All posts by apennieformythoughts

Fading Memories…

I have the luxury of having the last 12 years or so of my life documented in some form on the internet. From the time I was a senior in high school (I graduated in 2001) until around the time I had Micaela, I posted on a site called diaryproject.com. After that, I had a xanga blog that I kept up faithfully with for quite a few years before posting started to get more sporadic starting in 2008 or so. 2006 is the year that I met my now husband, and my life got a lot more stable and less “dramatic” after meeting him. There was less to talk about. 

One night a week or so ago, I found myself on DP reading through my old posts. It was incredibly embarrassing to read some of the posts. Sad. Bitter. Funny. Weird. I am so not that person anymore, and I almost cringe at the thought that I ever was. 

I had a hard time keeping my head straight when it came to men. It is so sad to look back and see myself in those situations. My heart aches for that girl. I want to lift her up and take her home with me. I want to tell her that she is so much more than that, she deserves more. I was so immature and naive back then. I didn’t use the brain inside of my head, didn’t accept reality as fact. I don’t know how I managed to delude myself for so long, that these men loved me, cared about me, would be there for me. None of it turned out to be true. 

The last guy I was with before I met Andy was different. He was a friend. I talked to his family. His children, mother, the mother of his children. I knew his friends and they knew me. He cared about my kids. He met my family. And I loved him deeply and passionately. But he turned his gaze elsewhere because I didn’t have a career, I wasn’t professional, I didn’t fit whatever image he had in his head on what he wanted his life to look like. I eventually moved away from the area, and shortly after met Andy. We maintained contact with each other, we’ve had dinner with him and his girlfriend at the time, he’s always had my number and vice/versa, we have each other’s emails. 

I made a choice a few months ago not to respond to an email he sent me, and I didn’t give him my number when I had to get a new one. He’s drunk almost every time he calls. The email he sent was asking me to contact an immigration lawyer in Canada for him, because he wants to try to move there from Mexico. I just decided that I wasn’t going to reply. A couple of days ago, I received another email from him. It was pretty passive aggressive; completely obvious that he was hurt I hadn’t responded to him. He was asking me if I could ask another mutual friend of ours if she would be able to pay him back the money he borrowed her a “few years ago,” which was back in ’04/’05 and had absolutely nothing to do with me. He had been in an accident and needed the money for rehab. 

I emailed him back and said I wasn’t able to help. I apologized for not responding, but that I had decided to close the chapter on that part of my life. I wasn’t that girl anymore, I’m a different woman. I made a comment about how if we were friends, he would contact me when he didn’t want something or wasn’t drunk. I told him I was sorry about the accident and that I wished him well.

This is HUGE to me. It finally feels like I got to be the one to say “You’re not good enough for me, and I don’t choose you.” Even though we aren’t together and haven’t been for years. Even though it wasn’t that kind of situation at all. It just feels like I made a huge grown up decision that’s been a long time coming and it’s… freeing. I’m saying goodbye to that person, that life, that time… the hurt, and the confusion, and the disrespect, and the pain, and the self-destruction of those memories. Not with him, but with the people before him… It’s like loosening my grip on a skeleton that refused to fade away, and just watching it drift away into the wind… 

Letting Go.

One of the things I struggle with the most is this deep seed of BITTERNESS that is planted firmly somewhere in my stomach, heart, mind, soul… SOMEWHERE deep inside of me. I want it gone; I really do. It’s hard carrying it around and being so angry all the time. It doesn’t jive with who I feel I am on the inside, and it definitely doesn’t jive with who I want to be in my everyday life. But I am so angry, and hateful, and bitter, and MAD. What makes it so hard is that I can’t figure out where it’s coming from, I can’t figure out just where I need to start pulling so I can tear it out by the roots. Everytime I try, it seems like I dig at it a little bit, but I never quite get to the real issue. And I really feel like it’s detrimental to my life. 

I can’t figure out my relationship (or lack thereof) with God. What I believe, why I believe, if I believe, how I believe… none of it makes sense to me. And that frightens me and makes me kind of… mad. 

I can’t figure out what I want to do with my life, even though I’m almost 31 years old, married, have 2 kids, homeschool them… it kind of seems that I’ve already made some choices about what I’m going to do with my life. And yet… most of the time I feel empty instead of content. 

I don’t know what to do, where to go, what to think, how to feel. 

And I’m so sick of being angry all the time.

2014 Goals

It’s going to be 2014 very soon. If I let myself, I start to worry about where this nation is going. Where this WORLD is going. I don’t buy in to all that “End of Times” stuff, but it can’t be denied that things aren’t going well, no matter what side of the political page you are on. It has nothing to do with who you would vote for. It’s just the way it IS. I’m getting older. I’m not a kid anymore, or even a young adult. I am young though. 30 isn’t old, but it isn’t the same as 24. 

I’m tired of making the same tired excuses for my actions that I have been for the first 30 years. I’m tired of the same shit, just another day. I’m tired of being tired. I’m tired of it all. Here are some of the goals I HOPE to work on this year:

Financial: This is the YEAR. No more asking mommy and daddy for money (yes, I have found myself in that vicious cycle). Find a way to up our income (I’m a stay at home homeschooling mom. I don’t want to sell avon or pampered chef. I don’t want to work outside the house. But something has to give). Finish our bankruptcy (the older I get, the more I realize that this isn’t an option I want to participate in. I want to take responsibility and fix it myself. But it’s already paid for, and not by us. So finish it we will). Figure out where we are bleeding money and then bandage them up (magazines, pop, cigarettes (my husband smokes), random treats at the store, eating out). Make a budget and stick to it. 

Physical Health: Stop drinking coke like it’s water. Walk outside at least 20 minutes a day. If it’s too cold (I do live in MN, after all), do something physical online (pull up a video on youtube or the yoga channel on the Roku). Drink at least 3 tall glasses of water a day. Eat less red meat and more real (not processed) foods. Eat something by 10a every day, even if it’s small. 

Mental Health: Start meditating. Get out of my bedroom when I am depressed. Start valuing the person that I am instead of hating myself for the person I was told I was. Really practice the art of letting go. Try one new thing (that’s out of my comfort zone) a month. Replace a negative comment about myself with a positive one. 

Blogging: Blog at least once a week. Decide whether I want my blog to be a “personal diary,” a blog for other people, or a combination of the both. Learn the basics of how to make my blog pretty (without having to pay for it. I’m cheap. And broke.). Get over my fear of people I know in real life reading my blog. 

Homeschooling: Continue to find our groove. Figure out what works best for each of my girls, individually. Buy a piece of curriculum I need once a month (not necessarily each month, but make a point of realizing I need to budget for it and can’t just buy what I want when I want it.). Start doing read alouds with the girls. Find a routine (because I NEED routine) that works for all of us and STICK TO IT (unless it’s not working. In which case, it’s not the routine for us in the first place). Focus on reading and math for a while, until the basics are covered. 

Reading: Read 4 books a month. 2 non-fiction, 2 fiction. Or whatever. But at least 4. 

Education: I have signed up for some classes through coursera. I am going to finish the courses and do well. 

 

These are the goals I think I need to start with. I’m not a scared little girl anymore or a hardened and angry teenager/young adult. I’m 30. I have children. I have a husband. I have worth and value. It doesn’t matter if I was bullied. It doesn’t matter if I was rejected. I MATTER. To ME. And that should be enough. 

Winter Days

Whew, I’m glad the past few months are over. We had my moms funeral on November 15th. It was a really nice day and was a sweet service. We scattered her ashes over the lake where she was the happiest she’s ever been. I hope she is at peace. I hope I find peace with my swirling feelings about the entire thing. “Thing” being my relationship with her. 

I wouldn’t say that anger is the word for it. Guilt, over some of the terrible things I have said and done. Hurt, that things just couldn’t have been different between us. Sadness that her life had to end while she was still so young, with so much to live for if only she opened herself up to it. Mostly, I just hope she knows that she was loved. 

Things on the homeschooling front are a little blah. What with all of the running around the last few months have brought, I’d be lying if I said we were following any sort of schedule. I keep telling myself that it’s ok to take a break and take the time to grieve. At the same time, I feel like I’m dropping the ball and need to snap back to it. 

They REALLY weren’t kidding when they said that the first year is the hardest. At least in my experience. 

I hope to stick with this blogging thing. I always end up deciding not to post because I can’t think of much to say that hasn’t already been said by someone else. Another thing is that part of me wants to blog for myself, but another part of me wants to do it for the social connection of it all. And then I just get tired thinking about all that. 

Did I mention that I suffer from depression? 

For My Future Grandchildren

Reclaim the Warrior

I want my future grandchildren,

and those that come after,

to say that I was fierce with heart.

I want them to know

that every action that I took

was mindful of their future existence,

that I was not merely a woman of resistance,

but a woman of vision.

To say that I didn’t just use my eyes to see

what was wrong in the world,

but used my hands and my heart to change it.

I want them to know

that grandma broke cy-cles

that I broke sweat to manifest dreams

that I broke bread with my enemies

that I broke open every morning

unafraid of the brilliance that I held inside.

I want them to say,

that I was never pushed down by criticism

and my ego was never elevated by praise

that I lived with the acknowledgement

that one day…

they would take their first breath, first…

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The End

My mom passed away at 4:30a on November 7th. I wanted to be there, but I wasn’t. I had gone home. I just really hope that she knew she was loved at the end. I hope she wasn’t scared or in pain. I’m sure she spent much of her life feeling unwanted and unloved. My sister and her hadn’t spoken in 2 years. All of us had attitude problems with her. But my sister got here before she was gone and they made their peace. My mom had written her a letter, explaining a lot of things and acknowledging a lot of things. She was unresponsive at the time my sister was there, but there were a few moments where she was coherent enough to say she loved us. The day we moved her into the nursing home she was the most alert she had been in a while. She was crying, which got me crying. I apologized and told her that I was sorry and that I knew it wasn’t what she wanted. She told me that I had nothing to be sorry for… but I’m still sorry. She was only 58. Cancer sucks. That’s all I can say. 

The C Word

My mom has bladder cancer. One of the easiest cancers to fight and “overcome.” Hers is stage 4. She is dying. She will soon be gone. 

Quick backstory on my mom: my parents divorced when I was 10. They shared custody of us, but my mom was the one who moved out and lived her life. I have never been close to her and there is a lot of anger. I’m trying to move past that so that I can show her compassion in her last days. I love her. But it’s hard. 

Right now we are facing putting her into a nursing home. It isn’t what she wants, so I feel bad for even entertaining the idea. She is on hospice care right now and lives with a roommate, plus my aunt and I trade off on caring for her. She has taken a huge turn for the worse and the amount of cares she needs are rising. She is incontinent and has a urostomy bag, so there is always a mess to clean up. She is still aware, but confused at the same time. 

I feel selfish. I am not a good decision maker. My brother says he doesn’t want to force it on her. I see it as I am the primary caregiver, the primary decision maker, and while it’s all fine and dandy for him because he has a job so he can’t be the main caregiver… it’s hard on those of us who are responsible for the day to day care. I homeschool. I have a family. I live over an hour away. But I’m not allowed to feel that way. Because I “don’t have a job” so I should just stand up and do it. 

And then I feel selfish for even thinking that. I feel like I am all alone in this. None of my other siblings do anything with her care. My one brother gets the details about it, but isn’t a caregiver. The other 2 hear about it from us, but that’s about it. 

I don’t know what to do. I feel bad for her. I feel bad that she knows her kids are angry with her. I feel bad that sometimes I wish this wasn’t my problem. I feel bad that she is so young (58). I feel bad that my kids won’t know her very well.

I just wish it wasn’t happening. 

Homeschooling Our Way

I had a question on a previous post on how we homeschool. First, I’ll be honest. I’m still figuring it out! This is our first year homeschooling with both of the girls. M is in 5th grade and K is in 2nd. We brought M home last year, but she started out on an online public school. So even though she was home, she still had PS guidelines to follow, standards she had to meet, tests she had to take. So this is our first year where we aren’t tied to any outside school. 

First, I’ll explain our reasoning for wanting to homeschool. I will be the FIRST to tell you that I have NO patience. I could never be a teacher or a daycare provider. I love kids. I DEFINITELY love my kids. But I can deal with my own (sometimes) way better than I can someone elses. Probably because I can be my “true” self in front of my kids, without being afraid of pissing off the parents, because I AM the parent, haha! I will admit right now that I have told my youngest (who I have the most trouble with, in terms of attitude and head-butting) that “I’m not the same as a school teacher. I don’t have to be so nice.” LOL… not the right attitude to always have with your kids, and DEFINITELY not the norm around here… but let’s be real. Kids are hard. All of that said just to say that if you want to homeschool but feel like you “just couldn’t…” I am one of those “just couldn’t” people. And this actually works out way better for ALL of us!  We pulled M out because of her math and me wanting to be able to give her that one on one attention she needed. I was SICK of my child thinking she was stupid. SICK of her thinking that she didn’t measure up, that something was wrong with her. So I took matters into my own hands. We threw K into the mix because I didn’t want all of us to have different schedules, always running in opposite directions. LIFE DOES NOT NEED TO BE LIKE THAT. 

Right now our schedule is pretty laid back. We use two resources heavily with some other stuff thrown in. Our first resource is a website called http://www.time4learning.com. This website offers a full curriculum, which can be used for homeschooling or “after-schooling,” which is people who want their kids to use it after school (duh, lol)… It covers math, language arts, science, and social studies. They just added a high school program, but it was started with the intention of going up to 8th grade. I try to make sure that the girls do this every day. They do a couple of lessons in each subject and are done in a couple of hours, if that. K usually works faster than M. I have M’s math tailored to fit her needs, so she is actually working on 2nd grade math while all of her other subjects remain at a 5th grade level. The way the site works, because she is in 5th grade, she has access to both 4th and 6th grade curriculum in all subjects, except math. For math, she has access to 1st and 3rd grade material. So she can go back and review if she needs to or work ahead if she needs to. The same goes for K, just pertaining to her grade level. Because this is a full curriculum (meaning that it provides the average amount of material they would learn in a PS for a full school year), I want them to at least accomplish this to feel like we are getting somewhere. Our other resource is called Story of the World, by Susan Bauer. It’s a full history curriculum that comes in 4 volumes and can be used with all ages. The reason why we are using this is because I like history and want to go through it, lol… there really is no reason other than that. We are only a few chapters in, so I can’t really say if we like it or not… actually, I can say that we do like the story. And we like a lot of the projects too, but I’m a procrastinator so I don’t always have the materials needed, which means no projects get done. Hey, I never said I was perfect. 

I think one big misconception people have about homeschooling is that you have to do what a PS does, taking up the entire day with academics. The reality is that a school works that way because they have a ton of kids. If your child was the only one they had to teach, a regular day would be done very quickly. Honestly, if we get up and at ’em right away, our day could well be done by 11a or noon. If not earlier. Reality here is that we wake up a bit later and dink around, so our work is usually done in the afternoons. But we are still only busy for a couple of hours. More so if we throw in extra projects, watch a movie about something, go on a field trip, etc… the reality is that homeschooling frees up your schedule SO MUCH, so that you are allowed to learn using different methods than just a book and paper. 

I’m still trying to find our groove though. Sometimes I feel like I’m trying to jam in too much, sometimes I feel like I’m not doing anything at all. They say that the first year is the hardest, and I am beginning to find that true. But I am also beginning to see how rich of an experience this can be. 

I’ll answer more questions as I think of them, or if you have anymore, V… I’ll keep on going! I like talking about this! 

All about Me- The Homeschool Side

I said yesterday that I would be back today to introduce myself more fully.

I’m married to one of the best people I’ve ever met. He drives me crazy, but I really don’t know what life would look like without him. It kind of pains me to think about it, lol. We have two girls. Our oldest is 10 and in the 5th grade. Our youngest is 7 and in 2nd grade. We started homeschooling them this year.

Our main reasons for wanting to homeschool stemmed from our oldest daughter. She was falling further and further behind in public school when it came to math. Because she was not a behavior issue, she kind of just slipped through the cracks. Because of mandatory testing and low test scores, Minnesota schools seem to focus strongly on reading. And we all know that reading is one of the basic blocks of LIFE. We need to be able to read, it’s a great skill to have, and obviously one that should be taught in schools. However, this happens at the expense of other subjects. History and science are usually the first to go. Math gets more attention, but they don’t have the same sorts of intervention in place for students struggling in math that they do for reading. Our oldest daughter reads at a high school level. She struggles with the simplest of math.

After finding out that they placed her at the behavior table (yes, they have one of those) in her classroom, not because she was having behavior issues, but because she was “slow in math”, I met with the principal. I had been researching online public schools and was seriously considering it, as I thought it would be a way to slow the math down a bit and get her skills back where they needed to be. And I never want my daughter to feel like she is stupid just because she has struggles in certain things. That’s when all of the promises for help started flowing in. As soon as they realized they were going to be losing the revenue they get for her, they wanted to “be there” to support us. I pulled her anyway.

The online public school did not fix the issues though. It was more of the same, except now she was at home. So we unenrolled her from there in March of last year. At the start of this year, we brought our 2nd grade daughter home as well. The main reason for that was because we are already here and I didn’t want all of us going different directions and having different schedules.

So far, we love it! Like I said, this is our first year, so we haven’t really smoothed out all of the bumps. We enjoy our time together and the girls like being able to go at their own pace. At the moment we are using Life of Fred (GREAT math series, told within a story… look it up, even if you don’t homeschool), Story of the World (still figuring that one out), and Road Trip USA by Confessions of a Homeschooler.  SOTW and Road Trip USA are a history and geography curriculum, respectively.

I can’t say that our path is perfect yet, because it’s nowhere near that. Today I am struggling with finding a schedule that works for us. I’ve thought about “deschooling” for a period of time, but as someone who doesn’t do well without any structure, I’m not sure if I will just end up feeling like we are doing “nothing” or not. I already know that unschooling is not the answer here. It’s a good choice for those who can make it work, but my brain does not operate like that, and I would be doing all of us a disservice.

I promise I’m not weird (ok, I am. Just not because of this), abusive, or a hermit. Well, I can be a hermit because of my depression, but not because I homeschool. I don’t hide my kids under a rock. They get out more than they did while in school. We don’t homeschool for religious reasons or because we are “training up our children” a certain way. This just works for us, and I’m so glad we made the choice.

A blog by any other name…

Hello, blogging world! This is my attempt at a real “grown up” blog. Maybe I will lose my fear and share it with the entire world, including people who know me. I’ve always blogged as anonymously as I could so that I wouldn’t hesitate in sharing more about myself. Let’s face it, if we know that people we know in real life are going to read our words, we might hold back a little bit. Not because we want a private place to talk about people behind their backs, but because that is such a… vulnerable place to be. I’ve spent a lot of time in my life building up walls to keep people out. I fear being judged, looked down upon, and ridiculed. I guard my heart because I am so convinced that people want to tear it apart. I was bullied a lot as a child, and to say that it doesn’t affect me as an adult would be a flat out lie. It affects me a lot. I don’t do things I want to do. I don’t talk to people I want to talk to. I worry constantly that I’m not good enough. That people don’t really want me. That no one really cares about me. That if you’re my friend, I have to work for it. I have to impress you. I have to be you. And it’s exhausting. As an adult, I’ve learned to drop some of these feelings. I know that my real friends love and accept me just the way I am. I know that my husband loves me (woohoo, I have one of those!). I know that my children love me. But I don’t love myself, so it makes it really hard to accept that from others. I blame myself for every problem we have. I think everyone is blaming me for every problem we have. I hate myself for being the way I am. But I am so paralyzed in my feelings that I don’t know how to branch out and make it right.

Please don’t think that I live a terrible life. I don’t. I go out into the world. I do things with my friends and family. I laugh and smile. I enjoy things. And this blog is not going to be about depression alone. But it is a scary thing to walk with. And as much as I like to build walls, I also have a deep desire to be truly KNOWN by people. I don’t believe in being fake. We all are, for various reasons. Don’t try to lie and say you aren’t. Maybe not overall, but we all have it in us to bring a false persona to the plate. 

I want this blog to be about ME. The real me. The one who hurts, loves, cries, laughs, dances, hates, plays, etc… and maybe I will one day feel free to invite all of you in. 

In the next post, I’ll introduce myself more fully.