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I want to have a discussion, because I’m curious what people think. My friend Alissa posted this article about the Campbell family who couldn’t get a cake made for them, because the name on the cake would have been.. Adolf Hitler.
The names of their other children are JoyceLynn Aryan Nation and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie.
Instinctively I am repulsed by the idea and categorically write off the parents as ignorant, racist jackholes – which, let’s be honest, I’m guessing is a safe bet. (I mean, at least super-educated racist jackholes are aware enough to be a bit more secretive about their mind-warping views, right? They find more insidious infiltrative tactics, surely.)
Anyway, obviously my blood pressure rises when I think about what kind of life they are creating for those innocent kids; what kind of lifelong damage they could be creating just by naming them like that. On the other hand, I know how many people feel about me and my views on vaccines, so that’s a flipside I’m on. And this all leads me to wonder where the line is between respecting people’s belief whether you agree with them or not, versus unabashed judgment or disapproval.
[Does that make any sense? I might need more coffee to communicate effectively today..]
Basically, I’m wondering where the societal acceptance/civil liberty line is drawn, solely when discussing PC protection. Should we get to use emotion as a barometer? I mean.. hmm.. Ok: The average ambiguity toward the concept of disciplining children by spanking disappears completely when you can definitively call it child abuse, right? People agree on that. There is an acceptable emotional response to child abuse that no one realistically can dispute.
SO I GUESS I’m just wondering if I should be trying to be mature in acknowledging they have the right to their views, and get over my emotional response (as I ask people to do for my unpopular views), or if I’m validated in my repulsion, because who in the hell would name their child after a bastard like Hitler?!
So yeah. Do you think that’s subjective or impossible to define? Whatchoo think – about this or other issues that press your buttons under the PC umbrella?
PLEASE TO WAX PHILOSOPHICAL OR LEAVE COMMENT BELOW THANK YOU.
1. I will stop being afraid to question things (like organized religion) even if it makes waves or seems like a change of belief. It may or may not be, but either way it’s ok.
2. I will stop deluding myself that just because I run means I’ll miraculously look like one of those gazelle-runners. I will never be long, lean and lithe. At peak Olympic shape I’d still be a very muscular little brick. So as muscles I didn’t know were part of human anatomy continue to pop-out, I’m going to focus more on the words strong and sexy than squat and schwarzenegger.
I think New Years resolutions are futile and stupid. For instance, it’s been 2008 for exactly six days and the crowd at the gym has already conspicuously thinned. Six Days. That’s embarrassingly ridiculous.
That said, there are things that I want to stop doing, and I concede the new year is as good a time as any. I don’t want to necessarily change because I feel guilty or have lofty self-betterment goals. I want to stop doing things because they irritate me, and my barely-dormant selfishness and both-sides-Irish temper don’t have the patience anymore.
Basically I am thinking this is a good way for me to be happier, because at best I replace negativity with positivity, and at worst I just got rid of excess negativity. Logical, no?
So here is a (partial) list of things I plan to knock off:
1. I will stop feeling badly that I sometimes have legit reasons to feel unhappy. I will stop comparing myself to those worse off in an attempt to guilt myself out of whatever I may be feeling.
2. I will stop assuming that everything I do, think, feel or want must be interwoven with Jon or the kids. I can have a self that can be its own because I am a different person, and it doesn’t have to reflect anything on my life. It can just be, with no inherent cause, consequence or weight.
3. I will stop letting everything I feel swing me so wildly, like I’m the last person in a skating game of whip-it.
4. I will stop feeling like my passionate personality equates immaturity or naivete. However, again, I will try to balance that with more equanimity and control. If I can get 2 and 3 down things would still bounce along excitingly, but without the feeling that I’m going to fall off soon.
5. I will stop trying to pretend I couldn’t benefit from some therapy. This should have been number one, that’s how indicative it is that I’m avoiding it. It’s disingenuous and tiring. Mostly it’s not fair to Jon and the kidlets. And since I don’t associate embarrassment with therapy, this is the dumbest one so far to have to write down.
6. I will stop over-reacting when the noise level gets too loud. I’ll buy some ear plugs, learn some coping skills, whatever. But my kids have the inherent right to be kids, and I can’t impose my sensory issues on them.
7. I will stop forgetting to videotape everyone more. I will surely regret someday when the little things I know I’ll remember.. inevitably fade. Pictures are great, but reliving the exact moment is incomparable.
8. I will stop forgetting that despite that this stage of parenting is least amenable to my hardwiring, it doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable and shouldn’t be revered. Live in the moment and all that.
9. I will stop letting my frustration show when the autism tests my patience. Period. It’s a double-standard with Lorelei and it’s number one in my parental self-flagellation.
10. I will stop feeling passive/aggressive. Well, let’s be honest, I doubt that will just stop. But I don’t like it, and I want to have more courage to confront things initially, so issues don’t build to the passive/aggressive stage. It’s a cop-out and weak.
11. I will stop eating only one small meal a day. Although it happened gradually, and surely has had something to do with the weight loss, I know it’s not good for my blood-sugar, much less my nutrition (thus health).
12. I will stop making sure everyone else has healthy food and vitamins, but then not take them myself. That’s just dumb and illogical.
13. I will stop not making it a priority to discover a new song or artist every week. Music carries me through life, and I lurve finding new things (so I can listen to them so many times in a row Jon threatens to stab himself in the ear).
14. I will stop procrastinating things I need to do – like oh, my Bradley studies or cleaning the bathroom – to write blog posts couched as lists that are helpful but not necessary at this exact moment.
15. I will stop under-appreciating my writing as catharsis whether I share it or not. Get a journal, Jen.
16. I will stop procrastinating about confronting my procrastination…Now.
Huzzah, I’m on my way. Happy 2008, all.
So I’ve got a secret I’ve been afraid to admit because.. well, I’m not sure. Maybe because I worry what my KCAP friends would think, or because my identity has evolved into The One Who Does All Things Anti-Mainstream and I feel like I should be above this. I don’t know.
But the truth is that sometimes I think that parenting might actually make me go batshit insane.
And let me clarify – I’m not at the brink. I’m not crying, I’m not sad, I’m actually very happy with my life. But after recently having two conversations with two of my wisest friends (both Saras, coincidentally), I’m getting close to admitting that I don’t know if I’m hardwired to be the kind of parent I want to be. And I certainly am not sure I wouldn’t fully be carted away if we tried to have a third right now (or ever..). And this makes me sad, because this isn’t the sort of whiny realization that parenting is hard. (I’ve had 5 years to be thrown in that pool.) No, this is a concession that my goals and abilities may not be aligned well, so it’s possible I’ll have to be realistic about the future in regards to what I want versus what I can do. We’ll have to see.
After stumbling on the research for Jack, I definitely think some of my biggest concerns are my sensory issues – specifically auditory. I just want to hide when it gets loud. AND IT’S ALWAYS LOUD HERE. The chaos that comes with small kids and stupid animals and gregarious parents is too much for me literally 100% of the time. It wears me out trying to calm my nerves all day. And yes, I know I should try meditation or quiet times. I agree completely. It’s just not always feasible – especially like today when Jon’s out of town and the kids are requesting cookies (wth?) by 6:00 am.
[And the truth is, that only goes so far. I realize not a lot of people can fully understand what I mean by sensory overload; that’s cool. Quiet time would be the mini-aspirin to combat the migraine, if I can make a comparison that is too dramatic but close enough. This is my normal, but after 30 years I’ve realized it’s not supposed to be. That’s all.]
And again, this isn’t about stress. Our life is not overly-stressful, despite what people may think. We are healthy and stable and warm and can pay the bills. That keeps me leveraged, I promise. This isn’t about having another child being physically attached to me for upwards of three years. It’s not about autism. It’s not about sleep.
This is just about the daily selflessness of parenting, and my rarely-selfless reaction to it.
I love my kids with a ferociousness I never knew I could, but I compared my whole family to leeches that suck the life out of me the other night. (Well, that was the wine talking. I promptly took it back.) I’m just being honest about the underbelly of parenting that I’m not proud of. I don’t like that sometimes I don’t like any of them. That I don’t always love feeding them 5 times a day, every day. I don’t like fighting about washing hands or hair or ears. I don’t like that Jack perserverates his sentences like a skipping record and I really don’t like Lorelei’s screeching. I don’t like that I can clean all day long (I don’t, but assuming I could) and by bedtime when I turn around Things 1 & 2 have frolicked behind me and it’s a wreck again. I see people who have their shite together, and I used to stress that I wasn’t doing something properly. But then I realized those people can be spectacularly boring, and I’d much prefer to be late on birthday cards if that means I was wrapped up in a book or something equally mind-stimulating. There are a lot of things about parenting I excel at, but there are an equal number of things I fail at, obviously. Thank God for fun/awesome/super daddy, because again, He was no dummy pairing us together.
Really I just wanted to stand up and say Hi, my name is Jen and sometimes I dream of going to Italy by myself. Sometimes. But not really. I miss my kids when I’m gone for a couple hours. At night when it’s quiet and I feel Jack breathing deeply, I imagine homeschooling and family trips and even having more hobbits to add to our shire.
But then another day dawns where I call Jon and threaten bodily harm to someone if he doesn’t come tag-in soon. That’s a strange disconnect, and I’ve come to realize it’s just who I am. I don’t know that I am designed to be the best mommy to a large(r) brood, and that’s ok.
There’s more to this idea of procreating (money, the environment, housing, transportation etc..), but for now I’ve been thinking about the simple quantity/quality aspect. And since this is already ridiculously long (methinks I wouldn’t have much to blog about if I had a therapist) I’ll just stop here.
Anyway, it’s always a little freeing to admit something that’s been weighing on you, so that’s nice. Especially because I’m not lying when I say right this instance Jack is sitting on Lo’s back as she’s sprawled over the Spiderman chair, and everyone is screaming.
(What’s that creed? God grant me the patience to what? Well, I don’t care. I’ll just start with that.)
Happy Thursday everyone.
I hate coming up with titles. Blah.
So I was driving along by myself today, enjoying our most awesome Christmas gift (a 13-disc collection of 80s songs our friend Mike made for us. 150 songs! Huzzah!) when REM’s “It’s the End Of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” came on. I promptly started doing my car dancing shoulder-roll move, complete with rhythmic fist shaking – the one that gets me openly mocked by people known and unknown. (I’m a thumb away from being Elaine Bennis if that gives you a visual.) And it’s been a fair amount of time since I’ve been able to really listen to it with no interruptions, so I was surprised when I found myself becoming competitive (with whom I have no idea) in singing the words properly. I must have started the thing over a half-dozen times in an effort to master it. No one cares if I know the words. But it’s always been such a point of pride for me.
This captaincy of dorkdom began in 3rd grade when I won a tongue-twister contest against Mark Birkinshaw (he of S+ for SUPER satisfactory gradecard prowess) and my teacher gave me a ribbon to wear. For a whole day I was the shit in that class, and I was certain I was the smartest person who ever lived. In truth it was that I can enunciate pretty quickly, but nonetheless it was my first scholastic success.
[It was a short reign: I nosedived soon thereafter in 4th grade when I got a D in math for long division. Too bad they couldn’t still use the “Needs Improvement” like the lower grades. So much more ambiguous and forgiving, that one is.]
And unfortunately that pattern started early with me. I simply didn’t care about getting good grades in school (thanks to besting smarty Mark Birkinshaw, surely), but I knew I was supposed to. So when I was voted Book Worm in junior high I figured that was a good enough niche. I settled into that identity and developed a really horrible trait of never attempting anything I didn’t know for certain I’d succeed at. If it involved words I was money. And if it involved math I was never going to get anyway, so I didn’t study. Basically I never taught myself to work hard. And because I never found any self-fulfilling reason to do well in school (i.e., try), my grades got worse and worse the higher the level. I barely wriggled a degree from college, and I still have dreams where someone informs me we have a final in a class I’ve never once attended. Seriously. It sucks, because the feeling of panic is still sharp somehow, probably because it wasn’t too far off from the truth.
And I mention all this because I’ve had a niggling reminder in the back of my brain that I need to get the Bradley academic work done. It’s been a month and I haven’t even started. I bet in total it would take maybe 7 or 8 hours to do – but I just can’t seem to make myself do it. And that’s dumb because I know the material. I love the topic. I chose to do it because I’m passionate about it. I mean, hell, I mentioned how my type-A woke up during the conference and I finally discovered the joy of being the teacher’s pet! Imagine if I could have taken my ribbon in 3rd grade and created a goal to win everything from there on out! I don’t know if I would be in a different place now, but I bet I’d have less regret (and less school loans. Damn.). So what’s been my problem? My behemoth notebook just sits there and mocks me, and I know I can’t teach until I get it done.
And then it dawned on me today that I think I’ve been subconsciously avoiding it because I’m scared I won’t really be able to be a successful teacher. Like the old pattern is slyly coming back and I hadn’t realized it since it had been so long since I’ve really had to try at something. If you had told me six years ago I’d want to do this I’d tell you you were crazy, so it’s when I stop and really think about it that I get nervous (or I guess if my subconscious thinks about it). I’ve never been lazy with anything else concerning this passion, so I really can see fear of failure being the reason. (Is it odd that I speak of the subconscious parts of myself as if they are another person I don’t understand? Did I just put myself out there by saying that?)
Anyway, that’s the point to this long winded, train-of-thought ramble. That I had this quasi-epiphany while singing a song with lots of fast words. I am being lazy because I’m scared and that’s crizap because I know I can do this. The end.
So I think I’m going to challenge my inner 3rd grade self to a tongue-twister battle. Here’s the song if you wanna join us. Me. Whatever.
I’ll let you know when I do the work.
Woot. Bradley conference at the end of the month and I just bought my plane tickets. This time next year you will call me Professor Pregnancy muahahaha.
Actually, let’s not. That’s lame.
So. I’ve been thinking that my attempt to try and explain myself the other day may not have been very successful, which doesn’t surprise me. It’s really hard for me to approach this objectively, and verbalizing it is even more difficult. Simply put, I have been disenchanted with the majority (sadly, yes, I do mean majority) of the organized Christian churches I’ve come in contact with. And the fact that I’ve spanned many denominations and years and locations makes me think it’s not just me or an isolated incidence. I’m just really, really struggling with the inherent arrogance within the model most Christians are trying to live by. I’m having doctrinal issues, and it’s not with God or the fallibility of humans, but the church and the blind obedience many of the sheeple have. And sure, it very well may be that I still haven’t found the perfect church for me, I’ll admit that. I’m sure growing up outside of the church and coming in with a preconceived view is a challenge to that. But I’m just uncomfortable with a lot of the hypocrisy, and I can’t fully invest in role-modeling that to my kids until I come to some sort of peace with what I endorse. There are some 2,200 Christian denominations, and that seems REALLY telling to me.
I’ve been trying to work through my doubts for years now (Really. I remember having these exact convos with Jason 7 years ago.) and so far I’ve just never really actively tried to figure it out. Partially because I knew it would mean learning a lot of history of the Bible, and that’s daunting. Secondly, and more importantly, I knew that to honestly address my reservations may force me to admit some seemingly heretical thoughts, and that scared me to think about how the majority of my Christian friends/family would react. But I can’t expect to raise kids who want to discover their beliefs if I can’t bother to discover mine. And I know I’m not the first person to have these doubts, obviously. Nor am I the first to have no question of the truth of a God, just the methods of practicing faith. That’s comforting to me to know that maybe I’m not just a black sheep.
But having issues like this is only a small section of a huge spiderweb for me (meaning my thoughts are numerous and intertwined and dependent upon each other for structural support, if that makes any sense whatsoever). In fact I really think the Big Guy would prefer I wrestle through these things and be stronger for it, no? And as cynical as I may appear towards the average Christian (and/or church) I can assure you that I’m by far not the only one (nor do I feel that about every Christian I know personally). In fact I honestly think the common stereotype of this hypocrisy is an incredibly legitimate issue if we address ‘evangelism’, so really my reticence was just admitting it publicly.
I’ve attended classes on the history of the Biblical canon at a local synagogue, and the history is so freaking complex and awesome. And like I mentioned, some of the books I’ve been reading are addressing the issue of Supersessionism, and the Christian church’s view of the new covenant of Jesus vs the covenant God had with Israel. It’s a paradigm shift, lemme tell you, and something to chew on.
So that’s where I’m at. I hope that maybe explains slightly more (but probably not). And if this weren’t already so v-e-r-y long, I’d launch into why it’s imperative to me that I try and expose my kids to so much more culturally diverse worlds, b/c I think that’s another problem in the Church, and I am really uncomfortable with my own ignorance.
But that will be tomorrow. 😉
This is one of those journal-posts where I’m just trying to work out my thoughts. Please feel free to discuss if you have an opinion, but please be serious (that means you Church of Sam) and respectful, if’n you don’t mind.
I am in a weekly mom’s group at my church. Currently we’re reading a book by this guy George Barna who runs a research company (and happens to be a Christian). The discussion that followed today pushed to the front of my mind two of the biggest issues I’ve been mulling since parenting forced me to grow up and figure out what I believe: cultural diversity vs raising a spiritual Christian. I had an incredibly obvious epiphany that I realize has summed up my wariness of my views on faith and what it means in the current American Christian church. I am simply unsure about the inherent absolutism within that model. (And this is not limited to this point. I’m sure I’ll write a whole other post someday about my wariness of replacement theology, but I’m trying to stay on task.)
My experience with religion started as a child in Catholicism, and then as I got older and older ping-ponged between Fundamentalist, Southern Baptist, Charismatic and finally Evangelical Non-Denominational. Some of these churches I found on my own, but others were introduced by family or friends. They’re all fine, whatever, but what I discovered after so many years is that these sects focus on HUGELY different things, and there is an inherent sanctimony that comes with everyone believing they are right and everyone else is wrong. Sometimes it’s subtle, or more likely subconscious, but it’s there. It’s all absolute. And this makes me uneasy – it’s illogical. And I don’t think religion must be logical, but this is just contradictory. If everyone truly believes they are right within the constraints of Christianity then everyone must be wrong, because they cancel each other out. Right?
So some of you are saying, of course Jen, that’s the point. Toss the whole idea. But I can’t, because I believe in God, and for many reasons I feel I’ve been validated I have the ‘right’ one. And if not, then whatever It is is lenient with me believing otherwise. Either way I need to figure out where to go from here.
So in reference to today’s discussion, it’s important to me that I raise my kids to not be one of those segregated, narrow-minded, sanctimonious, self-righteous asshats that I’ve met so many times in my life. (Wanna meet some mean kids? Find a couple preacher’s kids. I tell you what, my experience is about 2-15 with that lot.) I want my kids to listen to Mos Def and read Nietzsche and watch American History X – and Malcom X for that matter – because to isolate yourself from people that are different is not going to make you an empathetic person, but an ignorant one. And this all seems so obvious, but I must be missing something, because the theme in the church is always about avoiding a poisonous culture for fear of negative influences. And I do get that. I don’t advocate my kids doing anything I just mentioned now, obviously. But as a preteen or teenager? I just see it as a disservice to isolate my kids from diversity, especially if I want to raise loving, empathetic adults.
And to me I feel that the Christian church model is counter-intuitive to that. And the epiphany really became clear when I realized that among all my competing schools of thought (Non-coercive attachment parenting vs boundary parenting or natural healing vs Western Medicine) the journey within faith is the only one set up so unabashedly as absolute.
And that makes me uncomfortable. But so does the fact that I feel uncomfortable, because that makes me wonder if I’m negating my own faith. I feel like it’s not supposed to work like this. What am I missing?
So my baby sister, Elizabeth, is 15 today.
She’ll kill me that I posted that picture. It’s from a year-or-so ago, and she looks much different now. But I caught her smiling, and it’s one of my favorites. And of course that’s the joy of having your own blog. I debated posting the one of her reading the paper on the toilet as a toddler, but I’d like her to speak to me again so this will be enough.
She was the catalyst for my parents’ decision to move to KS when I was in high school, and everything would have obviously been so different had she not existed. I see her as the event that changed the whole trajectory of my life. And she’s so grown up now, with three colors throughout her short hair and checkered Vans on her feet. She wears Hurley from Pac-Sun and decided in elementary school she was never going to drink or do drugs (I plan to hold her to that now). She’s wicked smart and when she’s not being lazy is in honor classes.
She’s in drama. God help us all.
I took her to lunch yesterday and we talked about politics and music and religion and Mom and Dad. About how they may seem dumb now but if she just waits, she’ll someday realize they’re smarter than they appear. I have one foot in her world and one in theirs. I’ve always felt sort of outside their little nuclear connection, but I like that I’ve settled into a relationship of translator that feels cemented from both sides. I am in the family, finally.
Driving around once in college I made an exhilaratingly rash decision to move back to Denver after graduation. That lasted about four blocks until an old Kenny Loggins song came on that reminded me of what we used to sing to her as a baby. I realized that I couldn’t leave her. Every time Jon and I discuss moving back to CO, I plead with my mom to go also. I don’t know if I’ll successfully be able to leave until Lizzie’s in college.
After all, I wanted a sibling for 15 years. I like having her around.
And I know she’s growing up because she has her first dance soon and she’s agreed to be a girly-girl for the night. Everyone will take pictures and her poor boyfriend will turn many shades of red. My dad will jokingly (but not) tease Brandon about not doing anything that merits cleaning his gun. Mom and I will both get teary-eyed like the dorks we are.
But fear not: the little girl who was once called Truck Driver – for reasons I won’t embarrass her over in public – will always be my baby sister.
And I will always be her Jujus.
And I just don’t agree with those who vehemently think it’s all genetic or all environmental/immunological. I personally know too many people who break those constraints. It has to be a spectrum for causation too; there’s just too many unknowns. Hm.
I also heard an interesting theory suggesting that the reason for the rise in autism is an evolutionary shift in response to the need for advanced technological thinkers.
That kept me up a bit the last couple nights..
Anyhoo, interesting article in Discover about autism, if ya wanna read it. (Linky provided by a mama on MDC.)
Happy Friday and good weekend everyone~
I was talking to my good friend/doula/midwife Amber yesterday about the whole job situation, and she suggested I think about becoming certified to teach Bradley. Zoinks! I hadn’t even thought of that. She was my teacher, and I’ve attended her classes off-and-on for years.
It’s something to think about. In the past I’ve been hesitant to do it because, well, the academy is slightly antiquated. I’m even hesitant to post the site because it looks like the kind of homemade HTML thing I’d throw together. Everything is from the 70s. The workbook, the videos – even the font somehow is old. Jon and I joke that for a husband to attend a birth he has to have short shorts, no shirt and a mustache.
[Similarly to what he dressed in for the Birthdaversary, now that I think about it..]
Anyway, so yeah, it’s kind of irritating that it’s that old, but that’s a silly thing, because the information you learn in the 12-week class is INVALUABLE. Personally, I think every woman/couple should have to take it, regardless if you want a natural birth or you want to go to the hospital with your butt in the air for an epidural. People need to understand birth before they can make confident decisions about their own bodies and babies. When you have knowledge you are empowered. Period.
And when I really became interested in homebirth I wasn’t sure I could teach Bradley because the whole course is basically centered around teaching you how to fight for the kind of birth you want in a system that is designed to not really support it: hospitals. Sadly, I understand the whole medical Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) with the monitors and testing and conclusion-jumping; we’re such a nutso litigious society that it’s all about CYA. Especially when dealing with mothers and babies – the emotions involved are incalculable, y’know? And that’s too bad b/c it doesn’t leave much room for trusting that birth is normal the vast majority of the time. Really. It is.
But my passion also lay in the fact that I was once the statistically average American too. Seven years ago Cyndi told me and my MIL that she was going to have a ‘natural Bradley Method birth’ and I laughed and asked how I could pre-order my epidural. She joked while pregnant with her first that she kind of hoped they couldn’t make it to the hospital so she could just stay home and I told her SHE SHOULD BE INSTITUTIONALIZED. I was only sorta kidding.
But I got pregnant with Jack and decided to take the course so that I would at least learn. And one thing led to another and my whole friggin’ world changed, obviously.
And it may not be what I (we) choose right now. It would be a big investment of time and money to get certified, but in the long run it would be awesome to be able to plan my own schedule and make money doing something I’m crazy passionate about. I also think it would teach me to fine-tune how to educate people without being so fervent that they think they’re being judged if they don’t make a particular choice. Which is the point: I’m not judging or being arrogant, I’m just on a mission to share the information, because I really think things would be different if more people knew. Obviously.
It’s the whole know-better-do-better thing.
So we’ll see. I need to decide soon b/c the next closest conference is in October in Chicago (anyone wanna go with me?). Please keep me in your prayers/thoughts/manifestations that I make a wise decision. Gracias amigos.
I went to the library for the first time in forever on Saturday so I could retrieve my resume from the stupid diskette it was last saved on five years ago. Jon and I had decided that I would try and find a part-time job from home so we could cushion our savings before we (really, truly) move next year. And conveniently, one of the easiest fields in which to telecommute is in editing/technical writing/proofreading etc. All of which my resume is filled with. Unfortunately, the thought of doing any of those things gives me the shakes.
I’ve joked about this before, but I am a total and complete fraud. I literally have no idea how I managed to skate through undetected all those years. I used to have nightmares (not unlike Princess Buttercup with the booing old woman) about my bosses barrelling around the corner to my cube with their fingers pointed, screaming “We figured you out! You don’t know ANYTHING about FrameMaker! What’s a gerund? How do you tabulate in Word? Make me a spreadsheet!” My stomach clenches just thinking about it.
It’s probable you’re wondering why I got into the field if I don’t like it. Well, I struggled for lots o’ reasons in college, some my own issues and many that weren’t. I was probably too young and poor to attempt anything so costly at the time, but c’est la vie. And I hemmed and hawed my way through, never really knowing what I wanted to do, and finally ended up in English Lit because I love to read and most of my electives were already within the major. And in fairness to our school and all those out there who are English majors: I didn’t and don’t think it’s just an easy out. I know there’s a bias against liberal arts, but personally I think that’s crap, since I know a lot of engineers who are just number crunchers but not thinkers, yet they get lauded for building things that work. Bah.
Anyway, I picked this major, did a mediocre job, and got an internship with a company at which my friend worked as a tech writer. I knew I didn’t want to teach, and my fleeting thought about continuing on past undergrad for etymology was squashed when my guidance counselor patted my hand and told me not everyone was meant for grad school. Wench. What she should have said was that if I wanted in I’d have to get off my ass and try, but I digress.
So then I started writing for the campus paper (because Jon was the Sports editor) and interning as another tech writer (at my mother’s company), all while careening towards the end with no idea what in the hell I would do. But tech writing can pay pretty well, honestly, so I gradumucated and got a job. I hated it, quit, and got a different contract job. Then I had Jack and never looked back. And really, it began and continued because of connections. People put their names on the line for me, and I hate thinking that I did substandard work. Or maybe everyone does somewhat substandard work, but I didn’t know that b/c I was too busy scraping by.
The only thing I’ve ever enjoyed is writing. I didn’t do a poor job when writing articles for the Collegian, but I could never be an unbiased journalist. I would love to write a column somewhere, unfortunately however, columnists are like sports writers: they are there until they die. Unless they are Steve Rushin, in which case they leave because they are too good for Sports Illustrated – the same magazine that will employ that piece of crap Rick Reilly – and then are never heard from again, which makes the rest of us still forced to read that crappy Reilly sad. (Oh, that was wayyy digressive, and probably a run-on. I’m sorry.)
And I’m not really looking for suggestions on what job I can find or what I should do based on my passions, I’m just admitting my fear about getting back into the job market. I think in the future my resume will be geared for a WHOLE different field, and this won’t be an issue. But I feel so insecure thinking about trying to pose as a tech writer, when I’d rather be a lactation consultant or an anti-vaccination lobbyist. Something that interests me and I know I’d be good at.
Wish me luck. And let me know if you know anyone who wants to pay me to talk about homebirth or autism. 😉
Wanna hear how Jon and I got engaged? A very good friend of mine drowned in college while saving the life of someone else. It was on Jon’s birthday, 8 years ago. A few months later we were all at the bars when a song came on that reminded me of him. I mentioned it to a mutual friend who then told me that it didn’t remind him of Ryan, and that in fact he was over Ryan’s death (I’m sure in retrospect that had to have been a remote stage of grief). Needless to say, the callousness of the statement floored me. When Jon and I were walking back to my house later, I couldn’t help but cry at the idea that if I died right then, people could (would) be over it in a matter of months. I had walked a few feet before I realized Jon wasn’t next to me. I looked around and saw him kneeling in a gravel alleyway. He told me he loved me and would never get over me if I died. He then asked me to marry him. Yeah, we were drunk, and it was cheesy, but it was more sincere than any manipulated fancy-dinner scene, and more apropos to our relationship. It’s one of the coolest proposals I’ve ever heard, in my not-so-humble opinion.
And I tell this not only as an example of what a wonderful husband I have, but also to illustrate that my deepest insecurity is this gaping hole of worthlessness I feel sometimes. If I had to make a psychologically armchaired guess, it probably was seeded growing up as a lonely only-child to a single mother (re: absentee father). It grew when my parents got back together in high school, having a familial do-over with my infant sister that I just didn’t really fit into anywhere. And it most definitely bloomed in college when the (unhealthy) relationship I had put my all into bottomed out. I honestly hate this about myself, but in however many years of recognizing it it’s still there, jumping out every once in a while. And I don’t know what there is to do about it. It’s odd to me that as a girl who is not skinny nor gorgeous, I’ve really had no discernible issues with self image. Only self worth. I kind of wish it were the other way around; lipo and a nose job seem so much easier as a fix.
Even now the only reason it’s come to the front of my mind is because tomorrow is my birthday. The big three-oh to be exact. And everyone keeps asking me how I feel about that. Well, the number means diddly to me, but what’s bothering me is that Jon has to be out-of-town for work. On my birthday. On a Friday. Really, this could sum up to be my worst nightmare: Alone on a Friday night on my birthday. And I’m truly not saying all this in an effort to elicit birthday greetings (though I’d obviously be lying if I said I didn’t care), but I think maybe to name this before it grows into something bigger than it is already. I know it’s not that big of a deal, I know this. I know it’s just a weekday and calendar date. And every year leading up to my birthday I don’t give any thought to it, really. In fact, I lose track of where we are in time anyway most days (as obvious by my post yesterday).
But truthfully and secretly, I do care. A few years ago my dad forgot to call me on my birthday and I was surprisingly crushed. And it’s all hypocritical, seeing how I can remember specifically maybe a handful of people’s birthdays. Everyone else I can narrow it down to the week of. And even then I may not remember in time to get it right. I hate getting birthday gifts because then I feel obligated to give them, and I’m just way, way too lazy and selfish to possibly do that for everyone I know.
But I know that I think of everyone in my life somewhere near their birthday, and try to at least email them sometime in their month. And my birthday always looms in front of me like this taunting test of whether anyone cares. And that’s so pathetic! It really is! I hate admitting it, it feels so vulnerable and weak. But, like I said, I hate giving power to this also, so I’m hoping if I call it out it can’t sneak up and make me feel like crap. I know I’m worthy (blech, even writing the word makes my skin crawl it’s so.. needy) and even if I don’t have a jam-packed day it doesn’t mean I’m not loved.
So. This year I’m gonna take control of this and stop being a wienie. This is a stupid test that’s bound to fail, and each year it’s getting oddly more important. But I don’t like it, so I’m determined to muscle through it and kick it to the curb. Maybe I should turn off the phone and unplug the computer so I can’t have anything to measure.
Yeah right. That’s not going to happen. But it will be fine, I’ll see. 😉
That’s what I call the things associated with our autism.. path? journey? story? What’s the latest PC term? I know it’s cheesy, but in my head it’s like varying sizes of waves, coming and going. Back and forth I go with the research, my confidence, my denial, and my attempt at apathy. I have gone so far up and down the emotional totem pole it’s disconcerting even to me, but I’m fairly sure it’s not a whole lot different for anyone else.
Depending on when you talked to me, either Jack would totally ‘grow out’ of his diagnosis or I’m pondering a future where he won’t be able to live independently. (I doubt that is true, but my doubts and my denial often hang out together. Regardless, it’s not something we need to think about for many years.) My initial research was so steeped in need for control I clung to the toxic theory and knew if I just tried the right order of supplements and diet, he’d be cured. After two years I know that health makes a huge difference, but Jack’s autism is not curable. He is autistic and regardless of how much it effects his life, it is not something that is questionable anymore, regardless of what that moron Dr. Prozac casually tosses around.
And I only mention this today (after a chipper post this morning) because sometimes a small wave of reality hits me when I least expect it. Jack doesn’t seem to interact well with the kids in the gym daycare, and the young guy who’s often working in there made a pointed note today to tell me kids in that room were supposed to be at least 2 and potty trained. I’m guessing someone has caught sight of the pull-ups Jack wears. And it’s a scenario like that, which really is pretty minor (I don’t give a shit what some teenager thinks he can judge me about), that catches me off guard and unprepared. A small wave, but one nonetheless.
I was discussing this ebb and flow recently with another autie mom, and I started feeling guilty about the fact that I totally dropped the ball this summer. I’ve swung so far from the micromanaging view of ‘curing’ him that I’ve taken the neurodiverse school-of-thought to the point of pretending there’s nothing different about Jack at all. And that’s just not true, nor is it fair to Jack. I should have gotten him in a structured playgroup or something, because he has noticeably regressed in some areas. I should have probably not tried to push swim lessons on him when I *knew* beforehand it would be an unhappy experience for him. Mostly I should have spent the money on speech therapy; I’m not trained to help him with that (even if he would let me).
And I know I’ve been extremely sensitive thinking people are assuming things are either better or worse than I describe. (Just thinking of it in those terms invalidates the idea that this really could be reality.) Jon’s mom refuses to admit something’s different, and my mom has hinted that I should prepare for Jack not going to college or getting married. My wonderful friends attempt to boost my morale by telling me how their kids do things ‘just like Jack’, when really that serves to make me feel more isolated. My blogs and themes throughout the months swing wildly between pretending there’s nothing to see here, everything’s fine, and feeling like I am barely keeping the poor kid afloat. And that wears me out, aside from not being very productive.
So. Although I realize this is out of left field, it’s really not, and unfortunately (coincidentally, fatefully, thankfully) is tantamount to our autism lives. I’m sure if I really thought hard I’d probably admit writing this makes me have to be accountable, because I’ve aknowledged slacking off, y’know? And I know I can throw a pity party like few can, but I also want to say all this so that I admit I need to be more honest when I feel things, so that my emotions don’t go nutso when I keep them in. I have a right to what I’m feeling, and I don’t think I’ll be able to really really be the best for Jack until I stop worrying how it looks.
So I’ll just stop caring what anyone thinks. Real soon. 😉
I feel a ferocious semi-annual pull to move to back to Colorado. So if’n you don’t mind, I’m going to set up a paypal account so I can take collections to buy this house (minus the dead animals and with new paint).
It’s near my family, has a huge deck and all-around appears to be what I’d want if (when) we move. I’ll buy a sleeper-couch for when you visit. Take the virtual tour so you know what the guest bath looks like.
(Really, I’m not totally kidding. But I’ll spare you the discussions the personalities in my head have been having lately, until one of them wins and I can articulate my thoughts better.)