Friday, February 12, 2010

Positively Selfish

The word "selfish" has appeared in my life a lot over the course of the past week. First, it popped up at my Weight Watchers meeting. The focus was on taking time for yourself and how hard that is for so many people. The second time it was related to suicide.

Sadly, I've experienced the loss of someone I knew due to suicide quite a few times. Each time it has happened, I've heard the word "selfish" come up. I know that anger is part of the grieving process, and that's about the time that it comes up. Loved ones say thing like "how could they do this to me?", or "how could they do something so selfish?". I remember when someone very close to me lost a loved one to suicide and a member of his family said "How could he do this to us?" to which my friend replied, "How could he do this to us? What must he have been going through to do that to himself? This has nothing to do with us!" That has always stuck with me and I think it's very true.

We are taught as children not to be selfish, but it isn't our nature. We are born selfish individuals. We cry until our needs our met, and then our parents spend the rest of our lives teaching us that our needs will not always be met immediately. As we age, we learn that being selfish is bad and that we must think of others. As parents we learn to put our children before everything else in our lives and we often forget ourselves in the process. We are allowed to give in to our selfish natures as infants only. After that selfishness is beat out of us by the bully of life.

But I'm writing this because I want to tell you to be positively selfish! That's right, think about yourself and only yourself! There is a way to be positive while being selfish and a negative way to be selfish. I'm advocating the positive method. My last serious relationship was sparked by my need to be loved by another adult and I gave everything I had to him and to my children. I did everything I could to make sure those three people were as happy as possible at all times. In that process I lost everything about myself that made me who I am. It has taken me a long time, but I've regained what I lost and more.

When my Weight Watchers leader asked if we had trouble taking time for ourselves, I said NO! I don't have any trouble taking time for myself. If I want to do something, I find a way to do it. But I do it all in the positive. My children have everything they could ever need and tons of love and attention. But if they have a mother who doesn't put herself as number one on her own list then their lives are lacking. I gained over sixty pounds putting them first, I quit a college degree because I put them first. I forgot everything I loved in life aside from them because I had been trained to put others first. Well that is over and has been for some time. I don't think anyone who knows me or my children would suspect that I'm so selfish. But I am positively selfish!

So when I hear someone use the word selfish in regards to someone committing suicide I get really angry. I want to look at them and say you are damn right they were being selfish! I've never been close to suicide, but having been around enough of the aftermath I think I finally understand. People who make this choice are so often people who you think are happy and loving life. In the most recent experience I've heard so many stories and witnessed myself the apparent happiness of the young man who took his own life. When I asked some of his friends if they saw any signs, they said they knew he struggled with things like we all do, but they all thought he was so happy. Clearly that wasn't the case. So I imagine that when someone decides that they are going to take their own life, it is the one time in their life aside from infancy where there are truly thinking of no one but themselves. They likely think of very little other than how they are going to accomplish the task that they have decided on.

When I think of that feeling, I think of my own selfishness. I think what if they had been selfish earlier? What if before it got to this point they decided to think of no one but themselves? What if they thought of no one else and sought help? What if they didn't care how it hurt someone else to hear what they had to say? What if they didn't care if it inconvenienced someone because they just needed to get away for a while? What if they didn't care what anyone else thought about the person they really wanted to be? What if they thought of no one else and did what they needed to do for them?

What if we spent a little less time teaching our children to think of others and made sure they thought about themselves sometimes too?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


This morning I received a phone call from a very dear friend of mine. He was calling to let me know that a member of his family had taken his own life. I didn't know the young man well, but I think the phone call was for the support he needed; which I of course tried to give him. I know very little about what led him to this choice, but I knew him as a funny, and outgoing young man in the prime of his life.

But while most people spent the day trying to figure out why this happened and what was going on in his mind, my own mind kept going to his mother. I can't begin to imagine the sheer agony she must be feeling and wonder how her own life will ever go on. I've never felt the kind of pain that would make me want to take my own life, but losing one of my children is the only thing I can thing of that would put me there and I hope I never have to experience it. I wish she wasn't experiencing it now and I wonder, as I'm sure she is now wondering, how could you prevent something like this?

How do I convince my young children that the bad things that happen to them now and later will not only not be the worst things that will happen to them, but they won't be the end of the world either. How can I make them see that there will be some times that are so wonderful that all of the bad stuff washes away? How do you make sure someone you love knows that they can come to you with anything and you will help them?

Things like this make every little thing I worry about seem silly. It makes me let the house go to pieces and give in to the extra treat. It also makes me realize that my current desire to find a way to be with my children as much as possible and to live a life that is enriching to all of us is more important than any "thing" I could ever want to buy. It's sad that tragedy changes our perspective...but it does and I guess that if anything good is to come out of a day like this then perhaps its a stronger focus on those we love.

Rest in peace Justin. You are already missed.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Effing Snow!

I swear to you that I don't think I would be sad if I never saw snow again! Since Friday we have been hit with at least two feet of snow. This is the second storm we've had like this in addition to several other smaller storms. I can't stand winter anyway, but this has gone too far! I have been stuck in the house alone since Friday morning and who knows when it will be safe for my ex to bring the kids back. I've got a lot of homework done, and things around the house, but this is getting insane!

On top of all of what we already have, they are calling for another light snow on Tuesday, and I just heard another chance of snow for the weekend! COME ON! I cannot wait for spring!

Monday, February 1, 2010


So, once again I've been slacking. I'm still seriously behind in school, but I'm trying to make some headway. The material is pretty tough and I find myself feeling pretty stupid most of the time.

Aside from school things have been going pretty well. Last week I lost another 2.2 pounds which brings me to 26.8 in 17 weeks! I'm really excited about it and trying not to focus on how much more I have to lose.

In addition to that, on Friday my mother took me to get my birthday present (a little early). I got my very first tattoo!! I had an appointment at 12:00 and when I got there I was so nervous I was ready to puke! Once there, I learned the artist was running late and they needed me to come back at 1:30. Mom, Diane (who had come for moral support) and I went to eat and kill time. By the time we went back, I was a little less nervous, but the artist still wasn't there! He finally showed up around 1:45 and started drawing the tattoo and setting up. The longer he took the more nervous I got. While sitting there this big burly guy started getting a tattoo on his back. The look on his face doubled my nervousness. Here he was getting one on his back where there was plenty of flesh, and I was going to get it on my foot?!

I didn't chicken out though. It only took about ten minutes from start to finish and it did hurt A LOT! But every time I thought I couldn't take it, he would stop to wipe it off, so that made it more tolerable. I have had almost no pain since and don't regret the decision at all.