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1,600 sq. ft. and still no place for towels

Tonight is a short rant. Like a long tweet for the precise reason that I am not concise. I have my gripes with every generation except Millenials because we are perfect. The end.

But tonight I’m not going to talk about the skyrocketing cost of education, how hypocritical it is to march for unborn babies while denying their born counterparts and their parents the ability to thrive or even survive, why Cheeto Satan should be the death knell for evangelical christianity instead of its poster boy, or why grandma can’t understand why I like kissing girls. No, today I’m ranting about popcorn ceilings. Because WHY?

WHY WAS THIS EVER A THING? You know what we should put on the ceiling, Brenda? SHIT. Shit that is going to catch every speck of dust flying around here. And we’ll do it FOR FASHION.

And while we’re at it, Bob, let’s design houses in the literal dumbest way possible and waste as much space as we can. IT’S BRILLIANT.

Understandably, you might have guessed from this post that my house has popcorn ceilings and storage issues and you would be correct. But so does every single house that every single friend I have, regardless of age, gender, or location lives in. They were all designed spectacularly poorly. And honestly, I have not the foggiest understanding of why.

How does such poor design make money? Surely it doesn’t save it. You could house double the families in the same amount of space if someone just thought to themselves, “I bet these people use towels in the bathroom. Let’s plan for that.” Instead, the designers of my home decided that it was a most excellent idea to make the entryway a narrow hallway of, I shit you not, 12 feet and include a small, useless closet whose door opens out to block any entry into the home. It’s some fucking brilliant stuff.

I once visited a friend in Germany and stayed with her and her family in their townhome and while the size of the garages did indeed give me anxiety, those houses were amazing. It was the most practical, convenient, and honestly beautiful design I have ever seen. Every square inch had a purpose and a function. There was storage everywhere. Everything made sense. A family of 5 lived, extremely comfortably, in half the square footage of my home in which we trip over each other constantly while I begin to stroke a mustache I don’t have and fire up the chainsaw in a desperate attempt to avoid another meltdown over storage space.

If you find yourself asking, are you one of those tiny home people? Please know my answer is no. I’m not saying we should all get by on a meticulously planned 100 sq ft because frankly, I like baths too much and also, I have a tooty booty and want my partners to stay in love with me. But this whole ‘Here’s some space let’s fuck it up with shit tile, textured surfaces, and awkward closets’ has got to go.

If there is one thing that the next generation that has wealth to build custom homes and/or own a home building company does (no worries, Gen Z, you’re right in the fucked boat with us, but maybe one day there will rise a new breed of human that understands that water and air are more important than hoarding billions)- please, please, for the sanity of every person – design houses for people to actually live in them. End rant.

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Come to me RPG Avatar

I don’t want to be here, banging my head against writer’s block that is 3/4 stress induced and 1/4 imposter syndrome determined to be heard. I want to be losing myself in a farming RPG, a grand adventure, or quietly exploring a world like the mystical witch that I am. Basically, I’d love for some escapism at the moment.

Gaaaaaah why is it that I love grinding in games so much more than real life?

What I find interesting about my deep (and, at times of high stress, desperate) need for escapism is this: upon inspection its actually a really insightful road map for who I want to be and what I need to be working toward.

Herbalism, permaculture, spiritualism, and FFS a colder goddamn climate so I can enjoy being in nature. I am a witch of the woods not a goddess with stank pits, boob sweat, and active bitch face. Do you know how good I look with a cute pink nose? It’s a helluva improvement from flushed face with an ash white upper lip and eyes glazed with heat exhaustion. Gimmie some mittens and a proper pair of boots. And let. the bugs. die.

Maybe that’s the key – sit for a moment, and escape. Go somewhere that is not overwhelming, and open my arms wide. Take a deep breath, hug everything I see, and bring it back with me.

Biggest and Best

I have always been a little person. Always. Since pre-memory I have taken pride in hiding in spaces that should be too small for me to fit in. I didn’t weigh over 100lbs until I was in 6th grade. Puberty didn’t strike until I was 15 and I was 19 before I got my b cups. I look back and realize I should have worn a bikini absolutely everywhere.

Fast forward to 33. Two children have given me stretch marks on my stomach and thighs, an uncontrollable eye roll reaction, and the beginnings of laugh lines around my eyes and mouth. They have also stretched out my boobs to look more like udders and eating their leftovers and running on spiritually empty for a *while now*, plus quarantine and keeping a handle on my depression – I have gained some weight. Not a significant amount. About 25 lbs. But when you’ve been told your whole life how small you are – not fitting into adolescent clothes as an adult seems like a game changer.

But instead of falling back into starvation and self loathing and over exercising (because I promised my body I would honor her instead) I have spent the last year just letting her be. Loving her through my insecurities. Finding new voices to listen to. (Specifically the voices of my partners telling me how sexy my juicy booty is, how worthy I am, how good I look.) And understanding that if “getting skinner” is my goal, I’m always going to fail. Not because I can’t diet or exercise or lose the weight – I have absolute faith in my ability to do that. But because there is no gain in getting skinnier. There is no reason to be other than to fit into a set of criteria that our society has dictated that has no place in reality and puts a buttload of mental energy into looking… thin. And like… thin? That’s it? Not like a warrior goddess here to kick ass and heal? Not a full heart nor aligned chakras nor knowledge about myself nor a healthy appreciation for the body that has brought me this far? Just. Thin.

Fuuuuuuuuck that. Fuck it all the way to purity culture and back. And what would that teach my daughter? Sorry honey, mama is barely holding on so I can get a brief and insufficient hit of dopamine because I can fit into a size 4 again. Sorry honey, it’s not that ice cream makes my body feel bad, or isn’t healthy, or that I don’t enjoy it but because I have to listen to these rules to look a certain way or I’ll spend our story time trying to burn off these calories. Fuck fucking nope.

Things I want for my body: increased strength (my kids are getting fucking heavy!), increased endurance (wheezing after 2 minutes of tag is not something I’m particularly proud of), flexibility of any kind really (I am mildly ashamed at the amount of work it takes to keep my back from hurting now that I’m in my 30’s), and honestly I’ve always wanted to do a handstand and have the core strength to hold it. If those things cause weight loss – okay. If they don’t – okay. Because, and I’m going to say it again, thin is not a goal. Thin is a way some people are and some people aren’t.

And I… I want to be me. All of me. Even if it’s the *biggest* me. Because right now I am the best me. The most realized me. The most whole me. The most healed me. The most genuine me I have ever been. And maybe it’s because that in this season, this is my way of learning that there is nothing inherently holy in being small, no matter what I was taught.

Oh how I longed to be small and quiet and docile, as a true holy woman should be. Instead I was quick witted, sharp tongued, inquisitive, and loud. I did not do as I was told, I needed things to make sense, I had things to talk about and wanted to be heard. I had interests. I had enthusiasm. I was not demure in any way, shape, or form.

Maybe, my body is just changing to look like my mind and be okay with taking up space. I’m not afraid of it anymore. I’m not afraid of being big and bold and loud and inquisitive and enthusiastic.

Because why the fuck not. Because why is taking up space a bad thing? Why is being squishy a negative? It’s not. It never was and it never will be. So I’mma go put on my bikini and wear it everywhere. Behold, world. Look at my pale ass perfection and be blinded by my white ass cellulite. Watch me jiggle as I chase my kids and behold the glory of my laugh lines. Swing my little batwings. Bounce my juicy booty. Shimmy and shake and clap those thighs with the movement inherent in a full and glorious life.

The Chosen

Full moon rises outside the window
Two deadweight bodies radiating body heat
Legs across mine
Claiming me as their own even in sleep
I don’t mind
I have been theirs since the moment I could finally hold them in my arms instead of vaguely curse at them to get the fuck out of me

Tension rises outside the door
Voices raised as emotions are expressed
Two people learning how to love each other again
How to belong to each other
And themselves
I don’t mind
I have been there, walked those exact steps, been overcome and overwhelmed and desperate
And came out the other side with more love than I ever believed possible

Words rise inside of me
Always wanting to get out
Past my tied tongue and my half open eyes and stiff fingers they demand release
I don’t mind
Racing across the page they are the wind in my sails
Pulling the weight from my heart and pouring it on the page they are my anchor
They are my breath in good times and bad

We rise out of expectations
Insisting on making our own way
Laying down the burdens of antiquated ideals
Ignoring the calls for self sacrifice from the same lips that call us entitled
I love him I love her they love me we love
And I don’t mind
The side eye when I introduce my partnerS
Call myself a witch
Or hear my child drop the f bomb at story time
Because at the end, when I walk into the light again, I will never wonder what my life would have been like if I had chosen it instead of accepted what I was given

Leave It Un-Done

Today was a day. Today I had many thoughts that need to be written down. About how waiting for sex until I was married wasn’t what fucked up my brain, but the purity culture that fueled it. About how romcom love isn’t actually love and living life together while still enjoying each other while you have young kids and fuck tons of pressure on every side is the best thing ever. Literally. It is freedom. It is joy. It is looking at your person and knowing that there is nothing life can throw at you that you won’t make it through together. Because it’s not about what the journey looks like. It’s not even where it’s going (that vision will change many, many times). It’s about doing it together, and discovering yourself along the way. About how I once read about a “pious” woman who worried, constantly, about getting grilled about her time on earth once she was in heaven. And how it’s taken me years to begin deconstruction on this bullshit but today, while watching IG reels and laughing my ass off, I thought that if anyone on the other side of death had the *audacity* to ask me if I thought today was well spent I would respond with “Well fuck yes it was. Actually. Thanks. Had a great time. 9/10. Would recommend.” About how people in the middle of doing the work don’t get enough fucking credit for how difficult it is in the middle of it.

But it’s the end of the day. My babies need cuddles. My brain needs a break. My shoulders need to come down from my chin. And I just do not have the capacity to give any of those topics the attention they deserve.

So, instead, I’m going to do this. I’m going to talk to myself (and you). Just a quick little message. Here we go.

Everyone deserves rest. Even writers. Even moms. Even people who haven’t gotten out of bed because it was just too much today. Here is your permission to leave it un-done. To try again tomorrow. To celebrate how far you made it today, against all the odds. Play the game on your phone. Binge the show you have watched a million times. Let your brain shut off, take a deep breath, eat the donut, and love yourself.

Perfectly Alright

Community. A term I have known, longed for, been deluded about, and rediscovered. I have been told since before memory that church was community. And since I could remember, I didn’t fit into it. I was not cool enough. I used to think it was holiness or piousness, but upon reflection, that’s fucking absurd. I did nightly devotionals, memorized scripture without anyone telling me to, read theology books for fun. The “accepted ones” had… other hobbies. No, it was definitely because I was an awkward, anxious bitch who couldn’t be chill for her life. Oh and poor. Adopted by some of the rich kids, sure, but definitely the charity case.

I don’t know if American Christians are even capable of community. Because community is impossible without whole-hearted acceptance of the “other”. Unless there are people who are not like you in your community, it’s just a club. And like any club, it is defined by it’s exclusivity.

Whereas witches… I’m not saying there aren’t exclusive, gatekeeping white witches out there. There are. I’ve met them. They suck. But most witches I know are the most welcoming people I’ve ever met. There is no one way to be a witch. There is no one color of witch. No one aesthetic. No one sexuality. No one pantheon (or lack thereof). No one path. So many that overlap and mix and mingle.

I went to a witch’s market today and it was glorious. A) there was cool shit everywhere. The talent of these witches! The art! B) The compliments! Everyone there was admiring everyone else there. “I love your dress!” “Your shoes!” “This is divine!” Short witches, fat witches, skinny witches, tall witches, goth witches, fairy witches, stone witches, card witches, fire witches, old witches, baby witches, atheist witches, goddess witches, green witches, and every other type of witch I could imagine. And we were *jiving* with each other. Celebrating. Lifting up. Supporting. Amplifying.

Honestly, I think it’s because everyone there has one thing in common: finding our own way. Or at least trying to. Not the mysteries of the universe. Not the secret to success, or the key to the afterlife, and certainly not an arbitrary list of rules written and rewritten by white men in positions of power. We are each on our own path and acknowledge and celebrate that rather than trying to get people on our path, the goal is to help them on theirs.

My favorite part though, has to be the style. No one has styles like the marginalized. The expression. The sheer, blissful audacity. The *authenticity*.

Oh, right, and I forgot the very best part. *No one there gave a single shit if anyone else was a witch.* Not a witch? Cool. Don’t need to be. No pressure. Want to talk? Want to do *this* witch thing but aren’t feeling *that*? Cool. Whatever you are comfortable with. Have questions? Have emotional baggage? Awesome, we all do. Let’s begin unpacking it together. Maybe being a witch isn’t for you. And it is for me. And that’s perfectly alright.

Saturday Thoughts

Potato Salad is a gift to mankind that I have recently realized I can happily eat every day. Fight me.

After many years of struggling with horrifically negative body self talk, restrictive dieting, borderline eating disorders, and insecurity – I have finally begun to make progress in learning to honor, even love, my body. I have rolls and cellulite. I’m 20lbs heavier than I have ever been in my entire life. And when you’re 5’4″ (and have been the skinny bitch of every friend group since you were 10) it’s noticeable. I have confronted the fears. My partners are not going to leave me because I went up a size. And if they did – those are not the kind of partners I want. My kids praise my squishiness literally all the time. To them, I am a soft place to land. It’s been a year of me just breathing through. I want to be stronger, but I have given up being thinner. It’s not worth it. My body has done too much, given me too much, for me to ever wonder if I have earned my dinner ever, ever again.

Baked chips are not chips. They are the love child of chips and crackers and I am not mad about it.

Today, while trying to keep myself out of a panic attack, I became suddenly aware of a sound that I currently and will always cherish (and someday, miss with an awful ache) the slap of kid feet running in and out of the house and shouting “MOM!” to show me something. These few years will go so fast.

Get the gap insurance. Just do it. You never, ever know when life is just going to… drop a fucking global pandemic on your ass.

We don’t play in the rain enough. Today, my daughter and I played in the rain. Well, we moved bricks in the rain but it felt like playing. It was a light rain, no storm, nice and warm. We got soaked. There was no dry clothing by the time we got in. Every layer was drenched. But it was perfect. And it felt amazing. And I’m done with letting anything other than ‘perfect’ weather dictate my outdoor time.

Dive in. Do the thing you don’t know how to do. Make mistakes. Look ridiculous. It’s so much better than never trying. And it’s so good for my kids to see me doing it. Today my daughter watched me fail in my first 11 attempts to fold dumplings. Yesterday my son watched me lose a fight with a can of spray paint. Next weekend they are going to watch me figure out how to use a tiller. But importantly, they watch me want to do something. They watch me not have any idea how to do it. They watch me research (a little). They watch me try. They watch me fail. They watch me keep trying until I succeed. I can now fold a dumpling confidently. I know how to use upside down spray paint cans. And soon I’ll be able to use a tiller. And every time it gets a little easier to fail and feels a little better to succeed. Understanding that one naturally follows the other, rather than it being an either/or situation.

What is one thing about people that you have a preference about that everyone else thinks is weird? I’ll go first. I love my partner’s feet. My male partner has wide feet and his toes all end at the same length like a rectangle. It is ridiculously attractive to me.

Aaaaaand there is your daily peek inside my mind. You’re welcome.

Friends Without Agenda

As an ex-Christian (and a devout one who studied theology for fun kind of Christian) I have a lot of “say no to “let’s meet up for coffee!”” posts about enforcing boundaries while deconstructing on my social media feeds. Which is super important and I whole heartedly support those “no”s.

But why? There is an assumption here that isn’t being talked about as clearly as I feel it needs to be. When the “friends” ask “let’s meet up for coffee!” they are being false. They don’t want coffee. They want confrontation. They want to address what they see as a deviation from their expectations of your life. That, friends, is *toxic as fuck*.

I’m not saying true friends won’t invite you out for coffee to address sudden, or even subtle, changes in behavior. They will. They should. What I am saying is that true friends will invite you out for coffee to listen, not talk. We all change. All of the time. And the course of our lives will shift. Sometimes subtly, other times drastically. If you had told me 8 years ago as I was walking down the aisle that not only would I whole heartedly abandon the fuckery that is American Christianity, but be in a polyamorous relationship and understand myself as a witch – I’d have freaked the fuck out. And yet, if you ask me about it now, I can calmly and rationally explain (granted, with the use of curse words, not even remotely sorry) that my deviation from my original “life plan” is actually a heart felt continuation of my deeply held beliefs about the nature of the divine, justice, and love.

That rather than a deviation, I see my current path as a natural exploration of my values once the destructive influence of the patriarchy was removed. Once the ways in which I expressed my values were no longer dictated by a completely arbitrary set of rules, my life is what happened.

And I am currently supported by friends who understand that, even when our values are not identical, or do not express themselves identically. But I wasn’t always. When I was beginning this transition, in the midst of all the chaos, I didn’t have a solid friend group. And I listened to friends I shouldn’t have. And it almost destroyed my life. Not because of my life choices, but because of the way they were framed by my “friends”. I began to doubt myself. And that’s when the real problems started.

My friends, well meaning though they were, had an agenda for my life. Monogamy was part of that agenda. And it almost ended my marriage. The toxic trait isn’t the questioning of the change. It’s the refusal to consider the why. It’s being convinced that there is only one right way. Denying individuality, denying personal revelation, completely unable to address discrepancies in common belief systems, and worst of all, using friends as surrogates for their own problems and projecting issues onto them.

*cough* married people with their own damn problems *cough*

And fram, the only way of finding those people is to be those people. My network is incredibly diverse. Polyamorous families, monogamous families, agnostic, atheist, buddhist, pagan, Christian, sex workers, transgendered uncles, boy scout leaders, in the closet, out of the closet, parents, childless, and a missionary. But the one important thing to note is that not a single one of those choices, be it a lifestyle choice or the choice to live authentically and loudly, was made because it was expected of them, or because it was society’s default. Every life is lived because they examined themselves and decided the best way forward.

No one in my circle thinks that there is a way we are supposed to be other than kind. Each way is authentic to the person living it. The end. And the beginning. And the middle. It’s the most supportive, encouraging, loving community I have ever been a part of. I have watched so many women heal.

So when decided which people are truly your people – please remember to say no to anyone who is invested in your life looking a certain way.

What I’ve Gained

I have an amazon photos account that links to my tv as a screen saver. Usually, I thoroughly enjoy this feature as I get sweet surprises in the faces of our children growing up way too fast, looking at me from the past and reminding me my babies are still in there under the gangly legs and immense attitudes.

But today I had to go searching through the photos, trying to find one specifically. I scrolled through 3 years. And my mood slowly tanked during the process.

I used to be so beautiful. I had a jawline. And clavicles. My goddess, my clavicles. My body was full of elegant lines. And now. Now.

My jawline is not sharp. My clavicles are not pronounced. My lines are not elegant.

But.

My smile is more frequent. And genuine. My ass has filled out in a very pleasing manor. I am full. Full of food because I actually eat now. Full of love because I’m not busy hating myself. Full of deep thoughts.

Less full of tears.

More full of prozac.

You couldn’t pay me to go back. The times were wild. My brain was a primordial mess of trying to grapple with deconstructing my (once deeply held) religion, my partner was exploring polyamory and I was losing a battle to hormone shifts and undiagnosed depression and anxiety, we had two kids in diapers, and a total lack of friend network.

So to have a frank conversation with my brain, I want to remind myself of all that I’ve gained.

Yes. I have gained 20lbs. I have gained sanity. Confidence. Peace. I have found spirituality that is genuine, and not harmful to outcasts and minorities. I have found my people, and have friends that know me and see me and love me. And support me. I cannot say this enough, but friends who support your autonomy because they do not have an agenda for you and your life – essential. *makes mental note to make a separate post about that* I have found patience with myself, grace for the beauty that is the messiness of life, and room for all. of. me.

I have gained 20lbs and the courage to exist. Loudly. Boldly. Unapologetically. Whatever the word for “not demurely” is. And more. I can confidently parent my children. I have faith in my own worth and goodness and have thriving relationships. I do not have mental breakdowns multiple times a week. I have and maintain boundaries. I no longer people please myself into meltdowns. I laugh. Out loud. Often. I orgasm during sex. Also loudly.

I wake up achy and sore and feeling older than I am – but also immensely happy. Bad days are just bad days now, not the end of the world.

And now, as I look back, and see just how far I’ve come I am squeezing every squishy part of me and thanking it. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Every ounce of you is precious.

Maman

An explanation, followed by a thought: how I have to begin almost every conversation because *my brain*.

The explanation: So recently I rediscovered my love of all things Star Trek. Okay, not all things. My love for Shatner (and right here, I’m sorry George Takai, I think you are a phenomenal human being but hoooooly shit Sulu in TOS is creep af. Fight me.) and Pine as Kirk, and my enduring love for Capt. Jean-Luc Picard in all of his 1990’s glory. *Of note, it seems there is a glitch in my brain somehow related to Chris Pine. I can go literal years without crying, but put on one of the Star Trek reboots or god forbid WW84 and boom – waterworks.*

Hold up. Mama needs to google something. *sips cold brew with trepidation* Oh thank goddess. He is older than me. Praise. Life is as it should be. I’m not cougar-ing Hollywood hunks yet.

Anyway, now that I am an adult and decide how I spend about 30-45 minutes of each day not currently consumed by kids – I plan on watching my way through all of the Star Trek series, so I’m warning you now, there are going to be random thoughts about Star Trek for a whiiiiiile.

The thought: Last night I was watching TNG Season 1 Ep 5 and in it, Capt. Picard sees his long dead mother. Due to the fact that it was a 90’s drama set not only in the distant future and of course, outer space, the dialogue is not always the most natural. That being said, there was an exchange where his mother tells him, “But I’m always with you. You know that.”

He responds with, “Yes, I’ve felt that.”

And I’ve heard this more times than I can count in pop culture as well as personal references. The ones we love don’t really leave us. They are always with us.

And I find myself desperately hoping it isn’t true.

I love my kids more than the English language has absurdities. I love my children more than I could ever, EVER possibly hope to convey in pixelated words on a screen. It is too big. It is not physically possible. Love is an anomaly in the universe and my love for my children could consume the entirety of all matter and energy whole and still have room for more.

And yet, haunt their asses? Spend double my life span here on earth to send them the occasional butterfly?

The thought of my father, trapped by his love for me, forced to watch my life in minute detail without influence or comment makes me almost physically ill. (Not to mention mildly creeped out. I have a healthy sex life, I do not want to imagine a cosmic audience of even one. Especially not that one.)

No, fram, I don’t believe that’s how it works. I don’t think their love ever leaves us. My father’s love will never leave me because that was the only part of him that was mine. The rest of him was his.

And love… love is one of the great mysteries of the world. It is more than a feeling. More than a direct flow of oxytocin into the brain. More than a tender touch. More than the sleepless nights. More than the fear of a life without them. Love changes us. It changes us on the giving end as well as the receiving. It is transforming. Whether it’s the love of a parent or a partner or a friend, we are not the same.

So to believe that love stays when the person moves on… that makes sense. To believe that love compels them to remain in a strange half life while awaiting the death of their progeny? Perhaps their grandchildren? I’m not entirely sure at what point said ghost would decide they were no longer interested in haunting their descendants, not to mention the relative complications in haunting more than one generation as they multiply.

On top of it all, as a mother consumed by love with her children – I am more than their mother. I cannot say it any louder or any clearer. There is more to me than being a mom. I existed before them and continue to exist outside of them. It blows their little minds that I have an entire set of preferences, hobbies, humor, and relationships outside of them, but it’s true. I will have a full life when they no longer fill up 95% of my conscious moments. I will continue to create, think, laugh, and have immense amounts of meaning whether they are present or not.

I realize that watching through a window for the rest of my children’s lives would be but a blip on the vast landscape that is eternity. I also realize that the only thing I could do from that window was love them. And that I will love them, endlessly, eternally, consummately, whether I am watching them or not. And that even in eternity, especially in eternity, there will be more to do than watch.

Binary

It’s 10:47am.

I took the word “should” out of my vocabulary about 6 months ago, and fram, it’s a game changer. That being said, I had scheduled school for right now. (My kids are homeschooled, for clarity.) And clearly, not doing school. Writing. Writing for sanity. Writing for breath. Writing to avoid burnout because if I just push through it I think I might actually go insane.

Today did not start the best. I had to have stern words with an insurance adjuster, my partner was cranky this morning because he also had to deal with shitty car stuff, the depression is thick, the groceries do not magically make themselves into meals like they ought, the headache is real, and the allergies are brutal. Add in a 5 year old and a 7 year old who have the *audacity* to ask me to get them the switch before I have gotten halfway through my dirty Rasa because, “but I just woke up” and today feels completely undoable.

Days like today, balance doesn’t seem possible. I have no idea how I’m supposed to honor my body and my emotions and my brain being low on the good chemicals with the fact that life has to go on and my kids need to learn and completely disconnecting so I can go on a stress cleaning binge just isn’t optimal parenting.

And how do you reason with a brain attempting to sabotage you? If I consider writing today off and focusing on mental health and parenting my brain comes at me with “Didn’t we just have a weekend? What did you do then?” And like, fuck you, brain. We cleaned the house, did errands, grocery shopped, made 3 meals a day, and budgeted. Just because we didn’t do school does not make it a day off, ffs. And if I consider pushing through to at least get school done, my brain goes off in the other direction. “Well, that’s not a good thing to teach the kids, is it? Just ignore your mental health and push through, kids. Checking tasks off the list is what matters, not health.” Again, fuck you, brain.

Instead, of doing either of those things, because my immediate responses to all kinds of stress tend to be binary, I sat down and wrote. The kids went to play outside because even my brain cannot find a fault with delaying the start of school by an hour or so while the kids enjoy the very last of the decent weather before Texan summer comes in to roast their little bodies and force them indoors for months on end.

Take a deep breath. And as my fight or flight response calmed, I remembered that I don’t have to write the whole day off to honor my emotions. I can take a break. I can adjust. I have the time. And I don’t have to just ignore them either. I can adjust. Doing school after lunch is not going to waste the whole day. Taking a few minutes, even a few hours, to plan in order to soothe nerves, to cuddle to calm emotions and try – just try – to both honor and continue moving – is doable. Today might go completely off the rails, no matter how I adjust. It’s life. With kids. Completely off the rails happens more often than I would like. But it’s not the end of the world.

So I’m going to breathe, hydrate, make a few lists, and make some lunch. Then, I’m going to try again.

Shallow Breaths 2

Continuing from yesterday:

There are so many ways I could improve my parenting. Just. A literal mountain of ways. And know there will be apologies offered now, and later, for my kids pointing out some fucked up shit that I did. Like asking them, “whaaaaaaaaat in the ever living fuck is it now?!” on the 13th time I am interrupted while trying to do dishes while they scream at each other about whose pillow is better. Kids will be kids and they are constantly learning and hoooooly shit I need to be better about separating my sensory overwhelm from their typical kid shit.

But I’ll be damned if I’m gonna get called out twenty years from now because I wasn’t actively involving them in absolutely every single thing I did. Be it cooking, cleaning, gardening, writing, planning, grocery shopping, napping, praying, researching, etc to the never ending list that makes up a full ass human experience.

I’m going to take a shot of espresso here and just chalk it up to teaching my kids boundaries. There are times to help mama. There are times to play independently. There are times to listen and times to be loud. There are times mama needs *real* help and times she needs sticky fingered hugs. There are times she needs to be alone. And I hope that maybe, just maybe, in learning about boundaries with them, in trying and failing, I will raise humans who will not be afraid of saying “no” when unreasonable things are expected of them. (Like doing absolutely everything with mildly incompetent little elves who ask questions that are completely irrelevant 35824592745x a minute while you are attempting to show them how to life.) Whether it’s bosses or partners or friends or governments, the little ones will see that love and yes are not the same thing.

I’m going to say it louder for those in the back.

Love and Yes are not the same thing. Trust and yes are not the same thing. Loyalty and yes are not the same thing. In a world where more is constantly for sale, no is the answer.

I honestly think if I said “no” more, I wouldn’t necessarily get caught into sensory overwhelm and yell at my kids. I will continue to say no for my mental health. I will continue to say no as I learn how to truly love instead of enable. I will continue to apologize for when I say no in not healthy ways and perhaps at the wrong times. But I’m not going to apologize for saying no.

So, I’m going to finish my Rasa and tell my kids they can wait for mom to be ready, just this one day, and understand that having boundaries is absolutely necessary in loving myself. Cheers mamas.