On Feminism: Me Too

It’s Tuesday. I’m sitting here after a particularly draining session with my personal trainer. I told her I needed to work so hard that my brain shut off. I’ll feel my abs until Saturday and my brain is still going.

I’m tired. Exhausted is actually a better word. If there a word more severe than exhausted that’s actually the right word, but I don’t know it. Physically yes, but also mentally and emotionally.

It comes in waves. The frustration. With the “boys will be boys” and the “that’s just who they are” and the need to put on a smile and go about life as if everything is just perfectly fine because it’s easier if you play the ostrich.

I volley between angry and heartbroken and scared. Sometimes I feel all three. Mostly, just heartbroken and scared.

I see things I didn’t see a year ago. I’m more tender to them. I react differently. I don’t laugh at the unfunny jokes. Sometimes, when I’m brave I even say I don’t find them funny. Occasionally, I open my mouth and say more. I wish I didn’t regret it, but often do.

I don’t want to be that person. The stick in the mud. The angry feminist. The raging voice that grates and annoys.

But I am angry. And I am a feminist. If only because I realize now how it’s still necessary to be one. We still live in a world where men find assault or the bragging about it okay, or worse, funny. Women who still blame the victim. We still have bullies who haven’t been taught our personhood is a right not because we are someone’s wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend but because we EXIST.

And I don’t know what else to do with my voice. I’m tired of swallowing it down and smiling and running away and keeping peace. Maybe people need to be annoyed? Why aren’t more people annoyed? Why aren’t more women just PISSED?

I don’t know how to find the balance yet. I don’t sit well in tension. I worry, I fret. I want people to like me. But I don’t know how long I can want that because as much as I want to be liked, I want things to change more.

I’m angry and heartbroken and sad. I’m more than exhausted. I’m absolutely terrified and uncomfortable and I don’t know if any of the things I do or words I say are going to matter one tiny little iota.

But I won’t be quiet.

Finding Joy

I posted on Friday about the juggling act in my life and how I’m trying to fight a case of bitterness that seems to want to settle in. (Thank you for your comments – either online or via text or in person. Last week was a bad week. Hormones are partly to blame. This week isn’t shaping up to be a good week either. I blame the news.)

Jesse and I went away for a weekend and it gave me some time to think and reflect and plan. I also made myself a list of things that are working for me (so I need to incorporate more) and things that aren’t (and need to jettisoned).

What I need to get rid of:

Facebook. I reactivated my account for about five hours last week. Within minutes, I was regretting my decision. I hoped it would get better. It didn’t and I deactivated it again. 1. I don’t need to know the politics of casual acquaintances (and they don’t need to know mine).  2. I don’t need someone’s dramatic reaction to an already dramatic event.

Screens at night. I’m finding that there are lot better ways to unwind and I’m much better about going to bed at a decent time when I’m not binge watching something. Music and podcasts while knitting or reading a book or writing have been better for my sleep routine.

Other people’s problems. I am ridiculously porous when it comes to other people and I need to develop some boundaries. It’s one thing to listen to a friend and show support. It’s another thing to allow myself to be a punching bag or take on the responsibility of solving whatever problem is brought to me.

 

Things I need more of:

Reading. I love it. I will always love it. I’m working on Rita’s reading dangerously list, though I’m not perfectly on schedule (I haven’t managed to finish September’s book yet) but I’m enjoying how they’ve made me think. I’m sticking to newspapers and light reads otherwise. It’s a good balance of stretching my brain and escapism.

Knitting. I have a pattern and yarn for Jesse’s sweater. A pattern and yarn for mine. I’m working on a pair of socks right now and I’m trying to teach myself how to do the Norwegian purl.

Making my bed. I get up. I throw the covers back to air it out while I get ready and then I make it. It just feels good.

Daydreaming/journaling. It helps to sit down with a pen and paper and just..write. Lists, plans, dreams, thoughts, feelings. It’s been awhile since I’ve just thrown it all at a piece of paper and it feels good.

Eating better. I’ve been meal planning and trying to stick with food that isn’t overly processed. I love a good can of tomatoes and frozen veggies and there isn’t a grocery run that goes by where I’m not throwing in a box of triscuits and summer sausage BUT I’m trying to focus on the food that makes me feel better overall.

Going to bed. I’m working on a new night routine that as the kids are brush their teeth in their bathroom, I’m washing my face and putting on my pajamas in my room. It’s restful.

Masks. I’ve always loved a good mask. I’m trying to make time to do at least one a week for myself. My two favorites are Farmacy Honey Potion (I got a sample of this and I’ve used it 3 times. Once it’s gone, I’m going to have to get a full sized jar. I love it.) and Youth to the People Superfood (This one smells exactly like my favorite green breakfast smoothie – no lie – but I’ll be reordering it.)

Quality interactions. By nature, I’m a bit of an introvert but I also tend to get mopey if I go for too long without some meaningful friend time. I need to make sure to schedule the small meet-ups that feed my soul.

Taking classes. I recently started a 4 week photography workshop because I haven’t been picking up my camera as much as I’d like and I want to get back into the habit of using it. I’m toying with the idea of taking a Spanish class starting in January. I don’t know if this will eventually lead me back to full time school work and a career, or if it will lead to more hobbyist classes.

* * * *

I know this isn’t my typical Tuesday Things post. But the usual knitting, reading, watching thing doesn’t really apply this week. How about you? What’s on your plate this week?

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Juggling Act (Where I Beat a Metaphor To Death)

Quite a few years back, my very wise grandmother told me the key to juggling everything is to know which balls bounce and which balls break. “As long as you’re keeping the important stuff moving, letting a few things drop isn’t going to be the end of the world.” Granted, my grandmother is the kind of woman who, at 80, was scrubbing her kitchen ceiling just a few weeks after open heart surgery. I’m pretty sure she could handle whatever you threw at her and ask for more.

I am not my grandmother.

And did I mention, I don’t know how to juggle?

It’s the end of September. I should be settling into the routine. I know library day is Thursday. I know the days they have gym. Violet needs to bring her flute on Mondays and Wednesdays and gym clothes Mondays and Thursdays. I know the checklist I have to rundown with each of them in the morning because their brains are full of thoughts that don’t include “jacket for recess”.

The problem is my brain is also full of thoughts and instead of my inner monologue saying, “It’s Monday, remind Violet to pack her flute and the gym clothes.” It says, “It’s Monday. Dear god, I need to take the dog to the vet and I need to get to the grocery store. And don’t forget to pick up Abram’s medicine. And make sure to wash his jersey so it’s ready for tomorrow. And Jesse has a meeting tonight so be sure to tell Violet she needs to hurry up after swim so Abram can get to bed at a decent time. And look at the time” and then I’m yelling, “GUYS, WE NEED TO GO!!! LOAD UP!” and the flute gets left at home.

Please don’t be one of those people who talk to me about packing everything up the night before, because our evening rituals of school work, dinner, sports activities, getting ready for bed, and trying to get to bed at a decent time are busy enough. Changing what time of day the monologue goes off in my head doesn’t solve the problem.

In the midst of all of this, I’m fighting a severe case of bitterness. I don’t know why it’s hitting so hard but it’s a constant drumbeat in my head. “I need more joy. I need something just for me. I need to feel smart and valuable and important and seen. I’m so tired of being everyone else’s. I want to be MINE.”

That ball filled with the dreams, ambitions, and goals that are *just for me* is waiting to be picked up but I’m scared. Scared to throw it into the mix because I’m scared of dropping it again. It’s dented and cracked and so much more fragile than it used to be. With so many other precious things to keep moving and a penchant for picking it up only to let it fall again, maybe it’s just easier to leave it on the ground?

I know this isn’t new. Our mothers and grandmothers had these same conversations and with fewer options. I know that in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, my concerns are somewhere toward the top which in and of itself is a blessing. But the drum is still beating and I’m still trying to keep all the balls in the air and staring at the one I’m too scared to pick up.

When is it safe? When is it unselfish? What can I let fall to pick *me* back up?

I don’t know if there is a good answer, but I’m looking for it.

Bobbledibits

What started as a desire to organize a drawer, turned into a full on organizational mission. We’re currently in the “things get worse before they get better” part of the project, but by the end of the weekend, I’m hoping the room is will be less Monica’s closet and more a craft space/office that Jesse can use without fear of upsetting one of my creative endeavors.

I quit Facebook (again). It’s been so good for me. SO. GOOD.

I’ve been knitting. Violet and Abram’s sweaters are officially done. Ends woven in, blocked, buttons. Fully complete. I need to get some pictures of them though. I’m really happy with how Abram’s turned out, but I wish I would have gone down a needle size on the yoke of Violet’s.  I did a swatch, but was lazy and didn’t block it and I should have because it stretched quite a bit. I picked a pattern and the yarn for Jesse’s and I’m currently swatching which I will wet block because I learn from my mistakes. I LOVE the yarn. It feels exactly what a good wool sweater should feel like and I think it will be perfect. I doubt I’ll get it done in time for the 2018 cut off I set for myself, but I’m going to try.

I’ve also been working on some woven beaded bracelets. Getting my loom set up for the first time was difficult and it is a little fiddly, but it’s breaking up the knitting.

I watched this season of Game of Thrones. I’m going to reserve judgment until the final season is finished next year.  More light-hearted: I started watching Younger because someone on my instagram said it was their favorite and while the marketing is truly awful, the show is good fun. I’m only a few episodes in, but I agree with that assessment. I haven’t been watching much else. Jesse got me a little bluetooth speaker that I can take from room to room so I’ve mostly been listening to acoustic and folk music on spotify while I knit or weave beads. I like having the television off. My brain already feels like it’s regaining brain cells after a 4 year run of watching any and every single show recommended to me.

I’ve been cooking at home again. I made a simple crostini bar the other night. I prepped a small chicken salad and a small tuna/white bean salad the night before using what we had in the fridge and then the day of, I cut up a baguette, brushed on some olive oil and garlic and toasted it in the oven until it was nice and crunchy. Put it on the table with a bowl of arugula and a veggie tray. Yesterday, I made a pork shoulder in the crock pot which will be tacos tonight and some hash or sandwiches later in the week. I also have this chicken recipe on the agenda with roasted veggies instead of green beans. And I’m making this pesto (we’re getting more arugula from the CSA Thursday and I can’t keep up!!) to dip crispy smashed potatoes in later this week.

So that’s me! What’s new with you?

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