Sexualizing Kids

Friends,

Please don’t say that you don’t agree with “sexualizing” children in relation to Florida’s “Don’t say gay” bill, because if you are a parent you know that since the age of like two, people have been sexualizing your kids, saying to you things like, “Ohh, she’s gonna break hearts!” Or “Ohh, he’s going to have so many girlfriends!”

Adults actually asked my KINDERGARTNER if he had a girlfriend. Repeatedly.

Adults actually asked my second grader if he thought “blonde girls are the prettiest!”

Adults consistently ask my middle schooler if he has kissed his girlfriend.

Are. You. Kidding. Me.

Society “sexualizes” children all the damn time in their clothes, their hair/makeup, the way they are taught to look at the other gender, etc.

So say what you really mean, “Gay people make me uncomfortable and I don’t know what to do with that emotion so I have to freak out so everyone knows I don’t like it.” Or something like that.

I actually know parents, today, who think this way, say things like, “Kids shouldn’t be ‘dating’ or discussing sex in school, that’s not why they are there,” then want their sons and daughters to go to school dances or let their kids wear attention-seeking clothes.

What do you actually think your child is talking about in middle school with their friends?! Newsflash: Sex is a topic, whether you like it or not.

Stop.

You look just as ridiculous as the adults out there sexualizing our kids. It’s bigoted and it’s hate-filled rhetoric. It’s from far-right republican leaders who lack critical-thinking skills.

Don’t be that.

Do better.

Lastly, some of y’all need reminded to love your kids for whomever they are, whomever they turn out to be. Gay, straight, trans, gender fluid, a high-school graduate, a PhD candidate. Love your kids and make sure that they know it’s okay to be who they are in their hearts.

That’s how this world gets better.

Thanks for coming to my TEDTalk.

M.

Our 20th Anniversary

On this day 20 years ago, while drinking beers at the Kansas City St. Patrick’s Day parade, Jerimiah asked me to be his girlfriend. I said, “Sure,” then hilarity ensued. Well, it took some years for the real hilarity, but right away I was happy. I was happy because I saw the potential of our life together. I saw how sweet this guy was and how lucky I was to snatch him up. He, I think, saw regular sex.

Now here we are 20 years later and this morning while I coughed up my morning phlegm and yelled at the oodles to get their shit together (Jackson would be scrambling to get to ready too, but he’s actually out of town with school today) I wondered if this is this what I thought marriage and being together forever would be like? Is it what he thought it would be like?

The truth is we are a thousand miles away from those kids on 18th and Vine 20 years ago. Yes we are actually living almost 1000 miles away, but when I look back at pics of those two kids in Kansas City I don’t recognize much about us. Life kind of beats you around in two decades, time leaves it mark on you. But what I see when I look at those pictures is this dumb kinda of optimism that I’m not sure how either of us ended up with. How lucky we are that the two of us, with our fucked up childhoods and our small-town worldviews, ended up not just together, but together and striving for a world we didn’t even know existed.

I just want to say thank you to you, Jerimiah. Thank you for the wonderful years between that parade and now. It has been wonderful. Yes, some days have been hard, terrible even, but even on the worst days I know I have you to come home to and that has always made it better. The life we have built is certainly better than we could ever imagined and certainly better than anyone expected or knew we were capable of back then. If it weren’t for you I don’t know where or who I would be, but I know it wouldn’t be this life and I am so incredibly grateful for you and your love.

Here’s to 20 more years and then 20 more and then… ❤

M.

Whoops-a-Disney

Well y’all know when I get really stressed out I sometimes find myself booking a Disney vacation, right? Ope! It used to be that Jerimiah would stop me, or at least slow me down a bit, make me consider other things like vacation days, school days, shit that is important in other people’s minds, not mine. But a few weeks ago when I was all, “Damn dude, I’m feeling like I need to escape to Disney for a few days,” he was all, “Sounds about right.” Did you catch a, “No, Missy! That’s not a good idea?” in there? No, I didn’t either.

It feels like it all happened so fast, but listen this time I was having a hard time booking an actual hotel room. You know we like to stay on property because duh, but we only have about five days because Jackson has a long weekend coming up so we decided to focus in on there. But that’s a quick turn-a-round time for Disney and it’s a holiday weekend so we were not finding anything. Like nothing. All the hotels were sold out. I even went as far as to Google, “Why is Disneyworld so freaking busy?” and I got a bunch of responses but mainly it was that it is their 50th anniversary and people have been actually saving for years to go this year and also pandemic and also life sucks right now and Disney makes it better (for some people. Some cool people.)

But in the end, I called Disney and they made it work for me because again, it’s Disney, and just when you think it can’t happen, something magical happens.

So we leave Thursday for five days and we are staying at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort, which is great because we love New Orleans, but not the actual New Orleans (Jackson spent one weekend there and said he never wants to go back) so we are going to get the whole NOLA experience without the headache of people vomiting on you on Bourbon Street or someone yelling at you from the streetcar or a hotel falling on top of you. It’s a win/win.

For those of you Disney nay-sayers I wish I could say something that made you love Disney, but alas, I just recently stopped trying to do that. I have realized that some families just aren’t cut out for the world of Disney. To the rest of you, see ya at Epcot!

Ears up.

M.

Our first trip in first grade!
HUGE Doc McStuffins fan back then!
Gonna recreate this one for sure!
Jackson and I LOVE the teacups! Daddy and Mama, not so much!
Mama’s first time at Disney last spring!

Reading… A Room

I’ve always been skittish around people who can’t read a room, but I could never explain why until today. Jerimiah sent me a couple of podcasts he’s been listening to and one of the podcasts was about how we are always trying to understand the intentions of other people. It’s from the “Hidden Brain” podcast, have y’all heard this? You should check it out, it’s a pretty interesting podcast. In this particular podcast the host, Shankar Vedantam explores “Theory of Mind,” which is what psychologists call the way we are consistently trying to read the intentions, desires, and motivations of other people during social situations. We do this subconsciously. But also, not all of us are able to do it as well as others.

It all made sense to me, because I had already realized this about myself. I am quite aware that I constantly try to understand others in social situations, it’s what makes me so empathetic. Too empathetic. Like, I’m not being a braggart here. I wish I wasn’t so fucking empathetic. I think my life would be a lot easier if I were less so, but empathy is exactly the key to all of this.

On the podcast the psychologist said that people who “can’t read a room,” also lack empathy. You know those people, we all do. They tell jokes that repeatedly fall flat because they aren’t reading the room. They have no concept of what people around them are doing or saying because they are so focused on their own thoughts that they seemingly randomly blurt something out and everyone is like, “What the hell, Steve? What does that have to do with anything?” And then Steve just assumed we are going to move the conversation or activity or whatever to whatever it was that he brought up. In that case Steve (aside from being a bit of a narcissist) lacks this “theory of mind” ability, and therefore also lacks empathy.

This made a lightbulb go off in my brain! I know people who lack empathy and these people absolutely cannot read a room to save their lives. It’s exhausting to deal with them in social situations because I am constantly trying to find out what their intentions, desires, and motivations are, meanwhile they don’t give a shit about mine and most of the time are so damned aloof that it is distracting. This is why I have always been skittish around them. Because it’s mentally and emotionally taxing on me, when I’m already pretty much always mentally and emotionally taxed. I have had to actually separate myself from these people, like walk away from the situation, put space in friendships. And now I’m learning that it’s not really through any fault of their own, they actually lack an important part of social functioning hardwired into our brains. You see it a lot in children with autism, for example, who generally lack the same ability.

Whew. I feel a little relieved actually. I always thought I was just being super-sensitive toward those people, or that they were just assholes (again, and I can’t stress this enough, some of them are just assholes) but others really have no idea that they lack this ability and go on about life like this and it makes me feel kind of bad for them. Like, they must get weird looks from people all the time and I’m sure that others do not understand this about them and don’t really know how to treat them or handle them.

And listen, I’m not saying we need to treat them any differently, I don’t even think I can because of how hard it all is, but at least we know now that some people, through no fault of their own, can’t read a room to save their life and maybe we just try to be more patient?

Or maybe not.

M.

Click for the link! And trust, there is more to the podcast than my aha-moment, but it was mine, damn it, Steve! Get your own!

(Fr)Eke Out

I’ve been eking out work these days. Like squeezing the water out of a wet swimsuit kinda stuff, y’all. Like every time I think I can get it all out in one squeeze, I can’t. Where does the water come from?! Don’t tell me, I know it has something to do with the type of material the swimsuit is made out of, but Christ I’d like for the water to just come out all at one, you know?

No, you probably don’t know because you have no idea what I’m talking about. I’m talking about my thesis, y’all because of course I am! What is the deal with this thesis? Why can’t I write right now? Do I need to just drop everything and go to DisneyWorld? Well, the answer to that is yes, always yes, but won’t that just be procrastinating? But isn’t that what I’m doing by writing this blog about how I can’t write?

Here’s the thing, I sit down to write a full short story, maybe a 10-pager, hopefully a 20-pager, and I all I get is about five pages. That’s it. I squeeze and squeeze and squeeze and it dribbles out. This is highly unusual for me, that’s why I’m telling you this. Normally I think about a story for a few weeks, then sit down and it pours out of me. But I have been thinking about TWO stories for OVER a month now and nothing happens when I sit down. Just drip, drip, drip…

Maybe the stories have no merit? Maybe they suck and I know it subconsciously? Or maybe I’m just so freaked out by these deadlines that I am sabotaging myself? Or maybe I think my thesis advisor is tired of my shitty work? Or maybe, just maybe, I’m afraid of the work I know they will take and I don’t want to do it?

All these questions.

All this water.

Send help. But not a life raft. I’m still on dry land.

M.

Chaos and Control

Whew. It’s been a hectic season and I don’t just mean the holidays. When it gets too crazy I tend to shut down and shut down I have. I haven’t written anything new, not even on this here blog, for quite some time now and while I have a lot I want to say, a lot I want to fill you all in about, I really just wanted to jump on today to say that I am still here and so are you and isn’t that just dandy! Yes, I think it is.

The truth is that I don’t know what my life is going to look like six months from now. Like, actually, I have no idea what my life will look like in very big ways, like we might be moving from Atlanta, I might be having a major hip surgery, I might be put on a medication that requires infusion every six weeks, big things (not all good, not all bad) are afoot here and it feels a bit like things are spinning out of control, so I want to focus on the things I can control. Doesn’t that make the most sense? Yes, yes it does.

Let’s make a list of things we can control. If you are feeling like me, or have ever felt like me, or (most likely) will ever feel like me, lists sometimes help. Try it! Here is mine.

Things That I Can Do to Feel Like I am in Control or Things I Actually Can Control

  • Getting enough doggy pets in everyday
  • Logging what I eat
  • Making healthier choices with food/drink
  • Writing again
  • Watching trash television that will help me feel better about myself, or at least take away my intrusive thoughts for 30 minutes at a time
  • Focusing on my family, getting quality time, cooking together, shopping together, playing more games
  • Ask questions, or at least tell the person, “I do not have questions now, but I will. How may I contact you about them?” (This is really important with my medical stuff right now because when I am inundated with new info it takes me awhile to process it before I have questions)
  • Doing something creative every day
  • READING MORE!
  • Ask my doctor for some help sleeping (ie…get some prescription sleeping meds, y’all because this not sleeping just adds to the damn problem)
  • Get 10 hours of sleep! (Yes, I need 10 hours of sleep to function and you’re kidding yourself if you are one of those, “I just need four and I’m good.” No. Everyone needs at least 6-7 hours, most of us need more we just refuse to admit it. GET SOME SLEEP!)
  • Work to block intrusive thoughts (I’ve been thinking about scheduling “Intrusive Thought Time” into my day. I know that sounds nuts, but that way if an intrusive thought comes that I have no control over, I can try to take control by being like, “Nope. I will deal with that at my scheduled ITT.” I’ll let you know how that goes..)
  • Stretching, lots of stretching
  • Calling/texting friends more to check in
  • Planning a vacation to literally anywhere

Okay I am feeling better, y’all. Just knowing that I took the time to write a list that may be helpful, just knowing that I took the time to check in here, it all helps tremendously. I hope you take a moment today to do something you like.

Take a walk.

Watch the birds in your backyard.

Buy a new sweater online. (Brr, it’s like 40 degrees here!)

Call your mom (or someone you love like a mom)

Those are just some ideas, but the truth is we all have our own things, just find yours and do it, just for ten minutes. I think it will help.

Stay safe and sane.

M.

A Gift for You

You know how I’ll say those things to your family and friends that you want to, but feel like you can’t because they will freak out on you? Well, this one is for you! Share if you need to, after all you didn’t say it, I did!

I love you.

M.


••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Friends, this holiday season remember that if you are openly against the COVID vaccine or masking, that feeling you’re feeling, the one that feels oppressive, it’s criticism. That’s all it is, old-fashioned criticism. You’re not being “victimized,” you’re being criticized.

Criticism sucks, but you’ll get used to it.

If you are being ostracized or you are at risk of losing your job or unable to attend various engagements because of your vaccination status or for refusing to wear a mask, that’s on you. It’s a choice you’re making, and you will be criticized for it. But again, you’re not being “victimized,” you’re being criticized.

This is how public health has always and will always work. Your “personal freedoms” are not “on the line,” you very much have a choice, but your choice is unpopular and frankly, unhealthy for you and those around you, so you’re being criticized and that criticism is making you act nuts. Some of y’all are walking around singing Kid Rock lyrics all of a sudden. SMH.

The good news is, it happens to the best of us! You’ll be fine. Take some deep breaths. Embrace those feelings, grow and change. Call your therapist. Get a therapist! Adapt and overcome.

Or start a group chat with other anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers and cry together there, cause frankly we are all tired of hearing about it.

Thesis, The-ses, The Cesspool

I’m working on my thesis this week, in case you can’t tell by the title. It’s a collection of short stories and it’s the first time I’ve really tried my hand at fiction and it is tough. Really tough. I have been reading all these great short stories for like a year now by famous writers, no-so-famous writers, friends, colleagues professors, all of it. I’m taking it all in and today I had a breakdown, err, breakthrough, breakthrough. Sorry, I’m so used to writing, “Today I had a breakdown.” I had a BREAKTHROUGH!

I wrote this story a couple of weeks ago that I thought was utter nonsense, actually just me working on some childhood bullshit and it was time to send my third set of thesis pages to my advisor so I sent that bullshit in with a note: “This is pretty much bullshit. But you wanted something.” My advisor wrote me back something like, “This is great. Let’s talk!” So we talked. And she liked it. She liked it so much that she said something about it being the “anchor” story and I almost screamed a little because I didn’t think I’d ever write a story that might carry a collection and then there is this and the more I thought about it the more I realized that it probably is the anchor story, and the title story of the collection, and holy shit it’s all the theme for the whole collection and what do I do now?!

Then as breakthroughs go, I had another one. They come in succession in case you didn’t know because it has yet to happen to you, and in this succession I saw very clearly the ending image for my thesis and it’s marvelous, just marvelous, only now the problem is that I have to write it. And my advisor has to think it’s doesn’t suck all that much. Then I have to defend it all of course, which makes me sick to my stomach, but this is not my first rodeo, so I know it’ll be fine.

So like usual I have no real point with this post other than to say, things are looking up. And last week, they were not looking up, and remind you that this is life, up and down, down and up. I hope this is an up week for you too, but if it isn’t then next week surely will be!

M.

Be Brave!

Well I did it, I wrote my first book review and it wasn’t too bad! I mean it was horrible on account of how stressed I was about getting it right, about doing good for the book (which I LOVED) and all the things, but you know, it was good in the end. While I was writing the review last month Jackson asked me what I was doing and I told him that I was writing a book review. When he looked confused at me I explained that my professor knew someone who needed a book review and the book was about The Ozarks, where we lived for ten years, where Jackson was born actually, and she thought of me. That I had been nervous but that in the end my professor told me to, “Be brave!” and I took her advice. And now here I was stressing about this review, even though the book was great, full of history and funny anecdotes and deep, deep research on the place we loved/hated to live. He looked at me, shrugged and said, “Oh so you wrote a book report. It’s no big deal, Mommy. You’ll get an A.”

🙂

I hope I got an A.

You can read the review at the University of Mississippi Press’ book page (published with the Mississippi Clarion-Ledger) and you can buy the book here if you want to go on a wild ride.

Remember to support local, indie publishers and booksellers. And remember to Be BRAVE!

M.

Tough Times

This year has been tough on the old psyche. I’m not 100% sure why, but I think a lot of it has to do with the way that Jerimiah and I spent last year growing and changing. We both opened ourselves up to seeing the world from other’s people’s perspectives. We decided to get very serious about anti-racism, often holding our friends and family accountable in a truly uncomfortable, but necessary way. We were the most political we’ve ever been and it showed. We realized the sort of people we want to be and the sort of people we want to surround ourselves with and unfortunately that means leaving some people and opening ourselves up to new ones. It has been tough, really tough. When basically one whole side of your family either unfriends you or unfollows you from FB, well, you know you’re doing something right! Growing and changing and holding people accountable. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

But all this has really done a number on us mentally and emotionally. Like sometimes we just look at each other and sigh because really, what is there to say? We know who we are, where we stand, what we expect from people, grown adults and our own kid, our parents, our siblings, extended family and our friends, and if they can’t or won’t live up to those standards, well there’s no way we can help, we’ve been lowering our standards for too long. Then there’s the fact that we live hundreds of miles away from the people we care about and for the last decade at least we have spent considerable time trying to stay connected. We were always the ones traveling, even with a baby, then a toddler, then a kid. We were always the ones calling and texting, inviting them to holidays and trying to get everyone together in the summer, well until recently. Honestly keeping tabs on everyone, trying so hard to stay connected when we are so far away from them, it really gets tiring. Y’all know this. We know this. So we are taking a break. Which means it will get worse before it gets better.

To top it off this is my last “real” semester in grad school. Next semester all I have is thesis and if you have never had a “real” last semester of grad school let me liken it to, oh what shall I liken it to? Dog shit? Horse shit? Oh I know, do you remember when you were a senior in high school and the “senior-tis” hit you hard right in the face? Like you could see the finish line. You could see the pot of gold. You could see your dumb, overcrowded state school in the horizon with all the beer that you could handle and you wanted so badly to be there you stopped sort of caring about anything else, eyes on the future instead? Freedom. Yeah, I’m there now, only grades still count and I won’t actually be done with my terminal degree until I finish this damn semester. Bleh.

And for the final cherry on top! Are you ready?! Jerimiah has been offered a new position in a totally different part of the country than we have ever lived before. Sigh. It’s really all you can do sometimes.

But as luck would have it our favorite time of year is rolling around! Christmastime! Jackson came inside a month ago when my mom was visiting and she had just picked up a can of smell-good stuff and sprayed it without paying attention to the scent and it happened to be “Christmas Magic”and Jackson came inside and was all, “OHHHHH, it smells like Christmas! I love it!” Then he went into a deep dive about how freaking excited he is this year for Christmas and he doesn’t know why.

I know why. The same reason Jerimiah and I are excited. A reprieve. A rest. Time together just the three of us, to relax, recharge, and reflect. To do puzzles at the kitchen island and watch Christmas movies. To build Legos and model cars. To zoom Hot Wheels through the Christmas village. To plan how we want to decorate the tree and which new snow globe we will buy. It’s the baking and the giving, oh he loves the giving! He likes the getting too, make no mistake, but he loves to bake all day the Sunday before Christmas and run around the cul-de-sac passing out treats and gifts. Mini apple pies for Mr. Charlie. A giant bone for Cookie, the neighbor’s chocolate lab. A Korean pear in return from Mrs. Kim. He loves it all.

Santa Claus still visits us too, but you already know that. You already know we plan to let that Christmas magic always flow through him and hopefully one day when he’s older, in college, or a single guy living on his own, or with his own children, he will be able to summon that spirit for himself too. Even when he least expects it, but so desperately needs it.

So yeah, things are freaking tough right now, but there is an end in sight. It’s so near I can almost taste it, and it tastes like pumpkin pie!

Stay safe and sane, y’all.

M.

Chaos in the Morning

This morning turned out to be one of this mornings where you are reminded that you are human, that other people are human, and that as a parent, you are doing the best you can, and so are your kids. Jackson was all packed and ready to go on his trip this weekend for the Technology Student Association, when I kissed him goodbye and told him to have a great day. Then Jerimiah was headed to the office for an in-person meeting, I swear he only has to go in when there is something chaotic afoot, and he asked me if I wanted coffee because he was going to stop by Starbucks because duh.

Side Note: Our favorite coffee here is a little, local shop called The Corner Cup but it’s on Main Street and they are filming a movie (The Out-Laws for Netflix) on Main Street so we’ve been avoiding it, but then I found out Pierce Brosnan was in it along with that guy from Pitch Perfect, you know the guy he was in The Righteous Gemstone too, and now I kinda wanna go check it out, but that’s neither here nor there.

Okay back on track, Missy!

Jerimiah takes Jackson to school and on the way Jackson orders our Starbucks so it’s ready for Jerimiah to pick up after he drops him off. So he does and as he is headed to grab said Starbucks Jackson texts and is all, “Where is my Covid form?” Sc, sc, screech! So because we live in the time of Covid, there was a parent form to fill out that basically said I know we live in the time of Covid and still I am allowing my child to be in the care of his school district on this trip and if my child were to get Covid, I would not place blame on the school system. Okay, Jerimiah signed the form last night and handed it to Jackson who also had to sign it and told him to stick it in his bag when he was done. Guess which step he didn’t do?

So Jerimiah calls me just as I’m texting him to bring me a yummy bakery item too because it’s Friday and I can handle it. He’s all,

“Is there a Covid form on the kitchen island?”

“Yes.”

“Ahhhh, son.”

“You need this, yeah?”

“Yes. And the coffee is ready and I have a meeting at nine.”

“What do you want me to do?”

“I dunno. The Audi needs gas and I won’t have time to stop at the gas station, Starbucks, and the school.”

“Can you scan this Covid form?”

“No, he said he needs it.”

“Tell me what you want me to do.”

“Go get the coffee.”

So I load up the dogs into the Beetle Bug because we can’t leave them unattended, you know on account of the Oreo Situation. Oh wait, I haven’t told y’all about the Oreo Situation. Shit. Don’t worry about it, Duke is fine. He didn’t even get his stomach pumped he vomited it all up on the way to the emergency vet. Kind of like me and that time I tried to do 18 shots of tequila for my 18th birthday. Moving on…

So as Jerimiah headed back to the house to get the form, Jackson texted again and was all,

“Ohhh, I left my watch at home.”

Normally this would be no big deal but “my watch” is an Apple Watch and the way he communicates with me when he “can’t” communicate with me, ya dig? Like when he’s in class, or in this case of this weekend, when he’s 330 miles away in a conference and I get the urge to check in on him, at least he can give me a thumbs up that he got the message from his watch and I know he’s alive. Listen, I’m not proud of my worry and anxiety, but we all make do okay?

So Jerimiah gets back to the house before I have even coaxed Winnie into the Beetle Bug. She hates the Beetle Bug and that makes sense, it’s a little car and she’s not a little dog, she’s more an Audi Q7 dog and she knows it and we know it, but what can you do? So I have the Covid form and I’m begging Winnie to get into the Beetle Bug when Jerimiah pulls in the carport and is all,

“Well he forget his watch too.”

“OMIGOD! THIS IS A CLEAR SIGN FROM THE UNIVERSE THAT HE IS TOO YOUNG TO BE TAKING OFF WITH SCHOOL TO GOD KNOWS WHERE TO DO GOD KNOWS WHAT!”

I may have overreacted. To be fair, I still did not have my coffee and at this point I did not know if I would ever have it again.

So I go inside to look for his watch while Jerimiah gets the dogs into the Audi, which was no problem because of their aforementioned bias against the Beetle Bug, and then he comes inside and knows right where the watch is and I want to scream, but instead he’s all,

“Why don’t you just come with me?”

“Fine.”

At the school we see Jackson walking aimlessly around with his suitcase while his classmates are either: loading the bus or on the phone with their own parents trying to figure out how to get the damn Covid letter that they forgot. To be fair we just got the Covid letter yesterday, so that’s on the teachers. I’m texting him that we are behind the bus. And he’s all,

“Where are you?”

And I’m,

“WE ARE BEHIND THE BUS.”

Le sigh.

He runs over all frantic and I give him the form and his watch and the dogs whine because at this point we had to roll all the windows up in the car because there was a Great Dane crossing the street and Duke lost his shit and the Great Dane’s mom gave me a glare like I need to control my dogs and BITCH WHO ARE YOU?!

Right-io.

Then Jackson is about to run off and I say wait, let me get a picture of you and he’s all,

“Oh my gosh, they are LOADING the BUS!”

And at the same time Jerimiah and I go,

“Oh, wow, wow, wow. Oh no. Attitude, bruh.”

Then Jackson is all,

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. This was just all my fault and it’s a hectic day…”

And we are like,

“Dude, it was a mistake. It’s okay, things like this happen. We are not frustrated.”

Which was a lie cause I was legit frustrated but also I did not want him to get yelled at before he gets on a coach bus to head four hours away from me, you know. And Jerimiah and I were in agreement on this. Like there’s no point in ruining out kid’s trip, even just his fun bus ride with his friends, over something silly like this. And we said we loved him and we sent him on his way. Then we picked up our coffee and we calmed each other down and when we got home the dogs were NOT rewarded with a pup cup, and Jerimiah drove the Beetle Bug to work because still no gas in the Audi, and I had a realization:

I’m not sure how other people do it without a kind, loving partner. A real one. One who doesn’t react in anger, like ever. One who’s first reaction is always to listen and understand. A partner who is there through these hectic mornings. Who knows how to keep you calm so you don’t fly off the handle. Who is in 100% synced in your parenting. Who knows that our shit, our shit is nothing compared to keeping our kid physically and emotionally safe at all times, even when those times look like they did this morning.

So all that to just be an appreciation post about my partner? Yeah, kind of. And also as a reminder that if you partner is not 100% your partner, you deserve better. Much better.

Whew. I’m thinking I might go back to bed now. Let’s all get some rest today. Or at least try to with our kids so far away!

Oh also, Jackson texted to say that we could have just scanned the Covid form. So there’s that.

M.

The photo.

Therapy

I’ve had no time, I’ve had no time, I’ve had no time! That’s what I keep chanting over and over again whenever I start to think about this here blog. And while it’s the truth, I also have a a tendency to get all caught up in my head, unable to share my thoughts with people, and that brings me here to the blog to share with you all, but lately my support system has been on point. Like my fellow PTO moms have been struggling along with me and listening to me vent. I unexpectedly got some time with my sister and best friend last week, and well, Jerimiah listens to me whenever I need him to and I’ve been leaning on him a lot lately. So I don’t want to say that I don’t need y’all right now, but if the shoe fits ya dig?

That got me thinking about how I also haven’t seen my therapist lately. Y’all know Patsy the Great, right? I haven’t seen her in like a month because I’ve been so busy that I haven’t even called to schedule my appointments. I schedule like three at at time and when they are over I forget to call to get back on a schedule and really I should just commit to a day and a time like they want me to, but I have to be difficult. Y’all know I am difficult right? You know I’m going to go ahead and do that now.

Okay, appointments made. For real. I just logged off and called and made my next three appointments. Thanks for pushing me to do that y’all.

How is therapy going for you? Do you stay on top of it or forget like me? I do Friday mornings because I always feel a little sad afterward, relieved, but also sad, you know how it is, and I like to rest a bit before Jackson gets home. Therapy is the hardest, bravest thing I’ve ever done and I’m sure it is for you too, so you know what, go ahead and pat yourself on your back right now! You are doing it, friend!

Now those of you who are still dragging your feet, my question is: What are you so afraid of? Is it looking into your actual self and not liking what you see? If that’s the case you can probably already name plenty of times you do that to yourself everyday. Having a therapist walk you through those feelings is really helpful. Or is it the stigma that comes with therapy? Then you’re certainly either over the age of 40 (my generation is making therapy real cool and will only judge you if you say you don’t go) and/or you have some childhood trauma you aren’t ready to touch. Or both. Hint: It’s usually both. And I understand. That’s tough stuff. I’m proud of you for naming it though, that’s the first step. When you’re ready for the next let me know.

Whew. Therapy. AmIRight?

I had no idea what this blog was going to be about today, but there it is. Get y’all an appointment post haste so I don’t’ have to judge you anymore.

Take care of yourself, in all the ways.

M.

Dog Shit (But Not Really)

How y’all been? Good, I hope. I had a great week last week on account of it being the Welty Symposium at my school and my professors being really busy with that. Seriously. And I didn’t need to attend because I did it last year and I’m doing short residency elsewhere in the spring so it was sort of like a week off and now that it’s Monday again and school is back in proper session I’m feeling ehh about the whole thing. Especially my thesis, which I managed to convince myself last week was a flaming bag of dog shit and I should just give up. Just give up, that’s what I was thinking when I woke up this morning from a dream wherein my thesis advisor Zoomed me to tell me that my thesis was “dog shit.” So there you are. A nice, relaxing week where I felt like I worked ahead, got some stuff done (including my very first book review that is due this week! Eekface) and then this week I immediately fell right down a negativity hole. What gives? I dunno. But this isn’t new.

That’s why I hope y’all are doing good. Because I know you can have a fine and dandy time one minute, then the next be all, “This is bullshit, why even do this?!” I know because it happens to me all the time and when it happens to me I get all these feelings tangled up together that I can’t seem to hash out. There’s the guilt for sort of “wasting” my time last week. No, I didn’t. I did a lot of stuff, but “it’s never enough,” so says my inner critic. Then there is shame for my brain thinking this way, like why don’t I have better control over my brain, ya know? Then there is the inevitable slide down the sadness wall where even petting my dog for twenty minutes while she tells me how pretty I am will not help. Bleh.

Has this happened to you? I hope it hasn’t, but if it has just know you’re not alone. Having a great week, a relaxing week, a week where you are free to do things on your own time, even sometimes a vacation, then coming back to the normal routine can make you feel ehh or bleh or ahhhhh! Then that makes you feel like an untitled brat who lacks gratitude. It’s normal-ish, I think, but I’m no doctor. I also know that these ahhhh, or bleh, or ehh feelings don’t last long. That doesn’t help when you’re in the thick of it, but it might help tomorrow or the next day.

So okay, what can you do if you feel this way? Make a blog post so you don’t feel so alone? Sure. Text a friend a funny meme to make you and them smile? Yep. Take a nap? Of course, sleep always helps. But really you just need to ride out those feelings. Trust me, I speak from experience. It’ll be better one day soon, until then keep doing what you need to be doing this week, keep checking those items off the old to-do list, and revisit these feelings when you have accomplished something, anything really, I’m currently doing one, just one, load of laundry to check “laundry” off my list for the day. Then I’m going to email my thesis advisor and tell her that I’m spiraling and hope she has some kind words for me, then I will maybe watch an episode of Teen Mom OG or Ted Lasso, depending, and you know what, things will be brighter when I wake up tomorrow. Or they won’t and we will try again.

I hope you are having a great day and if not I hope you find something fun and helpful to change it.

Stay safe and sane, y’all.

M.

Snacks, Snacks, Snacks

The other day on my sobriety post I promised to talk about how people like to pass judgement on my “dietary” choices all the time. Generally it’s because they see me, see I’m fat, and assume I am doing nothing about it and eat snacks all the time. Ho hum. This is true for a vast majority of people, others make assumptions about their eating habits because everyone thinks their choices are the best. Some people are like, “Yay for you for eating more veggies!” while others are like, “Oh my goodness, you still eat cheese, that’s disgraceful.” Okay, assholes, who asked you? Even though I no longer eat meat I still do it, I still pass judgement, not about people who eat meat, about other stupid things. Like when I see a kid’s lunchbox full of “snacks” I’m like, “Really?” Like how do you let your kid eat only snacks all day? See? I’m judgey, we all are. Maybe they can only afford that kind of food? Or maybe that kid will refuse other food and at home the parents will have that fight, but they’ll be damned if they will put that fight on the teachers at school? Or maybe they grew up poor like me and learned unhealthy habits that are super fucking hard to break and they are trying desperately to stop the cycle with their children, but they slip-up sometimes? Or maybe they don’t fucking care and their kids metabolism, their metabolism, is great and I should just mind my own fucking business? Sure, sure. It’s all possible. So I should mind my own fucking business.

Anyway, I don’t want to be accused of hating snacks! I love snacks! Always have (see above tangent). But when Jackson was small we *literally* (I put the asterisks there to make sure you know I actually mean *literally* as it is supposed to mean, not as figurative language) we *literally* did exactly what our pediatrician told us to do with him for fear that if we didn’t he would learn our horrendous eating habits. We did not feed him “real” food until he was a year old. We introduced baby food when she told us we should and we started with vegetables only. I bought organic peas and mashed them up and gave them to him. We only supplemented breast milk when we had to. When he turned a year old we *literally* (again) threw the bottle away on his birthday and switched him to sippy cups with only milk (2% because “not every baby needs whole” the pediatrician said) and water. No juice. No soda. No nothing. 2% milk and water.

When he started eating “real” food we NEVER made him “clean” his plate. Eww. That is what we had to do when we were kids, umm, weight problems because you don’t understand how to read the signals from your stomach? Youbetcha! We also never made meal times a big deal. We ate as a family at the table. That was our only grand gesture. And we did eat at the table, not in front of the television ( and our families legit thought we were weird for it, they judged us a lot.)

Whew. It was tough. Really tough. But it paid off. Jackson is totally a teenager who stops eating when he is full. He will walk away from a cheeseburger (his absolute favorite meal) after taking two bites if he picks up on that signal from his stomach. He will ask the server for a box and he will take it home to eat it later or the next day, whenever he’s legit hungry again. I am in awe of him each time he does this, I’m like, wow. I think I did that. I mean I can’t do it to save my life (I’m learning, Jerimiah and I have even been splitting meals when we eat out just to help when we can’t pick up on our signals) but just wow, you know.

What’s always been funny to me though, is that people see Jerimiah and me and then they look at Jackson (who has always, despite all the work we have done, been in the 90th percentile for weight, like since he was born, but he’s never been overweight) and they assume things about us. They assume we don’t make our kid eat healthy. They assume, when they see him with a soda or a bag of Cheetos that this is the way we live our life and it used to bother me something fierce (I guess it still does to some extent cause I’m telling y’all about it) but lately, probably because my own relationship with food is changing, I’m realizing I gotta care much less about that shit. Much less.

I think it’s just that I don’t know how to navigate this world without being a fat person and because of that, because of how the world treats fat people, I have all this shame around what I eat and what my kid eats and how I move around in this body. I look at “normal” sized people and think, wow, they must have this eating thing all figured out, but no, they don’t. They just have better genes, or grew up eating veggies first, they aren’t coming into middle age with this weird deficit that Jerimiah and I are. We have to start considering everything we eat, all we do to keep ourselves healthy because of where we are coming from, meanwhile some people just don’t. They don’t have to constantly talk about it or think about it, and when we do it makes them uncomfortable. That must suck for them, but not as much as it sucks for us.

I know a person who 100% drinks hard liquor most nights of the week, but who has 100% told me that I don’t eat enough fruit. Did I want to slap the shit out of that person, sure? Did I? No, it was a family reunion and that felt like it would cause too much drama, you know? But that was old Missy, I’d like to have that convo again…

The point is I have changed. We do that as we grow. Well some of us do. And when we grow we make changes based on new information. This year I learned who my real father was through a DNA test. I also learned that he died when I was 9 months old from a massive heart attack. That’s some new info that will fuck you up. It sure did me. I learned too that he drank beer every day of his life and that he often threw them back with a cheeseburger. Eek face.

But I can’t just flip a switch overnight. I can’t unlearn 40 years of nonsense, so it takes time, and I have to give myself the time to get there. There are no quick fixes with this. Sure I could get weight-loss surgery or take some kind of pill, but we all know that won’t touch the root of my problems. So here I am. Blogging about this all to you, eating veggies, listening to people tell me how they think I should eat and live to be healthy, and trying to smile through it all, but I think we all know I won’t be able to sustain that either.

So consider this my warning. I don’t want your opinions on the way I eat or what I feed my family and you won’t get mine. In fact, just assume I don’t want your opinion about anything. If I do, I’ll ask. Otherwise, walk on by me while I’m eating my snacks or my veggies. It will be safest for all those involved.

Take care of yourselves, y’all.

M.

Writing, But Not Writing

I’m not sure why I can sit down every day now and hammer out a blog post, but I am incapable, quite suddenly, of writing for my thesis. Like in the first month of school I wrote two, TWO short stories. I guess I took that for granted because now here I am, sitting alone in my quiet house (Jackson is back at school in person and Jerimiah is at the office for his yearly budget reviews) and I still cannot write anything new for thesis. Meanwhile, I am here on my blog complaining to y’all. I guess it’s just the nature of the beast, yes? I don’t have to think much here. Y’all offer me a “no-thinking zone.” That’s not a bad thing, it’s not, it’s a really good thing. I can just log on here and share something ridiculous, whatever I am thinking about that day, and usually someone will find goodness in it, even if it’s just me blabbing my mouth about conservative republicans. Thanks, y’all. I appreciate you.

Maybe that’s all I have in me to say today. Thank you for being you, for reading or at least skimming, and for nodding your head in agreement or maybe shaking at my absurdity. Either way, it’s important for me to know that someone, out there in the ether, is having the kind of day where they need to just sit and read the random thoughts of someone else. It’s always good to think about how humanity works in that way.

Maybe my next post will be more concrete with themes and pictures and funny one-liners, maybe it will be more bitching about Mitch McConnell, who’s to say, but I’m glad someone out there will be into it.

Take care of yourselves today, won’t you? Lighten up. I’ll try to take my own advice.

M.