Friday, March 30, 2018

Truth Telling/Telling My Truth

I have something to tell you. I am an atheist, and I am an atheist because I am agnostic. I guess you could call me an agnostic atheist

a·the·ist  noun  a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods. (Google Dictionary)

ag·nos·tic noun  a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God. (Google Dictionary)

Agnostic Atheism is a philosophical position that encompasses both atheism and agnosticism. Agnostic atheists are atheistic because they do not hold a belief in the existence of any deity and agnostic because they claim that the existence of a deity is either unknowable in principle or currently unknown in fact. (Wikipedia)

Now you know that you know an atheist and that she is a normal, kind, friendly person.

I have nothing against holding a belief in a god. I was a believer in God and Christ for a solid twelve years of my life. I know first-hand the great comfort, peace, and joy that comes with having faith in a higher being and worshipping in a community of fellow believers. I get it. Religions, faiths, and myths have been a central piece of human communities since human communities began. We are knowledge-seeking creatures and it only makes sense that humans, as a species, have been looking for and suggesting explanations for the world around us, the life inside us, and the beauty, magnitude, suffering, connection, and mystery of it all.

People have believed in fairies, gods of thunder, fertility goddesses, gods of the seas, spirits, shape-shifting animals, giants, gods of the sky, and many other deities to explain it all. I'm cool with that, I just wish we could realize that each person's god is no greater than the god of his neighbor, the gods of her ancestors, or the inexplicable mysteries of the mystic down the street. (Also, I'm cool with your beliefs as long as they don't turn you into terrible people who harm yourselves or others. Then I have a problem with your beliefs.)

If you don't know much about religions outside from the ones you were raised with or regularly exposed to in your community, I challenge you to learn about other people's beliefs. Read a lot of books about religions past and present. If you're the extroverted type, go to church with a neighbor, drop in at your local Hindu/Jewish/Sikh temple for a visit, ask that Wiccan coworker what she believes. There is something beautiful and terrifying about the ways that religions and beliefs both unite us and divide us. It paints a vivid portrait of what it means to be human.

So yeah, I don't believe in god because I'm seeking after truth and facts and right now, as far as I can tell, no one knows and no one can prove the existence of a god. At the same time, I know that my agnostic atheism is no greater than your belief in a higher being.

I see your humanity, and I think it is beautiful.

Happy Passover, Vernal Equinox, Full Moon, and Easter. May your Spring holiday of choice bring you happiness as you focus on the rebirth of the planet, the fresh chance to start each day anew, and the hope and joy that comes with this season.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Accomplishments (And many parenthetical statements.)

I've been in a bit of a rut lately. I'm tired all the time, super irritable, frustrated, angry, feel spread thin, and heavy with dislike. Pretty much, I'm human and life is hard. However, the past seven days have been pretty good and I'm feeling proud of myself, so I'm going to write about it to document the ups in contrast to the downs of life.

In one week I have:
Done a full 30 minutes of yoga on my own at home... four times! (My shoulders hurt now.)
Meditated or made a few minutes for me to be still and breathe... five times!
Gone on a family date to a movie and lunch. (Peter Rabbit!!!)
Washed, folded, and put away all of the sheets and towels!
Scheduled my first ever therapy session! (I haven't gone yet.)
Spent time at the park with my friend, TWICE!
Actually made time to read books.
Trimmed some of the ivy that is our front yard and extended our porch a bit.

The husband got these brick things (Apparently they are called "castle wall blocks," which sounds alright to me!) from our neighbor several years ago when the neighbor started his home remodel. My husband is Mr. Resourceful and hates to see any building material go in the garbage because "he could make something out of that!" So, for several years, these blocks have been sitting in my driveway waiting to be used.

Today, the kids didn't have to go to school and I didn't have to go to work (Thanks Terre!) so I had beautiful, glorious, extra time. The weather was gorgeous and we just couldn't stay inside! After a lazy breakfast, I got out the extension cords and hedge trimmers, the kids got out their bicycles and scooters, and we spent a big chunk of the morning in the front yard.

I feel accomplished. I feel healthy and alive when I use my body and strength (ha!) to create physical change in my environment. I also feel my emotional health improve when I spend a good part of the day outside.

So, hooray for the past week. Fingers crossed for more of the same.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Catch Up Smash Up, I'm Such A Mom.

Have I told you that I compose blog posts in my head on a regular basis? Sometimes I even "talk to text" compose them as notes in my phone, then never go back to edit the horrendous grammar and spelling to turn them into actual posts.

Like this one, which I will edit for you now...

"Motherhood is the single worst thing I have ever done for my personal health. It started with pregnancy. Pregnancy was the most beautiful, rewarding experience ever, but it also happened to throw my hormones out of whack and make me more tired than I had ever before been in my life. Then, I entered the magical world of postpartum life. Being a new mom was amazing, beautiful, and rewarding, but the hormones were still out of whack, creating exhaustion and stimulating an autoimmune disease that completely messed up the metabolism of every cell in my body. Add to that the sleep deprivation, interrupted sleep, and general lack of sleep that comes with caring for an infant. I don't know of anything more stressful on my body or my mental health than lack of sleep. It suppresses my immune system, makes me forgetful, and makes me cranky. Add to that the new level of stress that comes from caring so deeply about another being that their hurt is also my pain, their fear is my fear, and their adventures are also my fears. Stress further suppresses the immune system. I'm ripe for infection just in time to receive extra exposure to viruses via sticky daycare fingers, Kindergarten coughs, and preschool kisses.
Motherhood. It's gross, it's exhausting, it's unhealthy. It's also my favorite thing ever."

Or this one that is fresh out of my brain right now...

Emma gets a shot once a week. Sometimes it hurts, sometimes it doesn't. Her arthritis isn't hurting her though, and that's all that matters. It seems to be in medicated remission, but the doctor doesn't say those words until we have enjoyed a whole year free of symptoms. So it goes.

Today, right after I poked her in the back of her arm, I repeatedly kissed her elbow. While applying light pressure with a tissue to the injection site to catch a mixture of medicine and blood that was leaking out of a pin-prick hole in her arm, I smooched her over and over. I told her I didn't kiss her enough as a baby and I was making up for it now. She said, "Is that true?" and my response was something along the lines of, "I don't know, but you can never have too many mommy-kisses."

The truth is, I didn't kiss her enough when she was a baby. I was scared of her. She was this thing that cried and didn't sleep well, this tiny person that I could accidentally break or mess up. I was so stressed as a new mom that I didn't enjoy her. I was so worried about breathing on her face, or bumping the soft spots of her head, or giving her too much food, or not enough food, or the wrong kind of food, and everything else that you can possibly imagine me worrying about that I didn't realize I could hold her for pleasure until she was like six months old. (I'm just picking that number out of the air. It might have been ten month, when she was even more sturdy and appeared less breakable.) Don't get me wrong, I held my baby, but I held her to meet her needs. I held her to comfort her, to soothe her, to calm her worries. In the midst of it all, I didn't realize that I could hold her so that she could comfort me.
I can't believe I missed that.

Somehow, I didn't screw her up. Yet.
Emma is a Girl Scout, a Brownie. (I am up to my eyeballs in Girl Scout cookie sales. I can't wait for them to be over next week so I can take a freaking break. Except that I won't take a break, not really, because I just don't know how.) She says that her favorite subjects in school are reading, science, math, and art. She likes to be a spy and pick on her brother. Also, she plays the piano like a champion. She is participating in the school district's science fair this week and I am beyond proud of her. She is a voracious reader, a friend to many people, and a teacher-pleaser like her mother before her. She likes the freedom she feels when the wind blows through her hair while she rides her bike. She is self-conscious when chastised by her Daddy. Her freckles are delicious pieces of my soul reflected on her nose and cheeks, and I adore her infinitely. I am trying to make up for every missed snuggle and kiss of her infancy because I now know that she is a healing balm to my soul.

I mustn't leave out my boy child. Do you know him? I don't think I have screwed him up yet, either. Thankfully, by the time he came around I was a more relaxed mother. I found quiet time in the day to enjoy him as a newborn. Plus, he slept and ate more and cried less than his big sister did when she was as small, so that made me less stressed as his mom.

Liam's eyes are still blue and magnificent, they have been so since his birth.  He picks up sticks whenever we go out and has an impressive stick collection in the back yard. He adores being outside and being around his Daddy. He falls down and scrapes his knees a lot. He loves all of the friends he is making in Kindergarten. I wish he ate more and slept in longer. He is a lean little guy. He is becoming a reader and I love the way he sounds out new words everywhere we go. Liam's Spanish accent is impeccable and when I hear him roll his R's I am both impressed and envious. His handwriting is atrocious in the stereotypical way a left-handed little boy's handwriting might be. He likes animals and climbing and burying himself in sand.

We cuddle. He sits in my lap at the end of meals, when we're folding laundry, or reading books. We laugh together. We make fart jokes together. I kiss his soft, round cheeks as many times as I can before he tells me to stop. Sometimes he just wants to be in the same room as me, even if we're doing different things, and I love that. I love his closeness.

So yeah, being a mom is hard work and terrible on my health. It is a tremendous sacrifice and I miss having time for myself to read, write, create, be alone when I pee, shower, or sleep. However, I know that these two incredible people are tremendous gifts in my life and that all the sacrifice is worth it.