Irony

The daily post prompts of the last three days; Adrift, Unmoored, and Descend all succinctly describe my inner thoughts as of late. Perhaps depressed, anxious and floundering would be more accurate.

Continually vacillating between feeling justified and completely ridiculous by any real world standard; in my head it’s a panicked loop of: upcoming deployment, two great – but challenging – kiddos, single parenting for a year, sell the house, move to an apartment (but how will the dogs adjust?), get out of debt, don’t let the kids see you sad, exercise, eat right, self-care, walk the dogs, cook from scratch, feel crappy for not being grateful and wanting for things that don’t really matter (but matter to me), have a drink, get back on the wagon, mop the floor, keep the house clean because God forbid someone see the real you and how you live, don’t be so hard on the kids, those kids need more discipline, I’m doing it all wrong, I want to exercise, but my body hurts, my feet ache and my shoulders are numb again, feel guilty for not doing any and all of the above. Repeat at full volume and ever-increasing speed.

The other voice tells me to shut up and just “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” and it will be fine. You’re overreacting and overanalyzing. Maybe I am. Or maybe I’m clawing and scratching to get off the mental merry-go-round.

I’m grieving the loss of relationships. I feel like I’m being a bad person and completely relieved at the same time. I don’t want to hurt them. I don’t want a relationship with them and I feel like crap for thinking it out loud. They are not entirely to blame, and neither am I. It’s a dysfunctional pattern that’s gone on for so long it seems normal. I chose to step away for self preservation, only now I feel like I’m drowning in the consequence of it. Do I mend fences just to keep the so-called peace or forge ahead into uncharted territory? Feeling scared, sad, liberated, relieved, guilty, nauseous, uncertain, etc.

So where to from here?

I have absolutely no idea. I’m trying to take all this one task at a time and get through to the next thing. It’s raining here and has me feeling a bit melancholy. I’d like to take a nap, but I will walk the dogs.

Dogs make everything better. And snapchat silliness. Such as this:

Dogs and humor for me. What about you? What helps your anxious and or depressed heart and mind get through to a more even keel?

It’s Not Forever…

In 2009-2010, we were nearly debt free. We were so close. We were working our Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover, we attended Financial Peace; the 9-week class held at our church. We were doing it!

Then we got complacent. “Eh, we got this. We’ve come so far, and we’ll never let it get like that again…,” we told ourselves. “We can handle just this little bit.” Then a little bit became a little more, and then became a lot.

“You can wander into debt, but you can’t wander out.” – Dave Ramsey

We are back at aggressively attacking a giant hole with a decent-sized shovel. This time, however, we are not stopping short of the finish line, wandering around and only doing it with a half effort.

In the process of budgeting and looking at places to trim and downsize, our cars – while not extravagant –  represent a couple of good-sized chunks of our overall debt. We made the decision to sell one and get a reliable beater to drive. Like selling the house to rent for a while, it seems like such a step backward, even though it fits our overall plan and is moving us in the right direction over the long term. I know all of this in my head. My gut, though? In my gut it really sucks. It’s saying out loud that we made mistakes.

It’s shame-filled, yucky, and it makes me angry.

Hi. My name is Lori. I like stuff. It’s really fun getting the new car. It’s really fun getting the shiny thing, instragramming it, and reveling in the newness of it. I don’t like that I like shiny and new and clean and pretty. It’s so superficial. It’s just stuff.

You know what’s not fun? Buying a beater that is filthy, but mechanically sound.

Otherwise known as being an adult.

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Meet Big Bertha. She’s not bad to look at, she’s mechanically good, just needs a little TLC. The interior on the other hand is DISGUSTING and needs a LOT of elbow grease!

 

I have to remind myself that this is temporary. This is a season and is not going to last forever. It’s living like no one else, so later we can live like no one else – without the debt! Delayed gratification.

It’s weird.

It will be worth it.

via Daily Prompt: Temporary

Contentment

I read an article today that struck a chord with me on multiple levels. The article discusses how a woman who is happy with herself is the beauty industry’s nightmare. What can she be sold (or he for that matter) when there isn’t some perceived “flaw” to fix?

This covers so much more than the beauty industry. This is really huge.

In the fitness world, it’s all about aesthetics. People workout to “look good naked”. 95% of the population doesn’t start a fitness program to increase their cardiovascular health, decrease their A1C numbers, or improve their range of motion and flexibility. They do it to change their appearance. To have a “summer body” or complete a weight loss challenge. People go on crazy elimination diets (I have too!) because we are trying to change something. You can’t sell to prospective clients if they already love the way they look and feel.

I read another article that had this to say about going grey:

“My attitude is this: age is nothing to be ashamed of, and therefore grey hair is nothing to be ashamed of.  Covering my greys with toxic chemicals would not only be hazardous to my precious health, it would be voting with my dollars for an industry that profits mightily from making women feel insecure and ashamed of our bodies starting in childhood.  Covering my greys would be saying “yes” to the notion that I, as a woman, am only valuable or attractive if I look “young.”  It would be saying yes to the idea that age, and its physical signs, are something to be feared, denied and hidden – that I need to pretend to be something other than I am to be deemed worthy.  It would mean I agree with the belief that a woman’s only power stems from her being “sexy” in public.”

I colored my hair for the last time last December. My grey is showing. I really don’t care. I’m actually kind of curious to see where it will come in. Will it be a streak of awesome around my temples? Who knows?! But I want to find out.

I have no more interest in keeping up with the Jones’. I think it’s awesome that you drive that amazing car. I have no desire to go into debt to buy a car I can’t afford to impress you. (I used to.) Having contentment bleeds over into every other aspect of life; financial, relational, spiritual, physical – all of it. It is all so very related.

I will be 40 this summer. I’m all out of caring what people think. I’m mostly content as an adult for the first time. images.jpeg

If I am content with myself and my life, and I want for nothing, how then can I be marketed to, sold to, or upgraded upon?

The thing is, when we finally don’t care anymore it frees us up to concentrate on things that actually matter; giving our time to causes that are dear to our passions and using our talents. Constant consumerism feels wasteful. Chasing youth in a bottle becomes an exercise in futility.

Contentment sure feels a lot more like life and actual living.

Sign. Me. Up.

Security

Security means home to me, both as a mother and as a military spouse. As we move all over every 3 years, finding a home and setting up shop says: security. At least for the time being. Finding a home and settling in also brings up words like safety, family, and contentment. Contentment has been a big theme taking up residence in my thoughts as of late.IMG_6820

As we face our next PCS we are doing things a bit differently this time around. While Eric leaves for our next duty station, I am staying behind this time with the kids and of course our 4-legged family members. Why would we do this? Well, not only do we love our kids’ school, Eric will deploy soon after relocating, so we can either miss him from somewhere familiar and somewhat comfortable, or miss him and have to start a new school, meet new friends etc. This decision not only impacts our finances, but our quality of life as well. We will be reunited as soon as the kids finish one more year of school.

Like most people, we have debt. Cars, homes, credit cards, etc. are all so pervasive in our culture that it’s almost weird if you don’t have at least a student loan or a credit card. We have a big hole to dig out of, so we are looking at downsizing our life, selling the house, and *gasp* living in an apartment for a year to increase the size of our shovel. It’s just a house. There will be others. We have no plans to return, or retire here so it makes no sense to hang on to it.

While it seems to be a backward step, going from paying on a mortgage to renting, it’s a relaunch of sorts. Making wiser financial decisions, sacrificing now so that later we can have more options, saying no now, to say yes later. Delayed gratification.

And later, actual financial security.

 

Doubt

Who doesn’t?

About parenting, about what I want to be when I grow up, about life choices. I think we all wrestle with doubt. The big one, though? The big one for me is about faith. I have nagging doubts about faith all the time.

I don’t doubt that there is a GOD. I have had too many personal experiences to not believe in a higher being. But what about church attendance every single Sunday? Am I a bad Christian because I just don’t feel like putting on the mask of make-up, a nice outfit and a plastered on smile to make small talk? Sometimes I feel like worship music is so saccharine, so put on. Is it better than chanting? I don’t know. Does it even matter? What about specific religions? What if Christians have it wrong? What if the way the churchy language turns me off is for a reason? I believe in Jesus. I believe He is the personal savior that died for my sins. Other religions don’t make sense to me. But what if I’m wrong? What if we have it so wrong that if Jesus were here he would not recognize the people who claim Him as their own?

The doubt is always there.

As a person who craves certainty, a nailing down of what is, doubt scares the shit out of me. The Bible says that there will be people who think they know God, but he will not know them. That seriously freaks me out.

You spend your whole life thinking you are worshiping at the feet of the creator of the universe to have it wrong?! Help my unbelief!

The Choice

I remember rolling over and feeling numb. It was surreal to think that I had actually done what I thought I could never do, but had desired for longer than I realized. I thought that it felt like what divorce must feel like in a way.

I ended a 25 year friendship.

We had grown up, gone to school and started families together. As best friends, we had so much in common. We were also very different in many ways. I had come to realize that shared history and similar lives didn’t necessarily make for a healthy relationship. Competition, jealousy, and passive-aggressiveness have no place for authentic growth.

I wasn’t angry.

I was tired. I was done. I wished her no ill-will. I just needed out.

We’d had an awkward conversation on the phone the day before rehashing the latest incident of hurt. I ended the call by saying, “Ok. I got it.” If I know the rules I can play the game, I thought. But, really? I was through playing. I wanted to take my toys and go home.

Did being in a relationship with someone really have to be this hard? There had to be authentic, real friends out there (even for an introvert) that didn’t feel so damn difficult.

I pushed the covers back over the bed and headed to the bathroom. Looking at myself in the mirror seeing clearly that it was going to be okay, I smiled shyly at myself considering my bravery. It was a courageous thing to choose difficult over comfortable and familiar.

I had finally chosen.

via Daily Prompt: Vivid

Center

Inhaling his scent, hair sweaty from fever-soaked sleep, it was clear that I would be scrapping errands and instead caring for my sick 8-year-old. His sister was home with the flu last week, and as usual, it’s floating through our home despite any attempts at sanitizing every surface, doorknob and light switch.

Secretly I love it when my kids are home sick. Not that I want them to be unwell, but when they are, that’s when they show that they need me. Like most families with school-aged children, we have school, homework, and other activities that keep us busy. Having one or both of them home forces me to center all of my attention on them, and it slows my pace.

I don’t worry about the to-do list. The focus is only on right now. Napping with him in our bed (and all 3 dogs!), reading, or just being still, I get to do it all – guilt free. I get to fuss over them taking their temperature, fetching a glass of water, and rubbing the menthol goo over their chest and back. More than a simple ‘I love you,’ having them home sick gives me a tangible way to show love to my children.

It gives our life a centering pause.

Too soon they will not need me as much, if I’m doing my job correctly. Motherhood is that of slowly working ourselves out of a job as our charges learn to do things for themselves, everyday becoming just a bit more independent. Eight years has gone by like a blink. I can only surmise that the next 8 will go by just as quickly, if not faster.

For today, I’m taking this gift of time with my sick child. I breathe into his hair again, caressing his flushed cheek.

“I love you, mom,” he whispers in a cracked, weak voice.

“I love you, too, kiddo.”