Posted in Explaining the Strange Behavior

Biting the Bullet

My mom told my birth story frequently, as I grew up.  It wasn’t a happy one, like Thor’s.  I was born on Christmas Eve, in a military hospital, apparently full of people who just wanted to go home and celebrate Christmas.  I was holding up celebrations.  I was also tearing out insides.  Mom got pretty graphic about the exact amount of damage my delivery did, and how excruciating her recovery was.  I also cried a lot, was sickly, and sounded (to my own ears) to have been a misery to endure (though Mom always, always, always, while telling me what pain and suffering I caused, also told me that I was her greatest joy in life.)

That’s me on top, having a quiet moment between screams. I am told I cried a LOT, and rarely slept. That’s Thor on bottom, who was a perfect, magical unicorn baby, and who continues to be a perfectly normal (in EVERY way), yet still magical unicorn child.

I was in my late 20s before I realized that I had spent my entire life feeling guilty for how I was born.  Isn’t that silly?  You can’t help how you are born.  But I felt guilty for having caused my mother so much agony.

A side effect to that was feeling like I should never ask for drugs, since Mom went through her labor (up until the last 15 minutes of the 36 hour nightmare) naturally.  I thought that was a mark of excellence in character.  I was horrified when I had to be induced to have Thor, and was ashamed of myself for having an epidural.  (I would tell you now that epidurals are gifts from a benevolent god, and should be given out freely as soon as laboring women lumber into L&D rooms.)

It has also carried over into being afraid to ask doctors for help with anxiety.  This has meant me passing out on two different occasions, while a doctor did surgery on my foot–both times I could feel what the was doing, but was ashamed to ask for more of the local anesthesia.  The last doctor told me he’d rather numb my whole leg than have me throw up on  him.

So, I was really proud of myself for insisting that the dentist numb my mouth this morning.  It’s the little things that show progress.  I don’t care who thinks I am a wimp.  I don’t care who thinks I am weak.  I don’t care if I did sound like a mewling fool, and if I was an oversensitive baby.  If I don’t want to feel pain, and I have the means of avoiding it, by god, I am not going to feel pain!

You know, all this is stuff… I wish I had worked through in my 20s.  It would have made the 30s and now so much easier.  But I guess I had other mess going on.  I had to survive my 20s to get level in my 30s, to get awesome by my 40s.  The important thing is that Thor gets the benefit of the work, and he won’t have the same struggles I did.  Every generation gets a little better, a little smarter, and a little closer to living on Mars.  I have taken one small step for dental anxiety, and one giant leap for mankind.


p.s., I am really glad I insisted because I still felt pain, but it was manageable.  Had I not been numb, I might have bitten off someone’s finger.



Posted in Explaining the Strange Behavior, Lancient History

Sleep, Struggling, and Shame

Remember when you could sleep like this?


My childhood came before seatbelts were mandatory in cars, much less carseats for children.  I spent my toddlerhood standing on the bench seat of our car, beside my mother, tucked behind her shoulder, or sitting in her lap, or, when I was just too wiggly, in the backseat tumbling like a tumbleweed.  I’m glad for carseats now.  Especially since cars are so much dinkier than they used to be.

I love that picture.  Kiddos run and run, like puppies, until they just stop, flop over, and fall into the exhausted innocence of their sleep.

I should be asleep right now, but I am going to see the dentist tomorrow, and you all know about my dental anxiety.  Can’t sleep.  Crowns will eat me.  That’s my motto for the night.

What else?  I watched the Katy Perry movie and wanted to put her in my pocket.  Even though I realize I am being manipulated by a media machine, it is a happy manipulation.  I found myself truly smiling in several places, and dang if I didn’t shed a tear for the girl when her marriage ended.

I was a fan of Russell Brand’s until I read his second book, and then I thought, “This is a person who wants someone else to fix him, but does not want to do any of the work to fix himself, and does not want to take responsibility for keeping it fixed.  This is a person who wants a minder, or a nanny, or a valet.”  And I felt sorry for Katy Perry because it was clear that as soon as he realized she hadn’t fixed him, he was going to be moving on.

Fixing is funny.

I wrote a long, long post earlier about how embarrassed and ashamed I used to be of the fact I had hoarded so much clothing (even saving things from junior high long after I was past college, while still buying compulsively), and how that hoarding had led to me being nearly buried in my own wardrobe.  I wrote about how my friend Stephanie came over to help me declutter and organize, how she came over to fix me.  But what Stephanie fixed was the symptom of my problem, not my problem, so within weeks of her decluttering my space, I had destroyed it once again.  (I will always be thankful for what Stephanie tried to do to help me.)

Me, sitting in a mountain of clothing. Stephanie had come to help me. I was pretending I thought it was funny. Otherwise it was just too mortifying.

I had to learn to let go of things.  I had to learn to part with and separate myself from the physical wall I was using to protect myself from things both in and outside of me.  I had to find the root of my problem (which was fear), and I had to work it out.

I still struggle with compulsive shopping.  Even if it is just picking up $1 bin items.  It is very difficult for me to go into a store and buy just exactly what I went in to get.  I am much, much healthier about it than I once was, though.  Now, I might compulsively buy myself a coffee.  I haven’t been on a mad spree in over a decade.

I’ve been hunting for that picture for a while, wanting to post it.  I used to be incredibly ashamed of it.  I’m not proud of it now, but I can look at it and see a girl who was struggling, and a girl who needed help–not a nasty, lazy girl.  No one lives like that because they like living that way.  They live like that because something is wrong.  Happily, I am a woman who sought help, and am a hundred times healthier.

Now, if I could just convince myself to go to sleep…