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Five Things – 1.21.16

  1. I’ve noticed something at work that probably happens all the time, but I’m just now seeing it. In my industry, we’re often asked to meet seemingly-impossible deadlines and are assigned more work than we have hours in a day, literally. Somehow, we make it work. That’s part of the magic. But I’ve noticed that when my male coworkers don’t have time to do something, they’ll show up to the meeting and just matter-of-factly say: “I didn’t have time to do this.” Or they won’t show up to the meeting at all because, “I didn’t have time.” Whereas my female coworkers, including myself, will sacrifice eating, sleeping, free time, etc. to get it done, then apologize because we didn’t have time to do it as well as we wanted. This doesn’t mean that my male coworkers are lazier. But I think women feel guiltier in general, about everything, whether we do the work or not. If I showed up to a meeting and admitted that I didn’t have time to do something, I would feel like such a failure. I’d probably be in tears. I’d absolutely feel guilty. And it’s ridiculous. However, I wonder how Senior Management (all male) would feel if I started plainly saying, “I didn’t have time.” I think they wouldn’t accept it the way they would if my male partners said it. And that bothers me.
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  2. This leads into something else I’ve been thinking about: the way women’s emotions are belittled or downplayed all the time. I read a great article about it a few months ago, but of course I can’t find it now. Essentially, it said that when women are crying or upset, people don’t take it as seriously because women are always emotional, always “overreacting”. And so our concerns aren’t seen as concerning, our anger doesn’t seem like an injustice, our sadness doesn’t seem important. My coworkers do it. My friends do it. Even Justin, who is basically the most perfect husband in the world, does it. And I’ve started calling it out. “I’m allowed to be angry about this. I’m allowed to have opinions and feelings.” Why do I have to justify my genuine feelings?
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  3. I’ve lost 7 pounds in 3 weeks, finally putting me at a weight I haven’t seen in over a year. I’m feeling really motivated this time around. I feel like such a basic bitch for saying this, but I’m tracking everything on my Jawbone and making sure I do a Jillian Michaels DVD every day. (20-minute workouts are amazing because by the time I realize I don’t want to work out anymore, I’m already 2/3 through it, so I keep going.) Also, Justin insists on doing a family meal plan, even though I really like being in control of what I eat, so I bought a 500-calorie-or-less Martha Stewart cookbook and made him plan meals with it. Now he cooks dinner for me every night. And it’s helping!
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  4. Murray sleeps with his eyes open. He has dreams and his eyes move around… while open. It’s so terrifying. I told my mom about it and she said that I used to do it, too. So I guess this is karma. He’s been really sick with RSV this week, so his little zombie face has been extra horrifying. Why, Murray?
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  5. My childhood best friend recently lost her baby, Madeline, just six days before she was due. The doctors can’t find a reason why, so she’s tortured with that on top of everything else. She’s the strongest person I know; we’ve been friends for 30 years and I’ve never seen her cry. And somehow, she’s been strong through this, too. I love her so much and I feel so helpless. I have two other friends who had baby girls the day before and after Madeline was due. Every time I see pictures of them, it stings that Madeline isn’t here. But my friend recently told me that she’s going back to school to be a counselor, because she couldn’t save her baby but maybe she can help to save other people. And she said that she wants to be the best person she can be, all for her little girl. She’s so amazing. I don’t understand why life is so unfair, but I’m so inspired by people who try to turn the worst things into something good. (Not-so-fun fact: The first night Murray slept with his eyes open was the night she told me that her baby died. I went to kiss him goodnight and be grateful that I had my baby, and there he was with his zombie face. I screamed and woke up Justin. NOT COOL, MURRAY.)

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Five Things – 1.16.16

  1. I’m doing really well with my New Year’s Resolutions. I’m writing more, I’m working out every day, spending less time online, making more of an effort to check on friends, etc. And I’ve lost 5 pounds! That’s 10% of my goal already! I’m totally exhausted but starting to feel so strong. Today I wore non-maternity jeans for the first time in almost a year. Not fun, but a big step.
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  2. For the longest time, a medical condition was keeping me awake. (Not my sleep disorder.) I’d almost forgotten how awful and frustrating I can be when I don’t sleep, but this reminded me. I’ve treated so many people terribly because of my sleep issues, but having a husband and a kid means I have to get it under control, no question. I never want to hurt Justin and I’ll never intentionally hurt Murray, ever. The medicine I need to help this is $100 a month! I was freaking out because I’m so incredibly poor right now, but I learned that a 3-month supply is $200… and then I convinced my doctor to prescribe twice the dosage, so I can cut the pills in half. That’s roughly $33 a month for a 6-month supply, and then it’ll (maybe) be time for baby #2. Hooray! The pills are already working and I’m sleeping better; such a relief.
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  3. Two years ago, my work made me move to an annex office in a different building. I had a giant office and a huge window with a gorgeous view, but it was so depressing being far away from my friends. I finally made peace with it, but of course, a week after I finally decorated my office, they decided to move me back. I’m so happy to be back with my friends again!
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  4. Because of some internal team moves, my job is about to get so insane. I’m literally sick about this. Every time I think about this, I want to throw up. My back is like one giant knot. I’ve decided to take up meditating, starting with just 2 minutes a day. I took it in college and loved it. This should be good.
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  5. I don’t know how to sum up how sick I am of superficial, sexist horseshit, but it’s really been weighing on me this week. There’s nothing I can do to change it, but I’m starting to realize how much I need to play the game, and that bothers me. This world is such garbage. Hopefully I can raise a better man and a better person than the ones I interact with every day.

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Five Things – 1.9.16

  1. I guess I should introduce you to my son. The idea of writing a post like I used to, summing up everything I’ve been through and everything I feel now, is impossible. I could write forever about him. I probably will write forever about him. But for now, I’ll just tell you his name: Murray. Every day he does something brand new, something hilarious, something frustrating, and something so beautiful that it makes every day perfect, no matter how bad that day was. I’ve never been more tired and dumb and bored and lonely and exhausted and ugly, but I’ve also never felt happier.
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  2. There isn’t a lot I can say about my job without getting fired, but I’ll just say that this morning I bought $30 in lottery tickets.
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  3. My New Year’s Resolutions were going okay, but then the unmentionable work problems got in the way and I had to eat, like, Cheez-Its for lunch and skip my workouts to put out fires. I’m not having a week like that again. From now on, my health is a priority.
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  4. Sometimes you read something that completely stops your heart, then kicks open a floodgate of realizations and emotions that you weren’t prepared for at all.
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  5. I’m aware that I’m a terrible writer right now. That’s what this is for!

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Five Things – 1.1.16

  1. Write More: This Five Things is going to be all about my five New Year’s resolutions. Historically, this has never worked out well for me, but here we go anyway. Starting with: I want to write more. I always say this will lead to a script or something hilariously ambitious by the end of the year, but this time I’ll do something simple. A Five Things once a week, and five minutes a week spent on a script. It’s a fraction of time, but it’s more than I spend now, and that’s all that matters. Once I gain some momentum, this won’t be hard at all.
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  2. Unplug: I have a baby now and he already hates my phone. Any time I pull it out to take a picture of him, or pause playtime to read a text, he stares at it. I’m not going to kick myself if I want to zone out on Facebook for five minutes or something, but it’s time to stop ignoring my kid, my responsibilities, and real life for the Internet. I’m going to do a lot of research about this (sadly, on the internet), add Leechblocker to my computer, and just make an ongoing effort to loosen this leash.
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  3. Lose Weight: I’ve been wanting to lose 40 pounds for a couple years now. But then I got pregnant and gained 40 instead. Oops! I have 10 pounds left of baby weight, so that’s 50 to lose, or roughly 1 pound a week. BodyMedia is going out of business this month, so I bought a Jawbone. I bring fruit and veggies to work. I drink green tea religiously. Justin is in charge of the baby in the morning, so I have the freedom to run or workout every day. I just need to actually do it. I want to hopefully be pregnant again by the end of the year, and I’d like to be as healthy as possible this time around.
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  4. Work Hard: Last year I worked my fucking ass off, and everyone noticed. That meant 8 weeks without a day off, 60-80 hour weeks while pregnant, taking over tons of my bosses projects, etc. I’ve been told that I’ll finally, FINALLY get promoted in a few months or so. So I just want to keep up the momentum, keep getting noticed, keep making myself proud. And if I’m not promoted by the time I want baby #2, I need to start looking for a new job.
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  5. Take Care: One of the last things my Grandma said to me—and one of the last things she always said to me, whenever I saw her—was, “Take care of yourself.” So I plan on doing exactly that this year, but I also plan on doing the same for others. Am I sleeping enough, eating right, checking in with my shrink? And I listening more, making people smile, checking in with how my friends feel? Some of the most rewarding parts of 2015 were just doing nice things for other people. I want to keep that up, especially for the people who do the same for me.

So that’s it! Maybe once a month I’ll do a check-in of my progress, more for my sake than yours. (I don’t think anyone reads this anymore, which somehow makes this more fun?) Good luck, me! And good luck to you with whatever you want to accomplish this year.

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Five Things – 1/30/15

1. This is my first Five Things! A few writers that I admire have done this for a while, and it seemed like a great way to keep up with my blog without, you know, actively blogging. I finally worked up the courage to ask if it was something I could do, too, and they were really encouraging! (People—friends!—used to yoink ideas from my blog all the time and, even though it shouldn’t, it really bothered me. I just wanted to be respectful, I think. Or realize my own dumb unwritten PMS rules apply to me, too.) I don’t know how often I will do this, but it’s a nice format for whenever the mood strikes.
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2. Justin and I threw our third Grilled Cheese Party for my birthday. This was the biggest party yet—about 35 people. People get so excited about these parties and look forward to them all year, so I try to go all out. Most people might think it’s weird to drop an insane amount of money for my own birthday party, but the best gift is making people I love happy—and the bonus is seeing them all in the same room. Justin set up his GoPro in the middle of the spread, so we wound up with this:
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3. Yesterday was my birthday. Is it weird that I enjoy getting older? When I was younger, I had so many questions and worries; I was so unsure about how life worked. The older I get, the more I know and the more I relax. So fuck my twenties! I am balls-deep into my thirties and loving it.
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4. I usually go to my shrink, Dave, whenever things are stressful or insane—mainly once or twice a year. But recently I’ve started going just to be proactive—I tell him about things I want to work on (confidence, motivation, etc.)—and he gives me techniques and ways to cope. I’ve always believed that cognitive behavioral therapy can help you conquer anything. Now I’m just putting it to practice.

5. I’m 16 weeks pregnant. According to all these dumb apps, my kid is the size of an avocado. I don’t feel pregnant at all – no nausea, no fatigue, no weight gain (though, I am eating like an absolute monster). If it wasn’t for the sonogram, I wouldn’t believe it. I actually bought a fetal Doppler and use it at least once a week, like, “Are you there? Are you sure?”

Growing up in a disabled family and watching so many people I love go through so many horrible things placed me in a different mindset for good news, or even general good health. The more wonderful life is, the more anxious I get and the more I brace myself, preparing for the worst. I grew up accepting and expecting that I couldn’t have the same things that other people would have, that things would naturally be harder and sadder for me. So honestly, the hardest thing about this pregnancy is accepting that I might actually have a normal, healthy baby—and shaking the fear that the second I drop my guard, something will go wrong.

That being said, despite my best efforts I am pretty fucking excited about this.

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Five by Five

Ten years! Oh my god, you guys.

Honestly, the 5-year mark felt much bigger. That was probably when this thing peaked. (It’s also back when people were still blogging.) 5 years ago, I really lived in this thing because I didn’t have much else.

I mean, I had—and have— amazing friends, but they were all in relationships, planning weddings, going on double dates, etc. The more I surrounded myself with them, the more I felt alone. I was always dating someone, or at least flirting, but they always let me down in the end.

I had a job, but aside from friendships, it was the worst and I hated it. The management was pretty abusive and it drove me to therapy, repeatedly. One by one, all of my friends quit, so I was miserable and lonely there. (My old job is where I ended up doing the most of my blogging, just to give me one part of the day I could look forward to.)

I didn’t sleep. At all. And I didn’t know why. I took drugs that were not meant for me (at a dosage that the FDA has finally realized was too much) for a very long time and they made me depressed and insane.

 

Just after the 5-year mark, I was so incredibly lonely and miserable that I made a vow to go out and meet new people. And almost immediately, though we unknowingly circled each other for 10 years, I met Justin. I knew my love of TV would get me somewhere.

I finally decided to take a stand and find a job that made me happy and fulfilled (or at least didn’t make me cry on a daily basis). And I didn’t just find a new job—I found my dream job. I’m still a little in shock.

Someone finally figured out what was wrong with me, and now I can sleep! There are still restless nights every now and then, but for the most part I get the sleep I need. Sleeping on Justin’s shoulder helps immensely. And I haven’t taken Ambien in 4 years!

I got a niece, who made my heart grow in a way I didn’t know it could. By Halloween, I’ll have 4 nieces and nephews total. And in 5 years, maybe I’ll have a kid of my own, and my heart can grow in an even weirder, more wonderful way.

All of those friends I made, plus the old ones that I love more than anything? They all came together to help me through the scariest, most painful time of my life. That concert was one of the few bright spots that year for my entire family, and we’ll be forever grateful to all of you.

I moved four times in the last 5 years! But nothing was harder than packing up the house where I grew up, where my dad died, on Father’s Day. I drove by there the other day, just to see what it looks like, and it still hurts. Even though taking care of my dad was so hard and heartbreaking, I’m forever thankful that I got to move back home and see him every day, and to appreciate my childhood home with adult eyes.

I lost some things, too … my dad most of all. And my very best friend, my Grandma. I think about them every single day and I don’t think that will ever change. But I think it’s just one of those pains you get used to, like a bad back or a sore knee. It’s just a part of getting older.

But again, the biggest thing I’ve gained in the last 5 years—what made these years so different, and so much better, than the last 5—is Justin. From all of our weird adventures and roadtrips to our wedding to Iceland and beyond, I can’t imagine my life without him and I’m so lucky that I get to wake up next to him every day.

I came across this post on Humans of New York the other day and immediately fell in love:

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This, I think, is the biggest difference between the way I am now and the way I was when I started this blog. Back then, I wanted to be noticed. I wanted to get writing gigs. I wanted the cool people on the internet as friends. I wanted my ex to want me back. I wanted to be special. I wanted to be extraordinary. And you know what? In the first 5 years, back when this was called Shortcake, all of that happened!

But these days, that isn’t important to me. In fact, these days the internet is such a nightmare that the last thing in the world that I want is tons of attention online. More importantly, I don’t want to hang out there. I just want to hang out with my friends in person, travel places, do things, make things, write things that matter.

I mean, I get to go to my dream job every day, come home to my dream loft and spend time with my dream man, or some of the coolest friends (with the biggest hearts) in the world. Once again, I’ve hit my goal. And for now, it’s perfect. I don’t need to be extraordinary to other people. I’m content. I’m amazed by my life every single day. And that’s enough for me.

Thanks for being a part of it.

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Obstruction

Heh heh heh.

I feel bad that I left that last post up for so long without explaining: Justin has nothing to do with my depression. In fact, he’s one of the few things that consistently makes me happy. He’s my best friend and my favorite person, and I’ll never stop being amazed that I’m the one who got to marry him.

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However, he’s working full time, going to school full time, working at an internship and he’s the layout editor for his school paper. And while his schedule is, shockingly, not as crazy as it has been in recent semesters, he’s gone during weekend days and sometimes three weeknights in a row. When I’m coping with stuff (and don’t consider drinking “coping”), it makes things hard. But I’m so proud of him and I’m always amazed by the work he’s doing.

I could name about 1,000 reasons why I was sad, but not a specific reason, and that’s when you know it’s depression. It started creeping up about a month before my Grandma got sick. I think it started with selling my family home. There was one day where I woke up happy, walked to work in gorgeous weather, and was excited to see all of my friends that night, but then I got a call that my Grandma was in the emergency room. Moral of story: always stay depressed?

It really was the perfect storm of stuff: bad project at work, feeling left out, missing my Grandma and my dad and my house, gaining weight, not sleeping at all. And you know, when you’re getting married, you get used to an insane amount of attention… and then it all goes away. So the sad, lonely, empty times felt a million times worse thanks to that extra deprivation.

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Anyway, I’m slowly but surely getting back to normal. Here’s some ways I kicked myself in the ass:

1. Quit Facebook

I don’t like broadcasting shit on Facebook like I do here, so I took the temptation away by deactivating my account. (Also, at the time, tons of my friends were on this road trip together and thanks to a seating limit I wasn’t invited, so it was nice to not look at their 8 million posts and pictures. I wasn’t mad, but that timing could not have been worse. I was literally like, “I need help; today I’ll make an effort to spend time with friends,” and then NO YOU CAN’T BECAUSE THEY’RE ALL HAVING FUN WITHOUT YOU HAHAHA)

I did not miss Facebook. At all. I liked being forced to call/text my friends and develop real friendships. I LOVED not hearing about politics or worrying about how to please everyone I know all at once. My day felt cleaner and easier when it wasn’t clogged up with the lamest, stupidest details about everyone’s day. (I know people say this is a Twitter thing, but I only follow clever people there.)

Not feeling the urge to check a website 6,000 times a day? Freedom. Pure freedom.

Of course, I’m back for now… there are cancer updates, trial news, and long-distance bffs I need to keep track of. I missed some friends’ jokes. BUT I don’t have the app on my phone anymore, I delete/unfollow people every day, and I know that when I deactivate it again, I’ll be able to go even longer. I know it’s like the most dramatic thing you can do in this day and age, but it’s worth it every now and then.

2. Excercise

I joined this app called Gym-Pact; you commit to a number of workouts and put up money for each one. For example, I commit to 6 days a week at $20 a workout. If I miss one of those workouts, I would have to pay. So far, I haven’t. I’ve made every workout, which means I make money, thanks to everyone who failed. Like my BodyBugg, it turns things into a game and forces me to get off my ass. I love it.

I’ve also joined other apps like DietBet and Luminosity, but I’ll talk about those some other day.

3. My basic formula

Sleep, exercise, Vitamin B and sunshine. Now that it’s cool outside, I can walk to work–and I’m definitely feeling the results.

4. Drugs

So, I thought I could ween off of Ativan to be ahead of the game when Baby Time happens, but this was not the time to have trouble sleeping. All it did was help create the Perfect Storm. Maybe when I get back up to running 6 miles every morning, I’ll try again.

5. Distractions

Since Justin is gone two or three weeknights in a row, I try to stay distracted during those times. Walking with Veronica. Evening trips to the Y. Visits with my shrink. TV time with Jen and Ron. I also go out more on the weekends: parties, dinners, girl’s nights with my work friends, “Friday Night Grown-Up Time!” with Jen. As long as I’m not here alone, thinking about my Grandma and my Dad, I seem to do fine.

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6. West Coast

I wasn’t broadcasting my depression on Facebook and I was trying to keep my crying at a minimum around BFFs like Jen and Vee, but I was very honest about it on Instagram and Twitter. And while I wasn’t trolling for attention, Erin and Janet both sent me out-of-the-blue Cheer Up presents. I literally burst into tears when I opened these–happy tears. It made me feel like someone heard me, that someone cared. And sometimes, that’s really all you need.

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I’m still feeling fat thanks to the Post-Wedding 15, but apparently women are happiest at Size 12? So maybe I should gain some weight and see how that body feels. Ha!

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