overeducated & understimulated

"if you're going through hell, keep going …" -winston churchill

Core April 29, 2012

Filed under: Gifted,The meaning of life — Aerin Rainey @ 10:52 am

At the core of my being, there still resides a little girl who just wants everybody to like her.  She is still there, cowering, meek, looking around at everyone and waiting to be noticed, waiting to be invited.  She just wants to fit in and feel like she belongs.  That there are people she can count on, people who would also turn to her in their time of need.  I’ve always had her with me.

When I was a child, I lived with a lot of criticism and self-hatred.  No one took care of that little girl’s need for approval.  There was always something more to do, something that could be better.  Never good enough — what a negative way to perceive yourself.  Always a better grade to achieve, nicer friends to spend time with, more points to score on athletic teams, more prominent awards to win and programs to be accepted to.  I remember one summer when the unemployment rate for Canadian youth was almost 30% and I was having trouble finding a job.  Instead of feeling supported in my efforts and reassured that everything would turn out, I got asked, “Well, you’ve got to figure out what it is that’s wrong with you.  Why don’t people want to hire you?”  Emphasis on the you.  Not the fact that almost a third of people my age were out of work.

It would be easy to blame my parents, specifically my mother who actually thought she was doing everything right and ended up doing everything wrong.  The pattern of self-hatred was definitely established early and it continued into my young adult life.  I was so unsure of myself and my choices.  How could I know if I was doing the right thing?  I had no idea what I thought was important or what I liked.  I was always looking for clues from the people around me to see if what I was doing was a popular choice.  I missed out on a ton of stuff that I would have really enjoyed and friendships with people I could have really connected with because I simply never realized that I would enjoy it and, furthermore, that it would be okay to enjoy it, okay to connect with people who weren’t generally popular and approved-of.

In my early 30s, after my first daughter was born, I experienced an intense period of self-doubt and self-hatred.  I was wracked with anxiety about how to take care of my little girl.  What kind of mother was I going to be?  I didn’t know anything about or have any right to make decisions that would affect this other being’s existence.  Luckily, I found a wonderful therapist who helped me move forward on a journey to self-acceptance.  I learned that the most important little girl to take care of was my own inner little girl, whom no one (except my husband — how did I manage to let him?) had loved properly her whole life.  No longer did I wait for an approval from an exterior source — I learned to soothe my own hurts and listen to the critical voice inside me with objectivity and tell it how wrong it was.  I gained a feeling of happiness and self-worth.  I cut off toxic friendships and opened myself up more to those who didn’t shy away from the real me.

Life was good.

Then I moved to Atlantic Canada.  I was nervous that I would be able to continue my journey without the help of my therapist, since I am really the kind of person whose ideas and problem-solving benefit from being reflected back to me.  I can make leaps in understanding and integration, as long as I am thinking out loud, preferably to someone other than just me. Anyways, turns out I was right to be nervous, because here I am six years later and right back to where I started.

Why do I do these things?

  • Worry whether my neighbours like me, like my children, like my husband
  • Wish that people I meet would invite me to be in their Book Clubs, girls’ night out groups, dinner clubs, running groups
  • Feel left out every time I hear about people doing something fun
  • Wonder if it’s okay to call someone just to chat
  • Question myself for not going to church!
  • Get upset every time I go to the golf club (or even think about it) and see so-called “friendly” people who never invite me into their foursomes
  • Avoid writing on this blog in case someone I know reads it and decides never to talk to me again

Clearly, I don’t need to be friends with everybody.  I shouldn’t be friends with everybody.  I don’t want to be a chameleon who changes spots to suit every last person she interacts with.  In fact, I have never been good at that anyway!  I only need a few like-minded people who would truly stick with me.  I really need to stop worrying about fitting in with the “friendly” Maritimes and all that entails and just worry about being true to myself and what is important to me:  taking care of ALL the little girls around here, including my “inner Aerin,” who needs a huge daily dose of positive feedback.  (Feel free to leave comments below!  lol — I crack myself up.)

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Success is not in the eye of the beholder March 15, 2012

Filed under: Fitness & health,Gifted,Life with kids,The meaning of life,Travel,Writing — Aerin Rainey @ 12:55 pm

This has been a very tough week.  I am not feeling well, I have one sick child, I had that job interview that blindsided me, my husband is sick, there was a snow day, plus I got my period.  I don’t know whether it is required for me to spiral into an existential depression every time hormones and low iron levels hit me, but that is what seems to happen.

In the words of Tears for Fears, from “Mad World”:

All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere
And their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow
And I find it kind of funny

I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I’m dying
Are the best I’ve ever had
I find it hard to tell you
‘Cos I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It’s a very, very
Mad world

But spring is around the corner and I have a lot to do.  My plan is that carrying out this simple list of projects (in whole or in part, which is more likely!) will help me get back in touch with my focus and let me bring my full attention to every detail and start living in and enjoying the moments of my life again.  Instead of sitting around worrying what those people running in circles think of me.

List of projects for a successful stay-at-home mother

  • Declutter the basement
  • Organize/purge kids’ accumulated art projects/school work
  • Finish painting the laundry room
  • Stay on top of laundry loads
  • Work on Brownie badges with Meghan
  • Plan and prepare healthy family dinners at least 4-5 times per week (prepare semi-healthy meals 16-17 times per week)
  • Help Meghan study for rider level test
  • Complete school’s online Scholastic book orders in timely fashion
  • Declutter my desk
  • Complete photo albums in Aperture and order prints
  • Contact all elementary schools in Greater Saint John area re: fundraiser (as per role on fundraiser committee)
  • Visit and present characters to elementary schools (as per role on fundraiser committee)
  • Purge kids’ DVD collection
  • Work out 5 days per week
  • Keep food record
  • Provide treats for teachers on St. Paddy’s Day (as per role on Special Events committee)
  • Declutter garage
  • Buy groceries
  • Hang hooks in stairwell for backpacks/sports equipment
  • Repair walls in laundry room, front hall
  • Hang new laundry rack
  • Ensure kids practice piano daily
  • Help kids with homework daily
  • Drive kids to and from all extra-curricular activities and playdates on time
  • Get birthday present for Clara’s friend
  • Plan summer vacation camps, trips, etc.
  • Plan trip to London
  • Pursue digital photography hobby
  • Read books I have purchased re: education, giftedness, health & dieting, photography, spirituality
  • Paint three bathrooms and two bedrooms
  • De-mold the upstairs windows
  • Clean all windows
  • Make/order blinds for kitchen windows
  • Install new shelf in Meghan’s room
  • Mail Helena’s housewarming gift
  • Blog 3-4 times per week
 

Setting a good example March 12, 2012

Filed under: Life with kids,The meaning of life — Aerin Rainey @ 5:40 pm
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I had my job interview today.  I don’t really know whether it went well or not.  Not an ace-in-the-hole, let’s say.  It was tough getting prepared during March Break and with the husband working and then catching up on much-needed sleep all weekend.  Afterwards, I thought I should tell the girls that it went really well, but we have to wait and see because they can only hire one person but there are lots of people who want the job.

Now why would I lie to my two daughters?  I pretty much felt like crying all day after this stressful event so I definitely needed to come clean with them and say I just didn’t get a  great feeling from the interview, and now I am going to have to wait and see what happens.

I guess I just thought it would be easy to get back in the workforce and show these two girls of mine how great the world thinks I am.  I want them to see me being successful.  The only problem is that I can’t seem to figure out how to measure success.  Is it paid work in the business world that I need to be considered successful?  I don’t know anymore.

 

Whatever happens, I need a new work-life balance March 9, 2012

Filed under: Gifted — Aerin Rainey @ 6:01 pm

I am busy getting ready for a job interview.  It’s an interview for a real, bonafide full-time job with benefits and everything.  A Communication Specialist reporting to the Director of Internal Communications for a humongous hotel chain.  Two weeks ago, I had no idea that I would be spending hundreds of dollars on a new suit, mining my memories for reasons why I am a great prospective employee, or buttering up past colleagues for a reference.

Now that I am applying for this job, of course I am determined to get it, to succeed at this job application, to be the best, to be the one to get the offer.  I wish I could be this driven in my personal life.  I would have finished all those painting projects and photo albums by now…

I have been thinking about going back to work for a while, though.  For a few reasons:

  1. If I wait longer or am forced to re-enter the working world farther down the road, it will be even more difficult to convince employers of my continued qualification.
  2. My children don’t seem to look at me as someone other than a hug-giver, chauffeur, laundry-folder, cook and cleaner-upper.  None of which count for anything.  I have heard them tons of times talking about how I don’t have a job.  Guess that means I’ll still be doing all that stuff and working full-time for $$ if I get hired.
  3. I’m bored.  Nothing is interesting or urgent in my life, so I don’t do any of it until I absolutely have to.  I have no discipline to keep my days structured and productive, and so with kids in school, I just end up spending time heedlessly.  I couldn’t even say what I do with all the time they are at school.
  4. I like working with language and communication tools.  I like them because they are designed to have a purpose.  Unlike this blog.  I relish the chance to sink my teeth into something and really take it as far as I can and achieve something with it.
  5. I want to work with intelligent, driven people who are experts in their field.  I’m tired of dumbing it down.  I want to be considered an expert.

Helping my sister-in-law with her university and college applications, or designing party invitations or forms for a fundraiser, or even producing a marketing brochure for my children’s school is all well and good.  But every time I do something like that, I realize I could do so much more!  And people say, “Oh, you should be an event planner!  You’re so good at that,” or “You should have a business helping people with resume-writing!” or whatever it is … so I guess I am not the only one who thinks so.

I hope the people who interview me on Monday will agree that I can do the job and would be so good at it!  As my husband said when I was in anguish over some aspect of this process, “What’s the worst that could happen?”  I jokingly answered, “They might actually offer me the job.”  I guess we’ll see …

 

 

Working out sucks March 8, 2012

Filed under: Fitness & health — Aerin Rainey @ 6:59 pm

No wonder I am 40 pounds overweight.  I have recently discovered that I really don’t enjoy working out.  I mean, I thought I was just unmotivated.  Lazy.  Intimidated, maybe?  No, I just really don’t like it.  My least disliked activity is the treadmill, but even then, there is nothing fun about making your legs hurt while you watch ridiculous shows on the Women’s Network.  It’s boring.  I tried reading, but I can’t focus too well on the words unless I go quite slowly, which doesn’t really get the heart rate up to the target level.  All those machines that work your muscles — I think they all look the same, are too hard to adjust, and who knows what weight or number of reps you should do.

So I got a trainer.  Now he adjusts all the machines and tells me what to do every time I go to the gym.  I have to go, because I am paying the guy.  I admit, we do have a few laughs together, but it is still not fun!  Worst of all, after almost three weeks, I have no change in my weight, shape, or size.  I am feeling frustrated and pretty much still hating working out.

The other thing I am doing is watching my food intake.  I haven’t changed my eating habits; I just record everything I ingest now.  I am using the website eatracker.ca  and it’s very informative.  But according to eatracker.ca, I consume only a fraction of my allowable calories every day.  So I’m not sure why the pounds aren’t melting off me.  Would be great to head out in some pants that fit me besides the one pair of jeans and one pair of black pants I had to purchase because I needed some that don’t cut off my circulation below the waist.

At what point do you start losing weight, seeing results and feeling like you enjoy working out?  And feeling that it is all worth it?  Does such a point even exist?  Who are these people I see at the gym who are so thin and toned?  How did they get that way?  I feel like I wrecked my body and now I am stuck with it.  Good thing I have a contract with the trainer or I would be so outta there.

I absolutely hate being so overweight.  I keep wondering how to turn this feeling into some sane-sounding plan for change.

 

Free to a good home October 6, 2011

Filed under: Life with kids,The meaning of life — Aerin Rainey @ 11:09 pm

This week, I made almost $100 selling stuff on kijiji.  I just took photos of kids my stuff have outgrown, posted ads on the website and soon, I was in business!  I am getting rid of stuff, gaining empty, clutter-free space in my house, and making some money.

At first, I figured I’d give the stuff away.  In fact, I donated a lot of it to a pre-school.  But in the spring of 2010, I had my first and only garage sale, and made enough money for five of us to go whale watching on the Bay of Fundy for a day.  I realized, Hey, I have a lot of good stuff.

The stuff I have now fits into two categories: (1) Stuff that I think members of my family or circle of friends may want one day; and (2) Stuff that has been so carefully chosen and obsessively cared for that I just can’t bear to release it to the whimsies of the universe.  I mean, after keeping track of all those Little People farm characters for so long, and never losing a single one, keeping the cash register in working order, pristine, clean and shiny, with all its play money and basket of groceries intact … how could I now take the risk that in their next stages of existence, these precious belongings would be scattered to diverse locations, no longer a complete set?  Or the sandals purchased with love on a trip to Montreal, an agonizing choice between pink beads or blue sparkles — how to just let them go without ceremony or anyone to recognize the significance of these particular sandals?

No doubt, some people will think this is crazy — who cares, it’s just stuff, right?  Ahhhh.  I care.  I know I shouldn’t worry about material possessions and that the memories and people supported by these possessions are really what is important in life.  But.

Then kijiji.  Users are combing through the listings, hoping to find that perfect item that will be a great bargain and the envy of all their neighbours.  I love selling stuff on kijiji … I know my stuff is going to a good home.  People who will appreciate it and who are willing to drive, sometimes, across the province to get it!  I would give the stuff away free, but the number of takers would simply be too much for me (and my inbox) to handle!

 

Made-up stuff October 3, 2011

Filed under: Life with kids,The meaning of life,Writing — Aerin Rainey @ 10:43 pm

I love our new art room.  All the arts & crafts supplies can be found there.  My kids can splatter paint and spread chalk dust around to their hearts’ content.  There is even a plasma car to ride around on when you feel the need for inspiration.  Finley, the betta, has taken up permanent residence on the table and the iPod is plugged into a speaker and set on a continuous loop of the Tangled soundtrack.

I would have loved a space like this when I was a kid.  Chock full of glue, paper, pom poms, glitter, paint, markers and possibility.

Don’t get me wrong — when I think about the basement at our house when I was a kid, it was all about imagination.  Made-up games, as my girls call them now.  And listening to them play pretend is bringing it all back to me.  In that unfinished space of my childhood, full of carpet remnants and mismatched furniture, my sister and I and our neighbourhood friends spent hours not just playing our made-up games, but setting the scene for our dramas.

First the cast of characters, complete down to their middle names.  An involved family tree and background story had to be conceived and fleshed out for each person and, if the game was a continuation from yesterday at supper time, we had to recap the entire pretend history. This was really the best part.

Next, we had to build the forts.  After all, even made-up people need somewhere to live.  The pool table, a cast off from my grandparents’ house was coveted for its cozy interior and rooftop garden.  Behind the bookcase was also a fab pad, as it came furnished with bean bag chairs.  Last and definitely least, the couch/coffee table combo.  My poor younger sister often got stuck with its sagging afghan roof and skull-and-coaster-jarring low ceiling.

And then we played.  “Say I’m …  in a car accident and you find me unconscious!” “Say I … get fired from my job, but on the way home I buy a lottery ticket and win!”  “Say … we all go to the beach and we get chased by sharks!” “Say … ”

“Say I’m a world-famous author … “