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Monday, June 23, 2014

Nailed It!

Here's an embarrassing confession.  As old as it is, if I see the movie "You've Got Mail" on...I won't flip past it.  I know what happens.  I know every darn word in the whole movie, yet I'm like "Oooo...when will she find out it's HIM...ohhh..."  Dumb.  My favorite part is when she goes off about that line "It's not personal..it's business..." 

I just jumped into a business and I can say "It's not business...it's PERSONAL..."

I've said this many times over (trying to explain myself...to myself...) "I'm not a buyer..or seller..." because I'm really not.  I like pretty things, I really do, but I usually don't feel like buying something unnecessary is responsible behavior.  I have food to buy and clothes to buy and toilet paper, 2x4s and kitchen appliances.  I just don't BUY stuff.  I'm a hard, hard sell.  If something looks like a fad, I'm backing away, quickly...

But these...they got me and I have tried to wrack my brain as to why.  I've never been excited about a product like this.  I am just not *that girl..*

So I started thinking about my hands and why I've always been funny about them.  And this really vague memory came floating into my consciousness.  My older brother, who I don't know very well at all....him saying to me that you could tell a lot about a woman looking at her hands...her nails specifically.  It was just something he said as I was going to get a manicure for his wedding.  I was at his house for his wedding in New York.  Such a sweet memory from my childhood.  I got to fly up there, stay at his house and be treated like a kid for a week.  A kid that people liked.  It was one of my first exposures to class.  To a classy woman.  Not a snobby woman, but a CLASSY woman.  The woman he was marrying (still married to!!) was amazing.  She dressed nice, looked nice, talked nice and smelled nice and just seemed a step above the people I was used to interacting with.  

Isn't it funny how such a small blip can make such a big impact?  I remember after that paying really good attention to my nails, and thinking back to how I FELT, it was like I was getting approval from someone I really admired each time I took that time to pretty my hands up.  I was in 7th grade and from that age on, I always paid very close attention to my hands.  I knew I smelled like cigarettes and I didn't have the greatest skin in the world and I was not skinny, but I could do pretty hands.  

Once I was old enough to drive, I was at the salon every two weeks getting my nails maintained.  I usually went for french tips, but every now and then I'd get a funky design, most often for an event that required a fancy dress.  I stopped doing my nails when I got married and no longer had a job, but I would polish them every now and again.

Once I became a mom, that halted.  Like completely.  I might put some clear polish on every now and then..but I just didn't care.  I had a few phases where I'd lost a lot of weight, then I would be interested in my nails again, but they just weren't that high on my priority list.

Now I have a teenager who is nail obsessed.  Her collection of polish rivals a salon.  So I have grabbed some polish every now and then, played around a little, but have been so frustrated with how quickly they look like crap.  I just do not have time for that kind of maintenence.  It just doesn't exist.

So now I am wrapping my nails.  I am still in a bit of disbelief that this is actually a thing. Like...this is for real.  I can do my nails quickly and they look amazing for a long time.  For cheap.  So I am a little obnoxious right now with it.  This is such a huge blessing to me.  It's uplifting.  I might be postpartum chubby with raggedy hair up in a bun...I might have to do a rush make-up job that skips half the steps...but my hands look nice.  Pretty even.  I might even venture to say stylish.

So I have to say this company completely nailed it.  They just did.  This is for every woman, not just the skinny ones, the rich ones, the cool ones.  Pffft on all that.  Beauty is for everyone!!

I got my kit, got my website and business cards and catalogs and samples. I'm in it.  LOL!! I am really IN it.  So sorry for those who see me in real life.  You'll have to put up with my flashing my pretty nails and raving how they are TWO WEEKS OLD and all the things I did while wearing them.  I'm stoked.  Completely!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

What They Don't Know...

This morning I hurried around my kitchen, trying to beat the clock that is a hungry baby.  I was making Trim, Healthy Mama muffins which I usually pop into the microwave, single serve, but I wanted to make a dozen and yeah, it took twelve times as long.  As I was washing out a bowl, a feeling overtook me... a thought that I wish I could make these for my mom.

My mom??  What?  We haven't talked in about a year, but these moments just creep up on me, out of the blue and I'm sad all over again.

I could just call her up, right?  Say "Hey let's just forget everything and be buddies and not talk about all the things we never talk about...."  Right?

That's when I really start to mourn because the fact is what I want from that relationship....what I ALWAYS wanted from that relationship....has never existed.  Never in the space of all my years.  There hasn't been one second where that mother daughter thing happened.  I've learned to live with that, a little at a time.  I wouldn't say I've accepted it or healed from it or whatever a mental health professional would deem it, but I've learned to live with it.  Like a limp.

My mother was not good to me.  Ever.  Maybe it's because her mother wasn't good to her.  I really don't know.  But I've had to be able to say this out loud because if I couldn't acknowledge how horrible it really was, then I'd be at risk for repeating that cycle with my own children.  If I said "Oh it wasn't/isn't that bad..." that starts me down a path I cannot go...that which justifies everything I went through as "okay" and I can say that it would never be okay for my children to receive that treatment from me......

Cycle broken?  Maybe.  But oh does it get sticky.  You see, you hear all the time about hurting people hurting people....and you think "I have broken that cycle by doing the opposite....we are safe..." but you aren't safe.  This is why abuse perpetuates and continues because going left instead of right doesn't mean you are going straight.

This is a conversation my BFF and I have frequently.  Our aggravation over our own children.  Because our own children don't "get it..." They don't understand the work we are doing to not yell, scream, nag and belittle because in all honesty, it would be so easy to do.  When we are annoyed at our children, we could absolutely repeat what we lived through...to get that small break, that small relief that comes with wounding a child's spirit just enough to get them to comply with our wishes instead of taking the long way around and compelling them to appropriate behavior by example and with love.  It's so much easier to belittle a person who wants your approval into doing what you want rather than staying still and quiet and explaining for the fifteenth time that the tone of voice they are using isn't loving or appropriate.  But that's what we do.  And we feel better for it, as we should, but there's also...

Bitterness.  Oh how easily it creeps up.  That feeling that our children should be SO GRATEFUL to us for the life they have, which is the polar opposite of the life we had...and how dare they not appreciate that.

But when you think about it the only way they could understand the contrast is to have lived through both and the entire point of "breaking the cycle" is to not let them live through that.  I catch myself saying "If...I..had..." as if they should be *thankful* that *I* didn't slap them across the face for that snotty remark.  AS IF that were EVER an acceptable action.  AS IF....they should know how LUCKY they are.

Oh my.  My horrible, awful, sinful self.....my healing, acknowledging, doing better with knowing better....self....still stumbles.  And I stumble because it's painful on a daily basis to have to make a CHOICE that has my mind constantly revisiting the alternative.  There's no other way.  Your child responds to a request harshly and in that moment you have to choose....Do I react the way I want...or the way I promised myself I would react?  In that moment I am my mom and that child is me and I must go back and be that nurturing person I needed....but without the comfort.  Yes, it's healing, but not comforting because there is a minute amount of envy that the child standing in front of me is getting what I so badly needed and takes it for granted.

But no one talks about THAT.  No one tells you that when you are healing from abuse while parenting....actively choosing to be kind to someone who is being harsh feels like abuse all over again and you spend most of your mental energy in those interactions sifting through the actual words, tone of voice, intention (if you can even determine that....) and asking yourself...is this person attacking me or simply being human?  And yes, even the two year old goes under that microscope.

Breaking a cycle is more than putting your hands in your pockets and choosing not to hit.  It's more than counting to ten and taking a deep breath and walking away when your mind and mouth want to spew all your frustration and fear out in a tantrum of epic proportions.  It's more than avoiding what was done to you...It's realizing that the people who will benefit from the cycle being broken....

Will never know.....because what they don't know can and would hurt them.  As it did you.  That they don't know is a GOOD thing.  It really is, but that's hard to swallow.

You want those gold stars.  But if you really think about it...you don't.  "Thanks Mom for not beating me until I had welts when I was nasty to you the other day.  That was really awesome of you..."  My children don't even know that kind of treatment is a possibility....and that's the success.

Righteousness for the sake of righteous really is the only reward we can shoot for.  Anything else...demanding an acknowledgement for how great we are for not being our parents is allowing that abuse to permeate our parenting, in a different way.  Same nuts, different flavor.

It's an everyday battle. An everyday mourning of what should be. What could be, but never was. And a daily choice to be brave enough to be the kind of parent you never had, reaching beyond the bitterness and sadness to give something that was never given to you. Perhaps it's from this emptiness we are meant to draw from. Perhaps when we completely empty ourselves of those expectations and experiences we are also emptying ourselves of the poison that was portioned to us so that we don't pass it on, even unknowingly.

I really don't know the whys or hows or whats...I just know that it's worth the work and the pain for my children to be devoid of the knowledge. What they don't know.....is what I hope they never do.