Margaret Domnick - The Inside Story...

I'm a woman, mother, friend, sister, daughter, wife and partner in crime. I'm spontaneous, anal, loud, loving, funny (or at least I think I am), and generally honest. Sometimes I get these thoughts... so I've created this blog to share them. Feel free to respond, but be kind...did I mention that I'm sensitive?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Noisily Noted

Maybe it’s because I’m a speech language pathologist and am trained to listen to sounds; maybe it’s because I’m completely unable to simply relax and enjoy life, maybe it’s because I’m anal-retentive, I don’t know, maybe it’s just who I am…but for whatever reason, I notice and focus on noises. I’ve had to move seats in a movie theater because of loud popcorn-eating. And, I get frustrated with movie-whispering. But, it goes deeper than that…I’m also bothered by obnoxious gum-chewing, drink-slurping, food-smacking, chair-kicking, nose-whistling, loud-breathing, pen-tapping, tongue-clicking, and a variety of other noise-related behaviors. I know it’s picky, but I can’t help it.

So, what do I do when I’m focused on a sound that I can’t just ignore like most of the rest of the people in the universe? I say something, and often offend people. I understand that most of the time the offender doesn’t even know they are doing anything. I feel badly when I ask my kids to stop doing whatever they don’t know they are doing. I really feel badly for my poor husband who is wired to move and make noise. I think he’s pretty much trying not to do whatever he’d naturally do so he won’t bother me. I can tell that he is making an effort (thanks honey!), but people can’t really control what they don’t know they’re doing!

I don’t know if I’ve always been this way, but I think I have. I remember asking my dad to move his rocking chair when it was at a squeaky spot on the floor, and to quit moving his legs back and forth because the sound of his jeans rubbing against the chair bugged me. And, I hated the sound of a fork hitting the plate when it stabbed green beans or salad. I know, weird, huh?

I think it’s also important to mention that people aren’t the only sources of frustration in my noisy world – my house has me on-edge too. I live in a house with thin walls. Lying in bed at night, I can hear the heat turn on and off, the washing machine change cycles, the toilet flushing and running (I need to get that fixed), the dishwasher arm clanking against a plate, a tree limb brushing against the window, and my daughter’s music playing on 4 (she sleeps with it on). I hear the garage door open and close, my son talking in his sleep, and a clicking in the ductwork that I have yet to figure out. Once I hear a sound, I have a lot of trouble tuning it out.

So, why am I telling you this? Because each of us has something that we consciously or unconsciously focus on that we may or may not be able to control. For me it's noise, for you it may be food, or exercise, or gambling. You may be focused on shopping, drinking, video games, or germs. Maybe there is nothing right now that leads you away from what's important, but at some point, something will. We can't always control what our brains are thinking, and solutions are tough to come by. A fan helped me, what will help you?


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Live Your Legacy

If you could go on a vacation to the destination of your choice and have the time of your life there, would you go? What if you knew that afterward you would remember nothing about it, would you still go? I answered “sure” to the first question but a quick, definite “not-a-chance” to the second. Why would you take a vacation if you’d have no memory of it? Isn’t life about the memories? Already I find myself talking about things that happened when the kids were little, when Mike and I were first married, when I was in college…etc. When I get together with extended family, we talk about the year it snowed 12 inches or the time the turkey burned. If there were no memories, what would matter?

Do you ever think about your legacy? What will people remember about you when you’re gone? What moments will come to mind, and what will be remembered about those moments? It really doesn’t matter what we do, it’s the memory of what we do that matters. What we think we offer the world is not necessarily what the world will remember about us. I know this because I did an experiment with my children. I asked them what they will remember about their dad when he happens to die (I know…a bit gruesome, but worthwhile) and they spewed out a whole bunch of great memories; some I’d even forgotten until they started talking. He always honked the horn when the kids walked in front of the car; he would start singing a song, expecting the kids to join in…etc. We laughed and interrupted each other and talked and were goofy for a long time. All the memories were good ones and there were plenty of them.

Then I asked what they would remember about me. That was a tougher question. There were some funny, happy memories that quickly surfaced, but it was a more quiet exchange… It seems that their dad is the “fun” one, the “silly” one and I am the “clean” one, the “can I go?” one. I’m the parent who makes and enforces the rules. At first I was kind of hurt that they didn’t remember all the things I remembered, but after some dwelling, I realize that parents have to balance each other, and that my role is a good one. My kids come to me with their homework, they tell me about their friends, their relationships, their lives. We discuss saving money, being honest, working hard, making good choices, making tough choices…it isn’t all fun, but we connect on a deep, genuine level. It’s not what I would think my kids would remember about me, but I’m completely OK with it, even proud of it. Some parent’s don’t have the trust and faith of their children, and I do. And, I’m happy I know what they think, so I can throw some “crazy” in the mix.

Today you’re living your memories…make sure they’re good ones!


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Mid-Life Crisis??

I’m sorry I haven’t written for such a long time…I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately. I don’t know if I can clearly explain it, but I’ve been dwelling, asking, explaining, reliving, believing, learning, and finally, accepting who I am and how I came to think and act as I do. I’ve always been a late bloomer, and it’s taken all of my 43 years to actually process and understand myself, and my interactions with others. For a while I thought I was having a mid-life crisis, but I’ve come to realize that I’ve simply been in a deep state of introspection (thank you friend).

It’s been an interesting process. I’ve gained new insights from events that occurred as far back as junior-high school. I actually liked junior-high; I didn’t really internalize all the crap that happened, until I watched my daughters tread through, bringing memories alongside. And that, my friends, opened the floodgates to a rush of confusion. Statements that were initially processed as “odd” or “what?” suddenly surfaced as “rude” or “downright mean”. I’d always had a very confident, positive self-concept, and that has been seriously shaken over the past several years both by recent interactions as well as past revelations. I find it sad, and refreshing, if that even make sense.

For now, I have come to peace with myself and, more challenging, with how others view me. I understand, clearly, that someone will always be talking behind my back, questioning my views, criticizing my accomplishments (or those of my children), critiquing my parenting, judging my actions, pulling me down…etc. I honestly had never really understood that before. I took everything at face value. I guess my parents did a fantastic job of sheltering me, and raising me to believe that everyone is honest and good and forthright. I don’t think that I will ever be as happy as I was, well, at least not as free, but I do feel good knowing that I’m finally on the same page as everybody else.

I’m learning how to ignore the negative vibes, hold my head high, trust myself, and concentrate on living the life I’m intended to live. Others can pull me down, but I’ll decide whether or not they’ll make me fall!