Way Back When

Whether it’s a helpful habit (or more likely not) I tend to put a show on in the background when I do planning stuff. Not writing, but when I’m doing meal plans, washing dishes, and homeschool stuff, I put something on. Often it’s every season of the Great British Baking Show on repeat, but I also enjoy The Grand Tour, and then I like to sprinkle in various British contests I watch on HBO Max. Like “All that Glitters” or “The Great Pottery Throwdown”.

Today, as I was planning out home school stuff and wondering how on earth I was ever going to schedule some field trips when the weather here is constantly asking Mother Nature to hold its beer, I put on a new show. “Clarkson’s Farm” because in all honestly, not only do I enjoy “The Grand Tour” but I enjoy Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May and keep up with whatever they put out. While “The Great Escapists” was delightful nonsense I have no plan to re-watch, “Clarkson’s Farm” has hit a note in me that has rang so deep and loud that I am now here, writing about it.

Not only do I delightfully get to watch baby lambs being born, but I was reminded of when the pandemic began, and what that looked like. I know it was a horrid global pandemic that has now killed 4 million humans and I don’t long for that to be back in any way, shape, or form. No. What I miss, though, was that for a few months, for almost a year, really, the societal expectations of me shifted. I wasn’t expected to be running around with my head cut off getting groceries and planning trips and running errands and visiting friends and going to play dates etc. I was expected to be at home and to be happy about it.

And I was.

I could *breathe*. And as of late, I have found myself once again going way too fucking fast. I am out of breath, constantly. Not because I am literally running, no, in fact I wish I was in better shape. Rather, I find myself so stressed out I am actually holding my breath to try and slow down.

The kids and I are going out almost every day. Just for this quick or that quick. Run errands here and there. Grab this. Do that. And suddenly the day is gone, and I’m completely wiped. There went the week. The month. The time slips through my fingers and I cannot seem to get enough sleep to make up for it.

And I feel an ache for when we did not. When I did not run to the store if I forgot something, but made do and waited. When days at home were filled with everything we had already being enough. When going out was planned and we did it consciously and effectively. And being home was the *norm*.

I have too easily been led away from that peace. Too easily pulled back into the stream of never ending needs that aren’t actually needs at all. No. No. I’ve had enough now.

I’ve had enough of the running. Of the constant pull. That’s not what I want my life to look like, or what I want my kids’ lives to look like. I’m not going on lockdown again, by any means. One kid is signed up for soccer this autumn and the other is to start gynamstics. We have home school meet ups once a week, plus field trips. But I am going to be more intentional. On days we are out, we can run errands. So that every day is not an out day. Instead, they can be limited. And we can truly rest and not let our time be stolen by pointless comings and goings. We can spend time with ourselves and each other because shockingly, I like us. I like our home.

Magic starts here, at home, with me. So I’m bringing back the magic that was the “permission” to be contented at home. But this time, without a global pandemic and without anyone’s permission. I mean, I’m a witch. If I wanted permission, I’d go to church.

Always Two Minutes Away From Dying

The thing about life is that it’s insane, really. Especially our lives, moving at the speed of light, hurtling everywhere at dizzying speeds with over 150,000 deaths per day and a population that continues to increase. We are anxious sacks of meat supported by wet bones that are controlled by flashes of light sent from a wrinkly grey mass on the top of it. Lives are made and destroyed by strangers taking pictures and a few of the wrong chemicals can kill you, get you high, put you to sleep, or give you a hot flash. There is literally not one single thing about any of this that makes any sense.

Except love. Trite, I am aware. Over said. Over produced, certainly. But when I look at the passed out form of my children (it has to be asleep – lately they’ve been tiny bodied assholes during the day) and feel every last ounce of love that I have for them I accept that I am an anxious cucumber that takes sanity pills every morning and drinks magic bean juice to wake up and am surrounded by energy and wavelengths and data I cannot see and am always two minutes from death if for some reason I stop breathing and know that I would do it all again just to love them more.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

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.

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.

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.