Monday, July 28, 2014

Let It Go!

     Unless you've been hiding under a rock, you've probably been party to at least one rendition of the hit song "Let It Go" from the Disney movie "Frozen" by now. If not, then I'm a little sorry for the ear worm I just gave you. Both the film and song have come under some rather heavy fire for being too much of one thing, not enough of another, such as is the case with basically any movie ever, particularly Disney ones. But I digress; that is a post for another day. Anyway, since my last post was well peppered with the phrase, I thought now would be an okay time to write my thoughts in regard to the song. If you haven't already, I suggest you go back and listen to the song. (I was originally going to link the singalong version, but the Demi Lovato cover came on at the end, and I don't really like it, so here are the lyrics if you want to read them.)
     At first listening, it does come off as very much a Y.O.L.O. song, and as some have pointed out, maybe not really the best influence for young impressionable minds, what with her thinking that freedom = no right, no wrong, and no rules. After many, many listenings, I find it has a much deeper message than simply do as you please, the world can hang. Perhaps it is because of my recent, oh how do you say it, self-examination, but this song has really resonated with me. I'm just going to highlight the lyrics which really struck a chord. 
     A kingdom of isolation, and it looks like I'm the Queen - This is  basically what it is like, when you feel like you don't fit in, or you don't know who you are anymore. All alone, afraid to think about what it is you might like, want, or need, let alone actually talk to someone about it. Except you do think about it, a lot, but don't say anything, so it all just builds up, until...
     Can't hold it back anymore! Let it go! Let it Go! - It's usually around this point that I kind of, well, explode. It all just comes bursting out, in not too charitable ways. Why hold it all in? Why not just speak your mind? Because...
     Don't let them in, Don't let them see! Be the Good Girl you always have to be! Conceal, Don't Feel, Don't let them know - Because you are afraid. Somehow, you got to this place where you conformed, molded yourself to be what it seemed people wanted you to be, so that you could fit in, be liked, what have you. Goodness knows you can't let them see what you really are like! They'll reject you! You've seen it before; you've heard it in their talk - criticizing those things that you liked, once upon a time, and still do, deep down. Back to the exploding...
     I don't care what they're going to say! Let the storm rage on! - And this is pretty much where people seem to stop in relation to the message of the song, along with the No Right, No Wrong, No Rules For Me, I'm Free, You'll Never See Me Cry! part of it. Which, I guess, is, maybe, most of the song in a nutshell. What seems to be overlooked, however, is my favorite stanza...
     It's funny how some distance, makes everything seem small - This is key, I think. And for everyone, not just someone trying to reinvent themselves or whatever. Distance makes everything seem small. If there is going to be any movement forward, which life demands that there be, we have to be willing to detach from the events in our past:  I'm never going back, the past is in the past! Or even the events in the present, such as a toddler who is throwing a fit because he doesn't want to do X, and a baby who is crying in sympathy. Let it go! If it isn't helping you to move forward, let it go! In the great scheme of things, a missed load of laundry or dishes on the sink aren't really that big of a deal. They'll get done eventually, no use getting your knickers in a twist because there is something else preventing you from getting them done. You know that thing from 5 years ago that you keep festering in your heart, preventing you from getting on with life? Let it go, give yourself some distance, and see if it is really as bad as you are believing it to be. Those clothes in your closet you can't fit into for whatever reason, and every time you try it makes you want to scream? Let them go, re-home them, and find things which make you happy now. Sure, maybe someday you will be that size again, but for now, they are holding you back. Let it go. Yes, sometimes we even have to let go of the future, and it will free us up for growing. 
     Let go of the fear. The only people who analyze us like we analyze ourselves is ourself. No one is a bigger critic of yourself than you are. Pruning hurts, and you may find that letting go may entail letting go of more than you might have wanted. Perhaps allowing yourself to like tank tops again will cost you your reputation as a "nice, modest girl"; would you function better as a person without the fear of losing your reputation haunting your clothing choices? Then perhaps that crowd needs to be let go. And...That's where I'm going to end. It's late, I'm starving as usual, and my brain seems to have decided to cease thinking about this subject. *shrug*

Monday, July 21, 2014

Ask Mother Henn: What Do You Do All Day?

     Well, it is Blogging Monday once again, and it looks like I might actually post two weeks in a row! Woohoo! And today I'm going to embark on a new thing, which I shall call "Ask Mother Henn." Cute, no? Basically, unless people eventually ask me questions, I'm going to pretend that I have an advice column and answer questions I make up, or that it seems a lot of people have asked others elsewhere, and give my opinion on them. 

Dear Mother Henn, 

What do you do when you are at home all day, 7 days a week, with little children? 

     Well, first you do newborn things, like change diapers, feed the little one, sit for extended periods of time because little one fell asleep while in your arms and will wake if you move, change diapers, feed the little one, etc. Occasionally scrape up time to feed yourself, get dressed, brush teeth, and maybe even shower semi-regularly. Depending upon how well the baby really naps, you might even be able to somewhat keep up with housework, but don't count on it. And that is okay; at this time in your life, you are meant to do the newborn things, that is your job. Boring, yes; unfulfilling, a lot of the time; important, always. And so incredibly hard. It is the beginning of dying to oneself on the largest scale possible. It is so hard to let everything that seems to give fulfillment go, for days that seem so wasted, especially if one was particularly good at doing things before (I personally was not). But that is the key, to just let it go. I'm not saying that your life as you needs to be over for the next 20 years or so, but it is a time for your desires to fade into the background a bit, not so much that you die, but enough so that this new little life can blossom. And it will get easier. 
      That little newborn won't stay that way long, and soon you'll have a baby who can entertain himself for significant amounts of time. Yes, even 5 minutes so you can use the bathroom without them crying is a significant amount of time. And then you do older baby things, like chew on toys, try to crawl, giggle hysterically, and even manage to make dinner at a reasonable hour on occasion, in addition to laundry and dishes. You will be able to shower every day if you wish, and never forget your teeth. But though you will have more time, that dying to self is still so present, and even more difficult because of the illusion of time you now have. 
     But those days will pass quickly as well, and then you will be off to toddler things, like spinning crazily until you fall down dizzy, running up and down on a long strip of paper and laughing hysterically because of the crinkly noises, sitting and reading the same book so many times in a row, and finding with awe that he can amuse himself without your direct participation and sometimes without you even in the room! Alas! The temptation to try and get 'things' done is stronger than ever, and tantrums often result when you do. "Why can't you just go play by yourself a little longer!?" you catch yourself thinking, or even yelling, "Why can't I just get this one thing done that will make me feel like a productive useful person?!" Or "Why can't I just be left alone for 5 minutes to read something that is not a child's book?" In your frustration you forget that tickling is important, that vrooming around with trucks is productive, and for this time in your life, your job is to be his whole world. Yes, there is a greater universe outside of you, and you must introduce him to that, but for now it is more important that loud and silly songs be sung than blogs be written and Facebook browsed. It is so hard to let those things go, but the days are so much easier when you do.
     What happens when you have two? Well, you do newborn things in addition to toddler things. You change diapers, feed little one, feed toddler, read out loud lots, occasionally remember to brush your teeth, etc. Feel like you are never going to have it together, forget that you need to let it go, roar at little children for whom you are their whole world, cry, regroup, and begin again. You watch in awe as one day you realize they don't need you to actively play all the time. You watch with tender heart and moist eyes as they amuse each other, the younger lighting up and watching every move of the older, the older delighting in the laughter of the younger. You realize that it will not be this way forever; someday you will be able to do 'you' things again, that there is a light at the end of this tunnel of baby and toddler things. But try not to get too caught up in that glimpse of light, because someday is not this day. This day the most important thing you can do is be their world, and to do baby and toddler things, read The Tale of Jeremy Fisher for the umpteenth time, belly laugh with the baby, and enjoy these days, for the old ladies are right - you will miss these days when they are gone. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Guilty, Ashamed, and Fearful No More

     On my journey of discovering who I am and who God made me to be, I've come to the realization that I have a lot of unnecessary and misplaced guilt, shame, and fear. Over what? Well, just about everything. I feel ashamed and guilty because my life is good, that I really have nothing to complain about, and nearly everything going for me. I have a pretty face, somewhat enviable figure, and I'm athletic. I have a fantastic relationship with Code Monkey and adorable boys. We aren't exactly raking in the dough, but we aren't hurtin' either. Yes, I feel ashamed of these things, like I need to apologize for them, lest anyone's feelings be hurt. And I am afraid, so terribly afraid, of rejection. I so desperately want to fit in, and will basically conform to whatever group I'm with, so that I don't stick out in the least. So much so, in fact, that I don't even know what it is that I as Jenn actually like and don't like anymore, and what it is that I as people-pleaser only like because it will save me from being disliked.  
     But you know what? I'm done. It's over, Fear. This relationship is stifling me, and I'm not going to allow you to suffocate me anymore. And I'm not going to miss it, either, because it wasn't fun. Not a bit. Alright, I know life isn't all about having fun, but it is about growth, and Fear will at the very least stunt it, if not kill it outright. So I'm not going to hold back anymore. No, I won't be rude, mean, or obnoxious, but I won't keep my silence and allow myself to be walked on or unheard anymore. 
     I'm going to play in the rain because my toddler wants me to, whether it is "grown up" or not. I'm going sing 'Let It Go' at the top of my lungs, because I like the song. I'm going to hold fast to the country music of my childhood, because it is so much a part of who I am today. I'm not going to let my fear of spiders or ticks keep me holed up inside, cowering for fear of what might happen, on a beautiful day. As much as I need my alone time, I actually do like talking to people, even ones that I have never met before. I'm a bit into healthier, but definitely not fanatical about it. In fact, I'm not really fanatical about much of anything, and am willing to give pretty much anyone the benefit of the doubt. I love philosophy, and probably was a psychologist in another life. (No, not really, it's just a saying.) I love figuring things out, and for things to make sense, even though I can't argue logically worth a darn. I love horses, and country, and farm. Oh, I could go on, and on, and on. But it's getting late, and I'm a morning person deep down, so I shall call it quits for now.

I am so extremely blessed to have the friends that I have. MichiGoose, Mocking Byrd, Kestral, M.St.P., and my Sister, thank you all so much for the feedback you afforded me. It was superbly helpful. <3