Thursday, September 21, 2017

Stuff I'm tired of*

-I am really tired of people telling me that losing weight has made me look older.

You know what else makes you look older? GETTING OLDER. I'm almost forty-two, I have two kids in college, a "challenging" (but adorable!) spouse, and three jobs. I work out seven days a week. I'm fricking exhausted. Also? Older than I used to be. AMAZING THAT I WOULD APPEAR MY ACTUAL AGE.

-Further, I am really tired of people saying, "You can't run without carbs!"

I haven't eaten carbs in like four years now. I run at least a 5k every single day. Every. Single. Day. Some mornings I wake up early and run eleven miles before work. Please tell my worn out sneakers how I can't run without carbs.

-BUT, BUT, BUT you'd run FASTER if you ate carbs!

Maybe? Maybe not? I don't know! Neither do you. I'm slow. I'm faster than I used to be, but I won't be winning any races any time soon (or, you know, ever). I'd probably go faster if I lost 10 more pounds too, but...meh. I'm fine with the speed I'm going. Feel free to pass me on the left, thanks.

-Why are you so obsessed with what someone else is eating? It has literally nothing to do with you.

Hint: I don't give a crap what you eat. Ever.

-I am really, super tired of people getting offended when I try to take care of myself.

This goes beyond the weight loss, beyond the exercise. If I DARE to say I don't want to do something or be a part of something because it does not in any way enrich my life whatsoever people take it as a personal offense. Like...maybe just get over it? I don't care, neither should you.

-Andalsoplus, just because something is right for you, maybe it's not right for me? THIS IS BRAND NEW INFORMATION.

-Finally, every single thing is not. about. you.

No, it's really not. I know you've managed to attempt to make every single thing about you basically your entire life, but guess what? Not everything is! Sometimes other people want to do things not as a personal affront to you, but just because they want to. I would dare say 99.9% of the time it has absolutely NOTHING to do with you. If you really think people are sitting around thinking up things to do to personally hurt your feelings, well, you probably need to come down off your high horse. You are just not that important.

*Not an exhaustive list

Sunday, September 17, 2017

A difference of opinion

As people sometimes do, Jason and I are having a disagreement.

Tonight at dinner I said, "I don't think being married is a next-level adulting achievement unlocked".

My theory: A lot of a-holes are married because they have somehow managed to find someone who is willing to tolerate them. This can happen for a wide variety of reasons. Some of the nicest people I've ever met in my life are unmarried and have never been married and I admire them for things like their education and work ethic and other reasons completely unrelated to their ability to walk down an aisle.

Jason was a bit pouty at my theory and said that he thought that finding the right person and getting married to them was indeed an achievement because, well, finding the right person is not easy.

I had actually never thought of it from his point of view before, and I not only like the way he thinks but I will also admit that he has a very good point.

I still kind of think I'm right though.

I know several people who frequently crow about how they've been married for X number of years, and I know for a fact they fight constantly and are pretty much complete dickbags who could literally find no one else to tolerate them. So...yay for them? I mean, that sounds like a pretty miserable life to me, but I guess if being married is what you consider the pinnacle achievement of the world then yes. Fabulous. Good for you.

I say this as someone who genuinely enjoys being married. Don't get it twisted. I love my husband deeply. I genuinely enjoy his company, even after nearly twenty years. He makes me laugh every day. He's a wonderful cook. He compliments me all the time. He's fun and funny and smart and sweet and has the best heart of anyone I've ever met in my life. I am very happy I married him and I am very, very thankful for the life we've built together. I've actually fooled several people into thinking I have my life together...I still don't even know how I've managed that.  (Hint: I don't. Not even close)

Yet, I still don't think the actual marriage itself was an achievement.

I could MAYBE go so far as to say that the fact that we've been married for over 14 years and haven't stabbed one another in the eyeball ever is a pretty good achievement, but since it's only 14 years I can't even say that. I mean maybe when it's like twenty or forty years or whatever I can be like, "Yes! We have examples! We know what we are doing!" and actually mean it. Right now I feel like, "Holy crap, we've really just lucked out here. DON'T TELL ANYONE."

Weird, right? That's probably weird.

I don't know. I think I can be happy and proud of the marriage I have without it being the only thing I'm happy and proud of, if that makes sense. I've lamented before that motherhood and weight loss are two of the only things that women get praise for and I find that to be sometimes painfully true, especially when one of those things about me is so ridiculously boring and the other (and my inability to achieve it again) was so very, very painful to my heart for so very, very long.  Marriage is like, next-level-this-crap. I've seen several people posting on Facebook about how amazing their marriages are and then within weeks or months it's all over and they are with someone else. I mean, it happens. Zero judgement there. But are more than that, right? There are other things that make you who you are.

I mean...there should be, right?

Like I've had this really hard time with my job and how hard it is. I want to be the best person at my job and I work really hard at it. My therapist said to me not long ago, "Even if you lost your job you'd still be a good and worthy person" and I was like, "OH." I mean, it seems stupid that I wouldn't just UNDERSTAND THAT like a normal human being, but yeah. I didn't. So much of my self-worth has always been tied up in my job, so I completely get how so much of someone's self-worth could be tied up in being married. I do.

I still just can't give up my position on this though. I think you can live a very happy, fulfilled life without being married. If you do find the right person, you are blessed indeed but if you don't? Well, you are still okay. You might even be awesome.

Even if your right person completely disagrees with that statement.

Even then.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

The meaning of life or something

Do you ever feel like the things you do don't matter?

I mean, not your marriage or your child-rearing (if you feel like those don't matter that's a really serious problem and I'm sorry and I hope you can get some assistance with that). I mean, the other noise that swirls around you every day. I sit in on meetings about things that seem so entirely pointless. I internally berated myself for like twenty minutes tonight because I'm SO. STINKING. CLOSE to breaking 5MPH on my runs and I just cannot get there (tonight I was at 4.86 at 60 minutes and yes, I know that's not fast but I used to weigh 213lbs more than I do today so the fact that I can run at all is a freaking blessed miracle from the Lord Jesus so keep that nonsense to yourself, please and thank you). I spend so much time doing things that seem just so...meaningless.

I spent over 30 hours of my life on the phone last week, talking about everything from strategic planning to the fact that someone was annoyed because they felt someone else didn't have the appropriate reaction to an email. What does strategic planning even really mean? It sounds like a bunch of nonsense words. Why does someone care that much about someone else's reaction to an email? Hurricanes and fires are battering the world around us, people are dying because they can't afford their medication, children are actually starving to death in the "land of opportunity" and...people are concerned and angry, literally angry about an email.

An email.

Doesn't that just seem...ridiculous?

I mean, I'm ridiculous too, berating myself over not being "fast enough" or "good enough" or feeling constantly like a worthless piece of crap. I should be like, "YES, I CAN ACTUALLY RUN AND MOVE MY BODY NOW! I AM MOTHERFRACKING BEYONCE KNOWLES!" But I don't. I'm mad at myself for not being better. I wear single digit sizes and instead of being like, "YES, YOU HAVE WORKED SUPER HARD AND YOU USED TO BE A SIZE TWENTY-EIGHT AND YOU ARE MOTHERFRACKING BEYONCE, YAAAAS QUEEN!" I look in the mirror and see only loose skin and my stretch-marked belly and feel like I'm just not ever going to be where I need to be, no matter what I do.

It's so stupid. It's all just so insanely stupid.

I've started writing again and for the first time in like a hundred million years I'm actually happy with the words on the page. Still, I'm full of doubt. What if people don't think it's good? What if it's too controversial? What if it just completely sucks?

What difference does it make if other people don't think it's good? Why can't it just be enough that *I* think it's good and I have joy in writing it?

I don't know man. This stuff all feels really heavy these days.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Standing in the sunlight laughing, hide behind a rainbow's wall

Kids break your heart sometimes. Every parent knows that, and if they don't they will eventually figure it out. Kids are human and humans are complicated. They hurt each other.

My daughter has been saying for at least a few years that she never wants children. Part of me thinks she might change her mind someday (she's a baby herself, at least in my eyes) but honestly? Parenting is not for everyone. If she doesn't change her mind I'm totally okay with that. I do not feel, and I have never felt, that every woman should be a mother. I think it should be 1000% up to the individual and I think she can have a very fulfilling, happy life without kids.

(Selfishly, I'd like her to have children one day because the thought of having more people in my circle of joy makes me happy. And Jesus Christ I can't even imagine what an amazing grandpa Jason would be. He's unbelievable with children. But I digress and I'd never ever tell her that because it's not about me)

Jonathan think he's might have children someday, depending on what his eventual wife wants. He's a baby too, of course, so he has no way of knowing yet. This is all fine.

What's not is fine was what Megan said at dinner a few nights ago.

"Why on Earth would I want to have a child who might end up like me? No one deserves anxiety and depression."

And my heart. Oh, my heart.

I used to think there was nothing worse than my own anxiety and depression, but I was wrong. My child suffering is far, far worse than anything I could ever experience.

I get it. I get what she's saying.

But oh. The thought of not having Megan. This wonderful, bright, sunny, funny, sweet girl. I cannot imagine my life without her. I cannot imagine the world being a better place without this girl who pets every dog she sees. This girl who compliments every other girl she sees because "I think female friendship is important and girls get too much negativity from everyone all the time, so I'm going to be positive". This girl who loves the elderly wants to spend her life advocating for animals. This girl who sometimes comes downstairs in a Grace Kelly dress and floral converse tennis shoes, her thick hair pulled back in a bun and not a scrap of make-up on her face. She's fully, unabashedly herself and she. is. amazing.

Most Friday nights she and I spend a few hours together. We like a lot of the same things; movies, shopping, fancy grocery stores, local restaurants, coffee. We often get dinner and chat, usually about nothing important, but sometimes about things so deep they take my breath away.

Last night we wandered about downtown. It was a hot night, but had enough of a breeze that we weren't miserable. She suggested a local cafe that we'd never eaten at for dinner.

It was nice. Probably fancier than we are, but that's okay. No one is very fancy here, even those who think they are. While my daughter was enjoying her homemade ice cream I brought up what she'd said about her fears of having children and how, frankly, it broke my heart.

"That's not the only reason," she said, but her eyes were down when she said it.

I told her that was okay. That whatever reasons she had are her reasons. I just wanted to give her a what if.

What if your "broken brain" isn't really "broken"?
What if the brokenness is what makes it amazing?

If you look at so many people around you who don't think for themselves, who don't have any heart for others, who don't seek to make the world a better place...maybe, just maybe it could be that your brokenness is what makes you completely whole. Completely amazing.

That maybe your broken brain gives you the ability to see all sides of things. It makes it easier to put yourself in others shoes. It gives you bravery and wisdom beyond your years.

If you fight your anxiety, your panic attacks, and your depression it makes you tough. You have no choice. You have to fight. Some days it's a fight to just get out of bed. Some days it's a fight to feel "normal". Some days you don't know how you'll get to tomorrow, but yet you do. Every day you do.

This baby has been a fighter since she was born. I look at her sometimes and can't help but think of that little three pound wonder who came out wide-eyed and looking around at everything around her with a resting bitch face that she's beyond perfected in the last 19 years. She was tough, even then. She wasn't supposed to be born so soon, things weren't supposed to be so hard for her.

She's survived. She thrived.

And maybe, just maybe, it was because of her brokenness.

We don't know, none of us ever know. My son doesn't have anxiety or depression (he does have "a jacked up grill" and horrible eyesight, but we're working on both of those). Genetics are an absolute crap shoot. We all know that. Every time you make a choice to have a baby you run the risk of something being wrong and that sometimes could be a whole lot worse than what my daughter deals with every single day.

Would I have had Megan had I known she would have anxiety and depression?

Of course. A million times yes.

Am I heartbroken that she has to suffer?

Of course. A million times yes. I would do anything in my power to make her life easier. So I do. I make sure she has therapy. She takes medication. She has coping skills and abilities far beyond most people her age (her coping skills are actually way better than mine). She does well in school. She does well and is well liked at her job. She has friends. She has a life. She has a wonderful life.

She is a huge reason that I have a wonderful life. She is a huge reason that I get out of bed every day, even when my own depression and anxiety hurt. And they do hurt. Some days worse than others.

Whatever she chooses though, I know it will be what is right for her. She is not me. She's not even an extension of me. She's just one of the best things I've ever done. She is 100% Megan.

Which is exactly what I always, ALWAYS want her to be. Broken brain and all.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Just for today

A lot of people who have met me within the last year or two don't realize I have twins.

They know I have children (or adults,or whatever). They know I have a son and a daughter. They know that they attend the local community college. They know that they have jobs. They know they are politically active, love to read, are smart and funny and all manner of things. Believe me when I tell you that I rarely shut up about how proud I am of those two, so people know they exist. They just usually don't realize they are twins and are often surprised when they discover that, oh! They are the same age!

They don't know because it doesn't matter. Not really.

People don't know that they were premature. That they were born far too soon and far too small and I sat for so many hours in little rocking chairs in the NICU with silent tears running down my cheeks, willing them to just hang on. They don't know all of the conversation that I had with other moms and dads who were sitting in those same chairs, or pacing back and forth, praying the same prayers.

They don't know that I was the mom there who was twenty-two years old and alone. They don't know all the terrible things that my ex-husband said to me while I was pregnant, and after. They don't know that the sunny, funny man I'm married to isn't the biological father of the two kids he hugs good night every night.

They don't know because it doesn't matter.

I haven't forgotten them, mind you. I will never forget these things and there are a million more that I will also never forget. They are burned into my heart like a scar and they aren't going to go away. Not ever.

I don't talk about them. I don't dwell on them. Hell, I'm probably my therapists worst nightmare because I just don't even deal with some of them (I'M WORKING ON IT OKAY). I have to deal with what is in front of me, right now, today.

We all do.

It's comforting if you really think about it. We can't live in the past. We shouldn't WANT to live in the past. It should stay where it is. We should think about it and try to do better. We can't get stuck there though because the things that happened? We got through them. We lived. We survived. We got stronger. We got braver.

Do we still have the scars? Of course. Forever. But it doesn't define who we are. It doesn't define who we can be in the future.

If twenty years ago you told me that I would have the life I have today, I would have never believed you. Ever. I had no idea that this would be my life.

There is no "good old days" for me. There never will be. Sure, I miss certain times and places. Not long ago I drove past the daycare my children used to attend and I could not stop crying for thirty minutes. That's okay. It's okay to miss those times when they were little and sweet and listened to everything I had to say. It's not okay to never move past those times.

Today is great too, if you'll let it be. The world might be crappy around you (and it is, I know) but you can do better. YOU can be better.

And you should...because today is what we have.