Tumors & Insomnia

sidebyside.jpg

Two binders sit on my shelf, side-by-side. One with the word “Tumor” emblazoned upon its spine, the other labeled “Emotional Tumor.”

The first binder details the tiny tumor that’s perched, quite literally, inside my head. It doesn’t bother me so much, this 1.4x 1.0x 2.7cm mass. It needs to be treated, but the treatment is fairly straightforward. In less than 30 days, it will be taken care of, with a 95% probability of never bothering me again. Sounds promising.

That is when you’re not lying awake anxious, wondering about the black hole that lies within the missing 5%.

In comparison, the headache in my second binder has no end in sight, is relatively unstable, and seems to multiply every attempt I make to move forward. That would be my divorce / custody binder I’m referring to.

It’s hard to say which stress outweighs the other. Usually it’s a tug-of-war fueled by which, in that particular moment, has the most pressing immediacy.

situation: battling insomnia that’s come back to rest in its familiar place

song: In the Long Run, The Staves

 

Stand By Me

walking away

I didn’t marry a man who would stand by my side.

Not realizing it at the time, we were both so young, he was not the man I hoped he would be, one who would be there for me, no matter what.

When the going got tough, he disappeared.

I made excuses for him, and I grew stronger because I had to.

When I needed him most, he was unavailable.

Even when he was there, he wasn’t actually there.

I told myself I would never make the same mistake again.

And I haven’t.

We all deserve to be with someone who understands us, someone who truly listens and loves us for who we are, not for who they want us to be.

It goes both ways.

 

Uncertainty

purple flower

Uncertainty in life can be scary.

Divorce has added up to be a lot of uncertainty. I don’t think I expected that, at least not to this degree.

I was talking with someone close to me the other day about the uncertainty of divorce and how scary it feels to not know where I will be next month, let alone next year, and he said something that was so wise and reflective.

He said, “Well, you need something to do next year anyways.”

True that.

I like the promise that underlies that statement.

Adrift

compass

Balanced on my board,

I use my paddle to keep me steady

Even keeled, I try to be

The wind gusts

I guess at least 12 knots

Instead of fighting it,

I let it steer my direction

It’s fruitless to resist it anyway

Glancing back toward the shore from which I came,

I start to draw parallels of my life

It’s easy to see a straight line,

from Point A to Point B,

in hindsight

But life isn’t as simple as it appears to be

Even out on the water

10 Comments That (Eventually) Led Me to Divorce

backtoyou

The following are pretty close-to-actual comments made by my ex-husband before the ex part came to be….

  1. “I wouldn’t have to lie to you if you didn’t make me feel ashamed of everything I do.”
  2. “Sex is not about intimacy or emotion for me, it’s just physical.”
  3. “I’m sorry I wasn’t there when you woke up from surgery, I had to check on work and got stuck there for an hour. You understand, right, I mean you were under anesthesia anyways.”
  4. “Do I think you look pretty in that dress? Um, well, I think all women are pretty, so it’s really not an individual matter.”
  5. “I didn’t mean to get drunk and pee on your sister while she was sleeping, it won’t happen again.”
  6. “I worry about you getting hurt and me having to push you around in a wheelchair for the rest of our lives.”
  7. “I don’t think I was ever truly in love with you.”
  8. “But she’s a lesbian – it can’t be considered an emotional affair if she has a girlfriend! And I don’t even remember those emails, so it doesn’t count!”
  9. “I didn’t realize how unacceptable my sexual affair with my employee was because you were still willing to talk to me, so I thought it was ok.”
  10. “I don’t know what happened to your diamond engagement ring.”

In closing, you know what they say abut hindsight and organizing your thoughts into lists.

Kindness Towards Others As An Energy Boost

catinglasses

I’m going to use the B word for a minute.

I am a busy mom. There, I said it.

The dreaded b word, because it’s hardly descriptive of anything — who isn’t busy? Everyone is overloaded, such is life these days, no doubt more so for single parents trying to juggle it all.

But when I am inundated by the things I have to do, or when I feel like nothing is going right, or I get caught up in a spiral of negativity, and I just want to fall face first into my bed into a deep slumber, there is one thing that never fails to perk me up.

And it’s not saying “no” or “letting it go” like the self-help books recommend. In fact, it’s actually adding something.

What is it?

I do something nice for someone else.

Pretty simple, maximally effective, and it fills me with joy to help another person, or put a smile on their face.

Which is why when I came across this post, Psychologists Reveal One Of The Best Ways To Boost Your Mood, about a study showing how acts of kindness that are geared toward helping someone other than yourself can lead to happiness, I thought, “well duh.”

And then it dawned on me. Not everyone understands that direct connection.

When I was married, if I were to do something nice for someone outside of my immediate family, my husband would give me a hard time about it. Why was I spending my time helping a neighbor with her baby, when I had so much to do at my own house, he would try and reason with me. And he knew full well I would stay up an extra hour, cutting into my sleep to make sure everything got done.

Weird, right? What a jerk, I used to think. He doesn’t get it! But maybe instead of being a jerk, he was actually in the majority. When you have more to do than you can handle, it can make sense to conserve your energy and prioritize.

In the equation of balancing work, schlepping the kiddos to and from school, getting dinner on the table, and if we’re lucky, squeezing in a little exercise, why add more?

Because the value add is worth it. Because the boost in your mood and energy is worth it, and it’s the right thing to do. It’s how I was raised, so I saw the behavior and benefits modeled for me. It’s what I saw my parents do for a friend, neighbor, or often, a complete stranger, and so I know intrinsically, the value of this type of pro-social behavior. It makes me feel good, and it helps someone else feel good, to boot. Two for one!

Trust me. Just try it. At the end of a long day, Mondays are awesome for this because Mondays suck and your energy is zilch, think up one nice or creative thing you can do for a neighbor. It has to be easy and reasonable. Commit to it, show your kids what you are doing, and explain why. Then tonight as you fall into bed, I bet you’ll be happier and feel better about yourself had you not gone out of your way to show one act of kindness to someone. And that someone? They’ll be drifting off to sleep with a smile on their face too.

For me, tonight, I’m dropping a bottle of wine off on the doorstep of dear friends for their wedding anniversary. I know it will add a smile to their celebration.

How about you? How can you add some kindness into your everyday thoughts?