Jeez, Kid. What Do I Look Like? Your MOM?

So, Wesley gets leg cramps.

Before we go any further, let me assure you: We have tried your method! I promise! He’s been suffering from them off and on since he was 2, they’re growing pains that follow a pattern, and we’ve tried EVERYTHING. We have a system of methods we try in order of least disruptive and it’s a functioning system. I only add this because – I find that “leg cramps” garners more advice than breastfeeding or diapering. I think because everyone remembers the horror of it and wants to impart their learned wisdom. So, I want to stop anyone from stressing, we’ve tried your method! I assure you! It might have worked for us, it might be part of our system, but don’t stress about sharing it. After three years we’ve heard it all!

Now, back to leg cramps.

For years he would just wake up screaming because he was too young to really process the whole situation. But around 4 1/2 or so we were able to convince him to get us quietly when they start hurting and now wait until it got that bad and not just lay in his bed screaming.

Life got SO MUCH BETTER. It’s a lot easier to be woken up with a tap at the door or a soft, “Mom?” than the screaming bloody murder. I would wake up a lot more accommodating because my adrenaline wasn’t rushing and my nerves weren’t fried from the sudden, “AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!”

But then, out of the blue, last week he went back to the screaming method. TWICE now he’s done the Waking By Terrorizing when he’s gotten leg cramps and MAN. I am NOT a good mother when he wakes me up like that.

In my defense, it’s not that rational – my anger. It’s the crazy rush of adrenaline and then frustration and irritation combined with exhaustion and sleep deprivation but I am NOT nice. Last night I basically guilted him about his leg cramps. My immediate response was, “OH MY GOD, WESLEY. WHY DO YOU WAKE ME UP SCREAMING, AND WHY NOT WAKE UP YOUR DAD? STOP CRYING OH MY GOD YOU NEED TO CALM DOWN. I AM SO TIRED!!!!!”

It was not my finest moment. Which I realized as soon as I woke up enough to REALLY process his pain and also he started apologizing through his tears, “Momma…I’m sorry…I’m sorry…My leg just hurts…”

Yeah. I woke up enough to realize, Oh, man. I’m a big piece of steaming poop of a Mom right now.

I eventually woke up enough, and stabilized enough, to address his needs. I worked through our system and eventually got him back to sleep, albeit restlessly.

Yeah…not my finest parenting moment. Yelling at my kid for having pain he can’t control. Guilting him about needing me when he’s hurting me. So, let’s hope he’ll go back to waking me up QUIETLY and GENTLY so that I have better odds at being helpful and not, you know, a giant beeyatch.

Why I Am Such A Paranoid Atheist

I read an amazing article yesterday written by a Christian and relating some of the religious right’s “activism” to Jesus’ teachings. I mean, it BLEW MY MIND. I immediately shared it out on Twitter but hesitated before sharing it out on Facebook. I tweeted about my nervousness and was reassured by a few people. But a few others were confused, “Why does being an atheist mean you can’t share out stuff like this on Facebook?”

And – it doesn’t. At all. But, here’s the thing. Actually – here’s TWO things.

1) There are Christians in my life that I love dearly and would never want to disrespect.
2) I have had experience with Fundamentalist Christians in the past that have taught me that some of them feel like an atheist commenting on Jesus or the Bible is disrespectful.

Am I being disrespectful in my mind? No. And do I think interpreting it as disrespectful is logical? No. But still…remember? Feelings are feelings, they don’t follow logical patterns. And I worry a lot about the people I know and I fear them thinking I’m disrespecting them or their religion.

Basically, my experience in the past with some Fundamentalists (most of my Christian friends and family are NOT Fundamentalists, by the way, which I think is why most of my Christian friends and family are LGBT supporters) relates to Jesus. They look at Jesus as the Son of God and their Savior whereas I’m like, “Cool guy that taught cool stuff.”

To many Fundamentalists, I must believe Jesus is either a Lunatic or a Liar (there’s actually literature entitled that) if I do not believe he’s the Son of God. Because, the Bible is truth and Jesus said he was the Son of God so I have to choose to either believe hew was crazy or lying. And if I believe either of those things about the Son of God or their Savior, they find that VERY disrespectful. At least some of them do.

The problem is, these Fundamentalists assume one postulate of truth that I don’t: That the Bible Is True. I don’t believe the Bible is any sort of truthful documentation of anything, so I can just believe Jesus was a guy who taught some cool stuff and I don’t have to worry about the rest. Maybe he was a liar. Maybe he was a lunatic. Or maybe he never said anything about being the son of God. Or Maybe he never even existed. None of it really matters to someone who doesn’t believe in the Bible as some sort of Truth Text From God.

If I found out my son’s math teacher was addicted to My Little Pony, that wouldn’t suddenly make her teachings untrue. If I found out BrenĂ© Brown was a pathological liar, it wouldn’t make my revelations about myself based on her books be false. I can still look a the Jesus’ teachings in the Bible and talk to the kids about them without having to worry about the truth behind his existence. The TEACHINGS are what’s important. As an atheist with no affection for the Bible? The rest is not.

And in my experience, some Fundamentalists look at those two paragraphs above and think that this attitude means that any time I talk about Jesus, I’m being disrespectful. That by using Jesus’ teachings to support my non-Biblical beliefs (like treating people in the LGBT community with respect) would be like someone from another country who burns our flag, using words from our constitution out of context to support their genocide.

Now, none of my Christian friends in YEARS have had this attitude. BUT! Since some in my past have, I get VERY paranoid about offending people. And “offending” them is not even the real issue, but to be perceived as being disrespectful? That concerns me. Because I’m that person that worries more about what people think of me, than I do about how they treat me.

Of course, the BIGGER issue is probably this: If someone on Facebook thinks I’m being disrespectful, then chances are – they don’t believe in gay rights and probably also believe my gay family are a bunch of sinners destined for Hell. So, in truth? Our friendship could never go that deep anyway, so why do I worry about someone whose friendship could only be surface level?

I don’t know. But I worry about them nonetheless. So, I posted the article but with the following accompanying status:

I always worry it might seem disrespectful to share out Christian writings as an atheist, but voices like this are so important to all LGBT teens questioning their faith. Support from people like me doesn’t help as much as support from people of similar religious beliefs. So, I feel like I need to share it…for them. But as I share it, I do it with respect, even as an outsider.

And y’all? It took me 30 minutes to do that! I kept deleting and retyping and rephrasing. I didn’t want to pander and be all, “I’m sorry if this hurts your feelings!” but I wanted people to know that I respect these Christian voices greatly because they are needed in the army of support. An LGBT teen questioning their faith is not going to value support from a heathen like me anywhere near as much as a Christian like Rachel Evans. And I really wanted to make sure I conveyed that. Like, I’m not sharing this to poop on your God and his son, I’m sharing this in the hopes that it will reach the LGBT teen questioning their faith in light of their sexual orientation.

So, even though I know 95% of my FB friends would not flinch over me sharing such a thing, I fret over the 5% that might.

But really…would you expect anything else from me at this point?

And do I wish I could say, “Screw those 5%!” and just post anyway? Sometimes. But here’s the REAL truth. If some of my 5% think that my gay family is destined for hell, then I believe I can convince them otherwise. SERIOUSLY. I believe if I respect their faith and keep posting articles like that from Rachel Evans, and keep telling my story and the story of my gay family, then one day it will be MY VOICE that will finally change their hearts. I truly believe that. And I can not change their hearts and bring them to my side by being disrespectful, so I try to avoid that. My Christian friends who already support LGBT rights? Hopefully they’ll share out the article too and change THEIR friend’s hearts.

That’s the truth. I don’t protect their feelings because I value them more than my supportive friends. I protect their feelings to keep the pathway of communication open so that someday they’ll see something I write or something I post and the switch will flip and they’ll say, “How can I possibly deny these people their right to spend their lives holding a covenant they so desperately want to share with the person they love?

That’s where my Faith lies. I believe that one day they’ll all be on my side. As long as I keep speaking with kindness and respect.

Naive? Yes. Definitely. Ego-Centric? OF COURSE. Necessary in the shifting the tides of cultural issues? Without a doubt.

Downplaying Compliments

So one time, there was this girl who started reading a self help book and then she had four good days and she wrote about how simply the act of reading the book seemed to help her, and then…you know…TO PROVE THE POINT…she stopped reading it for two days and ATE ALL OF THE FOODS IN ALL OF THE LANDS.

She also started yelling at her kids again.

And kinda fumbled a few life tasks.

Experiment done! Go back to reading the book, lady! STAT.
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I’ve decided that we (me) need to work on doing two things:

1) Owning our accomplishments
2) Accepting compliments

I’ve actually been working on both of these things for awhile, as it has come to my attention as I run more and more, that maybe sometimes I do things worth praise.

I KNOW! REVOLUTIONARY!

It’s hard when someone says, “It’s amazing all the running you do. Seriously. You’re a beast.” Because – here are the immediate thoughts that pop into my head.

Well, those girls I know training for a 100-miler, they’re running more.

Em, yeah, but you could run this much too if you never cleaned your house, or wore makeup, or went to church, or had to commute to work…

But it’s something I HAVE to do, it keeps me sane. It’s as connected to keeping me a functioning adult as eating breakfast every morning. So, it’s not much of a challenge to keep doing it.

I don’t really run more than the average person during the week, I just cram it all in on the weekends to make up for it.

And yes, all of those are true. But, they don’t lessen the fact that I ran 35 miles in two days. So, part of me forces myself to say, “HOLY CRAP! 35 MILES IN TWO DAYS!” Separate from all of the voices inside my head minimizing the accomplishment. I try to FORCE myself to look at myself from the eyes of 2009 Kim. It’s not that hard, since she was me, and she would be damn impressed.

I’m also trying to say, “Thank you!” more when people compliment me. Now, I can’t stop myself from then downplaying the compliment, but I give a sincere thanks first. But I’ve been thinking about it a lot (Because – you know – I get compliments ALL THE TIME. JEEZUS. Like, everyone in the world gives me compliments every 5 seconds because I’m so awesome!) and I think that the part of me that downplays things after getting a compliment has less to do with how I see myself or more to do with how I’m worried the other person sees me.

There are women I look at who do these amazing things and I just don’t see how they do it and it makes me look at my life and feel REALLY shitty. Like my friend Sarah for instance. She doesn’t write a lot on her blog because she’s so busy but I’m her Facebook friend and I’m constantly feeling really crappy about myself by comparing my life to hers. I know this is irrational and I’m sure she’d be the first to correct me, but I can’t help but look at everything she does and think, “Jeez, slacker much, Kim?”

So, if someone is complimenting me on my awesomeness I think, “Oh no! Do they feel inadequate compared to me? I HOPE NOT.” I thank them, but then I try to take a moment to remind them the things that are missing in my life that allow me to be awesome in the way they think I am. I want them to walk away thinking, “Okay, so she’s awesome in this way, but she doesn’t have to do these things that I do so it’s easier for her.”

I’m learning to be GRATEFUL for compliments, but I’ll always feel the need to point out the crappy things I do so that no one carries a false impression of me in their head. YES! It’s awesome that I run so much! But all of our meals come from cans. And I only mop my floors once a month when we host family dinner. And I never clean windows or garden. And I also don’t have to commute or put on makeup for my job. I NEED TO MAKE SURE EVERYONE KNOWS THIS.

I am learning though. I am learning to at least be grateful. And to still recognize that even though I drop a lot of balls so I can run, running in and of itself is about more than just – having the free time to do it. So, I’m learning to own my running accomplishments as just that: Running Accomplishments and try not to continually downplay them with a, “Eh, it’s nothing special. If you had the same free time I have you’d do it too.” Because that’s not true at all. Running takes more than just TIME, there’s a lot more that gets me out the door and keeps me on the road or on the trails than just TIME. So, I’m trying to be better about recognizing that.

But I’ll never stop responding with the REAL TALK about how I’m crappy in other ways, because I feel like the WORST THING IN THE WORLD would be to find out that someone looked at my life and felt shitty about their own. I mean, SERIOUSLY. It would make me so upset, because there are so many things I don’t do that I should be doing. I’ll never be able to break that habit of pointing out my flaws when I get a compliment. I am just learning to also be gracious too. It’s a tricky balance.

You Can Not “Stalk” Your Facebook Friends!

Oddly, one of my favorite compliments in the world has always been, “I read your blog. I love it.” Lately, an offshoot of that compliment is also, “I love your Facebook posts,” or “I love your Instagram photos,” or “OMG! YOUR TUMBLR PAGE LOOKS LIKE MINE!”

It’s all just nice compliments about the content I put out in the wild.

The problem is, at least for people to whom the whole “Social Networking” is the first time they’ve ever “read” other people’s words, a lot of them will apologize after they compliment me. “I guess I’m kinda stalking your Facebook page, I’m sorry! That’s creepy!”

NO. It is NOT. It’s not stalking. It’s not creepy. You reading my words on Facebook is a compliment and a nice gesture even if I don’t know you’re reading them. Even if you never comment or “like” anything.

Here’s why: I don’t write it only for myself. NONE OF US DO.

When anyone writes something on Facebook, or posts it, they’re hoping SOMEONE ELSE READS IT. So, if they do? It’s not stalking at all. You’re doing exactly what the person who wrote it hoped you’d do.

Reading someone’s Facebook is nothing like reading their diary or flipping through their photo albums that you sneakily found while hiding in their closet. Facebook is only open to your friends/contacts, if you are reading it? It’s because I posted it hoping someone that I’m friends with WOULD read it.

The nice thing about having blogged for 10 years is that I was unloading my mental detritus onto the internet long before Facebook became a thing. I was writing about my miscarriages and attempts to get pregnant on this blog long before I was complaining about my broken heat on Facebook. I was also reading other bloggers and about their struggles to have kids, or maybe their kitchen renovations, or possibly their mastitis or their divorce. Bloggers had been getting personal on the internet for years, long before Facebook, so we have a little bit different view of reading someone else’s words.

Unless you are reading someone’s Facebook posts or looking at their instagram photos through someone else’s account (like your child’s or spouses) then they have either made them public so ANYONE can read it, or you are their contact/friend. IT IS NOT STALKING. They have given you permission to read their words or see their photos and the ONLY reason they post it is hoping someone enjoys it. Or someone at least reads it. Sometimes the posts aren’t enjoyable, they’re passive aggressive or bitchy (I posted one yesterday about an irritant with the drop off line at my kid’s school) but even then…the person posting is still hoping someone reads it.

If they did not want it to be read, or seen, they wouldn’t post it.

SO PLEASE! Don’t apologize! It’s not creepy! If I didn’t want you (or anyone of my friends) to read my words, I wouldn’t write them. I wouldn’t post them.

I just always feel SO BAD when people apologize for reading anything I write. I want to say, “NO! You have NO IDEA how complimentary it is!”

Most of them say something like, “My kid says it’s creepy.”

Listen, let me tell you something. Your kid does not want you reading their postings online. But, they want everyone else to read them, so your kids is different than the average adult using social media. Your kid wants to post things for their friends, but don’t want you to read them. However, probably because you insisted on being friends/contacts, you HAVE to see their postings.

Don’t trust your kids’ definition of stalking/creeping. If I had been on the internet as a teenager I would have HATED my parents reading my words. I’m sure my teenager hates it that I read what he writes. (Sidenote: HE IS SO FUNNY. Here is my favorite recent tweet of his.) But my adult friends! We aren’t posting for our friends and hiding from our parents! It’s not creepy!

(Another Sidenote: I do not follow my kid’s Tumblr. I don’t even memorize the address. Do you want to know why I don’t follow him? Because I’m kinda embarrassed by my own Tumblr. I’m basically a 38-year old fan girl and I’m pretty sure he finds that mortifying. So I don’t follow him on Tumblr so that maybe he won’t be embarrassed by me on Tumblr.)

ANYWAY!

Stop feeling like your stalking people if you are reading but not Liking or Commenting. If the person is posting on Facebook or Instagram or to their Blog, they are doing it HOPING SOMEONE READS IT. If they didn’t want people to read it? They would write it in a private journal and keep it under their pillow. Unless they are a teenager and you are their parent who is requiring them to let you follow them, then they are probably complimented by your response to their postings.

And if they are not complimented? Then they need to get off of Facebook. Or they need to quit accepting friend requests from people they don’t want reading their words or seeing their photos.

I only accept FB requests from people I know. I actually have a pending request from someone that is using their business/website name as their Facebook name so I don’t know who they are in real life. So, we have like 50 mutual friends, I’m sure I know them, but I don’t know who they are so I’m not accepting. (I need to message them and find out who they are, just haven’t done it yet.) If someone would rather people (or certain people) not reading their words, then they need to be selective about accepting requests.

So! If I know you! And we are Facebook friends? You are not creepy or a stalker. I post stuff for my friends.

If you read my blog and never comment? NOT A STALKER. I write these words publicly. I hope people read them and relate to them. Would I like you to comment? Sure! But I rarely ever comment on other blogs, so I get not commenting on mine. So don’t feel like you’re stalking if you don’t.

I just hate it. I hate when people are complimenting me by saying the enjoy my posts/words/photos, but then they seem to feel bad about it. DO NOT FEEL BAD. YOU ARE MAKING MY DAY BY COMPLIMENTING ME! My Blog! My Facebook posts! My instagram photos! My Tumblr page! If you like any of it and you tell me that? Then you are giving me more of a compliment than if you said, “You look nice today.” I put much more weight on my words than on my looks, so a good hair day? Great. A funny Facebook post? Better. A thought-provoking and relatable blog post? BEST.

Evidently The Act Of Reading A Self-Help Book, Is Quite Helpful In and Of Itself.

This photo take by the lovely KatieBeth Pierson. I cropped an innocent bystander out of it so he wouldn't have his face plastered on my blog.

This photo take by the lovely KatieBeth Pierson. I cropped an innocent bystander out of it so he wouldn’t have his face plastered on my blog.

Do you catalog your stretches of “good days”? Because I do! Days where I don’t have anxiety attacks or depression-fueled binge eating, days that I get the appropriate run or workout in, days where I don’t yell at my kids, days where I don’t curl up in the fetal position in the corner mumbling about my adoration for Jimmy Fallon…those are ALL good days.

(I adore Jimmy Fallon.)

I have had FOUR good days in a row. I’m not going to put the success entirely on the content ofthis book, but simply reading it is keeping me a bit more focused than normal. When you read a good self-help book, it keeps you introspective. You constantly find yourself analyzing your thoughts and actions and this is a good way to keep anything from snowballing out of control. Every bad roll down a hill starts small. Maybe I ate a cookie at some random non-hungry time of day, but then I decide that cookie spoiled the entire day and then next thing you know I’m hiding in a dark car inhaling an entire box of donuts while no one is looking.

Or maybe I lose my patience with my kids a little bit and raise my voice unnecessarily. The next thing you know I’m screaming at the top of my lungs about how I HATE CONSTANTLY SAYING THE SAME THINGS OVER AND OVER and kids are crying and it’s just a nightmare.

It always starts with a little step in the wrong direction.

The book itself has been good, but the act of reading it has been the biggest help so far. It’s keeping me very focused on the Hows and the Whys of what I’m feeling and what I’m doing. I’m certain the content of the book will be helpful too, but right now I’m reading a lot about compassion and connections and that’s one area of my life I’ve been steadily improving. So, it’s more validating than enlightening. But simply picking up the book periodically keeps me focused internally which has really been great in giving me four REALLY good days. Everything has just fallen into place because I’m so hyper-focused that I seem to be making decisions more rationally and less fueled by emotions.

This has been enlightening on it’s own. The idea that reading ANY self-help book that encourages introspection, could be the big catalyst for change. Regardless of what the words in the book say to you.

I have a feeling that this is why a lot of my Christian friends are so diligent with their Bible studies. I mean, for a Christian the Bible is the ultimate guild to self-improvement, right? So, keeping those words in your mind and in your heart daily would help you make more mindful decisions in your life. There’s a motion you do during a Catholic mass, before the Gospel is read, where you’re basically saying a small prayer that says, “May these words be in my mind, in my words, and in my heart.” So, maybe if you’re a Christian, then committing yourself to daily time with your Bible would have the same effect on your life that this book has had on mine. I think maybe, regardless of my final thoughts on the content of this book, I’ll try to always keep a self-help type book on my Kindle. Just to force myself to read something daily that reminds me the importance of thinking about my words, thoughts and deeds.