i’m treading water,
my legs and arms are tired,
but it keeps raining.
i’m treading water,
i’m treading water,
my legs and arms are tired,
but it keeps raining.
It’s been really hard to blog lately for two reasons.
1. My life as a mostly work-from-home mom, while splendid and blest, can be quite mundane. As much as I love it, I don’t know how many posts I can muster up (or you should have to suffer through) about me banging away at my lap top during nap times or the perils of walking lessons. (Oh yes. By the by, I don’t want to admit it, but by definition I am now the mother of a toddler who has the bruises to prove it.)
2. I follow a lot of blogs and — sigh — I know how many other great blogs there are out there. So whenever I sit down to finally spew out a post, I can only think to myself, “But why? When there are so many other great blogs for these people to read?”
In short, it’s like I don’t know “how to be” a blogger.
The church I work at/serve at/do life at is one that, um, isn’t exactly in my comfort zone. It is a gigantic (!!!) traditional mainline Christian church, whose congregation consists MOSTLY of older, very wealthy “church” people. A natural button-pushing, liberal, messy-past-holding, twenty something loudmouth, I’ve never been quite welcomed at mainline denomination churches before now (ask me about the one time I, the “lost girl”, was “ambush-saved” under a tree by a well-meaning counselor at a church camp) and so it’s a bit of a struggle sometimes to reconcile the idea that I’m now on the payroll at one of these places that has wounded me so deeply in the past. And not only that; I have made friends here. Real friends. People who are getting to know me and aren’t running away. I’m finding my footing in an unfamiliar place that, remarkably, has accepted me. I still cannot understand this.
But that, my friends, is the power of grace, no?
I said it already, but it bears repeating. This place is freaking huge. People get around via golf carts and I can’t wait to make a billion dollars so I can also buy a golf cart. (That’s how much golf carts go for these days, right?) There are hallways and offices and narthexes and sacristies and choir rooms and class rooms and chapels and sanctuaries and gyms and lions and tigers and bears oh my and
While I can’t afford ONE acoustic piano, there are six pianos scattered about the campus. (One of which used to belong to Sir Elton John but that’s another blog post.)
Today I sat in on a meeting which left me feeling both unproductive and severely misunderstood — the latter of which is not uncommon right now because I’m still getting used to this place. After the meeting, I had precisely twenty minutes before my next meeting which, as you working folk know, is just enough time to not do anything productive or meaningful.
One of the better-than-me bloggers I follow (who, I guess at this point, isn’t really a blogger anymore) is Jon Acuff. The other day he posted a picture on Instagram of a diagram made by an illustrator of how to be an artist.
Looking at the clock and seeing the empty minutes before me, I recalled this picture and felt a sense of urgency to create. To make some sort of art, even if it was bad art, just to remind myself that, while I may be a misunderstood screw-up in a seemingly perfect congregation, I’m not totally worthless.
So I excitedly gathered my things and dashed to the chapel where I knew there sat an unoccupied, recently tuned grand piano.
As I was racing toward the steepled building, not wanting to waste a single minute, I got so giddy thinking about sitting in that empty space, at the bench, pressing down on the keys, softly squeezing the pedal, and birthing beautiful noise out of staunch silence. After feeling like I couldn’t control anything, I wanted to remember that, if nothing else, I can at least manipulate a piano.
I pulled the heavy double doors open with a superhuman exuberance expecting to find an empty chapel just for me. But when my eyes fell on the church organist at the organ, directly across from the piano practicing, my heart sank.
Our organist is a musical genius. He’s been playing organ/piano longer than I’ve been alive so he can obviously play circles around me. But he’s also probably the nicest person I’ve ever met in my lifetime. He’s someone that, when I’m around him, I suddenly don’t feel so misunderstood.
He always compliments my piano playing also, even when I know he both a) doesn’t have to and b) is probably just trying to make me feel good. (I told you he is really nice.)
He was sight-reading a couple hymns for our staff chapel. And for a few moments I sat and just listened. But then that stupid diagram got the best of me and I jumped off my butt and ran up to the piano.
“Which hymns are you playing?” I asked him, picking up a nearby hymnal.
He responded with a couple of numbers and then quickly added, “I’ve never seen these hymns before in my life!” (Mind you, this was not in a “look how great I sight-read!” way, but in an astonished “how have I played organ for all these years and never once laid eyes on these two hymns?!” way.)
I opened up the hymnal to the numbers he specified and sat down on the bench. I certainly hadn’t heard them, either, but my fingers were itching. I looked at the staffs and, while I can’t sight-read to save my life, I could at least tell which keys the songs were in based on the sharps and flats next to the clefs.
“Do you mind if I play along with you?” I nervously asked.
“Not at all! Please do!”
And so I did.
And it wasn’t horrible. (Though I think that has way more to do with the power and beauty of the instrument in question than it does my own skill level; a tuned piano is much more forgiving to any musician than, say, a violin.)
Over the past few weeks I’ve been caught up in my own head about “how to be” things — how to be a blogger; how to be a mother; how to be both an employee and a parishioner at a mainline denomination church; how to be a wife; how to be a cook; how to be a pianist; how to be Lindsay — so much so that I end up not BEING anything except lethargic, cynical, and unmotivated.
But that diagram ruins it all for me. It takes this paradigm that suggests I have to meet some unwritten standard before I’ve made it and crushes it into a thousand little pieces, never to be put back together again.
How do I be a blogger? I blog.
How do I be a wife? I cherish my husband.
How do I be a mother? I care for my child.
How do I be a pianist? I play the damn piano.
How do I be Lindsay?
I be Lindsay.
Six days ago I moved from Tallahassee to Naples. Not even a week has gone by but everything is already different and changing so drastically that I can barely stand up straight. It’s as if the ground is moving swiftly forward beneath my feet and I have nothing on either side to hold to, either for stability or for stalling. We hit the ground running, as they say. (Stumbling, really, in my case.)
During my last bible study meeting with this guy before I moved, we spent the majority of our time fawning over ink pens, journals, and other writing instruments, particularly those that are well crafted and expensive because, he argues, if you’re going to write you might as well do so using the best utensils.
“Life’s too short to not give a crap about stuff,” he declared.
I wrote that sentence down in my journal the moment he said it and, while he carried the conversation elsewhere, I repeatedly ran over the phrase with more and more ink to make it stand out on the page.
Why? Because I find it way too hard to give a crap about stuff these days.
I think my Give-A-Crap turned off because I was moving away from a city and a community for which I have great affection and I knew, were my Give-A-Crap at all functional, I wouldn’t be. I would just be a walking, sort-of-talking-but-mostly-sobbing, mess of a girl. And no one likes a sad sack, am I right? I mean think of my poor husband, for example. To quote the always-lovely Emma Thompson from Love, Actually, “No one’s ever going to shag you if you cry all the time.”
Right now, our apartment is mostly unpacked and organized, but there is still quite the lengthy list of things that need to get done. I haven’t really started my job yet so, while my baby is currently napping, I really should be organizing my bedroom closet or unpacking the last few boxes or hanging pictures or sleeping or putting on some damn makeup for crying out loud or something rather than blogging but I just can’t do it because why. Who cares. I certainly don’t.
To compensate, I think my son’s Give-A-Crap has jumped into overdrive. At 10 months, he suddenly gives a LOT of craps about EVERYTHING. My sweet angel baby who used to go down for naps happily now screams bloody murder whenever I try to put him down. As I am no stranger to hyperbole on my blog I have to clarify that I’m not exaggerating here. He literally screams so loud that I’m legitimately concerned. It’s so bad that his voice has actually become hoarse in the past week. I’m not joking, guys. Kid really gives a crap.
Last night he really gave a crap about being awake unless he was in my arms which kept me awake all night. It’s been awhile since that has happened (sorry to burst your bubble, new moms I know — the sleepless nights don’t always end when the newborn phase does) so I was quite the emotional wreck this morning. A ticking time bomb, all I needed was a stern email from my new boss to cause me to crumple into a heap of sobs on my new, south Floridian tile floor and weep for the better part of an hour while my husband tried to hold us all together.
All of a sudden, this morning, I gave ALL THE CRAPS.
I gave ALL THE CRAPS about leaving Tallahassee. And about the first week living in a foreign land with zero friends. And about how my husband and I have actually been in a fight for the majority of our new life in Naples. And about the fact that I CANNOT STOP SWEATING. And about the fact that no matter how many times I Swiffer this EFFING tile floor my feet are ALWAYS black after I walk around barefoot. And about the fact that we didn’t have internet until FREAKING yesterday. (I know. I know. All of these are first world problems. Which leads me to…)
I then gave ALL THE CRAPS about GIVING CRAPS about stupid, meaningless, arbitrary B.S. that, if I’m lucky, won’t even hold a spot in my memory this time next year.
That’s a lot of craps to give at once. Not sure if you’ve tried to give that many craps at one time but it is exhausting.
So. Instead of unpacking the last few boxes that need to be unpacked or putting away the clothes that are just in piles in our bedroom or starting the OVERWHELMING load of laundry that is staring me down, I’m writing.
Because this is the one thing right now that isn’t too exhausting to care about.
Thanks for reading my crap.
[DISCLAIMER #1:] This post talks a lot about my boobs. That’s how you breastfeed, by the way. With your boobs. If you’re not interested in boobs, or breastfeeding, let me direct you elsewhere on the Internet.
[DISCLAIMER #2:] Before I start this post, let me just say that I am not taking part in the “Mommy Wars”. So don’t think I’m posting this because I think if you don’t breastfeed your kid you’re the worst. This is just a choice my husband and I made for my son based on our own personal convictions. As long as you choose to feed your kid somehow, I don’t care how you do it. With your boobs, formula, cow’s milk, goat’s milk, whatever. Just so we’re clear, here. Feed your kid however you want, okay? This is America and #YOLO.
[DISCLAIMER #3:] Sorry about the #YOLO.
Okay. Now that THAT’S out of the way…
Before Dax was born, Dan and I decided that we were going to try to exclusively breastfeed him, my body permitting. When I was on maternity leave, we found that, yes, my body was into the idea as well. (Mind you, it did take us about three weeks to get latching down without blood, sweat, or tears, but we did it.) So when Dax was eight weeks old and I went back to work full time, our breastfeeding rhythm changed a bit which made things a little more challenging. But it wasn’t impossible.
Dax is nine months old now and Friday is my last day working full time outside of the home. We did it! We’ve exclusively breastfed and have never once had to supplement with formula! (It’s going to take everything I have to not go completely Office Space on my breast pump, you guys.)
(The above photo is me nursing in the middle of a crowded Starbucks sitting across from three old men. Dax needed to eat and it was too hot to sit in my car and it’s gross to nurse in a bathroom.)
If you’d like to EBF your babes and also work full time outside the home, here is how I did it. Hopefully this will help!
TIPS ON BREASTFEEDING WHEN YOU WORK FULL TIME:
1. Start pumping early. I didn’t do this and regretted it later. Breast milk is produced on a supply and demand basis. What your baby demands, your body supplies. In the beginning, when your baby is a newborn, your body is still figuring out what your baby’s demand is, so you typically have way more milk. After a few weeks of nursing exclusively (which gives your nipples time to toughen up and stop hurting) pump a little each day to both increase your supply and build a stash in your freezer. [HINT: Remember the rule of FOURS. Breast milk lasts four HOURS at room temperature, four DAYS in the fridge, and four MONTHS in your freezer.]
2. Know that what you pump does NOT indicate how much milk you’re actually producing. Your body was created to feed a person, not a machine. So don’t think you have zero milk in your body if you only can get out a few ounces at a time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pumped for fifteen minutes and not gotten a single drop and then turned around and nursed Dax, only to see him gulping and slurping so much that milk was dribbling out of his mouth.
3. Weigh/Feed/Weigh. Both at my breastfeeding support group and at a health food store in town, there is a baby scale that can help determine how much milk Dax takes from me when he eats. You weigh your baby, then nurse him, then weigh him again to find out how many ounces he eats. This helps me determine how much milk to leave him while I’m gone and how much milk I need to pump at work. I typically do this once every week or two to make sure we’re still giving him the right amount. (Currently at nine months old, on days when he is with me, he nurses about every 3-4 hours and gets between 3 and 3.5 ounces each time. So I know that while I’m at work for 8 hours, he should get 7ish ounces — split between two bottles — and that I should pump no less than that to make sure he has enough for the next day.)
4. Figure out the logistics of pumping at work before your first day back. When you have your wits about you, email or call your employer and ask where you’ll be able to pump during the day. Federal law states that your employer HAS to have a private room in which you can pump so if they say “The BATHROOM,” say “Try again.” Also, ask how often you’ll be allowed to pump. I don’t know the federal regulations on this, so I can’t say for sure what they are exactly. But once you’ve figured that out…
5. Pump as frequently as you’re allowed/able to. I’m very thankful that my employer has been so accommodating for me. Right now, I pump three to four times a day for about 20 minutes at a time to get that 7 ounces I need. That said, I work in a cube farm. If I still worked in broadcast news, I’m not entirely sure I’d be free to pump as much as I do now. I realize that other professions are more demanding so don’t stress. Do it as often as you can and, at the end of the day, give yourself a pat on the back for being able to do it at all.
6. You may have to trick your body. This is the, uh, TMI section. At this point in my breastfeeding/working full time journey, my body has figured out that the pump I have — which is top of the line, by the way — is NOT my baby. So it takes a bit of coercion to get my breasts to let down for the pump. So I’ve got to trick them. This includes watching videos of my baby on my phone while I pump, nipple stimulation (SORRY), and breast massages (SORRY AGAIN).
7. Look into insurance coverage for your pump. In the event that you don’t get a breast pump at your shower, have no fear; under the new health care law you should be able to get a brand new breast pump completely covered by your health insurance provider.
8. Exclusively nurse when you’re at home. Try to nurse right before you leave for work and first thing when you get home. Not only will this help your body keep producing well, it also makes the 8 hours in between less painful. Both of you have that after-work nursing bonding time to look forward to.
9. Surround yourself with other breastfeeding moms — whether they’re already your friends or if they’re in a support group. Breastfeeding is an emotional thing, especially in the beginning when both you and your baby are trying to figure it out. It can also be painful at first. Don’t be ashamed if you need help. As a matter of fact, even if you feel like you don’t need help, seek it anyway. It’s nice to have a support system. Don’t feel bad if you have 23947234 questions. Ask and ask frequently. Most breastfeeding moms will understand and won’t look down on you for not being an expert right away (or ever).
10. YOUR SUPPLY IS FINE. RELAX. There are times when your supply naturally drops (like when you’re about to get your period, for example) and things you ingest that can cause your supply to dip (antihistamines, for example) but RELAX. Stress also can affect your supply, so BREATHE. I’ve lost countless hours of sleep over my milk supply but, as you can tell, my kid is a basket full of rolls and I promise you, this is not because of pureed carrots. If you do suspect your supply is dropping (it probably isn’t) you can try any of these: lactation cookies, Mother’s Milk tea, rolled oats, fenugreek, other supplements… but I will say that I’ve tried them all and have had NO success with any of them. Either my body is smarter than the supplements or they’re really a bunch of bunk.
Phew. I could go on, but this post is already really long so I’m gonna wrap it up here. Hopefully this helps! Do you have any other breastfeeding tips? Comment and let me know!
If you’re like me and you grew up reading and listening to stories in the bible, you’re probably aware of the story of Jonah. And by “aware of” I mean you know that it vaguely involves a dude named Jonah and some giant fish-whale-thing that eats him for a couple days then spits him out and God is praised or whatever.
On the surface of this short, four-chapter book in the bible, that is essentially what happens. But there is so much more to the story than that.
In a bible study I’m doing with a couple friends, we recently read it in its entirety, our Sunday-school understandings notwithstanding.
For all of you who grew up understanding Jonah like I did, and for all of you who have no idea who/what Jonah is, Here’s the New Lindsay Translation of the book of Jonah in the bible:
God tells Jonah to go to Nineveh, a place that’s filled with all sorts of debauchery and horror, to tell the people there something like, “Hey! You! Stop being jerks because God is real and it’s, like, annoying!” But Jonah’s all, “No, God, not me, I don’t want to do that. That sounds scary. I’m going to run away instead.” So he goes and jumps on this boat with a bunch of people and is all, “SAYONARA SUCKAAAA” but God’s all, “Not so fast, Jonah, I’m God and I can still see you.” So God causes a huge storm to happen, and the people on the boat are like, “Dude, who pissed off their god and made this happen?” So Jonah’s like, “Oops, my bad, that was me, y’all. Just throw me overboard and the storm will stop.” So they do. And it does. So the people immediately begin to praise God. But after Jonah gets tossed overboard a huge fish is like, “NOM” and swallows Jonah. Jonah hangs out in there, not exactly knowing what God’s plan is or what he wants, but he prays and praises God anyway. Finally, God gets the fish to upchuck Jonah and so Jonah’s like, “FIIIINE GOD OKAY I’ll go to Nineveh.” So he does. And he tells the people that they should, like, rethink their life choices and stuff. And they actually hear him and listen. And they mourn. And they repent. And God forgives them and saves them. But then Jonah pouts because he doesn’t believe the people of Nineveh deserve forgiveness. But God gently tells Jonah that he knows those people and loves them and that he wants to keep them.
After reading this story, it became clear that Jonah is actually a big brat. Also, I realized that I am Jonah.
In recent months, my husband and I have done a lot of praying and talking about our current financial situation and the care our baby boy gets as a result. It’s lackluster, to say the least, and something had to change. Finally, after a lot of prayer and consideration, we both agreed that what was best for our family (our son, in particular, and his future siblings) is for us to move to central Florida to be closer to my family.
And I am sad about this. Very heartbroken.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my family and am so excited to be closer to them. But I have created a life here in the last nine years that is going to be so hard to leave behind. (My TILT list from last week probably makes more sense now.)
But here’s the crazy part — our lease is up April 30th. Neither of us have jobs lined up. If we don’t get jobs in central Florida by the time our lease is up, we’ll just move in with my mom until something materializes.
Yep. That’s right. We quit our jobs in an economy that is, um, less than stable. And we have a little mouth to feed. Everything about this just screams, “WHY IN THE F-WORD WOULD YOU DO THIS?”
I don’t know. It’s just what people with faith do, I guess.
And here’s how I’m Jonah. Without getting too spiritual, I know God is calling us to go. That is undeniable. But I don’t want to. I’d much rather scoop my husband and baby up and run away to find the nearest boat out of this place and hope God doesn’t see.
After coming to the realization that I am Jonah and, therefore, a big brat, I spent a couple days moping about it. I was mad at myself for doubting God and for throwing random tantrums whenever my husband tried to get me to have logistical conversations about our upcoming upheaval. (“I DON’T KNOW IF WE SHOULD SELL ONE OF OUR CARS TO HAVE MONEY TO MOVE OKAY WHERE’S THE BOOZE I JUST CAN’T DO THIS SOB SOB SOB.”)
Not my finest hour for sure.
But now, as the news of our departure is public, I am starting to look for the redemption in my story. Just like Jonah was redeemed.
Even though Jonah ran away, the sailors on that boat came to know God as a result. And even though Jonah went to Nineveh unwillingly, he still helped to save a nation of people.
There is a lot of hurt in this move, for sure. Hurt for us because we’re leaving, and hurt for the ones who we are leaving. But there will be light and redemption, too. Even if we don’t see it now.
I’m excited to look back on this in a few months and be able to point to all the ways we were blessed by this. I anxiously await the clarity that will come once this big-ass bandaid is finally ripped off.
But until then, sorry if I smell a little weird. I’m currently sitting in the belly of a giant fish. I don’t know when I’ll be spit out or where I’ll land. But I know that, during this time, I will praise. I will pray. I will trust.
Here’s your chance to throw all your central Florida connections at me.
Man, life is so exciting around here, y’all. So many of my friends are engaged, expecting new babies, starting new jobs, moving to new places. There are so many things worth celebrating! It’s so awesome!
But like. Sometimes it’s not. Know why?
Because everyone has an opinion. Opinions regarding your happy times in life that they want you to know. Because they’re under the delusion that they’re important.
My best friend got engaged last week (shout out!) and asked me to be her matron of honor (HOLLA!) so for the past few days we’ve been excitedly chatting about upcoming nuptial-related plans. It’s so much fun, but seriously, we’re already talking about what is “proper” and “polite” and which things we need to make sure we do and which people we need to make sure we consult and invite and blah blah blah because we don’t want to offend anyone.
Likewise, I’m going to a couple of friends’ wedding (is that grammatically correct? Like, my two friends are marrying each other and I’m going to that. Did I say that right? Anyway…) and just today the bride posted a Facebook status about how she was so over trying to please everyone.
This brought back painful memories of planning my own wedding.
Then I remembered being pregnant, and preparing for my child’s birth…
Then I remembered just a couple weeks ago when I was told my kid wouldn’t know who his mom is because of the way I was choosing to parent…
And so on and so on.
Everyone has an opinion about everything, it seems, and, based on my own experiences as well as the experiences of those very close to me, they always feel like voicing them. Even if those opinions hurt.
So. I write this blog today just to say…
THEY DON’T MATTA.
So what if your great aunt BethyLou doesn’t want you to invite your cousin BobbyDean to your wedding because he still hasn’t sent her a Christmas card? So what if you co-sleep with your baby and your sister tells you you’re going to murder your child?
So. Freaking. What. They don’t matta!
Now, I’m not saying this is an excuse for you to be a total douche. But at the end of the day, you’re the only person whose opinion really holds weight. Own that. Know that. Be confident in that.
This post is brought to you by my broken GIVE A CRAP button and the exhaustion brought about by being a full time working mom that broke it. Cheers.
My baby boy is eight weeks old today. I know it’s cliche and all, but seriously — time flies when it comes to kids. These eight weeks have zoomed by me in a sleep-deprived blur. I feel like it was just yesterday we were being admitted into the delivery room and seeing this face for the first time.
But no. That was eight weeks ago. Those images, compared to the face I saw when I woke up this morning…
…blow my mind. He’s already grown and changed so much.
As you’ve noticed, the blog has been quiet these last two weeks. That’s been both unintentional (Dax has had reflux and colic going on which makes for one tired and busy momma) and intentional. I’ve been savoring these precious last weeks as a stay-at-home mommy. When I found that I had some time, I could either snuggle my boy or put him down and blog. Naturally, I chose the former.
A couple weeks ago, I went to a bible study at my church that is comprised of all moms. The newest mom there, I felt a bit awkward and out of place at first. I was the least experienced mother in the circle — still in the throes of nightfeeds and blowout diapers, and nowhere near potty training or choosing a preschool — and felt like I had nothing to offer. Despite my extremely outgoing nature, I spent the better part of the “socializing time” just sitting on the couch, staring at my feet, wondering if I could contribute anything worthwhile to the conversation. I decided that, nope, I couldn’t. Those moms had all been-there-done-that. It’s been quite some time since I’ve felt that strange about being around other people. (That also may have had something to do with my severe lack of personal hygiene but hey, showers are hard to come by these days.)
As we settled in to the devotion, I started to feel a bit more comfortable. A bit more like I belonged. I eased into the discussion and back into my normal skin as I listened to Margo, a good friend and the group leader, read that week’s lesson. It was called, Waiting for Normal.
I don’t remember the specifics of the story, but I do know that it was about a mom who compared her family life — her husband working long hours, never home for dinner, the kids on a weird schedule — with that of her neighbor’s — dinner on the table at the same time every night, the family always together, etc. Sadly, she deduced that her neighbor’s life was “normal” and hers was not. Therefore, she saw no point in trying to maintain a “normal” schedule until her husband stopped working such bizarre hours. She ordered pizza every night instead of cooking. She didn’t enforce a bedtime routine. She said she was just “waiting for normal” in order for life to be worth it.
That devotion was really convicting to me.
You see, when Dan and I first got married, we made an agreement to not have kids until we were in a financial position where I could stop working and stay home with them. Well, as you know, Dax came before we were anywhere near that position. The entirety of my pregnancy and the majority of the first weeks of motherhood, I’ve been fretting over our lack of “normal”. As each day would pass, my maternity leave running out like grains of sand in an hour glass, I would get more and more anxious about the fact that I have to return to work soon because that’s not “normal”. What’s “normal” is what Dan and I agreed on when we got married.
I felt like I was being held at gunpoint and forced to make a choice between my baby and my job. If I chose my baby, everything would be ruined. We wouldn’t be able to afford our apartment, our cars, food, or healthcare. But if I chose my job over my baby, everything would be okay.
Everything, that is, except for the fact that it’s not “normal” and my baby would suffer because of it.
Naturally, the end of the devotion came with the woman realizing that just because her “normal” was different from her neighbor’s didn’t mean it wasn’t “normal”. It was just a different “normal”.
Monday morning, I’ll walk back into my office after having eight wonderful weeks with my boy. The transition will be hard, of course, but the thing I have to remember is that this is my “normal”. I’m not choosing my job over my baby. I’m just choosing my baby in a different way. By going back to work, I’m choosing for him to have health insurance and clothes and diapers and every other baby amenity out there. Just because this isn’t the “normal” I envisioned for myself, it is our “normal”.
And it’s perfect.
Last week I wrote about taking one thing at a time. I wrote about how important it is to slow down and breathe for a minute if you’re feeling overwhelmed. I also divulged about my minor (ha) mental breakdown over being too busy and stressed out this fall.
Sometimes, I really think I should heed my own words instead of just writing and publishing them.
At any rate, as if I didn’t have enough things going on in my life, I’ve decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month for the first time. For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is an event orchestrated every November by the Office of Letters and Light, a creative writing non-profit agency, that encourages writers to hammer out a novel (50,000 words to be exact) in a mere 30 days. If you do the math (which I rarely do, since I’m a writer) that’s writing a minimum of 1,667 words a day starting today and ending November 30th. No editing, no deleting, just writing.
It actually works out quite nicely for me since my birthday is December 1st. This means that, if I finish this, I will give myself the first draft of an original novel on my 26th birthday. You’re welcome, future self!
While I officially committed to participating in NaNoWriMo 2011 last week, I’ve actually been contemplating it since NaNoWriMo 2010. I didn’t participate last year because, well, I don’t write fiction. As a matter of fact, the last fiction I wrote was probably some dumb poem in college and I undoubtedly burned it before anyone else could find and read it. But, a handful of people have told me over the last year that I should write a book. So, I thought, why not?
Apart from being so disgustingly busy and on the verge of burnout, you mean? Well, I don’t know, why not? Hey! No one asked you, inner monologue!
When I decided to go for it, my next step could have been one of two things:
Clearly, I’ve chosen the latter.
But not intentionally, mind you.
At first, I was going to go with option number 1. I didn’t want to tell anyone. Writing a novel in 30 days (ugh, typing it out makes me tremble with fear) is arguably the most terrifying and difficult thing I’ve ever attempted and, at this point in the game, failure seems pretty imminent. But, once I squeaked the news to my husband, he felt so proud of me (for what?! I haven’t done anything yet!) that he compulsively broadcasted the news to any and everyone he came across. What a guy, that husband. What. A. Guy.
And so. I’ve told people. And I’m telling you. And I’m asking for support, love, and prayer throughout this process. (Oh, um, and I’m getting a pool going to see how many days into the challenge that I’ll publicly break down mid-composition in indecipherable sobs. What’s your bet? My money’s on November 15th — exactly half way to either success or failure. Come on, big money!) And in case you’re wondering, I will still be blogging throughout November. I can feel my eyes drying up and the carpal tunnel starting to set in already! Yay!
TODAY’S SELF-LOVE TIP: BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE.
If you think writing a novel in 30 days is a lofty goal, remember that making a commitment to change your mindset and love yourself is a pretty solid aspiration as well. As much as I’d love to say that I’ve made this transformation on my own, I can’t because I’d be lying through my teeth. I couldn’t have gotten to where I am today without being open and honest with my close friends and family about the things I struggle with and asking them to support me in recovery.
Yes, accountability is scary. Oh lord, do I know it. It’s terrifying to be watched and guided. But it’s necessary for growth and change. Leaning on other people is not a sign of weakness. Rather, it’s a sign of maturity and acceptance that we weren’t created to be strong enough on our own. We were created to allow the strengths of our peers step in when our weaknesses reign supreme.
And so, I challenge you to open up and ask to be held accountable. Ask someone you trust to call you out when you talk negatively about yourself or others. Ask someone to go jeans shopping with you and reinforce your mindset that the size number on the label doesn’t define your worth. When you let someone else carry a part of your burden, it becomes that much lighter.
Also, I ask you to hold me accountable in November. I’ve set out to do something and darn it I want to do it. But I know I can’t do it alone. Be there for me, friends?
The past couple of weeks have been pretty rough for me at work. I almost got fired once and today, on the coattails of my brush with unemployment, I made a mistake of epic proportions.
For most people, this wouldn’t be so bad. I mean, as of 6:20 PM I still have a job, right?
But for whatever reason I seem to have some sort of Rolodex in my brain where some sadist asshole (read: me) has recorded each and every failure I’ve ever made in my history. Consequently, each time I fail, that Rolodex (or failodex, if you will) comes to life and starts spinning furiously, spitting out painful excerpts from each fail-entry for me to relive. It’s as if each time I fail, I’ve failed each of my past failures all over again.
And I am crushed into nothing. Just a shell of a girl who once had promise.
A few minutes ago as I was soaking in my consolatory not-hot-enough bubble bath (formulated with dish soap because, alas, I’ve failed at buying more bubble bath) chugging my consolatory bottle (not glass) of riesling, the failodex began to rear its ugly head. Under usual circumstances, my next move would be to get out of the bath, dig my journal out of my purse, and begin to scribble down the most hateful, obscene things about myself imaginable.
But this time, I decided to try something different. I decided to turn to my blog, where I’m accountable to my readers.
You see, when it comes to my written journal, I’m the only one (hopefully) that will ever see what’s inside. I have free reign to dig myself into the deepest hole of self-degradation possible, only to go back and read it the next time I fail and remember just how crappy of a person I am. But Lindsay Durrenberger happens to have friends, and I know they don’t want me to talk badly about her on the Internet.
So instead, today, I’d like to create a winodex (if for nothing else, a way for me to stop feeling so darn crappy about myself.)
Here are some examples of times I’ve been a winner at life:
Here I’m about to blow out candles on a birthday cake made for me by my very best friend Nikki. My friend Kyle is in the background making a really stupid face. I win because it’s my birthday, and also because my face looks better than Kyle’s.
For those of you who know me well, you know I hate cold weather. This was taken when Dan and I went to Illinois to visit his family. I didn’t complain ONCE the entire trip about how cold I was. WIN WIN WIN.
Hopefully this will help me with future failures.
Okay, okay, okay. I’ve been sucking at this. Sorry. Please forgive me; I’ve changed jobs and I’m trying to get myself acclimated to this new life. But alas! Here I am!
Four days in, I really like my new job. I went from broadcast news to web marketing. It’s under the same giant golf umbrella that is mass media, but at a much different pace. I’ve come from having deadlines that approach in minutes to deadlines that creep up in days and/or weeks. Believe it or not, I’m having a very hard time getting used to this. It’s difficult to suppress the urge to speed through my projects that aren’t due until October. But I think I’m getting the hang of taking it slow and steady.
I’m also getting used to the idea of having sick days and holidays off. What is this notion? I don’t know.
My schedule is also throwing me a bit. You wouldn’t think so but an hour and a half makes a world of difference. I used to head into work at 9:30 a.m. but now my work day starts at 8:00. So it’s hard for me to balance working out in the morning and getting to work in time, since the gym doesn’t even open until 6:15 and running around my neighborhood in the dark (or light, for that matter) is a plea to be raped, robbed, murdered, and/or eaten. Eeek. But! I always get a lunch break (that I don’t feel guilty about) and I’m headed home by 5:00. I’m even on my couch in time to watch the news! (My first love, you know.)
And I can also be home in time to cook dinner! Yay! That’s what I’ve been wanting forever! To get home with enough time and energy to cook my husband a delicious and healthy (and creative!) supper!
This is the part where I’d blog about some snazzy new recipe I’ve found in the past week. But naturally, I haven’t felt like cooking all week. Our meals have varied from Zaxby’s to Jimmy John’s to a swanky local French bistro (where I had a lamb/pasta/olive oil/tarragon dish that I’m almost positive I could have whipped up myself for much less money. Sigh.) But! I will not be discouraged! I’m headed in the right direction!
And we got a nice little jump start by getting a sweet one-year wedding anniversary presents from one of my wonderful bridesmaids: a ten-piece stainless steel cookware set AND a one-year subscription to Cooking Light magazine! I was absolutely floored. What a sweet gift. We haven’t gotten an issue yet but the cookware set cooks like a dream. Thankfully we were able to get rid of all our old, scratched up, chemical-emitting Teflon pans. How amazing!
I’ve also subscribed to All Recipes and get a delicious new recipe in my inbox everyday. For all you cooking newbies, this is the way to go!
Where else can I go to transform myself into the perfect wife? Leave me comments and let me know!