Swirling Hot Mess of Emotions

My heart is just so bursting full…of everything.  Love, gratitude, depression, exhaustion, sadness, grief, body image issues, joy.

My mood swings are controlling me.  I feel like my whole life is out of control, and rightly so…because was it ever within my control to begin with?  Like when my son was born, this out of control feeling lit a fire under my usually only moderately crazy OCD tendencies.  I go nuke if something goes missing.  I clean even when I’m supposed to be doing something else.  I try and control the things in my house because I can’t control any. thing. else.

Being alone with my two kids often terrifies me.

The things my body is capable of continue to astound me.

Breastfeeding is a beast.  I’m having PTSD flashbacks around what it was like to breastfeed my son two years ago.  I hate how my entire outlook on life depends on how well our last breastfeeding session went. And they are hit or miss.  At least she’s latching better than my son did and I am very thankful to report that, for whatever reason, I am actually making more milk than I did after my first pregnancy.  Huzzzzzzah.

I hate talking to lactation consultants. They mean well, but man they hit me squarely on my breastfeeding shame trigger. On one hand, it’s my fault that I can’t feed my kid. The simplest thing ever, just feeding her so she doesn’t die. I’m not doing the right position, or I’m not making enough milk, or I’m not pumping enough, not getting enough sleep.  Take your pick.  On the other, it’s her behavior that’s getting in the way because she pushes and claws and bites and thrashes around and screams.  And I resent her for it. Damnit. Either way, horrible mother. And in suggesting I try something different, like massage the breast, use a hot compress, nipple shield, football hold, pump, pump, PUMP – the lactation consultants just seem to highlight the fact that IT’S NOT WORKING and somehow it’s all my fault. You see the spiral.

In order to get through days without falling apart, I’ve had to work hard to disconnect myself from my feelings. It feels so yucky to just numb out like that, but the alternative is to burst into tears while listening to a voice in my head that is wailing, “It’s noon and we just finished breakfast! We can’t do this! How are we supposed to be able to get outside today? Or brush your teeth? Or put on pants?!”

Instead, I have to force myself to listen to the other voice, the emotionally sterile voice saying, “Hey. Now we need to feed the baby. Your toddler can wait to eat, but she’s screaming. Go on now, first things first.”  It’s a constant struggle, but it works.  And some days are easier than others.

When I look back, I realize that 2015 was the year when nothing happened.  I know I blogged about how it was the year a grew into being a mom, and I am so glad that I had that time with my son.  That year, we didn’t change marital status.  We didn’t move.  We didn’t change jobs.  We didn’t get pregnant or have any babies.  Things were stable and boring.  Yay for boring!

My hope is that 2017 is like that, too.  I’d like the time and space to develop a routine with my kids, a relationship with my daughter, and a new relationship with myself as a mom of two.  As for 2016…that was the year when things got progressively harder.  I got pregnant, I got tired, then I got huge and tired.  I slowed down while my toddler sped the fuck up.  I had daily pain for a while and I could barely bend over to pick up things my toddler had dropped…or thrown.  We still managed to have a lot of fun in 2016, though.  We went camping and (barely) survived.  I applied for a job I didn’t end up taking, but it was nice to put on professional clothes again.  We took our son trick-or-treating and he loved it.  We took him to the snow and had mixed results.  We took a trip to California and had fun seeing family.  We took our first family road trip and D danced at his first wedding.  We successfully became DAYTIME POTTY TRAINED, people!  We went to the zoo and hunted for Easter eggs and went on a train and picked strawberries and saw a parade and ate ice cream and played in the water features and went to the planetarium and went to the pumpkin patch and toured a cheese factory.  Whew.

I’m glad I just typed all of that out because, according to that list, 2016 wasn’t all that bad.  We were a family!  We really got to enjoy my son being a fun age.  My hope for 2017 is that things just get better from here on out.

Even though my current days are often dark, I can totally see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Part of it is because I’ve been through this once before.  I know a little better what to expect, and we’ve already adjusted how we’re dealing with raising a newborn since the first time.  Another part is that I’m done making babies.  This is it; this is my family, and it’s beautiful!  I’ve gotten everything I’ve ever wanted, and I feel so amazingly (hashtag) blessed, as cliche as that sounds.  But it’s true.

And with that, this blog post has come full circle.  It’s a swirling hot mess of emotions: welcome to my life.  My beautiful, imperfect, perfect life.

 

 

50 Happy Things 2016: Bloggers Flood the Internet With Gratitude

My fellow blogger friend, Dawn, did this gratitude post last year and it was awesome, so I am joining in again this year.  Read my list and then see below for how to join in!

50 Things I am Grateful For, and/or Made Me Happy in 2016

  1. My son
  2. My husband
  3. My house – making it feel more like a home
  4. Potty training my son – no small feat
  5. Getting pregnant and all the anticipation that comes with that
  6. My health
  7. My family’s health
  8. My ability to practice self care
  9. Reading to my son, both with and without my husband
  10. Watching my son grow and learn with amazement and pride
  11. Hillary Clinton
  12. The hope that Hillary’s campaign brought to my life
  13. Last Week Tonight – you know, John Oliver’s show
  14. Discovered The Newsroom – makes me wish that show was real
  15. The local moms I have met and gotten to know.  They are so kind and willing to help me out.  Giving me baby things and watching my son for free – it’s amazing and I am so thankful.
  16. My OB.  I found a new one and she’s funny and smart and no-nonsense.
  17. My Portland friend who listens and helps without blinking an eye.  Thank you.
  18. Blogging and writing.  I hope to do more of it…someday.
  19. Sleep.  I’m on the verge of not getting much anymore, and so I cherish it now.
  20. The new bed we bought this year.  Seriously.
  21. Trips into Portland for good food.
  22. Trips to California to see our families.
  23. My family of origin, who visit and help out and love me and my son.
  24. Thankful that I am ready for baby to come, and also ready for Christmas.  The feeling brings peace when her arrival is so unpredictable.
  25. The look on my kid’s face when he’s discovering something new, exciting, enchanting, or delicious.
  26. Singing, and music.
  27. Really good books.  Like Amy Schumer’s book, which I just finished.
  28. Alan Rickman.
  29. Harry Potter.  I can’t wait to share these stories with my kids!
  30. Robin Williams.  I still end up quoting him almost once a day.
  31. Laughter.  Especially the shared kind.
  32. Baking. (and eating what I bake)  I don’t do it nearly enough.
  33. A really neatly wrapped present.

…aaaaaaand the timer just went off, so here I stop.

UPDATE:  So I totally thought of a few more things after I originally posted this, so I am adding them here:

34. Yoga.  It centers me, it calms me, it makes me feel strong.

35. Barack Obama.  I am REALLY going to miss that guy.

36. Michelle Obama.  She is a class act and an amazing role model and source of hope.  When they go low, she goes high.

37. The snow, when it insulates the world and makes everything magically QUIET.

38.  The pouring rain, when I am inside and warm and cozy in bed.

39.  Summer.  My god, summer.

———————-

Want to do this too?!  GREAT!  Here’s how:

  1. Set a timer for 15 minutes
  2. Just write as many things as you can, even if you go over or stay under the 50
  3. Then add links, photos, whatever, after the timed part is over
  4. Publish it, and link back to Dawn’s post or mine (or both) and if you wanna be included in the InLinkz, see instructions on Dawn’s post.

I’m definitely not done with 2016 yet, but so far, it’s been real.

The Day After

My parents just left after a week-long visit and I’m sad.

The day after kind, helpful company leaves is always tough, for many reasons.  One, I’ve just lost a huge help in terms of cleaning and food prep and all the energy it takes to give attention to Dylan.  Two, Dylan gets very used to all the constant, undivided attention during the visit and he’s usually more needy and whiny than usual after they leave, and I’m left to deal with that.  Three, I’ve just lost rational, adult humans to talk to and eat with every day.  It highlights just how isolated and alone I often feel on a daily basis, despite my growing efforts to reach out and meet new people with whom I can meaningfully connect (which is a struggle and a whole other post of its own).

Plus, fourth, the leaving highlights just how far away from family we are and how much that sucks.  We’re coming up on second baby’s birthing time, and I’ve had to arrange a phone tree of sorts of local friends who can keep my son alive while we wait for family to hop on a plane and get here once I go into labor.  I suppose it’s time to find some babysitters in the area we can call and *gulp* actually pay to watch my spawn from time to time, but that’s just not the same as having grandma and grandpa just across town.

Not long after Bamma and Pa-pa left, I looked at the forecast on my phone.  Readers, fellow Psychos, you all know how much the weather affects my mood.  The last two days have been mercifully sunny and delightfully warmish for this time of year in the Pacific Northwest, and I did my best to enjoy them.  We got outside and went to parks, synthesized some vitamin D and some sanity.  Well, wouldn’t you know it, in a few short hours the skies are going to open up again with a series of storms with no end in sight, says my irrational sad brain.  Ah, symbolism.  You stormy bitch.

So, visits are hard.  They are fun and exciting and something to break up the often horribly mind-numbing sameness of my days…but once they are over, the sameness I return to seems to become even more mind-numbing.

 

 

A Day Not Entirely My Own

Today is my birthday, and this birthday feels different.

I have realized how giving birth has changed my entire perspective on birthdays in general, but especially mine.

Up until now, I’ve always thought of my birthday as belonging to me; it’s my day.  The anniversary of the day I was brought into the world.

But really, the passive voice of that last sentence is misplaced.  In actuality, my birthday is the anniversary of the day my mom brought me into the world.  My mom worried and labored and felt pain and sweated and cried and felt crazy beautiful joy and relief.

I guess I couldn’t really get it until I had done the same thing for someone else.

My mom was in labor with me for 24 hours.  My dad drove her to the hospital, which was about 30 minutes away from home.  My mom remembers being pissed that my dad’s breath smelled like potato chips as he led her in the Lamaze breathing in which they had taken classes.  My parents talked about a very insensitive nurse who couldn’t get some medical reading because my mom was writhing in pain during a contraction.  I would like to be able to track down that nurse and punch her in the ear, exactly 32 years late.

At some point during the labor, my mom announced she wanted an epidural.  Apparently, someone informed my dad that it was too late in the process for an epidural to do any good, and so my dad ended up lovingly lying to my mom, telling her the pain meds would be coming any minute now.  I can only imagine how much of a champ my mom was for getting through the remainder of the laboring process completely unmedicated.

And so I came into the world at about 2:15am on February 10th, a Thursday, head first but facing up.  At that time, few parents knew the sex of their baby before birth, and my parents were no exception.  My mom wrote in my baby book that I was alert and had strawberry blonde hair, which are the exact same phrases I ended up writing in my son’s baby book.

So today, I celebrate my first birthday as a mom even though it’s not entirely my day.  And in six months, my son will get to smash his face into sweet, damp cake for the first time, but it won’t really be his day.  Not all the way, at least.  That will be a day when I’ll be telling anyone who will listen how I brought this perfect creature into the world.

…maybe that will be a day when I should make myself my own smash cake.

And by smash cake I mean celebratory booze.

My Happy Thought

Robin Williams died on my son’s due date.

I loved this guy.  I loved his work.  I went through the stages of grief when I found out – starting with disbelief, of course.  I was (and still am) so sad that depression took this very talented human being from us.

After Robin’s death, in watching all the memorials on the news and daytime TV, and in seeing all the clips strung together on Facebook, I started counting all of his movies that touched me, that I grew up with.  It’s a lot.  His movies were so emotional; I’ve long known that his were the ones I went to when I needed to tweak my mood – which usually meant inducing tears and reconfirming my faith in the human spirit.

In going through my movie collection, I realized I didn’t own one of my absolute favorite Robin Williams movies – Hook – so I bought it and ended up watching it soon after my son was born.

I absolutely adore the story of Peter Pan.  There isn’t a more fabulous story that captures the sheer joy and adventure it is to be young and to remind us that we can always go back to Neverland in our hearts (second star to the right and straight on til morning) whenever we want.

In re-watching Hook, I was prepared to feel that joy and excitement that comes with the story, and I was also prepared to feel sad that the person I was watching who was once so full of life and youthful glee was now gone.

What I wasn’t prepared for was my new reaction to the story now that I am a parent.

Remember the scene where Captain Hook starts teaching Pan’s kids about how parents hate their children?  He very eloquently describes how kids’ whining and demands (“He took my toy! She hit my bear! I want a potty! I want a cookie! I want to stay up! I want, I want, I want, me, me, me, me, mine, mine, mine, mine, now, now, now, now…”) drive their parents crazy.  Maggie (fun fact – it was her character I played on the playground with my friends when this movie first came out) points out that her parents read to her, “because they love me very much!”  And Hook retorts back that parents read to their children to shut them up.

In to end the lesson, Hook gave Maggie an F (to which she freaks out…probably why I was suited to play her character) and then declared that her parents were happier before she was born.

This scene struck a new chord, one that hadn’t been struck before.

Holy shit – Captain Hook was right.

There I was, hopelessly sleep deprived with a wee infant attached to my boob and tears running down my face because I got it – but not the it I was expecting to get.  This movie was supposed to remind me how joyful life was!  Instinctively I knew I wasn’t supposed to be listening to the words of this dark and sinister man, but for the first time in watching this film, my eyes were opened.  The guy had a point.  In my very short career as the parent of a newborn, I already knew I’d do things I previously said I’d never do if it meant my kid would sleep.  I wished for my old life back on a daily basis.  I fought with my husband about nothing and everything.  Some days, I was kind of miserable.

I considered growing a beard and joining the crew of the Jolly Roger.

Thankfully, the movie continued and we came to the scene in the Lost Boys’ tree house where Peter was desperately trying to find his happy thought.  He picked up his old teddy bear and had a flashback to a hospital room where his wife was handing him his brand new baby son, saying, “Peter, you’re a daddy!”

That was it.  This is why I wanted to watch the movie in the first place.  He was flying again, and so was I.

I was bedridden for the first 12 hours of Dylan’s life due to some minor complications, so when we were in the recovery room at the hospital, Brian started changing his first diapers and rocking and soothing and being a daddy.  It was amazing for me to watch, and it had reminded me of that same hospital scene in Hook.  Through tears in my eyes, I shared my thoughts with Brian and my heart was bursting.

Hook really got it right in more ways than I first realized.  It fascinates me how quickly and profoundly popping a baby out of me has changed my perspective on the whole world, let alone this movie.  Before, I had thought that the story was more about “always being a little boy and having fun,” and now I see this whole new layer about the love (“It’s the L-word, Captain!”) and struggle between parents and their children.  Yes, it’s about learning how to stay young, but it’s also about learning how to grow up.  And most importantly, it’s about finding (and keeping) that happy thought that keeps us all going.

Well, Dylan is our happy thought.  Our poopy, screamy, cuddly little happy thought.

There are so many great lines to quote and parallels to make about this movie and life in general, but the best is at the very end, where I don’t feel like Robin Williams was really having to act much at all.

He said,  “To live would be an awfully big adventure.”

Thanks for sharing your talent with all of us, Robin.  I am so very glad that you’re not in pain anymore.

 

 

Lucy

She was the runt of the litter, and she was the only one who actually let me hold them.  That’s when I knew – she was mine.  We were going to bring her home and love her.

She was kinda like me, actually.  Nervous, cautious, quiet, but also an observant wallflower, kind, playful, and very sweet.  And weird, because she really loved to lick human hair if we let her express her need for social grooming rituals.

We rescued her from the local animal shelter and she was in a cage with her two brothers Calvin and Hobbes.  She was a tuxedo cat: black, with a white chest, tummy, and feet.  Every other toe was alternately black and pink.  Her shelter name was Susy, but I renamed her Lucy on the car ride home.  That was 1998 and I was 15.

This past weekend, my family had to help her die because she had come to the end of her life and my mom could tell she didn’t feel well.  I’m so sad to have lost one of my very best friends.

We grew up together, Lucy and I.  She listened to my secrets and napped with me and kitty-massaged my calves and licked my hair.  We chased her in this game that always went the same way where she’d  lead us to her rug where she’d stop and fall over so we could rub her belly and brush her.  I clipped her nails, gave her treats, cleaned up her vomit.

1998

2011

 

We (everyone but my dad) fought for a while to get a pet.  I joked that we slowly worked our way up the food chain.  First we had three goldfish who, one by one, committed suicide by jumping out of the bowl.  I can only guess that the first one was depressed, and then the other two were overcome with grief.  Years later, we got a female rat.  She was really sweet, but didn’t live long.  Next, we tried two sister rats.  They lived a bit longer and were fairly fun, but cleaning the cage was a huge chore.  Finally getting Lucy was wonderful because she gave us a moderate amount of love (she was a cat, after all) with only a moderate level of cleanup and care.  My dad eventually warmed up to her, too, which was an added bonus.  I think she made it pretty easy to love her.

Lucy was the oddest, most well-behaved kitty I have ever met.  She didn’t like people food.  Seriously, we tried.  The only food she’d eat was ice cream, and even then we had to dab it onto her nose so she’d lick it off.  She had her claws and never destroyed anything.  She never bit or clawed – quite the opposite, actually – she’d allow herself to be manhandled by my brother and never fought back.  She was the most docile creature.

She came to us with a bunch of health issues.  Yes, she was the runt and was underweight, but apparently this stray from Oakland also had fleas and mites and had had a tough time.  My mom’s friend commented on how little Lucy was so lucky,  “She won the lottery, because now she has all of you to love her.”  She was right, but the feeling is mutual.

I won the lottery that day, too.

I want you to know, Lucy, that I really wish I could have been there for you during those last few days.  I desperately wanted to be there to comfort you, to hold you, to whisper my secrets to you again.  I am very thankful that the rest of my family was able to be there for you, and that my mom held you in her lap when the vet helped you die.  I just want you to know, that I wanted it to be me.  If I could’ve, I would’ve been the one to hold you.  I held you on that first day when you picked me and I wanted to hold you on the last day, too.

I love you and miss you, baby girl.  I’m so glad you’re not hurting anymore and I hope you’re licking ice cream off your nose right now.

Radio H-O-M-E

I was inspired by Emily and Ashley‘s prompt about radio, because people, when I was little, I made the radio.

That’s right.

It was actually in elementary school with my friend also named Emily.  She introduced me to this fun activity we called H-O-M-E.  You know those boom boxes where you could record your voice onto a sweet cassette tape?  Well, we took one of those and created our own radio station, complete with original songs, audio murder mystery stories, and commercials.

Our radio station changed depending on the location we were recording from.  If we were at Emily’s house, we’d say, “Hello, this is Melissa and Emily coming to you live from 1234 Smart Court, H-O-M-E!”   Change of address meant change of the station.  We knew our listeners could keep up.

I loved this game so much that I brought up the idea with two other friends on separate occasions and I now have many cassette tapes gathering dust in my childhood closet with awesome H-O-M-E radio recordings.

At one point we used Emily’s keyboard to create background music for our various audio entertainment.  Emily and I recorded original songs we wrote about pollution and how bad it is and how we wanted to save the monkeys in the rainforest.  My friend Leah and I did commercials for a fictional store called Fit It Right, where they guaranteed that your clothes would…fit correctly, no matter your size.

Most of the commercials were just recorded on the fly and if we messed up or got a case of the giggles, we’d just rewind and tape back over it.  But with my friend Megan, we put together and scripted an entire murder mystery tale that would probably get us sued by the people who wrote Clue if it ever goes viral.  We had backstories and physical descriptions for an entire wealthy family, complete with maids and cooks.  We foreshadowed and we dropped hints and we used really bad French accents.  No spoilers as to who the killer really was…but I wouldn’t eat the stew if I were you!

I also went solo for my blue period in radio.  I recorded myself singing My Girl (remember that movie with Anna and Macaulay?!) and quotes from movies or shows I’d heard and didn’t quite understand, but knew enough to know that they were cool.

What’s your sign, baby?

The Hollywood sign!

My most treasured radio show was when I interviewed each member of my family.  And by interviewed, I mean I told my family members exactly what I wanted them to say.  I must have been about 8 or 9 years old, and my grandparents were visiting from Wisconsin, which was a big deal.  Both of them have since passed away, and so I really love that I still have a piece of them on tape.

I listened to this interview so much over the years that it’s been cemented in my mind.  First, I recorded all my scripted parts alone in my room, and then I would run downstairs and tell each person what to say, and the pattern would continue.  Here’s the transcript of what I remember:

Hello, and my name is Melissa ___ _____.  (I always introduced myself with my full name, middle and last.)

Today we’re going to meet the members of my family!

First, we’re going to talk to my Dad, and he loves watching football on TV.  Hi, Dad, what are you doing?

Dad: I’m watching football and they just scored a touchdowwwnnn! (My Dad said this with the appropriate amount of fake enthusiasm.)

Next, we’re going to talk to my Mom, and she loves to cook.  Hi, Mom, what are you doing?

Mom: I’m making a casserole.

Next, we’re going to talk to my little brother who loves playing video games just like I do.  Hi, Brian, what are you doing?

Brian: I just got to the 3rd level in Nintendo!!  (It took some expert levels of coercion to get him to say this on tape, but it was worth it.)

Next, we’re going to talk to my grandpa, and he loves to play golf.  Hi, Grandpa, what are you doing?

Grandpa:  And you know what?  I was playing golf and I just got a hole in one, whooooo-ppeeeeee!  (He went off-script for this one, but I’ll forgive him.)

Last, we’re going to talk to my grandma, and she loves to knit.  Hi, grandma, what are you doing?

Grandma: I’m knitting some mittens.   (Those four words never sounded so sweet.)

——

So that’s all I got.  Thanks for reading me remember my journalistic roots.

What’s in a name?

Brian and I got our marriage license last Friday.  It was a big deal and not all at the same time.

The courthouse closed at 4 that day, so we each took off work early and met there super early in case there was a crazy line.  This wedding planning madness has trained me to plan for, well, madness.

I got there way early, earlier than Brian, and ended up getting super anxious just because I could.

Did he get away from work when he’d planned to?

Had he gotten in a car accident?

Why wasn’t he answering his phone?

Naturally, everything was fine except for in my head.

So he got there, and we walked into the courthouse hand-in-hand. (It had taken all my willpower not to take out my anxiety on him, because I did not want to pick a fight right before going in and getting a piece of paper that proves we want to love each other for the rest of our lives……you know, priorities.)  There was no line.  The paperwork was easy.  The lady made us raise our right hands and asked us if everything on the paperwork was true.  The way she phrased it made us both say “I do” at the same time and we looked at each other and had a moment.  I giggled.

The whole process was pretty quick and easy and we left feeling special and lovey-dovey, but as we left with our paperwork in hand, I felt a pang of….sadness.

There was a spot on the paperwork where each of us could denote if and how we wanted our names changed.  I have given this issue a lot of thought, and I think I finally came to the best arrangement for me and for the two of us, although I must admit, I still have misgivings.

I decided, we decided, that I would take Brian’s last name as my own, and I am replacing my current middle name with my maiden name.

Lots of factors went into making this decision.  I don’t want to “give up” my own last name because it’s been connected to my identity and how I exist in the world.  It’s German, it’s amazing, and I love it.  Brian’s last name is…..pretty freaking fantastic, for those of you who know us in the real world.  It’s cooler than my last name, and it sounds amazing as my own last name.  Like, I could be a rapper it’s so cool.

I love the concept of hyphenating, and I also like the concept of creating a whole new last name for two people getting married.  Those ideas, in a perfect world, seem the most egalitarian to me.  Buuut….we just didn’t like either of these options for us, with these particular last names.  As for hyphenating, our last names end with the same sound and it sounded weird.  As for creating a new name…..we just couldn’t bring ourselves to chop Brian’s awesome last name in half with mine.  Trust me, it’s just too good.

We thought about just keeping our own last names and not changing anything.  That’s still an option, but I know I’ll want to have the same last name as my children, and having an in-common family name just makes sense to us.

As you all know, I really have a problem with blindly following traditions just because, which is why all these options were considered and lamented over.  In no way was I going to take my husband’s last name without considering all my options first.  And my birth name will still get that spot on legal forms…and in my heart.

So.  I’m going to honor this sadness….It’ll be weird to introduce myself with a new last name.  My therapy services will be advertised under a different name….my new business cards are going to make me do double takes.

I wonder how long it’ll take me to get my new signature right?

All of those thoughts come with pangs of sadness….and some excitement too.

An unbearable feeling

Ok.  So this whole Boston thing has been weighing on me this week and I feel so pent up today that I just need to word vomit and vent…

So I imagine this post will be really raw, unorganized, and frenzied….kinda like how I feel.

I’ve felt particularly numb ever since Monday when I saw my Boston friends on Facebook start posting about bombs instead of about running and celebration.  For a bit, I honestly didn’t understand why I felt this way…but I think it just had to settle in.

This is the first time for me that a tragedy of this magnitude has felt so close to home.  Sure, I live in Northern California now, and I was born and raised here.  But I lived for 2 years, from 2006-2008, in Brighton, Mass while I earned my Master’s degree at Boston College.  I lived on Comm Ave., a few blocks away from BC and directly on the marathon route, just after Heartbreak Hill.  Right now, all those areas are locked down.

I was a spectator at the marathon, cheering on the runners, in awe that humans actually put themselves through such peril so they can say they’ve accomplished something awesome.

That place on Boylston where the bombs went off?  I’ve been there, I’ve walked that street before, where blood now stains the pavement.  It’s really hard for me to wrap my mind around this.

I have a lot of former classmates still living in the area, several of which who were at the marathon that day.  One of my bridesmaids doesn’t live very far away.  My dad went to MIT, where an officer was killed last night.  My parents first lived together as a married couple in Cambridge, which is now shut down.  I have an aunt, uncle, and cousins living in Cambridge right now.  My aunt and uncle are journalists and my aunt still went to work today to cover the story.

I spent time processing all that is going on with a client this morning who also has ties to the area, when I can barely process this myself.

I am worried.  I am so sad.  I am also so angry.  My client this morning made a comment that the tragedy isn’t about her or me personally, so why would we make it about us, about the fact that we feel close to Boston?  I see the point, but you know what?  This may not be about me, but it involves me.  It involves everyone.  I am involved because my loved ones shouldn’t have to lock themselves in.  They shouldn’t have to be afraid.  People should be able to be a part of a public gathering and be safe.

It pisses me off so much that these two young men (maybe more?), younger than myself, can wreak so much havoc and cause so much physical and emotional destruction.  That they took from us….took power?  A sense of safety?  Took life.  All of the above.

Shame on you.

I also hate feeling so paralyzed.  Because I feel such a personal connection to this crisis, I either want to help or I almost want to be a part of it, experiencing it along with the people I am worried about.  Because then, if I was there, at least my paralysis would feel justified.  Here, I was just able to take my Friday walk to go get lunch, and I almost felt guilty for doing so, because I know people in Boston can’t do that right now.

I can handle feeling mad, and even feeling deep sorrow.  But feeling helpless, powerless?

That’s such an unbearable feeling.

Eerie Images From An Empty Boston and Cambridge

UPDATE: a friend just sent me this piece, and it very much describes how I feel.