The Up Hill

 

CLICK (2)

The thing about depression is there is no black and white. No yes or no. It’s a journey. Some days the going is hard and other days just treading water is a success.

5 days shy of 8 months and I finally feel like things are on the up for me. You see, getting better does not really start at getting help. Some times it gets significantly worse after that. Getting help is like clawing at the sides of the hole you are in to slow down the rate at which you are falling. You are either going find something that saves you, or you’ll hit the bottom. And for some, that is the only time they are able to climb out.

For me, I did not quite get to the bottom. I am adult enough to know that things could have been far worse. For me, reaching out meant a small dose of medication, counseling and a ton of support from the people around me. I am not embarrassed about postpartum depression. I have a ton of friends that are pregnant. If they start having symptoms, they know exactly who to talk to.

My PPD was not a disconnect from my children. It was different. It was not even triggered by pregnancy and birth, but exasperated due to the hormone changes that go along with it. I’m depressed because I hate the way I look after these beautiful creations clawed their way out of me like Ace Ventura out of a rhino butt..

200_s.gif

I am sad because I will never be 20 again. I will probably NEVER fit any of those jeans in the blue tote in my basement. And I will NEVER reach my fitness goal of wearing my old bras again either.. I have so many cute ones, this in itself is depressing. You can tell me I am ridiculous and to go easy on myself because I just had a baby. But when have you ever known me to go easy on myself? It’s one of my quirks and everyone secretly loves me for it. If I was not so hard on myself, people would not get paid, and my son would smell like farts. All.The.Time. So you are welcome for me holding myself to high standards.

Back to what I was saying. I am glad you think I am beautiful. My husband is still attracted to me after this transformation, but I am not attracted to me. Nope. I struggle with the state of things. I know how to fix them, but I have not been able to sleep because babe wakes up at least every two hours to nurse, I work full time and I solo parent a lot of the time.

And I have been so tired that I would cry when my alarm went off. It was bad.

This week has actually felt like I consistently kept my head above water. I was even faced with something that would have completely derailed me, but it did not. In the past and with everything I have been through, I thought I was pretty resilient, and I guess I still am. I did not stop fighting to be happy. I knew that if I was unhappy, my children would be effected. My marriage had already taken a huge hit. But I made it through. We made it through. I could not have done it with out them.

But you know what the big turning point was? Moving the baby to her own room and sleep training. I stopped nursing in the middle of the night. She protests adamantly in the beginning but no more than an hour of crying and falling asleep and crying again cycle. After one week, I am a brand new person. I could, and plan to, conquer the world. Now I can enjoy my coffee instead of survive on it. Maybe it is selfish of me not to want my baby close at night, and I have noticed that as I get older, I am less and less willing to compromise on things like sleep. Selfish? Fine. I will own that. But I am also getting back to a personal state of better health. Which is far more important to both of my children at this point.

So thank you darling. I know when you grow up and read what your mama wrote about you, you might not like it. But if we could help others by sharing our experiences, then I’d say we’re already a pretty darn good team.

 

via Daily Prompt: Better

Not As I Do

This is a Mother’s Day post, but not in the sense that you may think. The last 17 years, our relationship has been complicated to put it simply. There were many lessons that she tried to teach me as I was growing, but in true child form, I opted to make mistakes versus listening and obeying the warnings she tried so desperately to penetrate into my adolescent psyche.

10373032_10152554528558824_8883966195347632078_o

I hated everything when I was a teenager.

She became a mother at a very young age. They were married soon after conception and my father, owning the responsibility of his new small family, joined the military. Then I came along. I have written about what I remember (or don’t) of my father in those  early years of life, but the constant was my mother. She was always there.  She raised us with very little help from anyone else, as we constantly moved from one place to another and away from family most of the time.

1171314_10151840612990266_902353834_o

My dad was stationed in Korea for a year and Mom was left to raise three kids alone.

I really wish I had appreciated her more then. I wish I had followed some of her instructions. I wish I had even liked her more. No doubt that I love her. She is my mother. But with my stubbornness and her life long search to find herself, we were never friends.

429910_10150644382510932_465184391_n

In the fourth grade (I know this is a trivial time in one’s life that should not hold much weight into adulthood), I started to suck at school. I discovered at an early age that I was really smart. I also discovered that I learned so fast, I could pretty much wing-it most of the time. So I stopped doing homework. To this day I will go out of my way to avoid bringing work of any fashion home with me. This habit also was the driving force that convinced me it was time to leave the military. All this to say, my teachers informed my parents, who were unsuspecting that anything was wrong.

69748_10151261818295266_1448199736_n

But we managed a little fun in the midst of frustration.

In 1995, my mother wrote me a letter. It has remained preserved in a clear pencil pocket all these years. I took it with me after I went to juvy (another story for another time), was court ordered to live with my aunt, through college, to war and back twice, owning two houses, having two children of my own. This 3/4 piece of paper in my mother’s handwriting has remained with me.

dfg

The coffee stain at the bottom happened today. This is the first time I have taken it out of that pencil pouch. Dammit.

Dear Dacia,

You are a very intelligent young lady. Your father and I are very proud of you and your accomplishments. We only ask that you try a little harder at keeping your mind on your studies while at school. You only get to go through school one time, please make the best of it. Life is too short as it is. Loosen up, enjoy yourself but remember without knowledge and education, we are poor people. And I don’t mean just the lack of money. I mean, in the lack of mind and knowledge. Try to view school as a play. You have the lead. Your even allowed to make up things as you go along. But you have to learn your lines. Spelling, Math, Reading, Social Studies, etc. You know what I mean. You know you can do better. I’ve seen you do better.

I love you,

Mom

When I became a teenager, my mother and I started down the same path. I can recall a day sitting in the passenger seat of the family car and mom driving. She asked me what I wanted to do with my life. I told her that I just wanted to party. All the time. At 15, I decided that I disagreed with 98% of what the world viewed as the responsibilities of being an adult. She tried to explain these concepts of paying bills and taxes, needing to get a job and what it truly took to support myself and be successful.

168948_10150128856065932_1938809_n

I cannot imagine the desperation of my mother, to see me headed down a road that would lead me to just barely scraping by. I am truly amazed that at 32, I do not have an 18 year old child of my own.

39423_114190421985244_102604_n

Recently, I had a chance to spend sometime with my mother. More time than I have spent with her since the day she drove me to the police station and handed me over.

It suddenly occurred to me that we both walked down a path together. And as I left her that day many years ago, I was able to jump back on the right track and make something of myself. She stayed. She made a series of choices that led her to a place that me and my siblings felt needed some intervention.

18010278_10154940376415932_5854881488845912168_n

As I picked her up and drove her to my home, I could not help but feel like the tables had turned. If I had not finally accepted the advice my mother had tried so hard to give me, I would still be in that passenger seat refusing to accept responsibility or acknowledge consequences of my life choices.

There is so much I want for my mother, but really, I just want a mother. I did not grow up how she expected, but I found my round about way to a successful life. I was not around for us to build that relationship that other daughters have with their mother. My kids might not get to visit Meemaw at the same house she had lived in for decades, like I got to growing up. But that’s alright.

1743477_10152735594255932_5783447164238851324_n

On Mother’s Day, I always struggle to find a good card at the store. Vague ones that simply say “I love you, Mom.” and don’t talk about “You were always there for me. You’re my best friend. I couldnt have done it without you.” I wish I could say those things, but for whatever reason, my fault, hers, or simply victims of circumstance, we don’t have a relationship like most women.

59487_157438697605116_6994791_n

Yes we are hoola-hooping in a bar…

I love my mother so deeply. I would tear down a mountain for her. And heaven help anyone that disrespects her or hurts her in anyway. That said, I cannot force her to make choices that would help her fit into this idea of “Mom” that I knew before. If she is happy, healthy, and taken care of I cannot ask much more than that.

17972355_10154936178805932_8682847766403824384_o

I needed my mama to help me. My PPD had gotten so bad. This visit really was a huge turning point in my own recovery. I still need my mama.

Even though her time with me was under stressful circumstances and her departure was quite abrupt, I did learn one thing. I need my mother. No matter who she was before or who she is now. I just needed her because I know she’d love me even if I wasn’t successful. Even if I was still in that passenger seat. Even if she had an 18 year old grandchild. She will always love me in the ways she can.

425262_10150644447875932_721334153_n

So, happy Mother’s Day, Woman. I love you.

5 Reasons YOU Should Be Crafting (Or Know Someone That Does)

Get your hands dirty

I have always been a quick learner, fairly crafty, and extremely cheap. So when I met my good friend Jasmine of The Jaybird’s Nest, I knew she was my people. Through the years she has taught me some very valuable things. Not only that, but she helps me raise my kids. For this, I am indebted to her forever. lol So let me tell you some fun things she has taught me about crafting.

  1. It’s a marketable skill. If you decide you are done working and ready to “stick it to the man”, you have a means by which to support yourself. Now I’m not a HUGE dooms day prepper, but let’s face it, if you can make things then you can trade things. People need clothes. If you can crochet, knit, or sew then BAM, you’re a valuable asset.
  1. Signs, Signs, and more SIGNS!!! Nothing boosts your mood like a well-placed snarky sign. The possibilities are endless. Christmas, Halloween, even spring!! They make me happy, they make you happy. Everyone needs more happy. PLUS you save a bazillion dollars on decorating your home. Find some ugly furniture with good bones at a yard sale, and wha-la! You can transform it to match your décor without dropping a few hundred dollars at ikea.
10366031_1125646040800464_721644866906801000_n

Picture by The Jaybird’s Nest- Mass production underway.

  1. OMG kids are much cuter in something that was custom made for them. This should actually be its own post. I am fighting the urge to just not leave an explanation and flood the rest of this with adorable pictures of children and homemade stuffs.
17191755_10154827428960932_3004564050304239035_o

My Little Miss. Her shirt, the sheet, and the frame were made by The Jaybird’s Nest.

  1. Cheaper than therapy- Plus emotions BLECK! There is something about finishing a project that really teaches you a lot about yourself. Whether that “finish” means you return it to the trash where you got it, or it ends up as the beautiful piece you envisioned all along, you learn how much patience you have, how much coffee you can consume, and how long you can actually ignore your children whining about “She’s touching meeeee” Seriously, she can’t even crawl. Just scoot 5 more inches and you are safe from your octopus-banshee sister. Sheesh!

16587286_10154749371120932_1263546955200930965_o

  1. Supporting small business. For some crafters, your support could help them buy yet another pair of cleats because the ones they bought last week no longer fit. For others (like me) it saved me money on having to BUY you a Christmas present so that I could buy my guy another Stay Puft Marshmellow Man because he lost his at the doctor’s office.
1936761_1075165719181830_1178915604043085191_n

The Jay Bird’s Nest “Before”

6199_1075165999181802_4724715180518546856_n

The Jaybird’s Nest “After”

I make things because I have a driving need to be creative as most crafters do. It is a healthy outlet, plus power tools make me feel… Powerful? lol And when that one project turns out so good, you want everyone to see it when they come over, there is nothing like that feeling of accomplishment. Or you could just be happy you finished something before starting a fifth project.

18237995_10154985094935932_1426438292171000437_o

I did this yesterday. It was the cushioned backing of an UGLY bench. Now it’s a beautiful photo board 😀

I asked my mister yesterday (while I was painting in the kitchen and MAYBE i got a little paint on the counter) if he was annoyed with my crafting. He said no, not at all, but he just wishes that I would finish my projects before starting them so I don’t have a dresser hanging out in the garage, taking up space for a couple of years before I ultimately abandon it anyway. But hey, you win some, you lose some.

Why do you craft???

Mystery Blogger’s Award

Happy Sunday!!!

The mystery bloggers award

Jules of Jules Rules Blog nominated me for the Mystery Blogger’s award. She was one of the first bloggers I ever followed and actually interacted with. I was hoping she would move to Colorado, but only Californians would be so lucky to receive this woman. I cannot say enough awesome things about her, as she has been role model for me in the blogging and publishing community (Bet you did not know any of this, Jules).

As part of this award, I have to answer her 5 questions. If not Jesus won’t give me a hundred million dollars under my pillow when my teeth fall out.

cf5558b06b70631671fc9c37a3e271ec_-meme-thats-not-how-this-works_480-278

But you get the idea. It’s an honor to reciprocate this award, but there is a little more to it:

  1. Post the award/ image on your blog (see above)
  2. Thank whoever nominated you and give a link back to their blog.
  3. Mention the creator of the award and give a link back to their blog.
  4. Nominate 10-20 deserving bloggers and notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  5. Ask your nominees 5 questions of your choice; including one weird or funny question

This award was created by Okoto Enigma and you can find her blog HERE.

Here are the questions Jules has asked:

  1. What is your happiest memory?

This is a tough one. You would think that marriage and child birth would be among the most happy memories, but each of these are shrouded with some sort of sadness. Or maybe that’s just where I am at today.

My husband and I had a pre-wedding honeymoon to Florida the October before our wedding. We spent ten days in a condo 100% free of charge. We went to all of the Disney parks and Universal. We drank. We ate. We started watching American an Horror Story which was too scary to watch while he was sleeping so I had to turn off the first episode and wait to watch it until we got home. This vacation was easily one of the happiest times in my life.

2. What is your passion? This is, if you had a Mission Statement for your life, what would it be?

My passion is being a mother to my children. Everything I do: work, write, sleep, cook, clean, even drink, is because of them. Everything I am revolves around these two people. My husband is my partner in this journey and he really just keeps me healthy enough to be the best mom I can. Jesus I love my family so much it hurts.

3.  If you had a million dollars and had to spend it in a month, what would you buy and why?

This is easy because we have this conversation regularly. We would pay off the house we currently live in and remodel it to be everything we want. If we made 2 million, we’d move to the good part of town, but where we live is nice enough to stick it out for the long haul of life. I would not mind having the most expensive house on the block.

4. If you were a superhero, what would be your power and why?

I would be able to tell when people are lying. I would not want to read their minds, but maybe have a spider sense that could tell me when they weren’t being honest. Integrity is a value I hold very dear. We all make mistakes, but it says something to one’s character if they can own it.

5. What was your best blog, or the one of which you are most proud?

Oh Father, Where Art Thou? is the blog I am most proud of . The journey to having a meaningful relationship with my dad led me to places in the world that most cannot relate or fathom. I would not have met my husband, friends, and moved to the places that molded my adult life. Being able to walk back through this path and bring others with me meant a lot.

 

As part of this award, I must nominate fellow bloggers. I ‘follow’ quite a few, but I think nominating so many diminishes the honor. That being said, I would like to nominate:

  1. Liberty Hedwick of Liberty On the Lighter Side
  2. Amanda Swedhin of What’s After 30
  3. Andrew of Life Between 0 and  1
  4. Laina of the silent wave
  5. Kiwinadian of Where is My Glow?
  6. Angie Dokos
  7. Liz Durano
  8. Teresa of Teresa’s Creations
  9. Cheila of Pink For Days
  10. Stevi– heeheehee Gotcha!!!!

 

My questions for you folks are:

 

  1. If your blog had a theme song, what would it be and why?
  2. What is your writing routine? Do you have one? Should you have one? What would be your ideal writing life?
  3. In the movie of your life, what actor could best portray you?
  4. What are you currently reading?
  5. Describe the most trying time of your life.

 

Thank you Jules. I can’t even believe you thought of me.. Pasadena isn’t Colorado but good luck to you!!

My Perfect Work Space

My

I have not taken part in a flash fiction challenge in a long time. I have followed Kimberly Crawford since the beginning of my blog nearly two years ago. My first short story, The Last Piece,was from my first shot at one of her challenges. I am thankful that she continues to post these.

This week, we are challenged to write about our ideal work space. Deep in my heart this is where I want to be.

I write in the wee morning light. When everything slumbers. When the night animals tuck in their dark spaces to escape the day and the day animals roll sleepily where they had claimed as home the night before. When my children are snuggled so warm and peaceful and my husband’s feet are still warmed by the pup at the foot of our bed. The crickets have stopped and the birds have not started.

My wooden desk sits slightly shorter than most, but perfect for me. It’s old and worn and soft to the touch. The front ledge is rounded from generations of pen wielding arms pulled from left to right creating hand written letters, stories, poems. Parchment replaced by technology: a double screen, wireless keyboard and mouse. The sentiment remains the same.

My chair sometimes requires conscious balance. Leaning back is a guaranteed concussion, but the arm rests still serve their purpose. The cushion needed reupholstering when my grandmother was a child. The red, orange, yellow fibers are still vibrant nearest the wooden frame but the seat has a comfortable divot to accommodate my posture. Nothing comes close to this custom fit. I have purchased new chairs, but none offer the history and familiarity as this heirloom.

My coffee sits to the left of my keyboard. The steam carries the aroma of awakening and clarity. It brings me from the fog of sleep into the world that I have created on the screen. Sometimes the two intertwine in my dreams, other times I require the liquid motivation to bring back to the place where it started, like a conditional learning pattern. I keep a black pen near my journal on the right. The journal is made of recycled material and has rough, beige pages. My pen spills more ink than needed making my thoughts appear bold and important against the imperfect paper.

A picture frame proudly displays a collage of my family: two happy adults with their silly and adorable son and daughter. A fat beagle is never far from the subjects. I keep a calendar for literary reference and sometimes to remind me of where I am in time, if ever I get lost.

I do not keep a clock and hide one from my screens. My children are my alarm in this place. I have reached a state where they are no longer competing for my attention. My work is completed in the silence of the morning, not in the corporate bustle of obligation.

The nook of my writing space is an extension of the living room. Pushed against the wall underneath a wide window. It faces south, so the sun passes by as it makes its daily journey but never directly in. With them cracked even just an inch, the sound of the rushing creek engulfs the space. It is both strong and gentle. It ushers a breeze that carries the scent of the over-hanging cottonwoods and tall standing aspens. The smells of earth and coffee transport me to the place where my thoughts become someone else. Where primal fears fuel the adrenaline needed for survival. Where lust is mistaken for love. Where death is not the end that it was once perceived to be. The world is no longer confined to what is tangible, but is simply anything I am able to articulate.

Sometimes, I do not even right. Sometimes I hold my coffee with two hands, lean carefully back in my soft but unstable chair and I muse. I let my mind step out of the window and float amongst the leaves of the trees, fall to the water and chase the rapids between rocks. I think of other places and who I would find there. I put them in situations and create their reactions. I allow myself to feel emotions that belong to others and make note of their progression.

With sounds behind me, a giggle, a yawn, sometimes even a flush, bring me back to the world that I cherish above any other I could imagine. Where my calendar reminds me of how far I have come and the little people so excited for the day that they have woken up and are that much older. They look forward to the real adventure Mommy will take them on. For the journey that they will live and the emotions of situations that are their own.

Before leaving, I glance one more time at my space and thank God that it has given me the ability to give to my children what I had only dreamed of.

Administrative Professional’s Day 2017

Administrative Professional's

I like this field of work. No, I do not mind being some one else’s secretary. It is a fairly independent and flexible job. I am openly appreciated and have a positive work atmosphere. I also have a door that I can close when my introversion takes over.

But I would really like to make honorable mention to my peers today. They have been my sounding board, my back-up, my wealth of knowledge, and ultimately friends. I am extremely fortunate to work along side the most diverse and genuine people one can come across. The names have been changed to protect their privacy, but if you know one, you probably know all of them. They are pretty great 😀

Baby Mama- She is one genuinely happy person. She always looks to the positive even in her own rough circumstances. There was a time she was puking in the trash can in my office and was still laughing about it. In retrospect, it was pretty funny.

I Donut Care- I cannot be around this woman without laughing hysterically at least three times. Luckily her office is pretty secluded and we do not bother too many people. I do not see her as much as I would like but she is totally among my closest friends.

Nerd- OMG this woman has saved me so much time and hassle. She is innovative, self motivated, super smart, nerdy, but crazy down to Earth.  She shares my love of old school rock, she drinks beers, and would bend over backwards for me. Her first week at work, I left for maternity leave and she covered for me for 3 months without a peep of complaint.

The Boss’s Boss’s Secretaries- Thank you for going easy on me. I wish there were better words to articulate how much I truly appreciate their openness and professionalism.

Trainers- The women who set me up for success, I still look up to you. Thank you!

That one chick that I used to work with- YOU!!!! You got me through so much. Between baby advice, reading my writings, and encouragement, I owe you a lot more than I have given back. You are an amazing friend, a great mama, and you’re awesome at your job.

 

I know I have forgotten some people, but know you are all dear to me. Happy Administrative Professional’s Day!

Teething: The Cold Hard Truth

Teething

Imagine, if you will, an ache. A small swollen pain that is constant and further irritated by doing the one thing that soothes you. Then remove your ability to fix it, or even articulate your need for assistance aside from screaming bloody murder and thrashing around. You have become a miniature angry octopus-banshee creature that is utterly inconsolable. This is my child.

You have become a miniature angry octopus-banshee creature that is utterly inconsolable.

No, I did not get lip injections, I was somehow kicked in the face multiple times. While I tried to pretend  it was a massage, my muscles were not fooled. Yes I did shower today in a desperate attempt to wake up, however this hair style is called the my-eyes-were-still-closed bun. If I had not set my kids clothes out last night, they would be wearing pajamas to the sitter. I also sincerely apologize to the gentleman that I MIGHT have cut off today on the highway. Your middle finger was very much warranted. Thank you for not retaliating in any other way like tailgating, honking or the like.

Normally I am that annoyingly chipper morning person, so I’m just guessing this is Karma coming back at me. Well played, life. Well played. I am far too nice to not smile back at everyone I see, but it is seriously exhausting to do so.

I cannot taste my coffee. It is having zero effect. I desperately wish it was Friday instead of Wednesday but it is feeling so much like the third Monday of the week. Oddly enough I will probably be far more productive today in attempts to compensate for my lack of motivation.

But after such a torturous night, waking up to happy kids puts a nice buffer on the rest of the day. Pulling myself out of bed after only hitting snooze once, made for an easier morning and less rushing.

17814369_10154949727045932_2193541387852248077_o

It is amazing what an hour nap does for a baby. I love you, Pumpkin, but you have made Mommy’s day suck really bad. And there does not seem to be an end in sight. I’m scared to google “how long does teething last” because my four year old now has molars coming through. Heaven help me.