Overfunction?

I’m an overfunctioner. I just learned that word this morning on the way to work while I was listening to Brene’ Brown’s Rising Strong (a must-read for anyone who considers themselves part of the human race).

I recognized my own tendencies as Brene’ was describing the person who “does” instead of “feels” in the face of grief. Good lord – the very definition of debi in times of sorrow! I push aside the horrible overwhelming feelings and “take care of things.”

But not only that, by taking over so much, I allow others to fall into underfunctioning. According to Brene’, when someone becomes an underfunctioner they fully feel, they allow others to do for them – all the things that I fight so hard against for myself. Underfunctioning can be a two-edged sword. It can encourage drowning in sorrow, depression. But, and this is a big BUT…

Underfunctioning can also be a blessing, one that I need to somehow embrace. I allowed, probably encouraged, my now incredibly capable daughter to be an underfunctioner during times of grief. And it burned her with searing pain at times – feelings she often didn’t know how to handle. But through the years she has figured out how to make a balance. She feels (so much more than I do) grief deep in her soul, accepts it and then she takes baby steps, bigger steps and finally walks boldly away from it. My grief follows me, haunts me, tries to rise above the surface and I just keep pushing it down with to-do lists.

As I was typing this, I listened to Joe Biden speak of not knowing whether he will run for president. I admire the man – he is feeling his grief and not embracing an overfunctioner’s attitude. He stated honestly, with heart-wrenching pain in his voice, that he doesn’t know what he will do, whether he will run for president of the United States. With only a few words, Vice President Biden laid his soul bare to the world. “True bravery and bad-assery” as Brene’ would say.

When will I allow myself to fully feel like Mr. Biden and my daughter do? Will I ever allow it? And if I do, will I ever recover afterward? I think that is probably what I fear the most.

But! I have an extensive support network and I’m intelligent and could navigate to health. Maybe I’ll truly convince myself of that and get there someday.

~ debi

And Happy Birthday to me.

Cry At Bad News?

Bah.

Crises just demand that I dig in and conquer or find a detour that is too damn smart for the person, place or thing to disrupt too much life. (Grumpiness tends to accompany this energy.)

But… hand me good news. Especially good news in doses and I’m reduced to a snotty sniveling baby who giggles between fountains of tears.

Cheers!

~ debi

Can I Take it Back?

I really despise the not so nice person I become on occasion. I become snarky and condescending, with a holier-than-thou attitude that is oxymoronic considering my Satan-of-the-moment persona.

Minutes later, I’m filled with regret. I’m horrified at the pain I’ve caused. I want so badly to take it back, purge that memory, time travel and try again (ha – I’m sure I’d bungle it again, considering my track record).

The saddest part is who I attack – the man who is always on my side, who vowed till death do we part. To his credit, he is always gracious. He sees the bigger picture. The extent of his love and patience show me how low on the maturity scale I’ve dipped.

There are no excuses. No matter my glum state of mind, he deserves my best. He deserves for me to take a breath, reflect on who he is, who I am, what we have and then act and speak accordingly.

Maybe now that this is a written testament, I will more often do what is right. I hope so.

– debi

Honey, do

My man is really special, and from all indications he likes coming home. He likes our life together. There IS a secret that helps make this possible. At least the empirical evidence of Debi’s life quality points to this conclusion.

It’s all about the honey-do list.

Seriously? Men hate honey-do lists. They sit on the couch for six months saying they’ll “get to it.” Ha.

So I’ll let ya in on my covert formula: create that list with care… Wait! Hang with me. Stop and clear your head. Ready? Now, think… what does he really enjoy (other than sex – that’s a given). My guy – he likes to shop, travel, eat, drink, take long grueling bike rides, talk, watch dark complicated TV shows, dissolve into silly laughter. So there you have it: that’s his honey-do list. As long as I stick to that list, he doesn’t mind me asking – in fact he jumps to do his chores. Works every time.

Example: during last night’s dinnertime honey-do conversation (not that he’s aware we’re executing his list), I blurt my theory out loud. He takes this all in with twinkling eyes. And… next thing ya know we’re researching and booking a 4-night trip to Tahoe in August.

Tahoe

Moral of the story: plan your honey-do list with care.

– debi

Fleeting

It goes by too quick. Life does.

I look into the face of my dear friend. In the hospital. (Apparently, it’s a recurring thing lately – these hospital visits.) He has aged. I have to admit when I look in the mirror – I have too. Dammit. And dammit that it took the alarm of the ICU to get me off my butt and by his side.

We share news of kids and grandkids (his) and great-grandkids (his again – yes I’m envious). Nearly four decades of communal history are in the room with us… like it all happened yesterday: crazy dangerous fun, laughter, pain, loss.

He says he doesn’t want to grow old. This scares me. So I ask him, “But if your quality of life is good, old is good, right?” I can’t bear losing him.

But I don’t think I’ll lose him any time soon. He’s a tough bird, “older than dirt” according to his estimations.

He’s side-stepped doctor recommendations for a good long while now, hence ICU and the once-again stay in the hospital. This time they’ll be keeping him for a while – in the pulmonary rehabilitation wing. The fun of youth catches up.

(Seriously!? Are we allotted just some quota of over-the-top living!?! I suppose there’s no rhyme or reason to the life and death cycle TIMING thing but it’s REALLY hard to not contemplate and wonder if there is some allowance-of-fun-score-keeping device that pulls the plug on us through death or discomfort.) Sigh… Enough ranting.

CW
I wish you comfort, my friend.
And LOTS of old age that we can share together.

I love you, Claud Wayne.

– debi

It makes me feel

It started in trickles…

a delivery from staggering pain of loss that needed to find an escape from my troubled soul. I tried drinking – often into stupors – but that was inconveniently debilitating and time consuming. And I consider time to be my single most valued commodity.

So I cut down a little on the drinking (come on now – I ain’t no saint) and started releasing fragments of that pent up emotion in something that isn’t just pissed away the next day – words.

I spill my guts on to the page.

I dabbled in poetry when I was a child, but I never wrote in earnest until a few years ago. Now my musings don whatever costume portrays their personality best – poems, stories, screenplays, love letters to my people.

Today writing consumes me.

Besides being cathartic, it’s blossomed to rewarding. Not only in that I receive occasional recognition for decent writing skills, no – it goes beyond that.

For a writer to be made aware that the overwhelming passions she lays bare on the page and entrusts to the reader’s eye are understood, are appreciated and are ultimately felt by the reader is…, well it’s… How do I complete that sentence?

This isn’t anything unique to me, many writers I’ve spoken with confirm this truth: we write, we live to hear someone say of our writing —

“It makes me feel.”

Thank you, Mom.

*

– debi