Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It's Gone For Real

I have shared here my personal pacifier battles. It has been a long battle, and at times an ugly one. I have felt frustrated, unsure of myself, and guilty for not having the discipline to do the right thing - if I could even figure out what the right thing was!

I was at a point with Max where the pacifier was used just for bedtime, although he sometimes displayed some babyish behavior and asked for it earlier in the evening. I took those moments as a sign that he was overwhelmed; he is, afterall, dealing with his parents’ separation and all the uncertainty and anxiety that goes with it.

Continue reading....

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Posted by Tere @ 10/29/2008   | | | links to this post

Monday, October 27, 2008

Home and Exhausted, and a Little Weary in the Heart

I was out of town this weekend, and the drive home exhausted me. It was really great to get away with my sisters, but on an emotional level, this weekend wrecked me. Being at a parenting conference, surrounded by yummy babies and families who are making it work was depressing, to say the least. And sure, for all I know, some of the couples there may be miserable or hanging on by a thread, so it wasn't really that I envied them; I just felt the weight of how inescapable it was that I would end up right where I am now. I think of all the things that make a family - the basic, essential ingredients without which you haven't got a hope in hell - and how there was just no way I could have the family and family life I wanted with he who was my husband. That reality - and all the sadness and crapiness that comes with it - kept washing over me all weekend long.

But I would stop my thoughts there, because I cannot and will not wallow in all the coulda, shoulda, woulda's, and eventually found myself thinking of my future. I cannot say with any certainty what it is that I want beyond doing everything I can so that Max and I have a happy, loving, peaceful, fun life. There is really nothing beyond that, nothing that matters more than that, nothing I want more than that.


There are days - days like the last two - where I wonder if there will ever be someone else. Someone who would want to make Max and me his, who would want to become a part of our family and who would come to us with an open and willing heart. I wonder if there is one who shares my vision, my dreams, and who would be happy and fulfilled - truly happy and deeply fulfilled - with the life we could build together.

I am not seeking him now; I am not even convinced of his existence. But I wonder. I do.


Posted by Tere @ 10/27/2008   | | | links to this post

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sometimes, All This Just Sucks

The last couple of weeks have held more drama and general crappiness than I care for. I aim to live as simple and drama-free life as possible (which is seriously like the complete opposite of how I used to be eons ago), and so when shit happens, I feel the stress and tension very keenly and sink a few feet into depression. Not fun. Really, it's not. Don't try this at home.

As I work my way past some crap that's recently transpired, I still have life to attend to; specifically, life with a 3-year-old who is himself going through his own transitions at the same time that he has to sort out all this business of mami and daddy not living in the same house anymore. He is adjusting far better than I ever dreamed, but it's nothing short of foolish to think he's not struggling. Because he is, and I can see it.

And to say that it makes me ache in the most awful way is an understatement. I am so aware of him, his moods and behaviors, that when I see this thing in him that I can't identify but which clearly indicates some kind of pain or confusion in him, it sends me into an emotional tailspin. How do I handle it? How can I comfort him? What do I have to do to make it better, and more, to keep the scarring to a minimum?

I am thankful that overall, Max seems to be o.k. There has been no red flag, no one thing that stands out as a warning that this situation might be effing him up - and believe me, I have both eyes open for it. Still, I can't help but wonder if even if he grows up with this as his *normal* - will there be any lashing out at his end? Will he be all out of sorts for years because life with me is, and will always be, different than life with his father, even if we work together on making it a loving, healthy life? Will he come to resent and blame me?

Things have happened - things are happening - that fill me with questions as to how to help him be a well-adjusted, mentally and emotionally healthy person. Between regular growing pains and this period of adjustment, a lot can be gained, and a lot can be lost.

I just want to find the right balance.

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Posted by Tere @ 10/23/2008   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Boy and I

Maxi and I have been utterly in love with each other lately. The lovefest we've got going on right now is really interesting. Interesting because in some ways we are incredibly similar, and that leads to a lot of head-butting and mutual aggravation with one another. Still, it is sweet and sad and the thing that keeps me going. Having this child, exactly as he is, and having his love - it is what makes my life beautiful. We are currently experiencing this period where it is all laughter and kisses and hugs and jokes and sweetness; we are mutually enamored with one another, our usual fights and tantrums tempered by a good dose of humor on both our parts.

Would that it could be that way in my personal relationships!

I am learning, every day, how to be a mother, how to be Max's mother. It is no easy thing, not when he is so observant and intelligent and smart-alecky and charming. When I should be disciplining or taking advantage of an opportunity to teach a lesson, I instead have to leave the room to crack up; and when he is attentive and open to my instruction, I get frustrated over how intensely he insists on his own way (a way that is more distracted or slower or messier or more dangerous), even as I marvel at his intelligence and strength of character.

More than this, I am discovering just how much joy and wonder Max brings me, how he lights up my life with his laughter and hugs and non-stop chatter. The days I don't have him, however much I enjoy those days, I miss him. I mean, I really miss him! Our days together - days in which nothing of particular interest or importance transpires - are slowly deepening our bond, so that I'm feeling like more and more, I know him better, and he, he in his wise little soul, knows me. It is in the way we look at each other when we're playing and being silly, and in the way I am still the best thing on earth for providing hugs and kisses and all things that make everything better; in those moments, when he seeks me out for comfort, I wish I could tell him the truth: that it is he who comforts me.

This new life - just the two of us making it up as we go along, but laughing a lot along the way - is something I will be adjusting to for a while to come. It is something I'm still trying to understand, something I cherish but worry about a great deal, something I know will not stay intact but which I will protect with all I've got.

My boy and I - we are learning this together; and just as we are sailing smoothly right now, there are surely many tempests in our future. All I have now, and all I will have then, is this intense love that continually pushes me to bend and grow and seek and try.

I am letting this love guide me, hoping we can find our way.

After a long day, it is just this, just this boy and I.

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Posted by Tere @ 10/21/2008   | | | links to this post

Friday, October 17, 2008

What Does Mami Do When She Feels Bad?


Posted by Tere @ 10/17/2008   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

More About What I Said Earlier

More thoughts! Now with some clarity!

The thing that I love about you people - those of you who comment or email me (seriously, am I the only blogger who receives way more email than comments about any given post?) - is that you really make me think and make me find better ways to express myself, dig deeper into figuring out, what did I mean when I said that?

Yesterday's post was really difficult for me to write. It is always difficult for me to find a good way of expressing all these personal, scary things that are directly related to my marriage. I struggle very much with finding a way to communicate and deal with all this shit I have going on without being unfair and mean to the person I was married to. I really don't want to do that, it's not my style, but at the same time, it's hard, really hard. The damage he caused - whether directly or indirectly, accidentally or on purpose - is long and deep, and it's sometimes challenging to express what I've got going on without getting into the why of it.

But reading what you all had to say, I realized that I may not have put all these thoughts in proper context, and it matters to me that I correct that.

I am, have always been, self-confident and happy with who and what I am. Even at my most suicidal, it was life that sucked, not me. Perhaps, due to the challenges and issues of my childhood, I developed strong self-esteem as a coping mechanism, a way of feeling control over one thing when the rest of my life seemed so mysterious and frightening to me. Like, while everything around me was falling apart or confusing or hurtful, at least I knew I would handle it somehow, and I knew that none of those things took away from my inherent value as a human being.

So to feel all the shit I feel now, and to feel so stuck in it, is a very foreign thing to me. I'm obsessed with it because I never thought I could feel this way about myself and not snap out of it, or have some kind of solution. Worse, I never thought I would believe any of these things about myself - that I am too mean and cold a person, too fat, too demanding and selfish and unfeeling to deserve love and happiness and all good things.

So here's the thing, the thing that is so key to my feeling this way that in large part I have no control over: when you spend your marriage - every single day of the last four years of it - focused on the moods and needs and wants of another, without any proper communication from them, but knowing that something is always wrong - it takes a toll. When you reconcile with someone and they can't really believe in your commitment to them and the marriage, when every day is about proving yourself, your love, your commitment - it takes a toll. When you want so badly to be happy, to make it all work, and so you decide to not be yourself and do as your partner says, give whatever they ask for, even if it goes against your own value system, and it is made clear that your intentions are suspicious and your attitude is the wrong one, and that what you do is not good enough - it takes a toll. When every aspect of who and what you are - from your weight to your relationship with your family to your personality traits and habits (good and bad) to the degree that your hormonal condition makes you a tad too hairy - is regularly criticized - it takes a toll.

I have spent four years being rejected in every possible way. It brought out the ugliest parts of me, made me lash out in ways I didn't want to. This is not to say I was not equally responsible for everything, because I was. At a later date I'm sure we can explore how my sealing myself off emotionally played a big role in making everything fall apart.

But this, this horrific mess of having my self-esteem and sense of self-worth so destroyed, is the damage that is left. This is where all this shit comes from. This is where I lose sight of how much I like and love myself, of the many reasons why I'm such a great person, of how I have never cared what others thought of me. It all gets crushed by the weight of the last four years.

It will pass, I know it. I will soon get myself back. Writing helps monumentally and speeds the process up some; so does having the amazing relatives and friends I am so lucky to have; so does my incredible, incredible, incredible little boy, who reveals to me every day the joy and laughter and beauty and possibilities in life.

The night that everything ended, when I said, "I can't anymore," it was because I could no longer take his punishment. Now all that's left is for me to stop punishing myself.

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Posted by Tere @ 10/15/2008   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Different Way To Be

I don't know why I do it. I don't - as I sit alone at the end of a long day, thinking everything through - know why I am the way I am, driven by the things that drive me.

So much of my life is consumed with me obsessing over how I have to be better in every way: more honest, more patient, fairer, less selfish, skinnier, funner and funnier, smarter, more efficient, etc., etc., etc. Yet a whole other portion is devoted to problem-solving, to trying hard not to get caught up in my own drama, to separating my feelings from the problem at hand and just getting shit done.

And then something happens that forces me to just stop and ask myself: what the hell for? What good have I reaped from this? Have I personally benefited in any way? Was I able to make my marriage work? Was I able to convince someone else - after an entire decade of trying- that I was a good, true person? Have I achieved anything that resembles financial security? Am I a person of influence or one who's well-respected in her community? Am I in a loving, healthy, happy relationship? Is there someone who sees me as no one else does and is moved by me, and makes sure I know this?

No. The answer to it all is no.

So what do I fight for? Why try so hard to be open and honest when it doesn't make others open and honest in return? Why make myself sick trying to be an all-around great person when there is no one who looks at me and thinks I am what they need and want? Why worry about others, when no one worries about me? Why go nuts trying to find thoughtful ways to show I care when no one does that for me?

I spend so much time looking inward, trying to fix it and make it all better, and there is no tangible reason for me to do so. There is no reward to be had, no point to it. I sound like I'm pitying myself, but I'm not. I'm just thinking of the way I am, and how it is becoming clearer and clearer that I need to find a different way to be.

This thought makes me review some parts of my past - some choices that I've made, and why I made them. I very rarely regret the things I do; I am mostly bothered by the things I didn't do or didn't say. Yet it seems to me - sitting here right now with so much that I can't ignore staring me in the face - that there has been a shift inside me; and for the rest of my life, there is at least one thing that I will always regret.

And before it becomes too late, everything has to change.

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Posted by Tere @ 10/14/2008   | | | links to this post

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Single Mother I Never Was Is The Single Mother I Now Am

This was published a couple of weeks ago at GNMParents, but with how crazy and busy my life has been these last 6 weeks, I failed to link to it. So, happy Friday and enjoy!

Prior to all this, I had a plan.

I would be nearing 30; I would be alone. I would not want to miss out on motherhood; so I would get pregnant and have a child on my own.

That was my plan, to be a single mother by choice.

Continue reading...


Posted by Tere @ 10/10/2008   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Pray We Go Unharmed

Whenever I lose someone, whenever they leave my life or the nature of our relationship changes, I always wonder one specific thing: was there anything about me that could have made them stay? Anything that could have made them want to keep trying?

I think - repeatedly, stupidly - that surely there must be something about me to make them stop. Maybe something I once said that they suddenly remember and makes all the difference; perhaps a revision of my overall behavior and the conclusion that my pros outweigh my cons. I assess and evaluate myself, looking for the thing that I hope they see in me that will touch them and make them want to stay and fight.

Will they see how solid I am? How loyal? The way I handle problems and find solutions? How I can laugh at most things? That I'm passionate and fierce and unlike anyone they've ever known?

But then I think of ways in which fear makes us close doors; how selfishness blinds us to possibilities; how we let misunderstandings lead us down the wrong path. The words that we never say because we feel they're not worth it; the risks we flee because the very idea of them, and of failing, is too awful to contemplate.

The thought that I might not be enough, might not be worth it - this is the thing that terrifies me. It is what convinces me it's about me and all the ways in which I am lacking, all the ways in which I'm not worth the effort, the pain, the trouble. This, even as the most rational parts of me know it's really not about me.

So far, the answer to my question is "no." There is nothing about me that would make a difference. I am not enough to stop anything.

And maybe I don't need to be.

Still, the thoughts are there. The doubt. I think about the walls, our fears, the shutting of doors.

Mostly, though, I think of all the things we lose. Especially those we didn't even know we could have.

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Posted by Tere @ 10/08/2008   | | | links to this post

Sunday, October 05, 2008

An Open Letter to Everyone who Wants Me to Promote Their Product or Cause or Event

Hi. Yes, I got your email, and I feel like a really rude person for not getting back to you. Really, I feel guilty. So guilty that I'm writing this post. It's important to me that you know that I'm not the kind of person who ignores emails. That's just such a rude, thoughtless thing. I hate it when people do it to me (or disappear in the middle of an email conversation, or take forever to respond and then the response in some asinine piece of crap).

So really, I'm sorry. It's inexcusable.

Here's the thing, though: you're killing me. All of you. Currently, there are at least 30 different you's who contact me each and every day. Most of you (but not all of you) offer me something interesting to consider. Others - well, it's so obvious you don't even read my blog that I don't even bother past the first paragraph. I'm at a point, between personal emails and these pitches, where my life would be consumed by email if I didn't purposely limit the time I spend on it.

I wish I could accommodate you all. I wish I could give you some free PR, because as one whose day job is PR-related, I get it. But honestly? Ninety-five percent of the things you all want me to write about has nothing to do with me or my life. And this is my blog, where I get to indulge in all the navel-gazing I want. If I said yes to all of you, this blog would be nothing but one big shill for an infinite assortment of things that, again, have nothing to do with me.

For some perspective, I'd like to point out that I work full time and am in a job that has me busier than I've been in years. I barely have time to think, much less write, about myself. So your stuff - you know, I can't even get to it, even those that appeal to me. I'm also going through a lot of personal shit; and honestly, some of you who contact me are so friggin' oblivious to my shit (because you obviously don't read this blog, which, major no-no when you then want me to promote your stuff) that it borders on insulting.

I don't want to discourage you from contacting me, but I have to be upfront and honest. I feel like shit for ignoring you, and I apologize for it - but you're all coming at me from too many directions and none of it even has a place on my site.

I hope you understand. It's nothing personal. I'm flattered that you even reached out to me. If your stuff ever honestly appeals to me, I'll work it in. Otherwise, I'm sorry. But I just can't.




Posted by Tere @ 10/05/2008   | | | links to this post

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Let There Be Light

It is always the blown light bulbs that get me. My house has two or three lamps that are flush against the ceiling, impossible for me to reach (there were more before I installed ceiling fans). And every time they blow, every time I cannot at all reach them to change them, not even with the step ladder, I feel as if I was punched in the stomach - inefficient, useless. I feel the weight of being alone and being unable to fend for myself in every single aspect of my life.

The first couple of times it happened, I broke into tears. I sat on my couch and sobbed that heaving kind of sobbing that leaves you breathless, the chest tight. Of course, I felt ridiculous. It's just a freaking light bulb. But the light bulb frustrates me; it represents all the things I used to rely on another to do (whether or not those things actually got done is a whole other story), but more importantly, it represents all the things I still cannot do for myself. And me not doing every single thing for myself is unacceptable.

I don't know what I'm trying to prove, or to whom. I just know that I feel this intense need to be able to be 100% self-sufficient, at least when it comes to being able to maintain my house and all basic responsibilities. And when I can't be, when I have a burnt light bulb mocking me, I feel helpless and stupid and stuck.

And yet, there are other things for which I ask for help and feel less badly about it. Max is one of those things. When I feel overwhelmed, when it's been too many days in a row and we're driving each other nuts, I turn to others for a hand. Inside, I feel ashamed, because I feel like even in having him just 50% of the time, I still can't hack it. But then I remember that even when his father and I were together, it was pretty much the same: Max and I together for long periods, with breaks in-between when his father would take over to give me a break. It still feels like that, except that now when I say, "I need to be completely alone in my house," I actually get to be completely alone in my house. And then I think about how important it is for me to be the best mom I can be - rational, creative, patient, in a good mood, and I realize that I ask for help because Max needs me to ask for help. He needs for me to be able to admit that I suck at this sometimes and need someone there for me. If I don't, he pays, and that's what I don't want. So I suck it up and ask for help. I ask for help even though it makes me feel weak and judged.

God, how I hate asking for help.

And then, I think about the light bulbs. What now? What do I do with light bulbs that I can't change? As I write this, half of my guest bathroom is dark - the bulb went out days ago, and I have no clue how long it will stay that way, or what the solution will be. Every time I walk in there, I do the same thing: I stare up at it and wonder what the hell to do, only to walk back out without a solution, my mind unwilling or unable to deal with this one absurd problem.

And so I tell myself to get a grip, to grow up, to find that tall-ass ladder that will allow me to reach the ceiling, to swallow every fear. Who the hell gets so dumb and unhinged over a light bulb? Who else has given this more than a few seconds of thought before just changing the fucking light bulb?

And yet, I can't change the light bulb.

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Posted by Tere @ 10/02/2008   | | | links to this post