Tag Archives: parenting

Quieting the Critics

This blog is inspired by a recent event or two and also some of my blog-reading lately which led me to The Re-Picturing Women Project .

While my title echoes her 6/1 post, my ideas really match more with her most recent (6/16) post.  While I’m trying to focus my blog on creativity, I feel that often I wind up talking about my life.  I’ve stopped thinking this is incongruent.  I tend to take a creative approach to things, so maybe I’m blogging from example.  My best hope would be to create a forum for discussion here, lead people to other great blogs, and help people maybe see their world a little differently.  That said, part of being creative is being able to quiet the critics and live without fear.  This is not about me quieting an inner critic to my art– but to my person.  However, I think the process is much the same.  Also, for me, the critics take very similar shape.

I find that when certain things happen, old voices creep up and cause me to be afraid.  I think I’ve mentioned before here that my mother and I were sick and had to miss going upstate for my cousin’s fiance’s bridal shower.  This caused a great deal of anxiety for me.  While I was truly sick– and miserable not to go, old fears crept in.

In my junior year of high school, I got very sick.  Around October, I came down with a virus that mimicked chronic fatigue syndrome.  Already having an autoimmune disorder, my body didn’t bounce back easily.  By January, I was so exhausted, I was taking half days at school– I’d take the bus in the morning and my mom would pick me up at lunchtime.  Then the next day she’d drop me at lunchtime and I’d take the bus home– so as if not to miss the same classes two days in a row.  I kept up on all my work, including getting a math tutor as I was having trouble making up the precal work (essentially teaching it to myself).  I eventually went back to school more full-time, but continued to miss days here and there, though the worst was certainly over.

By Springtime, one of my teachers remarked, at my honors society induction, that I looked so good because I had lost so much weight.  She seemed to want to know what I’d done.  Perhaps she’d not noticed that I’d been ill for months… Or perhaps it was the fact that she did not believe that I’d been ill for months.

The rumor going around school was that I was cutting, apparently.  While some of my teachers were sympathetic, many were not.  My parents received a letter that– despite my straight A average– I could be left back due to absences.  After a long discussion with my mother, who put up quite a fight, including calling the public school system (I was in private school at this time) and even the state department of education, it was decided that I would move along to 12th grade just fine.  But not without comments, being given no help or compassion, and being expected to make up my work quickly.  I also, despite having the second highest average in my grade, received no awards at the end of the year assembly.  I was later told by a kind teacher that I “shouldn’t feel bad” because, essentially, the teachers were told to disregard my GPA as I would not be allowed to receive any awards at the assembly.

I was given a hard time every step of the way.  Few believed I was actually sick, aside from my closest friends and perhaps 2 teachers.  The rumor was that I was cutting and, not only that, was cutting to do schoolwork! Apparently, this was my sick attempt to put extra work in and get better grades.  The rumor was badly flawed– although I did keep my A average, this would have been a heck of a lot easier to do while having the benefit of going to class and being taught.

Meanwhile, I was so sick I was having trouble walking.  I’d come home with my lunch half eaten because I was too tired to chew.  I lost weight.  I would nap during the occasional study hall or lunch if I could– especially when I was too tired to eat.  I was so tired that by the time I got home, I could barely focus to work- let alone do make up work.  There were a few occasions I remember my mom reading to me out of my english textbook so I could complete an assignment because I couldn’t focus on the words on the page.  Prom night, three of my best friends slept over.  I woke up in the middle of the night having difficulty breathing and with a rash.  My class had been told that if anyone did not come to school the day after prom (which wound up on a Wednesday), they would be suspended.  My mom literally drove me to school, went to the office, explained the situation and called my doctor to make an appointment in front of the principal.  We then brought the dr’s note back.  I had a virus, a bacterial infection, and a rash.  All at once.

I have never been sicker in my life.  And hardly anyone believed me.  I missed friend’s birthday parties, weeks of church, days and days of school, family events.  Even my extended family often doubted the severity of how sick I was.

So now, when I am sick and need to miss something– whether it’s an outing with friends or a shift at work– I get very nervous because I always assume that people do not believe me and assume I’m faking.  It’s paranoid, perhaps.  But this thought has never left me.  It’s something I hope to work on, though.  I need freedom from this.  It’s time to quiet this voice in my head– a voice which still has a face (despite how many people caused this problem, there is one face that seems to speak louder than them all.  This is also, interestingly enough, the voice of most of my creative blockings as well).

What do you need to say goodbye to?  Is there a memory, inner voice, or even person currently in your life who’s holding back your creativity– or even your very spirit?  Personally, I’m going to be doing some soul-searching and praying to get over this block.  All the best to you who may be doing the same!



Filed under Life

Happy Father’s Day!

I’d like to just wish all the fathers out here a very happy father’s day!! I hope you know how important your job is!

I’m so blessed to have a great Daddy who– although we don’t always see eye to eye– has taught me some amazing things and who I love to spend time with.  I can’t wait for him to come over today for dinner and presents 🙂

I’m also extra blessed to still have one of my grandfathers in my life– my Deda– who, at 92 years old is still an amazing, open-minded, caring individual.  I am enthralled with him (despite the scare we had having to bring him to the hospital last night! He’s ok though– thank God!– and back home and also coming for dinner tomorrow).

I’m ecstatic to have these two who have helped to shape my life.  I have received so much help and encouragement over the years from both of them, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Being a father (or grandfather, or godfather, or uncle, or just a fatherly-figure) is such an amazing role.  I hope you are all spoiled today with love and time and affection and gratefulness!

Happy Father’s Day!

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Filed under Life

Bumper Cars, of the less fun variety

I hit a car yesterday on my way to school.  Nothing too terrible, although I felt really terrible about it.  I was stopped at a light.  The light turned, we all started moving.  I must have glanced down and the woman in front of me stopped.  I slammed into her, or at least it sounded like a slam as I was probably going only 5 to 10 miles an hour.  There was little to no damage (at most, a scratch, although that may have been there before– and some dust as I need to clean my car).  We exchanged information and got back in our cars.

Driving for about 4 years now, I’ve never hit anyone before.  I’ve been hit, in a very scary parkway accident that, miraculously, left both cars with no damage (only some scuff marks).  That was when I’d been driving about a year.

Getting back in my car yesterday, I was scared and shaking.  Everything loose in my car (some shoes, clothes, two stuffed animals– and my cell phone) had flown.  I moved some stuff back onto the seat and sat for a moment to collect myself.  I frantically tried to find the phone, but couldn’t.  I was meeting molecularsheep at school before we parted ways for our respective classes.  I was now late, with no way to reach him, and scared.

I sat in my car and realized that I couldn’t stay there forever.  I couldn’t call anyone to come get me without my phone, so I had to start driving again.  I made it to school uneventfully, pulled up next to molecular sheep’s car (who immediately knew something was wrong) and began to tell the story, sobbing.

He got out, hugged me, and helped calm me down.  He listened to everything and helped me find my phone.  I got my stuff for class, although I was already pretty sure I wasn’t going at this point, and we sat in his car for a bit while I called my dad, mostly because he holds the car insurance.

My dad was low-key about the whole thing.  Working hard to make sure that everything was ok, especially me and my car, and then to calm me down a bit.  He told me about his first two accidents as a driver, both which involved him hitting someone from behind (except, in his words, doing more damage).  As I was still shaking and my class is a dance class (requiring coordinated movement…), I opted to tag along with molecular sheep to main campus.  He had a full day of teaching and work, so I sat outside his building, in the shade of a beautiful day.  I called my mom.  I told her everything and, she too, tried to calm me down and make me feel better, as I felt immensely guilty and scared.  She told me about an accident she’d had.  We must have been on the phone for more than an hour, and I did feel better when I got off.

The rest of the day was spent reading the book that molecular sheep didn’t feel like carrying to class.  I was enthralled and– in between sandwiches and blueberries and another hours-long conversation with mom– read about 50 pages.

After school, we (molecular sheep and i) had already planned to go to Target, so we did.  We’d both been talking about planting some things– vegetables for me and him, herbs.  As we pulled up, the sign reminded me that Home Depot was right next door.  I suggested we go and after Target, we delighted in rows of vegetable plants and pots and soil.  He chose a variety of peppers, some herbs, raspberries, and tomato plants for his mom.  I got some corn and tomatoes (one cherry, one beefstake), and blueberries.  I also wanted red peppers, but they only had yellow and green (of the bell pepper variety).  I’m going tomorrow to get the red peppers at a local supermarket where I saw them the end of last week.

By the end of the day, I was exhausted, but feeling much better.  I’m grateful to have parents who, while they’ve pushed me over the years, knew that I’ve always been so hard on myself that they haven’t been hard on me (and instead have to help curb my thick guilt and sense of responsibility).  That plus a good friend, a good book, and a little gardening made the day so much better.


Filed under Life, The Garden