Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Just for NOW

Before I get into things, I have to yet again apologize for the lack of visuals. Uploading photos takes me more time than I actually have... so I'm actually prioritizing by just getting out these words. Amazing. You just heard me admit I have some sense of priorities, which is relatively new. (For now my therapy is money well spent. I can feel it lifting me out of a fog every day.)

Yesterday I made a big adjustment and took myself for a solo trip to Shaw's Market. If you know me well enough, it should come as no surprise to hear that I am a food snob. I shop at the co-op in Hanover, I prefer organic, and local if I can get it, and I cannot stand taking my kids to a crazy fucked up mainstream market (candy and t.v. characters selling empty food EVERYWHERE). I had a minute to take MYSELF to the market, sans kiddos, and I realized how tight our money is these days. For the moment it's not the economy affecting my wallet, but the little ones' recent bout of pneumonia, everybody is hungrier and thirstier than usual while taking steroids and antibiotics. Oh, and meds for THREE kids... even with good health insurance we pay too much. Christmas gifts set us back a bit, plus heating costs. Long story, I know... but we needed a lot of food, so I chose Shaws.

After taking some time to pick optimal goodies and deals throughout the market (English Muffins! "Conventional" Granny Smiths, FROZEN chicken nuggets, things with hydrogenated oil), I grabbed a 16 pack of Scott toilet paper... extra soft. I tucked it underneath my cart to conserve space. Well, I paid for my gargantuan load of groceries and was quite pleased when the bill came to be $157. That seemed really reasonable considering how much I had packed in!

I strolled the cart out to my car, started loading the bags in the trunk and realized, "Motherfucker, I have neglected to pay for the toilet paper". It never made it up on the checkout counter.

(Big pause. Lots of internal dialogue.)

"I SO don't want to head back into the store in order to show Shaws how honorable I am." "If I drive away with a FREE giant toilet paper pack, will I get hit by a car tomorrow?" "Who just saw me do this on camera?" "How much was the 16 pack anyway?" "Do I deserve this much free ass-wiping material?"

The giant pack was thrown hastily in the trunk.

In the end I decided I DESERVED lots of free toilet paper. Christ, this was my parting gift for spending $157, like when you buy too much makeup from Lancome and they hit you with some lame nylon bag and a tacky lipstick for free...

What a relief. I knew I did the right thing despite the poor karmic consequences! In fact, at this point I'm convincing myself the free toilet paper was a gift from the New Year's Resolution Gods - they are smiling on me as I make better choices, authentic Mollie Nelson choices that will ultimately benefit my three little ladies. Even if that means frozen dinners and more processed food... that doesn't have to be the norm, nor does it have to be forever. It's simply a choice for now.

Just now.

And that's enough.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Conundrum with the Shrinky Dink

The weird thing about therapy is...

being in therapy.

I am spending a lot of time debating whether any of my time and money spent focusing on myself is useful. I know that's a pretty defeatist attitude, and I know some of that attitude is fueled by some not-so-encouraging family members. How shitty is that? I've also been reminded by Myles that therapy is really a luxury of the upper-middle class. This of course makes me feel HORRIBLE. We can pay for therapy, it's true. And we aren't victims of sexual assault, alcoholics, addicts or members of the lower economic strata... more guilt for my brain. I can't stand it.

This week my assignment was to work on checking in on how I FEEL, rather than trying to tackle some big task (like applying to school, finding childcare, being honest with my mother, calling my financial advisor). I found it pretty funny to realize that I view a therapist like a teacher or a coach giving me homework, and I want concrete things to look for, to mend, to solve... She would rather I take some time to breathe and notice where I'm at emotionally with the things I do.

And the result from this week: nothing. I felt yucky thinking about myself too much.

So I did what I usually do, and have done for the last 13 years, which is to kind of disconnect from my internal dialogue and get involved with doing stuff. We started gingerbread houses with the twins, we decorated the tree, I made beef stew (hysterical... stew always makes me think about Beef Stroke-me-off), I'm making appointments and play dates all over the place. Myles is working his ass off and I can barely think about what he's up to. This is how I deal and distract myself. Why would I want to stop and FEEL how I feel? Especially during the holiday season, when we are more focused on family and friends and rituals... Why bother with ourSELVES?

Acknowledging all of these things has been really really exhausting - yet somehow I am still scrambling around, finding people to look after the kids so I can take myself to the little tiny office above the bank in town... to sit with my shoes off, in an overstuffed couch, face to face with an 50 year old jewish lesbian from Brooklyn who thinks she can help me out. If you had told me this would be my reality 10 years ago I would have laughed in your face.

At the end of the day I do convince myself that the therapist is good. She reminds me that in the end, all we really have is ourselves. When I consider how individual happiness positively affects the people around you - I can't argue against that. So I'm sold on taking care of myself. I just feels kind of lame to admit it.