Thursday, December 1, 2016

What I Learned in November

I'm linking up with Emily to share some things I've learned this month. I thought this was going to be a shorter list than normal, but then I got to thinking about some recent conversations with a couple of friends. A lot of this goes really deep, maybe even to the deepest level. I feel like these have started to have more of a theme- last month I learned a lot from staying at my parents' house to take care of my elderly grandmother and from our camping trip. This month I feel like I learned a bit about my writing and about how I view myself and interact with others around me. I also learned about seasonal changes, the holidays, and hospitality.

1. If you're an introvert with a nursing infant (even one who loves their families and the families they married into with their whole hearts), wearing something that is absolutely not nursing friendly and escaping to a dark room to snuggle and decompress a few times is absolutely heavenly. 
Bonus: people will be lining up to entertain your other children.       

2. Each year, I almost feel like I hate Fall/Winter more and more. And I feel like the world (or those in my circles) love it more and more every year. And I sort of feel a pressure to love it. It's funny because I don't really compare with houses and cars and things now, but sometimes I play that game with things like what seasons I enjoy. Anyway, it's sort of an HSP thing. My skin feels gross and I don't like the way my clothes feel against my body and I wake up cold every morning. 

3. Our house, and lives, will never be perfect and I used that as an excuse to distance myself from others for too long. 
I'm so thankful for friends who show up in the messes. 
4. For me at least (but I think for many people) it is so much easier to reach out to someone who you feel like is "less together" or at least on level with you. Awhile back I really wanted to reach out to an acquaintance who was expecting her first baby- invite her and her husband over for dinner or something- but I was intimidated and I didn't do it. 

5. One of my children has a conviction (or rather compulsion) about doing work on Sunday. One does not. [The one who does is the one who laid down in the dark two hours before bedtime one evening a few weeks ago and said "I'll just pick my boogers and count to one hundred". The one who does not is the one who stopped mid sentence, pointed, and shouted "Look! Squirrel!" like those cartoon dogs. Different strengths, different challenges at the Schoolhouse in the Suburbs.]

6. If you become anxious that your almost eight year old infant seat is a brittle piece of crap but your baby can't sit unassisted, you can still use it as a seat outside of the car.
 I mean, Sal is the exact opposite of a container baby and the Tula works in most situations, but SHE CAN'T SIT UP. And sometimes I'm in situations (like Graves's Little Gym class) where I want to sit without her. [Aside: this cute MilkSnob cover doubles for discreet nursing!]

7. Envy/jealousy is one of the hardest things for me to admit. I think mostly because of how I know it will make the other person feel. I know it makes me SUPER uncomfortable when someone tells me they envy an aspect of my life/personality. I mean it's not near as bad as when you realize someone feels sorry for you and is so thankful they don't have your life. Either way, comparison is so damaging. But I think it's so beneficial to be honest with those things and often I just have to say "yes, I love that aspect of my life, but there's also this aspect you may not we aware of".

8. If you ever need to remove a Band Aid from...a sensitive oil is your BFF
(Hashtag Vasectomy Tips)

9. Y'all, I mean this in a one hundred percent not creepy way) but my dad circa 1985 was Springsteen level good lookin'.

10. I feel more confident in my writing/on social media than in real life. Two of my very closest friends have said, at different points, that I appear way more confident on here than I do in real life. I used to deny it but honestly, they are spot on. It's hard to admit because I try SO hard to be transparent with my struggles and even the fact that I am very insecure about a lot of things. I hope that comes across- because I think it's important to share. Not to stay undone and a mess for other people but to be honest with myself and with others. That said, I do feel like I'm so much better at articulating myself in writing than in conversation.

11. Even when I share the hard things, I want to put a bow on them and not really just sit in the tension. I know there's a variety of reasons- wanting people to know I'm not looking for advice is a big part of it. I'm at a point in my life where I do like having friends that help me troubleshoot problems, but as often as not, I just need somebody to listen and empathize. More than that, though, I think is the fear that people will pity me if I admit something's wrong and there's not really a solution for it. For me, that's about the worst feeling in the world. But I want to get better, in my writing, but more importantly in my relationships, about not always feeling compelled to present everything as if it's hard but somewhat resolved when in reality I need to sit with the messiness of it.

Whew, lots of good learning this month! 

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