Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Feeling Like the Titanic - in More Ways than One.

I need a makeover. Spiritually, physically, emotionally, mentally. I am a wreck. And because I’m so far from where I want to be in all of those areas, when I think about all I want to change, I get overwhelmed. I start to feel like I’m drowning, and with every attempt to get my head above water, I push myself further and further beneath the surface. Glub. Glub. Glub. Glub.

I am a Catholic. I was raised Catholic. I’ve never not been Catholic. I went through my phases in college and young-adulthood where I certainly wasn’t living a very Catholic lifestyle - but I always felt very bad about it. I never considered not being Catholic. I like being Catholic. So it would stand to reason that I am happiest when I’m being a good Catholic. Now, of course, this could mean lots of things to lots of people – even within circles of “good Catholics.” To me, it means not only fulfilling the bare minimum obligations of going to church on Sundays and holy days, going to confession once a year, receiving communion, etc. Those things are a given. For me, what I aspire to is a more meaningful prayer life (read: a prayer life, period.) I want to take what I have learned from the Gospel and the lives of the saints and implement those things in my own life. I want to lead a life that, even if I were on hidden camera, anyone watching would know I was a Catholic and I could be proud of my behavior. This is not, um, currently the case.

I’ve been at the same weight, within 5 lbs., for about 2 years. My mother congratulates me on this. “Wow! You’re so good at maintaining your weight!” Sigh. Yes. I suppose I am. The problem is, this is not the weight I want to maintain. I want to get down another 10-15 lbs. and then maintain that weight. The problem isn’t a lack of knowledge, or lack of a plan, or trying so hard and nothing working. The problem is me. I am the self-sabotage master! I am a pro at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. I will lose a pound and then hope I'll somehow continue to coast downward while I scarf down several handfuls of spicy almonds, and chocolate cake, and ice cream. I end up feeling like a blubbery, roly-poly, jiggly marshmallow. Boooo.

Sucking at so much takes a toll on a person. It gets inside your head that you suck, and then you can’t hear anything else. Every kid’s whine, every dirty dish, every dusty surface, every lame text message adds its voice to the one in your head. It’s a chorus of “yoooooouuuuuu suuuuuuccccckkkkk.” And repeatedly hearing that you suck might possibly, if you're someone like me, make you cry. Cry, cry, cry. Last night, I thought I lost my ipod. Even worse, I thought it was stolen by the 2-year-old, which pretty much meant I would never see it again. I spent a good half hour - after everyone had gone to bed and after I should have been in bed - searching and bawling, bawling and searching. I wasn't crying JUST about the ipod, of course, but it certainly set things in motion.

I can't think straight lately. I'm easily distracted. I miss the point of jokes and cause trouble when I say "what?" too many times. I'm listening, I just don't get what people are saying!! I tried calculating the difference in race times the other day and got it wrong. A very simple problem, and I didn't even catch the mistake until several days later. I used to be a math whiz, of sorts. I got a 730 on my math SAT's (a few <ahem> years ago). And now I can't subtract??  I even misplace things - like ipods.*

I'm at a point where I feel like Frances at a certain part in Under the Tuscan Sun. I tried to edit down this video, but couldn't. The part I'm talking about is from 6:52-7:55. (But I do recommend the whole movie. It's one of my favorites!)

"You're sad! Again! You're like a big black hole!"

Yes, that's me. A big black hole of misery. I'm feeling hopeless and crappy and crappy and hopeless. And bitchy.

Sigh.  I attribute a lot of these feelings to PMS, but I hate to say "PMS" because I don’t think most people take it seriously. I think it’s safe to say that 90% of the world sees PMS the way it’s caricatured in sitcoms. “Yeah, yeah, yeah – it must be her time of the month. What a bitch!” But for me, and surely others(?), it’s a very real internal warzone that wreaks havoc on every aspect of my life. It’s not as simple as being in a bad mood. I feel like a completely different person who can’t get out of my own way, and I can’t sidestep the nastiness no matter how hard I try. (Please tell me I am NOT alone in this!!)

Remember in the movie E.T., how the flower - what was that? a marigold? - was somehow directly connected to E.T.'s well-being? When he was dying, the flower was dying; when he was coming back to life, the flower perked right up, and that's how Eliot knew he was going to be ok. Well, if you would like to know the state of my well-being - emotional, spiritual, physical, mental, whatever - take a look at the state of my house. If it's a mess, I'm probably a mess, too. If it's neat and tidy, then chances are I'm probably in pretty good shape, too. And I'm not sure which begets which, but it's probably a chicken-or-egg scenario. It doesn't really matter which comes first, though. Messy house = messy life. And right now, my house looks like someone turned it on its side, then upside-down, then right-side-up again.  Everything is kinda in the right place, but none of it's good.  It, like me, is a wreck.

So, if I can't fix me, I'll fix my house. I'll focus on these external things and hope to be miraculously internally transformed. I'll doing laundry. I'll sweep the kitchen. I'll clean the playroom. It will keep me busy and, more importantly, it will restore some of my sanity. And sanity is a good place to start.

*After finally giving up and going to bed, I found my ipod in my nightstand drawer - just where I had left it the night before.  Glub.


  1. I've been there in this thought process often. I bet you have more order than you realize which has just occured naturally. Try not to beat yourself up because like you mentioned, women, on a physical level, are not the same from day to day, so try not to always expect the same from yourself everyday.

    I gave up implementing new systems because we would never sick to it...I often revise my expectations of me, house, kids (very regulalry sometimes) and i guess that's my system--Mental revisions!! It can be hard sometimes to give my self permission to be o.k. with letting certain things go. (I still pitch a fit to the family every now and then about the chaos). For me --laundry, kitchen, excercise are huge. I let the tidyness of toys and other stuff go. Oh, and floors--I don't like crumbs on floors :)

    i've also found my phone a HUGE help...all apointments and regularly occuring reminders (like kids practice piano) go in there.

    The fact that you raise six HAPPY and healthy children is the HUGE accomplishment way before you judge yourself on all the other details.

  2. Grrr. Writing it all out will hopefully help. I keep typing suggestions and deleting them. I love the name of your blog. I just read about crossfit training. It seems like what Jeannine does. I found a place willing to train me but then he thought better of it. Boo! I read about it and thought: yes! I need this! I've been thinking that doing something kick a** would make me less likely to want to kick others' a**. With tax $$ coming, can you claim some for an outlet of sorts? Something new.