Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Love, love, love

Bear with me on this blog.  I’m not sure where I’m going with it, but I do know that I want to write it.  I just got back from a week-long family vacation.  I won’t pretend that I haven’t been totally spoiled by my in-laws.  They are more generous than I could type, and I don’t feel I deserve what they give.  But I happily accept it, nonetheless. 

So that said, I am tired and having a hard time adjusting back to real life.  And I’m not the only one.  My son didn’t want to go back to school today.  I think he has a hard time transitioning.  He gets anxiety, but doesn’t have the awareness or language to express it.  So it comes out as defiance.  (Remember I told you he was diagnosed with ODD, oppositional defiance disorder.)  So instead of being sympathetic, understanding and all around mature, I got right into it with him and addressed that behavior, not the feeling.  We yelled, we fought, and honestly, we both cried.  I texted my husband in frustration, telling him I had just about had it.  He called me and started giving me suggestions on what I could do.  Well, now I was fighting with him too.  He tells me that I always do this, I call him when I’m having a hard time and just want him to listen.  But he can’t just listen.  He needs to try and help.  But I don’t want his help.  So what do I want?

I am reading a book with a female protagonist.  She is amazing.  She is strong and willful and everything I want to be.  She doesn’t give a crap what others think of her.  But not in a ‘F%&* you’ sort of way.  More in a, I am doing what needs to be done, sort of way.  In one paragraph the author describes her through her boyfriend’s eyes.  He said he tried kissing his knees one time, the way the girl unconsciously does, to see what it’s like to love yourself that much. 

Man did that strike me.  What do I want?  What is it I am doing when I call my husband, knowing he can’t give me what I want?  I am trying to feel loved.  I want to feel that even in my ugly moments, my immature, ugly moments, I can still be loved.  I am still loved.  So, can I kiss my own knees?  Love myself?

I’m a bit scatter brained, so try and stay with me here.  Two things come to mind.  One is a conversation my father oft reminds me of.  I was five and he asked me, Tovah, why are you so happy all the time?  I gave him a straight answer.  Well dad, when you love yourself so much, you can’t help but love everyone around you.  And when you love everyone around you, you can’t help but be happy.

I would like to think I’ve grown wiser with age, but I think I had it at age five.  At age five there was no one telling you it is uncool to love yourself. There is no one saying that you look stupid kissing your own knees.  Imagine that you see a person hugging themselves, smiling at themselves in the mirror.  What would think? Honestly.  Maybe that they’re narcissistic?  Or maybe that they are slow?  Or maybe they are just plain weird.  But would you stop and think, that there is a person who has a healthy amount of self love.  An abundant amount.  An amount we should all try for. 

The second thing that I was thinking about was the show Ally McBeal.  I loved that show.  I think I have seen every episode.  I didn’t know what it was about the show that I loved, but I think I have a clue now.  Each character was ridiculous in their own way.  Very eccentric.  The main character hallucinated, stuttered, and did other wacky things.  Her boss was shallow and seemed to care for nothing more than money and women.  (And yet somehow you really liked him).  A friend hears Barry White in his head when he needs a boost of courage.  And we often see everyone dancing to the tune inside his head. 

And for all of their weirdness and eccentricities, they all fully accept each other.  It was the acceptance that I found so alluring.  Does anyone in this world know all of me and still accept me?  If someone I love found me kissing my knees, would they admire it or admonish it?  Sometimes I find myself tickling my arms or feet because I love the feeling.  But I get very embarrassed if someone catches me doing so.  It’s like I was caught masturbating.  But I wasn’t, I was just loving myself.  (And on a side note, why is it so embarrassing to be caught masturbating? Well, I think that’s another, more private, conversation.)

There is another type of acceptance that comes to mind now.  When I was about thirteen I had this weird thing.  I’ll try to explain it.  It was that if I touched somewhere on the right side of my body, I HAD to do the same to my left.  It was a compulsion.  And no, I don’t think it was autism.  It just was what it was.  Like if I touched my right pinky on the table I had to do the same to my left.  I was on a bus trip when a girl I knew mentioned something about it and somehow we realized that we both had this same compulsion.  And it was like a world opened.  I was not alone.  Someone understood me.  I had never once voiced this compulsion out loud, and now I had someone who not only accepted it, she fully understood and shared it! 

So is that what I am looking for? An end to my loneliness.  Because that’s what it felt like.  I had been alone, and then someone came and entered my world.  I was no longer alone.  But ask me about my best friend.  We are almost opposites.  We don’t understand each other’s eccentricities, but we do accept them.  Without judgment.  No, that’s not true, we judge each other all the time.  We tell each other how stupid this or that is.  We laugh at it.  So maybe that’s it; we know exactly what the other thinks about this or that and so we have nothing to hide or fear. 

Probably the people who understand me, and get me the most, are my sisters.  Its not with out judgment, I’m sure that they often think I’m crazy, stupid, or both.  (Come on stinkies, don’t deny that we all think that about each other now then.) But at least they do seem to understand me.  And there is a little bit less loneliness in that.

I think what I’m saying is that I want to feel accepted, understood, not alone, and loved.  What I can do is love myself.  Kiss my knees, or tickle my feet, and stop feeling to ashamed of the fact that I enjoy my own self.  I can call my sisters when I want to feel less lonely and understood.  I can call my best friend when I want to feel accepted. Or just understand that I will never be truly understood by anyone.  That even if I’m not accepted by all, that doesn’t mean I can’t accept myself.  And pass as much of that as possible to my children. 

1.   Vacation
2.   Swimming in the ocean
3.   Drinking fresh coconut water every morning
4.   Wild horses
5.   Well behaved children on long flights
6.   Not getting sick
7.   Bio-luminescent bays
8.   The lack of shark attacks
9.   Hammocks
10. Self love

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

80% Excited 20% Scared

Okay people, it is on. It is so on. We are signing in January and selling our house. We'll move up there as soon as this place is sold. Aaaaaaaaaaah!

Breathe. Breathe. Okay, that's a little better.

So how do I feel about all this? Well, have you ever seen the movie Armageddon? There's a seen where they are in the rockets, about to shoot up to space, and Owen Wilson says something like, "I'm like 80% excited and 20% scared. Or maybe I'm 80% scared and 20% excited. I don't know, but that's what makes this so great!"

Yeah, I feel like that. But right now I'm thinking about my children. (When am I not?) Yesterday my daughter knocks over the fish bowl. Wakes the baby by flashing a bright light in his eyes. Poops in the bath. My eldest son comes home from school and play date super excited. Says he loves school and his friends. My baby wakes me up all night so I'm a zombie the next day. All of this is life and it's great.

Now take this picture and move it to the country. Instead of a little fish bowl, there's an actual fish pond. Imagine the trouble (and danger) my daughter can get into. My son is just starting to really enjoy his social interactions and learning. Can I suddenly be his best friend, teacher and playmate? All while trying to keep up with a baby? And then add to this picture daily chores of tending gardens and animals.

What I believe it will come down to is this: If we build it, will they come? I can't do this alone. Maybe for a while. Maybe to get things started. But what I want, what I crave, is community. I want to know that when I'm not enough, others are there. I want my children growing with a multitude of adults they can trust and turn to. I want women who are different from me to expand my world with who they are and what they bring into this world.

My Rabbi once told me this: He said that there was I a reason I felt I didn't belong in any community I've ever lived in. He said most likely I never would. Unless, of course, you build your own community. I think he meant that last bit to be funny.

Well, that's the punchline. I'm building my own community so I can finally fit in. And I hope this becomes, not a selfish act, but the greatest gift I ever give my children... Besides life, of course. Because that's a pretty big gift too.

1. My daughter's retelling of how she pooped in the bath
2. That it's bedtime
3. The fact that no one will ever care what haircuts anyone in my family may or may not get
4. Yup. It's bedtime