A few weeks ago when I attended a yoga conference, Sadie Nardini discussed how the words we carry around inside of us follow us wherever we go and continue to guide our choices and paths until we make a conscious decision to rewrite our scripts.
During a break, I spoke with her and shared with her what I am going through. At one point – the topic of my parents came up. I know parents are a complicated topic of discussion. I am estranged from my mother though, so it has been a lifetime of extreme difficulty.
Sadie told me that since I have never been mothered the right way, I need to discover ways to parent myself. Yes…. I am doing a pretty decent job of mothering my son. But what kind of mother am I capable of being to myself?
And so, I continue to do what I always have done… bumble along through life with yet another unanswered question in my back pocket. The roller coaster continues. I continue to live my life.
Life, never disappointing on the “hits keep on coming” front, continues to play dirty and throw its regular curve balls.
Life doesn’t give a fuck less if you are trying to recover from one thing before sending more your way. But, you know… That’s life. It has its ups and downs. And more downs. And I’ve been taking them all the best I can. Like a bitch.
Maybe there are things a mother would tell her child when he or she is going through a funk. So, I try to speak little words of encouragement and gentle reminders along the way (“Honey – maybe you’ve had enough wine – it IS Tuesday night after all and you still have work tomorrow!”)
So, I continue to bumble along with generic momisms.
I am not ALL dysfunctional. Some days I leap out of bed at 4:30 in the morning and squeeze in yoga, a nice cup of coffee, an acai bowl, and maybe even catch up with a chapter in my latest read.
Other days, I AM all dysfunctional… barely having time to wipe off the drool still on my chin from waking up 30 minutes before getting to work.
I have a few more months left at my job before I leave and never come back. It’s another roller coaster of fear and anticipation and joy and sadness that I am riding on a daily basis.
I use my wavering self-mothering skills to convince myself to get back into the daily tasks that mattered to me at my job before this all happened. I can’t lock myself away in my office anymore and troll fashion blogs pretending I’m crinkling my forehead at data I have graphed.
For a few months, I made my job a literal purgatory. I hated the person I was becoming. I did not want to be some lazy slacker… No matter how understandable it was or how much anyone couldn’t really blame me for not giving my ALL. I felt like a squatter in my own place of employment. Eventually I had to crawl out of the cave of my office and interact and engage again.
I squinted my way out, and began connecting with some like-minded souls. I realized that those connections were my lifeline back to myself. Out of the cry cave and into the friendly conversations with people making me laugh and feel human again.
And there were still moments that made some of my days feel important and productive – like I am still fixing problems or looking like I’m busy when administration comes around…. And then there were other days.
Obviously I am going to focus on one of those days for a minute or 2.
So… I befriended the custodian of my school. He’s youngish and in a band and has tattoos and is just one of those all around “good guys” that you know you’ll have some kind of hip and poetic conversation about life with.
Those days can be awesome when they happen – even though he compares a lot of deep soulful ponderings with cleaning related situations… Like “No need to worry about the mud on the floor… In life, you are always going to be mopping something” or “Sometimes you expect something different when you open the door and look in, but nothing prepares you for the big pile of steaming shit in the middle of the boys’ restroom floor… Never making it into the toilet to be flushed away…”
Sometimes analogies just fit a situation perfectly.
So everyday I would have these conversations, usually in the cafeteria during lunches discussing how life shoots by like a squirt of ketchup. It was just nice to have someone around who professionally couldn’t judge me and I can crack corny jokes at. It was a perfect symbiotic work relationship of rolling eyes when going to get more coffee because “fuck this day… Right?” And venting about screaming kids who also happen to never throw their milk into the garbage the right way and that means he or she is probably being neglected at home.
“See?” My inner mom beamed, “You totally got this, sweetie. AND you are making friends. good for you!”
Thanks, inner mom!
So one day, at the cafeteria, a lunch aide ran in from outside and told us there was a parakeet on the fence and all the kids were losing their minds. I love animals, and will rescue almost anything (last year my son and I tried to nurse back to life a baby mouse abandoned by its mother and attacked by my kitten – turned out it died and my son wailed in mourning for a week). I did not want this parakeet to get freaked out and try to fly into the parking lot. I know birds. I was raised with parrots and did wildlife rescue. I swooped out and retrieved the bird using a child’s sweatshirt.
I got the bird inside and a group of the recess aides followed me, intrigued. Since it was the first room when we got inside and it was silent in there, we all went into the custodian’s office. He said nothing, but begrudgingly got out a basket and bin to keep the bird in. I figured he was tired and was ready to get coffee. I didn’t recognize the cues for utter disgust at a filthy animal occupying the clean sanctuary of his office.
My inner mom must have gone to go douche with rose-water or something and left me to my own devices, trusting my judgement completely.
She is still getting to know me.
So the day went on. I came back to check on the parakeet. I noticed he had a band on his foot, so I decided to take a little peek….
Fucking bird shot out of his prison and proceeded to fly and perch all over the custodian’s office. I had no idea what to do.
So I stupidly went and got the custodian.
He entered his office, saw the parakeet perched high on the ceiling, above his desk, and turned into another human being. Like, his whole outside tore away and he immediately transformed into the purplest, angriest individual with lasers of rage shooting out of his eyeballs.
I am pretty sure he wanted me to fall and break my neck as I teetered on my toes over his desk, reaching for the bird. Only, it would have been more for him to clean up, so maybe not.
I safely retrieved the bird using another shirt. I leaned over and handed the wriggling ball to the guy yelling incoherent and flustered F-bombs at me and climbed down.
And then, my inner mom returned. She was carrying shopping bags full of presents for me with a steaming cup of Starbucks in her hand. All gorgeous and joyous. And then she saw what she had returned to.
There I was…. standing with a parakeet that had just fluttered all over the office, with a few little shits thrown in. One of them very close to a donut that someone was hoping to eat later.
And then the inner mom in me gives me a look that tells me that no friendship can survive this if both people are not hysterically laughing.
Only one of us was laughing.
I realized that I am seriously the most socially inept person on the planet if this is the direction my friendships go in… Once again, I have organically angered and disgusted another friend simply by being around and being myself – the ONE thing any mom would tell you to be when you put yourself out there….
Sorry, inner mom.
The bird wasn’t hurt. Someone in the school took him home.
When I went to go apologize a few hours later, it was made very clear that we are never to speak of the Bird Incident ever again. It was sworn to never be mentioned.
(He doesn’t know I blog though. Snicker. Also… He will never know that the parakeet was named after him. Maybe that’s for the best.)
But…. we will always know it happened. It’s out there in the universe. We both know that there will never be anymore “is it Friday yet” eye rolls or “fuck this day right” kind of camaraderie. There will probably just be sneers towards me for violating his precious serene universe.
There might be no more laughter or analogies of soap bubbles and the universe. Eventually we may get to a place where we exchange polite nods through the rest of my days there.
“Well….I hope you learned your lesson, young lady” my inner mom tells me.
On the other hand, my husband and son, C., thought the story was friggen hilarious. C. wants me to keep reenacting the custodian’s facial expressions. Hubby keeps texting me bird pictures.
So maybe I didn’t learn my lesson completely.
I am thinking I still have a lot of work to do on myself.
My inner mom is going to hate me.