Consider This My Lenten Confession To Being An Asshole

Forgive me Father for I have sinned. It has been at least 20 years since my last confession…

I am constantly on some variation of the “BE NICE!” soapbox. I’ve been known to call people out for posting pictures of strangers on Facebook and making fun of them. I write statuses talking about supporting political candidates instead of bashing. I write entire blog entries about empathy and how making fun of something other people love can be really hurtful.

But y’all? I AM NOT PERFECT.

Case and point:

Our local track club has a kinda terrible website. I’ve spent YEARS making fun of it and getting all self-righteous about how EASY it would be to just create a new one. Then at a meeting once it was announced there WAS a new one and how it just wasn’t ready yet to be launched. So then I changed my self-righteous snark to making fun of THAT delay, “Anything is better than what’s there!” and I would try to be funny but also super-critical of the fact it hadn’t been launched yet.

BUT THEN I GOT ELECTED TO THE POSITION IN CHARGE.

And I haven’t slept well sense. Partly because I feel terrible for all of the snark I dished out when I see how much the people involved work every day on the club. How could they have time to approve the final website when the day-to-day activities take several hours a day and they all have full-time jobs? Why was I so judgemental towards people who sweat blood over this club? I HATE MYSELF.

But also? Y’all? I’m busy as shit just keeping the old website updated. We run 23 (I think that’s the official tally) races through the club but we list all others on our calendar and we share out results. Every weekend there has been AT LEAST one race to load results for. And sometimes they find errors so I have to reload them. Then there are the “please add this race to your calendar” emails of which I have FIVE right now in my inbox. Then there’s the new races that need pages and printable entry forms and there’s updates and changes on old races that need to be made and I’ve been using my morning time as my HTC time and it is NOT ENOUGH. I woke up at 2:30am yesterday to try to get caught up.

And all of this goes on while they’re waiting on me to proof the new website since I’m going to be the one kinda maintaining it once it goes live.

Not to mention we have to evaluate different tools and because of the turnover of the volunteers we have to consider flexibility and there’s a lot of tools out there that do what we need but there are pros and cons we have to weigh and none of us have time because we all have full-time jobs and families and the daily responsibilities for this club take over the “future” obligations so it just keeps getting put off and…

I AM SO SORRY TO EVERYONE WHO HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH THIS.

I will say that I spent some time last night going through the new site but you know what I had to do? Skip my kid’s basketball practice which is not a HUGE deal except he likes me being there. I had to do it then because I’m using my 1-hour HTC time every morning filling the daily needs and answering emails and making edits in the HTML to the current site. The only thing that motivated me last night was knowing most of my work will go faster on the new site so I need to get it approved and launched ASAP. But it’s really hard when you LITERALLY have no free time.

So I’m sorry for snarking and making fun of something for years that people behind the scenes were stressing over on top of all of the volunteer work they do for the organization. I’m sorry for making it sound easy. IT IS NOT. I’m sorry for not realizing how many emails a day the people involved have to field or how many tasks they have to complete JUST to keep everything rolling forward.

This is what I get for no listening to my own words. Jeezus, Kim. BE NICE FOR CHRISSAKES.

(I feel better now. My soul has been cleansed. Thank you.)

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Hodgepodge Of Insanity

I sat down this morning with so much to say. First, I wanted to talk about how my YouTube recommendation page is ALL Pokemon unboxing videos and videos of people playing video games. Those are Wes’s FAVORITE things to watch right now and it seems SO CRAZY. Watching people open Pokemon cards? Watching people play video games? HE LOVES THEM and I think it’s weird. And also? I’m super bummed I didn’t have the foresight to log OUT each time he used my laptop because now my Google account is all confused.

Then I wanted to talk about how I was in bed sick all day and missed Eliah’s performance at Montevallo and last night was the ONLY night I had this week to see it. I was going to write about how the guilt is literally tearing me up and I couldn’t sleep and I have officially decided I’m the worst mother in the world.

Then I thought I should write about guilt instead. And how guilt is so terrible and how some days the guilt I feel is harder to bear than grief or anxiety or depression. I hear people blame that type of stuff on religious upbringing but I don’t think that’s it. I think my guilt is because I have such intense empathy that I feel the hurt on the other side of my actions vividly so it makes the guilt over causing that a million times worse. I watched his snapchat from last night and it physically hurt me to not have been there. It caused me PAIN to watch it, maybe that’s love combined with guilt.

Then I thought I should talk about the weird illness I had and pontificate a bit over whether or not it’s even real. I’ve been battling my demons more these last two weeks due to some sleep issues and some TOO MUCH TO DO issues and my depression and anxiety have been battling it out on a daily basis over WHO IS GOING TO SCREW KIM UP MORE?! I was convinced I had a fever yesterday, I felt terrible, came home and NO FEVER but I also had no energy, lots of pain, and a general lack of a desire to live. I napped a lot and I think I feel better but now I’m wondering: Was this a physical manifestation of my emotional trauma? I’ve read about that but it’s never happened to me. I’m going to try to be really in tune today to try to keep everything in check.

Then I considered talking about exercise and how my mornings have been too cramped to run every day because I have this new volunteer job and I choose to sort through emails in the morning and it’s cramping into my run time so I got up at 2:30am today in hopes to have time to run. This will hopefully not be permanent, I’m currently editing HTML in an old website but the new website built on a CMS exists it’s just not launched. But for now? We’re talking AT LEAST an hour every morning and truthfully, I’m behind. It’s a sad life I live that I have to wake up at 2:30am to get all of the shit done I need to get done before work. But the alternative is doing it at night and that’s my family time and I need that lately so for now? I’m dropping my running down to 2-3 weekdays instead of 4-5. This is probably not helping my emotional state.

Then I thought about telling you how I recently discovered I can wear kid’s XL clothing in some styles and this has made my life so much better because:
1) Boys athletic pants come with GIANT pockets! I hate pants without pockets or with only tiny pockets.
2) Girls leggings are cuter and cheaper than the ones in the adult section.

Then I was going to tell you about my grand plans for Lent that I totally screwed up because I forgot yesterday was Ash Wednesday because I was sick so now I’m going to STILL do my 40 days but I’m going to start TODAY which seems so terribly appropriate for someone who lacks religion.

But instead I’m just going to leave all of this here. This is all of the stuff rattling around in my brain this morning. I have to pack lunches and I think I’ll have time to run this morning. I HOPE. I need it desperately even with this mystery illness that could be completely psychological.

Calming Versus Escalating

Wes had a tantrum the other night at the Super Bowl party. It started innocently enough (they always do) with him banging his head repeated against a chair (a nice old/fancy one) as he rocked back and forth and I kept telling him to stop and he kept ignoring me so I picked him up and removed him from the situation. My big priority was to avoid a scene in front of Family so I figured I would put him in timeout but I’d be in there with him.

But he wouldn’t stay. And he was getting more and more angry and while he hadn’t started hitting, he was pushing trying to get away from me and while I’ve been really good about not yelling, I tend to escalate punishments in those moments. “Okay, instead of time out for 5 minutes you have 20…now your screens are taken away…now your Pokemon cards…” and so on. But I knew we were in someone else’s house and I had to try something different so I went with a technique I’ve read about recently where you focus on getting them calm FIRST, punishments LAST.

I wrapped my arms and legs around him so he couldn’t fight me and I just held him and asked him to calm down. He was still fighting and telling me “You’re the worst!” and “Get your ugly legs off of me!” but he wasn’t hitting so I took the upper body freedom and started rubbing his back to calm him down. “I’ll start the clock when you calm down. I understand you’re angry but you need to calm down before it gets worse so I’m going to try to help you get calm…” and so on. He stopped struggling for the most part so I would say, “Okay – look at my watch…5 minutes of time out,” and then he’d fight again – but just a little – so I’d say. “Oh, you’re not calm yet, let’s wait and start the clock. You tell me when you’re ready.”

Eventually he did calm down and we did 5 minutes of time out and we joined the party. I missed the entire halftime show, but it could have been SO MUCH WORSE. Typically he ends up basically being grounded until he’s 45 because I feel like if he’s not going to do what I say I have to keep piling stuff on until something works. This was a lot shorter lived and I didn’t have to then contend with remembering the 17 punishments I threatened in the process. We focused on just getting calm and eventually he did.

I have mixed feelings because part of me thinks he was a jerk and got off easy. But most of me feels better about this tantrum cycle than any others. I think I’ll stick with that method again if we hit another tantrum. Calming FIRST, then the punishment. Not escalating the punishment until they’re calm. AND – what the article suggested that gave me the idea in the first place – not leaving him alone with those extreme emotions. At home I basically leave because I’m upset too and we stay separated until something shifts. But this time I stayed with him, trying to be part of the calming instead of making him do it alone. All-in-all, it felt better. And the other day wasn’t working very well so why not?

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My Newest Obsession

Working with E during his Musical career in high school really turned me on to the power of the artform. I have several cast recordings I adore: Spring Awakening, Wicked, Book of Mormon and Legally Blonde. The thing about cast recordings though, is you kinda need to know the story, or have seen the musical, to really enjoy them – which is why I think I was late to the Hamilton game: I’m shit for American History.

I listened to the cast recording once or twice, mostly all the way through. I thought it was good, great hip-hop but it just didn’t suck me in. But, it’s just been getting more and MORE attention lately so I gave it another try about 2 weeks ago but did so while keeping this page accessible so I could read what was happening in the story coinciding with each song and this did two things:

1) Provided me the story that supplied the emotion behind the music which had me actually sobbing this time through in some parts
2) Made me completely obsessed with the story of Alexander Hamilton.

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Most of the music is just excellent examples of great hip-hop – wonderful beats you really want to dance to or sing along with. I’ve started learning it by heart now and I’m the whitest middle-aged woman in the all the land so you KNOW that is the most hilarious image in the planet. BUT I DO NOT CARE.

But some of the songs, like after (Is this a spoiler when it’s a 200+ year old story everyone probably knew but me?) his wife learns of his affair, or after his son dies, or when his wife sings her final number…those songs just simply tear at my heart and I somehow actually feel as though I’m watching it on stage, even though I’m driving in my car on the way to buy bread for lunches. SOBBING, I tell you, SOBBING.

I’m telling you all of this to encourage you to do what I did. Buy the cast recording (It’s like 40 tracks, it’s worth the money) and listen to it along with the wiki if you don’t know Hamilton’s life story. (I actually asked myself at one point, “Did he ever become president?” because I am TERRIBLE at American History. Spoiler Alert: HE DID NOT.) Listen to it once while learning the story, then listen to it again and again because you’ll pick up more each time and you’ll just be in awe of the lyrics and the call-backs and the general awesomeness of the musical.

And do all of this before next week because the cast will be performing at the Grammy’s one week from tonight and I am SO EXCITED. It’s very frustrating to fall in love with a cast recording and not have the means to see the show. I’ve seen photos from the show and I try to piece together what I think certain numbers look like, but it’s still hard to really grasp the whole picture in just audio and written form. I need a visual so bad it HURTS so I can not WAIT until Monday and I want you to become obsessed so you can be right there with me.

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Not A Brave Little Toaster.

I’ve had conversations with friends recently about my “openness” regarding religion and politics. Because I’m not just “open” here on this blog, but on Facebook as well where I honestly spend more time saying, “LET’S JUST BE NICE!” than supporting any political candidate. It’s funny to me, that I give of this impression of the Girl Who Speaks Her Mind because y’all? I DO NOT. There are so many rants my family hears that never leave my home, much less enter Facebook, so “open” some days feels like the last word to describe me.

But I get the sentiment. I live in a conservative religious community yet I’m open about my liberalism and my secularism. To any friends who are without religion or who might swing left politically on some issues…I guess my openness seems brave. But the more I think about it? The more I decide it is exactly the opposite. I’m putting that shit out there before anyone can disappoint me.

My liberal van in the 2008 election

My liberal van in the 2008 election

It’s the same if I make a new running friend who I feel like I might run with often, or if I start a new job, or just have any situation where I can tell I’m going to be spending a lot of time with this new person in my life. I always find a way to squeeze into conversation that 1) I have a blog where I’ve been writing for over a decade 2) I have a gay kid 3) I’m not a Christian. I get the first one out of the way so that – if they’re curious – there’s an easy way to learn more about me. But the other two are so that I don’t have to deal with any awkward conversations later. I’ve had enough minor incidents that were awkward and disappointing that I figure if I get that information out of the way early, I avoid the disappointment later.

Example 1) At an old job there was an old coworker who said that “The reason why there’s so much tragedy in the world is because the world is full of non-believers” which is one of my LEAST favorite Things People Say.

Example 2) I ran with a new person years ago who said, “We don’t want to send our daughter to public schools because we’re worried she might turn out gay.” And that – my friends – was so unexpected that I honestly was silenced for the rest of the run. I’ve heard a lot of crazy anti-gay stuff before but I’ve never heard THAT particular one.

So it’s not being BRAVE that I get that stuff out in the open early on, it’s mainly the opposite. I have no ability to handle myself when people say upsetting things face to face and so I try to get all of my skeletons (so to speak) out early so I don’t have to deal with the awkwardness when someone finds them later.

ALSO – it’s really nice to know my religious and conservative friends are still friends with me even though I know for a fact they know I’m a Pro Choice, Pro LGBTQ, Liberal Heathen. It would be weird to build friendships and as I get close to someone start to wonder, Crap…do I continue to hide this part of who I am? Or do I find a way to introduce it now?

It’s the same reason why I had an Obama/Biden sticker on my car during the last two elections, especially for family gatherings, it allowed everyone to know there was at LEAST one Obama supporter in the gathering so the bashing would probably not be supported by the whole group. I guess I’ve been in enough situations where it’s assumed that everyone in the group is conservative and religious and it’s REALLY awkward so I try to just avoid that entirely. Brave would be to stand up in the group when someone says something I disagree with and politely explaining my stance and why I disagree. Nope. Not going to do that. I’m much better writing than speaking. Instead I put all of my thoughts and feelings out in the open in the digital realm so that hopefully I avoid any real-world awkwardness in the future.

Brave would be interrupting someone referring to Caitlyn Jenner as a He/She and educating them on why that’s insulting.
Brave would be telling someone who calls something “retarded” that there’s a big campaign to end that use of the word. Just like someone did for me years ago.
Brave would be explaining that I’m a very moral person even without religion so blaming tragedies on the non-religious is misguided.
Brave would be telling someone that public school doesn’t make your kid gay and that even if it did – it’s not the worse thing your kid could be. My kid being gay is nothing, but if he hated Harry Potter we’d have problems.

Nope. Being open about my beliefs across all the internet is not brave. It’s me just avoiding situations where I have to be brave. Because brave, I am not. I wish I had more confidence in my speech to speak up in those moments, but I don’t. I tend to fumble around looking for words and trying to fight back anger or hurt or disappointment and I often end up just getting riled up and making no sense. Once I said, “BUT MY DAD AGREED WITH ME!” as some way to argue a point and y’all – THAT MADE NO SENSE. Why does how my dead Dad voted have anything to do with anything? I DON’T KNOW. That’s why I don’t like those conversations in the real world and try to avoid them when at all possible.

So if someone friend requests me on Facebook (which I only accept if I know them in the real world due to some past KRAZEE derived from my blog) I know that they’ll soon find out I’m a baby-killing, tree-hugging, queer-loving, damn liberal heathen. And then if they continue to be my friend? I know we’re golden. But if they distance themselves from me socially? Then I know it’s for the best.