Sunday, December 3, 2017

New year, same old crap

I have a million things I actually SHOULD be doing right now but because I am who I am, I've been thinking about 2018. To be honest, most of the thoughts I've been  thinking are terrifying and I really don't want to get in to all of that. The upshot is that I can only control myself, not the world around me, so I'm choosing to think about that instead of the real, actual horror that's going on in this world. That might be selfish, but I just think of it as self-preservation. We all have to do it sometimes.


I hate resolutions, as I've documented many times over the years, but I do like goals. I set goals every day. Sometimes those goals are just things like: survive, don't scream, take a shower, and eat broccoli, but that's okay. Small goals get you to big places.

My goal is 2018? To shut up.

I am really, really bad at talking a lot and lot listening enough. Judge Judy (who I love, so bite me) always says that God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason and it's true. I talk a lot because I'm nervous a lot, but that's not a good excuse. People are interesting. I want to know more about people. I can never do this because I never shut up long enough. I don't want people to think I'm boring. I don't want people to think I only care about myself because I talk too much about myself or my kids or my husband or my dog.

I still have a lot of things to say, mind you. I'm just going to try to listen to everyone else first.

Also...I'll say a lot less. Some things don't need to be shared. They just don't.

This is the goal. No need to wait until 2018, I'm starting right now.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

It didn't work

For about two years now, I've been following a girl on Instagram.

She's on a weight-loss journey and has been for a long time. Her highest weight ever was pretty high...over a hundred pounds higher than my highest weight was (and mine was pretty high).

She's a pretty girl and she's posted a lot of different things over the years, not just things about her weight loss. Sometimes she posts about her family, sometimes about her job. Like many Instagram accounts her weight loss is not her sole focus. Sometimes she goes months and months without losing any weight (been there) and she focuses entirely on other things.

One common theme she has, though, and she's had this theme since I've been following her:

Once I lose the weight, I will be happy.

It's more than that though. She thinks that she'll be happy and find love and have children and get a good job and a million other things that may or may not happen if she loses the weight. Or if she doesn't lose the weight.

Losing weight won't make you happy.

I know this because I thought the same thing. I really did. I have spent most of my life in a state of either mild or major depression and I really believed at one point that if I could just be thin enough, then I would be okay. That my brain would just magically heal itself or some nonsense, I don't know. I just thought, whatever I'm doing is not enough. It's never enough. Surely this will be enough.

It's not.

It's not enough.

My husband and children are not enough. My dog is not enough. I am not enough. My single-digit sized jeans are not enough. Finishing two half-marathons in a year isn't enough. Having a pretty house isn't enough. Literally nothing is enough.

People get so angry when I say this, because how dare I not appreciate being able to live in a smaller body, but I am completely serious when I tell you that if you are a messed up sack of crap right now, you will continue to be a messed up sack of crap if you are thin. You just have smaller jeans. All your other problems are the same.

I don't know this girl in real life. Maybe losing weight really will be the key for her. Maybe this will finally be the secret she's looked for all these years. Maybe this, this one thing, will finally be her "enough".

I hope that's the case for her. I really do. It sucks to live like this.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Leave your mind behind, baby James

Sometimes? It's just this easy.

Sometimes? You just let your phone die and don't worry about charging it. Everyone can wait a few days. It's not the end of the world.

You stay up way too late, because you just don't want the day to end.

You try new things, because hey. You only live once, right?

Sometimes you turn 42 years old and you think about the personal ad you wrote almost exactly twenty years before. That silly, snarky little ad that got you the love of your life (and a book deal, can't forget that) and you are so overwhelmingly, profoundly grateful for every single bit of what you had to go through to get exactly where you are, right now.

It's not perfect. It will never be perfect. It's just exactly what it's supposed to be. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

You shouldn't sell me a gun

I don't like guns.

Every time I post this statement or anything like it, people who I'm certain are well-meaning message me to tell me how wrong I am because I don't like guns. These messages do not change my mind. I do not like guns. I will never like guns.

If you like guns, fine. I don't. I also don't like sandwiches, cold meat, how flat my butt is, jeans that aren't long enough, misogyny in any form, thong underwear, and when people say things like, "I know this is a big ask" in emails. There are lots of things I don't like. I'm sure there are a lot of things you don't like. You messaging me and telling me in great detail how wrong I am about my feelings will not change my feelings. I'm forty-one and not only do I do what I want, I know myself well enough now to know what I like and don't like. I'm sure you do too, which is why I don't email you extolling the virtues of not eating carbs, how soft LuLaRoe leggings are, and how fun Zumba is. You get to make up your own mind about things. I do too.

I cannot see any conceivable reason I should ever buy a gun.

But should I decide to, I could.

I have no criminal record. I have money. I have to the ability to fill out all the required paperwork. I am pretty much an ideal candidate for a weapon. A gun could be mine very, very quickly.

I should not own a gun.

Not because I don't like guns. I should not own a gun because mentally I am not well enough to own a gun.

I'm not a "crazy" person (and oh, how I HATE that phrase). I have depression and anxiety. I manage to go to work every single day, keep my home reasonably clean, and keep everyone in my family fed, on time, and on track for success. There is no record, anywhere, of any of my misdeeds (other than the many years of blogging, but even then it's nothing criminal). I'm clean as a whistle. I've had a speeding ticket or two in the past twenty plus years, but that's it. I'm the straightest straight arrow you could imagine. I think Drag Queen Bingo is scandalous (I'll still go though, it's really fun). I go to church and I love Jesus and I'm hard-working and productive and I should. not. own. a. gun.

Not now and not ever.

I have very dark days. Dark days that I don't like to talk about or think about. Dark days that I cannot control. I take my medication and I talk through my issues in therapy and I still have these days because of the way my brain is wired. I cannot help it. I would give literally anything to be different, to be "okay" all the time, but it is what it is.

You would never know any of this if you looked at me. If I saw you in public I'd smile at you, no matter who are. I would say "hello" and if you were even remotely close to me, I'd hold the door open for you and tell you to have a nice day. It's very likely I would engage you in conversation. I have a nice house, I have a nice car. I dress nicely. I volunteer and I pay my bills. I'm not an addict, I'm not a gambler, I'm not a "nut-job", and I'm not a loner and I should never, ever own a gun.

My brain has been broken for as long as I can remember. It's pretty likely it was broken at birth. Who knows? I am lucky in that I am able now to recognize how broken my brain is. To take steps to mitigate the things my brain tells me. I have a job and insurance and I can pay for medication and therapy. I have extremely heightened anxiety and part of that makes me an overachiever (yay) so I will go to work even when I don't feel like it. I have perfected the art of keeping it together. Sometimes it's hard, but I still manage it, at least in public. I keep my world as calm and collected as humanly possible and Jesus Christ, I should not ever own a gun.

Listen, I don't have all the answers and I would never claim to. I just know I am so tired of so many people dying. The news reports always say, "We would have never thought" and "Oh, he was just a loner" and "We don't know why".

I have a good idea why.

I'm tired you guys. I'm tired of pretending like this is normal. Another day in America, another mass shooting. I'm tired of not talking about mental illness. I'm tired of pretending it's all okay. I'm tired of the stigma. I'm tired of people feeling ashamed or being told that prayer is the way to solve this. Pray. Pray every single day. I do. Prayer is not going to fix this though.

We need to talk about mental health in this country. We need to talk about it often. We need to stop being so ashamed of it. We need to stop acting like this is okay. THIS IS NOT OKAY.

If I ever killed myself people would be surprised. "I can't believe it" they'd say. "We never knew" they'd say. "She seemed fine" they'd say.

They'd say all of those things. If you just saw me somewhere you wouldn't think twice. I look and act completely normal. Just like anyone else.

I don't own a gun. I don't ever want to.

I shouldn't.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Only the lonely

North Carolina is getting easier.

That sounds funny I guess. It's probably not the actual state itself that causes me to fret so much. The state is lovely. It's rare that you find a place that has mountains on one side and a beach on the other and lots of affordable housing and lovely people who call you "Mizz Stephanie" in a sweet little twang in-between. The sky is so big here. No mountains blocking the skyline in my part of the state, but they aren't so very far away.

The state isn't the problem, not really.

The problem is it's really hard to make friends as an adult. Or at least it's hard for someone like me who is prone to doing things like accidentally wearing her shirt backwards, loudly quoting from the various Teen Mom programs ("I like to wear heels to court. It makes me feel more classier"), and who can identify every single Brady Bunch episode within 1 minute of the opening credits. While I'm sure at least some of that is admirable on some planet, that planet is surely not North Carolina. I don't even like vinegar on my barbecue and I can't admit that or I'll probably get shot. I think you can open carry here or a lot of people eating at the Zaxby's just like to feel prepared in case someone decides that their need for a Zalad would cause them to shoot up the place. But whatever. I don't even know what's happening with that, I just stay away from people holding guns whilst eating at restaurants.


It's hard to make friends.

It's also hard to be in my early 40's and have kids in college. A lot of my friends are my age, but their kids are like, seven. Not that we don't have things in common, mind you. The Mom Thing is pretty universal. We all struggle.

Our struggles are different though, right now. Parenting adults is literally the most challenging thing I've ever done.

It's lonely, y'all. It's really very lonely.

My whole life feels so in-between. My parenting, my weight, even my job. I keep waiting for the next thing. I don't even know what the next thing is.

I feel so terribly, painfully unfinished lately. It's just hard.