The American Reality

I know I rarely post on a Friday. I originally had a live post in the works for yesterday but it was extremely depressing and negative. (Originally this was titled The American Nightmare…)

I bounce between feeling hopeless and feeling determined. Yesterday I completely lost my cool. Even when I have my cool, I can feel how precarious it is. I’m teetering on the edge and I feel it.

We’ve had to make some big decisions for our business & it hurts- physically, mentally, financially. This freaking sucks. But we’re going to keep our heads above water & help those around us do the same.

So yeah… I’m honestly filled with more sadness, anger, frustration, and fear than anything else. But we are fighters and as long as there is a little hope and a little will, we will most definitely find a damn way.

Faith over fear, prayer over worry.

Take a bath, read a book, go for a walk, call a friend, do an online exercise class, pray, watch a virtual church service, play with your kids or pets, listen to a podcast, go on a virtual museum tour, listen to music, take an online course, watch the new movies on Disney+, write in a journal, or sit in silence & meditate.

I have a constant headache from clenching my jaw. First things first, I need to quit doing that.

Can I pray for you? Can I send you some good vibes? Can we just chat? This isolation is lonely, even for an introvert.

Fly Me to the Moon (or don’t… please, don’t)

It’s painful for me to admit this, but some time in the last four years I developed mild flight anxiety. I have an overactive brain that tends to visualize everything that could go wrong (although, scientifically, the things I imagine probably can’t go wrong). I’m not going to go into it because I know that I’m being dramatic and I don’t want to put my false mental images of doom into your head, too.

But, you know, just let it be known that I have flight anxiety.

Here’s where I imagine all this anxiety stems from… In 2010 I totaled my car on some black ice and it took me 2 years to get comfortable behind the wheel again. In 2012 I flew to India and we hit turbulence that dropped the plane and nearly shook me from my seat. Traumatic events tend to shake me to my core and send my imaginative brain into overdrive.

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Two weeks ago K and I flew to San Antonio for a business trip. (Details about our trip are happening next week hopefully.) I have flown a few times since India, but the anxiety gets worse with each trip. I was seriously dreading these flights.

The self-talk that happened in my head during our time in the air was unreal. I channeled Chelsea and repeated to myself, “You can do hard things.” I prayed like a mad person. I turned my ear buds all the way up and tried desperately to lose myself in books. Every once in a while I panic-grasped K’s hand or thigh.

When the smallest hint of turbulence rocked the plane I told myself that the flight attendants were still standing and smiling and passing out drinks- it’d all be ok.

Before our last flight home I looked up the dangers of turbulence on my phone. (I knew this was a risk… sometimes ignorance really is bliss.) Turns out, turbulence is very rarely the cause of air troubles. It’s totally normal and does not bring planes down. That little bit of knowledge helped immensely on the last flight. (All our flights were smooth- my brain had the turbulent issues.)

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Of course, when I really boil it down, what the hell am I going to do if something were to happen on a plane? Like, really. What exactly are my options? I jokingly told K that if something goes wrong and we’re taking a nose dive to the ground, please punch me and knock me out. Neither one of us can figure out if I’m kidding about that still…

But back to the point… I survived our flights and, though I was mentally exhausted, I found ways to cope with the stress I was feeling and walk away confident and happy (to be on the ground ).

So how about some mediocre advice from an inexperienced* flyer…

  • Create a playlist and bring a book that will grab & keep your interest. Dave Matthews Band calms me down when driving in stressful situations so I loaded up my Amazon Prime playlist with some DMB for the flight.
  • Watch a movie.
  • Watch the flight attendants. Chances are they’re laughing and smiling and jovial, even when buckled up and bouncing along in the turbulence. Be friendly with them, too. They’re your biggest allies in the air, especially on longer flights.
  • Repeat to yourself, ‘I am brave. I am OK. I can do hard things.’ (You’d be surprised how effective this is. )
  • If praying is your thing have a laid back, honest conversation with God.
  • Research flight and turbulence. First I read this article, then I found this site: http://www.fearofflying.com/ . It actually has a ‘program’ to cure those with flight anxiety. I’d be lying if I said I’m not looking into it…
  • Some people drink alcohol or take relaxers. If that works for you, cool. I’m pretty sure I’d have just started crying uncontrollably if I’d been drinking. I needed my brain to be clear and strong for the trip.

It sounds backward- and maybe this just helps me- but looking out the window helped me relax. The beauty and the stillness of the sky/clouds/ground below was helpful.

(* truthfully, I’ve been flying my entire life… I started when I was a toddler and I’ve been around the world… so, you know, I’m kind of experienced… just inexperienced with this newfound anxiety)

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It’s weird… I’m not afraid of heights. I’m not afraid of death. I’m not afraid of travel. I just hated the feeling of the plane dropping out from beneath me like it did on the India trip.

It’s funny, but I suddenly understand Lylee’s irrational fear of thunderstorms.

So let’s open the floor for outside advice 🙂 Do you get shaky on flights? How do you entertain yourself on a plane?

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A Letter to My Children

This week I’ve been inspired by Rebecca’s post as well as The Letter Link-Up with mr. thomas & me.

I’ll start by admitting that I have some irrational or silly fears. These include horses, my dogs being sprayed by skunks, dinosaurs (yes, I know they’re extinct but what if they WEREN’T?), and someone living in our attic. The last one I have checked multiple times with a knife in hand; our house is old and it creaks.

One of my not-so-irrational fears is how my children will see themselves someday. When I was younger I had self-doubt. I doubted my intelligence, my personality, my weight, my looks, etc. I was very mean to myself (which sometimes led to me being mean to others) and very uncomfortable in my own skin. Terms related to anxiety and depression were tossed around and at one point I thought about running away.

I hate that I once felt that way. I know it pains my parents to now known all the issues I was going through. I love my life now and it makes me sad that at one point I hated it.

That being said, I have this fear that my children might feel this way one day. I will literally do everything in my power to help them avoid those feelings.

Dear Future Kiddo,

You aren’t a thought yet, so I don’t know if you will be a girl or a boy, but it doesn’t matter- we will love you regardless. I hope that you are healthy. Honestly, that’s the only thing I will hope and pray and plead for… You can be bald, tiny, big, whatever. I just hope you’re healthy. And if you’re not, we will figure it out and manage all the same.

Let’s move on.

You are coming into a very turbulent world. This world has a lot of good in it, but it also has bad. The world is filled with money problems, violence, hate, and more. There are babies having babies and children without food or homes or role models. I won’t shield you from these facts- we will talk about them and try to understand them and thank God that we are fortunate enough to be comfortable. I hope that you will learn to extend a helping hand to those that have less than you.

You will have friends and even family members that let you down. It’s your job to forgive, because you will also let people down. No matter what you do, though, your dad and I will always have your back. You will make mistakes and you will have to pay for those mistakes, and you will be in the wrong and we will have to discipline you, but we will always love you and stand by you.

Your dad is going to instill in you the importance of hard work, honesty, and practice. Boy or girl, your dad is going to stick you behind the drumset and coach you. If you hate it then we’ll find something else to work at. You don’t have to be the best, but you should strive to be better than you were yesterday. Not everyone gets a trophy and sometimes you will lose. That’s life. Losing makes winning that much sweeter. That said, winning isn’t everything. Sometimes you won’t be appreciate or recognized for something awesome that you’ve done. Your worth isn’t defined by others- you are always good enough.

Don’t compare yourself to others and don’t compare others to you. Everyone is different and we all have strengths and weaknesses. Spend your time lifting others up, not putting them down. You are a human. A creature. A creation of God. This puts you on the same playing field as a king and a homeless man. You share the same air as a dog and a lion. Everyone deserves mercy and compassion. Respect your neighbors and your pets and the environment- you can’t live without these things.

This next part is very important.

You can tell us anything. Anything. You don’t have to tell us everything, but you can tell us anything. If you are feeling sad for no reason please tell us. If you are attracted to the same sex please tell us. If you are struggling in math please tell us. If you are drunk at a party and all your friends are drunk please call your father. (DO NOT get in a car with other drunk people.) If you are in jail, please call us. If you are addicted to heroin, please tell us. Your problems, fears, struggles, joys, triumphs are ours, too.

I will apologize now because your dad and I will mess up. Probably a lot. But we will love you and we want you to love you, too.

– Future Mom

Maybe someday when we’re ready for kids I will revisit this letter (and probably cry).  Right now it was just something on my mind.

What do you tell your children as far as self-esteem goes? What do you want your future children to know?

-Louise

The Letter Link-up | Mr. Thomas & Me