So I'll Tell You (Y Te Digo)

This is what getting your groove back looks like, I think. BFF Heather is blogging again (CAN I GET AN AMEN?) and came up with an idea to build a poem from her writing playlist. It's crazy good, and you should click here to read it

Of course, I had to try to get in on this bandwagon of awesome. I seriously got goose bumps as this came together. 

 

So I'll Tell You (Y the digo)

 

I heard that you were talking shit

And you didn't think that I would hear it

you with your penchant for spontaneous advents,

For sticky and raspy, unearthed and then gone,

I can be an asshole of the grandest kind,

 

and you're still here.

We heard the fireworks, 

rushed out to watch the sky

happy-go-lucky 4th of July,

How can you live in the Northeast?

Y te digo

Soy sangre de me tierra

but that 

doesn't mean I’m plain. 

Loca. Loca. Loca.

I’m crazy but you like it. 

 

 

Songs Credited:

HollaBack Girl/Gwen Stefani

Bees of My Knees/Alanis Morisette

Everything/Alanis Morisette

How Can You Live in the Northeast/Paul Simon

Mujer Latina/Thalia

One Girl Revolution/Superchick

Loca/Shakira

 

 

 

That Time David Hasselhoff Brought Me a Present

...Okay, so maybe you don't think much of a shiny acorn, but I happen to love it. 

And okay, so maybe David Hasshelhoff walks on four leg and shits in a litter box, but he's my David Hasselhoff and that's what matters, people. 

Before I go on, let me stop to thank Jen Hajer of The Next Martha for my Neko Atsume obsession. I actually mean that in a non-smartass way. ADHD means I get hyper-focused and obsessed, so I tend to avoid most games since so many require a commitment. The fact that I can check my cats as often - or as little - as I wish, is phenomenal. So far, I have hooked my kid on the Neko world, and we were both a little let down and a little excited to learn the waitress we were going to try and convert last week already had the app on her phone. Seeing as how The Husband hates cats because of allergies, this is as close to the real thing we will be having in the house ever, so I'm living it up with my Neko cats.

Which, obviously, have all been renamed. Here, I share with you my top ten favorites. 

My favorite online friend I have yet to meet is a woman I first met on twitter with Peach Flambee as a hashtag. Her avatar was an animated goldfish. the glorious WTFuckery about the whole thing instantly made me love her in probably a very unhealthy way, seeing as how I am now naming animated cats after her animated goldfish and refuse to call her by her real name. 

Stop looking at me all weird, will ya?

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Some of these weren't exactly rocket science. 

WHUT? 

Get it? Do you? Personality = Crafty/ Name = CHICA! 

I know. I know. This one is probably my all-time favorite. Brilliant, right?

Hipster Neko Kai KLR brought me a cicada skin once as a memento. Because he loves me like that. 

Let me now when you get it....

Almost...

Not quite...

Maybe...

OMG YES! And you can thank my kid for this one. She is way smarter than I am.

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Shut up. Don't you dare ruin this for me.

Kevin's a crazy one! 

 

Oh look! The Hoff just brought me a pink glow bracelet! Yeah, he's a keeper.

 

The Blossom, the Camera, & the Bonnet

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I'm looking at a page in a book. It's one of those prompted journals with sections devoted to writing and drawing. I've had it for more than two years and I've only filled out three pages. It's time to let it go.

Before I do, though, I flip through the book to see if the pages I did do are worth keeping. One, a prompted story, makes me think I need to tear our the page and save it in a journal somewhere. For safe keeping. I might want to look back on it one day, I think. 

Almost as quickly as I had dreamt up the idea of saving the physical page, it is discarded. If I'm being entirely honest with myself, I won't remember I saved the page until I am in the middle of my next book purge and ridding the shelves of the book holding the page I might not save now because I'll just end up throwing it away later. The smarter choice is to save my story here, where my physical words do not take up physical space. One day, I'll remember I wrote this. And here, in my digital world, I will find it.

The prompt asked me to create a story using drawings of a tiny flower, a camera, and a little girl wearing a bonnet. And so I wrote these words:

The bonnet's job is to make her look like Laura from Little House in the Big Woods. It was her portal to the past; her Tardis, only with less room and a much more accurate GPS system. With the too-big floppy bonnet on her head, her blue jeans, 1 Direction tee, and Converse had become a homemade dress and the only boots she would own until she grew. That's when they'd be given to Baby Carrie, the sister she hoped she'd have in real life. Maybe one day, she thought, if Mama and Daddy would do more than just nod their heads and smile whenever she brought up adoption centers and babies nobody wanted. 

The falling leaves crunched beneath her feet as she bent to pick up a small fallen branch from the apple tree under which she stood. The branch, which reminded her of a wishbone from a Thanksgiving turkey, still laid claim to a tiny blossom on one branch of the "V" and a shiny red apple on the other. The girl who was Laura because the bonnet made her so didn't hear the "click click" from her mother's 35 mm camera as she took a bite of the apple, the tiny blossom already tucked behind one ear. 

ORGANIZATIONS & CAUSES NOT BENEFITTING A CONVICTED RAPIST NAMED BROCK TURNER

Dan Turner, the father of convicted rapist and former Standford University student, Brock Turner, has started a legal defense fund on behalf of his son. According to the Dayton Daily News, the account created at a local credit union is still active.

The younger Turner was convicted of three felony charges last week after sexually assaulting an unconscious woman after a fraternity party in January 2015. He was then sentenced to six months   in county jail, but is expected to serve no more than three with good behavior

Oh, and a female friend blames Brock Turner's conviction on campus drinking and political correctness and his father cried to the internet about how his sweet little convicted rapist of a golden boy can't enjoy his rib-eye steaks anymore because dealing with consequences is probably a new thing, maybe. And there is a petition to remove Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky, who also is receiving support from the a gay, feminist defense lawyer. Also, I don't care what his father says but "twenty minutes of action" amounts to a third-party admission of guilt because if he's referring to drinking, 20 straight minutes of drinking anything without a break is actually called drowning.

Are we all caught up now? Good, because we are done with this bullshit. The Turner family and their little legal defense fund for their son is all the motivation we need to do good where it is needed most (and that would be anywhere but Brock Turner's legal defense fund.) I asked blog readers to share their favorite causes and charities and I am sharing them with you because anger is a wonderful motivator to stand up and speak out. I did. Pissed off at this whole situation? Use that energy to make a difference to a cause that speaks to you.

 

ORGANIZATIONS & CAUSES NOT BENEFITTING A CONVICTED RAPIST NAMED BROCK TURNER

 

  • Cleveland Rape Crisis Center - Founded in 1974, the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center provided necessary services to the victims of sexual assault.
  • Black Mamaba Anti-Poaching Unit - The Black Mamba APU is the first all women anti-poaching unit, who operate within Balule Nature Reserve.
  • WomensLaw.org - Provides direct links to various nonprofit organizations benefitting both female and male victims of domestic and sexual crimes.
  • Take Back the Night - The foundation seeks to end all forms of sexual violence.
  • EndExtinction,org -  San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy Program empowers people to help save species from extinction in a number of ways.
  • Boston Area Rape Crisis Center - Offers free and comprehensive services to survivors.
  • Arachnoid Tumor Surgery Fund for Gracia Hinojosa - A Houston mother raising money for her own brain surgery.
  • RAINN - The Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network is the nation's largest anti-sexual violence network.
  • DoD Safe Help Line - Operated by RAINN, the Safe Help Line is dedicated to providing services to military members that have been victimized. 
  • Kidney Transplant Fundraiser for Victoria Bright - A North Carolina woman is raising money for her own kidney transplant.
  • Art for Change - The organization uses art as a catalyst to encourage the advancement of progressive social change.
  • Gofundme for a Family in Need - A Tennessee couple is fundraising to cover costs related to medical issues.
  • Zac Brewer FTM Transgender Surgery - NYT Best-selling author, Zac Brewer, is raising funds for female to male top transgender surgery. There are T-Shirts. 
  • Meagan's Medical Expenses - A medical fundraiser for a single mom who has been unable to work for a year.
  • #20MinutesofAction - Twenty minutes can change rape culture and stop an assault.
  • Climb Out of the Darkness (Team Massachusetts-Concord) - The world's largest event raising awareness for maternal mental illnesses like Postpartum Depression, OCD, and Psychosis. The first link is a general donation and the second helps raise our team numbers but directly benefits the nonprofit.
  • Save Sarah - Family & friends of 17-yr-old Sarah are raising funds to legally win her freedom from the Christian boarding facility where her parents sent her to "pray away the gay."
  • Cheer Season Fundraiser: $1 raffle tickets to help a young girl and her team for the coming cheer season
  • Friends of Maddie - Assists families that are suffering financial hardship after losing a child by providing them with monetary grant. 

That's what I've got. Thank you to those who submitted your causes. Please feel free to add your own in the comments. 

 

On Being Mighty

Image courtesy of Nicole Howard

Image courtesy of Nicole Howard

Things have been tough lately. The short story is that I have ADHD, anxiety, and clinical depression and have been entirely unmedicated for the last year. The long story is every blog post I never published, every project that fell through my fingers because I couldn't hold tight enough, and every blank stare from me to anybody who asked why I wasn't writing the funny stuff anymore. 

You know how everybody says that there is no shame in mental illness? That we need to smash the stigma? I agree on the second point, but the first is a tricky one. The truer statement, I think, is that there should be no shame in mental illness. But there is. Hence the stigma. Which we need to smash. 

It's kind of circular, really.

Anyway, I got clearheaded enough this week to figure out that while not being medicated works for some, it does not work for me. I have an entire year of experience behind me now. It's a shitty year. The years before that when I was medicated? Pretty awesome. The years before those years when I was not? Also shitty. 

I see a pattern.

Because Monday is a holiday, I am making calls on Tuesday to try and find a doctor in northern Maine familiar with adult ADHD and comorbid conditions. For now, I want to share one wonderful thing that helped break through the fog. Well, two wonderful things, actually. 

I'm a writing coach when I'm not playing on the internet, and one of my brilliant clients deserves a major shout out. Her name is Nicole Howard and we met last year at the Be Blogalicious conference. I was speaking on an incredible panel with incredible women and Nicole happened be in the audience and liked something that I said and asked me later if I was coaching. I wasn't at the time, but I told her that I'd been thinking about it and needed to set a few things in place and would reach out when I was ready. Spoiler alert: I was not ready for six months, because I was afraid. Because really, who the hell am I to think I am qualified to coach anyone on anything when I can't even remember silly things like where I put my keys or to feed my kid until she threatens to forage for food in the forest (which is not an idle threat, seeing as how the forest is literally just outside the front door). And then I stopped being afraid when I realized that this is exactly why I am not a coach for people who lose their keys all the time or for work at home moms who never have enough time to cook Pinterest-worthy meals while trying to meet deadlines and pay bills. 

That they sometimes forget to pay. 

Yeah, I'd suck at those kinds of coaching. But I'm good at this kind of coaching. I'm good at helping writers get past that mental block telling them that the fear of judgement matters more than the need to share their stories. I am good at helping a writer brain-vomit the rough edges of the story buried within and telling them Good Job But You Can Do Better. I am good at helping smooth out the rough edges and rearranging the puzzle pieces without taking away from the writer's voice. It's their diamond. I just help it shine. 

That's what I do. But there's something my clients do for me. I learn something from each person I work with and for that, I am grateful. Nicole reminded me that my dream isn't going to make itself come true when she told me that one of her bucket list goals was to be published on The Mighty. This, my friends, was coming from a women waiting to see her first byline. I told her that we would work to make this happen. I also decided to submit to The Mighty for myself (then I promptly forgot about it, which really, is probably the best thing that can happen to a writer after hitting send). When my email inbox told me that my essay had been published, I was confused until I realized what I was looking at. The essay was one I needed to see right then, and so it became kind of a meta thing in which Not Depressed Me was reminding Depressed Me of all the good in my life (written while medicated on actual pills and not The Great Outdoors, just so we are clear). And then I was beside myself when Nicole messaged me to tell with a link to her own essay, published the very same day, on the Mighty.

I will not lie. I got teary. I did A Thing that helped another person do A Thing that they wanted to do so very badly with their entire heart. My client did A Thing that made me so very, very proud. 

But that thing that I did? The essay on The Mighty? I thank Nicole for that. That's the thing thing that she did for me. Life is too short to live afraid. 

 

BabyFat 2.0 (I'm Here)

Once upon a time, I used to log in on this little ol' blog of mine just to share something funny or blow off some steam or remind you (me) why you're (I'm) beautiful. And then Facebook happened and I started sharing my little bits there which eventually led to a lotta bits not being shared over here and then, eventually, I stopped showing up. Here. In my own space. I need to work on changing that. 

That's why I'm here right now. To share something I almost shared on Facebook. I totally get a cookie after I hit publish because I'm here right now. I'm here to tell you some of the biggest news of my literary career to date. I'm here to tell you that my publisher is closing. My book, along with every other book by every other author, will be pulled from circulation on May 31. 

But it's okay. The news broke a few weeks ago. I don't have time to speculate what went wrong or how things could have been different. Things just are, and that's that. I spent the better part of May freaking the hell out and pretty much convinced that the world was over. Dealing with this during one of my worst depressive phases really didn't help matters at all. And then I got my head out of my ass (sort of) and teamed up with a few incredible people to make sure the book I poured six years of myself into doesn't just quietly disappear. 

Sneak peek of the back cover! 

Sneak peek of the back cover! 

 

I'm here to tell you that BabyFat will be back. I'm here to tell you that BabyFat is being self-published and I am so fucking thrilled at all the possibilities and opportunities now available to me because I'm the one driving this boat. The Bloggess and her incredible blurb are still on that incredible front cover by Michelle Fairbanks of Fresh Design BC. I'm here to tell you that I'm calling the shots now and I'm getting BabyFat into bookstores and busting my ass for bookclubs and working on press releases for the media. I'm here to tell you that I'll be approaching hospitals and OB offices and honoring my efforts put into this book with equal efforts in promoting it and that the cover is new and improved and that it turns out Scary Mommy blurbed BabyFat twice and that the blurb in my email from 2010 is the one being used on the new cover because it's fucking perfect and I love it oh so very much and I hope that you do, too. 

I'm here.

 

Climbing Out of the Darkness

I used to feel shame. Now, I just know that I am being brave.

Just like the thousands of other mothers across the country who are participating in this year's PostPartum Progress Climb Out of the Darkness walk on June 18. I'll be climbing with my dear friend, Susan Petcher, in Boston. Eliana will be coming with me. I couldn't be more excited.

Only recently, and thanks to Susan's gentle prodding, I shared my own experience with postpartum depression. Not on my blog, I think, because I needed to share it elsewhere first, but I did share. Baby steps. Shaky, tentative baby steps. This is a big thing, this self-identifying as a survivor of postpartum depression. In a world where so many shy away from labels not already attached to jam jars, stepping up and saying I EXPERIENCED THIS...it's a big thing. It's a brave thing. 

I'm being brave. I know that now. So many mothers before me are leading the way. Postpartum Progress founder, Kathryn Stone, is leading the way. I'm grateful for this.

The thing about mental illness is that so many of us say that there is no shame...but there is. There shouldn't be...but there is. I'm no less a mother now than I was before sharing my experience. But it's almost easier for me to say these words now than it was for me to push for help when Eliana was a tiny baby and I sat up nights crying, convinced that the only safe place to break down was in the dark. I wish I had been braver, stronger...but it is what it is and I focus on today and the power of a community of warrior moms advocating for awareness, education, and services. 

I'm working with a therapist. Things aren't exactly roses right now inside of my head. ADHD, depression, anxiety...it's all still a very real part of my reality. So much so, in fact, that I'm now on crunch time to raise funds for the climb! I'll be back tomorrow with an update and a few items in my etsy shop that I am posting specifically to raise funds for my team, but for now, here's the link to my crowdrise page.  

How will your donation help? 

  • $10 helps Postpartum Progress keep current (and continue to grow) our referral list of more than 400 specialist providers in maternal mental health.
  • $20 Provides one set of free patient education materials, including Hugs Cards and our New Mom Checklist for Maternal Mental Health Help, to a clinician or other provider who serves pregnant and new moms.
  • http://postpartumprogress.org/tools/awareness-materials-order-form/
  • $30 Provides an entire year of support via the Postpartum Progress Private Forum to a mother who otherwise has no access to support groups
  • $50 Provides one mother with Daily Hope. Postpartum Progress’ daily email service created to provide messages of support and encouragement for moms with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, for a full year. 
  • $150 Provides a culturally relevant, medically correct translation of our patient education and support materials into another language. 
  • $200 Provides for one week of our award-winning educational website PostpartumProgress.com, reaching a minimum of 30,00 page views.

A little goes a long way and more goes even farther. Every step of the way, you are making a difference for a mother in need of services.

My name is Pauline Campos, and I am a survivor or postpartum depression. 

No shame in that. Not anymore. 

 

Full Stop: Tales of an ADHD Adult in Maine

This is one of those times where I am wondering if I should be saying what I am about to say because people may talk and and all that jazz, but I'm writing it anyway because stigma is bullshit and not talking about it only adds to the shame so many of us deal with when it comes to mental health issues. It's one thing to tell someone we love to be proud of themselves for talking about the hard stuff, publicly or not, and quite another to believe of and for ourselves. 

I stopped writing here and talking about mental health and body image issues and even the funny stuff a while back. I know why, and the short story is that I need to verify that the jar of fucks I've got is empty again. For a while, it wasn't. And that sucked. 

Let me give you the cliff notes version: I am a life-long recovering bulimic, will always have body image issues, and have severe ADHD with anxiety and depression wrapped up in that pretty little package. This is reality. It's as real a part of my identity as are my kinky curls and my fear of spiders. Please don't tell me that labels are bad because to me labels are roadmaps helping me navigate the unfamiliar terrain that comes with each new day. I like my labels. Labels are answers to questions I didn't know I had for far too long. 

ADHD. Anxiety. Depression. Bulimia. Recovery. Me. That's the nutshell. My anxiety and depression are controlled, for the most part, when my ADHD is controlled. All hell breaks loose when that first domino falls. That's me knowing myself. Plain and simple. 

Moving on...

Here's the deal. I'm here. But I'm not. I'm unmedicated and have been for a very long time. My therapist asked why I'm not on medication when she says I should be, and then confirmed its very hard to get treated as an ADHD adult in the state of Maine. This makes me sort of sad I sucked at chemistry in high school while highlighting a very probable cause for why Maine is in the running for Meth House Capital of America, necessity being the mother of invention, and all that. 

I'm A big advocate of natural remedies, but sometimes it's not enough. You can't tell a depressed person to try harder at not being sad any more than you can tell a person with cancer to walk it off and stop being such a fucking pansy. And I can't make my brain work the same way a non-ADHD brain works just because I want it to. (And trust me...I really, really want it to.) Thankfully, my therapist pays attention and has recommended a psych evaluation with the hopes that said evaluating doctor recognizes what she has. Doctors are gun-shy about prescribing any controlled medications with tight state regulations, which makes me jealous of my ADHD friends living Not in Maine, but there is still hope with this route. This means that I can only dream about being able to stop a panic attack in its tracks until I get a new prescription for anxiety medication, and that sucks. 

The thing about ADHD is it's not just a punchline. It's not just forgetting things. It's not just being flighty and late for everything. The doctor who diagnosed me, who also has ADHD, told me that the condition is very similar to bipolar in that we have ups and downs, but on a much lesser extreme.  My up is creativity and short bursts of focus and the ability to not only put the laundry in the washer, but to take it out, load the dryer, fold, and put it away. My down is depression and sensory overload and Full Stop. I can't focus so the little things pile up and the pile doesn't stay little for very long and then it's big and bigger and biggest and because I can't focus on any one thing, I don't do any of it. And that sucks.

I'm not blogging. I'm barely writing. I can't stay focused. I don't have many friends up here. It takes everything to do the smallest thing and I'm weeks and months behind myself on everything. I'm adding supplements and working out and avoiding alcohol and sugar and everything I can find I'm supposed to do outside of medication and it's helping... but it's not enough. It hasn't been for a year now. 

If I owe you something, I'm trying to get it done. If I promised you something, I intend to follow through. I'm just everywhere right now instead of able to focus on the things I'm supposed to get done. I'm really trying. I may be behind. But I haven't forgotten. 

So. That's what's up. 

(Also yes, I'm wearing a jacket. It's 31 degrees and snowing in May. Because Mother Nature can't get her fucking mood stabilizers up here, probably.)

(Also also my hair is fabulous. But thanks for saying so, anyway.)

(Also squared, I just looked. My jar of fucks is, indeed, empty. This is good. Fucks (read: the noun form) always fuck (read: slang verb form) a good essay.))

That hair, though...

That hair, though...

Because Your Mama's Worth a Buck

At least, I would assume she is. I know I am. I even asked The Husband I was worth a buck and after his face stopped contorting itself into inexplicably pained expressions, he totally gave me the thumbs up.

I figure that means he was too overcome with emotion to say the actual words, but awkward silences and dirty jokes are our love language, so I am confident in telling you that his thumbs up meant "Yes, my love, I would certainly buy you your book for 99 cents on Amazon as it is currently on sale through May 9 for 99 cents if your book was not, in fact, your book." And then he would pause, look into my eyes lovingly while trying not to laugh, and say "You are totally worth a buck. I'd give you a buck all day long."

Isn't he romantic? This is exactly why I said yes to becoming Mrs. The Husband fourteen years ago. He's a keeper, this guy.

To celebrate Mother's Day and the BabyFat sale, I'm going to have a little fun. I have a 24-hour giveaway on Amazon for ten winners to get a kindle copy of my book. No purchase is necessary, but you can't win the book if you already own it. (I might even run another contest before the sale is over just for fun!) 

How else can you be amazing and support me and this crazy writing dream?

If  you just wanna be awesome and help me claw my way to a spot on the Amazon bestseller list, you are more than welcome to gift Babyfat to everybody you have an email address for. Your mother-in-law, wife, girlfriend, sister, best friend forever, and that mom you made eye contact with at the last PTA meeting would be very grateful for your consideration and very impressed with your taste in books. Because really, BabyFat is like six degrees of separation from Neil Gaiman because Jenny Lawson blurbed the book and I tweeted Neil asking if I could send him and his wife, Amanda Palmer, a copy of BabyFat and he actually wrote back and said yes and...

Wait. That's only three degrees and now possibly a PPO, so it's probably a good thing I screen-shot that tweet so I have something to hold on to. Did I have a point here? Oh yes...BabyFat is on sale, I want to know how many mamas you know that you think are worth a buck, and I love you. 

Don't forget to enter that contest

The end. 

One of my favorite features in the book is that each chapter starts with a social media update from friends and followers. 

One of my favorite features in the book is that each chapter starts with a social media update from friends and followers.