I Was Sittin’, Waitin’, Wishin’…

I have always fancied myself a woman of the world, with impeccable taste in all things. I envision that at my funeral, somehow a montage of me will play as people wipe tears away, I will be enjoying classic rock and roll as I dance around the house in my always in style Gap 1969 straight leg jeans, flawlessly chic boyfriend cut flannel, and burkenstocks because… comfort 1st, always. I will glide around the kitchen as I throw together an insta-worthy salad adorned with seared steak, feta cheese, and a homemade dressing Martha Stewart would propose to me over.

In reality this (somehow captured) video would more likely include me shamelessly jiggling to “Grace Kelly” by MIKA in the kitchen as I microwave Alana’s easy mac and scoop Laughing Cow cheese up with a Tostito bite size chip (from a paper plate that may or may not have been used for a muffin that morning). I will probably be wearing workout clothes of some kind, or workout PANTS with whatever dress shirt I wore to work because I walked in the door and only had time for comfort from the waist down. No one will cry, they will probably laugh hysterically, and from Heaven (?) I will curse whatever peeping tom captured this most intimate of moments.

I say this (completely off topic for this post by the way) to try to pre-explain myself. Because despite my self believed on point taste in all things movie, TV, and music (which I do truly believe, I mean… what 27 year old girl is immersed in Guillermo Del Toro movies, Goliath TV Show, and the full anthology of Spoons?)  I have found myself hopelessly immersed in the feel good, cry a lot, laugh a lot, BLACK HOLE, that is … Stars Hollow.

Gilmore Girls, OK? I have found myself in the most desperate, intimate, and self deprecating of relationships with Lorelei and Rory Gilmore and I have absolutely no shame.

As every single mom has said at some point in her life, I relate to Lorelei Gilmore on a personal level. I started watching the show (only about… 15 years late? Yikes) and from the first episode I was an emotional mess. I probably should have timed delving into this admittedly feelsy show a bit better, my IUD was running out and I was a rollercoaster of sad and mad and hysterical WITHOUT the help of the WB (CW? whatever, youll always be the WB to me) aiding me in my theme park of hysterics.

I tried to keep count of the nights that the show and I spent with a glass of wine happy and sad crying in the tub, but stopped at 12, because at that point it became less of a joke and more of a cry for help on my end. But, I digress (as I’ve stated before, this is not outside of the realm of things that will happen on this blog)…

There was one episode that I stopped dead in my tracks at. I legitimately rewound and rewatched one 15 second scene OVER and OVER and OVER again because I could not even comprehend the sincerity, the truth, and the REALNESS that I had just seen. I had never heard a sentence spoken that I had related to more, especially in the phase of life I have been at for the last seven years. This coming from a girl who started a quote book in high school, who literally gathered the written word and has for 15 years. I LOVE words, I feel them to the core of my being and I appreciate the power, the connection, and the truth that they hold. At last count I had collected over 3,000 quotes in my big book.

But this quote stopped my heart.

“There are very few times in my life I find myself sitting around thinking “man, I wish I was married”.  I’m happy, I like my life, I like my friends, I like my stuff, my time, my space, my tv shows…

But every now and then, just for a moment, I wish I had a partner. Someone to pick up the slack. Someone to wait for the cable guy. Make ME coffee in the morning…
I Spend every minute running around working and thinking, and I can’t do it all by myself.”

I have tried so many times to put into words how I’ve felt being the sole provider and caretaker for a little human being her whole life. I have failed every time to verbalize why I find myself crying in the living room after a particularly trying day.
It’s not because I crave a ring, or I’m waiting for prince charming with his wad of cash to come alleviate my money troubles. It’s not for lack of physical satisfying, or human touch. There’s no part of me that has ever stopped and stared at the couple on the bench making out like they’re auditioning for the next youporn video and thought “well damn… THATS what I’m missing”
I’m not bored, I’m not looking for the missing piece or my “better half”.
I have, however, spent a day going five million hours an hour, racing from one “to do” to the other, picking things up and dropping them off, selling my soul for an hourly rate, grabbing a 4 dollar happy meal on the way to one of two after school activities for the tiny dictator, coming home and convincing this same tiny being that  bedtime is not a suggestion and I don’t negotiate with terrorists, answering a thousand and one questions and being yelled at that I am a horrible mom, tucking the miniature hitler into her bed after her eyes have finally shut,  tackling a mountain of laundry while realizing the dishwasher is broken, ants have infested the pantry and the closet, and the cat has pooped something out that looks like my missing necklace.
I have stopped, during this particular day, and broken down. I have lost my cool.
This is when I have wanted nothing more than a partner. Someone to take some of this load off my back. Even if its as simple as tucking tiny Kim Jong into bed because my “no kill” patch has worn off. Even if its pouring me a glass of wine while I karate kick the dish washer because its a piece of junk. Or icing my foot afterwards because OW.
I have never wanted a husband, or a boyfriend. I have never been envious of the title. I’ve honestly actively fought this on a few occasions because I loved my life. I do love my free time, my Grace Kelly dancing in the kitchen in my second hand blouse and target yoga pants. I love watching embarrassing netflix shows and not having someone second guessing my “suggested for you” que. I love my friends, my ladies nights, my mommy daughter date nights.
I want to scream that as loud as I can to every romantic comedy where a single mom can’t keep it together until she finds a man. TO every sitcom where the woman is desperately searching for the yin to her yang, who wants to be completed!
I AM HAPPY. Novel concept, right?
But what I Found in those moments, those marathon days, was that I just wanted someone to lean on. Someone to hug. Someone who was on my team because I was the Freshman, JV, and Varsity coach for my work, friends, and kid, but my team was the bad news bears of the human world.
Here’s the irony in this comedy of errors. I have my partner. I have somehow, in the craziness of this life, found a person who is there for me on those 5 million miles a minute days, who makes me breakfast when I’m playing maid/hair/makeup/dress team to miniature celine dion in the mornings, who walks the dogs when im late from work, watches the kid when she’s off school, and loads and unloads the dishwasher when it slips my mind.
I get my glass of wine, the iced foot, the compassion.
And somehow it has made me feel like LESS. Less of a parent, less of a person, less of a conquerer.
I was never supermom by any means but I handled it, and kept it together. I did everything.
As I stare at the dishes that are put away, the laundry that is folded, and the walked, fed, and furminated dogs… I feel defeated.
I’m sure this will pass as I get used to the new norm. The “us” as opposed to the “me”. But I can’t help but laugh, because I’m struggling just as much to let go of my singular self as I did with maintaining it.
This human being thing is hard guys.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, Lorelei and Luke just broke up but I don’t think Luke knows yet.

You Are Here

I stand still staring at the large map laid out in front of me. An almost laughable excuse for a life story sprawls out behind a red target sticker that reads “You are here”. In that moment I am thankful that this map only lists the tangible, the facts, the truth – and not the delusional ideas that I tend to harbor when I think about the future. It would be some task to remove those ideas once they didn’t pan out, so graciously my map excludes them until they manifest in reality, it makes for a much cleaner look – void of empty pin holes and tape marks. This also saves me money on spackle and paint touch up.

I walk around this room of stories, exploring the paths that have been taken by people whose maps have crossed with mine. It answers a lot of questions seeing it laid out like this, side by side. Sometimes you look and smile at the bends and turns that match up and move in sync, other time its an awe that cannot be explained that somehow we came to this same place together.

You are here. We’re both here. But how different could two situations be without actually being comical? How can two people who took such different roads get to the same spot at the same time?

Comparing the two next to each other it’s no wonder I feel left out, like I don’t quite belong. I’ve done nothing on what would be considered a timeline that is comparable to anyone else’s.

My friends were in college hanging out in frat houses and learning how to do a keg stand, while I was working full time and growing a human in my belly. I learned how to perfectly heat water for a bottle on autopilot at 2 am, and they learned the exact amount of coffee needed to sit through their 11 am class without falling asleep.

They were playing the dating pool like champions, seeing multiple people at a time, and waging wars on the single life, while I was moving to South Carolina with a toddler and a new husband in tow, blissfully unaware of the next rocky chapter in my life.

Then it was their turn to get married, and I stood up with them at the altar in my bridesmaids dress, smiling and doing my damnedest to be genuinely happy while the tan line on my ring finger slowly faded and my ring sat in a box in a drawer in the bathroom. While they planned this wedding I planned a road trip home from South Carolina and my husband planned a road trip to rehab. I scrolled through pictures of honeymoons and pregnancy announcements as I deleted the pictures on my timeline that weren’t relevant anymore.

While they lived their honeymoon stage together and built homes, got adult jobs, I lived at home and raised a three year old. I tried to date, desperately jealous of the ones who were done with this game. I couldn’t relate to their stories, I couldn’t participate in the small talk, I was an island and my shipwreck was un-relatable and uninviting. I worked retail because it paid more, pulling 16 hour shifts overnight to keep a job that I hated while I watched my friends realize some huge dreams.

Now I’m a jaded dating veteran with baby fever, husband fever, and ready to be done with this fever. They’re having babies now, second babies, and third babies. They’re celebrating anniversaries and kindling the fire that has my fever at alarming levels. Churning underneath me as I’m dangled as a sacrifice in the world of Tinder and Match.com, visions of profiles chanting at me from the edges, asking if I want to Netflix and Chill.

Our stories are so different, but I have to appreciate the fact that our “You are Here” stickers somehow ended up together. It’s just come down to navigating the emotions that come with knowing we are here together but I can’t relate to how you got here. It’s unnerving to feel like I’m an intruder on my own timeline and it’s becoming exhausting trying to keep my disguise in place so that I won’t be kicked out. Questions like “Where did you go to college?” or statements like “Yeah sometimes my days are so crazy, my husband gets home and I just have to pass the kid off and go be by myself” bring this level of anxiety that I cannot begin to explain.

I run my hand along the timeline and smooth out some wrinkles. There’s no use in going back and forth and comparing the two. I’ve spent too long wishing my path had been different, but struggling with the knowledge that I love where I am and there’s no guarantee I would have come here on a different road.

There’s a hope that somewhere along the way my map will align with someone else’s, and the roads we’ve both traveled will fit like a puzzle instead of reflect each other like a mirror. I use some mod podge on the places that have started to dull and lift up, and my daughter adds some glitter where necessary.

I am here. Finally.

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To My Daughter, When You’re Old Enough…

You don’t get it right now. Even as I see the wonder in your eyes soak up the world in leaps and bounds, absorbing every sight and sound and taste that you come across, but it doesn’t make sense to you.

Even as I watch you take in and understand the complexities of this life you’re discovering second by second, and unravel the mysteries of the earth… you just don’t get it right now.

Why I don’t just drive you to him? Why I’m keeping you from him! I know you don’t understand because you tell me quite often. You furrow your brow and scream it from  a place that a six year old just shouldn’t know yet, and I let you because you shouldn’t get it right now. Your oblivious rage directed straight at me is my gift to you, because the truth isn’t something you deserve.

I promised myself that no matter the choices he made I would always fight for you and what I believed should be the easy decision for him. But sometimes life doesn’t work that way, and sometimes a person’s demons are stronger than even the biggest love they feel.

I couldn’t fight for him to want it anymore, so my fight changed. Now I fight to protect you, from the pain that seems to seep in anyways. I try to mop it up with my own skin because it’s thicker than yours, wiping away the lack of phone calls, and blocking out the days that float by without a visit. Soaking up excuse after excuse before it reaches your innocent ears. Taking the weight before it can rest itself on your shoulders and steal your flight.

You don’t get it right now.

I’m the bad guy with the car who won’t drive you down. I’m the bad guy with the ring in a box in the bathroom who didn’t stay with daddy even though he’s the prince you draw pictures of. I’m the bad guy that holds you while you cry at night for the person you still believe exists.

I’m the bad guy who lies to you and tells you he still does.

I promise you that as long as I could I painted a picture in your head of the seventh grade boy I knew that you look so much like. The one whose freckles and smile you seem to have stolen right off his face.  For as long as I was physically able to, I kept these raging waters of truth at bay, and let you live in a world where I’m the reason the phone doesn’t ring and if I would only put you in the car and take you he would be there. Until the truth busts through this house I’ve built and the water damages the brick and mortar until it crumbles I will continue to build and rebuild as long as you will let me.

But if you’re reading this then you’re old enough, and maybe you know or maybe this is a prelude to the conversation that I will dread having until the second it begins. Hopefully you understand.

There are people who don’t. Who believe that I should let whatever truths there are be known to you now, to save myself from the sharp words and angry outbursts that are hurled my way as I continue the facade. I understand why, my gift to you is also a gift to him and what gift does he deserve? I’ve been told that he deserves to be seen for who he has become, and the choices he has made. But there’s more to it…

I fought hard to make sure you were safe, and when the dust settled and the custody battle was won I was able to stop and take a heartbreaking count of the casualties in the room. I decided in that moment you would never be one of them. You will never feel like you were not enough for him to fight for, you will never feel like he didn’t care, and you will never think for one second that you do not have all the love in the world.

I get to love you up close every single day, and if the only place he gets to love you is in this place where I’m the bad guy then I will gladly don the villains mask for you to feel that love. Because you are worth every second that I’m the bad guy, and every hour that I get to spend being the hero erases it and then some.

That’s why I did it. That’s why I continue to do it.

When you’re old enough i know you’ll get it.

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Traditionally Speaking

The word traditional bothers me. It’s in the same list in my head as a few other dreadful words, like moist, zamboni, and crotch. (All unrelated yet somehow equally unsavory…)

What IS traditional, and who decides? Who sat in front of a blank corkboard, pasted “traditional” at the top and then went about the task of pinning the appropriate pictures and words underneath so that the rest of the world could bask in its definition?

Everyone has a story. Everyone has a past of some sort, because how else do you get where you are except by traveling the roads that led there. You can’t spend 26 years traveling and not have a backpack full of memorabilia and a head full of memories – it’s impossible. You’ve walked, you’ve run, and you’ve danced which means there’s 100% chance that you’ve stumbled, tripped, and slow motion fallen on your ass in front of way too many people to pretend it didn’t happen. There are scars and notes that you’ve sharpied on yourself to make sure you remember.

What makes someones story “traditional”? Isn’t it relative to everyone? Traditional for me is not traditional to someone who grew up in a different economic class or even state. Even if I did base traditional off of income or zip code, who is the status quo, and how come they get to decide whether I do or do not fit in this category?

I try to think about if I was the status quo. It’s bizarre to imagine someone looking at the definition of traditional and reaching for my photograph, but bare with me while I pretend it’s my photo on the corkboard.

Traditional.

Every traditional story has a start. What’s my traditional start? Where does one put down the color coded sticky arrow for “START”. Birth? Too obvious. First steps? Seems relevant to the “path”. First word? Seems relevant to the fact that I haven’t stopped talking since. But none of these seem right. None of these seem like a start, or at least where traditional ‘ol me started. You also have to take into consideration that traditional ‘ol me has changed throughout the years, so does the definition warp with me? Or does my picture get taken off the cork board every once in awhile when I no longer exemplify this exalted word.

My traditional as of now started with a divorce. Which is probably the definition of irony, or the beginning of a very cliche romance novel… my traditional began with the end! *epic music plays*

So here I am. Traditional.

It’s almost laughable, but we’re still under the guise that I am defining this word.

Single mother who gets the opportunity to love for two. Holder of all the basic college course credits still trying to figure out what degree they are leading up to. Over-thinker of all situations. Over-worrier of all possible scenarios. Unapologetically me, but with the knowledge that it took a long time and a lot of apologies to actually get here. Writer? (Yes the question mark is meant to be there). I am 26 with laugh lines around my eyes and mouth, and that warms my heart.

Traditional.

Defining this word has got to be fluid, and full of asterisk noted addendums. It’s written in different fonts, scrawled in every color, maybe sometimes its even in bold or italic. There are days that my traditional is written in Comic Sans (and let me tell you fuck those days), and others when a graceful Papyrus scribbles its way across the page.

The word is more of a suggestion. It changes for every person you meet, and every situation you find yourself in.

My traditional could be different tomorrow, or it could be exactly the same. Someday I hope my traditional includes the actual degree, maybe a scratch through the “single” part of that mother thing. Who knows what traditional’s I will go through to get there.

One thing I do know is that traditionally speaking, life is wonderful. This post had a point when I started it that was completely different, but truth be told this has been sitting in my draft box for TWO YEARS, a solid two years, and so this is where I’ve ended it.

Be traditional ‘ol you, and be okay with that fluid changing beautiful wonderful thing.

Traditional ‘ol me, signing out.

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7th Inning Stretch

Choose Happiness.

Yep, still on that soap box. Not quite ready to get down yet (I don’t do well with heights), so just bare with me while I explore this a little more.

Happiness is not random, there is no lotto number that you can choose that might happen to be called, no game show wheel with its ominous red arrow glaring at you from the side. You won’t find happiness as you are walking down the street like a heads up penny on the sidewalk. It will not hit you like an epiphany when you least expect it. Happiness isn’t a lost puppy looking for an owner, it is a coveted prize pony that people are knocking each other down, fighting for the rights to. Paying millions of dollars for.

I’ve never understood why people think happiness is going to find THEM.

You don’t open a Where’s Waldo book and then gasp in awe when he’s right there on the first page, do you? No, you picked up that book because you felt like you needed some Waldo in your life. You made a decision, and exerted the energy to go get the book and open it up. You worked to find Waldo.
It didn’t read your mind, and jump into your arms.

Happiness won’t either.

You choose to be happy. You have to spend a focused effort every single day to make that choice.
Life is difficult. Bad things happen on a daily basis, and making the choice to see the good in those things? That’s hard. That’s really hard.

Bad things happen to people every day, this is a fact. Tragedy does not discriminate, it does not back away because of who you are or what you know. It is a double edged sword that can take bring even the strongest of us to our knee’s. People spend entire lifetimes simply trying to overcome. Trying to “be” but that is not good enough. That’s like taking college courses the rest of your life and not actually working towards a degree.

Who wants to just “be”?

Not me. I want to be happy. I want to be deliriously, excruciatingly, magnificently happy. I want to be successful. I want to be thankful every day for what I have because it is so overwhelmingly good that I can barely stand it. Not every day can be good, but you can be as happy as you are willing to make possible despite whatever might be going on.

Some people might say that is asking too much of life, but it truthfully is not.

If you find yourself unhappy, you need to take a step back and examine your situation. There has to be a reason you are unhappy, and honestly that reason might just be you.

Who is in your life? Are they making you happy or are they dragging you down to whatever level they may be on? You can care about someone more than most but if they don’t actively make you happy that’s not a relationship. Let’s face it, we’re adults now. We are dating to find someone to marry, to find a partner to spend the rest of our lives with! Do you want to spend the rest of your life trying to force happines out of someone who just doesn’t want it? Someone that you have admitted is exerting an absurd amount of energy to find reasons to be unhappy? Is it honestly worth it knowing that you are giving up your happiness to avoid confrontation? Chances are that if you are unhappy they are too, and if both of you are sitting on the field waiting to see which court the ball lands in – it’s time to realize that maybe the game is over and it’s time to find new teams.

Find someone to play on a team WITH. Life is not a practice run, it’s not a precursor to something better. Life is the 9th inning of the championship game – would you rather have a partner helping you or be playing every position yourself? Not a hard choice.

I am exhausted seeing people that I care a great deal about settle. Amazing and wonderful people who are letting themselves be unhappy, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why. I just want to grab them by the shoulders and say “CHOOSE HAPPINESS”.

I told one person this Saturday. Happiness is there, it’s right in front of you. There is no situation where it is unattainable. Reach out and take it, make it yours. Choose to be with the person who makes you the best you, who makes you the happiest you. Who pushes you to be more, and have more than what you think you deserve.

What are you doing? Does your job make you happy? Your  hobbies? You have to find things that you can turn to, to at the least create happiness. If happiness isn’t happening you have to make it – and what you fill your time and your life with will determine whether you are able to do that or not.

There is no excuse for basking in unhappiness. Take off your floaties, quit lounging in the black pit of despair, and create your sunny beach. I promise, you’ll thank yourself later.

Create the reality that you want to live in – and LIVE in it.

Stop wanting, and DO.

Stop wishing, and ACT.

Stop standing in the warm-up area and throwing pitches at a mesh wall. Step out onto the field and strike out the batter that is life.

Life loves to be grabbed by the lapel and told “I’m with you kid, let’s go!”

Take it.

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Where’s Waldo

Define happiness.

I’ll give you a minute to think about it.

Insert the Jeopardy countdown noise here if it helps you out. Even if it doesn’t… add it for good measure.

Minute up .What did you come up with?
Here’s what Merriam Webster has to say on the subject:

Definition of HAPPINESS

1 good fortune : prosperity

2 a : a state of well-being and contentment : joy

b : a pleasurable or satisfying experience

One of the biggest problems that people with depression face is the simple task of defining happiness.
It sounds absurd, but honestly it makes perfect sense. How can you be expected to find something if you don’t know what it is you are looking for? You can start an intense man-hunt but if you don’t have a clear picture in your head of the person you are hunting – how will you even KNOW when you find him? You could have passed it a million times, walking slowly, thinking you are seeing everything and it’s just not there.

The needle in a haystack bit is getting old, so I’ll use a different scenario.

It’s like the last “Where’s Waldo” in every book. You know the one. Where everyone is wearing red and white, half of them have glasses, and the other half have striped hats. You turn to it and can’t help but laugh because the impossible nature of the task at hand.

After awhile you convince yourself that every person you find is Waldo. You become so fed up with looking that your eyes can fool you, and what you are looking for appears like a mirage, taunting you, only to disappear the second your eyes focus on it. That’s not waldo at all, but a dog wearing comical glasses! Let down…

Someone can only have this happen so many times before they begin to think that Waldo is not there. There must be a mistake, a printing error. They FORGOT Waldo. They just left him off this page, and I will never finish this book. How much time have I wasted looking? How many times have I been let down?
Then you get to the place where we have all been at one point or another.

Whats the point of even looking, if it isn’t anywhere to be found.

If you convince yourself that happiness just does not exist (remember, Waldo = happiness) then you will just stop looking. You will close the book, and store it away. Telling yourself that you did all you could, searched every avenue, and Waldo was just not on that last page.
Congratulations, you have accepted a false truth.
The key is to not let yourself get to that point.

Sit yourself down and say “alright, what is happiness?” and set off in search of it. Don’t settle for the first waldo look-alike that you see in glasses and a striped hat. Find the REAL THING. Because it’s there, waiting for you, grinning that infuriating waldo grin that says “congrats dummy, you found me, I’ve been here the whole time!”

Like in a waldo book, I spent most of the latter part of my teenage years and early twenties stuck on that last page. Countless days, weeks, months, and years spent searching and searching for happiness. Every time I thought I had found it, it turned out to be an imposter. A stand in for the real thing.

I got to a point where I felt like it just was not out there. Happiness was a farce. There was just no such thing as a life that was truly happy.

I felt like I had reached the end of my rope. How long can you stay on one page in a book? Every time my hopes would rise that I had finally accomplished the task at hand, it turned out not to be waldo at all that I had found. Just a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and oh would I get bit.

The problem, that I wish I had figured out sooner, was that I had no idea what it was that I was really looking for. I spent so much time looking at this page where everything blurred together and everyone looked the same, that I had forgotten what Waldo looked like. I was blindly searching, and thus finding absolutely nothing.

It wasn’t until I asked myself just what it was that would make me happy, that I was able to look down and instantly spot him there. Grinning.

Happiness for me, is love. The love that I am allowed to give every day, and the love that is given to me in return. I am in a place in my life where I am giving and receiving love in such abundance that it is almost overwhelming, and I can truly say that I have found happiness.

I had to find and surround myself with people and things that brought love, and joy. And here I sit.

Surrounded. Immersed. Nearly drowning in this glorious pool of love, laughter, and light that I have found.
How did I get here? How could I possibly get so lucky as to have found this magical place?
Do I deserve this?

I want to share the story of how I got here, and it might take me awhile so bare with me. But that might be where my blog goes from here on out. I haven’t yet decided where to start, because like an intricate web there are many points of origin. You just have to find that perfect resting spot in the middle.

I’ll ask you again, and I would love responses:
Define happiness.

Where’s YOUR Waldo? Have you found him yet?

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A Bull, A Fence, And A Bridge

Silence is not my friend.

When my brain is allowed free range to roam it always wanders just a little too far out, just a little past my comfort zone. And it sits there. I mean, just sits. Plops it’s behind down with the force of a 1,000 pound weight and stares at me indignantly like a toddler DARING me to try and make it move.

Much like when I try to move my 40 pound toddler, my brain stubbornly refuses. Although it does tend to hit and kick less, it still makes its point and I am forced to think about whatever it happens to throw my way.

Brain control is near impossible. It is the most horrifying realization when you finally understand that you brain is quite literally a “mind of its own” (no pun intended?) No matter how hard you tell yourself not to think about someone, or something – your brain feeds off of that and seems to boomerang right into that part of your head that you so desperately want to avoid. I mean honestly, how fast does your brain work when its working against you?
Makes you think about all those times that you struggled with a math problem or a test at school and think “really brain?”

How can you take steps to control that? How can you herd your brain into the right areas, the happy areas, the ones where the shadows aren’t so scary and the positive thoughts are more abundant. There are no sheep dogs in your mind, there is not a lazy farmer chewing on a grass stalk helping your brain mosey through its pasture.
You are completely on your own.

And as much as I hate the comparison, your brain is a gigantic bull. Maybe even a herd of bulls.
No matter how much you push and shove, that thing is not going to move until it is damn well ready to.
And WHO KNOWS when that’s going to be.

The best tactic I have learned is to keep things on hand to herd the ‘ol bull persay. Sometimes its pictures, a lot of times its an inappropriate yet always hysterical meme. Anything to remind my brain that the grass is greener on the other side of that dark, crooked, ominous fence. Getting my brain back over that fence is nothing short of an act of god but I am slowly working on training it to make the leap.

Too often you find yourself standing in front of the fence, rocking slowly back and forth. As you pick up momentum you start to bounce. Slowly. Down, then up. Down, then up. The dull ache in your feet becomes a burning, and you can even see yourself jumping. You can feel it already happening as the thought is transformed through neurons into an action.
Then there is an instant where you feel it happen.
Somewhere there is a disconnect. A drop. The action ceases to exist, and the thought is slammed back like it has hit a glass wall.
You are back at square one, no movement anywhere in sight, sitting in the shadows of your own head and praying to any god that you think is listening to just make your feet move. ANY movement, any start to get your brain back to where you need it to be.

I suffered for years from depression, anxiety, and a form of bipolar disorder that although mild, made it difficult to maintain relationships – even the ever important relationship you are supposed to hold with yourself.

It took a long time. A LONG time, made longer by restless nights and failed attempts at happiness – but I am finally in a place where for the most part I am able to control my emotions and at least attempt to wrangle them when they get out of control. But I still struggle with that fence. The final frontier.

Sometimes there is a gate, and I walk right through. For those times I am appreciative.
Other times I stand and wait for an opening to appear, hoping and wishing for it to come sooner rather than later. It always comes, eventually… but it takes a lot to get it there.

I surround myself with people who create that gate.
I create memories that are slowly building a bridge over it. Something permanent, that is always there. It is not big enough to cross over all the time but it’s SOMETHING.
That’s what life should be.

A bridge over that fence. A bridge big enough for the gigantic towering bull that is your brain to walk over.

Because isn’t that green grass sweet?

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It Takes A Village

My mind has been brought back to the topic of adoption lately, due to some changes at work and friends that are considering this difficult choice.

It’s hard for me to bring my mind back to that place where I was four years ago – mostly because I can’t imagine my life any different than it is right now. I cannot even start to think about not having the responsibilities, joys, and laughs that I am blessed with on a daily basis.

It is very grounding to remember that it was almost a very tangible reality that I was going to give her up for adoption.

I opened up to people at work about the decision that I made when I was pregnant, and I was surprised at the outcry and shock. To actually get upset with someone when they tell you that, and respond with a mad “You almost gave her up?????” is not quite the acceptance and comradery that I had hoped for.

There was also a comment, when asked how old I was, that I was “old enough.”

Yikes.

Yes.

I almost gave my daughter up for adoption. I was sifting through booklets, looking at photos, and fully prepared to pick a family that would give her all the love and care that she deserved. My mindset at the time was that I was not able to do that. As young and naive as I was at 19, I was not too naive to know that every child deserves a chance.

I was lucky enough to have been surrounded by a family and group of friends that supported my decision no matter what it was. My mind would change and waiver, my pregnant belly sat on both sides of the fence multiple times, and no matter what they were behind me.

One day we were buying baby blankets, and planning  a nursery. The next day we were returning those items and crying as I looked at family pamphlets from Gladney.

But they never judged me. They were never angry with me. I was never told that my choice was wrong no matter what it was. I was given the opportunity to make an un-biased, not forced decision that was completely my own.

I did not know until recently how lucky that made me.

How horrifying it must be to make that decision without a support system. To be belittled, put down, and punished for a choice that is entirely yours.

It makes me wonder how anyone makes that decision at all, and how many people regret the decision they do make?

If I had been forced into a decision that I wasn’t a hundred percent sure of, would I be haunted by that decision now? 4 years later?

I know it’s from a comedy movie’s trailer, but the phrase “it takes a village” is sticking out in my mind. This statement is incredibly true, not just in the scenario of raising a child but in the scenario of deciding if you are ready to raise a child.

Giving someone else the opportunity to be a parent does not make you a criminal. It does not make you a bad mom, or a deadbeat parent. It means that you are a parent just like I am, and you made a decision for the well being of your child. Sometimes the sad truth is that the best thing for a child is to be raised in an environment separate from their birth mom. There are many reasons why this might be true, but all of them are valid.

Having the strength to make that decision makes you a hero in my eyes.
Handing your child to someone else, who would not have the opportunity to be a parent otherwise? You are a hero to them too.
Giving your heart to someone else because you know they can take care of it in a way that you are incapable of? You are a hero to that child.

I hope that someday giving a child up for adoption is viewed with the same joy and love as a couple getting to adopt a baby is.

How hypocritical is it that we praise parents trying to adopt children, from our own backyard or from another country. But we still shame and admonish the people who are giving that child to them?

It takes a village. You are that village, to someone.
I had a village.

I am so grateful that now my village includes a healthy, happy, and deliriously frustratingly like me three year old girl.

But that might not have been the case.

Respect the choice I made, and respect the choice I could have made.

It takes a village.

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Past vs. Present

The past is something I struggle with on a seemingly constant basis.

Lurking in my brain like a house cat, one of those asshole ones – you know the type. Waiting to bat at me as I walk by, chasing my ankles, walking over my face at 3 in the morning to let me know that I am, in fact, inferior to him in every way imaginable. That’s normal, right? Or is my cat just a particularly douch-ey fellow?

There I go digressing again…

The past is not my friend. There are decisions that I made that I am not proud of (example: I spent a year of my life wearing plaid pants. I look back on those days and cry because my mom did not have the good sense to tell me to get my shit together and change my pants. And I did not have the good sense to NOT WEAR PLAID PANTS.), and there are things I would rather not remember.

If there were a selective memory erase available I believe I would take full advantage of it.
Swiss cheese up my brain, I don’t even care. If it meant not constantly being reminded of the painful parts of my life – I would be all for it.

This, however, is where I get stuck. How do you choose? How do you decide what has made you who you are, and what is disposable?
What happens when those things you wanted to forget are forgotten? Do you immediately change like a magic trick, or do you just gradually shift into someone else? And what happens if the person you become is not who you want to be?

I have been told to be thankful for my past because it has led me to my present. I try to get on board with this because as of right now my present is pretty fantastic. But my past hinders that. Is that the definition of situational irony? Or just someones idea of a horrible joke.

Where I’ve been has made me who I am, and where I’ve been makes being who I am extremely difficult. (If it’s a joke… I still don’t get it)

So if I erase those things that hinder me, does it alter me so much that the people I have surrounded myself with no longer like me? Would I even know them anymore, or would my life have been so different that they aren’t even a part of i?

Is it worth it?

Take away my marriage, and everything that came with it. Sounds great right? No more fear of prescription drugs. No more irrational insecurity. No more assuming the worst because that is what it always turned out to be! No more trust issues. No… more… trust issues…

That one almost makes it worth it. 

But without the twelve car pile -up that was my tumultuous marriage, would I be as strong as I am now? It came with a lot of baggage, but it showed me that I was better than I thought I was. It showed me what a marriage was NOT, and opened me up to life in a way that I did not know was possible.
That deliriously frustrating mixture of good and bad, That is what I am torn on.

I find myself mentally flipping through my past like a photo album. Some pages are more worn than others, stained with tears and knowing me lots of doodles and pen marks. I linger on some pages, caressing old faces and memories gently and fondly. Others get skipped over hastily, using every ounce of self control in me not to rip the page out and crumple it in the trash can.

It would be impossible for me to decide what was worth keeping and what parts of me I could let go. I would get stuck on that first page of bad, lost in a memory. I don’t think I would have the wherewithal to circle that memory, no matter what it was, and mark it for deletion. Like a huge neon X on a tree in the forest. The mark of death.

So here I sit in my eternal dilemma.

That asshole of a house-cat waiting for me to walk by the dresser that he has so carefully perched on just out of sight. Claws extended, arm flexed.
Waiting to strike.

And I just cannot bring myself to put the damn thing outside.

Did that make any sense?

Delirious blogging. Don’t do it. It’s a horrible thing.

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Trouble

I knew from the moment that I went to the gender ultrasound and got a full on frontal of her lady parts in spread eagle pose, that the little girl in my stomach was going to be trouble. What a lot of people don’t know, is that at that point I wasn’t sure if she was going to be my trouble, or someone Else’s.

When I found out I was pregnant, I was terrified. You can ask anyone that was with me at the time (because a normal trip to the bathroom is a group affair when you’re a woman, if there’s something HAPPENING in the bathroom… it’s like a sold out Niki Minaj concert is happening in stall 2)., I was a wreck.
It didn’t take but about two seconds for that stick to SCREAM at me in big block letters that I was in fact, a mother to be… but in that two seconds I felt my life flash before my eyes…

No, i’m just kidding. There was no epic moment where I saw my youth flushing down a giant diaper shaped toilet, and there was no tears of shame or moment of silence for the “life I could have had” (we’ll get to that later). I was a silent wreck, screaming on the inside “what? why? when?”… no, not how, I think we all know the answer to that question. I replayed the past few months in my head like a marathon of bad news stories about how exactly I had already failed to be a good mother.

“But… I was on birth control….” was the first sentence out of my mouth. I was not a fair weather birth control taker either, I was not in the best place in my  “relationship” and I was not going to take any chances. The blaring 5 pm alarm on my phone, and the following 5:15 and 5:30pm alarms made sure of that with a vengeance. It’s hard to not think about doing something when what sounds like a car alarm on steroids is going off every 15 minutes. Like a loudspeaker announcing “Please step away from the Uterus! Back away slowly, with your hands in the air! No babies! No babies! No babies!”

It wasn’t until about a year later that I would start to read the news articles and reviews letting me know exactly how unreliable Yaz was…  I almost wanted to send them a picture of me and my 6 month old baby and say “Ya think?”

I digress… (this is in no way abnormal)

Anyone who knows me knows that I will do just about anything to avoid confrontation, so after finding out that my uterus was hard at work creating an alien like human being, the task arose to tell the person who’s super sperm won the race that he was going to be a dad. How do you do this? It didn’t help that by this point I was NOT in a relationship with said person anymore, and I had just heard a few days before that he was dating someone else.”Hey you! Its been a few days so I hope we are in a place where we can talk again! Your new girlfriend seems like a super swell gal! Does she like children?”

I flirted with many possibilities as far as delivery of the news, pink balloons on the mailbox? A birth announcement with a “to be determined” date of birth, name, and weight? Yes I would much rather make an ass of myself than say it to someones face. Finally, one night a few weeks later, days after actually seeing the father in person and not saying a word, I settled on a sure fire method of getting the message to him… text message.
Yes, no need to re-read that it was right the first time, and I’ll say it again: I text messaged him. Like an ass.

I don’t remember the direct quote, but the message went something like this:
“Hey Jordan, I know we haven’t talked in awhile, but I just thought I’d let you know that I’m pregnant. It came as a shock to me too! Birth control is obviously not the bees knees.  Maybe I can sue Yaz and become a millionaire!

Oh, yeah. You’re the dad.

Congrats! I’ll talk to you later!”
That was that. I brushed my hands off, let the weight of not telling him slip off my soldiers, and drifted into the sleep that only a pregnant woman can get in the 1st trimester. That amazingly wonderful “my body cannot function for another two seconds” kind of sleep,and I slept for 10 uninterrupted hours. You know, the kind of sleep that I won’t have again for another 15 years…

What happened next played a large part in me seriously considering adoption.
I didn’t hear a word from him for weeks. Almost a full month. Not an “are you okay?”, or a “what are we going to do now?”… not even a “sweet deal bro, lay off the brewskies!” Nothing…

So I had plenty of time to think. Which, in normal circumstances is no good for this girl because my brain goes to some strange places. My train of thought is on all kinds of crack, and probably some ecstasy too because it honestly makes zero sense to most people. Add some hormones to the mix? My brain was on a mission to over-think, over-analyze, and self destruct. After a full week in pajama mode, and about four gallons of ice cream (hold the pickles please), I had come to the conclusion that adoption was the only choice.

My friends tried to talk to me out of it, but my mind was made up. I couldn’t raise a child alone! I had already contacted Gladney and done an interview, and this was going to happen. I had told Jordan that adoption was my choice, and that he didn’t need to worry about me or the baby because we would be fine. I surrounded myself with friends, and tried to pretend like none of it was happening, and in my delusional world I was going to do that until one day, magically, I was not pregnant anymore, and another family magically had a baby appear in an empty crib in their house.

Then my belly appeared overnight. Delusional reality… officially blown. What was this in my stomach? I could feel her moving, I could feel everything. This is a feeling that only a woman who has carried a child can understand, and I wish that every single person on this planet (dads included) could experience it. What had before been only a blob on a screen that looked more like a lima bean than anything human, was a little person now. Squishing, and grabbing, and squeezing things that I didn’t even know were inside my stomach. She was already the most perfect thing I had ever done, and I knew that before I ever laid eyes on her.

I cried for days. I had books of potential adoptive parents strewn around my room, and I could barely bring myself to get out of bed because that would mean stepping over them, and acknowledging they were there. It was an awful game of “lava” that I used to play when I was a kid, but I knew that if I stepped off of my bed and into the floor it was reality that would burn me alive, and that was too much to handle.

As I was slowly turning into a planet, and a hot mess of a planet at that, the world just kept moving. The few people who knew I was pregnant and knew what I was going through (shout out to Kristen Nemain and Stephanie Goudy) just held my hand and let me cry. Those girls got me through what I look back on as one of the most confusing and heartbreaking few months of my life, and I honestly don’t know what I would have done, or where I would be right now if they hadn’t been there to keep me from letting the lava engulf me.

I prayed, and I cried. I stared at my stomach for hours, and tried to reason with the little girl inside me “Please, if you could just chill out until you’re born it would make this a lot easier. Stop hiccuping, stop kicking me, stop making my heart drop” (now I know that it wasn’t her making my heart drop, that was a mix of god and guilt, and I wish I had listened to it sooner and saved myself some heartache).

I was 7 months pregnant the day that my heart finally woke up, and god practically slapped me in the face with what had been inside my mind all along.

I was flipping through facebook when my screen froze. Literally froze, I couldn’t scroll up or down anymore. Right there in the middle of the screen was a two line facebook post from someone I hadn’t spoken to in a long time. I read it, and tried to keep scrolling again, but at that point I imagine god was pretty fed up with me so the screen didn’t budge.
I read it again.
One more time…

Ezra 10:4 – “Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it.”

and again….

“Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it.”

Take courage, and do it.

This is the point where I imagine a full on love scene going on inside me, where my heart and my brain run towards each other in slow motion in a field of flowers or something. But in reality I felt like they were speeding at each other in two race cars that finally collided after months of playing chicken.

I immediately texted (do you see a trend here? Confrontation isn’t my thing) my family and friends and told them my decision. I was going to be a mom.
I told Jordan too, and let him know that this was my decision and I in no way expected him to feel like it meant he had to be a father. I was ready, and even if he wasn’t I wouldn’t hold it against him.

He stepped up, and we were together for awhile as most of you know, but at that point it wasn’t in the works.

July rolled around and after hours of labor (or… as I lovingly call it, my “naptime” – epidurals ARE the bees knees it turns out), and an endless few hours of pushing – she was in my arms. She cried at first, but after a few minutes of me holding her she just laid there staring at me. Her eyes were wide open,  and I know that in that moment, that first moment when my heart was literally outside my body in my arms, I knew that handing my heart to another mom and dad might literally have killed me.

We had an understanding in that moment. Her and I looked each other up and down, and both of us nodded and said
“It’s you and me now… we can learn together… don’t screw me up too bad, okay?”

Here we are almost 3 years later, and I think we’ve both managed to not screw the other one up too bad. Sometimes I wonder how we will make it through the next hour, nonetheless the next 50 some odd years… but I know we will manage.

Every night before bed I tell her “You wear me out, but I Love you anyways.” And she says “I love you anways too”

But I will tell her someday that she caused more trouble before she was born than some people manage in a lifetime, and she owes me a really nice nursing home for all the premature grey hairs she gave me. We will laugh, and then I will hand her a brochure for a home in Maui and say “no, seriously”.

I knew she was trouble, but she’s my trouble.

Ask me sometime how she made me pee on a dog when I was pregnant. I still think she managed to plan that, from the womb …

K.G.F.

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