Saturday, March 25, 2006

Thar she blows

What does a woman do when she's feeling unappreciated, taken for granted and used? When it's this woman, she either tries to suck it up and rise above it, gets hurt and quietly retreats into some nasty little mental space or does the smart thing and makes sure she appreciates herself.

I've known for a long time that I'm the linch pin in my family. The overwhelming majority of mothers are too and know this. I also know that it's awfully damn easy for a family to become too accustomed to one person handling everything. I don't think it's something intentional, but after awhile, it gets old, damned old.

I've been working my butt off. My calendar has more activities and deadlines for the husband and daughter on it than it does for me, and my share isn't insignificant. I've been running endless last minute errands for those needs they can't tell me about ahead of time. Honey, will you pick up my prescription refill at the doctor's office? Mom, it's 10:30 p.m., but I've got to have new black flats to wear for the play tomorrow night. Mom, my hair is ridiculous. I know you're working, but the only time I can get in is .... Honey, I'm sorry, I just didn't get to...

I'd had it, especially since I also put in several hours this week, helping a few co-workers get some of their stuff into our new and weird computer system. We're commission only, and I can expect nada from this.

I am a helpful person. I am a giving person. I know and appreciate these things about me, but you know, I have some needs and wants too. Not only were these not getting met by anybody else, but my family was getting in the way of me taking care of myself. Add into that mix teenage female angst, middle aged male moodiness, and my fuse was lit.

The bomb blew today when a simple, easily met request from me that would have benefited the whole family was turned down, not once but twice. My response was a simple fuck it all. I grabbed the car keys, the cell phone, the sunglasses and the debit card and walked out the door without telling anyone where I was going or when I'd get back. I never do that.

I came back two pair of shoes, a suit, four shirts, a skirt, a billfold, a new Daytimer, carrying case for the Palm Pilot and a new purse later. I honestly think that may equal all the clothing than I bought for myself all last year. I scheduled a haircut, manicure and pedicure for myself for next week. I ordered two of the semi-custom bras which are the only comfortable bras I've ever worn. I don't even give a shit about how much money I spent. Let someone else compromise for a little while. I picked up information about that chemical peel I've been secretly craving. Even without my glasses, I can't pretend these lines are still fine. I killed some time in a restaurant eating tiramisu and reading. I told the family I didn't care if or what they ate for dinner or lunch. If I'd had someone with me, it would have been margarita time, but I don't drink alone. As an overweight smoker, I think I have enough addictions to worry about.

I love the new stuff. I won't deny it, and honestly I've needed it. When I was hanging up laundry the other day, I realized that my favorite work dress was five years old. I'm worthy of some self care and some occasional indulgences. The deeper need for attention and appreciation from the people nearest to me is still unmet and probably will be for some time. I've gone off about change so many times, but some changes take time, and this is one about which I am adamant.

I'm always telling my daughter that if she doesn't like something in her life, then change it. It's time I started listening to my own advice. I can't change the way someone acts, but I can draw limits about how I will be treated and what standards I will hold for my own life. It doesn't mean that I love them less, but it may mean that I'm loving me more.

11 Comments:

Blogger Theresa Williams said...

Wow, Cynthia! That was positively nuclear! It's a wonder I didn't hear about it on a special news report. BLOWN TO SMITHEREENS IN TENNESSEE! You know, I can remember those days, back when the boys were little and I was doing everything I could to try to hold things together. It's downright frustrating, nearly impossible at times. Sometimes Allen had work, sometimes he didn't. I can remember those kinds of explosions. They never happen now. Life at home with the boys gone and with a supportive husband is very calm. Hang on, Cynthia. (Guess you don't need fiction to assert YOURself!) I'm thinking of you.

March 25, 2006 11:17 PM  
Blogger TJ said...

Well Hello Momma! Bout time, I am smiling and nodding my head up and down. No wait, I am climbing up on my chair and clapping. Crawling instinctively through cut glass is what we do for our family and there are times that a huge Snoopy bandaide has to be pulled out to stop the bleeding! Hugs and laughter,
TJ

March 26, 2006 6:05 AM  
Blogger Paula said...

Wha-HOOO!!!

(You know, don't you--I think you do now--that the way you allow yourself to be treated is the way you are teaching people to treat you. All writers now, better than moms, that showing is stronger than telling.)

March 26, 2006 9:53 AM  
Blogger Paula said...

All writers KNOW...dang.

But it gives me a chance to hoot again: WHA-HOOOO!!! You're your own hero, girl!

March 26, 2006 9:55 AM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

Brava, my dear!

March 26, 2006 6:54 PM  
Blogger Vicky said...

YOU GO GIRL!!!

If ever I used to do that when I was married, I would say to my husband, "The worm has turned." He hated that!

Looks like your worm has turned into a giant butterfly - attagirl! We have to take care of ourselves, and you sure as heck deserve it. The ideal is planning some self time every day, but that rarely happens, so the big bang ends up as being all we have. And yours was a veritable explosion! And remember, no regrets!

Part II - what was the reaction of the family? Do tell!

Vicky

March 26, 2006 11:58 PM  
Blogger Cynthia said...

Apparently I'm a scary broad when I blow. They've all -- even the animals -- stepped rather gingerly around me since yesterday, asking permission for things they would never have thought about before, getting the little chores done when I ask with a few minor exceptions. I have heard you don't have to be so mean. Though the words have been rather calm since yesterday, my tone has been either crisp or flat. My response has been I'm working on getting over it, but I'm not the only one who has some work to do.

March 27, 2006 1:07 AM  
Blogger Tammy said...

Bravo!!!!!!!!!! I loved this post!
Keep taking time for you because everyone wins.

March 27, 2006 10:35 AM  
Blogger Jod{i} said...

Man I love you!
I, too, sat here nodding, having had a few moments as yours.
I bit liberating and boy does it scream for you.

I learned through mine, that when I do something and it is assumed I will do from that point on...that everyone else needs to be familiar with it as well.

YOU GO GIRL!

March 27, 2006 11:11 AM  
Blogger Globetrotter said...

Ahh shit...I just love this post!

This is so great when we finally decide to assert our deservedness!

But what a shame it takes such a long fuse before it finally ignites!

I can so...so... identify with everything you've said here. I told my husband just the other day as he bragged about how he's the money-maker in the family now, that it's about time he made up for the billions he owes me in back pay for the 95/5% work ratio that was in effect in all those 33 years.

And yes, I also remember when the 16 year old gave me three hours notice to get him a pair of black leather shoes for dress rehearsal for the school play that night.
(I got them).

My fuse went off 3 Christmas's ago. Every single year of marriage it was me buying the gifts, wrapping the gifts, decorating the house, getting the tree, decorating the tree, cooking the big Christmas meals, entertaining, cleaning, writing cards, etc. etc.etc. Those stresses in addition to the regular stress of going to work, earning money, checking homework, car-pooling to events, attending the kid's sports, running a business... I went nuts. I refused to put up a tree. I refused to buy a single gift. I refused to invite anyone over. I was following my therapist's advice who told me I had to do it. The pay-off was that it didn't shame the husband into doing any of those things. I came down Christmas day and my 22 year old son had gone out into the yard and dragged in a God awful looking Christmas bush and hung socks on it. We all had a good laugh and cry that day.

For me it kind of backfired because little did I realize that that was to be my last Christmas in a home I had adored decorating and taking care of. But at least I stood up for myself and didn't feel like a doormat that year.

Keep it up girl. It only gets easier after this!

March 27, 2006 5:33 PM  
Blogger Gabreael said...

If you don't take care of yourself, nobody else will.

Gabreael

http://gabreaelsbodymindandspirit.blogspot.com/

March 27, 2006 7:45 PM  

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