I love my kind hearted boy and will beat the ass of anyone who makes fun of him for it

Boys will be boys.

Boys need to be tough. Man up. Get a set.

At eight years old, my son is three years and nine months younger than my daughter. We are open with I love yous, hugs and snuggles. My daughter has always been loving and nurturing with him, so he has always only known love, kindness and affection.

Not that he hasn’t been yelled at, scolded and corrected. He has.

But my son is the kind of boy who tells me constantly how much he loves me– as big as everything in the universe.

When I get leg cramps, he drops what he’s doing and concentrates his hands on my leg to make it feel better. And then he asks for the next two days if it’s still feeling ok.

When I’m carrying a pizza out to the car, he points out the ice in the parking lot so I don’t slip.

He’s a goofball who makes Lego vehicles of every sort, tries to make time machines and recycling factories, quarterbacks his football team, makes half the points for his basketball team, and races around the soccer field like a crazed maniac.

And when he gets upset, or scared, or frustrated, he cries.

Some see him and call him soft. A wimp. A pussy. 

They say, He’s got to get over it. He’s going to be bullied. Kids are going to make fun of him.

I say, Fuck you.

Am I embarrassed sometimes? Sure. Do I enjoy having to wipe his tears when he doesn’t understand why a friend would push him down? No. Do I wish sometimes he’d haul off and deck a kid? Yes. 

It’s what I did when I was younger.

But when I see your kid laughing and tormenting my kid because he’s an easy target, I’ll take my kid.

When I see your kid calling my kid a baby because he cries when he gets tackled to the cement for no reason, I’ll take my kid.

When I see your kid throwing a bat in anger or punching a wall in frustration, I’ll definitely take my kid.

This ongoing stereotype of what it means to be a boy or a man gets tiring. It becomes a cycle of rationalization for parents and society. My kid can be an ass because he’s a boy? I applaud my daughter making fun of someone because that means she’s not a girly-girl?

When did being kind and empathetic become being a pussy? 

I was an ass kicking kind of kid. I grew up in a house with an older brother and dad who constantly teased me and made me cry. And when I cried, they made fun of me. They called me a baby, which made me cry harder. 

So I got harder.

And I treated others the same way. I couldn’t win at home, so I made sure to win on the playground. I fought anyone who challenged me. When a kid picked on my best friend Lou, I came home, put on my snowsuit, went back up to school and kicked that kid’s ass. When fighting stopped being the answer, my tongue could shut anyone up in seconds. 

No one fucked with me.

And at 44 I’m still trying to undo the damage. Still trying to be kind rather than critical. Still trying to be someone I’d like to be friends with. Still trying to create a different experience and childhood for my own kids. 

I don’t want either of my kids to repeat my history. I don’t want them to look at themselves with confusion and regret as I often have. To burn bridges and friendships and significant others just because they could.

So, you can think what you want about my son.

I love his sweet soul. His caring nature, his creativity, his questioning mind, his athleticism and his heart that loves me as big as everything in the universe.

But say anything to my face and I’ll punch your fucking teeth out. 

You know, just for old time’s sake.

Goodbye again, sweet Grandma

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This is my grandma. But it isn’t.

Early Saturday morning, Wanda Jean Welling’s heart stopped beating when her body finally wore out.

But for me, she died years ago.

My Grandma was a woman who was known to be as proper as one should be in the small town of Perryopolis, Pennsylvania. 

When she set the table for lunch, bread was pulled from the bag and placed into a basket lined with a napkin. Deli meat was fanned out onto a platter. Applesauce was poured from the jar into a dish. Even mayonnaise was spooned out and into an amber glass.

Why?

In case someone came to the door during lunch, she didn’t want anyone to see jars on the table. Apparently jars were the epitome of low class.

If this is the standard, then I am very low class.

But that wasn’t her only idiosyncrasy.

She would wax the hot water tank so it stayed looking shiny and new.

She would iron my dad and grandpa’s undershirts in case they were called to a fire in the middle of the night (they were volunteer firemen).

But behind closed doors, she was her completely goofy self. 

She had fart contests with me. She always won.

When we watched a ballet on TV, she admired how much “culture” Baryshnikov had. Between the legs of his leotard.

If she heard something vulgar, she would claim, “I’m from Missouri,” like she was too innocent to get it. She wasn’t.

If we heard a motorcycle or loud car, she’d murmur, “Hot damn,” and raise her eyebrows suggestively.

She was absolutely a product of her generation. She watched her husband go to World War II and kept a world map to mark his different locations while she worked at Westinghouse. She raised one son and buried her second before he was six months old. She played bridge, was a Worthy Matron in the Eastern Star, and had weekly beauty appointments.
But she was also a contradiction of her generation.

She worked part time in a hardware store and knew how to fix a toilet. She took Calculus in high school and always said that she would have been a train engineer…  if she had been a boy. She broke up with my grandpa once in high school because he got too jealous of her male lead in the school play. 

Every single memory of my grandma is filled with love, joy, and sometimes exasperation. Like the time I visited her in my mid-20s. Her words of solace in my singledom? “Why, in my day, you’d be a spinster!” Thanks, Grandma.

However, memories can be fickle, and they can evaporate.

When she was finally diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer’s, no one was surprised. She had been forgetting things for a long time. Like the time I went to pick her up at her apartment and the stove burner was red hot with an empty pot on it. She had forgotten how to use the microwave, so she decided to boil water to make coffee. She then forgot about the water and it boiled away.

She forgot dates, numbers, plans. She would call me in a panic because I never showed to take her out to a lunch that was planned for the following day. Timelines became confused and she would ask if I remembered when Faith taught us in high school. She once insisted that her mother had died in child birth with her. Even though she had a younger brother.

And then she forgot people.

At first, she just needed a gentle reminder. Visits changed from her exclaiming, “Andi!” to me asking, “Do you know who I am?”

More often than not, she would nod yes, but was unable to answer the follow up question, “Who am I?”

I slowly got used to being introduced as her niece, cousin or nurse. In the picture above, I was introduced as all three.
Eventually, she barely spoke. She was always happy to see me, but I was just someone giving her undivided attention. She became extremely affectionate and just wanted to touch my face, or kiss my cheek, or stroke my hand.

For the last year, she was a shell of her former self. Just a body going through the motions of living. Sleeping, being fed and dressed and showered and pushed. Her beloved Bible stayed shut, the people in the pictures were strangers, and the TV ran on a continuous loop.

She had not been living, but merely existing.

I am deeply mourning the physical end of her life. But I understand that my real Grandma died a long time ago. The woman who spooned mayonnaise into that amber glass so that potential visitors wouldn’t think she was low class would have been mortified to know she would live out her days with every bodily function facilitated by strangers. She would have been appalled to think she would forget her husband, her family and her church. 

So while I am sad for her passing, I am relieved that she is at peace. I loved her in all of her stages of life, and will continue to do so for all of the life I have left. But my grandma and the woman in the photo were two different people. Same face, but different personalities.

Goodbye again, sweet Grandma. I have missed you for years, and always will.

#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.