Censored

It may come as a surprise (or not) to those of you who have been reading Honestly Carrie, that I have encountered censorship. Yes, in my meager 9 posts, there have been people who thought they could dictate what I have written or continue to write. Let alone trying to twist my words to support their agenda. So, I am sitting and typing. Finding myself writing and re-writing sentences. Doing my utmost to not offend… anyone. This is leading to a block in my writing process. Immensely frustrating. In an effort to “take a step back” and assess this issue, I’m going to begin with the definition of “censor”.

Dictionary.com gives the following definitions:

  • an official who examines books, plays, news reports, motion pictures, radio and television programs, letters, cablegrams,etc., for the purpose of suppressing parts deemed objectionable on moral, political,
  •  military, or other grounds.
  • any person who supervises the manners or morality of others.
  • an adverse critic; faultfinder.
  • (in the ancient Roman republic) either of two officials who kept the register or census of the citizens, awarded public contracts, and supervised manners and morals.
  • (in early Freudian dream theory) the force that represses ideas, impulses, and feelings, and prevents them from entering consciousness in their original, undisguised forms.

Upon dissection, I feel that points 2, 3 and 5 are applicable. Point 2 has standing, as the “Adult” reaction/suggestion. It has been adults in the requested feedback roles of my daily life. Those who have, made requests or I have solicited suggestions, on the content of Honestly Carrie. Point 3 is relevant due to the nature of the dissenting censorship. People who determined in their own minds that I was specifically writing about them. Or, contorting my words to fit in a way that depicts me to “look like the bad guy”. Point 5 is pertinent in the manner of my reaction to the previous points. Affecting the flow of my writing. Censoring myself and the method in which I write. I am careful to not say, what I want to say, in an unfavorable light.

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My response to those who have issue(s) with what I have written:

To the person who thinks I am singling them out. I have, from the start, not specifically named individuals. IF, I ever name a person specifically, it will be with their permission. Only the people who were present at a given event would know of “whom” I may, or may not, be specifically referring to. There is usually more than one person whose behavior I could be alluding to.

To the person who twisted words of one paragraph, in one post, to fit their own frustration of a particular event. If you had read the post to understand what was being said, as opposed to, applying it to your anger. You may have been able to better identify with this writer and comprehend the points being made on a different level.

These persons read the portion they assumed depicted them or the situation. Put blinders on, and I feel, completely missed the purpose of the entirety of the particular post.

If you are still offended, after re-reading the complete post that vexed you. I suggest that you look more deeply at the portion of the post that you believe to be about you or the situation, and look in the mirror. Perhaps you will see, there is something about how you behaved or continue to behave, that reflects poorly.

Alternately, you may still feel affronted. You do have the right to your feelings and opinions. Just as I do.

Finally, I am going to refer to the statements at the top of every single post.

My honest opinions.
Day to day life, and how I go about handling it.
An outlet for creativity.

I will give my honest opinion. I will continue to write about the happenings in my life. As I proceed, I will use this forum as a means to creatively express myself. If you don’t like what I am writing. Don’t read it. No one is forcing you to do so.

Honestly,

Carrie

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My Keto Diet Experience… So Far

Nearly six months ago, I had a routine visit with my doctor. It revealed I have several health issues that a.) I needed to get control of immediately, and b.) I needed to re-evaluate my lifestyle, to postpone inevitable diagnoses.

I researched the many, many types of diets that I could choose from. There are so many, and they all have variations. I discussed the multitude of options with my doctor, and together, we decided on the Keto Diet. I have been following the Keto (Ketogenic) Diet for two and a half months. I have lost 15-20 pounds (it fluctuates). I feel like I have more energy. My clothes fit so much better. It appears this diet/lifestyle is working the way I need it to.

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Now, having said the Keto Diet is working, I know in my heart that this is not a completely permanent change. I am using it as a means to an end. When I have achieved my goals, I will slowly reintroduce the foods I have cut back on. I feel this will help me maintain my “new lifestyle”, and keep me from becoming a “yo-yo” dieter.

What is this “Wonderful” Ketogenic Diet? It follows the principal of high (healthy) fat, moderate protein, and low carbohydrates. In the first couple of weeks, I felt like there was nothing “good” I could eat. I was very frustrated and (I’ll admit) moody. By the third – fourth week, I had a grasp on the method and felt more in control of what I was putting into my body. I have eliminated unhealthy carbs like chips, and cookies. The majority of sugars disappeared with the unhealthy carbs.

I know many of my readers are saying I should be eating “a balanced diet and exercising”. “Keto” is a balanced diet. It is simply reorganized from the normal idea of “balanced”. A reason I needed to adjust my lifestyle, is due to back issues that have kept me from exercising. I have recently (two weeks) been cleared by my doctor to begin “light exercise”. Yoga, walking and core work – like planking.

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I have reported the “positives” that this diet has brought. So what have the negatives been? Carbs. I LOVE CARBS! I miss carbs…. and starches. In all honesty, I should say, I miss eating carbs.. all day long. There are also, no “cheat days” allowed. However, there are variations that allow for that. I am constantly drinking water, not because I know it is good for me. I drink because I have terrible Dry Mouth. That probably means that I have nasty breath too. I have begun to seriously read labels when I am shopping. Label reading, literally extends the amount of time I spend in the grocery store. The most difficult piece for me to manage has been sodium quantities. A lot of the “Keto Approved” foods are very high in sodium. High sodium can exacerbate some of the health issues I am on this diet to improve. I am on constant vigil to maintain healthy levels, of… everything.

All in all, I am on a path to a healthier me. Accomplishing one spoke of the wheel at a time.

Honestly,

Carrie

Mother After Divorce

When I first became a Mother, I thought it was the “hardest” job I would ever have. I was wrong. The hardest job has been being a Mother After Divorce. (With being a Step-parent coming in as a strong second, a topic that could be covered in another post.)

During and following the divorce, the children’s father (CP – Convenience Parent – This is how I will refer to him) has continually said and done things to skew the image my children hold of me. There was a point in time when my eldest child hated me. HATED ME! Loathed my existence. Because CP told her things a twelve year old should not know. Told her, His version of the happenings that led to the ultimate disintegration of our marriage. While twisting the whole truth eventually blew up in His face, He has only been available to “Parent” these children when it was convenient for Him.

This Convenience Style of Parenting, continues to mean that I am the sole disciplinarian, consistent emotional support, social monitor of friends/activities, and defender. CP earns my label of “Fun Parent”. Meaning, He does only the fun stuff. i.e. Buys the children’s affection – takes the kids to movies and/or out for dinner. This is also reserved for the middle and youngest. The eldest does not receive these perks. I will give CP credit for daily phone calls and supplying child support. However, child support is a court mandated form of support and a subject that He continues to try and use to manipulate the children’s opinion of me.

Our custody agreement says, the children go to CP’s home every other weekend. Alternating holidays. With a uninterrupted, two week period in the summer months. When the children are home for a solid two week winter break, and CP is asked what extra days CP would like to have the children (other than the days specified by the custody order). He only wants them for the specified day(s). Convenience Parenting. Example: CP usually says this is because he has to work. I understand this, so I don’t usually get “salty” about it. This year, I learned that CP was home for several vacation days, coinciding with the children’s break. CP did not request to have the kids be there with him. By request I mean, ask the children, if they want to come to be with him. (He rarely makes plans with the kids through me.)

I am not painting myself as “perfect”. I make mistakes. Sometimes, Huge mistakes. In spite of my short comings, I am readily available for my children. I feel they know, when they come to me with an issue(s), I will do my best to help them solve it. They know, no matter what happens, I am safe place. They can be honest with me, and I am honest with them. I will always Want and Love them.

Why am I so salty? I think it is because, I see how hurt my children are by his “rejection”. It is owing to, CP not wanting every possible second with them, is unimaginable to Me? For the reason that, CP does not insist upon the children to be at his home during the time stipulated. Is it due to CP “sticking it to ME”? He pays child support, is He “getting his monies worth” by them being at my home? Is he using them to get back at me?

It is a difficult position, to be a Mother After Divorce. Discouraging, to be the “not fun” parent. Strenuous, to be the one who holds the majority of the load. However, the benefits that I am reaping, by persevering through are priceless. I know that my children love me. Most importantly, My Children know how much I love them.

Honestly,

Carrie

Requirement vs. Expectation

Disclaimer: This is a longer than usual post. Thanks for reading.

As the new year was ushered in, it has brought forth an epiphany of sorts. So what is this epiphany? I have taken the words: Requirement and Expectation, and interpreted them in the realm of parenthood.

What is legally required of parents with minor aged children. Housing, Food, Clothing and Basic Care. I’ll break down how I perceive and provide these four items.

Housing: My husband and myself own our home. Each of our five children have their own room. Within their rooms are beds, with blankets and pillows. Dressers and closets. As well as, places to hold and display their personal belongings.

Food: Items for breakfast are available for the children to make for themselves. (I feel that this is a small way I can help them achieve the independence they will need when they reach 18 and either go to college/ military or are able to stably support themselves on their own.) The midday meal is generally taken while the children are at school. I have done my due diligence in explaining what they need to chose in the cafeteria to have a “square” meal. Weekends or during summer months, there are left overs or easy to prepare meals. I cook the evening meal. Of which, I do my best to be considerate of the children’s preferences. Most of the children at least try the meal. Others prefer to “go hungry”. We all wait until an hour from eating supper has passed to have a snack in the evening. This is usually when the child(ren) who “go hungry”, make their own small meal.

Clothing: The closets and dressers mentioned previously, are overflowing with the various varieties of clothing. All of which are to the taste/liking of each individual child. When someone out-grows or an article in particular needs to be replaced, it is.

Basic Care: The definition of this particular requirement, is very… pliable. I define it as, personal hygiene. In each bathroom there are shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toilet paper, tooth paste and brush, and towels for showering. Each individual has their own personal hygiene products; deodorant, hair products, razors, feminine products.

At this juncture, I would like to also mention, mental health. My husband and I do our best to help and reassure our children. For those who want it; we take them to therapists, so they can receive unbiased advice. We do our best to support each child’s needs. If it’s cheering them on in a sport, or simply holding them while they cry. At times, we drop the ball. We do our very best to retrieve it and keep going. Onward we move.

Expectations: This has two main facets. What society expects and the expectations of the individual child.

Society expects perfection. “Keeping up with the Jones’s” Parents are pigeon holed into comparing how they are raising their children with the next door neighbors. If Johnny has a phone, then My kid NEEDS a¬†phone. If Susie has her own car, then My kid NEEDS a car. If Billy has ______, then My kid NEEDS _______. We as parents, compare our “B average” child with the valedictorian. We aspire to have the “best” kids, in comparison with other families. We validate ourselves, by pushing our kids. We sign our kids up for activities, one after another. Instead of, finding their “niche” and the things they actually like/love to do.

So how do we go about “rejecting” the expectations of society? We, as parents, have to start living more necessity driven lifestyles. Do you provide the legal requirements? Yes. Then everything else you choose to do for your child is not a necessity. If you get your kid a phone, make it because you need to be able to communicate with them. If they chose to have a job, then supply them with a vehicle. Then, you must also define what that car or phone is meant for. Do they have to hand over the phone/keys when they get home from work/school, or can they have free reign, to use what ever the item may be as they please.

The expectation of the individual child. This has a great variation, obviously. Within the range of five children, who reside or have resided in this home. This broad stroke ranges from: the martyr- who has no wants, to the self-indulged- with the attitude of “You owe me anything I desire”, to the grateful- to receive anything beyond the legal parameters of requirement.

My epiphany: It is time to have a “reboot” within my home. A new policy of striving to have solid, realistic expectations pertaining to the children and society’s pull. Possibly a “reboot”, would impress recognition of the work and effort it takes to provide all of the gadgets society says we need. Perhaps, Our Children will have a more complete idea, of how to be a better, more positive adult.

Honestly,

Carrie

Taking my own advice.

Previously, in my very first post, I said I was “Thawing Out”. Essentially meaning, I’m not going to let my anxiety lead my life. Fast forward a month. I find myself in an “anxiety bubble”.

While this blog is shared publicly, I have yet to tell those close to me, that I am writing. I haven’t even asked my husband to read it, follow it etc. Well in complete honesty, I have told maybe four people. People who I don’t think would give criticism. Just support. The anxiety bubble.

I find myself advising, supporting and being excited for my niece Lauren, who has started her own blog, Landing with Lo. (If you’re reading my blog, you should also follow her.) Lauren has taken that step into vulnerability with those who know her on all of her social media accounts… and I am so proud of her. All the while, I am sitting in an anxiety bubble.

I’m trying to figure out WHY, if I am ok with publicly posting on WordPress, can I not pop that damn anxiety bubble of being 100% Honestly Carrie, in all the possible arenas of my life. What is the absolute worst thing that could happen? “The people I love will not love me back if something I write offends them. The people who I love will not love me anymore.” The anxiety bubble.

No. That will not happen. The people who love me will talk to me if I offend them. The people who honestly love me, will Always love me.

I’ve got a hold of Jesus’ hand…

I’ve got a needle in the other hand…

My heart is pounding…

I’m blinking back tears…

Taking my own advice…

In total HONESTY…

…… POP!!!!

Please look for Honestly Carrie on other forms of social media.

Giving and Receiving

Today is December 25. Christmas. Like most people, who celebrate Christ’s Birth, we open gifts. In our family, we have a range of receivers. Those who want as many gifts as possible, to those who only want the cash that would have been spent for them. Now, I’m not saying that either end of the spectrum is good or bad. It is what it is.

My issue lies in the ungratefulness. The “Expectation”, of receiving. When a person receives a gift, they should be grateful. Even if the gift isn’t something they want. The person who bought the gift for them, took the time to think and purchase said gift. The individual on the receiving end should be thankful, if not for the gift, then for the thought behind it.

My thoughts pivot, to the person who only wants gifts. Who supplies a list before Thanksgiving. Who “Expects” a plentiful bounty. This person is most likely to be grateful for what they are given, but would be dismayed if there weren’t a plethora of packages. As well as, if this person is so specific, it doesn’t allow the giver to give a gift from the heart.

Is it possible that the Giver may have a set of Expectations as well? Yes. 100% YES! Am I writing this in the fleeting hours of Christmas Day, simply because these are things I witnessed in my own family? Was I dismayed by some of the reactions of those who received my gifts? So, perhaps what I should be focusing on, is how I thought my gifts should be received? Why am I putting restrictions on how other people get to feel? The answer is easily found. I shouldn’t.

So how does one cope with the varying degrees of Expectation? I feel that giving should come from the heart. Perhaps, the gift that was snubbed, wasn’t something they wanted. However, I know in my heart that when the time comes to use this particular gift, they will be more than happy to have it. Also, with the bountiful receiver, I should take the joy they are sharing at the given moment.

Let me take a moment to thank God for the Gift that is Jesus Christ. The best and most versatile gift ever given in the history of Mankind. All one needs to do is Receive this precious gift, that was given so that man shall never perish. Also, to thank God for the wonderful family I have been given. They are always a blessing!

I wish each and everyone who may read this, a Blessed and Safe Holiday Season.

Honestly,

Carrie

Happiness. (and where to find it.)

Anyone who truly knows me, knows that I fight a daily battle with depression and anxiety. As of this moment, I am in an up-swing. Meaning, while I have areas I am working to improve, for the most part (90%) I am “happy” and functioning very well.

A little more than a year ago, I admitted myself to the “Psych Ward” of the local hospital. I was so, low. So much self-doubt. The winning thought racing in my head was, “Why am I even here?”. Fast forward a week. Now stable, with a few tools in my arsenal for when those nasty doubts crept up, I was home. Home. The place where life slaps you in the face with a million pieces of chaos. However, I was able to recognize that I was slipping back into the black abyss.

This time instead of the hospital, my therapist suggested an Intensive Outpatient program. My co-patients ranged from Recovering Alcoholics and Drug users, to the many forms of Mental Health Diseases that could be found. Monday through Thursday, 9 am- 1 pm, I went. At first, I could barely look anyone in the eye. Over the duration, I was given (more) tools to use when I feel myself slipping. I was given “Homework”. Chapters to help me explain and understand WHY I was feeling, what I was feeling. The program also provided a small purpose for me. I had a reason to put my feet on the floor, other than the mundane daily routine I had let myself develop. (I don’t intend to infer that my family and it’s happenings didn’t give me purpose. Just that, my role in their lives had developed into… less of a necessity. They all could get up on their own for school. Make their own breakfasts, and so on. So, I would just sleep. The kids left for school around 7:30 am and I would sleep until 12:00.. or longer.) After the six weeks in the program, I had a solid hold on my mental health. I feel I have continued to bear the load. Perhaps with a smidge of dignity, and a whole lot of hard work.

Now as I reflect, I’m asking myself, “What exactly have I done to find my happiness?”. The answer, I’m doing the things I like to do. This answer is very different for each individual. The range within my family alone is massive. AND, I had to discover what those things are. That’s right, I had no idea what things “Carrie” liked to do. You see, as a “people pleaser”, I had always done things to make others happy. For a long period of time that included, cooking and cleaning – which made my ex-husband happy. I was “Mom”, so play dates and driving to the children’s various activities. I do believe that I was content in doing for others. As my children have gotten older, and needed less “physical” help, the Me that I was, started to fade away. I didn’t take the time to find the new things that would make me “happy”.

So the billion dollar question. “How did you find the things that make you happy?” First and foremost, I was lucky enough to find my husband. His support, has been my anchor, while I have fluttered about discovering myself. I experimented. Dabbled. Researched. I enjoy cooking and baking, so began to experiment with different recipes. I love to admire art, so, I started doodling and painting. I like to listen to music, so I started listening to different genres at different times. Upbeat music while I’m cooking. Soft classical when reading, ect. I enjoy writing. Hence the creation of, Honestly Carrie. The newest adventure is knitting and crocheting. The biggest piece to all this is, I am learning to not be devastated by the opinions of what others think about my creative explorations. Needing the approval of others, is soon to be a thing of the past. Don’t misinterpret that to mean I don’t enjoy compliments. Even constructive criticism is welcomed. How else will I know if a recipe is lacking a certain flavor.. or more likely, too much of an ingredient.

In closing, I wish you courage to discover your own individual happiness. As well as the strength to endure what ever struggles you must overcome to make happiness a reality.