Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Might be in need of a straight jacket...

It's a chilly morning. My anxiety is full blown for some reason. Z took an early nap--she asked to go lie down, poor girl. I took a shower, started the washer, folded clothes, made the bed, cleaned up the kitchen and still have anxiety. Not sure what it's about. Well, that's not true. It's my control issues. I have them and it's starting to drive me crazy. I need things to be perfect. Perfect to me means balanced, healthy, clean and happy. Some of the people in my life are struggling. I see where they need help and it is so difficult for me not to want to literally swoop in and deal with it myself. As if I have all of the answers. This morning, playing with Z and her little doll house, it was as if that was what I was trying to do in my own life. Pick up dolls, place them where you want them. Arrange the house the way you want it. Make the dolls go to bed, eat, play, etc. It's sort of sick to have that realization about yourself. I want to play God. I want everyone to take my advice. I want people to do as I say. I want them to do because I feel they will be happier and better off. I  need to get a grip here. Who do I think I am??? I must be going through some strange psychological break of some sort.

Another example of feeling the need to control is my inability to decide whether or not to have another child. I see the benefits of having siblings. Before I get a bunch of mail telling me to have another--I know this. I've been researching the benefits of having only one. I worry about her being lonely. However, I worry about not being able to provide her with the life I want her to have. See..."I want" her to have. My chest is starting to cave in over this. I worry about losing myself. I don't want that for Z either. I want to be happy for her. I want the house to be a place of calm and not tons of stress. I see so much angst in other households and freak out about going through that. However, I'm seeing the negative here and freaking myself out. More kids normally means more fun. More laughing. More playing. More talks and more memories of companionship. It means having a partner and a person to talk to. It helps you with problem solving. Yet, I know there are examples where this has backfired and siblings are no longer speaking. It's so hard to figure out. I researched famous only children. Interesting. Here are some: (well, a lot)

Al Pacino
Alan Greenspan
Alicia Keys
Ansel Adams
Anthony Hopkins
Betty White
Bill Bradley
Brooke Shields
Burt Bacharach
Candice Bergen
Carol Burnett
Cary Grant
Charles Lindbergh
Charlize Theron
Chelsea Clinton
Christina Applegate
Cole Porter
Condoleezza Rice
Daniel Radcliffe
Danielle Steel
David Copperfield
E. M. Forster
Eleanor Roosevelt
Elvis Presley
Enoch Powell
Ezra Pound
Frank Sinatra
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Gerald Ford
Gregory Peck
Hans Christian Andersen
Iris Murdoch
Isaac Newton
James Dean
Jeff Bagwell
Joe Montana
John Lennon
Jean-Paul Sartre
John the Baptist
John Updike
Joy Behar
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Laura Bush
Lauren Bacall
LeAnn Rimes
Lenny Kravitz
Leonardo da Vinci
Lisa Marie Presley
Mahatma Gandhi
Maria Sharapova
Mark Burnett
Mary Elizabeth Aitcheson Gore (“Tipper”)
Matthew Perry
Nancy Reagan
Natalie Portman
Nick Faldo
Richie Sambora
Robert De Niro
Robin Williams
Rudy Giuliani
Sammy Davis, Jr.
Samuel L. Jackson
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Selena Gomez
Shawn Johnson
Shirley Jones
Sophia Bush
Steve Allen
Ted Koppel
Teri Hatcher
Tiger Woods
Tommy Lee Jones
Walter Cronkite
William Randolph Hearst

I don't want her to be spoiled...but I don't feel it has to be that way. It has to do with us. I'm sure I shouldn't even be writing about this. I just thought I'd throw it out into the universe and see if that helps.

I'm the second child. That fact sticks with me a lot.

There is no right answer, is there?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Paths that cross will cross again

Well, I finally finished Just Kids by Patti Smith. It left me with tears. Listening to it was a totally different feeling than just reading, I imagine. Patti's voice cracked a lot at the end and that made me feel for her. Her voice was rather monotone throughout which unnerved my mom, but Jason got used to it. I love hearing peoples' stories in their own voice- monotone or not. (My fave is still Jane Fonda's. And if anyone ever read it, she'd never be called Hanoi Jane again.)

One of the most striking things to me, other than the fact that I was so ignorant in 60s artists, was the richness of culture at the Chelsea Hotel. I stayed at the YMCA across the street there in...gosh...1997 or something and saw it. I knew that Arthur Miller had lived there. I had no idea about SO  MANY others! The personal accounts of Patti's time with Janis Joplin, William Burroughs, Sam Shepard,  Jimmy Hendrix, and the Warhol scene were really interesting to me. Her friendship with Robert Mapplethorpe was the centerpiece and I loved hearing how they created a life together. To live amongst so much culture in a time where the internet didn't take our attention away and people seemed to dive into themselves to create is so foreign. I know there are still people and places like this...but I don't see them very much. I, myself, struggle with the TV distraction...and movies. Most of them were too poor to have such luxuries. It seemed to really work in their favor. I will admit, listening to this book had a "Midnight in Paris" effect on me. I longed to live in the 60-70s and be amongst all of those people in the Chelsea. I felt that so much was learned and created. I felt that I was ignorant and uncultured. (Jason says this wasn't because of when I lived, but don't have a ton of culture in Small Town, KS) I felt like I'd wasted my 20s and was jealous of all the experiences Patti had in NYC. I am appreciative of my friend Jeremy Dewey who had me read this. I learned so much that I want to learn more about. I am now looking into classes in art history and music. I used to just want to take writing courses, but now I just want to broaden my horizons.

Here is one of Patti's songs I love:

Paths That Cross

Speak to me
Speak to me heart
I feel a needing
to bridge the clouds
Softly go
A way I wish to know
A way I wish to know

Oh you'll ride
Surely dance
In a ring
Backwards and forwards
Those who seek
feel the glow
A glow we will all know
A glow we will all know

On that day
Filled with grace
And the heart's communion
Steps we take
Steps we trace
Into the light of reunion

Paths that cross
will cross again
Paths that cross
will cross again

Speak to me
Speak to me shadow
I spin from the wheel
nothing at all
Save the need
the need to weave
A silk of souls
that whisper whisper
A silk of souls
that whispers to me

Speak to me heart
all things renew
hearts will mend
round the bend
Paths that cross
cross again
Paths that cross
will cross again

Rise up hold the reins
We'll meet again I don't know when
Hold tight bye bye
Paths that cross
will cross again
Paths that cross
Will cross again

I feel that I spent time with a good friend and it's over. I'm mourning a bit. I'm downloading Patti's music--I'd never really listened to her before--and reading more about her and Robert online. There is much more to write and reflect about but I need to marinate a bit. It needs to start bubbling up slowly...and it will. For now, if you have any time, read it.

Thanks Jeremy...thanks Patti.

Friday, August 26, 2011

History lesson

It's all one way in your head...and then reality hits. I hate that. After all of these years, you'd think we'd all have a pretty good idea of what our expectations should be, right? Call me an optimist-I guess. HA, or that I just love a good let down.This is vague, but it is easier to relate to that way.

Aside from learning about what not to do, history has other lessons. What works, what doesn't. I guess I use it more as a crutch...missing people and a certain time of life. I lean on it when I need to feel a particular emotion. However, I always seem to forget the past when I'm surprised by the present. I forget to ask the question, "is there a history of this?" Most likely, the answer is yes. More than not, I try to remember the good history I have with people and the negative history I have with myself. That's not good for the soul. Jason is always reminding me of good lessons I've learned. He finds the good in my bad memories. It is true. I have learned a lot from bad experiences. But, I've learned from good ones as well. I do feel my some of my experiences will help Z in her quest to find what works for her in the world and what hurts. I am constantly surprised by people and their actions. We can't all have our best day every day. I roll my eyes more and shake my head a lot. (As if I'm above all of that...whatever.) My own history of bad decisions and ridiculous drama makes it almost unbearable to me now. It causes me to retract. It causes me to rethink. It just makes me nuts. Jason repels drama as well, but always has. I think this was probably the number one reason for my drama reform. It's destructive. His sense of calm and rational pulled me in...and I wanted to feel that way. However, yes, it was a show-in a way. He has his own drama. He's very calm in the presence of others. He saves his craziness for the one he loves and trusts with himself. But...he's not dramatic for dramatic sake--there's the difference.

Feeling like the most boring girl in the world, I used to be attracted to highly dramatic and narcissistic personalities. (The examples could fill a book.) Now, when I hear it on the phone or in an email, it makes me happy I live so far away from most everyone. That sounds really shitty. What I mean is...I get pulled into that frame of mind so easily that I could slip back into being a person I can't stand. Moving to New York was a way for me to reinvent myself and get away from the idea I thought everyone had of me. Chicago was a place where my crazy came out in high fashion. It was just a dark time. A time that I grew from and met some lifelong friends...and my husband...but a time that I'm not too proud of personally. I feel calmer here. I think more. I can sit back and watch more. I take in more nature...and as pukey as that sounds, I learn a lot more from watching nature than I do people. The quiet helps me. I am such a follower and have been my entire life that I literally had to take myself away from people to follow. Sounds ridiculous. I get addicted to people and particular personalities. Keeping some at a distance makes me a better friend and person. My mom used to tell me that I'd throw someone overboard just so I could save them. Not good.

I can't wait for 40. It's my magical age. It's the age when I'll be who I always wanted to be. Well...maybe I should give it until 50.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Saying No to drugs...but don't feel like it.

I went to bed last night at 8pm. I woke up refreshed and started in on the day with such energy. I baked muffins, I vacuumed the entire house, I played with Z and then around 1pm, I was drained. I see it's about 4 mins until 8 and I could fall into bed. One of the hardest things about having a child later in life is that I really got used  your personal time. Now, I barely have any. Most of my friends don't have any at all--and haven't for years. This is so hard for me. I feel like the  most selfish person on earth. Now that I'm starting interests in so many different areas...I just want to learn all of the time. I guess Z is doing that as well. She is so loving and cuddly lately. She constant pulls my face into hers and kisses me...long and then rubs her hands on my cheeks affectionately. She's finally at the age where I feel her love. That's so cool. So, I'm not saying I'm not enjoying time with her. It's more like...ok, it's only 8...I want to have the energy to stay up until midnight and read, but it's not in me. I'm bushed. It sucks.

For this reason only...I understand the addiction to uppers. I've never taken them and wouldn't...but the idea of having energy instantly is a nice thought. I recently watched Limitless--a bad movie, but I said aloud, "well, illegal or not, I'd take that drug, no problem." I feel like I'm finding parts of my brain with cob webs on them and blowing them off. " long have YOU been here??" Yet...I don't have time to take advantage of it.

This is a finite time and it will get better. These are the unselfish years...the child rearing years. And I only have one. Hmmm. We keep thinking about another. We lost one a few months ago. We just need to figure that whole situation out. But, I do think about whether I'm cut out for it. If I'm this tired with the hell would I do two?? How the HELL are other women doing it??? This really makes me feel awful.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Time to wake up.

I'm currently listening to Patti Smith's Just Kids. Her voice is monotone, but the story holds me. I have about 2 more hours to go. It blows my mind how different our lives are...and our minds. She is so rich with knowledge of art and music that I've never heard of. It makes me jot down names and has me researching and experiencing. Growing up in Small Town, KS, I was so sheltered. Wow. There was so much going on in the world that I had no idea about. Growing up in a city would have been so mind blowing. The small town kept me naive and young. It kept me so wide eyed and ridiculous. Growing up years after she did...TV ruled my life. Movies held my attention. Now, kids just gaze into a computer...or play video games. I hate to sound old, but it does seem technology is making me boring. She was so into painting, drawing and reading. She seemed to be so in tune with herself--or at least knew she had much exploration to do at a younger age. Her times in she survived and how she created her own world with Robert is so interesting to me. I've always wanted to create my own space. I've done that to a point I guess. I feel a connection with her. Not because we have anything in common, but because it seems she lived out so many of my teen daydreams.

The book focuses on her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe. Here's a pic...

My mom left early this morning. I drove her to the airport before light. I slept about 4 hours last night and crashed during Z's nap time. I guess an earthquake shook us, but I was snoozing. Yesterday I was exhausted as well. I think it was more a let down. I knew Mom was leaving and got the blues. Having her here was comfortable and safe. We watched The West Wing (she'd never seen it) and went to movies. I asked her tons of questions about her childhood and learned more about where she came from emotionally. So many questions that I've just asked 36. Where the hell has my curiosity been?? That's amazing to me. I'm not sure my family feels so comfortable with my questions. Jason started to get fidgety. He's not so much into asking personal questions. I just want to understand where people are coming from. My mom spends a lot of time being silent...she thinks a lot. I just want to know what's going on in her head. Everyone is a mystery. In my life, my family is just a closed group. I'm an alien of some sort...ready to share and to meet new people. Most of my fam likes to keep to themselves. I've always had lots of friends and do my best to keep in touch with them--though I'm focusing more on uplifting souls instead of those who drag me down. I'm too easily drowning.

I feel like I need a shower...and a long, long sleep. Z is sweet and funny...she keeps bringing me Bambi to feed. I need to get her a toy bat. We have a bat that lives above our front door. She sleeps there during the day. Pretty cute little gal, really. For some reason, it makes me happy that she feels safe there.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Kathryn, Gloria, Patti and Me.

I've been listening to a few books. One is The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I admit I started after I watched the movie. It moved me so much that I felt there was much more to the book.  I watched the movie feeling physically ill and uncomfortable. I've seen many movies that deal with racial issues, however, I feel different things and see different things as I grow. It really got to me more than in the past. I've always felt strongly...but I think more about being a mother and raising a child in this world. Seeing such horrible ways people were/are treated made me nauseous. More than that, how others acted. So ignorant and ugly. There are so many injustices and I feel them more as a woman in my 30s than I did as a child. The world is still so horribly rich with injustice, ignorance and cruelty.

I'm also listening to Just Kids by Patti Smith. I am so intrigued so far. It's a way to live an alternate life that I've always wondered about. As a teen, I romanticized the 60s and the bohemian lifestyle. I loved the music, the poetry, the way people seemed so alive. Patti writes about her life as a young girl in NYC and the meeting of her dear friend, Robert Mapplethorpe. Hearing how they created a life for themselves and how they soaked themselves in art and music makes me feel lonely at times. Lonely, but inspired at the same time. I'm going to start writing down the names of the people that inspired them (some I've never heard of) and research them myself. I just feel like learning. I want to experience more.

I watched that HBO special about Gloria Steinem and want to read one of her books next. I learned so much from that special. Thins I should have already known probably. I had no idea that Ms. magazine was Gloria's mag. I had no idea that Ms. as a title came into effect after its circulation. Did you?? I'm ready to learn more about her. She's tough, yet very soft hearted. She's sensitive...and by my age, she had accomplished so much. So many women seem to really have been plugged into life and really gotten so much more than I ever did. Being on tons of anxiety and depression medication just clouded me. I wasn't plugged into the world...or myself. I escaped everything by being numb and asleep. It's sad to think about how ahead I could be now...and I'm just playing catch up.

It's time to start diving into works that others found in their youth. I missed so much. My friend Jeremy Dewey lead me to Just Kids...we're reading it together. He's already done, but I'm close behind. I'll have to let you know how our book talk goes.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

ill Communication

After spending a lot of time with my family recently, I continued the study of how we communicate. I've always been the VERY open of the lot, but even more lately. My mother and sister are certainly tight lipped about many things. In fact, many times I am left guessing on how they feel on almost anything. I don't know if they're having a good time...or what they enjoy doing...or what they think of what they are eating, etc. I began to wonder if it was me. Since I am so out right about how I feel and what I think...I wonder if people are nervous about speaking their minds around me. If that is true, it saddens me. I haven't asked this question, but I can see how it could be true. In hopes of helping people, I tend to tell them how to do things...thinking my way is best. How gross of me. I want to help so much, I almost hold people back. This is all guessing. I know people are different in how they communicate. I know that I can tend to be harsh and such. I see my "old self" in them at times and I broke free of that person in order to feel independent. The main thing is the constant conversations about being unhappy. (I used to do this as well.) I learned that talking about it does nothing. DO something about it. I want them to be happy, so I tell them ways to DO it. There is no movement. Years of discussing discontentment and yet, nothing happens. I get horribly frustrated and the harshness comes out. I'm trying to work on it. But let me leave you with this...DO something if you are unhappy. Feeling sorry for yourself gets you nowhere but tired. I'm not talking about homelessness or things in that type of nature. I'm talking about basic things that can be repaired. There are always people who can help you. Maybe your OCD, controlling sister or daughter is not who you should go to, but there is someone.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Family therapy needed so far.

The month long family visit came to an end yesterday. 5 family members mom remains until next Tuesday.

When I'm around my mom, I'm reminded of how much more learning I need to do. She's well versed in so many things that I feel I need to start reading more historical non-fiction. She was my HS history teacher...and she just retired from teaching after 40 years.

Tomorrow night there is a show on HBO on Gloria Steinem. We're going to watch it. Here's a perfect example. I know who Gloria is...I could pick her out of a crowd, but I feel it's probably important to know more details about her life and all that she influenced. I'm suppose to be reading Patti Smith's book, Just Kids and I haven't yet started. I'll get it tomorrow. So many influential women I really need to know more about.

I'm exhausted...and the house is so quiet now. Lots of reflecting. Lots of cleaning. Lots of uploading pictures. I look at them and realize Z will see what I see when I see pics of my childhood--happiness...and seemingly simple times. I want her to think life is simple for as long as possible.

(Here, Z is learning how to shoot her cousins with the hose...a great smile and memory.-- click on it to make it bigger.)

Monday, August 01, 2011

Being around family makes me feel a little like Sybil.

Quick post. The fam is at the store. Having family in usually means that you should call and make an appt. with your shrink for the day after they leave. I'm keeping busy by baking and cleaning. It's going well so far. I'm exhausted...they've been here just over 24 hours. They are here for 10 days or so. I'm in the land of little sister, new mother, wife, aunt and daughter...that's a lot of hats to wear. I'm usually the same person all of the time, but there is tweaking. I feel in charge, yet a teenager, yet a grown up and sometimes...the elder. You want to prove that you've grown and not the same stupid kid. You want to show them that you are fully into your role as wife and mother...and that you know what you're doing.  You want to prove that you can raise a happy and healthy child. You want them to know that you love them...and that just because you moved away, you still want to be around them. But, it's hard. Everyone has their own household. Everyone wants to cook in your kitchen. Their stuff is all over the house...and you don't want to seem like a crazy person by always picking up after them. You don't want to seem too uptight, but you are. You want to be the fun aunt...but you are now a mother, too. And, at the end of the day, I want to spend time with them after Z is asleep--but I'm worn out and need to go to bed. Hmmm.

Yes, I need to call and make that appt.

**Sybil is a book...and a movie...about multiple personalities. The version with Sally Field is excellent.