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    155 posts categorized "About Me"

    March 13, 2013

    Small collection of tiny thoughts

    I am a HUGE Veronica Mars fan. I was SO disappointed when it was unceremoniously canceled. I've often wondered how they were going to end the series. Every time I see a bright yellow Xterra (not that often, but often enough) my heart goes pitter pat. But I have to say, I felt weird donating to the Let's Make A Movie Fund. I mean... I don't know. Maybe it's because Phillip and I have spent so much time talking about what to DO with money lately that it just seemed super frivolous. I would pay to see it! Shoot, I would BUY it. But to donate to get them to make it in the first place? IT JUST FELT WEIRD. (I donated anyway. My heart belongs to Logan Echolls.)

    I have nothing insightful or halfway interesting to say about the new Pope. He seemed like a sweet little grandpa out there on that balcony. My only Pope Hope (haaa) was that it would maybe be someone NOT from Italy and also NOT from the US. I thought that would be nice.

    But I loved watching the drama unfold. I was caught between noticing the ridiculousness of it - the Twitter smokestack account, the silly commentators, the eyes glued to a chimney - and the rah rah yay World spirit of it all. The not-Catholics were excited too! Breaking news! Suspense! Mystery! Fancy costumes! Twitter was super fun. I'm especially thankful to the Cardinals for making it happen during those few hours when the baby is napping and everyone else is at school. 

    My mom gave me a super great idea for Jack's teacher's new baby gift, but it involves a lot of organization and getting people I don't know to get other people I don't know to email me. So. We'll see how that goes. 

    Phillip and I are going to start watching House of Cards - the Kevin Spacey Netflix political drama - tonight. I am super excited. I just stopped feeling barfy about my financial crisis book and I need another example of political corruption to feel Despairing about. At least this one is fictional. (We hope.)

    Last night @ebj123 sent me a link to a dress that, according to her, screamed MAGGIE CHEUNG! And it did, you guys, it did. Oh man I loved it. I just got the email telling me it's shipped. Hello impulse buy! Moral of the story: @ebj123 is evil. And! I cannot find the link! I think I got the last one! It will probably look horrid. Oh well. 

    I am reading a new Inspector Rutledge mystery! And I just finished the newest Inspector Montalbano mystery! And the two of you who care about post-WWI Scotland Yard drama AND modern day Sicilian crimefighting are WAY EXCITED.

    My thoughts about the impending demise of Google Reader: welllll... I hardly look at it anymore anyway. (hangs head in shame)

    OKAY THAT'S IT. I have officially emptied my brain of Wednesday. YOUR TURN.

     

    February 25, 2013

    I need something to learn

    Today's a weird day. Emma's thrown up twice, but doesn't seem sick. Other than absolutely everything she touches reeking of puke, I haven't noticed a change in temperament or temperature. And the big kids are lying down on the couch reading books, which I swear to you has never happened in the history of the Cheung family. Not at 4:45 PM, anyway. 

    And I am having one of those afternoons where I want to go to grad school for spiritual direction or audit a bunch of 20th century history classes or watch some documentaries or go to a big conference or otherwise LEARN something. I feel like LEARNING something right now. I want to KNOW more things. 

    I think, actually, what I really want is to be wiser. It seems like a far stretch to be wise, but I think I could shoot for wiser. I've always had this feeling like my true age, the age that I will feel most like myself, is Older. Maybe 47. Maybe 87. But when I hit that age I will just know most of the things I need to know, even if that means knowing that there's so much I don't and will never know. 

    But I would be okay knowing that. Which would be the point. I think. 

    I spent my Saturday discussing Life with two old friends from college. This weekend I am volunteering at yet another college student retreat. The weekend after that I am flying across the country to be with my oldest Internet friends and I am exceedingly hopeful for long and thinky conversations about Life with them as well. (Them: OH NO. CAN'T WE JUST GO OUT TO DINNER?) I am so looking forward to these things, so wanting to be talking about ideas and where people are and what's happening.

    It's just one of those days, I guess. 

    Yesterday I was telling Phillip that my favorite thing about him is that when I get unnecessarily wrapped up in all the intensity and uncertainty and misunderstandingness of something, he just shrugs his shoulders and makes a flippant remark and then I remember: it's really not that big a deal. And how he's really the only person I ever want to talk with about Controversial Matters, because he makes me think about all the other sides, and how he continues to give the benefit of the doubt long after I give up. 

    I wonder if my kids will want to talk to me when they're older. Or maybe they'll be tougher, stronger, more confident people than I am, and not interested in talking something out. At least not with their mom. Maybe they'll think I'm a wackadoo church lady. Maybe they'll be pre-med and think I'm hopeless. Maybe they'll think reading books about personality types is a monstrous (and embarrassing, quite frankly) waste of time. But maybe they'll go out for coffee with me and tell me what God is doing in their lives. 

    I think I'm a good listener. Until something reminds me of something I read in one of my war books, and then I'll get started on something and I become rather obnoxious. I'm sorry. 

    When I took the test in the StrengthsFinder book, one of my top five was Context. I see that now. "People strong in the Context theme enjoy thinking about the past. They understand the present by researching its history." (This means I'm boring.)

    Okay, I have to figure out dinner and be a parent and do my life. I can't just sit here and be thinky dreamy all day. There's puke to clean up, giant messes to yell about, chocolate chips to try not to eat.  

    February 18, 2013

    Phillip wins Best Husband trophy; plot points developed

    My kids stayed overnight with grandparents on Saturday to do this Chinese New Year thing except WHO CARES the point is that they stayed! overnight! and Phillip had orders to Plan Something Nice. I was expecting dinner and movie. I was NOT expecting:

    1. Lunch at the  Chinese noodle restaurant I've been wanting to try on the Ave, where I discovered that
    2. Phillip had PACKED A BAG and we were staying in a HOTEL DOWNTOWN
    3. and then we saw Silver Linings Playbook which was, seriously, beautifully marvelous, and 
    4. afterwards we had drinks in the hotel bar while we waited for our dinner
    5. which we ate in our room while we watched Downton Abbey on the laptop a day early because Phillip's got skillz like that
    6. and in the morning we went down to the market and ate All The Things. Piroshkys, mini doughnuts, apples, and bought four giant scallops that cost us $15 and were delicious pan seared at home for lunch. (Not that we know how to pan sear anything. When Phillip's mom brought the kids in the house the first thing she did was sniff the air and say, "Smells overcooked!")

    After that Phillip did the dishes and I cleaned the bathrooms and the kids came home. NOT BAD, EH? 

    Things are, I suppose, not all that fascinating around here. Jack is counting out 100 marshmallows for 100 Day. Molly's bangs are too long. My hair is too short. (I trimmed the sides myself. Oh yes. And now I think I'm going to grow it out.) Emma is (steady yourselves) crawling up stairs. (You thought I was going to say WALKING, weren't you. HA HA HA. THAT IS NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN.) 

    The coffee shop idea is still Out There, but an unbloggable Thing (but nothing bad or sad or even very interesting, I promise) should be pursued first before we go price out more stuff and overwhelm the English major AGAIN. 

    Your thoughts on the Church Dilemma were duly noted (thank you) and I have created a Potential Church Spreadsheet, with notes from my interrogations of people currently attending those churches. I am nothing if not thorough. 

    I am back on the Weight Watchers bandwagon today. I realized that drinking coffee really helps me not scarf snacks all day. I drink decaf. If I make half a pot in the morning and slowly drink it through the day, I'm not so hungry. Is this wise? Am I exchanging weight loss for stained teeth? Oh well, my teeth aren't that awesome anyway. And I don't really drink half a pot. I sort of fill mugs and carry them around with me and drink maybe half of what's in the mug before it gets cold and I throw it out. #genius

    Also gum. I am a big big fan of those Extra dessert gum flavors. I know this sounds gross to you. I don't care. I'm a gum chewer on account of my deepest wish to be Not A Nail Biter. But the orange dixie cup and lemon bar flavors totally float my boat. Yes, lemon bar gum. Shut up. 

    Oh, now Molly is counting out her OWN 100 marshmallows. Of course. 

    OH WAIT. We have a playdate tomorrow! Gak. Jack is buddies with The Cutest Little Blond Girl In The World and 100 emails with her mom later, she's coming home with us after school. It was my suggestion, which I definitely expected to be rejected since the mom has only really met me once and that was at kindergarten orientation. But she's totally cool with me driving her kid to my house and having her hang out here until she gets off work. I would... not be excited about Jack doing that. But I am more neurotic than most. Also I know that I am extremely trustworthy and nice and responsible and I have a pantry full of delicious snacks so the other mom has nothing to worry about. We are all very excited. Molly maybe most of all, since because Kindergarten Friend is a GIRL, she will automatically be Molly's friend too. MAKES SENSE!

    Conclusion: everything is good! The end!

    February 01, 2013

    Rules For Me

    I know this is hard, very hard, but please TRY to remember that [lots of good, dark] chocolate in the morning makes you feel HORRIBLE for the rest of the day. Anxiety + nausea + shaky + terrified the meds stopped working = someone had caffeine for breakfast. Other people listen to their bodies and make adjustments. MAYBE YOU CAN TOO, FTLOG.

    Wait a day before posting that blog post you think is going to earn you accolades and retweets far and wide. Maybe even just wait an HOUR. These are the posts that, as soon as you hit publish, give you nervous tummy for Trying To Write About Something Meaningful. Maybe just don't write these at all. People seem to like bats. Maybe get a pet bat for blog fodder. 

    Wait a day before posting that blog post you think is going to get you dozens of "YOU'RE HILARIOUS!" comments, because those are the posts that no one comments on. Better yet, don't post it. 

    Don't wait for your husband to stop tinkering with his computer and come upstairs to go to bed. Go to sleep NOW. Your baby will wake up at three and your husband, who went to bed at two, won't be much help.

    You are the only person who feels guilty and thinks you are a self-indulgent terrible wife/mother for flitting about the country visiting internet friends. So stop it. 

    No one is as interested in your war books as you are. Maybe stop telling everyone what you're LEARNING.

    Don't read the news story about the violent attack on women. Don't look at pictures of concentration camp victims. Don't watch the war documentary. Don't get sucked into news about a national tragedy involving children. Just don't. Find other ways to honor those people.

    Err on the side of being weird and chatty in groups of people (and you will be weird, since you are not naturally chatty) instead of hanging back and listening. Even if you are simply hanging back and listening, EVERYONE will think you are a cold standoffish you know what. And you are not! You are nice! You are just socially inept! Better to be thought weird than mean, eh?

    You are not a bad person if your bathroom is dirty. 

    You are not a bad person if you eat chocolate chips for breakfast. (Just dumb.)

     

     

    December 02, 2012

    In case you weren't super sure, this website is powered by chocolate chips

    I am averaging about a half a bag of chocolate chips per day. I want to totally ignore this fact AND never speak of it again OR refer jokingly to the pudge I continue to add to my middle as "my winter weight! HAR HAR!" At the same time I want to write a lengthy, angst-ridden, self-diagnosis of my inability to stop eating chocolate chips and the utter depression consuming me re: the pudge I continue to add to my middle. However. I've decided to do neither and simply eat more chocolate chips while I think of something else to write about. 

    I held a seven-week-old baby at church this morning and OH. Heavy sigh. I never want to be pregnant again and I'm still half-terrified of giving birth again and even if those things weren't true my husband is already well out of his Children Comfort Zone. BUT BUT BUT. I love babies. No, you guys, I love babies. They are the smooshiest most wondrous little things and if I think about it too much it absolutely kills me that my own baby is rapidly becoming un-baby-like. Maybe this is why she isn't even close to walking, maybe she knows!

    ALTHOUGH. Pregnancy is, in my opinion, a totally valid reason to keep a chocolate chip habit. 

    Honestly, I think I keep eating chocolate chips because they're THERE. I start baking pretty early on for Christmas festivities and this year, as you already know if you follow me on Twitter/Instagram, I went hard core with the cookies. My freezer is packed. But I still have plans for more and that means Cookie Supplies are everywhere. I finally did get a handle on the amount of goodies I was consuming directly out of the freezer, but those chocolate chip bags are the devil. Delicious devils. 

    AAAAAAANYWAY. Is there really nothing else to say? Must this blog always be waxing poetic over chocolate?

    I suppose one good observation I can make is that I consume (or want to consume) the same amount of chocolate in good times as in bad. Last week? Quite possibly the easiest week of my Mom Of Three Kids Career. Phillip's new job started, but only kinda sorta. He was doing this online training thing Monday through Thursday. It started at six in the morning (lame for him) but meant that he was off around three (awesome for ME.) He did this from home, so he was around during the afternoon witching hours! He picked up Jack for me! He was just HERE! And I have to say, I got used to that pretty quick. So much so that when he finally went into the office on Friday, it was a long afternoon. Even though he came home at FIVE. He NEVER comes home at five! But apparently everyone else left early? So he did too? What I'm saying is I could maybe get used to this new company. The culture appears to be... decidedly different. 

    In the meantime I am doing a crazy amount of online shopping (while eating chocolate chips) and fussing about my house (while eating chocolate chips). I am DYING to decorate for my Christmas party, which isn't for two weeks. (By the way, you're invited.) So far I've refrained from giving into that madness, but I'm also annoyed because the decorating I HAVE done is constantly being messed with by CHILDREN. Also, they think my present wrapping supplies are theirs for the taking. No. I will guard that last tape dispenser with my LIFE.

    DEAR GOD THIS IS THE MOST BORING BLOG POST EVER. I feel like if you are still here reading this I should hurry to your house and pour you a handful of chocolate chips as thanks. I need a jumpstart for this blog. Or something. I can't keep writing about Jobs and Children and Weight I Could Clearly Not Be Gaining If I Made Any Effort Whatsoever. I'm trying to think of a SERIES. One time, long long ago, I wrote a bunch about how I became the Lackadaisacal Yet Mostly Devoted Churchy Person I am today. One time I wrote about how I go grocery shopping and feed these people I live with. I need to think of something I can be obsessive about for a week or two. The only thing I've thought of so far is: Which Nashville Character Would I Rather Marry: Fake Tim Tebow or Gunnar The Sweet, Sensitive, and Swoon-worthy Singer/Songwriter. SIGH.

    October 28, 2012

    Another possible future "Career" for Me

    I'm trying to think of something INTERESTING to write about and failing (AS PER USUAL). The only thing that keeps sticking in my mind is this conversation I had with my parents this weekend about retirement homes. I KNOW. If that is not excellent blog fodder WHAT IS?!

    BUT SERIOUSLY. Did you know that I used to work in an adult family home? Which is code for "some narcissistic rich lady turns her mansion into an assisted living facility and hires Russian immigrants and a couple of silly girls in their 20s to take care of six extremely crotchety old ladies". Or maybe that is only true in my case. But yes, this was one of my better paying jobs in college and it was both incredibly Life Affirming AND the worst job I have ever had in my life. Turns out I really love crotchety old ladies and I really abhor narcissistic rich ladies who take advantage of Russian immigrants and 20-something girls who don't know any better.

    Before that I spent a summer working in a REAL assisted living facility, making beds, vacuuming carpets, serving breakfast, and learning how to fold fitted sheets. After college I volunteered to be a "friend" at a nursing home, and was assigned an old lady who (I'm pretty sure) had no family, no friends who were still alive, and never remembered a single thing I told her. Eventually she remembered ME, but she never remembered that I had a boyfriend or where I worked or where I lived or what we did the week before, but she knew that when I visited she got to go outside for a while and this was enough. I had to stop seeing her when I switched jobs (I would visit her once a week on my lunch break downtown) and I've always felt a little guilty about that. 

    It's so far away still, but I DO think about what I'm going to do with myself when all the kids are in school. Or even, honestly, what I'll do next year when it's just Emma and me until 3pm every day. The possibilities seem endless. And until I was talking to my parents this weekend, I'd sort of forgotten that I thought it might be fun to work in a nursing home. 

    FUN! I know. My dad volunteers for the library every couple weeks, delivering books to nursing home residents. Every so often he has a good story about one of his clients or something interesting to say about the activity directors and this weekend I thought: HEY. THAT STILL SOUNDS KINDA NEAT! My dad said, "Don't you think it must be DEPRESSING?" It's true - my dad's library patrons keep dying on him. But I am an optimistic sort who believes in A Better Place and I don't feel anxious about that part.

    Some people love doing crafts with three-year-olds and have a great time with the preschool set, others think hanging out with octegenarians is where it's at. I'm definitely the latter. I feel like I have to impress little kids or con them into liking me or trusting me somehow. I don't feel comfortable leading a group of kids, but I have plenty of experience charming old ladies. They're easier. They have lower standards. Yeah, some of them are nasty, but a lot of them just want to chat. I'm GREAT at chatting when I'm not worried the other person won't like me!

    I just got a flyer in the mail from the organization I volunteered with years and years ago. I haven't heard from them in forever and I have no idea how they got my new address. But I was instantly interested. And I have a BABY this time. Is there anything old ladies love more than babies? NO. I would be SO POPULAR.

    So I'm considering it. Maybe after the holidays. I'll sign up to be a "friend" again and make a weekly playdate with a nursing home resident and maybe see what goes on in those places again. I think it would be an excellent use of my English degree and I'm sure it pays heaps of money. 

    Also, I must know: do you prefer cranky old people to preschoolers? I'm not saying I don't LIKE preschoolers, I'd just rather WORK with the old folks. You know, like lead a group of chair-bound white-haired wrinkled people in song instead of roly poly adorable three-year-olds. And I do too get to compare these groups because neither one can remember the words. 

    October 22, 2012

    Guidelines, if you want them

    There is no blog post tonight because Phillip is home from his weekend chopping wood and shooting things and eating ribs with friends in Montana, also because he goes back to the airport tomorrow morning for work. Nothing to see here! Definitely no prattling about the enneagram!

    EXCEPT THAT:

    1. The test on the website I linked to is goofy (I took it) and I don't think it's accurate or useful (it said I was a Two) and I REALLY DON'T RECOMMEND THAT METHOD OF TYPING YOURSELF. 

    2. I recommend reading all the types, carefully, thoughtfully, like you are in school and/or psychotherapy, while being extra super honest with yourself. Not like you have anything better to do, right? Be aware of your "oh $&%#, that's me" moment. 

    3. Someone else might accurately type you, but they might not. My friends and I thought we had nailed another friend's type, only to have him pick an entirely different one. Once he told us why it made so much sense! So it's not really about how others perceive you - it might have to do with parts of you you don't necessarily share with others. Also you probably shouldn't influence someone trying to figure it out for themselves. I did this several times today. MY BAD.

    4. I was told that you should be in your 30s before you dive into it. This gives you enough Life Experience to look back on. But I don't know, perhaps you are a particularly insightful and self-aware 23-year-old. Go for it. 

    5. I like Helen Palmer's book best. I also like Richard Rohr's book if you're into the spiritual side of things. But I would still read Helen Palmer's first. I like her descriptions best.

    6. The foreword or introduction or whatever to both of those books are weird. The origin of the enneagram? WEIRD. Just say to yourself, "it's only as helpful as it is helpful!" If you are DUBIOUS feel free to write this off as "Yeah, she seems like a nice person, but she writes about some really wacko stuff." THIS IS A FAMILIAR CATEGORY FOR ME. 

    7. I only say these things because enough of you commented/emailed/instant messaged me today. It seems like information you might WANT. Just saying. 

    8. Tomorrow I will tell you how I see the enneagram or how I "use" it or how it's meaningful or helpful or SOMETHING LIKE THAT. I mean, beyond the point where I'm super interested in personality assessments and "discovering yourself"(barf). It will be churchy, so fair warning. And then I promise to shut up about it. OKAY BYE. 

     

    October 21, 2012

    Oh yes, I moved on to Type Three, I'M SORRY, good thing your reader is full of much more interesting stuff

    I've decided that all of you need to discover your enneagram type so we can have a big nerdy conversation about how awesome and/or super messed up we are. Right? Wouldn't that be FUN? It seems like everyone who commented was a SIX! Which is so funny because I think I know maybe one or two sixes in real life. (Yes - once you "learn" the enneagram perhaps you start typing everyone who hasn't already typed themselves. BAD FORM! But you cannot help it! It's so! Interesting!)

    I am a Three and I remember Elsha calling me out on my Threeness way back when, I think before I even decided it myself. I actually thought I might be a One! (The Perfectionist.) Then I thought I might be a Two, because even though I suck at bringing dinners I can be a bit of a Two in other areas. I just wasn't sure about Three because Three... Threes are intense and obsessed with image and their core "sin" is DECEIT and OMGGGGG IS THAT ME? And even my good into-the-enneagram friends were all, "ARE YOU SURE?" Threes are winners and achievers and charmers and seriously, I am their SAHM friend who's never finished a writing project and has no interest in a career and, as evidenced by this evening, feeds her baby McDonald's french fries for dinner. 

    But yeah, I am totally a Three. I will skip the whole History Of My Character (SNORE) and just say: in high school, for example, I had no idea what *I* wanted to do or be, I just wanted to make sure my parents and my teachers were proud of/impressed with me. Which is where the deceit stuff comes into play - so way back when I was 1000% percent driven to go be a missionary in China with Phillip and we were accepted into the program and ready to go and TOLD EVERYONE, I literally had to have an anxiety attack before I realized THAT I DID NOT WANT TO LIVE IN CHINA FOR A YEAR WAS I INSANE?!

    I had honestly (HONESTLY) not considered the possibility of staying home until my dad (MY DAD!) said, "Uh, if you're so anxious, you think maybe you shouldn't go?" 

    (THANKS DAD!)

    I had just gone around saying for a year or two that that's what we were going to do and BY GOD we were going to DO IT - to quit or change my mind would be a failure.

    Another thing: I remember sitting on Pancakes's bed in her dorm room trying not to vomit because I HAAAAAATED working on the college paper and I wanted to quit, but I couldn't let myself QUIT! I was not a QUITTER! I had told everyone at home that I was going to be a world famous journalist! And here I was not even able to hack THE COLLEGE PAPER! AAAAUUUUGGGHHH!!!

    People who are not Threes think this is the height of wacko. (This was Pancakes's reaction. "Um, just quit! Who cares!") People who are Threes are all, "But! But! What would you do THEN?!"

    Threes are focused on the job at hand. They push feelings down so they don't get in the way of the Goal. Threes feel worthless if they aren't DOING something or PRODUCING something or ACHIEVING something. Here's a truly flattering and affirming thing to read about Threes:

    Everyone needs attention, encouragement, and the affirmation of their value in order to thrive, and Threes are the type which most exemplifies this universal human need. Threes want success not so much for the things that success will buy (like Sevens), or for the power and feeling of independence that it will bring (like Eights). They want success because they are afraid of disappearing into a chasm of emptiness and worthlessness: without the increased attention and feeling of accomplishment which success usually brings, Threes fear that they are nobody and have no value.

    So of COURSE a Three would have a BLAWG. Gah. You can see, now, why I warned you that learning about the enneagram makes you feel really great about yourself. 

    I think all this personality assessment stuff... it's only as helpful as it is helpful, you know? The Myers Briggs (INFJ, holla!) and the strengths finder thing and even the gifts assessment we did at my church - I LOVE this stuff, but I know a lot of people think its hooey (or various levels of hooey, anyway) and I'm not trying to, you know, CONVERT anyone to the enneagram. I just think it's interesting and it HAS helped me. Actually, it wasn't reading about my type as much as reading about my HUSBAND'S type that was helpful. (That's a whole other post.) (And he's a Nine.) (Nines' core failing is Sloth.) (HAAAAAA.)

    Anyway, I think that my experience with anxiety has stomped a lot of the Three out of me, at least a lot of the outward appearance of a Three. I used to care a ton about achieving in work and school, and now? Uhhhh, I'm very much aware that what *I* really want to is to have a bunch of kids and stay home with them and maybe do some writing and some work that maybe doesn't pay anything and while I'm aware that this is not the picture of success in America, I'm only SLIGHTLY uncomfortable with it. Instead of, you know, SO uncomfortable that I'm BLIND to it. I think, for me, struggling with anxiety has opened my eyes to things that are Worth It and things that Aren't. I mean, I'm still a Three and I will beat myself up about no one drinking the hot chocolate at my Christmas party and therefore it was the worst party on record, but I'm not out there trying to live up to what my AP English teacher thought I should be or do. (At least, not anymore.) (I still think about it.) (Would he be disappointed in me?) (I AM THIRTY-THREE YEARS OLD, TIME TO LET IT GO EH?)

    You guys, seriously, I meant to make a quick note about the enneagram and then complain about how Emma is now the most demanding, attention-hogging, ME ME ME baby on EARTH right now and how it's KILLLLLLING ME. But then I started talking about Threes (ie: myself) as I am wont to do and SIGH. Good thing there's always TOMORROW'S enlightening blog post for whatever I missed today! 

     

    October 18, 2012

    More futile attempts to be a better person!

    Today we are going to discuss people who are Type Twos on the Enneagram. And why I would like to be more like them. AHEM: 

    When Twos are healthy and in balance, they really are loving, helpful, generous, and considerate. People are drawn to them like bees to honey. Healthy Twos warm others in the glow of their hearts. They enliven others with their appreciation and attention, helping people to see positive qualities in themselves that they had not previously recognized. In short, healthy Twos are the embodiment of “the good parent” that everyone wishes they had: someone who sees them as they are, understands them with immense compassion, helps and encourages with infinite patience, and is always willing to lend a hand—while knowing precisely how and when to let go. Healthy Twos open our hearts because theirs are already so open and they show us the way to be more deeply and richly human.

     

    The enneagram, as I may have mentioned before, assigns a sort of key "flaw" to each type, and if you are reading one of the books trying to figure out which type you are, my friend says you'll know when you are reading a description and thinking, "oh s&%* oh s*$% that's me." So it's not really this warm fuzzy thing that makes you feel awesome about yourself. ALAS.

    THAT SAID. I know a whole heck of a lot of Twos in real life and they are ALL on the Healthy and In Balance side. Twos are the people who are always thinking of what you might need and how they might take care of you. Twos are the people for whom bringing a meal to a family with a new baby is the easiest and most no brainer thing. Twos have dinner at your house and before you know it they've washed all the dishes. The Twos I know are empathetic, good gift givers, people who consistently go out of their way. I... am not a Two. 

    I am trying to think of all the times I've brought a meal to a family with a new baby. I am having an easier time thinking of people to whom I DIDN'T bring meals, even people like SUPER GOOD FRIENDS. I throw baby showers, I buy gifts, I visit (eventually), but unlike my Two friends, ways I can practically help someone out almost never occur to me. It's embarrassing, really. The meal thing is just ridiculous. Sometimes I can barely cook for my own family, so I know that's part of the problem. And I'm stuck with all these foodies and great cooks for friends, so I'm terrified of bringing something not up to par. But the "helping" never outweighs the "I'm too busy". GAH!

    A friend of mine said, "But you're always bringing me cookies!" And I said, "That's because I like to bake! Not because I like to bake for YOU!" Maybe that's a good way to describe it. Also, don't you want to be friends with me?

    My growing awareness of this deficiency has meant making a greater effort to NOTICE. At the very least I can NOTICE. So I try to be aware of messes or how I can help in the kitchen or asking someone what I can do since I will never come up with a good idea on my own. I'm not as completely out of it assistance-wise as I used to be. But I am still not a Two. Twos are in their very own class of amazing. 

    It helps to know, though, that I'm NOT a Two. I do other things. I have different motivations, different flaws, different perspectives on things. Lots of people aren't Twos! Lots of us suck at bringing dinner to friends! It's sort of like when you start to focus on what you're good at instead of what you aren't. Stop trying to make yourself something else, and do what you DO even better. Right? Right. 

    So what CAN I do? 

    A pregnant friend was over the other night and noticed that I organized my bookshelf by color. Lots of people point this out and it never fails to make me feel like an Anal Retentive Weirdo - then again, EMBRACE WHAT YOU ARE! Anyway, my friend LIKED it and so I said, "Pregnant Friend, I might not bring you dinner for months after your baby is born, but I can totally go to your house and organize your bookshelves." 

    If only the things I'm good at were a little more USEFUL...

    The thing is, I'm VERY empathetic. Like, to a FAULT almost, so that I often have to tell people not to tell me stories about so and so or what they heard on the news because AUGH I can't deal with it. I'm a good listener! I want to take care of you! But in a sort of... I don't know. Emotional way? Like with talking and praying and hand holding and just sitting there and being near. But anything of practical value? I'm hopeless. I am TRYING, but I am hopeless. I have to be prompted or see what OTHER people are doing to help before I even THINK to be helpful OMG I AM TERRIBLE.

    Anyway, I suppose all of this is really just to say that all of my Twos have been taking care of me over the last couple of months, or even since this third baby showed up. I have Twos in the internet too and I'm pretty sure you know who you are and today I'm just feeling awed by all of you giver types. You are so great. I wish I were more like you, but while I'm working on it I am happy to sit here and eat the chocolate you bring me while you clean up my kitchen. 

    October 01, 2012

    Things I Wish People Thought About Me

    Theory: the extremely dark and gourmet chocolate bar I've been snacking on all week is The Anxiety Culprit. Perhaps I am already in the Likely To Be Anxious Place, and a few bites of very dark and very fancy chocolate contain enough caffeine to propel the Likely into Definitely. I am recalling the fact that one of my worst days happened when I ate a ginormous (and OMG DELICIOUS) vegan brownie. 

    So, this theory potentially makes me into the World's Biggest Moron, but I will embrace the title if I throw out the rest of my five dollar chocolate bar and things improve. (Note: Plain old Hershey's, preferably in nugget form, does not have this effect on me. And fancy chocolate does only occasionally. As if I could give up chocolate FOREVER.)

    If nothing else, it's nice to have Something I Could Try. What was it that my favorite Meghan posted on Facebook today? A drop of hope is a powerful drug. 

    Anyway. 

    Yesterday on Twitter I posted: 

    Whenever I meet Very Accomplished People I half dread the moment they ask me what I "do". EVEN THOUGH I LOVE WHAT I DO. I hate that.

    The context for this is unbloggable (and boring, trust me). Eventually, when I did end up spilling the SAHM beans, there was a rush to tell me HEY, THAT'S HARD WORK! KUDOS! GOLD STARS! Which, though I do appreciate the sentiment and the effort, you don't have to tell ME that. But I realized that I didn't really need THAT aspect of SAHparenthood validated, what I need validated is that it's... shoot, I don't know. Worthy! Interesting! Not LESSER, somehow! (Note: "need" in this case is debatable. Obvs!)

    So my friend Pancakes (who visits this blog every so often hoping to find her name, so HEY THERE, PANCAKES) and I, we were talking once about people we knew from college who became Very Successful. And even though I think Pancakes is also Very Successful, we were both sort of like, "Huh. If only we APPLIED OURSELVES, WE could be filthy rich and/or saving the world TOO." And then Pancakes was all, "Eh, whatever, they're not HAPPIER than me." 

    Which made me realize! I don't think those people are HAPPIER than me, I think they are more POWERFUL. They "succeeded" where I did not, they have "won", they have pull and influence, they are IMPORTANT! 

    I... am not important. Happy has nothing to do with it. Even though it is, I will grudgingly admit, a better thing to want. 

    Anyway, I am never excited to say I'm a SAHM because I think everyone thinks like this. That this is a horribly un-important thing to do. Which is not true. And I certainly don't think it about other SAHMs. (I am too busy thinking, "WILL THEY BE MY NEW BEST FRIEND?!?!")

    So here are the things I will cheerfully assume people are thinking when I tell them...

    ...that I have, ah, "issues" with "anxiety"...
    Oh, tormented souls are the most creative! Her inner life must be so rich and fascinating! I would love to get to know her on a deeper level!

    ...that I'm fairly involved in my Catholic church...
    I don't think religion or religious people are weird at ALL!  

    ...that my two oldest children are sixteen months apart...
    I'm sure that was exactly how it was supposed to be and I think it's fabulous! Yay babies!

    ...that I have a blog...
    What IS this blogging thing of which she speaks? It certainly sounds like a world I should investigate! Perhaps it would be beneficial to me!

    ...that I have no idea if I will go back to work when all my kids are in school...
     Of course not! She should explore all her options! Perhaps paid work is not her true calling! This is not lazy or unproductive at all!

    ...that I am a SAHM...
    That doesn't mean she does nothing except change diapers and pick macaroni out of the carpet, I bet she also reads incredibly dull books about world waras and obsessively paints her house and writes about her life on the internet! She must have so many interesting things to say! I can't wait to get to know her better!

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