Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I took my own advice and shut my mouth for 48 hours

Occasionally I like to go a few hours without speaking. Because I have nothing nice to say. I'm a stay at home mom in the middle of happy valley. Based on geography and occupation I am supposed to be a good person. Like a really good person. Like a super wowza boy oh boy ain't she the best kind of good person. Are you getting the impression that I  feel a lot of pressure to be a good person. Which is a problem. Cause I am not a good person. I'm always trying really really hard to be a good person. I find myself doing a lot of good person things. IT IS SO EXHAUSTING. None of it feels right. Being a good person does not come natural to me. I keep trying though. Sometimes I start to genuinely feel like maybe, just maybe I am in fact becoming a good person....... and then reality is like NOPE! You're still an asshole.
I'm not a thief. I'm not a liar. I don't use or abuse anyone. I'm not an alcoholic or a drug user. I give to charity. My children are my priority and I will always make sure they have food on their plate, a roof over their head, and clothes on their back. I'm kind to the elderly and I've never abandoned a friend in need. I'm starting to sound like a good person huh? Yeah, I fall for my own bullsh#t too. My problem is not so much what I do or do not do, it's more what I'm thinking. I am consumed with almost constant negative thoughts. CALM YOURSELF! Not the kind of negative thoughts that authorities need to be made aware of. I'm talking about totally normal totally sane thoughts that are had by people that aren't "good"

Let me give an example:
This is my internal monologue during a recent conversation:
Why is she still talking? I want her to be quiet but I don't want to be rude. She gestures wildly. I can't listen to her words and I want her to shut up. I want her mouth to stop moving more than I have ever wanted anything. I hate her. No I don't. be quiet. be quiet be quiet be quite. be quite be quite be quite. What song is that? This is gonna drive me nuts. Is it flight of the bumble bee? no. that doesn't sound right. it goes dun du dun du dun du or wait no it doesn't, that's lone ranger. Oh shit. I've been humming out loud. Did anyone notice? Oh yeah she definitely did. So did she. They all did. Now I feel weird. I'm gonna grow up right now RIGHT NOW and listen to the rest of the conversation like an adult. Iiiiiiiiiiiit iiiiiiiiiiiiis soooooooooo booooooooooring though. What the hell is going on with her eyebrows? She has to know that EVERYONE else knows that those are not her eyebrows. I wonder what her real eyebrows look like? How bad could they be that this atrocity was the better option. I'm staring at her eyebrows. She is staring at me staring at her eyebrows. Look away, look away. I wonder if she lost them in a horrible accident. Maybe her forehead was burnt off by ze germanz! Was that racist? Haha I just remembered I had a dream about someone giving me eyebrows for my birthday. That is so weird. That doesn't even make sense. Whoa what am I doing. I just turned around. I now have my back to her. How do I make this look normal? I'll do a full spin and then I'll be facing the right direction. Oops that was two spins. That was just really weird. Should I pretend I was dancing? There is no music that would be stupid. Almost as stupid as me spinning for no reason. I'm not standing in the right spot any more. I am standing way to close to her now. Everyone is looking at me and yet, she is still talking. Man she just doesn't take a hint does she? If someone did a 360 while I was talking I would stop and ask them if they are mental. I'm rude though, she's probably just really nice. Doesn't want to point out that there is something socially inept about me. Focus Stacy. Focus on this nice person who clearly tolerates you with class. What stupid thing is she even saying with her crazy eyebrows and her wild gestures. She smells. She smells like.....something. Like if assholes were made of onions. Assions. She smells like assions. RUDE you are rude Stacy. Pull it together. What is she talking about? Oh it's still about her kid. Her wonderful amazing incredible kid. She just loves her kid so so much that she tells endless stories that are stupid about her stupid kid. I hate her kid. I want to punch him in his giant forehead. That would teach him about life. Life is cruel. Especially when you have a giant forehead you giant foreheaded freak. What face did I just make? She stopped talking. She is staring at me. Did she ask me a question? I'm still standing way too close. I want to run away from these people. Maybe clotheseline a few of them on my way out. What is happening now? Everyone else is laughing. I should laugh. Nope that was really loud and high pitched and not normal at all. What is wrong with me? Why are my arms out? Why on earth did I lift my arms up? I can either make a ghost noise or hug her. I cannot salvage this.

This is just a small taste of what is going on upstairs. These are not the thoughts of a good person. This is manageable though. This alone does not make me stop talking for hours. Its when I start vocalizing this negativity that I become a menace to all that is good in the world. And that's when I decide its time to be quiet. Typically its just for a few hours. Recently I chose to be silent for 48 hours. I was saying mean things constantly. I was snapping at people and I wasn't talking to the kids. I was just yelling at them constantly. I yelled everything. So silence was needed. No words at all. I didn't write notes or text or use any type of social media. Different people react differently to the announcement that you are taking a vow of silence for 48 hours. 90% of adults respond in one of two ways. It's either, "Why?" or, "you are so %$#@ing weird Stacy" But my life is not made up of adults. My life is 90% children and when told that Mom is taking a 48 hour vow of silence 100% of children respond "Me too." It almost immediately becomes a round of a game I call Charades in hell.

Gwen, who is six, ran frantically in to the kitchen jumping up and down. She started windmilling her arms. And then with one hand it looked like she was doing a fish thing. She held up one finger. She pointed to her wrist. She made a sudden surprise face. She looked at me expectantly.
I shook my head and shrugged.
She rolled her eyes. She put up a hand as if to say STOP. She beat both hands against her chest. She held up one finger on each hand. She pointed to her head. She did a slow motion run and then a somersault. She made a sudden surprise face.
I looked through the window at the backyard trampoline. No one. I walked through the house and she followed. I was worried she was trying to tell me someone was hurt. I found all the other kids. Everyone was fine. I turned to Gwen and I shrugged my shoulders.
She face palmed. She did some kind of weird hip thrusting dance. She ran away from me and then turned and ran back towards me. She stopped. She pointed to her knee. She made the noise of a dog whining. She pointed at me. She pointed at her. She cradled an imaginary baby.
I smacked her upside the back of the head and walked away.
She yelled after me "I SAID can I PLEASE have a COOKIE?!!"

When you are silent for long periods of time something interesting happens. The constant mental chaos starts to dissipate. All your thoughts slow down and become focused. You begin to sort of narrate yourself, both your thoughts and your actions. When you are unable to communicate you are forced to confront your knee jerk reactions, you are forced to stop and think before acting. When it takes that much work to express yourself you become a little more selective with what you would like to express. Expressing the negative just isn't worth the effort. I normally reflect back on my day or week, when I choose to be silent I'm not looking back trying to remember. I'm in the moment. Reflecting on my actions and feelings as they occur.

Why did I tense up when they walked in the door? 
I have not spoken in six hours by choice. I haven't smiled either. I feel happy. Why don't I show it?
When my children call out to me or grab my attention I respond by scowling. I didn't realize how often I begin conversations looking like I'm ready for a fight. 
Wow. I don't think of myself as an affectionate person, but each and every time one of my children takes my hand or hugs me or lays their head against my arm I feel an immediate sense of relaxation.

I experienced 48 hours of this. 48 hours of seeing how I affect others. 48 hours of not yelling at the kids. 48 hours of seeing that constant correction and criticism is completely unnecessary. 48 hours of seeing that the kids can settle their own arguments. 48 hours of listening.

I would like to report that 48 hours of listening has changed me. I would like to report that I am that much closer to being a good person. Ummm NOPE. My silence started at 1pm Sunday afternoon and Tuesday afternoon at exactly 1pm I was standing on a street corner yelling "I hate this F#$@%ing dog!! I hate you dog! I hope you get hit by a car. If I had money I would hire a Zamboni to run you down. I would hire a fleet of Zambonis to chase you down and shmear you all over the road. Stupid #$%@ing dog."

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