Writing, Caregiving & Confessions of a “Recovering” Control Freak

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It’s funny how life has this way of pointing out our weaknesses. We have this delusion that we can keep doing things the way we always have and it will work…and that’s when the pressure piles up. I admit it. I am a control freak and a perfectionist.

I grew up in a family of chaos where the rules changed daily and the only thing I could count on was nothing could be counted on. My family was also rather stoic (likely because we are mostly military and medical workers).

I still tease my mom that she had a saying, “Come home with your lunch kit or ON it.”

Growing up, we went through a lot of bad times and crying was highly discouraged. Second place was the first loser. Failure was not an event, it was who you were.

When Life Lands in the Blender

I try to always walk my talk. When I advise getting out of the comfort zone? I mean it, and I do it. Starting WANA International was terrifying for me. What’s interesting was up until that point, life had been pretty uneventful, even awesome. We’d had wonderful, almost stress-free three years and I ran my life and writing with the efficiency of a Swiss watch.

Then it was as if the second I filed the LLC to start my own business? The Gates of Hell opened.

Now? I’m lucky to have my underwear on correctly. A lot has gone right with WANA International, but just as much has gone sideways. I’m learning a lot about just how much I don’t know. Seriously humbling. I also MUST stop comparing how I ran things before life changed. Sure keeping an immaculate house and meeting deadlines was easier when Spawn was in a PLAYPEN.

But just like our novels run our characters through a crucible to (hopefully) change them for the better, life can do the same to us.

While a lot of what’s happened in the past couple years has been HARD (even devastating) it’s amazing what I’ve learned and how it’s forced me to come up higher and grow.

Learning I am NOT ALONE

Original Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Mike Spasoff

Original Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Mike Spasoff

I began the idea of WANA (We Are Not Alone) because I knew what it was like to have a dream of being a writer and be alone with no support. Deciding to become a writer was probably the first time I stepped out in faith that I could DO something remarkable….and it was a beating.

That trial taught me how much support networks are vital for success. They keep us pressing and give us people we can lean on when we’re about to fall apart. I felt writers needed help beyond social media or craft. Writers are people with a lot of stress and life can make us give up the dream. And WANA was born.

We still need to keep stepping out and doing stuff that scares us. I have always been such a workhorse/caretaker that I forget to ask for help. I know none of you have this problem, but I will cop to it  ;) .

In May, (after six deaths in less than two years and two more pending) it all became too much, so I joined a weekly group at my church designed to help those dealing with grief. My pride had kept me away for too long. It’s been…weird. Stripping away the gallows humor. Learning to feel when I’m in the habit of running an endless list of things to do through my head to avoid feeling.

I remember when my dad suddenly passed away, I showed up for work the next day. My coworkers were horrified. WHY are you HERE?

Um, because I am scheduled to work? *confused* It never occurred to me I should stay home. I had obligations.

Control is an Illusion

SO ME!

SO ME!

Part of what I’ve learned is control is an illusion. Often it will get us sidetracked on things that really don’t matter (um, refer to above image) at the expense of doing things that are meaningful.

Yeah, I was in denial. I made jokes about being OCD or a control freak, but recently it’s hit me how BAD I really was (am). So, again, I made a decision to do things differently. So much energy had been focused on the sick, deceased or dying, I forgot to focus on the living. I began doing a lot more with The Spawn, taking him to the pool or the park and enjoying it, instead of working while he played. I joined martial arts with him so he’d have Mommy as a teammate. I abducted Hubby to learn to play D&D.

The Spawn LOVES "Mommy School"

The Spawn LOVES “Mommy School”

I made friends here locally and have become more comfortable asking for help.

It’s odd how we don’t honestly see ourselves and how that parallels with writing a good protagonist (they really ARE their own worst enemy in the beginning). Last Friday, I was in a rush and my foot met the wrong end of the glass shower door giving me a BAD puncture wound in my foot.

I rinsed it with antiseptic and taped it together and headed out for the church potluck because I promised I’d be there. As I was enjoying the food and the company, my new friend Shannon simply got up and refilled my drink and plate and tended The Spawn…and it stunned me.

People can help…ME?

Weird, I know. But even though I was hobbling around, my nature was to be up refilling and cleaning and helping everyone else. The fact that another person naturally did that for ME?

BIG eye-opener.

Confessions of a Yoga Nazi

Another thing I’ve done differently is I’m back going to yoga. I needed a place to relax mind and body before I imploded from stress. I came from two years of doing Bikram, which is Sparta of Yoga. Very strict.

I’m now doing gym yoga—hot yoga, which is only an hour and only 98 degrees. It’s a lot faster. But people come in the room talking away. Two days ago, I was in the middle of the workout and a woman next to me texted through the entire class. She had her cell on silent, but it did this weird strobe thing when a text came in, then she’d drop to the mat and text back. (In Bikram they would have booted her from the class.)

*me twitching*

It really took a lot of discipline to just let it go and not let her poor manners ruin my peace.

The hot yoga really is metaphoric for what I’m learning. Yes, structure is great, but true emotional or mental discipline doesn’t come from being told everything to do in a controlled environment. It’s having the ability to maintain the calm despite. It’s ignoring the people talking, laughing or texting inappropriately and still choosing peace. Because LIFE is anything but a controlled environment.

Having a Good Cry

Image courtesy of Cellar Door Films WANA Commons

Image courtesy of Cellar Door Films WANA Commons

What I REALLY like about this hot yoga, is the teachers will bring in lessons for the day. One hit home with me. It was about crying. When we stuff emotions and refuse to feel them, these emotions GO somewhere. They don’t vanish. She spoke about the benefits of crying.

Crying, in ways, doesn’t make sense. We feel sad or hurt and our eyes leak?

Apparently scientists tested different types of tears. Tears from cutting onions are very different from tears released when watching Bambi’s mother die.

Emotional tears are extremely high in toxins and hormones produced due to stress. It’s our body’s way of releasing the “bad stuff” and it’s why we feel better “after a good cry.” This made me think a lot about our society. Being emotional is discouraged. Crying is often viewed as weakness. Maybe that’s why a lot of us are too close to crazy these days. We are in a non-stop world moving from task to task to task and never stopping to feel or to even —GASP—cry.

Also caregivers are in a weird position. We have to be strong for others. If we aren’t careful we slap on a smile even when we’re crumbling. Often we aren’t even AWARE we are crumbling. I’m learning that it’s okay for me to recharge. I can’t help others if I’m empty.

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I left yoga yesterday and saw two quotes that spoke to me.

Nature does not hurry and yet everything is accomplished. ~Lao Tzu

Blessed are the flexible, for they shall never be bent out of shape. ~Anonymous

What to Take Away

When we step out to do something remarkable, expect disaster. Expect failures.

I don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer here, but like our protagonists face trials and threshold guardians when they accept the adventure, we will too. It might be life testing us to see how badly we want the dream, but it’s more than that. Failures and setbacks are simply logical. We’re doing something different and unknown. We’re learning. Failure is part of that. I like to say, Show me a person who isn’t failing and I’ll show you a person who’s not doing anything interesting.

Quitting is easy. Anyone can do that.

Additionally, life doesn’t PAUSE when we decide to reach for our dreams. We must learn to maintain peace in the storm and to remember storms do eventually pass.

Oh, and another storm will come eventually ;).

Resting doesn’t make us lazy. Asking for help or even crying doesn’t make us weak.

My dishes will always need washing and my e-mail will always be a monster. The Spawn won’t remember that the house was perfectly organized, he WILL remember a day at the pool playing Water Zombies with Mom.

Also, some setbacks or bad events in life are worth having a good cry.

Peace is a decision, not a destination.

I’ve learned that $#!& happens. Me freaking out that the AC overflowed and flooded the attic doesn’t change the hefty bill or the mess to be cleaned up. Besides, most of the crap we fret about 1) never actually happens or 2) does happen and in five years we don’t even remember it.

Never underestimate how important you are. The little things are the biggest of all.

The comments on a blog, the funny pics on a FB timeline are all the small actions that keep a lot of us together. Never buy the lie that your actions don’t matter because they are “too small.”

Remember to rest, to cry, to laugh and to BREATHE. Hey, it’s life. None of us get out of it alive :D .

What are your thoughts? Have you been through stressful seasons and realized you were too focused on the problems and not enough on the joys? Do you find yourself holding your breath? Are you a caretaker and feel guilty doing anything for yourself? Do you forget to ask for help? Are you overly critical of yourself and learning to give yourself a BREAK? Can you think of hard times that nearly crushed you, yet when you came out the other side, something in you had changed for the better?

Hey, I am right here with you. We can trade notes :D .

I LOVE hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of JULY, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

For those who need help building a platform (HINT: Start as EARY as possible) here’s my newest social media book, Rise of the Machines–Human Authors in a Digital World is NOW AVAILABLE. Only $6.99.

Announcements:

If you feel you might have the vapors after reading all of this, no worries, I offer classes to HELP.

July 19th is my First Five Pages Class  and use WANA15 for $15 off. If you can’t make the time, no worries, all classes are RECORDED and come with notes for reference. Upgrade to the GOLD level and I will look at your first five pages and give DETAILED analysis. This is NOT simple line-edit. This is a detailed, how to start your story in the right place and in a way that HOOKS analysis.

Also my Antagonist Class is coming up on July 26th and it will help you guys become wicked fast plotters (of GOOD stories). Again, use WANA15 for $15 off. The GOLD level is personal time with me either helping you plot a new book or possibly repairing one that isn’t working. Never met a book I couldn’t help fix. This will save a TON of time in revision and editors are NOT cheap.

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  1. #1 by lynettemburrows on July 18, 2014 - 8:38 am

    Oh, boy, Kristen. Did I need to read this post today. I’ve gone through a year of life-changing experiences: some wonderful, some heart-breaking. Through it all, I’ve pushed to keep writing, to keep it all together, to be strong for everyone else. I’ve forgotten to play, to relax, to refresh, and to allow myself to cry. Thank you for the reminder. Think I’ll do a little of each of those over this weekend. :)

  2. #2 by Meredith on July 18, 2014 - 8:39 am

    It will be worth the struggle.

  3. #3 by Karen on July 18, 2014 - 8:40 am

    Congrats on not letting the person texting through the yoga class ruin your mood. You are a better person than I am. Great blog post. Thanks for opening up and putting yourself out there for us!

  4. #4 by staceywilk on July 18, 2014 - 8:41 am

    Thank you for this post and it came in a timely manner. The Universe always seems to send me what I need. Like you, I don’t ask for help. I learned growing up asking for help came with a very high price tag so I do everything myself. It’s safer that way. I’m always taking on more. It’s hard trying to juggle a writing career and be a mother of two; one 14 and one 12. My husband owns his own business so he’s very busy. And recently we adopted a German shepherd puppy. I’ve been asking myself “what the hell were you thinking?” I’ve been ignoring my yoga practice, big mistake, but the other day I decided I needed a hip opening workout. And later that day I cried my eyes out. Hip opening poses will release all the emotions we hold in our hips. I felt better, but I’m still overwhelmed. I just have to let go and let things happen when they will. I can’t control every minute of every day and sometimes you have to ask for help. Go figure.

    • #5 by Author Kristen Lamb on July 18, 2014 - 8:50 am

      I know! Hubby just got me a belated anniversary gift…a KITTEN. My first thought was WTH? Are you TRYING to KILL ME? But the little sucker has made me laugh so much in the past week. Worth it and helping me lighten the hell up, LOL.

  5. #6 by Daven Anderson on July 18, 2014 - 8:45 am

    Speaking as one who has a full-time job, care-gives for my 90 year old grandmother AND I’m a published author on top of that, “free time” can quickly become an abstract concept, if you let it.
    I struggle to let myself go, to enjoy a breather every now and then.
    Thank you for reminding us about the benefits of down time! :-)

  6. #7 by burneplasmafire on July 18, 2014 - 8:51 am

    Hey Kristen.

    Honestly, I’ve come to enjoy the simple joys in life. Opening the curtains in my living room, letting the light in, and admiring the view outside.

    Among other things, it draws attention away from the fact that I live in a block with four floors above me. That’s eight residences other than my own right there, and the rest of the street is the same.

    Fortunately, I think we all have a lovely view of sloping grass and trees. It’s beautiful here in the summer, especially when the weather is nice.

    Doubtless there are lovelier places to visit but, as a home, this place isn’t so bad.

    My point is, despite my misgivings about this place, it’s a source of peace and tranquility. And now and then I need to look out the window and appreciate ending up here.

    Anyway, have a great Friday. :)

  7. #8 by Ruth Hartman Berge on July 18, 2014 - 8:54 am

    You know, I’m continually surprised at how your blog posts so often hit exactly what I need to hear at the time I need to hear it. After a wonderful visit to the ER on Monday, this week has been a slow mess. My house is a disaster. I’ve written about 100 words and I have a book launch next Saturday for which I need to bake cookies. All I can do is breathe deeply and be grateful for my mom and friends who have stepped into the trenches with me. Thanks for the reminder to stop and enjoy things a little bit more :)

  8. #9 by itsmayurremember on July 18, 2014 - 8:56 am

    Great post!!!!!

  9. #10 by ReadingAlcove on July 18, 2014 - 8:57 am

    I’m still thinking, Kristen (and yes – the gummy bears are/were so me). Sometimes it seems that all I do is cry – sometimes, well, I just want to keep things calm. I am a full time caregiver for my husband. Each day a bit more of him goes by the wayside. I live with a stranger that looks so much like someone I love/d. I am learning, though. Finally I am reaching out to the organizations that can provide services. We haven’t found the right fit yet, but I am looking.

  10. #11 by Kylie Betzner on July 18, 2014 - 8:59 am

    Kristen, thank you for this inspirational blog. I’m a recovering OCD control freak myself. Through writing and blogging, and living with my sister and nephew, I am learning to be more flexible and understanding that life doesn’t always work out how and when you want it to. I’m very fortunate to have support while chasing the unicorn. Thank you for providing those quotes from your yoga class, especially the one about crying and asking for help. Most of us are so bad at that, and we deserve a good cry once in a while.

  11. #12 by Liz Crowe on July 18, 2014 - 9:03 am

    great post! We are scarily simpatico. I got “fired” from my brewery job, secured a different brewery consulting gig, listed and sold my house, moved out into a condo inside of 8 weeks while oldest prepped for pharmacy school exams, youngest goes to high level soccer recruiting camps. Oh and the house we bought? A fixer upper, all while trying to write and launch my first self published series. It’s s sickness I embrace, most days. But then again I drink a lot of beer. Carry on Rock Star!

  12. #13 by TLJeffcoat on July 18, 2014 - 9:10 am

    Thank you, Kristen. I needed to hear this today.

  13. #14 by sharonhughson on July 18, 2014 - 9:12 am

    Wow do I resemble this post about being strong and exuding perfectionism. Does it really take the death of someone we love to make us face the fact that we are just a weak person in need of TLC? Just a piece in an enormous puzzle of family, friendship and community?
    If you’re hard-headed like me – obvious answer here – yes. I admire you for accepting help, realizing you aren’t perfect (tip from someone older: you never will be perfect in this life), embracing authenticity because only when we are REAL can we have an impact on the world around us.
    Thanks for another great post. (I hate all the texting in any given situation. I would have had to move away from that texter, thus disturbing everyone else’s peace.)

  14. #15 by CindySheaNH on July 18, 2014 - 9:20 am

    Reblogged this on At Home in New Hampshire and commented:
    Just thought this hit home.

  15. #16 by Kylie Betzner on July 18, 2014 - 9:21 am

    Just bought a copy of your book. Can’t wait to read it. I think it will be very helpful.

  16. #17 by newfsull on July 18, 2014 - 9:23 am

    At 63 I have been through much that given a choice… Probably not, it’s all okay. There are many ways to cope; most have to do with reaching out. I found an author, Thomas Moore, many years back when he wrote Care of the Soul. He is an x monk, therapist, writer, and perhaps most importantly a man well connected to the human condition. I read much and have few limits as to where I will search for my next read, but I always come back and look for his latest work. Each one offers a new message, a simple compassionate path to follow without overlooking the adversities that come our way.
    I love the gummy bear – it says it all.

  17. #18 by MonaKarel on July 18, 2014 - 9:24 am

    Reblogged this on Mona Karel Author and commented:
    I’m going to let Kristen Lamb do the heavy lifting today. We all need to know when to accept help, and keep going

  18. #19 by MonaKarel on July 18, 2014 - 9:26 am

    All the free time in the world doesn’t help if you don’t believe you are worthy of success, and also worthy of the help offered by the universe. Reblogged, and I know my friends will appreciate your words.

  19. #20 by KM Huber on July 18, 2014 - 9:47 am

    You have so been on my mind of late….

    I really do believe peace is available to us in every moment we have. Each moment we are actually in is the only moment we ever have and thus, it is free from any moment that has been or might be. Life is right now only, showing us what is imminent in its impermanence.

    Glad to hear you have returned to yoga. For me, it has meant learning to hear my body so I am better able to give it what it needs.

    Karen

  20. #21 by Laure Reminick on July 18, 2014 - 9:47 am

    Over too many incidents to count, I’ve learned that what I feared most, didn’t kill me (yet). And even if the good point is that I am no longer screeching about a certain issue, then that’s a good thing, growth has happened, and it will probably mean something good, someday.

  21. #22 by ltbeavers on July 18, 2014 - 9:48 am

    Loved and relate to your words today. I have always run to work to escape and to feel like my life had purpose. I am a better worker than I am a wife or mother. But I love my family and I have to consciously make them a higher priority than my work or hobby which is writing. I am attending a prayer session in August on Inner Healing. Looking forward to that process. Growth is one of the most beautiful gifts God can give us.

  22. #23 by Christina L. Rozelle on July 18, 2014 - 9:52 am

    Reblogged this on Christina L. Rozelle and commented:
    As a single mother of four who is striving for success and perfection daily, I needed this reminder today; to slow down. It isn’t a race. One day my children will be all grown up, and I don’t want to look back and regret the time i missed with them. We all need to breathe and rest and yes, cry sometimes. It keeps us humble and honest and reminds us we are human. It’s definitely good to know we are not alone. :)
    Thanks, Kristen ♡

  23. #24 by susanissima on July 18, 2014 - 10:04 am

    You’re an amazingly honest person, Kirsten, and I appreciate that you hang out your guts so that others may feel less intimidated, especially by our writing lives. Thank you! <3

  24. #25 by Elke Feuer on July 18, 2014 - 10:44 am

    I really needed this today, Kristen! I’m in the middle of setting up a writing business myself along with organizing it’s first major event. Thanks for this great advice I know I’ll need to get through it. :-)

  25. #26 by Nicole Grabner on July 18, 2014 - 11:04 am

    Why is it so hard to admit when you need help? Why do we always feel that people are watching/judging us and we can’t show weakness. I know that it’s always been a priority of mine to make sure that I never try to judge someone or their situation (even if it’s a knee-jerk reaction sometimes), but why is that it’s SO EASY to judge myself and feel shame if I have problems juggling all those “balls in the air?”

    Thanks for sharing this, Kristen. I’ve been so thankful for WANA because it’s nice knowing that even if you feel like, you are NOT alone. :)

  26. #27 by Nan Sampson on July 18, 2014 - 11:10 am

    Wow. What an amazing post. Thanks for being so open and honest and mind-bogglingly inspiring. I really needed to hear this today. I’ve been doing a bit of crumbling myself lately, and I was raised to NEVER ask for help. I come from military stock as well, and my father’s voice in my head frequently says, “Suck it up, soldier! Carry on.” Thanks for this! And for everything you do. It’s because of you that we ARE NOT ALONE!

  27. #28 by Lara McGill on July 18, 2014 - 11:40 am

    Have a hug, Kristen. Just because you’re you. (It’s also a heartfelt thank you for everything you put out there into the universe. It always comes at just the right time.)

    You’re the best!

    • #29 by Author Kristen Lamb on July 18, 2014 - 1:05 pm

      I don’t always feel like the best. I have some 5 Pages submissions I have to get back. I said 5-10 business days and didn’t count on Grandmother being in the hospital AGAIN. Can I just tap out? *whimpers* I have just been really blessed to receive so much grace I don’t deserve. I love teaching and helping you guys. It keeps me happy even when life is kicking my tail.

      • #30 by Lara McGill on July 18, 2014 - 3:38 pm

        If I lived near you, I would come over with dinner, tell you to sit down and take some time just for yourself, and see what I could do to give you enough space for a few deep breaths.

        I’m sorry about your Grandmother. That just plain old bites it. Yes, you can tap out. Even if it’s just for a couple of hours. Never think you don’t deserve grace. God thinks you do. ‘Nuff said. (Hug)

        Yes, teachers have it difficult. I’ve got final exams this week, and I just want to shake a few of my students and say “Wake up and get it together.!” I, too, have to remember that everything is NOT my problem to fix. (Huh? What did THAT happen?)

        One day at a time…it’s all we can do.

  28. #31 by medievalphyllis on July 18, 2014 - 12:09 pm

    Your post today came like much needed rain after a drought. Thank you. So much food for thought. I have long believe that people succeed through failure. But that doesn’t make the failure any less discouraging. But your post reminded me WANA.

  29. #32 by Heather on July 18, 2014 - 12:35 pm

    Fantastic. I needed this today.

  30. #33 by estyree on July 18, 2014 - 12:36 pm

    My mother would have a nervous breakdown every time the house was a little dusty while I was growing up. It has taken me years to learn to care about picking up BECAUSE of that. However, I was (am) so OCD that I had to organize the mess. Now my Monkey has the best of both, as she and I live with my parents. Maybe she’ll be normal? (Oh wait, she’s organized her colored rice. Never mind)

    Btw..I would have probably knocked over the tester, thrown her phone, and claimed a random seizure brought on by the strobing ;)

  31. #34 by charlaynedenney on July 18, 2014 - 12:45 pm

    That is one of the best things I have read recently. And boy, did it bring back some serious memories. I was the one who had to help everyone, work for groups, be “on” all the time, even when I wasn’t personally feeling that way. My famous statement was “I eat stress for breakfast and run with it all day.” I owed it to people to do what I did and it got big faster than a gecko irradiated turns into Godzilla.

    Then came the crash. Like Godzilla, when I finally fell, I F.E.L.L.! Things started going wrong, my body decided to not want to work anymore, and I started having anxiety attacks that ended in a shrink’s office and on medications. My family physician diagnosed me with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, then with Fibromyalgia on top of it. And then some weird neurological thing that looks like MS but they’re not sure. I dropped out of my dream of college (5 subjects short, two of those were foreign language and between my 50 year old brain and the Fibro Fog, I couldn’t do it, no matter how hard I tried). I came home and just sat.

    Then I got BORED. Not a good thing for an OCD with anxiety and other issues. I started rearranging the house, the pantry, my 2500 paperback books, my husband’s sock drawer. I was driving him nuts, my cycle of work, crash, be down for a week, then go back to working on the house. Or babysitting/running grandkids around, then crash again. My poor husband is so patient and kind even with all the insanity swirling around “Hurricane Charlie.”

    Then he had open heart surgery, aortic valve replacement, and I spent 3 weeks living at the hospital with him, back into my old habit of taking care of someone. I bought us both Nooks so we could read and I suddenly found a new thing to support my reading habit: doing reviews.

    And that lead me to writing. And then I published it, and here I am, ready to publish book 2, working on book 3, and having a great time of it, despite feeling bad with the “triple whammy.”

    I just picked up your book and am reading it. I’ve discovered a lot of things through your writing. And I wanted to say “thanks”. Your story is so very inspirational.

  32. #35 by Sheila Seabrook on July 18, 2014 - 1:47 pm

    Oh boy, fantastic post, Kristen, with so much hard-won wisdom. The day after my dad died, I went to work too. It was period end and I had a week’s worth of reports to get out, all while planning the funeral, trying to spend time with my mom and siblings, all while trying not to be weak and cry. These experiences, and the realizations afterwards, sure teach us what’s really important. Live, laugh, let go. :)

  33. #36 by Dana @ Celiac Kiddo on July 18, 2014 - 3:28 pm

    I’m a new(ish) fan to your blog and tho post really hit home for me. I’m a caregiver (mom of two, wife of one, ha) and writer and I struggle to ask for help, and I struggle to make time for my own needs, and this is bad for everyone. When I don’t feed my dreams my family suffers because I’m suffering.

    My mom died shortly before I got pregnant with my first child, seven years ago now, and in some ways I feel like I’m still reeling, like since that huge grief, plus a new baby and them another, I haven’t paused to breath.

    Yoga, hot or not, would definitely help me.

    And so does your blog. Thanks for sharing your stories and wisdom. I’ll be back for more.
    -Dana

    • #37 by Author Kristen Lamb on July 18, 2014 - 9:53 pm

      Dana, it’s weird. It’s been almost 15 years and I have never cried, truly CRIED, for losing my father. I feel it rise up and then I shove it down and get busy. And that “worked” when it was his death. Now? With so many people in such a short time? That no longer works and I know I need to let go. We are all a wonderful mess ((HUGS)).

  34. #38 by Cheryel Hutton on July 18, 2014 - 3:29 pm

    Thanks, Kristen. I needed to hear this from a person I trust and admire. The last few months have been hell, but I just can’t let my guard down enough to cry. Crying was not done in my family either. I know it’s important, but I just can’t seem to let go. It’s time to let go and let it out.

    Thanks again! You’re the best :)

  35. #39 by wendykarasin on July 18, 2014 - 3:48 pm

    I unwittingly chose a caregiving role at the age of 3, when my parents divorced. It gave the illusion of power and control, I was badly in need of both. It took me a lifetime, when both parents were (oddly and ridiculously) dying at the same time in 2 different states, to understand that I had absolutely none of either. The only thing I could offer them and myself was my full presence (wonderful and terrifying). It was such a healthy and empowering experience (albeit one of the hardest) that I ended up writing a book about it. Life changing.

  36. #40 by AligningWithTruth on July 18, 2014 - 7:23 pm

    I can relate to this on so many levels. Thank you Kristen for sharing your experiences and insights! <3 <3 <3 NadineMarie <3 <3 <3

  37. #41 by Deborah Makarios on July 18, 2014 - 7:58 pm

    Something I’ve been (slowly!) learning over the last few years is not to compare myself to anyone else – and that includes myself in the past, or my hypothetical self who is living under different circumstances. You wouldn’t do it to a friend; don’t do it to yourself. Love others as you love yourself cuts both ways, you know.

  38. #42 by saralitchfield on July 18, 2014 - 8:00 pm

    I feel like I’ve been crying solidly for the last couple of days. Wednesday I was in a major car crash – on my own, thankfully. I lost control on ice, swerving crazily over a hundred metres before flipping and rolling the car. The car is dead. But I was v lucky, landed upside down and was trapped but someone came quickly and got me out the boot. Seatbelt saved me. Then the ambulance and police and firetruck came and everyone was lovely. Nothing broken, just battered and bruised, and that night I was out of hospital and making jokes… But just like all the pain came a bit later, after the adrenaline had worn off, all the tears have come and I’ve realised I’m not ok yet. I was so scared and it’s like I’m having a hangover from it. Yesterday, the boiler pipes burst and the house flooded and I just wasn’t ready to deal with it at all! Sometimes you’ve just got to be allowed and allow yourself to break down. Tears are cathartic.

    • #43 by Author Kristen Lamb on July 18, 2014 - 9:51 pm

      Awww, Honey. I am SO SORRY. If there is anything we can do, let us know. We can at least be immoral support :D. We love you and are so happy you are okay ((HUGS))

  39. #44 by Rachel Thompson on July 19, 2014 - 8:11 am

    Nice that you are having a personnel break through, but you should take it farther. That women texting in yoga class– you should have told her to knock it the fuck off. Stand up for your space, and your needs when you are right– she was rude and should have been set straight.. You don’t have to roll over just because that’s the way things worked at home growing up. I once received some advice when I worked in construction management, it was: ” Grow some balls will ya.” Never let people push you around.

  40. #46 by C.C. Wiley on July 19, 2014 - 8:42 am

    Reblogged this on C.C. WILEY and commented:
    We are worthy! Is this a a hard concept to embrace for anyone else?

  41. #47 by shindougal on July 19, 2014 - 12:27 pm

    I know what it’s like to struggle with OCD. I have trictillomania, which causes me to have bald spots and pick my eyebrows out to the point of baldness. I’ve started to reclaim my control back, with some biotin and my husband catching me every time I do it.

  42. #48 by ontyrepassages on July 19, 2014 - 8:05 pm

    Though it’s difficult, as life is, you’re making a great many right moves in your life Kristen. It all comes down to quality of life. WANA and book sales mean little if you aren’t healthy in mind, body, and spirit. There was much about my life that was a nightmarish place until the mid 90s and through it all I didn’t cry because that was how I was raised. At that point I broke down, physically and mentally, and a part of that breakdown was that I cried. I count that moment as the game changer. Oh, it didn’t change my life in an instant, but what it did do was open me up and with that came decisions that led to making the changes I needed to make. I returned to writing, I overcame a life-threatening illness, I relocated a great distance in a snowstorm to start over, and I’ve attacked my health via exercise, yoga, mindfulness, and a better diet. I’m happier now than I’ve been in all my years and, seriously, it started with a good cry.

    • #49 by Author Kristen Lamb on July 20, 2014 - 2:12 pm

      I have been doing this strange exercise lately where I deliberately listen to music that makes me feel and cry. Very good for the stress levels. Maybe I am not yet evolved enough to cry when something goes badly because my personality is to take charge and lead.

      A couple days ago a friend of mine broke his leg, BADLY…BADLY. As in snapped it clean in HALF. While others were stunned or freaking out, I was giving instructions. “You, go call an ambulance.” “Fetch some ice. We need to minimize swelling so the surgeons can set the bones with less damage to soft tissue.” “Get some water.” “Elevate the leg.” “No, don’t give him Gatorade. If they have to do surgery, it can interfere with anesthesia and might make him vomit.”

      On and on. But then in this “take charge mode”, the step I’ve been missing is to have a good cry when the crisis has passed. I have just locked it away and kept pressing. That isn’t healthy. We are all WIPs. Thanks for blessing me with your story ((HUGS)).

      • #50 by ontyrepassages on July 20, 2014 - 6:01 pm

        You’re welcome, and thank you. I was a CNA for a couple of years so I know how correct you are when you say that “later” is the appropriate time for a cry. ((Hugs)).

  43. #51 by hovisb on July 20, 2014 - 6:09 am

    This Sheldon stuff has put me off visiting this blog. As Buddha said, better to walk alone than with someone who hinders your path – or something like that;-)

    • #52 by Author Kristen Lamb on July 20, 2014 - 2:02 pm

      Well, sorry about that. The point of this blog, is actually very in line with what Buddha would have taught. We have to realize we are NOT in control and appreciate the beauty instead of fixating on where we are failing, what’s going wrong, what we cannot “control” because we never can truly be in control. Though admittedly, I find it intriguing that blogging about needing to value life and people and be in the moment and that its’ okay to feel and vital to guard peace is hindering your path.

      Best wishes on a blog that suits your needs.

  44. #53 by Elizabeth G. Marro on July 20, 2014 - 1:11 pm

    I love your posts about yourself. Your message is always right on and the way you offer yourself up in all your honest, learning, glory, never fails to make me smile and to think. I think your next book should be a collection of memoiristic essays.

  45. #54 by mariekeates on July 21, 2014 - 4:33 am

    Writing is the thing that keeps me sane in the midst of all the madness. Well, that and trying to find little things to make me smile each day. Life seems to be a series of disasters connected by the odd moment of joy but I’m trying to hold onto the joy, mostly…

  46. #55 by Touring NH on July 21, 2014 - 6:52 am

    As commented by many others, great post. It really hit home for me as well. I haven’t had quite as many deaths as you, but very close. I spent almost 2 years away from my husband while caring for my dying mom (Oct. 2012) and his dying son (Feb. 2014). In the middle, my father-in-law passed away (Sept 2013). Top it off with a 2 1/2 year old nephew who is not going to beat leukemia, despite his doctors best efforts and a recent diagnosis for me of RA. My husband tells me I haven’t truly taken the time to grieve as I continue to do everything I can to help those around me. Sometimes I think if I do grieve, I might be crushed by it. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I do have my ‘moments’. My husband and I have learned so much about the shortness of life, we have formed a plan to retire in 4 years and move into our motorhome to tour the country. I have other health issues and we want to get the most out of the time we are going to have together. I look forward to more of your posts!

  47. #56 by lisa on July 21, 2014 - 10:52 am

    Thank you for this post. I’m under an extreme amount of stress myself. Financial situations that are stressing me to the max. I am looking for a job after being out to the market for so long. I am a stay-at-home mom and I always seem to put others before myself. My husband has to “make” me do something for myself. So this weekend some ladies at church are having a ladies night out, and although I love my writing group, I will go to have some other type of fun.

  48. #57 by Tina Gilbertson on July 21, 2014 - 11:04 am

    Hi, Kristen. This post speaks to the topic of my just-released traditionally published book, “Constructive Wallowing: How to Beat Bad Feelings by Letting Yourself Have Them” (Viva Editions, May 2014). In it I argue that it’s absolutely necessary, as you’re saying in this post, to allow yourself to have your feelings.

    I too come from Midwest stock, hence my passionate interest in this subject. As a psychotherapist and former therapy client I’ve learned that not knowing how to just sit with feelings can wreak relationship havoc and stall professional activities like nothing else can.

    Because (w)allowing in painful emotions is easier said than done, I came up with a 5-part process to help folks do just that. I call it the T-R-U-T-H Technique:

    Tell yourself the situation (e.g., “I had a fight with my partner”);
    Realize what you’re feeling. Putting a word to your emotion(s) is soothing in itself and brings a semblance of control to the chaos (e.g., “Resentful,” “Hurt,” “Ashamed,” “Angry”);
    Uncover self-criticism (e.g., “I’m too sensitive,” “This is no big deal,” “I should just let this go”);
    Try to understand yourself (“I’ve suffered a great many losses in a short time; no wonder I’m feeling fragile”); and
    Have the feeling. Don’t just think about what happened there-and-then; feel the emotion in the here-and-now, and let the emotions flow.

    BTW, I read “Rise of the Machines” and found it not only helpful but inspiring. It made me actually want to use Facebook and Twitter instead of just tolerating the idea of using them, since you provided a rationale I could get behind. Thank you!

  49. #58 by Raani York on July 21, 2014 - 5:45 pm

    I don’t think changes scare me… what scares me are the “shadows” that usually come with the changes… I do expect things “sunny” – and within the known frame I’m normally keeping on the “sunny side” and I know what I need to avoid to meet the shadows… but after changes… who knows? The good thing is: I’m normally quite curious to find the new road on the sunny side. :-)

  50. #59 by M T McGuire on July 22, 2014 - 7:33 am

    Great post. I am pleased to hear you are finding your way through this because that’s what it’s all about. When you reach a certain age I wonder if it’s possible to avoid life changing events. I suspect you are younger than me but I found, when I hit 40 that quite a lot happened. I am constantly caught in a dilemma between being there for my parents, who are sick and a few hours’ drive away, or my son. I have learned four things:

    1.You are not super human, you cannot do it all. You can only do the best according to your circumstances. BUT if you do that, you needn’t have any regrets.
    2. Give yourself time and space to cry about what saddens you and laugh about what makes you happy.
    3. Hold onto something yourself, onto the things which you do for you, even if it’s only one thing, hang onto it and make time for it.
    4. Remember you have no control. The only thing and I mean the only thing you have any control over in life is how you react to what it throws at you.

    Frankly, if you’re anything like me you could do with a clone. If I find out how to make one, I promise I’ll give you a call.

    Cheers

    MTM

  51. #60 by lonestarjake88 on July 22, 2014 - 10:16 am

    I deal with stress by eating snacks and drinking sodas (it drives my wife crazy.) Sometimes, I just want to lay down for a few minutes and other times I just need to get out. LoL!

  52. #61 by Chad Lutzke on July 23, 2014 - 12:36 pm

    Kristen, I ended up getting Rise of the Machines yesterday. A very impressive read so far. You seem to really know you’re stuff. I’ve mentioned I’m reading it in my blog today: http://www.chadlutzke.weebly.com

  53. #62 by rosedandrea on July 23, 2014 - 6:55 pm

    I was so happy when I got my positive pregnancy test back in May that I cried. Now my morning sickness and a minor health thing have me so drained that some days all I can do is eat, sleep and watch stuff on YouTube.
    Things are improving, but I still do not have the physical reserves to mourn the recent loss of a good friend. When that day comes… let’s just say, it’s not going to be pretty. Many other things will jump on the band wagon (e.g. financial worry, worries about the baby’s growth, the embarassment of falling off the social media map, etc.).
    Thankfully I have one of the worlds best men as my husband who will keep me supplied with tissues and a shoulder. :)

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