Word of the Year 2018 – Permission

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2015 – Create

2016 – Do-er / Year of Yes

2017 – Rest

2018 – Permission

This word wasn’t even on my radar until this morning. I was hovering between love and maintenance.

Permission started creeping in last week. My boyfriend is one of those that will throw tons of ideas out there to get me to think. Every so often I feel a sharp sting and my eyes fill with tears. Some unconscious nerve ending gets touched. As soon as we see it, we start to go deeper. When I had to take something off my plate, we ran through the list of things I COULD NOT GIVE UP. He ran through each one until he said don’t go visit my family on Christmas. Bingo. Eyes water and pain in my heart. I cancelled my plans and I could relax again.

It happened again this week. When he mentioned that maybe it was time to let one of my staff go, the tears & the sting started. He reminded me that after her sting ends, she will probabaly be glad to be done doing taxes after 35 years. (As it turned out, she fell last week and her children grounded her 82 year old ass for the winter. I hope in 30 years my kids will have to ground me because I’m still working and running around, eating out and playing cards and driving after dark.)

This morning as I was trying to plan a massive amount of things to-do, I asked myself if it was necessary. Who was defining all this stuff as important? I started to recognize how I have a hidden “I Should…..” list in my heard. I Should:

  • Count calories, carbs, sugars, fats
  • Keep my house so clean that I never have dog fur in the corners
  • Get everything ready at the office for the staff
  • Keep the cars maintained

My overwhelming feeling here is “to-do” a bunch of stuff to avoid future problems. Once I get things “under control” and organized I will have the energy to deal with problems.

I gave myself PERMISSION this morning to NOT DO something. And not only that, but I gave myself PERMISSION to feel good about it.

I really expect a lot from myself, but not in a good way. When it comes to important stuff, like owning 3 businesses, I seem to devalue myself, but something like not doing the dishes, I will tell myself I’m a failure.

Not giving a f*** and giving myself permission are two things I have gotten confused. I want to work on that this year. I still battle with permission to embrace success. Self-sabotage is something I would love to get beyond.

And I think one of my hardest lessons with permission will be (cue tears & sharp sting in heart) to put my needs first.

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Flip that 45 and Listen to the B Side

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My world tends to flip upside down quite often. One friend told me it’s always a drama with me. I disagreed. I said drama is making a a big deal out of something that isn’t there. I told her my life is about crisis. She pondered that a bit and said she kind of got it.

When your office or home is on fire, gets flooded, has a gas leak – crisis. Not drama. When your kid has cancer, autism, birth defect – crisis. Not drama. When your dog dies, you have a car accident, your spouse cheats, you lose your job – crisis. Not drama.

Drama – you put your adult children on your cell phone plan and they can’t pay you, yet come to dinner with new highlights in their hair and talk about the essential oils that they are now selling and they can’t pay their light bill and could they borrow $100. (Made up story, but we all have this friend or coworker!)

Recovery. You don’t recover from drama. You recover from a crisis. (There is a reason it’s not just called sobriety. That is the action of not drinking.) Recovery is the process of the change to a new place. Flipping to the B Side.

Since JULY, I have been struggling with yet another work crisis. I have been noticeably quiet with my blogging because I have been quite sad. In fact, even as I was planning to talk about it, it’s just too much to share right now. My attempts at any kind of sobriety were a disaster. I keep waiting for the crisis to end so I can turn the record over and move on…..

When I was young, I felt guilty for not listening to the B Side. I liked A. I liked what I considered the best, the most popular, the ONE. I made up my own dance moves, like on American Bandstand. I wanted to be on my own platform with those go-go boots! I used my hairbrush microphone because you had to somehow make holding the microphone look as cool as Marcia Brady with her mini skirt & go-go boots & hairbrush. Ahhhh……the A Side.

I tried the B Side. I wanted to be Beatnik cool and hang out with the glorious teenage Kurt Russell and the Mon-kees. That is what the B Side meant to me. But, I didn’t know the words. It didn’t have the same dance quality. That wasn’t the song they would play on Saturday afternoon tv. Wearing black and a beret felt goofy. Black was not a color and orange was for hookers my mother said.

The girl next door was wearing mini skirts and rolling her hair up in orange juice cans. So popular! I wanted that too! My chubby legs didn’t fit in go-go boots and my stringy hair would only frizz and not curl. I did manage to embroider my bell bottoms though! In a time where girls were rebelling from having to learn to knit & darn, I actually enjoyed those domestic abilities.

Okay, so maybe I digress from my story a bit, but the B Side held emotion for me. I wanted to like it, but it was uncomfortable. I could count on the A Side over and over and over again. I went deeper and created my whole story around how that one song would be me. My dance steps, my microphone holding, my outfit.

The story I have created about how wine makes me feel. How pretty in the right glass. How it “adds” to an experience. (You guys get that.) My business, the same way. I had it “just right”.

And one day you realize, the song, the wine, the business, needs to change. One day, you don’t have a spouse, a car, a home. One day you have a miscarriage, a diagnosis, a stroke.

The B Side. Same record. Different song, different hopes, different outfit, different dance moves, different microphone. (Same fizzy hair sadly.)

Now, my life story is flipping again. There is a lot of discomfort in the recovery process. And yes, sometimes I may get a little DRAMATIC about it. But living with crisis is exhausting.

Worst Christmas? I give it a B

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Was there a worst Christmas than this one? Hmmmm…….

  1. When my sister died and we buried her on my Mom’s birthday Dec 20. Yeah, that was a bad one.
  2. The many Christmases before that spent in the pediatric cancer wards. Yep, those were tough.
  3. First Christmas right before divorce. Horrible.
  4. First Christmas after divorce. Horrible part 2.
  5. The next 8 Christmases hung over. Those all sucked.
  6. This one.

So, in perspective. Not the worst by far. But at 5:30 am when you yell at your kid “FINE! YOU RUINED CHRISTMAS!” and climb into bed crying, well……it feels like the worst one ever.

Had I been hungover, this wouldn’t have happened. I would have felt too terrible to care about anything else. I would have let the nasty teenage entitled attitude slide. Instead I had a melt down. And a Christmas morning meltdown is hard to keep secret. Any other day, I would have snuck off and cried alone with my kids never knowing. I would have blamed the hangover, or lack of sleep, or stress of the season. I would have internalized it and made myself feel like a bad mom.

The 18 year old, brought me chocolate (which the dog stole & ate while I was crying in my pillow). Then he made his brother come in and try to get us to work it out. After I calmed down, I told him to shower. I showered. Then I told the boys we are having a DO-OVER. I sent them back to bed while I made a fresh cup of coffee. Then I went upstairs and ‘woke’ them up saying ‘SANTA CAME LAST NIGHT’. We all came down together and proceeded with Christmas as usual.

I have an emotional hangover and I’m very tender, but things smoothed over. Everyone is kind of on eggshells but the epicenter of the conflict has been diverted to another day. (There is a back story on why my stress erupted – that is for a different blog post. Let’s just say that this amount of stress is appropriate for the problem.)

If I had a Christmas replay?

  • Scenario A – I would be hungover and trying to hold it together. Kids would be blissfully unaware and much happier than they currently are.
  • Scenario B – Sober and not holding it together. Kids are okay, had some Christmas Joy wind knocked out of them, but relatively normal.
  • Scenario C – A perfect Christmas. Everyone’s wishes come true.

I would like to go with C. But in real life, compared to my Christmases past and Scenario A, I guess I will settle for a “B”.