Thursday, May 4, 2017

Freak Accident, Not Stupidity

I wrote this last month, but didn't post it until I could review it as a sane person.  

Dear Everyone,

Image result for obituaryI've always said, rather morbidly I guess, that I think it would be cool if my obituary had the words, "Freak Accident" in it somewhere.  I still think that would be amazing.  Especially if the word, "Potato Truck" was in there somehow, too.
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Words I don't want it to include however, are "Perfectionism," "Insanity," "Anxiety," or "Stress."

So, now that there is full clarity of the objectives, I need to change some behaviors.  Today.  Yesterday, probably...

Because for the past week I've been having back-to-back migraines.  And shingles.  And I'm on the road to bald spots.  I'm not kidding.

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I'm hollerin' 'NUFF!

I've lost track of my priorities, and somehow I care so much about what I think YOU think, that I can't even function. 

The idea behind my recent behavior was to spare you any inconvenience or discomforts.  So I'd attempt to guess exactly what it is you wanted and needed, and when I guessed wrong, I'd be almost paralyzed with frustration.  Then I'd try again with something more elaborate.

I invited criticism, I'd say yes to EVERYTHING and I'd volunteer for the stuff you forgot to impose upon me.  
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I was enabling some of you.  I was creating a false dependence to make myself important.  I was spinning out of control.  

It was a disservice to everyone involved.

Just to be clear, you didn't ask for it.  In fact, it was probably making you just as crazy as it was making me. 

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Pintrest Fail
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Wait, we can make this work...

So I'm eliminating the unnecessary, and changing my self-talk, and I'm going to start doing the Most Important Things.  

This may be painful for some of you.  (It's gonna hurt me, too.)  It will at least make you do a double-take when I nicely say no.  Or I might use the phrase one of my therapists tried to teach me a long time ago, "Um, I'm gonna let you be in charge of that."

I know it's fun when I jump in and offer to drive you when your destination is just down the block.  In fact, last week while I could barely move for pain, you were upset that I wouldn't do "just this one thing" for you.
And I know it was super important to have the (in my irritated opinion) unnecessary meeting before you left town; but it made me miserable typing when I just wanted to curl up and die.  Creating the agenda, all the time trying to guess what it was supposed to contain, and bracing myself for the kind critique that might follow was also fun.  (Just for the record, there was no critique, kind or otherwise.  I wasn't being fair to you when I expected it.) And I was in charge of the important meeting, but couldn't even attend when it came right down to it, because for some reason I wasn't recovering very quickly.  Huh.  I was pretty wound up, but it never even occurred to me to just politely decline or delegate.  NOT your fault; MINE.

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And maybe it even had the cute double message of "I'm way more amazing than you!  Look how perfect I can make it!"

I'm sorry.   There is no Perfect Person.  Insufferable pride was the root of this, and I am now going to try for some humble.  

I mean, it'll come as no surprise to anyone that I gave up the body-image perfectionism a while ago.  Actually, it was mercifully taken from me from a Loving Father in Heaven, who helped me to see that my body is beautiful.  I love my body.  No boob job, no tummy tuck, no liposuction--I barely clip my toenails.  My feelings of beauty are a miracle, really.  And they're maybe even pretty humble, because I know I'll never be on the front of a magazine, but I really don't want to be.  I just want to always be grateful for this amazing body I was blessed with.

And the attempt at being stylish or even having clothes that match each other didn't really even leave the tarmac.  So, not that kind of perfectionism.

But I've been growing my own special brand of perfectionistic superiority, and it's destroying me.  
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I want my children to be able to take risks without worrying that their version of life is not "right."  I want them to contribute to society and clean up after themselves.  If I jump in to be the hero, or do their part for them, or drop everything to save them some inconvenience how will they learn to plan strategically ahead and be responsible?  How will they stretch and grow and learn from their mistakes?  Also, their future roommates will want to kill them.

If I take on your problem and make it better my way, what have you gained?
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Furthermore, I think it's such a blessing that we are living in a world where there is safety, peace, time and resources for Pintrest projects, but I'm all done attempting them at school and church.  

I'd love to help you as a teacher or PTA person with REAL-LIFE service needs, (not fluffy-froofy stuff) but you also need to know that I'm often flaky.  Not on purpose, but still, often.  My lifestyle poses quite a risk for last minute legitimate fires that I have to extinguish.  This makes me feel terrible, but there's nothing I can do when it happens.  I'm accepting my life as it is right now, not as I want it to be.
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It turns out that I don't actually have the time, resources, or frankly the skill-set for cutsie stuff, or even good stuff.  I love it when you do, but I will no longer be jumping in and making commitments that I can't keep.

I'm done running on empty, painfully laying in my bed, all drugged up, and not actually doing anything for anyone.

 Because when I've had nothing left within myself, I was unavailable for my teen in crisis, and I couldn't help my adult child who is bravely fighting a huge battle. The easy-going children fall through the cracks, or decide on attention-getting behaviors.  I've missed some milestones--their young lives move so quickly, and I've been missing the most important things.

My sweet husband has had too much to carry.  

I've not been there for the YW at church who might have needed my love or guidance.  And my friends have been forced to look elsewhere for support.

The people who need to lean on me can't when I'm burned out.

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Much wisdom can be found in memes.
The stupid thing about all this is that it was my own fault.

I pray for wisdom, charity, humility, self-control, the ability to see the humor in things, gratitude, and hope.  I seek the strength to stand firm in my core objectives and also my personal boundaries.

I seek for strategic, deliberate actions and decisions.

If I try to slow down and see things clearly, if I try to make my motives and my actions pure, and if I take good care of myself so that I can take care of others, I will have more JOY.  I will reach my objectives.
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So, I can't help you for a couple of days, I'm sorting out my stuff.

1 comment:

SaraLyn said...

I love you, Jeri! I can identify with so much of what you are saying! Taking on responsibility even just mentally for everyone and their happiness and their reactions.... it's true- not our job! Have you read the book "Boundaries?" I should've long ago. And I need to internalize it now! And so sorry that your body is fighting you. Will pray for you. Call me anytime! Love you!