Three Years Later

On Tuesday my partner and I celebrate three years of marriage.

I want to say it’s been all rainbows and unicorn farts, but it hasn’t.  Well, there have been farts, but not those of the unicorn variety.  It’s been…loving and supportive and stable and hilarious and the kind of tenderness that brings one to tears.  But it’s also been the biggest challenge in our relationship since moving out of state and having a kid and basically having our whole world flipped upside down.  And now we’re about to flip it once again with baby number two.  Woo-boy.  I’m sure glad I have him by my side for all this.

But enough about our marriage.  The anniversary gets us thinking about our wedding and all the bittersweet feelings that go with it.  I blogged about it (read it here) to help me cope at the time and then the post got Freshly Pressed, which I initially had mixed feelings about.  On one hand, getting recognized for my writing is always nice, but I was worried that the feedback I got would just make me feel worse.

Overall, the good outweighed the bad and I felt so validated knowing that many, many other people felt similar letdowns as a result of their weddings.  My comment section became a big virtual group therapy session.  We shared horror stories and shared what helped make us feel better.  I thanked people for reading and supporting and commenting.  People thanked me for writing because it made them feel less invalidated, less sad, less alone.  I am glad that I wrote what I wrote.

What interests me now, and what prompted me to write about this again, is that that blog post has been by far my most popular post.  To this day – almost three full years later – it still gets about 3-10 hits a day, on average.  Every day.  And occasionally, people still comment with their own stories.

It makes me feel so sad when I read what people have Googled to get themselves to my wedding blog post.  Things like, “my wedding was a disaster,” and “I can’t get over how my wedding went,” or “I’m depressed about my wedding.”  This sucks!  Part of me feels validated because, again, I am definitely not alone in how I feel about my wedding.  However, part of me feels like a sucker.  I fell for the whole wedding-industrial complex.  I got wrapped up around expectations that were handed to me (and that I readily accepted) by society, spent a hell of a lot of money, put tons of eggs into the basket of one blissful day, only to have it crash down all around me. What does this say about our society that this post-wedding blues phenomenon is so common?!

Would I do things differently?  A few, but not many.  I admit, even now, I still just wanted the fun, expensive party that I could enjoy with all my friends and family.

In the months following my wedding, I responded to the many comments readers posted.  Some were unsolicited advice (one of my least favorite kinds of feedback), others were words of sympathy and encouragement, and many were similar horror stories.  Because I was going through my own grieving process, I found it difficult to respond to others who were suffering as I was. Reading those comments brought up my own yucky feelings that I was still wading through (or trying to forget – depending on the day) and it was uncomfortable.  It stung.  Each new story was a reminder that I’d always look back on that day with some amount of sadness, grief, regret.  Even today, a random comment that gets posted brings it all back, just a little bit.

While responding to these comments, I found myself wanting to slip into a therapist role as I typed.  Of course, that role feels natural to me, and it also protected me because it created distance between myself and my feelings.  Now that I am much more at peace with how my wedding went and how I feel about it, reading and answering the comments is easier.  Easier, but not pain-free.

My brother made us a wonderful video from the raw footage a relative took at our wedding, and only recently did my husband and I muster up enough courage to actually watch it, almost three years after the day.  Of course it brought back some of the yucky feelings.  The grief.  But.  It also reminded me that I actually managed to have fun that day.  And the ceremony was wonderfully moving.  And I looked beautiful.  And we were so in love.  I couldn’t deny it – the proof was right there on camera!  Whew.

In all the discussion with readers about how to heal and move on from these experiences, we often talked about having a do-over.  A “corrective experience” as therapists put it.  I pictured the two of us on a beach in Hawaii with an officiant and a photographer.  No one else.  I have flowers in my hair.  The wind is whipping my white cotton sundress around.  The sun is setting.  We’re laughing and holding hands.  And no one can take away our joy.

Maybe someday.  I say maybe, because I don’t want to get too hung up on expectations.

 

My Little Yeah Man

Some phases you never expect.

I expected that my kid would go through a hitting phase, a running-away-from-me phase, a picky eater phase…you know, the normal stuff.

And I fully expect my kid to, someday in the near future, figure out how fabulous the word “no” is.

But today isn’t that day.

Lately, my kid has been saying “yeah” to everything, and it’s the flippin cutest phase ever.

“Hey Dylan, do you want to go to the park?” (It’s pouring rain outside)

“Yeah.”

“Dudeman, do you want more veggies?”

“Yeah.”

“Do you want to take a dump in Mother Maggie’s shoes?” (Google it.  Better yet- YouTube it.)

“Yeah!”

He also agrees with many statements I make throughout the day.

“Man, you made quite a mess.”   Yeah.

“Boy, you’re cute!”  Yeah!

Sigh.  I love you, buddy.

Some phases you can’t wait for them to be over, but this one, this one I am very thankful for.  Especially since a part of me is bracing for the “no” phase that most likely is yet to come.

And it’s not only that my kid is particularly agreeable most of the time.  He’s also friggin’ polite and I have no idea where it came from.  Seriously, we’ve taught him here and there to either say or sign “please” and “thank you” (he’ll only sign “please” and he’ll do a combo of signing “thank you” and/or saying “da-gu!” *melt my heart*), but he spontaneously says da-gu, like, all the time. And when he asks for something and we hesitate to say yes for whatever reason, he’ll often follow up with an adorably placed “please” sign and an expectant smile.  We’re in big trouble.

One time, he thanked me for changing his diaper.  I cried.  It’s so charming that it’s scary.  He could ask for a flame thrower, sign please and say da-gu and I’d hand one right over without a second thought.  Sure, my love.  Whatever you want!

So forgive me for gushing about my baby.  He’s not perfect, and I know phases are temporary, which is partly why I think I am drawn to blog about this particular phase.  I want to remember this one.  I want to remember how, for a few months (maybe longer??? please??), my kid acted like a charming angel some of the time.

Da-gu for this phase, little man.

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Let’s Finish This Bitch

Well, this is it. 

I did NaBloPoMo. 

I wish I had had more time, because I actually still have some great ideas for posts, but not enough time in which to flesh them out. Plus, blogging from my phone sucks. 

On the other hand, I wrote some things I’m pretty proud of. I pushed myself in ways I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t committed to blogging every single day for a month. 

At the same time, I’m looking forward to returning to living my daily life for the sake of living it (or for the sake of keeping my kid alive)  instead of for the sake of blogging about it. 

Thank you to my new readers! Thank you to the Nano Poblano team who supported me. I’m so sorry that I wasn’t able to read and comment on more blogs this month.  There’s been a lot going on. 

And now it’s time for me to shave this mustache. That’s what we’ve been doing this whole month, right?

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Welcome to my head space

This month, I have felt really inspired to create.

It’s felt like a nice change.

With the weather getting increasingly gray and depression-y yuck, it has helped to be able to create and channel my energies into blogging while still hibernating from the outside world (it’s a win-win).  Each day I think about (okay, obsess over) what I might blog about, and I am constantly drafting pieces of posts in my head.

Inspiration isn’t the issue.

It’s not having the flexibility to write when I get these urges to write that is the problem…because I’ll think of something awesome as I am falling asleep, or in the shower, or while changing the dirtiest poopy diaper blowout (think, like, day old Indian food.  with undigested corn.  you’re wellllllcome) and then the carefully crafted sentences just sliiiiiip away, usually gone forever.

This month, my husband knows, when I am typing furiously and I barely answer him when he asks how he looks in his new knee-high gym socks, to NOT BOTHER ME.  I AM IN THE ZONE!!!  MUST.  BLOG.  NAO.

(Like, just now, he left to go up to bed……or was that an hour ago?)

So, not being able to write when I want to is frustrating, but such is my life for the past year.  I can’t do anything when I actually want to anymore.  I can’t sleep, eat, pee with the door closed, or dance naked unless Dylan is also sleeping, eating, etc. respectively.  (We observe such time-honored family traditions as the “pants-off dance-off.”  It’s epic, you should try it).

So, that’s the bad side.  The good side is that I’ve been reading people’s GREAT STUFF and I have been taking some stock of my own stuff and I just got to meet THE BLOGGESS and I’m all like YAASSSSSS!!!  IF THEY CAN WRITE ALL THE FUNNY THINGS, SO CAN I.  And write I will.

And I’ve started to think about what stories I want to tell (mostly because I am running out of ideas, and partially because I want to push myself and maybe write about some new things).  For some reason, I feel an urge to write about traumatic things that have happened to me in a short story format.  Does that sound interesting to people?  I supposed I could just try it, and if it falls flat, then lesson learned.

Any other words of advice for someone like me who wants a challenge, who feels inspired in a general sense, but just needs a push in some direction?

Sorry about the rambling post today, but it certainly does capture the head space I am in right now.

Welcome to my head space.


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Today I Was Furiously Happy

Today, I got to meet one of my idols, and the reason I started blogging in the first place.

Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, came to P-town and made me one furiously happy lady.

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I had Jenny sign her current book, her old book (cuz I missed her last time) and my copy of the DSM IV because…why not? We’re both well acquainted with it.

File_001File_006As you can see, we’re besties now.  We braided each others’ hair and painted our nails together.


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Read about me

I’ve been meaning to update the About Me section of this blog for forever and a day (read: it hadn’t been updated since before I became a mom some 14 months ago)…and I finally went and did it.

That counts as my post for today – Day 5 of NaBloPoMo.  Please go and check it out.

And now this calls for some celebratory homemade pop-tart ice cream sandwiches!

Excuse me.

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I’m Gonna Win at NaBloPoMo

Guess what?!

I think I’m gonna try this NaBloPoMo thing.  I think.  Maybe.

(NaBloPoMo = National Blog Posting Month.  I’m already really tired of typing that, so maybe I should just shorten it to NBPM.)

It all started when I saw WP’s The Daily Post about it, and I thought, Hey.  November is almost here.  I’d kinda like to be a writer.  I’m unemployed outside the home and I enjoy typing in my pajamas.  And I don’t have a newborn this year!  And that was all I had to hear of my own voice before I convinced myself to take the plunge.  Although I totally should have done it last year when I did have a newborn, and I could have pledged to type all– wait, how many days in November?  Only 30!  Yaaaasss! –all 30 days one-handed whilst breastfeeding.  Now that would have been impressive.

And I’ve gone and announced my intentions publicly, so now I’m really on the hook.  Once I stop to think about what I’ve gone and done, this should be interesting.  And by interesting I mean I might fail, because I only have about two ideas for blog posts, and I plan to travel (read: fly) back to California for Thanksgiving with my walking-like-crazy toddler (pray for me, y’alls, pray for me) and so I may miss a few days here and there.  Or, my perfectionist self will yell, FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION!, so determined not to miss a day, I’ll be forced to attempt to use the WP app to post a frantic picture of myself wanting to melt into the terminal floor and die at the airport.  You won’t want to miss it.

Get ready for 30 days of run-on sentences!!  I can’t wait.

From Blogtown to PDX

There’s now been three times I have met someone in person after first getting to know her over the internet, and all three have been fabulous experiences.

The first I met in high school via a Hanson website (!) and we’ve since traveled across the country to visit each other, including being bridesmaids in each other’s weddings.  We are a match made in Hanson history.  Mmmbop, girl.

The second was Dawn from Tales From the Motherland; I wrote about it here.  I hope Dawn and I will be seeing more of each other!

The third happened a few weeks ago now.  You guys, I got to meet Jen from Sips of Jen and Tonic!

Since moving to the Portland (OR) area, I asked Jen if she maybe wanted to meet up.  This was a step for me, since it’s hard for me to put myself out there, but I am so glad I did.

Our little meeting was superfun, and I think my blog-crush turned into a real life one.  Jen’s writing has entertained me for several years now; her blog is so good that, when she posts, I read.  It’s made me laugh so hard in the past that the milk I drank came out my nose as butter.  Seriously, I still need to pick her brain about her writing process because it’s so off the wall and hilariously punchy that I wonder if she just thinks like that all day or if she hires lab mice to feed her speed pills every few minutes.  (You know, the mice would run up her arms and shoulders and then reach her mouth from there.  Speed comes in pill form, right?)

I’m pretty sure Jen and I talked about all the things that ever were.  Awkward stages of making friends in your 20s and 30s, jobs, Portlandia, blogging, reality TV.  She even laughed at my Zoolander reference!  I felt like she really got where I was coming from, especially because she is also a Californian who moved to Oregon.  OMG.  Thank you, Jen, for letting me rant about all the things wrong about Oregon that make me feel like a fish out of water.  I remember reading your blog in the not so distant past and thinking these elitist Californian thoughts whenever you made reference to Oregonian things…and now I’m right there with you.  …Go Ducks?

So.  If you hadn’t had the pleasure of imbibing, I implore you to partake in some Sips of Jen and TonicThis post of hers stood out in my memory as a particularly hilarious one, probably because, like me, she is not shy when it comes to blogging about the important things (poop).  But she has many other good ones.  Like this one.  (And then I re-read it and realized it has a similar theme…so apparently my taste is very narrow-minded.  Go find your own favorite post because I give up because they are all good.)

And now for the obligatory picture:

Bonus - If you look closely, you can see the gentle curve of my butt in the background.  You're welcome.

Bonus – If you look closely, you can see the gentle curve of my butt in the background. You’re welcome.

Thanks for the fun time, Jen!

Hope you see you again soon, fellow CA—>OR.

Relax Says Frankie

Before becoming a mom, I used to know how to relax.

I was good at it.

I could curl up with a book for hours on the weekends.  I could go to Starbucks and lose myself in sugary caffeinated heaven.  We took vacations and unplugged and were carefree.  At work, when things got particularly stressful or when I was getting a headache, I would carve out 10 minutes, set the alarm on my phone, shut my office door, and I’d lay on my therapy couch (and even on the floor before I had a couch) and just focus on my breath.  It did wonders for me, some days, or at the very least it allowed me to get through the day.

And now…

Even when I get a break, it doesn’t feel like a break.  My kid takes one nap a day now, maaaaaybe two.  Maybe.  And I don’t know when the nap is coming.  Today, it came early.  Tomorrow will be different.  I also never know how long it’s going to last.  19.5 minutes?  30 minutes?  Once in a blue moon, it’s been 1.5 hours.  And each time he goes down, I ask myself, How do I want to spend this time?

Sometimes I clean, do laundry, or otherwise get stuff done.  Other times I try to relax – watch TV, drink iced coffee, read my book, write a blog post, garden, etc.  Note the word try in that last sentence.

I’ve noticed that even when I try to relax, I just can’t.  My posture is rigid, my breathing is shallow, my ears are perked.  My son might wake up at any moment.  Right now, my son is doubled over in the most uncomfortable yoga sleeping position not 10 feet away and I am trying to type as quietly and as quickly as I can and I am trying to pull words out of me even though I don’t feel totally motivated to write in this moment.  But right now, this moment is all I have.

Let me be clear that, for me, this is not a guilt thing.  I do not feel guilty for wanting to relax or for trying.  And when I am successful at shutting the world out for a bit (including my son) I give myself a little pat on the back.  Because everyone needs that, especially moms.  And as an introvert mom, I need quiet shut-out time to recharge my batteries so I can be a better mom to my little snot machine when he wakes up, whenever he wakes up.  At least I know guilt isn’t getting in my way.

It’s very tempting to use things to induce relaxation.  I know it’s cool for moms to joke about wine and coffee, but I can totally see the dangerously slippery slope that is self-medicating when one is no longer in charge of one’s daily schedule.  Ugh, I have to wake up now?!  Better use some coffee.  Poopsticks, today was tough and I only have two hours before I crash in bed, so if I want to relax RIGHT NOW, I’d better use some wine, because wine.  Amirite?!

Sometimes I do this.  Sometimes it’s TV or food.  But I try not to.  And I am also trying to feel okay knowing that I can’t just magically make myself feel relaxed when I want to feel that way, especially when someone else is calling the shots.

I want to remind myself that, sometimes, I end up feeling relaxed when I hadn’t planned on it, and wasn’t even trying.  Which means…I don’t want to keep feeling like I am chasing relaxation, some feeling of peace that I may or may not get from a barista or a bottle of pinot.  Chasing things always takes me out of the present, where I’m more likely able to create peace for myself.  And that it’s okay when I can’t hurry up and settle down RIGHT NOW and for exactly 19.5 minutes.

With that said, he’s awake and screaming.  This time I was given about 45 minutes.

Time’s up.

When Worlds Collide

Something exciting happened, you guys.  And it was something I’ve never done before.

At long last, I was finally able to meet a fellow blogger in the real world!

Thank you so much, Dawn from Tales From The Motherland, for driving all the way to my home to meet me and my baby boy!!

Meeting someone in person whose writing I’ve consumed for quite some time is a very odd, exciting experience.  There was this collision of worlds as I tried to piece together Dawn’s voice and mannerisms with her presence on the page.  There was a mixture of intimacy and understanding along with this semi-awkward (for me) getting-to-know-you-phase.

It’s hard for me to meet new people, and that’s why blogging is extra special to me.  Through my blog, I get to “meet” people and delve into meaningful conversations right away; I get to skip the meaningless (for me), anxiety-ridden chit-chat and get right to the point.  Plus, there’s the added bonus of being able to take extra time and compose and edit exactly what I want to say.

Finally meeting Dawn in person was pretty awesome.  Because we dig each others’ writing, we already knew each other on a deeper level, and getting to see each other face-to-face added another layer to our relationship.

Dawn and I talked about a bunch of things in our too short visit (which means we’ll have to do this again sometime): blogging, family, living in the Pacific Northwest, raising kids, blogging, both of us being mental health providers at times in our lives, blogging.  I got to pick Dawn’s brain about moving forward with blogging (however that may look for me) and about her recent success on The Huffington Post (go read one of my favorites here!), which is much deserved.

At one point, Dawn commented (and I’m paraphrasing) on how we all present a certain self in our blogging, and that she appreciates it when that self lines up with the self we present in person.  I’m glad that she thought that my writing matches how I present myself in person – I really appreciate that feedback.  It also got me thinking about how rapidly my self is evolving, especially since becoming a mom, and how that is reflected in my writing.  Basically, my visit with Dawn gave me the kind of feedback I’d never had before, and really got me thinking about my writing and inspired me to keep on working at it, even if it’s only in 20 minute increments while my little man sleeps.

Dylan's still not sure about our redheaded visitor...

Dylan’s still not sure about our redheaded visitor…

So thanks again, Dawn!  I’m so glad we finally got to meet and I am happy to call you a friend – both online and in person.  If y’all haven’t read her stuff yet, I highly recommend you check her out.  You won’t regret it.

(Here’s Dawn’s post on our meeting, in case you missed it.)