tuesday tip — dodge the bad news on monday.

When I come into work on Monday, the day is already crappy because it’s Monday. This isn’t my job’s fault. It’s really no one’s fault but Monday’s. No matter what occupation you hold, even if you’re a stay-at-home mom, even if you’re a Seventh Day Adventist, I bet you hate Mondays. They just suck, no matter who you are.

Sorry, Monday. Don’t be mad at me. I’m just stating the facts. No one wrote a song about a Manic Tuesday, okay? And The Cure never said, “It’s MONDAY, I’m in love…” Hate to break it to you, Monday, but everyone agrees that you’re the worst.

The first thing I do when I sit down at my desk on Monday is check my email and the real estate websites I subscribe to on my Google reader to see if there’s any good industry-related blog fodder. (I’m a copy writer for a real estate website, by the way, in case you didn’t know.) But, because I’m such a news-fiend, I also subscribe to a few local and global news outlets.  You know, just to stay informed.

The problem with letting my Google reader lay dormant over the weekend is that the news section kind of explodes.

Exhibit A:

 

429 news articles? Good grief!

At first, I used to scroll through them really quickly so I could at least read the headlines. But you know what I found out?

Good news rarely makes it to my Google reader. 

“So and so people died in so and so country’s natural disaster…” “So and so number of soldiers can’t go home to see their families this Christmas…” “Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are actually a thing…”

Blah.

By skimming the headlines, even avoiding the actual articles, I was starting out an already crappy day by adding more crap to it.

And so recently I’ve changed my pattern. Now, when Monday rolls around, the first thing I click on in my Google reader is the Mark All As Read button.

Silence. So golden, right?

You see, when you know something is going to crap up your mood, why do it? Why stalk your ex-boyfriend’s Facebook page if you know it’s just going to stress you out? Why try and squeeze into the skinny jeans in the back of your closet that you know you haven’t been able to fit into since high school? Why squeeze the pimple on your face to smitherines when you know it’s going to make you bleed?

Why? Because that’s how we’ve always done it.

We’ve always opened our Google readers on Monday and just accepted that we’re going to be overrun by a tsunami of terrible news. It’s just how we’ve always done things, even if it sucks.

You know what? Doing something just because you’ve always done it is the worst reason to do something. Like. Ever.

Shake it up. Start your week by avoiding bad news. Maybe start your Monday by seeking out good news (or YouTube videos of kittens in lieu), or finally unfriending your ex, or finally cutting those damn skinny jeans into rags because good GOD girl, let them GO already!

if only you would rest.

Our baby boy is now three months old and, unfortunately, has decided he’s too old for naps.  A 30-minute snooze here, a 45-minute conk-out there, but nothing substantial. It’s quite the challenge to get this boy to lay down AND STAY DOWN for an hour or more, despite his obvious developmental (and emotional) need for quality shut-eye.

I suppose he takes after me in this regard. I gave up napping at just eighteen months but Dax, the overachiever that he is, is trying to beat me on this one.

During the day, he’s happy as a clam to go nap-less. He smiles and coos, causing us to get dopey-eyed and do the same, all the while distracting us from the imminent doom that awaits us come bedtime.

When the sun goes down, our son’s blood pressure rises along with sizable shrieks of protest. We change him into his snuggly pajamas and try to avoid bursting into uncontrollable sobs as we clutch the angry, writhing child who, somehow, becomes stronger than us at night, against our weary chests and attempt to rock him into oblivion.

As my spirits sink, I find myself dejectedly repeating a plea in my head:

Oh, Dax, if only you would rest. If only you would shut your little eyes, stop screaming, and let yourself fall asleep once and for all. You would be such a happy child. You would be so safe. So sound. If only you would stop fighting me and just find rest in my arms.

After what feels like an eternity, he does finally nod off into the deepest, most restful sleep possible. He face-plants on our bed for hours and hours, completely still, as if he wasn’t just a mass of flailing arms and legs mere minutes before. And each time I think, See? Isn’t this better than fighting me? Isn’t this rest better than the anguish and pain?

I imagine that, as he ages in infancy and gets more accustomed to our bedtime routine, this will get better. And then, when he’s old enough to understand the implications of rest and sleep, he will resume the bedtime battle, as if he is suffering from amnesia in only one tiring and frustrating way.

As I transition through this identity crisis (that is, going from the go-to girl for everything to a 100% committed mom) it’s hard to find my center. It’s hard to focus on the good, rather than the bad. It’s hard to not be bitter about having to work, or not being able to be involved in the things I used to be involved in, or that my friendships have to be much more intentional now that my free time is basically null and void. Consequently, in my prayer time, I have found myself calling out to God selfishly, sinfully, demanding, “Why is my life ___ way as opposed to ___ way? Why am I ___ kind of person and not ____ kind? Why are things happening the way YOU want them to as opposed to the way I want them to?”

Last night, as I was falling asleep and praying this familiar prayer, I heard my own voice respond back,

Oh, Lindsay. If only you would rest. 

My heart stopped. I went still. I listened some more.

Oh, Lindsay. If only you would rest. If only you would stop fighting Me and let Me love you. If only you would realize what plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. If only you would close your eyes and stop fighting Me. If only you would rest.

Indeed. If only.

friday favorite: not taking myself too seriously.

My favorite thing about myself this week is that I don’t take myself too seriously. Life’s too short for that nonsense. I’m never too proud to make others laugh at my own expense. Case in point: this video I shot for an upcoming event at my church:

E3 X Factor Promo Video from Jermadem on Vimeo.

Disclaimer: I’m not that tone deaf. Only a little tone deaf. 

Tallahasseeans: I better see you at E3 on October 26th at 7PM! Some amazing singers will be battling for the winning title and I’m in the band, tickling some ivories and dropping some mad BGVs (no solo performances for me, thankfully).

falling.

It’s autumn now which, where I live, means that you can walk from your car to the coffee shop without beginning to perspire profusely (profusely being the operative word, here). You can order a hot latte instead of an iced, if you’d like (or not, if you don’t like) and you can wear a cardigan if you want (or not, if you don’t want) but you are probably still rocking your $2 Old Navy flip fops because REALLY, PEOPLE, IT’S NOT COLD ENOUGH FOR YOUR UGG BOOTS JUST YET, ADMIT IT.

The majority of a Floridian year (March to mid-October) is actually just “summer.” While the rest of the country is sipping hot cocoa and wrapping scarves around their necks, we’re still armpit-deep in a season which, solstices and equinoxes aside, never fails to arrive earlier than we want it to and always, always overstays its welcome. And so, when the relatively “cooler” temperatures finally do show up, they always provoke within me the contemplation of the year at hand, the one that’s steadily slipping away.

How is it fall already? I swear it was just yesterday I was clinking glasses of non-alcoholic champagne at midnight to protect the precious, not-yet-public life growing within me, cheering on the hopes and dreams surrounding the possibilities brought on by a brand new year. And now, with each falling leaf, another minute of 2012 simultaneously shrivels up and floats to the ground, only to be stomped on by an indifferent passerby.

Last Saturday, my group of friends gathered together in the morning as we do each month to eat breakfast and study the bible.

After we all settled down with our plates of donuts and pigs-in-blankets (I had roughly fifty of them… roughly) I quietly surveyed the room of my friends. It was filled with individuals — all unique, all special, all quirky and broken, yet undeniably lovable in our own ways — who have experienced enormous amounts of change throughout this seemingly endless summer:

  • The discussion was prepared and led by a good friend who, at the beginning of the year, before summer swooped in and melted everything, moved to Birmingham to be with his fiancee. The first of our friends to take a huge leap of faith and dive into something alien and unknown, but with the full knowledge that God was behind him 100%.
  • Several months later, in the dead heat of the Florida summer, we gave birth to a baby boy. A boy who, completely unbeknownst to him, would change our world (read: our community’s world, not just mine and Dan’s) for the better in ways we’ll probably never be able to accurately articulate. I can’t deny the fact that seeing that positive pregnancy test did send me into a minor panic attack at first, but once that subsided, I knew that God had a huge plan for us. And I was excited to embark on that journey with my husband and friends right beside me. (I was also excited for summer to be over because YOU TRY BEING 38 WEEKS PREGNANT IN FLORIDA IN JULY.)
  • A few months later, mere weeks ago, two of our friends got engaged and set a date to be married in March, the usual start of “summer”.
  • Another friend purchased her first house just a few weeks before Dax was born. As someone who has now gotten married AND had a baby, I have to say that I’d do those things a thousand times over before buying a home. At this point, homeownership scares the dickens out of me. I’m so proud of her.
  • Another good friend continues to be healed of an autoimmune disease right before our eyes through prayer and obedience. Oh, and her husband is getting a puppy.

A whirlwind of change over the course of this year — mostly this summer. All in one, tiny, apartment living room.

As I write this, I’m sitting in my favorite coffee shop, one whose walls are about 80% windows, and just on the other side of the glass, a man with a leaf blower is loudly clearing the sidewalks of all of the crunchy, brown, tell-tale examples of the season.

In a way, I feel like each of us is a dried up leaf, withered by the effects of the summer, by the steady passing of time over which we have no control, being violently pushed around by the gusts of change.

As if 2012, which came so quickly and is on its way out just as fast, wasn’t chock full of enough changes, there is already a handful of changes lined up for the coming year. New marriages. New locations. New jobs. New babies.

No matter how far away we end up, no matter how blown away we each become, no matter how stepped on or rained on we may get, no matter how different things end up, there is one truth to cling to: we have all fallen from the same tree.

And that won’t ever change.

the crazy cat lady.

Seven (seven!!!) years ago, a friend of mine called me up and said, “I know your aparment complex doesn’t allow pets, but my mom just found a box of three four-week-old kittens. One has died, I’m taking one, and the other one needs a home. Will you take him?”

Even though my apartment complex did, indeed, forbid pets, I told her I’d come over to “take a look at” said four-week-old kitten to “see” if I’d “want” it. As if anyone with a soul is going to look at a four-week-old kitten and be like, “Nope, sorry, good luck not dying like your sibling did, pal.”

That’s how I ended up with my first cat. I named him Romeo, after the Shakespeare character, because he was loving to me and only me and was rather intense about it.

So Romeo and I spent a lovely five and a half years together as a team. Me and Romeo. Romeo and me. No other cats to distract my attention. All Romeo, all the time.

Until June of 2011.

One day, I had to stop by the house after work for something on my way to a meeting. So I zoomed home, ran up the steps toward my front door and, as I was running, caught a small, black fuzzy thing in the corner of my eye.

“Please don’t be a kitten,” I prayed.

It was a kitten. Of course it was a kitten. A freaking four-week-old kitten with an eye infection, teetering on the edge of life. Damnit.

I scooped up the little dying furball and ran inside. I tossed him at my poor, unsuspecting husband and said, “I’m sorry. I have a meeting to run to. Please do something about this.” And then I left.

A $70 vet bill later, we couldn’t just set this kitten free. So he was ours. We named him Hamlet, because “Romeo and Whiskers” just doesn’t sound right and he is dressed in all black and acts out in outlandish ways, much like his Shakespearean namesake.

So. That’s how we got Romeo and Hamlet. Normal, right? At that point, I wasn’t anywhere near crazy cat lady status. I was just a girl with two cats.

But you see, it didn’t stop there.

Since we took Hamlet in at such a young age, his mother began to hang around. Feeling quite sad for her, what with the loss of her only begotten son, we started to feed her. And so we named her Gertrude, after Hamlet’s mother in the actual play.

Fair enough.

But then, other cats started to show up on our doorstep demanding food. Gertrude even took a suitor, whom we named Claudius. Okay, that’s cool, can’t fault a girl for shacking up right?

But then she got pregnant. Ugh. Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

So that makes two cats on the inside of our house (Romeo and Hamlet) and four outside.

Until Gertrude got pregnant again. By Claudius, we assume, but who knows. (Does it matter?!)

At that point, we just gave up and decided to name all future cats to come into our lives via this avenue as The Players.

Our friends thought we were nuts. When we went out of town, we’d have to have someone come feed Romeo and Hamlet, of course, but also the entire cat population in our neighborhood that we felt a heavy obligation to.

Someone once told me that I was an anomaly because I am, and I quote, “… the only crazy cat lady in existence who actually got married, too.” I don’t see why adopting every cat that crosses my path makes me “crazy” rather than “more loving than all of you, Selfish McSelfishpants”, but whatever. An anomaly I is, I suppose.

When I think of a crazy cat lady, I imagine her sitting in her house, talking in a high-pitched voice to one of her thousand felines, basking in the attention they give her simply because she refuses to leave her house lest one of them mews and goes unnoticed. She is up to her ankles in litter and Meow Mix, and the only thing she gets in return is the thunderous roar of simultaneous purrs and a coat of cat hair on her lap so thick she could knit a blanket with it.

She cannot move on from this life. She is invested now. Invested, it seems, in something that is really only a detriment, both physically and mentally.

As a I dabbled with cat lady-dom, I felt way too close to that image for comfort. The fact that I couldn’t take a trip out of town without taking the entire cat population into account was disheartening at best, frightening at worst.

Luckily (???) some people broke into our house and stole all of our stuff so we had to move, leaving Gertrude and the rest of them all to die, probably.

I tell you that story, not to draw attention to the fact that, when it comes to cats, I could probably benefit from some sort of psychoanalysis, but because I think there’s a little crazy cat lady in all of us.

Yesterday, I had lunch with my good friend Libby. We talked about a myriad of good things, but at one point in the conversation I found myself begging and pleading with her to stay my friend despite my new-found responsibilities surrounding motherhood.

“I just don’t want you guys to forget about me, you know? I mean I had a baby, which means I couldn’t hang out with you guys on Saturday night, so I’m worried that you’ll all forget about me…”

My insecurities were just zooming out of my mouth like a freight train.

“That’s so silly,” she reassured. “We’d never forget you. That’s just your crazy cat lady talking.”

Huh?

Evidently, Libby refers to the voice inside one’s head that plays off of one’s insecurities, the voice that makes you feel like you’re not good enough the way you are and no one — except maybe your cats — will ever love you, is your crazy cat lady.

Ha. Despite the fact that she has to take a truck load of allergy medication before heading over to my house, that metaphor resonates with me more than she probably knew at the time.

Over the past several weeks, my crazy cat lady has been telling me that I’m going to be forgotten and replaced by my immediate circle of friends because I’m the only one with a kid. I’m the only one who, when invited out somewhere, has to take into account bedtimes and bathtimes and nursing times and if I’ll have the car seat or not, etc. etc. etc. My crazy cat lady wants me to believe that, because of all this, I’m less valued by my friends. I’m not the same Lindsay I was before, and they won’t love the new Lindsay. Or my kid.

My crazy cat lady doesn’t want me to leave the house. She wants me to stay where it’s comfortable, surrounded by a thousand cats (doubts, fears, insecurities) that bind me forever to a life of recluse. A life without reaching out, accepting love from other people who are real and honest and different. There is nothing beneficial from this thinking. Much like an actual cat lady, there is little return on this sort of thinking.

It’s all lies, of course. But the feelings are there regardless. My crazy cat lady is relentless.

What does your crazy cat lady tell you?

things i love thursday! (october 4, 2012)

Okay, you guys. If I can come up with a list of good things after the crap I’ve been through this week, so can you. NO EXCUSES, y’all. Let the positivity fly!

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • Getting text message pictures like the one above from my husband while I’m at work.
  • The outpouring of support I’ve received over this blog post.
  • Seeing Mr. Nystrom snag a Mrs. Nystrom!
  • Reconnecting with friends from the past.
  • The view on highway 40 under a full moon.
  • Sushi.
  • Being a mommy.
  • Getting a text from my boss on Monday morning letting me know that the power was out at the office so I was to stay home with my baby for a few more hours.
  • Being able to drive for four hours without stopping to pee again. I’m like a new person with a new bladder! #pregnancy
  • Lunch with Angie at Panera with “bangin” salads.
  • Coffee.
  • Giving Dax a bath.
  • Painting my nails.
  • Buffalo chicken.
  • Books.
  • Sherbet.
  • Customer Service Week!
  • “Money Makers”.
  • Seeing a grown woman in a onesie.
  • Dax’s smiles and coos.
  • Good music.
  • Gift bags.
  • Friends who are secret-pregnant.
  • Encouraging text messages.
  • The blogosphere.
  • Seeing some real talent at my work talent show. Wow. So good!
  • My friends and family.

What do you love this week?

it isn’t easy being green. with envy.

I’ve been dealing with some stuff.

That’s what I told a couple of my girlfriends in an email last week. Only I didn’t say “stuff”. I said something else. Something much more fitting to describe exactly what it is I’m going through.

Yesterday, I got an email from NaNoWriMo. When it hit my inbox it felt like a sack of pumpkins to the face. Oh yes. It’s October, which means that next month is November. National Novel Writing Month.  Has it really been a year since I touched my novel?

Let me give you a little bit of insight as to how my life looked a year ago:

I’d just gotten surgery to repair my ACL, an injury I sustained during an awesome dance class at an incredible studio. I was writing like it was my job (which, okay, it is my job but youknowwhatimean), my blog was getting roughly a bazillion hits a day (roughly), and I was taking on my biggest writing challenge ever — fashioning a novel (albeit a complete crap one) in a month. All the while, I was involved in four ministries, one of which I led, at my church.

I was doing it all, basically. I was the it-girl.

And then bam. On November 16th, I took a positive pregnancy test. A figurative slam on the brakes of life, if you will. A happy gear shift, for sure, but a gear shift none the less. I went from being completely focused on my life and my goals to turning down everything (including beer, dang it) that I wanted in order to put someone else — someone so precious and special — first.

I was thrown head-first into a season of rapid life-changes, both physically and otherwise. As I watched my body grow, I also watched important things in my life grow distant. It was almost as if I was taking up too much space to allow for anything else. A painfully obvious metaphor, of sorts. I stepped down. From a lot of things. I put writing on the back burner. I surrendered the ministries in which I volunteered (one of which I’d run for five years — that was pretty hard to let go). I removed myself from all of the “good” things in my life in order to make room for the “best” thing.

Make no mistake. When I saw his little face on July 19th at 1:34 AM, I could see why he was, indeed, the “best” thing. He was (and is) absolutely perfect. He is my whole world. 

That should be enough for me. It should. But guess what?

I’m human. I’m broken. So sometimes, it’s not. Sometimes, like right now, for instance, it’s not.

This year looks  a lot different than last year. I’m not dancing. I’m not writing as much. I’m most certainly not writing another novel, or even editing the one I did write, and I’m watching as all the ministries in which I served move on without me. Moreover, they’re moving on with other people. People who, by my account, are better and more lovable than me. My brokenness begs me to cling to the public affirmation associated with being involved in and doing everything, and so now, since I don’t have any of that, I don’t feel as though I am worthy of love. It’s especially hard because the only person for whom I’m “doing” things, the only person from whom I can receive affirmation, can’t speak. Can’t audibly affirm me. (Unless you count coos and the occasional but oh-so lifesaving smiles.)

To make matters worse, I had to go back to work. And my milk supply consequently dropped. So now I sit in my cubicle, praying that the one thing I — and only I — can do doesn’t slip away, too, making me (in my mind) completely and utterly useless. It feels like this thing — breastfeeding my child — is the only thing keeping me from being obsolete and unloved. As each pumping session shrinks just a little smaller than the last, I begin to panic.

Enter: envy. Pure, immature, annoying, soul-crushing envy.

I find myself envious (and bitter, to boot) of everyone these days. Stay-at-home moms who can answer the demand of their nursing infants and, therefore, don’t have to worry about a diminishing milk supply. Published writers who, because they’re published, are better at it than I. Singers, because dear GOD don’t ask me to sing. Songwriters. Artists. Friends. Not friends. Redheads. Brunettes. Blondes.

The list is endless.

Chances are, if I know you, I’m probably envious of something you have that I don’t. Even though what I have — a beautiful and perfect baby boy — is something you can’t ever have. Sure, you can have a baby boy at some point. But he’ll never be my baby boy. He’ll never be the perfect little angel I wake up to every morning.

It’s the nature of the sin. It doesn’t make sense. It isn’t God-honoring. It’s wrong and stupid and awful. And yet, here I sit, stewing in envy. The painful thorn in my side.

One of my favorite writers touched on this earlier this week when she lamented about the solitary nature of book-writing. The way she explained her feelings echoed mine. It’s as if I’m a duck floating atop a pond. Quiet and inconspicuously still above the surface, but furiously paddling my feet beneath, unseen and unappreciated by all.

Barf. Whatever.

Because this terrible ulcer in my heart wouldn’t stop festering, I had no choice but to open up about it to a couple friends. (In two completely unrelated lunch meetings, both over sushi, which I found to be adorably ironic.) I sat across the table from these two friends, friends I’ve known for years, friends who have seen me at my absolute worst, and I let them have it. I let them know that, yep, I’m still messed up. I compare myself to others and get really freaking jealous and it really sucks.

And they listened. And they challenged me to think differently. To be proactive and to make changes.

But change is hard and I hate it. 

This past weekend I took a short, 24-hour trip to my hometown to see my best friend’s little brother get married. It’s a four-hour drive, and since I had to take Dax with me, I had to drive at night. I hate driving at night, but Dax sleeps through the night now and also conks out during car rides so there was no way I was going to drive during the day if it meant my son would revert back to a nocturnal disposition.

My least favorite part of the drive, probably because of the low speed limit and lack of passing lanes, is driving east on highway 40 through the Ocala National Forest. As soon as I get on 40, I start counting the minutes until I can finally turn right onto 17 and get the hell off of 40.

But this time, it was different. I wanted to stay on 40 forever.

In the dead of night, the Ocala National Forest should have, by all accounts, been pitch black. My Camry and I should have been shrouded in complete darkness. But we weren’t.

The moon was full, and so it poured buckets of silvery moonlight across the land, transforming the forest completely. The trees were a mass of dark, almost-black-but-just-not hunter green against a slate sky and clouds disguised as clumps of charcoal. It was devastatingly beautiful — a type of beauty that could only be seen in the dark of night. As much as the sun could try during the day, that type of allure was only achievable with the overwhelming glow of the full moon. (I tried to take a picture of it with my iPhone but none of the photos did it justice. So hopefully my words will.)

It reminded me of me. And what I’m going through in this time. Though I am, indeed, walking through a “dark” period, a night which has gone on way too long with the hope of dawn too far off in the distance, there is hope. There is truth. There is light.

There is light in the truth my friends bring me through honest, raw, desperate conversation. There is the reality that, though I am broken and have weak moments, I am loved and valued, even if I am not publicly esteemed as such right now. And though I’m currently wrestling with this beast of a sin, I can beat it because I am a daughter of the Most High. A princess.

A broken princess. A messy princess. But a princess, none the less, bathed in the sweet, soft moonlight of grace.

things i love thursday! (september 27, 2012)

Happy Thursday, everyone! Hope your week has been great. Since coming back to work, Thursdays have a whole new level of awesome surrounding them because they mean there is only one more day to the weekend, which means only one more day until I can be with my little guy full time again!

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • Getting YouTube videos of my son from Dan during the workday. PRICELESS.
  • “Fall” weather! (In Florida, all that means is that the temperature dips below 90 for a second. But it affords us the opportunity to bust out our boots, cardigans, and actually purchase hot lattes from Starbucks as opposed to iced.)
  • Speaking of — pumpkin spice lattes with soy milk. But not from Starbucks. From Redeye. (The Starbucks syrup turns my tongue orange which is NOT CUTE.)
  • Getting a visit at work from my two favorite boys! Dan and Dax! I even got Dax out of his car seat to snuggle him. Then he began to fuss because, well, I selfishly woke him from a nap in order to cuddle him BUT WHATEVER.
  • Being instructed by my husband to sit and just hold Dax and let him clean the whole house. WELL IF YOU INSIST…
  • Seeing the POOLES! Jack and Dax (seen above) are gonna be besties. They bonded over our awkward photo sesh in which we haphazardly propped them up against the couch and counted the seconds before Dax melted down (it was dinner time).  You can see how concerned Jack is. He knew the meltdown was imminent.
  • Eating dinner one-handed.
  • THE NOLES BEAT CLEMSON!
  • The Bears won, too!
  • Good night’s sleeps and productive nap times.
  • Being able to spend all day on Sunday with my little man.
  • Seeing Courtney again!
  • Getting an amazing voice mail from her as well. I saved it and wish I could transcribe it and put it in my BDF.
  • Meeting Ashley, finally!
  • Going jogging as a family.
  • Getting a lovely visit from Sydney at work, complete with breakfast and a latte! Nom!
  • Photo shoot outtakes.
  • Getting my hair did on my lunch break. (P.S. the last time I got my hair did, I was 35 weeks pregnant. My son is 10 weeks old today. You do the math.)
  • Free shirts.
  • Fitting into my pre-pregnancy jeans! AHHH it’s like I’m getting a whole new wardrobe, one pair of pants at a time!
  • Catching up via email.
  • Seeing other people hold and love on my baby.
  • The fact that none of the contestants got last night’s Final Jeopardy clue but I DID! #smarterthaneveryone #beavis&butthead
  • Gratuitous hashtag use outside of Twitter. #idowhatiwant
  • New, adorable stray cats showing up on our doorstep BUT PLEASE SWEET CAT GO AWAY BECAUSE, I’M WARNING YOU, I WILL ADOPT YOU IN A HEARTBEAT AND I CAN’T AFFORD ANOTHER CAT.  SERIOUSLY GO AWAY WITH YOUR CUTE SELF.
  • Lunch with Nora. Always a great conversation with that girl!
  • People randomly complimenting my appearance. That’s just. Wow. Music to a new mom’s ears.
  • Seeing THIS and hoping someone will make one for Dax before he’s too huge!
  • And, finally, smiles and laughs from my baby boy. They are too precious! (They’re also too quick to snap a photo as of right now. Soon, though!)

What do you love this week?

pop singers don’t eat.

In recent days, Lady Gaga has come into the spotlight for, ahem, “letting herself go” and gain some weight. Media outlets, like they tend to do, have criticized her new “fuller” (I put all these words in quotes because GOOD GOD SHE LOOKS BLOODY NORMAL) figure. To defend herself, she posted a couple pictures of herself online in her underwear with the caption, “Bulimia and anorexia since I was 15.”

 

Now, all of a sudden, people are coming up alongside Gaga to aid her in her new found quest to spread body image positivity and courage.

Yayyyy, right?

Bleh. Yes? I guess? But here’s what pisses me off about the whole thing.

I used to love Lady Gaga. I would dance like a damn fool whenever her songs came on the radio or in the clubs. My husband and I bought her newest record (which was disappointing, honestly) the day it came out. I can’t remember another artist for whom I went out of my way to purchase their stuff on the drop date. (Okay, there’s Hanson, but they don’t count because I buy their stuff BEFORE the drop date. Obviously.) But I stopped supporting her cold turkey recently.

You see, all of you are late to the “Lady Gaga Has An Eating Disorder” Party. We were all invited to that party years ago and I guess no one but me noticed her invitation to it… despite it being on Twitter. 

I stopped supporting Lady Gaga because she tweeted about eating a salad with the hashtag #PopSingersDontEat. It was almost like she was proud of it, like she knew she was “better” than the rest of us for foregoing calories in the name of thinness. I didn’t want to support anyone, ESPECIALLY anyone who women (and girls!) across the globe looked up to, who would publicly advocate such unhealthy behavior.

Because I struggled with an ED, I know that her tweet, and the thought process behind it, had ED written all over it. The desire for validation. The absurdity. The stubbornness. The emptiness. Everything about her tweet SCREAMED, “Help. I have an eating disorder,” but only NOW, when we actually see Lady Gaga give her ED a name, do we feel sorry for her?

Why is it that a tweet that LITERALLY STATES one is refusing food just gets swept under the rug, while a picture that states, in lesser words, I DON’T EAT FOOD actually gets your attention? It’s the same thing! Is it the sheer fact that now, a medical term — anorexia and bulimia — is tied to the behavior? If so, that’s horribly sad, because think of all the people who are currently suffering from eating disorders without diagnoses.

I was one of them. For those of you who know my story, you know I suffered from an eating disorder for TWELVE YEARS before being diagnosed. Twelve. Years.

After Gaga’s original tweet, that’s when we should have been rallying up alongside Gaga for body positivity! We should have tweeted back at her that nothing is worth damaging your body for, especially not thinness. We should have tweeted back at her the truth that she’s fearfully and wonderfully made. But we didn’t.

I didn’t.

Had Twitter been around back in the days I was knee deep eating disorder hell, I’m almost positive I would have tweeted something about how a Pepsi One (yep, throw back) totally counts as a legitimate lunch option. And you know what? I would have secretly hoped that someone, anyone, would tweet back at me, “Please, eat something more than that. You’re beautiful. You deserve to treat yourself better.”

Don’t get me wrong — I’m glad Lady Gaga is doing what she’s doing. I think she’s a beautiful woman, inside and out, who, like a lot of us, has been tricked by society to believe that her worth is only skin deep. And I’m not mad at her for doing this all of a sudden. What makes me mad is that THIS IS NOT NEWS. Poor Gaga practically threw a Hail Mary pass on Twitter asking for help and no on caught it. But now, she’s in the end zone doing a dance after rushing for a touchdown in her underwear, and NOW we’re paying attention?

Welcome to the party.

just the way i am.

Let me tell you about the first time I was humbled by my child.

Everyone kept telling me that I’d know I was about to go into labor once I started getting the urge to nest. I found that to be quite strange, as I’ve never had the urge to decorate much of anything in my life. Take my childhood bedroom, for example. Once I discovered that my favorite color was aquamarine, I decided to paint my room that color. It was a bit jarring when compared against the rest of our muted home, but I didn’t care. It was my favorite color and I was going to rock it. Then, on top of the wall, I plastered a bunch of posters of my favorite bands. I guess that makes sense when you’re twelve years old — like I was at the time — but I left my room exactly that way until I left for college. My poor mother was burdened with the task of bringing that room back to a state of decorated normalcy.

Despite my self-proclaimed “creative” disposition, I just. Don’t. Decorate. Period. (And Lord help me if I ever have to show up some place and look presentable. My fashion sense is almost as bad.)

But because every other mother on the face of the planet (read: planet = Pinterest) seemed to me to welcome their bouncing baby with a perfectly decorated nursery, complete with unique BUT SENSIBLE color palettes and adorable and probably handmade adornments, I figured I’d probably be no different, despite the glaring fact that that isn’t me.

When the 38th week of my pregnancy rolled around, I started to panic. That “nesting” urge had yet to kick in and our nursery was just an over glorified closet with a crib in it — boxes and bags of baby shower stuff that’d been thrown in there, piles of clothes that had yet to be washed or sorted, you name it. Babies R Us threw up in my kid’s room and, two weeks out from my due date, I’d had yet to do anything about it.

So I figured that if the urge to nest wasn’t going to organically appear, I had to force it. I started making lists. I color-coded those lists. I confided in other moms to make sure my lists made some semblance of sense. Then, I took my lists and used them to create a “Nesting Calendar” on Google. I shared that Nesting Calendar with my husband and declared quite boldly, “Dan! We’re going to NEST! We’re going to NEST because Google says so!”

The way my calendar worked out was that Monday, we’d do one project. Tuesday we’d do another, then one on Wednesday, and so forth, until Friday. At the end of that week, we’d have a nursery put together. Seems legit, right?

When the labor pains set in on Wednesday, I knew I was in trouble. Baby Dax showed up an entire week early, not even taking my Nesting Calendar into consideration. When we came home from the hospital on Saturday afternoon, I looked dejectedly in the still-closet-like nursery and sighed. I was already failing at being a mom.

Fast forward to today. Dax is nine and a half weeks old and the nursery STILL looks like a Babies R Us mine field. I’d take a picture but seriously you guys it’s so embarrassing. In order to get to the changing table, you’ve got to tip-toe around piles of new clothes, bags of breast milk storage, and towers of receiving blankets.

However…

I’m writing this on my husband’s desktop in our bedroom. I can hear that Dax is starting to stir from his morning nap. The sound isn’t coming through a baby monitor; it’s in this room, right behind me. My sweet baby boy, the little child I was so worried about nesting for, refuses to sleep anywhere except our bed.

Not his crib. Not his not-yet-nested nursery.

It’s almost as if, from the womb, he could sense that I was doing preposterous things like making lists and Google calendars and decided he’d make a beeline out of my uterus that week to put a stop to it.

“Mommy,” I can almost hear him saying. “You’re not acting like my mom. You’re not acting like the woman to who was called to raise me. You’re acting like someone else. Please, just let the nursery be a mess. I won’t use it anyway. Can’t wait to meet you, Mommy, just the way you are.”