Thursday, March 31, 2016

This is the Picture

I avoid having my picture taken.

I avoid looking in full length mirrors.

I don't own a scale.

Yesterday, someone was taking photos at work and I saw myself in one. To say that I was horrified is an understatement. Y'all. I look TERRIBLE. This is not the most I've ever weighed in my life? But it's the most I have weighed in a long time.

I'm not okay with it. I just ... no.

I'm so OVER this. Can I just say that? I'm tired of this being a thing in my life because it's BORING and it's not the entirety of who I am. Unfortunately, it's the thing I spend the most time thinking about. And ... dull. Dull as toast. Who wants to spend all day thinking about the size of her own ass?



But here's the thing: Fat or not, I need to stop hiding. From cameras. From myself. I might not love the way I look? But I still deserve to be seen, dammit.

By other people.

And by myself.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Speak Now

Sometimes I open my mouth (or click "reply") when, maybe, I should stop and reflect instead. I don't often take the time to ask myself if I'm prepared for the can of worms I'm fixing to open; instead I get out the can opener, rip the lid off, and release the squirmy little bastards right out into the wild.

Sometimes it might be better not to have a room full of worms. They are squishy and hard to get out of the carpet. Sometimes it might be better to stop yourself before you pick up the can. I mean, I don't DO that? But maybe I should.


Or maybe not.  Because even though I feel like I spend a lot of time picking up worms, I also think that there's something really valuable about speaking up and out.  To be honest, there are days when I feel like I invented the concept of "see something, say something" because most days I just don't have the ability to keep my yapper shut -- but I think that, if I see something that's a mess, or that's just plain wrong, and I don't say anything, I'm complicit in whatever is wrong. If I see something unjust and I don't speak up, that makes me part of the injustice; what happens when no one speaks up? What happens if no one says anything?

I guess I'd rather tiptoe through a room filled with squirmy slimy worms than risk never saying anything.

So hand me the can. I'll get the opener out of the drawer. And let's get this party -- questionable as it may be -- started.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

You Probably Think This Post Is About You

This is the third time I've written this post down. I've composed it in my head about seventeen times, but when you're writing blog posts in your noggin at 2 AM when you're wide awake, they tend not to get translated into actual writing. (I have come up with some excellent things in the middle of the night that no one will ever see -- it's like a tree falling in the forest. Ish.)


The thing I want to say is that there is sometimes a huge difference between your personal narrative -- your story, your truth -- and the stories other people tell about you. Those two things can be widely divergent.

The best thing you can do is use this as an opportunity to vow not to judge other people, because you know what it's like to be judged. You can use it as a lesson to let people show you who they are rather than taking what might be a mean spirited character sketch that someone else gives you as fact.

Whenever this happens -- and it does, and it will -- this is how I choose to respond. I'm not going to argue and tell someone how wrong he is. It does no good. Maybe, at some point in the future, she'll see. Maybe he'll realize. For right now, however, it doesn't matter. Arguing won't help. Protesting won't help. Some things are too broken to mend, so you try to dispose of the pieces gently enough that no one gets any more hurt.

Because ultimately, that level of conflict is born as a result of someone's hurt. To be honest, no one is ever innocent in these situations. Someone acted one way. Someone else reacted another way. Did anyone intend for the eventual rift? No, but there it is. Sometimes it can be repaired, and sometimes ...

... well.

So what do you do? Consider your words. Be deliberate and careful in your actions. And remember that the people who love you know who you are, and anyone else? Will hopefully take the time to learn who you are from you and not from what is said about you.

Monday, March 28, 2016


I got up on Saturday, ate breakfast with The Fella, and cleaned our house. I used to clean every day, but since my hours at work have changed, my cleaning schedule had to change as well.

As I was scrubbing the inside of the microwave, I thought about anxiety and OCD. How I spent years trying to convince myself that the distress and inability to focus when surrounded by clutter -- and my tendency to completely shut off at that point -- was not indicative of a deeper issue. I also thought about eating disorders, and how I firmly believe (despite my lack of medical training, I should add) that eating disorders live on the anxiety/OCD spectrum. I wondered what I could do to help advance research in that field. Maybe nothing. But I guess I can keep talking about it.

I went to the bank. I went to the grocery store. I had a nice talk with the cashier, who might be sixteen but looks twelve. I find him delightful, mostly because the world stretches out before him in every direction. It's his own personal choose your own adventure novel. 

I came home to The Fella and The Wee One and felt my heart fill up, as it always does. I love my men. We played games. I made pancakes, poorly (I don't know why I suck at pancake making. Maybe because I don't like them?). The Wee One wanted Easter Candy and I maybe snuck him some extra.

And I took a minute to let it soak in. The life I didn't know I could have or even hope for? It is beautiful. It is full. 

It is awesome.

Friday, March 25, 2016

One Week Later

Time is a yoga master. It's BENDY, y'all.

An hour doing something you hate is fourteen Mondays long. An hour doing something you love, on the other hand, is only fourteen minutes long. Sitting in traffic for twenty minutes is seven years of boring, but twenty minutes of connection with someone you adore goes by in five seconds.

Bendy. Bendy and tricksy, is time.

I have been at my new job for one week. I'm still finding my routine, obviously, both at home (different hours, very different circumstances in many ways) and at work (negotiating through the day, trying not to aggressively step on anyone's toes), but this week? Went by in about, oh, three days. It zooooooomed by me. It may have been doing a sun salutation or happy baby when it did, too.

One week of really good stuff is something to be happy about, I think.

Here's to time well spent.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

What Am I Even Doing?

So, I sometimes have the idea that The Fella and I should eat healthy things. I cook a lot? But I don't always ... um. There's a lot of cheese involved with a lot of my cooking. We actually may have decided that cheese is the fifth and most important food group, to be honest. Cheese for everyone.

He doesn't eat meat, which is okay with me, but I don't love salads. I hate lettuce and other raw leafy greens.

I know, we're ridiculous.


Pretty much every week I think that I'm going to try harder to make sure that veggies find themselves as the main component of some meals. (I also remind myself regularly that, even though I think potatoes should count as a vegetable, they really kind of don't. CURSES!) To the "more veggies, omnomnom" end, I put stir fry on the weekly menu all of the time.

Guys. I never make stir fry.

Oh, I buy the stuff. I have all of the ingredients for stir fry in my house at all times. I just never build them into a stir fry. Like, EVER.

You -- because you're all smart and stuff -- are probably wondering: What's the deal? Stir fry is EASY. Pan. Oil. Veggies. STIRRING. Yellie, you have to be kidding. It's so user friendly.

I KNOW. I know it is.

You're probably also thinking: AND IT'S TASTY.

I know that too! I have never once eaten a stir fry and thought, well THAT sucked. I mean, it's yummy things cooked and served with rice. I like yummy things! I like rice! I like soy sauce dribbled over a combination thereof!

So what's my damage?

I don't even know. Here's what I do know: I had stir fry on the menu for Monday. The Fella and I went home for work and ate sandwiches and french fries instead because reasons. I was very stern when I said: Okay, but sandwiches and fries were on the menu for Thursday, so on Thursday we are having stir fry. I AM MAKING IT. IT'S HAPPENING.

It's Thursday.

I just popped my head into The Fella's office and said: "Can we stop at the grocery store on the way home? Because NO with the stir fry. Just no."

He may have laughed at me, but we're going to the store anyway.

I may be the world's worst grownup.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

I'm Multilingual! (J/K, LOL)

Because I am a doofus, when I change jobs, I don't just, you know, change jobs.

I like to jump entire industries.

But wait, you ask. What do you mean?

I mean I went from teaching to ... commercial leasing. In case you were wondering, those two fields are in NO WAY related to each other.

How did I end up in anything remotely related to finance? The short answer is that they hired me. I was on the move and they were kind of a churn and burn outfit when it came to staff, so it was a match made in heaven!

Or, maybe, kind of hell. Hell-ish. In the words of a former co-worker there, "It's not actually hell, but you can see the gates from here." Every day, those gates seemed a teensy bit closer.  At any rate, I got divorced and moved to North Carolina and promptly took a job in ... wait for it ... equipment and insurance inspections.

Because CLEARLY that was a thing. And actually, to be honest, that was KIND of related to the finance job, so ... yeah. But still. Field jump!

Then? I went to work for a shed company. I was working on the theory that I was organized and good at scheduling, and they needed an organized schedule-er. So what if none of my previous background was in construction? This was do-able! I could learn construction stuff! Like, where the pork chop is on a shed. (That is really the name of a part. I kid you not.)

And then things went ... sideways. So I got a job in recycling. As you do. Well, I mean, maybe YOU don't, but that's what I did. One of my former ShedMates was working for the super cool recycling people and she gave me a heads up that they had a position and I interviewed ... and interviewed ... and INTERVIEWED. OH SO MANY INTERVIEWS.

Recycling! Wheee!

And now? I'm working at a web development company. As I've said, I'm the flighty job hopping friend. It's a thing.

You know what else is a thing when you change not just jobs, but entire fields?


Whenever someone asks me if I speak a foreign language I say, with some degree of nerd shame, "No, I took Latin." However, I now speak: Education, Finance, Logistics, Construction, Recycling, Industrial Waste, and I'm starting to learn Development. Not code, mind you -- I don't understand code -- but Development, and Marketing, and today I spent a lot of time -- a lot a lot -- learning to speak Public Relations. (And taking Aleve. Because holy hannah, does my head hurt.)

You'd think that after the first couple of times of "jump fields/learn all the new words etc" I would find jobs within fields that were ... what's the word ... RELATED. But nope. Apparently, my love of all of the word extends to feeling like I need to learn entirely new vocabularies every time I change jobs.

Either that or I'm just starting to recognize that I'm completely nuts.

No, it's definitely the words.

I hope?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

If I Had To Do It All Again

Once upon a time (it wasn't terribly long ago and it wasn't in a galaxy far far away, but there are days when it certainly feels that way) I spoke at the graduation ceremonies for the class I had been advising.

I like to think that I gave a good speech. I worked quite hard on it. It came off as funny -- people laughed in the correct places -- and was heartfelt. It offered the graduates some advice -- as much advice as my 28 year old self could possibly be qualified to give, at any rate.

If I were asked to give another such speech, though, it would be very different. Hopefully, it would still be funny, and it would be heartfelt, but it would also include some things that I understand very well now that I did not know then.

Things like: Dear Ones, your life can change at the drop of a hat, and that can be scary -- but it will be okay. It will absolutely be okay. Because you are strong and brave and clever, and because life is supposed to change and shift. Otherwise you don't grow -- and growing is the point.

Work for your dreams. Achieve them. And, when you achieve them? If you find that they're not what you really want? It's okay to change your mind. It's 100% okay. You can reinvent yourself as often as you want. It's not easy to do, but it's possible. Chase your dreams, but don't be afraid to let those dreams change, either.

There is so much out there that you can't see right now. Trust that it is there for you. When you need something -- love, or friendship, or work, or whatever -- you will find it. Maybe not where you thought you would. Maybe not when you thought you would. But it is there, and it is waiting for you, and you will find it. Don't be afraid to look in weird places -- sometimes the best stuff lives in those odd spots.

There is something out there for you.

There is someone out there for you.

There is somewhere out there for you.

Believe in the possibility. Believe in change. Believe in yourself.

That's what I would say.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Wait ... What?


You know what I did today?

I wrote some things. I edited some things. I made a calendar and I worked on marketing stuff and I read some other stuff and I made changes to a live website and I filled my brain up with a bunch of things, some of which I don't understand. I went to a meeting where it felt like most of what was said was in a foreign language but it didn't matter. I don't HAVE to understand it to do my job. There is a hive of big brains that live in part of my new office and they are all awesome and my job isn't to be one of them. My job is to figure out how to communicate to other people that what we do is super-cool and useful and amazing.

I can do that.

I mean, yes, my head hurts a little from all of the information I tried to cram into it today and I don't have it all figured out yet.

But I will.

And it's making me happy. I have pages filled with notes and ideas and drawings.

It's exciting.

I am excited.

Friday, March 18, 2016


I am a list person. I love a list.

I have a list of all of the jobs I've held.

I have a list of people I loved who are no longer in my life.

I have a list of all of the numbers I've seen on a scale.

 The sizes of my clothing, which cover a most ridiculous range.

The places I've been.

The colours my hair has been.

The places I've lived.

I have reinvented myself more times than I would have thought possible. I keep starting over. I find myself in a place that doesn't work, and -- after fighting with it (and failing) and trying to make it something more and better and right, I go ahead and find another place, completely convinced that this -- THIS-- is going to be the right one.

Someday it will. Someday this bird will find the perfect perch from which to sing.

I asked my mom today, "How many times is too many for starting over?" And she said, sensibly as ever: "You have as many times as you need."


I think of life as a series of classrooms. You learn all you can in one class, and then you move on.

There is no shame in moving on. 

There is no shame in personal evolution.

The only shame is in a refusal to grow.


Don't be afraid to try new things. Don't be afraid to change and to try. It's what we're here to do.

Don't think reinvention is a failure. It's not.

It's an opportunity.

Take it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


I fell in love with The Fella when I was fifteen. He didn't know because I am a NINJA.

Oh, wait. No I'm not.

He didn't know because I was pretty sure that he loved someone else and I loved him enough even then to want him to be happy. 

And now? All these years later? We're happy together.

It's a fucking miracle, y'all.


Not everyone enjoys a miracle, by the way.

I didn't know that before but now I do.


I went through a lot to get to this place. I didn't believe that this kind of happiness was possible. I had to learn to trust.

I also had to learn to let go. Of the idea that I could control every moment of my life (which, by the way, was never super successful). Of the notion that my way was the only way and the best way. I had to relinquish my belief that I couldn't be independent and be in a relationship.

It turns out that you can't go forward -- or really anywhere -- if you have cemented yourself into place with a sticky glue of beliefs that you are using as excuses.

I had to stop holding on to what was holding me back.


If you had handed me a map five years ago that had Happiness as a destination, the "You are Here" marker would not have been far from Happy. It would have been close. I was almost there. I just didn't know how to make the rest of the trip.

It's there now. Which is not to say that life is perfect. It never is. It never will be. But it works out if you work at it. If you're willing to be your less than perfect self with someone else's less than perfect self, and if you're willing to embrace all of the parts of meshed together living, then it turns out that it wasn't such a difficult journey to complete.


All of that?

Makes me happy.

Monday, March 14, 2016


I was at dinner with old friends. We had not seen each other in a while and were discussing how we spend our days.

It was very apparent to me how widely I've diverged from the standard path when one of them said, "And what are you doing ... now?"

That was when it hit me: they'd all picked a career and stayed with it (or become stay at home moms who were going to return to their previous careers) and, I had ...

I don't have a career path. I have a career maze. 

What I'm doing now kind of depends on what day it is.

I've become that friend. The flaky one. The one who is like Phoebe on Friends but without the guitar skills. The one you rely on for crazy-assed stories about her latest job adventures.

This isn't who I intended to be, in case you were wondering. Originally? I wanted to get my doctorate in medieval literature.

Yeah, I know. That makes me laugh too.

And then I wanted to be a teacher. I did that for a while. I never felt like I was good enough and then I got the double whammy of a) a principal who hated me and b) and actual fist to the noggin and thought, this might not be it.

I haven't found "it" -- I've found a lot of "Nope. Not this." I think that one of the biggest blessings of some terrible personal relationships has -- for me anyway -- been this: I suck at settling. I am not willing to be unhappy for someone else's benefit. I just won't.

So I keep searching, like a ridiculous bird that is trying to find that one perch. The Goldilocks bird, searching for the branch that is juuuuust right.

Someday I might find it. That would be great.

Until then, I won't be afraid to say, "Nope."

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

On Compromise

Every kind of relationship in life requires some level of compromise.

The next thing I was going to say was, "you have to be willing to bend" but then I realized that was wrong. It's not about being willing to bend. It's about deciding when you absolutely cannot bend. Nearly everything is -- and probably should be -- negotiable, but there need to be a few deal breakers, the lines in the sand that you will not cross.

For some of us, the trick is not compromise. I sometimes feel like I was born to put everyone else's needs before my own. Pleasing people is my default. It makes me happy.

As a result, the trick -- for me -- is not compromise.

The trick -- for me -- is defending those lines in the sand.


I had to decide that I did my best and then let it go.


I had to decide that at some point, you have to stop trying to explain your life to other people. You have to stop bending over backwards to meet their expectations. 


I had to decide that what I know is more important than what other people say.


The other night, I woke up because The Fella opened a cupboard door and, when he did, a glass fell out and smashed against the floor. My first blurry, half awake thought was: some things can't be saved. Even when you want to. Because they're not meant to be saved. So you sweep up the pieces and you make sure no one is bleeding and you move on.


Draw your lines.

Don't be afraid to say what you need.

Don't be afraid to let go.

There are other hands there to catch you.  I promise.

Monday, March 7, 2016


In the past, I found myself in the unique position of having a woman with whom I worked actively loathe me. There were many reasons for this: I had become her boss, I was changing processes and procedures, I was asking questions about the nature of our work that made her feel she had to defend her decisions, etc. I was following the instructions of my boss and working to change the way we did business, and change can make people uncomfortable.

When she took to the Internet to express her hatred of me, she did not see or care about the fact that I was following instructions, or that I was changing things to make it better for everyone. She  could only see what she perceived as the truth. She couldn't have a conversation about what we were mutually experiencing or why we were experiencing it. She couldn't meet me halfway or ask me questions about why things were changing it why it was believed that they needed to change. Instead, she embraced the idea that I was the devil, poking my nose in where it didn't belong, changing things for no reason, making her life miserable because I thought it was fun -- and once she had grabbed onto that with both hands, she refused to let it go. 

She was afraid of change, you see. Hating me became a security blanket. She needed her hatred of me to get through the day. In a world that continues to change, that was her new constant, her touchstone.

So I let her keep it.

The reality is that sometimes, people can't cope -- with stress, with change, with life's curveballs -- so they find something to anchor them. An idea. A "truth." Sometimes, that truth is not representative of what is actually true, but that doesn't matter. The illusion is necessary for that person to feel safe, secure, and justified.

It's unfortunate, I think, because life has to change. People have to change in order to grow. Fighting that makes no sense. Every one of us needs to grow and change to move forward.

It's not always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts a lot. That doesn't make it less necessary.

There will be people in your life who are not ready for change -- theirs or yours -- and who will blame you for taking the next steps. They will find a truth that may not reflect your reality. They will hold that truth like a blanket and wrap themselves in it.

Let them.

It will be hard, and it might be painful, but you cannot pry their willful misconceptions from their hands. You need to accept that it is filling a need for them, and respect how desperately they need to hold on.

Just as you wish that they understood why you have to let go.