Thursday, December 15, 2011

Eleanor Roosevelt Won't Get Out of My Head

I have started and deleted about 7 blog posts. I don't seem able to complete a thought. This is not my fault, it's a genetic disease called "tangent-itis." My Grandma had it and now my sister and I both have it in varying degrees. There is a small possibility that Lisa does not have it - her issue may be simply an abundance of children vying for her attention. She has been known on occasion to call me so that I can then sit and listen to her tell each child that she can't talk to them because she is on the phone with her sister. By the time she is finished talking to them one of us usually has to go. Don't get me wrong - I completely adore my sister, she is just pulled in all kinds of directions. She spends about 40 hours a week in the car and has occasionally called me and demanded, "Say something funny...I'm falling asleep at the wheel." That is a lot of pressure! (Lisa and I also suffer from postal impairment - the inability to get things in the mail.) Wait....do you see what's happened? A little tangent-itis has slipped into my train of thought. What has actually been on my mind is Calvin and Hobbes, Eleanor Roosevelt, and guardian angels.


Many, MANY years ago, when I was at BYU, my fabulous roommate, Dana, gave me this Calvin and Hobbes comic strip

She said it reminded her of me - it totally cracked me up. (Sorry it's a little blurry.) Sadly, it is true - but only to a small degree. Give me just a little attention and I am buoyed up for a long time. Give me too much and I start feeling uncomfortable. (We can psychoanalyze that at another time.)

It's amazing how a kind word or act can change your whole state of being. Yesterday, I was feeling a bit lonely...well, lonely and maybe a bit depressed. (I should not have watched BBC's North and South - again another issue to psychoanalyze at another time.) Anyway, I thought to myself, get out of the house, run some errands, be productive and you'll feel better. (I can on occasion give myself good advice.) I desperately hoped, even prayed, that I would run into a friend - just to have someone to chat with - if only for 30 seconds - just enough to get grounded again. Lo and behold, there at Smith's was my dear friend Christy. (Insert angels singing here.) Don't even attempt to tell me it was mere coincidence - I believe that God heard my prayer and gave me that little reassurance (and much laughter) that I needed...enough to keep me going for several days at least! (She has been my guardian angel more than a time or two.) This, of course, reminded me that I have been angry with Eleanor Roosevelt.

One of my LEAST favorite quotes in the entire world is "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." I don't know the context in which this was said - but today it is often used by people to excuse poor behavior. (Example - It's not my fault she felt hurt.) Here's the deal - if your small kindnesses can have a big impact on someone - then why wouldn't the un-kindnesses? (Is that a word?) I wish I were one of those people who had the confidence to deflect insults that may come my way. I can deflect a few - but every once in a while they sneak in. The Eleanor Roosevelt quote I wish we heard more often is, “The giving of love is an education in itself.” So delete the first quote from your brain and replace it with this one. I have the feeling that focusing on quote number 2 may be the secret to being an example of quote number 1.

Friday, December 2, 2011

I'm back!

It's December...can you believe it? Last December was the beginning of the end of my marriage...so it's been quite a year. Business is sold, divorce final, new job, back in school, new profile on my blog (just need a new pic) - feels like a new beginning and one I am feeling excited about. Don't get me wrong, I'm no Pollyanna - there have been some rough days BUT I'm off both antidepressants and Diet Coke- so, hooray!

In spite of my school busyness I plan on posting to my blog on a more regular basis, so stay tuned for more. In the meantime a brief story:

When I was around 13 or 14 years old I had this fabulous white dress with a ruffle along the bottom. One Sunday, at the end of church, I was waiting in the lobby for my family when I looked down and noticed some lint in between my ruffle and skirt. I bent down to pick it out. Hmmm....more lint. I picked out a little more...turns out that the washer and dryer found this ruffle to be a great home for little minuscule dust bunnies. I became so wrapped up in picking out the tiny bits of lint that I completely forgot that I was in a public place. I was no longer bending over picking the lint out of the ruffle...no. I was now standing up...holding the bottom of my skirt right in front of my eyes, trying to pick out the lint. Imagine yourself in this scene. You leave the chapel to discover a teenage girl standing against the wall holding her skirt up in the air. Not exactly what you expect after a church service. I have wondered how many people walked by, flabbergasted, before Karla Pratt came rushing over and said, "Michelle, what on earth are you doing?" I was suddenly aware and mortified at how wrapped up I had been in my little ruffle project. "I don't know what I'm doing!" I said to Karla...she laughed and I jetted to the parking lot to wait in the car for the rest of my family. (The fact that I went back to church the following Sunday just shows how committed I am to church!)

So why on earth would I mention this? Because I think it is easy to become so wrapped up in our own little issues this time of year that we forget we are surrounded by a lot of people who could use a little bit of our focus. It's so easy to assume that someone else will step up and help...when the Lord meant for us to be that someone. So stop stressing about the presents and take a moment each day to make someone's day just a little brighter. If this is too big of a leap for you, advice wise, let me offer this instead....keep your skirt down...at all times...'nuf said.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Legally Blonde and the Seven Stages of Grief



I've been watching too much TV. I seem incapable of doing much. Not only has my marriage ended, but my job has ended and I am going back to school and trying to figure out how on earth I will support my girls and myself while attempting to pursue a new life. I'm either highly over-qualified or under-qualified for any job that would work with school. I have been working out - so that's a plus - but I can't seem to do much beyond that. I had these fabulous "reorganize the house" plans that have merely limped along.


I realized that I had gone completely nuts when I started being inspired by Elle Woods in Legally Blonde and Queen Latifah in Last Holiday. I had been sucked into the 2 star movie dark side. Pretty soon I will be practicing the bend and snap. Step away from the remote.


On that note, earlier this week, while at the pediatrician with Kristen, I suddenly burst into tears. Okay - maybe not all that suddenly - but I had absolutely no control over the tears. Biting my cheek, clenching my fists, looking at the ceiling....zero luck. The doctor was asking Kristen how she's coping with the divorce. She said, "Things are better. There's no tension at home anymore." And waterworks commence. I felt awful that she and her sister have had to go through so much and I just started to cry. What a lovely moment for Kristen.


I realized that I needed to do a little reading, a little research, if you will, on going nuts through divorce. Maybe, just maybe, Elle Woods won't have all the answers. So, I googled "stages of grief divorce." 270,000 results popped up. I picked the one that started with "Learn how to heal..." I clicked and began to read. (It's on helpguide.org.)



  1. Shock or disbelief. (Been there done that.)

  2. Denial (If I change what I want.....did that 18 months ago.)

  3. Anger (Brief moments but more sadness, really)

  4. Bargaining (I may have skipped this one.....maybe I took care of it with number 2.)

  5. Guilt (Definitely been going through this one....especially when it comes to the kids.)

  6. Depression (Welcome to my home.)

  7. Acceptance and Hope (I'm sorry what....there's hope?)

One of the first things to stand out was "Realize that it's okay to have different feelings." (I don't think they meant feeling like all chick flicks are speaking directly to you.) "It's normal to feel sad, angry, exhausted, frustrated and confused. (check, check, check, check and check.) "You may feel anxious about the future. (Giant check.) "Give yourself permission to function at a less than optimal level for a time." (HOORAY! I have permission!) "Treat yourself like you have the flu." (Does this mean I can lay in bed and have people bring me soup?) "Try not to make any major decisions or changes for awhile." (Oops.) "Don't fight your feelings." (Aha.)


So I have decided to not fight my feelings. If I have plans with you think how exciting this will be! Will she be fun and happy and then completely dissolve? Will she be lackluster and tired, followed my maniacal laughter? Who knows! You just get to sit back and watch the healing. The idea is that if I allow myself to feel and deal with this bombardment of feelings, I may be able to move on and reach that Utopian seventh stage of acceptance and....drum roll please, even hope. If that doesn't work I can always look for words of wisdom from Legally Blonde 2.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Miscellany

1. The Jehovah's Witness missionaries now bring their doe-eyed toddlers to your door. Very clever.

2. On the same day I received the following feedback regarding my return to school: "You are going to love it. It may take you a few weeks to get back into the swing of things - but you will do so well!" "It is going to be the hardest thing you've ever done. Be prepared to talk yourself out of a failing grade. Find a study partner that can carry you through."

3. It's hard to be so "get over-able."

4. Found out I still need another textbook.....grand total now $500. WHAT?!

5. Loved seeing my daughter's cell phone wallpaper was a photo of a sign reading "stay on the path."

6. I have become a huge fan of dry spice rubs. Fish, chicken, beef - Watch out!

7. I have fabulous friends and family.

8. In trying to spread the word about my voice over acting I've done a better job of selling the career, rather than myself. oops.

9. Found out my church library partner won $23,000 and a TV on the Price is Right 10 years ago.

10. I've been trying to decide if I should paint my front door red or black. I went to a scrapbook store and purchased several sheets of paper closest to the colors I was favoring. I taped 6 of the same color sheets on the door.....my daughter then went on to tell me that she liked the color on the far left better than the others. She wouldn't believe they were all the same color.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Where Am I?

Here is not exactly where I expected to be. I was fairly certain I would end up over there....you know? The place with green grass, single digit sizes and moments of peace - not a 41 year old, overweight, almost divorced, unemployed mom. Now that may by your dream but it was not mine. Other than the mom part (which is absolutely the highlight of my life), the rest does not come highly recommended. Unless, of course, you enjoy some rather fierce moments of pain and self-doubt. BUT, this is where I am. My choices....with a few influences from others....have led me to this point. So, now what? This overwhelming question, that most people believe they will somehow answer in their 20s (ridiculous), haunts my mind.

Yes, I am going to school in the fall to receive a second bachelors and hopefully be able to attend grad school and become a speech pathologist. This is a plan, but does nothing for me at the moment. Yes, I have been studying, working, attending classes, workshops and private sessions in Voice Over work....but again, only a plan....not a destination. (Insert self-promotion here: Hire me...I sound fabulous.) I simply don't know how everything is going to fall into place. I know, I know...no one does....but I like when there are a few more pieces in place.

One such piece, for instance, is what will I do to earn a living? Due to a rather restrictive non-compete agreement with my former franchiser, I cannot pursue a job in any field in which I might be remotely qualified. Plus, attending school full-time and being a mother make it difficult to find a job that seems like it will work with my schedule. Some of you may say - "Take whatever you can get!" This would be easier to do if I had not spent the last 9 1/2 years performing a job I had never wanted.

So, I find myself here...the waiting room for over there. It's full of maybes and hopefullys and ifs and whens. I realize that this is a great opportunity. A new beginning. A chance to pursue the dreams I have always had to set aside. But those dreams feel awfully distant. It seems as though there is a grand canyon beyond the waiting room door and my dreams are just a dot on the horizon. Was that a melodramatic enough return to the blogging world? Have you missed all of my mixed metaphors and allegories?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

THANKFUL

I've been feeling exhausted. I don't know if it's depression, a virus or both. When I have a spare moment all I want to do is sleep. I've become a huge fan of the nap. Of course this morning I enjoyed a vigorous snow shoveling before work - assisted by my wonderful neighbor Cam. I think he had already done several driveways when he came over to help me. As I finished shoveling and headed off to work I turned on some music. An uplifting and fabulous CD thoughtfully given to me by Jill began to play. I felt a wave of gratitude.

Throughout this divorce process many friends ask, "What can I do?" "How can I help?" The answer quite frankly is...I have no idea. But what does help is the asking and what helps even more are the prayers. There is great comfort in knowing there are people out there that I can turn to...people who are ready and waiting to help me...as soon as I figure out what I need. When I have those days that I become burdened with thoughts of "How will I possibly make ends meet?" or "Will there ever be a man who could love me?" or general fear of the unknown I feel this gentle nudge back in to the realm of positive thinking. I believe those nudges come from the power of prayer on my behalf. There is nothing more touching to me than to think of someone praying for my well being.

I don't know how I will make ends meet, I don't know if, when I'm ready, there will be a man out there for me - BUT, I do know that the Lord has blessed me with an amazing family and incredible friends whose faith and kindness buoy me up everyday. I am so blessed.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

What I want to be when I grow up...

I have decided that I would like to be the person my book case represents. Is that realistic? Tonight I was attempting to write my 40th story and it was not going well. There was much deleting and backspacing and even a furrowed brow or two. I generally write whatever come into my head...disturbing, I know...and the thoughts were not coming out - not well, anyway. So, I decided to take out the garbage. (Stay with me...we'll get there.) As I took out the garbage I thought of the nasty old bathmat in the laundry room I had been meaning to throw away and headed down to get it. (Still with me?) On my way I passed by the bedroom that Bob and I once shared - now mostly empty except for some piles of books and many mating dust bunnies. I thought, "I really should vacuum and set up my sewing machine, so I can finish Kristen's costume for the play. But, I can't really vacuum because of all of the books." This made me think that I needed to put all of those books away, since I seem to have lost the ability to concentrate on reading anything. (If you are wondering about the point....it's coming...stay with me.) So, I took out the nasty bathmat and went downstairs to put away my books. As I was gently shoving them into the rickety, particle board bookcase, I began to read the spines:

Felting: The Complete Guide
30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary
I Don't Have to Make Everything All Better
Saying It Like It Is
Organization Made Easy

Why did these stand out? Because I have not cracked open any of them. Not a one. (If you gave me one of these books, please know that I love you....it's nothing personal....I'll read it eventually...I hope.) These are not the only unread books in my bookcase. I actually have 3 books on felting, but have never felted - is that correct terminology? If you have ever been to my house you know that organization has definitely not been made easy for me. Saying it like it is? Occasionally out loud, but mostly to myself. I Don't Have to Make Everything All Better has sadly been my approach to housekeeping and my vocabulary is as powerful as my non-functioning dishwasher.

According to my bookshelves I have found my perfect weight, lost it and found it again. (It's very elusive, my perfect weight, we haven't met in person for about 18 years.) I have not only treasured my garden, but I have solved all of it's problems all while excavating my authentic self. It's exhausting. More so if it were true. Merely having these books in the shelf - but never using them hasn't seemed to have caused any real difference in my life. It turns out I am going to have to actually do something. I am making some changes (besides the divorce). I am taking voice over classes...something I have always wanted to pursue AND I have applied to graduate school. But there are so many things I still want to do or to change...and I think I will get to them...as soon as I finish reading all of these books.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Believe it or not I haven't forgotten Story #40...But first....

I have known what story #40 has been for quite some time....but seem to lack the ability to focus enough to write it. You see, I am in the middle of a divorce. It is amazing how it seems to take all of my brain power to merely exist. All acitivities beyond mere existence seem to be more challenging. It has also removed my ability to have any kind of short term memory. Kristen has now missed two orthodontic appointment....even when I remind her - I still forget.

The odd thing is, I frequently don't FEEL that stressed, but my life performance seems to be dropping major clues. The biggest? I have not been able to focus on reading. If you know me at all, you know that is bizarre. Reading has always been my escape, my stress release, my go to favorite activity. Now the words seem to sort of float around on the page. I focus for 1 to 2 pages and then the shut down sequence begins.

Now don't go thinking that I spend each day in a state of depression - because I don't. I alternate between happiness, sadness, anxiety and sometimes all 3 at once. I really am okay. I really do believe that, but then I get ready for a meeting and within 30 minutes have completely forgotten I have a meeting. Maybe it's not the divorce, maybe I, like many Americans over 40, am in a constant state of mini-stroke.

On the plus side, everyone I run into has to cock their head to the side when they ask how I am. And the way it gets asked always verges on the way you would talk to a two year old - so it's always entertaining. Some people require hugs and comforting...I guess you never realize how much your life affects (effects?) others. Some people are angry...am I supposed to apologize to them? Others offer advice, marriage therapist recommendations, etc. Been there, done that.

Bob and I are on good terms. This may sound strange, since we are divorcing, but we will still be co-parenting our fabulous kids for the rest of our lives. I can't imagine not being able to have calm and friendly discussions regarding the kids. Another plus? My family and friends have been incredibly supportive, kind and loving. This I am most grateful for.

This is a whole new chapter in my life. Definitely ample material for blogging. I have signed up for Voice-Over classes (I start next week!) I have also applied to go back to school....which I am very excited about.

So, Story #40 is just around the corner - but I want to explain my hiatus from the blogging world. And, remember to cock your head to the side as you leave your comment.