#Nomakeup


Fully done

It started as an experiment. 

At first it was easy– I don’t usually wear makeup in the summer because it’s hot and I work outside a lot and I drip sweat like a melting polar ice cap so I don’t bother with it. But my makeup bag stayed closed even on nights out with the girls and date nights and on trips to places where my picture might get taken.

It felt freeing, but I also kind of felt like a fraud. I needed a real test.

So I went back to work in September makeup free.

Now I get that there are a lot of women who don’t wear makeup. Many of my friends and teaching colleagues don’t. And I never wore a ton of it– your basic foundation, eye shadow, eye liner and mascara.

But I’d been wearing it since 5th grade.

And now that I’m in my 40s, the lines are deeper, the skin pigmentations are stronger, the dark circles are darker.

So why quit now? 

Because about a year ago Kathleen asked me why I wore makeup.

Several answers ran through my head– I look prettier, it hides my flaws, it highlights my strong points, I look more professional…

But all of those answers made me cringe. I HAD no real answer.

So I said fuck it and stopped.

My six month old experiment is over with now, but it has led to a permanent change. I was going to give myself until school pictures. I figured I might possibly be so grossed out by my photo that I would go running back to Cover Girl. 

It wasn’t SO bad. But I was still unsure.

There’s a set of memes going around on Twitter that look like this:

Like saying ,”We women just can’t win! We’re never able to please everyone!”

And I have a problem with that message. 

The thing is, I AM tired. I AM old. I AM often stressed and overworked. And I resemble the picture on the right with alarming accuracy…

But who gives a fuck? Aren’t we all? And isn’t that what the whole movement to understand mental illness is about? That I shouldn’t have to hide and pretend and cover up the outside to hide what’s going on inside? 

And isn’t being honest the mantra we teach our daughters? That beauty comes from within? That she doesn’t have to change herself to be attractive? That people will like her for who she is and not what she looks like?

So fuck it. 

I’m done with makeup. I’m done with doing things because the omnipresent “society” says I should so I can stay valuable as a human being. I’ll do things because I want to and no other reason. I’ll work out because it makes my body and mind feel better and I’ll eat a donut (or three) for the same reason.

Society only sends you messages if you’re listening for them. (It just got all deep up in here, yo)


Au natural 

I have a permanently red nose. NOT FROM BEING DRUNK. Mostly.

I have sun spots across my nose, cheeks and jawline from too many sunburns.

I have bags under my eyes that could fit a week’s worth of vacation clothes.

I have so many lines that I imagine little flea geologists study me like their human counterparts study the Grand Canyon.

And I found that this decision doesn’t just benefit Kathleen (I hope). My kids and husband still love me. My students still listen and laugh at me. My friends still hang out with me. 

My face is just a face. Flawed, scarred and aged. Just like me.

Why I never go to the fucking mall

Well, a real mall. Not a place where people… you know… Fuck. Let me start over.

Five days before Christmas I was desperate. It was too late for Prime, yet not late enough for Dollar General. I did what all productive workers do and took a day off to get ready for Christmas… and to take Derek to the dermatologist in case my bosses are among the 8 people reading this. 

But I digress.

So I headed to the mall of malls in the area– 12 Oaks. Two full floors of materialistic wonderment with Santa’s workshop and a Starbucks right in the middle. Accidental? I think not.

It’s a Tuesday, I thought. How busy could it possibly be? I slid into a parking spot easily (a little too easily) and thought I was prepared.

Not even close.

American Girl

Goal: gift card and play set for my niece. 

The cult-like atmosphere enveloped me as soon as I crossed the threshold. I was a newbie, and they smelled it. The noise from the mall was sucked away and I couldn’t take my eyes off of the boxes and boxes of perfect little hands and faces. It was like walking into the human embryo lab of Brave New World and seeing a hundred Alpha girls ready to be decanted.

I tried to look like I knew what I was doing, but it was useless. I circled around, but I could feel all eyes upon me– dolls’ eyes. They followed me wherever I went.

With tiny boxes in my hand, I approached the counter to pay. In line before me were two exhausted looking parents who appeared to be engaged in some sort of contest to see who had the brattiest kids.

“Well, I’ve got two girls and they don’t share! They’ll fight each other for outfits and accessories.”

“Two?? Try THREE all one year apart! If I don’t get three of the same thing, it’s not a pretty sight!”

I imagined girls dressed in tandem with their dolls yanking each other’s hair out while throwing plastic tea cups. Meanwhile, the dolls sit off to the side placing bets.

Shudder….

But I survived and made my purchase while refusing to give my name– what the hell is THAT all about? You want my last name? No thanks! And so I was off to…

Lululemon

Goal: gift for Kathleen from Derek

Did you know that the store doesn’t even put their name on the front? It’s just that Omega symbol. I barely know the name of the store, just that it’s “elite athletic wear” and I’ve seen scores of pre-teen girls carrying the red and black bags like mini Carrie Bradshaws.

I was ashamed to ask, so I went out of my way and looked at a directory and sure enough I was in the right place. My first thought walking in?

What the fuck????

The line was 20 people deep. Some had numerous hangers draped over their arms and I naively thought there must be a great sale. 

Oh no.

I looked at a tag on a random pair of leggings. $125. For leggings

My workout leggings come from Kohls because when I go to hot yoga I sweat so much that I can barely stand my own stench on the ride home. All of my gear goes right into the washer with a splash of bleach. Even when I run, I’m hard on my clothes. 

I have a feeling these are not clothes to sweat in, or those in which to be an “elite athlete.”

And I’m also guessing that these clothes are not meant for women because the sizes stop at 12. Yes, 12. Do they not have enough shelves? Hanger space? 

So like any bargain shopper, I wound my way past the clearance rack (Originally $150, now $100) and found myself at the wall of shame– the headbands.

I actually felt guilty for taking up the time of the life-sized version of an American Girl doll by having her ring up my puny purchase. 

“Just this?”

Yes, just this.

I know there are a lot of places where I will never be able to work. An engineering office. A recording studio. But it was pretty humbling to know I could never work retail because I would be the fat ugly one. And old. Too old.

And so it went.

Pink, where things went well, except that I sold my daughter’s soul to become a brand loyalist and started her sexualization by others off on the worst foot. 

Vera Bradley, again not too bad considering the choking perfume and the feeling that I would suddenly see my grandmother in the corner (must have been the hallucinations brought on by the patterns).

But after a while, I was drained. I ceased to think and just moved blindly along. It began getting more and more crowded and my anxiety was creeping to the surface. Suddenly, I knew where I needed to go.

Petland.

Yes, there is a pet store in the mall that sells puppies. And yes, I know that pet stores are supposed to be bad. Well, if that offends you, I’m truly sorry. And you should stop reading now because I’m about to promote the SHIT out of them.

I looked at all of those four legged beauties– playing, sleeping, watching– and after asking, discovered a balm for my frazzled brain.

THEY WILL LET YOU SNUGGLE PUPPIES!

I felt like I was in the best bar in the world. I took a seat, said, “bring me the house special” and enjoyed glorious puppy bites and snuggles for almost 15 minutes. 

He was wiggly!

He was snuggly!


I felt like the Pigeon… Awww!!! Puppies!!!!

After that, I had enough energy to shop until my credit card maxed and all was right with the world.

Not really, but I forced myself to two more stores, dragged ass to the car, drove home and slept for two hours.

I decided it would be a cold day in hell before I ever went to the mall again.

And then the kids got gift cards…

I’m fucked.

Things I learned last week

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Last week was a long fucking week. Some good, some bad, and some just numbing. It’s the burned out zone for everyone. The Crush of Christmas and the daylight that lasts minutes. After reading 39 essays this weekend (not done), it’s time to take note of all that occurred. 

1. Dogs will puke in the middle of the night. With no warning. And they are especially gifted at spreading it over the side of the bed and onto the floor.

2. Some mothers love their sons unconditionally. You know, except if their sons are gay. If that’s the case, they are told not to discuss it and instead focus on academics. 

3. My skin sloughs off in flakes when the temperature falls below 30 degrees. Even with moisturizer. 

4. Just when I think my bladder has a lifetime record for expansion, it proves me wrong. It might be using steroids. 

5. Some girls have older brothers who molested them. And they need to write about it. And they still come to school and work hard. 

6. Panic attacks can strike anytime and anywhere. And there are some super compassionate people who will help out. 

7. Boys from Kentucky will take a stand against other boys who disrespect women– even if it means getting suspended.

8. One drink is enough to relax. Two drinks causes instant fatigue and a restless night’s sleep. 

9. Try the snowblower more than two days before the first major snow storm. 

10. Students can discuss non-binary gender identities intelligently in class. 

11. Getting only four hours of sleep causes me to swear in class by sixth hour. Nothing horrible. The minor swears. 

12. “Take it Easy” by The Eagles is more than a song– it’s a life goal

13. Some people are quietly fabulous at what they do and deserve a fucking medal for the above and beyond work they do. Especially behind the scenes. 

14. Depression about one thing can be stuffed away when a crisis pops up. But it will simmer and emerge again. 

15. I can survive a hot flash during a Friday evaluation. My shirt, however, cannot. So glad I had a cardigan over it. 

16. I have some fucking awesome kids. They light my path on a regular basis. 

17. I reward myself way too often with chocolate. For things that aren’t reward-worthy. Like finishing a day at work. Completing a level in Candy Crush. Making it to 8pm. 

18. I’m starting to believe I can make it until Christmas break. The snow day helps. A lot. 

19. Sometimes the weather forecasters are right. 

20. Insomnia runs in phases. If anyone’s up between 12 and 2, I’m your gal. 

I’m a bad mom, but I’m getting better at accepting it

What is a “good” mom, anyway?

I don’t have a lot of confidence in anything I do, but one thing I have known for a long time is that I’m a good mom. Tangibles and intangibles, my kids know they are safe and loved.

It’s my fear of everyone else out there.

After I had Kathleen I had my first major depressive episode in the form of post-partum depression. My brain betrayed me in ways that were horribly cruel and vicious. And while a chemical imbalance had a lot to do with it, there were some other bitches that kept the monster fed. And yes, I say bitches because they were all women.

The mother judging starts before you even leave the hospital. My daughter’s birth was traumatic in every sense of the word. We were in and out of the OR twice as her heart rate dropped and stabilized. She needed the NICU right after and they had so much trouble finding my blood pressure that at one point a nurse asked, “Are you still with us?” and I thought I was going to die. Good times.

That night, I was exhausted, Bill was exhausted, everyone was exhausted. And I planned to have my baby sleep in the nursery so I could catch up a bit. When I asked, the nurse said, “Really? Most new moms want their babies to stay in the room with them.”

Fuck. I was screwing it up already.

The next day, a nurse was going to show me how to breast feed. She fondly came to be known as the Breast Nazi as she pushed and pulled and squeezed. When I dared to ask, “What should I do with this arm?” her response was, “YOU aren’t going to do anything.” 

Welcome to motherhood.

So, even though I am confident that I am nurturing good human beings, I have still always been afraid of what others think. I don’t volunteer at the school. I don’t bring in treats for the teachers during teacher appreciation week. I don’t coach my kids’ teams or make snow angels with them and cut their sandwiches into cute little Pinterest-worthy shapes.

But I’m slowly saying fuck it more and more.

Moms– you know what I’m getting at here. There are moms who I admire immensely for having the time and skill to knit elf hats for the entire class for the school play and look like they just stepped out from a photo shoot to arrive in time for pick up after school. 

But there are other moms like me who forget my kid is supposed to wear red for the school play and have shown up so late for pick up that I have to do the walk of shame into the office and prove my identity to drive my own child home. Seriously, I was met by no fewer than five adults all waiting for the negligent parent. Posing for the mug shot was the worst.

And both kinds of moms and all in between have their own shit going on and their own ideas and their own parenting styles and I’m friends with moms of all types.

So why all the fucking judging? 

Some of it is perceived, by all means, but most of that shit is real. We get judged if we let a kid thrash on the floor in a tantrum. We get judged if we don’t have a kid potty trained by two years old. We get judged if we give our kid a $10 and say, “Cranberry and vodka on the rocks, and let the bartender keep the change.”

But I finally had a moment today where I said FUCK THIS SHIT. It was minutes before we were to leave for my son’s birthday party and all of a sudden I remembered:

I had forgotten to get goodie bags for the kids.

I went into a full tailspin. I uttered, “Oh SHIT!” Loud enough for all to hear. Everyone asked, what? and I couldn’t even respond. My husband came over and I whispered my crime to him in horror. How could I forget? What would happen? Would my son be disappointed? And the moms, what about the moms??? Was my boy going to be doomed never to receive another invitation to a party because his mom was an ungrateful bitch?

I almost lost it and cuddled the dog and retreated to a happy place.

I confessed my sin and Derek was fine with it. And the party went really well. 

At one point I even admitted, embarrassed, to a couple of moms that I had forgotten all about goodie bags. This, of course, was to feel them out and see if I would be ostracized. They could not have been nicer about it and not one kid asked where they were when the party was over.

And I didn’t feel badly about myself anymore. 

Derek had a blast. His friends had a blast. I had a headache.

On the way home, Derek said, “Thank you for my party, Mama,” and that sealed it.

I was a good mom.

Dear Reader, I’m Coming Back One Meijer Trip at a Time

Thank you all so much for your comments, texts and likes of support. It takes a village to raise an emotionally healthy 43 year old. Apparently.

Anywho… You all know how much I detest grocery shopping. Since Meijer started using Shipt (they are AWESOME) my life had been considerably better. 

Minus the whole strangers texting me and asking if store brand strawberry preserves is an ok replacement for Smuckers (it’s not) and then coming to the house where I have to engage in conversation while I awkwardly tip her (always a her so far) for doing something I really should be doing and then I feel like a real housewife of Livonia, like I’m too busy with my fashion design business to do something menial like shop for groceries. 

So yeah, I actually feel guilty, but the convenience is worth it, but I usually make Bill answer the door while I hide inside.

But of course, there are those trips that you HAVE to make yourself because you need specific things to make pies and birthday cake and whatever else the weekend before Thanksgiving. Apparently, the Meijer management forgot what weekend it was, so even though I got there at 8:30am the store was flooded with people grabbing breakfast food for family flying in and debating which jarred gravy to buy. It was cool though. Until I went to check out.

LINES. Lines, lines, everywhere lines. Snaking through the aisles and breaking my mind (song credit: Tesla).

But seriously. I got in line so far back I was in the women’s department.

So I seethed for a bit wondering if I would still have “ice” cream, but then realized there was nothing I could do, so why not enjoy it? I found Meijer’s Facebook page and started messaging. Screen shots were taken after.


I got a super nice form message back, so I figured someone was listening. 


The end was finally coming! 


So, there’s definitely a light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks for caring.

Dear Reader… From Mental Illness

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I really must apologize for Andrea’s behavior lately. She has snapped at colleagues, been irritable at home, has forgotten simple things to the point of frustration, and still doesn’t have the essays graded that were turned in a week ago. She’s working on it, but it’s going to be a while. 

I’m also sorry that she couldn’t attend dinner with her close friends from college tonight.

See, I have been taking up a lot of space lately. Sometime she almost forgets about me, I get jealous, and so I have to make myself noticed.

What I do is when I can tell she is vulnerable, I point out worries and then I enlarge them. By like 1000 times. So when people posted a lot of negativity on social media, I told her that human nature was really evil. I told her that people really do hate others and think and believe vile things. This made her question all of humanity and the basic principles she has always believed in. 

Then there were some news headlines that caught her attention. A dad in prison for beating his baby to death. A woman who killed her boyfriend’s son because she was mad at his dad. So again I took these stories and ran with them. I made her wonder how many kids in her classroom are abused? How many things are unreported? And then I made her dwell on every negative story she has ever heard involving children.

See, when I make her think about these things, it’s easy to spend more time with her. Because then she thinks about whether she’s doing her job well enough. Sometimes she has nightmares about not being competent at work, or getting nowhere with things she knows will help kids. I just get some popcorn and watch. If I’m lucky, she’ll wake up in a sweat and we can hang out for hours.

And my company exhausts her. She thinks and thinks and it takes a huge amount of energy. She took three naps over the weekend. One about two hours after she got up. She just couldn’t do anything. It also hurts her physically. Her back, head and joints just ache. Her legs feel heavy. This makes her feel like a lazy lump of fat. 

So when she’s asked to go out to dinner on a Friday night with friends she loves and love her, all she can think about is how much energy it will cost. Getting dressed. Leaving the house. Driving. Paying attention. Being in the middle of a noisy restaurant. Being pleasant and funny. 

And it’s overwhelming. 

I like having her all to myself anyway. She’ll sit in her chair listening to the kids’ watch TV and play phone games and watch the clock until it’s an acceptable time to go to bed. She’ll climb under the covers thinking about all the things she should have done while waiting to sleep. She’ll berate herself for not having the energy or motivation to cross anything off her list. 

And she’ll question. 

She’ll wonder– does she need more medication? Does she need therapy? How would she even do therapy when she can barely get out of bed for work? Does she need more rest? Less? Yoga? Comfort foods? See, she doesn’t like me, but she knows I’m always a part of her. She tries to hide from me, and pretend I don’t exist anymore, but she knows I’ll always come back. 

So I’m sorry that she’s been bitchy/ out of it/ absent/ incoherent/ non-communicative and just negative and blue. She really can’t help it. And I’m not sure how long it will last either. I may take a break but then decide I want more one on one time.

In fact, I had to write this post for her because she’s feeling so introverty and non-peopley (her words, not mine). You’ll get her back though. At some point. It’s just hard to say when.

Look Away From Vile Comments and Look at This

When I would be up all night afraid of my brain and all the scenarios it would throw at me, I always had a go-to image to try and derail the train of thought. 

It was a simple kid’s picture of a tree.

Sun in the corner, blue clouds, brown trunk, puffy green blob. Under the tree a few blades of grass sticking up and flowers with two leaves at the bottom, four petals and a circular center.

Sometimes the image wouldn’t work and I’d still be doomed for the night. But many times it was just enough to distract me from the horrible images of anxiety. Why?

I think it’s the innocence and simplicity represented. It’s completely unrealistic, yet so optimistic. The sun shines. The sky is blue. The tree and flowers thrive. No litter, no dialogue, no unpleasantness.

Unless someone’s a bastard and tells her otherwise, the picture is perfect in the eyes of the artist. The hands that crafted it haven’t become friends with pain and sorrow. The brain that envisioned it hasn’t been indoctrinated in hatred and intolerance. The soul that feels it hasn’t been tainted with spitefulness and narcissism. 

She draws with care and love. 

She draws for joy and peace.

Four things that we could all use, not just right now, but all the time. 

So if you’re stressed, anxious, numb, or overwhelmed and just need it to stop, maybe this will help:


Or this:


Or this:


Or if you’re like me, this:


Take care of yourself and each other. We’re all we’ve got.

Daylight Savings Can Go Fuck Itself

6:15 on November 5:


6:15 on November 6:


Fuck me and my mental health.

As any American, I want to know who is to blame for my woes. Erroneously, I thought it was Ben Franklin who first thought of this yearly torture. But no, the first to have this idea was William Willett, a Brit. He was never taken seriously, though, and died without seeing his dream become reality. Nope, it was WWI where the time change started first in Germany, then Great Britain, then the US. 

So we fight against the Germans, but adopt their shitty time schedule? WTF?

And, no, the shift wasn’t for the benefit of farmers either (another lie). They actually protested it.
I get the idea of extra daylight in the evening. I love that I can go for a run or work outside after dinner. But why take it away as winter begins to cast its ugly shadow? Is someone trying to make me depressed? There’s even a special name for this depression– SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder. 

And yeah, it’s lighter in the morning. So the fuck what? Blinding me while driving east. Then mocking me through my classroom windows. Thanks.

But is it really lighter in the morning????? This is Michigan where the clouds descend and stick around for 7 months. With rain. And sleet. And freezing rain. And snow. And 40 mph winds. So it’s often dark when I get to work and dark enough for street lights to come on at 3 in the afternoon.

And this isn’t just some crazy-mentally-ill-irrational-by-a-woman-hitting-menopause-argument. Two articles came out in the last few days PROVING that there is a direct correlation between turning the clocks back and new diagnoses of depression. (See link Here).

It doesn’t matter that I know it’s coming. I can prepare for it and try and do things that might make it more tolerable. I go to yoga at least once a week. I make sure never to skip a massage appointment. I get outside every opportunity I can while the sun is out. 

Yet that darkness is always lurking.

The urge to sleep all the time. The irritability of dragging myself through day after day. The impatience of dealing with happy, cheerful people singing Christmas carols from October through February. The hopelessness that the sun will never appear again and the temperatures will never rise above freezing. The hatred towards people who talk about global warming when my car doesn’t warm up after 30 minutes. The self-loathing from not being active, positive, and normal.

Some people use this time of year to count down to Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s. And they are blissful and grateful and full of joy. I’m jealous.

My countdown is always to December 21– the winter solstice. If I can make it to that day, then each day after brings longer daylight and the hope of hanging on until spring. 

Until then, I just have to work at keeping the demons at bay. 

May your sun always rise.

Shhhh… Teacher Secrets

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The celebration you had in September because your kids were finally going back to school has lost its luster. The honeymoon period is over. Now your kid’s teacher isn’t looked at as a savior for making your kid wake before noon and give the Xbox a rest. We have now moved into Blame the Teacher season. 

It’s kind of ok. I hate all the paperwork that comes home and making lunches and keeping up with due dates too. 

But before you send that nasty email or make that call to the office, there are a few things you should know. 

1. We take your kids’ stories home with us, and carry them heavy in our hearts. Sometimes we are up all night with worry and burden our spouses with them.

2.  We are always wondering how it is in the “real” world. With expense accounts. Flexible schedules. Time to chat with co-workers about last night’s game. There are days when the only adult interaction we have is co-cursing at the copy machine and trading quick greetings in the hallway.

3. We understand that our interaction with your kid may be the most positive thing in their day.

4. We might say we don’t, but we really are judging you and your parenting. Most of you do an awesome job. A few of you suck at it. Like “Here’s a free hysterectomy/ vasectomy card– use it” suck.

5. We also hate testing. It kills educational curiosity, classroom community, and intrinsic motivation. 

6. We gobble food like Ethiopian orphans because we are used to lunches in 20 minutes or less.

7. Our bladders have to get re-skinned every year from the strain of holding it for hours. 

8. We consider coffee and alcohol essential food groups. Looking for a gift idea? Last year I gave my son’s teacher a bottle of wine. Much more appreciated (and used) than a teacher mug/ ornament/desk plate/ apron… you get the idea. Don’t get me wrong though, I’ll take anything. No one brings stuff for high school teachers.

9. We get that you attack us in order to mask your disappointment in your kid or yourself, but it still hurts. A lot. And deeply. And even when we know we’re right, it makes us question everything.

10. Around mid-year and at the end of the year, we adopt a dark, ER/ combat zone sense of humor. It’s possible that we have discussed which kid we would offer as tribute. It’s also possible that the plot of Thunderdome has entered conversation. 

11. We have all fantasized about taking a kid home with us because we know how much that kid would benefit from experiencing a normal home life.

12. We may not remember every single name or face, but it doesn’t mean we’ve completely forgotten. We’re just old. 

13. When we hear, “At least you get summers off,” we may chuckle, but on the inside we are gouging your eyes out with an oyster fork. 

14. We get that there are some really bad teachers out there. Make no mistake, we hate them too. Most are awesome. Some really suck at it. Like “Your license should be revoked and you should never work with children again” suck.

15. We are advocates for children first, educators second. 

We’re just human, really. We have flaws. Good days and bad. Personal lives that are often as messy as yours or worse. We will sometimes say things we regret, just as you do. We will reflect on a strategy and make changes, just as you do. 

And we care about your child, just as you do.

Why I Can’t Drink Out of This Mug And Other Neuroses

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This is a super cute mug that was given to me by a dear friend for watching her two fur babies for a week. It’s adorable. It’s clever. But I can’t drink out of it. 

I have been living with myself as long as I can remember, and at the ripe old age of 43 I have realized that no matter how much therapy, self-talk and medication, there are just some things I won’t be able to change about how I think. 

For example, Bill has horrible restless legs and is a night owl, so I always head up to bed at a non-respectable 8:30 while he retreats the the basement and his man cave. Sometimes, he falls asleep on the couch and is still there when I get up for work. 

However, instead of leaving him be, I put on my CSI hat and stealthily check to see if he’s still breathing. If I can’t hear anything, I don’t give my proof of life quest. I put a hand to his forehead to make sure he’s still warm. 

Because, yes, in my head I completely believe that he might expire during the night while watching a Ken Burns documentary. And every time, I walk through my plan in case he isn’t warm. Call the police, arrange him so he looks all right, call my parents and gently wake the kids. This seems completely natural to me. 

But my day to day anxieties don’t end there. If I hear a noise in the middle of the night, I will listen intently while, again, plotting my plan in case there is ever someone in the house. 

But it’s not good enough to have one plan. There’s a plan if an intruder is coming up the stairs, in the kitchen or in the basement. 

Sorry, Bill. You’re on your own there. I’ll tell the kids you were brave. 

I used to hide these pieces of myself, afraid they would scare people away. They make no sense, and I get that most people don’t think this way. Even typing this, I hear voices saying, “You have kids, a dog and two cats. When would the house be quiet?” 

I used to hide all of this from Bill too. I mean, what would he think? But maybe it’s because we’ve been married so long, or maybe I’m just tired of hiding, or maybe I’m just lazier about covering this shit up, but I started letting him in on this. 

And you know what?

He. Gets. It. 

Which means, more importantly, 

He. Gets. Me. 

So when I order groceries from Shipt (because you know how much I hate grocery shopping) and I make him answer the door, because, you know, strange people, he doesn’t balk. At all. 

When I text him continually when the Got Junk people are here because it makes me feel like I’m not alone with them and I have a witness in case I get brutally murdered, He. Gets. It. 

And this isn’t a gesture I take lightly. It is immensely beneficial to my mental health to have someone who will listen to my rages, who doesn’t take my shit personally, and who responds to irrational texts with “I love you, and everything will be ok.”

So why can’t I drink out of the mug? 

Did you look at those eyes? How can I possibly DROWN THE DOG???? It’s watching me with love and trust! I feel horrible enough that dust collects on him messing up his cute fur coat. 

So right now it sits on the counter like some sort of odd decoration until I figure out what to do. And Bill never moves it. 

Because he gets it.