Coming back to writing after purposefully making myself step away from publicly airing my thoughts is proving to be an interestingly daunting task. I found myself wanting to share so much that I don’t know where to start. So I think for this first post back I am going to free flow write. Whatever comes to my mind is going to be dumped out in the most eloquent way I can manage without editing and revising my words. Kind of expressively scary. But I’m down for a good frightfest of the freedom of speech kind, so here we go.
Somewhere in the month of June I decided that I did not appreciate the trend of selecting a single day to represent a whole category for appreciation. For instance, Mother’s Day, Grandparents Day, Valentine’s Day (love), Christmas (the birth of a heaven sent man), and on and on. This seems so shallow to me. Mother’s are responsible for giving life and renewal to the human population, they are increasingly solely responsible for the raising of children and families, and many other positive diatribes I could go on about how mother’s meaningful contribute to the happiness and welfare of everyday life and yet for all they do, they get one solitary day to sit alongside the other solitary days like Secretary’s Day (important to appreciate but equal to the Mother’s Role in society?) or Talk Like A Pirate Day (I like Jack Sparrow as much as the next gal but piratical prose pales in comparison to mothers yet receives the same 24 hour allotment of the year for appreciation and celebration.
Once again I came to the conclusion the standards and practices of the world fail to properly revere and pay respect to the essentials of happy living. But then, if the world is failing to appreciate the grand concepts of life, perhaps that is because no one has been teaching anyone about what we actually need versus what the current offerings are and how they affect our lives. This is when I decided to define for myself what aspects of life were most important to me and found I valued four L’s above all: Learning, Loving, Living, and “Laxing”. It felt appropriate that I could dedicate three months of the year to further defining these critical components of what it takes to make me happy in this life. Further breaking down these themes I was able to develop a calendar for the appreciation of life.
- February – Love
- March – Luck
- April – Life
- June – Fun
- July – Freedom
- August – Family
- October – Trick
- November – Thanks
- December – Treats
- January – Rest
- May – Rebirth
- September – Responsibility
I started my year of celebration in the beginning of July with the intent to develop what I need to feel free. Early on in the month, I rearranged and reorganized the only space I had where I could demand people to leave me in solitude when I was losing my sanity and slipping into a manic state not conducive to healthy relationships (which I actually posted about before I decided to walk away from writing publicly). A kind comment from a favorite blogger of mine about the comfortability of the room inspired me to take my talent for filling a room with love and comfort to the rest of the house. A daunting task considering the three tiny tornadoes swirling their chaos everyday, the Father who struggles with the stereotypical feminine responsibilities, and the related roommate who struggles with the concept of being a productive member of society. But I was able to do it!
Since I was using the month of July to celebrate Freedom that comes from being alive, I didn’t set myself a task chore, schedule a date for me to be finished by, nor even dictate how many hours I would dedicate to accomplishing this task. Instead I mentally prepared myself for the chore of making the house feel more like a home for everyone involved while resolving myself to only work when I was in “alignment” – my body was energized, my brain was cooperative and pacified, my mind was motivated to get the job done, and my heart was “in it to win it”. If body, brain, mind, and heart weren’t all geared up to work, I simply did not. And it proved to be a wonderful lesson on how epically talented I am at “getting shit done quickly” (should build a fun resume around this concept). All of my “super skills” that lie dormant nearly everyday of this world’s boring routines and brainless rituals come alive and show me what I am really working with.
I try to be humble. All the time. But holy cow, when I look back at what I accomplished and how efficient and effective my techniques proved to be, I feel proud. Sincerely proud of myself for figuring out a way to harness my cleansing energy without harming my body, berating my motivation, belittling my intelligence, or bastardizing my intentions and channeling it towards productive, wholesome, household-widely beneficial “work”. On top of the boost of self love I received, I also found a healthy upswing in the desire to accomplish more. It’s interesting. Despite being in my third trimester and in the “beached-whale” portion of pregnancy I was able to clean, organize, and limitedly decorate/homify the children’s room, living room, dining room, and basement. This included gathering up tons of “garbage that is more cluttered crap that never made it to the can” that accumulates seemingly everywhere, finish going through the boxes from the move that dominated the majority of the living room and dining room, find functional places to put everything in a house that house no real furniture or storage areas, presenting the areas in visually appealing and intellectually stimulating ways so as to entice the children (and Father) to stay in those rooms when I really ‘NEED’ my alone time to cool down, and most of all scrubbing them down because they felt filthy despite looking clean. All of that accomplished and I didn’t feel dead to the world after each “cleansing run” I performed. My body would allow me to work for four to five hour stretches and then all at once I would stop working “efficiently” and know that I needed to call it quits until the next go at it. Thankfully this energy stoppage always came at a good time where I could easily wrap up my work to be picked up quickly at another time. I loved it.
So much that I used the clean house and clean self love feeling to start developing methods for helping my family get back to their happiness. Because with my bipolar breakdown, my family lost a huge piece of why we worked well together and why we were such a happy group of people – we were all in synch and flowed harmoniously through our struggles together. When I went nutty on them I became mean, opinionated, combative, short-tempered, righteous, irritable, chaotic, flighty, and just plain different. Hard enough for me to grasp, it changed our lives and structure completely dumping all of my responsibilities on “Daddy” and serving my daughters a cold hard dose of the reality I had built a shield to protect them from. Whether I was there with them in person or not, “Mommy” was gone and they had to get to know an entirely new mother who slightly resembled the old one but was so damn difficult to get along with that minutes felt like they dragged on for days and days felt like months. Suddenly a family who focused on the children and the love were forced to turn all their attention to the mother who couldn’t hold her own anymore.
They gave up everything they knew and loved to love me back to normal and despite all their best efforts, I’m still not “normal”. My daughters tell me they love me but they don’t like “Manic Mommy” and want old Mommy back. All I can tell them is that I understand how they feel. Because I feel new too and I don’t like how hard the new me is for everyone else. I let them know I am working hard to be closer to something everyone can be happy with but find it hard because life is so hard for Mommy right now.
I never thought that I would be able to withstand the blow of hearing the two most beautiful voices in the world tell me they don’t love who I am but amazingly it didn’t hurt as much as it would seem. Because while the idea of them not loving “me” is offensive, the fact that they love and trust me enough to tell such a brutal truth negates the sting of their words. It coats the dose of reality with the underlying message of “We love you so much that we don’t need you to be palatable for our tastes all the time.” and leaves a pleasant aftertaste that makes me want to be closer to the person they need while respecting the boundaries of the person I really am.
I’m walking a tight rope here because every time I feel I give too much on my end I am usually met with a resounding manic battle for continued sanity and composure. This results in seclusion and avoidance of my family so I don’t snap at them for conclusions I’m prone to jump to, rant at them for society’s problems manifesting in our house, or berate them for ordinary behaviors that appear offensive in my manic (and overly irritable/touchy) state. I’m getting better at catching myself going off on a manic tangent but it still happens. A lot. And my family still gets burned each time I get fired up. It sucks because they are literally like moths to my flame. I can’t get them to want to leave me alone long enough to cool my flames nor can I establish a routine where they can entertain and responsibly care for themselves for long enough periods that I “actually” feel re-energized and ready to carry on with my responsibilities without slipping ever closer to that manic hair-trigger button.
It’s so frustrating at times because I KNOW how awesome my family is. My husband takes my manic bullshit in the most tortured form of “in stride” you can imagine. My words, my emotions, my cold distance all tear him to pieces and he puts on a brave face, grim determination, and determined understanding to present a calm and collected exterior to which I can calm myself down against. And yet we both know how much of a facade the wall he’s built himself to be for me because he’s cracking. We both know it, feel it, see it happening before our eyes. I’m desperately trying to pull myself back together before I completely break the man who has stood beside me for thirteen years, always defending me, always helping me be stronger than I felt on my own. It is terrifying to consider the possibility of us both being cracked because right now he’s the glue that holds the financial portion of our life in tact. Our only true struggles in life stem from the fact that Patrick doesn’t make enough money to support our family. And it isn’t his fault. That man has bent himself over backwards and then some to make ends meet and still we are a sinking pit that no one seems to grasp in our circle of people. And so we fight this battle completely alone, terrified of what will happen to us if don’t find a way fix the mental aspect of our problems caused by the financial aspect of our problems that negate or physical and mental ability to remedy the problem. It feels like an endless cycle of problems stemming from and feeding off of the problems that come before. And no matter the sacrifices we make, we never get closer to “making it” instead we just get served more layers of bullshit to deal with on top of the massive mounds of our own shit weighing us down.
Then there are my precious little girls. They feel like teenagers to me, so mature they’ve become during this bipolar breakdown period. They aren’t interested in little kid things in the same way they were before. They still possess the understanding and desires of seven, six, and two year olds but they do so with this air of maturity that humbles me. I don’t know if I was blessed with insanely mature children or my bipolarity caused my children to mature long before they ever should have had to but whatever it is, they are different. They talk about grownup issues that should never plague a child’s mind let alone be something they can offer sage advice and eloquent wisdom about. But there they are, three babies holding up the responsibility of unconditionally caring for an ailing mother that “should be” caring for them and schooling her on how patient love truly is, how kind a generous heart feels, and how mesmerizing a happy spirit is to behold. My babies who feel like better parents as children then I could ever hope to be as an “adult”.
I feel strongly that is why I choose to lock myself away from them at my worst moments. They are already so wonderfully knowledgeable and intuitively wise that I don’t want to taint who they are with all of the worst parts of me (which is what comes to light when I lose control of my mania). I think this is hard for them to understand because I try to put on such a good face when I’m playing the role of “Mom”. I want them to see me at my best so they can set that as their baseline and take their talents and abilities to modify, hone, and improve themselves to be better than I could ever imagine them to be. Basically, I am trying to adhere to the “Do as I do” theory of guiding and using my bad behavior as real life examples of when not to act as I do. I am my own harshest critic so I can teach my children exactly what society will say of them when they act inappropriately and fail to live up to other people’s perception of who they should be. I want to give them the freedom to define who they want to be and the ability to mute out all the negativity the world could throw at them to dissuade them from reaching adulthood without “growing up”. I throw the negativity on myself and teach them how to positively spin the bad into something they can work with.
Funny thing is, I have been doing this for as long as I can remember but I was never consciously aware of what I was doing, why I was doing it, or how it was affecting me. And that was the reason for my breakdown. I was projecting all the negatives of the world onto myself and holding them to be true of me and hating myself for all my flaws. I was attacking “me” when I didn’t have a true “me” that I believed in or held to be of any value. And so I found myself in a deep dark pit of self hatred and loathing that finally snapped my hold on reality and cracked the faulty exterior I was holding up for everyone to see. I’m just glad I understand myself better now. That I love who I am. Because I really do. I am an insanely flawed person that has somehow managed to turn all of the negatives into a work of positivity. I know I’m not perfect and that absolute perfection is a one shot in the universe type thing and so I adhere that I am the closest version of perfect that I am ever going to be and that drives me to get as close to perfection as I feel motivated to be.
My mind is starting to wander and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to string together my thoughts so I feel like I am going to stop here. Hopefully the next post will flow easier and make more sense to the general public. Heh, one can always hope.