The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of

I’ve always been fascinated by dreams. Not as in goals and aspirations; as in nocturnal brain belches. I know, I know, only the dreamer is fascinated by her own dreams – nobody else really cares to hear them, so I’m not going to detail them for you. Though I have done that before, and y’all seemed to like it when my grandmother haunted my ass or a random and potentially murderous Army veteran showed up in a house that may or may not have been mine.

For three of the last four weeks, I was a project manager at work. I had more than a decade of experience as a very well-respected project manager before I started at this place – but this place didn’t quite work out the way I hoped, and so I stopped PMing. But every so often, my (six) bosses seem to forget that they didn’t like when I was a PM, and they require me to do it again.

This, mixed with my fun and quirky brand of anxiety, means… nightmares.

I’ve had eight in the last month. That I remember. All related to work. One of them was so damned epic, I could swear it went on for two hours, and I woke up with fingernail marks in my palms. True story. And they were from my fingernails. In case you’re wondering.

Generally speaking, all of my dreams include some element of my work life; a coworker shows up, in most cases. I figure that’s just my brain’s way of encompassing everything about me into one dream so that it represents the whole me. But in these nightmares, every character is a coworker (past or present), and at least one of my bosses is almost always involved. If they’re not there, they’re implied. They’re on the phone or they’re in an office unseen or I’m thinking about them and how they’re going to fire me before this dream ends.

Last night’s feature was particularly intriguing because I was working on a laptop, poolside, at a party, separated from everyone else, churning out work that was then displayed – and of course I made a huge mistake and, from across the pool, my boss caught my facial expression.

Oh, I said I wasn’t going to tell you the details. Sorry. I just thought that was interesting because I’m mostly done PMing for now and I guess that’s what the pool was for. Time to relax.

In a week, I go to a new shrinkapist. I’m calling them that because they’re a “team”: an MD for meds “should I need them” (oh, let’s not kid ourselves, just give me the prescription) and a social worker type for the counseling bit. It’s been a while. I wonder how many people can attest that they have actually looked forward to the beginning of shrinkapy. I, for one, cannot freaking wait. I’m not what docs like to call a “frequent flyer.” I don’t just seek happy pills. In fact, I don’t like taking pills. But about two years ago, for the first time, I went on an antidepressant that’s also indicated for anxiety, called Lexapro. Not a lot, just 10 mg per day for a few months. My doc had screened me and confirmed that I was not depressed, but I did have an anxiety issue, and that can lead to depression if left untreated. And holy macaroni, those little pills were great. I didn’t feel weird or numb or abnormally happy or anything. Not once did I dance naked in the street. (That’s still on my to-do list. “The drugs made me do it!” It’s gonna be awesome. Just a few more months of workouts…) I just felt better. Lighter. Less likely to get dangerously close to sobbing for one reason or another. Less likely to feel like I couldn’t breathe, or like I was, you know, mildly losing my mind completely. Turned out, all I needed was some seratonin to get me back onboard the Normal Train.

And I wasn’t crazy-go-nuts at the time, that’s the thing. I still only actually cried a fraction of the times I felt like it, and only alone. Nobody can tell when I’m having a freak-fest in my head. (Oh… wait. That’s what happens when people snap and eat other people’s faces off on a causeway in Miami. Everybody says they were nice and quiet and always said hello. And then BAM! Psychotic. Dammit. That is not a good realization.) Anyway, really. When I’m in full-blown panic attack mode, nobody knows except me. I find that a point of pride, because the last thing you want is for everyone to know that you’re spazzing out.

The tricky thing is, even don’t always know when anxiety is getting the better of me. What being on the Lexapro taught me was that sometimes anxiety affects me without me ever knowing it. And it doesn’t bother me every day. That makes it harder to identify when it’s back, or influencing me, or changing my perspective. I’ve had to get better at identifying signs. Like when I realized that feeling more emotional than usual – not overboard, just more so than usual – is a sign for me. For example: there are things that make some people cry, but don’t normally make me cry. A sappy Hallmark commercial, for one. But if I’m dealing with anxiety, it’s more likely that I’ll want to cry when I see the stupid thing. That’s a sign.

I didn’t need any glowing indicators to let me know that anxiety was hitting me hard when I was PMing at work. I have solid foundations for that – there are reasons it hits me in those cases, and I’m fully aware of them. In some cases, there’s no real reason. Or maybe there is, and that’s what the shrinkapist will help me with. “Let’s unpack my childhood!”

And so I look ahead with zeal to the day when I start getting back on a more regular track. Oh, it’ll be glorious. Really, I just want the work nightmares to stop, so I can go back to dreaming about regular stuff.

Like my undead grandmother trying to catch me as I run from her reanimated corpse.

Those were the good old days.

*******

PS – Worst Man In the World Who Hasn’t Killed Anyone That We Know Of (aka John Edwards) – not guilty on one of six counts (accepting illegal campaign contributions from Rachel Mellon) and a mistrial on the other five. Let’s hope they don’t re-try the case, so he can go live in a hole under a rock at Gloria Allred’s house or something.

Lessons In Being A Terrible Person

I went for a walk to the deli down the street to get myself a tuna salad sandwich, because I had been craving it for the entire day. One of my coworkers says this deli makes its tuna salad with lard and that’s why it’s so good, and I don’t know where she got that, but she’s taller than me and she’s tiny even though she’s had three kids, so I don’t trust her or her assessment of the tuna salad.

I don’t really know how her height has anything to do with anything, but I’m leaving it in.

At the deli, I stepped up to the counter to make my order. I know the drill at this place. I have a Frequent Buyer’s card, and some of the people who work there recognize me when I come in, but the guy I got this time apparently didn’t, so he kept interrupting my order to ask questions I was about to answer, like what kind of bread I wanted, and whether I wanted it toasted, and whether I wanted the cheese melted. And then after he hit TOTAL I gave him my fully hole-punched Frequent Buyer’s card, meaning I get my sandwich for free, and he gave me a look that shot fire into my face and I was pretty sure the wrath of Allah will come upon me in my sleep.

That’s totally not meant to be racist.

As I was standing off to the side, waiting for my order, one of the other guys came by to give someone else their food. This is one of the people who recognize me when I come in. I think he kind of has a little crush, because he gets all awkward when he sees me. He told me once that I look like Ali Landry.

He must have seen me through my window once while I was awkwardly lying across a stone slab in my underwear in front of the fireplace I don’t have.

PS – I don’t look like Ali Landry. Not even a little bit.

As he was bowing his head low and saying hello to me, I thought, “You poor awkward thing. Why the hell do you think I look like Ali Landry?” And then he muttered something I didn’t understand, and I smiled and asked him to repeat it. He looked up at the ceiling as if to make sure he’d pronounce it correctly and said, “Uh, happy holiday!” with an approval-seeking smile. And I did smile at him, while thinking it was strange to be wished a happy Weekend of Remembering Those Who Died In War. By a Japanese kid.

That’s totally not meant to be racist.

He might be Chinese.

So I got my food and started walking back to work, and then I tripped on an uneven piece of sidewalk. Probably as karma for being racist and silently mocking a kid who thinks I look like Ali Landry. What kind of woman mocks a kid for thinking she’s a smoking hot sex kitten?

I’m so pissed I don’t have a fireplace.

Also, while I was walking two blocks on a totally normal street, my calves started to ache. This kind of crap didn’t happen when I was not going to the gym for 3.5 years. During that time, I never had a single problem walking.

Then I got back to work and happened to check Facebook while I was eating. One of my friends from grade school had posted that a guy had taken her out and shown her “a good time” the night before. She’s got two kids, both young, one three and the other six months. The baby had to have open heart surgery right after he was born. Obviously, my friend needed a night out, but I thought it was strange that it was with some guy she’s not married to. “Whoa,” I commented. “Does (husband’s name) know? ;-)”

A little while later, I got a message from her. “Hey lady! Hope you’re doing well! I saw the pictures from your sister’s graduation – I can’t believe she’s so grown up! And your parents look the same. I thought maybe I should explain my post to you: (husband’s name) and I are in the process of a divorce….”

There were more words, but I lost them in a haze of being a terrible person. I managed a very apologetic reply.

And now I’m going to just sit quietly at my desk for the rest of the night.

 

 

 

 

Went To Gym. Did Not Die. Time For Cake!

So… I haven’t been to the gym in a while. How long’s a while? you silently ask your computer screen/smartphone lightsquare. Um… well, let’s see…

*does mental math*

*carries the four*

*looks at ceiling for answer*

*ding!*

At least 3.5 years.

Yyyyyeah.

I used to be pretty good about it. Time was, I was at the gym at least 3 days a week, usually five. Not because I liked it, but because I paid for it and didn’t want to get fat and gross at too young an age. I liked being able to say, “What did I do today? Oh, you know, went to work, hit the gym…” When I was in college I reached my highest weight, and it was when I joined the gym that I lost that weight, so it stood to reason I should continue working out. For like 11 years, I did it. Maybe not devotedly. Maybe I missed a couple months here and there, but I kept going back.

But as I’ve said in other posts, I had no problem looking for reasons not to go. No parking? Are you kidding? How am I expected to work out if there’s no parking? How am I expected to attain a level of fitness without being able to drive 15 minutes, get into the basement of a building by the mall, inhale other people’s BO, learn who colors their hair and who doesn’t with a simple five minute visit to the freestylin’ locker room, and pay for it all?

No parking = no exercising. Also = tremendous irony.

Once I fell off the wagon completely, I was rarely motivated to climb back on that sucker. I weigh less than I did then, which is completely counterintuitive (muscle mass is for sissies). I’m squarely in my mid-30s and I’m sure my bones are degenerating by the second, but I haven’t noticed any fractures. I can still pick things up. Between the renegade discs and the pinched nerves and the regular soreness of being active, well, I’m just not interested. Who likes pain? Sickos. I go to a chiropractor because I’m pretty much always in pain without doing anything, and in some bizarro-world demented twist, the crazy bitch is suggesting that a regular workout routine will help make the pain stop. And I’m scared she’s going to ask again tomorrow, “Sooo, when you getting back into those workouts?” and I’m going to be all, “Um…”

So I went.

It’s in my complex and it’s free, so no excuses there. If I’m not willing to walk my ass the .10 mile to the facility, I’m hopeless. (And there are days. And there will be more days. Like when it rains. Or is cold. Or is hot.) I don’t love the setup and I don’t love that there is no ab gear there (we know at this point that I’m a weirdo, so we should not be shocked that I actually love doing crunches), and I totally hate that the TV is in a corner and I have to turn my disc-hobbled neck to see it. But it’s a functional place and it’ll do the job because I’m not going to become that Crazy Workout Person who has to shred every muscle in her body.

That hurts.

Once upon a time, I had my system all set up, automatic-like. I had a gym bag. Inside the bag was my sweat towel, a water bottle, my sneakers and some other stuff I can’t remember. Today I had to struggle to recall where my sneakers even were. Then I was halfway out the door when I remembered I needed a sweat towel. Oh, and water. I never go anywhere without water, so why would I forget I needed it to go to the gym? Honestly, it’s a miracle I can identify exercise equipment at this point. What is that odd conveyor belt at the bottom of that big metal contraption with the screen? Is this the airport security line?

So I’m on the odd conveyor belt at the bottom of that big metal contraption with the screen, and I’m figuring I should take it pretty easy to start. Good call, since I nearly fell down. Twenty minutes on that baby and I was starting to glisten. Never having been a gym rat who socialized more that I sweated, I was grateful that it was a cool 67 degrees in there and I was by myself, not inhaling anyone else’s humid fetidness or waiting for someone else to unoccupy my machine.

After the conveyor belt, I hit the cross-trainer. Oh, I used to love me some cross-training cardio. I could do 45 minutes on that thing if my knee didn’t lock up (old volleyball injury – sometimes resulted in me dragging my right leg behind me like a zombie). Today? Let’s keep it to 15, cardio setting. Don’t get too crazy. No resistance, no incline, nice and easy to get back into the game. Now I’m sweating. This is good. The heart rate’s up but I’m not hating life. Since I don’t trust the machine to tell me my actual cardio rate, I put a hand to my neck and…

holy crap I’m about to blow.

It’s not that I was really hauling. My heart rate at the time was probably around 150. But my carotid artery felt awfully flimsy. Whoa, has it always been this close to the surface of my neck? I wondered. I was suddenly struck by an image from one of those hospital dramas I’ve watched in which someone’s jugular spontaneously erupted into bubbling jets of blood. (I’m using these arteries interchangeably. I know they’re both around there somewhere and I don’t remember which one I can actually feel, but it probably doesn’t matter because if one of them shreds, I’m going down and nobody’s going to care about vocabulary.)

But I made it through the cardio and a half-assed attempt at a little weight-lifting, just to see what the spine would allow. (If you don’t have disc issues, you might not know that every freaking thing you do, whether complex or simple, acts as a pulley on your spine, either compressing or extending it, and if you have compression issues, your nerves will shoot fire through whatever limb corresponds to them for days.) No major arteries blew. Everything in there feels normal now.

I think I’ll go back tomorrow.

If I can move.

Political Speculum-tion

We all know how it is. Well, all we women, I mean. Unless we’re my grandmother, who just flat-out refused to go, we all know what it’s like to be in that exam room waiting for that doctor to come in and spend some time talking to our crotches. As if it’s not bad enough that it takes forever to even get an appointment, and then we have to wait for 30 minutes, reading a magazine and trying to decide whether crossing our legs is a good idea or not, despite the fact that the receptionist told us the doctor is in a hurry to get to a surgery. (Also? “The doctor is in a hurry to get to surgery” is not what you want to hear as you anticipate cold metal and stabby sticks of plastic in your delicate parts.)

Pretty sure the men have all abandoned this post by now. Sorry fellas. Those of you who brave it will, no doubt, comment below. Not unlike the doc. Hey-oh!

But we go to this doctor and we do this thing because somebody said it was the way not to rot from the inside out or something. So after all that waiting, there I was on Friday, in the exam room. I had been weighed on the scale that lives in the room. The nurse had told me to take everything off, gown opens in the front, and handed me a pink paper thing with no instruction on how to unfold it, leaving me dangerously close to ripping it to tatters as I tried to work it out for myself. Nobody tells you you’re not smart enough to unfold the gown.

Clothes off, gown on, I eye the scale. I wonder. I step back on. Hey! My clothes apparently weigh 1.4 pounds! Fix that on the chart. Fix it.

Freezing in the paper gown, I sit on the exam table, trying not to stare at the stirrups. They have traction treads on them. Seriously? Who slips out of those?

I look around for distraction.

Um… what is that stain on the floor? Wait, you know what? I don’t want to know.

Yes I do. What is that?

Is that…? Why is…? Why is there some sort of wireless modem in the ceiling? I don’t see a laptop in here. Am I on camera? Seriously?

My feet are turning purple. They do that when I sit. I’d better get the blood flowing before the doc comes in and thinks my feet are about to fall off in those no-slip stirrups.

My back hurts from trying to sit like a lady in a paper gown on a table. I’m going to stand up.

I’m standing up and riffling through the magazines in the rack on the wall (all parenting or mom-to-be magazines… where is the stuff for those of us who are not in a family way?) when the doc charges in. He’s about five feet two, maybe 110 pounds soaking wet, somewhere between 65 and 85 years old, Indian, and highly excitable.

It’s the last part that’s bothersome.

“Heeeeeyyyyyy, how are yooo?!” he asks me. We haven’t seen each other in two years (they let me go every two years) but he remembers me.

And then he starts. “Oh, this election,” he says to me intensely as he pushes me back on the table and opens my gown. And so he starts a steady rapid-fire chatter of politics while palpating my abdomen and smacking my breasts around.

“Have you, eh, found anyone?” he asks me. “Marriage, you know, I don’t know. I don’t care who gets married to whom,” he says, laughing, checking for lumps. “All of this ‘they can’t do  this, you can’t do that–’ Who cares?” A boob flops sideways as he raises a hand to emphasize his point. “I’m married 41 years, and you know what? If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t do it!”

I manage a laugh as he maneuvers down to his wheeled stool. “I hope you don’t tell your wife that,” I say.

“Eh, she probably feels the same,” he says. “But– ” his head pops up, his voice a dramatic stage whisper– “too expensive to get out of it!”

He’s running the speculum under warm water while he’s talking about tax codes. He’s grabbing the bottle of gel when he launches into how to fix health care. I don’t know if I wince more from the exam or the fact that he’s talking to me about “getting scroood with our pants on” in this economy while he’s doing it. I love political talk, but not with my gynecologist, who has absolutely no problem telling me his political leanings on every visit. To which I nod along and make non-committal noises.

The whole exam takes like four minutes. I don’t like to linger at the gyno, nor do I like him to linger at me, but I’d like to know for sure he’s gotten the job done, so I wonder if he really could have found anything while he was down there, and then he’s telling me to get dressed and meet him in his office.

That’s where he continues his litany of ways to fix the health care system. He explains that, back in 1981 when he started practicing, there was no health insurance like it is now. “You pay everything out of pocket,” he says. “You need a sonogram? You write a check. You need a checkup? You write a check. There was none of this $10 copay bullshit, I send to insurance, insurance sends payment to me…. You just pay. And then, when you run out of money, then your catastrophic coverage kicks in.”

I’m thinking about how late he is for surgery.

“You pay for your service and that’s how you become cost-conscious! And then you think. ‘Wait, do I really need a sonogram? Wait, do I really need an MRI?’ You become cost conscious and that reduces cost.”

I’m thinking that might not really work, because cost-consciousness does not cure cancer.

“And the lawsuits!” he fires in his Indian lilt. “Oh, they have to do tort reform. They have to. My lawyer, he says, ‘Oh, we’re the good guys. We’re on your side.’ I say, ‘Oh, shut up. If they couldn’t sue us, you wouldn’t have any business!’ They’re all in it together!” he waves a hand dismissively.

Huh. Not wrong.

After a thorough, if one-sided, discussion of medical malpractice law, I’m out the door. A little uncomfortable in a couple of ways. The doc’s probably out for a smoke (I could smell it on him) before heading to some poor woman’s surgery. I’m still wondering about that modem in the ceiling. But if I don’t get a letter about abnormal cells, all’s well that ends well. I guess that’s how most people feel about elections. We’ll wince, we’ll be uncomfortable, we’ll get scroood with our pants on… and then we’re done for another coupla years before it’s time to schedule that appointment again.

Target Conspires To Turn Me Into A Drooling Moron

Target is a place that sucks money out of my bank account and concentration right out of my lil ol’ head. I go there to get hair mousse and toilet paper and cat food and I come out having spent $70 on stuff that I somehow actually do need and will use. And then I do something really dumb because of whatever brain drain gas that store pumps through its ventilation system.

I’m totally blaming the following story on that.

I was walking through the parking lot at Target on Thursday, musing to myself about how the damned place had suckered me again and trying to figure out exactly how it happens that I wind up spending so much more than planned just because I tend to break/lose sunglasses, need a new $8 t-shirt (how can I not buy it?) and really should just get the self-tanning lotion so I don’t blind people with my complexion anymore. I was thinking about this strange mystery of retail when I walked up to the car, bags in hand, and pushed the button on the key fob.

Car didn’t unlock.

I pushed the button again. Twice, just for extra certainty.

Nothing.

Great. Just great, I thought, growling huffily somewhere low in my throat. I dropped my head back and sort of rolled my eyes behind the new $16 sunglasses I’d just bought. The hand with the key in it dropped lifelessly to my side as though my arm had endured too much hassle to maintain muscle function. From there, I pushed the button on the key fob again.

Nothin’.

What (pushing button) is wrong (pushing button) with this (pushing button) stupid (pushing button) key thing?!

This key fob is not… fobbing!

Nevermind I could have tried putting the key in the door. I was worried that the battery in the key fob was dead, or that the battery in the car was dead. I was worried this would cost me more money. I was thinking if I put the key in the lock, the alarm would go off. Just terribly annoyed by the entire situation and still holding my two bags of Target purchases, I exhaled loudly, my eyes traveling down toward my feet in frustration. Somewhere along the way, they caught notice of something… something… just beyond the grasp of recognition…

I looked up. Blinked. Realized two things.

One: This is not my car.

Two: I am an idiot.

Yes, I see it now. There’s my car. It’s right there. It looks exactly like this one. Same year, same color, same interior, same door dings, I swear.

Not the same stuff inside. Not the same license plate.

Head down, eyes up, monitoring the area over the new sunglasses, I schlepped haplessly over to my Honda.Pushed the button.

The door unlocked easily, as if it were amused.

My car is a smart-ass.

What’s even more awesome about this is that I had parked three spots closer to the store than the other driver. Which means… I walked past my car to get to the other one.

I really shouldn’t be allowed out of my home.

PS – I am considered a very favored dark horse over on The Byronic Man’s Weekly Question of the Week page. Please go vote for me and demonstrate your opinion of my brilliance not just on this blog, but on his as well. Byronic is pretty awesome actually, so I endorse your reading of his stuff while you’re there. After you’ve voted for me. Seven times. At least.

Now on my bookshelf: In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin – Erik Larson

The Gift of Enough

For a long time, I’ve been kicking around the idea of a post about what women are to women. It never completely gelled, which is why I haven’t written it. And I suspect this post won’t be a full gelling of the topic, either, but it seemed a good one to explore on a day when so many other posts would be of the “Roses Are Red” variety. Understand that my thoughts here aren’t meant as blankets. They are noted patterns, and of course there are exceptions.

Of all the struggles women encounter in daily and more broadly-defined life, I think none is as challenging, heart-rending and sometimes crippling as the struggle to know what is best for them and their families when it comes to work. In the “old days,” most women stayed home and raised their children, generally regardless of whether they wanted to or not. It was expected of them. They were greeted at the end of a long day by a husband whose further expectations, be they real or perceived, were only more wearying. Some men did help. Some expectations were merely societal and not personal. And there were fewer single mothers then.

It was nearly unheard-of for a woman to say she wasn’t sure she was cut out for it. Not sure she was doing the best job. Not certain she wasn’t supposed to be doing other things that might enrich her life, make her happier. She felt, well… a little trapped, maybe. A little let down that the “dream life” turned out to be kind of banal and maddening sometimes. And she felt guilty as hell for not being completely pleased to stay home and raise the children she’d always wanted and deeply loved… even when she thought about leaving them in a store for good.

Now, things are different. A lot more moms work. They do it because they need the extra income, or they do it because they’re the only income, or because someone invested in their education and they don’t want to waste it, or because children came later, or because they know they’ll be happier women, and therefore better moms, if they get out of the house and away from their children. They tell each other and themselves that they can handle it, that they can do it all, with help from friends and supportive partners. Or without. But always, they go to bed feeling they’ve fallen short somewhere in the day. And they feel guilty as hell for not staying home all the time, or for not wanting to stay home all the time.

These are stories to which every woman can relate – even those, like me, who don’t have children. Somewhere above is at least one thought that has crossed all of our minds, that has kept us awake at night, whether because it was our reality or our considered possibility. And with all this inner conflict, with all this uncertainty, with all this fear and worry and unspoken aching, what do we women do for one another?

We pretend to support each other while we tear each other apart.

We judge each other. Stay-at-home moms are weak, less bright, less driven, more dependent, more likely to become depressed, less likely to be truly happy with motherhood because they’re not fulfilling themselves intellectually and professionally. Women who work are selfish, arrogant, controlling, unfocused. They don’t love their children enough to make a less self-glorifying choice.

In the absence of those particular judgments, there is jealousy. Those who work and don’t malign stay-at-home moms envy them instead. Those who stay home and don’t malign working moms wish they could go to work, too.

I’m not sure I’ve ever met a mother, of any persuasion, age or station in life, who was truly happy with her place. With her choice. With her options. I’m not sure I’ve ever met a mother who didn’t sometimes wonder whether she’d done the right thing.

And then there are those of us who don’t have children. Some of us can’t, and dread the moments when friends or relatives ask when we’re having babies or why we haven’t, carrying in our wombs the ache of that which we want but cannot do. Others of us choose not to have children, whether it be because we don’t feel we would be good mothers, or because we’re not solid in our partnerships, or because we don’t like children, or simply because we’re not sure it’s what’s right for us. Some of us are childless as a matter of timing and a long search for the right partner. We all listen to the clucking of our loved ones musing that time is running out. We hear people accuse us of being too focused on our careers, as if being childless and destitute would be the better option. Or we endure the supposedly inspiring cheerleading of our “empowered” friends who insist that we put aside our “fears” and believe in that which our bodies are designed to do. They urge us on and insist that we can do it, without ever asking us whether we want to do it. And if we don’t want to do it, well… there must be something wrong with us.

All the time, what I hear and read and see is a battle of women against women. I believe, by and large, it is no longer men who hold us back, be it in the workplace or the home. It is the voices of our mothers, our sisters, our friends, our envied counterparts, our own doubting selves, making us believe that whatever we are doing is not enough.

I’ve long wondered why women are so hard on each other. For all that wondering, I have come to believe that the answer is simply that we criticize in others that which we do not like within ourselves. In the end, if we strip everything away, the problem we have is not with that other woman, that other mother, who does the opposite of that which we do. The problem is that we are afraid that, after all our self-convincing, all our preaching, all our liberation, all our choices and all our acceptance of whatever comes… we were wrong.

We are afraid that we are not enough.

That the voices are right.

That she is better.

That we have failed.

Failed our partners.

Failed our children.

Failed our parents.

Failed ourselves.

This Mother’s Day, I ask every woman to shut out the voices that tell her she is not enough and listen to her own. I ask her to ignore what tells her she is not enough, and to decide for herself and her family what is best.

And I ask all the other women who are not her… to mind their own damned business.

A Random Assemblage of Thoughts That Form No Real, Cohesive Post

So, I’ve been absent for like a week and a half. I sort of didn’t realize it. That’s the longest I’ve ever gone without posting, and I’m sure you were all desperately worried about my well-being. You might understand when I tell you that sometimes life falls down on your head, pisses you off, makes you buy a big bottle of vodka and convinces you that you don’t have enough material on any one idea to write any one full blog post. Or that you don’t have enough time. So here are a few thoughts that have crossed my mind, made me think, “I should post about that,” and then promptly been discarded for use in a later compliation post. Apparently.

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Newt Gingrich is (finally) no longer running for president. His 23-minute resignation speech was, as we’ve come to expect, almost completely graceless and still delightfully sanctimonious. He thanked his mother-in-law, saying she wasn’t usually with them but watched faithfully online and often didn’t understand what was happening. Which was kind of adorable and kind of just really weird and a little insulting. Callista just blinked and nodded, as programmed. He apologized for to the voters of South Carolina, who handed him a primary win, for breaking their tradition of picking the eventual nominee. He quoted a congressman from Oklahoma who said: “Newt is liberated to do what he does best: adapt conservative views and values to the challenges of the 21st century. In some ways his best days may be ahead of him.”

I think that might be a threat.

PS Ron Paul is still running. And Gary Johnson is now the Libertarian Party’s nominee.

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A lawyer for uber-wealthy and reclusive philanthropist and apparent babydaddy-avoidance-funder Rachel “Bunny” Mellon testified in court Friday that Mellon had told him she was impressed with 2008 presidential candidate John Edwards and thought “he would make a fine president, reminiscent of her good friend John F. Kennedy.” Wowza. Bet she never realized how right she’d be. PS – a little math shows that the eleventy-two year old heiress was 52 when JFK was assassinated 49 years ago.

Bunny’s interior designer, to whom she wrote the $750,000 in checks for use by Edwards’ people, and who signed them over to former campaign aide Andrew Young, testified that he was also Mellon’s “evening friend” – someone she calls for a chat before bed.

I now think some of these people are living in an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel.

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Did you know there’s a website called theofficialbellybuttonforum.com? Yeah. This is almost as surprising a realization as my continuing education on how many people search the internet for photos of tarpon and wind up on my blog. I can’t imagine how many people search for photos of tarpon and don’t click on my blog post. Anyway. Theofficialbellybuttonforum.com recently reposted my musings on my belly button piercing. Along with the repost, they quoted some of their favorite lines and commented on them. I don’t think they were being critical. I have no idea how many readers theofficialbellybuttonforum.com has… and I don’t think I want to… but I’m really, really glad I never post personal photos on my blog. Also, I feel the need to bathe.

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I’ve been looking for a job for a while, though I’m still employed. I know, it’s like tempting fate in this economy, but the job I have now is kind of like fiddling on the Titanic while my fellow band members continually try to light my bow on fire. Often on my Japanese game show-like commute, I pass several sign spinners. You know. The guys who toss giant cardboard arrows into the air all twirly-like, trying to get you to pay attention to the fact that there’s an apartment building with vacancies just down the road. I find myself hypnotized by these guys and their talents. I’m weird, right? I mean what’s so awesome about throwing a sign up in the air and then catching it? Besides the fact that they do it for hours in the sun and sometimes very hot conditions. But still I love watching it. I kind of want to be them. The other day I saw one of these guys drop his sign. Ohhhh, I felt so bad for him. I actually groaned aloud in empathy. I wanted to tell him nobody saw it but me. I wanted to spare him some sort of projected humiliation I assumed he’d feel for his failure. I wanted to give him a hug.

I think I have a problem.

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Remember I told you about the legislation I worked on with a state senator and his chief of staff? Well what I didn’t tell you was that I might have sort of kind of fallen slightly in like with said chief of staff. I couldn’t help it. The day I testified to the senate committee in favor of our bill, I was a train wreck of nerves and anxiety pretending to be a completely composed, dignified and serene woman in a pencil skirt, dress shirt and heels. I had walked, like, a year from my parking spot, with my skirt spinning around my hips because I’d dropped 10 pounds in four weeks from my mysterious and undiagnosed gastric complaint, and because the skirt was sitting so low, my shirt wouldn’t stay tucked in. So when I finally schlepped my way into the office building, I headed for a ground-floor bathroom so I could fix my bedraggled self. I safety-pinned my shirt into my skirt so that my skirt would stay in place and my shirt would stay tucked in. I was like one of those paper dolls we folded outfits onto when we were kids. Gah. Miraculously, I did not have sweat-stains under my arms. I still can’t figure out how I was spared that particular humiliation. Other than I drove the whole way with my elbows sticking out to keep the air circulating.

Anyway, then I hoofed it up to the fourth floor and down the hall to the senator’s office. I’d never met him or his chief of staff, though I’d been talking with the latter fellow for months on the phone and over email. As I walked, a really, really attractive guy came confidently striding out of an office, chowing down on a double-chocolate chip cookie (hell yes, I recognized it on spec). We nodded greetings at each other and I walked into the appropriate office, which I found to be empty. Seconds later, as I debated how to behave, the guy walked back in, looked at me, said my name with a question mark on the end of it, and we established that he was not the Philip Seymour Hoffman-esque character I’d expected to be the senator’s chief of staff.

Less like this..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…More like THIS.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, screw. This is going to be awkward, now. This is going to be a Thing, because I’m all nervous and secretly vulnerable and now I find you attractive and I can’t flirt because the whole reason I’m in your office is that I had a stalker and that would just look bad, and plus we’re trying to crusade for victims’ rights and you’re the only one who stepped up to get it done which sort of makes you my hero, and our love will have to wait until we’re done with that, which is suddenly kind of annoying.

I swear, it was like a freaking episode of The West Wing.

We recently became Facebook friends. He appeared to have a girlfriend as recently as Easter Sunday, but then all of a sudden, all evidence of her was gone. The other day, he told me he’s looking for a job, too, and he hates it because it’s like dating: “they just don’t work for me.”

Dude. You are ruining my Sorkin-like narrative.

I think I have a problem.

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Perhaps not coincidentally…  I’ve been looking for a therapist lately. See, a few years ago I started having what seemed to be daily and hours-long heart attacks, but turned out to be panic/anxiety attacks instead. Which sucks because they last way longer than heart attacks and can happen every day and still not kill you. Anyway. Those have come back lately, and as much as I hate it, it probably means I’m going to have to get some meds. But of course, my insurance has changed since last time. Hence the calling of the therapists, none of whom I know, all of whom are random stabs at the map provided by my insurance carrier. How much do I love the irony of mental health insurance carriers making it difficult to find treatment? People: I’m already nearly cuckoo. Why are you making this so hard? It’s like you do it on purpose just for giggles.

 One doc no longer takes insurance, another no longer takes my insurance, and a third said their first available appointment is in July.

July. I could be full-on bats!%t by July.

You have been warned.