Saturday, February 11, 2012

A New Year

I don't feel I have anything inspirational or motivating to say, I actually am pushing myself to write this. The woodstove is calling me and wants me to sit closer, students' writings beckon to be read, lesson plans beg to be planned.

Yet, the siren call of writing has sat my butt in my chair while the girls "help" wash dishes (Read: waste water, make a mess).

Oh, wait, yes I do have something to say. I have no idea how inspirational it will be but here it is.

The turning of a new year has made me rethink my life it does every year. And so does a scary couple of weeks while I waited test results after a gynecologist appointment showed endometrial cells where they should not have shown up.

Things like that make me rethink the lessons learned. I have so much I want to do, more than I could possibly fit into one life. And even though my outward and inner patience has increased wonderfully, I still feel impatient that many things take me so long to do or understand. I turned 44 last month (December), shouldn't it all be easy-street now?

And in many ways it the way that I walk with and feel a confidence my 20 year-old self never understood or imagined. True, my body sags and parts alternate in not-working-properly, but this body has been through so much with and for me. How can I not love it? It gave me 4 beautiful children who make my soul smile. It's wrinkly, bulging in the 'wrong' spots, my hair is graying and thinning but I love it and appreciate it more than I ever did when I was twenty, in-shape and my clothes fit me ...nicely.

When I was younger I showed my impatience, like a badge. Swerved around slower drivers, sighed heavily and hurried my boys. Although I still do some of all of that sometimes, I have also realized that I usually end up at the same light as the slower driver. And those extra seconds can be used towards something more staying in a good relaxed mood, breathing and listening to the stories of my daughters. And if I find that I am rushing way too often that is my indication that I have WAY TOO much piled into my life and it's time to cut back.

I understand people better. It's true that I may never understand those who are close-minded and small-minded whether they hide behind the belief that their religion calls them to be so or simply because they are close-minded and small-minded. But I do have a patience for those who think differently, behave differently, love differently. I have always been open-minded but now I am open-hearted, not just to those who are good to me and treat me right, but to those who don't too. It just feels right, I don't really know why. And I'm okay with that.

I have faith. My faith may not fit in a specific religion, but lately I have felt drawn to going to mass. I believe there is more, a bigger picture. I also like to go for pyschic readings, and I believe in the Law of Attraction. I believe in an underlying goodness in people, and I think that when I show it to others they respond positively and with a goodness. You can ask the teacher whose room I use for my studyhall, she has seen me disarm unruly students sometimes by just asking how they are, how was their weekend. I believe that I am where I am supposed to be, things feel right, most days. There have been a few times in my life where things felt good for a bit, a minute, a day, a week, but this has been feeling 'better to good' for awhile.... I can't do it alone, I couldn't have reached it alone. So I have Faith in something bigger than me.

A support group is necessary in life. My husband. My children. My friends. My fellow hemi moms. My fellow teachers. My fellow writers. When I got pregant with my first son at 19, and my second son at 21, I thought I had to it would show that I couldn't handle it and didn't deserve them. I thought I couldn't share bad things from my first marriage with friends...that would be akin to 'hanging my dirty wash out to dry' took me an unnecessarily long period of time to realize that it is okay to need to help. It's okay to vent. There are parts of my life that were really bad and they didn't need to be as bad or as dark as they were, but I thought I had to do it all myself. Then Kath came and I found out I HAD to have help. It was a humbling time, I need to count and reach out to others. That was a hard lesson for me. I know now it's okay to ask for help, you aren't weak if you need help.

Time is neither a blessing or a curse. Spending TIME with family is a blessing. Waiting for a doctor exam and the results feels like a curse. Actually, Time is just Time. It is what you make it. Sometimes I use it wisely, sometimes I squander it...or maybe not 'squander' in the usual way...but go sideways for a little while. But if I have a choice between cleaning and hanging out with my family, or going for a cup of coffee...I never choose cleaning. Never. :)

Laughter is healing. When I look back at the hardest times in my life, I remember them being devoid of laughter. They were heavy with sadness and frustration at not being able to alter things for my children, and laughter-less. But when I try to keep that one foot in the door of the place where people laugh...then I get to laugh and that helps to beat back the darkness. Not laughing can break you faster than the actual problem you are facing. Laugh deep and often.

**** I started this a month ago then immediately--before I even got to edit it--fell off my 'writing-wagon.'
I'm not sure why I stopped writing. Maybe I felt overwhelmed. Maybe I felt I was sharing too much. Maybe I felt I couldn't live up to things. Maybe it's just winter. Maybe it's just laziness.

Whatever it was, I feel I came up with a good final lesson to leave this piece on. Although I am sure I will have many other lessons I wish I added...tomorrow when I am driving down RT43 I will thunk my head and say, "Hey! What about..., ya dope?"

But this is it: Don't allow yourself to give up. Especially on yourself. If you do then it is too easy to expect less from others too.

I was thinking today, giving myself permission for getting the most out of shape (read: NO exercising, okay a little yoga, but more cookies than yoga) I've ever been; giving myself leeway for not writing each day (Hey, you are busy, you have a family, a house, a one REALLY expects....); but then I thought of two major things.

1) I have been honing my writing for years. I feel I have gotten pretty good at it. I feel it's a gift. So who am I to hoard my gift? I have story ideas popping into my head, why am I shrugging them off and allowing them to lay dormant when I should be rushing to write them down? What am I so afraid of? Why am I giving up on myself? I have read stories in my life that truly felt like they 'saved' me, helped me put my feet back on the ground...etc...what if (here comes a humble part) one of my stories could help someone else live life a little better?

2) We don't allow Kath to give up on anything. We work at what is hard and we rework it and we keep going until she can do it to the best of her ability. We have had people tell us how wonderfully she is doing, said with the air or words to the effect that we could have it a lot worse, as if we should be grateful that she is beautiful and that she is not more damaged by the stroke, as if she has reached her apex. Well, we are grateful, but we also won't allow her to just settle for 'just fine' when she can and will do and live 'amazing.' And we won't give up on her.

So my lesson...if my 5 year-old stroke survivor can get up every day, smile and work to use body parts and brain parts that are resistant to progress then I can push myself to reach beyond my comfortable place and use what I've been gifted too. If my 7 year-old can struggle so much with her asthma and still dream of playing soccer and running track as well as continue to learn dance (she wants to do 3 classes next year), then I can get my body back into health too. If my 22 year-old son can sustain a traumatic brain injury that bounced him into a very different life path than he was dreaming about, and force him to deal with seeing his friends going off in all their different directions while he resets and refigures the one he now lives on, then figures out how to push it to fit the new him, then I too can find my valued friends and step back on my new path and shape it Veronica-Style. If my 24 year-old can deal with trying to figure out where his place is, in a world that promised, "If you go to a good college, you will find a good job and do what you love," but in reality shut shop on him and changed the game, then I can also reshape and advocate for myself and others in my teaching world.

I'm not sure what this all means. Many times I write and have a goal and purpose. This post has been unwieldy and messy in my head. But maybe that's okay too...maybe sometimes we have to give ourselves permission to reach and see if, just maybe, we can reach when we really aren't too sure, when all we feel like doing is sitting in front of the wood stove with a cup of coffee, playing it safe.

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