Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Time Management

In trying to manage my time better, perhaps I've been going about things the wrong way.  My friend Eleanor once asked, when I said something about it, is time really something to be managed?

Is it?

I've always treated it as such -- a force of nature to conquer, an enemy to dominate, a closing door through which I must race, sliding on the ground and nearly getting crushed in order to slip through like Princess Leia and company in that scene on the Death Star.

But in striving to manage, conquer, overcome time, am I not being kind to myself?  That's something else Eleanor reminds me that I need to do.  Be kind to myself.  And it occurs to me that in attempting to regiment my time too closely, I am being strict, militaristic, unkind.

And yet what's a single mom with a demanding job to do?  There are kids to feed, bills to pay, reports to write.  There is a body to keep in shape, hair to dye, scores of fingernails and toenails (mine and little ones) to keep cut.  There is laundry to do, dishes to wash, floors to sweep.

I don't have the answers.  But maybe I'm finally starting to ask the right questions.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Voices Within

A friend has been urging me for some time to start at anonymous blog, because some of the issues I am dealing with may be issues others are dealing with a well.  I have been saying no, but today I said yes.  New year, new blog.

The name, The Voices Within, refers to the different parts of me that sometimes seem to be at war with one another.  The other day, when the friend who had been unsuccessfully urging me to start a blog asked me to name the parts of me that were fighting against each other so that I could more clearly identify them and to sort through what happens in situations where they're working at cross purposes.

My initial gut reaction was, that's crazy.  Who am I, Sybil?  But then, as so often happens when my gut reaction says crazy, it doesn't seem half so crazy once I stop and reflect.  When I did, I realized that I could very easily identify those parts, and that naming them was easy.  They were all (all the ones I thought of that day) Greek goddesses:

Demeter is the mother, loving her children desperately and struggling to do her best but beating herself up when she's not paying close attention and lets Persephone be abducted and taken away to the underworld.

Persephone is the little girl whose mother didn't protect her, didn't love her enough, who is sad and lonely and crying.

Aphrodite is the soft, feminine woman who wants to be loved by a man, who wants to feel beautiful and sexually alive, who wants to be open and vulnerable and let a man be a man, not remake him into a feminist caricature of a man.

Athena is the proud, feminist professional woman, who has to be smarter, better, more efficient than anyone, who can beat a man at a man's game, and who sees emotional vulnerability as weak, and mocks Aphrodite cruelly for her desire to be loved and needed by a man.

Artemis is the spoiled teenager who wants her own way, who avoids responsibility and maturity.

Medusa is the selfish, irrational madwoman who when things go wrong wants to take something heavy and valuable and fling it against the wall, smashing it to bits. She is the one who snarls in anger at people, whose hissing, serpentine tresses scare the shit out of her children, her friends, her lovers when they are so unfortunate as to catch a glimpse of her horrifying face.

Hera is the proud, status seeking paragon of family values, the woman who would NEVER get a divorce, NEVER do this, NEVER do that. She is the Uber-Bitch who beats up on all the rest of them, makes them feel small, tries to shame them into thinking that the things they want are stupid, useless, trivial. She is the one I hate the most -- which probably means she is the one I most need to learn to forgive and to love.

Later, I realized there was at least one more, the voice of a beloved relative who is no longer with me, who though she meant well, always pointed out the bad things that might happen, and made me afraid to do some of the things I really wanted to.  I live with regrets to this day for not doing those things.  I don't blame her, because she did it out of love, but I still hear her voice coming from inside me when I am afraid to do something I desperately ache to do.

There is something I ache to do now, but am afraid.  There have been a number of things in recent years that I have been afraid to do, but I have done them anyway, and been glad afterward.  Even the ones that brought me pain eventually brought me wisdom and understanding that was worth the price of the pain.

I wanted to start this blog, but was afraid.  Now I have.