Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Breaking the Tenth Commandment

I have several more fun posts to write, cute pics of the kids to share, and all that good happy stuff. But I'm gonna take five minutes to keep it real.

We went to Michigan for a family trip a few weeks ago and coming back from that has been really, really hard. When we lived in Brooklyn and would take trips to see family (and escape the city), I'd always be filled with a feeling of dread on the ride home. As the years passed, the feeling lessened. And when we lived in Rutherford, I noticed I was eager to get home after some time away. But this time, our first trip while living in our apartment in Fair Lawn, the feeling came back with a vengeance on the ten hour ride home. (For the backstory on why we left our house in Rutherford and moved to an apartment in Fair Lawn, click here.) It was probably exacerbated by my having to continually climb back and forth between the front seat and the back row to cater to my children's every whim, but it couldn't have been all of it. (Any advice on that one? I can't reach the two kids in the back two seats and they're strapped down in their seats so tight they can't reach anything on their own.)

Once we got back, I started having problems with insomnia again. I don't think I've had a good night sleep since. Adam has done his best to help me sleep better by getting up with the kids and letting me sleep in on Saturdays. And he's always trying to tidy up our bedroom because he knows that contributes to my anxiety. But I still can't seem to just fall asleep, no matter how early or late I go to bed. 

The fridge still sucks and we're hoping to get a new one when the Labor Day sales come around. The neighbors downstairs still smoke like chimneys, outside AND inside their apartment. And Tot Lot and Elizabeth's "free" swim lessons are over so now the summer perks of our neighborhood are all but over and gone. So all I'm left with is this deep and persistent despising of where we live. Up until a few days ago, I've been really, seriously pissed off at God for telling me we were "supposed" to live here. And I've gone through the whole rigamarole of wondering if he ever really did, or if it was just my imagination, and if so if every spiritual witness I've ever felt wasn't real, and if so then my testimony is invalid and I should leave the church and turn in my temple recommend and give God the one-fingered salute. 

But those feelings finally passed. I'm okay with not knowing why I felt like we should live here. I'm trying to be more humble and put it on the shelf. But I'm still far from peace. And this is why:

Lately, there are times when I'll walk through the neighborhood, or drive around town, and every house I see fills me with this overwhelming hatred, anger, and jealousy. It's crazy. And awful. But it's true. I literally hate the person, whoever they are, who owns and lives in that house. I hate them because they have a big, beautiful house and I don't. I hate them because they can afford it and I can't. I don't think those words consciously, but I've started to recognize the feeling when it comes. On the bright side, at least I've been able to step back and look at the feelings and go, "Huh. That's weird." But that's as far as I've gotten.

Thou shalt not covet, the Lord commands us. And I firmly believe he doesn't give commandments just to be bossy, but to help us be happy. And there's nothing happy about coveting. 

So what do I do?


  1. I think one of the reasons I really like you is because you are very honest. I've experienced every single one of the emotions (to a degree) you've described in this post. Ok, maybe not the giving God the finger one, but I know you have a penchant for the one figured salute...hehehe!

    I don't have a lot of good advice. I've lived in Brooklyn for 3 years and I still struggle finding joy in the moment. I don't want to bloom where I am planted. I want to get the heck out of here!!!!! So I'm not going to tell you to do those things because I can't do them myself. And honestly, most days I think the only thing that's keeping me sane is the 50mg of Zoloft I take every night.

    See, I have no good advice. Just know that you are not alone in they way you feel. And pray that someone has good advice for you and comments!!

  2. I have a good friend who gives her husband the one fingered salute as a sign of endearment :)
    I'm sorry you are in a sucky place. I know the feeling, and have had the feeling in rentals and in places we have owned. It is never good, especially when you need desperately to feel like you are living someplace for a reason. Maybe you are there to share the word of wisdom with your downstairs neighbors.

  3. I find that what helps me most when I have those moments (or days) (or weeks) (etc) when, after climbing 2 flights of stairs with whiny kids and my arms full of more things than I truly should be handling, I'm a sweaty mess and I can't stand living where and how we do and I'm wondering why the heck we signed another year-long lease,.... I have to, once I turn on the a/c and cool down a bit, remind myself of those undeniable feelings I've had over the years that this is where we're supposed to be right now, and that, despite all appearances, it will be okay. After that I find it's easier for me to find joy in the small things and just ignore the big things that make me feel anxious and in limbo. It also helps to tell myself that we will be blessed for adhering to this prompting to stick it out for at least the duration of Blake's calling. I don't know how those blessings will manifest themselves, but I know they're coming -- and many of them have already come to pass -- and that helps to fill me with a sense of peace that God really is watching out for us.

  4. I love what everyone has already said.

    You hate me... and you should. You should hate all people who dwell in a home because it is awesome.

    BUT even in a home...
    - my kids still talk to loudly and all at once
    - my kids still follow me around everywhere and personal space seems small
    - with John gone all the time and being alone (especially when he doesn't get home until 2AM - which is most days now) I feel afraid a lot for our safety and can't sleep
    - I now have three toilets instead of one to clean including just a whole lot more cleaning in general
    - I don't know how the 100's of white, wiggling, nasty larva got in our house or where they are coming from or how to ensure they don't come back again
    - we had no where to hang our towels, toilet paper, or wash our clothes and had to pay for all out of pocket even though we are renting
    - our toilet broke and again our renters don't care so we have to fix it but John is never around so I have to fix it so we just have a broken toilet - toilet repair isn't my forte
    - my kids still make sure no one gets to sleep in or take naps, EVER
    - I don't like my stove

    I think I'll stop there, this is getting depressing! Funny that you should post this though because I've been thinking a lot about this kind of thing lately... about happiness, my happiness.

    I'm truly not trying to just say churchy church church and your life will be great, but as I've been thinking about these things this keeps coming to mind...

    "Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities." - Family Proclamation

    In other words, happiness in the home, happiness in my day to day life can be achieved. It can. And I can help make it happen (Also important to note it doesn't say constant, perfect happiness). I've been specifically focusing on work and wholesome recreational activities. Even though we'll move in less than a year now, and probably back to an apartment, I've been painting, doing minimal repairs and yard work. I'm determined to work to really "own" this place and love it - to do my part. I've decided to do that with every move, since we're guaranteed a lot of those with the Navy. Then if I still don't like it I at least tried! I've also been diving into all kinds of recreational activities - good things to fill up my time (running, sewing, planning Daphne's birthday party which honestly parties aren't my fave - but I'm actually having fun focusing on doing this for her) and fill my thoughts when I could be engaged in the grumps, or feeling scared, or feeling uncomfortable, etc (which I am constantly still feeling plenty of all). We so often laugh at this part or pretend like they just threw it in there as a joke or something but I think it is essential to our happiness. We need to have good things to do with our time. Not even just our down time, our thinking time etc. We need to have positive things to switch our focus to when needed.

    So that and I've really really been feeling like I need to start up (because I'm being honest and don't) personal scripture study. Like the Lord wants to tell me stuff but can't because I'm not reading.

    So this is a mini novel of my thoughts as of late. I don't know if they will help you or not but it has been therapeutic to write them down. And I'm going to commit to you to practice what I preach - especially with the scripture study. Keep us updated on how your doing. It feels good to know I live amongst other imperfect humans! :)

  5. I hate cigarette smoke, so there is no way I would be happy in your house. That being said, there are all these ladies that move from Utah to Albuquerque. Some of them adjust well, and some of them hate it here-FOREVER. They miss their families, and they dream all these things about how great Utah is. Utah has better grocery stores, better malls, better whatever. I've even had one girl say it doesn't have bugs. I think part of the challenges you are facing now are not location, but time of life. When they lived in Utah life was more simple. They probably had fewer kids if any at all, and they are making it all seem way better than it was. Also, they aren't appreciating where they live now. We have green chili, balloon fiesta, an awesome zoo, a really great children's science museum. Every place has the good and bad. Location doesn't make us happy, or miserable. It might contribute, but happiness has to come from us, and whatever medicine we need. And, know that a whole bunch of people are cheering for you, praying for you, and loving you.