A 4 am visit with rejection and failure

Every once in a while, I go through this phase where I feel really terrible about myself.  It’s usually following one specific event but right now, I can’t exactly pinpoint one particular circumstance that has put me in this place.  I do know, however, one thing that’s been bothering me a lot lately is my lack of blogging.  So I figured I may as well satisfy my need to mark that item of my list of “Things I Should Be Doing but Haven’t Been” that stares me in the face, endlessly.  And here we are.

Perhaps it might be helpful for me to take stock of the many things that are affecting my poor self-esteem.

Rejection- As always, I’m facing the excruciating pain of rejection.  Let’s see, yet again, I believed I had found a new friend, hit it off with someone, only to have the conversation/contact dwindle away into near nothingness.  Offers to volunteer my services in a position as teacher that was originally handed to me and now, seemingly, taken from me, go ignored.  Translation:  we don’t want you as a teacher.  As a result of these two situations, I’m plagued with thoughts of being unworthy, a bad potential friend, and, worst of all, thoughts that I’m actually a terrible teacher and if that’s the case, am I totally screwing up this homeschool thing?

Which brings me to…

Failure- So many examples of failure in my life right now.  At least, they are examples of what I perceive as failure.  I fail as a mother when I can’t remember how to show sympathy over a boo boo (they are happening so often my head is spinning) and, instead, I say things like, “Hey, I thought I told you the injuries need to stop!”  I fail as a mother when a five-year-old has been SCREAMING in my face (literally) for a full ten minutes and I watch, in horror, as my hand pops his cheek, followed by an apology for my lack of self-control. I fail when I step on the scales and learn that I’ve gained back three of the twelve pounds I lost in the past ten months and I struggle to make the changes I need to make in order to drop the extra pounds again. I fail when I must convince the husband that we have to spend money we really don’t have in order to send the youngest to school one day a week so that I can even come close to homeschooling the older two, successfully.  Other mothers pull it off without ever sending the little ones away, why can’t I?  I fail as a wife in so many ways it’s pointless to try and list them. I failed as a leader when I couldn’t just get over the abuse I suffered and the carelessness and selfishness with which I had to deal when I was in charge of the homeschool co-op I started.  I fail as a friend when I am so tongue-tied and nervous while I’m visiting with people that I forget to ask them about what’s going on in their lives and, following said visit, I realize my mistake but figure it’s too late to call or text my questions of interest because if I did, I’d look ridiculous.  And then I worry that I’ll have to add that person to the list of people who dump me.  Which leads me to the thought that maybe it was my poor social skills that made the other people dump me in the first place.  I am a failure at web design because I can’t build the website that the church needs and even though web design is neither something I am interested in doing nor is it something I am trained in, I still feel like a failure simply because it was asked of me.

I should be able to do anything that is asked of me, right?

On Mother’s Day, something inside my washing machine burst open, releasing at least thirty gallons of water into my laundry room, kitchen, and pantry.  Six weeks later, when the repairs were finally begun, I was told, last minute, that my children and I’d be moving into a hotel room.  There we stayed for ten full days.  I was off my diet, off my routine, and I wasn’t able to do the things I normally do in order to relax, center myself, and feel… normal.  Additionally, I was battling a pretty terrible case of poison ivy.

Ever since that ten day forced vacation from routine and normalcy, I’ve been off.  I’ve felt discombobulated.  And it’s been hard for me to return to something resembling how things were before we moved out, temporarily.  The experience has illustrated what I’ve always said… the slightest disruption can totally throw me off. Vacations to destinations have this same effect, but those are planned well in advance and I’m able to make sure that I have things like my regular food, exercise, and sleep schedules maintained.  So in that regard, this situation was very different, and much harder, than a regular vacation.  Even though I was only ten minutes from my house.

Months ago I started another one of Julia Cameron’s artist recovery books.  I got a couple of weeks into it, was so overwhelmed with ideas for writing that I put the book away, stopped my morning pages, and accepted that if I wanted to exercise, I’d have to sacrifice daily writing.  Because, as a homeschool mom of three kids who are always on the go, I didn’t have time for both morning pages and a daily workout.  Now, the writing has stopped.  Sure, I’ve spit out a few short pieces which I’ve taken to my writer’s group over the past few months.  I’ve even received some very positive feedback about my writing and read two of the pieces at a local storytelling event.  I submitted two of the pieces for an anthology my writer’s group is publishing this fall.  But that ongoing, constant, daily practice of writing and having to wade through many ideas… that’s gone again.

And when that goes, I start to panic.

It’s the beginning of the school year.  So much (all) of my free time has been devoted to gathering supplies, creating lesson plans, purchasing new lunch boxes.  I have three registered students for the first time.  And this means doubling my work load.  I look around at my homeschooling peers.  I would never blame any of them if they weren’t spitting out well-composed essays and hilarious chapters every few weeks.  Yet somehow, I am expected to get this homeschool thing right while also publishing my first book.

Frequently I tell myself that there will be plenty of time for writing when this chapter of my life is over.  But there is that part of me that says, “You don’t know that for sure.”

As if my need to be writing wasn’t bad enough, I’ve added even more art forms to my never-ending list of “Things I Should Be Doing but Haven’t Been”.  That’s right.  I like to needle felt now.  And I’ve taken up drawing.  I have a sketch book.  And micron pens.  One piece I did was so well received on Facebook that someone said they’d like to buy a print of it.  What is that?  When did I become an artist?  And how on earth am I supposed to fit that in around everything else I’m either doing or want to do?

Being an artist can be overwhelming.  And time consuming. 

Most people take up art because they are bored and looking for a new hobby.  PLEASE, brain, enough already.  I don’t have time for you and your silly notions right now.

Well. I feel as if I’ve gotten out all of the thoughts that have been collecting in my brain.  Technically this should have been my morning pages.  But I figured what the heck?  I’ve not been blogging and, as always, I’m happy to share my crazy ideas if there is a chance that they might help someone else.

But rest assured, there is a follow-up to this post coming soon.  One where I write about the Acceptance and the Successes in my life… to kinda balance out the sludge in this post.

If you made it this far, I’d like to say thank you.  But instead I’ll just say, “Hey!  Stop reading this crap and go do something constructive.  Like watch an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”  Which is what I’m about to do.





6 thoughts on “A 4 am visit with rejection and failure

  1. Hi Mandy:
    So glad you are back blogging again I missed seeing them. I can totally relate to everything you wrote today. My first reaction is “she can get through this she is a strong woman”, then I feel down because I can’t get passed my failures, but then I remember all you have gone through and if I know you can do it, then so can I. Sorry for the long run on sentence, just had to get my thought out. 🙂 Thanks for posting this Mandy! I wish you the best with the beginning of the school year and working on your book.
    🙂 Angie

  2. I applaud you for your vulnerability and awareness! Healing can only happen in community when we have a chance to name our shame and emotional triggers, exposing them to the light of day.

    I relate to so much of what you said. Failure, failure everywhere. I believe failure is when we don’t live up to a standard and then do not acknowledge it or try to adjust, just like Eeyore and his little black rain cloud. I experience you as frustrated, hurt, and angry, but not a failure.

    One question: what does success look like to you?

    • Thank you Caroline. I guess you’ll just have to read my next post about Acceptance and Success to have your question answered. (i.e. I’m not exactly sure yet but I’m working on figuring that out)

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