Archive for the ‘Health and Fitness’ Category

I Knew They Would Break My Heart

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

Truth is, I knew the Bulldogs were going to break my heart.

I knew because it was the logical end to the worst year of my life, the one where i met disappointment and fear and pain at every turn. The one where i just slogged through 365 days in a row, hoping it would soon be over and sometimes not caring how.

It’s behind me now, the hell that i went through in the last year. I did the right thing, and the hard thing, and I walked out of my house one morning and knew my life and the lives of those I loved would be changed irrevocably forever. And I knew that I had to do it to save myself physically and mentally, and to have a chance at saving us all. It didn’t work, not the way I thought it would, but i don’t regret trying. I did it and it didn’t work out and the world did not completely fall apart, even though there have been moments where it felt like it would.

I made it through the weirdness of living in a basement for 9 months, the shared silent house split right down the middle in alternating nights at home and nights making myself scarce, through the cold division of everything two people put together over 18 years, the day we told the kids, the signing of the papers, the waiting, and the terrifying unknowns of where i would be living.  I lived through the constant deflection of my family’s worry, my fear for my children’s well-being.

I lived through the surreal and daunting prospect of buying a house before I was really ready, the packing, the moving, the friend who just didn’t show up for me when I needed them most, the realization that they never would, and the friends who did show up whom I can never repay and to whom I am forever indebted. I lived through the vomiting, the sleeplessness, the ulcers, the near-debilitating sadness and depression, the million ways i numbed myself with drinks or food or tv or sleep.

I lived through the mortifying shame and guilt and self-hatred, and through other people’s pity and “I’m so sorry”s, their tears and their questions. I lived through those last weeks, packing the bare minimum and dumping it into a new and empty house, all while my job went completely to shit, i worked weekends and nights, and I found out I would have to drive to my office in every day, adding ten to 15 hours to my work week, and that i had only a few months to work out my childcare arrangements.

I made it through an August that felt like one never-ending horrible nightmare, one I could not wake up from, one that to get through felt like barely keeping my head above water in an ocean of cement, my eyes constantly on the horizon. If I could just get there, I might be able to breathe again, and maybe sleep, and stop trying to not feel anything.

I dumped all the boxes in the new house, received my final divorce decree two days later, woke up the next morning and flew to NYC, where I spent the first 12 days of my divorce almost completely alone in a city where you are never alone. I came home, and I started putting things together, getting used to my new normal, our new schedules, the homework and the dawning realization that this is real and it is forever and something I loved very much is dead.

I lived through the first week without kids, a very weird Halloween, a child’s birthday party as a single mom, the carpools juggled, and the feeling of having to do every possible excruciating red tape insurance/governmental/financial/legal/household task I have ever done, in my whole life, all in a month. 

I lived through the first holidays –  Thanksgiving without kids, Christmas eve playing Santa all by myself, Christmas night with no kids for the first time since my son was born, and the New Year’s Eve sadness of being alone, of going home alone.

I have never felt so relieved, for a year to be over and a new one to begin. And I have been positive and healthy, a little bit more every day. I have been getting back on my feet. In 2018, I have already achieved something i did not achieve in all of 2017 (and most of 2016, for that matter); I have had whole days where I did not break down in tears.

I woke up new, on New Year’s Day. And I know now something that I doubted for a very long time. The truth is, when it comes to pushing through the pain and the stagnation and the fear, I am strong. When it comes to realizing and seeking and speaking the truth, I am one badass motherfucker. 

I knew there would be more hurdles and I knew i would clear them.

So, I watched with growing amusement that my bulldogs were gaining ground, that they might make the big game. I realized that it would be hilarious for them to make the big game. We had sent my ex to the big game in California a few years before (different team for those non-readers); we had agreed if my team ever went, we would make sure i got to go too. But that wouldn’t happen now.

So, of course, after 37 years, the Bulldogs made it to a national championship. I could see it coming from a mile away. i enjoyed it, it helped me get through the first holidays on my own, and it was one happy thing in a sea of (mostly) pain. I started laughingly telling people that I wasn’t bothering hoping they would make it to the big game, but if they did make it, it would end in heartbreak. I knew not to bother daring to believe, because I knew it would not end well. I knew that the real poetic cap to my year was one last kick in the teeth.

And that’s just exactly what happened. There was no other ending that would have fit as well. Because every time that I have been down this past year, i thought, “This must be it. Rock bottom. This must be what rock bottom feels like.” And then something else would happen and i would just laugh hysterically that I thought it could actually be over, get better, that I might, just might, catch a break.

So, people will have to cut me some slack when I say that I am not quite happy and accepting of that loss yet. It wasn’t just a football game – it was wrapped up in a whole lot more for me. It sure would have been nice to have that game go my way, to have just one goddamn thing go my way.

The truth is, though, it would have been too perfect, too pat a hand, to finish it all off with a win. And now that loss is already in the yesterdays, with all the other losses I’ve experienced. Now I’m in the present, the today. i get to leave behind hope and expectation, and just take this new life one day at a time. I can leave the mistakes behind, stop looking forward with some endgame in mind, and concentrate on making each day good and seeing what happens.  I have a white, bright 2018 ahead of me, full of possibility and new adventure and challenges, and most of all of just being with myself, the me that I almost lost in the last couple of years, without all the noise of the crowd.

(But i probably could have done all that with a W, too. Just sayin,’ Universe.)

One Foot In Front of the Other: And Walk, and Walk, and Walk

Monday, June 13th, 2016

I went hiking on Saturday. A couple of the people I was staying with at a cabin were hung over, and one had to write a paper. I went by myself. I like hiking by myself. No chit chat; just me and my thoughts. My plan was to walk about a half a mile to trailhead for an easy hike to a waterfall (Juney Wankey Falls). When I got to the trailhead, I realized I felt like doing something more strenuous, saw a trail that was 4.7 miles, and decided to do that one.


So, basically, I totally screwed up. I missed the loop trail and ended up doing a much longer loop that was over 12 moderate to strenuous miles. That, combined with the hike to the trailhead, and the walk into the national park meant that I did about 18 miles total that day.


I saw Indian Creek Falls, too.


I realized at probably about the halfway mark that I had screwed up, but I never panicked. I knew it was a loop, and i had talked to other hikers, so I knew that they knew I had missed my lower loop and that I was worried about scaring my friends when I didn’t come back soon enough. I finally found someone at the top of Sunkota ridge who had a working cel phone, and I sent my sister a text with my location and the trail name, and when I thought I would be back. I also texted a family pet name I knew she would recognize.

I walked and walked. The people with the cel phones had been walking with me for an hour or so. When I first saw them, I had forged ahead; They were on horseback, a group of about 8 or so. (That should have been a sign. This is a group doing the same trail. They are on horseback.) The leader said, “We’ll catch you up soon.” When they finally did catch up, they said they were impressed with my pace. I do walk fast. When I caught up with them at the top of the ridge, about 5 miles uphill, one lady told me “You are amazing!” Trail people are kind. They offered me water. (I always overdo my water, because I hate the thought of running out, and I had an apple and a bag of almonds. I never worried about not making it back, or not having enough water, or being alone; Just that I had worried my friends.)


I had water and we looked at their maps at the top of the ridge. That was when I realized I still had 8 miles to hike, but it was downhill, so i knew i wasn’t going to fall out from a stroke. I just worried about whether my knees could take 8 miles downhill. I petted the sweet horses, and thanked my Dothraki friends, and headed down. Sure enough, after about 4 miles of that, I was compensating for my hurting right knee, with odd steps and a weird gait, so then my hips and my other knee, and my ankles were all barking at me.

There were a few times when I wondered if I could make it back. I was in pain, and tired, so tired, and sweating that sweat where you actually have salt build up on your skin. I still had water. I thought, “this is bear country. If a bear tried to get me, I’d be toast. I’d give right up.” I thought about how indians had traveled those trails for hundreds of years. I saw deer and centipedes and picked a lot of ticks off my calves. I saw nothing else – no snakes, bears, elk.

I overtook an older hiker. He was about 70. Ron, from LaGrange, Georgia. He had hiked all day. Was doing some kind of 500 miles in the Smokies challenge. He knew all the trails I had seen on the Dothraki map, so he confirmed that I was on the right trail, and it would take me back to the trailhead I had started at. We drank water and I shared my almonds with him.

I told him I had to move on, that my friends might be worried and said goodbye. We walked together for a little while, but I finally moved out of his sight. I had muddy, aching feet. The air was cool and damp walking along Deep Creek, but very buggy.

I thought a lot during that hike. About how nothing much mattered except that moment. That there were people who mattered, and people who didn’t. I wished they allowed dogs in the park. I had moments where I wanted to go lay down in the cold creek water and just go to sleep. I wanted a beer. (I got one.)
FullSizeRender 222
I wanted to soak my feet in the cold water and then put them up.


I thought how mad my mom would be that I was hiking alone. I laughed at how i was both stupid and tough; stupid for getting on the wrong trail and tough for figuring out where to go and how to get home. For not giving up. I didn’t give up. I knew I had to keep going, that no one was going to fix this, or pick me up, or save me.

I thought about Bill Bryson and Cheryl Strayed and what it must be like to spend that much time on the trail. I think i would like it. I thought about a hot shower or a hot tub. I thought and thought – What was the answer that the trail wanted to give me to all of my questions?

It gave me peace, but no answers. If there was an answer, it was, “Keep putting one foot in front of the other. You will get there. They have gone before you. They made it. This has all happened before.”

Addendum: I was exhausted and barely able to walk the day or two after this. (Even today, I am hobbling around. It is a delicious soreness.) I had the best beer on the screened porch and ate potatoes with abandon for dinner. And more beer. The best part of the day was probably walking around town (Bryson City) while waiting for our table and running into none other than Ron from the trail. I recognized him and we sat in Adirondack chairs outside a pizza place and compared our days. He is 70 and had done 19 miles. I told him i couldn’t believe he was not sore; i was dying. He said that he couldn’t get up out of his chair. He was camping about Deep Creek and said he was having his third beer, and a pizza, because he’s a vegetarian. I totally dug that guy. Lisa, Nessa, and Robbie all humored me while I chatted with him for like 20 minutes.

Also, I pretty much swam in dogs that night. They are the best to snuggle and give comfort when you are sore and aching.


I need to hike more. And float down cool rivers. And sit on screened porches.

And look at bees on flowers.


And get dog kisses.

And talk to strangers. And walk, and walk, and walk.

That Time I Tried to Explain Strip Clubs to My Sixth Grader Over Dinner

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

I know I already posted the snake thing, but this requires it’s own discussion, because kids starting middle school is like some kind of hyperspace/warp speed shit. . . all of a sudden all this kind of serious stuff starts whipping by and it’s all a blur.

Dinner table subjects tonight included:

– How babies are made
– Sperm (with interpretive dance by Rollie)
– Todd: “Tiller, time for your shower.” Me: “Tiller, let me know if you ever have questions about what we all talk about.” Tiller: “I don’t even know what sperm means, but it sounds creepy.” [Exeunt Tiller]
– Drugs (weed, coke, meth, addiction, withdrawal, chewing tobacco, big league chew, oral cancer, and symptoms, medicinal weed, plant-based drugs vs. synthetic, “if you do meth, i will punch you in the face, it is really, really bad.”)
– STDs, communicable diseases, and “how” they are spread
– Rollie: “Tony said he’s in sex ed and some kids started thrusting and Ms. Furr said, ‘Stop gyrating like you are in a sex club.'” (Who the hell, is Ms. Furr?)

So, then we talked about whether or not he knows what she meant by sex club, and he said, “a club where you go to have sex?” and I said that I think that she meant “strip club” when she referred to it as a “sex club” and that you just go there to watch people take off their clothes while dancing to bad music, and they might ruffle your hair or something. (R: “They have poles, there?”)

And then Todd tried to break up our very serious sex club discussion by doing his own interpretive dance, taking off his flannel shirt and whipping it about his head. I’m pretty sure he was hearing Bob Seger’s “Night Moves” in his head.

Me: “And you never put your hand down on anything at a strip club and then lick your fingers.” [‘Yep,’ I thought. ‘I just said that out loud.’] He wanted to know why and I said, “well, they are kind of dirty.” And Rollie looked judgy/disgusted and I said, “Well, they are not bad. It doesn’t make you bad if you go there. Mama and daddy have been to them before. They’re just kind of dumb.” Pause. . . “Maybe don’t tell all your friends mama and daddy have been to strip clubs. [Oh god, plural. Why did I make it plural?] “But other people’s parents probably have too.” R: “I doubt that.” Me: “Well, maybe you’re right. Not all the parents have.”

And then I told him this is all very serious stuff, and that the important thing is to be safe, and respectful, and that he can always talk to us about anything, or ask us about things he has questions about.

This is about where Todd send him off to bed, which is for the best, because obviously I am fucking this whole parenting thing up to hell and back, because I have a hard time not being honest about stuff.

(I originally put this on Facebook, but wanted to document this one here, because one day the kids are going to think this is very, very funny, OR they will need it to hand to their therapist at that initial appointment.)

I am a Writer

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

Your own reasonsI had an experience lately that got me thinking about my writing and the reasons I write. Disclaimer: I don’t think of what I write as Art; I mean, come on. I’m just not that pretentious. It’s, more than anything, therapeutic, pleasurable, and a gathering of my thoughts. It is an action rather than a result; a trip inside my brain that might come out with a few souvenirs, but is very much about the journey. I feel better and more focused when I write things down. I remember details of my life and experiences more fully when I take the time to type them out. I sometimes feel a compulsion to sit and write things down, to outline and tell the story of the images in my mind. As I am writing them, I usually remember more detail than I thought I could. The small, poignant pieces somehow come into focus, and things that I thought meant very little take on a larger meaning for me. There is a satisfaction in both the swelling flow of words that come out when I sit down and write, and in the exquisite pleasure of finding the perfect word or phrase. I even enjoy going back and editing what I wrote, and those are the times when I read something and realize, “no, it’s not perfect, but this might make it better.” And aren’t we all just trying to find ways to make ourselves a little bit better? There is satisfaction in improvement.

I write for many reasons: To document pleasurable moments, or pretty vignettes, or to make sure that I never forget a story that made me cry with laughter. I sometimes write down stories that were handed down to me from my family; If I don’t write them down, they may be lost. There are stories I don’t want to lose, and some of them don’t even belong to me. I write because I need to, and I want to, and because it almost always makes me feel lighter after doing so. I write about people and places that made an indelible impression on me that I must not forget. I write about loved ones who are gone, because I am afraid that I will forget some precious detail of who they were. And they were human and amazing and funny and weird and insane.

There are many things that I put into writing that do not see the light of day, that are for my eyes and mind only. Sometimes I write and write, and I am proud of something, or I feel that it is scary, but important. I usually put those here on my blog. I also intersperse those with photos, which sometimes speak louder than words, or tell a story without need of words. I used to write even the small things, a joke my daughter made up, or the made up words my son created, thoughts and anecdotes on my blog and I wrote posts every day for many years. These are the things that I find cool, funny, absurd, ironic, or infuriating. Sometimes they are sweet, sometimes they are sour, sometimes they are salty or bitter. Many times now, I will just post these little things to Facebook. I kind of wish I hadn’t started doing that, because honestly, it is easier to post there, and more people see it that way, but it takes away from my content here. I guess blogs are dead. I don’t know. I still have one. I still put words and pictures on it.

The thing about the pieces I write is this: They are always for me. Yes, they might make someone laugh, or cry, or wonder if they are about you, or someone you know. You might wonder why I would put out to the world something so blunt or crass, or delicate or private or flat out embarrassing for others to read. I do it because it makes me feel good, and it is satisfying. Sometimes it is a release. Sometimes it is because I want people to laugh, or cry, or because I feel good about something, or proud of something, or sad about something, or because I thought it was funny or might ring a universal bell. I have a voice. I want to use it. I am a writer. I want people to read what I write. I am not ashamed of that.

So, when I hear that maybe people see some of the things I write as a cry for help, I like to assume that they care about my well-being, and I take a minute to reassure folks that I will be fine. I am not suicidal, and I am feeling positive about working towards making the changes in my life to be happier. People sure are good deep down – they check in on me when I am struggling, and sometimes they share their struggles and I don’t feel so alone.

Some people though, let’s be honest: Some people will kick you when you’re down, just for the goddamn fun of it.

And when I hear that maybe people think that I am just being dramatic and attention-seeking; Well, I’m a writer. I put words out and people can read them or not read them. Whether they like them or not is truly irrelevant. I am a writer, and I will keep on writing. I write for me, and you read for you. You, the reader, are the one who chooses if you want to continue reading what I write. It seems to work okay; It’s a pretty neat system that’s been around for a few thousand years.

In the end, though, it doesn’t matter who reads it. I will continue to write, because it is what I am compelled by my mind, heart, and soul to do: It brings me laughter, joy, release. It makes colors brighter and delicate memories sweeter. It brings loved ones to life again for a moment. It helps me navigate the perilous trails of thought in my mind, and sometimes it tells me which path to take. Writing comforts me, and it sometimes comforts others.  I know this, because sometimes they take the time to write to me, or they pull me aside and talk to me about my writing in real life, and I am not ashamed to say that it makes me happy if someone likes what I read, or finds it thought-provoking, or brave, or crazy, or very sad.

I can think of no better feeling than the feeling of reading something someone else wrote, and knowing just exactly what they mean. There is an awe and balance and satisfying synchronicity to recognizing your own feelings or thoughts or memories in someone else’s words; When someone tells me that they feel exactly the same things that I wrote, that gives me joy and satisfaction.  Writing has made me friends, and at times, it has been my only friend. Writing travels through time and stops the rotation of the earth for a brief moment. It freezes time and distills moments into portraits. Writing is a part of me, and it is a part of me that I sometimes share with the world. It always will be. And if you don’t like my writing, I’m okay with that, too. Because I don’t write for you; I write for me.

I think the author Elizabeth Gilbert puts it a little better. Her book Big Magic is next on my list of books to read. The day after I had this thought-provoking experience, the one that made me think hard and long about what my writing means to me, I came across this quote.  I literally laughed out loud at the joy of the universe presenting me with exactly what I needed to hear at that moment.

Just smile

With love to myself and anyone else who puts themselves out there,


Saying the Ghosts Out Loud

Sunday, March 15th, 2015

One of the good things about therapy is that I am forced to speak my thoughts and feelings. They are no longer floating around in my head like ghosts that materialize when I open a closet door in my mind. So many doors. Left unsaid, I just slam the door shut on the ghosts, and they are stuck inside, while I rest my weight on the door, and wonder why I can’t stop opening and closing it. Once spoken, I can’t shut the door on them again. They’re out, and someone else sees and hears them too.

The same goes for speaking things in real life, off the therapist’s couch. I’m at the point in my therapy where things are starting to get. . . interesting. I knew I had issues that were affecting me in negative ways, obviously, or I would have never gone to therapy in the first place. But now, we are getting past the issues: The things that cause me pain, scare me, make me feel sad, or guilty, or angry. Now we are getting to the Whys.

Why does this cause me pain? Why did I do this thing, or not do this other thing? Why am I scared to say this or that to my husband or to myself?

It’s easy enough to say

I’m bored. I’m frustrated. I’m sad. I’m resentful.

And so on. The real dirt of the matter, though, is

Why am I these things? What things in my life are making me feel this way?


What things in my life are missing that make me feel this way?

This is all very vague and non-specific for a person as honest and forthcoming as myself, probably boring to read because you want to know the What emotions? and the Why? of it. I will say that one of the things making me miserably unhappy of late is my inability to put into words to myself and those around me what exactly I was feeling, and the things that were making me feel [insert a bajillion emotions]. Voicing those things, to myself, my therapist, and to the people affected by and affecting me has improved my outlook a lot. The hardest part is taking what I see clearly on the therapist’s couch, and bringing it home with me to work on outside of that safe, non-judgmental cocoon of a room. It is one thing to say something difficult to a therapist whom you are paying to listen, and who is not going to be hurt or angered by it. It is a whole other ball of wax to sit in front of the people you love most in the world and know that, in order for things to be better, in order for you to get better, you are going to have to say the difficult ghost words. The ones that may be difficult to hear, or cause pain or anger or defensiveness in someone you care about. And if you are lucky, like I am, they will listen, and they will offer their thoughts, and you will not regret having brought it up. And really, I think even if you don’t get the calm reaction you hoped for, you still might feel better, and voicing things still gives you and your people room to grow, and things to work toward.

I still have a ton to work on. Self-exploration and self-improvement are long and hard and slow-going, and they are never quite finished. Being unable to voice the feelings and the whys is where I found myself paralyzed; It feels good to start working past that, one step, one word, one ghost at a time.

Getting Back in the Boat

Sunday, March 1st, 2015

I have been to two counseling sessions now. I wrote about the first session recently. My second session was last Wednesday, and we quickly got down to brass tacks. (I am a word nerd. I had to look up the origin of that phrase.) We dived right into my homework assignment, going over the whole thing a bit, but most importantly, focusing on those issues that were causing me the most problems currently. I identified Pain, Guilt, Anxiety/Worry, and a general inability to get out of my head, and into the present.

That last one is important. It very much informs the others, especially the anxiety/worry. I have experienced it before: So worried about what I should have done, or what is lost, or what I don’t have, or what might or might not happen in the future, that I cannot let go of my thoughts and simply experience the present. Over the years, though, I have learned how to manage these thoughts, bringing my brain back to the now, pushing the thoughts of what was, or what might be, out of my head. I know that it is true that the moment, the now, the present, is where the happiest people live.

I’ve lost touch with the present, as if I were afloat in a dark sea, the present a boat I held onto by a lifeline. The line slipped out of my grasp, and it’s just out of reach. I know it is right there. I can see it, but I can’t quite reach it. I have forgotten how to swim for it.

My counselor and I agreed that I need to work on that first: I need to work on getting back to the boat. We discussed the reasons I lost the boat in the first place, why it hurts, the things that worry me, the sources of my anxiety, and the guilt that all of this is causing me to feel so completely disconnected from everything and everyone that I love.

All of that is well and good, but how does one take that first stroke? What are the practical ways for me to get back into the present? I thought I would share some of the tools we went over, because it helps cement them for me to write them down (even though I know many of them, but I have just lost sight of them), and because it might help someone else.

  • I need to get more exercise. This is a no-brainer for me. Exercise has kept me off antidepressants for years.
  • Generally be more healthy. Eat better. Take my vitamins (especially B vitamins). Drink less.
  • Pet therapy. Spend more time with animals.
  • Make a concerted effort to go out more with friends, and to lean on them for support.
  • Allow myself to be sad, and to give in to it, but feel it and then move on. Don’t wallow in it. Don’t let it consume me.
  • Listen to happy music, watch happy tv shows and movies

There are a few others, but these stuck out to me.

Exercising: The exercise is something practical I can do and I know it works. So, I walked on Thursday. I ran on Friday. I played soccer yesterday. (No subs, so I played the whole game. Trying to keep up with 20-somethings on a soccer field will keep you in the present pretty well, as will struggling to breathe.)

Eating Healthier:  For me, this means eating. When I get sad or anxious or depressed I lose my appetite. So, I have been eating a few bites of things, and then feeling full and sick. I’m just going to concentrate on making healthy choices, and eating what I can, and on taking my vitamins. We just won’t talk about the box of TGI Fridays frozen baked potato skins that found their way into my shopping cart at Kroger yesterday.  And drink less? Well, I’m a work in progress.

Pet Therapy. Easy peasy. I got that one.

Hanging Out with Friends: I have been doing this okay, knowing that I won’t feel better if I don’t ever get off the couch. For the last few months, events, gatherings, and dates with friends that I would normally be excited about have become things that i dread. Part of it is the sheer weight of depression. Know one can really understand how heavy a weight depression is until they experience it for themselves. It actually feels like having a ton of bricks weighing you down. It makes you cloudy and fuzzyheaded. It dulls everything around you, and you feel little but pain or nothingness on the inside. Getting off the couch, getting out out of bed, getting in the shower, getting dressed. All of them are a struggle and feel like a monumental task. And all of this means that I have had to force myself to get up, get dressed, go out, and make conversation. Conversation is hard when you are preoccupied with pain and depression. Things that would normally be fun and interesting to discuss suddenly seem trivial and absurd.

However, I have made the effort even before the counselor told me to work on it, and there have been moments where I was in the now, and I was engaged, and I forgot I was sad and depressed for the moment. I know that this will work if I keep working at it. As for the support, I have some of the most supportive family and friends in the world, and they have been pretty great. I am also trying to remember what it is like to be on their side of the coin – it is heartbreaking to watch someone struggle, and be helpless to do anything about it. So, if you have been my shoulder to cry on, or my ear to bend, I thank you.

Allowing Sadness, But Not Wallowing in It:  Well, I am pretty much the Master of Sadness right now. What I am not a master of is the “not wallowing” and the “not letting it consume me.” I have totally been consumed by sadness for a few months now. And it has to stop. I’m working really hard on this one.

Listening/Watching Happy Stuff:  Honestly, I don’t even watch that much TV in the first place.  The depression has caused me to be unable to focus on TV and books at all. But oh, the music. That one I am going to struggle with a lot. It could be its own post all on its own. Music. I listen to music about 8-10 hours a day while I work and commute. Sometimes, I will listen to a podcast or audiobook, but mostly I listen to music. And I like dark music. Heavy music. Sad music. Music with sarcastic, sardonic, dark, or sad lyrics. Melancholy music. Music in the minor keys. Music that sounds like wading through sludge. Todd jokes around with me about some of the heavier stuff I listen to, calling it “Plod rock.” (It is “plodding.” It “plods.” Whatever. I like it that way.)

So, I visibly cringed when he gave me this assignment. I do have some happy music that makes me happy, but the weird thing is that usually even the sad and pretty stuff makes me happy. The loud and angry make me happy.  But I am trying to do what he says. I went to him to help me, and I need to at least give this one a shot. So, I am also hoping to hear some suggestions of “happy” music to listen to. This is complicated, of course, because I am not a fan of popular music. I cannot name a PitBull song. I do not like Maroon 5 or Justin Timberlake. I don’t listen to the radio much. Maybe the oldies station. I am going to bristle at some of these suggestions. (I will just suppress that reaction. Must. not. mock.) My go-to Happy music tends to be things like Beastie Boys or maybe some happy Beatles songs. Maybe some uplifting U2 songs that I listen to when I run would work. Maybe some happier Stevie Wonder or Jackson 5. I am sure that there are other ones that I am just not thinking of, and I need to work on pulling some of those together, but I also like to listen to new music, so anything happy and new would be good.

I’m not sure why or when this turned into my personal therpy journal, but I guess it is when I turned inward myself. If you read this far, you deserve some kind of certificate or medal, i think, but I’d be interested in hearing your happiness suggestions.

How do you get yourself back in the boat?

Protected: Am I a Freak of Nature? (Part I)

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

What is the Point?

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

I have been a little down lately. Might be the weather, or hormones (bitches!). I really wanted to go to the lake this weekend and the weather was awful, so we ditched the idea and stayed home. The kids were kind of driving me crazier, and everything and everyone were kind of getting on my nerves, for simply existing. I felt, as my sis and I say, that i was so sick of everything that i was getting on my own nerves.

It didn’t help that i had three days of upset stomach, and I didn’t run all week. The more I put off the long run, the more stressed out I became, the more guilt I felt, and the more worthless I felt; it becomes a vicious cycle. If I exercise consistently, I get the endorphins, which are simply and purely an antidepressant for me, and I don’t drown the kids in the bathtub. If I get sick, or life gets in the way and I can’t exercise, I feel down. I totally have withdrawal, as if from a drug, and the cycle continues. I feel down and depressed and know that if I exercise, I will feel better, but I am too depressed to get off the couch and do it.

Even after my stomach was better, i was putting off the run, feeling depressed, and then cranky and depressed because i wasn’t running. It’s very hard to explain to you if you don’t fight depression, or if you don’t ever exercise. (And yes, I realize that exercise doesn’t cure all depression – I am lucky in that my depression is not completely debilitating. I get blue, but I function. I know some folks are not that lucky.)

Oh, the negative self-talk came out in force. I came up with a million reasons not to go run:

  • It’s too cold.
  • I don’t have time to finish.
  • We will never get the house cleaned before our friends come over for dinner.
  • I can’t finish the laundry if I am not at home.
  • I feel guilty leaving Todd with the kids.
  • Ad nauseum.
  • Luckily, my husband has been told numerous times to remind me how much better I feel when I work out and he finally told me yesterday, as I revealed a litany of reasons i shouldn’t, to “GO. Just GO.

    And so I went. I should have just walked out the door, and ran at home, but i got it into my head that it was cold outside, and i went to the gym instead. Six miles on the dreadmill.

    Yeah, that’ll cheer anyone up. Not.

    A little background – My friend Megan convinced me (bugged and badgered me?) to run a half-marathon with her, even though we only had 8 weeks to train and I had not been running a lot when we started. I told her that I would train with her until I injured myself, which is apt to be any time now, since we are adding a mile to our long runs every week, which is obviously too much, too fast. So, I told her we would finish, but i was not going to be fast. I figure if I am adding that much mileage, I am not going to make it worse by being fast. This attitude may be seen as cautiousness, fear, fat runner negative self-talk, or self-preservation. It is most likely a little bit of each.

    So, there I am, on the treadmill, running my tortuously slow miles. The frustrating part about being a fat, slow runner is that you are, as mentioned before, slow. So, 6 miles? That can take a big chunk of time. And on a treadmill? Dear God, the boredom. The sheer will and number of Girl Talk albums required to stay on the machine and not get right off and go eat a slice of pizza and drink a beer are staggering.

    So, there I am, listening to my Girl Talk, but having alternating thoughts of reasons I should just stop, and thinking about all the negative things I sometimes think about –

    What is the point? I might get hit by a bus or murdered, wouldn’t I rather that happen with a full stomach, and well-rested, rather than exhausted and sweaty? I will never lose all this weight. How could i? It took years to put on. It’s not just pregnancy weight. It’s fat. Why do you drink so much beer? Oh, fun? Drinking beer is fun, but what is fun about being fat? Nothing. Remember when you thought you were fat in college? That’s a fucking laugh now, isn’t it? You couldn’t fit a pinky in those jeans today. Yeah, even your knuckles are fat. Or maybe it’s not fat. Maybe it’s the beginning of psoriatic arthritis or RA. Yeah, you are at a genetic risk for that. So really, what is the fucking point in all this exercise and eating healthy? You might be in debilitating pain and unable to run in ten years anyway. We could just get off the machine now. You have been on it for 30 minutes anyway. Someone else probably needs a turn. No one would think anything of it if you hit stop and went home.

    And so on. For about the first 2 miles of my run. And then i attempted to drag myself out of the depths of the negative self-talk by looking around at people in the gym, hoping their hot bodies would inspire me to finish another mile.

    And that’s when I saw him. The cute young guy in a wheelchair. He was with a friend, who was wearing camo pants, and not in a wheelchair. Wheelchair guy was talking to the friend as the friend lifted weights. They were doing upper body. I will not lie – Full disclosure: These men had very nice arms. I looked. I might have bordered on ogling. Do not judge me, because I know that when you are on the dreadmill, you also look around and admire the hard bodies at the gym. If you say you don’t, you are a liar.

    So, I am watching, and camo pants guy stands up, and then wheelchair guy lifts himself up out of his chair using only his upper body, and lifts himself onto the machine. He pauses, and I realize, shit, that would be a workout for me before I ever even started the weightlifting. He takes a chain from around his neck and puts it in his pocket. Dog tags.

    Dog tags.

    And I realize, with not a small amount of shame, that he’s not just a guy in a wheelchair. He’s probably a vet. He probably lost the use of his legs preserving my right to sit and be depressed on my goddamn couch.

    I had slowed to a walk at that point, had given into the negative self-talk, and convinced myself that I needed to walk, that I wasn’t able to finish that mile without a breather. And my heart swelled at the thought of this young man, pulling himself around by sheer willpower, who has every reason to be angry and bitter, and yet, he is at the gym on a Monday, on the holiday. And he is smiling and laughing.

    And here I am, thinking of all the things that I can’t do, all the reasons I can’t do them, all the obstacles I have preventing me from doing them.


    What do I know about obstacles?

    Yes, the unexamined life isn’t worth living and all that jazz. But why am I worrying myself sick over questions like “What is the point?”

    This cute boy in the wheelchair, with the killer arms. . . he isn’t worried about what he can’t do. He’s doing what he can. And he’s doing it with a fucking smile on his face.

    And I knew then, that I would finish those six miles and that every other mile I ever run, I will probably remember this young man, and what he lost, and what his loss gave to me. It gave me, among a million other things, the freedom to relish in 6 miles on the treadmill, sucking air, and knees aching. For no other reason than that, today, i can do it.

    What is the point?

    The point is not what I can’t do. The point is what I can do.

    That’s Chocolate, Not Blood

    Friday, August 6th, 2010

    On his cheek. We had Brown Cow. Then, Rollie said his tooth was wiggly and he wanted me to pull it. We pretend to go get the pliers and pull his tooth. We threaten to tie a string around his tooth, tie the other to the doorknob, and then slam the door shut.

    Then we do the delicate dance, the one that parents and children have done for thousands of years – Indeed, I am sure that some Kid in a cave had the same exact experience a millennia ago.

    “Okay, Mom. Pull it.”

    “You want me to pull it? Are you sure?”

    “Yes. Just pull it.”

    “Okay, tell me if it hurts, okay? Come over here into the light where I can see it.”

    I wiggle the tooth with two fingers. I am scared to pull hard.

    “Mom! I can do it. Stop! I don’t want you to pull it.”

    “Okay, it’s bleeding a little, so take this paper towel. I don’t want you bleeding on my couch, you hear me?”

    “I KNOW, Mama!”

    I start unloading the dishwasher. Rollie comes back in.

    “Mama, I think it is really loose. It is ready to come out. It is coming out now. Mama, pull it.”

    “Okay, give me that paper towel.”

    Todd and Uncle Wade come into the kitchen to watch with interest. We all stand under the light of the Kitchen. I fold over the paper towel and grip Rollie’s tooth between my two fingers, covered in paper towel to cut down on slippage. I tilt his head back so i can see his mouth in the light.

    I wiggle the tooth, back and forth, front to back.

    Rollie screams and bats my hands away.

    He goes back into the den to watch Harry Potter. Todd and Wade follow him. I continue to do dishes.

    I hear Todd say, “ugh.” Rollie comes back in. He just bares his teeth to me, then says, “See?” His tooth is bent forward perpendicular to his gums.


    Then I think, that bitch is ready to come out.

    I grab the paper towel again. I wiggle front and back. I wiggle side to side. Todd and Wade come in and are looking over my shoulder, and they are cringing as I wiggle, and grab again, and I ask Rollie if I’m hurting.


    I think for a minute.

    I twist the tooth.

    A crack.

    A small bloody tooth between my two fingers, white and red in the bright light of the kitchen. I lay it in my other palm, so small. My baby’s tooth – much different than the two that came home from school in plastic bags. My baby’s tooth.

    “I lost my tooth! My tooth. Tiller! My tooth came out! The Tooth Fairy’s coming tonight!”

    Truth be told? I have an iron stomach, and blood doesn’t bother me. But that little crack of my baby boy’s tooth coming out of the socket? I felt that one in my bones.

    Sure, he lost two bottom baby teeth already. He lost them both at school, though. Not here in my kitchen. So, this is kinda a first.

    And my baby? Now he really looks like a little boy, with a gap-toothed smile and the inability to say his esses without sounding like Voldemort when he gets all snaky.

    Help Me Pull the Trigger

    Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

    On a dining room lighting choice.

    So, this is going to be a decorating post. I know. Very out of character. Bear with me. . .

    My tastes veer toward antique, junk, found objects, metal, rust, peeling paint. This fit in pretty fine when Todd and I were in our first house in EAV.
    I loved that house.

    Then we got knocked up and had to move to a bigger house.
    Furniture still worked. Schools didn’t.

    And now we are in a great school, but in something i never thought i would own. A split-level. And my furniture? It still works, but I am finding that I need to mix it with more modern elements to keep it from looking incongruous with its surroundings.

    So, I am getting a new piece of furniture, an old pie safe, from my in-laws. It is beautiful, and I will post a photo when it moves in, and give the whole scoop on its history. (I know. You are just riveted now, aren’t you?) It will go in the dining room. My dining room, with its farm table, beat up junk store chairs, and weird Pop objects: old iron, churn, huge antique crocks. Old photos on the walls.

    I decided I wanted to repaint the den and dining room, to brighten the area. I love the color that we picked, but it is turning out to be too dark in those rooms (the den and dining area are connected). The dining room only has one window. I figured while I repainted, I would also use that as an excuse to get rid of the dining room light. It is the exact same fixture my grandparents had in THEIR house in Warner Robins. Need I say more? That bitch needs to go.

    I started looking at fixtures. Realized the more traditional fixtures were going to make my dining room look like a Cracker Barrel. Decided what I really wanted was something more funky. Lighter, airier, brighter, less heavy.

    This is new for me. I found myself looking at fixtures I would never have looked at before. I got Todd on board. We are in agreement. And now I’ve narrowed them down to a few I like.

    I always have trouble pulling the trigger on decisions like this, though. I have a favorite. Todd has a favorite.

    Which is your favorite?
    Update: Added photos of dining room and adjoining living room.