Friday, October 14, 2016

The Art of Drama

When I was in High School, I lettered in Drama. I loved the the soliloquy the best. Getting into someone else's head and expressing that emotion from the depths of one soul was one of the things that got me through high school. I loved that. It was my escape.

My children also are drawn to theatre and drama. It makes me happy to see them on stage singing, acting, getting to be someone else for a while.

That's the happy kind of drama. I LIKE that kind of drama.

And then there's the other kind of drama. The kind that tears and rips at your soul, trying to hurt your everything - intentionally or not.  I usually think it's intentional because somewhere behind that drama lurks selfishness or extreme insecurity - or both.

This week, month, no, last couple of months has been drama filled. And not with the good kind.

Firstly, there's a wedding coming up in a day and a half. My 2nd daughter is getting married, and she has put a TON of effort into planning, crafting, and making sure everything is done and prepared on time. Her fiance works with her, and they take each other's opinions and feelings into account. Choosing the venue for the ceremony was a joint decision. The date of the wedding was a joint decision. The invitations were approved by him, while she picked the pictures. I could go on and on.

I'm proud that they're working as a team.

I want to scream in frustration at the drama surrounding the whole thing. It's a wedding. It's a celebration of two people coming together and pledging their lives to each other. And, most importantly - to me - is that it's my daughter's wedding. It's HER day. And someone else is trying to make it about them.

Someone else is making her life miserable and instead of looking forward to this, we're all just hoping to survive it and get it overwith. Because drama. This other person will not stop with the temper tantrums (I am not kiddng. Adult temper tantrums) or the whining. Neither my daughter or her fiance should have to deal with that. The hardest part is that her fiance is the one directly being whined to.

I'd love to shout their name and disparage them to the internet, but I won't. But I'm angry and protective of my daughter because someone else is trying to steal her day. These feelings are making me extremely anxious, and I dread having to do anything wedding related now.

This wedding is something that I don't want other people to whine to me about. My daughter can complain to me about it, but I am not able to handle hearing other people complain about times, dates, or location. It's two days away. RSVP or not, just show up or don't show up at this point. Don't whine to me about it. I cannot handle it, and I don't want to hear it. It's happening whether anyone wants it to or not.

Personally? I want this wedding to happen. These two make each other deliriously happy. He treats her with respect and honor - the way I would wish for any man to treat one of my daughters. She loves him and values his opinion. She takes his feelings into account when making any decision. I am kind of jealous of their relationship. (Ok, hers and my older daughters. Both have husbands who treat them as precious and valued partners.)

Secondly: My husband lost his job a couple of months ago. Now, usually this means tightening the belt and getting through the job hunt. But it's been more drama filled than I can handle. I overreact and freak out about the food in the house. Or lack thereof. For a couple of weeks there I would look at the fridge in despair, trying so very hard not to revert to childhood.

And the rent. Oh my goodness the rent. I do not want to lose my house. For the last two months, our landlords have been extremely gracious in letting the rent be late. They are not the cause of drama, I am. I had to cut my hours at work because the stress was making me inefficient at my job. I feel ineffective at life. I feel like I should be stepping up and fixing the situation, but I am emotionally and chemically unable to succeed at that. But I feel obligated and guilty that I can't fulfill that obligation.

Thirdly: This parenthood thing. Drama. My adult children don't want to confide in me. It hurts. Being put on the 'direct to voice mail' and 'no return text' list makes my heart hurt. I honestly don't know what I've done. I would do my best to rectify it if I could, but I simply don't know. And that feels like drama to me.

My smaller children feel the stress in the household and are acting it out. And I want to cry because more and more they are emulating the short fuse tempers, the harsh words, and the sometimes very mean things that they've heard from their father. Well, I have a temper and super grumpy moments, too, but ... well, maybe I am just as mean? I certainly hope not. But it's hard to see this behavior in my children.

It's even worse given the fact that my 9yo has become terrified of the weather. Any wind, rain, thunder, anything, and she is reduced to a terrified ball of tears and worry. There is no logic to fear, and she won't listen to the logic and comforting words that I can think of to say, hug, reassure.

I can't say she's needlessly worried, considering that there was a tornado in our area a couple of weeks ago. There were some massive thunder storms a few weeks prior to the tornado, some rumbles that shook the house - some lightning flashes that were right above our house and startled all of us.

Fourth: Well, I am a drama queen myself. I feel something and I over-feel it. I recognize the hurt that is under my angry emotions, and I feel both so powerfully that at times I can only send myself to bed and hope the feelings go away. The pity parties over what I don't have and feel like I will never have. The frustration at having so many skills and talents and not being able to fully utilize them anymore. I am angry with myself for feeling this way, because I know very well that I draw on those skills in many different aspects of my life, even though I don't use them 40 hours a week.

I'm angry that I need a doctor's note to prove that I am not capable of working more than part time. And that I have to repeat that it's not temporary. My BiPolar disorder is not going to just go away. Neither is the anxiety. I do what I can to manage it. I do hard things, but it's NOT GOING AWAY.

And... there's me being dramatic. This morning I had to have a meeting with an employment counselor because we had to ask for state help. It's humiliating and awful, but it is what it is. She wants me to be able to work 30 hours a week, and given my management, training, and degrees, I should be able to find work. Yeah. I know that. I HAD management jobs before I became a stay at home mom.

Yes, some days I will admit are simply lazy days. And some days are "hey, I made it out of bed today" Today is an "I need chocolate and lots of it because I'm an emotional ball of cry" day. Today I hate life. Everything - every single stressor, obligation, expectation, and hurt feels like it is weighing me down.

I'm supposed to read this certain thing daily. I do, but today it just made me angry. I'm supposed to pray daily. Today I don't know how to have a conversation with god and sit there for five minutes and listen to him. I don't want to listen. I just want Him to fix things. I know, of course, that's not how life works, but that's how I want it right now.  I want my children comforted, at peace. If they don't want that comfort from me, or if I'm unable to say the right words and offer the right things, that they can get that comfort and peace from some source. Any good source. I wish it were me, but I don't always get my way.

So. whine, whine, whine, drama drama drama. I'm so picked on, me me me.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

It was my birthday, so I had thoughts

43 years ago at 12:48 pm on the 18th of June, my mother gave birth after 12 hours of labor.

Completely natural: no pain meds, no husband in the room. In labor. For twelve hours. All to bring me into the world.

12 hours may seem like a breeze to those who have horror stories, but to me the idea of being in labor for twelve hours makes me quiver in fear. The idea of doing it without pain meds??  AACK.

Me, I had one child completely natural whose labor & delivery lasted all of 20 minutes. I was convinced I was going to die, that the nurses were trying to kill me, and vowed to never, ever, ever, EVER have a child without an epidural. In fact, I swore on tape I would never have another child because that experience sucked so bad. I STILL remember the pain. (I had four more kids, but it took almost 5 years before the next one came.)

So 12 hours of labor? Oh heck ya, my mom is a super hero!!

What did she get for all that hard work? One horrendously ugly baby.  I'm not even joking. Teensy new little me was NOT pretty.  I weighed in at exactly 7lbs. Not exactly small, not exactly large, but I was the largest of the children she's had.

See??  Not cute.

My extended family insists I was cute as can be, but that's because I was the first grandchild and they're completely biased.  Now, maybe I could have been considered cute at three months?

Umnmm, maybe. If you're feeling generous. 

By the time I was five, I was definitely cute.

Aaaand then I ruined it by cutting my hair:

Not only did my mother get an ugly baby, but she got a tomboy who hated wearing dresses and wanted nothing to do with being a princess or sparkly. Oh that made her sad. (I provided her with some very sparkly and princessy granddaughters, though.)  I did, however, love dolls. The smaller and more miniature the better, but dolls of all sizes made me happy and she loved sitting with me to dress them up and do their hair. 

I should probably also note one other thing.  In addition to being as reckless and tomboyish as possible, I hated having my hair done. Hated it. Allowing ribbons or braids or anything was a battle that was only won if my dad got involved. I would purposely lose my hair brush just so she'd leave my hair alone. (Can you say snarls? Oh yeah, snarls)

In addition to fighting over hair, I had three brothers. As the oldest child, and only girl, I was determined to keep up with them. I raced my bike, jumped off ramps, flew down steep hills on roller skates and skateboards just as fearlessly (well, maybe not as fearlessly) as they did.

There were some pretty deep ditches where we lived, and we would bike down one side and up the other to see who could do it and land perfectly. Pretty much our version of the x-games but on dirt.  There was one day my brother and I were doing the biking down/up/down in the big ditch and we both ended up crashing. The day before school pictures.

Aren't we just the cutest pair? We had even more scrapes and bruises on elbows, knees, hands, etc. Were we sorry about our wrecks? Heck no! My mom, however, sighed and fretted over these pictures. I can't really blame her. At least my brother is cute!

Now... the next couple of pictures might not mean a whole lot to you, but when I saw these pictures I wondered who that girl was. It took a while before I realized that since those were my brothers, my mother, and my grandparents, then that too skinny girl had to be me. I was always hungry. There was never enough food in the house unless we were visiting grandparents.

We sure were a happy lot. /snort  

My best friend in the whole wide world, Kelly, had shared her ice-cream cone with me!!!  Oh it was yummy. I can still remember the taste of the strawberry ice-cream and the feel of the sun on my face. Mom snapped this picture. Probably because I was wearing pink. --At that point, I wore what fit because that was all we had. Being picky wasn't an option.

I don't know if you can tell, but my brothers and I were smooshed into one bedroom. I had the rollaway bed which folded up. My brothers had the bunk beds with trundle. In order to have room to play, we'd fold up my bed and roll the trundle under. I can't count how many times I pinched my fingers on the metal latch that kept my bed together when I folded it up. I never minded, though, I had a cool bed compared to everyone else.

Mom , bless her heart, did the very best she could to wrangle her very hyper, very curious, and very rowdy children. I think the only peace she had was when we slept.

When I was in Jr. High, I was snotty, bratty, and horribly disrespectful to my mother. We fought over everything. One time she took the hinges off my door because I'd blocked it off with a chair. I hadn't wanted to talk to her or do whatever chore it was she had in mind for me. -- My brothers tease me endlessly about this whenever we get together --  I grew out of whatever teenage angsty anger that was, and wow do I regret how I treated my mother. (insert jr. high pic here.)

Thankfully I did grow up. Here's my High School self, who grew out of awkward and into kinda pretty.  I love this picture. I think it captures my feisty, snarky, impish, intelligent, and playful traits.
Obviously, six children and nearly 30 years later, I do not look like my high school self anymore. However, my face and height are pretty much the same. I think. 

Today mom and I exchange jewelry; she fusses over my princess daughters who love sparkles and pink. She loves on the others, taking pride in their accomplishments, and sits on the floor to play with my little ones and her great-grandchild. 

She's pretty awesome. 

Thus my awe at her 12 hours of labor for me. I took the longest for her to birth, she was the sickest with me, and, oh, did I mention that I had colic? yeah. I cried ALL the time until I was 9 months old. 

She deserves flowers every year on June 18th, a certificate from Daryl Hoole and Dr Laura (two of her heroes) applauding her efforts to feed and clothe us, and a big gold star that allows her automatic entry into heaven.

Friday, June 17, 2016


Today was my psychiatrist appointment.

In the past few months since the last time I saw him, I've had a drunk day, some pretty low days where it was a giant effort just to get out of bed, and some normal I'm fine days.

I was reluctant to go see him because I did not want to report on the homework assignment he gave me the last time.

Homework: Approach my marriage like I approach Christmas. Figure out a way to make it fun.

Yeah, I did not like that. He told me my face was going to stick in the expression I was making.

When I reported back to him today, I let him know flat out that completing that assignment was flat out impossible. How in the hell does one make verbal abuse fun????  Is that even possible? I'm thinking whoever managed to do it would be some kind of masochist.  Who in their right mind likes to be criticized and made to feel 2 inches tall and stupid constantly??  How is that fun?

It's bad enough that my daughter has moved out for the rest of the summer and moved in with her fiance. I certainly don't blame her. She deserves to live in an environment where she feels safe and loved and allowed to make mistakes without a huge and loud freak-out session.

So... yeah. I tossed that homework aside and did something else. Bought some books. Had a frank conversation with Mr. Grumpster. Started reading. Told him he needed to get some therapy. He doesn't believe me - he thinks it's just a temper thing. It's not. It's a 'watch what words come out of your mouth' thing. It's a 'stop blaming everyone for not being perfect' thing.  It's a 'do you love this person more than you love ' thing. 

My doctor asked about my energy levels, my ability to focus, my appetite, and on a scale of  1-10 with 10 being the worst, where would I rate my depression. Oh, and any thoughts of suicide. (I can at least say no to that one.)

He feels that my stress levels are contributing to my need for constant sleep and low everything else. I'm pretty sure he's right. He also says that my 'drunk' moments are my brain's version of mania. They're tiny in comparison to regular bi-polar, but they're mania all the same. So... yay. I've gotten stressed enough that mania is back in the works.

I love my doctor because he's very frank with me. He looked at me and said, "We could change up your meds, but you're extremely sensitive to side effects. Not only that, but taking a pill is not going to fix your stress levels at home."

That is true. Messing around with the chemicals in my brain and my body causes all kinds of issues. Right now I'm totally fine with dealing with the nausea/dry-heaving caused by the Effexor. The side effects of the other stuff I've been on so far were soooooo not worth it.

He said the following were my options.

* Therapy - for me. If nothing else, I need someone to talk to in order to face and handle the stress of my marriage and coping skills.  And this was not a suggestion, it was something he said I NEED to do. Not really an option if I want to feel better instead of continually getting worse.

* Couples therapy. I don't know if hubster's willing to do that. He's not even willing to talk to a therapist on his own.

* Um... there was a third thing, but I've forgotten it.

Money might be tight, but I am going to spend the $90/month on the therapist visits. She's worth it, she's amazing, and even though I should probably see her more often than once a month, it's better than nothing.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

To-Do list

I am feeling overwhelmed by the things on my to-do list. Some are more important than others. Some are things I *want* to do vs things I *need* to do.

Today they all seem to be bombarding me at once.  Therefore, I'm going to type them all out so that maybe I can look at them instead of having them roll around in my brain demanding attention.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Save The Date!

I did manage to complete this project for my daughter! Yay!

Here are the three options I made for them. She and her fiance will take their favorite and mail out 300 of them to their closest friends and family.  :)

Friday, June 10, 2016


Family dynamics are so different on each side of my family.

The side I primarily grew up with and spent the most time with are very tight knit. We're there for each other, we see each others' warts and spend time together anyway. There's a knowledge that if there's a problem, any one of us will step up and help the other.

Well, maybe I'm wearing rose-colored glasses about it, but that's how I feel my family works. That's always been my experience.

Now, the other side of my family has completely different dynamics. They aren't close-knit at all. I have recently connected with the few relatives I have left on that side and have enveloped them in my heart, whether they want me to or not. I have memories of them from my childhood that are happy and fun.

I know life happens. I know 30+ years have happened since I have seen these folks. I have no idea what has gone on in the details of their lives, what choices they made, what hardships they suffered, or what crosses they bear.

I do know that I love them. Probably more-so because I can see and feel their pain, even though they've not discussed it with me.

Today I saw a comment on one of these relative's FB posts that horrified and broke my heart. My 7yo asked me why I was crying, and all I could say was that I read something that made me sad.

Now, I have no clue what happened in their past. I have no idea what the child or parent went through. I completely understand child/parent trials, and struggle myself with forgiving past hurts. "hurt" being a serious understatement, but I'm not getting into that.

Part of my heart being horrified was the fact that I cannot fathom or understand treating a parent so awfully in public for the world to see. Part was the venom bitten out in such a brazen and unforgiving way that I can't wrap my head around it.


Why do people do this?

Why, if you feel someone is negative and constantly bringing you down, do you interact with them on social media? Why even connect with them there? The folks I have issues with I may not be able to "unfriend" on FB because I don't want to cause ripples, but I unfollow their feeds so I don't feel invaded or that my vulnerabilities are being threatened. And if I don't like their comments on my feed, I delete them.

Now, granted, those are my choices. And I would never, ever, leave inflammatory comments designed to bring someone to tears and humiliate them in front of the entire world. That only serves to make *me* look like an inconsiderate ass.

I truly don't understand.

Emotional wounds cut deep, bleed for a long time, and take years to begin to heal. I am well aware of this. But, why share those hurts with the world? Why? It makes me want to wrap the attacked person in a large warm fuzzy hug and let them know that I love them in spite of all their imperfections.

I'm not this way with everyone. There are a few people I've given my heart to who have smashed it to bits, and I can't trust them with it anymore. It doesn't mean I don't care, but it does mean that I hold myself aloof  let someone else do the hugging and healing for them.

But the public trashing, swearing, and tearing down of a relative? It hurts to read it. It hurts to know that people feel it's right and ok to treat other people so poorly.

Why is it acceptable? And why do they tear their own wounds even more open by lashing out at others? It doesn't help heal, it doesn't make anyone feel better; it simply increases the pain and the bloody mess.

They may not reconcile. I hurt for them. I understand how a child can feel that way; I fully expected my oldest to resent me and hate me after the post-partum years when she had to play mother and I didn't function at all. She had to take on more responsibility than any teenager should have.

But so help me, I wish I could fix it. I wish I could wrap them in hugs and let them know they're lovable no matter what.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Rose Bushes Are Snobs

I am not the world's greatest yard person. I claim to love yardwork, but getting myself out there to actually DO it is something else entirely.

Due to city ordinances about weed height, I have been trying to clear up the front sidewalk area that has grown without restraint since spring happened.

While weeding, the stickers and flag grass wanted to complain and fight about being uprooted. I reminded them that they knew good and well that they were just going to grow back, and to suck it up.  They shrugged and let me go on with it.

In the back yard, however, it's a completely different story with the rose bush. The homeowners planted a rose bush in a corner next to the patio and the gate that leads from the back yard to the front. I'm not sure why they picked that location, but whatever. The white roses are gorgeous when they bloom.

The thorns, however, are another matter entirely. They are not small, and they are extremely sharp.

I had a talk with this bush today. I informed it that it was growing into my children's play space, and that I needed it to bush out in the other direction, please. Also, it would be great if it would cooperate so we didn't get scratched to bits getting the lawn mower from front to back.

Needless to say, the Rose bush felt like I was being unreasonable. How DARE I snip and trim at it. How DARE I prune off dead stalks. It is a rose bush, and deserves to use whatever space it wants.

I insisted that it be socially acceptable and child friendly. It fought back. I won, but did not come out unscathed.

The wild roses that grow along my fence are much more reasonable. They have smaller blooms, but they are so much nicer and easier to get along with. They're still somewhat snobby, but at least they deign to allow me to trim them when I ask.

Blackberries are eager to please, lilacs are more than willing to take direction, and honeysuckle is sweet no matter what.

Roses, however, are snobs.

Monday, May 9, 2016


Yesterday was Mother's Day. I would like to note that I am extremely grateful for my mother and all the mother figures in my life. I love them all dearly.

My kids gave me the sweetest and funniest gifts. I love that my two youngest wanted to sit in my lap and hug on me all day. My 16yo made pancakes several times. My two oldest sent me some long and beautiful texts.

--bit of a self-pity party, so read on at your own risk--

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A Little Bit Sentimental

Ok, a LOT sentimental.

My father-in-law made this shelf for my 9yo daughter. Why? Because she asked.  She wanted/needed a shelf to put her Equestria Girls High School on with shelves underneath to hold the dolls and ponies and other toys she might want to play with.

She decided how tall and wide she wanted it, helped measure, wrote down all the numbers, and then helped text the information to grandpa.

Grandpa used leftover and reclaimed wood to make this for her:

Look at that. This wasn't some super-fast thrown together shelf. No, he cared about the materials he chose. He used the best parts of the reclaimed wood, stripped it down to the beauty under the old ugly veneer, and put together this incredible piece of furniture for a nine year-old. For her toys.

Because she asked and because he loves her.

Not only was he happy to build it for her, but he took the time to show both her and myself how he was building it, what tools he was using, and how he was putting it all together.

This dad knows how to be a dad. This grandpa knows how to be a grandpa.

When I do wood projects, he shows me how to use the proper tools and lets me have at it. I now know how to use a drill press, select proper routing bits, use a hand router as well as a routing table, use a dremel and its various bits, as well as circular saws, jigsaws, and other machinery that I can't remember the names of. I love it so much that I started receiving power tools for Christmas.

I will never claim to be a master craftsman or carpenter, but I feel comfortable with the big kid toys and have absolute confidence that if I go to him with a question, he will be more than happy to answer it and show me how to do it.

Dad. Father-in-law. Grandpa.

These are things most people take for granted, but it means the world to me that he shows up to my children's weddings, blessings, baptisms, etc. When they tell him they're in a play or have a rugby game, he tries to be there. He's excited for his grandkids' achievements, endeavors, and lives. He's INTERESTED in them.

He doesn't just claim to be interested, he actively cares. For Christmas, he called and asked what the kids might want that he could build, and then had the items built and ready for Christmas. He follows through.

He builds special race cars, vintage cars, and trucks for his grandsons. -- don't get all feminist on me, because I guarantee that if one of his granddaughters wanted a car, he'd build one for them, too.

When my daughter's son was born, he had a handmade vehicle from Great-Grandpa V waiting for him.

He doesn't wait for us to contact him, he asks about things, calls or texts, and remembers birthdays. He initiates contact if we forget or overlook things.

He was there when I miscarried twins, holding me as I sobbed on his shoulder. He then went across the street to his friends who run an alternative funeral home and asked the wife to come over. She took the little 14 week old babies and cremated them, bringing me the ashes in a beautiful little porcelain Angel nick-nack so that I could have closure.

He CARES; he's made me feel like one of his own daughters.

Now, please don't think my mother-in-law isn't active in my kids' lives. She definitely is. Perhaps I take that for granted because I've seen/had that example from my own mother. She cares and loves her grandkids as fiercely as she loves her kids.

But the dad thing-- You have no idea how much that means. I can't explain. Well... I could, but it's not right to put all that out here. Just know that for me, having a dad show up, to be there, to be involved. To WANT to include me and teach me the hands on things, not caring that I'm a girl, well, it's a very big deal to me.

This Grandpa came to my oldest daughter's wedding (the oldest grandchild, just FYI.) He was early and ready for my son's blessing (my ONLY son, so it was a very big deal to me that I'd finally had a boy after five girls.)  Ok, so Grandpa V was excited because his only son had finally a son to carry on the name. But still, he was there and he was just as excited and happy as we were.

He was there. He came. And it means the world to me that he's come to everything important to us or to his grandkids - even things that I didn't think were a big deal.

I will forever be grateful that I married into such incredible parents.

Friday, April 1, 2016

It's Been A Year

Exactly one year ago, I left home and headed west. By this time (1:26 pm) I had made it to the entrance gate that leads to Antelope Island. 

I stopped there at the picnic table, put my feet up on the bench and slept for a bit. It would be the last time I felt the sun on my face, the last time I felt the wind in my hair, the last everything.

The cement was cool under my back, but that was ok. I would need my body temperature to be low so the shock of the water temperature wouldn't be unbearable. When I reached the water...

Instead of heading to the entrance gate and starting out along the causeway, I headed off into the lake bed. 

For the Great Salt Lake supposedly being this big lake, it was incredibly hard to find the water...

That's a good thing.

It's been a year. I recognize the trauma that my death -- a self-caused death -- would have caused my family and children. I have continued to fight my demons.

Yes, there are times when I still don't want to be here. There have been a couple of days I've wanted to take that long walk again. However, instead of acting on it, I call my psychiatrist, I call my friend who is a therapist. I let people know that I'm in a bad place. 

Communicating is one of the reasons I'm still here.

I have the best friends. I have a great support system in place. Even the people I work with are awesome. Ok, only one knows that I actually attempted to kill myself, but still. I love them.

Earlier this week I was determined to throw a party and celebrate that I've been alive and here and more "with it" than I have been previously. 

Today I woke up and it just isn't one of my better days. On top of that, I'd spent a lot of last night scrubbing down my kitchen. When I woke up, my kids had decided it was a great day to cook corn bread muffins. Crumbs everywhere, the sink full of dishes, and a very grumpy 9yo yelling and crying because her sister is always giving her the muffins with cracks or that crumble.

It's cornbread. There isn't a piece of cornbread anywhere that doesn't crumble. But she refuses to believe that they aren't like muffins.

In spite of the family drama, I am determined to at least make cookies and have something yummy to celebrate the good things. I have kids that I love. I have a house that I love. There is a perfect blue sky, snow on the mountains, and a clean scent in the air.

My daughter who is getting married in October has learned a new song on her Ukelelee (sp?) and it is adorable. 

My daughter who worked so hard to bring a new life into the world has given me the most precious little grandson in the world! 

I have these amazing children with their struggles and their triumphs. I love them so much. 

I truly have been blessed with good things. While there are times that I can't see that, when I honestly feel like I am a detriment to their lives instead of a good thing, today I can see the truth. I do matter to my children, and they do want me to participate in their lives, no matter what stage they are at.

I am a lucky person. I am grateful for the people who have helped me so much. I'm grateful that I've made it through this last year. Here's looking forward to surviving another. :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Curious Consequence

Nearly a year ago, I took a "Long Walk." That's what some of my friends requested I call my attempted suicide.

I walked close to 15 miles from my house toward the Salt Lake, determined to float in 40 degree water until I felt the sleep of the cold.

I wasn't dressed for the weather - on purpose. I walked as fast as I could to get there before anyone could catch me on the main roads. I knew no one would have a clue where to look for me, and I was right. As soon as I hit the lake bed, I crossed as far from the causeway as possible so I couldn't be seen from the road, and kept the same pace through the sand as I tried to find the water.

Of course, I never found it. When I finally reached the wet sticky mud of the actual shore, my shoes squelched through the stench as the lake itself receded from me. Finally I yelled at the heavens, feeling betrayed that what had felt like the right and only choice was being taken from me, and headed toward the causeway so I could walk home.  

I can't describe the distance. Even now I look back and wonder how in the world I did it. Sheer determination, I guess.

I didn't realize how much I hurt until the guy who drove me to the gates let me out of his truck so I could wait for my husband. Walking to the other side of the gate to stand under the light pole took sheer force of will. I was determined not to let that man or his wife see what kind of shape I was in.

When I got home, after sleeping and freezing for I don't know how long, wow. I had to have help walking. I couldn't support my own weight for the first couple of days. I limped around, my hips and legs bundles of misery as I tried to function. I can't remember how long it took for slowly crossing from my room to the kitchen to feel doable.


Walking sounds so simple, so every day. People run and walk 15 miles easy for marathons all the time. 

Before the walk, I loved to do cardio. Kickboxing, treadmill, fun upbeat video exercises like P90x and TaeBo, I would do it all. I had a gym membership and I LOVED going at any time of day. It was something I could do that was wonderful, freeing, and felt good. Stuff I could never do while pregnant.

Now it's stuff I cannot do anymore.

It's been 363 days, and walking the mile to work still hurts my feet. Sprinting from the girls shirts to the phone in the fitting room - what, 20 feet? - to answer the phone makes my groin muscles ache for 3-4 days.

I walk to work because it's good for me. The fresh air is great for my mental health, whether it's rainy, snowy, overwhelmingly hot, or perfect outside, the walk is *always* beneficial. Especially on my bad days.

So mentally, the walking is great.

Physically, not so much.  I can tell I'm converting some fat to muscle because I need to wear a belt with my pants now. (Whoo Hoo!)  But the pain that accompanies the wimpy exercise is something that confuses me.

It's not nearly as unbearable as the pain that accompanied my last three pregnancies, don't get me wrong. THAT pain made getting out of bed, getting up from chairs, walking, riding in a car, pretty much any kind of movement, make me cry. Oh it was excruciating torture.  

However, when *not* pregnant, my body was pretty much willing to do anything. 

Now, dangit, it feels like my body will never forgive me for what I put it through. 

By now I should have recovered from the exhaustion and the muscle strain. Yet after a few hours at work it's hard to walk after I get home, and yes, I have awesome shoes.

I don't understand. I assume it's an inconvenience for surviving. No, that's wrong. It's a side-effect of the attempted suicide. The surviving part includes this additional issue on a day-to-day basis. It's worth it for the survival part, though. 

I still walk to work. I still love my job. I endure the pain because it's common enough that it's background noise while I'm working. 

At home, it takes a few hours before my feet stop yelling at me, but I've gotten used to it.

I may never know the biological reason for the weirdness. I wish I could understand the science behind the muscle changes and my body not functioning even after twelve months. 

I feel like it wouldn't bother me so much if I knew the why I haven't healed as well as I thought I would. 

It's sad that the idea of hiking to Timpanogos Cave with my kids sounds too hard. So does visiting the zoo, the aviary, DisneyParkOfChoice, etc. My current reality is Let me stay home, please, please, please.

Consequences. Sometimes they make zero sense.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Thoughts On Self Image

I looked in the mirror after my shower today and realized that I liked who I saw.

I don't mind saying that for the first time in my life, I think my breasts are beautiful. I am not overly blessed in this department, but I as I studied myself I realized that they are not horrible looking.

Sure, there are a few stretchmarks from six pregnancies and nursing six babies, but their shape, size, and the way they hang is perfect for me. I discovered one is larger than the other. Yay child #5 only wanting the left side. They are soft, creamy colored, and with the added weight I have put on due to medication and a few years of sedentary life, I actually have cleavage when I wear a bra.

This may seem as TMI to a lot of you, but it's groundbreaking for me. Body image is a big deal.

It's one thing to be able to determine the state of my mental health if I can look at myself in the mirror and like the person I see or not. That usually has nothing to do with my overall physique, but what I see when I look in my eyes.

But to be able to look at my body as is, stretch marks, lumpy I've-had-six-kids rolls on my stomach that will never go away without elective surgery, thicker arms and thighs than I ever imagined I would have, and accepting it, thinking it's beautiful and mine, is a first for me.

When the first mood stabilizer, Risperdal, had me gaining weight and tipped me over the 200 lb mark, I didn't ever want to look at an outfit in the mirror again. Even after I changed meds, I've pretty much stabilized between 205-215 no matter how much walking, kickboxing, trips to the gym, etc that I do.

And for the first time in a very long time, I feel like I not only can live with it, I can feel good in my skin.

When I say a very long time, I mean in probably 42 years. Well, ok, there were times when I was in starvation mode, working two jobs, sleeping 3-5 hours a night for 2 years, and barely having time to catch one meal a day that I could fit into some super cute outfits and felt like I matched what the world sees and expects.

Of course, when that ended, my body said, "FOOD!!  Save it up for the next time she stops eating!!"

Also, given the fact that I am fairly close to 5'9", the extra fifty pounds could look much worse. Lets be real here, on my mom, who is 5 feet tall, fifty pounds would *really* show.

I wish, very much, that when I was younger and had that fit body, the teenage health and vibrance of life in my 20's that I had been just as comfortable in my skin. There's something freeing, something that shines from within when there is that comfort.

Only now do I feel that for real. Yes, I have cellulite. Some days I comment on it, because it's simply a fact that it's there. And because of that, not every piece of clothing is going to look good on my shape. And sometimes I will and do get exasperated at something that looked so good on the hanger not looking good when I put it on.

This is simply a fact, and that's something that I can't always be happy about. But that doesn't mean I feel like I'm ugly or unlovable.

I think that's the most important bit. I think that somewhere along the way, I've decided that yes, I'm lovable. Just as I am.

Perhaps this has to start on the inside. When the bad days are bad and those evil demons of depression are telling me that I'm horrible and worthless, it starts with my thoughts. I feel like my soul is twisted out of shape, a disgusting waste of energy that shouldn't be a smudge on anyone else's existence.

I know that distorts what I see in the mirror. It's like a dark overlay, causing me to hate what I see on the outside because I can't love what is on the inside.

That being said, I didn't suffer from clinical depression when I was younger. I had NO idea what it was like until after my son was born and I had post-partum.

I knew that my grandparents loved me, and I knew that God loved me. That was always a given for me, and somehow that was some stable rock that has stuck somewhere in my brain and has never budged. It's the tiny granite core of the sea-bed that makes up my emotions, self-image, and view of the world.

Yet attached to that core is the fear that they will stop loving me if I make too many mistakes. If I turn out not as perfect as they had hoped. I am fallible; I have certainly not lived the life of a saint, and I have a great many regrets.

For once in my life, for real, I have discovered that people love me no matter what. Perhaps not all people. But my true friends, my brothers, my sister, my mother. No matter what. And maybe that's helped me realize that it's okay for me to love me, too.

Loving me includes loving the lumps and rolls and imperfections that come with aging, motherhood, and the quirks that make up my body.  It's pretty darn cool to feel this way. :)

Monday, March 28, 2016

Another Thing on Fear

I know. I know, I know, I know that what other people think shouldn't matter.

I am having a hard time with that currently.

Ok, so you know I'm religious. My morals and values include a certain dress code and expectations of modesty.

Not all of my children agree with or live to these values and expectations. I may be a tad disappointed about that, but they are their own selves and perfectly capable of making their own life decisions. I certainly don't hold them to whatever grand expectations are out there. I certainly don't live up to them all the time myself.

My family is also very religious. Now, I love my family. LOVE them. They are generous, loving, and have always been there for me when I've needed help emotionally, financially, physically, or whatever.

So I am having some fear issues.

I do not expect nor want anyone to give me a fix-it for this. I just need to express it.

The first big thing that is causing a bit of a rift is that my daughter is marrying a non-member of our faith. And I will fight to the death against anyone who judges her or gives either her or him crap about it. He is awesome, he is the best for her, and they both bring out the best in each other. Not only that, but they are talking responsibly about their future, practicing compromise already, and just being great together.

A couple of family members have already tried to give her a... guilt trip? lecture? about all the things she'll miss out on. And I totally went mamma bear on them and let them know to leave her alone about her decisions.

Well, now I'm feeling self-conscious because her perfect, wonderful, make-her-feel-like-a-princess wedding dress is sleeveless. It shows off her perfect arms and shoulders from her athleticism, and oh my goodness is she beautiful in it.

My fear is that my family is going to think I am an awful mother and haven't raised my children according to my standards.

I know that's a dumb fear. Of course I have. I have *also* raised my kids with the knowledge that they can make their own choices. I don't want them to make choices I'd make. In fact, half the time I wish that I hadn't made the choices I made at their age.

I know that it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. It's her wedding, it can be however she wants it. Either my family supports her, or they don't. It's just painful. The very thought that they might not support her is painful.

This is me borrowing a jack, of course. But I know without a doubt that I'm going to get an earful from my mother. There's nothing I can do about that. It's just going to happen. I'm prepared to deal with that. I am worried that my daughters and I will have to form a protective barrier for my daughter on her wedding day so no one makes her feel awful about her choices.

Anyway, there's my fear. Perhaps with some guilt mixed in for feeling like a failure. Don't tell me how to fix it. I'll just have to work through it. I have no control over others, I can only control myself. And somehow it will all work out. I dont' know how, but it will.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Work and Anxiety

Back in September when I was first hired, I didn't tell them about my mental illness. It was a personal test for myself to see if I could, in fact, handle a job.

I took a xanex every time I worked for the first week or so. I don't remember. But eventually it became necessary only once a month or even less than that.

Then came the day when there was a child throwing a complete and total tantrum. His mother just ignored it and continued shopping. Screaming, yelling, crying, loud loud loud. I broke down, freaked out, and my manager had me sit in the office until I calmed down - and the lady had *finally* left the store.

Not long after that, my xanex kicked in and I was ok the rest of my shift.

Since then, most of the people I work with now know about my anxiety. Amazingly enough, there are at least three other people there with the same issue. They each handle it in different ways. Me, I prefer the safety of the fitting room cave. Others prefer the register or they feel claustrophobic and freak out in fitting room.

With the stressors in my life and the ups and downs with the bi-polar, naturally there are going to be some days that are better than others.

Thursday there were a bunch of teenagers trying on dresses, a couple of moms with little kids, and some adult friends, all in the echoing fitting room. Oh my Holy LOUD. I thought I was going to lose it and start crying. The shakes started, and I was having a hard time breathing.

I called on the radio and asked if there was anyone on the sales floor that I could trade with for a few minutes, until all the loud was out. Immediately one of my co-workers came and took over for me and I went and helped finish the area she was recovering.

I didn't have to ask more than once, I didn't have to explain myself, it was just taken care of.

So far as I know, that has happened for every co-worker that has had an issue with their anxiety flaring.

We cover for each other, management doesn't resent it, and after it's calmed down, we go on with the work.

I don't regret not telling them up front about my issues and why I was looking for a job. I didn't know if they'd hire me if I wasn't sure I could hold a job.

While there are days that I don't want to go to work, don't think I can handle it, or just don't think I can crawl out of bed, I have to admit that it is an immense relief that my co-workers know.

People aren't nearly as judgemental as I assumed they would be. At least not in my workplace. Reasonable Accomodation is what they call it. I call it basic good humanity and I am grateful for it.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Importance of Feedback

I write. I'm an artist. I footzone. I am an unrepentant creative spirit.

I earned a degree in Illustration, and am a couple classes shy of finishing a degree in Graphic Design.

I honestly and truly believe that I do these things well. Oh boy do I have my fears of failure, but it does not mean I believe I suck at the things I love. I can certainly do better and wow is there room for improvement, but I was blessed with talent and it would be disrespectful to my *self* to say otherwise.

One of the reasons that I have the confidence that I can be successful at these endeavors is because of the feedback I receive.

Yes, I know this sounds vain, but let me explain the difference between good feedback and bad feedback. Also, I would like to address how a person handles feedback and constructive criticism.

Firstly, in order to refine and improve, you have to be able to see the flaws and the areas to improve. As a rule, the creator is usually blind to many of these things. While it is true that artists are their worst critic, sometimes it is difficult to step outside of themselves and see the whole.

Due to this, it is vital to hear feedback from an outside source. Preferably from someone who knows what they are talking about.

Constructive criticism is NOT going to be 100% positive. If the writing, the portrait, the design or the artwork is a rough draft, a tight color comp, or something you may have thought finished, that feedback may not even be 50% positive.

In order to take the suggestions, ideas, and bluntness, be emotionally prepared to hear things like, "This doesn't work for me and here's why."  "Do you have any other ideas or layouts that you might want to try because...?" or "This seems completely out of character, why did this person make that choice?" "The pacing here is very slow. I became bored and skimmed to the end of the chapter." Or "I really love how you did this, but it doesn't fit with how you did this."

KNOW you aren't going hear things that will proclaim you as a faultless god in your endeavor.

**Put on your emotional armor, have a notebook handy, and realize that the people you trusted to view this baby are not attacking YOU.

** Write down all of the suggestions and take notes on ideas. Things they say may inspire you while you're listening.

** Ask questions after they are done.


There will be feedback you feel is completely ludicrous. You'll hear stuff from folks who don't understand what you're trying to say. They'll try to change it to the way 'they'd" have done it or what they think you should be doing. Be polite, listen, and disregard what you don't agree with. Think very consciously about what they are saying before you throw it out, because sometimes it can spark a brilliant idea.

In that same vein, valuable positive feedback will tell you what you did great and WHY it is great. The most important thing is understanding what works and why it works so you can put that in your file of workable techniques.

Bad feedback attacks you personally. Disregard it. Seriously. It sounds a lot like, "What were you thinking??" "This is dumb, what a waste of time." "You kind of suck at this."

Bad feedback is vague. "I don't like it." "Oh, this is great!"

I'm sure it's possible to improve without hearing from outside sources, but it will take a lot longer.

If you are pursuing writing or any kind of artistic field, please, PLEASE, be open to honest feedback. It is the most frustrating thing in the world to tell someone why you feel a, b, or c isn't functioning as well as it could, and have them get defensive, angry, and attack. Don't be that person. Just don't.

Defensiveness makes your critique group walk on egg shells around you, simply supplying your wanted platitudes. That's a waste of your time and theirs. OR, they ostracize you. That sucks, too. Defensiveness will never help you improve. Ever.

If someone says, "That's not something I would ever read/buy/commission," take it for what they mean. It's something THAT PERSON isn't interested in. It doesn't mean it's worthless; it means they are not in your audience. There is no convincing them they will love what you're doing, and no point in getting hurt over it. Simply acknowledge their position and move on.

We all feel defensive about our babies. It's the nature of being a creative. The trick is to recognize the emotion, admit it to yourself, and tell it to shut up until you are alone. Vent it all you want at the wall, at a friend, or in a diary. When you're calm, look at your notes and get to work.

Boom, growth.

That's the importance of feedback.

The biggest reason that I believe my story is worth finishing is because of the comments and criticism of my critique group. They are complete strangers - er, they were to begin with. I have pages and pages of constructive criticism that I need to address for the re-write. Yet the positive feedback from strangers and from some very picky readers that I know - who I trust to give me honest and blunt feedback - is extremely encouraging.

Don't get me wrong, I will need a content editor when I feel confident in the draft. I will definitely need a line-editor, since my ability to type a coherent sentence or use correct words is obviously impaired now. Um, also my love of commas and apostraphes.

I have designed my daughters' graduation announcements and their wedding invitations. I've done High School musical programs, designed logos, and portraits. In *EVERY* project I have asked for and expected feedback.

I've worked with printers and professional designers on several of these projects. Their input was invaluable and certainly not always ego boosting.

I do not expect nor wish to be coddled.

I want to grow as much as possible. I expect every artist does. Accepting criticism is imperative to this.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Red Heads are Real

There have been a gazillion writing posts and blogs and tantrums from editors about red-headed characters.

Stop with the red-heads they say.

They're uber rare, they say.

No one knows that many red-heads, so stop writing them, they say.

Pfffft, I say.

I say I'm entitled to write red-headed characters. I have a right to write them!!  Let me tell you why.

My grandparents have eight living children, three boys and five girls. Of those five girls, four of them are red-heads, my mother being one of them.

All three of my brothers were born with bright red hair. It fell out, of course, and grew in as that super white toe-headed cute stuff everyone loves.

I have several cousins with red hair. (I can't count them as I don't know the exact number. I have 80+ cousins, so YOU can count them if you want.)

All right, all right, yeah, so of my five girls, only one has red hair. That's a smaller number, sure. And people have been asking me since my daughter was two if I dyed her hair. TWO!  Who dyes a kid's hair at the age of two????  Can I help it that she was born with a beautiful color of auburn??  I wish I had that kind of control over genetics, I'd be rich.

Now lets talk about the hubster's family.

His grandmother and her twin were red-heads. Grandma had three girls; two of them are red-heads.

The hubster was a very bright red-head until his teen years when it darkened to a dishwatery blond. His beard is still red. Of his four sisters, two are red-heads.

The gal across the street from me is a red-head.  Even my best friend's mother-in-law is red!

Come on, that is NOT rare.

Therefore, if I want to write about a red head, I damn well will. So there.

It's when I write about a blond or a brunette that I feel like I'm writing something a little more exotic.

I don't care what the statistics say. I think this freaking out over the number of red-headed characters is batty.

Red hair is real, and I have the family to prove it.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

I Wish I Could Protect My Children From The Yuck

I wish that there was some way to protect my children from difficult pregnancies and even more difficult recoveries.

Well, honestly, I wish there were a way to protect them from all things harmful. Of course, that would prevent their own growth and learning. How can they gain strength if they don't learn to climb over, dig under, or move around obstacles, right? But oh it's hard to watch.

My oldest is now struggling with Post-Partum depression. As I am open about my feelings and experiences, so is she. 

I want to link to her post. I didn't know how to share my post-partum experience when I was having it. I made a lot of excuses for it at the time. I didn't honestly know how to cope, and I was unmedicated. My older children had to take on much of the parenting responsibility and my attitude about it was not helpful.

And now my daughter is having that same struggle. It is heartbreaking to share these thoughts and feelings together over the phone. It is comforting to find someone who truly understands, but it is also so very difficult to have to struggle through it.

Here is her post:  Too Honest For Comfort

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Some things are worse than mental illness

I am not going to go into a lot of detail here; it wouldn't be right.

But I need to say that things that look happy on the outside are not often happy for real. You know, things like relationships, family, bills, or whatever. Things people don't see.

It is extremely upsetting to me when we have to borrow money from family to survive. And we've had to do that several times. More than once this past year when my husband was laid off.

It's difficult for me to admit when things aren't perfect. When there are things I haven't wanted to see or admit are problems. But now I can see them. Now I have to face them, and now I have to deal with them.

Dealing with issues is hard. It's tearful, it's a mix of anger and frustration, humiliation and fear.

I wish I could vent more here. I wish I could be specific and not have judgments poured out. I wish I could cite my imperfections and others that have impacted my life. Things that make coping with my mental illness even harder.

Things that make reality hard. Today I feel that weight. Today I kind of wish I still had my blinders on. I'm tired of being strong. But so help me, I will be. And I will take necessary steps.

I just hope it's soon enough and worth the effort.

Monday, February 22, 2016

I wish and hope for my daughters

There are words and emotions I want to say and spell out, but they won't form into a coherent whole. I'm going to try anyway.

My oldest daughter is married and has had her first child. My first grandbaby. It's amazing and wonderful and challenging and hard. She's struggling with college and a baby who won't sleep. The hormones of her post-partum female body are not making things any easier.

I remember that stage. It's hard to watch her struggle. It's also impossible not to get goofy happy about that little life she's brought into the world who I love so much.

She has a husband who adores, cherishes, and loves her. She hates it when she cannot sleep next to him and is still completely besotted, even when her marriage gets hard.

My second daughter is now engaged. She's changing colleges so she can live near him until they get married. When, we don't know for sure. I hope sooner rather than later, but we'll see.

Again, this daughter has a guy who absolutely adores her. She misses him when they are apart. She has given him her whole heart, and he's earned it.

I love that these guys love my daughters. That they build each other up, that they support each other's goals. I've watched them compromise, and work together to face challenges. Ok, granted, a whole year of marriage for child #1 is not a whole lot of time. But it's a very healthy start, I think.

Child #2 isn't even in a marriage yet, but she's had relationship practice before this. And oh my goodness did she sample the dating pool. The way she and her fiance have faced their differences and their situations has been impressive and amazing to me.

The point I'm trying to get at, I think, is that I am so very glad that my girls have ended up with young men who love them, respect them, and who are compassionate and caring about their feelings, their goals, and who they are.

I hope my other three daughters end up with men like that.  I hope my son grows up to be a man like that.

I know things don't always work out. I know, quite well, that some people have well-concealed masks that aren't discovered until after the wedding vows have been said.

I sincerely and desperately hope that my girls have keepers. That they have chosen wisely and that their mates have chosen well in return. I hope my girls are just as amazing to their men.

I wish for them all the happiness that it's possible to have. Life will not be kind. Every single one of my kids is going to have ups, downs, and roller-coaster rides from hell. Marriage is an opportunity to become a master at forgiveness and compromise. It's certainly not easy.

I hope for my girls that it's worth it.

We all know that people change. One or the other in the unions are capable of making dumb and hurtful choices. Things happen. Not all marriages last; some last when they shouldn't.

I hope. I hope that these pieces of my heart walking around out there in the world get their happy endings.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

This thing I call living

I'm sitting here feeling the effects of missing a dose because I spilled the water on my bedside table yesterday. I forgot to go back and take the meds after I made it to the kitchen when my day started. Today: nausea, my extremities feel constantly tingly/on fire, lucid dreams, and super dizzy. 
It makes me see the ramifications of being on medicine in the first place. I feel my mortality, the tenuous connection I have to sanity, and my frailties. 
While I know I need my psychotropic drugs, the side effects are a fairly big deal. I often wish I didn't have to take them. I wish I had a reliable memory.
Clinical depression 90% of the time requires medication. That's just the way of it. But there are some people who do beautifully on homeopathic, footzoning, diet changes, sunshine regimes, etc. It's definitely worth looking into the non-drug stuff, for sure. I did. Of course, I ended up in the psyche ward because my Bi-Polar Depression isn't the kind of challenge that is going to go away just because I'm stubborn and was raised to think pharma is evil.
There are mental tricks, tips, mantras, breathing techniques, and all other kinds of coping strategies that are awesome and helpful. I use these all the time. 
So many different tools for the so many different versions of mental illness. Not one person's depression is the same as another's. Not one person's Bi-Polar is the same as another's. Same with anxiety, and any of the other mental illnesses that go into this list.
I know there are people who are positive that if I'd just do this one thing, I'd be healed. Today, while making myself get up and deal with the eating, moving, kidlet wrangling, and loss of most of the day, I look at my life and realize that there are a great many things that I have the power to change. .
Yet there are some things that I have no control over. Some things that would require a miracle or two to fix. And while I personally believe that miracles can and do happen, often daily, I have been told 'No' to the removal of this particular challenge. It's something that frustrates me, inspires me, paralyzes me, and kicks me into action just to prove that I'm not a hopeless lump. It's terrifying at moments, humiliating at times when my failures seem so enormous. Humbling at having to rely on others to pick up the slack.
But amazingly enough, it's also rewarding. The amount of people who contact me and tell me how encouraging it is that I'm willing to talk about it. That I show my insides. The fears, the urges - like wanting to run away, or face the wall let the darkness consume me. Or the *need* that sometimes comes to the forefront of my mind, the one that says to take that long walk and disappear into the bottom of the lake that's just over yonder. 
Things I *have* to discuss so they don't become truth. I'm still here. Today that alone feels like a miracle. 
Rob has to have his meds to stay alive. Physically, his body will reject his kidney, and his body will stop functioning if he doesn't have his medication.
My medication is also necessary for my survival. I don't have a transplant, diabetes, or some other horrible disease that is slowly eating away at my ability to live. My body isn't failing. I can breathe, eat, walk, talk, taste my food, not worry about my blood sugar (now that I'm off the risperdal,) etc. 
But without my meds, I won't survive. The chemicals in my brain will change my mental state of mind, my ability to discern truth vs lie in my own thoughts, and my interpretation of communication with others. It will affect my motivation, energy levels, and ability to reason in a logical fashion. It's happened before, affecting my decisions and choices which felt right at the time. 
I suppose I'm being self-involved and unable to focus on those around me today. I have a friend in rehabilitation I should go visit. He had a knee replaced a while back, and then had to have surgery again after part of it tore. Yet driving today would be a very stupid choice, and well... I'm not going to get into the other why's and wherefores of not getting there. But I know he loves company, and I should get over there.
But at the moment, just interacting with my kids feels like the most I can do for serving those around me. I hope on some level it counts.

Thursday, February 18, 2016


Someone sick = called in early on Monday. Someone quit = stayed late on Weds. Also had Blue & Gold for Wil and New Beginnings for Mina and Jada yesterday (Weds) Forgot to take xanex before the Blue & Gold... that was hard, but I got through it. At least New Beginnings was quiet.

I think I fell asleep as soon as I hit the bed last night. Still have two more days of work this week. I am trying really hard to dig up some enthusiasm while I'm there. As Howard Taylor puts it, "Be the dancing monkey for the public.

Once upon a time, I worked 40+ hours a week. (When you're salaried, no one counts overtime.) For a couple of years I had two jobs and worked I don't even know how many hours a week. Now here I am finding 20ish hours a struggle.

Honestly? This week I have truly wondered if working is a good idea. Deep down I do love it, but wow is it hard. Thankfully next week I only work three days.

And yet I find myself wanting to get back into more involvement with my kids. I wanted to approach the Cub Master last night and tell him all the stuff we used to do when I was cub master. Wasn't sure how that would go over, so I kept my mouth shut. If you know me, you probably know how hard that was. I tend to want to take over when I feel like I'm good at something. I was good at being a pack leader. It was hard, but I loved it. There's nothing so fun as getting to be a 9yr old boy for a few hours a week.

Of course, that being said, I know there will be times when I can't function. Those days are part of my life now and I can almost accept it. However, I crave the involvement. Which is NOT simplifying my life, but it's something I want to do.

A little girl came over and asked me about Girl Scouts at the Blue and Gold. I have no clue how she knew to talk to *me* of the 60+ people there. Neither did her dad, but he took down all the information so he could enroll her.

I miss scouts. I miss the activities, the smiles on the girls and boys faces when they achieve something they didn't know they could do.

And frankly, it feels like it would be a great escape from... well... stuff that would be inappropriate to talk about on FB, but is super massive stressful that I don't know how to deal with. Crap that my psychiatrist challenged me to turn into something fun like I did with Christmas. I think the man is insane and mean for expecting me to be able to do it.

And honestly, I'm a complete coward. So much so, that when I missed my appointment on Tuesday, I still haven't rescheduled. I don't want to report that I have no idea how to do his stupid homework. Not only that, but I don't want to. After six weeks, I still have zero clue where to even start. Not smart of me, and I need to suck it up and set an appointment because the man manages my meds and my state of mind.

But AAARGH I hate admitting that I don't even want to try this challenge. It's a flat "Nope, not gonna do this one and you can't make me. I don't want to find a way to make it better; it's simply easier to continue to endure, so there. How about we forget I even brought this subject up.

Wow, that was a victim complex right there. Yeesh. If you read through that, you get extra stars for patience.

I'm gonna summon the strength to shower and get through my short four hour stint in the fitting room. I CAN make eye contact and smile at people for four hours. It's nice to see people smile back.

One of my co-workers said, "How do you get people to willingly let you count their clothes out? They always get mad at me." -- This surprised me, because I couldn't imagine any alternate scenarios.

Well, except for those few that are determined to be angry and upset. They generally start out that way no matter what is said or done. I honestly don't get a lot of those, but they happen. They hate that I slow them down by counting in, and they really hate that I slow them down by counting out. Oh AND the fact that their clothes have to touch the T-bar. That's even worse for those folks. Darn. I'm gonna do it anyway.

So why don't my people normally have an issue with counting in and counting out? I dunno. I make it funny? I laugh about it? They can sense that I'm not giving them an option, it's just the way it is? Smiling about it is funner? I swear to them I went to first grade and learned how to count or do basic math?

The fitting room is MY domain and it's a happy place for me. Maybe they can sense that? My life is hard enough and I hope I can make other people feel loved when they're having a bad day? Especially when clothes don't fit right, or they're having to try out bigger sizes and that's depressing? I have no idea.

I like people, and they tend to like me back. It's just a thing. My friend Lee commented once about it, and it was a pretty awesome compliment.

Now, don't get me wrong, I KNOW my take-charge attitude totally offends some people. And wow can I be a know-it-all sometimes. I try to apologize and make it better when I'm aware of it.

And obviously I have personality conflicts with some people. Let's be real here, it happens to everyone. And when it does my attitude is, "Well, I know God loves them. He can love them over THERE, preferably not next to me." I know you know how that is. Everyone does. Some people just suck to be around no matter how hard you try.

Anyway, I need to go shower now. Love all y'al.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Oh I feel like I suck right now

The pitfall of having *me* as the homeschool 'leader' whatever thing I'm supposed to be, is that I forgot I have an entirely different email I'm supposed to be checking.

75 messages from teachers. 75.

If I could remember to check the dang thing, I could remember to push/remind/do my freaking JOB.

Granted, I cannot make the child's choices, but ohmyholycrap, I feel like an immense failure right now. What kind of mother stays oblivious to attempted communication from teachers?????

One more alarm I need to set on my phone as a reminder. Well, assuming the worst doesn't happen. Oh, I can't even tell you how bad it will be if the worst happens. On the plus side, grades are currently pulled up in all but two of the classes, and one of those is waiting for assignments to be graded. If you knew my daughter, you'd know why I was stressing over this. It's a very big deal. And don't tell me public school would be better. Just don't. Again, you don't know my daughter.

this is what my phone looks like:
*alarm: Take your meds
*alarm: get out of bed and shower for work - or heck, shower for hygiene.
*alarm: make dinner
*alarm: Hey, feed yourself lunch/breakfast
*alarm: it's time to read to kids
*alarm: bedtime for kids
*alarm: did you do your writing today?
*alarm: did you do your sketching today?
*work alarm: Break's over. Lunch is over. (timer set for 15 or 30 mins)
*new alarm: Check the homeschool email
*new alarm: check assignments (fridays) - because it's my JOB. And not only do they check child's work, they check to make sure I am being involved and helping.

Alarms because I can't remember a damn thing because my brain doesn't function anymore. And the aphasia, that's annoying, too.

*sigh* The best I can do at this point is try to do better. I can't fix the past. No one can. But uuuuuugh my new brain is frustrating. How am I supposed to be an example of responsibility when I can't remember basic things without reminders?

I KNOW the depression is going to take this and make the guilt and feeling of failure even worse. And if I don't deal with it soon, the anxiety will kick in. I know I'm going to have to stay on top of that so it doesn't spiral down. But I guess right now I'm allowed to feel that way for a few minutes or however long until I handle the guilt and use it as a stepping stool instead of a holycrapISUCK!!!!!

And trust me:  consequences. Oooooh consequences. I may never let this child out of the house until she's 30.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

I have no idea how to title this. Grief? Death?

When I was 7, my great-grandmother died. My mother's grandma. I wanted to go to her funeral, but was told I was too young. I was so angry with my parents. I wanted to go say goodbye to the softest, huggiest, smiliest great-grandma that I had. the *only* great-grandma that I had. But nope, it was determined that I wouldn't be able to handle a casket and a dead body. When my mom came home, she hugged me said she wished she'd taken me. That made me even more angry.

When I was 13, my grandma died. My dad's mom. She was in the hospital for a week or so, an hour away from where I lived. I wanted to go see her, to hold her hand. I was told, again, that I would not be allowed in her hospital room because it would traumatize me. Again, I was angry. The grandma who played "My Koala" with my brother and I, the grandma who cooked fresh-caught fish, who loved camping and fishing, was gone. At least I was allowed to attend the funeral that time...

When I was 16, my dad's only sister, my Aunt Rita, passed away. Hers was a closed casket funeral due to time of death vs time found. Aunt Rita had lived with us when I was little. She loved to play dress-up with me, do my make-up and curl my hair. She had a raspy voice from smoking, and I loved to hear her speak. I still have the last birthday present she sent me. A pound puppy.

When I was 20, and 8 months pregnant with my first child, my grandfather passed away. My dad's dad. Grandpa was an ornery old guy, fighting lung cancer, liver issues, and emphyzema. I always made it a point to go visit him whenever I was in Pocatello. If my school took a trip and we ended up at the mall, I'd leave, cross the main roads, and go knock on his door to say hi. I visited a lot less when I moved to Utah, but I always wanted him to know that he was important to me. He was often grouchy, but that was ok. I didn't mind; in fact I think I loved him all the more for it, because he didn't feel a need to protect me from the truth of his life. I never doubted that he loved me.

Now that I'm 42, my dad's youngest brother, my Uncle Randy, has passed away. Yesterday. When I moved to Utah, I felt like I'd lost nearly all of my Idaho family. Not long after my grandfather's funeral, my dad and Randy had a falling out, so I lost touch with him completely.  About six months ago, I reconnected with him over Facebook.

Uncle Randy was always willing to play with us when I was little. He always had a smile, and was always so gentle and sweet. He came to my wedding and took 90% of the pictures that day. He blew some up and put some in photo albums and mailed them all to me. He was so very giving.

I don't know what the difference is between this loss and the losses I experienced 20+ years ago. I am so sad that he's gone. I recognize that I am in a different place emotionally than I was back then. I understood that death happened, I was both sad and angry over the first two - so much so, that even now I feel reverberations of that anger. But I didn't feel the impact of loss, just the shock that they were gone. Grandpa O was finally out of pain. Grandma O had tried to pass in her sleep, but they brought her back and put her on life support until the family pulled the plug. So her death felt right and timely. Not painless, don't get me wrong, but it was still more peaceful than it could have been.

Rita's death was much more of a shocker. She'd just graduated with her bachelors in Culinary Arts, had a job as a chef, and then bam, gone. The worst part of that whole thing was the awful awful way the things she left behind were handled by -- well, I probably shouldn't name names here. But it was so bad I was embarrassed to be there, having to help with what felt like a smash-and-grab. I think Rita would have been absolutely pissed at how things were handled. I will say this, though. My uncle Rudy was so sad, so filled with grief, and yet so solid at that time.

So here I sit, contemplating the grief and sadness I'm feeling at the news of my uncle's passing. I don't feel like there's a hole in my heart. I feel regret that I didn't make it up to visit him, to introduce him to my children. To give him a hug. I think he needed lots and lots of hugs and I regret not being able to visit him and share hugs with him.

Part of me is jealous, I will admit that. Why did it get to be his time and not mine? Why didn't he come and get me and take me with him?

Part of me simply misses him. I miss knowing that he's there, reading my goofy meaningless FB posts and sometimes commenting. I miss the idea that I can go visit him the next time I drive up to Idaho. Instead, the next time I drive up it will be for his funeral and that sucks.

Death sucks. It just does. I know it happens to everyone. Every single one of us will die at some point. And I believe in a life after death, I believe we'll see each other again. That doesn't make death any freaking easier to take.

This time there's anger as well. I'm angry that it happened so soon after we'd reconnected. I'm angry that due to his family circumstances he didn't have any next of kin on file. No next of kin on file. NONE. That is horrifically sad, because he felt neither of his brothers would care if he lived or died. Well **I** care, dammit.

There's been a clumsy mess of finding relatives to take care of the funeral and all the other fun arrangements. Again, yay for facebook and yay for my sister who pays attention to his page. I'm angry at the falling out of dad and his brothers, because now there are only the two brothers left and neither knows how to contact the other. I'm angry that my dad's side of family - including me - doesn't stay in touch with anyone.

On Thursday I told a gal from work that I would pick up her shift tomorrow because she's attending a funeral. How ironic. I don't have a clue how to stand there tomorrow morning and smile at people. How to help them with feedback on clothes, where to find things in the store, and just generally be cheerful. How does one fake it that much? I hurt. My heart hurts. So much sadness, so much wrongness.

I grieve.

In fact, here, give a listen to Peter Gabriel's "I Grieve" because it's appropriate.

There aren't really any right words to say. I know, because I've looked for them when trying to comfort others who have experienced loss. It's okay to just say anything.

Well, except to ask me if I'm ok. Don't do that. My husband keeps asking me that, and that is probably the dumbest question on the planet. Because NO. No, I am not okay. My uncle just died and I hurt inside. I am going to cry and be sad, because it hurts.

I may be on drugs because I'm depressed and bi-polar, but I am still allowed to be sad. So don't freaking ask me if I'm ok. The answer is no. I'm sure I will be eventually, but not today. Or tomorrow.