Talking to a new friend recently about life and work and children and stress and expectations and money she confided that she just can’t find the energy to want to do or make herself do it. She felt like she just kept running from it all. She was avoiding it because of fear, exhaustion and disappointment. Life can look awesome and then become more than we can bare… avoidance is a way to not handle this stress. We are all guilty of this, well I am anyway. We use avoidance as a tool that really has no good use, it doesn’t help build anything.
I have been thinking about my tendencies to avoid, to not open or not fill out paperwork… to not put away piles of laundry… to put important phone calls and bills into a separate pile I don’t have to think about. It works for a bit, until that one night I wake at 3am thinking about this crazy to do list and things I forgot or put away. I am trying to not put those things into a pile I don’t have to see… to just handle them and take care of them.
I remember a counselling session that my amazing counsellor/superhero told me she had tried to leave me a voicemail but it was full. I told her that it has been full since the day that Madeline was diagnosed, within moments and I didn’t want to listen or leave space for people to leave me voicemails anymore. I just told her to leave me a message on my house phone, it transcribes to my text. She said Erin this is called avoidance. You are avoiding this and you need to take care of it. I may or may not have come up with a grand excuse for my lack of desire to hear people ask me how Madeline was and what we needed… but she would have nothing to do with an excuse. She is smart like that… she is helping me build better tools than blame, excuses and avoidance. She encourages boundaries and leaning on my support… and paying attention to those things I don’t want to or can’t make myself do. She helps remind me that wasting my time being all angry at people who have hurt me steals parts of me… good and beautiful parts of me. I hear her. I listen. She has been a rock for me. This particular day I heard that avoidance word, and I sat with a woman who doesn’t let me be weak. She knows I can do this, she didn’t tell me to listen to those messages and fall into a deep dark hole and wallow… but she knows who I am and what is safe and right for me. It is quite a special connection to have another (even with a copay) that truly knows my strengths and how to push me to be more me, to build me better.
Back to the avoidance thing…
Monday I woke up great… I had a concert night with friends and came home to a plate of chicken parm and cooking shows. We stayed up really late and I got moving a little late. I don’t have my girls this week they are away with their dad, so I don’t have to get moving. I would normally share how blissfully nice it was to wake up to no fighting or pokemon on TV. I didn’t feel that on Monday though. I felt funny that they were literally right around the block but I hadn’t seen them since Friday. I knew they were busy enjoying their other family, but I missed them. I gave Amelia a call and she was very down. She was bored and annoyed, she woke up with a case of the Mondays. Her dad had to do work before they went away and she was not into anything. I stopped her and told her to find some paper and draw, maybe write… go for a walk with Grammie. I told her to have fun with her dad when his work was done. She needs to be able to stay busy or be bored, I can not save her from that. I mean I could save her, I had no meetings and only had one thing to work on my laptop. I made a choice not to, to let her figure it out. I know it was the best choice for her, but it made me sad. I entered into that avoidance state… and didn’t do the work needed to. I left texts and emails unopened so I didn’t have to deal… and I got low. I read through old emails from very unkind people, I went through old pictures and I took a nap. Rick came to see me and I was in bed… he made the decision that the YMCA was on the agenda for the night. He told my excuse laden and avoiding butt to get moving… I said maybe tomorrow. I got up and get dressed, putting my socks on with a cranky face. He drove us to the Y and we sweat… a little while of hard work and heavy music… and I felt better. I had no avoidance in me, only readiness for Tuesday. We stopped at Hannaford and grabbed the makings of dinner- chicken parm again ❤ because I love it. The night ended with chicken parm and Chris Farley… BOOM.
I am not going to let myself avoid so long, to build up that pile of stress. I want to stand up and be more ready for life and days. I want to talk to my friend again after a week of reflecting and thinking of better tools. I want to share that memory of my counsellor and what it felt like to take that pile off my plate and my voicemail. I want to help her use better tools so she is more who she wants to be and really is. If we try not to use those useless tools- avoidance, blame, excuses and such we can be better and stronger and more alive- more ready.
Note.to.self… avoid avoidance, excuse excuses and quit blaming blame.