Tag Archives: coping

Alone with my Pizza

I’m sitting at a bar. Alone.

I was working late and I wanted pizza so of course I Google-mapped “pizza” and here I am at a wood-fire pizza grill and bar.

If I could eat pizza every single day I would. Now I bet a lot of people roll their eyes when they hear people say things like that. Thinking, “no one could eat the same thing every day and still enjoy it.” But I totally could, especially if challenged, because I am a very determined person when I want to be. And if it wouldn’t jeopardize my health I would accept any pizza eating challenge you could give me. The normal pizza intake for me right now is about two days a week, but I think about pizza everyday.

20140302-165751.jpg

But pizza is not the point here.

I am alone. Remember, alone at a bar? Okay okay, the bar part is just for shock value. I am sitting at a table. The main reason being I don’t want to have to talk to the bartender. I want to be alone. I love to be alone. Sometimes, I love to be with people. I wish I wanted to be with people more. I remember a joke from years ago on last comic standing. He said something to the effect of, “I’m like a battery operated screwdriver, 12 hours of charge for 30 minutes of use.” If it takes you more than half a second to get the joke then you are not an introvert or an HSP.

What the heck is an HSP? Let me tell you, because I am actually more of an HSP than an introvert.

In an article written by Laurie M. Stewart, she summarizes some of the latest research on HSP.  She writes:

In her book The Highly Sensitive Person, Dr. Aron explains that 15 percent to 20 percent of all people are born with a central nervous system that is more sensitive to sensory stimuli than that of the rest of the population. In simpler terms, an HSP responds strongly to sensations like sight, sound and touch. Even internal events like pain, emotions and thoughts are felt more profoundly by HSPs.

The difference is believed by Aron and other experts to be biological and present at birth. Harvard psychologist Jerome Kagan refers to the difference as high versus low reactivity. Kagan’s research pinpointed specific areas in the brain as more active and more excitable in highly reactive individuals. Input such as a sound or a sight that causes little effect in most people may arouse the highly sensitive person’s nervous system enough to raise his heart rate and breathing. He not only notices—he may feel frazzled by it.

Keep in mind that Aron, Kagan and other researchers refer to this trait as a difference in temperament, not a defect.

Great, I am so glad it is not a defect because I have plenty of those.  It does explain why I can’t watch even a Disney Movie or why I can’t watch a sad movie because I grieve like I am actually there.  It explains  A LOT!

An HSP can have the following traits:

-easily overwhelmed or frazzled (ME!)
-startle easily (ME!)
-often need to be alone (ME!)
-more sensitive to pain, caffeine and medication (ME!)
-easily affected by others’ moods (ME!)
-uncomfortable with loud noises, bright lights, strong smells or lots of activity (ME!)
-upset easily by change of most kinds (ME!)
-deeply moved by music, art, nature, etc. (ME!, except for some art, mainly nature and music)

BIG PROBLEM, alone is not my season of life right now or the near future. Back to life, back to reality. Noise and chaos is my season of life.  None of my kids want to be alone (shocker!). They want to be with me. They want to be on me and talking to me at the same time. That is how it should be. I don’t want it any other way. Except for sometimes, when I become overwhelmed and want to be alone.

But I’m not going to kick and scream and cry like a baby about it. (Anymore, that was immature that I did that. It had to do with my inability to cope.)  Jachin gives me grace and I runaway sometimes to recharge. Even working can recharge me. Tonight I was supposed to work until 9, but I had worked until 9 last night and I was missing the kids. I was recharged enough to go home early and got to see this amazing performance that the kids had been working on. It included boxes. I swear by giving kids boxes, they come up with amazing box creations. Sometimes I give them tons of boxes and markers and glue and whatever else I can find just so that I can have a few minutes ALONE while they are making their box creations.

Of course, I only want to be alone on my terms. If I want to be with other people and no one is available, well then, I am lonely. Of course.

My older sister is good about pointing out when to get over it, and to this she would definitely roll her eyes and be like, “I’m so over you wanting to be alone. Just be all in with what you’ve got.” That is her strength, she is all in, at whatever day, week, or season she is in. She is the opposite of HSP, she is BIOP (I just made that up, she is a Bring It On Person). Sometimes this overwhelms me about her, but it keeps me in line for sure. I would be ten times the hermit I am now if it wasn’t for her. She signs me up for things and makes me go. She will actually register me for events and pay the fee and then tell me what time she is picking me up for it. It is awesome!

There are references in Scripture where Jesus withdrew to pray, and references where He withdrew with His disciples. Withdrawing to pray makes sense.  Withdrawing to be with your “tribe”, or “community group”, that makes sense too. I have certain people in my life that when I am with them it recharges me as if I was alone. They recharge me. And so does prayer. But I am certainly not entitled to time alone. My kids and my husband and my friends and family and community are a gift. What a waste it would be to throw the gift away for the sake of “being alone”.

So I’m highly sensitive with ADD and Lupus. I get very overwhelmed and anxious and literally feel the need to hide. But even with all that I want to be content when I am with people and when alone.  And I am certainly content with pizza.

So I will eat pizza with people and sometimes alone. Thankfully my kids like to eat pizza with me.

20140302-150739.jpg

*Books I will be reading in the near future, meaning this week, this month, or in my life time.  I don’t want to over promise and under deliver.

1. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

2. The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine N Aron Ph.D

3. One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp

The Doctors Office and Happy Meals

I wish you could have been there.

I really wish it.

It was that turning point in my day where all my defeats of parenting became funny. Let me lead you up to that moment.

The day started with the kids waking up as happy as can be that it was a no school day and they immediately immersed themselves into a very intense rainbow loom project. Jachin and I were getting ready for the day when the bliss quickly turned to sorrow. I don’t exactly know what happened but one kid hit the other kid and the other kid hit back and hubs and I had had enough. ENOUGH. The past week there has been some exchanges of unkind words between the sisters, general intolerance to each other and so on. I realize enough should have come sooner but anyways, now was our moment. I love my kids too much to let them get away with hitting. Husband made a genius move and picked up the rainbow loom and told them that was over for the day. He started to explain the consequences for their actions. Older child wailed and wailed. Perfect. That means he was doing it right. I came out to help and noticed that younger child who had hit first, seemed unphased by the the rainbow loom punishment. So I told her that it was sin to hit and hurt her sister and that her lovie and blankie would be taken away for the day. Younger child is now wailing. Hubs and I high five secretly in the hall and go about our morning. He leaves. Oh I hate when he leaves. I know he has to. But I want him with me, laughing with me, helping with me, suffering through the parenting woes with me.

Bye husband, you’re wonderful.

The morning passes by and we need to go run errands. I ask the kids to get ready and they do. It is February 17 and they all have flip flops on. I am a no-flip-flops-in-the-winter girl based on the principle that it is technically winter. Every winter I hide the flip flops and they somehow find them. Today it was sunny and 70 so I let this technicality go because today I was focusing on heart issues, and unfortunately fashion mistakes are not a heart issue. Unfortunately. Our first stop is Target to get a new pair of glasses for Kait because hers broke in half. Actually in half:

20140217-210848.jpg

Kind Target lady helping us orders a new pair and tells me that it will be $27.30. I say “but they are under warranty”, and kind Target lady replies, “yes, every time you get them fixed under warranty it is $27.30.” Anger and frustration start to fill my body. Because I paid for the warranty and now I am paying to use the warranty. But God reminds me that we are working on heart issues today and this is mine. So I pay up. Kind Target lady informs us it will be 7-10 days until the glasses come in and I see Kait’s eyes well up with tears.

Kait hates not having her glasses because she hates not being able to see. Makes sense. But this is deep. Something else goes on here. Every time Kait is without her glasses she falls apart, all the way apart. So here is my next moment to help her heart. We walk out of Target quietly (besides the flipping and flopping) hand in hand and get in the car. I ask her if she knows why she is so upset. “No,” she mutters. “Let me help,” I quietly said. “I think when you don’t have your glasses you feel really helpless and things feel out of control and that makes you feel really uncomfortable.” “Yes, that.” She quietly cried. I held her and prayed for her and then I told her that Jesus and I both want to comfort her during this uncomfortable feeling. “Okay.” And she pulled out her packed lunch, which you should note was a lunchable. Now on to ballet class for Sadie. Should be a simple thing. Drive to ballet.

No. Half way there an argument erupts over the words to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Morgan gets real mad that her version is not being heard and so she screams a very high pitched ear-piercing scream and I almost get in a wreck.

Inches people. Inches of hitting another car.

Now I stay calm, and this is no small miracle. We call this in our household PROGRESS. And we celebrate PROGRESS because sometimes it’s all we got. I calmly explain to Morgan that I am trying to drive and it is disrespectful to scream like that at any time and that her consequence for her bad choice (see, we have a theme here) was she could not talk or sing for five minutes. Kait said, “Morgan, we are on that highway,” which means 635.

I believe the devil lives on 635 and causes wrecks, and cursing, and road rage and that is why 635 is hell.

We drop off Sadie and go to the fabric store where Morgan has to use the public restroom TWICE. I die.

Back to pick up Sadie and now back on 635 (Back away from me SATAN!) to go to from Lake Highlands to Plano to take Morgan to the pediatrician. Of course at this point they are hungry. And so am I. I also know that the only food stop at the exit to the doctor’s office is McDonald’s.

So here we are, line around the building, of course, because I have to build character today too, apparently:

Drive-thru line

So picture this. We arrive at the doctor:

Frowny Face

I missed the picture I really needed. This is why I so wish you had been there. Morgan has her happy meal spread out on the kids table in the waiting room happily eating her happy meal. Layering on top of her Lunchable in her stomach. And next to us is the newborn. This is the turning point for me. I am now amused by all of it. This was not just a newborn, but it was the first time parents with their just born baby who has never had a happy meal, never hit his sister, never screamed about the words to Twinkle Twinkle, never used a public bathroom.

Never ever.

He was precious and small. So my kids began asking if they were that small. “Yes you were.” “How much did I weigh?” “7 pounds something.” “What about me?” “6 pounds something.” I am not even caring that I don’t remember. NOT EVEN CARING. New Parents look at me. I tell them their baby is precious and that they will sleep again one day. They say thank you as I wipe the crusted-on-ketchup off Sadie’s mouth. Morgan is just sitting there coughing and eating. Cough. Dip french fry in ranch and eat. Cough. And they are now witnessing the Happy-Meal-in-the-waiting-room-I-don’t-even-care situation. New parents were thankfully so enamored with their new baby they did not seem phased by this ridiculous scene. Ketchup on faces, happy meals, flip flops, mom doesn’t remember children’s birth weight, and so on.

We are called back. Morgan has Bronchitis:

Morgan in doctors office

Yippee, she might even have pneumonia so my beloved pediatrician puts her on steroids. If you have never had a four year old on steroids you should totally try it. IF YOU WANT TO LOSE YOUR MIND. Now it is time to head home and figure out dinner, and we know how that goes. AGHH DINNER!

But after a Lunchable and a Happy Meal, dinner can only be an improvement.

Tomorrow we will eat all organic fruits and vegetables all day long. Unless we have bigger issues than food.

On Such A Winter’s Day

My day started out like any other typical day. No it didn’t. It started with me almost making my child go to school because I didn’t believe her that her stomach hurt. But, luckily, she starting puking right before I made her put on her uniform. That was a super close mom fail. I almost sent my very sick kid to school. Bless her heart. She continued to puke on and off through the morning then fell asleep from pure exhaustion.

While she was sleeping I decided to try and clean up my room, something someone with ADD is always trying to do but never fully accomplishing. Ever.

As I was attempting this clean up, I glanced out my window at the cold rainy day and thought about how much I dislike cold days. Oh how much I really dislike cold, rainy days. Then something strange happened next. I didn’t go into a weird depressing funk. I had one of those moments where I was so thankful that God was present in my life and showing me progress.

Instead of getting all mopey about my puking kid and the cold wet day I thought about my friend Cyndi. Cyndi loves cold days. The colder the better. I think they remind her of her home, of her childhood in Chicago. I think they take her back to a place in her heart where she had less pain. So I stood there thinking about Cyndi and I was truly happy for her to have this weather. The very weather that I hate and the very weather that actually takes my hermit prone self and catapults it into full seasonal depression makes her happy. I was glad it was a win for her.

So I had a little Mary Poppins moment and was celebrating my victory of coping well, and then this:

Then I went to get my other daughter from school and I got a flat tire.

A FLAT TIRE. The horror. Girls hate flat tires. At least this girls does. Makes me feel helpless.

This is where my attempt to remain positive would for sure have ended before. A flat tire! How could the world possibly go on while I’m stranded with a flat tire.

People, I am a horrible coper. My doctor says I’m one of the worst copers she has ever seen. When she professionally delivered this opinion to me I wanted to be defensive, like geez, I’m just sensitive, what’s so wrong with that?

Hi, my name is Mindy and I am a bad coper.

What does that mean? I fall apart easily. Like when it’s hot or when it’s cold or when the dishes don’t get done, or when my emails come in too fast. I get anxious when I have to plan a birthday party for my kids, or when I have to cook dinner (I know, so pathetic). So a cold day, puking and a flat tire could possibly be a lethal combo. I just can’t deal.

But I’m a recovering bad coper. I recently admitted that this was a problem. After several friends, family, and doctors pointed this out, I had no choice but to admit my weakness. This is how I was made, but I could change.

Sometimes it’s good to be sensitive. But sometimes you’ve got to buck up and deal with life. I need to stop being such a cry baby. I need to learn to dig a little deeper and to turn to God a lot faster and ask Him for help and perspective.

Perspective is helpful. I remembered that the events of my day are first world problems. I remembered my friends who are dealing with bigger problems, like losing loved ones. I remembered that my kids would stop puking and my car would be fixed and I would go home to my warm house where I would use my smartphone and go to my favorites contacts which holds my best friends and family’s phone numbers and the pizza place and I would speed dial Palio’s and order pizza and my husband would pick it up on the way home from buying new tires (me calmly ignoring the fact that we didn’t have the money for that).

Yep. And then I would make this video for my sister in Cali because her kids won’t stop crying. One of my newest coping mechanisms is to make videos for my sister and text them to her. I might make it a feature on my blog, I know you’re so excited.

One day I will tell you funny stories about my older sister, the over achiever coper. She copes too well. Her house could burn to the ground before her eyes and she would be like, “it’s fine” and start making her list of things she needed to do in order to rebuild her house.

We all cope differently. I hope to keep improving my coping abilities. And then I will go back to my doctor and and tell her what’s what.