June 7, 2013
This past month has been pretty draining for both Jared and myself. One of the joys of AIDS is insomnia, which means that he sometimes goes more than 24 hours without being able to sleep. Guys, I love my husband. BUT. I don't think I need to say another word. I'm sure you get my drift!!
We have also been playing a balancing game with our finances. Jared did get qualified for SSD, but it won't start til October. When it does, our money situation will be amazing! We will be able to actually PAY our BILLS!!! I know, it sounds sooo exciting!! October is the promised land, people. Onward, ho!!
There's a travel-related saying that you may have heard: "getting there is half the fun." No. It's not. It's not even 1/4 of the fun! Yet there's another saying, this one for anything we make our kids do: "It builds character." This one, I think, is true. This past week, I had an experience that left me with that warm delightful feeling you get when you try on your skinny jeans and they fit. Here's what happened:
For as long as I can remember (and I'm talking toddlerhood), I have wanted to be someone else. I never felt adequate just being little ole me. For reasons I won't go into, I joined the comparison game very early on in life, and played it with all my heart. It's a vicious game, as I'm sure you know, and there aren't ever any winners. I realized that about 6 years ago, and have been struggling to break free of that mindset ever since.
Since the divorce, my ex-husband has moved into a neighborhood where people are very well-off, and appearance is crucial. He has always been materialistic, wanting the biggest and the best of everything, while I'm more of a thrift store and yard sale girl myself. Normally, I love my bargain hunting lifestyle, but when I'm forced to attend an event on his turf, I start feeling like the ugly duckling in the midst of a feathery beauty pageant. I can't actually PROVE that they are all looking me over, and shaking their heads in pity, but they are. I just know it. And I feel so small and less-than. It's awful! I hate it!
So the other day I was driving to one such event, cringing inwardly because the baby had rubbed graham cracker across my left shoulder, and I hadn't gotten all the smears out. I was thinking how stupid it was that a trivial little thing like that could ruin my confidence, when I was smacked by a mental bolt of lightening! IT DOESN'T HAVE TO. I am a warrior, going through some very hard stuff, and if those snooty-snoots knew the details, they'd put their hand on that sticky shoulder and hug me. And we'd probably cry together, and start swapping stories about our kids.
I also had the epiphany that IT'S OKAY THAT THEY DON'T UNDERSTAND. I live in a different world than they do. I don't know what it's like to be them, and they don't know what it's like to be me. I've never vacationed on a cruise in the Bahamas, and they've never lived with AIDS. I don't need to feel like I fit into their world, and I don't need to hang my head in shame because mine doesn't sparkle like theirs does.
This might seem like a D'oh thing to some of you, and that's okay. Ultimately, it's an epiphany we all need to have, and if some of you have already "gotten it", that's great. But there is a HUGE difference between "head knowledge" and "heart knowledge" and the bridge that connects them is sometimes one of those rickety rope kinds with boards missing. That evening, I realized that my harshest judge was probably myself anyway, and I lifted my head with a smile, and told myself to SHUT UP! I attended the event with as much grace and dignity as I had available to me, cared for my children, supported my son in his competition, and smiled without insecurity at anyone who looked at me. It was a good feeling, let me tell you. Thank you, AIDS, for reminding me that I am strong.