Tag Archives: husband

PMS Hell and Other Fun Things

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I hesitate sharing with you in a way that could be construed as my airing my dirty laundry over the internets.  But this blog was at the start, and has continued to be, a place for me to explore my real life situations in the context of my yoga practice, and I ain’t hiding nothin’. This is real life, people.

Pretty sure that I can attribute a lot of what I’m feeling to PMS.  It has its way with me every month. Just a week before my cycle starts, everything goes to hell, and finding one tiny spark of hope takes monumental effort.  Patience is in short supply, and it seems as though everyone is out to get me, especially those closest to me. I manage for the most part to keep the undercurrents of rage at bay for the benefit of my children; I do not want to traumatize them with my moodiness, explosiveness, my reactivity.

I’ve been told that the moodiness associated with PMS occurs as the veil between the conscious and the subconscious wears thin, and everything we’ve been trying to conceal from the world behind our sunshiny/I’m a caregiver/a nurturer/a healer/everyone else comes first exterior rises up to demand our attention for the purposes of learning and healing, and at the very least, for moving through us, for changing, even if it’s on a minute level.

I’ve also been told that PMS is worse for women who feel that they are going about much of their existence without getting their own needs met.  This doesn’t surprise me at all. How long can one continue to maintain a facade of strength, patience, and cheerfulness when she is tired, underfed, under-appreciated, and at the end of her mental and emotional rope?

The chances of a woman suffering from PMS might be linked to our genetic heritage.  This could be part of what is going on here for me–as a child I finally figured out what it was that caused my mom to become a volcano of rage once a month, and I learned how to avoid her during those times.  Before I made the connection, it felt like my world was ending every time my mom withdrew her regular supply of compassionate understanding and gave in turn loud words, slammed doors, angry faces, disapproval.

At any rate, understanding its source in no way helps to mitigate the heaviness, the unease, the sadness, the anger that plague me during this time…and this is precisely where I was when my husband came home last night and scolded me for not shoveling the snow.

Here is what happened in my mind the second he told me I should’ve shoveled the walk in front of our house:

Are you fucking kidding me?  I let him know how hard it was with our son today, how he was inconsolable, tantruming, yelling, crying, wouldn’t eat, wasn’t feeling well, and was using his time to tear up everything he could, making a mess of every room he was in.  I am tired as hell. I worked hard to make a good dinner for everyone, one kids is bathed and in pajamas, the other kid is in the bath right now,  I have spent the last few days cooking my ass off, there are dozens of cookies and yummy leftovers to show for it, I haven’t had a shower in two days, I haven’t been able to write in my journal, or sew, or practice yoga, or anything for my self in days–and I already TOLD HIM I HAVE PMS–so he can go fuck himself.

I told him I forgot.  My husband said that wasn’t an excuse.  That’s when I started getting defensive.  When he let me know that we were the only house on the street that hadn’t shoveled, I thought about the number of times that I had shoveled our sidewalk and didn’t stop at ours, how I had shoveled my neighbors’ sidewalks and put down salt for them without them knowing (random acts of kindness–I’m a believer).  I was 1)Annoyed the one of the neighbors didn’t go, “Ah, whatever, it’s only an inch of snow, I can take care of this for them,” and 2)Flabbergasted that my husband would dare suggest that I could have in some way found time in the midst of toddler hell to get out there and take care of the completely inoffensive, completely innocuous one goddamn inch of snow that was no threat to anyone.

Yep, recipe for angry outburst.  I’m actually proud of myself for the amount of self-control I was able to muster at that moment.  I did raise my voice a little, I’m not going to lie, but I said to him, “I’m giving our daughter a bath right now, trying to put conditioner in her hair.  If it needs to be done–you go do it.”

“You are deflecting responsibility!” he argued.

“I’m not deflecting anything!” I told him, “I’m not willing to have an argument with you about this right now! If the sidewalk needs to be shoveled, YOU TAKE CARE OF IT!”

He slinked off, clearly annoyed, and I tried to regain my composure so that I could be gentle with my little girl as we finished with her bath.  I managed, but inside I was steaming.  Then my mom showed up.  She has been staying with us since the move on February 1 in order to  help us to get settled, and she has been for the most part very helpful, but then this happened:

I told my mom how Cliff just ripped me a new one for not shoveling, how I told him how hard it was with our son, and how I’m so angry I could just slap him, and my mom gave me a sort of sympathetic look, said nothing, walked into her bedroom and closed the door. That was odd.  Normally she says something like, “Men!” and I immediately feel heard and vindicated.

So now I had to figure out why I wasn’t been met with the motherly sympathy I was wanting.  A few minutes later when she reappeared, I cornered her and said, “Did you not respond to my complaining because Cliff already told you what happened, you think I should’ve shoveled also, you think I have no reason to be upset?”

“Yes, Cliff already told me about what happened, and I don’t want to take sides,” she told me.  She doesn’t want to take sides?

“I’m not asking you to take sides,” I told her, “At the end of a long day, all I want is some empathy.” She patted my shoulder, walked into the bathroom, and took a bath.  Well, fuck. Now I’m mad at my husband and my mother.  She of all people should understand what it is to be bogged down by household responsibilities and then be told that she hasn’t done enough!

I barely mustered the strength to write my daily post last night.  My husband was on the laptop downstairs and I wasn’t about to have an interaction with him to retrieve it from him, so I had to muddle through posting from my iPhone. I didn’t show up for my journal writing practice.  I didn’t show up for my evening meditation practice.  I just went the hell to bed.

This morning I was hoping that I would be in a softer, more forgiving place, but none such thing happened.  As I awoke I felt the same seductive pull of my anger and my resentment, the same self-righteous indignation that was burning through me the night before. Great.  I went ahead and sat for my thirty minute morning meditation, I got breakfast started, made myself coffee.  The kids woke up just as I was getting breakfast on the table. I helped them through a smooth morning routine, and when my husband awoke they were nearly ready to leave for school.  I got his breakfast started for him too, in spite of the fact that I would not, could not look him in the face.  He said something about discussing last night, and I said, “If it’s going to be you justifying your disappointment and reiterating how I didn’t fulfill my responsibility, then I’m not interested.”  He said, “So you’re okay with holding on to all of this?”  I said, “I’d rather us not talk right now than me get angry all over again because you can’t understand what I’m feeling and where I’m coming from.”  This was a clear invitation for some empathy from him, but it went right over his head, because he was caught in his own beliefs about the event, so he shrugged and sauntered off to get ready for work while I was left to clean up smears of cream cheese from the breakfast table.

I played with the kids while the husband was in the shower.  Then I brushed their teeth and their hair, got their coats and back packs ready, helped them with their socks and shoes, and got them out the door with my husband–and felt a sense of relief when he was gone.  Now I’m hiding from my mother in my bedroom.  I still don’t want to talk to her either.

And I’m writing about all of this because it is therapeutic.  I’m not quite ready for the yogic phase of this experience, in which I take ownership for all of my crappy feelings and muster empathy for my husband and my traitor of a mother, and then tell them how much I appreciate them and care about them, and apologize for my reactivity. Maybe later.  For now, I’m going to wallow in my PMS hell, and allow myself to be seduced by my anger and resentment for a while longer.  Perhaps my feelings will have something to tell me, if I take the time to listen.

Aside

Note:  I wrote these at 7pm at Sprout Salon in Hampden, where my husband works as a stylist.  I brought the iPad and typed away while my hair was processing.  I just didn’t want to be rushing later in the evening, trying to publish some crap just before midnight.  And actually, it’s just before midnight, and I’m wondering if this writing is crap.  Oh well. Post for the day. Check.

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Pink Hair

My husband the hairdresser
adorned my hair with hot pink dye on May 10.
after two weeks of shampooing,
wistfully watching the pinkest water run down the shower drain,
my hair has faded
like cherry blossoms fade
like the first blush of spring fades
like the sunrise fades.
I want the hot pink back in my hair
So I’m at the salon
to be readorned with the pinkest hot pink
my husband will mix and apply the color
and my hair will be pink again

Thank god for my husband.

 

What Will I Do With My Journals?

I’m thinking about all the stuff I have,
and what that would mean when we move.

what will I do with my journals?
I have documented a lot of my life
and I’m hesitant to just throw it away

whenever I pick up one of my journals and read a little
I’m happy to see the insights
I had at the time the journal was written
I’m happy to see some universal wisdom shining through
the pages I wrote,
even when I was young, there was still some wisdom
my writing space has always been a sacred space
and so my writing is sacred

so what would I do with my journals?
any ideas?
they are heavy, and there are many of them
boxes upon boxes of them
decades of journals
what can I do with them?
I don’t want to throw them away
I want to catalog them, organize them
I want to have them in reach to refer to now and again
I’m glad for my drawings
I’m glad for my musings
They are proof of my travels
They are proof of my passions
They are proof that I was a person back then too

I can’t just throw them away.

Salon Poetry

Rainy Sunday Morning

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It’s coming down hard and fast.  The skies are grey, the wind is stirring the trees that are still naked because of the lingering winter.  The rain is coming down sideways, pelting the windows and doors, and everyone is still asleep in this murky light.

My body is sick again.  Nose running all day yesterday, both kids sick too, we went through so many tissues that we had to ask my sister to grab us some more from the drug store.  My mom and sister came over to watch the kids so that I could see my husband at his salon and have my hair done by him for the first time since November.  We had a reservation for dinner afterwards; as I sat at home sick yesterday, I wondered if I’d have the strength to drag myself out to have a much-needed date with the husband.  I did.

I arrived at the salon right at closing time.  The other stylists, the assistants and the receptionist were slowly filtering out.  I chatted with them briefly, I know them all and although my husband works with them, I rarely get to see them myself.  Then they were gone, and it was quiet.  My hubby worked on my hair for three hours, giving me ombre ends, taking great pains to make sure the transition from my normal brown to the lighter color was smooth.  Lots of foils on my head, I sat under the processor for quite some time, and my husband and I chatted in the empty salon.  I reached for a tissue every so often, was feeling resistant to being sick–but nothing could be done, so my only work was dealing with the resistance.  After he shampooed the hair color out of my hair, and conditioned and blew it dry and brushed it, then he curled it with an interestingly shaped conical curling iron, with a bigger diameter at the end and a smaller diameter at the  base.  It was fun to see my normally slightly wavy hair full of big bouncy curls.  I told him I loved it.

Dinner was nice…just being able to sit and enjoy my food without having to jump up and take care of someone else–pure luxury.  We enjoyed crab bisque, and a lovely salad with roasted beet, chèvre, pine nuts, radish sprouts and argula.  I ended up sending my main course back, and it was interesting to watch my mental process as I debated on whether or not the server would be upset for my not wanting to eat what I had ordered.  The scallops were rubbery and too salty, and I finally reasoned that I wouldn’t pay thirty dollars for a dish I wasn’t enjoying.  A sign that I’m validating my feelings and standing up for myself?  Perhaps.  Taking little steps on this path to self-realization.  Honoring my truth…

The server was apologetic and asked if I wanted something else.  I declined–I was already mostly full from the rich bisque and the wonderful salad, but I did end up having bites of my husband’s entree. Desert, coffee, check paid, we ventured out into the rainy night, grateful that it had abated somewhat and was no longer the torrential downpour that it was just fifteen minutes earlier.  Back at home, my daughter still wasn’t in bed although it was past ten o’clock.  It took much convincing and nose wiping to get her to lie down, but I heard her getting up and my husband being stern with her multiple times while I attempted my evening meditation.  It is extremely difficult to sit still and focus inwards when my body is exhausted and sick.  I cut the session short in the interests of getting more rest, went downstairs, and discovered my daughter was still awake.  My husband was clearly peeved.

I lay down with her in her bed, spoke softly to her, wiped her nose, rubbed her back.  Nothing really worked.  She wasn’t feeling well and the sensations in her body were keeping her awake.  We tried soothing throat drops, more encouragement…finally we gave her some medicine, and I guess it helped somewhat because she finally grew quiet.  By this time it was after midnight.

My body woke me up this morning to tell me that it was still sick.  I have two yoga classes to teach today and I don’t want to miss them because I’ll again be in teacher training next weekend.  I’m thinking about how I want my body to keep doing, keep performing, and how really all I need is to be still and rest.  But honestly, in a household with two small children, going out and teaching yoga seems like a much more restful prospect than staying at home and having to attend to their needs.

It’s coming down hard and fast…the storm inside my own mind, full of thoughts, full of craving, full of aversion.  After attempting my morning sit and discovering that focus and stillness were markedly limited due to my physical state, I’m sitting here at the table drinking a cup of tea and hoping that I can be cheerful in spite of the challenges this day is already presenting.

Glad to have fit my writing practice in. I have hopes that I’ll remember to breathe and do the best I can.

May the rain outside wash away the dust and dirt of the world.  May the rain inside wash away the dust and dirt of my mind…

I Will Keep Writing

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My husband and I had another serious talk yesterday morning, revolving around how much time I spend by myself writing and meditating.  I remained calm, I listened.  I wanted him to get that I’m doing this because I want to evolve as a person, to be more present, to be clearer.  I wouldn’t be able to express this wish about evolving if all I could do in that moment was fly off the handle, become defensive, and react.

I’m doing this writing project because I know I have a creative side that wants to be expressed.  I know that the more I work at this expression, the easier it will become.  Or if not easier, perhaps more natural.  Or if not natural, at least more familiar.

In the last 49 days I’ve become quite familiar with the voice that says, “Don’t bother.” And I’ve become familiar with the focus that it takes to find the words hiding behind the voice.  I’ve called upon strength I’d forgotten I had–the strength to have a thought, and then try, try, try again until I find the right words to express it.

I also have become more familiar with the editor.  This is the one that won’t let me go on, that won’t allow the thoughts to gush forth, because it must go back countless times and reread every sentence I’ve written, to make sure that there is some cohesive flow to the whole thing.  Progress is painstaking, and there is always a better way to say what I have said. Trying to find the best way to say something takes time.  And hence, three hours later, I might present the blogosphere with around eight hundred words that are reasonably understandable, sentences that are acceptably articulate, instead of three thousand words that are the raw contents of my mind.

Because, the editor says, No one wants to know the raw contents of your mind. It’s not pretty.  They want art, and art takes devotion, attention to detail, meticulous planning, skill, discrimination.  They don’t want some petty stream of conscious bullcrap–that’s so unrefined, so beneath them, it insults their intelligence and reveals your ignorance!  No, you must take time with what you’re thinking, and craft beautiful gems of sentences that glow and evoke awe and awaken everyone to the beauty of this life.  You must evolve past the primordial every day slop and say something amazing for God’s sake!

My mother in law is in town for a few days.  We had this amazing conversation after we got the kids to bed, in which I divulged every gory detail of what is hanging my husband and me up in our marriage.  He was sitting right there beside me at the dining room table, and I talked to his mother about how our sex life is suffering because we can’t iron out the birth control thing, and besides we’re tired from raising two small kids.  And I talked about how my husband is going crazy with this blog project, how he sees two to three hours spent writing every night as excessive, and if I were to continue with this pace, how he doesn’t think our marriage could survive.

Yep, I candidly talked about the lumpiest, hardest to swallow bits of our relationship, right there.  And then we talked about how I think I should finally go on antidepressants, how I’ve been resisting medication for a long time.  The whole time, during this conversation, my experience was one of being refreshed.  Isn’t that strange?  To feel refreshed when you’re talking about the things that bring you the most pain?  But that is exactly what was happening.  I think I found it wonderful to be able to just talk and connect, no pretense, not trying to impress anyone or attempt to cover over what is ugly and sad and confused in me.

I just laid it out on the table, and damn, it was refreshing.  We could’ve been talking about our favorite movies or books, so light was the tone of the conversation.  We laughed and smiled, and all of a sudden these heavy problems in our marriage, the heaviness of my depression–well, it wasn’t so heavy any more.

My mother in law’s solution was that I cut back on the time spent writing.  While I agreed somewhat, I answered that I hope to be a professional writer some day.  This is something I shared with my husband only yesterday, in an attempt to gain leverage in our argument about what my priorities are.  I surprised myself, suddenly blurting out my secret plan to one day be a professional writer. I knew I could use blogging as a tool for developing my ability to write well, just the daily practice alone could help me progress in articulating my thoughts efficiently.  But I wasn’t planning on sharing all of this with my husband, not then, not in the middle of a serious discussion about the future of our marriage.  And, right there, in the middle of the argument, it just happened.  All of a sudden there I was, blurting it out…I hope to write professionally some day, and the only way I can become a writer is by writing.

I blurted it out yesterday, and then it happened again this evening.  My mother in law sounded a lot like my husband.  She didn’t say the word “priority,” but this is what she was getting at.  And just as before, when I found myself in the serious conversation with my husband, I also wanted her to get why I’m writing.  I waited, I listened…

I heard my mother in law too.  She said, Nothing is more important than your relationship.  You are fortunate to have a husband that loves you and wants to be with you.  You are such a cute couple.  You don’t want to lose your closeness.  Don’t let it happen.  Don’t let yourselves grow farther apart.

Okay, I get it.  A couple needs to spend time together.  Yes. I agree.  And also, a writer just has to write.

A couple of days ago, I explored how science and spirituality don’t have to be mutually exclusive.  It’s  the same thing right here.  I can be a writer, and I can be happily married.  I can be a good mom, and yoga teacher, and wife, AND I can be a successful writer. I don’t have to give anything up, especially not the thing that has provided an incredibe opportunity to awaken and grow in awareness of my self and my life.

I’m in this intense period of time, trying to iron out my crazy schedule, and make time for the things that matter. I have my eyes focused forward, believing that this moment will reveal to me what the next step is.  I often become tired, depressed, and a bit discouraged, but I also see the spiral dance that is this path of awakening. I have faith. I know that there are good things ahead.

And by God, I will keep writing.

Chicken Soup

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Hubby is seriously sick today. So sick that our entire routine was disrupted. Normally, on a Tuesday morning, he takes our daughter to school and then heads to work from there, leaving me and our son at home to enjoy some quiet time together. I’ll play with the little dude for a while, and then put him down for a morning nap while I do things…like: laundry, empty dishwasher/fill dishwasher/clean kitchen, write in journal, a short yoga practice, cut material for a sewing project, sew, figure out what to make for lunch, drink a cup of tea–the possibilities are endless when the house is quiet and nobody needs anything from me for one blessed moment.

But not this morning. No, this morning my husband was sick in bed, not going to work, and although I got up much earlier than usual for my meditation, my daughter also seemed to feel a need to get up way earlier than usual, and wham! The day started in full force before I had the time to process what was happening.

So much resistance in me as I realized that I’d have to put my morning meditation on hold. But so happy to see the little girl smiling, a bit dazed as she stepped into the kitchen light, ready to greet the day. Glad to see her, but I want to meditate. Why does this being human mean we have to live with so much inner conflict? Why these polarities? Why duality?

I got breakfast for the little gal, saw her settled at the table, spoon in hand, eating her cereal–and I thought, maybe I can meditate now. The husband can handle her post-breakfast routine. I have to do things all the time when I’m sick. I never get a break. He can handle this. So I told him I needed to meditate…and then objection from him, and argumentation, and me attempting to keep my cool. Whatever, I’m just going to go upstairs and meditate, he can argue all he wants.

I had just made a cup of tea. It was hot and steaming, and looking lovely, just the perfect temperature to sip and enjoy. I never get to drink my tea hot. I grabbed my mug and hightailed it upstairs to my little meditation room. It was previously a closet, but you don’t need much space to meditate…just enough for a cushion, enough room to sit…this tiny room is my favorite room in the house.

The husband texted me two times. He wasn’t happy with my decision to run upstairs to my cushion. I was going to ignore his objections to my timing, sip my tea, and sit for thirty minutes, but then…

I heard our son waking up.  And the tea had to wait, and my meditation had to wait, because the little guy was hollering, adamant that someone come get him now. Again, the resistance. When will I have time to meditate? Do I have to start waking up at 4am? But I was happy to see the little man, even though his room was unpleasantly pungent, and he was announcing enthusiastically, “Ah poopooped!” At least this time he hadn’t taken his diaper off by himself and painted his room with the contents.

And of course it was one of those diapers. Not the easy peasy quick change, no, it was one of those diapers that require a strategy to minimize complications and then several minutes to follow through and resolve, and of course the lad wasn’t making it any easier on me what with his flailing limbs and his tantruming. Why do they do it? Why do they fight the one who is trying to help? Dude, let me clean you up! Just hold still a moment so that I can get a new diaper on you! Just hold still why don’t you?

It was over at last, I was disposing of the thing, I was washing my hands, and ...maybe my tea is still warm.

But then the boy child needed breakfast, and my husband was shuffling out into the room, a few dirty looks may have been exchanged. Or maybe rather we avoided looking at each other. I got a banana for the boy, he loves bananas and eats one every morning upon awakening.

But not this morning. No, this morning he was swatting at it, screwing up his face, and yelling his displeasure in the way that only pre-articulate almost two year olds can. Oh dear god, why can nothing be easy? Why won’t he just eat the damn banana? When will I be able to sit on my cushion?

All of a sudden, the husband  announced that I could go do my thing. I wordlessly leapt from the room, ran upstairs, and sat on my cushion. I was feeling pretty resentful that he didn’t support my decision the first time I attempted to sit, but grateful that he finally relented and realized that he could handle thirty minutes of child care without me. Again, the polarities that arise in this human life. Gratitude, resentment. Movement, stillness. Feeling frantic, feeling peaceful.

Meditation helped me return to the state of knowing that whatever happens, I can handle it. Some of the resentment from earlier melted away, and left me room to feel some compassion for my sick old man. I decided that I would take both kids with me when I dropped my daughter off at school so that he could have some peace and quiet at home. I planned to do some grocery shopping with my son to prolong the quiet time at home, and I wondered if he would realize what a generous gift I was extending to him. It’s funny how the little resentful voice in my head kept chanting, No one ever does this for you. No one helps you when you’re sick. You always have to push through. You have to keep taking care of everybody. No one ever takes care of you.

Ah well, I shrugged the resentful voice off, and dove into the day.

Daughter dropped off at school, groceries procured, I came home with the son, set him up with a few toys, and made some chicken soup for the sick husband, who was blissfully asleep in bed. Lucky bastard.

One thing I’m learning with each passing day–there’s a balance in all of it, and whether I choose to see it, acknowledge it, appreciate it or whether I don’t–that balance is always there. I’m happiest when I notice the balance. I’m in a state of gratitude, an open, clear place of realizing that I have so much to be thankful for. But sometimes I forget. Sometimes I’m locked in my prison of conditioned thoughts. I feel dark, heavy, hopeless, alone.

There it is again, the dualities of existence–consciousness, unconsciousness. Gratitude, resentment. Happy, sad. Up, down. Night, day, male, female, sun, moon, past, future, hot, cold.

Cold…That reminds me. I never did drink that cup of tea..but I made some pretty good chicken soup.