And this...

I have a lot of stuff rumbling around in my head, so if you're here, be warned: My mind is a crazy place. I often share too much, but in my family of origin no one talked about anything unpleasant. Everyone pretended everything was fine. You know how effed up fine is, right? Well, then people did drugs and killed themselves and manifested that bad stuff they didn't talk about in worse ways. So...I talk about stuff. Awkward, painful, personal stuff. Really, I write about it because I can barely speak a coherent sentence.

That brings me to a point I've been ruminating on for oh, um, a few days. I realize that in sharing this a lot of you may think that I need mental help. True story: I just read two books about people who are far less crazy than I am spending time in mental institutions. Given that knowledge, I'm pretty sure on any given day, I would be a perfect candidate for commitment, but I digress. The main reason I'm sharing my neurosis is that I think (or hope) others suffer this malady and don't want to tell anyone. Therefore, I'm going to tell you how crazy I am so you can feel less crazy. Ready? Here we go.

Whenever I have a conversation with someone, I spend a lot of time after analyzing (or criticizing mercilessly) everything I said. It sounds a lot like this: "Wow, that was so stupid. Why did you say that? Why did you talk so much when you should have been listening? What on earth made you tell that story? Really? Why would you divulge THAT in a five minute exchange of pleasantries? You're an idiot."

I feel as if I should keep a stack of cards in my purse for such occasions when I have to interact further than, "Hi, how are you?" with people. Then, rather than trip over my tongue and then spend the next week beating myself up over all the things I said or didn't say or should have said differently, I could hand each person a card wherein they would find my sentiments expressed in thoughtful and genuine, if unimpressive, prose.

Would that be weird? Because I really think I'm going to go with that.

My next point has very little to do with the first point, except to further solidify my kook status. I do not like to be touched when I am sad. In fact, I feel violated when people touch me when I'm sad. I don't want to be hugged, cuddled, coddled, or patted sympathetically. Normally, I'm a big fan of physical affection, so this is difficult for some people (my husband) to understand.

When I am sad, I go to a different place, by myself, wrap up in the awful yet awfully familiar feelings until I process them. But it is my place, and I don't take guests there. I will talk to you until my voice expires about my feelings when I'm ready, but please don't touch me. And if I tell you that I'm okay, just accept that; I'll tell you how I really am when I'm ready. Now this makes me think of my non-touching friends and how I try to be mindful of their personal space but still invade it sometimes because I love them so much and want to hug them. I'm sorry. And it reminds me of so many times I've tried to take my friends deeper rather than just letting them pretend they were okay. It's a fine line, and I have terrible balance. I'm sorry.

And then this: On Sunday, I got to see my daughter for about 6 hours, and then I had to say goodbye to her again. Last time for two weeks, this time for a month. Yes, these are the opportunities of a lifetime. Yes, she is so blessed. Yes, we are amazingly proud of her. Yes, yes, yes. Except what some people don't get is this: It feels just as bad to say goodbye to your grown kid as it does to drop your baby off at day care.

It doesn't get easier. Your kid doesn't stop being your kid because she grows up and goes to college. You don't wake up one day and no longer worry about what he's eating, how she is sleeping, if he is safe, if she is scared. It still rips your heart out when your 20-year-old is homesick as when your toddler cries and reaches for you. When she is sad, I ache. I don't imagine that is ever going to change.

Now that this is all out there, I would like to apologize if I said anything stupid to you, hugged you when you didn't want to be touched, revealed inappropriately personal information during an impersonal conversation or pushed you to tell me that you aren't really okay when you just wanted to pretend you're okay. I am a work in progress. For those of you who love me anyway, I am outrageously and eternally grateful.


  1. Hey Mary, I read your blog often, but don't often respond. You sound totally normal to me…which might mean I'm also crazy, but I doubt it. I doubt you are either. You simply have a heightened sense of awareness of the human experience - your own and that of others. And rather than block it out with superficial distractions - sports, TV, etc.- you allow yourself to experience it with all it's highs and lows. That's courageous, not crazy. Crazy is ignoring all that goes on inside our heads, and in the minds, hearts, and lives of those around us. Those are the people who've stopped 'working' on themselves, instead simply settling to ignore, blame, or boast. Better to be a 'work in progress' and make a conscious effort to examine and know ourselves so that we can experience living no matter how pleasant or painful.

    Plus, you write better than many people I know who excel at small talk. :)

    1. Thank you so much, Kaleroy. I appreciate you reading and value your comments. You're absolutely right about examining and knowing ourselves! Thank you again :)

    2. Kaleroy, you blog whore. I can't believe you are cheating on my blog with...MY SISTER'S! I feel so...violated.

  2. I was laughing so hard when I read this. When I have an area in my life that I feel weak, I try to find someone that excells in that area and then just shamelessly copy what they are doing. I was born with no discernable people skills. None. So when I walked into church one morning and saw you greeting people I was beyond impressed. You just seemed so friendly and cheerful and genuine that my first thought was " is the girl I need to be copying" And then you went to Warren, and sadly, my people skills are still lacking. I love your blog and love you.

    1. Thank you so much, Laura. I LOVED your blog; please write some more! We need a sister get together soon--I love you and miss you :)

  3. If you're crazy - and you are, don't ever doubt it, baby - that makes me, who comes to you for sane advice, exponentially worse. But as someone who has stopped trying to better myself and understand the human condition, I'm good with that. I never get why you are so hard on yourself. You really have no need to be. It's like sometimes you're trying to carry the weight for having survived. You owe no one anything. You'll get no thank you's nor any acknowledgement, but neither do you owe anyone anything. Maybe that's not it. I tend to ramble and what seems to me momentarily as insight might just as easily be gas. Anyway, I love you just as you are and I always have.


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