Category Archives: basically blogging

I can climb hard things!

Hello again! Today’s Sunday hike took me to Cecret Lake. Long story short: I got pretty emotional driving up and was pretty emotional the whole way. What’s wrong with me?

I was just going to hike to the Albion Meadows and then back down, but I got to the meadow, saw the sign for Cecret Lake, and decided to do that too. Albion Meadows is a meadow about halfway up the mountain that is ridiculous with the wildflowers. It was literally breathtaking. That is a really weird word to say, but honestly, it fits. I turned the first corner off the trailhead and hiked a few feet up a hill and BAM. My phone camera was basically a failure at capturing it, but I did try for a few. Here you go.

All the way up and there’s a lake. Not so secret, which is why I think it’s spelled with a C. The National Parks Service knew they weren’t fooling anyone. Clever fellas. I saw a woodpecker, many chipmunks, many squirrels, and nigh on 15,000 salamanders. I ate lunch there. The pudding was a mistake.

As I jiggled back down, I met a guy on his way up the switchbacks. He had a contraption on his knee like he had recently had surgery. So of course I asked him, “What the hell are you doing on top of a mountain!?” He said, “I’ve got to be active. Once you stop being active, your life stops too.”

I don’t know if he was trying to be infinitely wise or not, but I felt like it really was. I hadn’t realized that until I started shedding my old life, before I made the conscious decision to stop conforming and try something new, I felt like I was finally actually living. The hikes have helped enormously. Even my new life was starting to feel a little stagnant. But I feel like I was finally active in my own life and realized how small my life had been before. Anyway. More words.

Stuff to bring next time:

  • Hand sanitizer: I touched salamanders and then touched a sandwich (and ate it, yes I did). I don’t feel good about it. I went to the potty at the Meadow. The hand sanitizer in the restroom was out. I don’t feel good about that either.

Oh, I guess that’s it. Except it’s Gratuitous Selfie Time!

I am woman. See me wander.

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I am woman. See me wander.

While my husband and kids were out for their weekly indoctrination, I decided to do something different. I wanted to get out and about, do something good for my mind, body, and soul. I used to depend on church for the mind and soul part, and without that dragging me down into endless guilt and misery, I have felt the need to replace it with something else, something better, something lighter.

So up the mountain I went.

I am 220 pounds. I don’t mind telling you that. I also don’t mind you knowing that exactly none of that one-tenth+ a metric ton of me is muscle, other than the muscles it took to rally and work together to haul my fat ass up a mountain today. Think I’m big? Check this guy out:

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Talk about plus size. I know it’s not as big as other mountains, but for me, the trail leading up to the waterfall at the top was long as fuck.

I don’t mean to brag or anything, but I know a lot about the wilderness. My first husband was only like two generations from Cro-Magnon and was basically a bear, and he taught me lots of stuff. So I was pretty prepared to make my trek, with a stick in one hand in case I ran into any creatures that I needed to poke to check for signs of life before running away and (probably) suffering a long and painful fall down the mountain. That’s how the wilderness works, correct? Well, a lot of good being married to a caveman did.

I eventually made it to the top, and someone was gracious enough to offer to take my photo. I explained to her, unsolicited of course, that climbing this mountain was an enormous feat, as it had just occurred to me that the last time I had done it, I was half my age and literally half my size. Here’s that glowing photo of me.

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I made it up the mountain. Here’s proof in case I don’t do it again in this lifetime.

I guess nature isn’t all bad. I saw some wildflowers and splashed in the water some, and made a mental list of all the things I will want to take with me next time I decide to amble up the side of a mountain (below for reference).

I’m a pretty indoorsy person, but I would give the experience 4 out of 5 stars (missing 1 star because it was a crowded trail and I kept standing off to the side to let people get ahead of me far enough that I could feel alone again). I liked a lot of things about it. I liked saying hi to people on the trail. I liked their dogs. I felt like people on the trail are nicer than people at church because they’re nice, and not because they’re at church and Jesus wants people to be nice when they’re at church. I liked the dogs. I already said that. I just really like dogs. I liked that I felt more like me, like my life was free of judgment and guilt, and I was just out on a mountain with other people who like mountains and dogs and not feeling guilty. I liked that towards the bottom, someone was playing music, and I sang on the trail and stopped for a few seconds to have a solo dance party. And when the person playing the music walked past me, he said, “I like your moves!” and I said thanks and again, I was reminded of something I like about me. Something that got lost during my years devoted to a religion. I like to dance and sing on mountains, I guess. And also if something seems like it might be fun, I’m going to try it. My life has been tremendously blessed since I started trying things that I thought would be fun again.

It was a good worship day for me. When I made it back down to the bottom (someone please explain to me how it’s possible for that hike to be uphill both ways), I looked up into the sky and told the universe what a good job I think it has done, and I looked around to make sure no one could see me, and I gave the world two thumbs up. Because it’s just that cool. And another gratuitous photo of me, just because I was hot, sweaty, and I felt kind of adorable in an “I just kicked a mountain’s ass” kind of way:

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Now for next time:

  • Journal. I used to be so good at keeping a journal. And it felt like a sin against nature to take notes on my phone about what I wanted to remember and what I was thinking about while I was hiking. (Although gratuitous selfies and photos of every wildflower I saw seemed like a good idea.) Another thing I’ve learned about myself is that I’m still a writer deep down in my heart and I experienced some heartache not being able to write anything down.
  • Better shoes. The trail was categorized as easy on the National Parks site, so I didn’t worry too much about shoes. I think at the very least I’ll tie my shoes for the ascent and descent too. šŸ™‚ It didn’t occur to me to tie my shoes until I got to the top. Ha.
  • Good eyesight. Glasses make my face sweaty and collect sweat from my head right on the bridge of my nose. Remind me next time I hike up a mountain to bring with me the ability to see perfectly without corrective lenses.Ā 
  • More water. I had 2 water bottles that I pulled right out of the freezer before I left. I thought it would probably be hot enough that the ice would melt by the time I got to the top, and while the 2 tablespoons of melted water that I had at the top were refreshing, it didn’t quite cut it. I got dizzy a couple times and had to sit on the way back, but I didn’t die, didn’t faint, and only turned red enough for 3 people to stop and ask me if I was doing okay. Nice genes, parents!

slipping

I’m slipping. Someone show me how to stay upright. I feel grumpy and frumpy and fat and full of debt and grudges. I had gotten to a place where I felt real good on the good days and basically OK on the bad ones. And now I’ve gone to OK on the good days and bad on the bad days. I have grievances:

  1. Apartment. I hate the apartment. I hate neighbors above our heads and people who pull all nighters outside in the hot tub. I hate that my girls are basically living in student housing without other kids with a whole bunch of other grownups who don’t care when you yell out your window THAT YOU HAVE BABIES TRYING TO SLEEP OVER THEIR PARTYING DAMMIT.Ā I know better than to say “I’ll be happy when…” but the day our contract is up here is a bright shiny star loaded with hope and all good things, and I’m looking forward to touching it.
  2. Weight.Ā We are both too fat and too short, so since we can’t do anything about the short thing, we’ve got to really buckle down on the fat thing. I know all bodies are different (“and so are all brains”–Big Words–one of my favorite kids’ books–uh…tangent), and we should just be happy in the skin we’re in, but I’m not happy with my body (or my skin for that matter). For some reason it was so easy to eat clean when we did that. We felt so much better and I was super self-righteous and judgmental about other people’s eating habits. I had a lot of issues, but food issues and weight issues weren’t a thing then. I’d like those things to not be things now.
  3. People.Ā I look back on the past and realize that I had a lot more friends back then (back when? back whenever–any other time), and I’m wondering what I can do differently. I’m not sure why the loss. I’m not sure why I can’t hang on, or why people can’t hang on. I don’t know which it is. I just feel like I need some friends, but I’m too late. People in their 30s don’t make friends, do they? What do they do? Complain about things? Stare at each other while their unruly kids run around and hit each other and fight? I don’t know what friendship looks like anymore, I guess. I’m not a good friend, maybe.
  4. Debt.Ā Yeah, so we have some debt. We have a ton of debt. Probably not as much as some people and lots more than others, but we have it and I hate it. We have jobs and we are paying it off, but it’s there and it’s always dangling there, showing me things that other people have, making me mad with all the things people have and things that they are doing that I might never do or see because of this creature that has its teeth lodged firmly in my backside, chewing away at night, keeping me up, obsessing over a spreadsheet budget–my precious–but never offering relief.

And somehow, weirdly, I feel books are the solution to these things. Audiobooks while I run, booksĀ to fill the empty spaces in my life that would typically be filled by eating. Books to give me something to occupy my time and help me feel more productive. Books even help me look at people better. I’ve read a lot more but after a couple books in as many weeks, it was hard to keep up that pace for too long. But books are the answer, I can feel it.

Send me something to read. Come read with me. Let’s get rid of grudges. Let’s help each other stay upright.

This new shiny life.

My sister-in-law just wrote this, and I love it so much. This reflects almost exactly what I’ve been feeling the past few weeks. I’m not even sure when the shift took place or even if there is one moment where everything changed.

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I do know that in January, we took family photos. I made a big huge canvas of it, and hung it up, and something about it bugged me. The person in that photo didn’t look like me. Well obviously, it was me, but I looked wooden. I was smiling, a falsehood in print. It’s been sitting in our garage for months, and I can’t hang it. I see that photo and I see this old me that clung too tightly to things she didn’t care about. I was clinging to marriage, to friendships that I couldn’t let go of, to a house that was too big and too filled with things, and to a church that I couldn’t embrace completely.

Now I know what I care about, and I can tell you what those things are.

  • I care about my daughters. I want them to have nice things, to enjoy life, and I care very much that they know I care about them. I have dispensed more random “I love you’s” and more out-of-nowhere compliments to these two sassy little girls. I embrace one’s exuberance about life and embrace the other’s generally sad disposition. And I just love the heck out of them.
  • I care about my husband. I have struggled with this, and I feel bad for struggling with this. But I care deeply about this person who has stuck with me, knowing that there is something good under anxiety, that someday I would peel back my depression and start to really care again. I don’t know if he actually knew that, but he stuck around until it happened, and I like that a lot.
  • I care about my job. I had a come to Jesus moment where, in the face of financial crisis and feeling like I couldn’t carry another load of crap I cared so little for, I had to find something that worked better, something that I could own and hold in my hands and love. And I decided of all things to work in a hotel. So now, for 20-25 hours a week, I work at the front desk of a hotel, checking people in, selling them overpriced, cardiac arrest-inducing snacks, bringing people extra pillows and blankets, and caring about this job and caring about other people. Life is tired and depression is king when you’re in a job where the only positive thing about it is getting paid. Goodbye, old life.

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So that’s where I’m at. I miss old friends and I miss seeing my therapist, and I suppose one day I’ll see those old friends and wonder what happened. I suppose one day I’ll have a breakdown and sit crying in my therapist’s office, begging him to tell me what to do. That kind of thing is inevitable. But for now, I don’t need it, because for right now, I feel capable of caring about things and people. Life is bright and shiny and new.

 

bored. depressed. don’t care.

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Daphne is better at expressing her non-emotion than I am at faking mine. šŸ™‚

When people ask me how I’m doing, I know I should say, “Fine.” And I usually do. I think there has only been one person who asked me that and I told her I wasĀ bored or depressed or something, but that I didn’t care enough to actually figure it out. To that person, I probably should have just said “Fine.” I guess I really just wanted to add “awkward” to my feelingsĀ repertoire.

Mostly I think I’m bored. I’ve been wanting to write something about this but it just seemsĀ like it doesn’t bother me that much to not feel anything about anything, until I sit down and start a blog post about it. And then I start to feel things. Specifically, I start to feel things about my lack of feelings. It feels bad. It feels like I’m very sad. Not with my life, but my memories of feelings make me feel sad. I start by having memories of feeling sad when I fought with my husband, or feeling really happy when one of my kids did something super amazing. I feel sad now because I miss those feelings.

So you can probably imagine that this apathy I have towards everything has extended into a lot of areas of my life. I’m tired. I’m barely Mormon right now. I still go to church (sacrament meeting) and the other two meetings I stay for about as long as I can stave off my inevitable anxiety attack. I don’t even know what the trigger is. I’m bored, but also there are people in there, lots of people, lots of people talking about feeling the spirit, about feeling charitable and kind and loving, and about caring about other people, about people we don’t know.Ā I don’t understand and I don’t like it and it doesn’t feel right. I’ve walked out of many meetings crying because it was uncomfortable unbearable. Mothers Day 2016, they said, “Talk to your neighbor about your feelings” about a passage of scripture, and I stood up, burst into tears, and walked home, barefoot, in pouring rain.

So I stick around, close(ish) to the church, trying out coffee, trying out tea, because these things seem to help a lot of my kind of people, people I look up to, unwind and destress and have easier times navigating life. I stopped debating for hours and hours before going to R rated movies. I guess I just feel like I might just be bored and in that case, I might come back. And it’s not that I want an excuse to sin. That’s always a really popular thing to say to people who are transitioning out of the church, and I’ve heard it a lot and haven’t even told many people about my near-exit. Coffee and tea are still gross and now I don’t worry so much about dying and going to hell on the way home from the movies, but it’s not about me feeling like I’ve been missing out on things. I feel like I might come back (if the church ever lightens up on gays and stops inadvertently squashing everyone with a vag), so I’m not out of it completely. I feel bored and I feel like boredom and basically not caring is not a good reason to quit things you’ve done for 30 years. Because maybe I won’t always be bored, and maybe the church won’t always be a jerk.

There is a lot of talk of eternal life, eternal families, living forever. And so much back and forth and discord about what that actually means and what’s required. I don’t know what goes on after this life, but eternal life sounds awful. It’s comforting to people, I guess. But it makes more sense to me that we live this life and then settle down in the ground and then we areĀ done. There is something really spectacular about that, about knowing that this is it, that this is what we get, and make the most of it. But I could just be bored.

Post-edit: Wow, that kind of came out of nowhere, and might have sounded angrier than it was supposed to. Don’t read into it.

Other than breaking up with the church (we’re actually just on a break, I think maybe), I have no motivation to do anything. Diet and exercise sounds like something extra I need to do, and so does work. I don’t avoidĀ it because I’m not a hard worker. I wouldn’t actually say I avoid it. I just don’t know where to find the motivation for it. In the past I’ve been a very hard worker (and a lot thinner). I was always able to find a job. I have been to what seems like 5,000 interviews in the past month and a half because I feel like I should get a job. I feel like I should have something else to care about that I likely won’t care about. And the last person who interviewed me and then “went another direction” told me that I just didn’t seem to care that much about whether I got the job or not.Ā Shock. Awe. Et cetera.

There have been a lot of really horrendous things happening in the world. I recognize that. But even these horrible things, I just can’t get myself to put together the right words. I can’t formulate anything comforting or wise. I’d like to feel awful. I wish I was tormented at night because of these things, some extra really close to home things.Ā But I literally cannot dig anything up out of my heart to feel the right things or even fake the right things to say. Someone tell me what to say. I’d like to be that person who gives hugs at the right times and says things at the right time. The last time I saw my therapist, he said I needed a friend. I’m not sure who wants to be friends with someone who doesn’t actually value relationships, but I guess if anyone wants in, I’m here. Let me know. I’m not doing anything. Let’s talk for a minute and then ignore each other.

Peace.

And breathe. And post this.

therapy x 2

Am I the only one who gets weepy about therapy?

Dang thing changed me. And not changed me. Changed me back. There, that’s how I want to say it. I was me, then I tried on someone else for a while, and now I’m me again.

I saw a therapist after my divorce, and I felt slighted after I left Brian’s office for the last time, because he asked me why I liked going. He said he thought that I liked therapy because of attention. I should have said no. I should have said I liked having my feelings validated. IĀ might have said, if I had been able to heal a bit from the trauma that had happened to me just weeks before, that I was afraid I was going to have bad feelings lurking around in my brain for the next 7 years. And I did. Guys, I had bad feelings for 7 yearsĀ until my second therapist cleared me for takeoff. But really I cleared myself. Because this time I left the office for the last time in a place where I felt like me.

I don’t know why I never healed from my divorce before therapy v2.0, but I didn’t. I have hated my ex and his whole family for 7 years. I hated my new husband, and I hated my family, and I hated a lot of people who didn’t know I hated them, and I hated me, and I didn’t really know I hated me either.

And then we went to therapy, and I didn’t know how to ask for help to not hate everything because I didn’t know that was the problem. I wanted therapy to fix my husband. I wanted it to make him do the dishes more, to yell at the kids less, to be this guy I didn’t hate so much.Ā It was two or three sessions in and I saw the error. I had broken. I had broken into 2 pieces and the one hateful piece was bigger and hated the smaller piece, the missing piece, away.

I started going in by myself. Some weeks, the conversation was significant andĀ felt like therapy. Other times, I talked about how I wanted to go to grad school. I talked about how I hated praying, that God’s a jerk, andĀ I wanted to move. I talked a lot about how I hated my husband and wanted to leave him. And then the next week, I was living in a good marriage in a good house and God was a little more real that week.

And therapy helped me recognize something I had never thought of before. Two things I had never thought of before:

#1. Life doesn’t have to be exciting to be good. I don’t have to move, or pray, or believe, or have dishes and laundry done every night for life to be fine. Flip flopping is my fantasy and sometimes I dive in and I plan trips and I look at real estate, sometimes with room for my husband to live with us. And then other times I sit in my basement office that my husband (who I usually don’t hate anymore) is building for me and I write things down and I think about things.

But IĀ don’t worry about how I feel about God or not-God, and I don’t want to move. IĀ think about the garden boxes I had put in, and whether my neighbors will hire a hitman for the chickens I will have (yes he definitely will), who will be loud and will stink. I let go of the fantasy until the next time I pick it back up and I spend a few minutes thinking about the weather in San Francisco in the winter. I flipped and then I flopped and that’s me. I know I’m doing it and I know why I’m doing it and it’s fine.

#2. My other realization is my favorite: I seeĀ people differently. I look at their behaviors and things that they tellĀ me, and I no longer assume it’s a lie. My neighbor told me he plowed all the snow from the neighborhood and plopped it in front of our mailbox because he was trying to be nice. I chose to believe that.

I got into a spat with a friend and I took note of her concerns and then I didn’t talk to her for 3 weeks and I didn’t think of her even for one second because the things that motivated her to say and do things had nothing to do with me. I chose to believe that. People generally do what they do because they’re having a bad day or a good day or their dog died or they got sex or had pie for breakfast.

And trying to convince someone in an argument to not be mad at you is senseless, because they probably don’t care that much. They probably care that their dog died or they had sex or they ate pie for breakfast, but not about you. That’s not intended to sound cynical or jerky or anything. I mean that in the best way. People care about what’s going on in their lives, and sometimes other people come in while they are processing things and screw everything up. It’s not personal. People do what they can do with what they have and I have to believe it’s not personal. Unless someone tells you they hate you. (That feels kind of personal.) (I’m sure it’s not.) (I haven’t figured that one out yet.)

So I feel more like me, and here is why: Because I don’t worry about putting on a front. I was feeling bad on a day that my brother was taking the whole family out to dinner. I was veryĀ appreciative, but I still felt sad. No reason why. I told my husband. I didn’t put on a front. I smiled through dinner and I got home and I cried a little bit and I didn’t hide. Hiding is the worst.

My sisters got together, my invite got lost in technology, and my dad came over and was sad. Or mad. Or something. He called my sister and made her apologize. But I told him I didn’t care, and I told her she didn’t have to apologize, because I didn’t care, and I didn’t. I’ve never lied about a feeling since I sat on my therapist’s IKEA sofa hugging that dang IKEA pillow, and changed the way I thought of people. To me, that’s a lot of liberty to feel all at once. Right?

I started going to therapy and I started living more honestly and authentically. I stopped apologizing for the messy house, and I stopped stressing out if I didn’t write that day. IĀ said yes more to my kids and I told my husband that kissing with tongue is gross. And I just wrote that on my blog, and people will read it and that’s fine. Because it is gross and I never would have said that in a million years before therapy. I never did. I’ve just always kissed and had people’s tongues in my mouth and it makes me ill.

I like kissing a lot more now.

And as it turns out, I like therapy a lot more now too.

What’s most important is that I like me, and I know who that is now too.

I’m the most honest person I know.

A lecture on parties

On parties and dancing dates:

You can be with me all day except when you go on dates with Dad, then you go on dates with Dad and you look at him with your eyes. Now with your eyes, look at your dancing. If you are spinning and get dizzy, then you sit down. Also, if it’s a fancy party, you look fancy. If it’s not a fancy party, you don’t look fancy.Ā If it’s a pretty party, you look pretty, but if it’s not a pretty party, you don’t look pretty.Ā If it’s a medium party, you look medium. But if it’s not a medium party, well, you don’t look medium.Ā So just wondering what you do. Raise your hand if you need somethingĀ to tell me.

On ramen noodles after Christ’s crucifixion:

O: Mom, Mayka taught me how to eat meat noodles. You spin it on a fork, blow on it, and then when it’s too warm, you take a bite. See?

Me: I know how to do that.

O: Who taught you?

Me: Heavenly Father before we lived here.

O: And who taught Effly Fodder?

Me: He invented ramen noodles.

O: Oh and when Jesus Christ died then He went to Effly Fodder and Effly Fodder taught him and then he came back in 3 days and taught the world.

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Ophelia wanted to be swaddled like her baby sister, who is also too old for swaddling. šŸ™‚