Big Girls Do Cry

all about me

My daughter watched me burst into tears yesterday.

It started in the morning when I connected my new printer and couldn’t get it to work. It was incredibly frustrating but I didn’t despair. I still had options. After uninstalling and reinstalling the software on my laptop, I was able to print wirelessly. I did a little happy dance and thought about buying a lottery ticket.

That afternoon, I prepped for homework. No, not my homework. My kids’ homework. They’re 5 and 6. I don’t remember even having homework until junior high (now apparently called middle school) and by that time my parents had already forgotten everything they learned in high school and were completely incapable of helping me (or so they claimed). I also don’t remember anyone warning me about this when I was pregnant. You went on and on about the trials of potty training and not forgetting to leave money from the tooth fairy (and to take the tooth – darn it!) but you glossed right over how I’d have to coach them through worksheets, book reports and projects – in kindergarten. Read More

San Diego Sunset

A picture I took of a San Diego sunset.

I’ve spent the last year learning what it means to trust myself in dark places. I don’t mean darkness in the sense of depression or danger. More like learning to feel my way through the dark without automatically reaching over to turn on a light and asking myself what I need to learn in this place before moving on. Part of that has been separating from outside influences so that I could practice thinking for myself. I haven’t abandoned my support network but I’ve definitely taken a different approach to weighing those influences.

As many of you know, I stopped identifying as an alcoholic over a year ago and wrote about it here last August. I don’t want to talk about moderation or even specifically about drinking. All I’ve ever really wanted to talk about is my journey in learning how to take care of myself. Read More

Making Memories

seashells

We go to the beach with nothing more than a towel, a bottle of water and a bag for seashells.

No phones, no camera. No umbrella, chairs, cooler or sunscreen. We did a full on beach day like that a couple of days before and within 2 hours, the kids were ready to leave.

What do you mean you want to go back? When your dad and I used to go to the beach we’d set up camp and stay all day.

Expectations run rampant almost everywhere I go but they do not belong at the beach. Read More

What Owns Me

Ready to go.

Ready to go.

I bend down and attach the leash to her halter. Her whole body wags in anticipation and she looks up at me with chocolate eyes, her fluffy ears cocked.

Unlatch the gate and we’re off. Where will we go?

This is not a charming neighborhood. These are small, mid-century, single level homes. You are more likely to come across a chain link fence than a picket fence. There are no neatly manicured lawns. What you’ll find is xeriscape out of necessity (renters don’t mow) and funky steel sculptures that someone made in their backyard shed or got at the swap meet.

I guess there’s a certain charm in that. Read More

Summer fun.

Summer fun.

In our part of the country we’ve already been on summer vacation for a month so while some of you are just getting started, I’m already knee deep in “I’m bored.” And it’s been really hot here – like 110 degrees – so most days we’re just trying to not combust. My kids are 5 and 6 so in addition to keeping them alive, they look to me to be their entertainment committee. Some days I’m all about enriching their lives with memory-making activities and other days it’s all about Minecraft and YouTube toy review videos. But just because they’re tiny doesn’t mean they can’t contribute. Here are some examples of what I’ve learned from them this week: Read More

Husband

husband

My husband is a really private man, which is why I don’t write about him much. He’s my biggest fan and supporter but it hasn’t always been easy for him to watch me blog so openly about my experiences. It goes against his private nature. I’ve had countless people tell me that they think I’m brave to write about this stuff but I’m only brave because I’m so deeply and completely sustained and encouraged by him.

The first night we met he asked me, “Do you want to go on an adventure?” I already felt like I’d known him for years so I said yes. We’ve been together 22 years, married for 20 and I’m not sure if the adventure was what he thought it would be. Read More

What will we find in the dark?

What will we find in the dark?

I’ve been angry since my sister died last September. And sad, of course. Confused. Broken open in new places (as if I needed more breaking…see, there’s that anger).

Right after she died, there were signs everywhere. I felt her presence. I could hear her voice say, “Karen…”. To me, it was the way you call someone’s name when you want to gently but urgently wake them up.

A couple of months after she died, the signs began to come less frequently. Her constant presence was fading. I started reading a book, Barbara Brown Taylor’s Learning to Walk in the Dark. As soon as I started to read the words, I realized that I had been seeking the dark for months, even before my sister died, maybe even as far back as when my grandpa died. Read More

My favorite connections.

My favorite connections.

Last month, I got to attend Press Publish, a one-day blogging conference put on by WordPress. They provided speakers who shared their expertise on the technical aspects of blogging on WordPress as well as an eclectic group of popular bloggers who spoke about their blogs and what inspires them.

There was a common theme that wove its way through the sessions: The importance of connection. The bloggers who spoke all talked about blogging as a way to connect to others, to ease loneliness, to bring about understanding and to form a community through shared experiences. It was inspiring and gave me a much needed boost to keep writing. Read More

My Body Remembers

I usually don’t post a piece until after I’ve had some distance and have been able to gain clarity around the emotions. I have struggled with whether or not to post this one because I’m still in the midst of the experience. I’m still sick over it, I’m still trying to get in touch with my body and its signals. As I write this, I have a horrible cold. Maybe it’s because I caught it from my kids or maybe it’s because being sick is the only way I can let myself rest. Either way, I’ve never been as grateful for my body as I am right now, for what it knows and what it’s helping me confront. 

I’m reading a book called The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk, MD. This book has been a revelation to me and is helping me to put this experience into perspective and move another step closer to healing the whole me. All phrases in italics are quotes from this book. Read More

sisterwives

I’m a big fan of The Sisterwives and am always floored by the courage and fearlessness of the people who share their stories there. Now it’s my turn and I’m both excited and a little nervous.

I keep thinking…

I needed to share this.

What the hell am I doing?

There are too many details.

This barely scratches the surface.

I can’t do this.

I can’t not do this.

It’s a story about abuse but also a story about recovery because the two are inextricably linked in my life. I hope you’ll head over to The Sisterwives today. I’d love to see some friendly faces!