Taking a lesson from the boys

28 Jan

A few days ago, Jade and I paid an impromptu visit to a friend. I don’t see nearly enough of her, both of us having busy lives and living in different neighbourhoods. We had a lovely visit, and yet I left feeling terrible. It took me a while to figure out why, but as I was driving home I realized that I was feeling envy.

Her mother-in-law was visiting, and while we were telling her all the things we had in common, MIL innocently asked, “Oh, so you’re on the YWIM CD, too, are you?” Um, nope, missed that one, unfortunately. (Friend is a much better song-writer than I am!) A few minutes later it was, “Oh, and are you pregnant, too?” Sigh. No, I’m not, actually. A couple of questions from this sweet woman and my ego was just about flat as a pancake and took most of the day to recover. Add to this my friend’s son running around talking a blue streak and busy being potty-trained (I’m not ready for potty-training!) and all of a sudden I was feeling like a bad mom, too.

The weird thing is that I was comparing myself to her without even realizing it. I was feeling bad without even knowing why. And as soon as I realized why, I knew I was being ridiculous (a word that comes up frequently here, it seems) and yet I felt powerless to stop. I guess there’s a good reason for envy and greed to be on the list of Seven Deadly Sins.

Later in the day when I was telling Michael about it (and Hugh, because he was over visiting) they both kind of shook their heads and raised their eybrows over it. I looked at Michael and realized that he would never be in this situation because he would never bother to compare himself to someone else (even subconsciously) and it struck me as a fundamentally guy kind of thing to just go ahead and not care. And it seems to me like there’s a good lesson in there.

Last night we watched Murderball, a documentary film about about quadriplegics who play wheelchair rugby. It really is a movie about the sport and the personalities, rather than a sob story about these poor guys in wheelchairs, although it does discuss how a person learns (or doesn’t) to adjust to a new life with disabilities. (It was also educational; I thought “quadriplegic” meant paralyzed in all four limbs, but it actually means there is impairment in all four limbs, some of which might still be functional.) Anyway, the thing is, I couldn’t watch this movie and come away feeling sorry for myself without feeling like a total idiot, too, because if these people can come through adversity like this and not only transcend their disabilities, but turn them to advantage, I’ve got to realize the only thing getting in my way is myself.

That was a mouthful, I hope it made sense.

I’ve been realizing in the last few weeks that I tend to be over-emotional on days when I haven’t had enough sleep, so I’m making an effort to curb my burgeoning night-owl tendencies. Work has been improving as I’ve started some interesting projects. My artistic life is expanding. Much as I would like to be a mother a second time ’round, that first year really is confining in a lot of ways, and who knows what kind of energy levels I’ll have during the next pregnancy; I should enjoy the freedom I have now.

Life is good and it’s rich and it’s full of possibilities. Now, if I could just get enough sleep, I might even remember that lesson.

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2 Responses to “Taking a lesson from the boys”

  1. asheya January 28, 2008 at 2:51 pm #

    Sorry to hear you were feeling down 😦 I think you’re right about the first year of babyhood and energy levels during pregnancy: it definitely places limitations on your other activities. I think it’s so great that you are now involved with an actual music group, where you not only play music that other people have written (not my strong point!) but also get to improvise and put your own creativity into it.

    It’s so easy to fall into the comparison trap. Thanks for sharing this struggle, and helping me to remember that all I have to think about is whether I am being true to myself, and not worry about what amazing feats other people around me are (apparently) accomplishing.

  2. Nemmy January 29, 2008 at 9:22 am #

    Yes – makes perfect sense. Not that I missed your point (though this will make it sound like I did), if it makes you feel any better, I compare myself to you and feel envious all the time. But proud too. 🙂 Not that I feel quite ready for a kid, but Jade is so darn precious. And you’re much braver than I am in your artistic pursuits. So there. (Love you!)

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