For some reason it feels like it's been weeks since I last posted even though my last post was only 5 days ago. Maybe it's just because a lot has happened since then. Friday evening I swung over to Gulfport, MS to pick up my mom. She was my guest for company's I work for annual Christmas Party. They had it in New Orleans this year. 3 days 2 nights all expense paid at the Harrah's Casino & Hotel. Sweet.
Well let me back up a little further. If you've been reading my blogs, then you may remember that I was in an auto accident on Nov 21st. I was on my way home from work to do a final check on my kitties before I headed over to MS to spend Thanksgiving and my birthday (the 24th) with my family. I saw a car two cars in front of me just stop in the middle of the road, the truck directly in front of me hit that car. When I tried to stop my brakes locked up and I slid into the truck. Thankfully I wasn't badly injured, just some pretty ugly bruises and swelling where my hands hit the steering wheel, but I ended up spending both Thanksgiving and my birthday home alone. yay. Not. So today has been 4 weeks exactly since my accident, 4 weeks that my car has been in the shop and almost 2 weeks PAST the date that I was told repeatedly by multiple people at the body shop that my car would be ready. It was "supposed" to be ready on the 7th. Then it was supposed to be ready today, the 19th. I called yesterday and was told, call towards the end of the day for an update. GRRR. Of course I'd rather it take longer and everything be completely repaired, but the delay is increasingly aggravating and inconvenient.
My employer, wonderful company that they are, flew the employees that lived too far to drive to New Orleans and paid mileage for those who lived close enough to drive. Since I didn't have a car to drive and get mileage reimbursement for they provided me a rental. It was a Mazda 3. This is one sweet car. I enjoyed driving it... a LOT. So anyway after work Friday I swung by the house to pack for the weekend, love on the kitties so they wouldn't be too mad at me when I got back home 2 days later then headed out to swing by my sister's and swoop up my mom. Our mom lives with my sister, her husband and their 2 girls.
New Orleans was a blast.. I'm waiting for my mom to e-mail the hundred or so photos I took and I'll write a follow up blog detailing all the interesting stuff we saw, and let me tell you, interesting doesn't even begin to describe some of the things we came across. I hadn't been to New Orleans since I was a small child. My grandparents took my cousin and I to the Audubon Zoo there when I was about 7 or 8. For some reason though I was completely unaware of just what Bourbon Street was all about.. but I'll save that for the My trip to NOLA blog.
I think today is just about the halcyon meanderings of my over stimulated brain. The off switch in the thinking part of my brain.. it's broken. Sunday I was talking to my mom and step-mom about sleep deprivation and they were talking about things they'd taken to help them sleep when they were stressed, or upset, or were for whatever random reason having trouble sleeping. I explained that I'd tried, Ambian, Rozeram (sp?), Lunesta, and about every over the counter sleep aid available with no success. My mom asks, "Is it your mind?". Then she suggested some Xanax or Valium as possible remedies. Gotta love my mom. My brain just never seems to shut off, never stops, never zones off into outer space thinking about absolutely nothing. I lack the ability to enjoy thought nothingness. I've recently begun reading about and practicing meditation before bed. It helps some, but I imagine it will take quite some time and practice before I can get to the level where I can really think about nothing. I'm not giving up hope though!! I will be able to be empty headed!! I'm determined lol. That sounds ridiculous. But trust me, if you've ever suffered from sleep deprivation, empty headedness sounds like a small slice of heaven on earth.
I go to bed usually between 9:30 and 10:30. I usually fall asleep between 11 and 12am. Then I usually wake up around 2, 4, 5:30, and finally I get out of bed at 6:20am. Sometimes I'm lucky and only wake up at 2 and 4. But it's very very rare that I sleep through the night. It's a very draining thing, exhaustion. It makes small things seem much bigger than they are, it makes it hard to concentrate and makes you much more susceptible to being annoyed and agitated by things than you usually would. I'm normally a pretty laid back person who doesn't let most things get to me. Waiting a long time in line at the store - makes most people angry, me.. eh I'll get to the checkout when I get there. Getting irate and talking about how slow and inefficient the checkout clerk is isn't going to get me there any faster and will only raise my blood pressure in the process, so why bother letting it bother me.
But lately I've been in a pretty consistent state of agitatedness. I know that's not a word, cut me some slack. I'm trying to make this interesting here. I'm pretty sure it's a result of the combination and build up of events since my wreck. Spending the holiday alone sucked.. a lot. Riding the bus for the past month.. well while it started out interesting and educational.. I'm over it now. I want my car back. I missed my bus yesterday morning and had to wait for the next bus an hour later. Then when I got to the mall for the connecting bus at 8:45am the sign said the bus I needed to get to my office didn't come till 10am. Grr, Argh, Ugh.. So I called my boss and he had Michael (the tech support guy) come get me.
I'm appreciative that I have the bus to get to and from work, I really am, and I have the utmost respect and admiration for the people who have been riding it for years. It's just not working for me anymore. Standing outside in 32 degree weather for 20-30 mins 4 times a day, then walking a half mile in that same weather wears on you.. FAST. I drove a car in Michigan for 4 winters with no heat. I would literally have to put my feet in front of a space heater when I got to work in the mornings for 10-20 minutes until I could feel my toes. I have a new car now.. WITH heat.. I don't want to be cold again.
Then I feel guilty.. there are people living outside in this weather, with no home, no coat, no job, no so many of the things I'm blessed to have. What right do I have to complain?! I know in my soul that everything that happens in life - however sucky it seems at the time - happens to give you an experience that will benefit you later in life. I just get tired sometimes. Other people seem to have life so easy. Great jobs they love, great husbands or wives, children, wonderfully happy close families. I've always been blessed with the ability to get by, I've always had just enough experience at a previous job to get me into a new job sometimes even in a completely different field and I know that so many things in my life have been blessings that have and are preparing me for some greater purpose. I get that.. I really do. I just wish sometimes I could have an easier purpose that didn't require going through so much stuff to get ready for. I honestly have no idea what my greater purpose is. I've been thinking about that a lot lately.
Neale Donald Walsch wrote a book called "Friendship with God" that I'm reading now. Great book.. I highly recommend it. But in the book Neale talks about how, looking back, he sees that all of the events of his life - the relationship he had with his parents, jobs he had, hardships he endured - all were training and education for the bigger and most important purpose he was intended for. He'd had jobs in radio, journalism, education.. even in a couple of different churches, and when he realized what it was he truly wanted to do, he saw that all of those different jobs and experiences had given him what he needed to accomplish his dreams. So I started thinking about all the things I've been through, all the different kinds of jobs I've had, and I've had more than a few.
I've been a babysitter, clerk at a grocery store, photographer, hair & makeup artist, veterinarian technician, phlebotomist, legal secretary, direct care worker in a group home, waitress, leasing administrator and receptionist. I've worked at a video store, coffee shop, movie theater, women's clothing shop, trained as an emergency responder and disaster relief worker and organized from the ground up the opening of an office for a non-profit organization. To be only 32 I have the experience and skills knowledge of someone almost twice my age. I've done a lot, seen a lot, been a lot. But for the life of me I can't imagine what thing, what goal, what purpose all of those things together add up to.
I know that I love children, I know that I have a heart for the poor and suffering. I know that I LOVE knowledge and educating myself. I know that I love photography and nature and children and animals. I know that I want to go back to school, fall in love again, get married, be a mother, share the things that are important to me with others and make a difference in the world. But I don't like being around people, I suck at socializing and small talk, I wish in the deepest part of my soul that I had a different relationship with my family then feel guilty for being unable to totally love and accept them as they are. Most families have a "black sheep" in them, well I'm the "white sheep" in mine. I'm the only family member who's never drank, smoked, done drugs, or waited until I was older than 16 to have sex. I care about the environment, I try to educate my self and be informed about what's going on in the world and what I can do to help, when something interests me I make an effort to research it and learn what I can. I made the decision to stop eating meat based on research I did, because I wanted to know more about what was best for me, my body and the effect my decisions made on the world around me. I stopped being content to just live in my little bubble and remain oblivious to anything outside the 4 walls of my life. Because of that I don't "fit in". It makes me sad that I feel I need to fit in with my own family, but I guess I should be used to it, I've never been like or felt connected with most of the people in my family. That hasn't changed in 32 years.
I'm adopting in 2 years and am still deciding between Vietnam or Africa as the country I want to adopt first from. Do you want to hear something really sad? I'm afraid to adopt a child from Africa because there are people in my family who are racist and I'm terrified they'd say something even unintentionally that may one day make my child feel uncomfortable. How horrible is it, that that is even a thought I have to entertain in deciding where my child comes from. I wish with every fiber of my being that I had the kind of family that I could count on to be a support group, that would join together with me and rejoice and celebrate me bringing a child into my life from another culture, but that's not the kind of relationship I have with my family. Most of them would say it's my fault, that I distance myself from them, and to an extent they're right, but it's because the majority of my family live lives that involve values and lifestyles that I really don't feel comfortable being around. They don't think like I do.. about life, respecting people's privacy (once you tell one person in my family something everyone knows), caring about how the decisions they make effect the planet and people around them, about anything really. And it's just really hard feeling comfortable when you're the square peg surrounded by a bunch of round holes. Do any of you feel that way? Like you've spent your entire life in a family you have absolutely nothing in common with?
When I was younger it hurt a lot to be so different. I was angry, all the time and at everyone. As I get older it just fills me with a deep sadness that I'll never know the kind of love and closeness and acceptance other people feel with their families. I've gotten a bit closer with my mom as I've gotten older and more forgiving than I was when I was younger, but this weekend I realized that I still and may never have the traditional "mother-daughter" type of relationship with her that I'd like. Saturday night at the company Christmas party we were having dinner and my mom was talking to some people across the table and I looked over and saw everything in her mouth. She was chewing and talking at the same time and I realized that everyone else could see the same thing I saw, and I was embarrassed. I nudged her and said something under my breath about not talking with her mouth full. And in the back of my mind I wondered, how is it that I ended up so incredibly different in every aspect of my being than anyone in my family. My mom is a very friendly, loving outgoing person. She loves to meet people and talk to them and hear about their lives. And apparently having a mouth full of food just wasn't something that occurred to her to let impede her conversation.
I know it's a culture, my family is from the south, the deep south. They are ALL southerners through and through. I'm not, never have been. I don't "do" southern. I like the city, and activity and culture and a somewhat more refined lifestyle. I felt horrible about correcting my mom, yet I couldn't stop myself from doing it. It was like I was outside myself watching myself be mortified that someone my realize my mom had no table manners. And it's not that she doesn't! Most people probably wouldn't have even noticed, but I did. In the book I mentioned earlier it talks about the true meaning of love, and what REAL love is. TRUE love is loving someone with no requirement, without needing anything from them, or expecting anything from them in return for loving them. Real love is allowing someone to be who they are, whoever that is, and in whatever way being who they are occurs. I read this part on the bus on my way home yesterday and it hit me that by chastising my mom about her table manners, I was in essence not allowing her to be who she was. I was not really, truly loving her. Don't get me wrong, I love my mother. It's taken me many years and some emotional therapy sessions to get to where I was able to, but I do love her.
Then I wondered, have I ever really truly loved anyone? Has anyone ever really truly loved me? Someone has always expected something from me, or required something of me. Have any of us ever really truly loved anyone? I don't think most of us even know what really truly loving someone is. Most of us have been shown that in order to be loved, accepted by those we want to be loved and accepted by we have to do or be a certain way. We have to be good obedient children so our parents will love us. We have to excel in school to be someone our parents can be proud of. We need to have a good education and a good job and a spouse and children and nice house and new car to be worth something according to society. Sigh.. It's funny in a not so funny way. I've always been the kind of person who refused to change so I could "fit in". I may not be popular or part of the crowd or have all the friends but I would be me. I never felt the effects of "peer pressure". I never felt the need to do something, anything because everyone else was doing it. And I'm thankful. Being that way has kept me from going through many things that my peers went through. I never experienced problems with drugs or alcohol or being promiscuous. I never got wild and crazy so I could join in the parties and have all the "fun" my classmates and friends were having. I also spent a very lonely isolated childhood.
That isolation and loneliness has followed me throughout my pre-teen, teen and young adult years. It surrounds me even now. Yet I have no idea how to change it, I don't know how to BE anything but who I am. And who I am is the little girl who refused to drink because she remembers her mom having to pick up her pawpaw from behind the convenience store because he was passed out drunk. I am the child who saw that her parents thought spending money on cigarettes and skoal and magazine subscriptions was more important than being aware how much it would have meant to me to have more than 2 pair of shoes for most of my life, what it would have meant to have a class ring, or a dress so I could go to prom, even if I didn't have a date. The girl who was too embarrassed to have friends over because my mom ran around the house in her underwear and paid more attention to her soap operas than me or my siblings. I'm not saying I had bad parents, I just think maybe they didn't know any better. Most people carry their parenting skills down from their experiences of being parented. So maybe they did the best they knew how. It just wasn't the best I needed from them.
I'm going to wrap this up for now.. I know it's not an ideal ending or stopping place but I'm at work and some of this stuff is still pretty hard to talk about... and as much as I like to think I've put it all past me, the fact that it still effects me so much tells me that there are many things in my life that still need to be properly dealt with. I think that is a big reason I decided to start blogging actively.. I don't want to be the parent who passes baggage from their childhood onto their child. I want to be free of the hurts and damage I suffered so I don't inflict the same type of trama on my child. I want to be the best mom I can be. I want to be the mom I always wished I had...
So until later.. thank you for being a part of my journey.. however rough and bumpy it may sometimes be.