Monday, August 23, 2010
Friday was supposed to be an oasis at the end of a busy and chaotic week. It turned out to be a desert island. I had a personal training session scheduled at nine and a massage at one and the rest of my day had been cleared so I could get ready for a labor seminar I am teaching Monday-through Wednesday in Nashville.
My personal training session went great until five minutes before it ended. I got very sick to my stomach and thought for about five minutes I was going to pass out. Usually I have two meals in me or a meal and a light snack before my workout. Friday I had only eaten breakfast and a light one at that. Not only did I feel embarrassed but I physically felt crummy. But there was hope!!! I had my massage at one and I felt wore out and drained when I arrived. The massage didn’t help much. As she explained when she finished, massage often thins the blood and since I had almost passed out that morning I was going to feel a bit crummy. By Saturday morning I felt great, but Friday at two I felt like a large boulder had landed upon me.
I went home and sat in the living room staring off into space. I started questioning everything I ever did and wondering how in such a short period of time it seemed like everything I touched crumbled apart. (Read any of my blogs over the past few days. You will get the picture.) Two of my friends here had written really insightful and open blogs about being “people pleasers.” That weighed on my mind as I sat there. They were describing me to a tee. As bright, witty and handsome……….. Okay you might argue about the handsome part……. as I am there is no real reason for me to feel as insecure as I do at times. I have a really hard time relaxing and feel that if I am not busy I am pretty worthless.
I am reading a book by Joyce Meyer and it’s about her road to health through diet and exercise. One suggestion she makes is that when you are faced with a dilemma you can’t figure out or your willpower is in short supply, ask God to do the “heavy lifting.” So I did. Be careful what you ask for…………
I was thinking about my kids. They are great. We are proud of all of them just like you are proud of yours, no matter what anyone else says. They’re your kids!! I thought how I don’t tell them that often enough, how proud I am of everything they do and then I got that queasy feeling again. It has to do with stuff I haven’t dealt with.
In a nutshell my mom and dad have never told me they were proud of anything I have ever done in my life. Now the rub is that they never told me I was bad, they just told me anything I ever did could have been done better. When I started losing weight and was featured in our local newspaper my mom wanted to talk about how my brother had lost weight also. Not one word of praise. I hadn’t seen my mom and dad since Thanksgiving. They are getting older; they are both in their eighties so if I get a chance to see them I take advantage of it. Last Sunday we drove to Milwaukee from Chicago to spend the day with them.
When my mom walked in here was her first comment. “Why isn’t Paul, (our son) getting married by a Catholic priest.” No hello, no hug, just that. I just sort of looked at her. My dad says “When Mary and Joes kids get married I know they will marry Catholics and be married in the Church.” (Mary and Joe are my brother and sister.) Geena is Lutheran, her dad’s a deacon in their church and that’s where they want to get married. That’s my life. Whatever I do there is usually something wrong with it. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a bash my parents blog. I was clothed, fed and generally taken care of. I was just never affirmed as a human being.
So as I am sitting in my living room Friday and I begin to realize why I had become such a people pleaser. I always felt I had to better to be equal. I always felt the whole world felt like my mom and dad did. No matter what I did, it was never good enough and once we started having kids it transferred to them. Let go on record by saying I don’t think I was really terrible growing up. I did normal kid stuff but no real biggies. I am different from my brother and sisters in how I think and mu opinions. My parents also believe I don’t have a “real job” because I work from home, etc. I moved away from Milwaukee when Joan and I married, my brother and sisters kids attended five star universities while we always told our kids the most important thing in life was to be happy.
As all this whirled through my mind I cried. I cried because I was hurt, because I was mad, and because why couldn’t I have seen this sooner? It was a crummy weekend. I felt like I was detached from everything and everybody. In one respect I had “seen the light.” In another I kept wondering why they didn’t love me as much as they did everyone else.
I was angry. I was angry with me because I hadn’t seen this sooner and taken steps to fix it.
When I woke up Sunday morning I realized the only feelings I could control were mine. I went to the gym and I proceeded to run a 5K on the track. I had never run that far in my life. I cried the last lap. Bawled like a freaking baby, and they were tears that cleansed me. They were tears that were happy tears. I did it!! I posted my accomplishment on Spark and on Facebook. One of my Spark friends has also become a Facebook friend and she sent out congrats as many of you did on my accomplishment. But then a funny thing occurred. I started getting congrats and accolades on Facebook from people I don’t even know. For a while they were exploding my cell phone. Gosh it felt good.
You take recognition, you take love, and you take praise where you find it. It may not come from where you want it to come from, but love is love and if it comes sincerely, it’s equal to any other. You start to realize you are not alone and that now that you understand the obstacles in front of you, you can work to remove them. It’s all mental. The picture in your mind has to match the one you live. It’s a struggle for sure, but one that’s worth it in the long run.
Thanks to my two friends who got the ball rolling by having the courage to be open and vulnerable about themselves. You helped give me the courage to open up too.