The Middle

Oh Evan…why such a self-centered, selfish, jackass???  Right now I want to tear you a new one…I’m imagining myself saying awful, horrible, hurtful things to your face…

Those were the opening lines in my journal this morning…I never intended them to be blogged to the WWW…but then, later, as I was reading my new book Rising Strong by Brene Brown I felt compelled to share.

When we deny our stories, they define us. 
When we own our stories, we get to write the ending. 

That’s powerful stuff – writing our story ending.

But let’s first go back to this morning .  I very much wanted to lash out and truly be an ugly person – I wanted to HURT Evan..but thankfully, I’ve been there and done that…not with him but with someone else I loved and the relationship never fully recovered. Score one for learning from my mistakes.  Additionally, after studying Brene for awhile now, I’ve come to understand that so much of my anger toward Evan is coming from a place of tremendous hurt and fear.  I truly believe the kid hates me right now…go ahead and say “that’s not true” but I see the way he looks at me right now and I am the enemy…

And let’s be completely honest.  I absolutely despise the way he is acting as well these days BUT I love him…there is a tension akin to a tightrope in my relationship with him.

Kindness leads to repentance – Romans 2:4
A good ass whooping can do a soul some good – Donna 5/13/16

This blog entry was birthed this morning as I was reading about The Middle – that moment when you’ve gone too far to turn around – the door behind you has closed but you can’t see the light up ahead yet.  I think the middle in parenthood begins with the positive pregnancy test – it’s not like you can turn around at that point…but for me it has really come to a pinnacle in these turbulent teen years.  And Brene’s point was that you HAVE to go THROUGH the middle to get to the other side.  Sure, you can skirt around to the side but you’ll be missing the whole point and never live fully engaged.

Brene also talks about the arena a lot – you can read the Roosevelt speech here  – and parenthood is definitely an arena that some days I simply don’t want to enter…it’s just too hard and I want to skirt the middle…but then I’m allowing this challenge to define me and that is simply not how I want to live. Besides, I’m stubborn and determined enough to say oh hell no.

So here’s where I am today…

I could rage, attack, belittle, scream and engage in all that really tempting bad behavior – but we all know that the regret would later crush me.

I could check out and ignore it all…give up and disengage.  Totally tempting as well but I might as well tell Evan I don’t love him anymore.

Or, I pick myself up off the floor, brush off the self-pity, anger, hurt, and fear and walk back into the arena. I’m not the first mother to struggle with a teen and won’t be last. I AM the grown up here and have the responsibility (and honor) to act like it.  We will all be stronger for our struggles and perseverance…and I choose to believe that one day, hopefully sooner than later, we’ll all look back and at least be able to chuckle, if not laugh out loud together.

xoxox – DM

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Donna Matthews is a blog writer at the DJRanch where she strives to remain authentic while not taking herself too seriously. She is also the creator of Slay The Chaos (, where she writes about productivity and organization. She is a member of The Writers Guild and Write Space in Houston and is currently writing her first book.