Welcoming Unwelcome Feelings

Sometimes I wake up in this awful shame cycle and think, “I’d be better off if I just locked myself in a basement.” Does that happen to you? Like, you do something or say something and realize you are really not fit for society? Initially, I woke up today feeling that angst and did everything I could to recalibrate and combat that feeling, like go on my new elliptical machine for 45 minutes while watching reality TV, walking my dogs, and now writing. But, I think, as the poet Rumi suggested, maybe I should just welcome this feeling and sit with it, because it may bring me guidance.

Do you ever feel like this?

In his poem The Guest House, Rumi uses uses the image of a guest house as a metaphor that each day is an opportunity to experience something new in our lives, even if it’s unexpected, and each feeling should be welcomed, no matter how unpleasant. We must welcome these “guests,” or feelings of happiness and joy as well as shame and depression. In treating these visitors with equal respect and courage, no matter how unwelcome the feelings are, we can learn from them, and perhaps use them to navigate moving forward.

Okay, so I am sitting here now, welcoming these feelings…and eating pretzels #truth. That is one thing I feel gross about: I ate like 9,000 carbs yesterday, including hot pretzel nuggets with cheese and, that’s not all, it was followed by a bowl of pasta. That’s so not on the diet. However, I did run 7 miles, so maybe that’s allowed! Don’t runners maul pasta before a race? Okay, so I did it afterwards, with a glass of wine…maybe not a tip in Women’s Fitness magazine.

I also can over-share. I do this like every day. I mean, I guess being a blogger, you need to share yourself. If I didn’t write anything personal, it would not resonate with readers. I so envy those who wear their cards close to the vest: the keen listeners and observers who probably never leave a party and think, “Wait, WHY did I say that?!”

So, on the flip side, here I am criticizing myself AGAIN, adding to the shame cycle, which I should in fact be instead welcoming. What can I learn from that? I guess to shut my yapper? Become a different person? I like myself though! I just wish I could be myself, but alone in the basement. I care too much about what others think.

Who are your “house guests” today? Please leave a comment. Oh, and if you don’t know the poem, here it is:

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

— Jellaludin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks

When You Quit in a Pandemic, and Hit your Head.

Did you hear the one about the woman who quit her job during a pandemic?! You didn’t? Well, now you have: it’s me! Yeah, no joke, actually. But you know what? Before you go on chastising me and asking me how the hell I will support myself, don’t fret–I got this covered. Momma has been saving, and there’s a reason I’ve been buying Route 66 brand gear at Walmart for a couple years, so now I can take my time to pivot into my next move. And, I will spend the summer finishing my second book about three women living on Cape Cod who end up dating the same man! (Stay tuned)

I know, it’s crazy, right??? Well, I invite you to join me on my journey. The journey has started somewhat roughly, as I hit my forehead on the corner of my car door the other night when I was buying candy for the kids after the beach. Here is what I looked like.

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Oh, and, yes, those are tears in my eyes, because it hurt…like, a lot. I’ve been applying copious amounts of Vaseline and Vitamin E on it, so I won’t look like Rocky Dennis in Mask (’80s movie with Cher. So good). I mean, my face is my money-maker, so I have to protect it. Wait, what? Er…but, no, seriously, I asked my son if I looked bad or heinous with this cut on my forehead, and you know what he said? He said, “I can’t tell the difference between that cut and the other lines on your forehead.”

And…fade to black. Drop the mic.

I also had the unfortunate experience of having to scold my daughter for being rude to me this morning.  And I say rude in quotes, because she was like an alien creature that hatched from the lower depths. See, she couldn’t find a card she had made for her dad for Father’s Day, and so she tore her room apart, screaming, pulling drawers of clothes out of her dresser, and eventually accusing me of tossing it out.

“You throw out everything!” she screamed in the spawn of the Devil’s voice from upstairs.

I went up, tried to calmly help her look through her FOUL room that literally had a candy toilet plunger stuck to the nice wood bookcase, and we didn’t find it. In the interim, I cleaned her room and, yes, threw a lot of stuff out. Ya’ know what? You don’t play with it for six months? It’s gone. Ya’ done. Pare down. So, eventually, after I yelled at her, and called in support from her dad, she wrote me this apology note. Oh, and she calls me “Moo,” as in moo cow. I mean, wait, should I be offended by that?

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Anyway….that’s the start to my new life. A little rough, but kinda excited.

 

The Oxymoron We are Living

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I have so many thoughts, I don’t even know where to put them. Okay, so this pandemic feels like it’s over, but it not actually over. So we are living in this oxymoronic state that makes me, too, feel like I’m regularly irregular. On the one hand, I’m Easy like Sunday Morning (yes, I’m listening to the Commodores on Acoustic Sunday #Spotify). On the other hand, I feel sort of amped and maniacal. Now, before you go diagnosing me as bipolar or borderline personality disorder, I don’t gamble, go shopping, or indulge in crazy town risk-taking behaviors followed by a full meltdown (just slight ones).

So, like, today, it’s GORGEOUS out, and I thought, “Kids, let’s go to the beach!” But, that was soon thwarted by the thought, “Well, won’t that be kind of crazy to keep them six feet from other kids playing?” So, instead, I’ve chosen to continue to clean, organize and stay at home, a self-imposed shutdown, a living death (#oxymoron) But this has gotten super tired. Zzzzzzzz. I am boring myself. Talk about acute dullness.

So how can we stay apart, but together, together apart? I guess six feet. Anyone else having trouble determining how far six feet is actually? Like, do you do that field sobriety test, one foot in front of the other, like I do to measure? I’m not good at estimating. An exact estimate? It doesn’t seem possible.

And how about the openings of restaurants that are basically like still closed? So we can wear a mask in, and then take it off to eat and drink? That doesn’t seem to make much sense. I think we can agree to disagree on that one.

In the end, it’s all a giant oxymoron. I may as well just go to the beach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re Almost Free: And What Have I Accomplished??

It’s only 8:30 a.m., and I’m exhausted. I’ve already taught first grade, cleaned up the 50 dishes and glasses in the sink, walked the dogs, and started to work at my full-time job remotely. My son is not yet awake, and I have third grade teaching to anticipate.

I am wearing an office shirt, i.e. a pressed, buttoned-down oxford. Do people even actually know what that is anymore? I stood in front of my closet wondering what to put on: should I go with the old Martha’s Vineyard sweatshirt I’ve been donning about thrice weekly, or should I make an effort today? I decided to make an effort. I even put on makeup and pearl earrings.

Oh, here is something I am excited about: I am spending less than I am earning, according to my “budgeting tool” on my Bank of America app that congratulated me! HOORAY! I couldn’t even believe it! (Well, maybe ’cause I have not gone food shopping in like three weeks and we are existing on pasta and soda water?). So, I paid off my credit card debt. I was pumped! However, a mere 12 hours later, this elation turned to consternation when my card was declined by 1-800 JUNK, who came to pick up the three rugs that the puppy destroyed with pee. I was confused. “Hm, how could that be?” I wondered.

And then I found out.

My newly-paid credit card was declined because of suspicious charges, which were not all that suspicious after all. My daughter decided it was time to go on a Robucks shopping spree in the game “Adopt Me!” She bought $300 worth of animated pets. Yes! I now am in debt for buying cartoon pets that don’t exist. As if the two LIVE pets I have are not enough. I am so glad I bought a baby dragon for $39.99, and I have a newborn griffon that I can feed and fly on virtually. So awesome. Who doesn’t want a griffon??

Speaking of 1-800-JUNK, I have thrown away most of my house. I am now a minimalist and living like Christopher McCandles in Into the Wild: super-austere. I think this might be like a manifestation of a control issue. I probs could pack up and move in one day and fill a small budget rental truck. And I’m not done yet!

Now that the quarantine is sort of lifting, I realize I didn’t get done what I planned to do:

  1. Read more books: I think I read about two.
  2. Catch up on my DVR’ed shows: Okay, so I finished the latest Bachelor Listen to My Heart, but I have about 20 Dateline’s to watch and 15 Dr. Phil’s.
  3. Lose 10 pounds: Yeah…not so much. But my sweats fit nicely. They’re loose!
  4. Learn to play the piano: I downloaded the teaching app, played for like two days, and I think my fingers are not long enough. The chords were kinda tricky.
  5. Finish writing my book: Okay, I am nearing completion. But then I need to edit it. You guys, you are gonna like it!

What I have done, however, has been great:

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Me running!

  1. Reconnected with old friends on FaceTime and Zoom (I spend most nights on the FT with a glass of wine and an old pal. It’s been a lifesaver).
  2. Started jogging 7 miles three days a week.
  3. Done some YouTube video blogs and gotten subscribers! (#viral!)
  4. Spent copious amounts of time playing with my kids, which actually has been so nice!
  5. Planted a garden (actually, that’s kind of a lie–my friend brought over some Black Eyed Susans and Daisies, and she planted them while I watched. But I am watering them).

So, maybe that’s why I’m exhausted. Look how much I’ve accomplished! What have you done? Please comment!