Category Archives: honesty

Dear Nemesis…

I’m writing you a letter today. Granted, it’s an open letter. But hey, any letter is better than none. And I really just need to clear the air here. I’ve let you bug me far too much and it’s time to let it go.
Of course, you’re never going to read this. That’s OK. Even if you happened to read it, you probably wouldn’t catch on that it’s you I’m writing about. That’s OK too. I’m not writing this letter for you. I’m writing it for me.
See, I’ve really resented you. A lot. And I’ve held grudges, held them in, and let them simmer. Until I finally exploded. And you know what? I’ve realized something. By sitting on that negativity and letting it simmer I was giving you power over me. That’s done. I’m a wife, a professional, a woman, a working mom. I don’t have time to spare on you.
Why did I even let you bother me? I guess because you embody so many of my pet peeves. It’s amazing, really, that almost ALL of my pet peeves can exist together in one body. You should pat yourself on the back for that one. It’s quite an achievement.
So, what are they? The pet peeves I mean. Aren’t you curious? If you’re not I don’t really care. You’re going to hear them anyway. Here we go.
• Your self-importance. In casual conversation, you refer to yourself as ‘generally average.’ But that’s not what you really think. I’ve heard you praise your vast intelligence, superiority over other women, and even taste in reading material many times. You’ve even gone so far as to say that people can become ‘an annoyance.’ Just the superior tone of that one comment makes me bristle. Who do you think you are? Obviously Someone.
• Your (again) self-professed Grammar Nazism. That actually could be a good thing. I can be a bit of a Grammar Nazi too. But what gets me is that you feel the need to brag about your habit of correcting others’ grammar (yes, adults’) when your own writing tends to be full of grammatical errors and typos. Walk the Talk, Chiquita!
• Your intentional over-use of British-isms. Come on, honey. You grew up in Texas and the Midwest. Not the UK. Yes, I love Downton Abbey and Dr. Who as much as the next Anglophile, but I don’t make an effort to substitute good ol’ American words. On this side of the pond, it’s ‘math.’ Not maths. We drive people ‘crazy.’ Not mad. Etc. Etc. Etc.
• The way you tend to flaunt your lifestyle, as if you are somehow more privileged than, as you put it, ‘people who work.’ Your Spouse works countless hours to enable you to sit home eating bonbons and handcrafting various items while your offspring educate take care of themselves. Remember, these are the kids who told me that they love being homeschooled because, “Mom forgets a lot and we don’t have to do school every day.” That’s the choice you made – great. But the rest of us don’t need our noses rubbed in your superiority.
• The fact that you’ve got your family snowed. Convinced that your college degree is ‘unmarketable’ in the job world. Um, it’s a college degree. That means that, with any small degree of effort and a measure of work ethic, you could find a job. Even a part time one.
Do I sound jealous here? I admit it – I used to be. But the more I thought about it, the more I started feeling sad for you. Why? Because I’ve spent enough time working on me over the last year to recognize some patterns here.
It’s obvious that you are incredibly insecure. Why else (unless you truly are a More Evolved Specimen of Humanity) would you constantly feel the need to talk yourself up? Affect fake ways of speaking? Remind the rest of us of your innate abilities? Correct others? Rationalize your choice to be a SAHM? Heck, you wanted to be a professor and aren’t. Maybe this is your way of making yourself feel better about not achieving that particular goal. I don’t know. And it’s not my job to try and find out. But I feel sorry for you. And I’m REALLY working on not getting irked at all of the little things.
So what’s next? Well, since I’m working on cleaning my side of the street, I need to let all of my pet peeves go. And pray for you. Yep, that’s right. I’m going to start praying for you. And no, I’m not going to start praying that someone really tells you off or that you suddenly realize how annoying your habits are. That would be totally missing the point.
No, I’m going to pray for peace, enlightenment, and open-mindedness for you. Among other things. But that’s a start.
And you know what? I feel better already.

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Filed under honesty, Personal growth, Relationships

Resolved: Update

So it’s the end of the month. The End of my January challenge to focus on the positive instead of always seeing the glass half empty.

The results are in, folks. And it’s a mixed bag.

 In the beginning it was pretty easy. Writing in my journal, setting positive goals for each day, pausing in tight situations to reprogram my brain’s natural negative train of thought. But here’s the catch – that was at the beginning of January, when the minions and Spouse were all on vacation, the house was put together and life was generally low key and low stress. I was able to count to ten and put a positive spin on just about anything that came my way.

 Then Spouse went back to work, the minions headed off to school and it all hit the fan. It probably didn’t help that my regular checkup with my doctor was postponed. Turns out that one of the meds I take to manage symptoms can cause mood swings. Great. What a time to try to think positively. Work amped things up a notch too – apparently taking most of December off causes people in the world of Big Commercial Real Estate to come back in January stressed, behind schedule and generally a bit cranky. It’s hard to put a positive spin on the day when I was interrupted by one of the guys to be told that the electric stapler was empty and could I please deal with it right now? Never mind that there were two hand staplers within easy reach. The electric one needed filling STAT!And that’s just one example. Try working in that environment nine hours a day – when every situation is that dire of an emergency. I bet even Pollyanna would have trouble with her Glad Game then.

 Coming home after those days? What a great excuse to beat myself up for being mentally and physically tired. And the switch in meds was a real treat too – total exhaustion for three days followed by three days of feeling like I’d downed a six pack of Jolt cola by noon. Good times.

 So, how did my positive attitude fare during all of this? Oh, she bloomed in rare form. She deflated into a passive-aggressive ball of positive negativity. I’m really proud of that.

 What’s positive negativity? It’s a rare gift. Knowing that I was supposed to put a positive spin on things, I started saying and thinking things like these:

·        I’m positive that he’s a just a mean, nasty person with no redeeming qualities.

·        It’s a good thing that you’ve got me around, or this house would look like an episode of Hoarders.

·        Wow, I’m glad I’m not her. If I were that arrogant and negative about everything, friendships would be impossible.


See what I mean? My brain tried to get around my self-imposed negative ban just like my ten year old. ‘What’s wrong, mom? You told me not to run in the house, so I’m turning cartwheels while punching my brother instead.’ And here I thought that over a decade of teaching made me grow up! Ha!!

The absolute low came the other day, when I got so incredibly positively negative (my attempt at seeing how many adverbs I can possibly string together) that I finally snapped and sent off an e-rant into the void. We’re talking a personal maturity nosedive. I’m really embarrassed and ashamed to admit it, but I’m being honest in my resolution plan here, so full disclosure is a must.

I snapped out a rant that was basically the equivalent of a kid saying, ‘Fine, maybe I should just shave my head and run away.’ Only it was more like, ‘Fine. Maybe I should just be mean to everyone, get really fat and never shower again. Maybe then things would go my way.’

Seriously. It was that bad. Not those exact words, but you get my drift. And the worst part?? Once said, I couldn’t just unsay them. Not like some email programs that let you ‘unsend’ a message. Nope. No way. This one’s out there to stay.

So what am I getting at? My positive spin on my anti-negative failure is this: I may have picked a goal that was a bit too lofty for the beginning of the year and my level of personal growth at this time. In education we talk about setting SMART goals for the kids: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-based. Apparently my goal was not realistic or attainable. But I’ll still work on it – in smaller doses. After all, my brain can’t just go cold turkey after decades of programming, right?

Here’s my SMART February goal: I will do between forty five minutes and an hour’s worth of Zumba or P-90X three to four times a week.

I have Zumba for the Wii and all of the P-90X DVDs, so there is no excuse there. Done. I’ll update you on that one in a month.

Until then, my positively negative filter is set to maximum strength.

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Filed under honesty, Moms, Monthly resolution, New Year's Resolutions, Positive thinking, working moms

I Yam What I Yam…

Popeye said it best. Remember the movie with Robin Williams? The Spouse scoffs at its awfulness, and he’s probably right. The main reason I remember it is that it was the first movie I ever saw on a VCR. One of the huge Beta ones. In third grade my friend’s mom RENTED one for her birthday. Remember those days folks? It was amazing. Not the movie, but the idea of seeing a movie at home with no commercials. Can you tell we didn’t have cable?

Anyhoo, it’s Friday. That means a few things around here. I teach my weekly tech training class at work – and the head honcho made an announcement that no phones are allowed. Yippee! That should eliminate the nonstop texting that distracted me in last week’s session. Bowling night for the spouse (we’re so Honeymooners) means fam movie night with the minions. And I guarantee that a VCR won’t be involved. Are you kidding? The minions would die without the Scene Selection feature!

And The Big Sleepover is tomorrow. Coolness. Minion #1 had his birthday dinner last night, and surprisingly chose Napoli. Local neighborhood pizza joint with no crowds and yummy food. So the festivities have just begun.

Back to the topic. I Yam What I Yam. I’m just me. And I’m getting a bit exhausted – mentally and physically – from trying to be all things to make all people happy. I’m just me. See, I’ve got a friend or two – old and dear friends – that I’ve been really trying to maintain connections with. And it’s not working well. Whether they’re just extremely busy, have life stuff going on, or have decided that our relationship just isn’t worth maintaining – connecting is becoming more and more scarce.

I’ve tried. I’ve really tried to keep up the email – texting – Facebooking connection. I’ve tried the lighthearted reminder. The funny email. The from-the-heart supportive message. I’ve tried to say the kinds of things I think would maximize the conversation, the content and the connection. And guess what? It ain’t working, folks. I’ve mentioned the honesty factor. As in, if you’d rather not connect right now, please let me know. That ain’t working either. Yes, I know that ain’t ain’t a word, as my fourth grade teacher used to say. Until we showed her that it was in the dictionary. She was stymied.

So basically it comes down to me just being me. And – for once – not apologizing for it. I’m a smart person. I love to learn. But I also like to take a break with mindless escapism now and then. I enjoy fashion. I’m a girl. That doesn’t make me less of a person. And, being female, I can also be moody, crabby and a bit vindictive now and then. I’m tired of trying to hide it. Take me for what I am. Not perfect, but worthy of attention in my own right.

“Take me baby, or leave me.” Amazing vocals aside, that pretty much sums it up. And if you haven’t heard that song from Rent, do. If for no other reason than the amazing female vocal talent that’s required to pull it off.

So yes, I am a mom. A woman. A wife, mom and person in my own right. What I choose to do – or not do – makes me me. Working towards accepting that, as much as I may want them to, my friends just may not want me in their lives right now. I’m just gonna be me. And let them make their own choices.

Of course, it would be nice if open and honest communication let me know what those choices are. But that’s not on me. It’s out of my hands. Know what I mean??

How’s that for a deep Friday post??

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Filed under honesty, Moms, Relationships, Rent, Self esteem, working moms

Honestly

Monday. Blah. Working while the Spouse is off. Lucky guy. And my parents are in town, kids are off. Hmph. It’s a living, right?

We actually had a lovely weekend. Weather was nice, lots of outside time with the minions, shopping with my mom in the ‘burbs, dinner out. Lots of fun. And now back to the grind. Whee.

So what should I talk about today? Something that’s been on my mind a lot this weekend, and something seriously lacking in today’s society.

Honesty.

See, I’m all for being honest. Sometimes bluntly, sometimes gently – but honesty is always the best policy, in my opinion. Because I truly believe that most people would rather hear the truth up front, however much it might sting at the time. Really. Just think of all the problems it would solve. Job interview? It would eliminate days or weeks of anxious waiting for a callback. Fashion choice? Any woman would much rather know up front that yes, it really does make your butt look fat. Something in your teeth? Oh, please just tell me now so I can fix it. Fly down? ASAP notification is a requirement. Relationships? It hurts to find out that a friendship is over, but again – I’d much rather know right away, deal with it and move on. Forget the ‘I’m just so busy right now,’ or ‘I know it seems like I’m avoiding you but – ,’ or ‘I’ll support you no matter what.’ Please. All of those statements give false hope, whether that is the intention or not. Like I said, yes, the truth may hurt in the short term – but that’s nothing compared to months/years of trying to rekindle a friendship only to be met with vague excuses and promises. Really. And that goes for any age – kids or adults.

Why bring this up now? Because I’ve worked really hard to be bluntly honest with myself. Seriously. Blunt. It’s hard. I don’t like it most of the time. But it really does make a lot more sense than continuing to delude myself about abilities, situations and realities. And since I’ve bitten the bullet with self-honesty, I find it that much harder to deal with outside people and situations. I’ve said before that I tend to over analyze and read too much into things. That’s because most of us find it too hard to be honest with each other. Especially with those we care about. It’s easier to be vague, try to ‘let others down easily’ or – especially in the digital age – use email and/or texting as a major method of communication. Without the facial expressions or tones of voice of others, words can just go out into the cyber void without thought. And I’m speaking from personal experience. It’s easier to be dishonest through email. Not proud of it, but it’s reality.

So do yourself and others a favor. Just be honest. Even if it’s hurtful. Short term hurt is much easier to face and doesn’t fester like long-term false hope. Really.

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Filed under Communication, honesty, life lessons, Relationships

The Mom Guilt

It’s there. In full force this week. Mom Guilt. It’s unlike any other guilt you could possibly feel.

Warning – this post ain’t gonna be pretty. But to my credit, it is honest. Soul-baringly honest. So feel free to skip this one if you’d like. I won’t be offended.

See, I work. Outside the home and in. Full time mom, full time professional. And since I’m being honest, it’s causing a lot of negativity at the moment. A lot (yes, that’s two words- another grammar snob pet peeve).

I’m not Catholic, but since I’ve been challenged to be ‘rigorously honest in all my affairs,’ I did a rundown of the seven deadly sins yesterday in my journal.

Wrath? Yeah. I’ll get to that.

Greed? A bit.

Sloth? What I wouldn’t give for about three weeks to myself doing absolutely nothing but reading, watching DVDs and LMN brain rot.

Pride? Yep.

Lust? I love that one of the awesome teachers in our Bible study class refers to lust as ‘any desire that takes precedence over one’s spiritual relationship with God.’ Got it. See sloth.

Envy? Heck yeah.

Gluttony? See sloth above.

Anyhoo, this was all brought on by a couple of things. One- I’m really tired. Busy but fun weekend with the fam did that to me. Sometimes I feel like I need a weekend to recover from my weekend. Two- Catching up with a few blogs I read. It’s really hard, after an exhausting week, to read about what some people consider a ‘busy’ day. Three- the Mom Guilt that makes me feel like I should be home with my kids.

Case in point- the mom who smugly bemoans the fact that her day consisted of ‘having’ to grocery shop and, as a result ‘only’ getting to spend four hours on the hand-designed silk screened shirts for family Christmas card photos.

Boo Hoo. I had a fourteen hour day yesterday starting with a teacher conference at 7 am.

My well-meaning spouse, the voice of reason, asks, ‘Why do you keep reading those blogs then?’

My answer was the same I give when he asks me about watching Big Rich Texas. ‘It’s like a train wreck. I just can’t stop watching!’ Or in this case, reading. It’s a vice.

And another blog I read has a mom justifying her decision to stay home based on the fact that her degree isn’t suited to the job market.

Huh? I spent six solid months looking for a job. Underwater basketweaving degrees qualify you for artisan-type jobs today. I got passed over at the Art Institute because music wasn’t ‘arty’ enough. MRS degree? Schools need ‘culinary arts’ teachers. Random ancient literature major? I’ve seen job postings go unfilled for years because no one possesses the working knowledge of (insert obscure dialect here.) Can you smell my sour grapes yet?

Now I sound judgmental. Not my intent. Envious of other women’s ability to have a choice? Yes. I’ll be honest. And I get sharp-tongued when I’m envious. I don’t have the SAHM choice at the moment. But my point is that I feel like women should own their choices, not make excuses for them. Be happy with the choice that works for your family and don’t cybernetically (? Word? Or not?) rub it in others’ faces.

Stepping off soapbox now. Cause I’ve gotten to the point where I’m rambling. I apologize. Bottom line – working through negative emotion is a challenge at best, and one way that helps me is letting it out – because I used to hold it all in.

What about you? How do you deal with the Mom Guilt, the negative, and still stay sane?

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Filed under honesty, Mom Guilt, negativity