Put Your Best Face Forward

Pullover Tunic/Necklace

Raise your hand if you are reading this while still in your pajamas or loungewear with no makeup on and haven’t brushed your hair.  I bet many of you have your hand up right now. I’ve seen it all over social media. Guess what, though? My hand is not up.  I got up this morning like I do every single morning, took a shower, got dressed, fixed my hair, put makeup on.  I even put on some cute Trades of Hope jewelry because I am always wearing HOPE. Even though I am not going anywhere and won’t see anyone except my immediate family, I still get ready every day.  With everything that is going on in the world and all of us being confined to our homes for days, the easy thing to do is to let yourself go and not get ready every day.  What is the point, right? Trust me, I understand.  There are days like today when I am not feeling my best and want to just lounge around all day.  I have the urge to just lie in bed and watch TV for hours.  Even on those days, though, I force myself get up and get ready anyway.  I will argue with you anytime that getting ready each day is important. It is especially important in times like this. You may be thinking that I am nuts, but I promise you (at least in this instance) I’m not.   

Times are very uncertain right now and being stuck at home all day can and will lead to depression for some.  Anxiety may be ramped up, and your fears can be overwhelming.  One small thing you can do to combat all that is to get up and get ready every day.  I promise you; it will make you feel better.  Doing something that you would typically do under normal circumstances can give you a sense of security.  Try to follow your normal routine as much as possible while you are stuck at home.  Getting dressed and ready each day will also make you feel more productive.  Even though I may want to, being dressed and ready for the day does help to keep me from lying on the couch all day.  I’m not a doctor or any kind of professional. I only know how it makes me feel.  I can certainly tell a difference in my mood and how I feel in general on days that I don’t get dressed and put on makeup compared to when I do. Now, I am not saying that you can’t have the occasional lazy day.  I do have them myself, but they are rare.  It just shouldn’t become your norm.  I know that it is easy to allow that to happen when you are stuck at home, but trust me, it is worth it to get ready each day. It is important to put your best face forward even if it is just to cook dinner or clean the house.  It will change your mood and attitude for the better.   I truly believe that it is important to keep with that daily routine for your sanity. 

Go get out of your pajamas and get ready to face the day!

Anchored,

Quiet the Brain

I want to write about something other than the Coronavirus, but that is hard since that is our reality right now and it is everywhere! I’m going to try, though.  Instead I’m going to write about something stupid. I am going to write about sleep. Maybe it will give you a laugh in this crazy time about how insane I am.  Seriously!  Sleep is so important, but it is something that I struggle with daily.  I believe that I have mentioned before that I am one of those people who really requires 8-10 hours of sleep. My husband on the other hand is totally fine with only 4 hours of sleep. He can fall asleep in less than 5 seconds and can sleep soundly through anything.  I think that developed for him out of necessity because of his life on a submarine.  Whatever the reason, I am super jealous. I was the girl in college that was in the bed by 9:00 every night and got mad when my sorority sisters where having a mini party on the front porch just below my window.  I know! Sad, right? Anyway, I need sleep to be a functional human.  However, for that past several years, sleep has eluded me.  It takes me hours to fall asleep.  I lay there forever with random things floating around in my head.  It is so frustrating, and it happens every night.  I have tried melatonin and other nighttime sleep aids, but they either don’t work or leave me feeling too groggy the next day.  

I become hyper aware of things when I am trying to go to fall asleep.  I hear every little sound despite using a noise machine that blares white noise.  While it helps and I really can’t sleep without it, it doesn’t block out everything.  Sometimes I think I imagine the sounds I hear, though.  It makes my brain go into overdrive trying to figure out what the sound was. I even become hyper aware of my breathing.  That one is partly because I have had this thumping/swishing sound in my right ear for over 10 years.  It is like I can hear my pulse in my ear 24/7. It kind of sounds like a baby’s heartbeat in utero.  I’ve been to countless doctors and no one can figure out the cause.  Anyway, I have learned to tune it out for the most part.  The only time it really bothers me, or I notice it is when I think about it or I am trying to go to sleep.  That is when it suddenly become very loud and annoying.  When I focus on my breathing and slowing it down, it slows down the beating in my ear.  I have to really concentrate on it though.

The craziest thing is what has been keeping me awake the past few nights. You are going to laugh because it is so ridiculous, and I honestly don’t even know how to explain it so that it makes sense.  I have suddenly become hyper aware of my teeth when I am trying to fall asleep.  I’m not kidding! I lie there debating whether I normally sleep with my teeth clenched, lightly touching, or slightly open.  I know that it makes no sense whatsoever, but I’m serious. It just started happening a couple of nights ago, and I can’t get it out of my mind. It’s like an obsession now.  I am having this internal argument with my brain. It makes every position of my jaw start to hurt because I am over correcting whatever position I have decided on that night.  I feel like I am losing my mind.  I really think I am going insane. I try to think about something else, but I can’t.  I don’t even know why it started to begin with, but I can’t stop. It infuriates me because instead of sleeping I am lying there obsessing over the position of my teeth.  How dumb is that? I am sure that there are some people who would say there is some underlying meaning behind it, but I’m not one to believe in that kind of stuff.  I just want it to stop. 

Basically, I need sleep. I need my brain to stop all this ridiculousness. I seriously hope that you have gotten a laugh at my expense today.  I have to laugh at myself or else I’ll cry! If anyone has any suggestions on how to get myself to stop with these obsessions and fall asleep, I am all ears. I think I may need professional help, but they may send me to the psych ward! AHHHH….

Anchored,

Wash Your Hands!

I guess it is inevitable that I write about what is going on in the world.  The real panic over the Coronavirus hit where I live a little over a week ago.  The shelves were quickly emptied of cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, gloves, masks, and toilet paper. People started stealing the cart wipes from grocery stores and masks from doctor offices, many started walking around wearing gloves and masks everywhere, and fights were breaking out over packs of toilet paper.  It escalated fast.  The rest of the country quickly followed.  People are preparing to be quarantined.  I’ve even seen videos of people spraying their kids with disinfectant. (I don’t recommend that, by the way!) It’s insane! Yesterday, our school division announced an unscheduled teacher workday for next week so that teachers could be trained on distance learning and approved millions of dollars to speed up the roll out of 1:1 Chromebooks for all students in grades 3-12.  Then suddenly this morning, they announced the cancelation of school effective immediately through at least March 20.  Surprisingly, most people are grateful for this decision and are applauding the school system for taking preventative measurements, but there is a small band of people complaining about the decision.  Truthfully, they weren’t going to make everyone happy with any decision they made.  

I have a friend whose family was vacationing in Europe and had to quickly make arrangements in the middle of the night to get back to the US following the President’s announcement about travel last night.  I have another friend who had tickets to an NBA game for her son’s birthday who now can’t attend after the NBA’s announcement that they were suspending the season indefinitely.  My daughter’s gym is supposed to be hosting a gymnastics meet this weekend and everyone is questioning if it should be canceled.  There are countless others in similar situations.  Life as we know it is drastically changing rapidly.  People are terrified and don’t know what to do.  The spread of the virus is inevitable.  Steps are being taken to slow the spread so that hospitals and aren’t overcrowded, but it’s still going to spread.  

Some of you may be shocked to learn that I am not panicking over this.  You would think that the OCD, germ-a-phobe in me would be, but I’m not.  Yes, we are taking precautions as much as we can, but that’s all we can do at this point.  I’m most concerned about being confined to the house for days while trying not to drive each other nuts in the event of a quarantine.  As of right now, my kids still have their regularly scheduled practices, so that will at least get them out of the house a little for now and help keep us all from going stir-crazy. I’m afraid those practices are going to eventually get canceled as well. Maybe they should be and maybe they shouldn’t. I am starting to think they may be out of school until after spring break, which is 3 weeks away, but who knows? 

I urge you all to try not to panic.  I understand that it is scary but freaking out and acting manic isn’t going to help the situation. Stop fighting over toilet paper and help your fellow neighbor if you can. Stop criticizing officials for their response or lack of response. They are doing the best they can with the information avaiable. Try to minimize your time in large groups to reduce the risk of exposure if you can. Stay home of you are sick. For goodness sake, WASH YOUR HANDS!  

Anchored,

Reset

What a week it has been!  I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had the time to write.  I am pretty sure that I have spent 90% of the last 3 days in my car driving kids to and from everywhere.  I was basically in my car for 6 hours straight yesterday.  I only stopped at the house long enough to warm up some pasta for my youngest before having to head back out. It has been so crazy.  It is amazing how quickly I forget what it is like to parent alone while my husband is away when it isn’t happening on a regular basis.  Remember that deployment curse I wrote about last week? Well, it struck again.  My phone got knocked off the counter and it hit the hardwood floor in just the right spot to break the LED thing inside.  I was left with a phone that worked but had bright green lines running through the screen.  Thankfully, we had insurance on it, and I was able to get a new phone sent to me.  Unfortunately, it took me almost 2 hours at Verizon on Tuesday to get the new phone set up. That was time I didn’t have to waste and just one more thing added to my already hectic days.  I did have a long overdue hair appointment mixed in there this week, which was glorious.  I had her chop a good bit of my hair off, and it felt like I lost 10 pounds.  When you have hair as thick as mine, any kind of length can get heavy.  It always feels so good when it’s cut and texturized to thin it out some. On top of all the craziness, I have also been nursing a migraine all week. I don’t know if it is a result of the changing weather or stress causing it, but it is pretty miserable. It really has just been one of those weeks when I can hardly catch my breath.  It has had me in a funk all week.  

Do you ever have those days or weeks, when you just don’t feel like yourself? That has been me this week.  I wouldn’t say that I have been in a bad mood per se, but I am just not feeling good.  I feel extra tired and irritable. My kids are driving me nuts, and everything seems to annoy me.  I am getting stressed over little things that should not be causing any stress at all.  I’m worrying about things that I have no control over.  I also don’t want to do anything because everything feels like a chore.  Ok…so maybe I AM in a bad mood!  I’m just in some kind of funk.  I really don’t know what is causing it, but I can certainly feel it.  Is it just because I’m tired? Stressed? Is the migraine affecting my mood? Is it because my husband it gone? I’m sure it is a combination of all of the above.  Whatever the reason, though, I’m over it.  It’s tough when you just aren’t feeling it but have no choice but to keep pushing through. It is hard keeping up with everything, especially when you can’t see an end in sight.  Sorry guys! I guess I am just having one of those “woe is me” kind of moments.  I know we all have those days sometimes.  It’s only temporary, thank goodness.  I will snap out of it eventually. It just stinks while you are in the midst of it.  Mom life is hard enough, but when you are in a bad mood, it just magnifies it all.   

What I need is a reset.  I need to reset my mood from bad to good.  The hard part is realizing that you actually need a reset.  It has taken 3 days of suffering for me to get there. Once you figure out that your mood is what is causing all these negative feelings, you can actually begin to focus on making a change.  You have to realize that you are in control of how you feel and the only one that can change it is you.  The one thing that always helps me to reset is prayer.  I don’t mean just a quick little prayer sent up while you are busying doing something else at the same time.  I mean flat out stopping everything to sit and be present with God.  Just having a conversation with him about how I am feeling seems to lift weight off of me that I didn’t even know I was carrying around.  Talking through it all and really owning it, gives me a sense of peace every single time.  It helps me to turn my frown upside down.  I know that sounds silly, but it’s true.  It’s as simple as talking to God. That is exactly what I am going to do. I am going to close this post and pray. I am going to reset my heart and my mind with the peace that only God can give me.

Anchored,

Deployment Curse

You may or may not know that I am a military spouse.  My husband is an active duty naval officer and has been in the Navy since before we met.  Of course, I knew nothing about military life or what I was getting into when we got married. My grandfather was in the service well before I came along, and I had a couple of uncles who had been in the service, but I wasn’t around it enough to really understand what our life would be like or what it meant to be a military spouse.  Even when we were dating when I was still in college, I didn’t really get a sense of what it was like because he was just in schools during that time, I got to talk to him all the time and see him regularly. It was a pretty normal dating situation. I graduated from college and we were married two weeks after that. As we were leaving the church after the wedding ceremony, we walked through an arch of swords held up by some of his navy friends.  When we passed the last set of sword bearers, one of them smacked me on my backside with his sword and yelled, “Welcome to the Navy, Mam!”   Boy was I utterly clueless as to what that actually meant for me, but I was soon to find out.  Following a short honeymoon, which should have been my first clue that we were on military time and not our own, we moved to Georgia where he reported to his first submarine of our marriage.  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that he is a submariner, which is a whole different ballgame in itself and something that I definitely knew nothing about.  

Approximately 3 months after our wedding, he left for his first deployment. Now, it is important to note that this was almost 20 years ago before certain advancements in technology.  Back then there was no way to communicate with your spouse on a submarine other than through what was called a family gram.  You only got a small number that you could send each deployment (I think it was like 8), and it could literally only be 50 words long. The content was also heavily restricted.  If you were to write anything the Navy found questionable, your family gram wouldn’t get sent.  Yep, it was read by several people before being sent.  Let’s just say that you had to get creative.  We were coming up with codes and abbreviated acronyms long before the text lingo (LOL, BRB, etc.) of today came along.  It wasn’t until his second sea duty that email was made available on submarines.  Just like with the family grams, the content had to be restricted and was read by multiple people before it was sent to your loved one’s inbox.  Now, if you know anything about submarines, you know that their mission is to remain undetected at all times.  That means that the transmission of emails in very tricky.  They can only be uploaded during certain times, and even to this day emails are often lost in space somewhere.  Needless to say, communication with a submariner on deployment is spotty at best and completely unreliable.  There is no facetime or phone calls.  There is nothing but silence for weeks and months as a time. 

I know you are wondering why I am telling you all of this.  I do have a point, I promise. That first deployment was when I learned of the deployment curse.  Any military spouse out there knows exactly what I am talking about.  The second your husband leaves is the same second that anything and everything can go wrong. Trust me, it WILL go wrong.  It is when everything breaks, and everyone gets sick or injured.  The refrigerator will die, your kid will swallow a penny, another kid will get diagnosed with a rare disease, you will come down with the worst flu case of your life, you will get in a car crash, your house will get struck by lightning, you will give birth, and I could go on and on.  Yes, every single one of those things and many more happened while my husband was deployed at some point, and there was no way to communicate with him. Many of those are things that would get flagged in a family gram or email and wouldn’t get delivered to your spouse.  These are things that NEVER happen when he is home.  They always happen when he is gone. Every military spouse I know will tell you that the deployment curse exists.  It is real.  We have all experienced it more times than we can count.  You are left to deal with it all on your own.  You can’t talk to your spouse or ask him for advice or comfort.  As if it isn’t hard enough that you are left to care for your home, your children, and your life by yourself all while worrying about your spouse, these unexpected challenges just add to your stress.  You feel like you are utterly alone with the weight of the world on your shoulders. The days drag on while you wait for the next disaster to strike. It is so hard and led to some of the darkest days I have ever experienced.  

I honestly thought after my husband’s final sea duty I would never have to deal with the deployment curse again.  I thought that since he would never deploy again and would only be on shore duty from now on, that those days were behind me.  I was wrong.  He still has to travel much more than I expected.  No, it isn’t the same as a deployment because he isn’t gone months at a time with no communication at all, but it is enough to give me that lonely feeling again and, apparently, for the curse to still come.  He is currently away for a couple of weeks and is super busy.  Our communication has been limited because of his schedule. Wouldn’t you know? The garage door is broken.   Someone has been here twice already to attempt to fix it and as of last night, it is broken again. When I pulled in the driveway last night after running carpools for an hour and a half in the middle of a bad storm and the garage wouldn’t open, I suddenly had this flood of emotions.  It was like all the feelings of deployment rushing back.  I felt the strain of having to take care of everything on my own again.  I know that a broken garage door is not really a big deal. It is in fact very small compared to the things I have had to do on my own in the past, but for some reason it triggered an emotion in me.  It was almost like an “Oh no, not again” kind of moment that took me back, and I panicked.  Thankfully, the emotion only lasted a short time. I was back to being the strong, independent woman I know that I am when I woke up this morning.  I got up, called the garage company, and left them a firm message explaining my frustration and let them know that I did not plan to pay a third service fee for someone to come out again. I will handle it just like I have done for the past 20 years, and I will be better prepared the next time he leaves since I now know that the deployment curse can still strike at any time.  Just like that first deployment all those years ago, I was naive and wasn’t prepared for it this time around. 

Military life can either break you or build you into something stronger than you ever thought possible.  I have been blessed with a strong support system that has helped me weather the tough times.  That and my faith have carried me through it all.  I have proven to myself over and over that I can do hard things, and I will come out stronger on the other side. This time is no different.  

Anchored,

The Hair Saga Continues…

If you have been following me for a while now, you know about the saga that is my hair.  I have super thick, very straight hair that has been a source of angst for most of my life…from the days when my mom and grandmother made me get perms as a child that looked like a bush on my head to my recent allergic reactions to hair dye. It is just a disaster.  About a year and half ago I began trying to stretch out the time between washing my hair.  Because my hair is so thick, it takes me forever to dry it with a hair dryer, and I absolutely hated having to do it every day.  My hair definitely isn’t the type that can air dry either.  Anyway, I have friends that can go for a week without washing their hair with it still looking great, so I figured I could probably train my hair to go a little longer.  Plus, I know that it is healthier for my hair to not wash and dry it every day like I have done for the majority of my life.  Anyway, I eased into it by starting out trying to wash it every other day.  It took a while to get used to it and for my hair to adjust.  I wasn’t sure at first that I was going to be able to stand it.  There were a lot of hat days in the beginning. My hair seemed to be in a state of shock, and it did not like the fact that I wasn’t washing it daily. I was determined, though, and kept at it.  I found a great dry shampoo that I love (read more about it here) and was eventually able to spread it out to 2 days between washes after a few months.  I was never able to go any longer than 2 days without it looking too flat and gross.  I was totally ok with that because I was at least not having to dry it every single day.  It is amazing how much time I saved both in the shower and getting ready in the mornings.  It was definitely a win for me.  I honestly now think my hair looks best on the day after washing it because sleeping on it flattens it out a bit and it doesn’t look as full, thick, and wiry as it does on the days I wash it.  My hair even felt softer when I was not blasting it with all that heat every day. 

Overall, I would say that my journey to less washes has been a success…until now.  For some reason in the last month or so, my hair has decided that it doesn’t like me not washing it every day.  It has developed a mind of its own and has started doing crazy things.  It is suddenly oilier and more resistant to the dry shampoo.  It has started flipping out in random spots that I cannot for the life of me get to flip the right way. Some days I even look like I stuck my finger in an electric socket between the short new hairs sticking straight up all around my face and the static electricity.  Other days it looks like I glued all my hair down to my head. My hair is a hot mess, and I can’t stand it. I don’t know if it is hormone related or what, but I don’t like it. I am beginning to think that I am going to have to go back to washing it every day again. I tried going back to just washing it every other day instead of going 2 days between washes, but that doesn’t seem to be helping either.  I have even suddenly noticed more grey hair too! I know that has nothing to do with how often I wash it, but it just adds to the disaster that is my hair right now.  The worst part, though, is that it doesn’t even look good on the days that I wash it anymore either.  What is going on? Do I need to switch up my shampoos? Am I starting menopause? I’ve heard of hair loss during menopause, but does it make your hair go wacko too? Am I going to be forced to wear a hat every single day of the week for the foreseeable future? I sure hope this is a very short phase that my hair is going through and that it will go back to normal soon.  Otherwise, I might be forced to shave it all off and start over!  

Anchored and Rambling,

Carpool Rage

SCHOOL CARPOOL LINE…There are not many things that make my blood boil like those 3 words.  Before my kids were school age, I always said that I didn’t want them to ever ride the school bus.  As a public school teacher, I had heard a lot of stories about things that happened on buses, and I just didn’t want my kids exposed to that. When my oldest started school, I had someone that would take her to and from school every day because I was at work. I didn’t get the joy of the carpool line back then, thankfully.  By the time my youngest started school, I had to switch them to a new daycare provider who wasn’t able to drive them. I had no choice but to reluctantly allow them to ride the bus. Thankfully, they had amazing bus drivers that put all my fears to rest. They actually loved riding the bus with their friends.  When we moved to Georgia and I was only teaching part time, I decided to drive them to school every morning. The bus there came super early, and I didn’t want them to have to get up that early or sit on the bus for a long time.  They rode the bus home every afternoon, though.  The morning carpool line was never an issue.  It moved quickly and efficiently.  When we moved this last time and I was no longer teaching, I again decided to drive them to school in the mornings, so they didn’t have to wake up extra early.  Just as before, I have no issues with the morning drop off.  It all runs smoothly and is basically a drop-and-go kind of thing at both schools.  The issue comes in the afternoon.  I have to pick them up from school because of their practice schedules.  The bus would get them home too late to make it to practice on time, so last year began my first experience with the afternoon carpool line.  I absolutely HATE it! I quickly learned that you have to actually get in the carpool line 30-45 minutes BEFORE school gets out. If you don’t, you are stuck in the back of a really long line that takes forever and defeats the purpose of picking them up to begin with.  If I am in the back of the line, they will be late to practice. That means I am forced to get there crazy early to just sit in my car.  It is insane to me.  My youngest gets out of school at 3:25, and I leave my house at 2:45 to drive the 5 minutes it takes me to get there.   I sit there for 35 minutes just to be NEAR the front of the line.  I am not even in the front.  There are usually at least 10-15 cars already in line when I get there.  I swear those cars get there an hour early.  WHY???? I refuse to get there any earlier. Once my youngest gets in the car, I drive straight to the high school to get in line to get my other child who gets out at 4:05.  Again, I am there around 30 minutes before school gets out and there is already a line of cars when I get there.  My youngest gets so irritated that she has to sit in the car with me for 30 minutes, but I have no choice.  If I take her home (and I have tried) before I go to the high school, I get stuck in the very back of the line, and then we are late to gymnastics.  Once I have both kids, I drive straight to practice and then back home.  I don’t usually get home until around 5:00.  That means that I am in my car from 2:45-5:00 EVERY SINGLE DAY because of the dumb carpool line! 

As if having to get in line so early isn’t bad enough, that isn’t the thing that makes my blood boil the most.  What makes me go postal almost every day is the other parents in the line.  Both schools have a set route of how you are supposed to line up for pickup so that it runs as efficiently as possible and to prevent a long backup onto the main road.The line is supposed to wind through the parking lot.  They have taken great care to post signs and paint arrows on the ground to indicate where to go, AND they send out maps outlining it all at the beginning of every school year.  They even occasionally send out reminders throughout the school year.  However, there are always those parents who think that the rules don’t apply to them or that can’t follow signs, huge arrows, and maps.  They either mess up the whole flow of traffic, cause a traffic jam, or they try to cheat the system and get in front of all of us that have been sitting there forever. The ones who try to cheat the system are the ones that just about send me over the edge every day. They are driving over or around cones and totally ignoring the fact that the rest of us have a line that has formed the way we are supposed to.  I end up sitting in my car where they can’t hear me fussing at them all.  It makes me crazy!  What makes them think that they are better than the rest of us in the line? Why do they think the rules don’t apply to them? I certainly don’t want to have to get in line so early, but others make it so that I have no choice.  I still follow the rules and do what I am supposed to do.  I would love to roll up right before dismissal and pull right up to the front and get my kid, but that isn’t how it works.  There is a process, and I follow it because that is what you are supposed to do.  Ugh! It makes me so mad! Then there are inevitably those people that get in line but then get out of their car and go into the school. They don’t park in a parking spot and go in. They park in the carpool line.  Then they don’t come back before school gets out and the line starts moving. We are all now stuck behind them not moving because we can’t go forward or around them safely.  Everyone behind you starts blowing the horn, but there is nothing you can do about it unless you just push the unoccupied car out of the way. Trust me, I have been tempted to push a car or two.  I swear I have don’t have road rage, but I sure do get carpool rage.  I don’t know why it bothers me so much other than the fact that I am giving up my time to sit in the line and follow the rules. I guess I think it isn’t fair.  Whatever it is, I think I need an intervention.  I have to figure out how to let it go and not let it get to me.  

All those years ago when I said that I never wanted my kids to ride the bus is coming back to bite me now.  There is nothing I want more than for them to be able to ride the bus.  I wish practice wasn’t right after school so that they could.  Instead, I will continue to waste hours of my time sitting there in line and will try to work on reducing my rage.  I know that some of you feel the same way because I am always seeing complaints about the carpool line in my social media feed.  Why does it have to be so challenging? Ugh! Ok, I will end my venting session.  I’ll go do some deep breathing and try to let it go…until this afternoon. 

Anchored and Rambling,

Dance Like No ONe’s Watching

I have to tell you something that I saw yesterday that totally made me do a double take and gave me a good laugh. I was sitting in the carpool line to pick up my youngest.  Everyone gets there like 30-40 minutes before the kids get out of school to get in line. Yes, I know it is ridiculous.  The point is that we all sit there for a good amount of time. Anyway, I was sitting in my car reading a book when I saw another mom get out of her car. No big deal.  Then I noticed her walking in circles around her car.  I thought it was odd, but I figured she was trying to get some steps in and do a little exercise.  I guess it is a good way to pass the time.  Again, not a big deal. I carried on with reading my book.  When I looked up again a few minutes later, she was not only walking in circles around her car, but she was now flat out dancing around her car. I’m not talking about just bobbing her head and swaying a bit either. She was full on dancing. I started to think it was a little odd because she had to know that we could all see her. She didn’t seem to have a care in the world, though. At this point, I was having a hard time not watching her.  It was then that I noticed that she had headphones on.  They weren’t the typical headphones you see these days like Beats, and they certainly weren’t little earbuds or Air pods.  They were definitely not wireless either. They were the kind with the foam circle earpieces and the thin silver headband with a cord attaching it to something.  If you are anywhere near my age, you know the ones I am talking about. They were the ones we all had back in the day but that you rarely see these days.  I thought that alone was kind of funny, and then I realized that she had whatever the headphones were attached to tucked into her jeans.  I wasn’t sure what it was at first, but I figured it was her phone. Then she took it out from her jeans and was holding it in her hands. I thought that it was too big to be a phone, so I squinted to see what it was. You guys, it was a little CD player! I just started laughing to myself.  Not only was she dancing around her car in the middle of the carpool line, but she was also listening to a Walkman! She was taking it back old school!  I just thought it was so funny.  I haven’t seen one of those in years.  I’m betting that my kids wouldn’t even know what it was.  It took me back in time for sure.  I mean, really? Who uses those anymore? Who even listens to CD’s anymore? I wish I could have gotten a picture or video of the scene without her knowing because it was so funny to me.  

As I thought about it later in the day, two things stuck out to me. The first was her reckless abandon.  She didn’t have a care in the world.  It didn’t matter who could see her or what a fool she was making of herself. She didn’t care.  She was doing something that brought her joy. She was dancing her little behind off and having a good old time.  I could never do that.  Ever! I care way too much about what others think about me, and I certainly wouldn’t be caught dead with someone watching me dance.  Yes, I was laughing at the situation, but I really admire this stranger for just putting herself out there and not caring what others thought about her.  I wish that was a trait I possessed.  I wish that I didn’t let other people’s opinions of me prevent me from doing things that bring me joy.  The second thing that stood out to me was the fact that she didn’t have the latest high-tech gadgets.  She didn’t need them.  She has likely had that Walkman for many years. She hasn’t spent a ton of money to get the latest and greatest thing.  She had exactly what she needed to bring joy into her life, and it didn’t cost her a fortune. Most of us are guilty of thinking that we need the latest and greatest thing out there to make us happy when in reality we don’t.  Those things don’t bring happiness.  They are just things.  What made this lady so happy wasn’t the gadget that she was holding.  It was the feeling she got from the music flowing into her ears and movements it brought out of her.   It was the reckless abandon she felt dancing to her own beat.  We could all learn a lot from this lady, her old school gadgets, and her smooth dance moves.  Possessions and other people’s opinions shouldn’t matter.  We should all get out there and dance in the parking lot like no one’s watching! I bet it would make you smile!

Anchored,

College Decisions

image from militaryonesource.mil

Well, it is happening.  It is really happening, and it scares me to death.  The college brochures and emails have started coming daily for my oldest.  I am not ready to think about that.  She is certainly not ready to think about it. It’s happening too fast.  How can it be that time already? She has 2 more years of high school before it really happens, but that day is approaching way quicker than I like.  Next year is when we will start making the college visits and really narrowing it down.  The thing that scares me the most is that I don’t think she is ready.  I am terrified about her going off on her own.  She isn’t mature enough, and I don’t know how she will handle life without us there.  I swear my 11-year-old is way more mature than my 15-year-old.  It is kind of sad, but it just who she is.  She is so painfully shy, and has difficulty speaking up around others.  She struggles with ordering her own food at a restaurant or answering the doctor’s questions when she has an appointment.  We force her to do these things, but it is like pulling teeth.  She is the kid that I have to tell to eat lunch when it is time, or she won’t eat.  How in the world is she going to make it in college? 

image from lifehacker.com

I see her so differently from myself when I was that age.  I cared about my grades and wanting to get into a good school.  I was doing everything I could to ensure I would get some scholarships.  By the time I was her age, I knew without a doubt what I wanted to do with my life.  I knew that I wanted to major in education, and I knew that I wanted to go to a smaller school away from home.  I was all ready to go visit different schools and make a decision on the best place for me.  I already had ideas of the schools I wanted to see. I had a friend who was a couple of years older than me who I looked up to.  She went to a small women’s college, and there was something about that idea that intrigued me.  I choose several women’s colleges along with a few other small schools to visit.  There was one women’s college that I had never heard of, but I remember getting a brochure in the mail and being very interested.  The first time I set foot on that campus for a tour, I knew that that was the college for me.  It was an instant feeling I got, and I was going to do whatever it took for me to go there.  My child, though, doesn’t care about school and grades, and there has never been a thought of scholarships in her mind.  She has no clue what she wants to do with her life, and she has no interest at all in colleges.   She could care less. When we press her on it, she talks about all these big schools that I know will swallow her whole.  She needs to go to a small school.  I think that a school like I went to would be perfect for her, but she has no desire to go to the same school as me.  She says there is no way she is going to a women’s college.  I’m ok with that, but she really needs to start thinking about finding the one that is right for her.  I honestly feel like my husband and I are going to be forced to choose a school for her, and I certainly don’t want that. I keep hoping that she is going to step up and be more responsible, but so far that hasn’t happened.  I feel like we have pushed her pretty hard over the years and we have always had very high expectations for her.  Some would say that we have been too hard on her, but it is only because we want the best for her.  I just wish that she would care more and have more drive.  I wish she would show some responsibility. Don’t get me wrong, she is a good kid and she stays out of trouble.  She makes good grades, but she doesn’t push herself.  It isn’t a priority for her.  I think that is what is so hard about it for me.  School was the #1 priority for me, and it is just hard for me to watch it not be for her. 

The days are coming when she has to make some hard decisions. I will do my best to guide her, but I will be shaking through it all. I want so much for her in her future, and I know that God is going to lead her down the right path. I just wish I knew what that path was. It would sure make my life a lot easier! I just have to put my trust in God and her and just pray that it all works out the way it is meant to. I have to trust that the lessons we have taught her will be enough for her to make it out in the world on her own. She will always be my little peanut, and I will always worry about her. I have to prepare myself to let go. I’ve still got a little bit of time to hold on tight before that happens, though, and I plan to take advantage of every bit of it.

Anchored,

Learning “NO”

I am struggling today with a commitment that I made.  I committed to something several months ago that I was hesitant about to begin with.  I was asked to take on a leadership role for something, and I initially said no.  However, I was strongly persuaded into eventually saying yes even though I still had my doubts about it.  Now several months in and it has become something I really do not want to be a part of just as I had feared it would.  First of all, I really don’t have the time to commit to the role as is needed.  I have had to miss important events and meetings, which I am very uncomfortable about.  Plus, I just don’t feel like I can devote the time needed to complete many of the tasks.   I can’t give it 100%, which we all know is super uncharacteristic of me.  I am typically an all or nothing kind of person.  Doing something halfway just isn’t in my nature.  It really bothers me that I feel like I am not doing the job well, but I just don’t have the time to give it my all.  The second reason I do not want this role is that there is some drama attached to it.  I don’t do drama, and I want no part in it.  It makes me super anxious, and I just don’t want my name associated with it.  Then, finally, the third reason I want out of this role is that there are a lot of politics involved.  The politics of it kind of goes hand in hand with the drama.  There are people trying to insert their power and others trying to take control.  People are butting heads and getting angry, and I am trying my best to stay out of it.  I feel like some people are being combative just to be combative.  It is just a very uncomfortable situation.   As a result of all this, it has become a real dilemma for me.  I don’t want this job at all, and I don’t know how to get out of it.  I am not a quitter.  I committed to it, even under pressure, and I feel like I have to see it through.  However, I am having a real mental struggle with it. I want out so bad, but I don’t want to cause more drama by stepping down, and I certainly don’t want to be viewed badly for not fulfilling my commitment. I honestly don’t know what to do about it.  It is causing a lot of worry and anxiety for me.  

I feel like I am stuck and there is nothing I can do about it.  This is what happens to me when I cannot say no. It is a huge flaw that I have.  I let people talk me into things that I don’t want to do because I have a hard time telling them no.  I don’t want to let people down, and I definitely don’t want them to think less of me. Then I get stuck in a situation like this that I can’t get out of, and it is making me miserable.  I wish that I could stand up for myself and say no. I knew that this wasn’t going to turn out well, yet I still agreed to do it.  I had the courage to say no initially but then I let others talk me out of that no.  Why couldn’t I have just stuck to my guns? Why did I let them talk me into it? Do other people’s opinions of me really affect me that much? The answer to that one is yes. I am coming to understand that the biggest reason that I can’t say no is because I care about what others will think about me. I let their opinion of me rule my choices.  It’s sad, but I do constantly think about what others think. Rachel Hollis says, “Other people’s opinion of you is none of your business.”   I wish that I could take that to heart, but I struggle with it a lot.  I cannot say no because of fear of what they will think of me when I do. I worry about it way too much.

Rachel Hollis-Girl, Stop Apologizing

I also lack courage. I wish that I had the courage to get out now. I wish I had the courage to stand up for myself.  I am like the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz searching for courage except there is no yellow brick road or wizard to give me some.  I have to find it on my own.  I want more than anything just say that I am done and step down from this position and that be the end of it. Again I worry, though. I worry about what others will think if I step down.  I worry that they won’t be able to find someone else to fill the position, and I know that there will be pressure for me to stay on.  I know people will do all they can to talk me into staying on, and because I don’t have the courage to say no, I will continue to do it and be miserable.  I feel like there is just no way for me to win in this situation.  I just don’t have enough courage to get out.

Being able to say no and having courage to stand up for myself are things that I am working on. I am trying to learn to make myself a priority and not overcommit myself, but it is so hard.  I really have to learn to not care so much about what other people think of me because I need to take care of myself and my own mental health.  Their opinions of me really don’t matter. Somehow, I have to burn that into my brain. Being in this situation is not fun and I really hate that I am stuck here.  I need to take my word for this year, RELENTLESS, and apply it towards this situation.  I need to be relentless in saying no.  I need to have relentless courage.  I guess I will keep working on it until it finally sinks in.   That’s what relentless means after all, right?

Anchored,