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Friday, December 13, 2013

Mandatory Merriment

So if you read my post from yesterday, you know I was just recovering from a little pity party. One of the traits I'm most proud of is my ability to see what sucks and decide to move away from it or to stop causing it.  So yesterday after I wrote that post I decided, "Dammit, we're going to have some merriment in this house, RIGHT  NOW!" 

So I made this.....

I texted the hubs with a grocery list consisting of just chocolate in various morsel sizes and nuts  .......merriment mix.

The thing about change is, it takes awhile for the rest of your loved ones to buy it.  When they've become accustomed to your crankiness, and even taken some of it on for themselves, they don't always like it when Polly Perky Positive moves back in.  And Mandatory Merriment can seem a little well .... forced.

I didn't care.

I was hell bent on merriment and merriment we would have. 

I sat at my desk awaiting the girl's arrival and her reaction to the invite. 

It wasn't quite ready for the Hallmark Channel.

"NO!  I do not want to put my clothes away and do homework right now!  I want to watch some tv first I'm tired!"

*clears throat*  *musters patience*  *align to merriment*

Yes, change can be hard.

Me: "Okay, you've got several hours before 6pm, watch some tv while you do your homework" 

Pretty good, huh?  I've got this change thing down!

What really crossed my mind was, "Fine, you're no longer allowed to participate in the merriment, you ungrateful ............ "   2 points for not speaking my mind.

I tag Hubs and Dude in the Facebook post with the picture of the "invite" since they're  not home yet.  Hoping to build anticipation and excitement.

Then I find myself sitting at my desk feverishly working to complete two proposals to clients before the 6pm merriment, more than a couple of times I thought, "Crap, why couldn't I have said 7pm" 
It's always hard to break through the clouds of work demands to work in the merriment.  Old habits clinging.

Dude comes in and doesn't really mention the invite, I take it as "no news is good news".  

At 5:45 I push myself away and make note of the things that I didn't get done that will haunt me again at sunrise and take the stairs down to the kitchen.

I shout down the cavern-ness  tunnel into Dude's world (the basement).  "Hey, come on up, it's time to get our evening started"  not using too much "sing song" in my voice because I know that scares  him away.

"Are you kidding me?  I don't want to do that Christmas crap, you know I hate that stuff.  I just downloaded a game I've been wanting to play, I don't want to!"

*deep sigh*   *talk myself off the cliff from storming the steps and ripping his arm off and beating him with it while singing carols*

Instead: "Dude, that is NOT merriment, so leave your nastiness in the basement and get your merriment up here before I beat you."

Change is hard. 

Still mumbling under his breath he comes to the kitchen where he complains about the fajitas his father has made and continues to groan about my merriment. 

I quickly hand him bags of chocolate merriment morsels and tell him to shut up and pour this into the pan.

After several minutes of Dude and the girl bickering and jabbing at each other, the merriment starts to creep in.  Very Slowly.

Finally, we're wrapping presents, assembling gifts, and talking about their creative pursuits.  *sigh*   *finally*

We finish the night with mounds of everything chocolate and nuts and caramel while we watch our sister family the Heck's from The Middle and let our new kittens terrorize our furniture.  *bliss*  

Baby steps.  I'm slowly returning to the me I'm supposed to be.

Tonight's agenda.  Eat popcorn, watch Christmas movies, and let it snow.

I'm hoping for volunteer participation. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

It's Much Harder to Be Someone You're Not

I've been living in a state of unrest for some time now.  Not the flu, no broken bones, and nothing specific to point to as the cause.  I tolerated it for awhile, swallowed it down, ignored it, bullied it into the corner, and drowned it with a few glasses of red.  It kept coming back, like the stench of rotting food you cannot locate in your teen's room.  You can spray the air freshener and close the door but lurking inside is still the source and the stench.

So I decided rather than mask it or ignore it, I'd stare it down, try and get to know it and seek to understand it. 

I spent some time really looking at my feelings and my frustrations, my wants and my regrets.  I dug deep into those things that I'm willing to share and those things that I would never. 

I started with my job because, honestly, that's where I'm spending most of my time these days.  I uncovered a few bits of evidence for my case.  While I still loved so much of my company and my role, there have been some clients and some changes that have me "ruffled".  My over exaggerated personality had me thinking, "I'll just sell some stock, sell everything and move into a shack and be done with this corporate life."  Extreme yes.  How I think?  Yes.  Luckily over the years I've learned to use my passion for good and not evil pursuits and so before I called a realtor, I decided just to let this be some evidence in my case file and continue to explore.

I found myself looking and reading books about running.  I was craving that feeling of accomplishment and the infamous runners high.  I was craving that "stuff your face after a long run" no guilt high carb breakfast with friends.  I was reading  posts on Facebook from friends about their running and feeling real jealousy. I however, hadn't run in almost two weeks. More evidence.

I then heard myself giving updates on the book I'm writing and felt like I was talking about someone else.  I hadn't written in at least two weeks.  The writing ideas spinning in my head as I drove from place to place always in a hurry, always feeling frantic but never putting  those words on a screen.

More evidence the day I pulled the tubs of Christmas decor from the attic and simply "cherry picked" the few items to place around the house.  Good enough, ringing in my head.

I found myself strained and short with my key relationships, sometimes even bitter and angry.  I told myself I was just tired.  Which has been true.  A lot.

There's more evidence in my file, some too personal to share even for me.

Over the last few days, I've sat with my file of evidence and explored it like C.S.I. -I've organized it, looked at it under my microscope, sent it to the lab for testing.  After really allowing myself to hear the truth, it bubbled up and slapped me in the face.

The truth is, I'm exhausted from trying to be someone I'm not.

I'm a consultant and partner, who is paid well to sell solutions with high value and return on investment that transform people and organizations.  I am not a sales person that sells things for a commission.

I'm a writer.  I'm a writer who hasn't been writing. 

I'm an artist.  I'm an artist who didn't really do much creating this holiday season, I logistically placed a few decorations around the room. No crafting, no glue gun, no multiple trips to Hobby Lobby to make what's in my head.

I'm an introspective soul who needs time of quiet reflection coupled with laughing and bouts of joy.  I'm not a person who tip toes around conflict trying not to trip the triggers that cause pain and angst.

There it was ...... there's no real crime here.  Just a case of mistaken identity.  Too much time trying to live in a life that isn't meant for me, isn't really me. It's someone else.  Someone I don't really recognize.........or like.


Now what?

Now comes the really difficult part.  Something has to change.  And *gulp* it's me. 

Yes, I can give you a laundry list of the people that have been a part of this investigation. People I would have liked to pin for this crime with a jury and a trial.  I can easily give you a list of their sins and indiscretions and I can tell you how incredibly stupid and off center their actions are.  And ...... it's entirely possible that none of them will change.  So, the only chance I've got, is reclaiming the me I'm meant to be, and that means change me.

I want to write, and run, and create amazing solutions for my clients and I want to find an antique store and lose myself for hours. I want to turn off the TV and turn on the music.  I want my kids in the kitchen covered in chocolate and flour.

I want presents to be wrapped and tucked lovingly under the tree.  I want a shopping list a mile long for amazing Christmas meals and treats.  I want to smile and know that I'm the me that God created me to be, not the version of myself that others expect.  I want to be the me that sees the hurt in others and doesn't take it on but continues to emit the Light that I have inside.  I want to stay up late sitting quietly by the tree and feel the unbelievable enormity of this season.

Just imagining it, brings me closer. Closer to the me He wants me to be. 

Because a runner must run, a writer must write, and an artist must create.  A soul that craves optimism and connection and solitude and joy must enjoy the fruit of that spirit.  The music must play and the people must laugh and all will be right in their hearts.  None of this is given as a pass for the day or a ticket to ride, there is no token to cash. We must choose.  We must choose to live the life that is uniquely ours.  We must choose the path that will let us truly be.

Whatever that takes. 

Sometimes we've stumbled onto a path that is not our own and we must find our way back to where we belong.  We must pick up a few we've left behind and leave..... a few behind.  Choices.  Choosing.  Believing we're on track.  Until we can again be the me we've been created to be. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Holiday Trinity

So here we are just days past step 1 of the holiday trilogy, Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year.  It's funny, the older I get, the more they just seem to all run together as I'm busy trying to clean up from one and prepare for the next. 

For the first time ever, we went to cut down our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving.  That's what got me thinking about this trinity.  Maybe we should find significance in the way these holidays are ordered.

1. Thanksgiving. 

Take inventory.  What are you thankful for?  What is your life really made up of?  Who did you want to experience "carb overload" with?  Are you thankful enough?  Is Thanksgiving really the only time you consider going around the table and saying what you're grateful for?

A great place to start.

In fact, our pastor last Sunday made this statement:

True gratitude is a barometer of trust in God.  Gratefulness is inseparably linked with surrender to Jesus.

Hmmm, as you ponder that we creep up on Christmas.

2. Christmas

Christ    mas.   Everything in our life isn't really ours, it's on loan from our Lord and Savior.  If we were struggling on the first stop with gratitude, then maybe this is a good time to revisit our real roots.  And for us not to forget,

This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it. 
Psalm 118:20 

And if I'm really going out on a limb I'd say that Black Friday was Satan's work to distract us from the real reason for the season.  At least he saw the crack in the door and kicked it wide open with scenes like those in  a Tennessee Wal-Mart of people trampling each other for a video game system.  

I hope this Christmas that you and I take some time alone with God. Time to just truly be still and be aware and be in His presence.   Yes, you can deck the halls and all that jazz but let's not do it at the expense of everyone's sanity.  (This one will come back to bite me as I've been known to do this on occasion, okay, lots of occasions.) 

Feel the warmth of the season fully by walking with Him, not just warming your feet by the fire.

And then you'll be ready for your final stop on this holiday trinity tour.....

3. The New Year. 

A time to make changes, a time for a fresh start.   Invite the Lord into your resolutions this coming year and see what kind of things come to mind.  And if weight loss really is on the list then maybe Rick Warren's book should be on your Christmas list.