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Friday, December 6, 2013

Letters

As I was driving home from work tonight, I got to wondering what ever happened to those letters that you use to get from certain people around Christmastime...you know, the vaguely brag-y letters extolling all of the wonderful things their family accomplished over the year while you are all over here like, "Uh, I paid my gas bill on time! Go me!"  Then I realized that all that has gotten replaced in our instant gratification society by such things as Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Don't ask me what made me think of this...my mind is truly a wondrous mystery sometimes.  I then got to thinking about what my letter would say if I were to write one...which, let's be honest here, would never be likely as I can't be arsed to write out Christmas cards...Here you go.  Welcome to my mind:


Dear Bitchez,

Hello all from tropical Ohio, ha ha!  It is sure wonderful to live in a climate where you can be ready to go swimming in the morning and shoveling snow in the evening!  Gives the ol' sinuses a great work out and makes it super fun to figure out what the hell to dress the children in so you aren't judged by other parents!

The girls are all doing fabulously, despite their parents' best efforts to completely fuck up their lives.  Elizabeth is 16 now (insert cliched, tired joke about getting off the roadways...)  She does in fact have her license and is a fantastic bundle of emotional lability, neediness, and temper tantrums when she does not get her way.  Living with a teenager is super fun and fantastic!

Alexis is dancing competitively now, which according to some means that she will learn bad things such as confidence, physical fitness, and ownership of her body.  At least until she is offed by some deranged murderer or something because as a parent I clearly lack any capability to teach her safety rules since I let her dance in competitions!

Charlie has not killed anyone, that I know of at least.  She is a fantastic bundle of emotional lability, neediness, and temper tantrums when she does not get her way ha ha HA OMG I have a preschooler and a teenager in the house at the same time someone hold me until it is over PLEASE!!!

I am working at a place that believes firmly in things such as micromanaging, employee burnout, and lynching whistle blowers and people who engage in their own critical thinking.  It is super good for my emotional and mental health in the way that it is super healthy to allow Mike Tyson to teach anger management.  I also decided recently to greatly reduce my intake of gluten as I feel pretty strongly that it can be the devil.  I also recently completed the whole30, which totally makes me better than you somehow.  But don't worry!  I haven't descended completely into the bottomless pit of tree-hugging hippiness, despite making my own laundry soap and bread as well!  I still firmly believe in the power of self-medicating with alcohol and chocolate and am not above seeking out Xanax as needed!

Charles is still working a lot.  He often times has this look in his eyes...I wouldn't quite call it despair...but let's be honest here, he lives with four females.  He spends a lot of time with our (male) dogs.

Speaking of!  They are doing well as well.  Spartacus still tends to emotionally eat.  Actually, anytime food is presented he has an emotion and needs to eat...so maybe he just really likes food.  Maximus is as dumb as ever and tends to flop over where ever you push him down...not that I have tested this or anything.  Deogie loves to try to hump the cat, which resulted in some super cool sex talks with the little girls!  We also have fish upstairs, but really does anyone count fish as actual pets?

I can't wait to see what kind of new adventures come for 2014 with my family.  Hopefully nothing involving the legal system or any form of bankruptcy!

Have a Merry Christmas!

Laura, Charles, Elizabeth, Alexis, and Charlie


Now THAT, bitchez...that is an honest letter.   I may look into sending that out this year.  Eh, who am I kidding? 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Shopping

I have written before about how Thanksgiving is the red headed cross-eyed stepchild of the family of holidays.  I'm a little irked about the whole opening stores up during Thanksgiving thing as half the fun of Black Friday is dragging your ass out of bed at ungodly hours.  It is bragging rights really and if you go right from the turkey to the shopping I am so not impressed.  Now, going from the turkey to bed THEN getting up to brave the weather and the crowds...that's 'Merican, bitchez.

I don't know that I will be buying too terribly much on Black Friday anyways this year.  Partly because there is nothing advertised that appeals to me.  And partly because I am broke as fuck.  OK, mainly because I am broke as fuck.  I am not using credit cards anymore for a variety of reasons (mainly because I am broke as fuck and don't wanna get broker) so Christmas is cash this year.  Which really, probably should have been happening all along anyways but there is probably a reason I didn't go into finance.  Mostly because I really like to torture myself at work so I go for the high stress, low paying jobs like working in a bar,  or a day care, or being a therapist at a mental health agency.  And honestly, there is not much difference between the three most days...

I digress.  I am refusing to go out shopping on Thanksgiving.  I have way too much wine to drink and I refuse to cut it short!  Plus there is pie.  I just finished the Whole30, and goddammit I am making really poor food choices that day!  Even if I will feel like I am 90 years old the next day, just in time for me to get all the Christmas decorations out and put them all up.

Yes, Thanksgiving, I have not forgotten that the whole point of you is gluttony and possibly apoplexy. Or wait...isn't it celebrating one of the last gestures of goodwill towards the native tribes before we forcibly removed them from their homes and into generations of confusion and despair?  You know...kinda like the big businesses that are exploiting the workers who rely on these jobs because the economy tanked because of poor financial choices of the very big businesses who are now telling these workers to shut up and be grateful to have a job because you know the economy sucks and we are saving you from yourself by giving you a job...in a remarkably similar fashion to when we told these native tribes that we were going to change their savage ways and save them from themselves?

Guess its not so un-American after all.  And also, maybe I should have gone into finance.  But I don't want that to be my America.  And I can't fathom ruining anyone else financially but myself.  So I'll stay a therapist.  And stay home and drink my wine and wait till Friday to spend money I don't have.

At least I get to do it with my family.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

16

Dear Elizabeth,

Holy Fuck.  You are the same age I was when I had you now.

I look at you and I see so much potential it brings tears to my eyes.  You are truly a fantastic human being and the fact that I have not totally fucked you up beyond all recognition is a testament to who you are as a person.  The odds were against us...young, unwed mother who still had to finish growing up herself.  Systems that were in place to allegedly help but that ended up trying to drag me down.  Haters and doubters, some in my own family, who were convinced that we would fall flat on our faces and were just waiting to point and say "I told you so".

They are still waiting.

Some people look at teen mothers and think, "Oh boy.  What a mistake."  That, my love, you never were.  You were never an inconvenience or a burden.  You were the one thing that saved me from myself.  Because of you, I was forced to become a better person.

We have had our fights.  Good Lord, we have had our fights.  There have been some doozies...but...There has never ever been a time when I regretted you.  Ever.  Every single person that I talk to about you thinks the world of you.  They all see you for the amazing person you are.  You are beautiful inside and out.  Don't ever forget that.

There will come times in your life when you won't feel beautiful.  When society will tell you you aren't (insert adjective) enough; when guys will reject you for whatever reason, when you get into a fight with your parents, your friends bicker with you, you have a rough day at work...but please please please promise me that you will always remember that you are so much more than you are feeling at those times.  That life has its ups and downs, but that you are always strong enough to climb the hills.

And remember very hard:

You are my sunshine.
My only sunshine.
You make me happy
When skies are gray.
You'll never know dear
How much I love you.
Please don't take my sunshine away.

Love,
Mamacakes

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Raining

Mommy!  Moooooommmmmmmmyyyyy!!!

I look up from cooking, alarmed.  It is never a good thing when your children come running in from outside screeching like that.  I go over to the mud room and notice that it has just let loose, pouring down rain.  Relief enters my heart.  THAT is why they are screaming for me.  I open the door and Charlie and Alexis come in, laughing and shaking off the rain.  Charlie looks up at me, grinning.

"Mama, I was running in from the rain, did you see me Mom?  It was TOTALLY AWESOME!!!"

I couldn't help but think about how had that been me caught in the rain, the ensuing rage would have been of apocalyptic proportions.  I would have been pissed about getting wet, about the sensation of having damp clothes against my body, wet hair, and cold feet.  I would not have laughed at having to run in from playing.  I would not have had a first thought of it being totally awesome.

When was the last time that I danced in the rain?  The answer to that is probably never, though I do have a memory of playing in the puddles in the streets after heavy rains and playing in the one spot in the driveway that held water after my father washed the car.  The idea there is the same though...taking an awful situation and making the best of it.

This brings to mind the fundraiser I am running for JJ.  The number of people who are being so exceedingly generous simply astounds me.  It is amazing and I cannot think about it without getting choked up.  People who do not even know JJ are donating.  Something good out of something awful.

My challenge, then, is this.  What can you do to take a bad situation and make it better?  Not good, mind you.  Nothing good comes out of getting caught in the rain, or from having cancer, or any of the other myriad things that are awful in the world.  What can you do to make it better?  Dance in the rain.  Give to a stranger.  Pay it forward somehow.

The little things add up.  Change starts with the individual and vibrates outward.  Make some noise and stop going with the flow.  If everyone thought about someone else for just a little bit, what a difference that would make.  Will it eliminate all of the crap, the diseases, the storms?  No.  This is the world we live in and that we have been given.  All that comes with the territory.  We can only change what we do.

Dance in the rain.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Stitches

So continuing the streak of semi-annual ER visits for Charlie, we made a run out to the hospital last night.  Charlie was riding on a scooter (not a motorized one, for the record...a good old fashioned get your exercise and do your part to stay healthy one) and fell and hit her head on the handlebars and got a lovely gash.   It was one of those that was small, but deep.The stupid thing kept re-opening, plus it was in her hairline...I was really uncertain if it would need stitches but luckily my mother (a former nurse) was there and said it might not be a bad idea.  If not stitches, they might just glue it.

 Now, mind you, this was the second time she hit her head yesterday.  The first time she was running in my bedroom, tripped over some shoes, and hit her head on the door frame.  That first time it was so loud that Elizabeth heard it upstairs in her bed room.  So not only did she have the new gash plus the accompanying bump from that one, she had another one (same side, mind you...) that was about 8 hours old.

I also feel the need to mention here as well that we had had a 5K benefit for my husband's godson JJ.  Charlie had decided earlier that she wanted to run it.  She had the whole thing planned out with my sister...she was going to wear her fast Princess shoes and run it with Leesha and Mommy was going to cheer.  Well, she ended up getting a little scared by all of the people there, so Alicia took off with Alexis's friend and Charlie stayed with Daddy...but she still ran at the end.  (We won't talk about being carried by Daddy...)  Then there were Cheetos involved afterwards (yes, I am crazy about my kids' food but I do allow junk on occasion...) and her white Team JJ shirt wasn't so white anymore.  When we got home, she ate some Mexican Meatball soup and dribbled some down the shirt.  Then she went outside and probably rolled in some dirt and mud wrestled a pig after army crawling through the brush to secure the perimeter of our homestead.  Point is...she was filthy.  It was a good day for her.

Anyways...So my sister and I headed off to the ER.  Alicia came with me because her husband Nick was insisting on it ("Don't you really think she might need help there?").  Since I can appreciate that kind of anxiety because it is pretty much my every day existence, Alicia came with me while Charles stayed at home with Alexis.  (Plus, then he and Nick could continue their playdate...)  I really don't think twice about Charlie's appearance until I get there.  Then I looked at her and realized that she looked really really homeless.  The bleeding wound on her forehead (since it has reopened getting out of the van...) with the dried blood on her face just added that extra touch of class needed.  She also had had her face painted at the 5K, but some of it had rubbed off so her cat's whiskers and nose now just looked like she had rubbed her had across her cheek while dropping a tranny into a Ford.

We were white trash fabulous.  I seriously expected them to call Children's Services on me.  I tried to clean her up once we walked in, but there was no saving that shirt.  It will likely never be white again.  They don't make bleach powerful enough for a white shirt to withstand a day being worn by  Char-Rambo.

We get back to the room and the doc says that the wound was just going to be glued, not stitched.  Fine by me.  The nurse comes in and puts some numbing stuff on it and says we have to wait a half an hour.  About 20 minutes in, Charlie looks at Alicia and announces, "My boo-boo's all better.  Let's go."  Apparently the numbing stuff works.  We explained to her that this was not how it worked and that the doctor still had to come back.  Charlie then choose to climb up on one of the chairs in the room.

And then fell.  And hit her head.  On the other side.  While in the fucking ER.

I kid you not.  You can't make this shit up.

So now my child has not one, not two, but three lovely goose eggs on her forehead (all from within a 12 hour period) as well as glue from the ER caked in her hair and a tiny but deep gash at her hairline.  I am going to take her to daycare tomorrow and am going to be told that I cannot have her back because look at what I did to her over the course of being responsible for her 24/7 for just two days.  I am kinda worried about the rest of today, to be honest...Charles asked me when we left the ER if they wrapped her in bubble wrap.

Might not be a bad idea.  Plus, that shit is so much fun to play with!  Keeping Charlie safe and Mama entertained...I might have to seriously consider this!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Indecision

It is a common misogynist trope that women are notoriously flighty and constantly change their minds.  I sometimes fit that bill, though it is unclear if this is due to being female or being depressed/anxious or the pressures of society or because I am just plain old of the crazy variety.  Possibly a combo of all of the above.

Most days I am perfectly content.  I am content to do things like throw elaborate birthday parties for my kids and their friends with crazy complicated homemade cakes, to bake homemade bread and grind chicken for homemade gluten free chicken tenders.  I am content to spend my time at home with my family, and just occasionally going out.  I am mostly happy in my job and sometimes confident that I can do it without causing lasting harm to people.  I am usually happy living in BFE (though if the chance came to move back to where I come from, I would probably snap it up in a second).  I am happy with my house though I realize its layout is not ideal.

But.

But there are times I question just staying at home on the weekends with the children.  There are times I think that I might want to look at a new job.  Hell, there are times I consider moving into an entirely new FIELD.  I consider working part time.  I look at other states to live in as well as other cities.  I consider cutting my hair, painting walls, rearranging furniture.  Just...a change of some sort.

Where does this restlessness with my situation come from?  When changes are forced upon me, I get pissed at the lack of control.  It causes my anxiety to skyrocket and the crazy in me to come out in ways that probably adds months if not years to my children's therapy totals.  But when things get too mundane, too routine...I start to look for ways to change it up.  I am a mass of paradox that way.

Or ODD.  Really, either/or.

Variety is the spice of life, I suppose.  I always try to strive to be something unique and not like ordinary cinnamon.  Maybe cardamon, perhaps fennel.  Certainly not savory.  That spice just sounds like it is trying too hard with its name alone.

Just as long as I can control the amount of fennel, I guess.  Cause there is nothing that ruins a dish more than an overabundance of fennel.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Enemy

There have been many articles written about the whole idea of not being a superwoman, all packed with touchy-feely bullshit about how women need to support each other and not be so goddamned competitive.  I don't know about all of you, but this just makes me feel even more like shit because I'm doing it wrong.  I am totally competitive and constantly feel inadequate.

I make my kids homemade bread?  Someone else is growing their own organic, GMO free wheat.  I researched area daycares to find the best fit for our family?  Someone else is homeschooling their child and teaching them Mandarin, Spanish, and how to make macrame.  (Does anyone ever actually use macrame?  What IS it?  See, I am even more inadequate because not only do my children not make macrame, I don't even fucking know what it is.)  I started running again?  Someone else just completed their sixth marathon.  I helped a client verbalize their feelings about a trauma?  Someone else helped theirs function well enough with schizophrenia to hold a full time job.

It goes on and on.  This has nothing to do with societal pressures, the mommy wars, being catty or bitchy.  This is strictly from within.  This is all from the voices in my head.  I am my own worst enemy.  I am the one who tears myself down.  I am never good enough for myself.

I have been this way  since God was a boy.  I would hold myself up to unrealistic expectations and beat the shit out of myself when I did not meet them.  The problem was, I usually could meet them so that just reinforced my unrealistic expectations for myself.  The cost, though...well, just my sanity (or what little I do possess...)

I have felt myself recently slipping into beating myself up.  I work full time.  I have three children.  I have way too much debt.  I have three dogs and a cat.  I have a house to care for.  I'm helping to organize a benefit for a friend's son.  I'm going to run in a 5K.  I'm a little busy, maybe.

But.

But I still mentally harangue myself when my house is not clean.  Hell, I still compare my house to that of people who probably make triple what I do.  I compare myself to other men's wives regardless of whether she is someone my husband would even find attractive anyways.  I beat myself up because I am not feminist enough (a REAL feminist would not have these concerns!), because I am not trained enough as a therapist, because my children aren't in enough activities, because we are not as financially sound as I would like us to be, because I don't coupon, because my family sometimes does not eat dinner together, because I don't have the energy to start a small business, because the dogs are overdue for going to the vet, because I require coffee to make it through the morning, because I hate mornings, because sometimes I want to leave work to get home to my family, because sometimes I don't want to leave work BECAUSE OF my family,  because I must be a horrible human being if I have the very real experience of my family driving me crazy, because I get depressed when I think about all of the evil in the world, because I don't have time to do all of my hobbies, because I have not picked up my violin in over a year, because I don't take my children to the library enough, or the movies, and we have never been to Disney, and, and...

It is me.  My thoughts might be fueled by society and flamed by mental illness.  But I am my own worst enemy and I sometimes feel helpless to stop it.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Moon

Driving in the car with Charlie with the sun roof open at night:

Charlie: Mama, Mama!  The Moon!  It's so big! It's following us!

Me: (Trying not to laugh)  OK,  Charlie.  I see it.

Charlie:  Don't worry, Mama.  It won't come in the window.  It can't get us.


I laugh at this exchange because I distinctly remember being very annoyed as a small child that the moon followed us everywhere.  I mean, seriously MOON, don't you have anything better to do than to follow me like some kind of deranged psychopathic stalker?  They make movies about people doing that kind of shit...what makes you so special that you can just get away with it and follow me and be all SHINY IN THE SKY?

I of course grew up and realized why the moon "follows you" (just last week...KIDDING!) and now can kind of chuckle at the sweet innocence of thinking that the satellite that orbits the earth had it out for me and was deliberately fucking with me by following me home.  (Looking back, it shows that my derangement runs real deep if I was thinking like that before Kindergarden...)  That was back before I grew up and realized that babies don't always get born; that people die or are killed, and not just strangers but people I know; that people get sick; that people aren't going to be what you hoped or imagined they would.

Before I had to explain to my children that a little boy that they have known all their lives got suddenly critically ill. That he is in the hospital. That he has cancer.  Just typing those words out makes me want to shake.

No parent should have to go through what his are right now.  No parent should have to tell their children that another child is ill, and critically so.

I feel helpless.  I have avoided blogging for a while because I tend to write out some pretty raw things.  Facing the idea that a child I have known since age 3 months, with the big grin and the deep belly laugh, who has questionable tastes in professional football teams but is spot on with college teams, that he has cancer...the ultimate betrayal of one's own body, IMHO...I couldn't do it.  It is still hard.  Writing out that he has a life-threatening illness...I don't want to admit it.  If I feel this way, I can only imagine how his parents feel.

So I participate in fundraisers for them.  Hell, I am helping to organize one.  I re-post updates and wheedle donations.  The community response has been fabulous.  I do what I can sitting here.

But I still wish that I could go  back to a time when the moon following me was upsetting.  When I never knew what it was like to have to explain adult things to a child.  When these kinds of things happened to someone else.

He is your child.  Your neighbor.  Your son.  Your best friend.  Just because he does not live with you, next to you, go to your school; it does not mean that he and his struggles impact you any less.  This disease has an impact on you; just because it is not directly does not make it any less of an impact.

The same moon that stalks me is the same moon that shines down on him where he is getting treated for his lymphoma in a hospital room.  The same moon that shines on you where ever you are right now.

Be cognizant of this.   People matter.  They all have their stories; their journeys.  Perhaps if we weren't so quick to judge, the world would be better.  After all, the moon is equally obsessed with each and every one of us.


Monday, August 5, 2013

Directions

For a variety of reasons that I still do not understand fully myself, my position at work has suddenly changed and I don't do exclusively emergencies anymore.  This is good and bad.  Good because I don't work solely with the acutely suicidal and/or homicidal and/or psychotic anymore. Bad because it involves me twice a week travelling to a different office.  This adds an additional half an hour to my commute, one way.

Those of you who know me in real life know that according to my sleep habits and patterns, I am an adolescent at heart.  If I could stay up until 2 or 3 AM and sleep till noon-ish, I would be super content.  I am not a morning person, to the point where Elizabeth used to tentatively approach me when she would younger and ask, "Mommy, have you had your coffee yet?"  I told Charles the first night I spent the night that I was not a morning person.  He just laughed the way he did the time I told him about my aversion to laundry.  The next morning he got out of bed to let his dog out, and I bit his head off:  "Why are you getting up?"  "To let the dog out."  "Oh...zzzzzz".

I mention the above because part of the reason I left my previous employer was due to the commute.  And also because it explains what I am about to reveal next.  It at least gives some kind of rationale for my actions.

I decided today to attempt to find a different way to this particular office.  I have to go through two small speed-traps towns and I was thinking that if I could find a back road to avoid this it might be quicker.

Now.  Let's just talk for a minute about what real-world talents I have.  I can open a screw top beer on a picnic table or counter edge.  I can tie shoes so they are less likely to come untied.   I can soften brown sugar once it has gone hard.

I cannot find my way out of a paper bag.  I have the navigational capabilities of a deaf drunk bat.  People like me are why GPS were invented.  To me, directions are similar to making gravy (another real world talent I lack.)  Why bother when I can open a can or make my older sister do it?  It is not like I do this that often.  Same with directions.  Why bother when I seldom go anyplace new and I can have a little nifty machine tell me in a pleasant female voice exactly what to do and when.

I have been to the city that this office is located in exactly four times.  Three were to the exact same place (my children's pediatrician's other office.).  I am not exactly familiar, is what I am trying to establish here.   Even typing this out, I am questioning what kind of logic made me think that it would be a good idea to try to find this alternative route with nothing but my iphone to lead me.  And since I still have not figured out the whole map app on my phone, it may as well have been paper directions.

I am that person who would drive around with the mapquest directions and accidentally hit the hobo on the side of the road as well as your dog too, all because I am trying to read and drive at the same time. I tend to multitask (five open...) and when you are going 55 MPH, eating yogurt is one thing but trying to read directions is another.  Figure in the GPS.  I am saving the hobo, and your little dog too. 

Saving hobos and dogs.  It's what your GPS can do for you.  Why am I not in advertising?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Vacation

We just got back from vacation today.  We spent a week on Hilton Head Island.  Yes, you read that right...the woman who hates water spent a week on the beach and in the pool.  Yes, I swam.  Yes, I allowed my children to do so.  I will admit that I had a much better time at the beginning of the week when Charlie freaked every time we tried to go into the ocean (or the river, as she kept insisting on calling it) or into the pool.  By the end of the week she was a pro and I accumulated no less than 5 additional gray hairs.

Further exacerbating my dis-inclination towards water was the fact that something fucked up started to go on with my ears.  At first it just felt like they had water in them.  Then it progressed to sharp pains.  It sucked.  Swimmer's ear, maybe?  Who the fuck knows.  It was just awful and more ammunition in my fight against the dark force that is recreational swimming.  My husband got me some drops that helped somewhat, but not until I missed spending time with a friend who had dropped by on her way to Myrtle Beach with her boys.  AGAIN...SEE?  Another reason why water is the devil!

Someone (actually, a couple of someones...) had suggested a decongestant.  That sounded like a mighty fine idea until I remembered that most decongestants make me want to crawl out of my skin.  I would make a poor meth addict, I think.  Taking a decongestant and then being confined 14 hours to a minivan with my children, husband, sister, and brother in law?  When taking a decongestant makes me want to scratch my insides out from the imaginary crank bugs that I swear to God are crawling on my arteries?  No thanks.  I'll suck it up, buttercup. Going through the mountains was fun, as well as trying to hear anyone speak below the decibel level of a freight train.

The ear situation aside, it was quite fun.  This was actually our first significant vacation with all of the children.   Charles and I had gone down last year but left the kids, much to Elizabeth's chagrin.  Tack on another three months of therapy there... The kids did great on the ride down...not so much on the ride back but it turns out Charlie's eczema flared up in her butt crack so I imagine that was not so fun for her, poor thing.  We swam, we shopped, Elizabeth got to zip-line due to my brother in law and sister sitting through a time share presentation.  The little girls built (and destroyed) many a sand castle with me and I got more sun (and sand in my vagina) than I should.  We will definitely be returning again, with ear drops this time!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Five

It is hard to believe sometimes that it has been five years.

Five years since my world was turned upside down.

Five years since I learned things I never wanted to know.

Five years.  Half a decade. Kindergarden age.  The Wood anniversary. 

It has not gotten easier.  I dread the days leading up to July 2 like no other.  No matter how much time passes, I don't think that it will ever get to the point where I can work that day.  Where I can think of the events of that day without a panic attack.

Where I wonder how the hell I carried on and functioned and why the world did not stop when mine was falling apart.

Five years.  Both so short, and yet so long.

RIP and happy birthday, Gabe.  Mama misses you every day.  And Mama will never allow you to be forgotten.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

MHPMHD

A few months ago, a group of co-workers and I got together for some one's birthday outside of work.  A pretty small thing, considering that hundreds of people probably do it on any given day...but it was revolutionary for us.  We talked, laughed, drank margaritas, and had such a good time that I made the executive decision that we would have a monthly Mental Health Professionals Mental Health Day, otherwise known as the MHPMHD.

Most people don't realize this, but therapists are people too.  The work we do is very important, but we are severely underpaid, overworked, and under-appreciated.  Hearing stories of abuse, terror, pain, misery, and just humans being the very worst they can really wears on a person.  Hence, the importance of caring for one's self.  Most mental health agencies will not do it for you.  They want to wring every last drop out work out of you they can and then will still tell you that you are not doing enough.  It is disheartening.  Much like parenting, in fact.

Right now Charlie is in the midst of a knock down, drag out fit.  She is pissed at me because I am making her play with her toys.  (Call Children's Services, y'all. I am so abusive.)  Not only do I have a toddler to contend with, I have a teenager as well.  Teenagers are really more like toddlers than they are adults, but they have more words and really aren't quite as portable.  Then I have the 6 year old who is totally focused on rules and all of the perceived injustices that are wrought upon her at the hands of others.  Shit gets crazy all up in here, yo.

Most days I am perfectly content to stay at home and referee.  Most days I don't mind the crazy that is both my house and my job.  I thrive on it, in fact.  I chose this and I love it.

But...I need a break.  I need to see my coworkers outside of work where we can laugh and let loose.  I need to NOT be with my family for a few hours.  I need it for my sanity.  I am crazy enough on my own; I certainly don't need their help.

It has gotten to the point now where every once in a while, I can feel the depression starting to creep in.  Like an ominous storm cloud encroaching, it slowly sneaks up with the intention of wreaking havoc on my mood and my ability to cope.  This tells me it is time to engage in some self care (mind out of the gutter, pervs!) and to remove myself.  To go and do something for me.

Does it always work?  No.  Sometimes the depression stays.  Sometimes the storm does not blow over, and it stays and is destructive to my soul and mind and it sucks monkey balls.  Sometimes the storm is able to blow over, like all those times when the hypervigilant peeps at the National Weather Service tell you there is a tornado coming and issue a warning and then are all like, "Oh!  Just kidding!  My bad!"  But you still have hunkered down and prepared yourself because you just never know.  Maybe this is the time that the golf ball sized hail will materialize and destroy your carefully cultivated garden and dent your vehicle and leave you with a huge mess to clean up.

The MHPMHD is designed to be the basement, the storm lanterns, the battery powered radio in the storm.  Sometimes it materializes, sometimes it does not.  Sometimes there is clean up, sometimes not.  It is preventative.  Hell, if I thought it would fly with the IRS, I would totally deduct whatever amount I spend on those days as a job or a medical expense.

Necessary for my mental health, and for yours too.  In fact, I am going to challenge all of my 7 readers to do this.  Once a month, to take a few hours out of a day and do something for yourself.  It can be getting together with friends and having lunch; going for a serene walk by yourself, or going window shopping with your mother.  Just something.  Slow it down, and care for your mental health.  Care for your soul.  See what a difference it makes.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Rainbows II

I recently had to do an assessment that sent me to my knees for a variety of reasons that I cannot go into (HIPPA, yo!).  This was the kind of thing where I really struggled to maintain my composure and in fact, lost it during the session.  Luckily it was clinically appropriate.  I got back to my office, shut the door, and sobbed for about 10 minutes.

It was a rough day, to say the least.  It really did not get any better after that.  Thank God for 5 PM.  I went to pick Charlie up from the daycare.  She jumped up and down, she was so happy to see me.  That helped.

I take her to the Jeep and strapped her into her car seat.  There, across her cheek, was a small rainbow. I have hanging in my rear view mirror a prism that was my grandmother's.  I vividly remember it hanging in her dining room window, above her cart of houseplants.  She always had the most beautiful plants, and her  violets were always so vibrant and a deep purple.  Obviously I did not get the talent for growing house plants as they enter my house and just kill themselves instead of waiting for me to do it for them.  Anyways, this prism always shone rainbows all over her dining room and I always was fascinated by them.  This prism has always been in my car, and at various times does shine rainbows.  However, it had never done so at this time of day as it just did not catch the sun where I park.

Until this day.  There it sat, a small rainbow with no explanation for how it got there.  Never saw one there before, and have not seen one since.  A rainbow, just when I needed it.

I am not going to comment on beliefs about God, heaven, and the afterlife.  Mostly because I know that my  whole 7 readers run the gamut from the extremely devout to outright atheists, with everything in between.  And quite frankly, what I believe is what I believe and none of your business. Could the rainbows be a coincidence?  Absolutely.  Humans do look for meaning in the mundane.  I am incredibly comforted by the idea that my son is looking out for me in some way.  Whether it is true or just me grasping at straws, it was comforting.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Shorts

 Two days ago:

Charles informed me that he is Lord of the Spider Monkeys.  When asked why he went to the dark side, he just shrugged and said, "Sometimes you have to go rogue."  (Related:  I posted this on Facebook and it is very telling that no one questioned why my husband would be telling me that he was Lord of the Spider Monkeys.  Telling about me or my Facebook friends...well, I'll let you decide.)


This happened tonight:

 Charles:  I have some khaki shorts my dad is going to give me.

Me:  Oh, good.  You don't have any.

Charles:  Yes I do. You bought them for me last year. (Side note: Wife of the year I am not.)

Me:  I did? 

Charles:  Yeah, for when we went to Hilton Head.  I keep them in my underwear drawer.

Me:  Wait...Your UNDERWEAR drawer?

Charles:  Yeah, that is where I put my good clothes...wait, why are you laughing?

Me:  YOUR UNDERWEAR DRAWER???

Charles:  Yeah, it makes perfect sense to me.  That way they stay nice and I don't wear them to work in around the house.  Why are you still laughing?

Me:  Just...never mind.  Go shower.

Charles:  OK.

(Comes over to give me a kiss.  Tries to eat my Adam's apple afterwards in a misguided attempt at showing physical affection.)

Me:  WTF was that?  Don't ever do that again.  You were trying to rip my throat out like some kind of wolf.  Or...a spider monkey.

Charles:  Well, I am the Lord of the Spider Monkeys.

Me:  Go shower.

Charles:  You want another drink while I am up, since you are all wrapped up in your cocoon there?  (Mind you, it was close to 90* today and I was wrapped up in a blanket.  My feet were cold; sue me.)

Me:  It is my anti-spider monkey cocoon.

Charles:  It doesn't work.  I can still get you (said in a super creepy voice.)


I should probably start putting ads on this blog to pay for my children's therapy...

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Laundry

When Charles and I first got married, I sat him down and told him very seriously that I hate laundry and was "not good about it."  He kinda chuckled in the way that only a newly married man who has not yet realized his wife actually farts and poops does.  Poor Charles, so innocent and naive at that time.  This was back before he realized what a pain in the ass I am and that my parents were probably super relieved that he was taking me out of their house and into his.  Well, guess what mothafucker?  Your wife doesn't lie, and "not good about it" was/is an euphemism for "would rather french kiss a herpes-infested horny toad than do it."

Laundry to me is an exercise in futility; a special kind of purgatory here on this earth designed to slowly drive even the most dull witted amongst us insane.  I should probably get more specific here and state that I am actually referring to the act of folding it and putting it away.  The actual washing and drying of laundry, well, that credit goes to the machines.  Sure, I put the stuff in there and make the laundry detergent (yes, I make my own.  Bet you never pegged me as a fucking Sally Homemaker now did you?) and turn the dial...but the actual work of that is all the machine.  Folding the shit is torture.  Forced to choose between that and an afternoon spent dancing in the rain...well, I would have to think carefully.

I am sorry, but if you say that you enjoy folding laundry, I am going to say what drugs are you on cause sista, ME WANTY.  Especially if you say this and you have children.  Sure!  Let's go ahead and get something clean, to give it to a kid who could not care less if it was or not, and will take the first chance they have to use it to blow their nose/wipe their mouth/roll in a mud puddle/etc.  What kind of a sick fuck ENJOYS watching that train wreck in anticipation of the extra work to come to an already overloaded plate?

I may be crazy.  But by God, I have my limits.  I am banking on someone creating disposable clothes like they eventually came up with disposable diapers.  Of course, then I would feel guilty about the environmental impact...stupid crazy getting in the way of being lazy!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Successes

Me:  How was your day today, Charlie?

Charlie:  Well, I painted with Lori.  And I didn't put rocks up my nose.

Sounds like a successful day in the life of a toddler.  Personally, I wish that my definition of a successful day involved having the impulse control not to stick inorganic material into my nasal cavities.

Hell, most days I consider myself a success if I don't have a panic attack over something.  Elizabeth lipped off to me?  OMG, she is going to rebel and start using bath salts and get pregnant with a crack baby.   Alexis didn't want to eat dinner?  She is going to become anorexic and die from related heart disease.  The dog threw up?  He has heartworm and is going to die and then Charlie is going to lose her mind and become a serial killer.  So on, and so forth.  A constant battle against my crazy.  Against the forces that exist only in my own mind that tell me I am not good enough, smart enough, thin enough, professional enough, woman enough, strong enough.  Sometimes they even tell me I am not crazy enough.  What are you complaining for?  There are people who are hallucinating about demons from hell raping them anally and you are stressed over not being able to control your thoughts and anxiety and depression?

My successes in life are ones that people frequently point to when they want to highlight individual success in an attempt to downplay systemic oppression.  (Incidentally, there is no quicker way to bring out my crazy than to try to do exactly that.  Or to force me to listen to anything sung by Katy Perry.  Either/or.)  I was a teen mom.  I not only graduated from high school, I graduated a year early in the top ten of my class (again, despite the best efforts of my high school to get me to quietly drop out).  I graduated from college with honors.   I got my Master's degree, then my independent counseling license.  I am a homeowner with buttloads of debt.  I live a solidly middle class lifestyle.  I survived having to bury a child and miscarrying multiple other ones.  I successfully advocated for my own health and got potentially life saving treatment.

All of those things, however, don't matter if I can't function. If I can't enjoy life.  So I take my medications.  I constantly challenge myself; my irrational thoughts.  I actively seek out fun and laughter.  I surround myself with contentment and things and people I enjoy.  I seek out the absurd and look for the humor.  I cherish the perspective that comes from the innocence of my children precisely because it gets taken away all to quickly.

So yes, Charlie...it was a good day.  Keep on not inserting rocks where they don't belong.  Mama is proud of you.  But mostly, I am proud that I was able to tell you that rocks don't belong there, and that I am still here to hear about your painting.

I survived.  That is my success.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Rocks

Conversation with Charlie today:

Me:  Charlie, was that a ROCK that just fell out of your nose?

Charlie:  Yes.

Me:  What the...Charlie, rocks don't belong in your nose.

Charlie (genuinely surprised):  No?  Rocks don't go in my nose?

Me:  No Charlie.  Rocks go on the floor.  Or your hands; you can hold them in your hands.

Charlie:  No rocks in my nose?  Rocks don't belong in my nose? Or my mouth?

Me:  No rocks in your nose or your mouth.  Or your ears for that matter.

Charlie:  Rocks go on the floor or your hands ONLY.  Not your ears.  Not your nose.  Not your mouth.

Me:  That's right.

Charlie:  OK, Mama.


Notice how when she is doing something she isn't supposed to she calls me Mama, not Mom?  Children sure do have a knack for doing shit like that.  It is probably some kind of defense bred into them through generations of survival of the fittest.  Otherwise human parents would be abandoning their young left and right.

Really, Charlie?  A fucking rock?  I thought it was bad enough when you climbed on the stove to eat Alexis's birthday cake.  Or when you decided to learn to crawl up the stairs before you walked.  Or when you charmed the socks off of my OB during your C-section when the first thing he saw when he cut into my uterus was you making a kissy face at him.  You were all duck face before it became a popular Facebook meme.

I sure hope that means that you will be a good leader, like presidential material, vs a bad leader like Branch Davidian cult leader.  Honestly, some days it is only that hope that keeps me plugging away with you.

Glad I could clear up the confusion regarding the proper placement of rocks for you, though...

Monday, April 1, 2013

Toddler

I was contemplating today Charlie's tyrannical reign over our household.  It is so not fair what the little assholes that we refer to as toddlers get away with on a day to day basis.  So, seeing as how I have little else to do with my time because I sure as hell am not going to spend it doing things like laundry or housework or anything productive, really,  I started to think about how life as an adult would be if we were to act like toddlers.  Examples:

Returning from a bathroom break to a full staff meeting:

Me:  I WENT POOPY!!!!

Boss:  Did you wipe?  And wash your hands?

Me:  I used soap!


Charles gives me my dinner, my absolute favorite meal:

Me:  I don't like that.

Charles:  OK, then, don't eat it (goes to take the plate away)

Me:  I WANT THAT!  GIVE ME MY FOOD!  (arches back, bangs head on back of chair, then tips it over in a fit of rage.  I then expect to be comforted because of the injuries that I caused myself by not eating food that I love.)


Reading a blog on the Internet:

Charles:  OK, time to go to work, honey.  Put the computer away.

Me:  NO! (Runs to the other room and hides)

Charles:  You can either come with me or I'll carry you!  (Heads towards me and picks me up.  I instantly go limp and increase my weight magically and against all known laws of physics by about ten fold while shrieking like a demon from hell.)


Nap time: 

Charles:  OK, time for nappy.  Let's go night night.

Me:  NO!  I NOT TIRED!  (while yawning and rubbing my eyes)

Charles tucks me into bed. 

Me (five minutes later):  I HAVE TO GO POTTY!

Brings me to bathroom.  25 minutes later:

Charles:  Did you go?  No?  OK, you are playing.  Time for nappy.

Me:  I HAVE TO GO POTTY!  (Goes instantly limp; carried upstairs kicking and screaming.)

37 seconds later:  Sound asleep.


Seriously, it sounds so ridiculous when it is an adult acting like that.  Why do we let those little tyrants rule us like this?  If you ask me, they are way smarter than we are with that whole "My cognitive capabilities are not developed yet" thing.  In my next life, I want to remain a toddler forever.  I will happily trade being an adult for being forced to take a nap as the worst thing to ever happen to me.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Conversations XI

Me:  Elizabeth do you remember when I was dating?

E:  Not really.  Why?  Are you going to start dating again?

Me:  (sighing)  No, Charles won't let me date.

Charles walks in:  What won't I let you do?

Me:  You won't let me date.  Selfish bastard you are...

C:  Well, everyone has their quirks.


Me, talking to my boss:

Me:  Well, I don't see myself quitting any time soon, unless my husband decides to finally unearth his (imaginary) money he has hidden from me.

Boss:  Unless you win the lottery...

Me:  Well, that is on my to-do list.


Alexis, looking over my shoulder at my Facebook page ads:

A:  A free phone!  Wow, mom, I want a free phone!

Me:  Uh, no.

Later on, talking to Charles:

C:  Did you tell her she could take an innie-and-an-outie bath?

Me:  Yeah.

C:  Oh, I just told her she couldn't.  I'll text her and let her know...oh, wait.  You didn't get her the free phone...


Dumping some Epsom salts into Charlie's bath:

Elizabeth:  What are you doing?

Me:  Putting Epsom salts into Charlie's bath.

E:  Really, Mom?  Charlie is crazy enough without bath salts.  You are going to turn her into a zombie!



Sunday, March 17, 2013

Victim

I wept today.

I heard the verdict of the much publicized Steubenville rape case and I wept.  The trial frequently made my blood boil.  The sheer amount of privilege that is present in this case burns me up.  "I didn't know what rape was".  "She has a history of lying".  "Yeah, she was puking and I thought she was dead, but she consented."

All tired lines brought on by a rape culture.  All so insidious that no one really realizes just how damaging they are.

Women are still property.  Women are still meant to be playthings for the "good kids".

I am sorry, but if they were really "good kids", there would not have been a rape. 

Probably an inflammatory statement, yes.  But there is such a pervasive sense of "I am sorry I got caught..."  One of those kids even said in his statement to the victim, "I am sorry that those pictures got sent around."  Not, "I am sorry I violated you and degraded you and raped you".

The parents stood up and tried to blame alcohol.  Not ONE SINGLE PERSON tried to stop and think, "Maybe we should just NOT RAPE.  Maybe we are NOT entitled to sex.  Maybe a woman CAN and SHOULD consent."

People are still worried about the "bad light" that has been shed on Steubenville.  This frequently happens when unexamined privilege and systemic biases are yanked out from behind the curtain.  This stuff does not happen in isolated incidents.  Violence, drugs, rapes...society supports them.  It is not just Steubenville.  They just happened to have gotten caught.  Everyone needs to change.

How many more victims do we need to have before this happens?   I just hope that it is not too late to rehabilitate those boys.  I hope that the victim gets some measure of peace, though I know this is unlikely.  I hope that the community looks within itself to change.  I fear that this is also unlikely.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Emergency

On Friday, I got a call from the daycare.  Charlie had been kind of off that morning, but it wasn't enough for me to take off work (and let's be honest, if I called off every time I was cranky, I would never be at work...).  The teachers there knew this, and had called me concerned.  She hadn't eaten anything that day, which is not all that unusual given that she is a toddler and they possess a magical ability to extract nutrients from air.    What was concerning was that when she woke from her nap, she was shaking uncontrollably.  Not like seizure shaking; like she was shivering.  No temp, nothing to explain it.  Then she could not get off her cot or pick up her goldfish crackers.  Concerning, no?  I called the doc and they said to go ahead and take her to the ER.

Now, Elizabeth and Alexis, I have been to the ER a grand total of two times between the two of them.  This will make Charlie's third visit.  WTF, child?  She is a train wreck, health wise.  Hell, before she was a year old she already had had four different specialists involved in her life.

I can tell when the child is not feeling well, though.  Mostly because she isn't smiling sweetly at you while toying with the blade of the knife she keeps strapped to her ankle or throwing her toys around in a rage because you dared to suggest to her that maybe it isn't a good idea that she stick that metal hanger into the light socket.  She also tends to be more cuddly.  Now that I miss from her being an infant.  She would just snuggle into the center of your chest and look up at you and smile.  Now she will look up at you and smile, but once she figured out the key to mobility the snuggles dropped off.

She is feeling better now.  She started to have diarrhea, and the diagnosis was that it was caused by a bacteria.  The shaking was mild dehydration and low blood sugar from not eating.   Few doses of an antibiotic and the BRAT diet and she has bounced back.  She still is not 100% though.  Today, we were up in her room and she was sitting naked next to me doing puzzles (don't judge; I was picking my battles and clothing was not one I wanted to. That or I'm a lazy and inattentive parent). She then just snuggled onto my lap and wrapped her arms around my neck for a hug.  This is not something that she does spontaneously.

I kinda miss the days when it didn't take an emergency for her to want me.  When I picked her up at the daycare, the first words out of her mouth were, "Mama, I couldn't get off my cot."  I think it truly scared her.  Little Miss Independent she has always been.  I am so grateful, though, that even though she thinks she is grown, she still feels that she can come to me when she is scared or sick.

Even if she would be totally my first choice for backup in a bar fight.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Mom

Charlie has recently discovered that she likes birds.  Why, I don't know.  They are creepy as hell if you think about it.  Their beady little eyes, their beaks (really?  What kind of creature has a protruding mouth that is hard?), their unnaturally small legs and feet...CREEPY.  I hope to God she never finds out that people keep them as pets...

At any rate, she will constantly point out birds to me when we are driving.  Most of the time she gets an "Uh huh, I see..." because hello, remember I ignore my children whenever possible?  Also there is the whole I am driving and it usually does not work out so well when you turn around to look while going 60 MPH thing.  This morning, though, she was insistent and finally goes, "MOM!!!  LOOK AT THE BIRDS!!!"

Mom?  MOM?  WTF, child?  I am not Mom.  I am Mama.  Mom is entirely too grown up.  Next thing I know she will be putting on lipstick and listening to the devil's music, AKA anything sung by Katy Perry or Ke$ha, while casually trying to figure out ways to have boys shimmy up the pine tree in the front yard to sneak into her room and smoke pot that turns out to be oregano.

Mom is what a teenager calls you.  Usually accompanied by slamming doors and rolled eyes.  Sometimes both if you get a twofer that day.  Mom is not what my little Char-Rambo calls me.  She calls me Mama, ever so sweetly while looking me right in the eye and defiantly pulling her shoes off after I just fucking told her to put them on and GODDAMMIT STOP FEEDING THE FUCKING DOGS OR THEY WILL NOT LEAVE YOU ALONE WHILE EATING!!!  (For the record, I have never actually said that to her but I totally thought it.  All caps in my head, too...)

I am not ready for my baby to be grown up enough to call me Mom.  I want her to stay innocent.  Elizabeth was talking to me about prom today.  Fucking prom.  Do you know what kids DO at prom?  That is big kid stuff.  Who gave her permission to talk about prom?  Who gave Charlie permission to call me Mom?  Next thing I know, Alexis will be talking about getting her driver's license.

I think I need some oregano...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Laughter

So since I was off work this morning, I was posting a lot on Facebook.  Mostly just the random ramblings of a deranged mind, really, but I hadn't had time off during the week for a while so it felt good to make an ass out of myself during the week.  Someone posted a comment on one of them, something about always making her laugh.  This of course got me thinking about some kind of touchy-feely metaphorical bullshit that I can post here about the importance of laughter in my life.

One of the main ways that I knew something was wrong after Charlie was born was that I had no desire to laugh.  I still did, of course (given that my husband was shocked as hell when I told him what was going on) but I did not actively pursue it the way I do now.   I went through the motions on the outside, but on the inside I would have been screaming if my psyche had the motivation to get itself up out of bed and to pour the gin out.  All I really wanted to do was to crawl into a bed and fade away.  I did not want to hear my children's laughter or to joke with my husband.  I had no motivation to seek this out.

Monday through Friday during the week, I see very ill people.  I see people who actively want to end their lives, or other's lives.  I am pretty sure that I have looked into Satan's eyes a few times too.  I see people who are hearing voices telling them to do awful things.  I hear people tell me about the awful things that others have done to them.  I see misery, sadness, despair, and a kind of grim trudging through the day to go to bed to get up to see another.  Bleakness.  Pain.  Sometimes evil.  I am steeped in it. 

Yes, I know I chose this.  I still love my job.  However, I would not be able to cope with it if I stopped laughing.  Any mental health professional who is reading this will be nodding their head because they know.  The laughter is the antidote to the poison of what we do.  It can truly numb your soul.

But even before I entered this field, I sought out laughter.   I tend to be a sucker for men with a sense of humor.  I strongly preferred comedies over dramas or horrors (and now I just really tolerate dramas and will not watch a horror.  Or anything with violence, really.)  Now, even more so, I have made it my mission.  There is not enough laughter.  If I can make someone laugh through my ridiculousness (and honestly, it is a little frightening how ridiculous I can be); if dropping the f-bomb at inappropriate times and engaging in hyperbole can brighten someone's day, I'm all over that like a teenager is all over news of Harry Style's most recent break up.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Desk

I realized the other day that my desk at work is strangely symbolic of my psyche.  It is for the most part, on the outside, neat and organized.  The inside is another story completely.  The top drawer of my desk is full of post it notes with important information jotted on them, mints and eye drops to address my chronically dry eyes and mouth, my phone, stickers with the hotline number on it (I hand those out like candy in my job...), paperclips, old pictures of my children that used to hang on my wall, my car keys...basically a modge podge of my life.  The drawers to my desk are crammed with papers that I need, filed in neatly labelled compartments and easily accessible...but full to over flowing. 

That is how my life is.  Full to over flowing, but with things I need...work, my children, my health, my social life.  All neatly organized on the outside, but a million different things going on at once.

There is somewhat of an illusion there.  I guess I appear to have things together, but in reality there are always many different things on my mind that I worry about.  This is the curse of the anxiety that I carry.  No matter how much I am able to organize, how many lists and plans I make, it never feels like it is enough.  There is always more I should be doing, ways that I am lacking, people I have failed.

If I were to look at my life as lived by another person, I would probably be pretty impressed.  I was teenage mother.  My child that I had at that age is a pretty fucking fantastic kid.  I did not fall apart after I had her.  I fought and worked and scrambled to get my education.  I make a difference in people's lives on a daily basis.  I own a house, and (mostly :p) pay my bills.  I have a husband who loves me unconditionally, and two other children who are pretty neat as well.  My kids have not killed anyone yet, and if they have they are smart enough to know how to not get caught.  I have creative outlets that I enjoy regularly.  I have taken many steps towards becoming a more healthy person, inside and out.

Why is it that I am so hard on myself?  All of these things, when looked at in someone else, are pretty damn awesome.  All I see when I look at myself is the mess that is inside the desk.  I see all of the things that I feel I should be doing.  All the info that I can't remember;  all the reminders that I need to function. 

I surely can't be the only woman who feels this way.  Society judges me in myriad ways, despite all of the successes I have.  My kids aren't learning Mandarin, my house is not spotless, my assessments at work aren't as polished as I would like.  I must not be a good enough mother, wife, worker.  I feel tremendous guilt when I drop one of the many balls I have going, and external forces that show others who appear to have it together more than I do certainly do not help.  The external "desk" that we all have is deceiving.

I need to remember this.  I am not the only one.  Should, must, have to...words I need to eliminate from my desk, and from the desks of others.  I am human.  Not a desk that can be manipulated to suit someone else's needs.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Voices

I hear voices in my head.

Not the kind that scare people and require heavy duty psychotics.  Let's not give the mentally ill a bad name by associating me with them, m'kay?  More of an internalized dialogue that carries on between some facet of my psyche and society.  And different facets of my psyche with other aspects of my psyche.  Let's face it, my brand of crazy would not be complete unless I was fighting a losing battle against myself, amiright?

The constant ebb and flow of my day to day life is fraught with examples of all the ways I have failed, at least in my mind.  Today was a perfect example.  I  had to work a bit later than usual due to some glitches with a hospitalization.  Alexis also had an extra dance class for competition because they like to see how much they can make me twitch there with last minute changes to the schedule.  I was running late.  Plus, the original plan of me bringing her dance stuff with me so I had it when I picked her up from my in-laws (due to Elizabeth having a planned after school activity and therefore not being there to get her sister off the bus) fell through because Elizabeth's activity fell through.  None of this was in my control.  Or really, anyone's control for that matter.  It's life.  Changes happen.  She got to dance, and actually on time.  (Barely on time, but still on time.)  She was even fed before hand.

I appeared cool and collected while dropping her off, but in my head is a litany of sins the voices are screaming at me. 

If you were a better therapist, you would have gotten that client out the door sooner.

If you were more organized, you would not have had to worry about the dance clothes and she could have gotten dressed at home.

If you were better at managing your money, you could be a stay at home mom and be able to run your children around whenever and where ever.

If you were a better mom and if you really loved your child, you would not feel that you had to be rushed.

Over and over in my head.  Constantly belittling myself.  Constantly second guessing my decisions.  Never being good enough.  Always critical.

I am fully aware that it is illogical.  I am educated enough in therapy to know how to address that negative self-talk.  And yet, I constantly do it to myself, and sometimes to challenge it is exhausting.

You play board games with your family?  We don't do that.  I must not be dedicated to my family.

You get up at 4 AM to exercise?  I am not disciplined enough to do that.  I must be lazy.

You stay at work till 9 PM to finish your paperwork?  I won't do that.  I must be a bad employee.

 You are planning on buying a new house and going on vacation?  I can't afford that.  I must suck at managing finances.

You are going to send your child to a private school?  There aren't any around here.  I must be selfish because of where I choose to live.

You and your BFF are going to a concert together?  I barely find time to have coffee with my friend who lives around the block.  I must be a bad friend.
 
Around and around.  Not all from my internal voices.  Some from society, telling me that I need to compare myself to others and always be found lacking.  I am not thin enough, blond enough, pretty enough.  My job is scorned as weak women's work.  I am not tiger mom enough.  Hell, I don't think I qualify as a kitten mom.  I am awful as a wife because I am difficult to live with.  I am a horrible friend because I barely make time to hang out.

All at once, everything feels as though it is crashing down.  The voices are screaming at me. Most days, I can control them.  I reason that I am not superwoman; that other people's lives are filled with struggles as well; that I am keeping it together.

Just because I don't read to my children as often as others does not make me a bad mom.  Just because we have to hurry to dance does not mean I am a crappy therapist.  Just because I don't exercise at godforsaken hours of the morning does not mean I am lazy.

I am more than the sum of the epithets that my psyche throws at me.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Defenses

Getting a cold is a lot like being in denial that you have an addiction.   One tends to use a lot of defense mechanisms to attempt to convince oneself that in fact, one is not getting sick despite all evidence to the contrary.

In the early stages, one usually starts out with outright denial.  Nope, not getting sick.  This sore throat is because of dry air.  Boogers?  Must be something dusty making my allergies flare up (not allergic to dust, but hey whatevs...)  Cough?  Swallowed wrong.  Headache?  Thanks, kids.  Keep screaming.

Projection can rear it's ugly head.  "I am not sick, but holy hell you look like crap".  You can intellectualize your cold.  "This is a virus.  I can't take any medications for it.  It has to resolve on its own."   You can rationalize it to death (well not literally.  If you did that, you would get better since the virus would die...) "I must be getting sick because I am so stressed".

You then move on to regression.  You want to curl up under the covers and cry for your Mommy.  You want to whine and be cranky.  You want to be tucked into bed for a nap and spoon fed chicken noodle soup.  Essentially, you regress back to your two year old self.

Next comes the anger.  "GODDAMMIT!  We have immunizations for everything else; why not the cold!"  "I want something to fucking make me feel better RIGHT NOW!"  "Curse my great idea to have children who will go to the cesspool of germs otherwise known as school and bring back all kinds of communicable diseases!"

You get to the point where you can't remember what it felt like to be healthy.  You become firmly convinced that you will never get well again, and slowly resign yourself to the fact that you will be miserable for the rest of your life.  You frantically consult Dr. Google hoping against hope that a cure will magically appear.  Life revolves around the color of your boogers and the debate over whether you will need an antibiotic or not.

You decide that this must be bad karma for things done wrong in a previous life and resolve to go forth and sin no more.  Just when you think that you are just going to die....you get better.

Unless you are me and are taking medications to suppress your immune system.  Then secondary infections take one look at you and think "Free buffet!  All you can eat!"

Friday, January 4, 2013

Maximus

I hate that fucking dog.

I only consented to him in a moment of weakness.  That and I have a complete inability to say no to my family's reasonable requests and at the time, it seemed a reasonable request.  Perhaps I should consider getting evaluated for early dementia because my reasoning skills were really off that day.  (And for the record ELIZABETH (since I know you are reading this) a kitten is NOT a reasonable request (I have learned my lesson...(thank Charles for that one)) and I am perfectly capable of saying HELL NO to a kitten (and I wonder how many parenthetical statements I can include here (and we all know that being the extreme OCD person that I am I am going to go back and count every single fucking parenthesis (several times) to make sure they are all accounted for (and now I also have to keep typing to make sure I don't end this with a preposition because if I did the world will surely catch on fire))).)

Ahem.  Anyways.  I was thinking back to Alexis as a toddler (complete compliance with parental directives) and Spartacus as a puppy (you have a treat?  I'll do whatever the fuck you want, including and not limited to the doggie version of Gangham Style while simultaneously humping Katy Perry's leg).  I completely failed to take into consideration both the idea that the dog could have sub par intelligence and the fact that Charlie may or may not be getting command hallucinations for mischief from Beelzebub himself.

Maximus, was he human, would most likely qualify for some kind of MR/DD services.  He just doesn't fucking get it.  Or anything, really.  He lacks the ability to, say, find his way out from under a blanket.  Or listen to any command.  In his defense, I was not able to work with him the way I did the other two.  Back then, I only had two children, and in my defense, adding Charlie to that mix was similar to adding colicky triplets.  Plus I am now working full time.  But honest to God, there are some things that training can't fix and Maximus's brand of stupid is one of them.

He thinks that he is a goddamned lap dog.  I know people laughingly say that about their big dogs, but seriously, at least those other dogs get off your lap when you push on them.  He just flops over and falls right where he is.  It is like parts of his brain just spontaneously stop working.  Plus he doesn't get a hint.  I tell him to go away and to lay down and not 30 seconds later he is back, wagging his tail and being all, "Love me, love me!" At least the other two dogs will go lie down and make moon eyes across the room at me, which I can and do ignore. I really feel as though I am the abuser in this relationship because the fucker just keeps coming back for more...of course it doesn't help that I inevitably give in and pet the furry little bastard because I am a soft hearted fool.

Huh.  Maybe he is not as stupid as I thought he was.  I'll bet that little fucker is plotting with Charlie to overthrow me in my sleep at some point.  Either that or the two of them practice making me melt together, as well as laugh their asses off at how I feel badly later on when they are being assholes for mentally calling them assholes.