There are times in life where I feel like it’s easier to be hard on ourselves than forgiving; when it’s easier to point out all our shortcomings than to accept that we are truly exceptional at some things. Lately, I have been finding myself going through this and I am having a hard time coming out on the other side of it.
A few years ago, I went through something that caused a great deal of emotional turmoil for me. It seems like it was so long ago in some ways, like yesterday in others, but let’s just say that I have never fully recovered from the emotional roller coaster ride I experienced over the next few years.
I don’t really like reading parenting books. Hate ‘em. I do. As a matter of fact, I would say I still have parenting book “burn out” several years after I tried unsuccessfully to do any of the following:
a. Have a panic free pregnancy after reading enough pregnancy books to know how large my unborn child was relative to fruit on any day of my pregnancy (i.e. your child is now the size of a baby kumquat).
b. Breast feed any of my children for more than four weeks after reading every single book I could find on stress-free breastfeeding. All of which stressed me out more and inversely reduced my milk supply.
c. Get my kids to sleep. I tried every strategy that The Baby Whisperer had to offer me and I tried so hard to have The Happiest Baby on the Block but the results were temporary at best and the ever present circles underneath my eyes indicated just how successful I was at employing the tactics. Although I was an awesome swaddler. I could swaddle a baby like nobody’s business.
My daughter lost her first tooth the other day. It was a really momentous occasion, because you only lose your first tooth once and you’ll always remember the day you got your first memento from the Tooth Fairy.
Seeing her lose her tooth made me nostalgic for my own first lost tooth. I remember that the Tooth Fairy gave me four dollars. That was a lot of freaking money for a tooth when I was 7 years old. But then after that, she really didn’t deliver, often forgetting my next few lost teeth or sometimes downgrading me to a quarter or two.
Bitch set me up for disappointment.
John wasn’t home yesterday to see Shaila’s excitement over losing her teeth and I felt sad for him because if you don’t know already, John loves teeth. His own glimmery, pearly white teeth always stand out in his smiles. He smiles all the freaking time, which I think is directly related to the fact that he is a show off and he wants people to see his teeth.
That’s right. My skin color falls somewhere between a cappuccino and a latte. During the summers, it can borderline hot chocolate, depending on how much time I can log under the sun.
When you’re Indian, and I imagine a lot of other ethnicities or races, there is a lot of pressure to stay on the lighter side of the spectrum. My sun loving tendencies and my thousands of hours of running cross country for years of my life often turned my vanilla latte skin into a caramel macchiato.
(Excuse me. Apparently I am thirsty and craving caffeine as I write this).
My husband’s ethnic background is half Puerto Rican and half Italian. The end result is that my lovely children have also turned out a beautiful shade of brown.
Facebook is really freaking weird sometimes, isn’t it?
I have friends who are holdouts and won’t join despite my prodding.
For one of my oldest friends, “Look, if people want to reach me, they’ll find a way. I don’t need all these random people in my life who I would never even talk to looking at my pictures.” Fair enough.
For my Dad, who deactivated his account, “Why should I join Facebook anyway? So I can go see if (fill in the blank) changed her profile picture again? She does it every damn day!” Also fair enough.
For my Mom, who doesn’t know how, “Beti, will you help teach me how to use it?” I don’t think she will be joining anytime soon.
For some friends overseas, “Twitter is so much cooler. Facebook is for old people.” Fine then. Let me get out my dentures.
Note: In the above picture, there are a few oddities for sure. Ilya seems to think it’s the fact that he is wearing a Rush shirt with a pentagram on it. I happen to think it’s that I’m wearing blue contacts. Blue contacts, people.
It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.
High school, that is.
I don’t know many people who had an idyllic High School experience. Between the awkwardness, the growth spurts, the popularity contests that could rip to shreds even some of the strongest personalities, there was so much fodder for insecurity, that I am amazed that so many young children get out on the other side with their grace still intact.
It’s nice to look into the eyes of your partner and know that you have found a safe haven, a person who accepts you for just yourself. That you have found someone who will never play a game of tit for tat with you and horror of horrors, start keeping score on your relationship.
Well, I hate to say it. I don’t know when it all happened during my marriage, but at some point, I became an avid score keeper. Relentless.
At first, it wasn’t like that at all. There didn’t seem to be too many things to keep score over. Early on we found our cadence over things both simple and hard. We easily figured out how we would split holidays amongst our families and how we could support each other at work. Work travel schedules were tightly coordinated and in the absence of children and any really big problems, we could afford to be generous with the leeway we gave each other.
When I was so little, that I could hardly see above the kitchen table, I viewed the world as good. I believed that my parents could keep me safe and that if I did what I was supposed to do, that I would be alright. The world seemed to make sense and when I went to bed at night, I took comfort in the harmonious balance of good around me.
When my eyes could see over the table, or maybe sometime around then, my views started to change. I started to realize that you didn’t just get treated a certain way because you did the right thing. I started to realize that the way people saw each other dictated how they processed their actions. Two people could do the same thing, but the lenses people used could distort the actions of one of those people, especially if they didn’t like the look of that person.
A few months ago, I was talking to my father on the phone. He asked me how I was doing and as I am programmed to do, I said, “I’m fine.” But he knew I was NOT fine and he pushed a little harder and asked me why I seemed so distracted and not like myself. Because apparently, I am usually a fine tuned and effervescent bubbly thing.
And so I told him about some things that were bothering me. Some uncertainties that had crept into my life which had made me doubt myself. I wouldn’t say that I was having a pity party for myself, but … ok, I actually WAS. It was pitiful how much self-pitying was happening at this really not fun party. To which I had invited nobody but myself. It felt only right to finally extend an invitation to my father.
I recently switched my therapist. The last one was nice enough, but I think that was partly it. She was way too nice. I want to leave therapy feeling challenged and introspective and not just have someone validate everything I say by nodding their head at me the whole time. I mean, it’s nice to have someone tell you you are right about everything, but that’s not therapy. That’s just friendship for hire.
And even my friends never tell me I am right about everything right away, so, as I scratch my head, I still wonder what you call therapy where you just talk to someone who tells you your shit doesn’t stink. I don’t know the technical term, but I think I can at least say it’s a big waste of my freaking time.