back labor. I’m a badass. 

At first the doctor didn’t look at me. He ordered tests and walked away. He’d tell me a result and order more tests, then walk away. After the cat scan he came back and sat next to the bed. He looked me in the eyes and that’s when I knew it was serious. 

I had pulmonary embolisms and they covered my entire left lung with a few clots on my right. I was sent up to the cardiac floor with someone to push my bed and a nurse to make sure I didn’t die on the way up. My birth control pills, or the hormones in them gave me blood clots. 

Getting into my bed seemed to stress everyone out because I moved too quickly. The danger of a blood clot dislodging and finding a home in my brain or heart means I could have had a heart attack or stroke and died within seconds. I wasn’t too worried because at least I wasn’t doing jumping jacks. 

The fear of the situation never really settled in me. I had spent a month hospitalized with the twins two years before and I was used to the hum of machines, the squeak of nursing clogs on linoleum, the nurses that would shift between urgency and calm . . . Smiles and detachment. 

I didn’t realize this was an anniversary (because I’m not that morbid) until Facebook reminded me (because they have no memory filter) and it looked like: 

Conversations with nurses:

Me: I’m sensitive to wheat. 

Nursing assistant: here’s a white roll. It’s not wheat. 


RN: I need to clock out for a break and I’ll be right back for your history. 

Me: you don’t have to cut into your lunch for me. I’ll stay up. 

RN: it’s just a break and we work through those. 

Me: maybe that’s why they forgot to connect me to the heparin IV in the ER. 


Me: can you move the IV? It’s pinching my hand. 

RN: that’s considered invasive. It’s not something I can just do. 

Me: come on, I haven’t started the Coumadin yet. Apparently I’m really great at clotting. 


RN: are you a smoker?

Me: I smoked 2 packs a day about 14 years ago. Actually, I bought 2 packs a day. I usually shared my cancer sticks. Worst investment ever. 



RN: do you have an advance directive?

Me: no, but I’ve thought about it. (I start to explain) 

RN: no! Wait! I can’t discuss it with you. 

Getting blood draws and vitals every couple of hours with bad hospital food is not pleasant. At the same time, I get to have a nice view and lounge with no bra or pants. No pants!!!

After being in the cardiac intensive care unit for a few days and gradually being permitted out of bed, I started walking laps around the unit. I was on blood thinners for a few months. I can never again go on hormonal birth control because the risk is too great that I’ll have blood clots again and any future pregnancy would be on blood thinners and high risk. I won’t say all birth control pills will kill you. I’m just lucky enough to have a body that doesn’t like me to live too wildly because then I wouldn’t have a story to tell. 

Birth control pills and exercise tried to kill me. Because of this experience, I get everything that’s abnormal checked out immediately. It feels like I’m a hypochondriac but when I think of my kids, it’s worth a few hours in an ER where I get to meet doctors (that are never my type) and ask:

“Are you here to save my life? I’ll be your damsel in distress.”

“I hope you don’t rush through every single one of my vital signs.”

“The nurse took my temperature but I’m sure it’s gone up since you came in.”

“Do you do this sort of thing with all of your patients, or am I just a lucky girl.”

“I know it’s the nurse’s job, but I’d be happy to let you stick me.”

SO TOTALLY KIDDING. 

Humor is important in a hospital. You go in healthy and they poke and prod you with long wait times. You go in dying or think you could be dying and that generally sucks too. 

You go often enough and you learn the lingo and know a heparin lock is coming. You prepare to be exposed and touched and pleasantly surprised when exam gloves hold warmth. You ask for heated blankets and nap when you can. You know that your nurses are your lifeline because your doctors won’t really have time to talk. 

You notice patterns in how busy it is. Monday’s are crowded with people that wait all weekend for a doctor’s note unless it’s cold or raining because people prefer staying home, and hot weather brings pregnant ladies kickstarting labor with dehydration. Honestly, I’d rather be boring and healthy. 

This week I will celebrate my life. I’ll take myself out for a really great meal. I’ll buy myself flowers and pick out lingerie. I’ll take a candle lit bubble bath and appreciate the last two years that saw near death, a broken marriage and the opportunity to fall in love with myself again. . . The opportunity to fall in love with someone new. 

Transition and Waiting

I rushed through traffic to see my boys and I’m greeted with both the heater and air conditioner running.  Dishes are on display in half eaten array next to the places they’ve plopped to game.  I’m greeted with hugs where I get to hold them and they stand as if being hugged is all they need to offer and really it is.

I offer up dinner that I schelp through after an 8 hour shift and they get to scarf it down with a request for something that takes more time and more love.  They don’t complain where I know I could have done better but they know what to ask for. They ask me to jump and halfway up I get to ask how high, because I actually miss whipping up amazing food joy for someone else sometimes.

Sometime in the middle of the night Kid2 wanted to play with my contact lenses.  He likes to touch and hold them and I need to not freak out because a contact lens means far less to me than he does.  I get to keep calm and let him know I’m not to be feared because I want my kids to respect and love me, not fear and be dominated by me.  I get to teach him empathy because he lost something important to me.  I get to point out that I wear them all of the time and they make me feel beautiful but more than that, when it rains, I don’t get raindrops on my glasses. I get to point out it’s gross that those suckers sit on my eyeballs all day and now they were in his hands.  I get to let it go.

I wake up and the child that superman flies his arms underneath me, waking me at 3 this morning with little feet marks walking the wall along the bed needed to get up and onto the computer but exhaustion won, so I find him on the floor where he just wanted to rest his head.

“How do you feel about testing out your bed in your brother’s room tonight? I’m not kicking you out, but you know, it’s there for you.” I ask, knowing it’ll be a celebration to have my bed completely to myself all of the time.  I ask, hoping he doesn’t see my excitement because I want him to finally feel that the security he needed when our world fell apart is no longer necessary.  I want him to know he’s safe when he’s here.

“Sure mom.  I’ll try it out one night and let you know how it feels.  But I can come back to our bed, right?”

Right.  Baby steps.  Being patient.  Story of my life.  But I’m used to waiting for things that I see value in.  My son’s sense of security is high on that list. Why would I ever want to give up these precious years that are all mine?  One day they’ll move out, or they won’t, but this liminal space in their identity is all mine.  I get to be present before I am pushed away by the natural force of growth that is at the heart of parenting.

I was primed and ready to take the next class in the MITT series.  I was enrolled.  I conjured  my deposit.  I stood in the power of being LP 139. Things happened and I was ready to go.  But I had to really look at what I was doing and my motives.

I’ve always been a strong person.  It’s my birthright.  I am learning to find my voice again.  I spent too many years in a marriage where it wasn’t okay to be who I am.   I’m standing on who I am, in a way that is brave through fear and courageous through discomfort and always considering the greater good. It’s not okay to be last but it’s also not okay to be selfish.

Taking the next step when I wasn’t financially ready means I was going to step on the toes of my Mom, who is my landlord as well as my Angel and friend who’s belief in me put down my Advanced course deposit.  She may have withheld a deadline on repayment but my obligation to her is important to me.

Taking the next step placed a burden on my children.  There’s a cost to the life I get to live, but that cost was one my children would have had to pay.  Most of the dates set aside for the conferences and training happened during the 50% of the time I have my kids.  There was only one meeting weekend when I was kid free.  It’s not about a babysitter.  I can get one of those.  I have an amazing support system that has shown me repeatedly that they will walk through fire for me.

My older two sons are autistic.  Interrupting our schedule is difficult on them.  My little one was willing to sacrifice his time with me on his 10th birthday and at the end of the day, he only gets one 10th birthday.  He reaches his first decade and I’ve been present for every single one of their birthdays.  I won’t give up this one, even with his blessing.

When my family was falling apart and before we fell into place, I promised my kids that they will always come first.  I won’t find a sitter so I can go on dates.  That’s what their time with Dad is for.  I won’t take on a responsibility that takes me out of their lives farther than I already don’t want to be.  I have nights where I want to show up for friends.  I use a sitter for that, but I make sure I’m home for snuggles before bed.  That’s not something I want to give up.

I’m postponing the Legacy Program, both with and without blessings from those inclined to offer them.  I’m doing it because I am a woman of integrity with enough sense to know this is not right for me right now but one day soon, things will shift in a way that will be perfect.  I’m keeping my Go Fund Me going because I will take the course in the first half of 2017.  I’m willing to ask for and accept help, but it’s not about desperation for a timeline I’m not choosing.  I’m going to set my goal and start saving toward it.  It may be the class with a kickoff date of December 6. It might be later.  But the timing will be perfect.  It always is.

Right now, there are Kid3 snuggles as I type and he shows me videos.  Right now I get random texts that bring a smile to my face because the people in my life are amazing and even the boys that amuse me know how to make a girl smile even though I don’t want to give up my alone time for them.  Right now there is coffee.  Right now I’m bracing for a day of picking up around the house because having the kids home means I’m going to be home, and scrubbing walls. Later I will jump into crafts with my boys, assuming they’ll join me.

I Know This Place and it Feels Like Fear

Last night I was still in an unhappy place from the latest texting war with the ex.  My voice is still not normal and while it’s getting better, allergy season is rearing it’s ugly head.  I can finally picture myself being with someone for more than dinner and it comes with fear.  All of this was too much and I realized it when I was at the coffee bar at work, making my cup of tea.  There was honey on my fingertip and I had someone’s attention.  It was a predatory moment where sexual aggression meant I enjoyed his discomfort and I needed to shift. It’s not nice to say, “I’m being an asshole, here’s a boner I won’t help you relieve.” I’ve been told I was doing this in highschool and it wasn’t intentional then.  It is now and it’s never nice because I’m allowing my broken bits to hurt others.

I am happy in dating only me.  I opened up to the idea of allowing someone else in my life – not that I’ve found him and it comes with the fear I have been avoiding.  I really get to face what it means to step into a relationship where I’m aware of my martyr habits and I get to see what I’m doing.  How terribly frightful is that?  It’s fucking scary.  My security blanket looks like the confidence of being alone and I get to risk the fall in a way where I get to let someone else mean more than I’ve allowed since I decided getting married was a good idea.

Eyes wide open.

Sober.

Intentional.

Scary.

I get to be brave.

I planned to reach out to a friend and deepen my friendships but I got to take myself out on a date instead.  I drove to Santa Monica and arrived just after the sunset.  It happens earlier now. I walked the pier.  I felt my unease slip away as I got further out over the Pacific Ocean and the light of the sun slowly faded away.  I stood at the end of the pier and felt the chilled air blowing my hair across my face and taking the weight of my week with it.  I was holding this fear of falling in love with someone and having him mean more than I do again.  It looked like sexual aggression and it felt predatory. I had to remind myself that when it happens, he’ll be so special that I’ll want to give him my time alone.  Considering how amazing it felt to drive home on the streets with only my company and how much I loved myself in that moment I know that when I find him, he’ll be worth it.

 

What’s Opening Up for Me

What’s opening up for me is I woke up with more drive and less being driven.

What’s opening up for me is less being seen and more of the experience of seeing. Standing in the sun today was a new experience and it was more than the heat of the sun or the chill of the wind blowing soft strands of hair across my face.

What’s opening up for me is I can ask for what I want and I can state my case.  I don’t need to beg and plead because that is what empowerment looks like.

What’s opening up for me is the idea that I need to talk to the boys about my dating again.  We had a talk at first.  It was clear, Mom is just having dinner, if even that and no one special is in my life.  I couldn’t see more than that but I can see it now. I can see a future that once felt out of reach. I couldn’t see anyone being special enough to meet my boys before but I can now.

What’s opening up for me is I’ve always been able to fight and advocate for my boys and there’s no reason I can’t do it for myself.  That doesn’t mean “I’m all about that thug life.”  I’m just no longer a martyr and I don’t need to make anyone my bitch.  I can just be and know that I’m capable.  I am aware that my inaction was always a choice I no longer have to make.

What’s opening up for me is I chose to share my lunch with someone else today (first time since 1999), and we talked and I shared with her how amazing my latest perspective shift has been.

What’s opening up for me is I don’t need to know the how, I just need to decide what and why.  Everything else comes when and how it’s meant to.

What’s opening up for me is there’s no reason to wait when I know what I’m already eager to step into. It doesn’t have to look exactly as imagined and it can surpass my vision if I’m open to that possibility.

What’s opening up to me is the responsibility of knowing I am my only obstacle and my only motivation.

Feedback

I’m loving the MITT Advanced class I’m taking but a powerful portion of the class is in the offering of feedback.  It’s when we step beyond polite and tell people how we see them.  It’s through this feedback I can grow.

I show up as fake.

I show up as fearful.

I show up as controlling.

I show up as invisible.

I show up as timid.

I show up as lacking confidence.

I show up as a doormat.

I show up as disconnected.

Fake

I suppose it’s impossible to be happy all of the time, but the joy I feel lately is genuine.  It’s just not consistent. When I was asked a question and I was finally honest with myself and others, I keep all of my relationships so superficial that I don’t allow them to matter.  I’ve had several friends reach out to hang out or get together.  When it doesn’t happen, I actually am sometimes relieved.  I can go on with being solitary and the freedom I dance is is slowly becoming my prison.

Control and Fear

In my fear, I push others away because I can control who I let in.  If things are superficial, as they have been, no one can let me down or hold me back. I’ve been trying to make deeper connections with one friend, knowing she holds back just as much as I do and that she’s safe.  When I walked in on the first day, a woman introduced herself to me.  She was sitting near me and I got back into my phone.  She got up and sat elsewhere and that was feedback.  There was a moment when I saw a friend’s mother.  Rather than jumping up to say hello, I decided to wait until the next break.  I was being superficial.

Invisible

I show up by not showing up.  I have been going to events with friends, but not engaging deeply in who they are and seeing where I can show up in their lives in ways that are supportive.  Not really.  It might be a friend or two that gets my time for a while, but once I see my reliance on them growing stronger, I fade away.  I have spent two days with over 100 people . . . all wearing name tags.  And I never got beyond a friendly greeting with more than 10 of them.

Timid

I show up as timid while standing in the back, and not being heard.  There was a moment yesterday when I allowed someone else’s anger to silence me.  This is the story of my life.  Every time a dominant man stood before me and made his voice louder and his body was aggressive in his beliefs, I shrunk back in silence.  In my career, I’ve accepted a job I love doing, for compensation that tells me anyone can do it, I’m replaceable, and not valued.  In romance, I’ve been doing my best to sabotage myself.  While dating online, I saw so many men looking for hookups or real relationships and I wanted somewhere in the middle.  I wanted one person to really hookup with.  He had to be my age or older. He had to be beautiful, athletic and smart.  If I couldn’t find him (and I didn’t), I preferred being alone. I am so great at this self sabotage that I found the most attractive man to be my partner so we could be real and vulnerable and never date.  He is everything I would love to date.  He’s also gay and we even connect in not liking boobs.

During the feedback exercise, I had a really hard time giving feedback.  It felt like I was being asked to give the abuse I have received, only supercharged.  It felt like aggressively fighting back, only I couldn’t.  I stood back and would watch the person in the hot seat.  I would cry with them and feel all of their pain.

Lacking Confidence

Confidence is more than the way I walk and greet others.  I’m good at that and it’s just who I am.  Confidence in my lack means I have a million great ideas and I’m waiting for the right time to put them out there. Not having confidence means I needed someone to open my eyes to the possibility that I live my career, love life, and mothering style as someone who isn’t worthy.  I live in just enough because I have not had the confidence to dream for more.  I keep my dreams as little goals.  At the end of the day, a dream, big or small, is still a dream and there’s no reason to stop where I have been, except for my lack in confidence.

Doormat

I show up as a doormat.  I stand in the back.  I allow dominant men to silence me. I put others first to the point where I put myself last, even to the point of sacrifice and in terms of an exercise, suicide.  I killed myself because I was so focused on saving others.  How on earth is sacrificing myself for the greater good of the world? How can I be better assistance to my boys and the world if I am dead? Yesterday I spoke out about what I did during my postpartum depression with Kid1.  For the first time in 15 years, I let out my darkest secret about that time.  In all of these years I felt so much shame and sadness for what that looked like.  For the first time, I stood up and believed I had a right to ask for the help I never got.  I saw a man live out the pain of my inaction with my sons.  I was the mother that stood quietly while my sons were yelled at.  I kept my mouth shut when I saw emotional damage being inflicted on them.  In my frustration and inability, I turned to my sons in violence because I was failing and I needed to lash out.  I’m happy that I’m no longer capable of intimidating my sons because I’m no longer living in the aggression they were formed in.  But it’s time to stop being that doormat because I can’t lead them while I’m still following someone else.

Disconnected

When I was supposed to be giving feedback, I realized that my empathy allows me to fully connect with what others are feeling, but it didn’t allow me to be in touch with what I was feeling.  Growing up, my Dad taught me love meant obedience and service.  He would often snap his fingers at me to get me to hustle.  I had someone snap his fingers to try to annoy me because the rest of the world sees this as rude, but it was my normal.  I spent my life worrying about how others are feeling and shutting down how I felt.  My first day was filled with tears, and I was encouraged to not wear makeup.  It was then that I remembered a time in middle school where I was often crying.  That was when my deepest depression started and I used to cry.  I learned how to put on makeup so it was only on the top part of my lids.  I learned to let the tears fall silently so I could wipe them away and lock it away so no one could tell.  Yesterday I wore more eye makeup than the first day.  I cried so much my whole body felt it with paroxysms of loss wracking through my body in waves.  I openly cried and the sound coming out of me was an open wail of true mourning.  I gave myself full permission to be in what I felt and the sound of what I held inside of me was frightening.  For the first time in years, I allowed myself to connect to the darker parts of what I felt.

When I was suicidal, crying too loudly would alert others that might have wanted to stop me from self harm.

When I was in love, my object’s feelings were more important than mine because I felt like my happiness was dependent on his (it’s always about a boy).

As a child, I had to learn to navigate my Dad’s PTSD.  As an adult, I get to see that my parent’s happiness has nothing to do with me and I’m not responsible for how they feel.

When my ex left and then my church family and his family abandoned me, I had to figure it out and once the bleeding stopped, I tried to walk in grace.  I had to disconnect from how deeply I was hurt.  I had to put aside the pain and the anger and the sorrow. I found happiness, but there was still this pain underneath it that tried to strangle me if I stayed home alone for too long.  But I got to really connect to that.  I got to let it up and out of me.  I was exhausted and energized last night because I got to feel what I had so stubbornly covered with a  plastic smile.

So much transition, and I get to say, “YES!!!!”

The Most Beautiful Thing

I had a moment with a man. A partner in transition. He opened up in honesty and offered his vulnerability to me. His tears fell quietly as he looked into my eyes. Not hiding. Not ashamed. I didn’t feel impatient or irritated. It was humbling. It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.