Monday, September 21, 2015

The Frozen Life

I'm a little late to the party when it comes to blogging about Frozen.But lately, it has been on repeat in our house again, and it got me thinking, again. I will not be writing about how awesome it is that the true love is a love between siblings, or that it isn't a movie about needing to find your prince charming, or about how Disney flat out says "you can't marry a man you just met," or even about how funny it is that there is a disclaimer at the end of the credits absolving Disney of any liabilities concerning Kristoff's views about all men picking their noses and eating it. Those are all great, but they are not what has been stirring in my brain for the last year or so.

No, I will be discussing how Frozen makes me cry because it can be used as an allegory for so many different aspects of life with or around mental illness. Things like isolation and healing and stigma and support and letting go. I was going to write one post about how I love Let It Go but not because it's a hit song, but because I really feel that song. I am still going to write that post, but in doing some quick research (while watching Frozen for the millionth time) I realized that there is much more about this movie that really strikes a chord with me in a way Disney may not have intended. I am not the first, or the only person to notice this. About a year ago, I read a Washington Post article by a psychologist on the parallels (I saved the link once, but can no longer find it). And I found a number of touching and encouraging blogs by others who live with mental illness.

During my daughter's most recent watching, what really struck me was the look on Elsa's face and she begs Anna to just leave her alone after Anna has confronted her in the middle of the coronation ball. The animators very wonderfully portrayed on her face what I feel so very often.

Elsa knew it was not the time or the place for that discussion. She could feel herself losing control of her emotions and her powers. She knew that she was about to do something foolish and dangerous and probably not very nice. And she knew that is was only partially her fault. She was doing everything she could to keep cool, but Anna kept pressing. So she begged Anna to stop, and she tried to walk away. She tried to protect those she loved from herself because she knew she was about to lose it. As she tells Anna to please just leave it alone, the desperation on her face is what I feel in my gut so often when my husband and I have what should be small tiffs (like most married couples do I imagine).

I don't know how many times in the last few years (post DBT classes and cessation of medication) that something silly has started to turn into something nasty and I have tried to walk away. I have tried to change the subject, I have asked nicely to talk about it later, and I have begged and then fled because I have felt myself losing control. I have been in that place where I know I am at the end of my own self control and that I am going to blow a gasket in a very ugly and not very nice way. And my husband keeps pushing. Sometimes it's not my husband, sometimes it's my kids, or a friend. Occasionally, it's a strangers, but oddly, I find it much easier to retain control with strangers, perhaps because it is easier to walk away and not be followed. I don't blame my loved ones, they know I have the tendency to exploded (Anna did not know what her pushing would do to her sister), but I imagine walking on eggshells is hard and sometimes impossible. I just wish desperately that they would listen and back off when I say to them " I can't do this right now, we need to do this later, this is not ok and I am not ok and please just leave me alone to calm down for a minute. Granted, I don't grow nasty sharp ice crystals when my emotions go all crazy insane, but the words that I say can cause much more hurt and lasting damage, and I always feel scared, hurt, and angry at myself afterwards.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Christmas List

It's that time of year again. At least, it is for our family. The time to make a Christmas list.

Growing up it was generally accepted that we have a Christmas list prepared by September 20, my younger sister's birthday, to present to my grandparents. As a kid, I didn't have a problem making a list this early in the year. Even as a teenager it wasn't really difficult. As a young adult it became a bit of a chore because Nana is the type to have her Christmas shopping done by the time you actually get a list to her. Now as a married woman with kids it is one of those things I put off until the last minute when I am being nagged by my parents and my sister because, for some strange reason, my grandparents rarely communicate with me directly.

I try to make and keep a list all year round, but somehow that never really works out. I want to populate the list with things that my grandparents will actually think make good gifts and that I will enjoy, but I also want the items to be practical and things I will actually use. I am running out of kitchen gadgets and camping gear, or rather, I am running out of idea for where to store them.

Making a list for my husband is even worse because even when I ask him directly, his list is about three items long, which doesn't leave anything for the kids or myself to get him for Christmas.

Then of course there is the list for the children. They are old enough that I could make them do it. The problem is that my daughter fixates on one item, generally the one that is a big ticket and therefore the "Santa Present" and can't get beyond it. My son changes his mind so often, that if he makes a list now, by the time Christmas gets here, his interests will have changed and he won't care anymore. Then of course, there is the fact that my grandparents are so far removed from what typical children these days are into. If I say "anything Frozen or My Little Pony" they will recognize that Frozen is Disney and get my daughter Tangled merchandise and they won't know what My Little Pony is, but they won't bother to ask either and so they will get my daughter a life size doll that creeps her out and goes immediately into the Goodwill box. If that's not bad enough, they don't have any idea what is age appropriate. I happen to know already which book my 8 year old will be getting for Christmas. Blueberries for Sal.  Don't get me wrong, it's a good book and one I won't mind having in the house, but he is in third grade. When I was 5 I was getting A Little Princess and The Secret Garden. Why can't they get him a chapter book. I don't even care if it's not a classic, but I think he's old enough and smart enough for something like Treasure Island or Kidnapped.

So, as my kids begin school on Tuesday, I will spend the hour or so between kindergarten drop off and the arrival of my bff for virgin mimosas (aka orange juice and sprite) and a BBC (read Sherlock and Doctor Who) binge, scouring Amazon for gift ideas my grandparents will hopefully find affordable, intriguing and perfect, but that my kids will also be excited about come Christmas morning.

P.S. This year is complicated by the face that Evelyn's due date is the day after Christmas, so I too will be trying to get all the shopping done early. If I don't, Murphy says I will spend Christmas Eve and/or morning in the hospital delivering my own special Christmas gift.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Yay Fall!

So, It looks like I might be a once a month blogger. At least for a little while.

August was crazy busy at work with inventory and  few big sales and everyone else taking vacation time. Add a sky that was the color of muddy water because of wildfire smoke to being pregnant and working 27 hours a week on my feet and you had one exhausted (and probably cranky) lady on your hands. Things are finally calming down though, and,  at least for now, the smoke is gone.

Back on August 12th, we went in for our ultrasound (I know guys, I am trying really hard to not turn into a full on mommy blogger, but I am a mom who attempts to blog and when you have  little person growing inside you, it sort of consumes your whole brain space) and discovered that we are having another little girl! My son cried, my daughter threw a party, and my husband and I were just happy everything looked a-OK and she appears to be a healthy little one developing right on track.

Yes we have a name picked out: Evelyn Gayle.

Now, about that smoke. Living in the beautiful country of North Idaho puts us right in the middle of all the northwest fires. The big ones are over in central Washington, but would take less than a day to drive over and see. there are two or three large complexes (that's fires that are actually three or more little fires all being fought and managed by the same group of amazing men and women) in North Idaho. One up in Priest Lake (called the Tower or Kaniksu complex fire) and one over near Clark Fork (I cannot remember this ones name.) This means we get all the smoke. It makes it hot, and muggy, and hard for healthy people to breath. Seriously, until this weekend when we (finally and blessedly) got some rain, we were bordering on hazardous air quality conditions. The "experts" say that the smoke is going to come back, and that even if no new fires start, we will probably be dealing with at least a bit of smoke through November.

And that leads me to the YAY FALL part. With the rain, came cooler temperatures. We are not supposed to get up over 76 or something like that this week, with most days being in the upper 60's. Since yesterday was September 1st, Pumpkin everything is back and I am one happy camper. Fall is my favorite season, followed by Christmas (yes Christmas is it's own season, not just a holiday). The boy goes back to school next week, and on the same day, the bean will start her first day of kindergarten. Fall may not officially start for another three weeks or so, but according to me it has officially arrived. If you will excuse me, it is my day off from work and I am going to go back some pumpkin cookies that I have been craving for three weeks and putting off because it was still August.