Friday, November 30, 2007
Because of the emotional roller coaster I've been on lately, I've had a hard time accepting myself, thinking I am just mediocre. And I don't want to be mediocre.
I shrug when my mom attempts to help me see I'm far from mediocre. "How many women your age have been what you've been through and have done what you've done or do what you do?" she'll say. "You've done more at work by 31 than most people do in a lifetime. As for being a mom, you're a better mother than a lot of biological mothers out there. Give yourself credit."
She's right. I don't give myself enough credit. When my husband tells me all of the great accomplishments he's had during his day, I listen, nod and applaud. I don't usually do the same thing about my day; I humbly keep mum unless I'm really excited about something. I think all of my humble silence has done a number on my self-confidence: I start to believe that because I don't talk about it, I'm not that great.
What my stepdaughter taught me
My stepdaughter is a lot like me: a smart, intuitive person with a sensible head on her shoulders. She's not the most popular girl in her class and this really brings her down.
When I've asked her what makes the popular kids "popular" she says they know what's going on, dress really cool and always know what to say. Her dad and I play our parental part and assure her that when she gets older, popularity won't define her; her character will.
My stepdaughter and I had a really good heart-to-heart last night; I told her to find something that makes her unique and leverage it. She loves to shop so I told her to do something with that. "Create a wish-list website," I advised after which she told me that the popular kids think computer people are dorks. "They won't think that when you're the only 13 year old with a 5-figure income" I said.
I told her that this is one of the hardest parts of her life: trying to figure out who she is and who she wants to be. I strongly encouraged her to be happy with who she was and mentioned that pursuing dreams is worthwhile; beating yourself up for not being world (or town)-renowned for something is not.
We ended our conversation with a few action plan-like ideas and went to our rooms to sleep.
As my mind drifted off to sleep I caught myself and the advice that I offered. Why wasn't I taking my own advice? Wasn't my mom doing the same thing to me that I was doing to my stepdaughter: showing her that she really is bigger and better than she thinks she is.
And so I decided to unglue myself from my pity pot. The ring around my ass from sitting on the pity pot is deep and ingrained, but it will fade.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
"Yeah, okay mom" I'd retort. "That's just an excuse"
Fast forward 10 years and If I could, I'd go back in time and slap myself for being so ignorant.
Crying jags, pity parties, hot flashes and muscle twinges have become a part of life in the last few months. At first I thought it was related to miscarriage sadness but now I'm convinced (as is my nurse/mom) that it's hormonal.
The crying jag and self-pity that prompt me to carry on about sadness: hormones
The feeling I get when I want to scream at the cats for sleeping: hormones
The ire I feel when my husband sits on the dining room chair off balance: hormones
For most women, the day their period shows up means an end to the hormones. That's probably true. For me, they just keep piling up higher and higher until I'm crying on the bathroom floor over something I should be happy about. The dam, so to speak, is ready to burst.
So I called in for reinforcements. A 10 a.m. call to my doctor's office yielded a 5 p.m. return voice mail prompting me to come in for an appointment.
I'm curious to see what the doctor says. Will she prescribe something? Put me on an anti-depressant or a hormone drug? Maybe she'll just tell me to deal with it....
All I know is if she doesn't do something I'm going to cry..... :-P
Monday, November 26, 2007
Seems like that should be a slogan embroidered on tear-stained handkerchief.
I've been touched by the pity fairy in the past few weeks and I wish I could return the favor.
My self-pity has been brought on by other people's good news: pregnancies, promotions, nominations and awards. I really, truly am happy for my friends and family. I'd do cartwheels and herkie jumps if my body would let me.
But as I've cheered people on, I've felt as though I let myself down. Like I'm in the first row of the audience at the "Let's Reward Hard Work" show and I'm the flunky they've brought on to illustrate mediocrity.
Parental Greatness versus Professional Greatness
In my brain, I have two options to become successful: either become pregnant, give birth and live happily ever after as a doting mother or become recognized for achievement at work, get promoted and live happily ever after as the fabulous creator of this, that and the other.
Given my current reproductive and professional status right now, I'm feeling pretty stagnant in both areas.
I should mention, I'm employed. I work with a group of funny, intellectual people that make coming into work a joy. I have an organized cubicle that people stop at for advice of all kinds. I'm the Yoda-like mom of the group. Wise words says editor sometimes.
In the recent months, I've been surrounded by people that have reaped the rewards of their hard work: pregnancies, trips to India, promotions, etc. It doesn't take long for me to look at my own life and experiences and ask "When is it my turn?"
My husband, bless his heart, tells me to be patient and that it will come. I've never been patient so this falls on deaf ears.
I'm sure if I were a hard-core Buddhist I would know that this period of waiting will, in fact, reap positive rewards. I should go on about my life without contemplation and those things that are meant to happen will be.
That's all well and good in theory. In practice it feels like agony. In reality, it feels depressing and sad.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
The first time I tried it, I didn't lower myself gracefully; I fell, full-body onto my right knee. The sound was so loud everyone stopped to make sure I was okay. I was shaken a little and developed quite the nasty bruise, but I was okay. Or so I thought.
Fast forward the last few weeks. I've nailed my Flyer and my Dancer and I can do one handed tricks like the best of them, but what I'm scared to death of doing is the Peter Pan. I can't shake the feeling that I'm going to fall down and hurt myself again. I'm thinking about it too much says my instructor. She's right, I am. I can't shake the fear.
I've lost faith in myself.
The loss of faith extends beyond the pole dancing. I've lost faith in my ability to get pregnant again. I got pregnant on a fluke. I have no idea when the conception occurred and obviously something didn't work out. Now that I'm on the other side of the miscarriage I feel like I've failed. Holding my cousins' little babies made me realize that I did, and do, want a baby. And now my body won't cooperate like it had before.
I've lost faith in my professional life. I used to think I could be anything I set my mind to. Now I realize I can be anything that keeps me in the same skill set and comes with a good health plan and family-friendly hours. I don't know how to calculate risk anymore. My barometer for success is all off. I'm content in my job and I'm good at it. I want to be great at it, I just have no idea how to get there.
The only thing I haven't really lost faith in is my marriage. For some obvious, and not-so-obvious, reasons my husband loves and adores me. He'd never say that he couldn't live without me but I know he'd admit that having me as his partner helps make life a little more tolerable.
So now what? Do I take the pole dancing approach to life and hold on tight, loosening up the grip as I go or do I pray?
I don't know. I'll probably wind up on my knees either way.
Like the environmental troubles we've all heard about lately, the descent into divorce is slow and repetitive. Separation rarely happens overnight; it's the culmination of repeated activities -- or nothing at all - that brings it on.
Didn't check your ego at the door when you got married? What could be viewed as endearing in the beginning of relationship can turn nasty if not balanced out with the right amount of humility over time. If it doesn't, what you'll find is a partner who becomes disinterested and starts to pull away.
In my own experience, this sort of disinterest sets off red flags for me. Bells and whistles start to fill up my head until I can no longer contain them and I have to say something to my husband. We usually talk, or yell, about it and come to some sort of peaceful resolution.
All of this being said, I am always dumbfounded when I read about a long-term marriage that has broken up. Were there no signs? Was it sudden? Did they not talk? Even more concerning is that the husband found out about the separation from a reporter.
God help me. If my marriage ever becomes one that I'm too blinded by...whatever...to see that it's disintegrating, I probably ought not to be married anyway.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
But before y'all think I don't have any friends, I should clarify my previous friend post. After a weekend spent deliberating a few work and personal questions I was having lately, my husband and I came to an agreement: he's too vested in me to have an unbiased opinion about certain things (like work or money matters). Same with my mom. She'll side with me 98% of the time.
I'm very lucky; I do have a lot of work friends and non-work friends. Unfortunately, most of them aren't in the same boat and therefore get bored easily when I'm hungry for a conversation about who gets the kids for Thanksgiving.
...backed to our regularly scheduled post.
We seem to have a friend shortage going on in my house. First there's me, then my stepdaughter. Her closest friend during lunch period was moved to a different lunch period and now my stepdaughter feels alone.
We ran through tips on how to make more friends:
- Pay someone a compliment. Rarely do 11 year olds turn down praise
- Find the least scary/mean girl at the table. Start talking to her
- Dress nicely, preferably with an accessory that will start a conversation.
- Tap in to that time in your life when you felt the coolest. Bring that feeling with you in to the lunch room.
It pains me a little to see her go through this. I was a lot like her in junior high. At the time it felt like torture. Now it feels like a badge of courage. I don't know what else to tell her. Her biological parents tend to be introverts; I'm a bit of an extrovert.
We don't engage in a lot of social activities as a family and that seems to be impacting the family...well, except for my stepson He's in hot water over a kissing incident. But that's fodder for another post.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
- Pole dancing has afforded me many things, least of which include:
-- Self confidence or at least confidence that my body is capable of some pretty awesome feats
-- Amazing arms. I'm only finishing up my first level and I can tell I've got killer pipes. Just wait until I can hoist myself up upside down on that pole.
-- Bruises. Big bruises on my thighs, my calves, my knees, my elbows, arms and forearms
-- A renewed sense of music appreciation.
-- A sexy shoe collection. See those platforms up there. I've got a pair...in black and MAN oh man do they make my legs look sexy. Forget what my husband thinks of them; I think they make my legs look hot.
-- A reason to be more attractive...to myself and my husband. The cause for me to sign up was that I wanted to tap into a sexier side of me. The effect was that I've learned to relax a little; I've learned to feel better about myself; and I've learned how to do leg splays as I lay down in bed. All of these are the perfect recipe for a happier me... and a happier marriage.
A quick aside...Deciding to take a pole dancing class is empowering. Telling your boyfriend/spouse/fiance about it can be, well, slightly erotic. Take a mental snapshot of the look on your guy's face as you tell him you're heading off to pole dance...it's priceless.
What you don't know about me, or can't tell just by reading my blog is...
1. I wear glasses. The nerdy, but cool kind.
2. Those glasses were one of the main things that my husband found attractive when we met
3. I met my husband on match.com
4. On our first date, my husband clinched a second date (and my dating admiration) by asking me if he could kiss me before our first kiss. It still makes my toes tingle when I think about it.
5. My toes are currently painted dark, dark purple (thanks Lincoln Park after Dark)
6. All of the furniture in my house is dark brown, almost mahogany-like including my bedroom furniture.
7. Growing up and into adulthood, I always wanted a sleigh bed. I still don't have one, but I'm moved past it.
8. I don't intend to encourage my offspring to believe in Santa. I prefer reality.
9. I heart reality shows.......
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Friday, November 9, 2007
Thursday, November 8, 2007
I see myself as a slightly neurotic, organization-loving stepmother wife who happens to dig the online medium yet two conversations I had today have made me think I have more potential than I gave myself credit for.
The first conversation was with a gentleman who might have an opportunity for me to pursue more only projects while the second conversation was with a woman who told me, after I went on about all of the blogs I write, that I had "an energy" about me that gave the impression I'd do really well in whatever I wanted to do.
I don't know the person in the second conversation very well, but I like her already.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
In the show, one of the main characters finds out she's oops-the-condom-broke pregnant. She and her fiance -- a Republican presidential hopeful -- decide to keep it under wraps until they can do a quickie wedding. A knocked up, unmarried Republican? Well, I never......
In Sunday's episode, the wedding plans are underway and she's going in for her first ultrasound/sonogram when it's discovered she's had a miscarriage. It's sad and it made me tear up a little, but that's probably going to happen for a while.
Near the end of the episode, a strategy consultant advises the presidential hopeful to sit down with female reporters and admit to having had a miscarriage. The reason? A pretty close summary went something to the effect of: "Some people who are out to get you might use her D&C as an opportunity to say your fiance had an abortion." Which is true, the character did. So did I.
It's a stretch to say I've had an abortion, but in a way, I have. Medically speaking, any pregnancy that ends prior to 20 weeks is considered some kind of abortion whether the fetus was alive or not. The shades of gray have to do with the viability of the fetus and its removal.
When you're going through the miscarriage, you don't think about what you might be labeled if you decide to have a D&C. You're grieving and people tend to sympathize.
But watching this episode last night made me think and realize how happy I am to be pro-choice. If the pro-life brigade ever infiltrated our government completely, I may not have even had the choice on how to deal with my own miscarriage.
Strength, I've always thought, is more than how much you can bench press. It's a response to what life throws at you. Some people take the low, weak road, refusing to accept responsibility for their actions; the strong not only accept responsibility, but they also realize life isn't fair and you just have to make peace with it.
I decided, as part of my miscarriage recovery process, that a tattoo was in order. I've had a lower back tattoo for six years -- a heart -- but thought it was a pathetic looking tattoo. It's small and looks like a mole from a distance. I've wanted to get a new tattoo for about the last five years and 10 months. I just didn't know what I wanted.
Throughout the miscarriage process -- the actual event, the D&C, the aftermath -- people kept reiterating how strong I was. That's when it hit me: my new lower back tattoo would be a symbol for strength.
It took me 3 weeks to find the appropriate symbol, but I decided to go with the Chinese symbol for strength. The new tattoo had to be large enough to cover the old tattoo and visible from afar. It's sizable, but not obnoxious. It also hurt a lot more than I remember the last one hurting.
My tattoo has finally healed but not without a bit of irony.
The place I've chosen to permanently emblazon a symbol for strength has now become one of the weakest parts of my entire body. From the pole class to the triathlon training, my lower back has become the sore spot on my road to svelteness.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
The habit I've found most helpful is finding a great playlist of music and run to it. I like a good upbeat tempo on my warm up song and then a series of keep-you-motivated-but-don't-make-you-want-to-dance type songs.
That said, I bring you Erin's Triathlon Training playlist:
- Let's Get it Started by Black Eyed Peas
- London Bridge by Fergie
- Stronger by Kanye West
- The Art of Losing by American Hi-Fi
- Here it Goes Again by OK Go
- Times like These by Foo Fighters
- Girlfriend by Avril Lavigne
- Bitch by Meredith Brooks
- Goodies by Ciara
- One Step Closer by Linkin Park
- Numb by Linkin Park
You've got to understand one thing about me: prior to this year, I was as suburban as suburban can be with my music selection. Sure, I dabbled in some Soup Dragons and Erasure when I was in high school and I've always had a thing for Lenny Kravitz, but I've never been the hard core rocker or alternative, ultra modern band goddess.
Pole dancing has brought out the inner video vixen in me. The slower and edgier the better. I used to despise hard rock and now I consider it the best music to pole dance to.
If you're considering joining a class or would just like to rock out to some sexy songs, I bring you Erin's pole dancing workout playlist:
- Girls, Girls, Girls by Motley Crue
- Dirrty, by Christina Aguilera
- Tainted Love by Marilyn Manson
- Sweet Dreams (are made of this) by Marilyn Manson
- Closer by Nine Inch Nails
- Crazy by Aerosmith
- Cryin by Aerosmith