Friday, March 27, 2015

RIP Grandma

My grandmother died.

It's been a little over a week and honestly I didn't think it would affect me like this. In fact, I had a whole different blog post written that I meant to schedule for posting while I was gone. Then I forgot. So today I went to add the finishing touches and realized, while it's still true and still going to be posted later, I have something else I want to say today.

I went to my mom's for the funeral. I told myself I went because it was expected of me, because what sort of granddaughter misses her grandmother's funeral service, because my mom needed me. I told myself I didn't need everyone offering condolences and saying they were sorry for my loss. That we weren't close so it wasn't that upsetting. And then I woke up Wednesday morning. We had a ton of things to do before we were ready to go to the service and the minute I got out of bed, I started working on them.

The photo collage to be displayed needed to be done. The house needed to be picked up because people were coming by after. I needed to get dressed and do my hair, my makeup. I started working and then, still in my pajamas, two of Mom's friends showed up for a ride. We knew they were coming but they were early and everyone else was already upstairs getting ready. So I played hostess and I got coffee and creamer and then excused myself to get dressed.

From that moment, I didn't stop moving for nearly 48 hours. Oh I sat at the funeral but I didn't rest. I perched on the edge of my chair. And I drove home of course (four and a half hours worth of driving). But who can say that driving that long, in the twilight and then the night, is relaxing? I brought the kids back with me yesterday so I could clean. And I did the dishes. And the laundry. And I showered. And I unpacked. And I made dinner. And I don't think I've been relaxed for one moment since I woke up Wednesday morning.

If I stop moving, stop doing things, stop and just relax, I'm afraid I'll think. And if I think, I'll process. And if I process, my grandmother really will be in that box, all turned to ash, and I might just cry. And I can't cry because I hate crying. Especially in front of other people. It was bad enough having to carefully weigh, when speaking at her funeral, whether it was better to look like a stone faced bitch and not shed a tear in front of all these people or whether it was better to show my weakness and know that they all understood the fact that I lost my grandma. (In the end, it didn't matter what I thought. I cried anyhow.)

This is a reaction I never thought I'd have. I never thought grief might make me unable to relax, oscillating between curled up on the couch mostly zoned out and unable to sit because there's shit that suddenly became very important to get done. And considering the fact that I know I'll see her again someday and the fact that she was in truly awful health, I'm sort of surprised it has me this upset. Several times in the last five years, I thought she was going to die in surgery. And then, on a random Wednesday night, in her sleep, she stopped breathing. It was unexpected and shocking. And there's a whole lot more details that are infuriating. She's gone. And it's hard to imagine and it's hard to wrap my head around.

My grandma died. And I'm here processing that fact. Grandma, you've got your health back. And your parents. And your best friend. And your son. And I know you're happy and I'll see you again. Until then, just try not to ask G-d any questions about how He came up with catfish, okay?

My Wrestling with G-d (or Lack Thereof)

I've realized lately that I don't struggle with G-d much anymore. I've struggled with some big issues in the past decade and it seems like suddenly they've disappeared. I struggled with self-harm. I struggled with my depression instead of just letting it come over me. I struggled with the decision to start dating my ex, a non-Christian bordering on atheism. I struggled deciding where to go to college. I struggled with the decision to have sex, and then to stop. I struggled with the decision to let go of the future I had planned for myself. First to change my major and then to end my engagement. I struggled with sexual immorality. I struggled with trying to understand if I was pure or not. I struggled deciding what to do after my au pair year. I struggled with the decision to start dating the man I now call my husband. I struggled even deciding to move to Ohio.

Where has all that struggle gone? All that passion? All that fight? On the one hand, you could say that the lack of struggling means my life is going great and nothing needs to be struggled with. That I should enjoy this time of ease and stop trying to argue about everything. But I don't think this is really meant to be a time of ease.

My life feels like it's just going with the flow and accepting things. We, as Christians, are called to so much more! We're called to represent our Saviour on this earth and we are called to be His hands and feet. We're called to be Christ-like. And I am not. I am selfish and greedy and lazy. I am sinful. I know all this but I accept it most days. I don't turn to G-d and confess because most days I'm not even aware of my sins. I know I've sinned because I'm human but I don't pay attention to my individual failings. I just move on with my life. I mean, let's be honest, we're only human right?

But here's the thing. We're supposed to take up our cross daily. Some days I'm not even sure where I put mine. That is not living the way I'm made to. My life was made for more. There are things I know I ought to be wrestling with in my soul and yet, I can't seem to dig deeper into my faith. I seem to be stuck. Is it my age? Is it my stage of life? Is this just a season where I'm plateaued? Or am I just going through the motions?

I want more. I don't want this humdrum day to day. I know I said in a previous post that I'm accepting the fact that I'm normal but maybe I just need to focus on being abnormal in a different way. I want more than status quo. I want a life that is clearly touched by G-d. I don't want this life to be about routine and expectations. I want to live the way I am meant to. And yes, that means going to church every week. But it also means letting G-d use the other six days a week too. My faith is not to be confined to an hour every Sunday or even to a half hour devotional each day. My faith is meant to be a part of me and I want to start showing it.

Since I began writing this post nearly two weeks ago now, I've created a prayer journal and began using it yesterday. I have sections for praise, for confession, for praying for my husband, for our future children, for myself. I have a section for praying for others and several for taking notes. On sermons, on the Bible, on books I'm reading or quotes I discover or even lyrics from songs. I'm praying right now that G-d would make me into the woman I ought to be. The wife I should be and the mother my children need. But that's a subject for another post.

Have you ever gone through an experience like this? Have you ever felt like you were on a plateau with Christ?

Monday, March 23, 2015

A Makeover for the Blog

As you may have noticed, my blog has undergone a bit of a makeover recently. This blog has been my online home for the last three years, though I may not have always been around so much. And lately the set up here hasn't reflected who I am now.

"A Madwoman with a Blog" was designed when I was focused on my fandom and on my eccentricities. Identifying myself as a madwoman was both a nod to the fact that The Doctor was called a madman with a box and a nod to the fact that I don't consider myself normal.

I never wanted to be normal. I thought it was a mark of uniqueness, of being exceptional. Well I've started to realize that's not so. My life looks a lot like most others. I go to work. I come home. I don't work out as much as I should. I eat more junk than I should. I sleep. I watch TV. I tend to drift through life the way I think a lot of people do.

Well, no more. I'm committing to this thing called life. I'm trying to get myself healthier by working out and snacking smart. I'm trying to take time out to work on my hobbies. My knitting, my sewing, my reading. I don't want to just drift anymore. I want to commit. And yes, that does mean being a regular around this place. Whether my entries are just an account of what's going on in my life or they're an in-depth look into my psyche, I want to commit to writing. This is part of what He made me for and I've been a fool to ignore it for as long as I have.

So poke around, enjoy the view, let me know what you think. And commit with me. Commit to living life your way. Not just accepting the status quo.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

My Heart and All Its Problems - Physical and Emotional

My heart sucks. I was born with two holes in my heart and suffered a heart murmur until I was about ten. When I was in college, I developed heart palpitations. They're aggravated by stress and caffeine. My heart these last few weeks has been insane. Lots of palpitations, lots of just feeling funny.

This morning, I got a latte with my freebie and forgot to say "half caf". I had approximately 1/3 of my drink before it hit.

I was nauseous. My chest felt funny. My pulse rate was slow, so slow. And I still had another fifteen minute until I got to work. So I guzzled water, I trashed the rest of my delicious latte, and I decided I needed to reduce my stress for the day.

After Natalie woke up, I loaded some toys into the car, bundled her up, and we picked Mac up from preschool. Then I took both of them back to my place. Is what I'm doing here any different than what I would have done there? Not really. But being in my place, my home, it helps. I did the dishes while I made lunch and for once it was productive for my life. I do dishes every day, sometimes multiple times, but most of the time I come home and I see that mess waiting for me. And it just stresses me out again. Yes, I've spent most of naptime watching Netflix and on my laptop just like if I was "at" work. But once they wake up, I'll unload the dishwasher and I'll put a few things in and then, I'll get to feed my charges and my husband all in one swoop. And I get to eat at a decent hour.

I spent a few minutes putting on a face mask -which was an epic fail actually. I turned into a tomato. And I'm going to do my nails. I'm going to pamper myself. I'm going to do whatever it takes to center myself, to destress, to get in tune with who I am. Because I haven't been lately.

And ya know what, I used to think confidence and feeling comfortable in your own skin was a slope. I thought once you got it, you had it. And lately I feel like I've lost it. I think back to when I was in Europe and I had it. I swear I had it back then. I felt comfortable and confident and I was active. I was walking around the city, about two hours a day. Which meant I lost weight. And it showed. I had a glow that I've lost. I survived the dreariest winter in 50 years in that city. WITHOUT my anti-depressants.

My anxiety got out of hand a few times but I knew who I was. I felt comfortable, especially when I was with my friends or on my own. But lately? I feel like I suck as an adult.

At 22, in Europe, not knowing how to cook wasn't an issue. I just ate what Kathrin made. If I was hungry at other times, I ate a slice of that delicious bread with yummy cheese. I don't think I even went so far as making pasta for myself the entire time I was there. Yes, I cooked a few times for the family. I tried my hand at burgers, lasagna, tacos. But I couldn't just whip something up. I don't think I ever saw Kathrin use a recipe. She made her tomato sauce from scratch. She whipped up some form of frittata weekly without any guideline. Things just got thrown into a pan and cooked. Salad dressing was just sprinkled on. Meanwhile the one time she asked me to do it, I looked up a recipe. How else was I to know how much oil or vinegar, salt or pepper to use?

Now, I want to be able to throw dinner together just by looking in the fridge. I want to have a month where I can toss chicken in a pot and a vegetable in another and just wing it. And have it turn out delicious. But I don't know the first thing about cooking. I can follow recipes but I cannot cook without one.

Furthermore, I suck at being a girl I've decided. I don't know how to do my makeup. I don't have a skin care routine. I manage to shower and use deodorant and that's about it. I'm not well dressed or put together and though it might not matter to some people, it's starting to bug me. I even suck at keeping a home. Both decor and cleaning. I didn't even know how to properly empty my vacuum cleaner until this past weekend!

Are these things I could learn? Yes. But I feel like by 25 I should have some of this down. And instead, I feel behind. Behind where I was two years ago when I knew who I was. Behind my friends who seem to be able to cook their own dinners without problem. Behind my expectations of where I should be.

This is a pretty dreary end to this post I suppose but I don't really have a revelation yet. I just know that I feel behind. I feel like I've lost something I didn't know you could lose and I don't know how to start getting it back.