I’m Having a “Normal” Moment!

Wow! I went prom dress shopping with my daughter tonight!!! I honestly thought this would NEVER happen for me! Seriously! After years of watching people post pictures of their kids all dressed up going to school dances and homecoming and prom… I finally have a chance to feel that little bit of joy and pride that I imagined bubbles up inside you when you see your child smile and laugh and feel GOOD!

I’m feeling it – and I’m feeling it DEEPLY!!! This moment is not lost on me, nor will it be lost on any other mother who has watched their child suffer – as I’ve watched mine – with painful low self esteem, suicidal thoughts, and feelings of being worthless and meaningless… one who has felt invisible and also in the way…. a nuisance — a burden — insignificant. My heart constantly breaks for her and I fight to pull that confidence out of her on a daily basis. It is exhausting – for both of us.

So, to see her trying on dresses and twirling and smiling and — happy – it fills my heart with a joy I can’t even explain. I want to take this feeling and bottle it up and never let it go! This is a moment in time I want to savor, to remember, to feel again – with her – for her… I want her to feel beautiful and happy and excited ALL the time… or at least, MOST of the time… or even just SOME of the time… *sigh*

Most people have no idea what depression really is… they think “when I get sad I just choose to be happy… choose to get out of bed… choose to do what’s good for me…” Yes – cuz its just that easy! Well, we all know it’s not that easy. It can be challenging for someone without depression… but, for someone with depression – it is nearly impossible! It is a deep feeling of hopelessness – beyond what you can imagine – beyond the sadness you’ve ever felt. For my kid, it is a dark hole that sucks her in and keeps her there… a place she can’t be hurt. A place that has become easy and familiar. I know she feels that it’s easier to stay in there – comfortable and safe – then to fight her way out. That would mean working through every traumatic event and emotional struggle that she’s been dealt in this lifetime. It’s fucking hard… and I have to believe that it is not impossible. I have to believe that she will kick depression’s ass to the curb someday… that she will break free and break the cycle of harmful thoughts controlling her… cuz these dark moments she has… these dark moments can be very… very… dark… and nearly impossible to escape.

Then there are the beautiful, joyful moments when she is happy and laughing and smiling. Those are fantastic! Like this last weekend. I took her and three of her buddies to Kalahari for her 16th birthday. It was amazing and they had a blast! She even said at one point, “My depression is gone!” To which I was thrilled and relaxed and took some time to enjoy those feelings. I had to remember them as a place to go to when she got sucked back into the dark hole. That’s a hard crash – for both of us. After a really great experience there is always that nasty beast depression waiting for her. Going from super happy to super hopeless is a long way to fall… it makes me mad, actually. My first thought is, “COME ON! That was so much fun! She HAS to believe NOW that she’ll have fun again! She can’t NOT see it! How can she be so depressed when she just had so much fun?!?!?” Then I have to realize that she can’t just feel happy now. It’s not that easy.

Her mind believes that there will never be another chance to have that much fun again. That was it. Joy and happiness are fleeting – which is actually true – but you and I know that we will definitely have some good, fun, rockin’ times in our future… she does not. She doesn’t think of her future, because she doesn’t want to be here for it. So, I try to keep really cool, fun things planned in the not too distant future. Then during the crash after each fun thing, I talk about the next fun thing. It helps a little… I like to think it helps a lot. Who knows, really. I just know that it makes ME feel better. Because I know that during every “fun thing” we do, I’ll see her laugh and smile and… be happy – even if it’s just for a day… I get to have a “normal” moment.


Doing My Best

My child must have felt so lonely and afraid and vulnerable and alone while we were in Pigeon. She only had two friends – and one was a fucking extremely horribly hurtful person! Where the fuck was I? How did I not see it – or care about it – or help her with it? I didn’t know what to do… and I was lonely, too.

She is my focus, my priority, my everything. I wish I could fix it all… make it better… make her happy, but — I can’t. Only she can do that and it doesn’t seem possible right now.

I thought we were moving forward and she says to her friends that she’s been getting super sad, suicidal, and hallucinating for three nights in a row. God damn! Three nights in a row and I’m in the same house. She slept with me one night… it’s hard to tell what she needs from me. I’m doing my best. And that doesn’t mean I’m doing everything right. I’m just doing what I have the ability to do and making the best decisions I can make at the time. Isn’t that all one can do?

I always feel like I should do more. I should be doing this or doing that… make us eat dinner together every night and make her eat healthy and make sure she showers every other day and make her brush her teeth and make her get out of bed cuz she’s been in it all day and make her spend time with me and make her get up to go for a for walk and make her take her medications three times a day and make her put on deodorant and make her put her electronics down for a while and make her change her clothes…. it’s all very tiring. To take care of myself AND try to get her to do these things all day every day all by myself – no help… it’s exhausting. It’s exhausting because there is another human involved… someone on the other end of my requests. Someone who sighs and moans and resists and procrastinates and hates herself and sees absolutely no reason to do any of it. Ever.

I can’t do it ALL every day. I just can’t. And I need to forgive myself for that. It’s easy to feel judged… feel like I’m not enough… like I’m not doing enough… like I’m doing it wrong… like I’m failing. And, yes, I can’t do it all every day, but I can do some of these things most of the days. So, I do my best. Every day… I do my best. And I know she does, too.

My Journey to a Better Me

On January 11, 2019 I made a commitment to myself to take steps to lose weight and feel stronger. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it, but I knew I wanted to do it. I’ll tell you why I made this commitment… I was looking at pictures of myself from our visit to Texas and I didn’t like what I saw – typical of almost every American woman, sadly. 😦 I decided at THAT moment that I deserve better.

I deserve a body that doesn’t ache when I get off of the couch. I deserve a body that doesn’t get out of breath going up the stairs to work everyday. I deserve a body that doesn’t make me sad when I look in the mirror. I deserve a body that makes me feel good! How the fuck do I do that?!

I’ve never put myself first. I’ve never really chosen healthy foods and exercise because it was too much work… I THOUGHT it was too much work. Honestly, if my life was as stressful as it was 6 months ago, I wouldn’t have been able to do it – I couldn’t have done it – and clearly, I didn’t do it! It just took me a single moment – a “bottom of the barrel” moment – a “holy shit, I look like THAT!” moment – and everything that goes along WITH that moment of self hate and shame of being overweight and all the other bullshit lies I tell myself as I take myself down a long dark hole that seems nearly impossible to pull myself out of……. (pause: breathe in…. breathe out…) Ok. I’m back.

So, that was MY moment. The moment I decided to make changes in my life. I deserve it! I made a commitment to myself to be healthy and strong and to strive to be more authentic in my life. So, I made a goal for myself – and honestly, I really had no idea where to start. I listened to a couple of people who inspired me. One is Mel Robbins and the other is Corrine of Phit-N-Phat fame. They both had very inspiring and real things to say. During one of Mel’s Ted Talks, she said (paraphrased) – you’re never going to WANT to do anything that’s good for you… it’s too hard… our brains save us from difficult things and so our brain stops us from doing things we KNOW we SHOULD do, because it’s hard. Her 5-4-3-2-1 theory has helped me do things I wouldn’t otherwise be doing! She also talks about setting a goal of who you want to be… how you want your life to look… now, every time I make a decision, I base my choice on which one will get me closer to my goal. If I want to be healthy and I have a choice between carrots and a donut – I may WANT the donut and at the same time the carrots will help me reach my goal. OK, I’ll have carrots and be happy about it! Seriously! I’ll be happy because I know that after I eat them I WILL be happy and proud of myself for making a good choice based on advancing myself towards my life goal. You dig?!?! You still with me?! Pretty cool, right?!?!

Ok. Step 1 – Make good choices! Hahaha… sure, let’s give it a whirl! I’ll tell ya, this can be pretty tough – although, you know that already. This time, though, I was doing it with a goal in mind… something I could visualize. I see that visualization of a better me (whatever that looks like to you) every time an opportunity comes my way. (Another tool I’m using is to change the way I self-talk – more on that later.) I need to make mindful choices every day all day long… it sounds pretty tiring. It definitely can be! I’ve been dealing with a pretty heavy emotional load the last few years and I’ll say after all that emotional stress, I didn’t have it in me to work on myself. But, like I said – everyone has their moment and it’s like a perfect storm… you have to be ready physically, emotionally, and mentally to really make a change – and keep that change going.

I found myself in that perfect storm, yet, I wasn’t sure where to start. I stumbled upon a podcast by Phit-N-Phat. She talked about how losing weight seemed impossible and out of reach. When you look at the end result and you think to yourself, “I’ll NEVER be able to get there!” and “Oh, my gosh… no way!” or the ever popular, “I’ll fail… it’s too hard… it’ll take FOREVER!” – just remember that it is one day at a time and in a year’s time, you’ll be happy you made the changes you did! She talked about waking up every day with the intention to treat your body right… to do good things for yourself. These thoughts DO NOT happen on their own! It takes practice and it takes mindfulness.

I have a little book called, “How To Eat,” by Thich Nhat Hanh. I’ve had it for a few years and only now can I actually understand it and want to try his mindfulness meditations. He talks about the simple practice of eating and being in the moment and connecting to the earth and connecting to each other …. the meditations are helpful ways to be mindful while eating. I’m still practicing! It isn’t something that comes easily since I’ve lived my life doing almost the complete opposite! I would eat mindLESSly all the time. I wasn’t really hungry – I was bored or sad or lonely or mad or tired or ______ (fill in the blank) and I didn’t know what I was eating – and more importantly – how much! I’ll tell ya – it was A LOT!!! And it was a lot of crap!!!

Mindfulness is not easy! It is hard work to be mindful when eating. It is hard to turn down the pint of ice cream while I’m on the couch watching tv. But, I look at that end goal and think about the decisions I’m making – does it get me towards my life goal? Yes? Good choice. No? Choose something different.

Ok… let’s get to Step 2 – Self-Love! Do I love myself? Well, I say I do, but you should hear the way I talk TO myself and ABOUT myself!!! I would never be my friend if I heard me saying those things about me! Time to knock that shit off! I’ve been practicing talking more nicely to myself. It’s really important to keep my motivation going. When I am making decisions about what to eat, I don’t say, “I CAN’T have” that tub of ice cream. It is such negative talk… I’m basically punishing myself and I’m an adult damn it!!! I can have whatever the fuck I please! If I want it, I will have it! Thank you very much. So, instead of punishing myself, I’ll think of the choices and say, “I choose to have a 1/2 cup of ice cream in a dish” – it gives me more power just by saying “I CHOOSE” instead of “I CAN’T.”

Phit-n-Phat talked about making small changes that you can live with today. Eventually those changes may lead to bigger changes. Her example was that she made a commitment to herself that she would only eat ice cream out of a bowl. No more eating out of the carton. She didn’t limit how much she could put in the bowl, just that she was NOT going to eat it out of the carton! A small change, but over time that change would have big results! She suggested finding places in your life where you feel like you can make those small commitments to yourself. When my daughter and I would go to the movies I would get a large buttered popcorn (shared between the two of us), some reese’s pieces, and a slurpee. Now, I get a medium buttered popcorn (shared), some reese’s pieces, and a water. It’s a small change, but I can commit to doing that for myself… and remember you are doing something good FOR yourself! It’s not a punishment!!! You are loving yourself enough to make a choice that is in alignment with your life goal. Self-love, baby! I’ve met you and you’re great! I would talk nicely about you if I were you! 🙂

Ready for Step 3? Drink 2 liters a day! I have a hard time emotionally with this one. So much stress in my life comes from my daughter NOT drinking 2 liters a day. It is hard to drink 2 liters of water a day…for her it seems nearly impossible. Let’s just say – it’s a struggle! I found it challenging at first, but I made it one of my goals, so I kept at it. I keep a 10 oz cup next to the sink in the kitchen and I fill it up and drink one down while I’m in there. When I see that cup it reminds me to drink. Drinking lots of water also helps keep me full longer and less apt to snack (again – mindful eating comes into play here, too) on crappy stuff. I keep track of how much water I drink with my fitbit app. There are tons of apps that you can use to help you keep track of how much water you’re drinking – I highly suggest using one – or a white board or a notebook or an abacus that’s within reach! I also have a water bottle at work that holds 20 oz, so I drink it down and add it to my app, then I get in some steps when I go fill it up! 🙂 So, yeah, DRINK LOTS OF WATER!!!

I know you’ve been waiting for this one, Step 4 – Exercise! Why is it such a horrible word?!? Because everyone is telling us to do it and we don’t have time and it can hurt and it doesn’t sound fun… I know. I agree… yet, the magic trick to losing weight and feeling strong? You guessed it – and you already know it – it’s eating better and exercising! I used to HATE exercising – or at least the THOUGHT of doing it. Again, its the self sabotage crap – “I can’t do it… it’s too hard… I don’t have time… I can’t run a marathon…” Yes. Yes, you can. Maybe not today, but let’s just look at today. Start where you are – no matter where it is – and do NOT compare yourself to anyone else. This is your body and these are your goals and it’s your life. Do what YOU can – cuz you’re the only you there is! 🙂

I started with a commitment to myself that I would go to the gym (I got a $10/month membership at Planet Fitness) and walk on the treadmill for 60 minutes a day at least 5 days a week… just walk. I started where I was – I did the minimum that I KNEW I COULD COMMIT TO DOING! Picking goals that are too much for you to do, will be just that – too much for you to do and you won’t do it. After I started feeling better from just walking, I added running for 1 minute and walking 4 minutes. Now, two months later, I’ve increased to running up to 10 minutes at a time and burning 500 calories an hour! I know, look out Boston Marathon, here I come!!! Ha! But, I’m really proud of myself and I feel strong when I’m running. I feel strong when I say to myself, “You got this. You can run for another 30 seconds or minute or two…I can do this!” AND I DO IT! I feel the difference in my body and the courage I feel every time I step on the treadmill. It feels good! (Self-love!)

I won’t lie, though, some days I don’t want to go to the gym and I do it anyway and I always feel better for doing it! I also do yoga or a dance/exercise video on youtube at home a couple days a week. I lift some light weights at home while watching tv for toning my arms… and on those days that I don’t get to the gym or do an exercise video, I literally walk in my living room while I’m watching tv to get my 10,000 steps in! Just. Keep. Moving.

Something else that has helped me is Step 5 – Counting Calories! For me, this has been life changing! I never really knew how many calories I was eating every day – it’s really insane! Some of those small choices throughout the day can add 1000 calories without a lot of bang for the buck! That fattening food doesn’t keep you full for long and it certainly doesn’t have any nutritional value! I use my fitbit and add everything that I eat and it calculates my intake of calories for the day and of calories that I’ve burned. It is a little tedious at times and I need to do a bit of research sometimes, but for me – it is totally worth it! One more way to help me be mindful when eating.

I will say that food is the toughest part when trying to be healthier. Looking at calories, protein content, and serving size are the first thing I do now with food. I’ve been scouring websites and Pinterest for recipes and snack ideas. I have gotten into the habit of eating 1 or 2 eggs every morning for breakfast. I got this cute little egg poacher/boiler and it makes it SUPER easy now! The easier it is, the more likely I will be to do it – and keep doing it! So, I start my day with 10 oz of water, then maybe some decaf coffee with some creamer. Then I eat an egg (usually hard-boiled cuz its easy to eat and easy to take with me) mid-morning and sometimes I’m not even hungry for lunch or I’ll eat a microwavable meal. I really like Kashi and Lightlife brands. Super yummy and full of good stuff with lots of protein to keep you full and not too many calories. I don’t mind eating those for lunch or dinner if I don’t have anything else to make or if I’m too tired to make a healthy meal and I don’t want to grab everything and scarf it down! Oh, and I always have a couple boiled eggs in my fridge so if I’m super hungry I can grab one and it satiates me until I can find a good healthy meal to eat.

I will tell you that I still eat some crappy food, I just don’t eat that much of it. I learned from Phit-n-Phat to make smart choices, small changes. If I want a Whopper – I might have one, but not the fries and I get light mayo and maybe take off one of the buns? (I haven’t done that, yet, but its an option!) – and I don’t have one every day or every week. I will add that the more healthy food that I eat, the more a Whopper sounds disgusting! The last time I had one, I can honestly say it didn’t taste that great! Now, instead of Burger King when I’m craving that fattening fast food, I cook up some tempeh in seaseme oil and a little soy sauce – it totally hits the spot! One last example of a change I’ve made is when we go to Olive Garden, my kid’s favorite restaurant. I have lots of salad and order the lasagna and take half home. Smart choices that align with my long term goals and help me feel better.

I don’t just crave fattening foods…how about that sweet tooth? I don’t really crave sweets, but I do like chocolate! I still have chocolate treats, but just a smaller portion. I still have cookies, but very seldom and not a whole bag! I have really looked at serving sizes – it matters, folks! I used to love Keebler Double Stuffed EL Fudge cookies… I would eat half the package, which is 10 cookies = 900 calories!!! Ugh. Holy hell. Now, I just don’t buy them cuz it is too tempting and I don’t need it and they are NOT good for my body anyway. I do, however, get these Bark Thins or GFB Bites and have just enough to nibble on and it doesn’t ruin my forward progress. . It’s really about portion sizes, mindful choices, and small changes.

The last bit of advice for today, in this long post, is to Listen to Your Body! I have learned a lot about my body in the last two months. I learned that boiled eggs do fill me up. I’ve learned that I can feel strong running without thinking I need to run a marathon. I’ve learned that I need to eat a healthy protein filled meal for lunch if I’m going the gym later that evening. If I eat just an egg and some fruit for lunch, which keeps me going until I get home, I don’t have as much energy to give it my all at the gym. I’ve also learned that I’m human and some days I will eat more than I’d like and then I’m strong enough to keep going the next day. It should not be about failure and punishments. It is about strength, mindfulness, and living your best life.

Good luck to you and let me know if you have any questions or need some support… and let me know about your progress. You got this!!! #betterme #goals #create #10000steps #keepmoving #smartchoices #healthyandstrong

My Epiphany

If our family isn’t like us, then we should be able to find a family that is and not feel bad about it… we should feel glad about it!!! Now you have two families – cuz you’ll never change your own – and they’re already beautiful for who they are.

My mind opened during yoga a few nights ago and maybe the presence/energy that I felt around me wasn’t bad, but it was forcing me to look at the evil inside me… my anger and agitation… maybe it was a presence/energy LEAVING me!!!!!

Amidst all the death around me I realized that life is too short and that I can love my family AND be ok with things the way they are… my family doesn’t have to exist in any form other than what it does. I can tend to those relationships and help them grow, but love what they are when they are and how they are RIGHT NOW… in the moment and go forward.

I felt a huge relief when I first said that out loud and it settled in. It gave me permission not to be mad and not to be angry about what isn’t, but love what is and where we all are right now. We (me and my family members) all have childhood trauma… pretty severally actually. Luckily, we all made it this far. I gotta embrace the relationships I have with them and try to build them… mend them… heal them… but baby steps and without expectations. I need to allow myself my pain and anger and jealousy – allow myself to sit with those feelings and forgive – myself – and everyone else… We’ve all been hurt but we need to STILL be willing to love unconditionally. Family IS important to me…I love my family and it’s not my immediate family that gets me. They don’t know – or have the ability – to support me the way I need to be supported. That’s a harsh reality. It’s a lot of people’s realty… families can be really shitty… they can also be amazing – and a mixture of the two. And that’s ok. Sometimes you feel like you don’t fit in… you’re different… you don’t “belong” – it hurts. A lot. We probably all feel that way at some point. And I suppose I don’t know how to support them, either. So, that’s when you find your own family and you get what you need from them while still having space in your heart for the family that doesn’t get you. It will allow for so much more love in your life if you open up and allow the hurt to fade and the love to grow. Forgiveness and acceptance. Breathe in… breathe out. 💕


I’m excited about this upcoming new year. I feel like I always walk into it expecting this year to be different… this year to be better… this year to be easy…

It never happens.

Last year I started a tradition to pick a word for myself to kind of guide my decisions throughout the year… in hopes it would help me make better – and different – decisions in my life. I wanted to take more risks and put myself out there more, so my word for 2018 was Leap. I did quite a good job with that one. I leapt many times this year. I was taking risks and saying yes when I really wanted to say no. I quit my job and moved us from Pigeon to Ypsi… that was scary and risky and I knew if I didn’t leap when I had the chance, that things would continue to get worse for my kiddo – and for me.

This year I will continue leaping and I will add the word Create… I’ll figure out what it means and find out different ways it can look. It can be art driven or writing or a business or family. It can mean so many things… its meanings are endless and I can’t wait to explore those different things!

I finally feel like I’m headed in the right direction. Although, I suppose that I have been for years. The progress has been slow and the journey has been a fucking tough one! I feel ready to blossom within the confines of my cage… my reality… my struggles… In spite of my circumstances, my busy days, my daily stressors. I will bloom everyday even if only for a moment. Stack the good onto the bad and we can climb higher!

I’m going to Create this year and I will keep being the me I want to be!

New Normal

I’m so fucking sick of the saying “New Normal.” I used to love it… and use it… and cherish it – but I am fucking tired of it!!! I’m tired of people who don’t live in a “new normal” life tell me how to fucking live in MY “new normal” life. You can live here cuz I don’t want to! I want to go back to my old normal, although what was my old “normal?” Whatever it was, it ended after I was pregnant and I found out that my baby wasn’t expected to survive.

And my kid… my kid has NEVER gotten an OLD “normal!” This IS her “normal” and everyone is talking about “new normals?” It’s bullshit. I bet she would LOVE a “new normal!”

And if this is my “new normal” – then my “new normal” fucking sucks!!! I don’t want this to be my “normal,” so why would I call it my “NEW normal?” It should be what it is – my “new reality.” It will NEVER be “normal” and life is all about now, so it’s not a “new” or an old… it’s just a now. It’s our now – our reality – our present.
There’s no more getting used to the “new normal” – cuz everyone knows what “normal” means and we know our lives will never be any kind of “normal.” Even our “new normal” is never “normal.” It’s just our reality. It’s our life.

PTSD and Me

So I just read this article (https://www.romper.com/p/ptsd-helps-parents-keep-their-medically-fragile-children-alive-but-at-what-cost-13222452?fbclid=IwAR3MtjCbdGjIjWKQa5xzwoF_mvX8pFL8zqpbI4i1eSlXW_aTmrR0o1zkT18) and it really sent me in a spiral… it was about parents of chronically ill children and having PTSD. The article didn’t surprise me too much, but what did surprise me (sort of) was that there are not more studies about this. Although, the simple fact that I’m worried about my kid because she’s sick again and the doc doesn’t call me back for three days kinda says it all – and this isn’t the first time this has happened. The teams she sees aren’t here for me. They are barely here for her. I shouldn’t say that, they do care about her, but not like I do… not like I want them to. Saving her life and emergencies – chaos and scary shit – they figure it out. They treat her. They “fix” the immediate issue. The day to day pains and illnesses – especially mental health – seems like they think it just comes with the territory. It’s frustrating and scary and with my kid – and many of my warrior mamas’ kids out there – the threat is never over. It is always there and always will be. My kiddo WILL be sick again. She WILL have hospital stays. She WILL have infections and be very ill. I’M NOT BEING NEGATIVE – I’m being REAL. I don’t “dwell” on it – actually sometimes I do – BUT that fear and worry is woven into every fiber of my being because THAT IS THE LIFE WE LIVE. I’m trying to keep her alive and healthy. It’s been 15 years. This is the only life we know together.

I have PTSD and so does she. Luckily, she’s getting treatment, but mine is on the back burner. I have to work and get her to all her appointments. I have take care of her when she’s sick. I do have a therapist, but she thinks I shouldn’t take about my kid so much and focus more on my trauma from watching my dad die… yeah – that was traumatic, but THIS… THIS is the trauma that happens day after day. Moment after moment. Watching your child suffer is unbearable. Watching it over and over again and knowing you cannot stop it and that it will continue – that about kills you. I’m not just waiting til the other shoe drops – I’m wondering when it will. And then we pick it up and do it again.