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I would catch a grenade for you...

{stream of consciousness}

I had big plans to wrote a post about all of the things I am thankful for. It's been a running theme this month on Facebook, and each day I have seen a steady stream of all the things the people I love are thankful for that day. Being lazy productive, I figured I would just lay out 31 things I am thankful for tonight. And there is, really, so, so much that I'm thankful for. My son. My fragile, healing little marriage. My sister, who I would die without. Coffee. Glory be to God, coffee.

Another thing I am thankful for is the internet. Yup. It speaks to my soul. I can find song lyrics, historical facts, Flyers schedules, and omigod what the hell was the name of the girl on that show {feverishly google}...oh. Tiffany Brissette. But I also find gems. I hear things that inspire me and move me and make me laugh and make me cry. One day, I found this (watch it, it's important):



And I figured out what the hell my problem is.

I'm the sensitive type. My mom always told me that, my teachers always told me that, our therapist tells me that. I take words that other people hear as just words and turn them around until it means so much more...in my head. Idle comments turn to insults, small actions (or small inaction) turn into huge ones, and- worst of all- my own insecurities turn into the way the world sees me, and I turn inside even more because I feel like I'm a disappointment or not worthy or some such shit. It's something I used to be able to smile off, but the older I get, the more difficult that becomes. I used to think it was everyone else, but it's totally me.

In her talk, Ash noted that "...we all have closets...all a closet is is a hard conversation." I thought I was good at having hard conversations, but in reality, I'm not. I'm not confrontational and not very eloquent and the few times I have tried to have a hard conversation, I have made a mess of it. I want to try and get a handle on all of my sensitivities but instead, they just become so many grenades in my hands.

This is where I almost lost my marriage to Pete. We spent so many years being each others sounding board, secret-tellers-to, and catchers of each others grenades. But then our secrets got out of hand and our sounding boards shut down and there we were. In the closet. This is where I have lost friendships, not with a bang, but with the quiet closing of a closet door because I didn't know how to have a hard conversation.

My closet is where I go because I can't face my shit. The closest I come to opening the doors is when I sit in this space to write. For some reason, this is where I can at least peek out of the closet, where I can sit down with my friends here who act as my pancake girl. But like Ash said, when we sit in the closet with our grenades in our hands, what eventfully happens? They blow up. I listened to this talk at least ten times, nodding and "hmm-humm"-ing and saying "Yes. Yes. That" because finally I heard, in normal, straightforward speak, someone articulate just what that looks like.

I want to work on this. I come out of the closet here, and I am able to do it when Pete and I see our marriage counselor (mainly because paying to go would be a damn waste if I wasn't willing to open the door). But on the whole, I don't know how to throw my grenade and say "I don't want to go out for girl's night because I can't face being the ugliest in the group" or "If I don't make a joke about {insert situation here} and, instead, tell you what I really feel, I might start crying and never stop". Instead of remembering that "hard is not relative, hard is hard", I think that I have no right to open up my hard because 1. it's dumb or 2. so many others have it harder.

I hope you were able to hear Ash speak and get something out of her talk, because I think she hit on a number of things, important things. She threw her grenades with such eloquence and grace and I was a bit in awe of her. I also hope you listened before you read this, since there's no way I can do it justice! But let's try to eat our pancakes and open our doors and throw our grenades.

Comments

I always have one person that I can drop my shit on that makes me feel the worst. I can't keep it inside, it destroys me. It also keeps me from being myself and doing what I want to do in life. Get it out wherever you can.
Your sister shared this with me tonight. I needed it. Thanks.
Ami said…
There's a great book by Cloud and Townsend that deals with having difficult conversations.

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{...stream of consciousness}

Today is April 2nd, World Autism Awareness Day, and it is Autism Awareness Month.

The month begins on the heels of news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that Autism is on the rise. 1 in 68 children in the areas followed by the CDC are identified as having an Autism Spectrum Disorder, up from 1 in 88 just a few years ago. In New Jersey, the numbers are far higher then the national average at 1 in 45. 

You can view a summary of the latest CDC report here, but there are two points of the report that stood out to me:
Less than half (44%) of children identified with ASD were evaluated for developmental concerns by the time they were 3 years old.Most children identified with ASD were not diagnosed until after age 4, even though children can be diagnosed as early as age 2.Content source: National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities
PJ was diagnosed with Autism shortly after his second birthday. Pete and I had already utilized an e…