On Art, Moving, & Outsmarting Myself (Maybe)

Funny how moving can force you to get on track. I've got an crazy amount of finished art pieces I've been meaning to list on the Etsy shop...  but good intentions don't exactly always mean stellar results. 

 

 

But now that I can tell you that we will be moving to the Twin Cities area in Minnesota, I also can tell you that I'll be damned if I wrap these pieces up to forget for another few years. If I pack one piece, moving tape and all, that's exactly what will happen. But because I decided to try to outsmart myself by listing as much as I can before I put it away for the move. Nothing like Actually Making Something Available to the Public for the odds of Actually Selling it to increase exponentially. 

 

Paper Petals

Paper Petals

We plan to leave Maine the week of January 13, and with your help, I'm hoping to sell enough art to cover fuels costs for the moving truck and my SUV. My Pie in the Sky goal is to raise enough funds to cover hotel costs along the way, as well. Moving is expensive, y'all. If you like something in my shop and decide to buy before we hit the road, it's kinda like loving me so much that you bought me a gas card. Which is totally flattering, by the way, and you are my favorite.

If you are looking for something and don't see it listed, tell me. I love commissions. Keep checking back for new finished art pieces and prints, because I'm listing at least two new items daily for the next week or so. 

Happy New Year! 

 

 

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. 

Have Kindle: Will Sign

Did you know that Babyfat for Kindle is still on sale for only 99 cents on Amazon? Or that if you buy the kindle copy, that you can then sign up for a free account on Authorgraph and request my signature? Of course, if you bought BabyFat for kindle already, I can sign that, too. This doesn't just apply to new purchases, y'all. 

That's right, people...I CAN E-SIGN YOUR E-BOOK BECAUSE TECHNOLOGY IS FUCKING AWESOME. 

Observe:

I've been meaning to write about this for months, but we all know that I'm nothing if not always behind myself on getting the To-Do list done, so technically I'm pretty much right on time. 

Before I go, I've got a contest for you. I'm giving away one signed paperback to one lucky reader. All you have to do is follow me on twitter and RT this update: 

One winner will be randomly selected and notified on twitter at the close of the giveaway. Good luck! 

For Authors: An Alternative to Book Cover Posters for Signings

*DISCLOSURE:  I received my gallery wrap canvas for free and paid for shipping, but the following is being shared as my own opinion and recommendation because I love you like that.

I'm THIS CLOSE to my first official author appearances at local libraries and am so very excited. BabyFat: Adventures in Motherhood, Muffin Tops, & Trying to Stay Sane launched in September of 2015 and it's only taken me until yesterday to start getting my shit together on the author marketing front. (read: this is as far as I've gotten.)

I'll be reading at my local library next month and branching out from there to other Maine libraries. From there, I'll be working my way south through New England over the next few months. If you're a fan and interested in having me read in your area, leave me a message here or email me at aspiringmama@gmai.com so I can try to make it happen. For now, though, I wanted to share something pretty cool!

I'll take a canvas over a poster any day of the week. Cover art by Michelle Fairbanks of  Fresh Design BC.

I'll take a canvas over a poster any day of the week. Cover art by Michelle Fairbanks of Fresh Design BC.

Part of the prep for a book reading/signing is the swag and the book signage stuff. I'm still working on swag - probably postcards and bookmarks - but I've got the signage taken care of. Almost every article I found when googling how to prep for an author signing included mention of a framed full-sized poster of the book cover. Functional, maybe, but I wanted something a little bit different...more stable and durable. I found it on collage.com. My timing is impeccable because there's about 12 hours left (as of 6:18 p.m. EST) to take advantage of the killer sale I found on the 16x20 gallery-wrapped canvas I made with the BabyFat book cover. It's normally $89, so $29 isn't a bad deal, right? Shipping works out to be another $25 so out the door, you're looking at about $60 bucks for durable book cover art that is sure to get noticed. 

I'll update with a photo once my canvas arrives. Don't miss out on the sale, friends. Authors, I'm talking to you...but the sale is open for anyone interested in creating their own masterpiece. I've used collage.com a few times in the past for juried art show entries and have never been disappointed in the quality and service. 

* All opinions are always my own on Aspiringmama.com, and always will be. Thank you to Collage.com for helping me create a beautiful gallery wrap of my book cover for my in-person BabyFat events!

Pass the Boxed Wine, Please: Moments in Parenting

I deserve a cookie. Or wine. 

Okay, forget the cookie. My friend Issa told me that a glass of red wine is now proven to be as effective as an hour at the gym, so... fuck the cookie. I deserve to put on a pair of yoga pants, crack open a new box of wine, and sit my classy ass on the couch with my new favorite work out. That's what you do when you make it, straight-faced, through the following conversations with my offspring.

Conversation Numero Uno:

Me: (on the way to church): Dammit! I forgot to put on my rings. 

Her: Your marriage rings, mama?

Me: Yes. I left them sitting on my nightstand. I'm not turning around though. Oh well.

Her: Well, it's okay. If someone asks you today while we are out, just tell them you're not available. 

Me: I'm sorry...WHUT?

Her: You know, if someone asks you to marry them today, just kindly tell them that you are already engaged and married and you left your rings at home. But thank them for asking you because it's nice of them to ask.

 

Conversation Number Dos

We are sitting in church for Sunday mass. We happen to be sitting front and center because of course that is where we would be sitting on a day like today. Father's homily is about the visitation of Mary to her cousin, while they were both pregnant with Jesus and John the Baptist, respectively. 

(Note to self: Tell the Husband when we get home how I just know my dad would be laughing his ass off if I could call him right now to ask him if John started calling Jesus Chui when they were both babies.)

Father: Blah Blah Important Religious Message Blah Blah Blah and so a child was to be born of Mary, a peasant girl who had not had relations with a man; the miracle of a child born of a virgin.

Congregation: (Reverent silence)

My kid: WHAT'S A VIRGIN!?!!?!?

Me: (Choking)

Father: (Eyebrow twitches)

Congregation: (Reverent Silence is broken by muffled snickering)

Friend sitting one pew behind us: PEASANT. It means Mary was a peasant!

Me: (No words. It's not possible to speak when your face is contorted from the physical pain resulting in trying to not burst out in hysterical laughter.)

 

Rush Shipping for the Christmas Save with Collage.com

Fine Print: You're about to read a sponsored post, which means I was compensated in exchange for sharing about my experience. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. But I figure you already knew that. 

Okay so if you're the devoutly religious type, maybe you'll think I'm off my rocker and Jesus trumps rush shipping at this time of year on the Level of Importance scale, but let's just pretend that I'm on to something for a minute here.

I used to be the chick who bragged about finishing my Christmas shopping by Halloween and having every gift wrapped and placed under the Christmas tree while the Turkey was roasting on thanksgiving day. I know...I know...I kind of hate Past Pauline right now, too. What a bitch, right? 

Don't worry, Karma evened things out in the end. I'm older now. I've got a kid and too many things to do on my to do list and I'm sitting here finishing my Christmas shopping on December 14 because Life. That's where rush shipping is my new favorite phrase and collage.com is my new Happy Place. 

Living so far from family means that they miss out on a lot when it comes to seeing Eliana grow up. Photo gifts are always a win in this case, and that's exactly what my mom, in-laws, and a few close aunts and uncles are getting: a beautiful 16x20 wrapped canvas print featuring one of my award-winning photographs of my favorite little muse.

It's easy enough to create the perfect gift on Collage.com, and your not limited to canvas wraps. You've got options like photo books and fleece blankets to choose from, too! And just so you know, you've even got plenty of flexibility with the canvas wraps themselves. I may have opted to go with a single image here, but you can upload more than one image for a wonderful collage someone on your gift list is sure to love. 

Just keep in mind that Rush Shipping isn't going to make Christmas happen if you wait too much longer. As of right now, this is what you're looking at if you get your order in tonight...

I know I am not the only one on the internet running around in circles screaming that the sky is falling because I am so unorganized when it comes to holiday gift-giving this year. There's no shame in scrambling at the last minute. I would even venture to say that the grandparents wouldn't mind if something special made just for them showed up a day or two late if you'd like to stick to the regular shipping rates. Whichever route you take, I'm pretty sure you're on the right one with collage.com. 

Happy Last Minute Christmas Shopping! 

I received free products in exchange for my post. All opinions are - and always will be - my own. Thank you to Collage.com for sponsoring this post.