Confession Thursday with the Green-Eyed Monster

November 30, 2006

When I was attending my small Christian college in a nowhere town, one of the biggest social occasions for the girls was a candlelighting. I don’t know if anybody else does this, so I’m going to assume it was unique to our school. After a girl got engaged–which happened pretty much on a weekly basis–she would only tell one or two of her closest friends. These friends were responsible for advertising an anonymous candlelighting, finding a candle, and tying her engagement ring to it with a colorful ribbon. On the appointed evening, most of the girls in the dorm would gather, especially the ones who were acquainted with the various girls who were rumored to be the subject of the evening’s candlelighting.

The group would gather in a circle in the dark and pass the lit candle around while singing an appropriate love or wedding song. Each girl would peek at the lovely engagement ring, ooh and aah excessively over it, and hold her breath as she waited to discover which girl would blow out the candle, claiming the ring as her own. Once that moment happened, every girl present would give the lucky girl hugs and wait for her to tell her engagement story.

I went to my share of candlelightings, each time with a touch of envy. It was expected of me, though, so I continued going. As the candle circulated through the dark room, I would have fantasies about my own candlelighting. Sometimes I would envision the current boyfriend sneaking into the room, leaning over my shoulder as I happened to have the candle and blow it out for me, and then proposing to me in front of all my friends. That never happened. In fact, my candlelighting itself never did. I always put on a good show of being happy for my newest engaged friend, but I left the room more lonely than I had entered, and that pit of jealousy in my stomach only grew.

I graduated from college without ever getting my candlelighting. That was one of the saddest parts of my graduation. I knew I would never have another opportunity for one. That was one of life’s milestones that had passed me by. I’d lost my chance to be the center of attention for something so wonderful, and even if I ended up happily married later in life, I couldn’t regain that lost moment. Only my fantasies about my candlelighting remain.

I wonder if the only reason I wanted a candlelighting so badly was the peer pressure. We were at that stage in life when boyfriends, fiances, and husbands were most important to us. When we didn’t get them in that order during those few college years, it felt as though we weren’t a part of the crowd.

Now that I’m married, my missed candlelighting seems unimportant. I have the perfect man, so it doesn’t matter much that I didn’t get to announce it in such a dramatic way. I haven’t changed, however. My desire for that wonderful attention has transferred to the next stage of my life.

I feel exactly as I did at every candlelighting every time I hear or read of another woman’s pregnancy. I desperately want to be happy for them, and in a way I am, but I’m so jealous I could be sick. I want it to be my turn. I fantasize about what it will be like when I read that positive pregnancy test, how to tell my husband, my family. I have several different blog entries announcing the good news all but written in my head.

I don’t want to begrudge my friends, even in blogworld, their good news, but I’m ready for it to be my turn. I want that attention. I’m so scared that this will be just another milestone that will pass me by and that like my candlelighting, I’ll always wonder what it would have been like to experience it.

Well, here ends NaBloPoMo. I suppose it’s good that I was so dedicated to blogging on a regular basis before the month started. I didn’t have much trouble with it, other than being out of town. I’ll probably keep blogging on a nearly daily basis, like I did before. Don’t go away!


Don’t Hate Me

November 29, 2006

Ever since starting my other blog, I have avoided certain topics. Some were to spare my family and friends, and some were just because I was afraid the vast majority of my readers wouldn’t understand why they were topics of concern for me. Today I’m doing the courageous thing and broaching one of those topics anyway.

When I was in high school, I was a perfect five feet tall and one hundred pounds. I was quite literally used as a unit of measure in my physics class. The naive high-schooler I was, I just assumed that was my adult height and weight.

I was right about the height. Even with heels on, I’m barely taller than five feet. Weight fluctuates much more, though. In college I put on a few of those freshman fifteen pounds, and then continued to put on weight during my years as a single teacher, eating whatever was easy, not what was healthy. I had a short health kick in there where I exercised nearly every day, and I lost some weight and toned up a lot. I had people tell me I could have been a model–if I could miraculously grow about eight inches straight up.

Then I got married. And pregnant. I was super sick and had problems gaining weight at first. When PJ was born, I was only up about twenty pounds. M gained right along with me, probably his encouragement to entice me to eat even when I didn’t feel like it, and he gained about forty pounds. I lost it all plus some during the first six weeks post-partum (I love breastfeeding!), but M didn’t. He kept gaining.

M lost a few of those pounds in the last few months, but still has those forty “pregnancy” pounds to go. And now that I’m not breastfeeding more than the one time a day, but still eating like I am, I’ve put on a few pounds again.

M and I have made it our goal to lose some of that weight before the Christmas eating begins. I hate mentioning my weight, because if I gave you the actual number, most of you would hate me. I’m just so small-framed that every single pound makes a big difference on me. The ten pounds that are my goal to lose may not sound like much to most of you, but they keep my clothes from fitting right and make my self-confidence dwindle.

So M and I are going on a strict diet. The good news is that until recently we ate really badly, fast-food several times a week at least. And we didn’t exercise at all (unless you consider sex as exercise). It won’t take a major lifestyle change to take off a few pounds. We’ve decided to simply cook at home almost every meal and eat less when we do, and we’ll make a point to do some sort of exercise almost every day.

I may keep you updated here, just for an accountability factor for me. My true goal is to lose those ten pounds before I get pregnant. Of course, I technically could be pregnant right now (although not likely), so my goal may get thrown out if I get any good news. I’ll certainly let everyone know that too.


Questioning My Own Qualifications

November 28, 2006

I’ve finally figured out that I’m really too selfish to be a mother. It might have been nice if I’d realized this before getting pregnant, but I don’t know if it would have made a difference then. I think I’ve spiraled downward into my selfishness since getting pregnant. I was able to set it aside most of the time when I was teaching because I had responsibilities that I had to fulfill in order to receive my paycheck and keep my job. And let me tell you, that paycheck is quite the driving force to overcome even the worst aspects of my personality.

But now my responsibilities are minimal, and it’s difficult for me to push myself to do anything beyond that absolute minimum. I only feel the tiniest twinge of guilt when I roll over and go back to sleep in the morning, even when I hear PJ crying in the background. It won’t hurt him to wait another half hour to eat breakfast. Or I’ll let him cry in his gated play area when he’s sick of playing while I finish whatever I was doing before.

It bothers me that I am able to disregard some of PJ’s desires in order to follow my own desires during the day. It bothers me even more that PJ doesn’t seem to mind at all. He might cry at the time, but the second I pick him up or start playing with him, he’s fine again. If he weren’t so quick to forgive me my faults, I might just work harder to get rid of them.

Yet I’m still so willing to consider bringing another child into the mix; I’m even anxious for that to happen. Do I really think things will get better with two children? I’ll have two children pulling me two different ways and doubling my responsibility every day. I’ll feel twice as guilty for not meeting all the needs of two different children.

Either that, or having twice the responsibility would force me to set aside my own desires and selfishness twice as often. A second kid might just push the selfishness out of me altogether. The way I see it, another kid will either make my problem twice as bad or twice as good. I’ll play the optimist this time and hope for the second option. I’m too anxious for another baby to consider the first. I’ll overanalyze myself right out of a baby if I do that.


Whoops

November 27, 2006

So I took some advice and visited the blogs of my new commenters and left comments as well. But I forgot that the default setting gives my real name and directs people to my other, public blog. That means these people have no idea who I am, that it was me who commented, and if they do figure it out, they’ll have connected me to the other blog.

Stupid me. I need to stop trying to be so productive before noon.

To cover my tracks, I have disabled my profile. That will at least keep people from finding my other blog. If you commented here the other day and had a mysterious comment show up on your blog today–particularly if it thanked you for stopping by my blog–then that was probably me. And now you know my real name. Sorry about the confusion.

The problem has led me to decide it’s time to give some sort of a name here, though. I was wondering how long I could continue to keep myself completely anonymous without any sort of a name. I think I did pretty well to make it this long, but it’s time now.

From here on out, I will be known as Kayce. It’s a pseudonym, yes, but it’s more personal than no name at all.


Observations

November 27, 2006

One great thing about being home is that I can blog any old time I want. I don’t have to steal a few moments when nobody is hanging over my shoulder, checking up on what I’m doing. I don’t have to rush off to bed at 11:50, mysteriously lugging our laptop along with me. I should be back on a normal daily blogging schedule–not that I’ll blog at the same time every day, but that I shouldn’t have to rush to blog before midnight comes.

I’ve noticed that more random people are stopping by here. I hadn’t expected that signing up for NaBloPoMo would generate traffic. I did it just as a challenge to myself. I guess increased traffic here is a nice side effect. Welcome to all of you who have stopped by already, both those of you who have commented and those who haven’t. For those who have commented, I am planning to stop by your blogs too; I just haven’t had time in the last week or so.

Another effect of signing up for NaBloPoMo, via the domino effect, is that I have discovered how I come across to people who don’t know me, based on what I write on this blog. Most everyone has read my post from a few weeks ago in which I confessed my social anxiety. Along with that comes an intense desire to have everyone like me, and I am obsessed with what other people think of me. Sometimes I would rather not know, if it’s something I didn’t intend to show others.

But the assessment of me that I stumbled across the other day is probably pretty accurate. It’s funny that I would never have summarized myself that way until I saw someone else say it for me. That’s really not what this blog is about after all, but apparently I unintentionally give that impression in more of my posts than I realize. It’s weird how much you can learn about yourself when you see what other people think of you, even if it’s something you normally dread.

By the way, I know many of you have no idea what exactly I’m talking about or what was said about me, but that’s not really the point of this post. I feel weird sort of letting the person who said it know that I stumbled across it. It feels like eavesdropping to me. It’s probably nothing you haven’t thought before anyway.


Cop-Out Summary

November 27, 2006

We just got home from our Thanksgiving vacation, and I’m exhausted. My husband and I are both neat freaks–well, I’m becoming one to satisfy my husband–so we had to unpack immediately after getting home.

It’s definitely nice to be home again. It just stinks to always come home so exhausted. The traveling is tiring, as well as the flurry of activity that awaits as soon as I enter the house. It doesn’t help that the allergies stick around for a few days until all the cat hair can leave my system. Still, traveling is worth it.

I have all sorts of post ideas floating around in my brain, but it isn’t functioning well enough to pin one down tonight well enough to turn it into a whole post. I think I’ll surrender to the fatigue and let everyone down tonight and go to sleep early instead of doing a real post. That means tomorrow’s should be extra good, though, right?


Enablers

November 26, 2006

Apparently I’m on a roll with these confession-like posts because I have another today, a timely one based on the current vacation circumstances. I’ll admit first that I’m lazy, almost to a fault. It’s gotten a lot worse in the past year or so when I quit a real job. I will fulfill only the minimum of my responsibilities most days. I take care of PJ and a few desperate chores around the house, but I can’t get off my rear to do anything more than that most of the time.

Throw a vacation into the mix, and things get much, much worse. Now I don’t even have to accomplish that minimum of responsibilities. I have help with PJ, and we’re not at home so I don’t have any housekeeping to do. Of course, the kind houseguest thing to do would be to help out with little chores here and there, like helping cook meals and cleaning up from them and doing our own laundry, etc. I have done a few of those things, but I still feel guilty with how much my mom has waited on us hand and foot all week. Things that I could have easily done, even holding PJ with one arm, were done for me.

It’s gotten bad as the week has progressed. I’ve pretty much given up on trying to help. Now when a meal ends, I busy myself taking care of PJ, even if he doesn’t desperately need my full attention at the moment. I’m using him as an excuse to get out of real work–unless of course I’m sick of taking care of him at the moment, in which case dishes seem like the better end of the deal. That’s when I hand PJ off to his grandma and do the easier task.

When PJ’s down for a nap, suddenly I’m incapable of doing anything for myself because of my allergies. It’s weird how they flare up when he’s sleeping and I have nothing else to devote my full attention to. I’m lazy, getting lazier, and my family is enabling me.

Hey, it’s vacation. I guess I don’t mind too much this week. It’s just going to be that much harder to get back to a normal less-lazy routine next week.


Under the Wire

November 25, 2006

I had all day long to blog, with plenty of free time to write something, and here I am with ten minutes left in the day, finally sitting down to blog. Vacations throw me so far off my normal routine that even things I love, like blogging, get neglected.

I’ve been debating what to write about tonight. I have something absolutely perfect for Confession Thursday, but I don’t know that it can wait that long. Maybe I’ll just write about it anyway.

We’ve only been trying to conceive–sort of–for a little over a month, and already I’m starting to feel that incredible jealousy of those who are pregnant. I just found out that a friend of mine is pregnant with her third child, apparently a surprise pregnancy. I was reluctant to comment on her blog when she wrote about it because I was afraid the envy of her would be obvious.

I don’t want to dislike women who are pregnant. I’ve been very blessed already, getting pregnant the first time so easily. Why should I begrudge others getting pregnant at all, even if the kid was unexpected or the conception was easy? Why do I always have to be so special all the time? It’s not good enough that I had one easy conception; I want two, or three. And two years-ish isn’t close enough together; I wanted them a year or less. And I had one easy birth; now I want another. And PJ wasn’t preemie enough for me; if I have to have a preemie, it had better be the life-threatening kind.

I’m hoping I was taking that mindset a little too far there. But I’m afraid I’m not. I’ve always been an all-or-nothing kind of girl. It’s not good enough unless I have the best, or the worst, or any other extreme. Then I feel like I’ve failed if I do something great, but not the best. That’s where this inappropriate envy comes from.

I suppose it’s a good thing that I recognize this trait in myself. I can contain it and laugh it away instead of letting it eat me up. I did finally leave a comment on my friend’s blog congratulating her. It only took me about a week. Eventually my turn will come as well, even if there’s nothing extraordinary about it. At least I can be comforted by the fact that my son truly is the cutest kid ever.


Confession Thursday–Turkey Style

November 24, 2006

As you may have gathered so far, the big deal with Thanksgivings in my family isn’t the turkey so much as the family gathering. Now that I’m married, that includes my husband’s family. This is my second Thanksgiving trying to balance the two families. I have come to one major conclusion after this Thanksgiving: I don’t particularly like my in-laws.

I suppose I’ve also come to appreciate just how awesome my parents are. They have met my in-laws and understand the pressure they put on us to spend time with them, so my parents are determined to be the exact opposite. As a result, we end up spending much more time with my parents. I’d much rather have a relaxing, no-pressure holiday than one riddled with family “obligations” and manipulative in-laws.

The worst part is that PJ is a pawn in all of this drama. M’s parents want to see PJ, not us really. We got a call from the MIL early this morning; she was bawling because it was so lonely without us around. Never mind that she was surrounded by family and that we were planning to go out of our way to spend the afternoon and evening with her. It was all a ploy to get us to leave my parents and the huge feast they had prepared to spend time with her instead.

The MIL is bad about sharing her time with anybody else as well. As soon as we got over to where she was staying with all the relatives this afternoon, she all but kidnapped PJ. She made us feel guilty if we tried to take him away to comfort him while he was crying, or if he voluntarily crawled to one of us. He hasn’t seen her in over a month; it will take some time for him to remember her. Instead she lays the guilt trip on us that she hasn’t seen him more recently for him to remember her.

I really want to speak my mind to her, but the relationship is still so new and so fragile that I don’t want to ruin what we have. I also know the type of woman she is. She will assume if I try to lay down the law that I hate her and manipulate me into apologizing to her for her being the kind of woman she is. Yeah, I know it doesn’t make any sense.

Man, would it feel good to say that stuff, though. “You know, the road goes both ways. Why don’t you take a long weekend to visit us instead of making us feel guilty for not spending every free second with you?” Or “When we ask you not to give him sugar or caffeine, that’s what we mean. Give PJ back if you can’t follow our simple rules.”

It really worries me that the general rule is that men marry women just like their mothers. I should just shoot myself if I start turning into his mother. I never want to put my son through what she has put M through, or PJ’s future wife through the frustration I’ve experienced over the last two years.

I guess this confession has turned into more of a rant, but I have finally said what was on my mind when I started this blog so many months ago. M is the only person who understands my feelings about this, so I suppose it is a confession of sorts. If this post, or large parts of it, disappear in the next few days, then I chickened out again, afraid that somebody else from real life will discover it. Obviously I am so worried about this fragile relationship with my MIL that I will destroy evidence of my true feelings to spare hers. That’s a good sign at least, right?


Listen to Me Whine

November 23, 2006

So most of today I had a good allergy day. I could breathe without fighting for the air, and I wasn’t sneezing or constantly catching drips with a tissue. I was beginning to count those cliched chickens about mid-afternoon, thinking that I hadn’t even taken any allergy medicine to help it get better. Maybe I was finally adjusting to the new allergens.

Then my eye started itching. Badly. I fiddled with the contact, hoping that would help. Instead, the contact refused to settle comfortably again. I tried eyedrops. They helped a tiny bit, but one eye was already nearly swollen shut. We were about to walk out the door, so I grabbed my contact case and glasses just in case and went anyway.

An hour later and the itching and watering were back. I could barely keep my eyes open at all. There went the contacts altogether. At least it was just a little annoying eye problem, right?

Nope. Less than an hour after that the waterworks started. Drip. Drip. Search for tissues. Repeat. Sneeze a few times for good measure. I started wheezing, too, and my chest started to tighten as the asthma came right back. I didn’t know what symptoms to tend to first. I’d wipe my eyes with one hand to get enough water out of them to open them so that I could find a tissue to wipe my nose with the other hand. I just have to put up with the asthma for now, though, since I’m still lacking one effective inhaler. (My MIL is a nurse and may have found something temporary for me to use while I’m here. Yay!)

Naturally I took something for allergies when we got back to the house, but by the time it got into my system, it was too far gone to be useful. Maybe by morning I’ll feel human again. In the meantime, I’m planning to sleep it off…if I can find enough breath to feel comfortable trying to sleep.