Monday, March 28, 2016

Life after the Flu

We've had a very rough few weeks around here, during which we suffered from a quite powerful strain of the flu one right after the other. First if was Oath, then (when he still hadn't finished with his fever) I came down with it and spent two weeks being miserable, and then it was Partner, which is still fighting it off although the fever is long gone. All in all, I haven't had the time or the strength to come here and post. I know I should have some emergency posts ready for times like that, but hey, I don't, so it's been radio silence from me.

Now that things are going back to normal in real life, things should be back to somewhat-normal around here too!

Oath's Mom

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Does being a mother mean I'm less of a woman?

...or that I am more of a woman?

I've just read an article where the author seemed genuinely sad to hear that Beyoncé said her proudest moment was when she gave birth to her daughter Blue. The article sounds like something many people on our society needs to hear, and I'm not judging the author's point of view at all. In fact, I think she's quite on point with many things, but it made me a bit uncomfortable.

So what, if it is Beyoncé's biggest achievement? Is that good? Is that bad?

I think it says a lot of our society that we get worked up (in bigger or lesser measure) about stuff like this.

On one hand, I think that it is normal for a woman to feel most proud of the moment her body, what is undeniably herself and that society tries to put down at every chance (let's not deny this, because that's how it is), has done something unbelievable, something so amazing that we wouldn't believe it if we hadn't grown so used to it. She's created a whole new human being inside herself. She's generated life. And, if that wasn't enough, she's pushed it out (or let herself be cut out) so that new life can belong to world: a new generation, a new life, a new incredible miracle. What's not to be proud about? It a f***ing miracle!

And then, on the other, I think: but does that make her more of a woman? Does that mean that if she chose not to have kids would she be less? Well, duh, NO. She was a woman from the moment she was born. A whole, complete, amazing woman. She can get more woman-y than that. Having children doesn't make a woman, it just makes you a mom.

But then...

Are you less of a mom if your proudest moment isn't the day you gave life to your children? Well, duh, NO (again). You are a human being, free to choose what you are proud of and what you are not, and how to rate all the things you are proud of (and there should be many!). Some of us, like me and like Beyoncé, will put it at he top of our lists. What that means, though, is that we're f***ing proud of it. No more, no less. We're not less proud of any other achievements. And the moms who are prouder of other achievements? Are they inferior moms? Well, duh, NO (yet again). They just are prouder of something else. And do you know what I say to that?

Thank you.

Because if we were all proud of the same stuff, doing the same stuff, valuing the same stuff... we'd all be clones and it'd be no fun at all. I may not always understand you, but so what? You may not always understand me anyway.

And it's okay.

Oath's Mom
(sorry for the rant, and for the starred swearing... it just came right out of my heart, and sometimes it is a dirty-mouthed heart.)

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Asthenia, the world, and me

When you feel sick but nobody believes you (even doctors and family), what do you do?

I am always tired. And by "tired" I mean the "my eyes close, my back hurts, my head pounds and my legs won't hold me" kind of thing at 11am, just because I've already exhausted the energy allotted for that day. There's days when I lay down in bed a few hours before I can actually go to sleep and cry silently because of how worn out I am.

I am that tired.

Sadly, I can't tell people. At best, they'll look at me with pity and stay silent, and I'll see clearly in that gaze what they think. At worst, they say clearly what they think, with a slightly shocked and disgusted voice and a headshake.

"That's bullshit, nobody feels like that. You are just lazy." which basically translates to "I don't believe you, and, anyway if it was true, it'd just mean you are unfit for life. Stop whining and try harder."

Do you know what's worse than feeling like a car trying to run on an empty tank? Feeling just like that all while hearing people say you are either a liar or meant for the scrapyard. It's particularly hurtful when it's professionals or family. By now, after nearly three decades of feeling like that, I should be used to my relatives and closest friends making comments like "Yeah, we know, you were born tired" or "Good grief, OM, you're aaaaaalways exhaaaaausted" with an eye-roll and a sigh. I am not. And I am certainly not used to doctors giving me that look, that sigh, that "Just be more active".
Add depression and anxiety to the mix, and you've got one particular kind of hell.

So I try to do more, to fulfill other people's expectations of how I should be and do... and it backfires in the most horrendous way. I've spent days in bed, nauseated and with a fever, all my body hurting, because of over-exhaustion. 

But I'm not going to do it any more.

I know my limits, small as they are. I know my pain, my sadness, my strength. If they think I am a bore, so be it. If they want to leave me because of how I don't conform to their ideas of me and my abilities, so be it. But I am not going to get sicker because they want me to pretend I am not sick to begin with.
My body has a different battery life than others', so what? I am not going to apologize for it. That would be like apologizing for being born a brunette. I am much more than the energy I am allotted each day, I am tons more than the labels they want to stick to me (whether they are "lazy" or "liar" or "weak" or "whiny" or "broken").

I am me and I am tired, and the world can deal with it. 

Oath's mom

Monday, March 7, 2016

Of fishes and kids

This past Saturday we took Oath and L, our nephew, on a day trip that ended up being our first sleep-over. Hooray! 

Oath and L spend many afternoons together at my in-law's, and they are best friends as well as cousins. They love each other dearly and are always asking for each other's whereabouts. So, when it was L's 5th birthday last month, we decided we'd give him something more meaningful than a toy or some soccer-related stuff (which is his favorite thing ever): we would gift our time and Oath's presence, and take them both to the Aquarium.

The day, rainy and grey as it was, started later than we wanted for several reasons, and plans had to change a bit, but we all rolled with it. In the end, we picked L up at late in the morning and had lunch at my in-law's, where Oath had spent the night (there's been quite a lot of plan-changing, this weekend!). After lunch, we got in the car and off to see fishes we went!

They were very well behaved most of the time, and even if Oath kept having meltdowns for one reason or another (we still haven't worked out why, but my guess is he was too excited about the whole thing), L weathered his cousin's tantrums like a pro. The time we were in the Aquarium, though, they had so much fun they forgot about it all and kept laughing, pointing and squealing all the time. We have some videos and they are just like two caffeinated chipmunks, going from one tank to the other and gasping in delight at every new animal they saw.

Honestly, I had a blast too. I expected something much smaller, having been to some pretty huge aquariums in my life, but was pleasantly surprised. From sturgeons to turtles, all through sharks, nautilus, and penguins, there was plenty to be seen. They loved the sea-horses and the big shark tank where turtles bigger than them seemed to wave us hello. I was in awe at the shark eggs, where you could clearly see the tiny shark-embryos moving around, and the jellyfish in their blue-lit tank. Partner unexpectedly got all attached to each and every kind of starfish there, and it was so cute!

But the big hit? The big hit were the otters. Sadly, they were too sad for my photographer abilities, so all I've got is a bunch of pictures of a big blur of fur and bubbles. Oops!

Once we were back home they also had a blast playing and turning Oath's room upside down while we adults laid down to rest for a bit. I take my hat off at the parents of two closely aged kids: managing a 5 and a 3.5 year old just for an evening was exhausting!
There were pancakes for dinner and strawberries with milk for dessert, three books before bed and giggles up until nearly midnight.

All in all, it was a blast!
Oath's mom

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Finding the center

Pretending you are a functional member of society when you're really just stumbling along in the darkness is exhausting. Admitting I can't do it (at least not now), though, is much harder, and so I keep putting that facade on and making believe I are actually fine and dandy. "No, really, it's all going okay!" *twitch* *twitch* *shiver*

Because of that, and plenty of other reasons, I've always been a very introverted person: you don't need to pretend or explain yourself when there's no other people around. Sadly, it's got to a point where not even that works, because I've started to ask myself for explanations. This has led to a deeper search, the search of a place where I can be me without pretending, not in front of others and not in front of myself, but how do you get away from yourself? Is there even a way?

The answer came to me often, but I wasn't brave enough to pursue it: meditation. How do you meditate? Will I meditate right? How embarrassing if it turns out I can't do it! I'd better not try, just in case...
Finally, though, I found a way. It was just a matter of realizing that you can meditate, search for your center, in multiple ways, and that I was lucky enough to know one where I was good: drawing. I am not a genius, mind you, but I know my way around with a pencil in my hand, and that gave me a very needed first push.

The notebook. Some say shabby, I say hand-made.

Now, every day, I take some time to sit down with my free-time notebook (which I made myself just to make it a little bit more special and a little bit less perfect) and try to find my center with each stroke of the pen, each circle, each dot.

Centers blooming into star-shaped flowers....

Most of the time, I find it, and I stay there long enough to feel the weight of the world, of my anxiety, of my imperfections, lifted off my shoulders.

...or just shapes, becoming something bigger.
Sometimes, Oath joins me and the result is brighter and quite more unexpected.

Oath's mom

Monday, February 29, 2016

Menu Plan Monday, 29 feb. - 6 mar.

I won't lie: one of the things that went out the window when I got sucked way too deep into this illness was menu planning. This meant that our nutrition went downhill too, because it meant that, as we had nothing planned, I would cook nothing and we'd make do with scraps or junk food. Thankfully, Oath had lunch (the big meal around here) at daycare, and now he's having it at kindergarten, so he did not suffer much from our bad diet. I knew that shouldn't be happening, but I had no energy to change it, so that was the state of things for about two and a half years.

I tried to start that habit again and again, but I never could keep it going for longer than a couple of weeks at a time. Partner wasn't particularly interested in helping me plan it out, and when I did he wasn't particularly interested in cooking his share, either, which coupled with my lack of motivation... well, let's say it was doomed from the beginning.

But then, I started my bullet journal.

I started it because I felt the need to do something towards organization without being too tied up to one strict method. It doesn't make much sense, I know, but it has somehow worked for me. Since then, in January, meal planning started to happen again. At first, it was slow-going, but then I found my pace and I am so glad I did! We spend much less, we eat much better, and there is less stress and frustration for all involved.

So, this week's menu plan is:

  • "A la cubana" rice
  • Fish sticks + red cabbage salad 
  • Spaghetti carbonara
  • Nachos 
  • Oven-baked mackerel with veggies
  •  Hot-dogs
  • Peas and ham
  • Noodle soup 
  •  Mushroom and shrimp cream
  • Chickpeas with "chorizo"
 We've planned a day-trip with Oath and his cousin/our nephew, L., so we won't have lunch at home. Probably not dinner, either.

  • Macaroni with tuna.
  • French omelettes   

Oath's Mom

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Coming back

There's this weight in my chest that says I've been away too long.

The years have gone by, and things haven't gotten better. In fact, they got quite worse, so there's this need to get out of my mind just so I can see clearly what's happening inside it. Does it makes sense?

Long story short, life came over me like a bulldozer with the worst intentions, and without really noticing the exact moment where it all started to go downhill, I found myself buried deep in a depression that seemed too heavy to ever lift. It still feels like that: heavy, dark, sticky, like molasses. It doesn't want to let me breathe, move, or even think.
I am fighting, though. I am fighting for me, for Oath, for Partner, for all the good things that I once knew were out there (even if now I can't see them). I fight because I am stubborn. Letting go would be giving up, and the last part of me that is still me clings to the idea that I can't do that. Giving up is loosing, and the perfectionist in me doesn't want to hear about it, even when she's too ready to throw her hands on the air and admit defeat.

It's a blessing and a curse, having that Inner Perfectionist. She's keeping here all while drowning me in the molasses of depression.

I hope I will start writing again, probably in a much different tone than last time, because the things I need to tell now are wildly different. And I hope, too, that it will help me regain perspective, and see further than I am seeing now.

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