Today I am joining with Honoré and sharing an update on my journey with my 2020 One Little Word, Open.
I’m sure you aren’t surprised to read that my word, Open, continues to be a challenge for me. This month that challenge has revolved around opening my eyes to some hard truths about myself.
Here’s a hard truth: I’m basically lazy. I know, you think I do a lot and that’s because I do. But most of what I do is not physical stuff, it’s knitting and reading, and crafting and keeping a pretty house. It’s not hard work for me, it’s fun. Lately, though, I am doing lots of work like lugging suitcases, refilling water jugs, tending the garden, doing all of the cooking, and just doing much more around the house than I ever have before. The hard truth is that I resent it. And I feel bad about myself for resenting it. Conclusion: I need to open my eyes to my ability to do some extra work right now and remember that’s it’s only temporary.
Here’s another hard truth: I have been rather oblivious in recognizing that my current situation is triggering a lot of stuff from my past. I don’t have much patience for weakness in another person (hint, I viewed my mother as a very weak person). I pride myself in not being weak. I’m a straighten your crown and move forward kind of thinker, a push through and get it done kind of worker, a grit your teeth and do the tasks before you relax kind of person. So when I see Dale struggling to move around, when I see him sit for long stretches because it’s easier, when he doesn’t clean up the kitchen like he used to, I get frustrated. And then I get mad. And then I lash out at the closest target, which, these days, is quite often Dale himself. It’s not fair, it’s not healthy, and it’s most certainly because of the things that angered me most about my mother. And also, it’s very similar to the dynamic that existed between my mother and my stepfather. Conclusion: I need to open my eyes to these triggers, acknowledge the past, and not let it influence my present.
It’s eye opening work and even though I’m struggling, I’m committed to the hard work because the results will be all the greater.
I recently had a conversation with a friend about whether we thought we had become more or less self-aware during the pandemic. We didn’t arrive at any definitive answers, but I would say you are certainly more self-aware (or blogging about it honestly)! It’s always difficult to admit hard truths about ourselves, but I think awareness is half the battle. Keep those eyes open and I applaud you!
I remember when my husband broke his leg a few years ago and I found myself very frustrated at times. It did get easier but I understand what you are going through.
I agree with Bonny. Nice that you can see and acknowledge these hard truths about yourself…that you are willing to talk (blog) about them and that you are doing something about them. Keep those eyes open Carole – this is turning out to be an amazing year for you (certainly not in any way you may have anticipated, but still…). Bravo!!
I am reading this and wishing I was closer and there was no pandemic! Hugs, coffee, and a friend to pick up the outdoor extras so you could have a break. I think that caregivers deserve an extra measure of grace… it is not easy and there is no break. I love your honesty… opening up about all this cannot be easy. Sending you all the love, my friend. XO
You are so beautifully insightful. Thank you for sharing your truths. This is indeed a time for our introspection. It is not easy. Sending you hugs and love.
I hear you, and am pretty much right there with you! Wish we could meet in person. We would have soooomuch to talk about. Hugs.
You are doing an excellent job. It’s sooo not easy when your world is upended and it’s a pandemic too! xoxo (I’m pretty lazy too.)
Oh Carole. Once again your honesty is speaking right into my current reality and I agree with Bonnie. I hope you know that your self awareness is a gift to many of us. Thank you
Carole, I am also lazy by nature. I’m happy knitting, spinning and reading. This last year has been rough. My husband took some hard falls due to Parkinson’s. To make a long story short, he has had two major neck surgeries in 6 months time. A month in the hospital but he is home and doing in home PT and OT. We have gone from an equal partnership to me being responsible for about 90% of what needs to be done. Due to the pandemic we have not had help that we normally would have. He is frustrated because he feels like a burden, then he tries to help but ends up putting himself in danger of falling. Then I end up lashing out. Then we cry (mostly me) and promise to do better. I so identified with your bubble description so much! We are strong and some days are better than others. Deep breaths, fresh air and love for each other is all I got.
Carolyn Thomas says
Carole, I’m so often moved by your courage to name out loud those things that are hardest for you—and then you follow the feelings to the source, out loud, thereby holding yourself accountable. I am nodding yes, yes, as I write this.
Jeannie Gray says
I’ve been struggling with the same type of things here in my life. The reality of my laziness astounds me sometimes. And then there’s my frustration with my MIL. The covid isolation has not been kind to her dementia and I don’t have a lot of patience to begin with. Some days….. I keep a daily “success” journal and some days my only entry is that I didn’t hurt her or myself.
Sounds like we both have some work to do on ourselves. 🙂
Jane A. Wolfe says
Being open to hard truths about ourselves is hard work. I applaud you for your honesty. Just don’t be too hard on yourself. Caregiving isn’t easy. Hopefully Dale is recovering slowly but surely. Sending a hug your way.
I have only one thing to say….”I love you.” You are doing the hard work. <3
Katie @ The Cozy Burrow says
So much of what you’ve written resonates with me! I often get resentful about certain situations and I’ve found that it’s really, really hard to stop resentment once it starts. You are doing so much hard work – both internally and in the outside world – and doing it thoughtfully and with lots of love, even though sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. I am in awe!
Carole, I have thought about how to comment on this, and I finally decided that the best way was to share my struggles, just a bit. My husband is very disabled, and it’s not his fault that he cannot help around the house. So I am a one-woman show for housework, yard work, everything. This has been going on for about 10 years. I used to get mad and frustrated because I felt overwhelmed all the time, but I finally came to the conclusion that I needed to dwell on the upside of learning how to be totally self-reliant. It has definitely forced me to become more organized, and it has forced me to let some things go. I think you will admit that it has made you more aware of all the things that Dale does around the house, and it has made you more aware of your reactions to your situation. That is miserable in the present moment sometimes, but it really is just part of your journey to becoming a better person. Life is imperfect at the best of times, and perfection is our enemy. So I hope this gives you the opportunity to find that your situation is often perfectly imperfect, accept that, and learn to make adjustments. You are not lazy, you are just human. Don’t label yourself that way! It’s hard to be the only person in a household that is able to do anything physical! Be kind to yourself and embrace your present situation. I try to do this every day. Sometimes I am not as successful as I would like, but I am definitely a work in progress, as are you.
Margene Smith says
Thank you for sharing your struggle. Your story (stories) has allowed me to see your process and figure out one of my own. Being stuck in the house with few options of places to go has left me frustrated and angry. Smith is gone most days (work) and many evenings (garden and his board duties). I can share some of that, but my health limits work in the garden. SO, I need to find my own outlets and I’m doing better at that this week. Thank you for sharing your story this year.
Carole, I have so much love and respect for your honesty and openness, especially here on the internet (which has not always been a very kind space). You’re putting up a mirror for me, too, to consider ways my actions might not be reflecting the Me I want to be. I’m grateful for the lessons, and your sharing. Thank you!
Have you seen the new field guide from MDK? It’s called OPEN. It made me think of your one little word. https://www.moderndailyknitting.com/shop/mdk-field-guide-no-15-open/
Second, something a therapist said to me when my marriage was breaking up that stuck with me was that it was okay to feel the way I was feeling. That it was normal and many others had the same thoughts and feelings in similar situations. I remember that being very freeing. I didn’t have to feel bad for the way I was feeling anymore. I am sure it is the same in your current situation.
(Catching up on blog reading.) This is such a brave post, Carole. I love you for it!