Saturday, June 27, 2015

"Feelings...nothing more than Feelings!"

Recently my therapist advised me to get in touch with and honor my feelings. I sort of knew what she meant because my most popular feelings as a working mother are guilt, guilt...and guilt. Lately sadness has been popping up too with early menopause. If worrying about others was a feeling that would be my most popular feeling but it's not, it's a verb.

Anyway, I vowed this weekend to follow her advice and what better, more mature, introspective way to do that than going to see a Pixar movie with my teenage daughter. Before I reveal which movie and the outcome, let me reveal that my kids -- and most people for that matter -- do not really relish seeing movies with me because, well, I like to chat. I like to openly (but quietly) share my thoughts and questions about the film and just assume my seatmate does too. "Who is that guy and what historical relationship did he have with her and what did she just say?"Is a common movie question for yours truly. You get the point.

So the movie is about feelings. It's called, appropriately Inside Out and was actually suggested by my counselor and received stellar critical reviews. No matter that the characters are colorful animated feelings who live inside an 11-year-old girl's head and battle her confused state and each other after she moves from Minnesota to San Francisco and is, in short, miserable.

Big names and comedic actors including including Amy Poehler ("Joy"), Mindy Kahling ("Disgust") and some SNL actor I had never heard of named Bill Hader ("Fear") make the movie a comedy for all ages, except for this surreal "abstract thought" scene I'm sure would confuse even the most gifted 5-year-old. The show-stealer ironically is "Sadness" played by The Office alumnae Phyllis Smith. She is blue (of course) and hilariously mopey as a modern-day Eeyore. She truly wants to help but every thing she touches turns blue (=sad) so Joy wants her to just read manuals and try to stay out of the way. That's it on the spoilers.

It was about three-quarters through the movie in between laughter and tears I was wiping on my sweater (because gosh Dang-it I'd left my tiny Kleenex packet in the car!) when I finally GOT what my therapist was talking about. It's okay to be sad! Now some of you emotionally intelligent dim-wits may be saying, "Duh, we all have feelings...sad, happy...get over it!" But the thing is for many of us whatever gender, we are encouraged to suppress our feelings and act happy. Be satisfied with your lot and all that. Smile when your heart is breaking. All that crap.

Well, thanks to a little blue darling I'm gonna embrace my own little feelings. Jealousy? Bring it. Anger? I am woman! Of course, I'm hoping my feelings choose to cooperate most of the time because I can't always SHARE what I'm feeling or I might get fired, murdered, divorced or shunned. But I can feel my feelings. Honor them with a little salute, give them an inner hug, then let them mush around for awhile until it's time for me to eat, sleep or act like I am the professional, mature woman I am most often not.

This is gonna be fun....

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Gig is UP!

Tomorrow is a big day in our family. My youngest is getting her driver's license! Granted she turned 16 a month ago but got caught in a little lie which led to this unfortunate delay. She and her friends literally texted me, "Don't call the house because my grandma is sleeping!" What was worse is when I tracked them down at the pizza place and busted them for planning to sneak off to a bonfire I dramatically raised my finger and pointed at them like a witch and cried gleefully, "The gig is up!" Sadly this will haunt my daughter for the rest of her high school career.

The last year has not been easy for me or my babies. I call them that with all due respect but it has been hard. I remember when they reached for me to pick them up, when I nursed them to sleep singing and they didn't roll their eyes, or when they wanted me to play games with them (God I wish I could get those times back!). Those were the days. 

Now they think they know everything, but can't return library books in time, pick up their clothes or put down their GD phones! In retaliation, I continue to treat them like they are far younger than their "wise" 16 and 18 year old selves. I nag, they push back. I pry, they shut down. It's not to say there aren't moments  of love and a hug here and there but I would not define us as "buddies" and what I've come to realize in the last few weeks is....that's OK! 

The job of a Mama lion or bear or bird is to push her kids away. Find their own pride or gang. To learn how to succeed or fail on their own and hope and pray we have taught or demonstrated the skills to survive. I hate the idea of predators, Or freak accidents. Or broken hearts. But it's not my job anymore to put them in a bubble. 

This is a hard lesson for me. I'm trying...really I am. I follow them stealthily on Twitter but don't know their Tumblr blogs. I get the most results when I'm not asking questions but lying on the couch reading or driving with them in the car. 

For now, I am lonely for a little hand. A squeal. Bathtime. In fact, I think I'll go text my youngest now or look up where she is on Find My Phone. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Just do it!

As I embark on a new push for self-care and healthy living, I am struck by the fact that I am capable of follow through but often don't. What's that about? Why is it so hard to stick to a routine? Why can't we pick up our clothes (daughter not me), put away coffee cup or write daily on my book like I committed to doing two months ago? I dunno. What I do know is that success and results do not come naturally or through laziness.

For awhile now I've been using stress as an excuse. Yes I work a high pressure job -- so do millions of other people. Yes we recently had a family health emergency. Dealt with it. Yes my teenage children think I'm a dork and we often test each other's patience. Welcome to parenting. Yes a couple drinks (or more) a night can relax you and make you seemingly fun, but it also plays havoc on emotions, liver and health.

My boss who is 67 recently ran a half marathon with his doctor son. Reportedly it was a little easier for dear old Dad. I have another friend who seemingly runs a marathon every month (good luck with those knees dear amazing one). I admire these people not so much for their running but their determination to accomplish a goal. Whatever that goal may be.

Over the past five years with several family transitions and crisis I have learned that "everybody has their stuff (nicer way of saying something else)." I respect that. I have compassion for that and need to more for myself. But I can also do something about it.

So here goes nothing....