A Moment of Normal in the Midst of Uncertainty


The past week has not been easy.  Not at all.  Some of the reasons are part of normal life.  While other contributing factors to an already difficult time, I place the blame squarely on myself.

Of course, it has not been easy to have both boys gone.  It’s such a big change, and I feel myself resisting ANY adjustments to this change.  I don’t like to think of this as the “new normal.”  I have been critical and grouchy to T.  I’m not going to place any blame on him.  Who knows?  Maybe he hasn’t been the greatest either, but I certainly haven’t been responsive even if he has tried.  I have been introspective and unapproachable.  T simply avoided me.  He watched TV and slept.  I retreated to my room each night.  I have been lost in my own world, my own thoughts, my own depression.

I took some time today to think.  Strange that I have to go to work to clear my mind enough to think things through.  I have some choices.  Of course I have choices.  Wallowing in self-pity is certainly something I can actively choose to improve.  I need to stop feeling sorry for myself.  Plain and simple.  Sometimes I wish I could have a small dose of electroshock therapy.  ZING!  Negative thoughts?  ZAP!  I think it would work wonders.

I did some reading tonight about how to “snap” yourself out of negative thinking.  I read something interesting about Shunning.

shuns, shunning, shunned –  to avoid deliberately; keep away from

To shun.  It’s a verb.  It’s an action word.  Shunning is something I can DO.  Like a mental exercise, I can deliberately replace a negative thought with a positive thought.  I can deliberately replace negative actions with something more positive.  I can ENGAGE myself in activities that encourage me rather than discourage me.  Duh!  While it seems like a simple concept, anyone who has allowed their life to spin out of control, anyone who has found themselves at the bottom of an abyss, knows that even taking the tiniest baby steps to regain normalcy is fraught with struggle.  Being positive feels foreign.  Taking care of yourself, liking yourself, takes tremendous effort.  When you no longer place much value in yourself as a human being, it is difficult to do what is best and healthy.  It’s easy to give up.  It’s much easier to consider giving up than fighting and struggling to find your way back.

“Fake it til you make it.”  That’s a phrase I have heard often lately.  It sounds horrible, but I am beginning to see some merit in the concept.  If I am depressed, what do I want to do?  I want to lay on my bed.  I want to allow the endless movie in my head to play the same tired scenes over and over.  I want to WALLOW in the depression.  It is seductive.  Put on some sad songs, pour a drink, turn the lights down low.  It’s time for a good cry.  UGH!  If that is what I want to do when I am depressed, then I think that I am a hell of a lot better off to be “faking it til I make it.”

Tonight I tried the shunning.  I shunned the direction my depression was leading me.  I shunned the thoughts that triggered the depression.  I faked it.  Even if that meant that I stood in the kitchen like a mindless blob, I refused to sequester myself with my sad thoughts again.  For a few hours, I refused to allow those thoughts to control me.

I was doing well until Emily went out with friends for dinner.  Then Lola left for Brownies.  That left just T and I home for dinner.  We filled our plates and sat down at the table.  I was aware of every noise I made as I chewed my food.  I was aware of the emptiness of the house.  I was upset with myself, too.  Many people have no one….ever.  I have so much to be thankful for.  Yes, the boys are gone now, but they are happy, doing well, and I am so very proud of them.  The girls are happy, busy, and wonderful.  I looked at T.  Oh, the poor guy!  How in the world has he put up with me for so many years?  I asked him, “Did you ever think we would still be married at this point?”  He just laughed and said, “Yeah.”  I knew he meant it.  He always has believed it.

We talked for a little while, and I told him so much in a very short time.  I don’t want to grow old and settle into some kind of “old person’s routine.”  I don’t want to eat dinner earlier and earlier like my grandparents, who eventually dined on their evening meal at 3:00 p.m.  T said, “Yeah, but I get pretty hungry by 3:00.”

T suggested that we could travel, and I freaked out again.  I don’t want to be a couple of old people looking for the cheapest hotel, the cheapest restaurant, figuring out how many miles per gallon our car gets.  I told him that I wanted to travel with purpose.  I wanted to hunt fossils or follow a historic route.  Once again he laughed.

I asked him if he ever considered flying a plane, and he said that he didn’t think I would get into a small plane.  I was touched to think that he hadn’t learned to fly a plane, because I wouldn’t be willing to go along with him.  I asked him if that was the reason he had never learned.  He looked at me with a big smile and said, “You are f****** crazy!  I haven’t ever flown a plane, because we don’t own a plane, Dipshit.”  I started laughing, too, and for a moment I remembered who I am…or who I was.


The Curse Of The Skirt


I can talk about this now.  The crisis has passed, but I’m still feeling a bit traumatized.

It has become a tradition for Emily and I.  We wear skirts all summer.  As soon as the weather warms up, Em and I ditch our pants.  That includes shorts.  As any woman knows, there is a particular sense of freedom in wearing a skirt on a warm summer day.  Our skirt wearing has nothing at all to do with being fancy.  Not at all.  Sure,  I wear skirts to work that are professional-looking.  After work, though,  or on the weekends, I wear a skirt much like any old pair of shorts paired with a tank top or a t-shirt.  Skirts are cool and airy.  They are flowing and forgiving.  Oh…and yeah….your butt can get pretty big under a skirt, and no one will notice, not even yourself.

As the weather became cooler, I began to think about blue jeans, khakis, my usual work  pants.  After a day of shivering in my office due to my bare legs, I went home and took an inventory of my closet.  As I looked through the long pants, I decided that I better try them on before I decided what to wear the next day.  Lola was in my room “helping” me.  When I tried on the first pair, she started laughing.  I was trying them on to check of moth holes or rips.  I wasn’t expecting what I actually found.   “Mom!  It looks like you painted those on your legs.”  Oh boy, out of the mouths of babes! I tried on one pair after another.  None of them fit me!

OK, I should not complain.  I know that.  I am not overweight in the least bit.  I NEVER step on the scale, and I NEVER watch what I eat.  In fact, it’s not uncommon when I order a mocha to tell them to make it with as many calories as possible.  Well, all of that caloric freedom had caught up with me.  A six-pack of Pepsi everyday probably hasn’t helped either.  After failing to find a pair of pants that didn’t look like I belonged on a street corner advertising a booty call, I ran downstairs to the bathroom and stepped on the scale.  10 pounds!  I had gained 10 pounds since the last time I weighed in.  When had that been?  Probably six months ago.  How had I not noticed this change?  I went back upstairs and hung up all of the now-too-small pants.  I had no choice but to continue to wear a skirt at this point.  I would be warm enough if I took along a sweater.  Ah…..  Skirts.  Skirts were my downfall.

After a day or two of mourning my large ass, I decided to talk to Em about the matter.  We were shopping, just the two of us.  I said, “Em, I can’t wear pants!  My butt has gotten too big.  I didn’t even know it was happening!”  She looked at me, and her mouth dropped open.  She admitted that she had the same problem.  We both said, “Damn skirts!”  We discussed it.  What were we going to do?  Buy bigger pants?  Wear tights?  We could wear skirts all winter with tights and a pair of great looking boots.  We refused to buy pants in a larger size.  That would be admitting defeat.  We didn’t want to buy “fat butt” pants.

That was a couple of weeks ago.  Many miles on the elliptical, fewer mochas, fewer Pepsi’s, and I am proud to say that I wore a pair of jeans last weekend.  OK, they were not as comfortable as last time I put them on, but at least I was able to zip them up!

I’m sipping on a Pepsi as I write this.  I’ll never give that up, and I refuse to drink diet, but I am learning moderation.  I think it’s about time.  🙂  Moderation in Pepsi.  Moderation in mochas.  Moderation is my new word.  I think it is high time that I applied a sense of moderation to many areas in my life.  Does this mean that I am growing up?  I sure hope so!