My New Year’s UNresolutions

I haven’t made New Year’s resolutions for longer than I care to think about.

Oh, I used to do it.  Sometimes I’d write a list  on a piece of paper which I would then slap up where  it would stare me in the face on a regular basis. Invariably I’d get so used to that paper being around
that I didn’t really see it anymore, which usually coincided with my rapidly diminishing New Year’s fervor.  By the end of February the list was nothing but a reminder of my abject failure, so it ended up in the circular file.

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I’m not speaking to myself

I got really sick this past weekend–as in, couldn’t-get-two-steps-away-from the bathroom sick.  When I wasn’t shuffling to the porcelain throne, I was flat on my back in bed.  In the realm of Getting Things Done, I was an utterly useless life form.

But that’s not why I’m mad at me.

In the spirit of misery loves company, I broke my own rule about limiting  exposure to the combination circus/madhouse that passes for news these days, including the comment sections (which are the online equivalent of slogging through a septic tank barefoot).  Using only my trusty Kindle and a stylus, I was able to work myself up into a froth of frustration, fear and rage in a surprisingly short period of time.

But that’s not why I’m mad, either. (Well, okay, maybe a little bit.  It’s not like I don’t know better by now.)

Being out of commission gave my mind all kinds of time to come out and play. A few of its favorite games:

  • Compile impossible To Do lists to be accomplished when I felt better.


    Down the rabbit hole again…..

  • Take me on a trip down Memory Lane, featuring stops at every bad/painful/embarrassing thing I’d experienced since kindergarten.
  • Conjure up doomsday scenarios of a remote future that somehow managed to bleed into the present.

But that’s not  why I’m mad at me, either.  My mind is an unruly beast under the best of circumstances, of which being sick isn’t one.

Being sidelined brought everything–work, job, chores, all the “gotta do” yadda-yadda–to a screeching halt.  At first I was too busy being miserably sick to realize it. (Intestinal bugs are demanding little critters.)  When the worst was over, I had ample time to look–really look–at my life.

And it wasn’t pretty.

I discovered I’d been so busy scrambling to meet expectations (both my own, which are insanely high, and external ones, some of which verge on the impossible) that I had left no room in my life for……


That is why I’m mad.

How could I let this happen again?  How did I manage to fall back into the trap of

  • comparing my insides to other peoples’ outsides?
  • thinking that I, and I alone, am responsible for anything and everything that crosses my orbit?
  •  people-pleasing?  (Dammit, I thought I was past that crap!)
  • allowing myself to be overloaded or spread so thin the holes are showing?
  • not making time (with a machete, if necessary) for the things I really love?

Infinitely more important, how do I fix this mess?

One thing’s for sure–if I keep giving myself–my real self–the silent treatment, I’m never going to find out.

Bye bye (Gall)Bladder

I’ve often moosebeen told I have the pain tolerance of a moose.

Sometimes this is a good thing, like when I need to get blood drawn, or do battle with an overgrown rosebush.

Sometimes it’s a not-so-good thing, like when I find blood all over my keyboard because I didn’t feel the killer paper cut I inflicted on myself earlier, or when the “slight” (to me) nasal congestion that’s been tugging at my attention for weeks turns out to be a five-alarm sinus infection.

And sometimes it’s downright dangerous, like this past April when my gallbladder decided enough was enough and I ended up having emergency surgery to yank that sucker out.

For weeks I’d been blowing off the relatively minor (to me) pain in my upper right side as punishment for hauling something too heavy, sleeping in an awkward position, yadda-yadda-yadda.  The lack of energy I blamed on stress (of course) and a highly active dream life. The increasing bouts of indigestion I attributed to getting older and needing to watch what I ate. Nothing to worry about.

Until I woke up at 2:15 one morning feeling like I was being ripped apart from the inside.

The trip to the hospital was ungodly, with every bump in the road providing its own exquisite torture.  When it was time to get out of the car I thought I’d die, and I will always have fond memories of  the wonderful person in the E.R. who set me up with my first IV drip of morphine. After the laparoscopic surgery, the doctor told me my gallbladder was in such incredibly bad shape she couldn’t believe I’d been walking around upright for so long.

Before this adventure, I had never given much thought to my gallbladder. Being me, now that I didn’t have one anymore, I suddenly became vitally interested in just what was that little gizmo’s place in the the scheme of things, and how (if?) I would survive. So I cruised the internet and discovered that the gallbladder’s main function was to store bile from the liver, and I would be just fine and dandy without the pesky thing.

Once I got past the post-op fun and games, I felt better than I had in years. Getting rid of all the pent-up bitter bile and hard stones did such wonders for me physically that I wondered if a similar, albeit non-physically invasive, procedure might do the same mentally.  So one day I went out to the battered marble circle that serves as a picnic table at chez Frahmann and conducted a small ritual.   I won’t TMI you with all the details, but here’s part of what I said:

“Just as I was physically rid of my gallbladder
Which was filled with stones, bitterness, and bile,
So by this ritual I rid myself of the bitterness and bile
of resentment
And the slow, seeping poison of self-doubt and self-sabotage.
By this ritual I banish resentment of:
–my past and current circumstances and my place on the path;
–other people, their circumstances, their behavior towards me and their impact on my life;
–frustrating and unfair world circumstances which are beyond my control;
–obligations which I see as infringements on my freedom
–myself, for my mistakes and errors in judgment, and my ever-appalling, eternally frustrating lack of perfection.

By this ritual I banish:
–Perfectionism that makes me afraid to leave the starting gate.
–Whatever it is that makes me afraid to color outside the lines
in my creative and everyday life.”

Life didn’t instantly become perfect, of course, because nothing ever is. But after giving the heave-ho to all that mental sludge I carried around for far too long, I’m feeling better than I have in years.