Thursday, July 24, 2014

Renee - Because Today's Her Birthday!

Headpiece.  Half-done.  But also something I would never have accomplished without Renee Life's big metaphor. 
Looking back on what I've managed to post this year, I realise that what I write isn't as bad as I think it is, that life has been incredibly busy and that I miss seeing pictures of my children.
I've been sick. 
Since the end of April.  The first Tuesday the kids were back at school after the Easter holidays in fact.  Or rather, 3 AM that Wednesday morning, when I woke up barely able to breathe.  I was so sick I spent the first week of school having Ryan watch Ian while I slept on the sofa for three hours a day. 
I managed to get to the twins' first soccer game that Saturday and every Saturday after that. 
I took TEN FULL DAYS off from the gym and then went back the second week in May so that I could punch out the 20 classes I needed to get my free GROUPIE T-shirt.  In two weeks.  While so sick I could barely stand up.
I got sick every evening I spent outside in the cold.  And yes, 15C counts as cold!  That's Monday nights for dance, Tuesday and Wednesdays for soccer and Fridays again for dance.  And every night I was up late for Tribal Style Belly Dance: Tuesdays.  I dragged through a weekend and managed to recover a bit but was down by Wednesday.
I never fully recharged, even after I stopped going to the gym.
And then came the Abbey Medieval Fest.  Or the weeks before it when there were costumes to sew. Which I don't do.  And my best friend - heck, sister - Renee started coming over during free hours to help sew four costumes.  She sewed Ryan's and mine before her own. 
She sewed my daughter's costume before her husband's.  Mine before her mother's.  Hers last of all.
Since January, Damon has been coming home to find gyspy skirts - or pieces of them - spread all over the kitchen.  Renee's entire sewing cache - her patterns, and materials and not one, but two, sewing machines (one is an interlocker?), made their way into our home.
We cleared out the playroom on the porch.  The kids now call it Renee's room.  They come home from school and ask if Renee is here.
So into our emptiness, which was packed pretty full to being with, but into the emptiness created by my sickness, stepped Renee.  She is a mix sister-daughter, a big sister, kindred spirit and friend to Ryan, a soul-mate for me, someone always welcome in our home, in her room. 
I've been getting slowly better - chest rads okay, EKG okay, no bloods ever done because my doctors suck - but ran in the Jetty-to-Jetty yesterday with Andrew and my cough is back.  I suspect seasonal allergies combined with cold and/or exercise induced asthma. 
My yoga teacher suspects I need to breathe. 
Oh yeah that.
Ain't life a bitch.  I won't slow down.  I can't slow down.  OH, can't breathe.  Funny how that slows you down!
I have no time, energy, or interest in sewing.  I have no time for those damn costumes.  I have no energy for more. 
And yet, the room was made - literally and figuratively - and everything was half done and in total chaos and totally unorganised and completely not in control and done systematically and....
In steps Renee.  She brings her own chaos into our crazy life. 
It turns out she is just what we need.
And as I tell Damon, if we were going to have a sixth child, isn't it nice that she's an older one, and a sister to me and Ryan at the same time.
Oh goody - grand-kids!!!!
(Cough cough.) 


Sunday, July 20, 2014

But the cold DOES bother me!

So yeah.  About that letting go.

I AM getting enough hints from the universe. 

Did Disney REALLY have to get in on the act?!

"Let it go.  Let it go."

"The cold didn't bother me anyway."

The difference being...oh shit...there ISN'T any difference.  Am I as transparent as a two dimensional Disney princess? 

The cold DOES bother me.  But MY THING doesn't: being a free spirit, sitting home and reading, writing, researching, learning, growing, accepting, learning to sew gypsy outfits, learning about gypsies, dancing, learning about gardening, horses, riding, working out, yoga, grit classes, running, breathing, making healthy foods, picking up shells and rocks and putting them all over the house, gathering cool looking pieces of wood off of the beach, advocating for education and Asperger's, empowering others to achieve their goals, working with others to achieve common goals, leading through example not through rules, learning that everything I discover in my quest for self growth has already been stated in the Tao.  Oh.  Ohm.

The thing is that I can't let go entirely because I have one - five - things that the Disney princess does not.  Children. 

I would LOVE to see her find her prince and raise five kids and still find the time to do ice sculptures.  This Disney princess's secret was NOT finding a prince!!!

I enter the cold every day: for school activities and pickup, for baby time music and gym circles, for soccer practise and dance studio, for fundraising and committees and helping out at the school, the soccer, the dance. 

This isn't me. 

This is what I hated as a kid: school.  And what I continue to hate every day that I have to do it.  I hate conforming to the schedule of modern day society.  I hate it.  I will never be comfortable with it.  And I can't wait until I can model my own life.

I throw myself into it and I FORCE myself to do it because first, as a child, it was what society expected and now, as a mother, it IS what is best for my non-Aspie children.

And I am good at it, at faking it, at making it look easy.  I am in the thick of it.  I look happy.  (This is a common female Aspie trait, mimicking and becoming what is expected of you.  Being German certainly didn't help.  I AGREE with societal expectations whole heartedly.  I just wish that conforming to them didn't make me so miserable.)

And it takes me hours and days to recover.  Hours and days I don't have anymore.  I go from one activity to the next - needing MORE time to recover than most - and making do with LESS.

The cold DOES bother me. 

And I face it again and again day after day after day.

Let it go?  I guess I am still working on it.

But it's the other line that kills me. 

"The cold never bothered me anyway."

Ah hell..I guess I'd have to truly let go to figure out what the hell she is talking about!

If I am beginning to think I am starting to get SOME of what the Tao is talking about I hope that one day I will be advanced enough to understand Disney.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

I Give Up!

I don't like to "let Go and let God." 

I'm more of a "God helps those who help themselves" kinda gal.

Let go?  And who is going to pick up the mess when I do?

God?  God?!  Have you seen what a mess He's made of things?  Cancer, disease, child labour, war, genocide, global warming.  Uh yeah...I think He's having enough troubles managing his own affairs let alone worry about taking care of mine.

Maybe He oughta try yoga.

"Surrender to the Earth," and all that.

Except I'm not any better at surrendering than I am at letting go. 

My least favourite pose in yoga is "Child's Pose."  That's the one where you just sit back on your heels and lean forward and chill out.  Let go, they tell you.  Complete surrender. 

And all I can do is think of how uncomfortable this is and how I hate being bent forward over my fat stomach this way and is my fat ass far down enough on my heels and my stomach is on my knees which is obstructing my breathing and I can't draw breath and I hate this pose and when is it time to get into "Warrior."

I'm more of a fighter.   

I can flee too. 

But surrender? Let go?

That sounds like giving up to me.

A few weeks ago the kids and I did a mini archery class at the Abbey Museum in Caboolture.  The kids do it all the time, but I thought I would give it a go this time as well.  I had Andrew show me how to hold the bow and string the arrow and then....well, then I had to let go.

I had to let go.

Let go.

Let go, my mind said.

Let go, my son said.

Let go, said the instructor.

But letting go involved, well, letting go, and it was really really hard.  You see, I had spent all that time learning to set it up and I finally had it all in a nice position and it looked good and my fingers were in the right position ad if I let go I wasn't sure what would happen to the string and to my fingers and to that position that I had worked so hard to get to.

I am not making this into a metaphor on purpose.

Finally, I let go.

And the arrow sailed pretty far and fairly straight. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Kenny Rogers on Life

You'll have to thank (condemn?) Lindsey for my latest writing spree.  She sent a chain email asking us to send our favourite quote to live by to person number one on the list and then move her name up and place ours under it.  I never did forward it to twenty friends - and I only answered it a month later - but I did meet Mary that way and catch up again with some old faces from the Stuttgart Writers' Group.  Oh dear - I am SO bad at letting go. But more on that later.

Writers are notorious for not being able to follow directions. 

Excuse us; we all decided one time in Stuttgart that it's our brilliance and our creativity.  The rules really CAN'T apply to US can they?!

So I sent two quotes BEFORE the one that counts.  And have come up with another since then.

1.  Is a personal quote from Lindey herself:  "Everything strong comes from something broken." (Look, behind every writer is a person searching for healing! Oops.  Is that another one?!)

2.  Is a personal quote from a friend of mine here.  When discussing Tao and emptiness and what it means.  And if emptiness is good.  "I guess it all depends on what you allow to fill the emptiness."

3.  Is mine.  I still want to blog on this one.  It came to me last week.  After a LOT of searching.  "Surrender is giving up with hope."

4.  Kenny Rogers.  (Written by D. Schlitz)  "You gotta know when to hold 'em.  Know when to fold 'em.  Know when to walk away.  Know when to run."

I heard it again today at the Urban Country Music Festival in Caboolture and really think it covers everything there is you need to know about life.

Especially the part about running!!!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

An Empty Nut. (Continued)

The rules didn't used to apply to me.

Why am I so crushed by them now?

If only someone had told me children were like Horcruxes.

They are more than carrying your heart forever on the outside, fragile, as someone once stated.

They tear apart your soul.

Until there is nothing left of you.

Although, once you have had them, you are nothing without them either.

Without my anxiety, my world is grey.

I can't remember the last time I felt joy - true, unrestrained joy - without boundaries or barriers or obligations or texpectations, without timelines and deadlines to meet.

Is this all there is?

Is this what I came here for?

How long can a soul run on empty?

What's after empty?

(Hmmm...maybe if I took a WHOLE dose of St John's Wort I wouldn't worry about this so much any more.  )

A friend once told me that it depends on what fills the emptiness.

I am waiting. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

In a Nut.

Speaking of 'in a nutshell', this is what I wrote on March 31 while watching the boys at hip-hop and break dance.  I didn't post it, because I didn't want to scare my mother!  (I'd been taking the half doses of St John's Wort for a week by then.)

So.  It's taken the edge off.  Now what?

Who am I without my anxiety?

An empty mellow shell.

Now that I'm not worried about all the things I need to do.

I'm bored.

Who am I without my anxiety?

Taxi driver, dish washer, laundry lady, fast order cook, schedule planner, clothes sorter, 8th grade teacher, learning my alphabet for the sixth time, toilet cleaner, nursery rhyme singer.

Does it really matter how many pushups I can do, how long I can hold a plank or how fast I can sprint?

I am only as good as my last workout.

I am only as slim as my last weigh-in.

The endorphins are as fleeting as the anxiety.  Are either real?

Am I only as young as my face cream?

Who am I?  If not this portrait of middle-aged suburban mother of five I have lived myself into?

Sigh.  Who am I? 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

May. Be!

Oh, I don't know, sometimes the universe DOES seem to be working as it should.  Take, for instance, the fact that I haven't been online except to check school and sport activities in over half a year.  I answer an email - granted, from someone I trust - and end up with a new friend and inspiration.  Just at a point where Damon is home more often and I can contemplate writing again.  (He's been working six days a week, 72 hours a week, in a country where every other dad is home for 5;00 soccer practise and where it is illegal to force employees to work more than 38 hours a week.  Don't ask.  If we had wanted him to work that hard and not see the kids we could have stayed in New York City, thank you, and been able to afford an au-pair, maid, lawn and pool care - oh, and a pool!)

Last term was tough.  But, in less cynical moments, I do feel like people are being sent at the proper moments to take care of me. 

First things first:  I started taking half doses of St Johns Wort in mid March.  It DID take the edge off and get rid of the anxiety.  But don't panic on the essay I wrote after that - emptiness might be what I was looking for after all!  Blah-dom without worry was just something very new to me at first.

Some assumptions to start with, so that we are all caught up for April:

1.  My kids are still brilliant.  All of them.
2.  Ian is so smart I might have him writing my blogs soon.
3.  Ryan still has Asperger's.  Although I haven't wanted to beat her since that big fight over showering (or, more to the point, NOT showering!, over two months ago.
4.  The school system still needs improvement.
5.  And I, of course, know exactly how to improve it.
6.  The Queensland culture often confounds me.
7.  Although some of my best friends - and family - live there, some things about Germany - the culture, the government, the school system and the World Wars - still make me angry.
8.  I get irrationally angry at the weather over there.
9.  I believe my personal growth is accelerating at an exponential rate - which Ian should be able to calculate for you before he is three - and also believe I am the only one to have had these revelations before and feel the need to share them with everyone.  Sorry about that.
10.  I am still too fat but I love working out and so continue to do it anyway.

And that, in a nutshell, is me at 45.

Although lately I feel this is really just the beginning and not the middle at all!