Dwelling On vs. Acknowledging Something Negative

This is something I’ve been working on for a long, long time.  I still need to revisit it from time to time, especially when dealing with either my depression, my anxiety, or both.

Sometimes I struggle with it more in some moments, not because of my own mind, but because of the reactions of others if I bring up something negative that is going on, or something I’m feeling that is negative, or some kind of issue I need to bounce off someone, or even something that isn’t that huge of a deal and I just mention it off-hand to someone, and their response is just so negative in return that it throws me for a loop for a while.

Toss into that mix the ridiculous amount of brain power and time I spend re-playing conversations in my head, or the things I would have said had I had the opportunity, or had thought of it at the time, or just plain wished I said but bit my tongue.

These are often times when I realize that I forget that lots of people’s brains and thought processes just do not work the way mine does, and I shouldn’t dwell on their reaction, because they don’t always know exactly where I’m coming from in the moment.

There are many things I try very hard, every single day, not to dwell on.  Some days are easier than others, depending on my “levels” that day (hormones, depression, anxiety).  The days where it’s easy are the days I long for.  I wish they were in the majority, not the minority.  Yet another thing for me to occasionally dwell on.  The list gets vast.

But… all said, I’m definitely getting better at reminding myself not to dwell.

The next step that I’m actively starting to realize is to communicate my feelings in some way, either here, or to my husband, or to a friend, in order to at least release that energy out into the universe and rid my body and mind of it, at least for a while.  The release is something I’ve struggled incredibly with for a long time, and it’s something I have just plain forgotten for far too long.

That brings me often to dwelling on feeling like I’m a burden on those around me, because of the things I struggle with internally.  I feel like if I go through a period where I am consistently needing to release something stressful, anxiety-ridden, or worrying that I’m slipping into depression, that I’m just going to drag everyone down around me.  I dwell on thinking that the only way a conversation pertaining to those things can only go down, and not end in a place where I’m actually doing better than I was when I started.  Which, intellectually, I know is a fallacy.

I dwell on being “too needy”, not independent enough, too emotional, too unstable, not actually capable of adulting, even though I manage it without any major disasters every single day.

I’ve too often forced a smile onto my face, bit back the tears, and swallowed the rising lump and bile in my throat, so I don’t make anyone’s day worse than it might already be.

I don’t want to be “that guy”, so they say.

And perhaps because of that, because of the standard that I’ve managed to create in my own life, it can often feel like I’m not allowed to feel my feelings.  I’m not allowed to break down.  I’m not allowed to get frustrated and huff.

Do I need to find better ways to handle my emotions?  Absolutely.  No doubt in my mind.  But I also need to feel like I’m allowed to feel my feelings without repercussion, as long as I’m not taking it out on someone.  I want to be told (pretty much like a child) that it’s ok to feel mad about something.  It’s ok to feel sad about something.  It’s ok to feel anxious about something.  It’s ok to feel frustrated over something.  I want to know that it’s ok.  That I’m not less of a person for it.

I also need to communicate when I start feeling this way.  I know that. And I’m certainly trying.  Perhaps the key (sometimes) to not dwelling, is to talk.  To put a name to the emotions.

 

Death of Family, Yet a Stranger

As I’ve said in other posts that have had to do with deaths in the family, it is something I’m accustomed to.

It’s an unfortunate truth, but there it is.

Each and every one of them affects me in some way, often in the pretty typical ways.

This one is a bit different for me.

I received a call the other day from my father.  Apparently a grandparent I wasn’t aware I still had just passed away.  My father’s father.  And to be blunt and honest, I stated that I didn’t even realize that he was still alive.  I wasn’t even sure in the moment that I’d even met the man.  (Thank you, morning wake up phone calls.)

My father told me I had, and the last time I’d seen him was at one of my cousin’s weddings, when I was quite young.  I barely recall that wedding, so it’s no surprise that I am having a hard time recalling my father’s father.  I imagine he looked like my father..or more accurately, my father looked like him.  My father and his brothers are all obviously related and I guess I have gone on the assumption that they got it from their father.

My grandmother I knew, even though she died when I was still young.  And my aunt I believe looked like her.  They both had/have the kindest smiles.

There are times, when it comes to death, that I go through a period of initial blocking.  Not always, but sometimes.  My brain decides it doesn’t want to necessarily deal with it, or just deal with it in parts.

This is definitely one of those times.

I honestly don’t know how to feel right now about not being aware he was alive, until finding out about his death.  I hadn’t heard anyone in my family mention him for so long that I just assumed he had passed, and considering when my grandmother died, I assumed he had died before her.

I feel sad because the passing of a life is never a good thing, but I definitely don’t feel the acute pangs of hurt like I do from those I was close to.

I certainly don’t feel any ill will toward not being kept up to date on him, considering no one had reached out to each other for a very long time.  I believe there were good reasons on the part of my parents for keeping their distance, and the decision was theirs.  At a point, it just became normal for him to not be any part of our lives.

Even still, I feel odd having not really known him.

He was family.  He was blood.  Yet he was a stranger.

I feel for those that were in his life, those that did know him and mourn his passing.  I feel for my father, for having lost his father for what I imagine feels like a second time.  I feel for my uncles and my aunt, and hope that they find comfort where they can for however they feel regarding this passing.

I am left with an awkward wonderment on who the man was aside from my biological grandfather.

A New Mother Looks At 30.

I have to admit, I was hoping to some extent that as I got older I’d have to deal with less insecurities.  Eventually I realized that there weren’t less, they were just different.  Not all of them, but there are definitely some different ones now, ones I no longer have that I used to, and some that still pop up from time to time.

Some of the odder ones that I’ve realized are often about my age and my decision to wait so long to start.  I could have started earlier.  But I didn’t feel like I was ready and to that end I’m glad I waited until I felt like I was ready.  But then I also think about later down the road when my kid(s) are growing and just where I’m going to be at different stages of their life.  I really sometimes wish I had been ready earlier than I was.  And not just for myself, but for James as well, since he’s two years older than me.  It’s one rather large insecurity that I really do war inside myself over.

And of course, the fleeting insecurities about whether or not I’m doing a good job as a new mother, whether or not I’m doing things right, or whether or not I’m doing enough to help mu child grow and learn and develop.  The insecurities from reading about what other children are doing at what stages, be it from people in my extended friend and acquaintance pool, or articles here and there, etc.

Then there are the insecurities of just plain being a woman who had a TON of insecurities as a girl.  Typical stuff, reinforced by societal pressures, peer pressures, bullying from my peers, psychological bullying and abuse over the years, emotional bullying and abuse, bad decisions, a lack of self-esteem, massive confusion about self-identity, a complete lack of ability to stand up for myself for years, and a late-come period of discovery and finding balance once I started to.  Which wasn’t easy by any means and the transition was a long, and rough one.

I’ve overcome a lot of those things but the ghosts of them still wander the halls inside of me when I’m feeling particularly off-kilter and unsure.  I’m actually quite proud of the strides I’ve made over the past 10 years.

Another thing is the interesting feeling of hitting 30.  Yeah, yeah.  I know.  Some of you have “been there, done that” and no, I’m not calling 30 old, ancient or any other negative thing.  But aging is just as redundantly predictable as anyone before me has ever said.  And for those of you that are younger than me, yes…you will probably feel similar things as you reach more life milestones.  It’s kind of hilariously ironic when you realize when you’re in your teens you thought “nah, I’m not going to say/do/feel those things.”  I sure as hell did.  And guess what?  I’ve realized every last one of them so far.

Perhaps not in the same ways, but in my own ways I have.  Not necessarily from the same perspective as those before me, or even as those who will come after.  I’ve realized that I often don’t see things the same way other people do.  Similarly often, but enough different in my own eyes.  (People tend to view others in the same way they view themselves, instead of as someone singular.)

Aging “milestones” have been things that have effected me a bit more since hitting my 20’s.  18 passed without much accord, same as 21.  25 hit a bit harder, but at that point I was in a very different place in my life so I suppose I had more room for introspection at that point.  The whole no longer being in my early 20’s and now being in my mid to late 20’s was certainly something to chuckle about.  And since then there has been even more room for even more introspection and self-connection.  So, hitting 30 for me is an interesting experience, but not necessarily in the ways some might think are predictable.  I’m not feeling “old”, or anything like that.  But I am recognizing that I am now no longer in my 20’s and am in that weird limbo stage.  I’m not necessarily seen as a “youngin'” so much anymore by those older than me, and I’m not exactly seen as someone who is “younger” by those younger than me.

I know I just shouldn’t really think about it, but hey.  It’s there.  I might as well shake hands and get to know my own feelings.  I’ve found more and more that dealing with my own feelings often have quite a bit to do with how other people view me.  And again, that’s something that most will say that I shouldn’t worry about.  But to some extent I do.  But not in the typical way.  Sure, I care because I like to embody a particular thing.  I don’t try to seem a way I’m not, but to actually BE something I’d like to see other people respond well to.

I never quite understood people say they don’t care what other people think about them.  Because I think we all on some level intrinsically do.  Except of course for the few clinical cases where it’s just not psychologically possible.

Ok, back on topic, if I can manage.  Aging.  Yeah, “it’s just a number”, blah blah blah.  But it is something to mark.  It starts with kids wanting to be older so quick, then that middle stage where people want it to just plain stop, then back to celebrating it.  It’s interesting to look at.  And to just really be honest with one’s self about just where our own heads lie on the whole thing.  Oh, and ignoring it isn’t the same as not really caring.

There’s the age-old (har har) contemplation of our mortality.  Yeah, I think about it.  Still not sure where I am on it.  To some extent it’s scary, but at the same time it’s obviously inevitable.

I guess one of the big things tends to be whether or not I feel ok with where I am at whatever age I’m at.  And I feel pretty damned good.  Sure, there are things I wish I’d have gotten done by now, and I’m sure some basic coulda woulda shouldas that a lot of people think occasionally.  But overall, I’m far happier with things as they are than they could be were things different.

Being 30 often seems to solidify for some people the whole “I’m now an adult.” thing.  I have to say, I’ve felt like an adult for a while…but I still kind of feel like I’m still a teenager at times.  Well, I did for a portion of my 20’s.  Not so much lately though.  But it’s not like some magical moment or anything like that.  I’ve felt less and less like the younger me, especially when around people that are a handful of years younger than me.  Usually only in certain surroundings, though considering I don’t really hang out with a whole hell of a lot of people.

For me though, I’m still just kind of floating around the idea.  Sometimes it like “Oh lord…I’m 30 already…when did that happen?” and “Well, I’m 30 now!” like it’s some kind of accomplishment rather than just a natural progression of aging.  Not sure if it’s an accomplishment considering I probably would have made it to this age anyway.  Lord knows where I might have been had I not met James, but that’s another post for another time.

It’s interesting to think about in terms of years.  30 years in reference to other things (mostly objects) is a good chunk of time.  In other references, it’s a drop in the bucket.  But when it comes to human life, it used to be a lot, then middle-aged, and now…we’re often still seen as little more than “kids” to some people.  I think 30 years is a good number.  And interesting one.  It’s a very interesting place in life.  And for each person it’s a little different.  But to me at this point, as I’ve felt for the last couple years, it feels like age-social limbo.  Not young, but not old, a transition place between how we may have felt in our late teens and early twenties and how we might feel when we get out of that stage in life.

I wonder if for other people there is such an acute realization of straddling the fence so to speak?  Still to some extent feeling like we can relate because it wasn’t that long ago, but also beginning to relate more and more to those that are older than us.  I wonder if for those that might have felt it, was it as weird for them as it is for me?  Especially being a new mother, it feels like I’m tossed back in some ways to my mid 20’s because of those around me that have kids the same age being in their mid 20’s.  But then there’s  the moments later silent reminder that I’m a handful of years older, and some of them have more kids than I do.  Did I make a mistake in not starting earlier?  Have I inadvertently shot myself in the foot?  Have I caused issues for my husband who is two years older than me?  Was I being too selfish in waiting, and making him wait?

No one in my life overtly has made any indication that they feel this way about how long I waited to become pregnant.  Considering I was 28 when I became pregnant, and now only shortly after she’s turned one, I’m now thirty….I’m not sure I really considered overtly the whole…majority of a year I’d spend pregnant before actually giving birth.  I know it’s a weird train of thought, but I hope it’s coming across clear enough.  Yes, I know that it takes 9 months fir gestation.  But I wonder if I just didn’t really put two and two together when I was doing my whole “clock is ticking” math.  Should I have started earlier?  I don’t know.  Was I just holding too hard to the fear of it?

Now, don’t get me wrong here.  I may think about these things from time to time, but it’s not like it’s causing a lack of sleep.  I like to ponder things.  It’s not out of some kind of weird paranoia or resentment of myself, or a way to over-analyze myself to the point of becoming neurotic over it.  And (as I’ve probably said over and over in other posts) seriously.  Don’t sit there thinking that I’m making myself nuts over these things.  Don’t think you have to placate me with “Oh, don’t worry about it!” kinds of comments.  Trust me, I’m not worrying over it.  Liking to ponder and think and work through feelings from time to time is not a bad thing and I’ve become very good at finding the right time to work on them, for myself.  And just because I put it here, doesn’t mean I need some kind of “saving” from myself.  I put it here for my own reference later on, and as a therapeutic tool, because writing is a fantastic way of really formulating our own thoughts and feelings so that we can face them for ourselves.  I also put it here so perhaps others that might have felt some of the same things can see that someone else has been there, and that it’s perfectly ok to have been there.  It’s ok to think and feel, and to face those thoughts and feelings head on and learn to deal with them and embrace them rather than allowing them to negatively impact our lives.

And as always, I know very few people who have similar intentions behind the way they think as I do, so I know that perhaps a lot of things I bring forth are often viewed far differently than how I intend, or would like them to be viewed.  And perhaps over time more people will start viewing things a little differently than they have and break free from a lot of the societal stigmas regarding thought and emotion.

It’s ok to feel weird about something like aging.  I’ve tried to embrace feelings rather than attempt to justify them falsely, or ignore them, or deny them, or mask them as something else.  It’s ok to feel good about aging.  Never anything wrong with that.   It’s ok to have reservations and concerns about it as well.  It’s natural to some extent.  But a lot of the knee-jerk reactions about age and aging have been created, reinforced, perpetuated and stigmatized by society, media and people have been all too happy to unthinkingly eat it all up and regurgitate it.

Sometimes I feel a little isolated because of how differently I view things these days.  James thankfully is an incredibly open-minded person and at the least tolerates my extremely wandering thoughts at times.  🙂  And I can’t thank him enough for that.  But then, he’s also seen me progress from who I was when we met, to who I am now.  He’s been through the majority of the transition into my own person.  And I love him every single day a little more for who he’s been this entire time, supporting me through the things I’ve gone through.  And I can only hope that he feels similarly about me, and I hope I’ve been able to provide support in kind to him.

I only hope that we go through more milestones of our own, and now Zoe, and any other children we may have, together and with as much love and support or more than we’ve had so far.  I look forward to every single one of them, as long as he’s there with me.