14 November, 2011

gritting teeth

you hit your friends. and you bite them. well, not all of them, just a select few. you hit the dogs. and pull their ears and tails. you have hit me. and your dad. and uncle. and your cousins. and you grit your teeth when you do it. i know it's all normal, but i can't help but blame myself a little bit.

from when you were born those dogs have tested my patience every single day. i lost my love for them the first night i was home from the hospital with you. i know. i know. how awful.

i remember a dear friend who gave her cat away after her baby was born. i could not believe someone could do that. i saw lady and the tramp. it made no sense to me. i remember sitting home and missing events because one of my dogs had separation anxiety. i had always thought that my dogs were just like my babies.

but they are not. and now i totally understand that friend and her cat. and lady and the tramp makes perfect sense.

the dogs are hairy. and smelly. and usually bark at all the wrong times. the clicking of their nails on the wood floors drives me literally insane. they take my food. and yours. and they chew on your toys. and you get super upset when they do.

poor pathetic beasts. they don't do it on purpose. they are just dogs.

and i try. i try to accept them and have compassion. but as soon as i have set my mind on trying, one of them does something to make me...

yes. grit my teeth. and yell at them with such frustration. and (gasp)i have even given a few smacks on the rear to the really annoying one. i try not to let you see or to do it around you. but you know. you are sensitive to all of my feelings, even when you aren't looking. you are a toddler.

i lose patience with those dogs. i lose patience with your dad. i lose patience with strangers. i lose patience with myself. and i have even lost patience with you. when you were little and crying all the time, i would sometimes hold you and yell' "stop crying!"

i have rubbed off on you. you have learned it from me. and yes, i know that part of it is normal toddler behavior. and i mean, i don't bite you or hit you or anyone else, so that you figured out on your own. and i know all of that will pass.

what bothers me, though, is the gritting of the teeth and the pent up anger and frustration that you feel.

maybe i never let you cry enough.

i don't know.

all i know is that i need to work on this. i need to breathe and learn to be more like the way i used to be. the way i was when your dad met me. the way i was before things started going wrong. i need to go back to letting things roll.

and then maybe you can learn that, too. because that is one link in a long chain of teeth gritting that i would really like to break.

grandpop grits his teeth and is really angry at a lot of people a lot of the time. he spent a pretty big part of my childhood being angry with me and with uncle and with grandmom. he loved us, sure. but he had never learned patience from his mother.

his mother was one of the meanest people i have known. she was horrible to him. so horrible that i hate to even call her a mother. i went to her funeral only because i had to. i invited her to my wedding only because i had to. and when she declined the invitation i sent her check back.

the apples don't fall far from the trees.

but that stops here. i will not pass it on to you. i promise. we will be different.

02 November, 2011

explaining myself

it always seems i have to explain myself. this letter to you started out nice and clean. i used the first letter of a "bad" word instead of the whole word. now it seems i have the worst potty-mouth in south jersey...and that is saying a lot. so let me explain myself. to me, words are just words. and they are only as powerful as you allow them to be. don't misunderstand me. i don't plan to let you run around saying nasty words as you grow up and i will do my best not to say those words around you. but when you are all grown up and i share this letter...or now i guess it's more like a story...with you, i would hope that you would have learned, too, that words are just words.

that being said, the other day after posting my last entry, i thought for a moment that grandmom may someday read this. and that then she would have such mixed feelings about me and my beliefs. my life. and then i shivered at the thought that maybe nana (daddy's mom) and pop-pop (daddy's daddy) would read it and have an altogether new opinion of me. and then i have potential clients who may not hire me because they think i am too over-the-top, or too obscene. and then there are the parents of students i have taught in the past. what will they think? and daddy's students or their parents may somehow come across this and what will that mean for him?

one thing i forgot to mention about your mother -- i am impulsive. i don't think things through. ever. and if someone asks me to think it through i have even more resistance.

so here i am. with this blog out there in the world. for anyone to read. and i am just out there. exposed. out there. i use bad words. i admitted to smoking pot. i admitted to drinking too much. i have cursed people i know. people i love and care about. and i expect everyone to just grin and go along with it. and to think it's okay.

so no, actually, i don't. i don't apologize for who i am. that is something that has grown on me over time. i used to apologize for me all of the time. and i would try to mold myself into a person that whoever i was with would accept. i am so over that now. i like the bad words. to me they sound really nice. they sound convincing. not offensive. i did smoke pot. and i enjoyed it. and honestly i believe that everyone should try it at least once or twice. it gives you a whole new perspective. and when you are older and ask me about it, i will tell you the truth. and i drank my twenties away. and it was fun. and i hope you aren't as dumb as i was in some of the decisions i made, but whatever i did made me me. and i like me. and as for grandmom, she loves me. and she will see past the bad stuff. she might blame herself for screwing me up a little. or she will blame me for missing her lessons. but either way, in the end, no matter how screwed up i was or how many mistakes i was making, she was always there in the end, loving me just the same.

daddy's parents -- that's a bit more complicated. i would hope that if it was just too much for them that they would just stop reading and close the page. but maybe not. maybe they can look past it all, too, and think it's kind of cool to get a glimpse into my brain.

maybe a potential client will turn away, but in the end we have to click, so i want all of my clients to be able to see and know the real me. they story of me. maybe it will resonate with them. and maybe not. but either way, it's brutal honesty and it's okay.

the parents of the students from the past...well i think the ones that know me can appreciate what i write about. they are all humans just like i am and i am sure that what i see when i talk to them is not exactly as it always seems. we all wear different hats and play different roles throughout our days. there are many layers to each of us.

i guess i may never get another teaching job, but i don't think i will ever want one anyway. but i do hope that what i say never reflects poorly on your dad. he is so good and so accepting. and so peaceful and generally level-headed. he thinks things through. he is sensitive. and every entry i make in this long letter to you affects him in a different way. it's therapy for me. i hope that in some way it is also for him.

i never write with the intention of hurting anyone. i never write in a passive-aggressive way of getting my point across to one particular person. i write what is in my head and in my heart. i rarely re-read what i write and i often click "publish post" without even skimming over what has just erupted from my brain.

so sometimes after i publish a post, i feel this little twinge of fear in my belly. i wonder who might get offended. and i sometimes have an urge to put a little disclaimer at the end. a blanket apology.

but then i settle on the belief that there is nothing to be sorry about. for any of us. we are all on our path and we are all learning our lessons. i know i am offensive and abrasive. and i tend to hurt feelings. but i am just being honest. and real about the way i feel. it's not personal.

it's just me being me. i write because it makes me feel good. and because i am trying to figure me out a little bit more. and because i hope that along the way someone else may figure out a little something about themselves, too. and because people have told me that they have felt a connection and felt a little less alone in their head in knowing that someone else feels a little bit like they do. i write because it helps me figure out more and more about this person i am becoming.

and hopefully everything i figure out about me will help you to someday be a more complete and healthy you.