Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Writing my truth

I've been working through Glennon's book, highlighter and pen in hand, notebook alongside, feverishly writing down notes, musings, personal connections, and 'a-has' as I read.  I'm one of 'those' kind of readers. I don't just glaze over the words, I drink them in, imprinting them in my brain, and occasionally feeling jealous that I didn't craft particular phrases myself).  In this case, I'm feeling pangs of jealousy every other page.

One thing I read the other night struck a chord with me, reminded me of what it is about writing that draws me in, gives me solace.  To borrow words from Glennon, she says, "Everyone has a story to tell.  Writing is not about creating tidy paragraphs that sound lovely or choosing the "right" words.  It's just about noticing who you are and noticing life and share what you notice.  When you write your truth, it is a love offering to the world because it helps us feel braver and less alone". (pg. 25) 

Those words in my copy of the book are now a lovely shade of day-glo pink courtesy of my handy highlighter, and next to the paragraph, I etched the words, 'Write on!'.  More words borrowed from Glennon, as they are a part of the inscription she wrote in the front of my book at the signing.  In my own little crazy world, I feel like her words about writing were for me.  Or at least people like me, to avoid sounding pompous and egotistical.  

One of Glennon's first posts on her Momastery blog in 2009 was one those '25 truths' lists.  The heyday of these lists (at least in my experience) was due in part to the world of Facebook.  I tried to find my list (of course I had to partake in the fad), but after about 2.7 minutes of trying to navigate the 'once-again-we've-made-changes-to-the-layout-of-your-page' timeline, I gave up and clicked back on the blog tab so I continue this post.  I'm fairly certain it would be a highly 'interesting' read, filled with random, self-serving quirkiness in an attempt to be clever and similar to those friends whose lists I'd read before composing my own.  Ugh.  I might have to must go find it, and delete it.  

When I began reading Glennon's book, I opened a brand new notebook (one of life's little treats; a promising, blank canvas on which to create and scribe and pour out thoughts--or 'to-do' lists), and began writing alongside my reading.  And this is what it became:

Noticing who I am...

1. I am selfish.  With 'my' time.  If I'm in the middle of a task that I enjoy (like writing), do.not.interrupt.me.  I can't process how someone would think to divert my attention when I'm clearly in the midst of creating something to better myself (even if it is as simple as preparing dinner).  I'm even selfish when it comes time to share 'my' treats.  Don't come between me and a molten chocolate cake.  You will lose a finger.

2. My addiction to technology is embarrassing. (says the girl typing on a laptop with 8 different internet tabs opened, so I can toggle betwixt them, so as to not 'miss' anything new in the world of Facebook, email, or CNN.  My iPhone is next to that, headphones attached to hear a playlist of acoustic pop songs.  iPad?  within arm's reach, but currently sitting dormant.  amazingly so.)  About 832 times a day, my thumb moves as if independent of my hand when it slides the bar along the bottom of my iPhone and instinctively touches the chevron-detailed Facebook icon (thank you, Pinterest, for the instructions on how to personalize the icon buttons on my phone.  An afternoon of time I won't be recouping anytime soon).  It's bad.  I need to seek help.

3. I gripe about my weight, shape, strength (rather, lack of), and fragmented attempt at a health lifestyle...yet where will you find me when the alarm goes off in the morning, alerting me of the arrival of a precious hour of time that could be 'just mine'?  Yep.  I'm hitting the snooze button.  Because chances are, Raegan's fitful sleep prevented me from getting a solid stretch of time to rest.  Either that, or I'm checking in on the world of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or CNN.  I'm selfish with 'my' time, yet I find a way to interrupt my own self--with my own addiction to technology! And when I'm craving a little snack (read: what seems like always), do I gravitate toward the colorful selection of fruits and vegetables that fill our fridge and countertop? Ha!  If I have a hidden stash of Hershey's kisses (and I always do), you can bet I bypass them on my way to the hiding spot on the top shelf of my pantry.  Shit.  Now I have to move my spot.

4.  I'm a half-asser.  Grandiose plans are made, pep talks (to myself) about how I need to take a stand and change a specific thing in my life happen, and I follow through...for a little while.  For whatever reason(s), I give up, unable to fully commit, and become discouraged by the hiccup that prevented a road of smooth sailing.  That actually makes me sound like I'm an 'all or none' person, as opposed to a half-asser, so perhaps that's what it is.  If I can't commit fully and follow my plan perfectly, I either give up or give *just enough* to eek by with some sort of results (the latter typically happens when people are relying on my follow-through).

5. My temper is reprehensible.  I snap rudely at my kids, husband, dogs more often than I'd like to admit.  And to make matters worse, they're usually the undeserving and unsuspecting victims to my wrath of misdirected and misunderstood fear that's masked as anger and frustration.

6. I'm a self-diagnosed people pleaser who is in the midst of attempting to recover.  I worry too much about what others will think if I say 'no' (of course, I'd use a long and convoluted explanation as to why I have to decline, because I worry people will be disappointed).  And, generally speaking, it's the *wrong* people whose opinions of me I care so deeply about.  Go figure.

7. I'm an insane worrier.  In tune with my 'half-asser' 'all or none' mentality, I pretty much hold court for the pessimistic perspective on situations.  While I don't always share these pessimistic views (I would hate people to be disappointed or think negatively about me), I allow them to internally paralyze me with worry, knotting up my insides like a kindergartner's shoelaces.  I generally don't refer to this as pessimistic behavior.  In actuality, I've never used that word to outwardly describe myself until now.  I've always thought about it as 'hope for the best, but prepare for the worst'.  And by worst, I pretty much take that to the utter extreme, thinking tragic and horrific events await around each corner.  On a positive note, I like to think I'm pretty good about masking these worries...but now that I'm getting older, my dark circles, worry lines, and gray hair tend to give me away.

8. I'm a less-than-okayish mom.  I'd be cool with being an 'okayish' mom, but simple things prevent me from reaching that step.  Like reading to/with my kids.  I'm a freaking teacher for heaven's sake!  One would imagine that I have a well-set schedule with the expectation that we have a specific block of time for reading each day.  One would like to think my children's bookshelves, chock-full of great titles and wonderful literature would be put to more active use.  Truth is, we go in ebbs and flows.  Right now, we're in an ebb.  And I'm pretty ashamed to admit that.
Something else that makes me okayish?  My inappropriately-colored vocabulary.  Ugh.  I swear in front of my kids way more than I should.  I'm grateful that Gavin and Brynn are the kind of kids with whom I can explain my shortcomings in my vocabulary choices and I know they understand and won't go around using the words at school, with friends, or in general.  Raegan is another story.  And now that she's 2, my vocabulary metamorphosis is paramount.

9. I have undiagnosed ADD.  I think this is the source of a lot of that 'all or none' mentality.  I can't attend to tasks fully.  I used to think of it as 'multitasking', but I've come to learn that while I do have gloriously-demonstrated moments of 'multitasking mommyhood genius', not everything that I do (or attempt to do) simultaneously can be quantified as such.  Bummer.  Facebooking while listening to my son read doesn't make me uber productive, just a shitty mom.

10. I use humor and sarcasam (really?) as a mask when I'm nervous, scared, feeling anxious, sad, annoyed, or feeling exposed.  Basically, I must come across as a freaking riot about 86.4% of the time.

11.  I spend way too much time looking forward, waiting for 'the time when...' because I think that (for instance) when the kids reach (a certain age), that x, y, or z can/will/should happen.  Why then do I have literally tens of thousands of pictures of my kids, capturing every facial expression and event from the moment of birth up until present day?  In my looney tunes world, it's not as a way to preserve memories (that's just a subsidiary event), but rather a catalog of photos from which I can create a slide show (to accompanying music--the likes of which I've already begun selecting) for their high school graduation/college graduation/wedding.  Based on the library of photo folders I have stockpiled on our external hard drive, I've come to two conclusions: a.) I should start these projects now.  nah, screw that.  last month.  and b.) if you happen to be one the unfortunate souls whom I invite to watch these epics; you'll want to come with a 2-day supply of snacks & change of clothes, or you'll want to think of your reason to decline the invitation.  (damn you, #10 for being true.)  

12.  I have a terrible time receiving compliments.  I feel unsafe, vulnerable, and doubtful.  I would like to think I would welcome them, crave them, drink them in to nourish my diluted self esteem.  Instead, I worry that the intention isn't genuine, followed by guilt that I'm questioning the words of others, and lastly my brain arrives at a place where I can't seem to find myself worthy of whatever meaning I've left in the compliment directed toward me.  It's hard to say that I question the intention of my loved one's words, but it's my reality.  For whatever reason, I don't feel worthy of the acknowledgement of something I've done 'well'.  Most of the time, however, my outward response is a 'thanks!' (with an obligatory smiley emoticon in the world of technological advances).  Sounding a bit hypocritical, right?  Thinking my complimenter's words are de rigueur, yet here I am offering up an insincere display of appreciation.  Classy.

13.  Patience.  Not a strength.  This affects my (poor, poor) kids.  My (unsuspecting) husband.  My dogs.  The driver in front of me on the highway. The cashier at the grocery store.  The list goes on (embarrassingly so).
My ability to make it through most situations without inwardly (and too often, outwardly) expressing my distaste for the rate at which tasks are accomplished in a flurry of words that according to #8 above, demote my status to '(way-less)-than-okayish mom'.  Why I am in a relentless rat race with myself to get to the 'next thing' is beyond me.  (Okay, it's not completely foreign.  I've recognized my inability to focus more heavily on the present in #11).  Chalk it up as *yet another* aspect of my personality that's a work in progress.

There.  A baker's dozen truths (because I'm a baker...and because I'd be shocked if anyone sticks around to the end of even this list, let alone 25).  I've realized, identified, and verbalized them not just to me, but to whomever is crazy enough to think that what I have to say is important enough to spend a pocket of their precious time reading along.  Glennon says, on page 52 in her book (read: my new 'favorite' book--I have dozens of these), that "it's vital for a girl to share her truthful, secret self somewhere".  Here's my somewhere.  

shine bright, lone light

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