I have four prompts in my drafts folder. 2 are dictionary definitions of things that either interest or annoy me, and the other 2 are vaguer shower/email thought prompts.
They don’t sound good to write.
I thought about writing about mothers, and the holiday yesterday. The thing is, I’ve done that? It would retread these themes: I miss my mom. I think the holiday has a tendency to encourage fictionalizing/romanticizing some relationships (and I didn’t have a wrought relationship with my mom). I am not a bio-mom for anyone. I feel weird being a step-mom/-mom-in-law to adults, and being shoved in those roles by random semi-strangers. I sometimes feel weird being a god-mom for a long host of reasons. The only mom thing I feel good about is being a cat-mom, and that’s not a socially acceptable thing.
See? Written up very succinctly.
I think I’m just feeling tired, and disgruntled, and frustrated. In part that’s likely work related. It’s also life related. Having recently bought a house, and moved, our life is only mostly settled. We still have dozens of boxes that need sorted and a small storage we haven’t moved yet. I’m not sure if I’ll be all better once that happens, or if it will just be a new thing.
This is the point where I usually remind myself that I’m privileged to be able to whine about the things I’m whining about. I have it very good, in a lot of ways. And even on days when my brain is completely fried and I feel misunderstood by everyone, I’m still doing better than I could be.
I do feel better about one major thing this weekend: after several bookshelf purchases, all of the book boxes that I know about are finally unpacked. And shelved. And even basically organized!
I may still need to unpack miscellaneous office junk. And remaining art. And random hidden boxes of clothes. But BOOKS ARE ON SHELVES WHERE I CAN FIND THEM.
Why can’t I take that success and wallow in it for a bit? I must be a glutton for punishment.
I’m allowed to tiptoe out of the gate.
They don’t mind that.
It’s within the rules, you see.
Oh, you know. The Rules.
Don’t dress too loud, or too flashy. It draws attention.
Don’t move too fast, or too well. It draws the eye.
Don’t be too loud. They might hear you.
Don’t feel too much. They would be uncomfortable.
Because it’s really all about them. And if they don’t have to see you, hear you, think about you… then they don’t really care.
It’s all about how you can steal moments that mean something, but within the cage.
It’s all about how you eventually make yourself so very small, that they forget you exist to the degree you once did. You’re simply what they’ve made you. What they need you to be – or not be. What use you have.
And eventually, they get distracted by some other shiny, loud, emotional thing.
And you can tiptoe quietly through the gate.
Into the light.
Into the air.
Into the sound of beautiful, terrible, wonderful things.
Where you can slowly unfurl and grow.
And they remember, that their mouse was once a giant dragon.
That is when you have to decide: do you let them coax and woo you, to win you back?
Or do you burn them?
So that they never try to shrink you down to nothing again.
“Yoga newsletter. Negative emotions.”
This is one of seven prompts I have set for myself of random things that I’ve thought of, in an attempt to push myself to write more. For a moment, I couldn’t figure out why I was having negative feelings about a yoga newsletter. I mean, I feel frustrated that the current schedules and locations available don’t work with the time I have available, and where I’m working and living. But then I remembered.
It was a note about how one of the instructors is often asked about positions and practices that can help cleanse the body of negative emotions. And how she has to gently correct those inquiring – while yoga as a practice can help the body and help bring wonderful emotions, it’s about being in the moment and experiencing all of life, in her view. That includes things we often call “negative” emotions, like fear, sadness, and anger.
I was really glad to read that, actually. Yes, those feelings are uncomfortable and no one enjoys having to experience the breath-stealing moments of fear, the electric hot fury of losing their temper or the bone-weary darkness of deep sorrow. But they’re part of life.
It reminded me, a little bit, of the movie Inside Out. Joy can’t figure out what Sadness’s job is. She feels like her fellow emotion doesn’t help. And then there’s a moment, where Bing Bong is very, very sad. Joy tries to be silly to cheer him up, and it isn’t working. She’s frustrated, and beginning to panic and turns away for just a moment. In that moment, Sadness sits down beside him and affirms what he’s feeling. She touches him, sits close, and listens to him just talk about it. She reassures him by being there with him in that moment and accepting that he feels sad. She allows him the space and time to feel. And it works. After a moment, the worst bits of the sorrow pass, and he takes a deep breath, says he’s better, and gets up to go on.
Joy is very confused, and doesn’t understand. She even asks Sadness what she did.
We need that. We need moments to be allowed to just BE whatever we are, even the so-called bad things. Should we wallow in those moments, and let them feed on themselves and grow beyond what is needful? No. Like everything, balance is needed. But sometimes, a good venting of anger, a good cry to release a sad feeling, or allowing our hearts to race with fear, and then take a deep breath and go on are exactly what is needed to help us stay mentally and emotionally healthy.
It’s stressful to be happy all the time. It feels forced, because it is.
I sometimes wonder if we get burned out on being happy, or upbeat, and that’s why people have to do progressively more extreme things to cheer themselves up or experience excitement.
I love giggling so hard I can’t breathe and cry tears of joy. But I just as much appreciate a movie that moves me to messy tears of grief, because in that moment, I can re-experience something in my past, or an important part of a story. I don’t enjoy being angry, but I can look back on how I’ve dealt with myself at various points of my life, when I was angry, and see how I’ve matured (or not – and thus have something else to learn and work toward as a goal). I don’t like scary movies, or being scared in general, particularly; but the moment of relief when I realize all is well or that I’ve at least made it through? That is wonderful! The feeling of being safe and sound is a wonderful thing to experience.
Sometimes, we experience all of these things at once. It’s what happens as we get older and grow. I loved that Inside Out showed that as well, with the core memories. I hope that slowly as we all age, we can all learn from people like the yogi who wrote the newsletter that turned up in my email as well. And learn to embrace, as best as they can, all of the emotions they have as well.
I know I can keep trying to do just that, on an almost daily basis.
The world was all scribbles of inky blackness, at least in this little corner. Flashes of white and gray shone in between. As her eyes adjusted, she could see that the long arch ahead was a bridge. At the tangle near the bottom was the base, where the river bank was.
Because she felt lighter than usual, as though her tangle were unfurling, she made her way there, to see better.
Within the tangle at the base of the bridge support, once she looked, she could see other pockets of lighter colors. Stones tumbled from the pale gray dirt to lean up against the concrete wall. Another tangle of blues and blacks and grays and greens and a faint other color sat on the stone.
Because she was curious, she walked even closer.
The tangle on the rocks was a person. Long legs and arms covered in clothing that was still inky, but maybe colors. Jeans on the legs and green and gray sleeves on arms long for holding things. The person was looking away so she thought the tangle on top was hair. A curly mop of perhaps brown, perhaps red.
Because the shoulders were slumped, she walked even closer.
The curly tangle of hair was definitely red, although hard to see in the shadows. Under the bridge, her steps made a quiet echoing sound in the dirt and gravel around her. The person looked up and was a man with quiet guarded eyes. The eyes watched her, and then, softened. His shoulders were still slumped, but not at all imposing. Perhaps tired, or sad.
Because she wanted a friend, she stepped under the bridge beside him.
“Hello,” she said. “Can I have a hug?” And the man’s arms opened and she stepped into the inky tangle which lit up with warmth and light.
Sometimes, I catch myself in an inherited emotional conflict. The biggest one is the Lack of Contact with Specific Relatives conflict.
My parents both came from moderate to largish sized families, depending on who you ask. I mean, my dad’s dad had something like 13 kids in the family. Dad’s immediate family consisted of 4 boys, 2 adopted girls, and a small quantity of foster kids (of which I only ever met one). Mom’s family was split between extremely tiny (her mom was an only child with many maiden aunts) and average to large for the time (I think there were 4 kids on my grandfather’s family, but he somehow got “disowned”, although even that is up for debate). Mom’s own immediate family consisted of 4 girls.
My immediate family consists of 4 girls (and a half-sister we knew existed but who had been withdrawn by her mother so we weren’t allowed to meet her until I was well into my 20s and she in her 30s).
We did the usual kid things. We’d write grandparents cards for birthdays, and thank you cards for gifts/money we might get at holidays or our birthdays, but rarely saw them. I have specific memories of certain relatives, and gaping memory-holes of others. (I apparently drove across several states with my youngest aunt on my mom’s side and thoroughly grossed her out by shoving half-eaten carrots in my mom’s mouth. I was definitely either a baby or a toddler. I have no memory of this or being a dress-up baby for my adopted aunts that are barely a decade older than me. I have previously mentioned how I met my grandfather at about age 3 and remember it very specifically.)
We didn’t live near any of our relatives. They all lived at least 2 or more states away, and we lived in Texas (albeit the top northeast corner of Texas, only a couple of hours from 3 neighboring states). And most of our relatives didn’t drive through Texas really, although some would occasionally fly through. In any case, sometimes, mom and dad would make an effort and we’d go see his side of the family, usually in Ohio or Kentucky. For a time, Kentucky was easier. It was infinitesimally closer, and my grandmother and grandfather both lived there. Even after they divorced, they were near enough to each other. I remember one Christmas trip where probably, the road conditions were very scary. We pulled over at a truck stop (one of the sorts with all-night diners that have amazing smelling coffee and pie) so that daddy could chat up the truck drivers for news on the roads. Another trip, when I was older (probably in high school), we went to Ohio. That was a very big reunion, but mostly I remember it as an excuse to celebrate my grandmother’s birthday – July 5th.
The bit where it’s an inherited emotional conflict is – that side of the family didn’t reciprocate visits, really. One of the uncles would. He adored my dad and genuinely loved my mom, and if he was traveling through Texas for any reason, he’d manage to stop for at least one or two nights and visit. Dad’s family didn’t write, in general, and they rarely called. It hurt mom a lot. When I’m being logical about it, and remember that in reality, I’m not sure I care as it doesn’t affect me on a daily basis, I suspect they just assumed we knew that we were invited. We’re family. Of course we must know that there are reunions, and we should come!
Mom’s position was that we couldn’t always afford to travel. And that dad was often working. And that it would be nice if, on occasion, they came to see us. Especially if they were in state. Once, they found out later than an uncle and his family had been just an hour or two away, and hadn’t told us until long after the fact. Dad was terribly hurt, and for mom it was the last straw – she said. Mostly, it just made her angry and bitter and judgmental of their choices.
The odd thing is, she didn’t really get that way about her own sisters. Perhaps it was because one pretty much stayed in her home state with their kids. And another was often too busy working to keep her kids fed/clothed. And the third, well, the third DID visit, when she drove through occasionally. We had a family reunion with them too, which mom enjoyed (and surprised herself doing so, because it was camping of a sort, and mom hated the outdoors).
I don’t really know why it affected her so much. The few times I tried to gently ask she would just get so upset about how much they hurt my dad with their choices that I’d often drop the subject. But I catch myself being angry with them on her behalf, when I see them post things that I know would bother her. Most times, I can shake my head and sort of shiver off the feelings. But sometimes I’m so tired, and I wish the people could see how casual thoughtless things said can hurt and exclude. It’s hard not to accept the baggage as my own, in those moments.