Sunday, September 26, 2010

Self Exams ~ Not For The Faint Of Heart

I can’t seem to stop thinking about my life lately. I’m sure many people think about their lives on a daily basis. The difference is, I never use to think about it. I just lived it. Maybe that’s part of the reason I am so bent on examining every minute detail of it now. As I was just living it day by day without thinking about it, things were happening that I simply ignored. Life was happening and I simply ignored it and went about my day. And now, I am here. So where is here?




Here is miserable at the moment. But since misery loves company, according to the experts anyway, you’re all invited to listen in. Life feels completely out-of-control. Financially, physically, emotionally but more importantly, for me anyway, life is in a tailspin spiritually. I suppose some might say these feelings are just a sign of the times. It’s because of the state of our economy, or the state of our world, it’s because of terrorists or Muslims building mosques near ground zero or because Obama is in office. Ok, I admit, I really need to stop watching the news hoping for answers. I am pretty sure, no, I am positive, none of those things can explain why I am so retrospective at the moment. Believe it or not, none of those things freaks me out. Oh, I have opinions about it all, just ask anyone who has known me for five minutes. I just don’t blame life for my life. I blame me.



I truly believe when we live our lives with integrity and honesty, choosing to be present in each moment we are given, things will go generally well for us. I don’t mean we won’t have hard times or sickness or sadness. I do mean we will walk through each day able to make it with our heads up knowing tomorrow is a new day and today and all it holds is not all there is. Believing this and living it seem to have escaped me somewhere along the way. I feel lost.



One of the things I have said a million times to my children and to others is, “Know what you believe and why you believe it.” Well, I thought I knew what I believed and why I believed it but all of a sudden I am just not sure anymore. Is it because we are in the toilet financially at the moment? Is it because I have fifty extra pounds on my 5’2” frame and all I can think about is, “How the hell did that happen?” Or maybe it’s because I have a child that is completely lost and wandering and hating every fiber of my being right now and there is not a thing I can do about it. I’m not even sure I would if I could which makes me less than the perfect parent I have always hoped I would be. Maybe that’s the problem and the answer.



Perfection. I have focused on being perfect for as long as I can remember. Knowing my parents or teachers were disappointed in me when I was a kid just about killed me. I never wanted to let anyone down. Ever. Then, as a teenager, I lost my mind and went wild. I didn’t care what anyone thought of me. That season lasted about six years until I found Christ at nineteen years old. I believe this is where I really screwed things up in my thinking.



For the last thirty-three years, I have run myself into the ground trying to be good, trying to be a “Christian”, trying to please God, my family, my friends, my neighbors, strangers, the mailman. I have an endless supply of guilt that fuels me on a daily basis. Guilt for never being good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, pleasing enough. Guilt that reminds me daily what a crappy mother, wife, friend, daughter, sister, fill in the blank, I am. Where does this guilt come from? I have no idea. Maybe I just don’t want to know.



Anyway, that brings me here. Today. Rethinking life. My life. Ok, everybody relax. I am not leaving my husband, disinheriting my children, (they’ll each still get their $1.75 when I croak), or trading the minivan in for a sports car. That would be silly. Have you ever seen a fat, middle-aged woman stuffed behind the wheel of one of those things? Ridiculous! I am also not becoming an atheist. I am, however, seriously questioning what I believe and why I believe it. I want to live a life of integrity. I want to be able to look in the mirror and honestly say to the person looking back at me, “You, my friend, are the real deal.”



Now that would be worth an examined life.





11 comments:

Anonymous said...

So now a pastor? Hugs to you, maybe you are just having a tough time transitioning, losing your parents, Living with adult children (that alone will make you look at yourself as if you are crazy)it also could be that they make you think you are. Also Kelly is getting ready for another MD appointment. This will pass so again I am sending hugs and wishing you happy reflecting or should I say transitioning which ever way that sends you. EAT CHOCOLATE. Love ya cuz, Cher

J.J. in L.A. said...

Oh, hon! I'm sorry you're thinking like this. I can't say anything to help you but just know that I care.

I used to attend (Catholic) church, but something happened to disenchant me and I stopped going when I turned 18 (and was no longer nagged by mom). I realized that I don't have to believe in organized religion to believe in God.

"Have you ever seen a fat, middle-aged woman stuffed behind the wheel of one of those things?"

As a matter of fact, I have! On Saturday, I saw a woman who was (at LEAST) 400 lbs. getting into a low-slung Camaro in a store parking lot. It was...interesting. ; )

Blasé said...

Awww, is my lil' Marla thinking too much, again?

You've got my email.

Love ya!

Brian Miller said...

many would say questioning is bad...honestly i love it...for me, in reading your words the probalem is in equating it to trying hard to be really good which has something but not necessarily the most important thing to me in my spirituality. if it was i would be in a lot of trouble. it would be like saying you tied hard to do things for your hubby, not necessarily with him. and i imagine that would get old pretty quick. let us know about your journey...i look forward to reading and riding along...

Nicole said...

I can't tell you how long I've been self examining. And just how many books I've bought - the titles of which would make you laugh your butt off. I finally gave up on the books and decided that I am me, good and bad. Happy, sad, really pissed off and the life of the party. Sometimes I'm very accepting - other times harsh to an terrible degree.

I do believe that you can believe in something greater and not have to be religious. Or part of a religion. I also believe that it shouldn't define you. Your belief in whoever, whatever or no one isn't a definer.

Dig deep to find what you believe. And make it for you, not for anyone else.

And most of all enjoy the journey. Even when it sucks.

God - what a rambler I am today, not even sure any of it makes sense. It's probably the Xanax. Hey - take one of those too - it might help you get to a new level of exam. :)

ain't for city gals said...

I could have written this post..lol..I probably have in the past...You know when we start hitting menopause we lose all that wonderful estrogen and we just don't want to caretake or nurture anymore...once you get used to it ...it is a wonderful thing! The word GUILT is no longer in you vocabulary! The best book I read on it was The Wisdom of Menopause by Dr. Christine Northrup...you can buy it on e-bay cheap....Our brains really do get re-wired...take care..

Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

have you been reading my mind??? we are definitely on the same wavelength in many areas...

"I truly believe when we live our lives with integrity and honesty, choosing to be present in each moment we are given, things will go generally well for us. I don’t mean we won’t have hard times or sickness or sadness. I do mean we will walk through each day able to make it with our heads up knowing tomorrow is a new day and today and all it holds is not all there is. Believing this and living it seem to have escaped me somewhere along the way. I feel lost." Wow! That is something I could have written (if I'd been smart enough to put it into such good words).

"Knowing my parents or teachers were disappointed in me when I was a kid just about killed me. I never wanted to let anyone down. Ever." This, too. In fact, I'm still there.

"I have an endless supply of guilt that fuels me on a daily basis. Guilt for never being good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, pleasing enough. Guilt that reminds me daily what a crappy mother, wife, friend, daughter, sister, fill in the blank, I am. Where does this guilt come from? I have no idea. Maybe I just don’t want to know." Oh. My. Goodness. You are seriously in my brain.

When you find the answers, let me know what "we" found. OK???

Kfred said...

You are NOT going to make me repost my reply to you when you are down, are you? You remember, the one where I pledge, among other things, to help:

When you are blue -- I will try to dislodge whatever is choking you.

When you are scared -- I will rag on you about it every chance I get.

When you are worried -- I will tell you horrible stories
about how much worse it could be until you quit whining.

When you fall -- I will point and laugh at your clumsy ass.

I do these things because I like you (and i don't even know you!)

Imagine what would happen if I knew you.

Anonymous said...

Okay Girlfriend, pull up those big girl panties and give up that guilt thang! You have done more for the better of this world than most people have done in a lifetime! I am so proud you and wish I could be more like you....YOU, are an amazing person....and somewhat of a masochist...sorry, someone had to point it out ;)

Kids will come and go...and come and go, and come and go. Your little "angel" will come around someday....in the meantime, remember who has taken care of you all these years and never left you....regardless of your insistence to torture yourself in any way possible...just sayin :)

Remember who loves ya baby...and so something for Marla today, she deserves a day off.

Love you and miss you, you're the best and don't forget it!

marie

Anonymous said...

Thats supposed to say DO something for Marla today...cant see to type anymore and the memory is gone, so what do I have left ? A 5yo that threads my needles for me so I can sew her buttons on ...she is my superstar :)

I will be sending some "no guilt" again soon...;)

xoxox

M

Mrs4444 said...

I get it.

My religious beliefs have really changed in the past couple of years. I used to think that God had a hand in everything going on down here and that praying actually impacted the goings on. Now, I still completely believe in God and have a great relationship with Him, but I don't believe for a minute that he is pulling strings up there. I don't believe that he "calls anyone home" though I believe he welcomes them with open arms. If God truly knows the day that we are going to die (and knew it before we were born. as I've been told), what's the point in praying that he change his mind? I still pray a lot, but I no longer pray for outcomes; it's a huge shift and one that many would disagree with, and that's okay with me.

Good luck on your journey. Sorry for the long comment...