Journal free-writing update time

Ten days into the Ultimate Blog Challenge and July’s 28 Days To A New Me commitment of writing one blog post a day for each day of July, and I’m questioning my sanity and my resolve to do this, at this time. There are sooo many things going on that I am not sure I made the brightest decision here.

I feel burned out of writing ideas and capacity, at this particular moment. I think part of it is because of how much I exposed, worked through, and just put “out there” in yesterday’s post. When I decided to do a letter about peace, I planned to actually take biblical text and some of the Pauline letters and use them to inspire an open letter for peace. It took me off guard and was more than a little unsettling when couplet verses describing the difficulties and struggles I’ve had in parenting my children and their suffering with me as their mother just began flowing and writing themselves.

I almost stifled it and considered leaving it unpublished. There’s a really big and loud inner part of me that is very concerned about the reactions and responses of those who know me and whether I had the capacity to cope with whatever they would say or do in response. It seemed too important on a couple of levels.

First, while I may be done with the guilt and shame, I am still working through the grief and sorrow. I also am working through the balance of accepting that, even though I did the best I could do, there is still a level of accountability needing to happen. Acknowledging how my woundedness, wounded them allows me to honor all our pain and accept my role in their pain. That’s important. Sometimes, I think if the adults in my life, especially as I was fast-tracking my path to adulthood, had ever once acknowledged how their actions, choices and decisions had hurt and impacted me, then it might have reduced the time and intensity with which I struggled to learn how to be accountable instead of avoidant and defensive.

Second, being open and sharing about these difficult and painful things, isn’t just beneficial for me, it also helps others. At least, that is some if the feedback I’ve gotten. Whether it’s someone who has had experiences similar to my own, a person who struggles because of their own difficult and painful childhood, or a third party looking from the outside and bewildered by what they see going on and the assumptions and judgments that they make – being truthful about my experiences from my perspective offers insight and hope to others. Again, if I had been aware of or connected to anyone who had been through the things I had, who had managed to navigate her way out and through, AND been willing to share her inner struggles, thoughts and emotions that she had to fight through and overcome in order to be okay with herself and her life, I think it might have helped as much or more than the classes I took and the different forms of therapy I went through.

So, though there may be people who are uncomfortable with me sharing these things, I hope others find what I share is able to help them on their own journeys.

I’m still fighting through pain on many levels. There are many times the ingrained habits of unhelpful thought and actions still take over: irritability, depression, and hopelessness rise up, affecting me and those around me.

I struggle and deal with collection calls, threats of service disconnection and eviction, and unpaid bills. Keith is struggling, badly, with his truck driving job and how that plays out between us and is affecting our finances creates ongoing, daily stress on us both. LaLa and her SpiritLove are moving back in, which creates a whole new dynamic between us all, especially during this transition period that Keith is in with his job.

He got his newest co-driver lat week – the fifth one since February – and is finally on a route that will, hopefully allow us to catch up on our bills. However, now instead of four weeks out and four days home, he comes home for a day and a half each week. The logistics involved in that mean we have to figure out how to get him home from the truck stop each week, then out to meet up with his co-driver at 3 am on Tuesday mornings, without having our own vehicle. That means him borrowing his mother’s car and me returning it or us renting the Zipcar AND me figuring out how to deal with a sleepy, crabby, upset Luna and still get her ready for the respite care program she and I both need her to attend on Tuesday mornings.

Luna is growing and developing, learning and picking up things I am struggling to figure out how best to handle. She’s heard the “b” word and words like “idiot” and “moron.” She’s very smart and intuitive and doesn’t just say the words, she uses them in context. Meaning if she’s upset, especially at not getting her way, she knows where to say those words in her sentences. I tend to be the one she uses those with. Thankfully, I have learned more constructive and healthy ways of handling it and trying to teach her reasons to not use them.

However, it’s a delicate balance and she definitely gets single-minded focus on things. Trying to teach her how hearing those words can hurt and upset people, while trying to avoid shaming and blaming and attaching judgment and value isn’t something I feel I’m doing a great job of. I’m concerned how others will react toward her, and me, if they hear her using them. The reality is I only control what she hears from me. I can’t control strangers on the bus and at bus stops. I can request that other family members watch what they say, but it’s up to them to remember.

Then there are things that are part of everyday culture. Animated family movies may not use vulgar or obscene language, but I’m realizing how desensitized I’d become to how other words and negative attitudes permeate so much of what we watch for entertainment. Her Barbie movies and the newest addition to her movie collection, Rio, all have bad guys and their buffoon minions where the words and attitudes are undesirable for her to emulate. So, I do my best to teach in these moments. An often difficult task in the middle of everything else going on.

The cumulation of these various things, weighs heavily a lot of the time and I’m doing the best I know how to make the changes and not focus on the negatives. I am continuing in my connections in the 28 Days group, I followed through and met with one of my contacts from the Opportunity Conference on poverty. I’m writing even though I’m not exactly feeling it today.

Tomorrow is a new day and while it may contain some of the same things, there will be new opportunities to grow, change, learn, and heal.

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3 comments

  1. My friend’s son, about 8, cussed in front of me one day, and I told him that was wrong. I wasn’t mad, but I made it clear he shouldn’t have said that word. I explained that sometimes grown ups get really upset when they hear kids cuss because it reminds the grown ups that they’re saying bad, unkind things. Or something to that effect. He seemed to get that he wasn’t in trouble, but was kind of embarrassed.

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    1. Mary,
      It is a fairly typical and normal thing for kids to hear and experiment with language. The way you handled it was very good.

      At 8, he sounds more able to process your explanation. Luna does to a limited degree. Once she understood that it wasn’t okay to call me a “b,” she has continued to repeat the word by saying, “Mommy, I’m sorry I called you a ‘b.’ I won’t call you a ‘b’ anymore.”

      In an older child, it would probably be something about pushing boundaries and finding “acceptable” reasons to say the word. I have to remind myself that she’s only four and a half. She also gets very hyper focused and it is very difficult to redirect her attention. So, having a conversation with her is quite challenging. She also has this long attention span/memory thing where she will, randomly, shift focus and start talking and continuing a conversation from days ago, as if it’s in the now. It’s really disconcerting.

      Blessings,
      Kina

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      1. Okay, the way you explained how she apologizes made me laugh out loud. That is just so kid-like! I think you’re probably doing a good job of letting her know those words aren’t nice, even if she does keep repeating them. 🙂

        Kids have much longer memories than most people give them credit for. And if you give them an explanation they understand, they’ll listen to you. You don’t talk down to Luna; you talk to her. That’s what makes all the difference.

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