A Few Thoughts On Rejection


For those of you who had the balls to go audition for Listen To Your Mother, you rock. To those of you who made it, congratulations.

To those of you who didn’t – hello, my sisters.

I have seen friends celebrate and I have seen friends react to not being chosen. Of course it’s natural to be upset. In addition to pouring our souls out through words, we then got up in front of others and *gasp* read those words aloud.

The challenge in being rejected is to not take it personally. But.. but… those are my words, you’re thinking! I READ THEM. HOW IS THIS NOT PERSONAL???

Think of it this way – you plan to sew a gorgeous quilt. You need fabric first, right? So you go to a local fabric store with hundreds of choices. You spend hours sorting through the fabric, comparing them to each other and analyzing the appearance of each scrap in the final design. You can’t possibly use every single scrap of fabric in the quilt and end up with the appearance you want, right?

That’s what the people in charge of LTYM are doing – they are creating a quilt of words and they can’t possibly use all the words they hear or read during the audition phase. So they are forced to make a final selection after browsing the most amazing “fabrics” they have to choose from. In doing so, they work to find pieces which fall into a specific pattern, pieces which will work together for the show they envision. So, you see, it isn’t about you at all. It’s all about their job to select the best pieces for the design they see before them.

I went into auditioning this year with the mindset that I wouldn’t be chosen. But if I did that, then why bother auditioning?

Because standing in front of people, reading words I wrote, scares the ever-loving crap out of me. It is beyond my comfort zone. I don’t even read my blog posts to myself after I write them if that gives you any indication of how much I dislike reading my words. I struggle to accept the compliment of “hey, you’re a really great writer!” to be completely honest.

I am genuinely happy for those who made it into LTYM shows this year. It is an honor to be chosen and it takes courage to get up in front of such large audiences and read personal stories. To those who with me in not being chosen – you are still just as awesome as you were the moment before you took a shaky deep breath and stepped inside that audition room (or connected via G+ Hangout or Skype). No one gets to tell you any different. It takes guts to do that and even more guts to cope with rejection.

Below is the piece I read on Sunday morning for my audition. I like it, they laughed, everyone who has read it has told me it rocks. But it just didn’t fit into the show for whatever reason. I’m okay with that because you know what? I’m writing way more this year than I was last year and with each audition, I’m getting better at it. Sure, it’s nice to have acknowledgements and acceptance from others but in reality the only opinion which matters of yourself is your own.

Enjoy reading my audition piece!

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It’s a strange balance, this juxtaposition of womanhood and motherhood.

If we falter even the slightest, it’s as if someone yanked the worst possible Jenga block out of our intricately formed tower and we’re left hoping we’re as brilliant as Raymond Babbit, able to immediately calculate what’s fallen down as well as how to fix it.

As mothers, we are expected to heal everything, know everything, cook everything, be everything. I don’t know everything, I can’t heal everything, I am not everything, but I am able to cook almost everything. Except insects because that’s just gross.

When I was a little girl, I shoved stuffed animals under my shirt in the sunroom of our family cottage over on the Jersey Shore. I’d unceremoniously yank them out after a few minutes (which back then, felt like an eternity), giving birth to my “children.”

Stuffed animals made the best children in the world. They didn’t cry, they didn’t poop, they didn’t throw up….seriously. They were awesome. Plus, how on earth could you be sad whilst cuddling an adorable fuzzy teddy bear?

Fast forward about 20 years or so and there I was, in a hospital in rural South Carolina, about to give birth. It was a bit more complicated than yanking a stuffed animal from under my Mickey Mouse shirt – this time, I was screaming, pushing, and praying the epidural would magically start working on the side of my body engulfed in enough pain to convince me it was on fire.

Then, after 14 or so hours of labor, she arrived. In true Jersey Girl fashion, my oldest slid from the womb giving the doctor the finger on my behalf. I didn’t know what to do with her. She wasn’t soft and fuzzy. She was wet, naked, kicking, and screaming. The advice from the nurse about breastfeeding? Make sure you get the entire areola in her mouth – you know, the brown part. (Gee, thanks!)

I sought help at 12 weeks postpartum for depression only to be told “Hey! You don’t have PPD because at four weeks postpartum, your hormones slid magically back into place! But wait, there’s more…you’ve won a visit with our in-house therapist who will keep rescheduling!”

Swell.

We moved back to be closer to his family and I toughed it out without professional help. Then we got pregnant with our second.

Second time around saw me through over forty hours of labor. Delivery was fast once I pushed. But then, she was diagnosed with a cleft palate and I lost my mind. Medication at 10 days, hospitalization at 56 days, enlightenment shortly thereafter.

I didn’t have to suffer. I didn’t have to struggle. I had forgotten to mother the most important person in my life…me.

Self-care is not selfish, it is selfless. If you attempt to pour a glass of water from an empty pitcher, it is impossible. The same goes for self-care. If you attempt to care for others while not filling yourself, you will give nothing.

My third child was born after a quick and relatively simple labor. I didn’t have any issues after his birth as I did what I needed to in order to take care of myself first. I took care of my little guy and his sisters, but I managed my own well-being at the same time instead of just theirs.

I mothered all of us.

That, my friends, that is the key to mothering. It isn’t in balancing. It isn’t in being the Martha Stewart at the bake sale. It isn’t in knowing how to solve every single issue that may or may not crop up. It isn’t in being the Joneses on the street or even in being the Mom who lets her kid do whatever he or she wants.

The key to mothering is mothering EVERYONE in your family the best you can, yourself included. You are the nucleus of the family, the center of their worlds, and they are yours. Embrace this. Cherish this. Nourish this. In the process, however, remember to take impeccable care of yourself for without this important step, all of this may suddenly disappear into a dark vortex and suddenly, you won’t be in Kansas any more.

Remember Dorothy’s mantra? There’s no place like home. Only in real life, a mother’s ruby slippers are self-care and you absolutely must remember  to click them together….often.

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Confessions from a black hole


Last Saturday night I had a panic attack.

Alli had gone home with the in-laws to spend the night after her recital and I ended up having to take some pull-ups and church clothes over for her.

After I left, I headed over to Zaxby’s to grab some dinner for Chris and I.

The anxiety started gaining momentum as I left their neighborhood and continued to build the closer I got to Zaxby’s. You see, the intersection where Zaxby’s is located is where I had my accident on March 29th. At 10pm. On a Saturday night. (It was approaching 10p the closer I got to Zaxby’s.)

I pulled up to the speaker to place my order and the employee wouldn’t be quiet long enough for me to think. And that’s when it hit me.Black Hole Milkyway

My chest got tight, my throat started to close and I couldn’t breathe fast enough or get any sounds to come out. I wanted to yell at the employee, tell her to shut up so I could think!

I pulled away from the speaker and parked. I could hear her saying “ma’am? Ma’am” over the speaker over and over again but I didn’t care.

My mind was racing – I have to stop this, I have got to STOP this I have to – what if I can’t. What if I just drive into the car in front of me – what if I can’t stop this and I get stuck here. I can’t face Chris’ parents like this. Breathe dammit just Breathe. C’mon. Breathe. Open your throat and friggin breathe. And yeah, like that. Oh just shut up! (reached down to turn the radio off. C’mon. You KNOW what to do. You’ve got to break the cycle, interrupt the pace, slow things down. Don’t freak out. You CANNOT FREAK OUT. YOU CAN’T! GET A GRIP. Breathe. deeeeeeep slow breaths. There you go. Breathe. In through your nose, pull in your abs, out through your mouth, exhale into your ribs. Close your eyes. Relax. Let everything go loose. Don’t think about the drive through. Don’t think about the fear, stop. Stop and Breathe. Pray. Breathe. Pray. BREATHE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Finally calming myself down enough to think somewhat straight and feeling strong enough, I pulled back up to the speaker to order again.

After placing the order, I called Chris to let him know why I was running so late. Nevermind that, I had ordered the wrong thing he told me. And at that time it didn’t matter that I had just had a panic attack. I didn’t sound panicked he would later tell me so he didn’t know if I was being over dramatic or not. (Note: We did discuss this a few days later when we were both calm and in a sane state of mind. He apologized as did I. I also had the order fixed at the window prior to returning home)

The rest of the evening a total wash, I collapsed into bed shortly after returning home, completely drained after having all that adrenaline running free throughout my body.

The next morning at church I started down the road to Panicville once again but this time I cut it off before the left turn got started.

I’ll never know the real trigger. I’m sure though it had something to do with the accident and knowing that court was just around the corner.

I’m writing this because I need to get it out, I need to deal.

Tonight I wanted a cheeseburger. I didn’t decide this until 930p. The closest cheeseburger place is up near the intersection where my accident occurred. Again it is a Saturday night. Close to 10p. And yes, I was afraid to drive. I know for sure I’ll be discussing this with my therapist this week. I did discuss last week’s panic attack with her already but hadn’t felt up to writing about it until tonight.

Gotta take the good with the bad right?

Just turns out last Saturday night was a bad night. Gonna let it be.

Movin’ forward.

Next?

Friday Soother


Woman Cliff Diving

Photo © u c c r o w

 

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.

– Eleanor Roosevelt –