I have friends who write blogs for people to read. They’re either authors or hopeful influencers or people who are hoping to make blogging a side gig for a little extra money. I’ve never understood that personally. Although I know I’m not stupid, I’m aware I’m not a conventional writer. I’m married to one. I don’t have his way with words, his desire to create something that others will read, his need to get words out of his body and onto the page. I write to decompress. I write to process my feelings. Half the time I write on this blog because it’s easier than writing longhand. I’m under NO impression that people read these ramblings. Sometimes I wish people did. There’s a small part of me that feels the need to be heard, validated. I guess that just comes with the territory of being human, right? Those feelings never last long. I’ve been thinking a lot about feelings lately. Hell, who am I kidding? I’m always thinking about feelings. I am someone who has a lot of feelings and who feels those feelings DEEPLY. When I’m in a good place mentally, it’s not a problem. When I’m disregulated…oh boy. Watch out. Knowing that has helped me a lot, though. I can see when things are getting out of control and I can (usually) find a way to deal with it before it spirals into a mess of anger and yelling. I’m not perfect. I mess up a lot. But I’m learning more and more about myself through the years and especially during this pandemic.
When this pandemic started, my life was full of unknowns and fear and frustration. Now, 8 months later, my life is still full of unknowns. The great thing is that there’s less fear and just the normal everyday amount of frustration. Life is super different. Sometimes it’s really hard. And some days, yes it’s scary to think about my family members contracting COVID and how we are personally dealing with all this financially. Mostly, though, I’m just trying to take the days as they come and focus on what I can control. I have so much to be grateful for…I’m able to teach and interact with my kids again, I was able to mentor not one, but TWO new teachers (which comes with a stipend that is going to help us out A LOT) this school year, I am also working with two student teachers (one this fall and one in the spring), and able to have my mom watch my son so that I don’t have the added cost of daycare and so that she’s included in my bubble. I have great internet, I have a house that I feel safe and comfortable in, and my husband and I have a really great relationship. I can deal with a few minor frustrations in light of how privileged we are. Being that it’s Thanksgiving week, I sent out a few thank you notes to some people in my life. It got me thinking about them and how different they are.
See, right now one of my frustrations stems from work. I basically “broke up” with one of my work friends with whom I was really close last year. It wasn’t easy. It hurt like hell. It was necessary…My therapist at the time asked “What would happen if you distanced yourself from her?” At the time I thought my work life would get really hard. I was right. It’s hard. It’s awkward. It’s a struggle some weeks to separate our personal lives from our professional lives and not hold things against her. And yet…I’m grateful for that once a week weirdness and tension because it is so much better than what I was struggling with regularly when we were close. As much as I believe in the idea that we should care about and take care of each other, I don’t think it should happen to the detriment of one’s own mental health. The pandemic has also made me more aware of my triggers and my weaknesses…but it’s also shown me my resilience and my strengths. One of my strengths is not caring if people like me. Although, I guess this can be seen as a weakness too because I can be fairly blunt. Regardless, I took a moment to think about what I’m grateful for about each of the 5 colleagues on my Specials team at work. It forced me to look past our own personal relationships and FIND something good about them. By focusing on that, I can momentarily forget the pain and frustration that our relationship has caused. This goes not just for that one difficult work relationship, but also for other relationships. I don’t CARE if they like me, but I want to make sure I’m treating people with respect.
Right now I’m struggling because I’ve been home with my son for the past week and a half with no break. I feel guilty because I’ve exploded just as many times as I’ve been patient with him. It’s not fair to him. He’s not even 3 years old. But I’m tired and I haven’t had a break and I feel like I’m failing on every front. I can’t even focus on one thing right now. I have so many things going through my brain that it feels fried. And I resent my husband sometimes because he is able to get lost in a moment playing chess on his phone to the point that our son and I just fade away-he can’t hear us. I used to think this bothered me because I “didn’t have time” to do that. But now I realize it bothers me because I’m afraid to TAKE time to do that. Part of me worries the world will go up in flames if I’m not juggling everything. I’ve learned this year that isn’t true. I NEED to take that time to sit in the stillness and get lost in something without multitasking. Maybe that’s why I’m here, throwing words at a paper. Er…smashing a keyboard to make words magically appear on a screen? All I know is for all the work I try to do to treat others with respect, I need to make sure I’m treating MYSELF with respect. It’s really hard to summon respect when you have nothing left to give. Right now I’m making the conscious choice to respect myself and take the time I need to process through my feelings and NOT multitask. I’m going to acknowledge that lots of things didn’t get done this past week and a half because I was chasing around an almost-3 year old and trying to make sure that his needs were cared for and mine were somewhat cared for and my job got done-at least the bare minimum that needed to. And I’m burnt out. I’m crispy. I’ve tried to recharge by doing a million things at once instead of allowing myself to sit in the moment and just…be. There will always be things on my to do list. Life is messy. Life is busy. I don’t have to be either unless I want to be. Tomorrow I will make time to do what helps me be present. I will allow myself to be unapologetically selfish in one way so that I can be selfless in many others. I am going to take a walk while I talk to a friend on the phone, even if that means I have to strap my son to the stroller and let him get lost in his imagination for 30 minutes or so while I walk and talk. It will not kill him to let him look around and ponder nature in silence without my chattering to him. It will not hurt him to listen to me talk to a friend on the phone. I’m important too. I deserve to treat myself with respect.