“I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up!”


helpYes, it was a bad television commercial for some kind of medical alert bracelet, but how many times have you found yourself getting caught up in one mistake and either a)letting it suck you dry and giving up entirely on whatever it was you were attempting or b)focusing so much on the mistake you just made that you make another because you’re so stuck mentally on a past error you can’t see what’s right in front of you?

I have lost weeks of my life and productivity and happiness and peace because I could not see past my own mistakes.  Whether I sacrificed my mood, my attention, or my own perception of myself,  I have made Mt. Everest out of problems that started out the size of mouse poop…that seriously ended up the size of two mountains and a mini-van because I didn’t deal with them in a healthy way.

(And don’t ask me how I know what the size of a mouse poop is. I just know.)

When you make a mistake, do you find yourself doing any of the following?

  1. Generalizing – “Well, I guess I’ll just add that to my long list of things I’ve screwed up” and then look back over your metal inventory of errors;
  2. Freezing – Getting so stuck in thinking through every dire and terrible thing that will surely come as a consequence of your mistake that you can do nothing else;
  3. Negative Self-Talk – I’m such an idiot, I’m a failure, and then of course calling your friends/associates not for help solving the problem but to talk negatively about yourself to them as a sort of self-punishment;
  4. Ruminating – where you literally can’t think straight or notice what is going on around you because your brain is so focused on what you had done wrong that you’re in a mental and emotional tailspin;
  5. Blaming – hoping like hell there is someone else you can pin the error on to take the heat off yourself in any way possible so you don’t have to own what you did;
  6. Hiding – Making great efforts to cover up your mistake  or praying simply that no one else notices and trying to convince yourself you hadn’t noticed either

Take it from someone who knows and has been there: if you’re looking for a way to waste your life, breath, and energy and potentially endanger your health, job, self-worth and friendships, then feel free to continue, but it’s not something I’d recommend.

Here’s the difficult thing: whatever it is – it’s done.  The only safe way to handle a mistake is to look it straight in the face, own it, take responsibility for it and whatever that entails.  You then try to find a solution for it, make reparations, and problem-solve as effectively and as completely as possible and move on, trying not to repeat the mistake.

Moving on, by the way, means *really* moving on.  Leave it in the sand.  Drop it.  Forgive yourself.  I once heard it said like this: your body doesn’t ask if you are worthy when it knows there has been damage done.  It just starts work on healing what’s there without judgement.   Do that for yourself.  Take the next best steps whatever those are, one at a time.

How many years of your life could we get back if we treated ourselves with the same objectivity when we messed up, and worked to fix our issues and mistakes without the judgment, shame, or mental mess that so often trips us up?  What if we treated others the same way?  Oh what a world we could create!

Get Back Up.  Brush Yourself Off.  Rub some dirt on it.  Life is a giant adventure and you’ve got better things ahead and no time to waste!   Get up and get at them today!

 

 

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Split a Million Ways


Those articles that shout “you too can have it all” must be outright lies…or just belong to someone else’s reality.

It has been well over a month since I have written anything more elaborate than a Facebook status: partially because I haven’t had time and partially because I get ashamed when I see myself falling behind and would rather fall off the map than admit I see an inability to get everything done as a weakness instead of just a practical reality.

In the past few weeks, I have had a loved one unexpectedly hospitalized (way scary), giant projects at work, the birth of a new niece and travel shoved in with general survival. Add in several anxiety attacks, occasional bouts of exercise, toddler tantrum remediation and obligatory social occasions and you have…

Life.

It’s the way it goes. You roll with it or fight it; the former has benefits of conservation of energy, the latter allows room for the illusion that we have much control.

I went away for a hiring event (one I worked my arse off to plan and execute) for one of my company’s locations. It was many long hours on my feet, and my blister’s blisters had babies over a 4 day period.

My sainted hubby had the kids alone while I was gone. Both kids and the dog got sick at the same time. After 4 days of business travel I flew home, got off the plane, arrived at my house (after an hour stuck in rush hour traffic) and took over for the weekend.

Today I went back to work wondering
If I really did anything this weekend beyond herding crying children, wiping gooey, snotty faces and hiding in the bathroom (which doesn’t work by the way).

And yet? I have a job to go to and a reason to work hard. I have the children and family I always wanted. We’re not rich, but we have a roof and clothes and help should we need it. I have reasons to laugh daily.  Everyone made it through their various illnesses, and I am still here to write about it all.

And while I wish I were writing more, perhaps I should just be grateful I can write at all, and  be pleased when I can eek out more than a fragment in a bathroom stall (ew!) or during bouts of insomnia.

Or maybe at least I can be willing to accept that I am human, I can only do so much, and be thankful for those things that I do manage to get done…and accept that for me, if I am spending time cuddling my babies (and yes, they are not technically babies, dangit, but they are my babies) and providing for their welfare as best I can, I’m doing okay…and maybe work on trying to better fit some of the other bits in there too and not be so hard on myself.

The Evolution of Dreams


I have always thought it important to have both dreams and  goals.  For much of my life, that was difficult to articulate: I am one for who most of those dreams have always been a little hazy and insubstantial…with a few exceptions:

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Keeping it Real


It is sooo easy to get caught up in wanting what you don’t have. The high-end baby couture, the money,the boats,  the vacations, the careers. I find myself wishing I had a different shape, a more exciting job, and a cabin with a giant hammock.

When it comes to “thou shalt not covet thy neighbors’ goods” – I need to go to confession more.  At this rate, I’m likely to be struck by lightning.

Jealousy just doesn’t make you feel good inside: it cripples and blinds you to the awesome things you do have. It steals your contentment. It makes you anxious. It makes you bitchy and resentful. You are not fun to be around (I speak from personal experience and the testimony of friends who have called me on it when guilty of being “that girl”).

Comparing yourself to others creates an internal dialogue that somehow you are better or worse than someone else. Neither is healthy. Telling yourself you are better keeps you from working on your defects, and telling yourself you are worse becomes an excuse.

Here are a few things I’ve been taught over the years:

  • Don’t assume. The stories we tell ourselves about the would-be happiness of others based on the cool things they have and do are usually pure fiction. That chick carrying a Prada bag with the fab social calendar may not actually like any of the people she is with, but utterly terrified to be alone.
  • Skinny people (apparently) need love too. My size six friends want to be twos, and the size twos want to be zeros. They don’t eat much food, and are just as self-conscious – if not more stressed – about their own appearance as I am.   There is fierce competition in the set.  They also break easily and fall through grates routinely. (Have I mentioned most of my dearest friends are skinny? And gorgeous?)  Give them many hugs…gentle ones.
  • The more you put your focus on giving to others and work to make others’ lives happier, the less you focus on yourself or what you don’t have. Try volunteering. Shock your mother by showing up and doing something for her. Go clean your sister’s house.
  • Focus on what you have. Lay on the floor in your house. Look at the ceiling and be grateful you have a roof. Imagine not having one. Put your hand on your belly. Is it full? Are you hungry? Even being able to ask that question is luxury. Are you wearing clothes? Do you have a car to take you to work? Do you get to have a job? If you have what you need, even if it isn’t what you want, you’re luckier than many, many people.
  • If there is something you want, work for it.  If you want the trip to Disney, start saving now.  Put in more time at work, or get creative and figure out a way to increase your income if you can.  You are the only one who can really do anything to improve your situation, regardless of how you got there.  Take responsibility for making your life better.

Occasionally, when I remember to do these things, I find I feel an awful lot better about life and people in general. I’m still sarcastic, yes,  but I enjoy life more.

The reality is unless we can learn to be happy In our own skins and content with what we have, chances are we won’t know what to do with more anyway.

That said, you people with the awesome boats and sweet swimming pools? I’m a great cook and would love to visit…

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Have I mentioned my beautiful, skinny friends occasionally take me to amazingly gorgeous islands with pools? I am blessed.

“Keep Trying, Keep Trying, Don’t Give Up, Never Give Up…”


Maybe like me, you’ve had that Yo Gabba Gabba song pounded repeatedly into your consciousness – or maybe you are far luckier and have been busier catching up on True Blood and Modern Family. As a working mom, I don’t get too much TV time, and sadly far too much of what I watch are the kiddie shows. But sometimes, even as adults we can learn a lesson or two from watching them.

Life is Hard. You know that, I know that. Lately, I’ve had some things going on in my life that have been a bit overwhelming. I will save you the drama of the detail, but suffice it to say there have been days (and days and days) where I want to throw the towel in and hide under the bed. I make stupid mistakes at work, my body refuses to downsize, I never feel like I am giving enough time to my kids or myself. I try really, really hard in all those respects, but sometimes? It just doesn’t seem or feel like I am enough, or that I will ever be enough, or that I am even up to the challenge of another day.

I keep falling down on my face. Hard. And sometimes? I don’t want to get back up. I want to lay there. It feels like too much. It hurts.

I watch my daughter. She is whip-smart, and a stinker to boot. But she doesn’t like to not be good at things. She doesn’t want to ride her bike if she’s not good at it, if it’s not easy. I tell her all the time that we have to learn how to do things, and that sometimes those things are hard. It is a constant battle. But she gets up and she tries again.

And if I don’t get up again when I fall, how can I expect to teach her to wipe off her bloody knees and get back up on the damn bike? How can I sing Yo Gabba Gabba songs to her and expect her to buy into them if I refuse?

Every day we have on this earth we have to make a decision, and sometimes even getting out of bed seems like a hard one. Standing up and looking at our awful messes is hard; facing our failures and trying again is painful. Convincing ourselves that we truly can be more, get better, and improve after so many years of trying is a challenge.
But I owe it to my kid, and I owe it to myself to persevere: to push what I can really do and who I can become. I will keep trying. I won’t give up.