It took a shit-show election, virtual Kindergarten, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and a motherfucking coup, but ya girl is baaaa-aaaack.
It took a shit-show election, virtual Kindergarten, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and a motherfucking coup, but ya girl is baaaa-aaaack.
Yes, I know it’s Sunday. You wanna see what my Monday mornings look like?
Election season has been bad for me, friends. Especially combined with quarantine and three tiny kids who never give me a break. I work out every single day and spend all day counting calories, but my only relief at the end of the day is a glass of wine, and that wine convinces me to eat a bajillion snacks, and that 10 pounds I lost this year has snuck back with a vengeance, or at least 60% of it has.
Soooooo here we go! I have roughly 15 weeks until I turn 40, and I’d love to be in the 140’s by then. I just need some accountability, even if it’s posting to literally no one on my long-dead blog. You ready?
Spent Days 3 and 4 working on my assignments (and working, working, working, even though it was the weekend) but I’m back. It’s Monday. I’m considering doing Mortified Mondays again, where I post my weight and my weekly progress.
This month has been killing me. Between Murray’s kindergarten, the election, crazy work (usually clients run out of money by now, but my brand keeps getting more?) and a morning schedule that we just can’t seem to coordinate, I just keep panic eating. I spent all of lockdown maintaining and even losing a little more, but within just a few weeks, I’ve ballooned back up to where I originally started.
Mortified Mondays were in the weeks leading up to my wedding, and that was the last time I was in the 140’s, or even the 150’s, before I had kids. I liked the accountability, even if I hated the accountability. I’d really like to feel in control of this body before my 40’s, especially since I don’t have control over anything else.
It will *also* be nice because I don’t have any readers anymore, I think? I just pretend I do, which is nice? So what do you think, should I do it?
Well, the first voice I heard this morning was my kids’, when they woke up at 5. It’s going to be an insanely stressful weekend, but I think I can handle it.
This is so cheesy, but setting intentions for the day right when I wake up has helped me so much with my insane life: I’m writing today, just for me, and who would have ever thought I’d have time for that? If I squeeze in a walk, work on projects x y and z, and work on my big surprise for Justin, then I’ll consider today a success.
I’m going to say right now that I don’t have time to scroll through my phone in horror all day. I use an app called Focus for that and it helps so much. I really need to install one on my phone. I started the year reading “How to Break Up With Your Phone,” but I needed that little buddy during a pandemic!
Next month will be for eating healthy. This is the season for Count Chocula and red wine. We’ll see how the election goes.
Whelp, I wasn’t supposed to doom scroll right when I woke up, but what else can I do when a fly lands on the Vice President’s infected head on live television? My god. At least I’m here.
Being a working mom of 3 tiny kids during pandemic means that I’ll never be a great mom, wife, worker, friend or person on the same day. My number one aim is to be at least a mediocre mom and worker every day. Yesterday I was an amazing wife (I can’t WAIT to tell you what I’m up to!) and a decent self. Today I need to be an amazing coworker. It’s hard to maintain a balance. I don’t like doing things just enough vs. doing things consistently well. There is just so much to do, in so many areas, and right now it’s all so exhausting and hard.
But writing a couple paragraphs for myself vs. work, fitting in a daily workout, and remembering to take my Lexapro means I did something nice for myself today. I did just enough. I’m learning to be kind to myself and forgiving for not being able to do it all, all at once. And I can dive into work or parenting or whatever else I need to do feeling proud of that.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been here… and holy shit, it looks different! I hope no one is expecting pictures in my new posts because I , uh, no longer know how to do that.
In addition to being on lockdown with three kids under 6, watching the fall of democracy, co-managing virtual Kindergarten, and working remotely full time at a job that just keeps getting busier, I decided to be an idiot and take a writing class with one of my favorite writers. One of the assignments is to write every morning! So I’m dusting off the old Shortcake and will attempt to post here. I doubt anyone still reads this, which will probably make me a little more fearless than I should be.
If you used to read this blog regularly, you know that I like to set dumb goals for myself. I decided at the beginning of 2020 to work out every day, and aside from two days in early January, I’ve been doing it! And damn, was this the year to jack up my endorphins and immune system, or what?
Because that’s my main priority, and the class is more to tap into what I love about writing when my job feels so hard on lockdown, I’ll probably write when i’m done with my workout and not right when I wake up. But I love the advice the instructor gave, which I want to remember: that instead of immediately picking up my phone and doom scrolling each morning, I should start the day with my voice. I definitely need to do that.
First endorphins. Then coffee. A shower. Then, if the kids haven’t woken up already, my voice.
Welcome to 2020, my old friends. It’s so fucked up. Did you ever think it would be this fucked up? Maybe you can help me get through this. I’ve missed you, so very much.
My third and last* baby is here! Simon!
Simon would have been Matilda’s name if she had been a boy. Once I pick a name, I’m attached and in love. There were a lot of reasons I was apprehensive to have a girl right after the 2016 election, but saying goodbye to my Simon was one of them.
But I knew there was a Simon. My Simon. And now he’s here. He’s as sweet as I imagined. All he does is sleep and eat. The 4-year-old and 2-year-old are the challenging ones these days. I have the easy job of staying awake and snuggling him.
He was 10 pounds at birth! I knew he would be. I’ve never felt that physically impaired in my life.
On Sunday he had a 102.5 fever, which is terrifying for a baby under 3 weeks old. He and I went to the ER and then spent the night in the hospital. With my first, this would have been a huge ordeal and I would have cried the whole time. (I remember Murray spent one night in the NICU after I went home, and it’s true; I cried the whole time.) But this time it was all automatic and going through the motions. Doing what we need to do. Counting our blessings instantly. Knowing he’s tough enough to handle it and we’ll be fine. I’m proud of us.
I have a lot of grand plans for maternity leave, including terrible braindead blog entries! (*waves*).
I haven’t blogged in a long time but holy cow, it’s hard to not use emojis when I’m talking about my cute-ass baby! Hahaha.
*Unless Pence makes me a handmaid. That birth certificate questionnaire (Are you married to the father? Have you ever done drugs?) makes me think it’s coming.
1. I’m about to have another baby—basically the only time I write here anymore, right? I keep wanting to be someone who writes, outside of my 9-5 that is, but with two toddlers and a soon-to-be newborn, I don’t have a lot of brainpower these days. (Or is it because of the smartphones? It’s probably because of the smartphones.) Maybe I’ll try to write more on maternity leave, if Moose (what I call this giant baby) is as nice to me as Matilda was (and still is). Anyway, I’ve been talking about my blog a lot this week and I missed you! Yes you, the literal one person who maybe got a notification for this? Don’t tell me if you did. It’s kind of liberating to think that no one is reading this.
2. I just watched the trailer for The Goldfinch and I basically came here because I’m trying to not cry at my desk? I really can’t handle stories about mothers and sons! It’s weird how my heart swells and breaks in completely different ways for my kids. Murray is SO much like me, so stubborn and rebellious and loud and stressed out by the world, but at night he snuggles with me and kisses my belly and talks to me in this sweet, soft voice and I have to go cry in the bathroom because I love him so much. Okay, now I’m almost crying again. It looks like a great movie but I don’t know when I’ll feel strong enough for it.
3. Today is the 10 year anniversary of my first date with Justin. Still amazed that I got so lucky. Okay, crying again.
4. My baby is scheduled to arrive in 25 days, but my mom (the only babysitter my kids have allowed) is going to be visiting my brother in Italy for 18 of those days. AAAAAAND Justin is going to be on a shoot for 2 of those days, in 2 different states! It has made the last month of my pregnancy very stressful, especially when one of your kids was a month premature. However, the amount of friends who have immediately piped up with, “You can absolutely call me at 3 in the morning!” has been overwhelming. I hope I don’t have to call a friend or two at 3 in the morning, but I’m lucky that I can.
5. Speaking of babies and birth and family, I can’t fucking believe that I haven’t jumped over here in the last two years to tell you that I found my birth family. I fucking found my birth family! Both sides! I’ll tell you more about it someday!
The last time I was packing up to leave this hospital and introduce a new baby to this world, the Supreme Court had just ruled in favor of marriage equality. It was so uplifting to see all of the celebrations, to know that so many people I love had won a right they had fought so hard for, and to know that I was bringing my kid into a better world than expected.
Obviously, it feels like a different world today.
But you know what? I love that in this world, our heroes are scientists, journalists, and civil rights lawyers. I love that, more than ever, people are standing up for others and refusing to accept bigotry and hate. I love that we’re having tough conversations, confronting lies, and fighting for the truth.
I want everything in the world for my daughter, but most of all I want her to be good. She is, after all, here because of me. I want her to understand that most of the advantages she’s been given so far are pure luck, and they don’t make her better than anyone else. I want her to use what she has to fight for the people who don’t have the same. I want her to care. And I want her to be kind.
So you know what? I’m glad that Matilda is coming into an uncomfortable world. I’m glad she gets to see both the best and worst showing their truest colors right now. I hope it will help me teach her to be compassionate, empathetic and generous. I hope it will help her look below the surface, appreciate differences, and surround herself with good people. And, I’d like to think it will make her a little smarter, cooler, and funnier, too.
So buckle up, world. Matilda Tolliver is on the loose today. And she’s here to make this place better than she found it.
The thing about women is: we are resilient. We know what it’s like to be the most qualified person in the room, and still have to prove that we are as good as the worst. We know what it’s like to bite our tongue and choose our battles. We know how to duck into a stall, have a good cry, process that pain, and move the hell on with our day. And while some peg us as weak because of our emotions, we know how to hold it together to care for the vulnerable ones around us, to summon strength we didn’t know we had so that others can pull from it.
After all, we are built to have another life depend on ours. Some of us have literally been cut open and ripped apart for someone we love. Some of us have hearts deep and open enough to accept another without question, immediately taking that cub as their own. And the rest of us somehow care for others automatically, even on our worst day, as a reflex. Motherhood is not what makes you a woman; we’re women because we have the strength that makes the impossible possible, including motherhood. We all have that same power, and we are all selfless in how we wield that sword.
Like it or not, this is the same country that we have always lived in. Women, especially women of color and LGBT women, know this better than the rest. Even if she had won, if we had won, those threats are still real. Those ceilings and hurdles are still there. We’re still going to have to work twice, or three times, or four times as hard.
But you know what? Nasty women still vote. Bitches still get stuff done. We can lift a car with one hand when the ones we love are in danger. We can certainly lift a country if we all work together.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
… I write an entry about how depressed and lonely I am and how I have no friends …
… and then I delete it …
… and then I post it again …
… and then I edit it to be like, “Except for Jen and Ron, as usual, obviously” …
… and then I delete it again …
… and then I cry in the bathroom and go run 5 miles and finish a book about Scientology and feel better.
I’m glad only like 20 people read my blog these days (and one is in India?) so only a few people get to witness the chaos (and thank you for loving me and/or hate-reading me). This is so much better than when I would write massive, epically embarrassing entries on Ambien and like 300 people would read it before I woke up and deleted it in a panic. There are people out there who still think I’m a psycho because of that.
Anyway, I’m still really sad about what happened a week ago and I will probably be sad about it forever, but I think I’m feeling better.
… well, I watched Breaking Bad last night, so “better” might not be the right word. “Feeling okay about real life but totally fucking sick to my stomach about fictional characters” might be a better description. Like, I feel hungover from the stress of that show. Yikes.
Did you know that I stopped eating gluten? I stopped eating gluten about a month ago.
We’re not trying to have a baby right now, but we’re talking and planning … and for the first time, I realized that I would have to stop taking all of my daily meds. I don’t take a lot of medicine, but I take stuff for allergies, sleeping … and (in the summer) sweating. I have a friend who sweats even more than I do, and she told me that she found out that her sweating was because of a gluten intolerance. I read up on gluten intolerance symptoms, and so many of them are things that I suffer from (joint pain, anxiety, sleep issues, etc).
I have friends with serious, severe Celiac Disease and I’ve witnessed how hard it is for them. I also used to work in a health food store, where people with gluten allergies have always had to shop until recently, so I’ve been aware of this issue for a long time. I am very, very grateful that I do not have Celiac Disease, so let’s make it clear that I don’t just think of this as a fun experiment. But if there’s any time to try avoiding gluten and find out for myself if this is my problem, it’s now.
These days, people tend to roll their eyes when someone mentions they’re avoiding gluten because they think it is just a fad diet. They bring up the low carb craze and try to mansplain to me that it’s not actually going to help me lose weight. I love telling those people that I wrote my master’s thesis ab0ut the low carb diet and the marketing and advertising behind it, so I fully understand how those diets and fads gain momentum.
However, while avoiding gluten is tied to one fad diet (paleo), it’s also an easy way for grocery stores to bring in an entire segment of people that couldn’t shop at their store before. And because of Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, grocery stores need to compete with health food stores more than ever, so they are paying attention. This may stick for a while. I don’t think that stores will keep their giant gluten-free aisles for more than a couple years, but hopefully places will be permanently conscious of carrying gluten-free alternatives.
To be honest, I am eating more paleo than anything these days. Aside from gluten-free pizzas when I go out with friends and the occasional bowl of corn/rice cereal, I haven’t bought any products that are specifically gluten free. I don’t usually buy bread or baked goods anyway. So the only change I’ve really made is that I stopped buying fast food or pigging out on goodies at work. I don’t have to worry about cross-contamination or anything, so while this is by no means an easy lifestyle for people with Celiac, it has been relatively painless for me.
It’s been working, believe it or not. I still sweat in 90-degree weather, that is just science, but I’ve been more comfortable outside recently than most of my friends and I’m not afraid of going out at all. Justin is usually the one to turn on the air conditioning, not me. I don’t need a fan when I’m getting ready in our muggy bathroom. These are huge developments. And because the main reason I’m avoiding gluten is sweating, I’ll be able to slip up occasionally in the winter. I plan on avoiding gluten year-round, but I can still eat stuffing on Thanksgiving or an Easter casserole and suffer through the side effects with minimal discomfort.
I also feel amazing these days, but the fact that I do all of my shopping at the Farmers Market probably has something to do with it. This boost in my mood is much needed because I’m also cutting out sleeping pills and we all know how great that works for me. Shit’s been rough. At least I can take my old friend Benadryl.
My goal to sit up straight this month was serendipitous because work is nuts and I will be spending all month sitting at my desk. Anyway, that’s going well.
“You have been my friend,” replied Charlotte. “That in itself is a tremendous thing…after all, what’s a life anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die…By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.” ― E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web
I’ve been trying all week to write some beautiful, elegant entry about the past 3 weeks, but then it feels like I’m too detailed, too intimate, too self-absorbed, too wordy. So I’ll just say it.
I watched my Grandma die last week. I sat with her for her last hour on earth. I watched each breath take longer and longer, I saw the panic in her eyes, I told her it was okay, I told her that I loved her, and I held her hand until I felt her let go.
A week earlier, exactly a week earlier, I had a great visit with her. I said goodbye, then popped back into her room – and she was sitting up, having a major stroke. I held her hand during that, too. There was nothing they could do to stop it, so I just sat with her. She cracked joke after joke with a half-frozen face, slurring her words. I was the only person who could understand her. I stayed until she fell asleep.
Part of me feels like this has profoundly changed me–that I’ll appreciate life more or magically become a wiser, better person. The other half can’t believe how natural it all feels, to the point where maybe it hasn’t changed me at all.
I mean, when I lost my dad, the grief was normal and manageable but what I witnessed during the year leading up to that moment messed me up beyond belief. So I have no idea what I’m like right now. I’m not drinking. I’m reading, sleeping and walking a lot. Every time she said goodbye to me, she would say, “Take care of yourself.” So I’m treading lightly.
She was my Dad’s mom. So going through all of her papers and pictures hasn’t just been a reminder about her–it’s been a reminder of my Dad and my Grandpa, too. My Dad’s 70th birthday is coming up, so he was already on my mind. It gets a little overwhelming.
A few days before she died, she hugged me and said, “Thank God he gave us to each other.” That’s all I can think about. I know it was her time; I know it was natural. But it hurts so much. She was so incredible, so funny, so talented, so brave. I could write about her forever. She was one of my best friends. I really just fucking miss her.
Don’t expend energy in writing and publishing that would be better used in your family or community. Become tempered by life. Make compromises for love. Provide a service to the world.
If anyone needs me, I’m still at Instagram and Tumblr and Twitter. If I’m not there, then I’m obsessively binge-watching Orange Is The New Black and rewatching Orphan Black. You guys. Those shows. Do it.
The internet has been leaving a really bad taste in my mouth lately. Not all of it; mainly just blogs and Facebook. The majority of the blogs I read have evolved into a sort of “I don’t understand this thing so I’m going to bitch about how it’s stupid” attitude (and I’m sure I have too; shit’s contagious). I have trouble reading that stuff. I want to comment on it, to tell people they’re wrong, to ask why they care if they’ve never been there/done that, but if they have enough energy to bitch about something for 500 words then they certainly have no problem arguing with me*. And I can’t tell them to not care if I care that they care. You know? Anyway.
And Facebook is just, like, a shitty family arguing about politics and social issues at the dinner table 24/7. We shouldn’t be allowed to interact like that with every person we’ve ever met all at once, you guys. And even though I try so hard to avoid commenting and getting myself in trouble/unfriended, I just watch it happen and seethe. And it’s not even Republican/racist/religious stuff! It’s like, nice stuff posted by people who RSVP’d to my wedding and didn’t show up. “Oh, a picture of flowers? SCREW YOU.”**
All the negativity is making me sick to my stomach and it’s also making me a bad person. So I’m just trying to stay away for a while, sticking to little snippets and jokes and a little bitching, but just 140-character baby bitching.
I’m finally able to run again, thanks to my dad’s old podiatrist/roommate. I can’t run long distances yet because I took such a long break, so I’m finally able to build up my speed without tiring myself out. Just a couple 10-minute miles a day along with some walking. And p90x in the evenings. These 2-a-days aren’t helping me lose weight faster, but they’re making me feel amazing and helping me sleep like a baby, so Imma keep it up.
I realized that next year will be this blog’s 10-year anniversary, so I’m not ready to give it up just yet. Just … taking a vacation in a few other spots, is all, until I have something of substance to say. Come find me! I’m fun over there.
*Erin probably thinks this is referring to her post about not believing in fibromyalgia, and it’s not. It is a little bit about her cool friend who called me a “retard” in the comments, though.
**I don’t usually lord this over people, but I went to a wedding when my dad was on hospice and I had a top secret emergency plan in place in case he died that day (which included Erin, thanks girl) because when you RSVP that means YOU SHOW UP.
My PTSD about my dad is back with a vengeance. I’m learning that it gets the worst in the summer because weather can be the easiest trigger, and that’s when I really took care of him and things got super traumatizing. So I have at least another month of this.
Life is so much easier when you understand exactly what is happening to you emotionally and physically. More important, it’s easier when you understand why. Even if it’s just PMS or being tired. Even if it’s full-blown depression. It’s a chance to be proactive or give yourself permission to cocoon up and rest.
Justin is gone several nights in a row again, and I hurt my ankle so I can’t go to the Y and run. (It will probably be safe to walk in a couple weeks and I will; I just have a history of not waiting long enough for these things to get better.)
Anyway, my way of coping for the longest time was just, like, wine and Totino’s and a Netflix marathon. But I’m trying to read and cook time-consuming-yet-healthy dinners and do p90x, which I couldn’t bring myself to do last time around but now that I can’t go to the Y, it’s nice to have.
I need to just make an effort to spend time with friends on those nights but it’s so hot and I’m so tired and emotionally drained from all of this. It’s not something I can really talk about with friends because they treat it like I’m still deeply grieving after 3 years and that’s not what PTSD is about at all. The last thing I need is someone talking to me like I’m a little kid, which is what a lot of my friends tend to do for some reason. Anyway. I’m fragile but I know I’ll snap out of it when the weather changes.
I’m doing fine about the big move; I automatically stuck memories of the house into that big box in the back of my brain where I keep memories of my dad, my grandpa and my dog. Do you guys have a box like that? One where small memories and stories escape and it’s okay, but you never open it up and look inside because everything floods out and it would hurt too much? Anyway, 908 is there.
Marriage is awesome. I suppose right now we’re starting to talk about getting a bigger place, and that will eventually lead to babies, so maybe in a month or so I will be like OH MY GOD JUSTIN STOP MAKING CHARTS AND JUST PICK A HOUSE GAH but for now I am really digging marriage and I feel so lucky that Justin is my husband.
I will try to tell you all about our trip to Iceland soon. Is there anything else you want me to write about? Random requests really help me get off of my ass, so to speak.
I love you guys.