Conquering Queen

Yesterday I received a text from the Ex indicating that his S.O. (significant other) was not working and that T could stay the night there. At first I was annoyed. I think I erased my text two before coming up with ‘Whatever T would like is fine with me.’ The reason that I put the choice in T’s hands is that this is his dad’s week with him. So he would see him before work last night and before school this morning. The first time in a long time. And I already knew what the answer would be. I did not hear back so text the Ex after awhile to check on T’s response.  And he said yes, he wanted to stay at his dad’s.
When I saw that single word response to my text my heart ached and I stifled a sob.
Even though the Ex and me share custody of T I have become use to having him here every night. We have a routine. And I get to see him every single day. So not seeing him last night was a kick in the pants. I had planned to see him. I was waiting to hear about his day. Now I had to reorganize my thoughts. Tears welled in my eyes, and there was pain. I decided that I would do the dishes thinking that if I had something to concentrate on it would not pain me so much.
As I stood at the sink, tears overcame me. My eyesight blurred and I gave into the sadness for a minute. And than I did what I do best now I talked to myself.
‘Jay you can feel sad but you need to get use to this. You need to get use to having one week where you are not going to have T. You won’t see him. This is normal. You have become greedy given that you are seeing him every day. Obviously he is going to want to stay at his dad’s, after all it is his week with him.’
I am not saying that I was feeling 100% better but I calmed down. And by the time that I was done the dishes and back on the couch, I had settled. I had come to peace with myself. Or so I thought.
Today as I am exercising I am looking at myself and critically. I am not liking what I see. There are small tweaks here and there that I could make. Where I was a year ago to where I am today is a huge difference. I am not drinking. I am not taking pills. I am working out. I am writing. But today I was not being nice to myself. I looked the wrong way at myself and decided that that was it, no more pizza. No more sweets. I text a friend and said over and over that I knew my thoughts were insane.
And as we text I realize I was being hypercritical of myself. Subconsciously something was at work and I think that I have figured it out.
I was sad yesterday and even though I did not consciously think it, I wondered what I had done wrong. Why did T not want to come spend the night here? Where had I failed that he would stay at his dad’s even when his dad is not home?  I had no control in that situation at all because I had given it all over to T and his decsion.
And my feelings were hurt. I really had thought that T was going to want to come and spend the night here with me. And because I could not admit that to myself the highly critical freak me rose to the occassion. I pushed down what I was feeling. I had cried but I did not say outloud  that I was hurt. Because that was wrong. I should not feel that way.
I am allowed to have feelings. In acknowledging this the critic in me, who was trying to skew my thinking and pull me back into an obsession with my body image, has been kicked to the curb.
This is a huge step for me. Admitting I am allowed to have feelings. Admitting that yes, I was hurt that T chose to stay at his dad’s last night but I understand why he made that choice. T is going to hurt me over and over again. That is what children do. The broader world at large does not exist for them. They are the center of their world and the immediate family is in their orbit. I will never tell T about how much it hurt. I did feel like he was picking his dad over me.
And he was because it is his dad’s week with him.  Just like he would chose to come home to me if this was my week.
Once more T has taught me a lesson. And in doing so he has helped me. I have a body image problem that I am acknowledging for the first time ever. I realized this because I stuffed the emotions down and than looked at myself for little things that I could criticize and than concentrate on fixing. That I could control. Perfect. Nothing is perfect, least of all me. And slowly but surely, all those parts of me, the ones that are not healthy, are becoming absorbed within me.
I saw very quickly what I was doing. This did not take me a week to figure out, a month, hell it did not even take me 24 hours to realize what I was doing and put an end to it. Each time I catch myself exhibiting behaviour that can trip me up I conquer it. That is not to say that it will not appear elsewhere but it is the catching it that is important here. Once caught I can change the way that I think and slowly but surely eliminate the behaviours that can harm me.

Schooled

We all think about ourselves first and foremost. What benefits us. What irritates us. What we love and what we dislike. And in doing so are really selfish. When we only consider how things affect us and us alone, is how we come to live in a society of ‘It’s not my fault.’ ‘I didn’t do it.” ‘Well he did it to me so I had to do it back.’  And it is hard to think beyond ourselves, our families, our little world to the world at large.
Once upon a time I only did what I had to do. I never looked beyond that. Garbage not quite full, well leave it for the next person. Sink full of dishes as I did not have time to wash them. A load of product to be tended to, they don’t do anything anyways. Selfish. What was easiest for me. And I have to be honest I am not sure what changed me or when, I only know that I made a switch in the way that I was thinking.
I went from it being all about me to being about the life around me. I began to think how the things I did affected people long after I have gone. How when I left unfinished work, garbage, dishes to be done, I was putting others behind in their tasks. When I didn’t clean up after myself, the person coming behind me would have to clean up my mess. And how was that even right? Why on earth should I be leaving tasks undone? I had more than enough time. I needed to structure better.
Now I am working to ensure that T is learning this. How his actions affect not only himself and me but his friends, his dad, even our neighbors. He still does not quite get it, after all he is 9, but he will.
I have so many things that I want to teach T about being a good person. How we should not lie. How we need to be polite and say please and thank you. To be pleasant and kind. To help others. To be respectful. To stand up for others. To not bully.
T schooled me this week. We had a small incident with the neighbor boy. He made a comment about me that was not appreciated. T decided that he no longer wanted to play with this boy. And I was giving him excuses to use. Little white fibs to make this boy feel better that T did not want to play with him. Because we don’t want to hurt people’s feelings even if they have hurt ours.
Finally T looked at me and said ‘mom I will just tell him that I do not want to play with him. I don’t need to lie.’ Okay, have to admit that I was a little embarassed when I realized what I was doing. I was perpetuating this idea of not wanting to hurt someone so tell a little white fib. This is the only time that it is alright to lie. Yet, on the other hand, I was preaching to T that he should not lie. He needed to be truthful. I was not acting the way I was speaking.
The doorbell rang and T went up the stairs. I heard the low hum of voices but could not make out what was said. T came back down into the apartment and I looked at him. Asked what that was all about. Sure enough the boy had come to ask T if he wanted to play with him. T told him no he did not want to play with him. The boy asked why.
This is where my child schooled me. This is his response to the boy:
“You were disrespectful towards my mom. And that is not right.”
I stared at my little boy and my heart nigh on burst with pride. I had tears in my eyes. I repeated over and over to him that I was so proud and his little cheeks flamed red. He came over and gave me a huge hug. I text the Ex to tell him what T had done. He responded with ‘Tell him I am proud to be his dad.’
My 9 year old son has more courage than I do. He saw a situation that he felt was wrong and he dealt with it. Not by fibbing to spare the other person’s feelings, but spearing directly to the reason why.
Not teling someone that you think the dress they are wearing or the hair color they have is not your cup of tea, you will hedge how you say it. For the most part I can find a compliment as the person feels good about themselves and it is not up to us to tell them that they are wrong. The other times I can’t I fall back on the tried and true momism: ‘If you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all.’
The pride I feel for T and how he handled the situation is indescribable. The maturity he showed and the fact that he stuck to his guns about not fibbing. And is that not what I want? Do I not want T to have these attributes? I do. Having boundaries that he is not willing to compromise. (See yesterday’s reblog about when to compromise and when not to by Grateful Single Moms.) Truth and respect. Bravery and strength of conviction. It is not my actions that T needs to mimic, it is I who needs to implement his.