Beauty Beyond the Mirror

These moms are proud of their soft curves. Of the changes pregnancy brought to their bodies. And of themselves, for being so confident and secure that what the rest of the world thinks new moms should be back in their pre-pregnancy jeans before the little one figures out how to crawl. Their Goddess Gathering post went viral. And I love that it did. I needed to see that. Even with my One and Only just into her second week of kindergarten and no signs that my ovaries want to unscramble themselves long enough to bake another baby and my newly diagnosed food allergies leading to a a healthier me, I still needed to see that my post-baby body is okay.

And I thank the women of the CT Working Moms blog for that message.

With the launch of Girl Body Pride on the horizon, I was inspired to ask my team of writers if they were interested in doing our own spin of the Goddess Gathering on GBP. My idea had been to open the floor to all women, not just moms, to submit photos of themselves in a show of body love and acceptance. But (and this is why I'm lucky to have these women working with me) my idea was quickly turned into a very thoughtful discussion.

Elan "Schmutzie" Morgan had this to say:

I just think that this kind of thing confuses beauty with acceptance, which are two different things, and I think it's dangerous to artificially marry the two, even by accident, because if a viewer doesn't see the beauty in a particular photo, they might feel that this is a short-coming on their part rather than a visual preference, which is a bad message. We can dislike the visual appearance of things while still accepting them, but these kinds of campaigns often don't allow for this kind of really important nuance in thinking.

Okay, I can see that. It took me five years, after all, to get to a place to this place of Almost Acceptance inside of my head. And GBP contributor Jodi Steadman Burrus thought it was a valid point, too. So she asked us all a very simple question:

 

Why does it have to be something we see in the mirror?

 

Why, indeed.

And that's how Beauty Beyond the Mirror was born. Because when it comes right down it it, what is reflected back to us in the mirror and what we see when we look at photos of ourselves is more about how we perceive ourselves, mirror or no mirror, than anything society throws at us.

Girl Body Pride officially launches on August 1. That's this Wednesday. To celebrate our launch and welcome you into the GBP community, I ask you to write a blog post linking to Girl Body Pride sharing your own thoughts on Beauty Beyond the Mirror. It's a hard question to answer, I know. I've been mulling this one over for a few days and I keep falling to "well, I think my personality doesn't suck" and "my eyes are pretty nice." The first is a cop-out for me. The second, in my mind, doesn't work because how would I know if my eyes are pretty without seeing them reflected back at me in some form.

That leaves me with the ADHD/Right-Brained/Creative type answer which is this: What is beautiful about me is the fact that I'm 34 and still struggle to determine what it is that is beautiful on some days and am in love with my eyes or my lips or have an extra swing in my hips when I am feeling particularly good. I am sarcastic. My sense of humor is not always PC and I like to use bad words. I love social media because it allows me to connect with so many but cannot stand being social when not on my own terms because face-to-face leaves little room for the opportunity to withdraw into myself as I feel the need without looking like a total bitch. I am introverted-extroverted-outgoing-life-of-the-party who is happiest inside of my own headI trip over my words when spoken but can express myself clearly when my thoughts are able to skip across a keyboard without feeling the need to self sensor what it is that I say. My beauty is in the complexity no mirror can capture as I learn to balance the need to share my words with the world and my fear that the words I share will turn those that know me away.

That is my truth.

What's yours?

 

Girl.Body.Pride.

I've got a project in the works. You may have seen mentions on Facebook status updates or in my tweet stream. And maybe you've been wondering exactly where I was going to go with this Girl.Body.Pride thing I've been talking about.

So let me tell you.

Girl.Body.Pride will be a new website devoted to, well, the obvious. We are bombarded daily with messages telling us how we will be happy(er) and fulfilled once we've become thinner/gotten that nose job/had our boobs done/earned that next degree or gotten that next promotion. And while there might be some truth in that, we forget to focus on the fact that who we are right at this very moment is okay too. Even with our cellulite and Barbara Streisand noses and droopy pancake boobies and another day at a job we might not love anymore.

Our children are growing up in the same world that we did. The playground is still filled with cliques and bullies and feelings of inadequacy revolving around their off-brand sneakers because the cool kids are pointing and laughing and birthday party invitations that never show up and name calling and social hierarchy and who didn't make the cheerleading team. And those experiences will follow them and shape who they will eventually become. Some will say it makes them stronger. Some will remember that the only reason they never tried out for high school softball is because they were afraid of drawing attention to their curves in the form-fitting uniforms.

I was talking Girl.Body.Pride with a friend. I want her to write for us and found myself being asked to make it worth her while in the respect that before she commits, I need to define what it is that makes GBP stand out from other sites that carry a very similar message of self-love and self-acceptance. It's a valid point.

So I thought for a minute. And this is what I responded with:

It's that we are broken still but funny. Not sure of ourselves but damned sure we want our daughters and friends and nieces and that kid at Target we saw crying for a Barbie to grow up whole. We are proud of our nose rings but still worried that our family will give us shit about an extra hole in our heads even though we're 36 or 47 and have been married for 15 years so we tell them our husbands gave us permission and suddenly that makes our self-expression acceptable. We encourage our friends to love themselves because they are beautiful but make excuses and keep forgetting to buy a swimsuit of our own. We are here screaming words like pride and confidence and phrases like Inner Beauty and Happy Thoughts from the rooftops and thrilled to know our words make a difference for others, because we were really just trying to convince ourselves.  That's what Girl.Body.Pride is: an exercise in contradictions.

We mean it when we tell our best friends that they are beautiful but we really need to work on believing them when the compliment is returned. We love our curves & accept our hips but won't be caught dead in a bathing suit. We advocate self love while focusing on our own imperfections because things like that really only apply to others and if we continue to write and share and sing happy tunes that are mostly off-key, we may eventually convince ourselves we are worth it too. And if not, at least our kids will look back years from now and think we actually had our shit together.

Girl.Body.Pride will officially launch on Aug. 1. There will be sharing and supporting and forums to share and support some more. There will be stories mothers can relate to about raising their daughters and stories mothers will sit down to read with their daughters. Girl.Body.Pride will even feature a Teen Corner for our daughters with stories by a very talented young writer who is everything now that I am still hoping to become.

And then I remind myself. I am perfect in my imperfections. Just the way I am right now.

I look forward to taking this next stage of my journey with all of you.

Say it with me now: Just the way we are.

Cracks in the Surface

My usual nighttime routine is to get Buttercup in bed with a book or ten before turning off the light. No matter how quickly she falls asleep, I always stay for a bit, tracing my finger over her cheek and marveling at the fact that Universe granted me this one wish.

Around 9, I make it back downstairs to the kitchen table, where my Mac is waiting patiently for me, and I get to work. First I procrastinate. There's the internet to roam and email to check and pins to pin and George Takei Facebook posts to like. I get up for a bit, put together The Husband's lunch for the next day, and place it all on the second shelf of the fridge in the exact same spot because it's at eye level and easier for me to make sure I haven't left anything out. I might let the dogs outside. I might even turn on some music. Either way, by 10 or so, I'm back at the kitchen table and writing something. Maybe it's a blog post or an essay or another small piece of the novel in progress that won't allow itself to be written any faster than a few sentences a month.

In any case, I write. And when my head is empty and my thoughts no longer racing, I sleep. And then I wake up to do it all over again.

But there are times when the routine is interrupted by noise. It might be while she is falling asleep at my side. Or while I wait for the dogs to scratch at the back door. This is when I blink to clear my head and realize an hour has passed while I focus on picking at an invisible imperfection until skin breaks. I tell myself to stop. Normal people don't do this kind of thing, you know. And I'll move on. Chin to that little bump between my eyebrows. From the eyebrows to the forearm. The forearm to the breast. Too much time passes. There's no time for words.

Buttercup's swim instructor asked me today if I had been in a car accident since she saw me last. I told her I was dealing with allergic reactions, which is partially true. I am. It's what got me scratching to begin with, anyway, and I'll share the laundry list of reasons why I am now officially The Dinner Guest from Hell later. The Husband has stopped yelling at me about this little OCD issue of mine and instead instructed me to make an appointment with my nurse practitioner about my ADHD meds not working for me anymore. I nodded, only slightly surprised to see how quickly we have both adapted to the reality that ADHD is more than just being forgetful, which came as a surprise when I noticed the need to scratch at my surface had instantly disappeared when I first was diagnosed and began a regular medication schedule. So I went in to see my nurse practitioner on Monday and started the new meds on Tuesday. It's Wednesday now and I'm noticing the insomnia seems to be fading as my eyes get heavier just a bit earlier than the 4 am I have become accustomed to over the past few weeks. That's a good sign.

I resume my usual nighttime routine. Buttercup falls asleep. I procrastinate. I empty my mind of the words.

Insert Witty Title Here

It's not often that life kicks my ass so hard I can't make five minutes to at least repost old material with a brand new headline, but it does happen.

In the last few weeks alone, I've dealt with a lot. Some big, like being diagnosed with adult ADHD (and suddenly high school makes sense) and some not-so-big but totally drama worthy for an ADHD/OCD woman barely holding on to the keeping it all together. Not that I'm naming names but this woman mayu or may not have three dogs, one husband who just announced he is switching to swing shift right about the time a certain girl child starts kindergarten, effectively erasing all chances  to pee in peace for at least three months. She also learned how hard it is to apply red lipstick from an adult-sized tube onto the tiny red lips that would smile big enough on stage for me to see from where I sat. So she asked another mom to do it, which is probably why my child looked like a demure ballerina princess in the enchanted rose garden and not a toddler in a tiara.

Every missed opportunity to save a moment with my words for posterity is still stored in my head. But between the two weeks of digestive hell I've been dealing with and today's craziness, I think it would be extremely responsible of me to be proactive for once in my adult life and sign up for a sponsor and the nearest AA group before getting all I Love You Guys drunk and sloppy.

Buttercup and I left the house at 10 a.m. this morning for the hike across town to see the first of three doctors, all scheduled for the same day because they all happen to be five minutes from each other whereas I live 45 minutes on the other side of the world. My super-powered nurse practitioner figures my fingers look like I ran them over with a lawn mower because I was in desperate need of an ADHD medication change, the ENT guy agrees with my crazy bloodshot eyes being caused by the mesquite currently burning in New Mexico that I should probably not only Stay Indoors At All Times but that if I leave my house it should only be to get the hell away from the Southern border, because of the Being Severely Allergic thing, and my naturopath walked me through my food allergy panel test results (hint: air and water are on the safe list. Except for the air currently filled with the pollen from the burning mesquite carrying over from New Mexico. That air is totally the opposite of being on the safe list. Also? The last time I looked like this, I was sitting in a college dorm room wondering why feet suddenly turned into ice and why she had a towel tucked under the door and that was accidentally way more fun.

I'm exhausted and want a new hobby that doesn't involve insurance co-pays and waiting rooms. And a pony. I'd totally love one of those. But I'd settle for trashy daytime TV and time to pretend I'm a famous blogger. My head is spinning with thoughts like what I'm wearing to my cousin's wedding in a few weeks, dealing with a cross-country flight and family members and Routines that Are Not My Own. I'm crazy with worry over finding the perfect shoes for BFF Heather's wedding next March, how the hell I'm going to get any work done with The Husband home all morning and Buttercup all afternoon, and how behind I'll be tomorrow with my to-do list if I don't have time to finish it all tonight.

And that's when I remind myself that blogging is on my list of things to do because it matters and keeps me sane(ish) and sane(ish) is a good place to be. So I force myself to sit back down, turn the Mac back on, and log back in.

Search Term Funnies

 

Dear People of the Internet,

It seems that many of you end up on my blog when Google is recovering from a late night bender and directs you to a post I wrote that had nothing to do with getting a divorce when you search for enlightenment while pondering if you should, in fact, stay a Mrs. or make a move on the hottie cleaning your pool. I guess that makes me an expert of sorts and you are very probably now telling all of your friends that your ex-husband was the only schmo who never learned that Does This Dress Make Me Look Fat is a hypothetical question that should never be answered truthfully and that Google is now to be thanked for your new found love affair with the pool boy and my blog.

I know. I'm glad I can be here for you, too.

--Signed--

Pauline

 

Do Cats Blink?

Um, unless they're dead, I would assume so. Then again, I could be wrong. Obviously, I am not an expert.

 

 

Broken Legs or Sprain Ankles of Famous Persons

I'm honored. You might not think I'm famous but Google gets a cookie. Also? I'm slightly disturbed. Judging from the way you phrased this, either you are searching for information on how to break legs because you want to break the legs and/or ankles of famous persons (which means I'm off the hook because I am not because Google totally lied) or you just...never mind. That's the only explanation I can come up with. Just remember that I am not famous.

And?

Google lies.

 

 

Naked Fitness Chicks which was closely followed by Frowning Fat Chick

Yes, these came from different IP addresses in different countries, so it was just fate that led the pervert and the asshole to my blog AT THE EXACT SAME TIME. And Google? I can't decide if I want to kiss you or kill you.

 

 

Multiple Women Naked Bodies

Yeah...I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that this isn't exactly what you were looking for. Also? Google likes it if you keep things simple. Next time? Just say PORN.

 

How much for a baby finger monkey/pictures of finger monkeys/Platforms for Monkeys?

And many, many, MANY more variations of search terms in which the words "finger monkey" are included. Write one post about how I need a little monkey named Platform so I can tell publishers that I already have one (with a straight face) when they tell me I need one and the whole world goes insane. There was one point in time that I thought I had turned some invisible corner in my mission to become an Unfamous Writer because crazy amounts of hits and visitors were spiking my numbers higher than I had ever seen them. And I felt pretty special until I realized someone pinned the Platform the Secret Agent Monkey post and everyone clicking over was probably all You Mean This ISN'T a Blog Devoted to Tiny Primates that Cost More to Buy than My First Three Cars Combined? Well then, THAT'S Disappointing. And because I can empathize with the shock to the system that must come when words are where only monkeys were expected, I apologize.

Truly.

 

I'll Sleep When I'm Dead

This one's only funny because it's a term I actually use. A lot. And I picked it up from my father who worked two full time jobs for nearly 20 years to support my mother and the five daughters they brought into the world trying to conceive a son. Eventually my mother told my father she was going out for a gallon of milk and returned with her tubes tied and a neutered rescue poodle. He got his boy and my sisters and I got to stop fighting over who got to sleep with the one who still peed the bed because five girls plus two available bedrooms equals very bad math.

Also? He died four years ago and I'm betting this is the longest consecutive number of hours he has ever gone without being shaken from an attempt to sleep. Had he been able to plan ahead, I'm sure the wake would have featured door prizes like T-shirts, fishing caps, and beer koozies boasting the phrase Try Waking Me Up NOW, Fuckers! and even possibly a pillow shaped pinata stuffed with interesting treats like sleeping pills of various strengths. I was at the wake. Trust me...this would have been way more fun.

Also? When I say "I'll sleep when I'm dead," I'm actually doing it to honor my dad's memory.

And to remind myself to make that mental note about placing that bulk order for the T-Shirts...

 

Now's and Remember When's

 

Okay, so I'm totally aware that all of you with older kids are just itching to say Just Wait Until (Insert Random Milestone Here) while I wax poetic and get all misty-eyed because my little girl took one step further away from me today when she walked out of preschool for the very last time. I get it all the time from a high school friend with a middle schooler on her hands.

You think this is bad? Just wait until...

And then I roll my eyes, tell her I'm just going to concentrate on now, because I want to remember the excitement in Buttercup's eyes as she slipped on her cap and gown for her graduation ceremony and the way she poured her heart into the song her class sang for us sobbing mothers. And the tears and smeared mascara and laughing at myself because I forgot to put tissues in my purse even though every mother at the preschool who had been through the routine before had warned me. I want to remember that, too.

How much she loves her teachers and how she insisted we invite them both to her birthday party because that's what we do with friends that we love. The progress she's made throughout the year and how she has blossomed into a confident little spitfire of a girl who is no longer afraid to show the world she is proud of her abilities. Miss Jessica and Miss Monica and the little classroom family that we will miss terribly because they are incredible teachers and mentors and how I want to pack them up and just take them with me.

Eleventeen and Sangwich and maturing into Eleven and Sandwich.

Mama Read Me Another Story and Kiss My Boo Boo Make It Better and even Mama Can You Help Me Wipe My Butt are fading into Mama Can I Read This One To You Tonight and It Doesn't Hurt It's Okay Mama and Mama Can You Help Me Wipe My Butt because this is reality, people. Reality means we wash our hands with them after they go potty not because we are trying to show them how to do it properly but because we probably are the ones who did the actual wiping. And that's okay with us because it's our baby and our reality and all of the messy bits smushed together make the now that we love that will mesh into the Remember Whens that we will always hold onto.

It's okay, I tell my friend. I'm not worried about Until. In fact, Until isn't even on my radar right now. Because now is all about This. All of it.

She walked out of the preschool today a little graduate and a member of the class of 2025, ready to take on Kindergarten when the new school year starts at the end of July. She was in her daddy's arms, her red-cowboy boots hanging lower on his 6'1'' frame than even just a few months ago. And I will remember this moment.

Always.

Moments. Mothers. Days.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012  

 

Mama? Is it Mother's Day yet?

No baby. The calendar says it's not for a few more days.

But I want to give you your bracelet now!

I can wait.

Please, Mama!

 

 

I crumble. The excitement is shining in her eyes as she runs to get a manilla envelope that just arrived with my name on it. The return address is her preschool. She has printed her own name in the top left corner. She might not realize it, but the envelope is part of her gift to me.

 

 

 

I carefully open it and gently extract a large card fashioned from construction paper and a message telling me that her heart flutters for me. I see a bracelet and her smiling face and see her pictures for me and then collapse into laughter, tears streaming down my cheeks, and hold my defiant little princess close to me. Teacher Jessica captured her personality alright. And I couldn't be more thrilled with what has to be the most honest Mother's Day card in the history of the universe.

 

And then this morning

 

Open it! Open it!

 

 

It could be Christmas morning judging by the level of squealiness in Buttercup's chirpy screams. She's been waiting for a few days now, trying to convince me to ignore the calendar and just tear into the gift my sister, her godmother, sent for me. Receiving anything at all from someone other than my child or The Husband Who Knows He is Contractually Obligated to Forget a Card but Still Be Awesome is a bit of a surprise, and it's a nice one.

 

I unwrap the box, cut through tape, and lift packaging materials out to find that I've been sent an angel. I am instantly in love with her serenity and how it so fluidly flows throughout her form.

She's beautiful, Mama.

I know.

I set her on my desk to watch over me as I write and we continue with our day.

 

All the Pretty Things

So I'm standing in the grocery store check out lane with Buttercup, patiently waiting our turn to pay when I made the mistake of actually skimming the headlines and blurbs about various celebrities relating to their weight, how they either lost it or keep it off, and why this should matter to me. And you. Because emulating Angelina Jolie did wonders for Octamom. About that...

My eyes dart from one blurb to another and as each one gets seared into my brain and the only cohesive thought I have is that Buttercup will never be allowed to set foot in a grocery store again for fear of psychologically damaging her in an effort to pick up a gallon of milk.

 

Beyonce shows off her New Mom Body right next to a blurb parading empty promises.  CGI, airbrushing, crash diets, and really creative camera angles will work for us Regular People, too, it seems. I'm assuming that means I should clear our the guest room for the personal macrobiotic chef and his entourage, right? Oh, but where will the nanny take care of my child while I workout with my personal trainer in my home gym for six hours a day so I can get to headline-ready shape before  filming starts on my next blockbuster?

Wait...you mean that isn't how this is supposed to work?

 

 

 

There's only one way I can think of this actually happening...and that's how I ended up in therapy the first time.

Next?

 

 

Because focusing on inner beauty and feeling good about the reflection in the mirror no matter what the scale says is exactly how y'all got onto the big screen to begin with, right?

 

 

 

 

Hold the fucking train, people. They mean by Memorial Day of 2013, RIGHT?

 

 

 

FINALLY! A moment of clarity! A publication willing to buck societal expectations and instead celebrate who and what we are now instead of promoting the bullshit promising us that We Too Can Lose Six Pounds in Four Days and Feel Great!

Maybe other publications will start to do the same! Maybe a new generation of young and impressionable girls won't be subjected to the planetary version of high school hell and come out on the other side the better for it.

Maybe...Look!

Ladies Home Journal is jumping in with more insight on the subject...

 

Seriously?

I dunno...I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that could possibly have something to do with the contradictory messages about self-worth and body image and their direct correlation with the engrained importance of Other People's Opinions in our psyche regarding how society perceives us to look? Maybe it's the fact that our value as women is measured by today's media using our measurements and not our achievements? No, wait! I've got it....

It's because we were so busy eating cake for breakfast and losing 47 pounds by this Thursday that we totally forgot to clean the mirror, isn't it? Silly us...

Oh that isn't it?

 

 

 

I'm being facetious, obviously. I think Melissa McCarthy is a talented actress with an adorable voice and I love her confidence. She also, in my humble opinion, happens to be gorgeous. That being said, I'm thinking product placement and the fact that the only reason I noticed the bottom rack (on multiple magazine racks, I'd like to point out)  is because I was on my knees taking photos of random magazine covers for a blog post about how those mean old magazine covers called me Fat and Unhappy. And that's when the cashier gives me my total and tells Buttercup how beautiful she is.

"I know," she responds with the confidence she inherited from The Husband. Then she catches herself and notices that I seem to be waiting for something. She clears her throat. "Thank you."

And we head for home, my four-year-old already learning that society appreciates the pretty things.

 

The Bitch and the Lullaby

"Mama, I can't sleep."

"Shhh ... just close your eyes and relax, baby."

"But mama, I tried that already. I caaaaaaaaan't sleeeeeeep."

"Maybe if you try longer than three seconds, it just might happen."

"But Ma..."

"Shhh ... Daddy's already asleep. Want me to sing you a lullaby? Whichever one you want, baby girl."

She finally stops her fidgeting and snuggles closer to me. "You pick, mama."

Without hesitation, I launch into the first bedtime lullaby session in recent memory. She's almost five and while I'm holding on to her wanting to co-sleep for as long as she will let me, she stopped asking me to sing her to sleep a few years ago. I softly sing that she is my sunshine, my only sunshine, as she relaxes even more into my body.

I smile into the dark.

 

 

The day didn't start this sweet. Buttercup has been home sick from preschool for over a week now with a low-grade fever, congestion, vomiting, and lots of whining brought on by the horrible Tucson allergy season. Nebulizers and medications and trips to the allergist and waiting in the Walgreens parking lot for more prescriptions have been par for the course lately. So has an attitude that makes me fear the day she realizes she has hormones. The kid hates being sick.

This morning she woke up happy. But somewhere between getting out of bed and sitting down to pee, the stars must have fallen out of alignment because the child shot right passed crabby and hit bitchy in ten seconds flat. Her eyes narrowed and she glared up at me from her perch on the toilet with a look that gave me every confidence in the world she's ready to hold her own on an elementary school playground. Then she announced that she couldn't pee.

"What do you mean, you can't pee? Do you mean you don't have to go yet?"

"No," she spat out. "I have to and I just can't."

Um...okay....

"So try harder?"

"I am, Mama! I. Just. CAN'T."

And the stand off began. I had things to do today and lots of shit to attend to before I ran out of time. BFF Heather was going to be coming over later to tag along on another one of my doctor appointments this afternoon while her fiance was set to play dollhouse and watch princess movies with Buttercup. I wanted to make sure I had a bra on before they showed up in four hours.

"Do you hurt in your belly?" I ask.

"No," she grunts back.

"Does your vagina hurt?" I ask.

"No, my bagina does not hurt." She says back, her teeth clenched. "I just can't go."

Satisfied she doesn't need a trip to the pediatrician and this is just the world's most original tantrum, I leave the bathroom and make my way to my shower.

"Fine," I call back as I walk away. "Sit there as long as you want to. I'm not scheduling my day around when you decide to stop being a drama queen."

I'm answered with furious tears and sobbing. Turns out she hadn't expected me to leave. And yet she's still sitting there after I return, dressed, teeth brushed, flossed, hair done, and make-up applied. Kid knows how to dig in her heels, that's for damned sure. So I called her bluff.

"I guess we need to go to a hospital."

"NO!"

"Well, if you can't pee, that's not a good thing for you body. And that means I need to take you in so the doctors can fix you." I pause for effect. "I'll go get my purse and the car keys so we can leave right away."

Her eyes are wide. She's blinking. A lot. The wheels in that head of hers are turning furiously. And just as suddenly as she flipped the switch to bitch, she flips it back to sweet angel as she finally let the iron hold on her bladder go. "Wow, guess what, Mama! I'm cured!"

I gloat inside of my head and rejoice with her as we finally get started with our day.

 

 

 

"Mama, I love you," she whispers. Her head is on my chest now. Her voice thick with the sleep that's about to consume her.

I ask her to please never take my sunshine away, and hug her closer.

 

 

I'd Rather Be Crazy

Ten minutes. That's exactly how long I have been staring at a blinking cursor while trying to figure out how to start this post. It's not every day I get referred to an OB for possible confirmation of an extremely rare autoimmune disease that would have me considering the possibility of a hysterectomy before my 35th birthday. According to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, only about 50 published cases of autoimmune progesterone dermatitis, although I have come across many more stories on forums dedicated to APD. Basically, it's a really long way of saying that those who do have it are allergic to the progesterone produced by their bodies. Symptoms typically include severe cyclical rashes and in some cases, anaphylaxic shock. The first time a doctor suggested the condition as a possibility, I think I laughed. I was 30. I'm now 34 and after one nurse practitioner, one naturopath, and one allergist have all told me that yes, I am indeed allergic to myself, I'm wishing I hadn't laughed four years ago.

To be honest, I thought I was in the clear. My weird and painful full-body rash that seemed to come and go with my cycle had minimized to a tolerable and not so painful rash limited to just under the bra line and my inner thighs that felt more like goose bumps than something to go crying to the doctors about. I had enough things wrong with me already with the hypothyroid and the insulin resistance. The goose bumps I could deal with.

If we hadn't tried for baby #2, I might have just kept dealing, but the prep for the IUI where they tried to plant a baby with a syringe included a shot of progesterone to get my ovaries moving. I've been a fucking mess ever since, tested for lupus three times, eliminated everything but water and air from my diet in an effort to rule out food allergies and put more miles on my gas-guzzling SUV driving to multiple appointments with different doctors trying to figure me out than I care to calculate. It wasn't until I decided to be a smart ass and suggest to the BFF that I was probably allergic to my hormones that a memory got jogged. A frantic search on Google was immediately followed by combing through my medical records ( because I can keep track of those but I lose sunglasses like I wish I lost weight ) had me looking at that fancy phrase that means I might be allergic to myself.

The condition can be treated by taking medications to suppress hormone production, but I'm fun in an ironic way in that I'm allergic to a preservative used in so many medications I make my doctors nervous and drive my pharmacist crazy, so I'm not sure if that's an option for me if APD is confirmed. Even if it is and I end up getting a crash course in menopause twenty years before I was planning on it, the bottom line is that the baby making factory is most likely and almost officially being retired. The plus side is that I don't have to try to lose the baby weight again because that was a total pain in the cellulite still residing on my ass.

My allergist is sending me straight to an OB/GYN with clear instructions to tell her he doesn't think I'm crazy.

And now I've come full circle.

Ten minutes. That's exactly how long I've been staring at a blinking cursor while trying to figure out how to end this post.

So far, I haven't come up with anything brilliant.

The Me That I Am

I'm having a pretty shitty Writerly Ego day. Actually, it's kind of been a shitty Writerly Ego month, to be perfectly honest. And when I've shared this little emotional nugget with the BFF and The Husband, I've received a raised eyebrow and a "YOU HAVE A FUCKING AGENT" in response to my pity party. I get where it's coming from. I am in a position a lot of writers would kill for. I have a wonderful agent who thinks me and my writing are worth something and deserve a place on the shelves at Barnes & Noble next to writers I admire like Jenny Lawson Jill SmoklerRobin O'BryantAnna Lefler and Heather Armstrong. It seems, however, that the platform I am currently standing on may not big enough to get there. Or maybe it just feels like that because I'm a writer and us artistic types are moody and overly emotional and maybe I just need a vodka-flavored cookie. Because really? I'm pretty proud of my little platform. I bust my ass for free because writing is who I am and what I do and the writing part is actually more important than getting paid part...for my sanity, at least. The bills sitting on my desk waiting to be paid, however, would rather I stop trying to stay Not Crazy and just get a fucking job that probably wouldn't leave me the time to write for the awesome sites I contribute to.

I love sharing the funny on An Army of Ermas and Funny Not Slutty. Getting a spot on best-selling author Lissa Rankin's Owning Pink site is something I will forever be proud of. I've been published on Hippocampus Magazine and almost fell over when StoryBleed accepted the same piece for publication on their site. And then what I've got going on over here on this little ol' blog o' mine. I'm working on getting my name out there and my writing on more outlets, but these things take time. And Platforms don't build themselves overnight.

I'm by no means in the same stratosphere as the likes of Dooce or The Bloggess or Scary Mommy and that's okay with me. I'm not trying to be them. Just me. And hopefully the Me that I Am will one day be enough.

Maybe this sounds like a Poor Me post, but I don't mean it to. Instead, I wanted to let other aspiring writers out there know that the days of doubting yourself don't end the moment you sign that contract with your dream agent. And, I'm sure my published writer friends will tell me that they sure as hell don't end when a book deal is offered or the day their books were released or even the day they got their first glowing review. Because once someone Other Than You believes in your work, it's not just your ego riding on how many readers connect with that essay you got placed in that literary magazine that you love or how many hits per month your blog is getting or how much better you feel just for having taken the jumbled words out of your head and making some sense of them in a new piece you just started.

Every level of success reached is both a validation of our talents and a new reason to Freak the Fuck out, but it's a lesson in the writing life that I seem to keep having to be reminded of. Three months ago I was still waiting for the Moment All of My Dreams Would Come True and then the world turned upside down when they did because I signed with my agent. That singular moment took two years to make a reality. And you would be right of you guessed that the Freaking Out commenced after the shiny newness of my situation sunk in. It's not just me and my ego on the table anymore. It's me and my ego and my agent's time and effort and enthusiasm and Belief in What I Am and Have Yet to Become.

But if I think back, I probably went through the same little Self-Doubt Fest when I was accepted onto my college newspaper's staff and when I saw my first byline and when I was assigned to cover my first murder case at the city newspaper that hired me right out of college. And then again when I left the newspapers to freelance and when I started this blog and when I woke up this morning and my little girl told me that I'm the best mother in the world.

So maybe shitty Writerly Ego days are just part of the process and part of what makes us who -- and what -- we are. It's our literary equivalent of the trap women set for men when we ask if This Dress Makes Us Look Fat because we really only need to be reminded that in their eyes we are beautiful no matter what how that dress fits us. My platform is what it is. My ass? Probably looks horrible in that dress. But it's okay.

Because tomorrow I'm still going to write something. And someone is going to read it.

Yesterday's Lessons

Because I remember hiding in the pantry as a child to eat my feelings, I tell my daughter every day how much I love her.

Because my father died when I was 29, I finally understood my mother’s loss of both of her parents at the age of 19.

Because my family broke when we buried my father, I came to appreciate those connections that remain for the precious gifts they truly are.

Because I hated the girl/teenager/woman looking back at me from the other side of the mirror until recently, I tell my daughter she is healthy and strong before I tell her she is beautiful.

Because I grew up knowing I was the reason my parent’s got married, I didn’t have my first kiss until I was 15.

Because every time I thought He’s The One I was wrong, I said “I do” to the right man.

Because I was ashamed of my kinky curls, I silence my first thoughts and simply respond with a “thank you, baby,” every time my daughter tells me my hair is pretty.

Because I was left standing on my front porch waiting for my friends to pick me up for senior homecoming, I learned the importance of holding my head high.

Because I once wanted to die, I am grateful to live.

Because I still have dreams to make a reality, I wake up with a reason to try harder.

Because of yesterday, I have today.

 

***

This post was originally published here on AspiringMama one year ago in response to a writing prompt. The date may have changed, but the message remains the same. I just needed to remind myself.

When Everybody's Looking

 

You now how kids do that cute and totally obvious Turn On The Charm thing when they realize they have An Audience? Like this morning when Buttercup and I were sitting in the waiting room at the lab for my blood draw on Dr. Naturopath's orders and she got all snuggly and I Love You Mom and Kissy Kissy and Sideways Looks and Silly Grins after noticing smiling strangers noticing her?

Sure, she loves me. Sure, she does that stuff when no one's looking.

But she cranks the volume a bit on the charm factor when she feels the need to perform. I don't make a big deal about it. Little girl is and always has been a bit of a drama princess, so I just snuggle closer, let her kiss and hug and I Love You to her heart's content, knowing full well she's going to go back to pretending to read the magazine she stopped pretending to read when the curtains went up announcing the beginning of her act as soon as the interesting kind strangers she's hamming it up for pick up a magazine of their own.

It wasn't until I logged on to my blog just to see what my stats were for the third time today and refreshed my email again and again and again with the hopes of a notification of a comment on whatever post it was that I had imagined might be the one Not Just I thought was Funny or Insightful or So Wonderfully Written that Someone Else would make it their mission to share it with the world that it occurred to me that I have been...acting.

Just like my daughter and her never-ending supply of affection she loves to show me whether or not anyone is looking that is only exaggerated when she realizes that someone actually is, I write because it's who I am and I'm going to write whether or not anyone is reading, except that when I realize people are reading I might Force the Funny a bit more than necessary or self-edit something out of a post I wouldn't have even thought about before because I know you are there.

I used to write stuff like this and this and this. And I still do. The difference is that before I wrote for myself in the hopes of getting an audience. Now I write in the hopes of growing the one I have. I still write for myself, but somehow it seems different.

I wonder if I'm trying too hard.

Then again, I might just be looking at this all wrong. Buttercup loves me no matter who is or isn't looking and I write no matter who is or isn't reading. The difference is that she doesn't care either way.

And this is where I realize how smart my kid is.

As long as you don't make a big deal about it and just let me get this little bit of Cute and Totally Obvious Turn on the Charm out of my system, I promise to go back to pretending to read that magazine and making up stories just because I can.

On Choosing Water

The difference between blood and water lies not in the consistency, but in the

glorious truth that water comes with

a choice.

Blood binds me, ties me to

nothing

and to

everything.

But it binds me, nonetheless.

Blood comes with baggage, with history,

with future, and with family arguments,

most of which are held in my head.

Blood comes with love and with pain and with

laughter

and

tears

and strangers who once were more

until they decided that sometimes

blood just isn’t thick enough.

Blood comes with a heavy responsibility

to remain loyal to what was in order

to maintain appearances because

it’s just easier to lie to ourselves

with strained smiles for our public

and save the bitching for when

the appropriate backs

are turned.

Blood comes with a silence so loud

that we must laugh louder

to drown out the sound of

words left unspoken.

So I choose water when blood remains

the only tie.

Because sometimes, blood just isn’t

thick enough.

***

I originally posted this poem in January of 2010 and came across it in my archives while on the hunt to find words worthy of a repost. Maybe I'll be funny next week. For now, this is the inside of my head before the Prozac kicks in.

This Breath

I just had sex with my husband on doctor's orders because my ovaries finally decided to kick out a few follicles that might turn into eggs that might turn into a baby or quite possibly a litter and I've got to tell ya, I'm not sure if I'm rooting for Team Infertility or Team Modern Medicine to come out the victor. The first I already know and can handle. The second is shiny, new, and... I can't wrap my mind around what I don't know.

Disclaimer: Wait, what? Me? Sex? With my husband? If you know me in real life from before social media existed, please stab yourself in the eyeballs with the nearest semi-sharp object and let yourself continue to believe that we brought Buttercup home with us after holding hands while skipping through a cabbage patch field.

Of course, the deed *ahem* has been done and I can't undo whatever fate may have in store for us anymore than that hairdresser at Great Clips can emotionally unscar the teenage boy who broke into tears after she complimented him on his new Justin Bieber-esque look before he left with his mother who kept reassuring him that he and every other boy in America or at least Tucson younger than 20 do not, in fact, look like Belieber groupies in denial.

Even though he totally did.

I can't undo. And it's not the um, doctors-orders-homework that has me all a titter. Life is good in the land of The Married. He drives me crazy. I drive him crazy. And when things get boring we pretend to argue just to spice it up a bit. The issue that has me wondering WHAT THE HELL DID I JUST DO? is the fact that I may have voluntarily and irrevocably changed the simple reality I know and love for allowing me to not go any crazier than I already am.

She can walk. She can talk. And she's fairly self-sufficient on the potty front. She goes to school a few hours for a few days a week and makes herself laugh silly with really bad knock-knock jokes. She's four going on fourteen going on forty and she's the miracle we waited almost two years for that I didn't know would become the reality I wanted until I held her in my arms for the first time because I'm the kind of person who is so afraid of change that I've trained my brain not to want the unknown and instead accept the new today once the wind has already changed direction.

It's true. I don't want to go to Paris or Italy or dream of cruises or tropical islands because I have never experienced them. I have no desire to try something crazy just so I can say I did it because that would require planning and foresight and a willingness to not be so rigid but if I happen to be out on the town with a friend and she decided on a whim to stop in a piercing shop I can't promise I won't come home without a dainty little nose piercing. I didn't plan my wedding as a girl growing up or sign my name with the Crush of the Week's in doodle hearts while dating because I that would have required me dreaming about What If instead of focusing on What Was. And when I finally came to the moment where The Boyfriend became The Fiance who became The Husband as I walked down the aisle to become The Wife, I was In Love and In Awe and In Flux between states of complete calm because Life was Happening and Utter Terror because Life was Happening.

It wasn't until the day after graduating high school, arriving on my college campus, graduating with honors, starting my first job, moving in with The Boyfriend who became The Fiance who became The Husband, pushing the baby out, moving cross-country Anything Important that Has Happened in My Life that I've had pretty much the same thought process work itself out in my mind: That wasn't as bad as you thought it was going to be, you jackass. Well, except for maybe the pushing the baby thing out. She was totally worth it but Dude! That pretty much sucked. This is what was meant to be and where I was meant to end up. This moment is magic and I really need to lighten up and allow more magic to just spontaneously happen because that's how life works.

I know this. And yet, I sit here...wondering what I want the doctor to tell me when it's time for results and how I will react. Wondering if I can love another baby as much as I love the miracle that already is. Wondering if I am enough to mother more than once child and nurture them both completely in the way that is singularly unique to their own beings and needs without falling short and thinking I should have quit while I was ahead.

I wonder because I don't know. And I won't know until tomorrow comes. Until then, I concentrate on this breath...

And then the next...

Disconnected

 

She looked away from the monitor to hang up on the incoming call. After setting her phone on silent, she lost herself with faceless friends.

***

 

This post was written in response to the Red Writing Hood  weekly writing meme on Write On Edge. This week, writers were asked to write a short story using Twitter as our Muse and 140 characters as our character limit.

Famous Enough

I need a platform.And while Platform The Secret Agent Monkey seems to have taken over my blog, I doubt he alone is going to make me Famous Enough to get an agent or a book deal. But don't tell The Husband that. I'm still working on convincing him that I need a finger monkey or my dreams will never come true. Until that happens, I need to come up with some other Platform Building plans. Right now I am considering any and all of the following:

*Move to Jersey Shore. Make friends with Snooki. Steal a Bumpit. Make it work with my Mexifro. Say something to piss Snooki off (on camera, of course) and let her beat me up (on camera, of course). When she offers hush money to keep me from suing, I counter offer with a contract with her agent and give her back the Bumpit I stole from her dressing room. It didn't work for me, anyway. Then? Wait for book deal. *Divorce The Husband. Move to Hollywood. Shack up with a Rock Star. Divorce Rock Star after granting exclusive interviews to the paparazzi hiding in my garbage cans. Move back in with The Husband (who was totally in on the plan) and grant more exclusive interviews to the paparazzi I invited over for pizza. Wait for book deal. *Get pregnant with 15 babies at the same time. Force The Husband into a reality show he wants nothing to do with. Make sure to get all the free plastic surgery I can while my 15 minutes is still riding strong and a few more when no one will touch me except for my garbage paparazzi crew. But I draw the line at the reverse claw mullet. My Mexifro already has enough "character." Wait for book deal. *A murder rap. Wait for book deal. *Buttercup's cute enough, me thinks. Talk The Husband into moving to Questionable Parenting-ville so we can join up with the Toddlers and Tiara's circuit. I figure just a few appearances is enough to get my name out there before Buttercup is scarred for life. (side note: this plans is banking on a sizable advance, since I'm gonna need a chunk to spring for the preventative therapy to keep my kid from going all Celebrity Rehab on me when she gets older as payback.) Also? Wait for book deal. *Rob a bank. Get lipo and a boob life. And a tummy tuck. Oh, and cap my baby teeth.  Approach Sports Illustrated and get the cover. Parlay that experience into a television show host gig. Divorce The Husband so I can hook up with an ex-actor-turned-musician who is now only famous in Europe and in the States for being married to me. Wait for book deal. *Buy a time machine with the leftover funds from the bank heist. Become a cute child actor who grows up to be a messed up adult who also happens to be broke now because I spent my millions on too much crack and crystal meth. Clean myself up, find and marry The Husband, have my Buttercup, and hire a ghost writer to pen my story, because being famous once is usually Famous Enough for a memoir to actually happen, even if it's socially acceptable to not even be expected to write it yourself. And? I probably wouldn't have to wait very long for that book deal.

I'm still working out the kinks, of course. The Husband is being all You're crazy and Just Be Patient and You wrote a great book and it's cute, but seriously?

I'm just me. I'm not a name. After I end up on the cover of The National Enquirer?

Oh yeah. That's the ticket.

Platform? Here I come.

Does This Straight Jacket Make My Ass Look Big?

I asked for writing prompts on twitter. Now I have to fess up about facing my greatest fear.

Not an easy assignment.

Let me start with the happiest moment in my life. And  I don't mean the kind of happy that comes with holding your child for the first time. Or the kind that follows being pronounced Mr. and Mrs. and dancing the first night of the rest of your life away with family and friends. Those kinds of happy come because of what has been given...life, new beginnings, promises for the future.

The Happy I am referring to is the kind that just is. There's no reason, no cause. The kind that has you smiling at your neighbors and helping kind old ladies cross the street just because you are in that good of a mood. Forget tomorrow...the sun is shining today and it's downright blinding in its glory in this very moment. You are happy to be alive, to be who you are. You are happy to just fucking be.

I had one of those moments when I was 21. I was sitting on my mother's front porch, trying to make sense of a strange sensation. It's hard to describe that moment, even for me. I just remember sitting there, enjoying the soft breeze, as I sat and pondered what exactly it was that was going on inside of me.

I wasn't sad. I wasn't anxious. I wasn't obsessing over calories or the last food binge and how many times I would have to throw up to make up for what I had stuffed down. I was past that. And?

I was just happy. Simply, inexplicably, and beautifully happy with me and my life.

It wasn't a normal thing for me to feel. After waking many a morning as a small child in tears and no way of expressing the overwhelming sadness that was covering me, after 6 years of fighting bulimia and finally also being diagnosed as clinically depressed and anxious, after 2 years of adjusting Prozac levels and taking my pill like a good little trooper, I was finally able to feel what I had never been able to feel spontaneously.

Happiness.

I'm remembering that moment because I haven't felt that way since. Or maybe I have. Maybe I will. Yesterday, Last week. Tomorrow. It's easy to forget the happy from five minutes ago when depression comes in and steals your thunder.

Sure, I've had many reasons to be happy. My loving Husband. My beautiful daughter. Friends who get me. Puppies. Sunsets. New shoes. Good hair days. Leftovers that taste better the next day. Hugs. Date nights. Sleeping in. Posting a new blog that I know will make people laugh. Kisses from Buttercup. I love you's from The Husband.

But very bit of happiness has come as a result of what preceded it. Not because I am. Which really? Makes for a sad irony as it generates more sadness for understanding that I'm missing out on The Happy that should be there, be here, inside my head.

I stopped taking Prozac years ago. I was in a good place. I thought I had it all together. I figured if I had overcome the eating disorder I was golden on the depression front, too. And with encouragement from well meaning family members who believed I didn't need a pill to create happy because happy was already present, I weaned myself off and never looked back. Not out loud, anyway.

My therapist from my teens told me I was the most highly functioning depressed person she had ever counseled. As long as I am busy, as long as I don't have time to think about the missing bits in my head, I can pull off a pretty good Happiness Front. You see smiles. You hear laughter. You read snark. And sometimes I can believe it myself.

But like all things left to fester, it builds into something that begins to blemish the very image you created. I've hit my breaking point and it's time to admit what I have been trying to avoid.

My greatest fear? That I am not enough for myself. That I am not enough for my daughter or husband. That I am not whole without happiness manufactured through a pill.

How did I face that fear?

I made a call.

I asked for help.

Mamavation Monday: This Versus That

@aspiringmama: And? 1 work call, work research, 2 toddler tantrums, and a last nerve in a pear tree...

I wonder how she does it. You know who I'm talking about. That mom. The one with the (work at home/boardroom/restaurant bartender/6 kids and no back up because Her Husband works all day and half the night to support them?) How does she keep it all together? How does she not...lose...her...fucking...mind? Her house might be a bit on the Martha Stewart Does Not Live Here list. Her meals are not always gourmet. And her kids might leave the house in yesterday's clothing sometimes. But she's okay with it. That's the part that gets me. She. Is. Ok. With. Imperfection. And because she embraces the crazy, she has time for herself. And doesn't tell the kids that Mommy Needs Another Minute as often as I do. Forget the dishes in the sink. They can wait. Let's play make believe. Screw the laundry pile on the couch. She has a workout to squeeze in before her (deadline/husband gets home/kids lose interest in the movie she popped in the DVD player to buy herself some peace/roast needs to be pulled out of the oven.) Who cares about the dust on the blinds. The dogs need a walk and She has been meaning to make time to call her Best Friend on Skype so She and The Kids can catch up with Those That Matter on the Other Side of the Universe. That mom doesn't eat, beathe, and live her To-Do List. It's merely a suggestion for what she might want to try to accomplish today. Not the Do or Die that must be accomlished at all costs...including sleep and her sanity. She remembers to set up her bills on auto-pay so She has one less thing to have to try to remember in between Mommy and I wanna... She has learned the fine art of making it look like she understands the concept of that Balance thing. A few minutes on her (writing project/treadmill/call from The Boss) and it's back to Quality Time with the Kids. That mom doesn't have to remind herself that there are roses to stop and smell because she also happens to have her own garden, blooming and beautiful. And somehow, between dinners and bath times and reminders to brush teeth and arguments about which pair of princess pajamas must be worn tonight, between story time and sneaking out after they fall asleep and catching up on her favorite TV show, That Mom has managed to slip into her bed with a cozy book and a nice glass of wine (make mine a double, please). She falls asleep quickly, not worrying about how far behind herself she already is before even waking up the next morning and instead, savoring the moments she made for herself and her family that very day. That Mom would think This Mom is crazy for thinking she has it all together. And she would be partially right. I know she doesn't. I know her life is her own special brand of insanity. I know she wonders how Other Mothers aren't wondering where they left their last nerve because she can't find hers. And Other Mothers are looking at themselves, asking themselves why no one told them the truth about that If You Can Handle a Dog, You Can Handle a Kid bullshit because dogs are easier, assholes. (and houseplants? Are just made of awesome.) All I want to know is, how did That Mom learn to love and live the crazy in order to enjoy the now? How many martinis, Serenity Prayers, and Hail Mary's did it take for her to... Just Be? I won't lie. Every night, when I drag myself to bed 3 hours later than planned because Just One More Thing needed to be done, I wonder... How does she do it?

F-Bombs, Secrets, and Random Facts

1) I'm afraid of spiders. 2) Real shredded coconut "tastes" like paper to me. Shut. Up.

3) I still follow after Buttercup and her dolls to carefully comb their hair back into place. Call it a throwback to my Pre Mexifro Acceptance Days.

4) Strangers can read anything I write. I'm not afraid of you judging me.

5) It took me a long time to get comfortable on my own blog to drop an F bomb. And look at you still reading, you naughty, naughty person, you....

6) It was liberating as hell when it finally happened.

7) I may have to move in with an Amish family after joining the Blogger Protection Program if and when my family figures out I have a blog and like to drop F-bombs. (Please refer to #s 4 and 5.)

8 ) I swear like a sailor but blush when people say that P word that rhymes with hussy (Hint: smartasses who try leaving comments containing that word will be deleted. Me and my virgin eyes can't handle it, so don't try it.)

9) I'm thinking of starting a podcast but am wondering if I have a voice for blogging.

10) I never got  pregnancy/labor amnesia. So we got a new puppy.

11) Related? Only people without kids can say that raising a puppy is like having a child. We used to say it all the time. Then we had a child. All I'm saying is rubbing your kid's nose in their pee spot on the carpet might not work out so well for you, so I'd advise against being stupid.

12) I was 5'1' when I was 8 years old. My mother is 5,1", which means I was wearing her pants in the third grade. Which also means I have only grown 5-inches since I was in the third grade.

13) My mother brought me home from the hospital in a Christmas stocking.

14) I was left standing on my porch, dressed for senior year Homecoming, with tear tracks in my blush, when I realized the high school friends who had invited me to "go stag" with them never showed to pick me up.

15) I had my first kiss with my first boyfriend at 16 years old.

16) I speak really good Spanish when I'm drunk.

17) I never have time to get drunk.

18) My Spanish usually sucks.

19) My mother dressed me as a clown for Halloween one year and combed my Mexifro out into an afro and sprayed it to look like a wig. She must have done a really good job. I spent the entire Girl Scout party beating Brownies off my head as they all tried to yank my wig off so they could try it on themselves. (Related? I hate clowns.)

20) I had a reverse boob job when I was 24. The Husband looked like a proud new father when he told his friends that his wife's former GG's were now cute and perky DD's.

21) Buttercup fit in one of my old bikini cups when she was born. Don't judge. Like you wouldn't have tried?

22) You know that scene in the original Blade movie where the vampires are in the underground club dancing in wild abandon as the sprinkler system showers them in blood? Yeah...that's the song The Husband and I were introduced to at our wedding reception.

23) #22 was my idea. The Husband is still grateful.

24) I didn't know MTV existed until I was 14. i also didn't realize that our car radio played anything other than Mexican music or oldies stations. My social life? Sucked.

25) I'm the oldest of five girls. The youngest two are 10 and 11 years younger than me, and Mom used to make me wake with the crying babies at night and still go to school the next morning. You might think it evil. I think she was genius. No High School Sex for me!

26) I hate it when people refer to how big my daughter is. She's tall, assholes, not big. Can we talk about how big you are now? Oh right, that's not polite.

27) Milk makes me sneeze. A lot. Which makes me miss ice cream.

28) This is my third blog. The first two were me trying to write what I thought other people wanted to read.

29) Are you still reading?

30) I'm not gonna lie: the idea of 2012 scares the crap out of me. Watching Jessy Ventura's Conspiracy Theory doesn't help.

31) I'm equally relieved and frustrated that The Husband refuses to let me start a twitter account for him. On one had, I always want to put the @ in front of his name. On the other, my tweet stream would get a lot more boring if he had access to what I sent out into the twittersphere.

32) I typo. A lot. Deal with it.

33) I actually had to ask The Husband how old I was so I could make sure I had the right number of random things in this list. And I'll probably have to do the same next year.