My brain is not working, that’s my problem. Somehow, I’ve allowed myself to fall into a pretty deep hole of depression, low self esteem, or hyper-protectiveness to where anything I try to do that even remotely resembles work is a huge hurdle. Anything that has drama, misunderstandings, unkind behavior and the like makes me want to flee, and it’s spilled over into my volunteer work the most. It’s hurting my head to write this, but I’m going to, anyway. Someone has to say something, and perhaps if it’s me, I’ll feel better and more like keeping on.
What’s happened is that one of my “triggers” has been triggered. It bugs me, because I’ve worked really hard to get past it, but I’m getting the idea that I didn’t get past it; rather I buried it. I’ve talked about my issues with La Leche League before, but I’m going to briefly re-hash a bit to explain why I’ve been so messed up for the past month or two.
First, I love the friends I made in LLL. Love them to pieces. They are some amazing people. But, the organization itself keeps repeating its mistakes, as if no one learns from history (which is probably true). In a majority-women organization with a strong, focused mission, many people get “power” for the first time. And it really screws up some people’s senses of right and wrong, and for some reason empowers them to bring new things into the mission (like natural childbirth, co-sleeping, baby wearing, etc.)
If you know me well, you’re sick of hearing about it, but if you’re an acquaintance or random reader, you might not know that I have had some pretty rough career times, crowned by the last year or two when I was working for a nonprofit breastfeeding support organization, one where I’d met most of my friends, one where I’d learned my web design skills, and one that I had planned to be a member of my whole life, good ole La Leche League.
I became a victim of the “flavor of the moment” in organizational management, and it was painful, very painful. No wonder I have always been suspicious of the latest managerial trends, six sigma, lean, agile…they all seem to try to pigeonhole organizations into their format, even when it doesn’t work.
But I digress, surprise surprise. You probably do know that a while back (that would be 2018, it appears) I agreed to join the Board of Directors of the little organization for people who used to be in the big organization. I’ve had a lot of fun, got to hang out with people who have grown and changed, just like I have, and come to terms with a lot of “stuff.”
I’ve been making their newsletter since early last year, and it was a challenge to convert it to an online thing, but along with some supportive helpers on the Board and kind contributors, I think I did it, and the little newsletter is turning out pretty good (though I can always use more submissions!). And I lived through issues with the Board. Yay.
Sadly, though, membership had been dropping, so fewer and fewer people have been getting the newsletter, even though it’s gotten good reviews (far as I know). Part of that has been that our poor old website had gotten pretty broken, and our attempt at replacing it went SPLAT. It’s hard to join an organization whose e-commerce is not working.
But, I’m so happy now! My friend Susan (who’s visited the ranch) agreed to make us a site on WordPress, so I actually understand it. And she did a great job making it look good AND work well. I feel like my little world of Friends of LLL is all good, at last. Now we just have to tell people, so here I am telling YOU that if you used to be in La Leche League, even if you were hurt, like me, you are very welcome to check out Friends of LLL and come join us. We want to do stuff, but we need people to do it!
We have been giving “mini-grants” to groups who are trying to help parents and babies in their communities, we still want to plan another nice trip…someday, and we want to find new ways to support each other as we age, and as younger friends join us.
We need YOU! That will help us be US! I’ll be able to share news with all my old and new friends around the world, we’ll stay in touch on Facebook and such, and we will not forget those of us who have passed. As my friend Marian said after looking at the new website, “Now I just have to manage to stay alive as long as possible!”
I’m with her! We all need something healing and fun to keep us going. I’d love for any of my readers who feel like it would join or rejoin Friends of LLL. We ARE friends.
If you’re not struggling, at least a little bit right now, I salute you! Tell me your secrets, on this Monday of isolation. For once, the UU Lent word of the day, struggle, seems mighty appropriate.
I like being at home, and I like being in my little basement office full of cheerful colors and numerous little things designed to keep me in a good mood (see below). They usually help, but geez, listening to the news, being unable to go to Austin to see Anita, and worrying about the health and safety of people I care about is weighing me down.
I ate goldfish crackers and cottage cheese for dinner. That’s a sign of someone struggling.
Life’s always been about struggle, though. Every so often some kind of malady shows up and wipes out a lot of people, disregarding their wealth, social status, or degree of universal belovedness. That’s part of humanity (and other life forms as well). That doesn’t mean it’s not hard right now. I just wanted to get some perspective.
So yeah, life’s a gift, and let’s all enjoy it while we have it. That doesn’t sound cliched at all, does it? But that’s the best I’ve got right now.
Still, I’m getting stuff done, and actually got my newsletter draft finished over the weekend, so there’s actually time to proofread it and get it reviewed. My entire family spent all their time in their offices, so I figured it was better to hang around in the office than go home and stare at the animals (which I did a lot of, anyway).
There’s always something to be grateful for, and just because I don’t share it every day doesn’t mean I don’t feel it. I’m very grateful to the companies that made all the social media software we’re all relying so heavily on. Last night much hilarity ensued when I joined with my friend Mike’s family in an extremely goofy Facebook messenger filter festival. Now, that’s family fun. So, thank you, programmers of filters.
And I’m extra grateful for the creators of Zoom, who allow me to attend meetings online and actually SEE my coworkers. I’ve also enjoyed a couple of Zoom sessions with women I’ve been in an email/FB group for 25, that’s right, 25 years. Shout out to the Sislist!
Heck, I’m even grateful to the post office for letting me send letters to my family and friends to cheer them up. Are you doing that? A woman I admire in Minnesota (who founded the email list mentioned above) is sending letters to anyone whose address you send her. She calls it Sunshine Mail. It’s keeping her busy and brightening so many days. Knowing about it brightens mine.
There! I’ve cheered myself up just by pointing out these ways we have to cope, while we struggle along. Send me more ideas!
Yesterday was a beautiful day in New Orleans. It was mostly sunny and in the 70s outside. Too bad I did not step outside the hotel until after dark, and then it was just to go across the street to eat dinner. Guess what I had?
The reason I stayed in the hotel all day is that the fun trip was over, and it was time for our annual Board meeting. In the morning, trip attendees joined us to give us input on how the trip went and suggest places to go next. It was great to hear how much fun people had and how smoothly everything went. It was a HARD slog planning this trip, but in the end, the trip planners (with a lot of help by the Board President) got it done.
I’m very glad I am not a professional trip planner, and tip my hat to my friends who are!
Yes, yes, I’m still in New Orleans with the Friends of La Leche League on their bonding trip. Today was the day of less history and more typical tourist stuff. However, I managed to have fun.
In the morning, people mingled and bonded until time to walk (if you were fit) to the Steamboat Natchez, which is the only steam-powered paddle-wheeler in use in New Orleans.
There, we were treated/blasted to an actual steam calliope concert. It was fun to watch the steam coming out for each note.
On the boat, we had a brunch, which was adequate, and good jazz music (though one DOES weary of “When the Saints Go Marching In” around here). Since you couldn’t see a dang thing during the meal, I got out of the dining room as fast as I could to see the river.
I’m sitting in the Austin airport again. This time I’m also going somewhere fun, but not for relaxation. I’m traveling to New Orleans to participate in semi-annual Friends of La Leche League trip. Since I’m on the Board, my role will be to help make the trip fun for the participants.
I have to go back to my Super Introvert mode that I used to get in at the large conferences, where I had to be on and available 24/7. Usually I handle conferences by getting a room to myself. But, this is a nonprofit, so we share!
It’s fun sharing rooms with old friends. You catch up, tell funny stories, etc. I just hope note that we are all older, we will sleep some.
This is a group of wonderful people, and I am hoping everyone’s issues and infirmities don’t prevent everyone from having fun. And I hope I don’t collapse from being my busy LLL persona for 5 days. I’m not the same person I used to be.
Luckily I’m in a great mood and looking forward to some fun and good. Yes, I will eat a beignet! Moderation in everything.
Getting in touch with your emotional truth, by processing feelings to improve the human condition in the 21st century. Living out loud by my motto,"Triumphing over Trauma" 🌈
In light and in shadow, always with ❤