Being an adult and speaking up

It’s barely 10 am and frankly I am ready to rewind and start this day anew. Too bad life doesn’t come with a rewind button. This is one of those posts where I wonder if it would be better suited for my journal since in many ways I am just dumping all my shit out there…yet I know I am not the only one who struggles with these issues and often when I feel this way, I find comfort in sharing. I come from a culture where too many times the personal is hidden yet I don’t think its ever truly hidden instead it manifests in other areas of our lives generally affecting our health through anxiety, tension, stress and other habits that have a negative impact.

I come from a family where speaking one’s truth and expressing themselves was met with disapproval and when I was a child it was met with physical punishment. As a result I learned early on to shut up and never speak my truth because the punishment was not worth the cost of my truth. As I have shared here before at age 19, I was introduced to the not so wonderful world of anxiety attacks. I believe there is only so much our minds and souls can handle before we become overloaded, in 19 years of dealing with anxiety it’s only been in the past year I have realized that when I am silent I become anxious.

It may sound as if I learned a lesson yet it was my own son who is now 19 that illustrated to me the dangers of keeping it all in. See, my beautiful boy is prone to anxiety just like me, it started a while ago and if he is not cautious like me he keeps himself bottled up and then deals with the vague anxious feelings. I sometimes think that the fact he was forced to live between two parents in many ways has played a role in his own anxiety, in the past year I have encouraged him to be true to himself no matter if it hurts or upsets either me or his father. It’s a process and I believe he will get there as far as his own truth and voice and speaking up.

Yet I was reminded today of the price that can be paid for speaking up, as readers know my father is currently living with us while he decides his next steps in life which now may or may not involve settling down in Maine. I may gripe and complain but overall having my father here has been tolerable and seeing the bonds develop between him and my daughter has been great. But the reality is anytime you have someone else in your space it creates a different energy that all parties need to be aware of.

For me that energy is centered on the issue of sleep, I suffer from insomnia and I have a spouse who snores. Throw in a dad who suffers from old guy syndrome of waking up early (3-4am) and you get someone whose sleep has been sorely lacking lately. To be honest I feel like the walking dead, and with major deadlines this is not a good thing. Without getting into many details, let’s just say I brought the issue up with my dad and the result was not good. He took my speaking up as a sign I did not want him here and it was messy and knowing my dad a grudge will be held.

I am hurt, I am very hurt yet as I went into my space to focus on breathing through it, I was reminded that I can’t control the actions of others but only my response to those actions. Playing back the exchange while I may not have been as calm as I could have been (not too much asleep on my end) I realized that ultimately if he chooses to leave despite my actions, there is nothing I can do. Yet at the end of the day, I spoke my truth and tried to be gentle.

I have written before on the value of speaking our own truths and once again was reminded that no matter what the cost it’s a necessity. It cost too much to walk around with anxious feelings bottled up and as a mother I must be aware of what I model for my kids.

5 thoughts on “Being an adult and speaking up”

  1. This post is spot on! Yes, it is very important to be able to speak your truth.

    Like you, I grew up in a family where my truth was often invalidated and dismissed. I’ve also encountered people outside my family who were quick to silence me or shame me into hiding my feelings.

    It is so important to speak your mind. Never stop speaking your truth, no matter what it is. Holding it all in can be very destructive.

    In my case, holding my feelings in and denying my truth caused years of severe depression.

  2. (((hugs))) I hope you get some much needed rest soon. I really applaud you for making the decision to move your dad in with you. I am not sure I could do that precisely because me speaking my truth often turns really ugly, really fast. I hope your dad doesn’t hold a grudge too long and I think you’re so spot on about being a good model for you children. May there be peace soon.

  3. “I can’t control the actions of others but only my response to those actions.”

    This is the most important thing to keep in mind here…the rest will follow. Perspective and the power of the mind,I find to be the stronghold for every issue I have ever encountered. Your response to your fathers actions is based off of your perspective, which may not necessarily coincide with his intentions, which were based off of his perspective of your articulated intent.
    Yes, we can see just how easy mis-communications can go awry.

    The real neat thing about this is that while we each have our own perspectives in life, with this comes our own realities…To Each Their Own Reality. I try everyday to live by my own words and grab a hold of the rudder and steer my ship of reality. I find life’s experiences to be quite pleasant when using this approach.

    My Mother (bless her heart and soul)was a self proclaimed mind reader. She knew what everyone was thinking no matter what they were saying…amazing right? No, not at all amazing and in fact, sad and extremely unhealthy. Being raised around these behaviors, overtime I adopted them into my reality. The next thing I knew, was that I had this not so amazing talent of mind reading! Fortunately I was able to catch this and brake the cycle. Looking back at all the unnecessary confrontations that I could have easily avoided, I can not help but to laugh and be thankful that I traded in my crystal ball in for that rudder that I now use to steer my ship of reality.

    In the wonderful words of my Mother,

    Peace, Love, and all that is Beautiful : )

  4. Good for you (both) for speaking up! Parental units wield this amazing control, positive or negative, on the littlest things in our lives. Like the other day when I said “Jesus Christ on a bicycle!” when I was annoyed at something. I literally have never said all those words in a sentence together… then quickly realized it was a Dad-ism. Oh my lord.

    I grew up, fortunately, in a house where airing feelings was encouraged. Sometimes if you aired your feelings you’d get someone else’s feelings coming back at you exponentially, so I always picked my battles. Nowadays when I talk to acquaintances about personal things, customers at the coffee shop when I moonlight about items just on the border of ‘acceptable’ for the ‘norm’ (which whatever!) I realize that maybe I have to rein it in a little. Boyfriends (including the current one) aren’t always as excited to share all the dirty laundry with the world. Can you imagine?

    Boundaries and understanding other peoples’ insecurities… it’s a tricky challenge!

  5. BGIM,

    You have got to take care of yourself. I know that dealing with parents is difficult but you are correct when you say it’s their actions not yours. Your dad is venting and I’m sure he’s also upset & confused. One thing that is known, his love for you & yours for him.

    I went through something similar last week. My mother assumed she was going to come home & take care of me after surgery. I’d been telling her for weeks that I wanted her in the hospital with me & I had things taken care of at home. She causes me anxiety & stress & I didn’t need that in my recovery. She was in tears when she left the hospital & I felt horrible. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings but I couldn’t let her push me around & I had to stand up for myself.

    I keep reminding myself that I would have caused more problems if I hadn’t said anything and no matter what we still love each other. It’s still a bit tense on her end but that’s something she needs to work through. Isn’t growing up fun?

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