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How Do You Know You’re “Home?”

There is a reason “Home” is called “Home,” and I’m not quite sure where mine is right now. I’m sort of in between worlds. See, I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio (don’t make fun!), but I have lived on Cape Cod every summer of my life– and now year-round for 14 years. That’s a long time! I think I finally qualify for the “local” special at the diner, and I can legit say I hate summer people (even though I don’t–just the traffic).

I’ve lived on Cape Cod longer than I’ve lived anywhere, other than Cleveland (15 years). I spent many years in New York City (10) and Boston (3). But, now, I guess Cape Cod is my home, or well, it’s where I own a house and raise my children and have a job. So that’s home? It doesn’t always feel like it.

The reason I bring this confusion up is this: my partner lives in Cleveland, many of my best friends live here, and a lot of my heart is, well, here.

Here’s a typical “home” in Shaker Heights, Ohio (where I grew up)

But my children are not.

So yeah.

I thought about this today when the airplane was landing in Cleveland, and I could see the snow covering the acres of flat ground. The familiar grey sky had cover from Lake Eerie, and I felt a sense of relief.

“Ah, I’m home,” I thought, stepping off the plane and seeing the “Welcome to Cleveland” sign in Hopkins International Airport.

But, when I was taking off in the plane, I cried. I cried because I missed my kids. I saw them this very morning, but I felt so far away, and I was scared. I was scared that maybe something would happen on my flight, and that I’d never see them again. And maybe I was a terrible parent for flying and leaving them behind, even though they are safe with their father for the weekend. I sent my daughter a text on her Gizmo (for those not in the know, a Gizmo is like an Apple Watch for kids, where they can get a call or text from their parents or send a limited set of texts). I said, “I love you so much! I miss you already.” I also texted my parents (who now live on the East Coast).

When I arrived in Cleveland, I was greeted by my boyfriend, and we then met up with my best friend from high school for lunch. It was so nice! I was so happy and thought, “Yay! I am home!” This is where I’m meant to be!

But part of me is missing.

A big part. My kids.

And I know, deep down, this is not where I live. I’m just a visitor.

I just wish it could all be one. I wish I could feel whole in one of the places.

Wherever I am, someone I love is missing.

So what makes a home a home?

You tell me.

#relationships, Self-Help, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Too Many Friends = Too Much Drama

Have you ever noticed that the smaller your world becomes, the easier it is to manage emotionally? I feel that way these days, as I go to work and home, home and work, with very little in between. I see my children, my boyfriend, maybe a couple of friends here or there, and that’s it. I keep it tight. I have, as my sister used to say, “Circled the wagons.”

She told me that circling the wagons was the the best methodology to avoid drama. The more people you interact with, and have in your direct sphere, the more chances there are for drama. While I thought that seemed sort of grim and isolating at the time, I now realize she had a point. It’s a self-preservation thing.

I think back, for example, to when I was the most social I’ve ever been as a parent (we can’t go all the way back…even though, obvi, I wish I could and stay there #ihearthighschool). So it was when I had my first child, and he was 2. I was so busy out and about with girlfriends, meeting at the playground with moms, going to “Mommy and Me” at the library, and chatting for hours on the phone. I remember I even had to get a new data plan on my cell phone, because I was on it too much. Now, I sort of hate talking on the phone, unless it’s Facetime over wine. 🙂

Anyway, at that time, there were all these fights and paranoia and, “Don’t say anything but…,” or, “No offense, but…,” and “Oh, you weren’t invited?” etc.

It drove me INSANE.

Like, I was 40-years-old and legit cried to my partner about a girl fight! I was 40–and in eighth grade! I was so crazed, in fact, about this one fight, that I literally lost my geographical bearings and drove straight over the Bourne Bridge off of Cape Cod, where I live, headed towards Boston. I was, in short, deranged.

Um…now, circling back to my point of circling the wagons (double circle here), I never feel that anxiety anymore with my friends. I never feel that, “Oh my God, is she mad at me,” or that “Wait, what did I not get invited to” feeling. Ya’ know why? ‘Cause I do nothing! Yeah, that’s right. Naturally, the pandemic has something to do with it. But, even before that, I have found that keeping my social interactions to a minimum has made me feel more at peace. This seems counterintuitive, as I am super social and gregarious and I’m not good at being alone. But, keeping it tight and small, that’s the way to go…for me.

That’s the one issue I have with social media. It’s like the tight circle is inevitably larger, because you are seeing what everyone else is doing, which you are not a part of. Suddenly, your small circle is now 800-people wide (well, except the algorithms make is so I see the same 10 people). Sometimes, I’ll see two people I know socializing, and I’ll feel this sense of FOMO, like I’m missing out.

But, then, I get over it.

And I feel okay and am grateful for the peace.

It’s kind of too bad it is that way, but, I mean, for me it was. How about you?

Uncategorized

I Need (More) Answers… Befuddling Questions

Ever wonder why when you want there to be a red light, so you can send a text, or dig through your monstrous bag looking for something, it’s always green? I have a number of these questions, which I’d like answers to. Here are others:

  1. Why does a “regular” coffee at Dunkin’ mean three creams and two sugars? Honestly, that’s irregular to me. #creambomb
  2. When I have the most garbage ever, and it’s spilling out of the cans, why do I forget to put it out on the street or it’s always a holiday and the schedule is all messed up?
  3. Why do I lose all of my nice sunglasses and hair ties, but I have that one scrunchie from 20 years ago and the Dollar Tree Store sunglasses from 2010?
  4. Why do I never learn my lesson that my children can’t eat in my bed, and then when there is a slick of ice cream on my clean sheets, I’m not only grossed out but also surprised?
  5. Why do I always wonder if the alarm will go off when I have my phone on silent?
  6. Why every time when I go to the dry cleaner is it closed? Also, does dry cleaning actually clean things? Seems a little dicey to me.
  7. Why do we open our mouths when we put on mascara?

Here is the first list of questions, if you’re interested!

What are some of your questions? Let me know in the comments. 🙂

Uncategorized

Becoming Your Ideal Self to Avoid “Hell”

I just heard this quote about the definition of hell: “On your last day on earth, the person you could have become will meet the person you became.

I saw this on the HBO docuseries, The Vow, and that creepy cult leader, Keith Raniere, told one of his followers that. It did resonate (as I imagine all of his teachings may have resonated with me, since I’m a perfect cult victim). And it is seriously one of my biggest fears: to not become what I could be. I have FOMO on my ideal self.

Psychologists say that this disparity between your actual vs. your ideal self creates something called cognitive dissonance, which is at the root of depression and anxiety. Hm. No WONDER I am anxious! Good thing I just figured out all of my issues…

Um, no. BUT, I guess it’s good to reflect on this idea of the actual vs. ideal self maybe, like, once a month? Too much? Okay, let’s be a little easier on ourselves (it is 2021, after all), and let’s observe ourselves like every six months. We can ask: Where are we now? Where do we want to be? What do we have to do to get there?

We can make Inspiration Boards (I have tried that), and we can write down our goals. However, the real work comes with action and commitment: committing to those goals and that ideal self.

We CAN get there. But, it takes a lot of work and sacrifice–sacrificing the moment and immediate gratification.

I remember in college I went through a serious bout of depression. I had just broken up with my first real love, and I was a shell of a human. I didn’t eat, I didn’t sleep, and I had irrational fears, like I may launch myself into the subway tracks (even though I would never want to do that). I know that’s crazy. Don’t judge! I’m being vulnerable here! I got over it, but a lot of my depression then was that I had lost myself and was not the person I wanted to be. The ideal me was very far from the actual me.

Now, I feel good about myself, but I’m a work in progress and not my ideal. We all are, I think. I do believe if I were to meet my ideal self, I might be a little jelly and want to be her. I have to figure out how to get there, but it’s going to take some work.

I hope I have it in me.

Going to write down what I want to achieve to me the ideal me…so I can avoid that definition of hell!

Self-Help, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Working It Out…the “Write” Way

Wow, we are back to remote learning because of the COVID surge. Heeeeeeeeelp! Okay, I have a lot on my plate–and nothing at the same time–because I’m trying to reach some New Year’s goals, like dropping some lbs. and cutting back on my vices (need not be named: trust me, there are a couple). But, now this? OY! How can I work on myself when I have to work at home and with my kids?

Triggers. What are they? I was trying to think of this, when I was wondering how I can achieve my goals. Like, what gets in my way and makes me stressed? Oh, how about HOMESCHOOL!??! Okay, so that’s one. Then, I was like, “Okay, what’s next? What can make me stressed?” Work and kids. Responsibilities. Er, well, those can’t really be removed. Ever. So there you have it.

My entire existence is a trigger.

Remember when we just could be selfish, when we were younger, and worry about what we were going to wear out at night? Or, like, take all day to get ready for a date: workout, eat right, shave off all body hair, use Crest white strips, blow your hair out? Those were good times. Hah! I am kind of laughing. Those, actually, the getting ready for a date days? Those were inherently stressful, particularly if it was a first date. They kind of sucked, in fact. I guess I’m just thinking about when we lay around and had nothing to think about but our own selfish baby issues. Good times.

Honestly, though? I think I was worse off then. Yes, I’m feeling better already as I write this. When I had too much selfish baby time to ruminate, I would spiral and drive myself nuts. I’d snowball everything into a disaster and end up in the bookstore self-help section.

Too much time = a trigger.

So, now that I have zero time, I’m better off. Right?

Yes, I figured it out. I am, INDEED better off now!

See how I worked this all out by writing it down? I think this is a good exercise for all of us, particularly writers. And now I know why people say to journal every day. Okay, so try this for yourselves at home…see how well you do. Let me know.