Productivity, I has it. Sorta. And a pig. I sorta has that too.

Today has been the best.  I woke up, had a beautiful cup of coffee, then went to the grocery store to pick up the necessary ingredients for dinner.

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Vegetarian Frito Pie. Good for, well, all the things.

On this lovely dish, we have Fritos (obviously).  We have homemade vegetarian chili with black beans, kidney beans, onion, sweet pepper, and zucchini (of course!).   We have avocado, and sour cream, and freshly shredded cheddar (well, duh.) And we have onions and jalapenos that I lightly pickled in vinegar (yessssss).

And I got very close to finishing this painting of my copper winged-piggy bank, Bartholomew:

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You are beautiful ... I must paint you.

Now that you know that I name all my ceramic creatures, you probably respect me less.  But that’s okay, because I made art.  I’ve always believed that art can be defined as a conversation between the person that creates and the person who observes.  My end of the conversation is, “Hey, look at Bartholomew, my copper winged-piggy bank.”

What is your reply?

 

Peace.

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What about what I want?

I tend to spend a lot of time wondering and worrying about whether I’m living up to my potential.  Scratch that, because that’s a lie.

I spent a lot of time wondering and worry about whether or not I’m living up to what other people believe is my potential.  There it is.

The truth is, I probably could do anything I put my mind to.  I learn easily and well.  I test extremely well.  If I am motivated, I am unstoppable.    The only person that ever really tries to get in my way is, well, me.  And I can usually shut me up with the promise of a good scone.

So why, on paper, does it look like I haven’t done much with that potential to succeed?  I spend countless hours worrying that I won’t be seen as accomplished enough, cool enough, but that  doesn’t seem to get me motivated.

While I was slicing potatoes for a gratin, it occurred to me.  I am as successful as I really want to be right now.  I am a mother, wife, and friend.  I’m a damn good cook.  I’m usually patient and often kind.  I am beginning to reconnect with my writing (despite a four day absence here, sorry, y’all).  I am reading more, creating more, slowing down more often to be so fucking thankful that I can barely breathe for the beauty of it.  Why wouldn’t that be an absolutely beautiful definition of success?

It is.  So … goals.

 

  • Cook amazing food.
  • Write honest words.
  • Value and trust my own definition of success.
  • Be fluid enough to let the three above goals evolve and change as needed.

Parenting stress. I has it.

I am just as deaf as I am blind. The problems of deafness are deeper and more complex, if not more important than those of blindness. Deafness is a much worse misfortune. For it means the loss of the most vital stimulus– the sound of the voice that brings language, sets thoughts astir, and keeps us in the intellectual company of man.

Blindness separates us from things but deafness separates us from people.

Children who hear acquire language without any particular effort; the words that fall from others’ lips they catch on the wing, as it were, delightedly, while the little deaf child must trap them by a slow and often painful process. But whatever the process, the result is wonderful. Gradually from naming an object we advance step by step until we have traversed the vast distance between our first stammered syllable and the sweep of thought in a line of Shakespeare.

Helen Keller

Tomorrow, I’ll probably post more about this.   My son has a bilateral sensorineural hearing impairment that he was born with.  Right now, he’s having a really hard time in school because of it, even with aids. I am having a really hard time getting his primary teachers to understand what they are dealing with.

Numbers and satellites and holidays and I’m probably coming off as crazy here

You know what I like?  New stuff.  New foods, new experiences, new technology, new ideas, and new people with whom I can make their acquaintance.  New stuff absolutely rocks my world.  If I have ever claimed innovation fatigue, I was probably just feeling cranky.  The only category of new I can think of solidly that I will refuse to like is that of new horror movies.  And that is because I’m a big weenie.  And new horror movies suck.  It’s just the facts, y’all.

Right now, we have a new moon.  Yay!

What I’m saying is, new stuff is pretty awesome.

Also, I like numbers.  For the longest time, I never really had a lucky number.  It comes back to when someone asks me to name my favorite x (x being animal, plant, food, book, song, etc) .  How can I pick just one?  They’re all so cool, and for so many reasons.  Ultimately, though, I can narrow it down to two numbers.  Three and Seven.   So I like 37 and and 73 and any combination of those digits, as long as they are both there.  The challenge comes in when trying to pick out what day of the month I would then like best, because there is no 37 on the calendar.  Over time, I realized that 23 is my favorite calendar day.  I guess the two looks enough like a seven?  I don’t know.  As I said.  Crazy.

I like 23 so much that I moved my alternate birthday to June 23 (from February 10, because February is the worst month ever.  Cold.  Gray.  Dismal.  That’s why it’s the shortest month, because everyone hates it.)

So today, I’ve got my new (in the moon) and my stand-in favorite number (23).  Also, it’s the beginning of the Chinese New Year.  Not my tradition, but it’s a whole lot of people celebrating the new.

Every bit of this post could and should be explained in a way that doesn’t make me seem quite so … we’ll go with quirky, but I need to be working on a short story for a competition, and then I need to make dinner for some friends who are coming over.  I simply don’t have the time to seem like a functioning and totally not crazy member of society right now.

Plus, I love the word crazy.  Way more fun than going by a diagnosis all the time.

 

Also, I can’t seem to find a good way to end this.  I don’t want anyone to think I’m making light of mental health issues.  I am actually diagnosed bipolar.

 

But really, doesn’t crazy seem more fun?

 

Peace.

And then I cried to Bittersweet Symphony. Don’t judge.

Last night, after I tearfully posted the things I am trying to improve about myself, “Bittersweet Symphony” by The Verve came on Pandora.  I cried until I started laughing.  Because seriously, weeping silently to Bittersweet Symphony is such a hallmark of my late adolescence that it could have its own category on TV Tropes … if my life had all been televised.  After the laugh, I was still very keyed up, so I proceeded to watch United States of Tara on Netflix streaming until four in the morning.  I reached the end of the second episode of the first season, and as the screen returned to the menu, something clicked in my brain.  Clicked in a good way, not in a “oh no, she’s off her damn rocker again, y’all”.

I toastered up an Eggo waffle, then sat down at the desk and wrote this on some post it notes.

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Yeah. Don't.

Then I went to bed.

When I woke up this morning, I got up, got dressed, made a pot of tea and a batch of oatmeal scones.  I read stories and caught up with some old friends.  I caught up with myself a bit, too.  I haven’t felt the gnawing hunger in my gut that I’ve felt since last Monday.  I have been kinder in my thoughts and words.  I’ve been alone most of the day, but no lonely.  And despite a near-tragic lack of sleep from going to bed so into the quiet hours of the morning, I am not physically and mentally tired the way I’ve been for the past week.

Also, this was dinner, so that helped.

Ain't nothin' that some stir fried veggies and udon noodles can't fix, y'all.

 

Am I fixed?  No.  It’d be silly to think that one cathartic moment fixes the years of bad mental training I’ve forced upon myself.  But I’m trying.  And I feel very optimistic.  And a little silly.  In a good way.

By the way, if you haven’t seen United States of Tara yet, try to check it out.  The writing is superb, as is Toni Collette (duh.  Isn’t she always?)

The Feminine Critique

Last week, a friend told me that everyone thinks I come off as believing I am superior to others. What’s more, that I always make her feel badly about herself. My gut reaction is to defend myself: my words and my actions.  I spend a lot of my time feeling deeply unworthy of the company of others, and that would be my defense against believing I am superior.  I would never believe I was superior to anyone, because I know that I am barely deserving of a human classification, so shitty can I be.  But those are just feelings.  Poorly worded feelings, no doubt.  And ultimately, it does not change or fix the damage this person feels I have done.

Every time I am told that I have hurt someone, it wounds me.  I focus on it for weeks on end, ultimately compressing that injury into a tiny ball of scar tissue that hangs around in my heart.  When I want to sink into my own neuroses, I pull out that little ball of scar tissue, roll it around in my hands, taste it.  Remember why I am unworthy of even basic human respect … unworthy of treating myself kindly.

That’s pretty shitty behavior.  I don’t like about myself that I can wallow so effectively, and yet still find that I have done harm to others.  So the methods I have used (defending my actions, holding onto my offenses) hasn’t been effective.  It’s time to make a change.  So for that change, rather than defend myself, I’m going to explore all the ways my friend has a valid perception of me.

I try to parent my friends.  I want them to be safe, well, and very very happy.  I offer too much advice, too much unasked-for guidance to them, because I want them to find all the beauty and peace that they each deserve.  Though my motives are good, it is overbearing, and comes off as the behavior of a judgemental know-it-all.

I am opinionated.  So very opinionated.  And my opinions often come out before I word them carefully.  My opinions also often arrive before I realize that no one asked my opinion at all.

I can be very abrasive.  In the options of fight or flight, if I believe the wellbeing or feelings of my loved ones are at stake, I always choose fight.  I am often wrong that anything at all is at stake, and I therefore come off unnecessarily confrontational to the people I consider to be a threat to the ones I love.  Also, I am far too prone to believe that the danger to the person I love is themselves.  Fighting a friend to save that same friend is … well, fucking ridiculous.

I am sensitive.  Not sensitive … I am raw.  I am so easily hurt, or reminded of past hurts, by almost anything.  If I mention a personal interest and don’t receive a response, I know that I am being slighted.  If no one laughs at my jokes, I know that I will always be that awkward ugly girl in sixth grade who laughed at her own jokes.  That girl who still feels easily how mean the cool kids can be when you are a know-it-all weirdo.  That sensitivity feeds into how opinionated I can be, and a cycle gets created.

I am a procrastinator.  I wait to share all the ugly little scars and bruises that make up my psyche until everything in me is so tense and taut that I am more likely to lash out.

I wallow.  Hell, this whole post is about me trying to stop wallowing and continue to be a better person, so that probably goes without explanation.

The things above … I own those.  Those are in me.  I am that person.  All things that I can work on, do work on, and will continue to work on.  I can be more trusting of people in my life to make their own decisions.  I can be more patient with my opinions.  I can share more and judge less.

But I cannot quit wanting desperately for all the people I love to have all the happiness and beauty that their awesome existence (and their awesome gift to me by their existence) demands.  I will always want so much for everyone to find all the wonders of the world.  But maybe I can learn to accept that I don’t always have the right answers for them.  I can let them find these things for themselves, and just be so fucking thankful that I get to witness them doing so.

And maybe if I see it enough, I’ll start seeing more of the things that have got to be there for me to discover as well.  No one hates me as much as I do.  I have to believe that I am the one who has been wrong all along.

Peace.