Sunday, August 2, 2015

On layers

We're all made up of so many different layers, but the outer one - the one that most people would say is who we are - is the one that shows who we want to be the most.

My outer layer is precisely that. It is who I want to be more often than not: generally cheerful, caring, thoughtful, smart, appreciative and worthy. Worthy of so much, but mostly just worthy of people's time and attention. And that is the snag in my outer layer, the gap where everything I push down and brick away comes pushing in.

My other layers are dark and ugly. It is the voice that always reminds me I am less than, I am not worthy of anyone's time or attention. That I am mean, ugly, judgemental, stupid and so very selfish. The sad thing is that voice mostly sounds like my mother. The sadder thing is I only manage to push it away and brick it up when there is overwhelming evidence to counter that voice. Hearing that voice is and has been my normal for as long as I can remember. 

And lately that voice has been all I hear. Everything is tainted. All I do is not good enough. All I am is less than. I am not worthy of anyone's time or attention. 

I am failing at being a mother. 

I am failing at being an adult. 

I am failing. 

I am less than.

After reading posts by Cath and Sharon, I realised that the voice had gone from being the tiny constant soundtrack it had always been to this large massive roar. And maybe I should do something about it. Even then I resisted, my voice, my state of being is so much less than all the other people I know of who have that D word. I mean I get up, I don't  stay in bed, I do what must be done. So surely I'm just being - as I'd been told often while growing up - a drama queen, and making something much bigger than it is.

It finally hit home for me that I should do something when we had two weeks of glorious sunny winter weather, and not once did I take Keiden to the park. We only left the house to go downstairs to the shop to get something to add to lunch, but mostly for me to get something sweet. I had really and truly failed as a mother.

It is my greatest fear that I will become my mother. That I will hurt my son the way I was hurt. That my actions, but more my words, will make him feel less than. And there I was not doing something that was as easy as taking a ten minute walk, so he could play somewhere that wasn't just home.

So something was done. Mandy got me some names, I looked at them on this site and saw someone. And all along she, Cath, Sharon and Lisa have all assured me that I'm not being a drama queen, and that this was the right thing to do.

And this is the part where I tell you, I have moderate levels of anxiety and have severe clinical depression. That medication is recommended. That therapy is hard, and brings up so much I'd much rather push down and away...and my capacity to push it away is now gone. That even though I've been told this, and there is evidence that I'm not just being a drama queen...I can't shake the less than feeling.

My depression doesn't look like what I've seen in others. I don't just stay in bed; I get up, I look after my child, we play games, read stories, I do chores, I work. So how can it be that bad? 

And then I remember that the games we play let me sit, sometimes I just can't get the chores done...and I eat. I eat so much, and I don't need to eat all the time. But I see my hand reaching out, picking up a cookie or a chocolate or something and then that something is gone. And then there's another in my hand. And so it goes on. And when I'm not eating, and I can, I bury myself in a series or a game or reading.

So, maybe there is something to it. 

Why share this? When others shared it helped me see things a bit more clearly, and maybe this can help someone else see things a bit more clearly. And it's also something tangible to refer to when the voice tells me I'm blowing things out of proportion.  

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

It's all mine, again

My body that is.

It's a few days till Keiden turns 18 months and he is fully weaned. Breastfeeding has been both hard and easy. Hard in getting started, being the food factory, and dealing with being bitten and clawed at with every feed and whenever Keiden wanted milkies. Easy, when combined with co-sleeping the night wakes were less disruptive for me, and it was an easy way to soothe him and get him to sleep.

The weaning process took three long weeks. The day nap feeds were the first and the hardest to drop. It meant up to three hour long crying battles with him pulling at my clothes. But we found our way, and now  - beside the occasional bad day - it's read a story, sit with him for ten minutes and he's out.

Bedtime, during the night and first thing in the morning feeds have been easier. It's largely because of Jerall. The bedtime routine for a few months has been bath, feed, story with daddy and sleep. So we just had me stop being around once he was out of the bath. And Jerall has spent a few nights sleeping in Keiden's room, to settle him when he wakes at night - because K still pulls at my clothes and sticks his hand down my top. The overarching policy is to not tempt him with what he can't have.

After over two years of making sure what I did with it, or put in it wouldn't hurt someone else, it feels great to have my body all to myself again.*

*Thanks Liz for saying it's okay to not feel bad about it being over.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Bits and pieces

I'm having one of those moments where you want to write a post, you know what you want to write about...but the words just aren't coming out. So this post is parts of half thoughts, in the hopes that while I'm getting them out the thoughts will finish themselves. 

Does anyone else write like this? I have sentences flitting all over my mind, and the process feels like a struggle to grab the right one, and hold onto it till I can get it down and out just right.

Sometimes it feels like I just don't have the right words for anything. And lately it's also been that I don't have the right words or actions for myself, in this post on Making Mountains Belinda speaks about doing kind things for yourself...those things we do for others. And it is just something I struggle with so much.

I don't know how to do anything nice for myself without telling myself that I'm being selfish. Logically, I know it's not being selfish...but that other voice, I just can't get it to shut up. And 9 times out of 10 it'll win. This grown-up treating yourself well business it tough, so tough. Why aren't there classes on this?  Are there classes on this? 

This post looks at the words we use to describe ourselves. Not an exercise I should be doing right now. But still a good jumping off point for things to ponder.

This series of posts is just great. It shows why studying pop culture is important. And it has served as part of inspiring me (the other part has been panels and conversations from this year's Comic Con) and helping me figure out what my 2017 academic plans are. Next year is a social science research diploma, then after that an MA and PhD for me. I'll be looking at fandoms, and probably how social media fits in with it. The way social media has helped fans come together is very interesting, especially as I see social media causing more and more disconnection.

Mandy put in a lot of work on this. It is a great series, even though she included me. Seriously, I just did what people do, do what needs to be done. Also you should so read her blog in general.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Bye-bye Facebook

Guys, I've just deactivated my Facebook account. It's been a long time coming. Even with me trimming down my 'friends' list there were still people there who wouldn't be able to say anything beyond a line, if that, about me.

And for something that is supposed to help us stay in touch, it wasn't very good at it. Also more and more it started to trigger those I fail at life feelings because no awesome holidays, outings, and all that jazz. So don't have the time or inclination to deal with that.

I honestly don't even think anyone will really notice that I'm gone.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Acts of kindness

I don't know about you, but lately it seems as if people are just these utter horrible beings. We are horrid, selfish, mean beings. I read things, and am utterly amazed at the ugliness we're capable of.

And then yesterday happened. Keiden and I were doing our weekly traipsing around town. The morning wasn't off to the best start - someone tried to queue jump when I was getting coffee; queue jumpers are one of the shining examples of snowflake syndrome.

And then as I was walking around - Keiden in carrier (front carry), backpack on my back and library bag in hand - I noticed my laces had come lose and let out a "Ugh, darn it." A lady was walking by at that moment, she saw my face and offered to help. I said no thanks, I can handle this while looking for a spot to put things down. She told me not to be silly, and just tied my laces. A small thing for her to do, but it made a big difference to me.

After that we were at Bargain Books - where I found an amazing magnetic weather board - and the folks who worked there were just amazing. Not only did the show me what I was looking for - expected customer service for me, but you don't always get that - they also helped me find a cheaper alternative and they put it aside for me so that I didn't need to walk around with it all the time. A small thing for them, but not for me.

We went to the library, got our books and headed out. Keiden was happy to walk until we got just past anywhere to put anything down to put him into the carrier. As I'm standing there surrounded by bags this guy stops and says "Let me help." I do the usual no thanks, and next thing I know I'm all sorted. A small thing for this guy, but big for me.

Then, on our way to meet Jerall for lunch I have coffee in one hand, library bag in the other and my phone starts ringing. The teens I was chatting to at that moment - they we're selling cookies to fundraising for youth - just held out their hands to hold things for me to get my phone. And then, they just double checked the backpack, without me asking, to be sure I'd closed it properly. Again a small thing for them, but not for me.

Those small acts of kindness went a long way restore my faith in humanity. Maybe we aren't all bad after all.