Day 11

Day 11

Describe the 10 pet peeves you have.

Only 10?! Psssh I could write about this for days, I have so many. I must just be a cranky old biddy.

1.) Coughing.
This one sucks because nobody can help when they’re sick, or having something in their throat. But the sound of constant coughing makes me want to pull my hair out. Like, JUST STOP already! Get a cough drop, a drink of water, or leave the damn room please. I’m a terrible person, I know.

2.) Running Water.
I cannot stand water wasting. I have been known to come up behind someone and turn off the faucet. You don’t need to keep it running while brushing your teeth, or texting, or whatever else you have to do. It’s so wasteful to the environment and the utilities bill!

3.) Bad Drivers.
My city is full of these! People do not know how to merge (hint-we do NOT slam on our brakes!), use blinkers, or get the fuck out of the left lane! And oh my goddess, do not get me started on 4-way stops!!

4.) People Taking My Glasses.
It seems to be a favorite of people to take my glasses, put them on their own face, and then be like “Oh wow you ARE blind!! Can you even see right now?” No, I can’t because you essentially took my eyes you twat. I understand I have bad eyesight, I’ve been dealing with it for over 20 years. Don’t need to rub it in or announce it to the entire world ok? Also, thanks for the fingerprints all over the lenses. Dick.

5.) Body Shaming.
This goes for any body type, but especially skinny girls. You would never walk up to an overweight person and say “omg you’re huge can you just not eat please?” But it seems to be totally okay to tell a skinny girl “just eat a cheeseburger, you’re so skinny.” Or my favorite “Do you even eat?” Yeah, I eat quite a bit actually and it’s none of your fucking business. Believe it or not, some people are just naturally slender. And I’d love to eat a damn cheeseburger but if I did, I’d be in the bathroom all night. So…thanks for that reminder too.

6.) Incessant Noises.
My child is a pro at this and it takes everything I have to not lose my fucking mind. He loves making car noises. Or airplane noises. All day. At very loud volumes. He’s playing so nicely and is so happy, but LAWD HAVE MERCY Mama cannot take that humming/whining at such high decibels.

7.) Lazy People at Work.
Look, I’ve been sitting on the couch watching football for literally the past 48 hours but it’s because I have to recover from working my ass off during the week. At work, I do what is expected of me, plus other people’s jobs because they don’t feel like actually working. If you’re lazy, find a different job. If you think you’re too high and mighty to scrub a toilet, change a diaper, or dump a mop bucket, get out of childcare. Yes, it’s a paycheck, but you should also be here to teach and mentor children. That includes providing them a clean and save environment. I have been up and running since 5 a.m. and in a classroom for 9 hours, and still have a 30 minute drive home, so don’t even talk to me about how tired you are. Just do your damn job or quit.

8.) Other People Loading My Dishwasher.
I appreciate your willingness to help me, so I’m not gonna say anything. I will just low key rearrange everything when you’re not looking. There is a very specific way I load a dishwasher to get the maxim amount of dishes in the racks. Any other way makes no sense to me.

9.) Nearly Empty Containers Put Back.
Just don’t. Either finish it, or toss it out. Don’t take up room in the fridge or pantry for something that isn’t even worth saving. There is nothing more frustrating and heartbreaking to think you still have chips to eat during a late night munchie attack, only to grab the bag and realize there’s nothing but crumbs. That’s savage.

10.) Stereotyping Millennials.
I recognize that there is a huge issue with my generation. I will not argue that at all. But also please realize that I am technically a Millennial, as is my brother, and all our friends. We work hard for everything we have, and expect nothing from anyone. We are politically aware, fiscally responsible, and great parents. We don’t whine when people disagree with us, or when life hands us a shit deal. Yes, some people our age do. We are not those people, and if you stop and look, the majority of ADULTS our age don’t either. We are not children anymore. We are adults. And it really sucks.

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Day 10

Day 10

Describe your most embarrassing moment.

I have a lot of these. I usually embarrass myself on a daily basis, but I must be shaking them off or blocking them from my memory because I didn’t have a ton that immediately came to mind. The biggest one that stands out happened years ago when I was learning to drive. I must have been 17 (I was a late bloomer when it came to driving). I was driving my mom’s Saturn station wagon on post, and we had to stop to get gas. I pulled up to the pump but somehow came in hot and crooked and drove up ONTO the curb. My front left wheel was on the curb and my door was blocked by a cement pole. My mom just looked at me and asked “how in the world!?” I didn’t have an answer. I STILL don’t, twelve years later. My brother and his best friend/my second brother were in the backseat (of course they were) and trying in vain to control their hysterical laughter. As I sat there feeling all the eyes of Ft. Campbell on me, I could hear their snickers and feel their shoulders shaking with silent laughter. Mom turned around, held up a finger and said “don’t say a word you two.” Which of course made them lose all control. Mom took a deep breath, opened her door and told me to do the same. I couldn’t…it was crushed by the pole. As she’s standing in front of the car trying to figure out how to extract the car off the curb without causing more damage, the hottest man I have ever seen came around from the other pump to ask if we needed help. I froze. Mom and I had been seeing this soldier around post for weeks, and he was a beaut. And also happened to see me at my absolute worst dumb-girl moment.

Thankfully we got the car off the curb, and thanks to Saturn’s plastic dent resistant panels, our car had very minimal damage (surprisingly)! I gave my mom the keys, which she gladly accepted, and stayed out of the driver’s seat for awhile. Obviously I have never lived that moment down with my brother. And probably never will. But about the only good thing from this was that I never saw that insanely attractive soldier again. And I’m still very cautious when pulling into a gas station.

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Stock photo of 2001 Saturn Station Wagon. Ours was like this, but maroon. We called it The Little Red Tank. Cuz she was.

Day 9

Day 9

List 10 people who have influenced you and describe how.

1&2.) My parents.
This one is a no brainer. They are living proof to me that True Love does exist. They have been together since high school. That in itself is awe-inspiring, but when the divorce rate for Special Ops marriage is about 50%, the fact that they’ve remained together for over 30 years is astonishing. They taught me that family is the only thing that matters, a person is only as good as their word, hard work and dedication will get you anywhere you want. Their love for each other and their children is unconditional. Their encouragement is unfaltering and their hands are always helping when friends or family need it. My parents are the epitome of what a good life lived looks like.

3.) Amelia Earhart.e3a00b845d501bc4f02157bfd12bea2b
She is one of my childhood idols. She was so brave and intelligent and never let her gender get in the way of her dreams, even in a era where women were expected to get married, have babies, and stay home. She smashed gender stereotypes not only with her profession but also with her physical appearance, and let nothing dissuade her from doing what she knew she was born to do. Except for ya know, the aliens that abducted her, or the Bermuda Triangle that sucked her up, or the Japanese that held her hostage before she died.

 

4.) Glennon Doyle Melton.ab597af3b3c0ac5fda5d0a7a0b5648d5
She was the first person (besides my mama) that told me it was okay to be an emotional wreck of a person. Through her writing I realized I wasn’t actually crazy, there were a lot of women out there like me struggling with depression and anxiety and insecurities and just way too many emotions. Even if I was crazy, I was in damn good company. She is a powerhouse of love and truth and great mantras.

5.) L.R. Knost.
Another author that helped me in a really dark time of my life. I remember when I discovered her writings. I was sitting in Little Bee’s dark room, rocking him for what seemed like hours on end in our freezing basement apartment. He was a terrible sleeper,  and it seemed to get worse as he got older, not better. During the days he was a disaster of high energy, angry outbursts, and restlessness. I was struggling financially, had just started a brand new relationship (with C), and could not for the life of me figure out what I was doing wrong to make my toddler so unhappy and anxious and angry. I found an article on Pinterest written by her about parenting a strong-willed child and absolutely bawled. She is the guru on gentle parenting and everything I hoped I could be as a mother. I’m not nearly up to her level, but her words and gentle guidance really helped me see Little Bee’s point of view, and how I could help him.

6.) Dr. Timothy Winters.1936293_1150915286857_2630712_nI have known Winters since I got this hare-brained idea to go to Greece for 4 weeks in 2009. He is a saint among men and one of the driving forces behind my collegiate success and degree. He helped me discover my academic passions and mentored me throughout the years. When I emailed him and told him I had to drop out due to the issues with the Drone, he asked if there was anything I needed and if I was safe. A few months after term started I emailed again and said I wanted back in school but was worried about catching up. He told me to come down to his office immediately and he’d help me with anything I needed. Just like that, I was back in college. For the past 6 years he has encouraged and guided me along my academic path. He is a force to be reckoned with outside of his office too. He is a professor, a volunteer sheriff’s deputy, a deacon in the Catholic church, a father of 4 girls, and grandfather of 2 (I think?), a devoted husband and a very active member of his community and school.

7.) Laura Ingalls Wilder.298f4835ef1821047b0df3a28af556e5Another childhood idol of mine. I devoured her books over and over as I grew up, and was in awe of her spirit. She was so spunky and independent when that was usually frowned upon by society. She had a tough life, but always found beauty and a way to have fun. She was sassy, loyal to her family, tough as nails, and whip smart. She was everything I wanted to be growing up.

 

9abfc48ce4ff75949da8a197bb14a2048.) Michael Franti.
He is just a holy person with a beautiful soul. His music is so raw and fresh and powerful. I rarely agree 100% with famous people on political things, but so far everything he stands for, so do I. He is a preacher of love and peace and unity. And some good dance beats. Yes please! The energy at his shows is insanely contagious. You cannot NOT be moved. The vibrations are way too high. As are most of the people.

 

9.) Little Bee.IMG_0042
He changed my world the minute I realized he was growing in my womb. Everything I thought mattered before him didn’t actually matter as much as I thought it did. My life is split in two very distinct sections: time BEFORE Little Bee and time AFTER Little Bee. Being his mommy has shown me how much I can really handle, and how much I can love. He has taught me to keep calm when things are insane (still a lesson I struggle with)  and sometimes a simple thing like a hug or an “I love you Mommy” can make everything better. He lives his life all out: everything is the absolute most exciting or the absolute most tragic. He plays hard, loves hard, cries hard, laughs hard, sleeps hard, hugs hard. This boy is 100% all the time, and while it’s e x h a u s t i n g it’s also inspiring. Adults hold back all the time and miss out on so much in life because of it. Kids can show us how to live, love, and appreciate the little things.

10.) Sherri Anderson.
I was very young when my grandmother died. It was 20 years last month that she succumbed to the tumor on her brain, and I have never not spent a day not missing her. Although I only enjoyed 9 short years of her as my grandmother, her love was profound and her presence in our life was always felt, even after she left the physical world. She was a quiet and calm force in a family of big, stubborn personalities. She loved hard and worked even harder. I never remember her raising her voice or even giving a stern look, although I’m sure she did on occasion. She had a gorgeous smile that never faded, even when she was in so much pain. She guided her children, her husband, and her grand children on their religious paths and made sure that she was there at big moments in life, even after her death. She saved family heirlooms for me and my brother to be given on momentous occasions like first communions, confirmations, and college. Her love for her family never ended, even after her life did, and how can you not be influenced by a woman like that?

Day 8

Day 8

What are 5 passions that you have?

Okay this is an easy one! I have so many passions. I fall in love with things all the way and jump head first into the deep end. Once I am interested I research and read and obsess until I am fully dedicated and informed. Hence another reason why Google is my best friend.

1.) Natural parenting.
Now, I am not judgmental on this. I don’t push my views on people nor do I think I’m a perfect parent. There is no sanctimommy crap going on in my head. Every family is different, and every child is different, but for me and Little Bee going the natural, “attachment” parenting path worked for us. I believe infants need to be held, sometimes frequently. Crying it out did not work for Little Bee. EVER. Trust me, I tried on this one. 9a76a5693094703665a9c4bda83eb87aWe co-slept until toddlerhood, and I wore him quite a bit in a wrap. I have always been very careful about what he eats and I check sugar content obsessively. Sugar is like meth to this kid. I’m not even kidding. Don’t get me wrong; he gets treats, the occasional fast food, and has all his vaccines. But I try my very hardest to keep toxins out of our home and food, and be as empathetic and understanding towards him as I can. Parenting can sometimes take a tyrannical turn, and I don’t want that. I’m not afraid to put my foot down when necessary, but I want him to feel like he is allowed to have a say in (some) things, his own opinions, and his own passions.

 

2.) Yoga.
I feel kind of like a fraud for saying this since it’s been about a week since I’ve been on my mat, but I really believe in the power of yoga. It has so many benefits physically, mentally and spiritually that I suggest it to EVERYBODY. I know I feel better, sleep better, and can manage my anxiety better when I’m regularly practicing yoga. (It doesn’t hurt that I can see some ab muscles either) One of my future goals is to work with veterans and/or domestic abuse survivors and help them heal/cope with their PTSD through yoga. I honestly think that if veterans were more open to yoga, there would be less instances of addiction, violence and suicide.

3.) Female empowerment.
I’d much rather lift up a woman than put her down. I can’t stand catty women. We are pushed down enough by society, we don’t need it from our own sisters as well. It infuriates me when I am told, or hear, that I can’t do something because I’m female. Or that doing such and such is not lady like. I don’t give a rat’s ass. I’m gonna do what I wanna do, regardless of my gender. If I can’t do something it’s gonna be because I don’t want to, or because I don’t have the skills. Not because I have a vagina. I am more than a pretty face. I’m wicked smart. I’m loyal. I’m funny as shit (if I do say so myself). My body may be petite, but it is strong and capable and does not quit. I want every woman and girl on this planet to have the confidence and encouragement to achieve whatever it is she wants. Women are not property, or puppets, or mindless sex toys. We are fierce, intelligent humans with the mental capacity to make our own choices about our own bodies and lives.

4.) Healthy eating.
This one is huge for me. I have played around a lot in the past few years with my diet, for the sake of my health not losing weight. I have some unidentified autoimmune issues going on and have been trying to reverse (or at the very least stop) them through diet and lifestyle changes. I have cut gluten, diary, eggs and severely limit my refined sugar and grains intake. I buy as many organic food items as my budget allows. We as a family have cut way back on eating out and pre-packaged foods. Which means I spend a lot of time in the kitchen prepping, cooking and cleaning. But it’s worth it to me. I have more energy than I did a few years ago when all this started, my skin has cleared (except during my cycle…damn hormones) and I am starting to get a handle on my horrible digestive issues. I have become very aware of what foods affect my body and mind, and whether it’s in a negative or positive way. Throughout my years of research and trial and error, I have become a firm believer in food as medicine. EVERYTHING you put in your body either helps you or harms you, and the majority of Americans aimlessly put junk into their mouths. It is no coincidence that we have the highest obesity and heart issues in the world, and also the most additives, chemicals and preservatives allowed in our food.* Eating clean DOES take more time, effort, thought and money. But isn’t your overall health and quality of life worth an extra hour in the kitchen? And don’t tell me poor people can’t eat healthy. There was a point in my life when I only had $20 a week for groceries (if I was lucky) and a toddler to feed. I couldn’t buy everything organic, but I chose to spend my money on healthier options instead of chemical laden convenience foods. You can buy organic and health foods on food stamps. Most farmer’s markets give you vouchers too. It’s possible, it’s just a choice.
*I don’t have actual statistics for this, but I’m pretty sure I read it somewhere. Super scientific and factual, right?

5.)Writing.
I have loved writing ever since I learned how. My mom still has some of my first “stories” written on the big lined paper with the blank space above for pictures. The majority of them end in “then he/she died. The end.” Hey, we Gemini’s are a bit

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morbid, even in childhood. I’ve journaled off and on throughout my whole life, and during the hormonal angst of my teenage years, I turned to poetry (even got one published). I have always been able to write my thoughts out more articulately than I can speak them. Being able to pour my heart or busy mind out onto paper has been such a lifesaver. It’s better than therapy in my opinion. Writing also helps me unknot the thousands of thoughts in my head at any given time. Starting this 30 day prompt has been so eye-opening on how much I have to say, and how free I feel when I write. I have enjoyed staying up late, or getting up way early and writing a post. It’s sometimes the only thing I get to do for just me during the day, and it helps keep me centered. Writing reminds me of who I am when I’m so tired I can’t even remember the date.

 

Day 7

Day 7

What is your dream job and why?

Ha. Haha this is such perfect timing. My dream job is somewhere quiet and calm. Like a library or a museum. I want to spend my days delving into historical artifacts and trying to put together an ancient mystery. I want to be surrounded by intellectuals and nerds with the same passions as me. I want to make the past come alive for other people, and teach kids early on that we can learn lessons from history. That history isn’t just a bunch of boring people that lived a long time ago, but rather a colorful and exciting set of characters that could teach us so much.

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Playing the goddess Nike at Epidarous

I’d love to get lost in the stacks or dusty old archives and come out hours later, blinking at the light. I’d be okay with spending long nights researching an obscure fact, or struggling to translate an old script. I want to use my BRAIN again and not have the emotional and physical exhaustion that my job creates now. I have always loved learning new things, and passing that joy along to others. I’d like to do it in a different setting than where I am currently. I’d like to do it in the form of handing someone the perfect book, or writing a paper on a topic they were curious about, or creating an exhibit that engages the public. There are so many other ways to teach, and I’d like to do it in a way that doesn’t seem like teaching. And while wearing cute clothes.

Day 6

Day 6

What is the hardest thing you have ever experienced?

Oof. Wow, cuttin’ right to the chase on this one, huh? I’ve really struggled with this prompt, which I’m sure is the reason for it’s inclusion in the list. It makes you think. I started writing this post by listing all the horrible shit that has happened to me & my family in the past 7 years. But that seemed pretty whiny and trivial. We all go through some hell, and mine isn’t any worse than any one else’s. But my pain is still valid, and those years were still fucked up. So badly in fact that I’m struggling to find just ONE experience to be considered for my hardest. Watching my dad knock on Death’s door then casually saunter away back to the light comes to mind immediately. But I don’t think he’d appreciate me writing about personal shit like that on the inter webs, so I’m refraining. Obviously leaving a toxic relationship 2 months postpartum was no easy feat…yet it was a no brainer. The actual ending of the relationship was one of the easiest things I’ve done because I finally had a clear mind. It was just the subsequent months and years of harassment, fear, and stress that about did me in.

I think making the conscious decision to become a single mother, and leaving my home to create a new life 2000 miles away from my family definitely counts as the hardest thing I’ve experienced. Little Bee and I were both a neurotic mess by the time we arrived in our new home and it took us a long time to settle down. I was still in college, and would spend late nights reading history texts and studying Greek verbs. I questioned my sanity and my decision to move across the country almost every day, but I NEVER questioned my decision to leave. I knew it was necessary for Little Bee’s happiness….and my own. I spent a many lonely, dark days trying to figure out why my baby hated me, where all my friends went and why the fuck was I so stupid for so long. I learned what mattered to ME, what I wanted out of life, and how I wanted Little Bee to grow up. I replayed the last 6 years over and over and tried to sort out the lies from the truth. I never could figure that part out, and that stung. It took me YEARS to come to terms with that. How do you reconcile the fact that you were never a priority? That everything ever told to you was a lie and he had no intention of following through. It fucking stings. It’s not a good feeling. But once I finally realized that, I was okay. I knew that I had learned a

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Blurry and sweet…just like those days

tough lesson and I would never repeat it. I would never doubt myself or be walked over again. For years I had ignored the little nagging voice in the back of my mind that whispered “lies” and it came back to kick me in the ass big time. I learned to NEVER EVER ignore that voice because it’s intuition and vital to survival. I found my voice. In the most loneliness of seasons, I heard my voice for the first time. I learned that nothing mattered more to me than my child, I would do things for him that would have been inconceivable before his birth. The term “mama bear” totally made sense to me now. Which made me appreciate my mama more than ever. And made her absence even more profound. My parents came through for me in ways that I can never repay. Leaving them was so hard, and something I haven’t quite gotten over yet. I literally left the safety of their nest to find my own way and it was terrifying. I had no one to cook for me, or take the baby when he wouldn’t sleep and I had to. Daddy wasn’t there to mow my lawn or fix my car or tell me why my heater wasn’t working. Mama wasn’t there with a cup of coffee after a rough night, or a back rub when I had a headache. There were times when I would go for  DAYS without talking to anyone except the baby and the cat. It was so, so lonely and yet so comforting. I was learning to trust myself and relearn who I was. I had been erased for years, and my re-emergence was painful.

I’m well removed from those days now, in a comfortable apartment with a steady job and a loving man. We’re in a good routine and Little Bee is thriving. My wounds are closed, though the scars still visible. Out of the muck, I can plainly see that those long, scary, lonely days were so necessary to where I am now. Looking back on those two years though, I feel sadness. I missed so much of Little Bee’s formative years in the fuzz of sleep deprivation, postpartum depression, and stress. Some memories are lost forever, some are only recalled when I see a picture on Facebook. But those were also some of my happiest times. I had a gorgeous house that was everything I wanted, and held so many childhood memories. I was free…I could do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, however I wanted. Some days Little Bee and I never got dressed. Some days we walked miles to the farmer’s market and went to museums. My days were scheduled by ME and my baby, nobody else. I could say what I wanted, go where I wanted, and feel what I wanted with no repercussions.

I was also scared. I was doubtful. I was hurt. I was bitter, angry, and broke. But I wouldn’t trade those days for anything. They changed the damaged girl into the strong, capable woman that I am now. I don’ learn things the easy way. But once I learn, I never forget.

Day 5

Day 5

What are the 5 things that make you the most happy right now?

1.) Coffee (I know, you’re super surprised right?). I literally could not function right now
without that magical bean. It’s the seriously the only thing that pulls me out of bed in the morning. It’s warm and yummy and and sings to my soul. My morning coffee is almost like a spiritual ritual for me. Coffee always makes me happy. And it always understands.

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2.) Having C on my team. It has been barely controlled chaos trying to juggle long work hours, back-to-school, football, and commute time, plus all other life things. C is always there to fill in when I can’t, back me up, and pick up the slack when I drop it in sheer exhaustion. I couldn’t do this life without him. Plus he gives the best hugs, makes me laugh and smells goooood. 🙂

3.) Writing again. It feels so good to

be getting my thoughts out there. Not a lot of people are reading them right now, but that’s okay. I’ll get there. Just by actively DOING something to feed my creative soul, I feel better. Almost like…“I’M NOT DEAD YET”!! I know this is just a tiny stepping stone to where I want to be, and I’m excited.

4.) Sweater weather! I hate winter and being cold, but right now we are having glorious autumn weather…it’s chilly and blustery but still kinda sunny and mild. I love snuggling down into a hoodie, sweater or scarf. Its like wearing a hug. Plus I can drink hot tea, coffee and red wine without sweating and curl up under my thick down comforter at night. If only it would stay like this and not get any colder…

5.) The hilarious little ham that Little Bee has become. Every day he has a new phrase or word that makes me laugh. He’s becoming his own weird little person and I love it! He’s got such sense of humor already! I want him to always keep that quirkiness about him. We had a rough start to the school year but it seems to be smoothing out and he’s rocking first grade! Watching him walk into school every morning with his too big, light up, galaxy backpack makes my heart swell with pride and break into a million pieces, simultaneously.