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.
Imposter syndrome is when you’re successful at a thing, but you secretly believe that someone is going to come and explain that they’ve figured you out, you’re a fraud, and they take away your ability to do that thing. Basically. In a very over-simplified nutshell.
Writers feel it, quite often (I say this based on the number of authors I follow who admit to having had some sense of the problem), but women are also large sufferers – especially professional women, apparently. I know young mothers who have worried about if they’re really a good enough mom, but I’m not sure if that quite falls under the same category or not.
My thing is, people somehow see me as confident in who I am, in a generalized sense. Now, usually, I attribute this to them not knowing me particularly well. They know a facet of me – Work Me, for example. Work Me often appears to either know what she’s doing, or at least know when she doesn’t know, and then she appears confident because she generally has an idea of who to go to ask for help.
But a couple of weeks ago, a fairly long term friend spoke the thought that I was not like other people, because I was confident. I knew who I was and I didn’t seem to care what People thought, and I was just as happy being me as pretending to be someone else.
I’d had a drink, which was stronger than I normally drink, and very little food, and I laughed at her, or at least, the assertion. She doubled-down. She was positive I was quire comfortable in my own skin, and I didn’t seem to have the desire to express bravada and drama in being more or less than who I was. It was reassuring to be around someone who was that centered in herself, she said. It made me feel safe and like someone that she and others could be themselves around.
I blinked and let the conversation move on. Because what else could I say at that point?How can people see me as confident in who I am when I don’t know who I am, half the time? I have doubts like anyone. There are moments where I’m confident, sure. And yes, I know how I feel about some topics. But I don’t profess to know myself particularly well on all things. I’m pretty sure I evolve and change on a fairly regular basis.
I try to be kind. I try to be the sort of human that a stray animal would trust, for example. Or that a small child who grabs a familiar color denim leg, upon discovering it doesn’t belong to their actual parent, won’t panic. They’ll simply look around for the correct leg. I guess that works for the centered and safe feelings she described? But I have serious doubts about other basic aspects of myself almost daily.
I worry that I’m honest enough or perhaps too honest. I worry that I’m too optimistic, but then perhaps I’m too negative, and I don’t achieve the middle ground realism that I want. On the other hand, a little bit of rainbows and sparkles can’t be so bad … can they? I wonder if I always recognize my inherent privilege in being a white cis woman, but then again, when in certain states, people will speak Spanish at me and assume I understand it. (I do, if they’re slow enough and enunciating very carefully, but no more than a 5 year old might. And it’s not because I was raised speaking the language. It’s barely a second language.) I worry that I come off as cold, or too warm. I worry that my sense of humor is so twisted as to be outré. I worry on a semi-constant state about something in the way I interact with the world at large, or don’t and perhaps I should.
I suspect in some ways, that this is part of being human, and maybe a feminine human, and maybe a feminine human who reads and thinks quite a lot. I also suspect it is an aspect of living in my head more than perhaps others do. I know though, that not all humans behave this way. I’ve got enough friends who I’ve asked tentatively that don’t have this in common with me. They aren’t all men. (Although quite a few are.) And quite a few read quite a lot.
So I just don’t know. I wish, sometimes, I could experience myself as they do. I don’t know if it would help, exactly. But it would be interesting to see. As it is, I get startled almost every time someone says something nice about myself. It’s not that I think I’m a horrible monster or internet troll! I just don’t necessarily think I’m worth acknowledging in thanks, either. I feel very much like someone who can fade into a wall and disappear unnoticed.
Which could easily lead into another blog post about other things. For now, I think I’ll just wrap up by opening this to you readers: do you ever have that dissonant moment, where you’re told something about yourself, and you don’t recognize the person being discussed AS yourself?
My current place of employment has some really nice perks for employees. Among them, is a pretty fluid time off policy. However, in order to comply with various state (and in our case, city) ordinances, we also have some things in the handbook that seem to suggest we do not have a fluid time off policy. Like our use-it-or-lose-it vacation time.
We have 40 hours of vacation time that, if I remember correctly, zeroes out and restarts at 40 upon hire-date anniversary. Which means that in mid-July, my vacation time resets at 40 and I have to use that time, or it goes away and resets at 40. And management really doesn’t want us to separate that out. We need to use all 5 days at once. We can wrap them around a weekend, if we want, or we can use them Monday through Friday, but we can’t use them one at a time here and there. That’s what discretionary PTO (personal time-off) requests are for. And that’s where the fluidity enters into play, because as long as you aren’t asking for time off during a black-out period (basically when conventions happen or mandated holidays) then it’s more than likely going to be approved. We also have 40 hours of sick time that front-loads in January. It’s gone when it’s gone, but again, we have PTO to fall back on, plus a variety of other things that could be used (because of the FMLA, for one).
So I knew I had 40 hours of time that I should use, as a block, coming up. And I’ve been feeling vaguely short-tempered occasionally (not necessarily about work, actually – more about some things I can’t control but am still stressing about), and wouldn’t mind taking time off, but I didn’t want to take off a whole week at once. Because hopefully, in December, I’m going to be moving and a chunk of readily available time off would be very useful! But after talking it over with my manager, it was determined that it would be better to ask for PTO in that case, and hurry up and use my time off. So I’ve had a staycation this week.
It’s been interesting. I’ve mostly let myself sleep in. Ridiculously so on Monday.
I made a list Sunday, of things I have been putting off, or just basic chores that we have a hard time getting to on the weekends for one reason or another. I’ve mostly worked through it. There were a few items that I thought about putting on the list and didn’t; mostly because I knew I’d have a hard time accomplishing them and saw no reason to depress myself. But I’m further along that I was afraid I’d be by this time, so I’m happy.
I have a few little things to do tomorrow that are errand related, and some more general housekeeping to do, and I think that I’ll be happy enough with things that I can reward myself with a day-trip to the coast, which was also a goal for the week.
I’ve also been reading a little more, here and there, which is nice. I haven’t finished anything yet, as far as actual books are concerned, but that’s all right. It feels nice to just read. And it’s good practice. Reading is important for writing and I really want to try NaNoWriMo again in November.
Mostly unrelated to the staycation, but coincidentally, I’ve also been playing a lot more of Borderlands 2 with friends, and that has been particularly awesome! I really am glad to finally be doing that more. I like playing with them a lot. So far the only downside seems to be wishing I saw them in person more regularly as well.
So yeah, much as I was stubbornly pouty about being “forced” to have vacation earlier than I wanted (even though I did ultimately choose the dates), I think it’s been worth it so far. Now to keep enjoying the time off through Sunday!
Recently, I shared an article that an “angry dad” wrote about how the bathroom bills are pointless, and there were scarier things to be afraid of than people who were different than what we might be used to. In fact, the monsters often look Just Like Anyone Else, because that’s how they survive (and frighteningly, often thrive) at being monsters.
An old friend, who is still a cop, took issue with the article, because he felt it was better to have one more law in the arsenal to stop sex offenders than to cater to the 1% that would be harmed. I said that the article was talking about exactly those sex offenders, and how they didn’t have anything to do with transgendered people. He said something flippant about how I’d lost touch with common sense (again) and goodbye, and then blocked me.
It was upsetting. I’d hoped a) that he wanted to protect everyone, and b) that he cared more about hearing my side than just cutting me short after a quick exchange on Facebook. I’d hoped our friendship meant more, I guess. And then, of course, I was mad at myself. I’d already unfollowed (but remained “friends” with) several of our co-workers, for similar reasons. I didn’t like the racism, the misogyny, and the paranoia they were displaying. The rights they were worried about “losing” weren’t rights per se, and often had more to do with having to share them with others. So I knew that, much as it hurt, it was better to have the abrupt break (I can’t call it a clean one). And, in the hopes of not having to deal with more, I made the choice to cull my friend list a bit more.
I realize that’s weak of me. I stand up for my transgender friends. I stand up for all LGBTQA friends. Some of those friends are more like family to me. If someone jokes about something and it’s beyond the pale, I call them on it … most of the time. I’m still weak and will avoid things if I worry it will cost me my job. Any more though, that’s the only thing stopping me. I don’t always call bosses out on their prejudices. I’m trying to be braver. I’m white, and even though I’m a woman and sometimes wonder about my orientation, I’m always assumed to be straight because I’m married to a straight man. And I’ve always been with straight men. So, I have a set of privileges others don’t that I can use to be brave with as a starting point they can’t.
I’m trying. I still have room for improvement, and it’s sad and scary to discover people I love… loved… are close-minded and willing to trample other people’s rights because those other people are a minority. I will probably lose someone again, to this.
Just like it happens for gay, lesbian, bi, transgender, asexual, and gender queer people every day.
I am extremely good at being extremely hard on myself.
This can drive close friends and family crazy.
The good news is, I’m getting better at noticing when I’m doing it to myself. I’m also getting better at noticing when I’m getting snappy with loved ones as a result of being hard on myself.
For example: I often show love for my husband by cooking for him. Or baking for him. Or cleaning for him and otherwise doing household chores he’s completely capable of so he can relax when he gets home. I think, in part, I do it because it’s good to do things to help out and I like them done a certain way, so… it lessens arguments. I also do these things because my mom (and dad, sometimes) did them – an example was set. Also, I must admit I love the good feedback of compliments and gratitude. (This tastes good, sweetheart, thank you! The kitchen looks great! You worked really hard! Would you please make me X dessert soon?)
But. I also slowly start to resent it when good feedback doesn’t occur, or if the occasional turnabout doesn’t occur. And since I set up a sequence where I’m the one who does those things, it’s a jerk move to resent something when I haven’t communicated that I’d like a break in doing the things. (I think I missed the communication part between mom and dad, so in my head, partners just notice when the other person needs a break. And yeah, sometimes, but in real life it’s better if we communicate.) Now, luckily, doing a thing that sort of drives me crazy (scheduling the dinner menu for the week) has a nice side effect of being able to communicate that certain days might be more ripe for him to cook or us to go out to eat. It’s also better for budgeting for grocery items.
The thing is, I love that I can bake a consistently decent pumpkin pie. Even the one pumpkin pie I made in the last couple years that didn’t taste good had a perfect consistency. (Bad can of pumpkin. Didn’t taste like anything. Taught me to ALWAYS taste the pumpkin puree before I add anything else.) I love that Terry’s face dissolved into a big grin and I hear a woah-ho-ho! when he walks into the house to the smell of that or apple pie or molasses cookies. I don’t love that I get tired of doing it, and thus don’t want to. I don’t love that it adds to my waistline (and honestly, probably his).
So it’s complicated.
I have a similar love/hate with a very clean house. It doesn’t last long, will need redone quickly, and is a pointless exercise in those regards. But. Someone besides me can find things if they’re in their place (not everyone’s brain can handle organized chaos), it’s less anxiety-making to walk/live in a decluttered place, and it’s healthier for the cats.
I suspect everyone has things about the way they show love/caring for others they love and they hate. I don’t think it’s individual to me. But lately, when I really wish it was easier to lose weight and eat healthy – but comfort food is so reassuring after long stressful days, I really hate how I express love via food the most. And I blame myself for being stupid enough to express love that way, because in the end, I hate myself for being heavy.
What about you?
All week I’ve been fighting a medium grade urge to cry. It’s not depression, exactly. It’s just this physical sensation of needing to cry. My sinus cavity, the back of my eyes, my throat being tight and the weight on my chest that all happen when something very sad make me dissolve into a puddle of ugly angry upset sobbing tears.
Except I don’t.
And I don’t even know why I’m having those sensations exactly.
At one point, at work, I had an almost ah-ha moment that pointed toward New Job and Co-worker Interaction Stress as a strong contender for the Why. And then it fizzled out as a good fit and I still was upset. A friend and I tried to remember if there is a triggering anniversary setting me off I’ve forgotten, but typically August is a non-event month. There was moving and stuff but that’s not usually trigger-y.
So I don’t know.
I feel alternately alone and stifled with too many people. I feel needy and too independent. I feel like I need a good long hug from my dad and a lot of ridiculous giggling with my sister over nothing specific.
But mostly, I feel extremely frustrated (nigh to the point of physical violence) for not knowing why I have all these feels.
I am tired. I want to sleep and be able to just be. Without the urge-to-cry hiding around every damn corner. It’s not even sadness. It’s just the physical ache of needing to cry. And I’m so very tired of it.
I hope it goes away soon.
…My brain is parsing in phrases instead of proper sentences and paragraphs. But I’m in the mood to blog, so blog I shall.
That moment when you realize you are exhausted and didn’t do any “real” work, but got a lot done in the office. We reconciled accounts and went through emails and verified that our desks were lost somewhere between Sumner and Seattle and they’d call us back. And then we went on a Bi-Mart and Costco run for the office kitchen (mostly, we also picked up a grounded extension cable and a 6′ surge protector). Upon return with beverages and snacks and things, and after unload, and after my boss ate her lunch, our desks arrived! The rest of the afternoon (which was kinda sadly short) was spent assembling desks*. And for a brief moment, a remote co-worker and I had another snippet of ongoing Doctor Who discussions in which he asserts he’s the Doctor (rule number one – I lie) and we decided that if he was the Doctor I could be Amy. (This was a digression that made sense, and makes sense, because while I love River I’m definitely NOT his wife, and if I’m Amy I’m his mother-in-law, which I said I was okay with, especially because my sweetie has things in common with Rory. Co-worker decided it was getting complicated, but didn’t seem phased by this.) This conversation occurred while we were trying to determine status of paperwork for someone related to co-worker. It was one of those multi-thread things that happen when you talk to your co-workers mostly through Skype.
*Really, only desk was mostly assembled. We still need to assemble 5 drawers. Then we can start desk number two. But we got further than our other co-worker whose desk was delivered with ours.
Also, I am tired and punchy and have been all week. I suspect annoying dreams tonight are on the docket. I am really, really hoping they won’t be too bad. Had a brief flare up of hives (or heat rash, although from itchiness I’m really thinking hives) again today at work. Not sure WHAT I’m having an allergic reaction to. Debating full dose of diphenhydramine before bed. Loratadine helped last night, but I’m not sure they both have the same anti-histamine effects I’m after. Need to research boxes to decide.
Finally, I did chore type things upon getting home. So I was productive and should feel good. But still feel vaguely restless and unsatisfied in general. I’m hoping that the socializing planned for tomorrow helps with some of that. If it doesn’t, that means I probably need the opposite, and need to hole up with a book. As I have a stack by the bedside that hasn’t been read at all, and shelves I could re-read, that should be easily remedied? I hope.
Anyway. Rambling blog is rambling.