Recent months have been extremely busy. Lots of work. Lots of house stuff. Lots of family. Life can be stressful, even when you are enjoying it. And then there are the times that aren’t so enjoyable.
I am one of those people who have a hard time dealing with stress. For my body, stress can be as simple as doing two things at one time. For example, looking for the keys to the house at the same time that I am carrying packages and answering my cell phone. My body handles it very poorly. It responds with rosacea, psoriasis, and psoriatic arthritis. Sometimes I feel like my entire self will explode with my next breath.
I know what I should be doing to take care of that and I rarely come close enough to doing it. Yoga. Meditation. Walking. Breathing exercises. Music. Fruits and Veggies.
The one thing I make sure I get is “me time.” Every day I have time alone to hear myself think. This is a must. No exceptions.
In Turkey, even though I don’t have a full time job as a lawyer anymore, I still come under a lot of stress. I have work to do and the daily chores – cooking, cleaning, and laundry. And of course, there are always friends and my husband’s family who have things come up that touch my heart. I have even recently had new Turkish friends bad mouth me and call me “lazy” for something that was none of their business – not accepting a job that paid way less, required more hours and provided less flexibility and vacation. Silly me.
I don’t expect everyone to understand me or agree with me. But there are times that I get even more “silly.” No, let’s change that to stupid.
For some reason, when I am with my American family, I always expect a little more from them. I don’t know why. At almost half a century old, I should know better. I always get the exact opposite.
I am currently Stateside preparing to celebrate my mother’s 85th birthday with more than a hundred of our “closest friends and family.” With a big family, it doesn’t get any smaller than this. I am also assisting with entertaining five guests from Germany. I am tired, but trying hard to enjoy it.
What I haven’t been doing is putting me first or controlling my stress levels. I haven’t been walking or stretching. Sometimes I have to remind myself to breathe. With all that’s going on, I should be getting more sleep. Instead, I make sure I am up by 4:30, so I can get my coffee, go out on the deck, and sit under the stars with the company of my cat.
Yes, I am well aware that my stress is running high. I know I need to calm down and relax. What I don’t need is the additional BS that only family can provide. Only immediate family will talk to you like a child, telling you what you “need to do.” Only family has a smart ass retort to absolutely everything you say. Only family will ask you what’s wrong in a loving matter, and cut you down for it within minutes of confiding in them.
About a week ago I lost someone whom I really respected. A mentor. A scholar. A great lady. A lawyer you wouldn’t want to tangle with. She fought a long battle with breast cancer and she was absolutely amazing while doing so.
That alone would have been enough stress for one week. Life and Death. These things are important. Health. That is important. And believe me, there’s been a lot of health issues in the family to deal with.
But I have suffered through plenty more this week. All of it nonsense. All of it easily avoided.
Family. Contrary to “popular family belief” . . .
. . . I don’t give a shit how much beer we have or what kind it is. But I do know what I like.
. . . If your kid’s sleep is disturbed because the guest you took in returns home at 9pm, I don’t need a litany about it.
. . . If you want to know when your sibling is returning home, then you call him. Don’t give me grief about it.
. . . If you want to bake something or bring something to the party, then go ahead. I don’t care what it is. I really don’t.
. . . If I buy an $8 block of cheese, it is likely not for you to eat for lunch.
. . . Yes, I did some online shopping. Are you writing a friggin’ book?
. . . Yes, I check my email frequently. Welcome to 2012.
And no, you don’t cook better than I do. So please, just get out of my way.
Yeah, I’m stressed and I know it. Now you know it too. But you never know exactly what the other guy’s going through. You only see your version of it. So, here’s something, how ‘bout giving me a break?