Day 26: What are your beliefs?

  1. I believe in the goodness of people. Even when I’d distanced myself from all but one of my friends, even when I stopped answering calls or returning messages… my friends refused to go away.
  2. I believe in washing my hands. I’m a little obsessive about it so the fact that this Corona Virus pandemic is teaching everyone to wash their damn hands, is pure bliss for me. I love hand soap and foam, love gardenia scented bars of triple milled goats milk soap… I love being clean and smelling good. Wash, wash, wash.
  3. I believe that Tide washes your clothes better than hippie detergent. Sorry. It’s true. My mother buys the earth safe detergent and uses dryer balls. I love Tide detergent and Snuggle fabric softener. She tried… ūüôā
  4. I believe that dirt fixes everything. Sad, worried, stressed, heartbroken… none of those bad times stand a chance when you’re planting shallots. Each one of these little treasures is going to turn into 10 more! shallots
  5. I’m learning to ask for help… because I absolutely believe the strongest thing you can do is admit you need it. I’ve dealt with major depression this year and can’t believe a little antihistamine would stop all my panic attacks. God bless you, Vistaril… I am humbly grateful.
  6. I believe in love, more than anything. The kind of love that sews your favorite childhood toys, the love that holds doors and offers the last of the ice cream to the little person who’d been craving it. Unconditional love is my superpower and I believe it can change anything.
  7. I believe in the magic of plastic surgery and can’t wait to remodel a little more. I’m having a tummy tuck and breast lift this spring and I. Can’t. Wait.
  8. I believe in apologizing when I fuck up. I accept genuine apologies just as easily as I offer them.
  9. I believe that bubbles with your best friend can solve the world’s problems better than anything else on earth.
  10. I believe in the power of thread count, and wish I could give each of you a set of my favorite sheets.
  11. I believe in the magic of intention. My darling Dick Appointment crawled out of the jungle twice in the last week to call me from a satellite phone. He can email me, so I teased him a little until he told me the sound of my laughter made his day. I’m probably not going to see him again, but he sure is making a trip to Africa sound better and better lately…
  12. I believe in dish towels, not paper towels. I don’t understand the mass hysteria for paper towels.. those are a luxury item in my house and an easily eliminated expense.
  13. I believe in the magic of mass on Sunday, even if I reject 2/3 of the beliefs held in the cathedral. I love being Catholic… even if I’m the most atheist version around.
  14. I believe in karma most of all. That karma fairy leaves scars on the most deserving and if I know one thing… it’s that there’s a cold dark hole in hell for the guy who named my puppy after his new girlfriend. I pity him for that. That’s gonna sting. I rehomed the puppy.
  15. I believe in thanking people for everything… even the bad stuff.

believe

Basically, I believe in myself and my ability to change the things that no longer serve me. I believe that bad days only amount to a bad time, not a bad life… and the good days are so common that I know the bad ones don’t count for much.

What do you believe in?


Day 16: What are your five greatest accomplishments?

  1. Motherhood. It’s every bit of who I am and my children are my crown jewels. I’m missing my firstborn and in being absent from my life he has taught me a million more things. Just when you think you know what you’re doing or have cracked the code in how to juggle it all, one of them throws up, moves out, gets in trouble, sings you a song, writes you a love note, pees in your bed, gets good grades, etc…. it’s forever changing. I think I have finally found a healthy balance of love and discipline while slowing down to have more tea parties. I think I’m finally a good mom. Phew.
  2. My career. I was in the right place at the right time to land my job but through my own hard work and perseverance I have landed in the #2 spot and carry a lot of responsibility as a result. I bring a lot of work home with me and the stress of it has given me a few bleeding ulcers. I don’t always want to go, but enjoy it most days and have the flexibility to put my Dumpling first without any hesitation, something that is priceless these days. I love my coworkers, and that hasn’t always been the case so I appreciate it wholeheartedly.
  3. My garden. I’m moving the whole damn thing this year, which is daunting to say the least. I’m also downsizing, because I can’t work full time and keep up with an acre of growing weeds and plants. I just can’t do it, so I’m building a fence around a quarter of the size of my old garden. I was going to skip a year and not plant, but my mental health depends on putting my hands in the dirt and having ripe tomatoes.
  4. My friendships. I never have time to see most of them, but I really am blessed to have the best friends in the whole galaxy. I’ve been painfully depressed for the past year and have distanced myself from 99% of the world in trying to put myself back together. I’ve been avoiding everyone while working to stop the endless flood of tears from ruining every good time. When you can’t pull it together, you find out who your real friends are. The people who reach out, shoot a text or call even though they know I wont answer. I’m incredibly blessed to have more than my share and they’ve gotten me through an awful year that threatened to get the best of me.
  5. My family. I have a good relationship with my mom, a healthy and loving relationship with all of my siblings and there’s nobody I avoid! That sounds ordinary, but trust me it isn’t. I don’t see them as much as I’d like but the fact that we’re all on good terms is nothing short of miraculous and I treasure the family dinners we missed out on for so many years and for such stupid reasons. Aside from a few red-hat wearing distant cousins, our entire family has healed old wounds and come back together. I hope and pray that the same happens with my son some day, and seeing all their faces around the dinner table as we laugh, gives me fresh hope.

Peace

I used to really care what other people’s opinions were. I don’t any more. My mother says the same thing to me, every time I need to check back in with myself.

business

I’m proud of myself after surviving the last year. I’ve learned to love the less spectacular things about myself and the messes I’ve made within the confines of my life. I fell head over heels in love with a good man and suffered the worst heartbreak. I don’t regret a single tear. Life is too short to be anything less than passionate and though it didn’t end the way I wanted, I learned a million things from every painful day. He may have broken my heart, but he also broke my douchebag magnet and flooded me with the faith that comes from realizing that you can fall crazy in love again when you least expect it.

I learned to play more and clean less. I’ve made buckets of slime and have spent quality time just listening to my children. I’ve turned the TV off and focused on the reality of the beautiful home mine has become. We cook, clean and laugh together more than ever before.

I found peace in the small details when the big picture felt too overwhelming. I asked the uncomfortable questions and got the answers I needed to feel better.

Talking to my favorite man and hearing some painful truth was the cure to what ailed me. I can happily cook again … and eat for that matter. I overslept this morning and it felt like winning the lottery. As an overthinker, my mind had gone down every dark path and I’d made Everest out of molehills. Cold silence is the way I punish people but it was the first time I’d been on the receiving end of it. Having the difficult conversations has become one of my favorite things because I found my will to be blissfully happy again, even on the heels of hearing things that made me sad.

The truth sets you free, but the details dust you off and help you back up.

I miss my Anthony so much it hurts more a little each day because I feel so much better lately and he’s not here to hear all about it. He died in the midst of me folding myself up like a dying flower and he didn’t get to watch me bloom again. He always insisted I would. I find myself looking skyward with a simple wish that the clouds obscured heaven, like I did as a small child. I understand balloon releases a lot more these days because I wish so much that I could write him a letter that he’d actually be able to read.

yay

My priorities have gotten clearer and I’ve begun the new year making choices that feel better and aim towards happiness instead of delaying the hard work involved to change my life. I’m truly happy, all alone. In feeling so sad last year, I forgot about so many of the luxuries in my life that give back so much more than holding a man’s attention.

I spent yesterday cleaning up and throwing out the things that clutter my life. Blank surfaces inspire me to clear the cobwebs from my head and they heal my heart as well. I pulled my knitting out from the long-since abandoned basket of yarn and made a washcloth. Just like the first few days after I learned to knit, I caught myself moaning and groaning about how slow going it can be. It’s that way with everything you neglect… you have to get your feet back underneath you when you’ve been sitting down for too long. I pulled some black beans from the barely touched pantry and made chicken tortilla soup for dinner, relishing the simple one foot in front of the other magic that goes along with cooking.

A week on my mama’s farm was like therapy and I miss my little chicken friends this morning. Along with farm chores and cooking to my heart’s content, I realized a lot of the things that I’ve been giving my time to aren’t worth the sacrifice. I spent a week disconnected from the internet, unplugged from the television and hidden away in the mountains. I fell in love with my life again, separate from the “things” that make it so difficult. I got surprising answers to questions I didn’t know to ask and finally duct taped that hole in my heart.

Somewhere amongst the baby owls, blooming orchids and fresh straw… I found peace.

Happy new year to each of you. I hope if you’re struggling that you’re able to find some peace and If you are content, then perhaps offer a little to someone you know that has run out.

peace (1)


Jesus Almighty Crossfit

masochism

Y’all… there aren’t words. My thighs feel like I had a one night stand with Jeffrey Dahmer and he fell asleep after eating a little of each.

Every step hurts. Every breath hurts. I liken stairs to natural childbirth.

Walking down stairs hurt last week.

Upstairs feels like unmedicated surgery this week.

I. Am. Crippled.

Handstands and pull-ups. Push-ups and squats. It has kicked my ass in every imaginable way.

Kettlebell swings, burpees and wall balls have become my new least favorite activities. I have done things physically in the last month that defy my own imagination. I’m stunned after every workout that I actually pulled it off. This is one of those areas where being too nice is dangerous as hell. I can’t let my beloved Nick down… so I have to do all 15 of those goddamn box squats. Even though my ass is on fire and my legs feel like¬†chopped gelatin.

burpees

I am purple and panting on my way out the door. It takes a cool shower and a quart of water to get dressed and headed to work. The stairs to my office are tall and painful with a million more in the warehouse.

Today’s workout was push-ups, handstands, hanging pull-ups, and deadlifts. My arms feel like they were ripped off a little. Not enough to come off entirely, but enough to break the sockets and separate the muscle from the bone. Yeah. That’s fun.

legshungover

My back feels like I got sideswiped by a rearview mirror on the highway. It’s a little sore.¬†

My shoulders ache, my chest throbs and that left pectoral muscle I had lifted last January is angry. It’s a rough day to inhabit this body. Especially running on 3 hours of sleep on the same day the coffee ran out.

Three hours of sleep wrapped up in him, which was not exactly restful. I’ve wanted to sleep in his t-shirt forever and now that I’ve tossed and turned in his hoodie, I’ve learned my lesson. A noteworthy orgasm at a very high price. <yawn>

Of all the days I’ve been scheduled to go to CrossFit… this is the one time I really didn’t want to.

I’ve promised myself not to quit and my body already¬†feels different enough¬†in my own hands after just a month, that I’m hooked.¬†

It’s nice to like the reflection staring back at me a little more¬†and feels really great to do something healthy for myself.

Assuming I survive it, I’m actually really happy to have found something I can love that will make me feel better, naturally. I’ve been so damn sad that I was at my breaking point and ready to ask for a half dozen happy pills a day.

Anthony was over the moon that I’d decided to finally try it, and even more so that I loved it. Even more reason to stick with it and find the me that’s been hidden under all this mommy for the past 24 years.

I’ve joked from the beginning that I want to tear¬†down the factory to build a playground, and now I’m knee deep in the demolition and construction phase. It’s rough, but I’m stubborn as hell and twice as driven to be successful. It’s that firstborn thing that can get me in just as much trouble as it does good.

Only this time, it’s going to land me in a bikini… after a whole¬†lot of soul-stomping, back-breaking exercise, a few trips to my plastic surgeon and my own raw determination. My firstborn claimed¬†my beautiful body in exchange for his sweet perfection, when I was just 18 years old. I’m going to dig it back out if it kills me.¬†

So if anyone has a wheelchair, a toilet riser or a nice handsome home health care nurse to help me in and out of bed, I’d be most appreciative.

Bonus points if he’s a good cook.

justsayin


Change

On a rainy day by the sea, my beautiful Anthony was laid to rest. Work, motherhood and heartache kept me from wanting to be there in person. I spoke to his mother in the dark hours of the morning yesterday when she forgot the time difference, wanted to call and tell me how much she wished I were there and to remind me how much he loved me. It’s the hardest thing to reconcile for both of us, so we ended up expressing our love for each other and crying over the mutual wish that things were different.

I hung up with her and cried for a few hours. The physicality of burial is so final and hits me freshly in missing him so much.

Into the ground with him, goes his laugh… a noise I can hardly bear living without already.

Into that box… goes my best man. A sight I just can’t see.

I was awake all night last night writing his eulogy and decided that it was most important to share something sweet of him, since everyone loved him so much for being funny.

He spent the night a few weeks ago and we got ugly drunk on dirty Bombay sapphire martinis. He brought the giant bottle, thinking it was funny.

We nearly died.

I’ve had some bad hangovers, but honest to goodness, I nearly went to the hospital for an IV of potassium. It would have been worth the $1,000.

We’d left the Dumpling with Grandma for the night’s shenanigans and had to go pick her up. All buckled in the back seat, side by side…¬† they started singing their favorite song together. He knows it hits a nerve and she LOVES it.

Out of nowhere, the Dumpling threw up. I don’t know why but that’s kids for ya. He started screaming at me to pull over as I was laughing uncontrollably. I pulled over and he leapt out. The Dumpling was laughing at him too and we got it all cleaned up and taken care of. We drove home with every window down, and him hanging out the side of the car and glaring at me.

A- You did this again, on purpose? (referencing having a third child)

The Dumpling hugs him and he melts.

Q- I’m sorry I puked in the car, Uncle A. You were so funny I feel better.

A- Oh Lil Mama, Uncle A pukes, too. Just not in the car.

He walks straight to the kitchen and shakes two martinis. He walks around the corner and catches me checking my phone.

A- Babbbbbyyyyyy. Stop torturing yourself. Send him a message if you want to. Don’t agonize and wait. We’re dumb creatures.

J- I can’t.

A- Awww. Ok.

He holds my phone up to my face, unlocks it and sends a text message to THAT guy.

J- I could kill you right now.

A- Can’t win if you don’t play.

J- You need a new line.

My phone starts shouting “YUMMY, YUMMY, YUMMY”

A- Really? I know that’s him. Give me that phone.

J- Never.

I read it, it’s disappointing and the clouds roll in. I look up and he looks incredibly regretful.

A- Shit. I’m sorry. Let’s watch a movie and cuddle. I fucked up. Don’t cry.

I’m crying and he’s walking in circles around me. We are stupid hungover and I need a nap. He’s made things worse and he knows it. I’m still crying. He bends over, scoops me up and carries me to my bed. He tucks me in, turns on my football game and climbs in next to me, wrapping me up in his arms. Frustrated and tired with a side of MASSIVE hangover, I bawled.

A- I’m an asshole, I shouldn’t have gotten involved. I’m sorry. I want you to have what you really want for once. I think he’s just afraid and you are too. I want you to stop accepting what you’re offered and ask for what you want!

J- I know you do.

I fell asleep to the sounds of them playing Pretty, Pretty Princess. I woke up to the smell of pizza, him still in his jewel earrings from the game and her telling me jokes in a Cinderella dress.

D- Uncle A bought PIZZA and SODA and ICE CREAM and MINECRAFT!!!!!

He threw his head back in the pink plastic crown and smiled at me smugly in the midst of the worst hangover we’ve ever had, having played games, ordered dinner, dessert and dreams come true, while I slept.

and I cried…. because I felt so loved.

He was the best gay husband ever.

Comedy was his life but love was his language. To be loved by Anthony was to know in your bones that you deserve far more than you could ever imagine. To be adored by him raised my standards and to be his best friend was one of the greatest honors of my lifetime.

I worked a miracle yesterday and there is HUGE change coming in two weeks. All the hard work I’ve put in, is finally coming full circle and I credit Anthony for lighting a fire under me.

I’m going to make him ridiculously proud, and forever remember him in that pink crown.