My Hope Is A Battle Cry

rally

There’s a growing sense of dread that’s come to sit on my shoulders. I know I’m not the only one. There’s an uneasiness that lives somewhere between my stomach and my heart, a churning ball of anxiety and rage and sorrow. There is an unshakeable tension between my shoulders and a slight tremor in my hands. I’m becoming terrified of our world, our country, our society.

I don’t have to spell it out. Your fear might not have the exact same triggers as mine, but it’s there in all of us right now. All of us who pay the slightest attention to the world outside. Like a old Maine fisherman, we’re sitting on our front porches, looking at the sky and muttering “Stahm’s a’ brewin’.”

Underneath all of that scary, there sits a tiny shred of hope, though. I can’t help my streak of optimism and I’m trying very hard to focus on it, nurture it now when it is needed most. My hope comes from seeing Bernie Sanders almost pull off the upset of the century and reminding Democrats what liberal is. My hope comes from watching crowds gather in solidarity around victims of violence. My hope comes from national outrage at reduced sentences for the affluent white male.  My hope is that more and more people are waking the fuck up. Continue reading

LEGO Dimensions: The Bane of My Existence

There are a lot of huge, terrible things in this world. Like, a lot a lot. I don’t have the energy or strength to discuss those right now. So I’m going to rant about something that isn’t truly important but has made my life a sort of living hell. And that thing is LEGO Dimensions,  or the worst video game in the world.

My oldest son is 14. Like most teens, he’s obsessed with video games. The autism might make this fixation a little more intense, but I’m sure a lot of parents can feel me on this. Video games for kids are terrible now. Not their content, but this new thing of buying a million add-ons for each game. There’s Disney Infinity and Skylanders. We have an extensive Amiibo collection, which, as far as I can tell, do absolutely nothing. You can unlock special suits and characters, but from what I can gather, you can also unlock those things just by playing the game. But, no, we need to spend $13 a pop for plastic figurines in a variety of characters and variations – Mario, Gold Mario, Fireball Mario, 32-bit Mario in classic colors, 32-bit Mario in modern colors, Mario with his arms in a slightly different postion. Seriously. It’s a load of bullshit. But Cal has always been a Mario freak and we indulge.

Continue reading

The Great American Clusterfuck, or Let’s Burn it all Down and Start Again

 

My child has had a shitty illness for this week. When his fever finally dropped to 99, I sent him back to school. He did not get better. I took him to the doctor. She prescribed him antibiotics, we went to fill the prescription, and that is when I learned that our health coverage was GONE. My insurance company had canceled both of our plans. Just like that. I argued with the smug, British fucker saying I’d had no idea, that they hadn’t notified me. He argued back saying they had, indeed, notified me by mail. He said they mailed me a letter April 6, and told me the address to which they mailed it. Continue reading

Guest Post: Know Your Status

This guest writer has requested to remain anonymous. 

Today, I became a statistic.  What sort of statistic? I’m not entirely sure because I’m older than the typical age range according to the CDC.  What I am sure of: I tested positive for chlamydia.

The diagnosis didn’t come as a total surprise, which I’m sure my doctor could hear in my voice when she called before 8:30 in the morning.  That’s not to say it wasn’t a crushing blow to hear the news, because it was.  When you get that inkling that something might be wrong, you hope you’re just overthinking, so confirmation of the suspicion sucks.  The good news is that I decided to get tested.  The good news is that it’s something treatable.  The good news is that everything else came back negative.  The bad news is that it IS something, and there’s no denying it.

At work I felt like a zombie walking, preoccupied with the thought of this sexually transmitted infection lurking inside of me.  I checked my phone non-stop for the text from the pharmacy saying my prescription was ready for pickup.  Saying I raced to the store would be an understatement.  I have never been so excited to pay for antibiotics and take the first dose in my life.  A week-long pill regimen for a lifetime of, “yes, I have been infected before.”  My brain has been racing with questions – did he give it to me?  Have I had it for years unknowingly and then gave it to him?  How did I let this happen?  How did he let this happen?  I don’t want to be accusatory; how will this conversation go? Continue reading

2 Days Late, but a Few Thoughts I Had on International Women’s Day

● Upon reading a brave young lady’s account of being sexually assaulted at a metal show,
I was reminded of the time I confessed to a past boyfriend my deep dark secret of being
assaulted myself. And how he called me a liar. Same boyfriend a few months later got
angry at me for yelling at one of his customers at the bar he worked at because the
customer grabbed my ass, and was equally handsy with other ladies at the same time.
● Taking a walk last night, I was hollered at by an SUV full of young men. Contrary to their
intentions, I was not flattered, only thankful I was on a busy street so if they tried to
physically assault me, at least I was in public and would maybe get help from passers by. Continue reading

You’re Not Actually a Bear So Quit Calling Yourself One

I hate a lot of things. Like. A lot. Mayonnaise, Michael McDonald, abortion protests, peep toe booties, the months of July and August, pets, dirty dishes, Pretty Woman, overbearing parents. (An abbreviated list for sure.) But in that “overbearing parents” category is the “mama bear.” And to the mama bear, I say, “Ugh, shut the fuck up.” Continue reading

I’m Still Here.

FullSizeRender

Today, I reached a milestone in my life. Today marks a year since the day I stopped drinking. It’s been a year, but it’s also been a lifetime, the blink of an eye, a long sigh and small voice saying “I knew you could do it!’.

I didn’t tell anyone that I was stopping. I didn’t even tell my husband. I didn’t want it to be A Thing. I didn’t want to chance failing and having people look at me thinking “Ha! Remember that time she said she was going to quit drinking?” because people are judgmental dicks and they do things like that if you fail. I didn’t want to answer the repeated “Ohhhhhh are you pregnant? Are you trying to be?” questions that always follow up declining a drink because that’s the only reason you wouldn’t be drinking, right? After a few months, I slowly told one or two people, making jokes about being “Late-Edge”, but the momentum felt good. It felt like I had made the right choice for once. When I hit the six month mark, I was at wedding for one of my favorite people and I had the best time. I danced, I sang, I smiled, I laughed and I didn’t drink. Tiny victories. Small steps.

At one year, I’ve learned that those lists that always appear around the New Year, “I Quit Drinking for One Year and Everything Is Awesome!” aren’t quite true. My life did not immediately become easy. In actuality, it became much harder. I drank a lot to deal with depression, even before I knew I was dealing with long-standing depression. I drank to deal with anxiety and sleeplessness. I drank when I was happy about something and I absolutely drank when I was sad. I drank because it was Tuesday and the sun came up. When I stopped drinking, I had to deal with all the feelings I had been trying to suffocate. After years of trying to ignore and displace ugly feelings, now I have to feel them all of the time. It sucks, to be quite honest. Anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication has helped immensely, as has my incredibly supportive husband and friends, but it’s sucked having to relearn how to deal with things like a normal human being.

I did not lose a large amount of deadweight friends, thankfully. Most of the people who abandoned the S.S. Friendship boarded their lifeboats back when I had a baby. Apparently, babies are kryptonite to people who like fun. This actually worked in my favor because by the time I came out as sober, the friends that were around were friends that I knew were friends regardless of what I did or did not do. This is definitely not to say that I didn’t get the occasional “But, you’re not done drinking forever, right??” or “Ugh. I miss Fun Erin.” to which I patiently explain that Fun Erin may have been fun for you, but Fun Erin was torture for me.

I also did not quit drinking and magically lose all of the weight. I am not a lithe swan of a woman, but to be honest, I hated being a lithe swan of a woman when I was skinny and drinking. I’d much rather be where I am now, stress-eating and dealing with all of the feelings, but way more comfortable in my skin. I’m cool with my higher jean size and fatter ass if it comes with fatter self-esteem and the ability to validate myself.

This has definitely not been easy. My city is a city of Lost Boys and Neverland. It’s a city that encourages and glorifies those that haven’t grown up and don’t need to. It’s a city that loves to hold a fundraiser but can’t figure out how to do it without a bar. It’s a city punctuated by pitchers of mimosas at brunch every Sunday and dollar beer night and endless summer afternoons at the river with beers and that’s awesome. But it’s not for me. I can’t handle it and that’s ok. I’m slowly finding my way without it. In the meantime, if you want to hang out and play board games, go fishing, see movies, eat delicious food and make fun of everything, I’m here.

I’m still here.

Advice for the Daughter I’ll Probably Never Have

I’ve discussed the fact that I (probably) can’t have kids, and how much it sucks. I mean, I’ve mostly come to terms with it – but there is a neverending grieving process involved. I want a daughter who’ll kick ass and end up running the world. I like to imagine her, this funny, smart, brave kid – and all of the things I want to teach her. Since it doesn’t look like I’ll ever get that opportunity, I still want to share my philosophies with y’all, because they’re a damn good way to live your life and I think every child, especially the girl chirren, should have these words of wisdom spoken to them from birth.

Don’t let others define you.  Your life is going to be full of people attempting to tell you who you are – they’re going to try to label you so you fit into a category in their life. The problem with that is you can start believing the labels, tailoring who you are to fit someone else, everyone else. You are your own person, you define who you are, labels are bullshit. Embrace all of the wonderful complexity of you and defy anyone who tries to simplify you – their inability to accept life fully is not your problem, don’t reduce yourself to make things easier for the unimaginative.

You make your own joy. Every day, every moment, is filled with choices – choose joy as often as you can. Don’t rely on others to make you happy, you’ll always be disappointed. But if you’re already happy, you’ll shine brighter than everyone around you. Find what brings you peace and happiness and pursue it fiercely. Encourage others to do the same. Be a beacon of joy.

Don’t hide from pain. You’re going to get hurt – physically, mentally, emotionally. Don’t let the fear of pain keep you from chasing life. You might end up with some scars, be proud of them. A scar means you won, you survived, you’re still here. Scars are never ugly. Protect yourself as best you can, but at the end of the day, take the risk for what you want. Continue reading

Guest Post: Get That Baby To Sleep

Today’s guest post comes from Althea Egon: I am a crafty geek, toddler wrangler and artist who is prone to wild fits of kitchen singing. I have been a bicycle mechanic, a teacher and a cubicle slave. Identity crisis is my middle name… My friends say I’m restless. Huzzah!

Although my husband and I didn’t choose to bed share with S…we ended up doing so because of her needs/temperament. I must admit that I didn’t even know what bed sharing or cosleeping was prior to having my own child! I thought that, “Duh! Babies sleep in cribs!” But try as we might a crib was not in the cards for our first born.

There are some benefits of bed sharing and this article does a good job explaining that it is not unsafe or detrimental. Western culture made the shift away from bed sharing, a practice the rest of the world uses in the majority. There seems to be lot of hostility and misinformation directed towards parents who do bed share or cosleep in the USA.

Obviously my daughter will not sleep with me forever and yes it can be exhausting. However because I choose to breastfeed (still going strong at almost 20 months) bed sharing makes night parenting much easier on me. Studies have shown that breastfeeding bedsharing parents/child are awake no more than children who sleep in their own rooms.

It has been hard because when I mention that I am exhausted… And well meaning people tend to judge our decision to bed share (a decision that developed organically) as detrimental to me and my daughter. I don’t agree with this theory. I am tired because I am a parent. Continue reading

Oh, NOW I Get It…

So for the past year, I’ve been in the process of becoming a giant, feelings-having sap. I didn’t know that I was capable of such mushiness, nor that I ever wanted any of that…stuff. The gentleman with whom I’ve chosen to spend my time is wonderful in all the ways, and I could not be happier. Nor did I realize just how much easier life is with a fucking good partner. Of course, I mean this for day-to-day things (like cooking and doing the dishes and taking the goddamn recycling out in the rain, and is it raining literally every time we have to go outside for something? I think so.) But I also mean it as a parent.

Accurate representation of my insides now.

Accurate representation of my insides now.

Continue reading