The one with the regret

The one with the regret

I’m not the kind of person who typically regrets anything. I have a huge parenting regret though, and I didn’t even realize it until this weekend.

I’ve struggled with eating disorders since I was 13 years old. That’s just over a quarter of a century dealing with an eating disorder for those of you who know me and are doing the math. I WISH I was as fat as I was when I first thought I was fat. Mother eff…I REALLY wish I was as fat as I was when I was when I was 3 months in to post baby, depression fueled anorexia. If you know me now, you’ll see that I CLEARLY beat anorexia though. I mean, I’m not morbidly obese or anything (even if that’s what I see in the mirror…thanks to the eating disorder brain), but my body definitely says “loves tacos and tequila…and all the rest of the food.”

Here’s where this leads to the regret. I think it must be a universal thing that kids love the water. I have yet to meet a kid that doesn’t love to swim, slip-n-slide, run through sprinklers, or anything that involves a swimming suit and water. I live by some amazing lakes, we can swim in the river, and we have a pretty kick ass rec center pool. Do you want to know how many times I put on a swimming suit and took advantage of any of those experiences with my kid? Aside from a year or so where I had someone in my life who was seeing me naked on the regular, so it didn’t really matter how fat I thought I looked in a swimming suit at the lake with him and the kids (his and mine, not ours), I can count them on one hand. That’s not to say my kid was totally deprived of all water experiences. I just didn’t experience them with him. I sat on the sidelines, like so many other moms, terrified of what people would think of me if I just put on the damn bathing suit and joined my kid in the water.

This weekend, my best friend brought his kids to the tiny town I live in. They stayed at a hotel, partly so they had their own space with no questions back home as to the sleeping arrangements at my place, and partly because it’s been a loooooong time since I’ve had a toddler in my house, and it is NOT a toddler friendly place. (That, and I don’t have TV, so I needed something to help with the cool factor that I would have otherwise been COMPLETELY lacking…) Of course, since there are no Hilton properties in my town, and I refuse to willingly spend any of my money on any Marriott property ever, I just picked the nicer of the 2 hotels near my house, and made sure the pool was in working order before I made reservations for them.

Because this friend is one of the few people in the world I feel 100% comfortable around, you can bet I joined them in the pool, and you know what? Those kids didn’t care one bit that I am without a doubt packing around a few thousand (slight exaggeration) extra pounds. They didn’t care that once my top was wet, it clung painfully and uncomfortably close to my food baby. (Alright, alright…it wasn’t PHYSICALLY painful and uncomfortable….but you guys…I have an eating disorder brain, and the mental struggle was real.) You know what they did care about? They cared that I could balance on one foot, while the 9-year-old stood on my thigh, counting to 3 before I pushed him as high as possible out of the water so he could come crashing back down in to it for maximum splashing. They cared that I could lift the 3-year-old out of the water and on to the side so he could jump back in to me, and make sure I kept his head out of the water over, and over, and over again. They cared that I could do that for 2 solid hours, two different times that day. ALL they cared about was that there was someone there, playing with them, in the freaking water. The sheer joy was infectious. I haven’t had so much fun in the town where I live in YEARS.

I missed out on the one and only chance I had to experience things like this with my own kid. I missed out on that kind of pure joy because I was too damn worried about what other people would think if they saw me in a swimming suit, and after this weekend, I regret the hell out of that.  It’s one of the few things I’d change if I could rewind and try again. So learn from me being soooooo incredibly stupid, and just put on the damn swimming suit and play in the water with those tiny humans of yours. They’ll never forget it, and either will you.

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Dating advice from the serial single…OR…You don’t turn down a date to a football game.

Dating advice from the serial single…OR…You don’t turn down a date to a football game.

I had quite the text message exchange with a friend who was looking for some dating advice today. It went a little like this:

Friend: Hey, I met this guy. He seems pretty cool and he wants me to go to a football game with him this weekend.
Me: Not that it matters, but met him, met him or Tinder met him?
Friend: Tinder met him.
Me: Tell me more about the football game?
Friend: It’s the one in Salt Lake.
Me: Ahh…So he wants to take you to the Utes game at Rice Eccles tomorrow?
Friend: Yeah. That’s the one. He said he has tickets on like the 50 yard line. Are those good? I just don’t know if I WANT to go to the football game.
Me: *in complete disbelief of that luck* Where exactly on the 50 yard line?
Friend: Like the 5th row or something.
Me: 5th row down from the top, or up from the field?
Friend: Up from the field. Why, are those good tickets?
Me: Why exactly do you not want to go to the game?
Friend: I just don’t know if I like him enough to spend the time tailgating and at the game with him.
Me: What about him do you not like enough to spend that kind of time with him?
Friend: Well….he’s really fun to talk to, and I know it sounds shallow, but I don’t really think he’s all that cute.
Me: As shallow as it sounds, with tickets like that at Rice Eccles, he doesn’t have to be. Besides, you swiped right, and didn’t un-match with him, so there’s that.
Friend: I don’t know why I ask you for dating advice.
Me: Either do I. Go to the game.
Friend: What if I REALLY can’t stand him after the tailgating? Can I just leave then?
Me: No. But you can change in to purple and cheer for UW, thank him for the freaking amazing ticket to the game, and tell him you have a friend with much better taste if he needs someone to go to the USC or Oregon games with him.
Friend: You suck.
Me: Not for free 😉
Friend: I should have known you’d say that. I’ll snap you from the game.

This is why you don’t ask your smart ass single friend for dating advice. Or maybe any advice really….

It’s not always who you think it is.

It’s not always who you think it is.

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If you broke a bone, people would want to sign your cast. If you had a cold, people would offer all kinds of tried and true home remedies for that. If you had cancer, the sympathy and help would pour in. We are 100% OK with helping people with visible illnesses, and that is amazing.

Collectively, we suck when it comes to acknowledging mental illnesses and struggles though. We think that telling someone “you just need to snap out of it,” or “it could be worse,” or “it’s all in your head,” or “there’s more to life than….” is all it takes to magically “fix” people when they just aren’t OK. MAYBE hearing something like that is enough for a few people, but honestly, it’s more likely to just make someone feel even worse, and isolated, and alone.

Monday (9/10) this week was World Suicide Prevention Day. Worldwide, the suicide statistics are pretty damn alarming. Every 40 seconds someone in the world commits suicide, and for every one of those people, it’s estimated another 20 people attempt suicide, or have serious suicidal thoughts. Every 40 seconds. Every. Single. Day.  It goes without saying that we should ALL check on our people, and often. Touch base with your freaking friends and family once in a while, and not just the ones that you think might be depressed, because the truth is, depression looks a whole hell of a lot different than you think it does.

Hollywood depression is easy to recognize: sad, withdrawn, never socializes, cries a lot, sleeps a lot, wears a lot of black, maybe drinks or uses drugs excessively. You’ve seen it in the movies and on TV; you know what I’m talking about. Hollywood depressed is easy to be concerned about, but it’s not all Hollywood depression.

Depression also looks like this:

  • Working 70 hours in 5 days every week to try to stay on top of your finances and having absolutely nothing left to give at the end of the day.
  • Not sleeping at night even though you’re exhausted because it simply takes too much effort to shut your brain down enough to sleep.
  • Spending an ungodly amount of money (that you should probably put towards your own debt) to help someone else survive because at least this way it feels like you’re doing something good for someone.
  • Always feeling like you need to be the “fixer” for other people, because you know what broken feels like, and you don’t want other people to experience that.
  • Being the funny one
  • Buying new clothes even though they absolutely are not in the budget, because the thought of doing laundry is just far too overwhelming.
  • Throwing your dishes away and buying new ones because the kid “cleaned” his room and brought 6 million dirty dishes to the kitchen and left them for you to do.
  • 2 naps on a Saturday because you don’t have anything better to do, and that mess in the house will still be there tomorrow anyway. Besides, you worked 70 hours in the 5 previous days, so it’s not like you don’t deserve to relax.
  • Avoiding church activities so you don’t have to answer questions about your personal life, or complete lack thereof.
  • Spending all the time with the kids because they adore you and you just need someone to think you’re worth it, even if they are 3 years old.
  • Being the one who is constantly there for everyone, no matter when, and no matter what they need, all while wishing someone would just want to do for you even 1/10 of what you do for other people.

Obviously that’s not an all-inclusive list. The point remains though, that depression looks different for EVERYBODY. Some people handle it differently than others, and obviously some people have a much more difficult time with it than others. Just because someone seems like they have everything going their way, doesn’t mean they aren’t struggling.

There’s a reason you often hear “I had no idea they were struggling until it was too late.” Life is unbelievably difficult, and the strong ones need support from their people every bit as much as the people they are always working so hard to make sure things are OK for. Check on your people. Yes, even the strong ones. Especially the strong ones.

 

 

RIP to my brain

RIP to my brain

Facebook keeps reminding me that I haven’t posted in a while. What Facebook doesn’t know is that it’s because I’ve been a little busy here working on some political things, and trying to maintain a shred of sanity while working 70+ hours a week and not having any time to escape the tiny town I live in to get some real life saving time in the city. Anyway, I’m pretty sure that’s all made the last functioning brain cells I have left abandon ship, so instead of being able to compose something somewhat intelligent about some of the actual kick ass things I’ve been doing lately, you can get to know me just a little bit with this “30 questions adult version” I’ve been tagged in no less than 30 times on Facebook this week alone.

1. What bill do you hate paying the most?
I hate paying for all of them except my insurance, and that’s only because my insurance agents are THE best. Seriously, I pay my bill and then we chat for a while (sometimes over cocktails) about the people who are driving us crazy.
2. When was the last time you had a romantic dinner?
Does wine in the shower count as a romantic dinner?
3. What do you really want to be?
Relaxed, well rested, and content.
4. How many colleges did you go to?
I kind of burned myself out in High School and made some bad life decisions afterward. So…I’ve taken a few classes at a couple of different colleges, but that’s about it.
5. Why did you choose the shirt you have on?
Simple: It was clean.
6. Thoughts on gas prices right now?
It doesn’t matter what gas costs, I don’t want to walk, so I’m paying whatever it is.
7. First thought when the alarm goes off in the morning?
“So….here’s another day of waking up to an alarm instead of morning sex or breakfast in bed.”
8. Last thought you had before you went to bed?
Literally woke up at 3am with my phone on my face, so considering I fell asleep while binge watching season 4 of The Last Ship, my last thought was probably “I should probably plug the iPad in.”
9. Do you miss being a child?
I miss not having adult responsibilities, but that’s about it.
10. What errand/chore do you despise the most?
Cleaning in general.
11. Up early or sleep in?
I don’t even know how to sleep in anymore. Is this something that comes with getting old? Because I think only old people consider 6am sleeping in….
12. Found love yet?
Yeah…but not in a way that is ever going to result in the end of people asking me when I’m going to settle down and get married, so there’s that.
13.Favorite lunch meat?
I prefer lunch cocktails.
14. What do you get every time at Wal-Mart?
Anxiety. I avoid that place like the freaking plague.
15. Beach or lake?
They’re both water. I’m at home in either location. I prefer the beach, but a lake will do.
16. Who mows your lawn?
I’ve managed to cut down on the lawn needing to be mowed by simply not watering it. For real. I shouldn’t even own a home. An apartment with a little balcony to sit on and read or chat with friends and no yard to take care of would be absolutely perfect.
17. Is marriage over rated?
Probably not, but I know a whole lot of miserable married people, so who really knows.
18. Ever crashed a vehicle?
Unfortunately, yes.
19. Do you make your bed?
Of course, but it’s not something I’m a stressed out bed making Nazi about…
20. Strangest place you’ve brushed your teeth?
What the hell kind of question is this? Like are there people who brush their teeth on a roller coaster, or while scuba diving or something?
21. What is your bedtime?
Whenever I can’t stay awake anymore.
22. Somewhere you’ve never been but want to go?
Fiji, Hawaii, Iceland, to sleep for 10 solid hours…..the possibilities are endless.
23. Your favorite vacation you’ve ever been on?
Have you ever experienced the joy of taking a kid to Disneyland? It’s the best thing in the world. Favorite vacation sans kid though? Adult trips to Vegas are always a solid choice!
24. At this point in your life would you want to start a new career?
It’s something I consider on a daily basis.
25. Do you have a go to person?
Several of them.
26. Are you where you want to be in life?
Am I currently a trophy wife who does brunches and CrossFit and has a nice budget for philanthropy? No, so I’m not where I WANT to be in life, but I’m exactly where I NEED to be.
27. Growing up what were your favorite cartoons?
I only had cartoons on Saturday morning growing up. We took what we got.
28. Are you a parent yet?
Meanest mom in the world 19 years and counting.
29. What do you think has changed about you since you are older?
Besides the gray hair? I’ve finally learned that it’s ok to say “no” to people, and I care a whole lot less about the opinions of people who think I’m going to hell because I don’t live up to their standards.
30. What do you miss the most about being a kid?
Easy: spending every single day of the summer at the pool. That, and not paying bills.

Eight years ago today

Eight years ago today

It was 8 years ago today, I know because Facebook memories told me so, that I took my kid, and the girl who I had spent the previous 7 years as her “other mother” (a name given to me by her own amazing mother) to a music festival 3 hours away. It was Friday during the first week of school, and I picked them both up as soon as it was over and we took off to a town 3 hours away so my kid could see the band he wanted to see the most, Finger Eleven. I was the meanest mom in the world for not letting him skip the 3rd day of school so he could make sure he saw all of his favorite band, but that was quickly forgotten as soon as we arrived at the festival, and again when we went back for the second day.

Not that it had anything to do with the music festival, but that was also probably the last year that my kid didn’t actually hate me. I don’t mean the “You won’t let me play with my friend, you’re making me do homework, I can’t have McDonald’s for dinner for the 4th time this week,” I hate you either. The kind of I hate you that I was getting thrown at me was the “It’s your fault I don’t have a dad at home, or someone who wants to be my dad, because nobody can stand to be around you, you never do anything for me, I’m practically raising myself because you’re always at work, it’s your fault I am not doing well in school, we never do anything fun,” kind of hate. You know, the mean, spiteful kind of hate. The punching holes in my walls, breaking everything in the house, underage smoking and drinking, kind of hate. It’s the kind of hate that has left me crying in the shower on more occasions that I will ever admit, wondering where I went so horribly wrong as a parent.

This weekend, I had the chance to talk to another friend of mine, and was completely blown away when I heard that they were having similar problems with their oldest. I listened for 3 hours as this person told me about all of the problems and trials they were having with one of their children, even though the family background couldn’t possibly be more of a polar opposite to the family background at my house. This child was raised in a 2 parent, affluent household, with FAR more conveniences than my kid had, and with the added benefit of one parent working, and the other at home, able to be there for the children at any given time of any given day. This family shouldn’t be having the same problems with their kid as I am with mine. It just doesn’t make sense…at all, right?!

Towards the end of this 3 hour conversation, I realized that we had so much more in common than I ever thought we could. Both of us felt like we had failed at some point as a parent, and couldn’t for the life of us figure out where we went wrong. Both of us saw our value as a person tied directly to how these humans we had raised turned out as adults, and as the conversation wrapped up, we realized we had BOTH come to the conclusion (her through professional counselling and me through boozy conversations with my best friends) that we both gave our children all of the tools we possibly could to be decent humans. They were loved. They had all of their necessities taken care of. They each had plenty of opportunities for the fun extras. They were safe. They had seen first hand how they SHOULD treat other people for their entire lives. How they chose to use these tools was not a reflection on how they were raised, rather it was a reflection of who they were choosing to be, no matter how heartbreaking it was as a parent to watch them turn in to little assholes who didn’t care about anyone but themselves.

So be kind to people you meet; you never know who’s raising teenagers, and in the stolen words of one of the coolest people I’ve met this year, “Hug your people y’all.” (Seriously though, those people raising teenagers who are being assholes for no apparent reason definitely need your hugs.)

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Heart shaped rocks

Heart shaped rocks

Hey! Wait! I’ve got a new complaint.

Ok, I don’t really have a new complaint, but I’ve had that Nirvana song stuck in my head for the better part of the last 24 hours now. And yes, I know the song is Heart Shaped Box, not heart shaped rocks, but I found a bunch of heart shaped rocks yesterday, and that’s where my 90% song lyrics and movie quotes brain went with it. Let’s back up just a little bit though, and get to why this is even something I’m bothering to get my blog therapy on with.

Sometimes I feel as if Urban Dictionary hit the nail on the head when they described the tiny little town that I live in like this:  “A little hell hole of a city in Utah where 98% of the population are close minded hicks or Mormons. The weather ranges between freaking hot to freaking cold. There’s a point system to how many prairie dogs you can hit on the way to Colorado. The school system is run by the not German Nazis. The shittiest city on earth to attend high school in. A black meaningless void of which you’ll never escape once you’ve set foot in it. A geographic anomaly in which everything is approximately 3 and half hours away.” In all fairness though, everything is approximately 3 hours away, and 2 1/2 if law enforcement and wildlife cooperate.

Living in this little geographic anomaly tends to make things particularly difficult for the girl who prefers anonymity and generally only dates in those areas 3 hours away. It’s nice, because then nobody knows your business (including the guys, who don’t realize you’re not really worth the trouble…), but here’s the catch 22: sometimes this shit actually works out, and then that 3 hours is a huge pain in the ass. Case in point: I was kind of, sort of dating this really awesome guy a couple of years ago. Then life got in the way and the 3 hour commute was a bit much for either one of us. Ok…full disclosure: we were totally cockblocked by Mother Nature one winter when the relentless witch decided that mountain passes were going to be impassable without 4WD every single weekend he didn’t have his kids. Anyway, he started dating someone else without the 3 hour commute, and I went back to business as normal in the geographic anomaly where my social/dating life is a giant black hole. We stayed friends though, because we’re adults who can handle shit like that.

Skipping forward a couple of years, this guy and I are still great friends. He gets me, I get him, and he has this uncanny ability to contact me when I’m having THE worst day. It’s the best really; if I had it all to do over again, I’d get friend-zoned by him again without even thinking twice about it. Come to think about it, I’d happily get friend-zoned again by literally everyone Tinder has made me cross paths with. But back to the story. Life has been a GIANT douche to this friend of mine lately, and when I talk to him about it(OK, text, because there are like 12 ways of contacting me on my phone, and none of them require me actually using it as a phone…..but also because I can text while at work), I like to throw in the not so subtle message of #MoveToVernal. We both realize this is a scorched Earth option. It’s 3 hours away from his kids, although, I also joke about befriending his ex-wife and then convincing her to move here, so then his kids will be here too. Realistically though, none of that is going to happen. It didn’t stop the talks about this #MoveToVernal option from getting just a little bit serious over the past little while though, and I hate how much I liked the thought of that.

So what’s to hate about the thought of one of your closest friends moving to the same town you live in? Well….there wasn’t any problem with it, until I saw a picture of him with his kids this weekend. They were all so incredibly happy. He is seriously THE best dad, and my first thought upon seeing that picture was “there is absolutely no way he can be 3 hours away from them,” and I felt like a giant asshole for even suggesting it. My next thought was “What in the hell is this crushing feeling in my soul?” That was coupled with the reality that it was feelings. Gross right? I walked right in to the damn things.

Yesterday, my BFF and keeper of my secrets invited me to go to the lake with her and some of her friends. I needed some sun, water, and friends in my life, so of course I went. At one point we decided to jump off the boat and wander around on the beach. We were walking on some wet sand, when all of the sudden we sunk almost up to our knees in the wet, muddy sand. While the kids were laughing about it, it was poetic justice for me really. That damn muddy sand was a whole hell of a lot like those feelings I had fallen right in to for a minute. I was just walking along the beach of life, and then *bam* stepped right in to feelings.

We pulled ourselves out of the mud pretty easily and washed off in the lake, then continued on along the beach looking for cool stuff. One of the girls we were with found some sweet sunglasses, and I found a plethora of freaking heart shaped rocks. I skipped right over the first few of them, but then I had an idea. I kept 4 of the heart shaped rocks and took them with me on the swim back to the boat. Only 3 of them survived; the black one that I joked was a replica of mine broke in 2 pieces in my hand as I swam back to the boat. Turns out it was a little more fragile than it looked. (Mother f wording symbolism there!) As for the other heart shaped rocks, I waited until we were in the deepest part of the lake and threw them overboard, because hearts represent feelings, and feelings are overrated, and just a little bit lame.

 

It’s my anniversary yo

It’s my anniversary yo

Today I’m celebrating the longest relationship I’ve ever been in. You’re confused aren’t you? You probably should be. I’m not married, and my longest relationship lasted WAY longer than it should have, but still had a 7 year expiration date. I guess technically, I’ve been in a “relationship” with the day job for over 18 years at this point, but I don’t really like that, so I’m not counting it. I’m talking about my relationship with Lil’ Red.

Ten years ago, on 8/8/08, I was on my way to Salt Lake City to attend a wedding. On my way out, I received a phone call from a salesman at my favorite car dealership. He said the car I had been in love with since the mock-up of it as a concept car had been released 2 years prior was just pulled off the truck in the color I wanted. Did I still want the car? Like there was even a question. Of course I wanted the car, but I also wasn’t going to be that asshole who blew off the wedding to buy my midlife crisis car. $500 paid over the phone was enough to hold it until the wedding was over, and make me the envy of every University of Utah professor that also wanted my midlife crisis car, the 2008 Honda Accord Coupe EX-L with the V6 engine in San Marino Red, school colors at the U. Sorry boys, that 28-year-old beat you to the car you wanted….

Lil’ Red and I have had quite the relationship over the past decade. She’s been my therapist through countless miles of fast driving, mountain curves, fast driving on mountain curves, and loud music. She inspired the paint color for 3 different classic car remodels in 2008 alone. She’s the reason a complete stranger followed me for over a year before he asked if he could drive her and then ended up buying her ugly brown step-sister after I refused multiple offers to sell her. (Really though….Tiger Eye Pearl was not the best Honda paint color). She’s been the fancy ride that has been to Homecoming and Prom more times than I ever did (not like that was a hard number to beat!) with the cousins who begged to drive her to impress their dates. She’s taken the kid and I on several nice long road trips. She’s been on the road from Vernal to Salt Lake so often she could probably do it without me, so take that Tesla self driving cars. She survived teaching the 16-year-old how to drive, although, I’m sure she was pretty grateful that I never let him take her himself. She’s happy to oblige when tiny humans ask me to fly balloons out of the sun roof, or go faster because it’s fun, and she was even happier when teenage boys in Challengers tried to race her and lost miserably….three lights in a row.

She’s getting up there in age though, kind of like her owner. I mean…she’s still awesome AF, and appears to have it all together, but she’s a total Monet. Once you get up close, you start seeing all of the imperfections. I suppose she takes after her owner a bit on that one. I’m not looking forward to the day Lil’ Red has to retire, because she can’t really be replaced. (Seriously, they quit making that car in 2017, there was no deeper meaning there.)

So yeah, it’s probably the only 10 year anniversary I’ll ever celebrate. As for the couple from the 8/8/08 wedding, I texted them this morning, like I do every year, telling them Happy Anniversary, and was thanked with the response “You always remember. Thank you!” I never have the heart to tell her that I remember her anniversary, because it’s also the same day I bought Lil’ Red, but I don’t think it would matter. 8/8/08 was a great day for both of us, and while I’m sure she’ll be celebrating with the modern 10 year anniversary gift of diamonds, I may have to go with the traditional gift, crack open an aluminum can of some sort of cold beverage, and celebrate the day I bought the only car I’ve kept for longer than 3 or 4 years. Or maybe I’ll use it as an excuse to go buy myself those diamond earrings I’ve been looking at, because Treat. Yo. Self. (Someone’s got to do it right?)