Keyboard Confessional

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I suppose my first confession should be that I may have more pictures of my cats than I do of my kids.  What can I say…cats hold still and kids don’t.

 

I bought an apple pie at Costco a couple of days ago.  What was the occasion, you ask?  Oh, just me.  Wanting apple pie.  And it is basically gone now.

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Can I put “ability to demolish an entire apple pie without assistance” on my resume?

 

The other day I was reading the boys a story and when I came to the phrase “tuck them” I read it with an ‘f” in my head.  I realized it just before I said it out loud.  What is wrong with you, this is a children’s book!

 

I’ve lied (omissions! gentle untruths!) to my OBGYN a couple times.  I like to keep certain things on a need-to-know basis.

 

And speaking of doctors…I am addicted to internet diagnosis.  Nothing passes idle time like googling all of your symptoms.  WebMD has assured me that I have at least 5 types of cancer.  It’s a miracle I’m still alive.

 

And for my final divulgation, I have to say that as adorable and demanding as babies and toddlers are…I’m enjoying the boys so much more now that they are older.

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Although I admit that the recent demise of naptime is something I am not handling very well.

 

 

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The Spectrum

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“So how was this week for you?”

“It was…surprisingly good.  I’ve actually been feeling really normal for the last few weeks.”

“Define ‘normal’.”

“Well…not, you know, crazy.”

“And what is ‘crazy’?”

 

Therapists.  Always with the questions.

 

Crazy, meaning manic cleaning sprees and compulsive decluttering (RIP, toys and clothes that I found on the floor in my mad dash to toss anything superfluous), and that overwhelming feeling that my space does not feel ‘right’ and that chair needs to go.  Right now.  I have to throw it away.  There are too many pillows on the couch.  I need them gone.  There’s a plate in the sink WHY IS THERE A PLATE IN THE SINK WHY IS EVERYTHING FALLING APART THE HOUSE IS A MESS I CAN’T TAKE IT

That kind of crazy.

Crazy, like the rootless anger surging just below the surface, searching eagerly for an outlet.  Crazy, like the lighting-quick switch flip that takes me from semi-rational to out-of-control rage, as though some cruel demon has decided to take my body for a spin.  Crazy fists pounding, broken glass.

Crazy.  Pacing the same quick path around the apartment, my mind stuck in a mad monologue that keeps going going going without reprieve.  Crazy, when every sudden movement or sound makes my body tense; when everything seems so loud and someone is talking to me but the words are just filling my head, making no sense, and I can’t remember how to answer.

Crazy–reading the harsh judgment in every gaze I meet, flooding my mind with the invented criticism of others.  My heart beats faster and I go on the defensive, encasing myself in walls because everybody is bitches* today.  Paranoia, convinced that my neighbor thinks I’m a negligent mother and is going to call CPS because one of my children is crying.

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And then there’s the other side.  The endless tears with no source but the bleakness that has permeated my mind.  The numb, blind staring–mind unable to cope, body unable to move.  The heaviness, the utter bodily weariness, yet the dread of sleep because the thought of a new day is too much to bear.  The kind of days when the slightest request feels like an impossible demand, and being asked to find a shoe or push a swing can reduce me to tears.  Eating on autopilot, mindlessly munching not because there is any hope of filling the void, but because it’s something to do and doing things is so hard right now.  Knowing how pathetic, how teen-angst all of this sounds on paper, yet feeling so hopelessly lost that it doesn’t matter.

The isolation, feeling lonely so lonely and wishing hoping praying for something, someone, to come and relieve me of this despair. But God is not a genie, apparently, for no midnight caller appears to bring comfort.

And yet, in spite of all that, those days (weeks, months?) of ‘normal’–sad but not immobilized, angry but not out of control–those times when you get to step off the ride and just cruise along for a while…

Those times are glorious.

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*’Everybody is bitches’ is my favorite phrase for those days when I just can’t stand to be around people.  It amuses me when little else will.  I want to put it on a t-shirt.

 

——-

What is your ‘crazy’?

Overcoming the Deficit

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I call myself a writer in my head.

Of course, ‘aspiring writer’ would probably be more accurate.  I’ve never been published and I don’t get paid to write; but that’s how I think of myself–as a writer.  I have a writer’s soul.  Writing is the missing piece I was searching for all those years; it’s the thing that makes me feel most alive, most fulfilled, most like me.

And yet.

I’ve never been consistent at writing.  (I’ve never been consistent at anything, to be completely truthful .) I’ve never finished any of the stories I’ve started.  I’m ashamed to admit that, because most of my writer friends are quite prolific, and have a spread of finished projects to prove it.  I feel as if I don’t deserve to call myself a writer, because if you dared me to prove it I’d come up empty-handed.

I get blocked way too easily.  Most of my ideas have never made it past the incubation stage because the second I hit a snag or a problem I can’t readily solve I freeze up.  I suppose it’s a lack of confidence.  I don’t believe I can answer the questions I’m faced with, or fix the glaring issues, or figure out where the hell to take the plot.  I read the work of writers I’m in awe of and think, There’s no way I’m smart enough or creative enough to come up with something like that.

I know that one of the keys to writing is…actually writing.  Something.  Every day.  Forcing yourself to sit down and put fingers to keyboard, or pen to paper, and produce words.  Not waiting for the ever-elusive inspiration and (in some cases, even more elusive) motivation to strike, but pushing yourself to overcome the inertia and start.

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A couple days ago I decided I was going to write something, dammit, so I sat down at my computer and typed.  45 minutes later, I had a bunch of useless snippets and a weirdly descriptive scene about blood and concrete.  (I was listening to Radiohead.)  Annoyed that I hadn’t managed to strike up a spark of brilliance, I texted my bestie.  (Am I allowed to use the word “bestie” if I’m over 15?)

 

h:  why is writing so haaaaaaaard marissa?

m:  i knooooooooowwww it’s the worst

 

Solidarity.

At least I have a faithful writing companion:

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Hobbes takes a “balls to the wall” stance on most issues.

 

So, other writers: how do you do it?  How do you push past roadblocks?  Where do you find inspiration?  How do you overcome the deficit and produce something when the ‘idea well’ is so parched it couldn’t grow a cactus?  Help a sister out and share some writing tips.  Tell me about your process.

 

 

Final Stretch

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28 weeks!  We’ve hit the third trimester!  Hallelujah amen.

I’m going to attempt a quick pregnancy update that hopefully will not morph into a long-winded tale of the gritty details of my gestation thus far.

From the beginning, this pregnancy was quite different from my other two.  Mostly I just had more, and different, symptoms.  I was quite a bit sicker but that passed a while ago.  I still throw up a few times a week, but the episodes are brief and barely an inconvenience.  I taught the boys to rub my back while I’m throwing up (rather than staring over my shoulder, commenting and asking questions the entire time) which I highly recommend to all other expectant moms.

I started showing pretty early, and got big really quickly, as I did the last two times–and then it stalled.  It looks/feels like I haven’t gained any belly girth in the last month or two (although I have already surpassed my previous pregnancies in the weight gain department).  I don’t know if this is just a really small baby or I’m carrying differently or what.  Fun facts.  Moving on.

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Throughout the past few months, I’ve been thinking back to my first pregnancy and how different this third one has been–specifically my attitude and feelings about my body.  In both of my other pregnancies, I spent the first trimester exercising (which is unusual for me, ha) and restricting; I think somehow hoping that if I could create a weight deficit it would help me come out on top, in control of the numbers and what was happening to me.  (By the middle of the second trimester I had pretty much given up and settled in for the ride–although not without a lot of mental anguish over my changing physique and the appearance of many many many stretch marks.)

This time, I am proud to say that I did not restrict.  I did not panic and do dumb things like go on daily 2 hour walks with only a carefully counted out 12 almonds and 8 apple slices to sustain me.  I’ve just felt so much more comfortable this time–it helps that I’ve gone through this before, and it helps that I am no longer in the throes of bulimia.  For the most part, I feel pretty relaxed about everything (and let me tell you, that is a very nice mental space to be in).  I mentioned that I’ve gained a very decent amount of weight.  That is the truth.  I’ve already hit the amount I had gained by the time I delivered Tesla at 40 weeks.

A few years ago, this would have devastated me, panicked me.  But now?  I am proud to say that I feel really okay.  I mean, I’m hoping not to gain a ton more, because I know each extra pound that creeps on now is one I have to lose later, but for the most part I feel pretty comfortable in my body and I have no intention of freaking out or banning nachos and donut runs.

We can all share a knowing chuckle when I come crashing face-first off of my little body confidence soapbox after I get my postpartum reality check during that first post-delivery glance in the mirror…but for now, the ol’ bod and I are on good terms.

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Also, my cats are in love with the belly.  It’s hard to despise something that brings you tons of extra kitty snuggles.

 

 

 

 

The Iffiness of the Internet

Well, that was a depressing post to go AWOL after.

Let’s have a cat picture for good measure, shall we?

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Much better.

I’ve been feeling conflicted about blogging lately.  Which is why I haven’t.  Blogged, I mean.  Sometimes is feels so sketchy, putting my pictures, my words, my personal life on the internet for anyone to see.  I have a lot of mixed feelings, and worries about the safety and/or advisability of it.

And yet, blogging is so, so good for me.  It’s a way for me to express myself creatively; it helps fill that part of me that lies quiet and vacant–that part that I’ve never known quite how to feed.  Knowing that other people are reading, commenting, connecting with me is hugely rewarding–obviously moreso than writing any of the hundreds of random snippets of crap I have saved on my computer, since I can’t seem to see any of them through.

I love writing.  It helps me process things, make sense of myself and the world.  As scary as it is to put something raw and vulnerable out there, there is nothing more fulfilling in the world for me than to have someone read it and say, “I know those feelings.  I have been there.  That is exactly what it is like.”  It’s like I’m thrusting my hand out into utter darkness, waiting and terrified; and then someone grasps my fingers and says, “I’m here, too.”

 

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[The boys and I had a big painting sesh yesterday afternoon.  This is one of twenty-two enso circles I did.  It’s addicting–in a really relaxing way.]

 

So, I think I’ll give ye olde blog another tentative try.  I’m here.  I hope you’re here, too.

 

Just One of Those Days

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This is the song on repeat in my head right now.

 

so I crawl underneath my blankets

where I can hide away, I know I can’t take it anymore

’cause I see now it’s just one of those days

 

I know quoting song lyrics is very Mysapce circa 2005…I suppose this means I’m forfeiting my rights as a card-carrying member of the adulthood club.

Ah well…being an adult sucks sometimes anyway.

So, as a preface, everything is fine.  Life is going along just swimmingly.  I just need to talk.

Photo on 6-9-14 at 7.07 PM #2[Unrelated picture…Hobbes has been so, so snuggly since I’ve been pregnant.  He loves to chill on my belly.)

Some days, even for a couple of weeks sometimes, I feel really good.  Everything is just brighter, I enjoy doing things and don’t mind interacting with people.  I’m sometimes impatient and I’m often quite tired, but it doesn’t completely derail me.  I have this sort of optimistic energy bursting out from inside me, and I can handle things.

These are the days or weeks when we do tons of messy art projects, and the times when I scrub down the fridge and vacuum the car and even clean the freaking garbage disposal.

This is when I reorganize the house, or plan an entire homeschool year, and basically feel equipped to tackle any problem.  I even seek out problems, because I am a Badass Problem Solver and that is just how I roll.  I decide I want to have seven kids and homeschool them all while we live on gorgeous acreage in the middle of nature in an Earthship that we built with our bare hands.

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[Don’t worry, I only have about 50 more of these.]

And then, overnight, that energy is gone.  Sucked from my body, leaving me an empty, exhausted shell.  What goes up must come down–the physics of life, right?

These are the days when everything seems hard.  The days when no amount of coffee can force me out of the haze.  Things are dimmer, as if there’s a fog obscuring everything and dulling all the colors, all the feelings.  They’re still there; I can just make them out through the mist but I can’t quite touch them.

These are the days when my body is filled with sand–heavy, wet sand.  Just standing is exhausting, and being asked to push a swing or locate a shoe literally makes me want to cry.

I don’t need a break, I don’t need time alone.  I get plenty of that, and it doesn’t help.  Not during these days.  The feeling, the greyness, persists when I’m alone, except now it’s staring me in the face while the minutes tick slowly by.  Nights are long because I don’t even know what to do with myself.  I can’t focus on or engage with anything, so the “read a book or watch tv or call a friend” list is moot.  And yet, I dread going to sleep, because morning, waking up to simultaneous weariness and tension in my body and staring at another day with endless hours to fill, will come too soon.

But nothing is permanent.  The good days don’t last, the bad days don’t last.  I take comfort in knowing I’ll be flying high again.  I just need to wait.  Find a way to pass the days, and wait.

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Planning and Chore Charts

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[selfies with muderous-looking cats…there are about a billion more where this came from]

After Silas left, I dove quite enthusiastically into organizing everything in my entire life.  You know I love me some lists and charts.

I cleaned the fridge, reorganized 2 closets, a few shelves, and our junk drawer, washed and vacuumed the car, made an elaborate meal plan and cleaning schedule (both of which are sitting, beautifully organized and ignored, on my fridge)…and started planning our homeschool trial run.

That last one alone has eaten up countless hours of research and planning and scheduling and crumpling and throwing away and dreaming and then trying to rein myself back in.  You see, I am a planner.  I absolutely love to research and chart and plan and organize and make lists with all of my pretty pens and think about how wonderful life is going to be according to my carefully constructed schedule.

I have dozens of discarded meal plans, cleaning charts, workout schedules, parenting plans, resolutions, and color-coded goal lists…all handwritten on just the right paper in just the right pens.

I am absolutely a planner…

But I am not a doer.

I probably execute about 3% of the plans I make.  My intentions are golden but they match neither my personality nor my energy level.  After a quarter century, this is finally sinking in, and I may actually be learning my limits so I can plan within them.

The first step in my grand plan for moving toward homeschooling was to bring some order to the aimlessness that is our mornings.  I spent some (read: a lot of) time making a job chart for the boys to help our mornings run a little smoother.  Against my own strict principles (you’d think after 4+ years of parenting I would have given up on trying to have principles) I found myself constantly picking up the boys’ messy rooms, and making their beds for them because trying to get them to do it seemed so exhausting.  Most of the time we left the house without their teeth or hair being brushed (maybe one, but rarely both), and I was tired of all of it.

So I came up with some ideas for morning chores, printed them onto cards, and organized it into the little system seen below (adapted from a much prettier one here🙂

 

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[Blue for Tesla, green for Desmond]

The first four cards on both charts are always the same–make bed, get dressed, clean up room, brush teeth and hair.  (And these four take the loooooongest to get through.  But!  We actually do get through them now!)  The last three cards are different almost every day, depending on what needs to be done that morning (or depending on how much time we have–I’ll assign easy chores if I know we need to be out of the house by a certain time).

We’ve had the charts for a couple weeks and it is so helpful to have a visual reminder of what needs to be done.  The boys can see what needs to be completed before we move onto anything else, and having everything listed in plain sight keeps me accountable so I don’t just give up and skip something or do it myself because I’m tired.

I’m not saying our mornings are super smooth and that everything gets done without dawdling or fighting happening (let’s be honest, most days it takes forever and there is always a fair amount of distraction and arguing), but things are much improved.  I can tell the boys (especially Tesla, who took to the chart immediately because he is really into knowing what everyone’s “job” is at any given moment) are learning to be a little more responsible, and they take pride in getting to put up that smiley face after completing a job.

20140603_092416 Desmond vacuumed his room by himself (!) for the first time ever this morning.  A couple of weeks ago he had no idea how to vacuum and also refused to even touch it unless I was holding his hand.  Note to self: see what happens when you are actually consistent?

This tiny success has given me just enough enthusiasm to power through the last bit of the homeschool planning I have to do.  I have almost everything we need so our tentative start date is next week!

 

This Just In

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They’re going to have a sister!

Excitement all around.

 

 

Sometimes Starting Over Just Sucks

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[Just so you know–bleaching and dying blue streaks into your hair should definitely be a two-person job. After all the work I put in I was supremely disappointed to see that only a few faded bits of blue showed up.  I’m going to try again another night when I have several hours to kill.]

I think I should start seeing another therapist.

The thing is, I have seen 6 or 7 therapists over the past few years, and none of them for more than a couple of months, max.  There were a couple I “fired”, but most of the time I ended up moving away before we could really get into anything helpful.

The thought of finding someone new, of having to tell my stories again, to re-explain everything and get us to a point where I feel like he/she knows where I’m coming from so we can actually start…the thought of doing all that again is exhausting.

It’s the same thing with making friends.  After 14 moves, I am just tired of starting over.  Tired of the weeks or months of “get to know you” small talk you have to wade through in order to even start to connect with someone.  Tired of making really great friends and then leaving them behind.

I hear the saccharine refrain of “Bloom where you’re planted!” echoing cheerily in my head, and I want to snap back, I’m tired of blooming!  I just want to keep my roots to myself and hang out in this pot.  Is that okay?  Can I just do that?  Do I have to make a rainbow out of every damn rainstorm that comes my way??

I probably should have given up pessimism for Lent.

 

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Does anyone else just want to do this all day, every day sometimes?   😉

 

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I Feel Weird Today

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I woke up feeling weird today.

Wrong, off.

This tightness in my shoulders–I press down to release it but it lingers.

This feeling in my stomach–the discomfort, it only grows.

Everything is a little too much right now.  I want to hide, to retreat to my cave, to numb myself and pass the day in nothingness, holding to the hope that tomorrow will be different.

To write these thoughts, it feels melodramatic–like the lyrics I penned on the edges of my notes as an angsty, attention-seeking teen.

Things aren’t really that bad–just uncomfortable.  And like any good 21st century American, I am an expert at avoiding discomfort and not at all good at abiding it.

I cannot hide.

After a quarter-century here, I know this.

But it is so

so

appealing.