This is the sound of settling…

I’ve always had a pretty sunny, probably slightly annoying, disposition. I feel suddenly different. Call it a just-turned-forty epiphany but I think I’m beginning to accept that sometimes things suck and no one is living their absolute ideal life.
Are they? Are you? Do people think you’re an asshole? Do you care? And if you don’t, please tell me how you do it.
I am in a median level job with a few great people and several awful ones doing work that is terribly monotonous. I am a wife of a man who tries to still like me even though I am not the woman he married…and a mother of two brilliant and lovely children who I am assuredly going to fuck up.
It doesn’t crush me for 2 reasons:
1) I’m convinced that I’m helping people at work, both internal and external customers
2) I have a great group of friends that I drink, dance, curse and laugh with.
It’s a delicate balance and probably (any psychologists about?) not entirely healthy but completely understandable.
But I feel my discontent brewing, I feel resentment toward people I love, I feel caged, burdened, exhausted, ready to crawl out of my skin. But what ends up bubbling forth is guilt…big and bad…pushing me back down and convincing me that doing anything for myself is selfish, terrible and unforgivable. Will it get better when my children are adults, more independent? I guess I’m just going to wait and see.

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Just be yourself…

I love Pinterest as much as the next girl and I do sometimes find myself reading quotes that are in just the right font, over just the right background thinking “aw, ain’t that nice?” and repinning.
But this one:
Just Be Yourself.
Well I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. On the one hand, who else can I possibly be? I am me, myself…right? On the other hand, I think maybe I’m gonna call bullshit on people saying that at all. After all, it’s just a cliche thing to say right? When people say “be yourself.” Don’t they really mean “be yourself…as long as you don’t annoy me, embarrass me or get in the way of me being myself.” ? I may say I want my husband to be himself but that’s only as long as he doesn’t smoke in the basement, make me listen to too much death metal, complain about work or give me a hard time for going out with my friends instead of him. I’m constantly telling my children to do something or stop doing something…while telling them to be themselves. How long before they say “wait a minute, lady!”? And say someone told me that they seriously wanted me to just be myself, whatever that may mean…what would I do differently? I constantly wonder how I come across to others but I’m terrified to know the truth. So, instead I think I try to become what they need.
I think I long ago picked up a habit from my Papa…it’s what helps me make friends easily. My father can incorporate himself into any kind of social group, he can make anyone feel comfortable and at ease. I know I do that too…I don’t know if he has the same feelings when he does it but I know it’s out of my need to please and be liked.
I want being myself to be equal parts humor, intelligence, kindness and confidence. Confidence has always been the toughest…the only thing I feel confident about most of the time is that I’m a good mother and I’d say I’m only about 86% confident on that front.
I guess this is the time of year to make grand assertions and resolutions. I think I’ve been waiting for permission from others to be myself while hoping they’ll still love me and being certain that they won’t. That’s probably the wrong way to go. I think a better idea is to encourage others to truly be themselves and promise that I’ll still love everything about them.

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Count Backwards from 10, Mommy

I let Casey, my 6 year old, ride in the front seat tonight on our way home from her 2 hour long big girl dance class. That may have been a bad idea but please don’t call child protective services. 🙂
She could tell that I’d been crying and wasn’t terribly concerned because anyone who knows me also knows that I cry for every emotion. But she asked, “why are you crying, Mommy?”. I explained to her that my dear friend had lost her Daddy today and I was sad for her and feeling a little homesick since I wouldn’t be able to make it home for services on Friday. She looked at me intently as I spoke, let me speak without interruption and grabbed my hand. I didn’t want to tell her how crushing it feels to me that November 5 will no longer just be the day we celebrate my Papa’s birthday but will forever be the day that Leigh lost her own Daddy, too. So, we just sat there in silence for a moment holding hands while I cried a bit more. Then Casey said to me, “I feel bad for your friend…but it’s okay to cry Mommy…when you’re ready to stop you can count backwards from 10 and take a deep breath. That will help.” Then she smiled. What a kid. I think she actually made my heart swell.
Times like these should make you think about your own mortality, I think that is a normal reaction. So here’s what I think:
We have to just love each other while we can…everything else is bullshit.
I love you. Yes, you. XO
Love, Edwina

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Two roads

I spend a lot of my little bit of my free time on Facebook, Pinterest, Pulse, reading the wisdom of others…often in quick bites. But I find when I try to put things to practical use…I find a lot of paradoxes and contradiction.
Do I live each day like it’s my last or beware the barrenness of a busy life? Do I teach my children to follow their hearts or focus on math? Is it early to bed, early to rise or no one ever says “I wish I’d worked more” on their deathbed? The “live for today or save for tomorrow” question may be the one that I think about most often. Who can say what’s right? Seriously, who can tell me? I want names! We can’t know how long we’ll live. We can’t predict if our children will be wildly successful at something that provides them with a decent living or if they’ll be riding our couch in our retirement years. Who knows? What is the right path? Is there a true middle road where I can experience just the right amount of everything but not feel foolish? I think my children believe I have all the answers…but I’ll tell you a secret: I am totally flying by the seat of my pants. I try to be kind to people, try to be a nice person, love on my kids and make them feel validated and important. I work hard but try to pepper in some fun. I have no idea if I’m okay or if others see me in a negative light. I some times feel uncontrollably anxious and angry if I’m running late somewhere. I think mean things about people. I want people to think I’m pretty, smart and funny. I have so many thoughts in my brain at once at times that I think I might burst…I want to be heard and I want people to want to listen to what I have to say…REALLY LISTEN.
Anyway, I guess all in all…no one knows what the hell they’re doing. Some are just better at faking it than others, some people must feel more confident in their convictions. I wish I had that kind of confidence.

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Changes

“Changes”  (click here to hear the song)

There’s a song called Changes by a band I love named Stars and the hook says “Changes, never been good with change…I hate it when it all stays the same…caught between the gold and the game”. I feel those lyrics are so relatable.  I sometimes think that I’m the only one that thinks in that kind of paradox…I’m not good with change but I need it to make me feel alive.  But it can’t just be me…don’t we all yearn for a shake up now and then?  We might complain about the break in our routine all the while but we need that adrenaline rush, the anxiety, the drama of something different, yeah??
So, lately I’ve been in a little bit of rut and decided to shake things up on my own…

I signed up for a “mud run”
I got my nipples pierced
I made and went to doctor’s appointments that had waited too long
I got a new tattoo
I started taking an anti-depressant
I started working out before work 4+ mornings a week with a friend
I got rid of all my “mom jeans”
And today…I got my nose pierced.

Simple things, but things for me…even typing that I feel a little selfish. That’s what moms do to themselves…that’s how “mom jeans” get sold in the first place…we lose our identities and feel guilty if we try to find them. But how can I give my best to others if I’m not being myself? I can’t. That’s what I’m discovering and it feels good…and terrifying.

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