Sunday, February 20

new and improved

I haven't posted in a while, and it's partly because I feel like I don't have much to say.  Nothing new anyway.  The weather has warmed up and we've been spending time outside, as much as possible.  My classes are going well, and I am looking at the possibility of teaching a storytelling class in the fall.  I'm probably going to visit my sister in North Carolina for Spring Break, and Sweet Caroline will get to take her first ever flight on an airplane, and I will get to meet the fabulous Ruthie the Dog.  

No matter how angsty I get about life, and my current circumstances, or how suddenly enlightened I become, or busy, or distracted, or just lazy... life just moves on.  It keeps going whether I'm caught up or not.  Caroline will learn to walk, and Jonah will calm down (right?) and the rhythm that we've created will become a regular beat to the music that is our life.  I am learning to improvise and harmonize and relax into the melody a bit.  I spend time remembering who I am and how very far I have come.  And I've been spending more time with the One who has led me this far.  

I remember a few years ago writing a post called Things I Would Never Post in which I listed off a few topics that I would never really get very explicit with... one of the topics was about some anger that I still had that really frightened me.  I'm happy to say that I don't feel anger toward that person anymore, and that anger doesn't frighten me.  I think I had to feel it to know that I felt that I was a worthwhile person.  

So that anger is gone but sometimes (maybe this should be in the category of things I should never post?)  I feel anger toward my children and my husband.  My whole life is wrapped around being the one who takes complete care of their needs: laundry, dishes, meals, appointments, naps, activities, snacks, happiness... these things have become my responsibility, but no one seems to have taken on the responsibility of MY needs.  I realize that it is selfish, but occasionally I get prickly about it and worn out (usually when I haven't had a lot of sleep) and that anger frightens me.  

Maybe in a few years I will be able to look back and know that my anger was just my own way or reasserting to myself that I am a person who is worthy of having her needs cared for.  

Philippians 4:19-20 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.  To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.


Amy Gaskin said...

I initiated one of those angry, prickly, "I do everything, but all my needs are ignored!!!" arguments today. And while I still feel justified for feeling angry, I should have been more careful what I DID with that anger - "Be angry and sin not" - right?
Why is my first instinct to assume my husband, the one person on this earth who has vowed to the Creator to love me, is out to get me? Isn't it more logical to give him the benefit of the doubt that he simply made an insensitive mistake? Yeah, I have needs and I need to teach him what my needs are - but my heart needs serious work if my gut reaction when I feel slighted is "my husband makes me miserable."
In the heat of a fight, Andy is prone to say, "We're still going to be in love tomorrow, so just stop arguing." Which may sound more insensitive - but he's right. I need to trust that I am not dumb enough to marry a bad guy. We love each other and if I've been wronged, we'll work it out - but I don't need to doubt the core of our relationship for a second.

stefanie said...

this post reminded me of when i first knew you and how you taught me that it was okay to be honest about things like anger and sadness. i think before then, my young self didn't know it was alright to express those things or how to do that... just wanted you to know - almost 10 years later - that i love that trait in you, and how your writing and storytelling always compels me to look at myself and find my parallel experience. thanks for looking in the mirror and then holding it up for me... you are beautiful.

Chara said...

That made me laugh- partly because it's nice to know that someone else initiates those kinds of arguments, too, and partly because I can see Andy saying that.

I'm kind of glad that Josh doesn't say that, because sometimes I don't trust myself not to have made *that* kind of mistake. Not because Josh is in any way untrustworthy, or lazy or anything... I just haven't always had the best judgement (goes back to that particular anger issue) with the men, and sometimes it creeps into my stinking thinking... what-if and self-doubt that turn into Josh-doubts. It's something I don't consciously recognize a lot. It is interesting how your comment (unintentionally) confronted me with that fact, this morning.

@Stef- I've got to remember how to do that again- to be so open and vulnerable, and unapologetic about it.

Rose Arrowsmith DeCoux said...

I can relate, both to wanting to be cared for the way I care for my son, and of getting furious with my husband so easily, as if he better suffer if I'm suffering.
I read something really good (maybe in "The Heroine's Journey" ?? Not sure) about how we ALL want what the Leave-It-to-Beaver era of men got: a cocktail waiting for them at the end of the workday, aka, the tender care of the feminine; being cared for by someone who is already anticipating our feelings and needs.
It's a good reminder when I start thinking that no one pays any attention to me... I know then that I need to listen to my Inner Mom Voice, which sometimes tells me to take a nap, get off facebook, call a girlfriend or ask Jay for some specific help.

Oh, and I think rage has got to be part of the passage of motherhood. I read a great article in 2010 in Mothering Magazine about anger. Does it come up from lack of sleep? Probably it is a huge release of all the energy of the massive changes we/our egos are undergoing (which we don't always tune into during laundry, etc). The push that brought my son into the world was a push of fury directed at the insensitive delivery doctor. That bothered me for a long time, but I have been exploring how fine a line there is between rage and passion, and how anger really shows how much power I possess.

Chara said...

Interesting! I never thought of it that way. I WOULD love to have someone meet me at the door in the evening and hand me a drink (or tell me to go for a 15 minute walk.
Every time I'm in a ladies' class at church and some well-intentioned person says that we need to prepare for our husband's coming home from work, meet him at the door with a kiss and allow him to decompress for a few minutes rather than meet him with complaints... I just about want to punch them in the face. Just because he's the one walking into the situation doesn't mean that he's the only one who needs a little TLC at that moment. Think about it: he's getting off work, but mine doesn't end until everyone is in bed, and sometimes well after.

About that push of fury...
We ARE powerful. I have to remind myself of that all the time. It feels powerless because there are so many demands, but isn't that what people in power have to deal with? The President doesn't get a day off, and he can't tell all those people who want his attention to just go away. He doesn't even get nap time. The thing I'm figuring out is how to handle the power. My words and actions have such profound power over my children and husband and I am frequently unaware of just how powerful. How ironic for a storyteller to forget that words (especially) have power!