Sunday, March 19, 2017

Candy Coating Not Guaranteed

This is not candy coated.
  1. Teenager #1 is stressed beyond proportion.
  2. Not willing to deal with that stress, he is channeling his panic into obsessing about getting a new car, or the fact that his face is drying out due to the three showers a day he takes, or which dog he wants to buy.
  3. Teenager # 2 is stressed beyond proportion.
  4. He has inherited my proclivity for Target therapy, and is, therefore, dealing with his stress by coming home with pointless crap and novelty underwear (the differentiation is important as novelty underwear is never pointless).
  5. Neither teenager wants to work on their problems.
  6. They refute every suggestion with the disdainful wisdom born of the certitude of their staggering years walking the earth.
  7. They are both in pain.
  8. I am certain I caused this.
  9. I am uncertain of everything else
It's not about me. It's NOT about ME. IT'S NOT ABOUT ME!

So I double down on the whole "trying my best" thing, much to Yoda's chagrin.

My anemic attempts to help them navigate include making a lot of egg and bacon sandwiches, saying unpopular things like "Maybe we should try talking to a professional," and "Just do 15 minutes of SAT prep," and "Let's start with moisturizer before we go to the dermatologist," and "Would you like another egg and bacon sandwich?"

Epic fail on all accounts.

It's like the universe is not even trying to make this easy at all. I mean, shit, we made people, what else do you want from us? Compassion, devotion, patience, wisdom, humility, strength, selflessness and no whining to boot? And when all that fails what next?

I am looking at the past twenty years of my life and fearing I have done so many things wrong and very few right. I know this is just me caught in the shit whirlpool that plagues us all from time to time. So, I am writing to you, dear reader or two, not for pity or reassurance, but simply to stand in front of you, shit covered, and let you know that if you are nose deep in it too, you are not alone. To shout from the rooftops once again, that this business of guiding another human being or two or more to live as fully as possible is harder than making a reliable pancake from scratch, crafting a workable health care act, or convincing that telemarketer that even $10 a month is impossible due to the amount of eggs and bacon I buy on a weekly basis.

I promise to try to cast off the shackles of shame in my own ineptitude and double down in the trenches with all of you to be the hand on your back, the breath you can't catch and the candy coating you sometimes find lacking.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

I'm OK With Being Idiot

My assumption that I'm an idiot is absolute.

No, no, no. No naysaying please. And please put the eye rolling on hold for a minute.

Here is why I believe I am an idiot:

  1. I do not read voraciously
  2. My kids do not take all honors classes
  3. I watch more prime time than cable tv
  4. I often feel ill-equipped to have informed conversations with adults
  5. My children will not get massive scholarships to college
  6. I am easily swayed when someone tells me why I'm wrong about movies, music, books, and everything else
  7. I say yes too often so that people will not be disappointed or inconvenienced
  8. Besides knitting, I have no real idea what I'm good at
  9. The majority of my accomplishments have been fueled by an intense desire not to be discovered a fraud
  10. I am an optimist
  11. I think I'm an idiot
I have spent an embarrassing amount of my life doubting my value with less arrogance than Hamlet, less intelligence than Larry Sanders, and no where near the charm of any Emma Stone character.

Here is how believing I'm an idiot has lead me to discover value:
  1. I work my ass off lest I be discovered an idiot
Okay. Maybe that's not the best motivator, but it has certainly lead to some interesting outcomes.
  1. Because I work hard, I pick up a lot.
  2. Because I work hard people have come to rely on me.
  3. Because people rely on me, I get asked to do cool stuff.
  4. Knowing that I do not understand how to do cool stuff, I work hard so people won't fire me from doing cool stuff.
  5. Because I know that I'm an idiot I expect mistakes and do not fear them with the same intensity I used to.
  6. Because I have worked hard trying to learn how to do cool stuff, I have learned how to do some stuff.
  7. Because I know how to do some stuff now, I feel less like an idiot, until the next time I am asked to do new cool stuff.
  8. Because I keep doing this, my kids are hopefully learning that you do not have to know everything all the time (Though being teenagers, they assume they do know everything all the time, except when they don't, which is when I here them mumble-yell "Mom ?!)
  9. Because this works out more than it doesn't I have been able to stay an optimist.
  10. Because I am an optimist I believe that one day I will no longer feel like an idiot.
  11. Which only confirms the previous absolute that I am an idiot.
My assumption that I'm an idiot is, like any superpower, my greatest weakness and my greatest strength. It holds me back and propels me forward. It keeps me humble and strangely bold. It helps me relax and keeps me active. It forces me to be emotionally present by confronting my perceived inadequacies and asks me to remain endlessly curious to overcome my perceived inadequacies. It allows me to enjoy a cookie simply because it tastes good and is not a pathway to self-destruction.

Is this the healthiest way to walk through life? Probably not, but that could just be the idiot in me talking. The daily pressure from within and without to strive for perfection is omnipresent. It is an ideal that is personally subjective and unattainable because it will never be enough. Accepting less than perfection is an assumption of the presence of flaws; beautiful, unique, messy flaws. I would rather be uniquely flawed than impossibly and vulnerably perfect. 

And that is why I'm ok with being an Idiot.

Now you may resume eye rolling.