Of Mice and Meaning: Part Two


I’m in a mood. It’s not good or bad, it just is… ever been there? You’re female, I’m guessing you’ve been there what three times already today? laugh. Me too.

Our neighbors are fighting. I can hear him destroying her gardens with a weed eater and she’s yelling at him to go inside and cool off.  I scrub floors when I need to cool off — men build or deconstruct. That or they go find a man cave and veg.  He’s cooling off just fine, she just wants him to cool off — on his turf, not hers. They are newlyweds and the house they moved into was her house. The gardens he’s destroying have been the envy of the neighborhood for years. This might not end well. I predict tears soon.

Mine is a mood that comes when I know I’m stuck and need to get unstuck. It’s not a turf war unless you consider the new ground I’m trying to break. Somewhere along the last few years I decided that learning how to be fearless would be a good thing. Hiding in cave doesn’t get me there. Neither does scrubbing my floors.

I “get” the dream I had last week — being fearless doesn’t mean being a bitch. Nor can one be fearless by being a people pleasing doormat with no sense of self. And you can’t be fearless and full of self-pity at the same time..

I told you last week that Jim’s book kicked me in the gut — it did. Do you know how I know I was reading truth? I started feeling sorry for myself – a sure sign that I needed to keep reading. Turns out I left out a key ingredient in my new adventures. I forgot to define what kind of woman I want to be. I know, I know – My kids are grown and almost moved out, I’m doing stand up, my husband travels — I tell people all the time that I’m the ADHD Bouncy Ball of Tulsa that keeps my family moving. Who needs definition? Well, turns out it might be a good thing after all. Besides, I can already tell that my husband is at great risk of being mothered by me, and that as we all know is bad.

In chapter 2 of Real Men, Jim writes” and so he asked me, when the (deleted) are you going to grow up and become a man?…to do that he told me I had to define what kind of man I was…there is a big difference between knowing what you want to be and defining it…”

Are you following me here?. Growing up isn’t just about finding a man, settling down and raising a family. Sure that’s a great thing, and maybe for you a big part of it, but if you — or I — don’t define for ourselves WHO we are, we leave ourselves open to the waves of opinion and emotion, and have no home turf. There is nothing more draining on a man – or woman really – whose mate uses them as their only mirror of self-esteem and knowledge. Wanting to be fearless and going back onstage isn’t going to do me a darn bit of good if I don’t have clearly defined direction. My spine will be crushed under the weight of need.

He goes on to write: ” the kid has a goal in mind, but has yet to develop his definition of himself…he needs to identify a few things that define his goal…we as men (sic women too) need to take back our sense of self, define who we are and stand by it, instead of listening to what other people want us to be and then trying to stuff ourselves into that mold…once you figure out what is important to you, you have to stand by it..Most (people) have not defined who they are, and have not come up with their terms.”

 Part of learning how to be fearless — involves action. Willingness (to be fearless) without action is fantasy — I say that a lot. I thought I was the right track, and yes and no.  I missed a step or twelve. So that’s why I’m in a brood. (which my word for moodiness caused by brooding.) Instead of defining what I want that closet to be filled with, I’m coasting, hopeing someone else can define it for me — that way if it doesn’t work out? I have someone else to blame.

That’s really what coasting and people pleasing is you know — a passive form of blameshifting. The victim of this tactic is usually our parents or significant other.

This is actually really good advice. And it’s something I apparently needed to be reminded of.

To quote my friend Pam – also from Chicago I might add — this my friend is AFGO. Another Fantastic (not the word she used) Growth Opportunity. Yes, Pam it is..

It’s not all loss. I’m moving forward, I just need to go back and fill in some gaps even if I am ADHD and would rather wing it. What about you? Do you have your road map? Or are you just coasting along hoping someone else navigates thereby letting you off the hook? It’s okay if you are, recognizing that is a great start – – don’t stop there — do something about it. I am, starting today.

4 thoughts on “Of Mice and Meaning: Part Two

  1. The empty nest issue has never been a problem for me. I try to instill in my own kids that they are not “Shelby’s mother” or “Amanda’s husband”. If they do not get their own identity, they will be lost at some point. I guess that is what the book is meaning by defining yourself. Do not define yourslef based on another person. The most successful parenting skills are never good neough in the end. You will always want to do more, so defining oneslf as “Parent” will lead to a crash landing at some point. Who am I and what is God’s plan for me? Now those questions lead to adventure.

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  2. Rena, I’d never thought of that either. I mean when I worked in corporate, we did stuff like that from a work perspective, but never personally. And having C-man in college has really thrown my Mom status/heart for a loop and a half. This is fall break and he called to tell me he’s going to Texas to meet a girl and he’ll be home just for the weekend! Yeah, I freaked. LOL. Jeff and I have talked about this new season numerous times, I know if I do not have something solid to land on once both boys are gone — I’m going to mother the snot out of him. Jim’s breakout was good. He defined qualities like work, loyalty, self honesty… stuff like that and built boundaries around them. Women don’t always think like that, but like I said I thought it was great advice. And it beats the alternative — lettting other people define us and wearing ourselves out.

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  3. Defining myself…I don’t think I have ever done that. I don’t even think I would know how to do it. I am so much better at letting others define me.
    I do have a road map, and the highway I am on is currently under construction, so it is pretty bumpy and I noticed that there are no guard rails. I can’t go very fast or I will lose control and go over the edge. Maybe that is a key…slow down to retain control, but still keep moving.

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