Friday, February 6, 2015

The Saddest Hymnals

Reaches down your throat, into your chest and grips your heart and lungs. Not so tight that life teeters on the edge, but just enough to make you feel like you’d rather die.

I had the best week at work in a long time. I owned everything I did and handled every situation with professionalism and even a little wit here and there. I have literally received praise every day this week. I, for the first time, felt like I was finally getting it. 

Sucking back tears. Deep breath. Swallow.

But then, in one tiny moment, one insignificant error trashed every ounce of confidence I had acquired that week. And by insignificant, I mean I forgot a single slide in the company meeting presentation. 

It was gone, my confidence, and I was left standing amongst the ashes of my former successes. The ant hill conquered Everest. The shortest, lightest breeze toppled the tallest building.

And so the saddest hymnal of every single accomplishment I have to date is sung. That nasty, unforgiving monster that rages quietly in the depths of my soul awoke and stole from me everything I had good in the palm of my emotional hand. But then it doesn’t stop there, because it’s hungry. It smells the undeniable aroma of pleasure and goodness and seeks to consume everything in it’s path. I am left hating myself. Hating my shirt, my hair, my drive home, my bleeding nails and fingers from the attempts at self-soothing. Hating my body, THIS BODY that gave me my daughter and nourished her. Hating my negative thoughts, the guilt for my negative thoughts and then the guilt about the guilt. It seems to never stop.

So then when I wake up the next morning, I aid the worst hangover of them all: drunk off of sadness. I had too much and I couldn’t stop and before I realized it I was way gone. There are no thoughts about today maybe being better or worse. Just, “I’ll wear jeans and my blazer today, because fuck everyone. It’s friday.” There were zero thoughts racing across my mind this morning. 

Until I am sitting in quiet and reflecting upon the past. The wedding that didn’t turn out how I wanted it and how I think about it and that asshole every. single. day. The job that never panned out, the constant wondering if I made this correct decision or that one, whether or not I'm about to make the right decisions. What am I going to do about my family? What am I going to do about money? How will I be half the wife and mother my family needs me to be? Because I can’t promise to be 100% wife and mother…because I’m never 100% me. 

I know full well that I can’t worry about the past and what i can not change. But why can’t I let it go, why does it consume me? The two most negatively life-altering days of my life grip onto my soul and suck all the life out of me. I worry about what EVERY SINGLE PERSON thinks of me and my opinions, decisions…anything public facing. But I can find quiet and solace in this. In knowing that people are aware that there is a greater suffering than what is visible. 

I reach out for help, but I don’t know what that looks like. What it’s supposed to be and who I can trust. And if there really is, as I fear, no help and that perhaps this will be my everyday for all of my life, then I can only hope that the positivity I can manage will be enough to raise my daughter in a way that doesn’t leave her damaged and love my husband the way he deserves.

So that feeling: of something reaching down my throat and into my chest. It’s not meant to be poetic. I tell you now that it’s a feeling so real, as real as someone touching your temple with the business end of a handgun. It’s literal. It’s scary. It’s familiar. 


Monday, December 1, 2014

Brooke's Room: The Only Completed Space

To say that I thought little of this space would be the biggest lie. Aside from scrolling through Pinterest like a coke-addled crazy person looking for nuggets of "inspiration" for our own home down the line, imagining Brooke's room exceeded that ten-fold. When we had Brooke, her "nursery" was the F.R.O.G. ("Finished Room Over Garage," though I lovingly called it the Forgotten Room...). I chose it because the only other room was the main guest bedroom. In comparison between the two rooms, Brooke did not need that massive of a room. And guests didn't need to be hustled into the tiniest room in the house. I refused to paint the room and change really anything about it because to do so, in my mind, made it seem like I was giving in to being there for a long while. Charlie's parent's house was not a permanent living situation and I'd be damned if I did anything that altered that belief.

So Brooke's room was never really hers in my mind. I redid a dresser for her and created a hanging branch piece (see below) and hung some curtains. But I never hammered in new picture frame nails or took much off the walls. I always wanted a glider chair, but there wasn't any room. So onward I imagined what her room would look like, just for her, whenever we moved out and got our own place. Something bright, sun-drenched and minimalist. By the time we moved out, she was 21 months and a Nursery just didn't seem right anymore. Honestly, she hasn't slept in a crib since she was 9 months, and when she did it was for a total of 2 hours out of the entire night. 

Charlie's parents offered to buy her bedroom set, something she could grow into. We are very thankful for that. I think it's a running joke about how much I default to white. Truth is I struggle so hard with interior design. I was always fascinated with Environmental Design but never ventured the path because I like my paper goods. White is easy, stress-free and breathable. Light floods a white room in a way that makes my heart sing. It may derive from having and living in dark colored bedrooms and houses when I was a kid, but my love of white is here to stay.


The curtains were a Walmart find. I have my reservations about shopping at that place, but unfortunately in times of tight budgets, your choices are limited. The panels had a watercolor-like treatment and I loved the blue-greens and sheer fabric. Let in the light!


Bedspread is Target from their Threshold Collection. Rug is also Target and has a soft shaggy texture which bodes well for when she plays on the floor.



The pictures in her room are a mix, some have meaning and others are just nice placeholders. I bought all the frames from Goodwill, repainted a few. The two birds piece is a sweet handmade gift to Brooke from Alli, our doula. 



The bedroom set is from Ashley Furniture. We had to wait 6 weeks for this set to be delivered, but it was worth the wait. 


Most of the things on her dresser were gifts. The B block from my stepmom, the piggybank from some sweet friends in Brooklyn. The silver jewelry box was her Great Grandma Stevenson's who passed away almost a year ago. 



The rope basket I made for her room. It's just basic nylon rope and I ran it through my sewing machine. It's added a nice touch to the space and has become a nice little catch-all.


The tree branch. This is the only piece that followed us from her room at my in-laws. Before she was born, it was just a painted branch that hung on the wall, the name banner was over her crib. The handmade/stitched rope I made for her big balloon for her first birthday I was never going to let go of, as that thing took awhile to make. I just took a vintage sheet I bought at a thrift store, ripped it into long, skinny pieces and braided it, tied it and stitched it together. I used the same fabric to wrap wire and create a number one and glued cheap dollar store flowers to it. It was a happy accident that it all ended up on this branch.




Doll bed was gifted by my sister and I repaintedit and made a mattress, bed cover and pillow for it (that are never actually on the bed because, according to Brooke, the doll much sleep on the floor...).


This piece. I painted this when I was 5 weeks pregnant with Brooke. After 2 miscarriages, there was a lot of doubt in myself about keeping a pregnancy to term. On a whim one night, I channeled any positive feelings I could muster and quick painted this. At the time, I was just using watercolors as therapy. But now that we have this sassy, beautiful little girl in our lives and it seems only fitting that this piece follow us along in life. 

And when I say this is the only completed space in the house, I'm not exaggerating. We have yet to put a damn thing on any walls in the rest of the house. One day...maybe :)

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Quiet (or Lack thereof, actually)



For months I have thought about this space from time to time,  wishing I could formulate words to put here. To say a lot has happened since my last post in January is the understatement of my lifetime. I chuckle at it, (when I'm not sucking back tears) thinking about every week I would go see my therapist in NYC with a new "happening" to talk through, or "problem" to address because 2-5 new and incredibly ridiculous things have happened that week prior. Somehow I have managed to attract the dramatic, the unwelcomed eventful and often times blatantly unhealthy situations I find myself in, regardless of my attempts to avoid them all.

That sounds so dramatic. But it is.

Weekly I find myself internally asking "what karma am I reaping today" and assessing the last year of my life trying to find something I did horribly wrong to someone, even the most miniscule. Lately (read: over the last 5ish years), I have felt pretty certain that out of 10 decisions I've made, 2 of them were right, and those are even questionable when it comes to clarity of mind. Surely I'm not the only almost 30 year old still feeling an incapacity to make good adult decisions. Right?

I have friends who tell me I'm an amazing person/wife/mother, yet if I am as good as they think, then why am I still sitting on this singular lily pad in the darkest corner of the woods wondering where I went wrong, who did I hurt and why can't I seem to do anything right? Am I a good person by blind faith? Does that even make sense? Maybe my friends are just too nice.

The only thing I feel like I do right on a daily basis, for all of 2 minutes, is Brooke. She always gives me some sign that I am helping raise a semi-decent person (after, naturally, she does 5 things that make me think maybe I'm not so great at this parenting thing). She is the only human being for whom I actually trust. A toddler...heaven help me.



I guess the other good decision I helped facilitate was moving out of Charlie's parents and living independently again. Although, that wasn't so much a decision that we completely made on our own as it was something that had to happen, situationally. Had it just been Charlie and I, it all would have been different. But with Brooke and our goals and desires for her (and ourselves to some extent) it just wasn't the right place for us anymore. And by no one's fault, it's just how everything played out. How we executed the move wasn't 100% thought through (of course) and in no way are we "high on the horse" as they say, but when I think of how different our day to day is, our relationships with one another and the lack of weight on our minds, it was worth it. It was needed.



It also became apparent that something needed to changed drastically when I sought medical attention for some anxiety issues and wound up being awkwardly admitted to the psychological wing of the hospital. Apparently admitting to your doctor that you have reoccurring thoughts of "why am I here? Would anyone notice or care if I was gone? I wish I has dead, it seems like the only logical route out of this hell..." doesn't float well. Of course, I'm being ginger with what I actually told her, because, well, I don't really want anyone to say something to me about it that would make me regret admitting it...because: I'm ridiculous.

After looking at 3 doctors and saying, "I have a toddler and am the main source of income for my family...this isn't realistic..." I was "released" to outpatient therapy. Because, sure. Why not have 2 therapists? Makes total sense.

Which proved helpful to some extent. It was "diagnosed" that I was feeling the way I was because I had been in "Survival Mode" for 6 months while my sister-in-law lived with us (I can't even fathom explaining that entire situation anywhere because I blackout), and now I am merely feeling the extreme weight and emotional response of that time all at once. So what I was feeling and dealing with within those 6 months wasn't the entire picture? I'm getting really good at this "Conceal, don't feel. Don't let them know."

(IF I HEAR "LET IT GO" ONE MORE TIME...)

Even if it means I am slowly and methodically killing my(emotional)self. Tight.



Another "helpful" (depends on what you consider helpful) aspect of this out patient therapy was being throughly tested. After taking a 45 minute, 130+ question test to determine what is going on in my head (do they dare?) and how best to treat it, I got to hear someone read results to me that for the first time made me feel hopeless. But, it's fine, because it's like "hey, we know what's wrong with you finally!"

It was determined that I am a sad person. Like, extremely and constantly. Of course, that wasn't the complete diagnosis but rather what the doctor concluded based on all sorts of other fun diagnosis (no [read ZERO] self confidence, general anxiety, social anxiety, a touch of PTSD, a dash of ADD, etc). How the hell you fix "Super Sad Person" disease is beyond me. Apparently a lifetime of therapy, because er'body's got to get paid that $$, even for sitting and listening to people bitch about their problems.

I am some therapists retirement fund. Also tight.

So with all of this new and exciting information about myself (have you detected the sarcasm in the post yet?) my lily pad in the woods is noticeably smaller and less comfortable. Finding the positivity in daily life is difficult, but it's there. It really is. I promise I can look at what I have and realize it could all be far, far worse. But nothing will truly change until I turn off the negative rumination motor in my head. And there's no medication for that nonsense. Sure-fire will power, where art thou?

Also, dealing with other adults on a daily basis, whether on a personal level or not, is just exhausting and emotionally taxing. I feel like I spend so much time thinking, "Are they serious? What is wrong with people?" Can't I just close my eyes and pretend they aren't standing in front of me/speaking to me. No? I guess that is pretty rude.



So why write all of this? Well, to be honest, I think I started out wanting it to be soft and fluffy thoughts like I usually write here about how great the new place is and how much Brooke is growing into a sassy and thoughtful little girl, but it was only 1/10th of everything. I can only keep pushing those rose colored glasses back up my nose so many times before it's, "the hell with these damn things!" Also, lately, I have arrived at a place of distain for how much social media has turned into a place of "LOOK AT ALL THE GREAT THINGS IN MY LIFE :)))))))))" and the rest of us sit and think "well, my life sucks then I guess." I know I'm not the only one who does/thinks that. Right?

Right.

So my pledge is to write here more often (less heavy things, I promise) and more honest. Not that I wasn't honest before, but let's be honest (ha). I had a nice little tone happening here that was by all means real and true, but not the complete picture.






Wednesday, January 22, 2014

3/52


first real snow of the year. literally trying to climb out of the window.


Saturday, January 4, 2014

1/52



i have followed other blogs who for a whole year posted a photo each week of their kids. it was so neat to watch this week-by-week portrayal of their lives and growth.

but something always threw me off. i think it's the thing that from time to time turns me off from reading blogs. it's a constant discussion within each space how, while their lives tend to look perfect on their blogs, they are just like everyone else. Bad days, good days, children being super extra. yea, i have no doubt that's true. but it almost always seemed like a tease. they would peak out from their red velvet curtains, hair and lives a mess, all sans makeup and photoshop and wave real quick and then dart back. it's not the "i enjoy watching others fail/suffer/mess up" that tends to trend in anything "reality" or "celebrity" based that i feel. i suppose, personally, its a deep desire to connect with other humans who are having a shit day, or had to deal with unruly children or whatever else is sewn into their daily stories that maybe, sometimes, perhaps we all just would rather pretend isn't happening.

so, taking this whole Photo a Week idea, i want to turn it into something that is a little reflective of that connection i would like to make with others. Each week on saturday i'll snap a picture of brooke because it would be nice for me to document her growth over the next year. But i'm also going to take one of her and i together. and i want it to be real. embarrassingly real. if i'm bloated from eating leftover holiday snacks and haven't washed my hair in two days, then that's what it will be. if i happen to actually look decent and like a functioning human being, great.

i also want brooke to one day have these photos of her and i, both looking like life is happening. i desperately want to teach her that real life and real people are not the pages in magazines or what's on television. i want her to be comfortable in her own skin. i grew up around women who rarely ever said a single positive thing about themselves. i still struggle everyday finding anything positive in myself, as most of us do i imagine. it's a hard world, and women are harder on themselves. i may not be able to keep her from thinking she's fat somedays, but i can at least teach her that, you know what, i feel fat as shit, too. but we still have it going on ::sassy finger snap:: no matter how little we may actually believe it in that moment.

so, this is the first week. i start a new job on monday after being out of work for four months. i'm ready to be back in the grind, but i'm not ready to miss brooke everyday. life around our little brood isn't in an upswing, we are having to take everyday and navigate through it the best we know how, making sure that our family is doing what we need to do. but brooke brings the kind of joy into our lives that makes us forget all that for a moment. she's the best.