Thursday, September 26, 2013

Honor, Prayer, Husbands

For the past year my husband has worked for someone who seemed determined to undermine his sense of self-worth.  It started with the two of them arguing about things as simple as how my husband made phone calls.  After 15 years of working in the news, the "new boss" wanted to tell my husband how to make his phone calls.  Then he told him everything he did was sloppy.  He was part of the group that called him in to say that he should come in earlier (he was, at that point, working a 45 hour week with a young child at home and I hated them for that) so that the extra shows they'd given him would be better.

When that boss got "bumped up" after another left, this continued.  Scathing emails were sent every weekend.  Coworkers said "(this boss) is not your friend."  I always feared he would get fired, but that never happened.  Occasionally my husband would catch the boss flip-flopping, yelling at him for the very thing he'd asked him to do.  Blaming hubby for choices that he himself had made.  Most recently, it got difficult in new ways.  He decided not to give my husband as much time off over Christmas to travel with his family.  He hired someone just out of college to be my husband's direct supervisor.  She had barely done for a year what my husband had for 15, but she got his promotion.  We recently found out that he had even decided not to "approve" any of my husband's applications for other jobs within the company, saying my husband wasn't good enough to get those.  Our hopes for finding another job to finally get my husband some recognition seemed temporarily dashed.

Being someone's spouse is such an intense desire to see that person happy.  And their depression, their stress, their health problems are all yours.  I had dreams about this boss--confronting him, beating him up.  I wanted so much to shut him up, to get rid of him.  It was not just the boss but those he hired who seemed to be in a club against my desperately hard-working husband, a man who came home drained physically and emotionally.  I missed my husband more and more, and with that, the boss became more of the enemy.

This week hubby was called on his day off and told he had to come in to work for a meeting.  This happened once every 6 weeks or so and made me so angry.  I sat in a mall, because hubby was called in while we were out together, and didn't have time to go home and get my car.  The two kids ran over me in the play area, but it was over quickly.  Hubby called.  The meeting was simple.  The boss was fired.

News is one of the last jobs, it would seem, where people get fired all the time based on performance.  So much of American jobs now want to be so "positive" that they don't fire for bottom lines anymore, but in the news, they can fire you for anything!  And so boss was already sitting in his house for 2 days.  He was out.

Hubby's first reaction was so different from mine.  My reaction was immediate relief.  Fear of the next boss, joy to be rid of this guy.  Hubby's was to feel bad for the boss, as he knew what it felt like to be fired himself.  He knew the pain.  THe next morning, when the boss posted to facebook that he'd been crying over drinks all day, hubby sent him a long personal message.  It was encouraging, with no trace of the last year of this guy being a total jerk to him.

This is a big reason why my husband is the person I chose as my partner.  His sense of honor and empathy is incredibly strong.  He is sometimes my hero.  That night we prayed for his boss.  I started the prayer, and afterward my husband said, "thanks for doing that."  I said, "it wasn't easy." and he acknowledged that.

The boss required with the message, "Thanks.  I know we've had our difficulties.  You're still the best breaking news producer I've had."  His one compliment for my husband, which he'd heard before, might be the thing he remembers best.  But more likely it's that my husband wrote him a kind message at the end.

And I pray this boss learns to encourage from my husband.  I pray he learns what it is to treat someone with the kindness you wish you had.  I pray the next boss loves hubby for his character, like I do.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Scrambling (Or Why I Miss My Sister)

I am not someone who misses people generally.  I know it's hard not to miss children--they grow and change so much, and they forget you!  But adults, I guess I have never missed.  I make sure I see people I love frequently, whenever possible.  I might see ice on a tree, or a red bird, and miss someone, but I don't pine, long, or any of those things.  For years I thought this was a bad thing, and now, generally, I feel grateful for it.

My sister just left.  She was here for a week.  This was following my mom being here for about 2 weeks, and my in-laws for the week before that.  And I miss my sister.  I forgot what it was like to chat all day, to have someone agree with me about lots of things, and to have someone look at my clothes and say "damn you look thin" or "don't wear that again, it's not flattering."  I spend a lot of time in Iowa missing that.  I believe I have friends now, but I miss that kind of trust and intimacy.

And husbands, however good, are pretty bad at that.

The other day I looked at my husband, feeling worried about recent nutty behavior.  I said, "I'm not crazy am

I?" and he smiled and started to kiss me.  I pulled back, mad.  I said (off the top of my head)  "You are supposed to say, 'no dear, you are the glue that holds my life together but sure, you have crazy moments like everyone else'."  He won't say that.  Unfortunately you can't give people scripts.

I have not worked out childcare.  I am working this week, and I still have days with no childcare for my infant. I have tried for M O N T H S.  I can't believe how hard this is!  You don't want to pick someone off craigslist, you don't have the money to pick anyone, you have weird hours, no one wants a part-time kiddo.  IT BLOWS. 

You know what I want to be thinking about?  More singing.  I want to practice.  I do not want to be calling women who do at-home daycare and trying to investigate if they will secretly smoke around my child.  I don't want to be scrambling for cash to pay the teenager I found who can do it today.

I'm off to kick and punch right now.  I'm dreading it, as always, but I know I'll come home feeling positive.  I just wish someone would be waiting for me at the door, wanting to chat, offering to watch my kids, cleaning my living room.  I want a wife, I think.  Is that too much to ask?

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Without, Within

I sat tonight, in a rallying awards ceremony for the fitness program I have started and become addicted to.  I thought I might win $1000, because my entire body had changed.  In 10 weeks I weigh 17 pounds less, I have fewer inches on my body, and I can run a mile in less time than when I started.  The biggest feeling of accomplishment is that I can do "real" pushups now.  I can do "real" situps.  Doing something you didn't know you could do is amazingly empowering.

When I was 25 I would have done anything for a "thin pill", a simple, painless way to be the person I thought would be happy and loved.   (the skinny person, if you don't know) and what a journey I have been on, that now I am that person, and just have the body, the shell of myself to change.  I want to be fit, healthy, diabetes-free.  And I want to be proud of the work I've done to wear a smaller clothing size.  Not some perfect, idealized size.  Just the size the healthy me was meant to wear.

Is that rambling?  Re-reading it, it's what I wanted to say, but it sounds pretty confusing.

I guess what I'm saying is it's not the result, it's the work.  We knew that though, right?

So I didn't win, which didn't feel bad, except for the girl who won lost 30 pounds in 10 weeks.  Who does that?  All those years of fad dieting, starving, and I could never lose weight like that.  It makes me think of those who get the first thing they audition for.  I mean, yeah, they practiced, but why does my road have to be so much longer, so much slower?

One thing that separates me from, well, everyone, is that I love to speak publicly.  As each winner went up, they asked people to give an impromptu speech.  The horrified winners gave awkward, random speeches with an odd amount of cursing in them.  My speech, written in my head, that I never got to give is this:

I have tried everything.  I have painfully gone through fad diets and years of "working out" 5 days a week, and barely losing.  I wondered what I was doing wrong, and I just wanted so much to be healthy.  When 4 years ago I got pregnant, I found out I had diabetes.  I thought I was big but healthy, but everything changed when I had to be a 36 year old woman with diabetes.  I was officially unhealthy.  When I kick or punch a bag in this class, I picture those drugs, that diagnosis, and I punch the hell out of them.  I picture the horrible pregnancy, I picture all the things I wish I could do, all the swimsuits I have never gotten to wear, all the beaches I've never run on, and all the airplanes whose seats were just barely big enough to hold me.  I punch, and kick, and pull myself off of the mat.  And every time I get through that class, I win.  I win every time I eat mindfully, every time I guzzle water.  I win.

(end of speech)

And then it occurred to me halfway through the rally that maybe God brought me all the way to Iowa just so I could do this thing.  Just so I could finally get this prayer answered, that my life would change, that I'd toss the meds, that I'd run on beaches and kayak and look at myself in mirrors.  Just for a brief second, I thought it.   Maybe it was God's thought.  Crazy, small, snowy Iowa.  And all my future seemed possible.

The Step 3 Prayer from AA

(not crazy about the "old language" but still my favorite pre-written prayer)


I offer myself to thee, to make of me and to do with me as thou wilt.  Relieve me of the bondage of SELF, that I may better do thy will.  Take away my difficulties, so that victory over them may bear witness to thy power, thy love, and thy way of life.

May I do thy will always.  Amen.