The little waves that rock my boat

I don’t feel much like writing today. I have been feeling somewhat down and unsettled lately. I’m not even sure why.

Why does it seem that when I lack motivation the normal everyday things seem twice as hard to do and half as enjoyable?

The weekend started out good. Friday night I fell asleep watching a movie. Apparently my body’s idea of relaxing is falling asleep. I also argued with my son that he needed to spend the night at home instead of at his friend’s since he was performing at state the next day.

Saturday my son performed wonderfully by playing a very difficult band solo at state and receiving a perfect score. After playing, the judge asked him if he thought about music as a future career.

It wouldn’t be our first child to receive a perfect score at state and decide to go into music. Oh, just what I need two unemployment musicians living in our basement. I did my part of trying to talk them out of it..LOL. It’s exciting to see them perform, to see where it might take them..

Then there is child number 3. She dropped out of band this year. She is starting to feel pressure from everyone to live up to her siblings’ success in music. She laments over being average.

Friday night I called my mom to see if she was going to watch Alex at state. Of course, the day before is too early to tell which way the wind is blowing and make a decision about whether or not to go. When I called my mom she was in crisis mode. Someone new is working at the group home and neglected to fill my brother’s prescription before he went home for the weekend. My mom went to pick Matt up and was notified of this 5 minutes before the pharmacy closed.

My mom did end up going along to state. She was my back up recorder of the performance. Good thing since my phone crapped out and decided not to record anymore after about a minute. I wanted to take my son’s instrument and smash my phone but that would be rather distracting.

After Alex performed at state, we decided to take him out to eat at the restaurant of his choice. We had a group going including Alex, our youngest Arabella, my husband Paul, his step-dad Darryl, my mom, and the accompanist. For our large group, we had to wait awhile for our table. My mom left right away stating she had to give Matt his medication and feed him. We all wanted her to stay. But no one else could take care of Matt like she can, not even my dad who stayed home with Matt, so she left.

I felt a little sad that she left. I watched Darryl and the accompanist laugh and have fun and thought that it should be my mom too. She shouldn’t be tied down for life.

Maybe that is the point that everything ended for me.

I felt hurt that my mom left. I took everything personally that people said to me.

My husband and son teased me about hanging towels on the clothes line. They don’t like their towels stiff, but I do. I was probably overreacting, but their comments upset me. It made me feel unappreciated. I felt like they wanted me to change the way I do things which I refuse to do. I find myself to be just as stubborn, stiff, and unbending as the towels.

Things spiraled down from there.

It is hard to live in a house where everyone knows my weaknesses. I am a bit of a control freak. I already told you that I have this ‘rule’ to turn the lights off in every room after I leave it. Sometimes people will do things to bother me like leave the lights on in an empty room or turn the lights on after I turn them off.

Why should I be allowed to control the lights in a house other people live in?

How can I remain calm in life’s big storms and still let little waves rock my boat?

It’s ridiculous I know…The meaningless things that I do to feel like I have an iota of control over my life. My crazy rules helped me through times of chaos and discord. I can’t seem to let go now even though I don’t need them anymore. Taking the little bit of control I have away from me or complaining about the stubborn way I do things really bothers me.

Who wouldn’t like a lady with a laundry fetish?

What they don’t realize is when they take my security blanket of control away from me I feel like I am once again that frightened little girl. No one seems to understand. I barely understand it myself.

Will I let my relationships get wrecked over lights and laundry?? Probably not, I can’t even fathom why it would bother me so much.

 

Life on the high C’s

I spent the last couple of days in supervisor training for work. For the class, we took the DISC personality assessment.

If you are not familiar with it, it goes a little like this. The D’s are the dominant type, that is why the D is the first letter on the assessment. The I’s are second because they sold the idea that they should be. They are the chatty, loud, and persuasive type. The S’s are the agreeable people, they are happy being wherever you put them because they are chill. Then the best is saved for last, the C’s (you know where I rank). The C’s are the type that follows rules and makes sure things are done right.

I am pretty sure that I was raised by two high S’s. You would think that it was an incredibly peaceful environment almost zen like. Sometimes I wonder what my parents were like before I was born. Did they sit around meditating for hours in perfect harmony? I’s sure that all fell apart after I was born. Then within the next 5 years my three younger brothers were born. The second born child, Matt, is severely autistic and was violent at times.

What happened to the strong S’s then? What happened to the peaceful people that went wherever the wind would blow them?

My dad shut down completely. He became depressed and silent. When the silence became too loud for him, he would roar. Then he would retreat into silence once more.

My mother turned her gentle supportive good-natured self into a D. It was unnatural. She hated it. She had to become forceful and direct. She confronted people. She became the ferocious mother bear with an injured cub. I feel like through this she really lost who she was because her hand in life forced her to be someone she was not.

Maybe it is no surprise that I am a high CD…if I were to break it down I am probably 80% C and 20% D.

To tell you the truth, sometimes I try to disguise myself as a S. Growing up in a house of S’s sure makes it easy to do. I know the language even though it is not my own. I even own a wide variety of bohemian clothing. Sometimes I pretend to be someone I am not so I don’t scare people off right away.

Seriously, who likes a high C or a CD mix? Who likes the rule follower?? Who? Oh, and I don’t follow just any rules. I certainly don’t set my cruise control at 55 mph in a 55 zone. Seriously, I don’t want to be controlled by cruise control! The D in me always urges me to drive faster. I don’t have time to drive slow!

I follow my own rules. It is very important to me that everyone in the house turns off the lights if they leave the room. Did you turn off the lights? Sinner! You are wasting electricity. My husband says, “Alissa, how much electricity do you think your hot tub uses?”

How many people like the blunt, direct truth delivered sometimes without tact? Who likes a stubborn rigid all or nothing thinker?

How many people like it when I clean up after them when they are not done eating or using an item?? Oh, I won’t accept any help either because I am the only one that does things right. Then I get mad that no one helps me.

How does it feel to walk with mud on your shoes in a cleaning freak’s house? How does it feel to watch your neighbor run 20 miles around the neighborhood on a Saturday morning while you watch TV in your pj’s? Does it make you feel just a little bad about yourself?

I continuously have a harsh task master in my head chanting the mantra ‘Get it done! Get it done! Get it done!’ at all times. I can’t sit still without thinking about the things that I need to do.

I never miss a workout when I just don’t feel like it. My calendar is booked through October.

Sometimes I am as jealous of your ability to relax as you are of my drive to accomplish challenging tasks.

My intensity, my discipline, my drive sometimes repels more people than it attracts.

Good thing for my sense of humor!

That’s my real life navigating as a high C.

I absolutely love being me!

 

 

 

 

 

21. If I could have one superpower…

Day 21: If you could have one superpower, what would it be and what would you do with it first?

The superpower of my choice would be having the ability to control minds…Bah ha ha ha…spoken like a true introverted control freak that would love to be bossy and domineering but just nags a little instead…Hhmmm..

The first thing that I would do is force my son to wear his retainer…then after that little bit of power, I would force my kids to clean their rooms and keep them clean…after that power goes to my head, I will force them to get along and never fight…

The best thing is that I would force them to think that they thought of it themselves. It wouldn’t be like they are fighting my suggestions in their heads like they usually do…This could be sooooo perfect!

If I had mind control powers, I wouldn’t use it to force people to give me money, material goods, or even love…I wouldn’t use it to make people think I won a marathon or anything…although that would be kind of nice…I’d much rather earn it..

I would my power to create harmony, cleanliness, and order…

But if I had that kind of power, why stop there??!?

I could use it to promote world peace. Imagine living in a world where everyone got along… no more terrorism, violence, and hatred…instead there would be peace, love, and unity…

Somewhere in my head a Beatles song is playing…

Wow, okay, even I wasn’t expecting that…

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to solve the world’s biggest problems? To feel like you have the power to change the world globally…To feel like you have control over making the world a better place…

That would be great, but I would be willing to settle for just having my son wear his retainer every once in awhile…

Road trip

Angel and I decided to go on a little road trip.

Tomorrow is Angel’s freshman college orientation. Then we are heading to Wisconsin Dells for one full day at the water park. We are ending the road trip with my cousin’s wedding in Milwaukee this weekend. 

It was a long and fairly uneventful several hour drive to Angel’s new home. We saw the smallest little Bambi come out to us in the middle of the road without hitting it. We saw Amish children working in their gardens while the Amish men were working their fields with several large horses. I saw a very large man cross the road to get his mail in shorts. Little images stick in my head from the road. The men at the first stop and go light holding signs asking for change for a burger wearing better clothes than mine. The waitress at the restaurant who exchanged numbers with my daughter because they would be attending the same college together for the first time in the fall. The rest was a blur of people, places, and things but mainly fields. Field after field as we wound through small towns.

I left a list behind. A list of things that I do. Chores that need to be done on certain days. I entertain this fantasy that the others can’t live a few days without me. You would be proud of me, I let go of perfectionism when it comes to chores. I let the kids help out. I give them chore lists. I also implemented a cooking rotation. The kids get to pick out the recipe, shop for ingredients, help make the food, and clean up one day a week one kid at a time. I have given up a lot of control.

I remember a conversation with the mom of Alex’s first girlfriend. She told me that she does not allow her children to do anything because they don’t do it up to her standards. No laundry, no cleaning, and absolutely no cooking. She said that she was OCD that way. I thought about the words she said for a long time, in fact longer than the relationship lasted. I thought that I didn’t want my kids to end up marrying someone that didn’t know how to do anything. Then I pointed the finger back at myself because I really was the same way. I never wanted my kids to do anything either because it really wasn’t perfect enough. How is that going to prepare them for the future?? It doesn’t. So I decided to let go.

I give them chores and I look the other way when it is not clean enough. Sometimes I rewash the dishes. Some of my kids seem to realize that their lack of cleanliness bothers me. Sometimes they do a crappy job in hopes that they will no longer be asked. But it doesn’t work that way. 

I think that everyone will survive just fine without me for a few days. After all, they will be living a long adulthood without mommy being there to clean up their messes. 

I am planning on enjoying this road trip and spending some time with my daughter as adults all alone on an adventure…

Seeing beyond the surface

Last weekend my aunt Jan found a body in the lake in front of her house.

I have always had a love hate relationship with my aunt Jan.

My aunt Jan is bossy, critical, and controlling. She demands that things are her way, she doesn’t ask.

When I was a young girl, we used to have family reunions. Every year aunt Jan would pressure me into playing volleyball with the family even though I told her I didn’t want to because I sucked. Then I would play horribly and she would yell at me for sucking. After that happened several times, I had a “negative attitude” by refusing to play.

Games were played by her rules. I remember a few years back being involved in a family board game when she just announced out of the blue that the game was over. We were right in the middle of the game! It really made me mad, but she packed up the pieces and put the game away.

Every year at Christmas time, she demands that Angel and I sing Christmas songs. “You are singing and you are singing right now”. It makes Angel rather angry. But for some reason, I don’t protest or rock the boat by being disagreeable despite hating being told what to do.

Aunt Jan is a clean freak.

Several years ago a few members of our family along with Jan rented a large tent camping site close to her house. In the early morning hours a freak storm popped up. We packed up our camping equipment then huddled dirty and wet in her garage. She would not let us into her house to use the bathroom because we were too dirty.

She recently hosted two bridal showers at her house. She told the guests that they were not allowed to wear spikes because it would wreck her floors. There was no clutter and not one item was out of place. She made it known that children were not welcome. Children make messes. Both times my oldest daughter (17) was invited, but my youngest (13) was not. My youngest cousin who is also a teenager was not invited. This caused a lot of hard feelings.

Unfortunately, my aunt seems more concerned about the state of her house than she is about her relationships.

You may be wondering, like my husband and daughter do, why I don’t just tell her off. Nobody’s perfect. For all of aunt Jan’s perfectionism she is far from perfect, but we love her anyway. Sometimes I need to look beyond the surface of what I see to what I know. For all of Jan’s negative personality traits, she has some really good traits too. 

Aunt Jan is one of the most compassionate people that I know. She has a big heart for those who are suffering.

Out of my mom’s four sisters, I think that Jan was the one that helped my mom through her hard times the most. She spent a lot of time listening to my mom. I could tell that she truly cared. She didn’t turn away when my autistic brother Matt had some of his darkest days like a few other family members did. I saw that she was there for my mom when she needed her the most. For that, I will always be able to overlook some of her annoying quirks. 

A few days ago, someone left flowers on aunt Jan’s doorstep. I can’t imagine how horrifying it must have been for her to find someone’s body in the lake in front of her house. When I was there earlier this month, the lake was cool, calm, and beckoning. It didn’t look capable of taking a life. 

Sometimes our eyes limit what our mind can see.

 

 

Training like a warrior (oops, I meant worrier)

The dishes are done. The laundry is folded and put away. I just put on my pajamas and am sitting on the recliner with my feet up. Lazy? No way, I took a half a day off of work to run 20 miles. I did it and it went better than I expected. The last couple of miles were dreadful, but I did it. I admit I was a little worried. This has been the most miles that I ran since the marathon last summer. My endurance hasn’t been what I wanted it to be lately. I almost feel out of shape. Treadmill running is tough, but I am satisfied with how I did today. I was wondering if I don’t have what it takes anymore. I am not getting any younger.

I thought that after I was done running that I would feel better, but I don’t. I feel edgy, worried. I feel like the pattern is off. Some detail is out of place, but I can’t figure out what is wrong. I feel like something bad is going to happen. Call me crazy, you wouldn’t be the first. Maybe it is the rain. It hasn’t stopped raining in days. 

Or maybe I feel a little self-conscious about opening up to you. Things are getting a little too personal and I want to step back. I want to pull away. You are starting to find out who I am. Maybe you won’t like the real me. Sure, I can tell you a lot of good things about me. I could tell you stories of how I like to save birds or give people their lost wallets back. But what about the bad? I feel vulnerable and afraid. I am not leaving, but sometimes I want to.

Or maybe I feel edgy because this morning I got a text from another mom warning me of a new potential threat. We just severed Alex’s ties to his druggie friend last week just to have another come walking through the door. If my son wants to do drugs, there is nothing that I can do to stop him. I wish I had full control. I like to play God instead of trusting Him. 

I need to relax…Grrrr.. Tomorrow I made lunch plans with my mom. Then we are going to get a massage. I thought that it would be great to get my long run in today so the massage tomorrow will feel even better. I am not in a lot of physical pain, just the normal aches and pains of a long run. No knee pain which is great. Then tomorrow night I will be watching Angel perform in her last high school play. I am so proud of her, I always have been. She got straight A’s this quarter. Paul and I always told the kids that if they got straight A’s we would take them out to a restaurant of their choice. It has been close, but this is the first time it happened. Finally some good news!!

P.S. I decided to make some split pea soup with the leftover Easter ham. I put yellow split peas, carrots, and potatoes in the slow cooker all day along with the rest of the ham on the bone. It was the first time I made it in the slow cooker. It was the best batch that I have ever made. It was more soupy than thick. Yum. I didn’t eat much all day with running so I had two bowls. I hope I don’t regret that tomorrow. 

Control freak!!

If I was the world’s most articulate writer, I think I would still miserably fail to communicate to you the world of chaos that I grew up in. I didn’t have any control over my environment. We would often try to go somewhere and end up going nowhere at all. At times, I felt like I had no control over myself, my emotions. I certainly had no control over whether or not my autistic brother Matt decided to inflict pain on my body. What may have been even worse was seeing Matt inflict pain upon others; friends, family members, or complete strangers. That may have been harder then being hurt myself. It was hard to place hatred upon my brother when he didn’t seem to have any control either.

I decided that I needed control and structure in my life. I became a control freak. I was not going to allow anything or anyone to control my life. I certainly was not going to allow addiction or vices of any sort control me. But then a couple of weeks ago, I realized I was wrong. I was allowing control to control my life. Then I realized that everything I am afraid of has to do with a lack of control. 

I thought I was afraid of heights. Being on an airplane freaks me out. But I don’t mind looking out the window. It is the hours of turbulence, grasping the sides on the seat in panic that got me to seek help. I felt trapped in a tight area. A person that I didn’t know had control of my life. You say that flying is safe compared to driving. Yes, I agree, that is why I was terrified of driving too. Several years back I was afraid of driving, especially over bridges and on highways. It got so bad that at one point any driving on the highway would bring about a panic attack. It wasn’t long before I realized that my biggest fear is total lack of control. There was nowhere I could pull over on a bridge or a busy highway. The big concrete partitions locked me in. Trapped. I refused to stop driving. It has been almost 2 years since I panicked while driving. I was driving through construction. There was nowhere to pull over. I started to sweat profusely. I opened all the windows. The music from the radio unnerved me. The tunnel vision started, darkness creeping in until I thought I would pass out. I slowed down, driving erratically. My heart beating fast. I always pulled off the highway at the next exit feeling like a total failure bracing myself to face it again, feeling exhausted. I refused to let fear control me. 

I think the secret to figuring me out is making me feel like I have control. My husband is very good with giving me a false sense of control. I am ok with that. I keep my days very structured, any average stalker could figure that out. Once again I need to find equilibrium. In response to total chaos, I allowed the pendulum to swing too far in the opposite direction. I need to let go….