About Me

 

 The greatest thing we can do is to show up for our lives and not be ashamed.

 -Anne Lamott

 

I'm a creature of the word, learning to tell my honest story.

I offer it here because telling stories is the road back home.

Motherhood is not a biological designation
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Thursday
Oct312013

The hardest thing I ever had to do

 

Staying married well is the hardest thing I've ever had to.  Loving my kids well.  Holding my heart open enough that pain can get in there just as easily as joy.

Allowing myself to be humiliated by all the things I have yet to learn.  The good kind of humiliated. The kind that takes its root from humbled.  

Dying to my self.  Having this conversation with Michael about ways we need to circle the wagons around our family and tough love our kids through some of their worst ways- like jumping off other peoples' couches, when it's the first time they've been to those other peoples' houses.  I tell them, "you've got to get to know those folks first, sweet kiddos.  You've got to make sure those folks are still gonna love you after you've jumped off their couches, or walked over to their house with just your socks on- walked over on the wet leaves and the wet dirty ground- and then jumped on their couches."

Having this conversation with my husband about where I can grow as a mom, is the last thing I want to do tonight.  Listening to him tell me I could do better at delivering firm consequences is the last thing I want to do. Everything in me has a rebuttal, plus I just think this is terrible timing. "Listen," I want to interrupt, "I've got reasons for not addressing the jumping on the couch stuff.  I've already got so many things I'm trying to address with each child's behavior, that sometimes I just don't notice if the kids are ruining our couch, or other peoples' couches."

"Cut me a break," I want to say.  "You're being critical," I want to say.

I've got a hundred ready defenses tonight.  

But when I say what I really feel, the defenses fall away, and I am left with realizing I just said what I really felt, and that it was true: when I raise my voice, I get angry.  All that anger right under the surface scares me, so I try not to raise my voice.  

He says, "just act, then.  You can act firm without getting angry."

"No!" I say.  "That's the problem.  I learned this in acting class.  If I do it with my body and my voice, my emotions just go there.  And it becomes real. I don't want to be an angry mom. I don't want to scare my kids or shame my kids into behaving well."

I think about the first line from a poem I loved a long time ago- something like, "It was her first job, and she was lost in it."

I'm lost in this thing called mothering. In this thing called life.

Why is that so hard to admit?  

Maybe I think lost means failure.  Maybe I think lost means I am doing something wrong.

But lost doesn't mean failed.  

Lost means I am human.

Lost means I can be found.

 

I think of my ego as a thing, this huge rubbery orange letter I, like in Sesame Street where the letters are almost half as tall as people and walk around the street, propped up (if you look closely) by a wire that somebody is holding.  My big orange letter I starts walking around in the middle of the conversation tonight.  It sticks its fingers in its ears and says, "Na, na, na, na, na."

"Overruled," it shouts.  "You don't get to tell me these things tonight cause I don't feel like hearing it.  I feel like chillin out on the messed up couch.  And this is my RIGHT. Cause my job is damn hard. I earned this RIGHT."

I want to go sit on the couch, the one my kids jump on, and read Elle Decor magazine and dream about ways I could decorate other peoples' houses for money. I want to dream about mid-century treasures I might find at Goodwill. Then I want to read my book by Glennon Doyle Melton about taking off all my armor and walking through life naked and vulnerable. And then I want to drink two glasses of wine so that I don't have to feel my own vulnerability, and then I want to crawl into bed and not talk to my husband about all the ways I could grow as a mom.  

I admit this to Michael.  I say, "And if I didn't make myself sit here, and if you just roll over in bed, and we don't talk about all this, someday that's why we might get a divorce.  It's that easy.  It's just not dealing with it. It's just letting my big I and your big I roam free."

 

And it all comes tumbling out: "I'm afraid of losing myself in mothering.  I'm afraid of losing myself in everything. In marriage.  In writing.  Losing myself by thinking that I am practicing what I preach, when maybe I am just preaching.  Thinking that I know my voice, that what I am saying is true, when maybe I am saying what I want to hear, and what I think everybody else wants to hear."

I'd like to wait to write until I've settled all those issues, until I've figured it out and I will never let myself deceive myself again.  

I'd like to, like Brene Brown says, "Wait to enter the arena of life until I am bullet-proof and perfect."

But that day never comes. 

 

In the meantime- in the mean in between, as the phrase came to me one night- I've got living to do.

Messy, dirty, complicated, beautiful, contradictory, vulnerable, humiliating, humbling living.

It's the hardest thing I've ever done.  

 

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Reader Comments (1)

She's back:)

November 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBree

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