Archive for the awakening Category

Choosing to Leave The Madness

Posted in anxiety, awakening, resolutions, Social media, stress with tags , , , , on June 14, 2016 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

Yesterday I deleted the Facebook App from my phone and decided to take a nice, long break from it.

For weeks now I’ve been reading post after post filled with vitriol over any number of subjects: The current political climate, the tragic shooting of a beloved gorilla in the zoo, the sentencing of a convicted rapist. News stories posted and shared repeatedly, personal opinions from friends and acquaintances, speculation about the world and future we’re creating for ourselves and our children. All mixed in with selfies, memes and videos.

Usually I enjoy Facebook, because who doesn’t like a tiny peek into someone else’s life?(Even if it’s been proven time and again that the “peek” doesn’t really portray reality). I enjoy seeing pictures and posts about my nieces and nephews and reading the often insightful thoughts of my friends.

Lately, however, everything feels like it’s rubbing my emotional skin raw. The more I read, the more I started to feel like most of humanity just plain sucked. Comments on news stories left me wondering if most people were really as cruel, petty and shallow as they appeared on social media. Coverage of the Stanford rape case filled me with uneasiness about the world in which I’m trying to raise two daughters. Seeing news clips about an actress, and speculation over whether her unusual appearance was due to plastic surgery, the day after the largest mass shooting in the history of the U.S.? I felt sick.

I’ve felt myself on the verge of tears just from feeling overwhelmed by data, much of it negative and heartbreaking; Suddenly, I had the realization this was something I was inviting into my life multiple times a day. I was constantly feeding on negativity, getting sick from it, then convincing myself the world is a really horrible place. How crazy is that?

The last week with my kids has been better. The arguments (a future post on that!) with my nearly fifteen year old have been less frequent and I’ve had an easier time staying calm in the face of frustration. We’ve cuddled and talked, enjoying each others company. One day we decided to go out and dance and splash in a sudden rain storm, getting completely drenched and laughing hysterically. We made hot chocolate afterwards and spent the evening between reading and watching a favorite show. Another day we pulled out an old Wii game, all three of us giggling over how bad we were at it. My daughters drew, they helped more in the house and I felt more relaxed than I have in weeks.

I was reminded that so much of the world is what I choose to create for myself: Beauty or ugliness, depth or pettiness, it’s within my grasp to choose what to focus on. I believe sometimes we need to see what’s wrong in the world so we can choose a response to it, so we can take a stand to effect change. But most of what’s wrong with the world can only be changed from one place: Within ourselves.

I can’t say I’ll be done with Facebook forever, but it feels good to have made the decision to take a break and focus on the beautiful things in my life: Family, friends and the wonderful community I’ve chosen. More dancing in the rain and less ranting about Trump and Clinton. More giggling hysterically with my kids and less focus on the terrible injustices in the world. Lots more doing my part to be love and compassion, in the face of horrific and almost incomprehensible tragedy.

So long for now, Facebook!

 

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Mean Girls and Motherhood

Posted in awakening, blended families, dealing with ex's, Mothers, Parenting, parenting after divorce, raising daughters, single moms, single parenting with tags , , , , , , on April 26, 2016 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

Tonight I got cyber-slapped and it stung.

Noticing my blog views were crazy, off-the-charts high, I wondered what was going on. So I opened up my app and looked at some of the referring websites. One in particular seemed strange to me, so I followed it. What I found was a nasty surprise.

Mean girl syndrome can, apparently, last into middle age. I won’t go into a lot of detail about what I found there, except to say that it was a nasty critique of my blog and even worse, what they perceived as my failings as a human being and as a mother. Followed by lots of others jumping on the bandwagon. The person who began this has a slanted, peripheral, yet weirdly connected view of my life. They also clearly have a lot of issues with me personally.

Ironically, you might even say I got the ball rolling in the mean girl cyber world. Approximately 4 years ago, I posted something in my blog that reflected my most petty thoughts. They definitely weren’t a reflection of my best self, nor the person I wanted to be. However, despite removing them as soon as I found out the subject of the blog had read it, the damage was done. The hurt could not be apologized away.

Today, I’m the recipient of petty thoughts and meanness and it feels bad. Yet…hard to cast stones when I had to learn that lesson myself. I can wish all day long it was different and that the individual hadn’t chosen to perpetuate the cycle. But in the end, the words we put out into the world move in ways we can’t always control and can sometimes have ramifications we can’t predict.

So today, rather than continue on with the she said/she said drama game, I would like to offer an apology again. That thinking my blog, years ago, was anonymous enough that she wouldn’t find out and it allowed me to post things I’m not proud of. N0 excuse for putting it out there, but it was a powerful lesson to relearn. Once we put it out there, we can’t control it anymore. I’m sorry for the pain it caused and for the ways in which it is still living today, despite removing it from cyberspace years ago. I’m not proud of it and I wish I hadn’t done it.

The truth is, I’m flawed and I’m continually trying to battle those flaws. As anyone who’s read this blog will clearly know. Those who know me and read it see such a fuller picture and so my flaws are forgiven by them.

They see a mom who has been honest about her struggles with depression and the ways in which heartbreak has sometimes triggered that. They also see a mom who never lets it prevent her from taking care of her kids. They see kids that can witness a mother struggle with depression and sadness, a mom who cries sometimes, and realize that it’s okay to struggle. The victory is in the ability to continue doing your best, day after day, and getting up to face the world. They’ll see a mother who never gives up, who is always there for them and who works through her feelings rather than stuffing them. Do I lean on my kids too much? Perhaps if you only know me through my blog, you might read about my wise twelve year old who says something profound about love and life and think she has to constantly care-take me. If you know ME and my children, you’ll absolutely know that I’m teaching them that empathy and compassion are vital in human relationships and that sometimes we need people and sometimes we are needed. Is my child giving me a hug or telling me I just haven’t found the right person wrong if she finds out a relationship ended? Is she care-taking and having to be the adult? Have I overshared if she knows I’ve been involved with someone and that it’s ended? As I found out tonight, clearly there are some who think so. That’s ok-they get to make those decisions for themselves and their kids. Or maybe they’ve not been single, with kids. Who knows?

I know I’ve never dragged men in and out of my children’s lives. I know that in eight years of being single, they’ve met one of my significant others that I was involved with for two years. My children are sacred and so is my time with them. When I have them, it’s their time. When I don’t, they have known that I date.

And yes, I perhaps talk about my feelings a lot in this blog. That’s sort of why I started it. 🙂 It was a place for me to process and be vulnerable about things I struggle with. Clearly, the problem with vulnerability is that it leave you…well…vulnerable.. That’s ok too. There’s been plenty of times when I read something vulnerable someone posted and felt so soothed, because I could say “Hey! We’re all human beings. We all go through shit sometimes.”

As a single mom, I don’t have all the answers. There are days that I feel like my girls and I could take the world by storm, because I feel like as a mother-daughter team, we’re invincible. There are other days I sit and cry at the end of it, because I’m scared I’m screwing it all up and I just wish I had some support.

That’s the thing: I don’t have all the answers. I don’t expect other mothers, birth or step, to have all the answers either. We’re in this because we have been granted the amazing, terrifying, exciting and sometimes heartbreaking privilege of guiding amazing human beings into adulthood. The most beautiful and difficult challenge one could ever take on. Whether you carried the child in your body for nine months or you fell in love with the child’s father and the child and became part of their lives later.

What would it be like if we actually supported each other? Instead of cutting each other down with petty criticisms designed to make one person superior and the other inferior. Everyone needs to vent sometimes. But maybe…just maybe…if you tried to see that person as a human being who is doing their best, instead of as an adversary you need to have others rally around you to tear down, we could do an even better job parenting these amazing kids we’ve managed to have brought into our lives.

So…I’m going to keep writing my blog. Which is scary, because I’m making myself vulnerable. By doing that, I know you may use the opportunity to try make me appear small or one-dimensional to others. You may use the chance to pick apart my flaws–trust me, you’ll find them. You may mock me and use it against me. I’m still going to keep writing my blog. I hope you don’t. I hope that perhaps we can just band together to work on behalf of the human beings in our lives, who love us both.

However, that is up to you. It’s up to all of you. Be the light or be the darkness…which, yes, one of my flaws is a tendency toward the melodramatic when I write. Sue me. 🙂 I was part of the cycle and I’m really hoping the cycle ends with me. Mothering is hard, whether the babies came from your body or not. Amazing…and hard. Why don’t we try building each other up?

Living Keeps Ruining My Epiphany

Posted in awakening, single parenting, transformation, wild with tags , , , on December 30, 2014 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

Tonight I went to see the movie “Wild” with Reese Witherspoon. It’s based on the true story of a woman who hiked the Pacific Crest Trail to deal with grief over the death of her mother and the end of her marriage. I felt a weird sense of privacy about this movie, making certain I was alone when I saw it..

Although moving and inspiring, I’m left with the same feeling of frustration and loss I experienced after reading “Eat, Pray, Love”. Both stories were about women who endured pain and took giant steps to come to terms with their lives and move forward and  I identified on some level with both stories. So why the resentment?

I guess it’s because I’ve had pain and loss in my life and I currently have serious challenges I have to work my way through. Yet I also know that taking a month to go and meditate in India or eat my way through Italy is out of the question. Putting my life on hold to become purified through the experience of hiking for nearly 100 days is out of the question.

How, exactly, does one experience a spiritual epiphany between work, laundry, dishes and raising children? Much less continuing to have to deal with the same set of challenges continuously? The day to day monotony of life makes any triumphs of spirit seem fleeting. I can forgive a huge, horrendous hurt that someone inflicts, but how do I continue to forgive numerous cuts, bruises and betrayals emotionally that I know some will continue to wound me with? I can say that I am better, in many ways, than I’ve ever been with my depression. How do I continue to keep my head above water when I feel like life keeps pouring more on my head?

And what I’d love, what I would absolutely give so much for, is to be able to pause my life and go out and have my spiritual journey, uninterrupted by all of these endless daily challenges. I’d love to go off on some epic adventure where I have to face the loneliness and fear and sadness from the last decade of my life and work through it, without always having to play another role in-between. I’d love to take my laptop and pour my heart and soul and every ounce of emotion into the next great novel, without distraction and exhaustion playing a role.

Isn’t it easier to be our best selves when we are faced with the dramatic and grandiose? It’s easier to think about taking a bullet for someone than it is to think about having to put someone else ahead of us over and over. It’s easier to forgive an epic betrayal than turn the other cheek endlessly. Facing our mortality suddenly puts values into perspective, but trying to live by that same creed without the looming shadow of an hourglass is a hell of a lot harder.

I know people rise above great challenges than the ones I face. I feel like I’m poised on the edge of…something. How do I get that final push into clarity? How do I take the moments between responsibility and plan a life filled with more joy, beauty and awakening?

Because there are so many things I want and I’m just not certain how to get them. How do I take my life and transform it without the grand gesture?