Learning How to Sail My Ship

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One of my good friends sent me this card a while ago. It was shortly after my second kid was born and I had posted something about how hard the adjustment was. The card was unexpected, and I remember sitting in my car after opening the envelope and having a little cathartic cry.

As you can see, the card lives right behind my bathroom sink. I’ve been staring at it at least twice a day for about a year and a half. It’s probably pretty gross by now, with toothpaste and makeup and germs.

The quote on the card says, “I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.” I didn’t believe it for a very long time. I couldn’t say it in the first person, where “I” was in my voice. There are some days when I don’t feel the fear, when I feel rested and calm and confident. But heck, there are plllllenty of days when the fear is there and I’m worried that I won’t ever be able to shake it.

Tangent: I took this picture last July, when I was experiencing a great break from anxiety. And that’s what it was, looking back – a break – and not some triumphant ending to a horrible story. I keep expecting to reach some kind of finish line with this junk. I really want future me to pop in and let me know just how long this phase of semi-anxiety-ridden life is going to last…or will it never leave?! The not knowing sucks, and I’m still trying to make peace with that and take things day by day. Ugh.

Back to the card. I never had any issue identifying with the second part. Absolutely, I am learning. I’m always learning. I like learning. Yup. But that first part…somehow I felt like my goal should be about abolishing my fear, getting rid of my anxiety, and so every time it’s come back over the last year and a half, I’ve felt…disappointed, sad, scared, and full of shame.

I am reminded about a conversation I had with a friend about that one TV show Running Wild with Bear Grylls. She commented about how scared one of the female guests had been on the show, with the implication that her fear was something undesirable or weak. My response to her was that yeah, she had been scared out of her mind, but she still did it, and she was badass. And that’s the definition of courage, anyway right? It’s not about the absence of fear, it’s about feeling fear and doing it anyway. Honestly, a large portion of my life has been that way.

And so. I feel like I need to change the card a little bit. Maybe something like, “I am afraid of storms sometimes [or most of the time. lots. like, maybe almost all the time], but I’m learning how to sail my ship…right through them.”

PS – I’ve used the terms fear and anxiety interchangeably in the post because of the wording of the card, but in my reality they mean very different things.

PPS – Please excuse the product placement. Or maybe don’t. Perhaps Aveeno would be willing to sponsor this post. Call me! Pay for my anxiety meds!

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We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

I originally wrote this piece for my local MOMS Club newsletter, of which I am the editor. Since I rarely write things these days, I want this one to count for double, so I’m posting it here. Enjoy!

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Hey, y’alls.

 

It’s Melissa, the Newsletter person. Don’t worry, [the president of the club] gave me permission to write here, because it’s summer and we’re all sweaty and tired. Hopefully she doesn’t regret that decision in about a minute and a half. In my defense, I restrained myself from simply posting a giant poop emoji to fill this space.

 

Ah, summer. Since becoming an adult, summers have gotten hard. I’ve had to work in an office indoors, suffering through Women’s Winter (youtube it, seriously), when all I wanted to do was sit around the pool and read traumatic memoirs. Since becoming a mom, summers have gotten even harder. Suddenly, I’ve been demoted to Activities Director, and if I don’t have a plan for the day, ready to report to my son immediately upon waking, my kids flip the switch from silly-cute to screaming cray-cray.

 

All plans have to be strategic. Based on the weather, where can we go that is kid-friendly? Will it have ample shade? Is there an attractive cabana boy ready to bring me free drinks?

 

Of course, none of this will matter, because my kids will whine and complain and be hungry or not hungry. And I will yell at them to GO PLAY and feel bad and count the minutes til nap time.

 

Then there’s the Seasonal Mom Worries (you know, the worries apart from the everyday ones) – sunburns and skin cancer and water safety. Forgetting to pack something for vacation (because it’s up to me to remember basically everything), screaming kids on planes, shark attacks.

 

I also never know what day it is during the summer because our schedule is all over the place. Basically, I feel disoriented, tired, and sweaty without the hassle of actual exercise.

 

Somehow, at the same time summer is frickin’ fun. Splashing and sand castles and ice cream for dinner. I try my hardest to drink it all in, preferably with a tiny umbrella.

 

I’ve long since realized that the great comes with the horrible, otherwise the great wouldn’t feel as such. I’m just trying to be present for it all.

 

Here’s to surviving the rest of the summer, fellow Activities Directors. Watch out for sharks.

The Tulip Fields

There was a storm brewing; they were on borrowed time.

But they were on a mission.

The troops were already fatigued and in low spirits when they arrived on the battlefield. The General and Officer oversaw the unloading and packing of gear and made sure there were enough rations on hand, then they set off.

They trudged through muddy trenches and seemingly endless fields. The icy winds whipped around them and tugged at their uniforms. It was hard to take in the natural beauty of their surroundings from under the weight of their collective burden.

Barely halfway to the rendezvous point, two of the weakest soldiers began to break down. There were flashbacks, tears, and one even collapsed in a mud puddle of despair.

There was brief talk of deserting the fallen solider. Perhaps another unit would take her on.

Enough! barked the General. We never leave a solider behind! On my count, heave!

There was no other option- she was carried by the General herself. Later, she’d receive a bronze star for her heroism (The General, not the solider).

More began to fall, and again, they were carried. It began to feel overwhelming. They didn’t think they could go on. Some were pressing to turn back, scrap the mission.

No. We’ve come too far. We’ve sacrificed too much!

Their objective was clear – keep going.

The General ordered the Officer to break out and distribute a portion of the rations, which were to be eaten during the march. There was to be no stopping. Delaying the arrival at the rendezvous point could prove a foolish mistake.

The hard tack revived the troops. They kept marching with renewed vigor, even loud, boisterous whoops of hope and joy.

And then, through the clouds, they could see it. Their destination. A warm welcome, fresh food and water awaited them.

They had made it, and they lived to fight another day. (The return journey back to their transport would be another story, of course.)

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The Last Day

Where did November go?!

First of all, let me say that November is a horrible month in which to do National Blog Posting Month, or NaBloPoMo. It’s busy, there’s travel going on, there’s family obligations, food comas, etc. I nominate changing it to…January. The holidays are over, it’s a fresh start to a new year, and it’s not my birthday month. But I digress.

I did the best I could this month. I felt particularly stretched thin, blogwise and otherwise. I’ve found that whenever I try to raise the quantity of blog posts I do, the quality of each post goes down considerably, and this month reflected that. So, I stretched the rules and reblogged several oldies that I am proud of, and I think those rounded out the month’s work quite well.

I wanted this NaBloPoMo to reignite my love of writing and my ability to express myself more eloquently. It got me thinking about future blog topics that I can write when I have more time (meaning, posts that I can compose over the course of a week in 15 minute increments while hiding in the bathroom). It helped awaken my creative side as I continue to figure out who my post(during?)-mommyhood self is going to be.

I’d like to thank everyone who read this month. I know posting once a day can get old pretty quick, so thanks to anyone who stopped by. A special thank you to anyone who left comments, because it’s nice to know that my words aren’t just going out into the void.

I’d love some feedback. What posts from this month did you like? What topics would you like to see more of? Any new topics you’d like me to tackle?

In closing, my daughter just starting pulling herself to a standing position yesterday and I’m thrilled because she’s amazing. She plans to apply early admission to Cal next week.


NaBloPoMo Day 30, Last Day

 

Baby It’s Cold Outside

I thought of this post because each and every time another famous man is fired for sexual misconduct, I am reminded just how disgustingly prevalent rape culture really is.
Reading this post back again, I’d change two things: such a gentleman would never even own roofies. And, in a world where men and women are truly equal, she wouldn’t need pepper spray. And he wouldn’t call her the b-word, either. So three things.
At any rate, Merry Christmas everyone, and a Happy New Year free of rape culture and rampant sexual harassment.


NaBloPoMo Day 29

Psychobabble

I hope everyone’s holiday season is shaping up to be better than mine, which shouldn’t be too hard since I spent mine battling food poisoning and watching the entire Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  They really should have just taken those damn eagles all the way to Mount Doom, btw.

Speaking of Mount Doom, I like me some Christmas tunage around this time of year, and I’ve always liked Baby It’s Cold Outside, but I never really paid attention to the lyrics before now.  Previously, I assumed it was all cutesy how a man and a woman were singing about how cold it was outside and how happy they were to be all warm and snuggly by a fire.  But now – whoa man, this song is downright creepy and bordering on abusive!

Now that I’ve been forever robbed of the pleasure that comes from listening to this song, I…

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Snacks on a Plane

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We’re going home to California for the week of Thanksgiving and I’m all excited to BE there, but I am not at all excited to GET there.

Here’s how it’s gonna play out. I pack and worry and scream to try and make everyone be on time. Then I’ll worry some more about what we forgot and being on time. Dylan will break down in the security line and go to his dark place where he goes limp on the floor. Audrey will thrash so hard in the Ergo that she’ll ram her head on my sternum and make several bruises. And that’s all before we get on the plane.

On the plane there will be more thrashing and seat kicking and trying to reach buttons and wanting to crawl down the aisle. And the kids will act up too. (See what I did there? I’ll be here all week.)

Once we touch down in the land of milk and honey, we’ll be greeted by loving, rested grandparents ready to whisk our children away for stimulating play and healthy snacks while Brian and I fall asleep pass out for 5 days. Then we’ll wake up and eat turkey and mashed potatoes and go comatose for another 3.

Too soon it will be time to get on another plane and head back to Waterworld Oregon, where hopefully our cat hasn’t resentfully pooped on our pillows and vomited in our shoes. All the dirty laundry will steep in a small, smelly mountain in the hallway where I hope it will get so rank it’ll one day grow legs and walk itself into the washing machine.

I’ve decided that I’d actually like to enjoy our trip, so I plan to re-blog some of my favorite old posts while I’m gone, especially since I have some new readers and I’d like to share some pieces of which I’m rather proud.

Stay tuned, dear Psychos.


NaBloPoMo Day 16

My mood swings have mood swings

I got nothin today, folks. Not a real post, at least. (I often start out a post saying this, and then end up writing a post. This is now a post.)

Sometimes (most of the time) I feel like my husband and I are just scrambling to try and keep this household and our family running somewhat smoothly. We are stretched, our energy is so limited, and if something goes wrong – speaking for myself – I get overwhelmed very, very quickly. Today was one of those days where shit went wrong, but, miraculously, quality good times were also had. No wonder I feel like I have mood swings. My mood swings have mood swings.

The lows:

  • The weather suuuuucked today. Non-stop rain made me want to stay in bed.
  • Our furnace broke today, so our house is effing cold. I can’t stand being cold.
  • I want to strangle my cat, or at least forcibly remove her vocal chords. She wakes me up, wakes our kids up, and anyone who disturbs my sleep who is not one of my kids is DEAD TO ME.

The highs:

  • Met a friend for breakfast and found THREE friends waiting for me at breakfast. It was a very lovely time out.
  • Snotty wet kisses from mah babes.
  • The boyman coming home from work in the middle of the day to troubleshoot the furnace issue.
  • Laughed til I peed borrowed diet coke about bible references and street names for drugs. (You had to be there.) We got matching shirts, we’re gonna study, and we’ll be back next time to kick ass and take names, PDX Trivia! Should my callsign be Turnip or Scalene?

Tomorrow is a new day, with its own highs and lows.


NaBloPoMo Day 15

Wordless Wednesday: Snack time

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Gah, aaaand it’s blurry.  FML.

This psycho-mommy is trying to get her blogging ass back in gear.  I have no idea who actually reads this thing anymore.  Helloooo?!  Who’s out there?  If you’re still there, or are just joining me, I want to hear from you- leave a comment!

And yes, I know this is wordless Wednesday, but I decided to make an exception.  I blame the wine.

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I’ve Found Your Word

When I was pregnant with my first baby, his movements made me come up with a word that described his personality.  I blogged about it.

And now I’ve come up with a word for my daughter: mischievous.

Her distinctive move as of late is to wait until I am asleep and then wedge herself up under the right side of my ribcage.  Once I wake up to pee, which is often, and feel the pain, it’s too late.  Her damage has been done.

What is it with my babies enjoying the right side of my uterus?!  Does it have an ocean view?  Fresh paint?  Hardwood floors?  I guess I’ll never know.

She also enjoys dragging her pointy, pointy little elbows across the width of my abdomen, which makes for quite a show from the outside.  And lately she’s been snuggling down lower and lower, which I understand is a good thing, since she’s getting ready for her big debut, but my bladder really doesn’t appreciate it.  And I really hope she doesn’t start pinching my cervix like my first did, because whoa man, that shit hurts like a baby on the cervix.

And it never fails – every time I have babydaddy put his hand on my tummy to feel baby going crazy with her breakdance fighting lessons, she stops.  Just like that.

So enjoy your time in there, Little Miss.  I only hope I’m calling you mischievous because I’m cranky and this pregnancy seems longer and harder than the first and not because you’re gearing up to give me a hard time.

Either way, I’m on to you.

I know where you live.

 

The Cranky Mommy Waddle

My son just turned two.

TWO.

He’s active.

He’s kinda like a time bomb, actually, and if I don’t get him outside burning off steam, he’s going to explode yucky kid goo all over the walls of my house.

And so we walk to the park.

Well, I waddle.

I can’t move very fast anymore.  Moving hurts me.  And while it’s great that there are several parks within a few blocks of my house, my kid still insists on running away from me, often into the street.

Jesus ouch goes my fast waddle.

I’m told this is a common problem (the running into the street…but I guess also the waddle.  but I was originally referring only to the running).  So why can’t parents with brains design human parks like they design dog parks?  Toddlers and dogs ain’t that much different, folks.  Fence them in.  Mommy’s tired of running.  And by running I mean waddle-shuffling.

And another thing.  Plant some damn trees.  I know this is Oregon, but occasionally we have this thing called sunlight.

I have delicate skin that’s constantly being sucked dry by my greedy fetus.  And my pregnant body is already 1002 degrees.  Mama needs the shade.

And while you’re at it, add in a little Starbucks booth.  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just big enough for a sexy college dropout barista and that whoosh-whoosh machine that makes the foam.

Cuz sleep is getting harder to come by and we all know this is only going to get worse.  I need to stay just conscious enough while I’m resting my eyes in the shade so that I can take my dog-child back home after he’s burned off a sufficient amount of evil.

See you tomorrow, fellow park-goers.