Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I'm Back From Hiatus, And It Ain't Pretty

Hi there, remember me? It apparently has been almost a month since I posted last. Christmas was pretty much the usual insanity, I contracted the plague for New Year's and then the kids went back to school. All in all, just the status quo.
I wish I had something interesting to write about but I'm kinda not in the groove at the moment, and to be honest, I've done a bunch of reading and thinking and a little, okay maybe a lot of crying too. I think the reason I haven't wanted to write is because so much of what's going on in my head is very raw - feelings are pretty jacked up at the moment, and I don't like blogging that turns into emotional vomit. Plus, when my feelings are all over the place, organizing my thoughts in a way that makes sense to readers is a real challenge and I always delete the draft because I feel like it sounds crazy.

However, recently, I've been reading Daring Greatly by Brene Brown and am starting to feel like she has been spying on me, if you know what I mean. Even as I type this, I am thinking, "You have turned into SUCH a cliche. Approaching middle age, reading self help books...gah." Anyway. So, one of the things that Brene says we need to do to live "wholeheartedly" is tell our personal story with bravery and no spin. Since I seem to find it difficult to articulate how I feel and what I think about feelings in sentence form, I did what I can and made a kind of list. Bear in mind that I am totally cognizant of the fact that my perspective may be a little off.

So, here are the things that I tell almost no one, the stuff I hide:
  • I was abused, physically and emotionally, by my father until my parents separated when I was in high school. My dad was/is an alcoholic (sort of I guess who knows) and a certified crazy person. Very unpredictable and volatile, which meant I was always watching him to see how I should act. The fallout of that is that now I watch everyone to see how I "should" act, just in case they might get mad and hurt me. I am now estranged from him entirely, and not having a good dad is a huge hole in my life.
  • While I am typically smiling and laughing in public and socially, that is very often a front. Behind the scenes, I am horribly lonely, very disappointed in myself for my lack of professional success/personal growth/appearance and am flat broke - none of which actually help you feel better about yourself.
  • I get my feelings hurt easily. I also have an inner mean girl that picks on me relentlessly and she is a hateful bitch. I don't really know why I care what people would say to or think about me, because I can promise you that I have already said or thought worse to myself.
  • I have a huge heart and feel empathy to a fault. I always think that I would be a great rich person because I would help everyone I could. It also makes me kind of a sucker, and very often I feel like an emotional vending machine, always willing to lend an ear and be supportive, but with not much outlet for me to have the same.
  • I believe in God, and consider myself a Christian, but have so many questions, doubts and things I don't agree with that I have no idea what I am. I love church though, and then I feel bad about that too, like I'm using God to feel comfort in His house.
  • I am scared that I will die having never experienced anything amazing, with the exception of my children. I would probably commit a felony if it meant being able to travel some. 
  • I spend way too much time on the phone and online, mostly because of wanting interaction with other people. Then I observe people interacting with each other and it makes me feel worse. Can anyone say circular?
  • I'm terrified that my daughter will turn out like me. We are a lot alike, and I see her heading down the same path I did. Good at lots of things, excellent at nothing. This is when I really pull out the self hate because I think if I could afford additional instruction in this that or the other thing, she might actually have a chance at being really good at something. But I can't, so she probably won't. Awesome.
  • I have a very nasty temper when crossed. I have said and done some things in the heat of anger that I really, really regret. I have two speeds of dealing with conflict - complete avoidance or total insanity.
I don't know if this is exactly what she meant, but it's as good a starting place as any, I guess. Maybe I'll list some positives another time to try to balance the UGHHHH factor of this post. I don't know if this will be off putting to people who read this, but I just need somewhere to lay out the ugly stuff, and not just the funny and good humored writing. I hope that you guys will come back again - I promise that this is not the start of a trend or anything. I think that naming what scares and hurts you takes it's power away, and I for one am sick of feeling like this. If it takes a million self help books, a miracle or a wonder pill, I'll get there one day. Another positive is that I generally don't give up, so there is always hope for better.

If you want, you are welcome to share things you don't normally tell anyone either. Your "secret" is safe here, I promise. I sincerely appreciate everyone who comes here and reads - it means a lot to me. Thank you.

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Alisha said...

I wish there was a way to hug the crap out of people. I hate how much a childhood can screw a person up for their entire lives! The fact that you recognize that you have crap is amazing. If you felt all screwed up, but didn't realize why, you'd never be able to heal. I hope you have a way to find some safe people, with whom you can be yourself. Obviously, broke=no therapist. Therapists want you to pay them. Weird, eh? Does that church where you find comfort have any sort of therapy ministry? Or a pastor/leader you might talk to?

All you can ever do is your very best. Your kids will know you loved them, and that you screwed them up in your own special way (as we ALL will!), but you're doing your best.

Also, God doesn't care if you have doubts and questions. He can handle it. He'll love you, no matter how you feel. At some point, maybe your doubts and disagreements will fade away, maybe not, but God will still love you! Keep taking comfort in His house with His people! If it's a good place, you'll be able to reveal who you REALLY are, and feel love from real, live people. Everyone has baggage. The only way to lighten the load is to share it.

bereccah5 said...

Thank you so much for all your kind words. One of the things I am proud of is not perpetuating the abuse onto my children. They think I am insane of course, but they certainly aren't worried and scared like I was. I really just don't know what else to reply to you other than to say thank you so much, really.

Amanda said...

You don't know me, and I've never been to your blog before, I just followed a link from Scary Mommy and I wanted to say that the online world can really mess with us all because the lives people pretend to have is so rarely based on reality. I was in the changing room at a swimming pool the other day and I looked around at the bodies of the women around me and, honestly, they were mostly unattractive. I thought to myself, "I want my daughter to see this, this is the real world of women, this is what the human condition is really all about before spanx and photoshop and carefully cropped images where you hold your head in a way that masks your double chin". The more we live our lives online the more detached we become from reality. How much other people work, how much money they make, how great their vacations are, how attractive they are, how great their kids are; it all looks better through this rosy filter.

There is a whole lot of "average" out there that Facebook seems to have erased. Comparing yourself to others is dangerous, but comparing yourself to the online persona someone has created...how can you not feel like a failure next to that?

I wanted to write a comment to your post to say that you sound like you are beating yourself up over leading a normal, average, life, but the truth is that that is the life most of us have, and it is our expectations that are out of whack because we don't spend enough time in changing rooms seeing the naked reality of what life in 2013 really is like.

Good luck getting back on track in the New Year! I love self help books. :)

Alisha said...

I think it might be a requirement for kids to think their parents are crazy. They're right on track! (And so are you!)

Anonymous said...

You remind me so much of myself. I could have written 80% of what you have shared. I had an emotionally abusive mother who suffers from depression and anxiety. We are the products of our environment growing up. I also am never sure what I am supposed to say or do around others, afraid of not acting "normal" enough - that I will say or do the wrong thing. I have the same destructive internal dialogue (I refer to her as my bitch) who is always picking at me and questioning what I am doing - basically my mother's voice permanently in my head). I suffer from anxiety.
Know that you are not alone. You define who you are each day as you interact with your kids (and it sounds like you are doing a great job). Raising children is one of the toughest and most important jobs on the planet - we are testimony to the results if it is not done in a loving way.

bereccah5 said...

Thanks so much! I don't sweat what people are doing/have/brag etc on FB, just that they are with friends - I'm just lonely right now. Anyway, you are absolutely right about average being erased - everyone and everything is expected to be amazing! and awesome! and fabulous! when really most of us are just going along, doing our thing. And that is oh-damn-kay.

Regardless of all this, thank you for stopping by and being kind enough to comment - I sincerely appreciate it. Oh, and I'm digging these self help books...pretty sure I see a trend starting around here. ;-)

NumberWhisperer said...

Hey Rebeccah, it's Tanya from OrigThoughts. We're all bat-sh** crazy on the inside. I didn't grow up abused, just dirt poorer than everyone else, trying to feel good enough, and treated poorly by many of the cool girls. It doesn't sound too horrible now, but it was enough to do a number on my self-esteem. I also question God and my faith nearly every night. I could go on and on...

You're doing your best to be a better person, and that's all anyone can ask for. At least that's what I tell myself. :)

Feel free to email me privately, whenever you need a friend.

bereccah5 said...

I like to think of it as keeping them on their toes. ;-)

bereccah5 said...

Thanks T. I appreciate it. You are a such a kind person and I can't thank you enough for your sweet words. Just gotta keep on keepin' on, you know? :-)

angiemizzell said...

This is so brave, and I can relate to quite a few of those. Our backgrounds mark us permanently, but then when I got to the part about your daughter, it made me think about how the best we can do is encourage our kids to identify what makes them light up. We often don't know until we're doing it. That's the kind of work we can do in our own lives, too. There's no deadline to figure it out.

bereccah5 said...

That is excellent advice. I tend to think in "I'm running out of time!" style, when in reality, barring a catastrophe, I've still got a few years to figure some things out. The background stuff is hard, I think mostly because it's been a part of you for so long that you don't know any differently and because stepping outside of yourself and evaluating your decision making/perspective is crucial to personal growth but difficult to do. Thanks for your insightful comment!