Today is my due date

I’m due today.

Holy crap

Well, actually, you’re due.

To come out.

Little Duck

We really can’t wait to meet you

Even though I feel like I know you already

You dance and hiccup and kick

And squirm your way up under my ribcage on the right side

Ouch.

You test the boundaries of your squishy little world

I can’t wait to show you my world

Little Duck

 

We’ve had our bags packed for weeks

We pretend to be ready, but we’re really not

Don’t worry, though, cuz we can’t wait to love you

and squish you

and pinch your little fat rolls

and sing you to sleep.

 

I don’t know what’s going to happen

And that’s pretty scary for me

So if you know, please tell me

Otherwise, we’ll just figure things out

together

as we go.

 

So get here soon

If you only knew the joy that is waiting for you

But then again, maybe you do

because how could you not?

So what are you waiting for

Little Duck

 

Come on out

So I can love you more

Holy crap, holy crap, holy crap

Amazingly Wonderful Worries

Eleven years ago today, I had my cancer surgery.

Today’s anniversary feels very different from the rest, in a good way.

Is it because the farther away I get from it, the less it hurts?  Partially.

It mostly has to do with the fact that I’m pregnant.  The cloud of fear and uncertainty that has been lurking for so long has mostly lifted, and it feels wonderful.  I feel like I can more fully leave my cancer behind, stop worrying about what my body can’t do, and look forward to what my body can do, what it is doing, and what that means for my future and the future of my family.  I am so blessed, and I just didn’t know how much until recently.

I say the cloud has ‘mostly lifted’ because I do find myself still worrying about how after-effects of my cancer and surgery could affect my pregnancy.  I suppose there’s a part of me that feels like this is too good to be true and that I shouldn’t get my hopes up, that my cancer could still rear up and kick me in the ass.  I suppose it’s normal that a small amount of fear like that will never go away.  And sometimes it’s hard for me to balance these continued fears and still make ample room for the joy and excitement I know that I also deserve to experience.  It does help that my doctor doesn’t seem too concerned about affects from surgery affecting my pregnancy.

Overall, my worries have definitely shifted, and I am grateful for the direction in which they have shifted.  After acknowledging my ever-present cancer worries and then placing them back in their box at the back of my mind, I get to worry about “normal” things now – am I taking good enough care of myself?  Is the baby developing ok?  Will delivery go ok?  Will fe be healthy? How the heck am I going to manage to be a good parent?  Etc…

I am thankful for these worries.  They mean I have something amazingly wonderful to worry about.

Which reminds me about something I’ve said before – that my experience with cancer and the resulting fertility uncertainty means that I get to be even more joyful than I would have been otherwise.

Eleven years ago I experienced one of the worst days of my life, and that’s ok.  It doesn’t define me, and I have allowed it to change me for the better.

Now get back in your box.  You’re distracting me from my joy.

A Corrective Experience

Last Thursday, Brian and I got to have a mini wedding redo, and it was pretty amazing.

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But first – a HUGE shout-out and THANK YOU to everyone who read my Freshly Pressed post, new followers (henceforth called Psychos), and especially everyone who left a supportive comment.  It really meant a lot to know that I wasn’t alone in my post-wedding grief.

—-

During our wedding, as soon as my photographer realized how sick I was, she told me not to worry, that we would come back and take pictures at some later date, and I am so thankful she told me that right away, because then I could focus on just getting through the wedding knowing we’d (Brian and I) have a bit of a second chance.

I took a few hours off work so that I could get myself all pretty and ready for the photo shoot.  Soon after the wedding, I had chopped all my hair off, and it was fun for me to play around with my new ‘do and get all dolled up.

I pinned the same ivory lace that had been in my hair for the wedding up under my curls so that it peeked out.  I wore the same pearl earrings my parents gave me for Christmas.  I affixed the same fake eyelashes, with some difficulty and perhaps a few swear words.

I was worried about how I would feel once I got my dress back on.  First of all, I was a tiny bit worried that my dress wouldn’t zip – it was tight to begin with and I didn’t hold back on those cruise buffets and dessert menus – but mostly I was worried that I would just burst into tears and cry my eyelashes off.

The whole process of getting ready was actually very sweet.  Brian and I didn’t see each other on our wedding day until I was actually walking down the aisle, and for this redo we got to be with each other and help each other get ready.  Brian had to help me step into my dress and hook me up in the back, and while this was the reverse of what our wedding night should have been, I enjoyed the experience.

And don’t worry, cuz the dress fit just fine, and I didn’t burst into tears.  I was actually…excited.  I was happy to get to wear my dress again, I was happy to get my picture taken again, and I was so relieved that it was just going to be us.  No family, no vendors, no pressure, no distractions.

We drove back out into the country to the wedding venue, and we commented on how much we love those surroundings, and how freaking beautiful our wedding venue is.  My dress was stuffed into the car all around me, and we had the AC blasting up my skirt.  It was like sitting on a fluffy, scratchy, but beautiful cloud.

We had a lot of fun during the quick photo shoot.  We got driven to the hilltop in a red convertible Cadillac and had our picture taken under the oak tree as the sun grazed the top of the surrounding hills.  We brought ice cream and sprinkles in a cooler and had the photographer get shots of us feeding each other ice cream.  We were just going to dance to our first dance song playing on my iphone when a staff person offered to plug it into their sound system.  As soon as “Come Away With Me” by Norah Jones came on, tears filled my eyes.  Those few moments we twirled around in circles really meant a lot to me, and to Brian.  That song was the first song to which we ever danced, back on our 3rd date 10 years ago.

After the shoot was finished, we decided to continue our mini celebration and we went out for drinks in a local restaurant.  Between the car and the restaurant, we heard no fewer than 10 cries of “Congratulations!” yelled from cars, passers by, and other diners.  That recognition and joy made me feel so good.  It reminded me how captivated I am by weddings in general, that I can’t help but stop and stare when I see two people starting the rest of their lives with such love, joy, and hope for the future.  I wonder if these people felt the same way towards us?

We ordered our drinks and sat down outside near the live band that was playing, and we just chatted and took in the scenery, beaming at each other like…two kids in love with alcohol in their systems.

The band was awesome, by the way.  They played some current covers, and some originals, and they played all the music to Super Mario Bros on electric guitar.  FTW.  And then I heard the beginnings of “At Last,” and the lead singer said, “This one’s for you two” looking straight at us.  We did what any normal, intoxicated, in-love couple would do and we got up and danced.  It was so lovely, I can’t even describe it.  I do remember whispering to Brian, “This is what therapists call a corrective experience!” and he laughed because I am a huge nerd…and he’s stuck with me now.

After a while, we got up to leave – it was a school night, after all – and after we made our way between all the tables, applause broke out amongst most of the restaurant-goers.  I broke into a smile and gave a curtsy before we left and headed to the car.

I am very, very thankful we got to have that little redo.  It did wonders for my mood and how I feel about the wedding overall.  It gave me some closure and now we get to move on to much more important and happier things.

I. Have. Arrived.

Holy shitsnacks and crapnuggets, you guys!!

I HAVE BEEN FRESHLY PRESSED!!!

Incredulous with joy!Notice I had to black out the porn sites I was visiting.

Incredulous with joy!
Notice I had to black out the porn sites I was visiting.

I am surfacing briefly from the orgy of likes, page views, comments, and follows that is currently blowing up on my phone and browser…and let me tell you, this shit is satisfying.

I feel validated beyond any ego-stroking therapy session, so thank you to everyone who stroked my furry walls!

I got The Email on Wednesday and was then left to alternate between manically refreshing WordPress.com and stuffing chocolate in my mouth while pacing my hallway in anticipation for about a day and a half.

As soon as I read the email, I immediately felt this rush of excitement and pure joy…which quickly melted away into intense, crippling anxiety.  Holy frick!  People are actually going to read the word vomit that I splash onto my very small corner of the internets.  I quickly went back to reread the post I had written to ascertain just how humiliated I should plan to be.  Did my post contain any typos?  Was it funny?  Was I going to get any snotty comments?  As I read, I remembered that I had written this post all in one sitting while I was still suffering from the tail end of a 3 day long migraine (what possessed me to do that, I have no idea.  On second thought, maybe it was the meth).  I also realized that I was actually proud of this particular migraine-stupor-induced post.  Feeling oddly content and allowing some of the excitement to return, I sat back and awaited the orgy that I woke up to this morning.

Funny, I started this blog not considering myself a writer; I was just a therapist with an anal Freudian complex who wanted to dick around on the internet and see what happened.  And now…I guess I’m kinda a writer.  And that feels kindof awesome.

So far today, I have gotten more than 4 times the page views I got on my previously best day of blogging, which is also probably 10 times the views I get on an average day…and counting.

I hope I have plenty of lube.

Trololo, LOTR, and ice cream filled donuts

A lot has happened to me in the past month or so.

I took and passed two licensing exams, I got engaged, and now…I just got a promotion at work!!

To top it all off, I just had a fantastic BM this morning that put me in an even greater, lighter mood.  TMI?  Not even close.

I. AM. SO. BLESSED!!

I want to share this seemingly unending joy with others, but how can I do that?  I can’t reach through the computer and give each of you a hug, although I’d like to, so I’ll do the next best thing.

I am as happy, if not happier (if that’s even possible without excessive amounts of speed laced with E), than this guy!  Watch it, memorize it, love it, sing it.  Use it as your ringtone.  Pass it on to others.  This could be the next Kony 2012, except the opposite, you know, without all the genocide.  You’re welcome.

And then, if that last one was too smarmy and borderline creepy for you, here’s an extra bonus for the more nerdly inclined:

They should make a LOTR musical.  I think that’s one of the few things that could make me even happier than I already am.  That, and maybe some ice cream.  Or donuts.

Perhaps ice cream filled donuts, but I won’t push my luck.

Therapists do it on the couch

…and I did it!!

On an office chair.  Staring at a computer screen.  I lasted for almost two hours, and I double clicked a mouse a few times.

And actually, besides being very tired and $100 poorer afterward, this therapist licensing exam had little to do with sexy times.  Unless you also stay up late studying therapeutic techniques in order to have better success during sexy times.  In which case I pity you.  Go get some sleep.

But I digress from the real issue – which is, as soon as the paperwork and my check goes through, I WILL BE A LICENSED THERAPIST!!!

How cool is that, you ask rhetorically?  Pretty damn cool, I answer needlessly.  Except that “therapist” can be broken down into “the rapist,” and the work that I do is often with rape survivors.  I’ve always hated that.  Thanks a lot, SNL.

In other news, the letters after my name will soon be MFT, which Brian lovingly says stands for Mutha Fuckin’ Therapist.  I foresee this going on my business cards.

The exam I took today was the second and final exam of the licensing process to become a Marriage and Family Therapist in the state of California.  At least this exam was half as long as the first (the first being a grueling four hours long), but the questions on this one were far more complicated and confusing.  If there’s one thing I hate, it’s an exam that makes me second guess myself, and there was a lot of that going on today.  But neverfear, for I persevered and I emerged triumphant!

Speaking of triumphant, the weather today in the area was awesomely correlated to my day.  I woke up nervously to overcast skies that quickly gave way to pouring rain (which is pretty rare for this area in the summer).  I drove to the exam in that rain, where my anxiety reached its peak.  When I emerged from the testing facility all smiles, the rain had stopped, the clouds had parted, the sun was shining, and I swear I could hear angels singing along with my joy.

Speaking of joy, this is what it looks like:

I’d like to thank all of my professors, clinical supervisors, coworkers, and my clients past and present for helping me to learn and grow and make mistakes.  And I’d like to thank my friends and family for listening to me vent about the former, but also for supporting me no matter what.

Also, one of my supervisors once said that significant others of people going through the therapy licensing process should get their own special award of recognition, and I wholeheartedly agree.  It must suck to watch me learn all these new therapy techniques and then cower in fear as I unleash them on the relationship.  Thanks for sticking with me through this whole thing, B.  You’re kind of awesome.

And now on to more important things: I have to figure out how I want to change the tagline of this blog, for the “almost” is no longer needed.  Winning suggestions get a cookie.

I’m bringing joy to the picnic

I get the symbolism, the tradition of making new years resolutions, but what I don’t get is why people keep making them since they don’t work.

I’ve observed that the nature of the most common new years resolutions is often to do something that we “should” be doing already anyway: lose weight, stop smoking, exercise more, eat better.  The “should” is in quotes because my immediate response to “shoulds” and “have tos” is “who says?!”  The “should” is a value statement that came from somewhere- friends, family, the media, society, etc. -and a person has to believe in a “should” in order for it to have any meaning.  Very arbitrary indeed.

My assumption is that people who make new years resolutions must be resolving to do something that they don’t want to do…otherwise, wouldn’t they have just done it already?  If quitting smoking was something that you really, truly wanted to do, then why would you wait to begin doing it until the first of the year?

I am rejecting this guilt-based form of resolutions!  I support joy-based resolutions!  I am resolving to do things that I like to do, things that bring me JOY!  One thing I started doing already (because why wait?!) and that is to blog.  Check.  The other is to take my picture everyday for at least the year of 2012.  So far so good.  Another is to continue to read. 

In my attempt to pass on the joy I experienced through reading this year, below is my year in book reviews for 2011.  They are listed in the order I read them, and an asterisk (*) means I had read the book before.  Enjoy!


1. *Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut

I had read this in high school and remembered liking it.  I think I am a Bokononist at heart. I just love the close-to-home absurdity of it all! 

2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson
3. The Girl who Played with Fire – Stieg Larsson
4. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest – Stieg Larsson

I just tore through these books, and I think they really highlight the year for me, especially since I followed these with the three Swedish and first American movie versions.

5. Enlightened Sexism – Susan Douglas

Awesome non-fiction about how sexism as backlash is more covert in the media now more than ever.  I like books that teach me how to be a more critical consumer of media.

6. Gone – Michael Grant

The Michael Grant Gone series (more below) are young adult books, and even though they start to go a crazy, far-out TV show Lost route, they are still fun, easy, and imaginative reads.  I look forward to the few more in the series he has yet to write.  Basic premise is that in one moment everyone in this town over the age of 15 just disappears…

7. Bossypants – Tina Fey

Tina, I love you, I love you, I love you!  This autobiographical hilarity she calls a book is well worth it.

8. *A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle

I read this one as a child and reading it again made me feel like I was 10 again.  Love the power of books.

9. Hunger – Michael Grant
10. Lies – Michael Grant
11. Plague – Michael Grant

These titles really indicate how the plot thickens…

12. *Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – JK Rowling

I think this was at least my third read.  I had to read it before the last movie came out so that I could properly tear the movie apart for inconsistencies.  The end of all things Harry Potter was and still is traumatic for me…

13. *Tales of Beedle the Bard – JK Rowling

To ease the pain of the Harry saga coming to an end, I read this for the second time.  For this reading, I actually read one story out loud each night to the boyman before we went to sleep.  He hadn’t heard them before, and there was something magical about sharing the stories out loud to someone else.

14. The Golden Compass – Philip Pullman

So this book seemed right up my alley.  I was still mourning the loss of Harry, and I figured this whimsical fantasy with a female protagonist would help ease the pain…but it was soooo slow and parts were boring and I struggled to get through it.  I struggled so badly that I gave up hope trying to finish the series.  Maybe someday I’ll try it again.  And maybe I learned the hard way that nothing can ever take the Harry Potter PTSD away.

15. Into Thin Air – Jon Krakauer

This non-fiction first account of a disastrous trip to the top of Everest was the most captivating and anxiety-provoking book of the year for me.  I could not put this down, and I even had dreams about being in mortal peril in the freezing snow and not having enough oxygen.  I recommend this adventure of a book!

16. Water for Elephants – Sara Gruen

I remember that at this point in the year, I said that I would choose media devoid of abuse and trauma, so I chose what I thought was a charming, old-timey circus fling.  Sigh.  I still enjoyed it, even though there was some domestic violence and animal abuse thrown in there. 

17. A Stolen Life – Jaycee Dugard

At this point I think my curiosity got the better of me and I threw out my rule about choosing books free of abuse.  This book gets me enraged and hopeful at the same time.  Enraged that someone could do horrible things to someone else for SO LONG before getting caught, and hopeful because Jaycee and her girls are so resilient and kind and determined and not broken in any way.

18. The Help – Kathryn Stockett

Phenomenal book, beautifully written.  This book makes me want to visit the south.

19. The Whistleblower – Kathryn Bolkovac and Cari Lynn

Here is another example where I couldn’t help myself.  This is a true story where Kathryn, a cop, was hired to help prevent and police sex trafficking in Bosnia, only her superiors were sabotaging her work and were consumers of the sex trade themselves.  I love a story where women kick ass and not only take names, but take them to court!

20. Dress your Family in Corduroy and Denim – David Sedaris

I had heard good things about Sedaris, and so I borrowed this book from a friend.  Full of autobiographical stories of David’s family and life growing up.  He has this dry humor I find amusing, although I expected the stories to be more laugh out loud funny.

21. Holidays on Ice – David Sedaris

More stories, less autobiographical.  I found that these stories were either hit or miss for me.  One was absolutely hilarious, and the other was so over the top that it missed its mark.

~Here’s to many more happy, fun, exciting reads for 2012!~