Monday, March 19, 2012

A Bad Monday.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised--it is Monday, after all--but today has been a bad day.

Actually, Saturday was the bad day. Today is the fall out day.

Long story short, I wanted to try Odyssey of the Mind with my kids and I've been working with the school since last autumn to get the program organized and rolling. I was hoping OM would be a good way to help my very (truly) creative kids apply their ideas and learn some life skills. I thought it would be a good way to make friends for them and begin to network with other parents. There was some good that came out of it, but mostly things have been slowly falling apart over the last month and then last Saturday (competition day) things blew up. I'm trying not to go into details because I know it's not Christlike and because I don't believe rehashing events is going to change how I feel about them. Some people did some things that really hurt me and hurt my kids because I made some mistakes that they felt jeopardized their chances of doing well in competition. One parent went so far as to grab me by a shoulder and question me as to why I would screw things up that way. Another parent left me a phone message with her yelling in to the phone. They also yelled at my children and said rude things to them.

It was humiliating. It was hurtful. And I can't shake it.

I'm really, really sad about it. I'm angry about it.

And, me being me, I turn it all on myself.

My kids have also been train wrecks today.  Lots of tantrums, screaming, crying. A complete mess.

All day my mind has been endlessly questioning my existential value. I'm such a failure; why should anyone ever bother with me or listen to me or believe me? I'm obviously a failure as a mother, too, so why do I have children? I'm pretty much a screwed up human being with no economic value, no true skills, and am therefore of no value to society. The world be a better place if I wasn't in it. (It is embarrassing to be this pathetic. Suicidal over angry parents? Sheesh I'm a loser.) There's a part of my brain that keeps saying if only I had a job, all of this would be different; that people like to crap on stay-at-home moms because they are obviously less than regular people. After all, why would you stay home and be jobless unless you were incapable of contributing to the greater world. One parent over the weekend passive-aggressively said to me, "Isn't it nice that you have the luxury of being at home and volunteering. That's just so, well, so nice for you." It's only a good thing to be a stay-at-home mom if your kids are perfectly groomed socially savvy over-achievers. And, by the way, as the mom you should be those things too. My kids aren't those things. I'm not those things.

The urge to self-harm is big. My brain keeps mapping out spots to cut and telling me I deserve the pain, that I should be punished. Of course I haven't done any of that--that's a line I have yet to cross and firmly plan not to. But I am spending a lot of energy reminding myself that the crazy is doing a heckuva lot today and I need to not get sucked in.

I really have been trying to let it go. I've been trying to distract myself. I keep telling myself that if I can choose to not stew over it then my brain will eventually let it go. There has been some good exercise (which helped). There has been prayer (was also helpful). There has been meditation and napping (also helpful). I keep hoping the hurt feelings will dispel or their intensity will lessen. But it keeps coming back--like the tide rolling in and out every 30 or 40 minutes.

It's just that I don't have a good response to the existential questions. I mean, seriously, what is the point? What am I doing? Everywhere I look I see half-finished projects and good intentions, but very few results. I have no way of proving that I'm not a complete waste of space.

That hurts.

*As an aside, I think that one reason I'm having trouble letting it go is because I know that those other people are right in some ways. I did screw up a couple times and they had every right to be angry at me. People have rights to their feelings.  I'm sure that in their hearts they feel their actions and words were perfectly justified. And I can't argue with that. They have every right to see the world  the way they see it. But feeling that way makes it very hard to defend myself.


Becca Jones said...

Pardon my language here, but What the HELL were those parents thinking?!

Nobody has a right--EVER--to verbally or physically or emotionally abuse you. Never. Not ever for any reason.

Even if you screwed up, perhaps they should have been sitting there feeling bad that they didn't help enough--because when people screw up, usually it's because they didn't have enough support and help (not because they didn't try hard or didn't work hard).

I sure hate it when people get mad at me, though. Just imagining someone getting mad at me leaves me shaking. And when someone yells at me, well, I feel hurt and jittery for days and days. Sometimes months. There are a few times I got in trouble where I STILL feel terrible and embarrassed and scared and horrible when I think about it, years later. Some I even deserved, and it doesn't make me any happier about getting in trouble. Some I totally didn't deserve and I know it and so does everyone else, and I still feel bad.

You SHOULD be angry. Oh my gosh--I'm Angry. Furious. Those parents were completely out of line. Bullying in any form is never acceptable. (And we wonder where the kids learn it!)

I hope you have someone you can vent to and be as unchristlike as you want with for a few minutes. That always helps me move on for some reason.

You know, I know parents who have pulled sensitive, gifted kids (like yours) out of school completely and homeschooled because of stuff like you just lived through--some just through the end of the year, and some forever.

You don't need to tell yourself it's a big deal and let it take over your life, like you said. You're a stronger woman than I am.

But still--

Becca Jones said...

Oh, and you aren't a complete waste of space.

I look forward to seeing you often.

And nobody said projects have to be finished today. Or ever.

Your value comes from who you are when you aren't trying to be anything in particular, not what you do or what you have done or what you might do or who you think you could be. You could do nothing and still be valuable--not just in an existential sense, but valuable to me. You are a very valuable friend to me.

Goldfish said...

Wow. This was absolutely beautiful. Those words could be a love poem, honestly.