13 April 2012

Year 2, Day 104 (Guest Blogger: Natali Heuss)

Bob Marley Cleans My Lawn

Last year at this time I started a tradition. One that has made a HUGE difference in my life. It wasn’t easy, but it was very necessary. That tradition was spring cleaning my life.

We throw open the windows of our home, brush away the cobwebs and pack up the winter clothes. It’s our symbolic gesture of greeting the new season. The season of growth and change. Warmer weather, flowers, sunshine. We restart the diets that we started on New Years and failed already. All that good stuff.

But, what about the rest of our life? Cleaning our house, though most of us secretly hate it, is a rather easy thing to do. Going through clothes, revamping diets- those are mere habits at this point in our lives. Last year I decided to go just a bit further with cleaning. It wasn’t so much as a conscious decision really, life just pointed out my need to take a look at the people in my life. Who I was surrounding myself with, how they made me feel. Who they really were. Who I really was. What impact they had on my life.

Most of my life I have fought for the underdog and put everyone else’s needs before mine. It’s how I almost completely lost myself in an abusive marriage. It’s how I’ve run myself down repeatedly year after year. I always rationalized it as something I was SUPPOSED to do. That putting myself first was selfish and horrible.

And then I got cancer. It started out precancerous. It seemed like just a scare. A little blip that sucked but I would move past it quickly and be just fine. When it came back cancerous and things got dark, I retreated inside. Talking about it made it far too real. And, above all, I didn’t want my girls to know. They had enough on their plate at the time. Their dad had gotten his girlfriend pregnant. A baby half-sister was NOT sitting well with them. It may seem like nothing, but to a 5 and 6 year old that were never a priority to him, having to fight with another for the bare minimal attention they already received was a rough concept. The last thing they needed was to fear losing me.

So, this inner retreat meant I somewhat disappeared from various social media outlets as well. It just kind of happened. It was all just a blur. I was trying to keep up with everything going on in my life and then balancing dr. appointments and lab work and treatments. I was a mess, but didn’t really realize it. Then I had a couple of friends get upset at my disappearance. I took a deep breath and explained the situation. One of their responses “Well, if you don’t tell anyone, we don’t have any way of knowing. So, you can’t expect me to be sympathetic to you not being around when I needed you.” Yet, I had no idea they needed me because their way of showing they were having a rough time was to disappear off of social media. The same social media that I had backed away from. See the lovely double standard there?

Other things happened as well and I just had to sit down and take a really painful look at things. I suck at cutting friends loose. I give people chance after chance after chance. I try to cling to all their good qualities, sometimes to the point of completely blinding myself to the faults. But, there comes a time where you have to step back and look at that friendship. Is it strictly one-sided? Does it balance out? Is that person a stream of constant negativity? How does their role in your life make you feel?

After answering all of that comes the even harder part- what do you do about it? Do you emotionally put up a wall and hold them at a distance? Do you break it off completely? Do you sit down and explain the situation and work on the friendship together?

That part fucking sucks. There’s no sugar-coating that.

You know what though? When you are done, I promise you that you will feel so much better.

This year, still fighting recurring cancer, but this last round finally came back only precancerous. So YAAAY for that! My immune system is completely shot though and my doctors SCREAMED at me about my stress level. To have a doctor tell you “Fuck the cancer, it’s the stress that’s going to kill you” is a pretty big wake up call. And, it is just in time for spring cleaning time this year.

Time for decisions to be made and people removed from my life. It’s never a happy thing, but it is so freeing. A really wise person reminded me recently that when you clean out the negative, you leave so much room for more positive. And I need all the positive I can get right now. We all do. Getting rid of my first weed has already made a huge difference. People that dwell in and thrive off of constant negativity will suck you dry. Their need to be one up in the misery department all of the damn time will leave them alone and bitter one day and it’s not a place you want to be dragged to. If nothing is ever good enough for them- that is their fault, not yours. Get off the train now.

Another really wise person I turn to when deep cleaning? Bob Marley.

"Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for." -Bob Marley

There are people in my life that I love to death. That I know would be there for me if I picked up the phone and uttered one word- help. And they know I would do the same. Shit, a couple would hear it in my voice and I wouldn’t even need to say it. And guess what? We don’t talk every day, every week, maybe even every month. Life gets busy for all of us. It’s understood and that love and support is still there. We fit each other in when we can.

Then there are the ones that I talk to every day, every week, every month that I’ve said help to and they’ve not bothered to be there. And anyone in my life knows me saying “help” is one of the hardest things for me to do. I took wanting to grow up and be Wonder Woman VERY seriously. I can do it all myself, you know. Yeah, not really but that’s another post. :)

In the mean time it is time for me to listen to my man Marley, throw on some Three Little Birds, and clean up the rest of my lawn again.

How does your lawn look?

Natali Heuss is a single mom from Wisconsin raising two daughters to be strong, independent, and proud of their Geek-dom Super Status. The best way to describe her is this, which I "borrowed" from her Facebook page:

Graphic & Web Design/Developer by day, Ninja mom to 2 geekling girls obsessed with Star Wars by night.

Baker of full-size Yoda cakes, teacher of adult Apple BASIC class in the 5th grade, better with any controller than 90% of her guy friends, front line of defense when the Zombie Apocalypse breaks out, wanted to be Wonder Woman and marry Spider-Man when she grew up and daughters are convinced I’m secretly Velma.

Founder of UberDorkCafe. Read: Geek girl on a mission.

I speak quite a few languages, enjoy coed naked underwater basket weaving, have an addiction to Sushi and humor is my defense mechanism.

Stupid people make my right eye twitch.

I'm ambidextrously brained, I will knit for tattoos, I am the friend that everyone comes to for advice and bail money. I pride myself on keeping my eyes, ears, heart and mind open. Making me laugh goes a long way with me, I think the brain is the sexiest organ and I'm the kinda gal you can take anywhere and I'll have a good time.

I'm known for huggles and junkpunches.

Other than that, I'm just me.

The business that she started is the UberDork Cafe, a co-host on The Power Geeks internet show, creator of her own blog, and she can also be found on Twitter.

... oh, and two of her favorite quotes:

“You’re not the kind of mom to be all (in whiny voice) ‘please, please, please give me my children back. You would be all ‘You have exactly 5 minutes to return my children unharmed or I swear on all that is holy and sacred that I will hunt you down and fucking kill you.' And yeah…they’d believe you.” “Hmm…that’s not entirely true because I’d torture them before I killed them- you know, pop out an eyeball, take out a knee cap, make them eat a testicle, that sort of thing.”

"...knock on the door and when he opens it wham! They'll junk-punch him all up in his man business and he'll fall to the floor wailing and crying "why?" and then we'll say "YOU KNOW WHY!"


LizG said...

Very empowering post. You're going through a process I started a little over a year ago. Not only is it uplifting mood-wise, you receive a great deal of inner peace, making way for a clearer view of who you really are and want to be. I'm glad you're feeling better, Natali.

UberDorkGirlie said...

Thank you sooo much Liz. It has made a huge difference and continues to do so. I appreciate your kind words! :)

UberDorkGirlie said...

Thank you soooo much Liz. It's already made a huge difference and continues to make more. There are some relationships that will just always be tricky. Figuring out how to tackle those will be next. Thank you again for the kind words! :)