Thursday, August 23, 2018

Stand Up to Anything and Anyone

A picture is worth how many words? I need to say a few about this good thing right here. It's clever. It's simple. It's positive. It's me and not me at all, simultaneously. Its none of me. It's all of me. It was also not my idea at all. All in was all little Miss Celie Ruth who will be turning 8 in 3 days and is proving herself to be not quite so little anymore

Last week on a family trip to Lowe's Home Improvement, which is sadly and gloriously one of Celie's favorite places, we were walking past the display for Valspar paint that they have enlarged since their removal of Olympic, which I personally feel is for the best (okay, it's one of my favorite places to), when #celiesays "Hey, mom! Look! That could be a thing!" She points over at the signage and then says "That could he a good message!" She holds her fingers up to cover a letter in one of the Valspar claims. A moment of awe fell over me and I was compelled to document the moment on my shitty Grammy-phone with my 4,677th-4,679th photos for posterity.

She later would use the word "metaphor" when describing it as being a good message. Arguing all semantics and technicalities aside, this still brought on a "holy-shit-you-do-listen-to-me" moment. You know they hear some things but the vast amount of pearls you attempt to spew out at your children seem to fall on deaf ears. Needless to say, I had a moment. Her two little fingers outstretched to cover up the "S" in Valspar's claim that their paint "Stands Up To Anything" which is funny, because I would have just snapped the pic without covering anything and laughed and said Ha Ha yeah: Celie stands up to anything. Tough little shit. That's a metaphor. Yadda yadda. Not my girl, though. My girl gave it a twist; she made it an action. In truth, she gave it a positive twist and and made it a call to action. Love her love her LOVE her! 

The positive, active mindset is one that I struggle the most to pass on to my daughter because it's also the hardest for me to hold onto myself. I experience such negative moods that it is essential for me to counteract that with grasps at positive perspectives. I strive to teach her to do her best to focus on the positive side of life as well as that side of me. While the beast cannot be fooled by platitudes or other contrived bullshit messages, I also try my best to look for things that are actually believable and resonate with me in order to raise my spirit. After every storm I do my best to trudge onward through the scattered debris and remember to look on the bright side of life as Monty Python taught me. It is a struggle, though, because I have both rides to hell and trips to the moon. In my understanding, the Eternal Nothing and The Absolute All are mere polarities of the same pendulum swing. I digress. 

My point being with all of this, parenting is hard regardless. I found it to be the hardest relationship to be in successfully because the size of the mirror may be small but it reflects every little fucking ugly angle right back at you. At least it only gets bigger in time, though, and if you break it, you're ego will be cut to shreds! Definitely keeps you on your toes with your bullshit and I come with a lot of bullshit. One of the things I have taught and encouraged Celie to do is to call me out on my bullshit. While you need to parent from a place of authority, they also need to see that you are human and capable of error. It does not serve their psyche to be totalitarian in your parenting, it crushes their spirits. They need to see that you are flawed, you make mistakes, and you are willing to own them. I've taught her to stand up to anything and anyone, including me. While some might think this is destructive, some people need to get real with their power trip parenting style. You aren't a super hero, you are only a person and they are capable of understanding that if you just take off the mask. I eat a lot of crow over the matter, willingly. Every day. I eat crow, I eat dirt, I eat my hat, I eat my words; I eat, I eat, I eat, I eat. Seems to be a theme in my life, but in this instance it's my sickening saving grace. While fucking up on the daily and losing my temper, saying stupid shit, doing stupid shit, and being generally emotionally unstable I have tried my best to explain the "boo boo in my head" to her since she was 2...because as a SAHM I had no other choice. I was alone with her and there was no escape. She picked the bathroom lock. That's a fucking metaphor. I had to keep it real in order to keep our attachment healthy. Has it shifted back and forth at times? does with any parent-child relationship at times, but I always strive to remember that my point is connection and not control, which seems to be what comes programmed. Fighting the system is hard when you are a part of the system, which is why checks and balances are vital. I essentially taught Celie to call me out on my shit. This is essential but has also added to her already genetic inheritance of stubbornness from both sides, but I just like to think that she's going to be a hardheaded woman some day in a Cat Stevens kind of way. She knows how she should be treated because I am teaching her to recognize and express feeling even when I, her primary caregiver, cross a line. I don't just act like nothing happened and it's within my parental right to be a total asshole. She knows all about moods and emotions. She knows all about anxiety and is learning to deal with her own developing weirdness and the connected struggles. I do my best to help her to understand herself as I better understand myself through understanding her. Does that make sense? "I understand!" she is constantly telling me. It's fucked up...but I really believe her. I'm not the kind of mother that would stack bills to bet my kid is smarter than yours or give IQ that much overall value in a child. Celie Ruth is smart as a whip but her true gift lies in her innate sensitivity, her learned compassion, and her striking emotional intelligence. Kids can understand a lot more than you think they can if you just talk to them, meet them at their own level, and never take away their source of love. Know your audience, keep explaining yourself in order to be understood, and eat the fucking crow. Always. EAT IT!! Just don't choke on the feathers.

Okay, so I couldn't just say a few words about this image but I can seldom say only a few about anything. I essentially never really stood up to anyone or anything and I took people's bullshit all of my life which feeds into many of my problems. My goal with my daughter as a parent is to raise a woman that will not react that way to the world she finds herself in, no matter what. Celie has been through her share of bullshit and I will inevitably leave her with her own pile of bullshit because of my own bullshit because of their bullshit, but I hope that it's a small pile and doesn't stink as bad as mine does. #parentinggoals Knockin' off the shit, my girl is going to be turning 8 on Sunday and birthdays are bittersweet, every one of 'em. Her looks are changing; she's growing into her big girl face. I'm growing up right along with her, though. She has, so far, been my biggest teacher. Being called out is hard enough in life, but when it's by a child it does all kinds of weird things to your heart and mind. Ego punches; growing pains. Children innately have a very strong sense of indignation and if you allow them to apply a durable coat, they actually have their own excellent scrub and stain resistance. This whole idea was just too phenomenally beautiful not to share. Stand up to anything and anyone.