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.

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 honestly...you 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.