Monday, October 27, 2014

There is beauty in the breakdown

Depression is an interesting beast. It comes on unexpectedly and leaves me feeling helpless and hopeless. And then it leaves.

One month ago I was in the hospital. After an intense panic attack in my doctor's office, I was admitted into the ER for exhaustion and anxiety.  I hadn't been eating, drinking, sleeping, or doing any of the normal things humans are expected to do to maintain life. I'd just been taking care of my kids.

After Sammy was born I experienced post-partum depression. It was awful, but went away after he was about 4 months old. My doctor prescribed me anti-depressants in the hospital after Lucas was born and I'd been taking them ever since. But one day I went off them.

I can't say why. I thought what most idiots like me think. "I'm feeling great. I don't need these dumb pills. I'm kicking you to the curb."

And then everything fell apart. Anxiety became my constant companion. Fatigue and depression consumed me. And then I had a serious panic attack the day Dan came home from a weekend away. I started hyperventilating and called him in a panic while he was at work. He rushed home and took over with the kids and I slept for 3 hours.

The next morning I went to see my OB/GYN. While I was in her office, the room started to close in on me. I wasn't able to breath. I became so dizzy they had to put me in a wheelchair to take me down to the ER. I don't remember much. But I was terrified. I do remember sobbing and grabbing the social worker's hand and gasping, "There....not....going to do anything with my kids....are they?"

For some reason, at that moment, that was my greatest worry. She reassured me that no, my kids wouldn't be taken away from me, that I was a good mom, and that I needed some real help.

Since that moment, things have improved. But I have to remind myself that I'm not better. I'm not 100%. I'm not even sure I know what 100% looks like anymore. But I do know that I can have really good days, and some really bad days, and that's ok. I know I am strong. I know I can rely on my husband for strength when mine fails. I know I love my children. I know they'll be ok and will love me unconditionally.

Depression is a hard card. But I know I'm not alone. The world has seemed infinitely more beautiful to me lately. Trees look greener. The ocean looks bluer. My family surrounds me and overcomes me, but that's alright. I can make it through. The only way out is up.

“I am larger, better than I thought;
I did not know I held so much goodness.” 
― Walt WhitmanLeaves of Grass

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Verse 1

I'm too self aware to write really fantastic poetry
It was better when I was younger, cliches didn't scare me
but now here I sit, one more night looking for an outlet, looking for a spark
turning the words, listening to Tori, and feeling things that are too much

I think Yorke said it best, "I can't shake that feeling, I could blow through the ceiling"
That was one of the best times of my life, 101 degrees at midnight, dust and lights
5,000 people, and I felt so alone, but somehow part of.

16 years old, sitting on my roof, memorizing stars and novas, I feel like that again.
Cool breezes flow around me, bring me back to reality.
Small breathing come from the room across from me, reminding me, once again, that I am not just me

A bicycle carrying the weight of too many packages. Hit a bump, everything falls off.
Rise and dip, once again that dream surfaces, the one where I live it up and do What I Want

But a small cry in the night brings it back. I comfort the fear, hold a small hand, and water soft hair with my own tears.
No matter how I fight it, this is where I belong. This is what I love. Chasing squirrels at noon, eating carrots on the carpet, feeling the intensity of being an Adult.

And there it is. The duality. The tug in one direction, the pull in another. Happiness, frustration, terror, peace, exhilaration, laughter.

"Where did the world start Mom, before dinosaurs?" And I remember what I do. I teach, I love, I yell, I channel.

Never stop, this is what I want.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

No freedom 'til we're equal

I've been a mess of emotions these last few weeks. A surge of thoughts and feelings has passed over me and taken up home since December 20th 2013. On this day, a district judge, completely within his jurisdiction and authority, overturned Article 3 of the Utah State Constitution and legalized same-sex marriage in the Beehive State.

Since this most unexpected of Fridays, I have gone through so many ups and downs. I cried, hard, when I heard the news. Friends who had waited years to make things legal with the people they loved rushed to the courthouse to sign something I had taken so for granted at the time of my own wedding: a marriage license. It's a simple little piece of paper, but means so much to two people who are really dedicated and committed to each other.

I have had many disappointing moments. These moments have come in the form of mean-spirited social media comments, uneducated editorials and an overall un-Christian attitude from a group whom I consider peers and fellow saints.

Many have asked me how I can support gay marriage when it is so opposed by the leaders of my church. I struggled with this answer for so long. I have been a life-long member. I've also supported the right for all consenting adults to marry whomever they choose for as long as I can remember.

The monday following Judge Shelby's ruling, I watched the news as dozens of couples made their way to the Salt Lake Courthouse. I felt so much love and kinship for these happy people. I decided to head up and soak up a little goodness for myself. I took my 4-year-old son, and together with some friends, made and handed out flower bouquets to couples standing in line waiting for licenses.

I wished in that moment that every one of my friends who thought this was such an evil happening could have been there. Tears flowed freely as families were bonded together, as dedicated and devoted couples expressed love and commitment to each other and as the sacred institution of marriage was celebrated and honored. There was no flaunting of any sort of agenda, or flamboyancy, or hatred. Just love. Lots and lots of love.

So when it comes to my conflict of faith, or how I support something that the leaders of the church I love so dearly oppose so adamantly, I just say "I don't know". It's an issue I truly believe time will fix. The leaders of the LDS church recently published a statement saying, essentially, that there was no divine inspiration for the ban on blacks in the priesthood for some 100+ years. I anticipate at some date a similar post will be made about the church's stance on gay marriage.

For now though, I embrace love and change. I am trying hard to respect all views, and not to judge those I love and look up to for their own stance on this issue.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Gratuitous self quiz

I've seen these around and thought I'd try my hand at a personal bloggy quiz. Feel no obligation to read this post (unlike my other posts, which are mandatory to read) but if you'd like to know a little more about me, for whatever reason, enjoy!

1.Who was your favorite celebrity as a child?

Mr. Rogers all the way. He was like a grandpa to me. I watched his show every day. 

2. What type of pets do you have?

Currently I have 4 chickens and an adorable little dog. 

3. What is your favorite color?

Green and blue. 

4.What is most memorable about your high school years?

I was a big drama nerd so the first thing that comes to mind are the plays I was in. 

5. What word describes you best?

Inability to take serious things seriously. (I know that's more than one word...but you see my point, no?)

6. What is your greatest accomplishment?

I know this is cheesy but I'd say giving birth to my two boys is at the top of the list. I got really sick for both my pregnancies and I was amazed at how much I could survive!

7. What drives you every day?

A small monkey in top-hat (see question #5).

8. What is your favorite food?

My palate has expanded over the years but good cheese will always be at the top of my list. 

9. Where do you want to retire?

I'd love to live by the ocean. So very very much. 

10. What is your business goal this year?

I just got a new job so I guess my business goal this year is to still have a job at the end of it. 

11. Where do you like to vacation?

Anywhere. Really. I love to travel. I love beaches, but I love historical sights as well. Someday I will go to Sardinia. Someday. 

12. Who do you admire?

Anyone who is able to be soft with their convictions and know when to play and when to draw. Extremism is my least favorite human trait (well, maybe sadism is my least favorite human trait, but extremism is a close second). 

13. What is the kindest thing anyone has done for you?

What an odd question. I'd be remiss if I didn't list that one time my mother birthed me and then subsequently, with the close and dedicated aid of my father, raised me, sheltered me, and taught be how to be a human being. 

14. How do you want to be remembered?

As someone who was always available to help out. At any hour, at any place. 

15. What would you do with a million dollars?

Honestly? All fourth grade answers aside? I'd pay off any debt we have, sell our house, buy a house of similar size just a few miles north of where we live right now, but maybe with a bit more land, put the rest in savings, and keep doing what I'm doing right now. 

16. If you were on an island, who would you want to be with? Why?

My husband is and always will be first and foremost my very best friend. With that said, Tina Fey, no questions asked.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Head held high

I haven't been over here in a while, mostly due to new jobs, increase end-of-summer activities, cleaning of houses, life changes and so much more.

Tonight I am home alone. Well, Sammy is upstairs sleeping but Dan and Eli are gone camping so the house feels mostly empty. The dishes in the sink are dirty, there is a mountain of clean laundry to fold upstairs, but I'm taking a few moments to pause and gather my thoughts. These days life is moving at a rapid rate and I don't always take time to stop and be in my own brain.

For whatever reason lately, I have been a pillar of negativity. My life rocks, and I am fully aware of that. I have an amazing husband, two of the cutest kids on the face of the planet, my DREAM job and life is swell. With all that though, I have found ample amounts of material to draw from to host daily or weekly pity parties.

Sure, our life is a little uncertain right now. There are some things about our future we don't know much about. That's just life. Sure, the boys keep me up on my toes every second they are awake. I don't remember the last time I thought, "My house is clean.". These things are all stress factors. But I'm realizing more and more that I've just gotten myself in a habit of being negative.

It came to a head today when we got some frustrating news about some of these life changes we're working on. I called up Dan and ranted and raved. I used language unbecoming of a young lady.  I roared and gnashed about the unfairness of life, the sheer madness of it all, and how, well, butt-hurt I was.

Dan, my never moving rock, listened patiently, expressed similar frustration, gave helpful tips on how to not throw dishes at the wall and told me things were going to be ok. I was so worked up I could only manage a half-hearted acquiescence of sorts and asked him to please forgive the theatrics. He did, after all, marry the former vice president of the Bountiful High Drama Club.

Tonight I sit in retrospect of the day's events. I'm not one to compare human suffering and think, "well, someone has it worse.". A littler perspective is always great but I truly believe trials are relative to our life's experience. I don't think it's a healthy practice to diminish your own hardships by forcing yourself to mull over the hardships of others. Every thing is relative.

With that said, I do believe it is easy to create a pattern of negativity that leads oneself to accept life as one big trial. I feel like I have been falling victim to this event in my life lately.  I think a healthy way to approach life if to acknowledge trials, accept them as part of life and work on viable solutions. For me, I just need to pull my head out of my rear and get with the program.

I don't think we have to force a smile when we don't feel happy. Not a believer in this. But I do think it's important to set a tone in life that is sustainable. Constant negativity is not sustainable. It will eat you alive. So my goal for tonight is not to change my life, but change the way I view the events transpiring in my life. Many things are out of my control right now. It's ok to admit when things are hard. It's probably not ok to put on sackcloth and ashes 24-7 and weep and wail. No one wants to be around that person.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Facebook Etiquette

Social media abounds. It's everywhere, and with smartphones it really is like some sort of socially transmitted desease. There is no escaping it.

I joined up with Facebook well after the majority of people I know. I refused until I was pregnant with Eli, working from home, and dying for social contact. Since then, it has been a pleasant presence in my life. I check it occasionally throughout the day and post when I feel I have something relevant to share (ok, or whenever my kids do something funny). I'm amused when, at times, family or friends will comment on my seemingly over-active involvement on FB. "You post way too much, you need to get a life" said a brother once. This made me laugh; my life is at home right now with my kids. Sometimes Facebook and Instagram are the only contact I have with adults all day long. I try to be diplomatic in my postings, as no one likes the over-posters. On the whole though, I feel like if I'm going to be on social media I might as well participate. That's why it's there, no?

With all that said, there are some things that happen on Facebook that make me smirk, shudder, and grimace. Let me go through some status update SNAFUS and plead with you all to stop. it. Or at least, think before you hit enter. Here we go!

Vague Posts

"I'm having such a bad day. I wish the things that happened to me today hadn't."

These are at the top of my list. When I was in Jr. High I remember saying dramatically vague things with lots of sighs to try to get my friends to perk up and ask me what was going on. We're all adults now people...stop. If something happened to you and you feel the need to talk about it online, tell us WTF happened pah-leeez.

TMI Posts

"I'm on my period and I'm bleeding like crazy. Ugh I hate this!"

Not joking. See it all the time. I could actually break this one down into a bunch of different posts. The above is an example of "bodily function TMI". I could also add a section for:

Relationship TMI Posts

"My husband and I got in a fight tonight. I wish he wasn't so insensitive. Where are my kleenexes and chocolate?!"

If you get in a fight with a significant other, do not discuss it on social media. Don't do it. It may, to the neurologically challenged, seem like a good idea to air dirty laundry in public. It is not. Things always have a knack of getting back to the person being discussed. And they won't appreciate it.

More on the TMI list?

Child Bodily Function TMI

"Oh my gosh Terrence just pooped in the potty! It was really loose and runny, but at least it all made it in the pot!"

It's awesome that you're potty training little Betsy Wetsy. No one wants to hear about her bowel movements though. This one is tricky, and I'll admit that when we were potty training our oldest I might have mentioned it once or twice on FB. I never, however, described what was coming out of him or how often. I kept things general and vague.

Labor and Delivery TMI

"She's dialated to a 4, mucus plug is out!"

"Dialated to an 8! The nurse is rubbing her perineum right now to get things ready!"

"Starting to push, baby's head is crowing!"

"Baby is out! Doc is just stitching up her episiotomy and cleaning up the placenta!"

K. Having a baby is amazing. I get that we all want to share the details with our fam. But for the rest of us, hearing a play-by-play of the whole dealy is a bit much. When I was in labor with both our kids, Dan and I made a pact; one general post during labor, one general post in the hours following delivery. That is all. I made him promise not ever to use any words in any social media post that involved any of my sensitive body part. No dialated, no crowning, no effaced, no pushing, no nothing like that. Mostly, if you're having a baby....HAVE THE STINKIN BABY. This is a very rare thing that will not happen again for a while. Enjoy it with the people present and let the rest of us know later on.

Over Posting, Or The Daily Grind

"Having a BLT for lunch. Then it's on to a hike! Oh look a cat!"

I said before that the point of social media is to participate with it. That does not mean updating the public-at-large with a detailed account of your day. I really try to keep it to one post a day, if I have something worth posting once a day. Constant updates aren't really necessary  I'll be honest, I have totally unfriended people before just because they have to post every mundane activity from their day.

BiPolar Posts

"My mom died today. Also...I won the lottery!"

I read these from time to time; status updates that will say one really good thing and one really bad thing. I hate these posts. You can't 'like' the good thing because it will look like you're insensitive to the bad. So then you have to explain your actions; "I wasn't liking that you broke your femur, but I do love that you got a new snake aquarium!". Ugh. Keep posts related to one topic. It makes it easier for the rest of us.

An Overabundance of Any One Thing

"Liberals are all dung-eating muffin heads that should die! Look at the 30 reasons Glenn Beck says they should all move to Cuba!"

"Don't ever eat animals! Here are four more links!"

"I love model airplanes! Look at all the pictures of model airplanes ever!"

I love diversity. I like that all my friends are into stuff. It gives me things to read and think about during the day. But 50 posts on one topic is too much. Facebook shouldn't be a soapbox. Or it can be, just not repeatedly every day. It gets old.

I think that's all the ranting I have for now. Our involvement on Facebook and other social media outlets, like anything we do in life, necessitates a wee bit of restraint, thoughtfulness, and consideration.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Turning 30: Or Why I'm Slowly Going Crazy

In 3 months I turn the big 3-0. A year ago, when asked how I felt about this event, I replied with a wave of the hand and a scoff. Turning 30 meant leaving my capricious 20s in the dust and really owning up to this adulthood thing.

Now, as the date draws near, my attitude has changed. Not insignificantly either. Since about January Dan has sighed patiently when he comes home occasionally to find me in tears. Lost youth, impending elderlyness, and the feeling of failure have all got me way down.

When I was a kid I wanted to be so many things; a scientist, a veterinarian, a teacher, a social worker, and a little later on-a politician. When I got to college I changed my major a total of 8 times before I graduated. I was in the Middle Eastern Studies program for a while studying Arabic so I could go work for the State Department as a cool something-or-rather. Then I was a PolySci major who wanted nothing else than to work for a good nuclear proliferation think tank in Washington (little known fact about me; I'm way into nukes). Finally I transfered over to the Humanities Department and dreamed of taking my degree to a Master's Program in screen writing and be the next Tina Fey or at least Chuck Klosterman.

But 30 is coming, and I have done none of those things. I have a degree. I also have kids. I love my kids and I love staying home with them. I think though, that part of my serious anxiety over this coming birthday is the fact that I feel like I have let my younger self down. I have an Etsy store where I sell burp clothes and baby dresses...what?! That was never the plan.

Having kids is a funny thing because it feels sometimes like maintaining any previous life goals is both futile and almost frowned upon. I sometimes catch myself feeling guilty when I'm in, what I call, and 'Oscar Daydream'.  This is where I stare out the window while holding a bottle of ketchup and, in my head, give the best damned Oscar acceptance speech ever for my amazing *screenplay* *leading role* * cinematography* *directing* or whatever it is. I think the guilt comes because there's no good way to reconcile my role as a mother and my dreams of doing big things in life. I either stay home with my children, something I am very passionate about and something, honestly, I'm very good at OR I farm them out somewhere during the day and go to work pursuing my other dreams.

The former is something I will probably always do. My kids are my life. As soon as Eli sprung forth into this world I was as dependent on my offspring as they are on me. I love them and I am the only one I want taking care of them. The later, the pursuing dreams thing, is something I'm just going to have to come to peace with. And this is the peace that I'm having such a hard time finding as 30 comes nearer.

I wish sometimes I could lead two lives simultaneously  One would be the one I'm in right now, nothing changed. Married, kids, house, mortgage, dog, chickens, walks to the park, and talking to other moms about bowel consistency and sleep routines. The other would be the one with the masters degree, the awesome job, the constant traveling, the fame, the fortune, and the clothes. Oh the clothes. I wouldn't even want to live in that life. Just have it hanging on the coat rack where I could throw it on every once in a while for a few hours.

But for now, where I am, I just need to be still and happy. In the words of Candide, "Let us cultivate our garden".