The Ongoing Fight Against Self-Pity and Rage, through Rain and Shine

5 Oct

I was writing my blog this morning when I ran out of battery on the computer. Sadly, this is not a rare occurrence, but it’s still incredibly frustrating. Because then I have to figure out where I’m going to charge it, if I’m going to try to finish writing and post it all in the same space, if this can happen before Lucia’s nap time or not, and other such relevant questions. And then I decided I better go ahead and do some housework meanwhile, and set about washing two weeks worth of socks and underwear for the three of us (it’s too weird to get strangers to wash your underwear). I despise hand-washing clothes, and because the computer had no battery I couldn’t listen to music while washing. I was trying to feel grateful about the fact that we had water, but my passionate hatred for washing was winning out. I even got to have a long phone chat with my best friend, and still I was grumpy. And I had other house work to do, and still a blog post to finish. I was pissy that I hadn’t done my yoga video like I’d wanted to (again, because of lack of computer battery) and I really just wanted to lay around and finish reading the cheesy murder mystery I was reading. I was pretty much seething with resentment and self-pity, irritation radiating from my body like heat from the oven.

And really, you can’t write a decent blog post or have any real interaction with the universe when you’re a big ball of self-pity and simmering anger. So I decided I’d have to write a very different kind of piece. I’ve been writing down three things I’m grateful for everyday. Well, most days, while I sip my morning coffee or tea, in those glorious but brief moments of alone time before I do exercise and get ready for work. I leave my notebook out in case Conan wants to take a peek, but I never share them anywhere. I’m hoping it’ll help my mood and my attitude if I share some recent highlights. So here goes. Hopefully it won’t come off like those facebook posts from folks who are severely over-sharing (guys, I don’t need to know how many times you’ve gone to the bathroom today.). But ha! It’s my blog and I’ll write what I want to (to the tune of that horrendous Lesley Gore song I adored as a small child- “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to”… and yes my child is turning out just as weird as I was!)

Today I am super pleased that Conan put Lucia’s carseat in our car! I’m grateful we finally have a car in the first place, and I’m so relieved that I can quit yelling at Lucia to sit the hell down while the car is moving, that I can quit envisioning her flying through the windshield as she tries to climb from the front seat to the back, the way I know my mom did when she was a kid (which got her 3 days of unconsciousness).

I’m grateful that my mom sent me some maternity clothes, because out of the 10 shirts in the maternity section of the only department store (the only place I’ve found ANY maternity clothes), 9 of them are utterly appalling. I’ve decided that if I lose my job as an English teacher, I owe it to myself and to the women and families of Puerto Escondido to open a shop and information center focused on needs during pregnancy and for babies. Because there’s nothing here! It’s crazy the way people do without! Wearing shirts that are too small for them, wearing “batas” (think something like a muumuu). And the lack of information is just as extreme- like all the people who are sure they can only have another C-section just because they had one (often because the doctor is guessing that their baby will be “too big”). There’s so much lacking that I’m thrilled with my backup plan- Puerto Escondido’s own version of Mama’s Hip in Louisville.

I’m grateful for my creative cooking skills, and all the days when I make a dish that is precisely what I wanted to be savoring, and healthy to boot. I’m grateful that my outlandish chocolate cravings during this pregnancy are mostly controllable with a small weekly treat, although I wish Conan would commit himself to hiding a Nutella jar for me so I could have just one half hour alone with it first, without stressing about eating the whole thing. I won’t buy a jar of it until he promises. (And no, don’t give me any tricks on handling a sweet tooth because I’m not craving other sweets or sugary junk- mostly just gobs and gobs of chocolate. Which I didn’t even like as an adult until I was pregnant with Lucia. Thanks, hormones.)

I’m grateful for all the help from family near and far. My family in the north has sent big chunks of money our way for a car, and then my aunt and her best friend (my honorary extra aunt, Anita) sent money for car repairs, out of the blue. Now my dad’s planning to get us the money for a generator. And Conan’s mom is constantly helping us out with tons of bits and pieces that add up- a bag of coffee here, a pound of beans there, all the eggs from her hens, cell phone top-up minutes as she continues to include our cell phone business in her store, and much more. Plus when she comes to visit I always come home to find lots of extra cleaning has happened and more meals are cooked. She gives us a break with Lucia, too, even changing poopy diapers! If that’s not sacrifice I don’t know what is. And Conan’s aunt here in Puerto is always sending us fish freshly-caught by her husband, and not letting us pay her for it. And her three sons, Conan’s cousins, are always helping us out in different ways as well- his cousin Cheko recharging our lamps and freezing ice for our cooler, his cousin Daniel making doors and windows for us (slowly but surely) in exchange for Conan teaching English to his kids. (Yes, guys, we now have a real door on our bathroom!!) Between the two of us, I’m pretty sure we have the most helpful and generous family on Earth, which is a big something to be grateful for.

I can’t tell you how grateful I am that Lucia has started to potty-train herself, too. I say she’s training herself because all of my intents and efforts were for naught. Bribes for stickers, cajoling, convincing, promises of sweet treats got us zero progress. All the articles I read were useless. My child is a stubborn-ass who will not do anything unless she decides to do it of her own accord. I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was a bit taken aback when suddenly she decided she wanted to pee in her little potty instead of wearing a diaper. She’s never had an accident, because she’s known for a while when she needs to go. We’d let her run around with no diaper and then she’d tell us she needed to go and we’d have to put a diaper on her. Which is what she’s still doing with #2, but at least now I know she’ll go in the potty when she decides it’s time.  (Yikes, here I am talking about potty habits! This is turning into one of those over-sharing Facebook posts! Sorry, y’all!)

I’m grateful for cheesy exercise videos. I remember making fun of my mama for working out with Richard Simmons, sweating to the oldies. I remember praying to the heavens that I never ended up that corny. Alas, here I am, with no time to go to a gym, no time for organized sports, and only a few minutes a day on my bicycle. I’m pleased as punch with the way my body feels after all the cheesy videos (no Richard Simmons, though.). I feel weak and icky after not exercising for  a few days, so I don’t want to know what my life would be like without this option that I used to think was so sad (sorry, Mama). I’m grateful I can giggle about giant shifts in perception.

I’m grateful that I don’t normally have to sit in an office for eight hours a day. Between semesters I’ve had a couple weeks of working only in my office, not teaching any classes, and it makes my want to pull my hair out by the roots, one by one. I need to be up and about, interacting with people, like I do with my normal schedule. After eight hours sitting down staring at a computer screen, my back hurts, my butt hurts, my head hurts and I’m bored out of my mind. I’m like kid who’s been trapped inside on a rainy day, ready to burst at the seams and run around in circles screaming, just to get it out of my system. So thank goodness that’s not my normal schedule, and now I’m back to the bustle and business of the classroom. I didn’t get busted running around in circles and screaming, and now my energy is safely and appropriately funneled again.

And did I mention that we had a miracle on our block the other day? The garbage truck came! To our street! And collected all of our garbage from the garage! The garbage truck’s been around, somewhere in our neighborhood, but it’s never come and collected our trash before. “It looks like God is starting to remember you guys,” my mother-in-law said. That gives you an idea how grateful I am.

I’m grateful for this month’s rain. We’re about to have another 6 months of pure sunshine (haha, you’re probably cold even as you’re reading this!), so the coolness of the frequent September rain has been lovely. Our lack of a fan in the house really gets to me at night these days, with the extra heat of this creature growing in my belly, so the cool breeze on rainy nights is heaven-sent. But I’m also grateful that there was no crazy hurricane-induced weather, since we still don’t have windows that close. The weather’s behaved perfectly. It wasn’t even too bad the day I got soaked and spent the afternoon in wet jeans and shoes at work. And I’ve lucked out on us having the car, getting rides when it’s too rainy and muddy to get to work in one piece (our street is a dirt road). It’s been all a girl could hope for from a rainy season.

There’s been lots more to be grateful for, but these are some of the highlights of late. And, as I wrote one day, “being exhausted is better than being dead”. So there’s that, too. I feel better already. Thanks for listening. Let’s do it again tomorrow, because this fight against self-pity and nasty attacks of anger is an ongoing battle. 

2 Responses to “The Ongoing Fight Against Self-Pity and Rage, through Rain and Shine”

  1. juliainman October 6, 2014 at 8:51 pm #

    Never forget: “It’s a good life if you don’t weaken.” Your Nonna would be so proud of you. As I always am. Much love, Aunt Julia

    • exiletomexico October 7, 2014 at 8:09 am #

      I thought she said “It’s a great life if you don’t weaken”! Either way, thanks. Love you, too.

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