Tag Archives: life stuff

Enough

I think it’s time to accept reality.

I’m not a disciplined person. I cannot stick to a routine to save my life. Organisation skills? MIA: presumed dead (possibly imaginary to start with).

I just can’t do it. The chaos is too much a part of me; my energy levels – mental, physical and emotional – are too erratic, too impossible to predict. As soon as I get momentum going on a change or new habit something comes up to blow it out of the water again.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty chuffed that I managed to post something for 20 out of 30 days in November. That’s kind of cool.

But then I slipped up once, which made it easier to slip up again, and then my oldest daughter turned 8 and I promised her a Minecraft party, so I had to focus on that, and then I was dealing with a bunch of fatigue due to depression and/or highly fluctuating weather and/or the extra effort needed to do my work experience for my Education Support course (which I really enjoyed!)…

And then and then and then…

This is LIFE, Meg! It’s chaotic and random and busy. Especially with little kids to care for too. And you know what? Maybe you can’t just let go of your interests and daydreams and intentions. And maybe you can’t reconcile your desire for order and serenity with your broken brain that insists on skittering after every shiny thing and living in a perpetual state of “what if..?” Maybe it’s just not fucking possible.

Maybe you’re just going to have to accept the mediocrity of spreading yourself too thin and never really getting the hang of anything, rather than the mediocrity of an average, predictable life where you feel more in control.

I don’t know what that means, or how you can find a way to be happy with that path. I just know I’m so tired of striving. I’m tired of breaking baby steps down to the smallest possible increment – and still failing to meet my own expectations.

I’m tired of being an adult. I’m tired of feeling like a loser because I can’t keep my living space clean or manage to NOT end up with an empty bank account within days of receiving any money. I’m tired of having to keep track of who’s eaten what and constantly thinking about what to make next (since I can’t get the hang of meal planning). I’m tired of feeling gross and itchy from all the dust everywhere – and then feeling worse when my kids wake up sneezing from the dust in their room – and I’m tired of always being too tired and stressed to play with my kids!

I just want someone to swoop in and tuck me in bed and take care of everything for me!

But yeah, that’s not happening any time soon. So what do I do next?

I need to find a way to work with the chaos, to make it so I can still cover off the essentials without driving myself crazy or breaking under the pressure.

Any ideas?

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Whoopsie

Missed a few days there…

It’s funny how as soon as you miss one, it’s easy to miss the next day too. And the next, and the next… The biggest problem is that in my head I have to justify why I let things lapse, which just sets up a road block that quickly becomes enormous.

But I’m back now! And in a weird mood. And with a post long enough to make up for the missed days.

I got drawn into a debate on a friend’s Facebook today. He slammed a proposed tax on sugary drinks that my preferred political party (the Greens) has developed.

I don’t really have a strong opinion about it either way. I agree that some sort of official stance is needed to encourage healthier eating habits in general, but see it as a complex, multi-pronged issue (as do the Greens themselves, who see a 20% tax on drinks with at least 5g of sugar per 100ml as just one step within a larger program to curb obesity). 

Anyway, many people in the discussion started wringing their hands and accusing the Greens of being paternalistic and out of touch, claiming that a sugar tax would unfairly burden the most poverty-stricken members of society. I agreed that a broad tax on sugar wouldn’t be the best idea, but pointed out this was just a tax on drinks – not food in general. I figure the greater burden will be borne by middle/upper class types who think nothing of grabbing a can of Coke at lunch: the poorer people around here generally go for no-brand options that are super cheap to start with. We’re talking a price hike of 10-15cents per 1.25L bottle…

Enter my nemesis, Kitty.


(As opposed to my kitty, Wolfgang, who cares nothing for politics so long as the tuna keeps coming)

Background

Kitty is the wife of the friend that started the conversation and an ex-acquaintance of mine. An ardent feminist and intellectual, we got on quite well for a while there – until we both had children and I immersed myself in an Attachment Parenting approach.

I don’t know if she felt like I was judgemental about mothers who go back to work (I’m not), or if she was projecting her own insecurities, or if she bought into the common argument that Attachment Parenting is inherently a step backwards for feminism (IT SO VERY MUCH IS NOT), or, quite frankly, she was bitter that whenever we met up at parties her daughter preferred my company to hers, but one night she unfriended me with a flounce via private message.

I won’t go into full details, but at the end of her message she wrote:

“PS Your attachment parenting is insane. Let your kids have some boundaries, FFS.”

It cut pretty deep. The implication that my kids were somehow flawed made me seethe for many days. I wanted to rip into her but managed to hold back and just walk away.

The really funny thing was that the night she sent that message we’d been to my brother’s 40th birthday party. It was at an all-you-can-eat buffet that included a dessert bar. My oldest was 4yo at the time (my youngest only 3 months) and as we got there I said to her: “It’s a party tonight so you can help yourself to anything you want! I just want you to have at least one serve of green veggies before you go for the desserts, OK?”

She ended up filling two plates with pasta and bread and vegetables and trying out a bit of everything. When she was finally ready to check out the dessert bar, she had a couple of skewers of marshmallows and fruit dipped in the chocolate fountain, one very small cup of soft serve ice cream, and a couple of tastes of various cakes and jellies.

She was 4. And had been given license to go nuts. And had a very balanced meal with a slightly big dessert.

But, you know, clearly she was crying out for firmer boundaries…

Back to the story

Anyway, Kitty jumped on one of my comments this evening and accused me of being dismissive and elitist. I’ve had a charmed life and have no real-world experience with actual poverty so was not fit to question points made by the people in the thread offering real, lived experience. I was bringing my usual arrogance and condescension to the conversation and was completely blinded by my desire for the Greens to be in the right.

lolwut?

I’d had a few wines at this point so got into a bit of back and forth, trying to remain civil without being drawn into justifying why I had a right to an opinion (not least of which being that people were discussing the effects of a tax on cheap sugary food while the proposal was for a tax on expensive sugary drinks). In the end I threw my hands up and let rip.

I thanked her for the attack. I told her that the last time we’d talked she’d insulted my parenting choices and as a result I’d doubled down on my approach and my kids were thriving. Now? She’d inspired me to double down on my community outreach efforts (volunteering as a teachers aide at the school and becoming more active in the local Greens chapter) just so I can prove her wrong there too.

I then turned off notifications for that post and had a good vent on my own page to try and diffuse my anger (and, as much as I hate to admit it, my tears).

This was an excellent move.

I’ve since had about half a dozen mutual friends reach out and reassure me she was out of line in that conversation, and reaffirm that it was a good idea to switch off notifications, and imply that others had gone into bat for me.

Feeling much better now!

I just wish people like that didn’t elicit such a strong reaction from me. It’s so childish and high-school and ridiculous. I know I’m awesome, and I have many important people in my life who agree with me!

Why can’t I just let it go when I know people don’t like me for reasons they’ve completely invented in their own heads?

Anyway, I have a new mantra in my life. If I’m making an important decision around parenting or social views I will ask myself: “Would this choice spite Kitty?”

I can’t see how it will possibly lead me astray.

Is it worth it?

Is it worth aiming to post something every single day, even if I am uninspired?

Am I doing any good by filling my blog with sub-standard posts and cluttering up my virtual home as much as my actual home?

Not sure.

But damnit, I’m gonna keep trying anyway. Even if they don’t always make for good reading, at least this commitment to post something every day for a month is helping with my self-discipline. That has to count for something, right?

I’ll let that thought percolate a little more and see if I can lift my game.

13 days into November

And I’ve managed to post every day.


I’m on FIRE baby!

Where I’m at right now:

– Still horribly depressed and honestly just so over it. Sick of doing the bare minimum each day! Sick of spending so much energy fighting the urge to curl up in bed all day! Sick of being a grumpy mum who says “No!” all the time!

– Managing to stay on top of my health apart from that though. I’m doing my first grading for karate this Friday. 😀

– Had a bit of energy this afternoon so managed to get some cleaning done in the living room. We still have way too much crap, but a nice clear floor in the main living space really does make all the difference.

– Had a great chat with my in-laws after dinner this evening (we’ve started a regular dinner at their place on Sunday evenings, which I LOVE) and I’m feeling more relaxed about our financial security.

– Have my first session of work experience as a Teacher’s Aide tomorrow afternoon. 


I haven’t managed to finish my assignment for class on Tuesday though. It’s a big one, so I’m going to put the rest of it off until next weekend, as my husband has Thursday and Friday off work. So long as all assignments are in by the end of the course I won’t get penalised.

– I have fresh sheets on my bed this evening. They were dried in the sun today and smell soooo goooood!

– Have I mentioned how sick I am of being depressed? Look at this list! Things are going great right now. I wish I was biologically able to enjoy everything properly. *pout*

– My kitty was sleeping like this on my bed earlier today though, so that makes everything feel better…

n00b

I really cannot tell you how much I hate being “the new guy” at anything.

No seriously, I can’t. I don’t even consciously know myself, apparently…

As part of my certificate in Education Support I have to do at least 10 hours of volunteer work as a Teacher’s Aide. Of course I decided to do it at my daughter’s school, to keep things simple.

What I should have done was go straight to the front office and ask who to speak to and tee things up that way. What I actually did was dither and freak out for a bit, then get one of my friends who is also doing the course to introduce me to the lady she organised things with.

Sweet! No fronting up to people I don’t really know on my own and describing what I needed to do when I had no idea what sort of script to follow (sure, I’d figure it out and they could no doubt fill in any gaps, but the anticipation of looking like a yammering idiot is a real mental block, yaknow?).

It all seemed to be progressing well, until I turned up yesterday like I said I would and my liaison had the day off.

Oh.


The other ladies in her office explained that I really needed to speak to the Assistant Principal, and took me along to meet him. I’m sure my liaison would’ve done that too, but I still felt kind of foolish for not double checking exactly who I needed to talk to.

The AP is a friendly, jovial kind of guy who confused me with two other people at first before he worked out we’d never met before. He then checked that I’d given them my letter of enrolment like I should’ve.

Um.


Heheh…

No problems. I just needed to get it to him ASAP so he could sign off on all the paperwork and I can get credit for my hours. Anyway, he was assigning me to the class next door to my daughter and took me off to meet the teacher right then and there.

So I had to walk past the windows of my daughter’s class (distracting a bunch of the kids in there) and interrupt another class in progress so he could introduce me to that room full of kids and arrange for me to meet up with the teacher later that day to work out when I’d be coming in to help. Why he had to do that in front of the class is beyond me, but that’s what happened.

I think I managed to come across as warm and friendly rather than shell-shocked and in need of a brown paper bag.


Long story short, everything’s sorted; everyone was friendly and excited to have an extra helper; I’m excited to get stuck into helping kids enjoy learning; some of the kids have already started waving to me in the playground; I got my paperwork in. It’s all good. It’s all fine.

I just wish I could get through all the introductory stuff with more grace.

Rationally I know full well that everyone struggles with these sorts of nerves to some extent, and nobody’s going to actually think I’m an idiot for not knowing EVERYTHING, ALL AT ONCE! And in all honesty, I handled things pretty well in the moment, asking questions, clarifying things, ensuring I’m across everything I need to know.

Truth be told, I was quite happy overall and felt good about having my work experience locked in. Another thing to check off my To-Do List! Phew!

But then early this morning I had the most intense dream I’ve had in ages, where I had a full-blown, sobbing, shaking, uncontrollable panic attack.

Like, I’ve never experienced anything like that in real life. My brain just saved up all that social anxiety and stress to sucker punch me right in the subconscious. POW!

On one hand I’m grateful I’ve never dealt with anything like that during waking hours, but on the other hand I’m now annoyingly drowsy after feeling so refreshed the last few days.

Just another irksome quirk in the show that is Meg’s Brain, I guess…

Sad

Down. Glum. Despondent. Melancholy.

Depressed.

Oh how I wish I wasn’t such a one-hit-wonder.

Two days ago, when I did my stocktake, I was on the way up. I was still waking up in the mornings wishing I could hide, but once I got going about my day I could feel my brain unclench and relax and allow my natural optimism to take over.

Like that moment when you settle into a soft bed with clean sheets after a particularly exhausting day.

“Oh good,” I thought, “my meds are finally kicking in properly! I should find everything easier now.”

Plans were tackled, commitments made. Some momentum was finally happening as I rolled up my sleeves and got stuck in to pulling my life back together.

Then, last night, while my girls were in the bath and my husband was flaking out in bed feeling unwell, I noticed how hard everything was feeling and how tired I was.

I felt my brain and body powering down, collectively saying “Nope!” and letting the dark cloud settle again.

Fuck.

I love this image, even though the words don’t really apply to me (I’m pretty open and vocal when my depression gets this bad!). It really captures exactly how much of a heavy, all-consuming weight depression is when it gets you in its clutches; how much effort it takes to simply hold on; how close you feel to losing your grip and being completely enveloped.

It’s relentless. And vicious. And blunt. And ugly. That overwhelming need to ball up and hide from the world. It’s like having a really bad cold but without the outward symptoms like a runny nose or scratchy throat – and with the added bonus of a nasty voice in your head telling you how much you suck and making you feel like you need to put on a brave face because nobody else will understand and they’ll hate you for being flaky and unreliable.

Man I’m over it. So much. I wish there was some way I could just make it bugger off for good, but if anything it’s getting more tenacious and nasty with age. My coping and management skills have improved, but it just keeps getting sneakier.

I’m tired. I wish I could just give up somehow and let it win without that affecting my kids. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not even slightly suicidal. Never have been (seriously, I am almost offensively optimistic by nature and have some pretty rock-solid self-esteem once you scrape all the muck of depression away). I just want to hide and sleep and eat junk and not have to care about anything for, oh, I don’t know – a year or so? That would be rad.

Instead my days are consumed by bracing against those relentless blows, and constantly re-prioritising plans around what I’m actually capable of dealing with on any given day.

Remember that stocktake from two days ago? Well I’ve managed to follow the Daily Prompt two days in a row now (yay me!), but my plans to get into a daily cleaning routine have stalled pretty hardcore. I need to pare it back even more.

So my new daily goal on the “treating cleanliness as something you just fucking DO as an adult” front is simply to make my bed, clear my bedside table, and keep my bedroom floor clear. THAT’S it. For realsies this time.

Then at least I have one tiny oasis in my life where I feel centred and in control. Hopefully things can seep out from there.

Sisters

I am the youngest of three children. My brother is 5.5 years older than me; my sister 3 years older.

Growing up, my brother tolerated me as best he could. Occasionally he’d roughhouse or play things like board games or Star Wars Lego with me, but mostly he did his best to keep me away from him and his friends (which wasn’t always easy!).

But my sister? She was my hero. I have very few memories of playing with my parents, but my sister and I were inseparable. She taught me to read and to draw. We wrote stories together and did origami and music and dancing.

She was my BFF in a way nobody else was. Friends and I would always drift apart (I was kind of intense and weird in primary school and I think I burned friends out pretty fast), but my sister and I had to stick it out. We would fight (and how!) and sometimes stay mad for a while, but eventually we simply had to get over it and move on. There was no other choice.

I idolised her and wanted to do EVERYTHING she did. I followed her to piano lessons, and horse riding lessons (I was never even into them much, but she was obsessed and I wanted to do what she was doing), and ballet lessons. I listened to the same music and read the same books and loved the same shows.

Then one day she hit puberty.

Everything changed. She didn’t want me bothering her and her friends anymore. She spent a lot of time alone in her room. She yelled at me to stop copying her all the time.

I was gutted. I just didn’t understand what had changed and I got resentful and angry.

If it so happened that I liked something she also liked I would lose my shit if anyone suggested I was “just copying her.” I took every opportunity to be snarky and sullen and tried to get cousins to play with me and ignore her at family get-togethers.

Basically I was an enormous bitch – who only got bitchier once I hit puberty.

Eventually we both became adults. She moved to Perth with her partner and I stayed in Sydney. We never got back to being as close as we were as kids, but bridges were mended.

One New Year’s, many years later, we had a drunken deep-and-meaningful and I finally found out exactly what she was going through at the time.

Relentless, soul-destroying bullying.

Even now, the thought of how much I compounded her issues by being such a bitch at home makes my eyes burn with shame (she says she never felt victimised by me, but I know the thoughts I was having about her at the time. There is no comfort there).

She matured very young, at 11yo, and was the first girl in her year to wear a bra. She was also mildly overweight and a nerd. She developed disordered eating patterns that did nothing to help (turns out she has PCOS) and could not wait for me to join her at high school because then hopefully the girls who viciously abused her at the bus stop might finally leave her alone.

I genuinely had no idea how bad it was and still get angry at the level of secrecy and shame that surrounded her experiences.

Now I look at my two girls and cherish the love they share. Miss 4 completely adores her almost-8yo sister (her first word was her sister’s name ❤️) and the feeling so far is mutual – although my Miss 7 does need personal space more frequently than her sister would like.

I must confess, I struggle with that. I cannot bear to see my little one so devastated by “rejection” and my gut reaction is to try to force Miss 7 to keep playing.

Thankfully I manage to get over that. Most of the time.

For now, my older daughter (mostly) enjoys having a little shadow following her around and copying everything she does. There is nothing quite so satisfying as hearing them playing in another room, making each other laugh so hard their tummies hurt. It triggers so many wonderful memories and emotions that I can’t help but laugh along too.

I hope that connection lasts forever, but if it wavers, I hope I can help them understand each other and keep communication open.

As for me and my sister, we have one of those connections that we both know is rock solid even though we rarely talk. Whenever we’re together we click immediately and we both know we’re there for each other if ever the shit hits the fan. Even though we’re a whole continent apart.

You know what? I’m cool with people thinking I’m following in her footsteps now. There are far worse people in the world to be accused of copying. 

Inspired by the Daily Prompt

Stocktake

I just took a moment to re-read my own Pages to try to get back to the spirit of my mediocre little blog (and update some of the info).

I’ve really strayed pretty far, hey.

Lately I’ve been very much back in la-la land, trying to be a snowflake, getting caught up in daydreams and fantastical creative notions about how one day I might be a famous writer/dancer/crafter/politician/chef/actor/singer – and rehearsing the inevitable interviews that would follow. (Obviously.)

My house is back to being a mess, my kids are back to being screen-junkies, and I have little to no routine going on. Again.

I don’t want to stop the little bits and pieces of creativity I’m doing (especially my writing and musicking) but I really, really have to get more order and predictability going again.

I have to.

So here’s the plan.

– I was toying with the idea of doing NaNoWriMo or NaBloPoMo, but I really don’t want to “sign up” for either of them. Instead I’m aiming to do the Daily Posts every day for the next month, to keep polishing my writing chops and make it more habitual.

– I’m going back to 30 Days to a Clean and Organised House by Katie Berry to pull the house back together. I’ve started trying to work through it a couple of times over the last year or so (including last month) and always stall around day 3, losing momentum and failing to get it back up again. I’m not going to work through the book again at this point, but I am determined to get through her Daily Cleaning Checklist each day to make it into a habit. My house is really not that big. I can easily get to the point where it takes 10min to blitz the obvious stuff each day! Surely!

AND THAT IS ALL

That’s all I’m going to commit to each day. Anything else is a bonus right now. If I get a wind up me I will expand my to-do list – maybe blog a bit more; maybe crack out the uke or saxophone; maybe sketch out some other writing ideas; maybe do some culling or extra cleaning – but if I get overwhelmed and despondent I will fall back to these two little habits I want to cultivate for now.

(If my blog goes dead for a while you’ll know I cracked under the pressure…)

(I know you won’t judge though!)

Craziness

There’s a lot going on in the land of Meg right now.

I’m doing fierce battle with my depression while trying to keep my kids adequately fed, watered and entertained.

I’m trying to keep the momentum going on my diet (basically calorie counting and keeping active: I’ve lost ~6kg in the last 6 months with my sneaky, it’s-not-really-a-diet-it’s-just-a-few-days-without-treats-here-and-there approach) and sporadically attending a drop-in karate class around the corner.

My husband is helping a friend start up a virtual storefront business that I will assist with admin/marketing/content writing once it takes off (which hopefully it does! Ka-CHING!).

I’ve started a partial certification in Education Support that is looking fun and promising, and I hope to be able to take the rest of the course next year so I can eventually get a casual job during school hours.

My dabbling in flash fiction is going well: not only am I judging this week’s Microcosms contest (seriously, it’s an awesome prompt this week – go enter!) but I’ve found this curated list of writing competitions and signed up to enter The Great Flash Fiction War over this weekend. First prize is $2000. Bring it!

And then the girls have two birthday parties to attend this weekend. Plus the school fair.

Oh, and I have a weird, exhausted-but-not-symptomatic head-cold thing going on.

I’m not freaking out. YOU’RE freaking out!

Anyway, none of that is the “craziness” I’m referring to.

No, the crazy part happened this evening.

Lately my youngest miss (who turned four just over a week ago…) has been asking me to stay in their room until she’s asleep. I find it draining, but considering I used to cosleep with both girls all night every night I can deal with this little bit of neediness with grace. I just play some meditation music on my phone, fire up my kindle app (set to white writing on a black background) and read in the dark while she settles next to me.

On a whim this evening I decided to start rereading The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. I read it towards the end of last year and found it quite inspiring, with its approach for identifying and dismantling Resistance in your life. 

Near the beginning, in the introduction, this section fell really heavily into my brain, like it was important that I paid attention this time:

Look in your own heart. Unless I’m crazy, right now a still, small voice is piping up, telling you as it has ten thousand times before, the calling that is yours and yours alone. You know it. No one has to tell you. And unless I’m crazy, you’re no closer to taking action on it than you were yesterday or will be tomorrow. You think Resistance isn’t real? Resistance will bury you.

I read shit like this All. The. Time. I love that inspirational stuff. But I generally say “Psh! Whatever. It’s all well and good if you HAVE a single, driving passion but what if you don’t? I’m passionate about everything – but nothing ever seems to be truly passionate about me…”

This time, though…

I don’t know if it was the quiet, meditative setting, or the wine I’d drunk with dinner, or the culmination of my incessant ruminating on what exactly will keep me happy at the moment (or, more precisely, what will keep the melancholic lethargy at bay) – or possibly a combination of everything – but I stopped for a moment to dwell on this passage.

I took a good look at the gaping, craggy pit that’s been squatting in my chest lately and sucking the energy out of everything. I peered inside and saw a little, brow-beaten Meg at the bottom. She’s been there before – many times – and almost feels at home there. In the past I’ve thought that the way out was through singing, or saxophone, or DJing, or writing, or working with children in some capacity.

This time when I leaned into that cavern of yearning listlessness and whispered “What will make you happy?” she stretched a hand up my spine and whispered back:

I want to be a dancer.

*record scratch*

wut?

She twirled and struck a pose.

Dancing is what makes me happy.

Holy shit.

She’s right.

I’m never happier than when I’m in a crowd on a dance floor losing myself in the music. It’s why I was a goth for so long, and why I fell into DJing: I’d go clubbing AT LEAST once a week if at all possible and dance my heart out.

I freaking HATE “exercise” with a fiery passion – but I can dance for hours on end. As a kid I avoided all sports but took several types of dance class a week, right up until puberty kicked in and I had enough of the bitchiness and competitiveness.

Last weekend reminded me of this, when I went to my 20th reunion for my old school in Dubbo. It was a super fun evening and we ended up at a nightclub. I had the weekend to myself so I got quite drunk and danced my butt off. The music was amazing, with a really skilful DJ beat-matching and mixing like a champ. It was so much fun that I almost started crying.

So now what?

I’m a frumpy mum in the country. How the heck can I use this passion to drive my life down the right path? I can feel in my bones that I’m onto something here, that I need to incorporate the freedom of dance more deeply into my life. But how?

It’s a tough one for sure.

Hi-ho! Hi-ho! It’s back on meds we go…

Remember how I weaned off my anti-depressants? And how it was “mostly great?”

Yeah, that didn’t last long.

The ratio of good days:bad days ended up tipping too far to the “bad” side of the spectrum and everything in my life began to suffer.

So, I’m back on Team Lexapro. GO TEAM!

I can feel the loss of creative passion, but as my brain chemistry readjusts I can also feel my ability to just get on with things gently floating back up to the foreground. At the end of the day, that will help me be more creative than unbound – yet ultimately unfocused and paralysing – passion.

And so I find myself sweeping aside the mental clutter, taking a good look at the fraying edges and half-baked ideas, and working out where to go from here. 

Funnily enough, the Daily Prompt for today is “Unfinished.” I just had to laugh.

Story of my bloody life right now.

Including this post, TBH. I have no answers. No strong, satisfying conclusion. Just a bunch of notions, “if only”s, broken commitments, ignored tasks, and a whole lot of clutter.

I just knew if I didn’t sit down and post something RIGHT NOW I’d put it off for another day. Like everything else.

Gotta start the change (again) somewhere. Even if the last thing I feel like doing right now is dancing.