This year, my girls were dexterous and calm enough for us to attempt a gingerbread house. I’m glad we did.
This year, my girls were dexterous and calm enough for us to attempt a gingerbread house. I’m glad we did.
You feel like crap all the time. Whether you’re tired, lethargic, sore, have pains in your stomach/head/neck, or just feel icky, it’s definitely a thing.
For me, it’s all of those things.
When the kids were infants, I had to start at the beginning to regain myself. I had to start at “take a shower.” I had to start at “wipe down a counter top.” I had to start with “eat a meal. Even one.”
You think you overcome that. But sometimes, even if your kids are older, you slip back. Or you come so far that you’ve circled around.
I took a full courseload this semester in grad school. It just about killed me, no lie. I added it to the things I’d already added back when a successful day was taking out the trash and getting to the Walgreens. I didn’t get rid of anything because I don’t want to. But I’m not going to last.
I cannot: go to school full time, raise five-year-old “spirited” twins, keep a clean(ish) house, blog everyday, edit and write novels, freelance as a journalist, and submit short fiction and essays every week. I mean, I can. I have been.
But I really feel like crap.
The easiest thing to do would be to cut back. Which I’m doing (in my way). I went from three to two courses next semester (and an extra thesis credit). Whatever. That’s all I’m cutting for now. We’ll see.
I also have to take care of my body better. Like, a lot better.
I eat like absolute garbage. I have toast and tea for breakfast, nothing or a huge bowl of chips/candy/ice cream/ name your junk for lunch, then nothing until dinner (which is usually pretty healthy, because, you know, family and I have to), then repeat huge bowl of whatever processed bullcrap I can shove in my facehole.
Not surprisingly, my stomach is killing me right now. However, it does surprise me because I’ve been able to eat like this my whole life with no consequence.
Oh, and I don’t drink any water. Just coffee and wine, mostly.
Oh, and I smoke.
So…yeah, I have to fix all this stuff.
I’m going to go slowly.
I like making lists, so here’s my list: (starting tomorrow, and each week adds to the previous week, not replaces):
Week 1: Drink 5 glasses of water every day. Keep track of cigarettes smoked
Week 2: Eat three fruits a day. Cut out first cigarette of the day.
Week 3: Go to bed by 11:30 every night. Add protein to breakfast.
Week 4: Eat three vegetables a day. Cut out last cigarette at night.
Week 5: Limit junk food to one garbage snack a day.
Week 6: Cut wine to one glass a night, or seven glasses a week, however I want to split that up.
Week 7: DIE (No, just kidding. Quit smoking.)
I…I think that’s it. Right? I don’t know if I can do it all in six weeks, I might have to spread it out. I’ll let you know how I do.
The biggest thing is, I’m only doing this because I want to feel better. I don’t want to feel worse. So, I’ll have to strike a balance, and also not lose my mind.
Wish me luck.
Anytime someone questions my support for President Obama I’m just going to pull up my Tumblr and show them this.
This is why I voted for him. He gets it.
Hey there, Pope Francis,
I’m not sure how I’m supposed to address you, so forgive the informality. It’s been quite a while since I Catholicked. I’m a bit rusty on the when-to-kneel part right now.
But that’s what I wanted to talk to you about. See, I lived in a Catholic-laden town, was born and raised Catholic, got all my sacraments, and even did my first year of undergrad at an all-girls Catholic college.
When you’re a kid, you don’t know any better, you know? You trust the adults around you. You believe what they say because they know things. And they say those things with authority. And you love and respect them.
So that God and Jesus existing as these beacons of light and life was just a given as a concept. I couldn’t imagine a world without that.
One day, walking through that Catholic campus, I looked up at the chapel, and I didn’t feel God anymore. I know that sounds silly, but pretend this image of Him was like a blanket covering me in my youth, and suddenly, for no discernible reason, it disappeared. I was pretty pissed. It felt like abandonment, in an equally silly way. But I carried on. I started doing some research, asking some questions, poking some holes. I ended up switching colleges and majoring in evolutionary biology. (Yeah, you heard me.)
There were several times I tried to go back. When life felt too hard, or something was lacking. I held onto the hope that God may yet return. I went back to church a few times and didn’t find Him. I worked for the Church, and found the opposite of Him there. In the Church’s infrastructure lies a great evil, a bullying, narcissistic, abusive presence. Literally the opposite of all the Jesusy things I’d been led to believe as a young girl. It was heartbreaking.
That’s not to say there wasn’t some good, there. Our Archbishop was an incredibly kind and gentle man and the former bishop of the area nearby was perhaps the most compassionate man I’ve ever met. There were priests fighting for families, immigrants, the poor. There was love and happiness. But the good up top was manipulated by middle management, and the good below was stifled by that same middle management.
I began to think I hated the Church, it’s manipulation, it’s trickery. I moved far to the left, supporting abortion rights, birth control, gay marriage, human rights. (And I will continue to do so, regardless of all else).
But it wasn’t that I was against the Church. It was that I was for goodness. Goodness as I understand it. Goodness as charity without strings, goodness as kindness without judgement, goodness as unconditional love and compassion for all people.
I didn’t believe goodness was some guy in a ridiculous hat and robe, riding around in a “Popemobile.” I still don’t.
But you don’t even use the Popemobile!
I used to say my kids didn’t know who God was. And they didn’t. They went four years of their lives never hearing his name. Because I wasn’t going to do that to them. I don’t know anything about this stuff, and I wasn’t about to mess them up by telling them the wrong thing, leading them the wrong way. Slowly this year, we’ve introduced some of the old bible stories. When they ask if God is real, I tell them He’s a story that some people believe. When they ask me if I believe it, I say I don’t really know. They still don’t know about Jesus.
I got them baptized, “just in case.” Because, you know, the Church has some scary-ass stories, like Original Sin, and I didn’t want my preemies burning in hell just because I didn’t symbolically wash away that sin. Which is ridiculous. These are the ridiculous things, you know what I mean? Well, those things, and the scandals, the sex, the money, the generally bad apples that can get to the top (in life as well as in the Church, it’s across the board).
Anyway, the point of this ramble is that kids believe in things because they like and trust the adults telling them those things. I haven’t liked or trusted the Church in a long time. But maybe it’s not cynicism, maybe it’s hidden hope.
It’s too early to say yet, but you seem to be doing a lot of things I can get behind. Not as a believer, but simply as a human being. You seem to understand religion’s place in the world today, and you seem to understand the goodness at the heart of all the dogma.
I like your stance on atheists (thanks for understanding, bro).
I like that even though you’re still wrong about gay marriage, you agree it’s none of your damn business.
I love the idea that you might possibly be sneaking out of the Vatican at night to help poor people. In. Love. With. That. Idea.
I’m down with your dismissal of stupid trickle-down economy.
I’m super excited about the fact that you are looking the child sex abuse issue in the effing face.
I mean, this is some yes, we can shit right here, am I right?
Suffice to say, if we ended up at the same party, I think we’d get along just dandy. I mean, you are lacking in hugely important areas to me (mainly that women are actually equal human beings), but I understand we can’t just change everything all at once. We’ll just steer clear of talking about my vagina. I’m pretty sure you’d agree to that, anyway.
I wrote a Facebook status saying that if you were actually for real, I might consider going back. Because if Catholicism is going to do goodness and kindness right, I can get behind that. I can teach my kids that. I can give them a framework that may well be a story, but at least not worry that I’m telling them to trust corruption and ‘sin’ masquerading as truth and goodness.
As a friend of mine said, in reply to my status: “If we were doing Christianity right it would be irresistible. Because, truthfully, Christianity is sexy, dangerous, challenging, and bad ass.”
That’s the Christianity I want to be a part of.
In essence, perhaps it’s not so much that I’m a non-believer, that I hate Catholicism, or anything like that. I thought I would side-eye the Church for the rest of my life, no matter what they did. But now, in just a few months, I’m tilting my head rather than squinting. Perhaps I just needed to be shown a little bit of hope, a little bit of humanity. Perhaps I wanted to belong all along, and needed just the slightest sign that you all were at least trying.
I’m not going back yet, and I can’t say I ever will. But I am paying attention. And I’m starting to give you (you the Pope, not you the Church. That will take much longer) the benefit of the doubt. Which I never thought would happen. I’m starting to smile a little when I see your picture. I’m starting to allow you to represent the Christian ideals I thought were at play when I was a very little girl. Those ideals that I soon found were nowhere in the Church at all. I’m starting to hold out hope that one man can make an institutional change.
Basically what I’m saying is, you’ve got the potential to bring a lot of people on board. If not as true believers, as helpers to the cause of goodness.
It’s goodness we need, and goodness we’re after, regardless of what God, if any, you believe it.
Please do not fuck this up. You’re giving yourself an awfully big task, but you’re also making people believe you might possibly be able to do it. And if not do it, at least try without falling to dogma, pressure or wealth of station.
I don’t want to be crushed again. I don’t want to have played the fool. Twice, after all, is shame on me.
So, Pope Francis. Go. Do it. For all of us. Make it happen. Good luck.
PS - I hear you have the direct line to God, or something. Tell Him hi for me. And Merry Christmas (or happy holidays, whichever you prefer.)
I often say my life changed forever the day I found out I was having twins (the same day I then had to turn down a job offer in New York City), but in all honesty, my life changed a month before that.
Now, I’m not relaying all this because it’s super-duper glamorous or anything, but I was only 25 at the time. It seemed as if I was on my way, know what I mean?
Anyway, in order to get this dream job (which was actually the stuff nightmares were made of, no offense, KUSI, but I cried at your station on the daily, and you can’t tell me it’s me because in my seven months there, thirty two people quit. And more than half of them didn’t have anywhere to go. I was number 33.) I’d moved across the country from my boyfriend (now husband).
I thought it was a good thing. We hadn’t planned on being serious and forever, and an opportunity came up, and I didn’t want him to hang out in a relationship he didn’t want to be in just because I wanted him to be in it. (I know, I don’t know, shut up.) Anyway, I packed up, thinking we’d try long distance for a bit, then probably break up, and live our own lives.
I missed him with a ferocity I’d never previously known. He’d come to visit me every couple of months, and each departure would leave me wrecked for days.
I once called a friend of mine who asked me how things were in San Diego. I answered that the weather was beautiful. She told me that was the saddest “the weather is beautiful” she’d ever heard. In short, I was a wreck.
Sure, I had friends (Meghan!) and made more (Laura!), but I couldn’t get my bearings. There was a San Diego me and a Connecticut me, and the SD me was just a shadow, a shell. No matter what I did. I went to coffee shops. I read dozens of literary masterpieces, I talked to the neighbors and made friends with my coworkers (the ones who weren’t Satan himself, tbh). I listened to French music and took long walks on the beach. I was miserable.
That Thanksgiving, I went to a few different places. People knew I was alone and kindly invited me to join in their celebrations. And around all that festivity, all that happiness, I couldn’t appreciate. I couldn’t do anything but excuse myself to the bathroom to go cry.
I hated everything.
And that’s when my life changed. That Thanksgiving. I somehow had an inkling that what was waiting for me (well, I mean, mostly waiting) in Connecticut was something bigger than my dreams of becoming a big-time producer. I didn’t know what it would be at the time. But I knew right then, that day, that I had to give up the fast-track I was on. I had to admit defeat and go home. With no job, no insurance, no apartment of my own. It was a decision incredibly unlike me, perhaps the only one I’ve ever made like it (I usually stick things out until the bitter end). I didn’t know what was in store, but I put faith in me landing on my feet.
I got off the plane on December 13th 2007. The doctors say that’s the date I conceived.
Today, in 2013, I’m struggling with three research papers, two sick kids and a hefty order for a five-course Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. I haven’t “worked” in three years. The broadcast ship has probably long sailed.
The last time I saw a celebrity was this morning, but it was Charlie Brown on my TV.
I’m not anything close to what I thought I would be. I’ve not done anything I thought I would.
And I couldn’t be more thankful for that.
Thanksgiving, two years ago.