Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A Snowball's Chance

You know how sometimes you're chugging along, doing your thing, and something comes along and hits you like a mac truck?
Maybe it was something you were prepared to have interrupt your routine, like, say a trip to the top-middle of the country for a wedding...
You tie up all your loose ends, doing laundry, emptying the fridge of perishables, and taking out the trash so it doesn't fester in your seven day absence.
You arrange for the dog to spend the time with your Dad in Maine where she can run about in the woods and be fattened up with sneaky table scraps.
You get a friend to stop by the house and feed the cat. You transfer money and budget for gas. You make seventy six checklists and you shockingly get out the door on the day at the time you planned for, and like tumblers in a lock, everything clicks like it's supposed to.

Then, a mid-west relation on your husband's side, someone with too much make up, or bad breath from a sour stomach, shakes your hand, touches the baby's cheek, or kisses you hello beside your eye, and introduces a fucking cold germ.

The trip continues to go pretty much as planned.

I mean, sure, the world is in chaos, terrible things are happening that make your too anxious to eat regularly. You make some poor decisions like drinking diet coke at four in the afternoon because you're doing that whole "vacation with a baby not sleeping thing," and you maybe eat two frosted rose cookie favors from the wedding while lying in a hotel bed one night after you flee the wedding because it didn't start until 6pm, and so the baby went into meltdown just as they brought out the entrees, and so you haven't eaten anything but half a bread roll and three forkfuls of wilted romaine in italian dressing.

But these are all details that get lost in the relief as soon as you set foot in your own house a week later.

Except you wake up the following day with a head full of bees and a throat paved in crushed glass.
You, your Beard, and your baby, are sicker than a pack of dogs, and due to all the travel and emotional strain, it knocks you out for yet another week.

By the time you get back on your feet, it's almost the third week of August.
You're hurtling well toward Autumn with many stores already shuffling in their Halloween decor, and a desire to drink hot coffee and sit outside beside a smoky fire and eat apple after apple.

or at least that's what you want it to be.

That anxious feeling in your stomach never went away.

In fact, now that you have the biggest financial commitment of the year, and the requisite gnarly cold out of your way, you have nothing but the hideous world to focus on.

You want to be enjoying the last beach days. You take the baby to the beach during the eclipse thinking it will be magical, but instead the water is choked with foul smelling algae, and you flee the stench after ten minutes under the sickly half-sun.

The class you've had to reschedule twice now has to be cancelled due to an open house, and your baby won't take a nap, and your fall classes don't have enough sign ups to run yet, so you're anxiety takes hold of money fears, and you find yourself swinging back and forth between nausea and ravenous hunger, fear and survival, self loathing and self preservation.

Your need for stability and reassurance is constant. You get no succor from talking to people who ordinarily make you feel better, hopeful, like you matter, like you can make things better.

That's what it all boils down to.


You have so little right now.

With a child who you want to leave a wonderful world, a world better than the one you brought him into.

With an old demon that threatens its ugly rise every time you feel ineffective and lost.

With all the small grievances snowballing against you its really difficult to stay warm and be certain you'll get back to safety.

I feel like I'm trapped inside an avalanche and I don't know which way is up.

But, I've got to spit, and see which way it falls, and then start digging.
I have to dig my way out, and trust the sun is shining once I'm free.

Friday, August 4, 2017

It's Friday.

So there are only three days left before the great Cronk roadtrip to Detroit MI for Cronk the younger's wedding.

This meant my brain thought it would be a wonderful time (at around 3am this morning) to list all the things I haven't done yet to prepare for said road trip, namely the copious amounts of laundry.
Also, I think Baz is teething again because he's been night nursing a ton, and while I was listing laundry, counting phone chargers, and trying to figure out if we needed to bring all of the books the baby wants to read, I was also fantasizing about eating peanut butter, tortilla chips, and frozen bananas.

I feel like I need to blog more regularly, so that I come across as less of a psycho and more of a human, so here's a recap of my week.

I finished reading the pieces written by the students in my Magical Fiction class and doodled notes on them. I spent an hour on zillow looking at apartments in Portsmouth and Dover, NH, which are beautiful, and much more affordable than the North Shore.
Still, we don't really have the extra moolah to move right now, so I got depressed and strapped the now 30lb baby to my chest and went for an extra long walk to clear my head. I toodled down to the Beverly market for the first time this year and bought some corn and zucchini. I was surprised at how little produce there was in comparison to how many stands were selling bread. I hung out at the Pigs Fly stand drooling over their stuff for longer than I probably should have considering I don't think buying bread makes sense when I have Fang (my homegrown starter) lurking in the fridge waiting to be turned into magic.

My Dad came down in the afternoon to hang out with the baby and help with the childcare so I could leave for my class in Boston. We drank tea and ate slices of the zucchini bread I baked that morning. Auntie Rex came over and the baby delighted in having so much attention.
We left the babe with my Dad and ducked out so I could buy a Rose for my class to share, and Rex got me to the train depot in plenty of time.
For the first time this summer, I made it to Grub without having to run halfway across Boston.
I chilled the Rose, and then the rest of the students arrived.
They're a really lovely group, and between them there were brownies, almond cookies, pretzels, hummus, and blueberry cake. One very industrious student took it upon himself to make ice shot glasses in the freezer and brought out a bottle of rum, but he was the only one brave enough to try it.
If I were to drink anything stronger than a glass of wine, there would be no way I'd make it home in one piece. I'd probably end up on the Fung Wah bus to NYC with a garbage bag full of balloon animals and a box of krispy kremes (not that I've ever done that...ever).
I got home on the 11pm train after a wonderful class, and fell into bed with the bairn.

My late Tuesday nights always melt into eeeeeeaaaaaarly Wednesday mornings. The baby does not care what time I get home from class. He's up at 5:30, and so I am too.
Thank god for coffee.
It was humid and hot, so we went down to the beach at about 8:30am. The baby bypasses the playground and goes running straight for the water, and honestly, I can't blame him, so we splashed and frolicked for a bit, until I could feel the sun starting to scorch up my shoulders, about quarter after nine. It's a good thing too, because I checked my phone and saw a few texts about a coffee date with my darling InkWitch that I totally blanked on thanks to the no sleep. I wrapped the babe up, swaddled him into the stroller and raced for the coffee shop, still making it there in time for the date.
It was one of those necessary lovely things. We only had about an hour to visit, but InkWitch is so generous in spirit and in body, that I always feel really well cared for in her presence. She brought a rattlesnake toy for the babe, and tea and a talisman for me. I've been wearing the talisman for the rest of the week, and it reminds me how much I am loved by a very special witchy lady.
After the coffee date, I ran a few errands, then my third wind abandoned me, and by noon, we were back at the house. I curled up so the babe could get a post-lunch nap and wished with all my might that I could fall asleep too, but not for this Aries. As long as the sun is shining, my eyes are open.
The afternoon involved a lot of reading. Baz picked out book after book, and I read and read. It makes me so happy that he might love reading as much as I and his Dad do.

I woke up with a baking fever. I had a recipe kicking around in my head for Sauerkraut Sourdough, so I mixed up the dough at seven thirty while the coffee pot burbled and the baby finished his sweet potato pancakes. I fiddled with the kraut, but still, it added a bit more liquid than I wanted, and so, when I left for (yes, another coffee date), I was a bit nervous about the final rise.
This has been the week for seeing friends who've been so busy that our schedules never properly aligned. With the trip next week, I got worried I wouldn't get to visit with anybody, so I jammed everything in to this seven day block. It makes me sound way more social than I usually am. Most weeks, we don't see a soul, and I start talking to the walls to feel less crazy. That's how it works, right?
Another early hour at the beach, some running around, and then, an eleven thirty lunch/coffee date with Auntie Face. Auntie Face is really a term of endearment, because she is fiercely beautiful and serves serious face. I am in awe of her luminescence.
I drank two (TWO!!!) iced lattes, and Baz purloined her almonds and dried mango (he's lucky he's cute), then we walked down to another park and played around a fairy tree while talking about the world between worlds. I try to be grateful for the humans I have in my village around here. It's remarkable...how we all find each other exactly when we need to.
After such a busy date, the babe was tuckered out. We came home and he collapsed into his afternoon nap. Sometime I'm going to have to sleep train him, but for now, I relish the feeling of his little body completely at rest on my heart. It makes me feel stronger and more magical than I ever dreamed possible.
The nap ended abruptly, and I nervously bunged the sloppy kraut bread into the oven, then we read a few more books before dinner.
Shockingly the bread turned out marvelous!
Savory, tangy, sour, and salty without an overload of anything. It was really good! The baby ate a piece with his peas and chopped up hamburger, and I had a chunk with some cheese.
I typically eat my biggest meal around two in the afternoon, and then eat a snack and then another snack instead of dinner because the end of the day is super busy, but I guess I didn't eat enough yesterday because of the late night hangries.

And here we are!
This morning, I confirmed our rental car reservation, bought some weekend groceries (fruit, cat food, whipped cream, and taco fixin's) but was strangely waylaid by a package of raisin bran muffins. I couldn't tell you why, but I had to have them.
We then scooted straight up the hilliest hill in my neighborhood to visit Auntie Treat, who spoiled us with homemade palmiers (teensy little three bite wonders), and fancy coffee. The babe was in heaven racing around with Auntie Treat's two doggos. We got our exercise too, trying to keep him from eating trinkets, pulling out wires, and knocking over glasses as well.
By then the babe was ready for his nap, so we spirited back home, where I inhaled a banana/peach/sweet potato/coconut yoghurt smoothie the size of my head.
Later I took the babe outside and let him play in the baby pool (another present from Inkwitch), and picked some tomatoes from the garden, before coming back in to split one of the muffins and some salty salty peanuts. Nom nom nom.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

An Admission of Guilt

Recovery is not linear.

I repeat this to myself as I realize that I am waiting for my scale to zero out so I can step on it before I get in the shower.

It's a habit I got into when I was pregnant, weighing myself every Tuesday, but I kept it up after the baby was born, and I realized the other day that I am no longer doing it on Tuesdays.
I am weighing myself every morning.

Then something else started happening.

I started seeing a number I wanted to keep.
A low number.

And without even thinking about it, all of them, all of the behaviors I've worked so hard to let go of in the last two years began creeping back into my days.

And so did all of their consequences.

Weird food rules.

Like not allowing myself to eat before 11am.

Even when my stomach is growling.

Not allowing myself this or that thing if I haven't had blank number of servings of vegetables first.

Not allowing myself to eat before I've gone for a morning walk.

Not allowing myself to eat if I haven't had 16oz of water first.

And fuck fuck fucking fuck, I let it tell me all of that.

I made excuses for it. Like it was a bad boyfriend.

I'm not really restricting, I'm eating plenty of food.
I'm not ignoring my body's needs, I always stop when I feel full.
I'm not keeping myself from eating certain foods, I eat anything I want.

Then the pendulum swung, and I binged.

I felt so hungry, and I ate right through my hunger cues into my fullness cues and then past those into my discomfort.

I ate enough to feel sick to my stomach and not to want to eat again for the rest of the day.

Then the shame began.

I lay awake wondering what I'd done wrong.
I woke up vowing today would be different,
and then I did it again.

You read that right.

I restricted all day, and then I binged at night.

And this time, I felt like I was in a car my Eating Disorder was driving drunk, and I knew it was dangerous, I knew I should pull over and get out, but I just had to see if it really was going to crash, and I really was going to die.

And the thing is, it didn't crash this time.
I didn't die.

But I will be asked to get back in this car every day, every morning, every hour for the rest of my life, and if I say yes every time, one day, I will crash, and I will die, and it will be because I let this thing convince me that a bunch of worthless rules, a bunch of stupid meaningless rules, are more important than my body, my life, and my son. I will pretend that they give me control over the uncontrollable, and then I will miss out on every other important thing happening in my life.

So I repeat to myself, recovery is not linear.

And I forgive myself for blundering back into the insidious, sticky swamp of my disordered behaviors. I hope I caught myself in time.
I know that there will be other moments that I fuck this up, but all I can do is take it one hour at a time, one day at a time, one meal at a time, and most importantly, tomorrow, I am going to eat breakfast when I get up and relax for the rest of the day.

And I am not getting on that fucking scale.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Short and Bittersweet

Sometimes I get completely swept up in how fast my baby is going to grow up.

These days it's so easy to become mired inside the amber of long summer afternoons and even longer sticky, cranky nights. I hold him on my lap and he twiddles wiht my boobs and tries to nurse standing on his head, and by god, it feels endless then. I feel like I'll never get my body back to myself. I feel overwhelmed by the needs of this little person, and I feel crushed by the responsibility of giving him what he needs from moment to moment.

But it's slipping away nonetheless.

He races away from me on the beach, a tiny shovel clutched in his fist, and my heart seizes in my chest with the awful certainty that he will repeat this desertion someday, but in a much grander sense.

That's the truly horrible truth about parenthood:
If you do your job properly, one day, your child will leave you, and they may never look back.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Keep Your Home Equity. I wanna Dance!

Sometimes I am paralyzed over one very specific task.

It's usually a money related thing.

A bill I need to pay in installments because I don't have the lump sum (medical shit),
A debt I am overwhelmed by and need to lower my monthly payments on (student loan shit),
An impending expense I have no desire to incur but must in order to continue as a functioning adult member of society and caretaker of a child (any type of repairs).

These things are literally heart freezingly stressful for me because deep deep down, I believe that the fact that I find them necessary and unhappy making is a symptom of the terrible life I am leading.

Honestly, if you wanted to go to the source of pretty much all of my anxiety other than fear of death or injury to my loved ones it's all rooted in this terrible certainty that I am doing my whole damn life wrong.

Do you ever feel like this?

Like, obviously a decent person would have met all her deadlines!
This decent person has a savings account for her son, a retirement fund that both she and her husband contribute to, and yet another account in which they are saving for the down payment on a house.
This decent person doesn't feel a hand squeeze her lungs when she sees that the mail has come.
She doesn't mind ordering checks or setting up her bills for automatic payments because she'll never overdraw her account.

This is the person I believe I should be, and I really really want to be her.

I want to be her, and I have to believe that I will be her at some point,
but I'm not her right  now, and because I'm not, I am constantly sizzling with fear.

It sucks too, because I hate money.
I hate its importance, the materialism, malcontent, and greed it inspires.
I hate that as soon as I got to my thirties everyone asked me when we were going to buy a house.

And I actually don't give a shit about owning a house.

You can't take it with you!
I want to scream.
Why bother tying yourself to a piece of property that will only rob you of any extraneous funds you put aside for the traveling you wanted to do in your old age?

And smart people, real grown ups, people nothing like me, have answers for all these questions.
Answers that begin with equity and end with 'DON'T YOU WANT TO LEAVE YOUR CHILDREN WITH ANYTHING?'

And yeah...I do...
but I would much rather leave them with memories than a bunch of stuff they have to figure out how to either get rid of, sell, or store after I die.

Why is it so difficult to convince people that I don't want THINGS?

I would much rather go out to a meal with six of my closest friends than get a necklace that cost as much as that dinner.

I would rather take a trip than invest in an upgraded vehicle.

I would rather splurge on the vacation, the boat ride, the road trip, and anything other experience that I can lie in bed and relive over and over again in my mind.

When I am dying, I won't be lying there fondly recalling all my stocks and bonds. I won't be happily going over how many clocks I collected or how, the day before my stroke, I finally got that diamond tennis bracelet I was coveting.

I will be lost in the memories of the meals laughed over until midnight, the embrace of my loved ones in an airport after a long journey, the sunrises over multicolored oceans, the breathless, weightless feeling of being in a foreign country and trying to memorize how everything feels and looks even though you know it's impossible.

So here I am, struggling, like everyone else, to equate my idea of a well lived life, with taking care of my family and staying secure, so there's food on the table between vacations, doctor's appointments and vaccines before summer adventures, and electricity pumping into my home, so that on a sick day, my kid and I can curl up and watch ET for the millionth time.

It's odd, but I feel better writing that all down.

My Dad once told me that his goal was to die owing a million dollars.
He's in his seventies now, and he laments that he'll probably not get there.

I laugh at him, but I silently agree.

Fuck it.
I wanna dance!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Falling on a Summer afternoon

Today has been a backwards, inside out kind of day.

Like all of them,
it looks perfectly ordinary from the outside.
We woke up and I fed the baby breakfast: toast made from homemade bread, with peanut butter and bananas and cottage cheese with cinnamon.
We took the dog out.
We cleaned up, got dressed, went to the park.
I drank coffee.
I chased the baby around the park and the beach for an hour. He wanted to see trucks. He chased after dogs. He befriended a four year old and they chased each other around giggling.
We shared a bottle of water, and he ate a handful of pita chips.
He fell asleep in the stroller as I navigated through appalling construction that made the fifteen minute trek to the grocery store take three quarters of an hour.
He woke up in the store after only a little bit, and I peeled a clementine for him.
He sucked the juice out of the segments and I finished the shopping.
I took a weird roundabout way home to avoid the construction, and it was eleven thirty before I got home, and I had been awake for five and a half hours and I hadn't eaten yet.

Bastian ran around while I made a smoothie, and I forgot I hadn't eaten, even though I was starving, and I put in the frozen leftovers of an almond milk latte from the day before, and after I drank the smoothie, I got such a caffeine buzz, but it was nothing compared to later.

It's four thirty in the afternoon.
And I think I am fighting a panic attack.

I did all the normal things.
I talked to my mother on the phone about her trip to Canada to see my Grandmother.
I fed the baby lunch and talked to Bob during his lunch break.
The baby and I went to the library, and played for an hour. I read him The Cat in the Hat.

Then I left with him in the carrier thinking that he'd fall asleep.
Which he did.
Except I couldn't calm down then.
All I could think about all day was going to the farmers market.
All I had to do was walk for forty minutes with the baby asleep on me, and I would be there.
All I wanted, was for him to sleep, for the wind to blow, for there to be strawberries at the market, for there to be something delicious that surprised me. I wanted to see the baby dance to the musician playing in the square.

But my legs hurt.
And my eyes felt unfocused.
My head clouded up, and the prospect of walking so far suddenly made me feel weak and sick.

So I turned around.
I came home.
All I wanted to do was have a lovely market experience with my baby.
But when I couldn't do that,
all I wanted was to sit in front of the computer and write while he slept.
Except, the moment I sat down, he woke up.

I couldn't stop feeling weak.

I thought maybe I needed to eat more.
I made toast with hummus.
I drank a huge bottle of water.

And I feel drunk.

I feel dizzy and weepy and off.

I don't want to eat.

I don't want to be in my house.

I feel like I've failed everything, and I don't know why.

Like I'm falling down a tunnel, and I don't have the strength to scrabble at the walls.

What do I do?

Wait until it passes.
I guess.
Like everything.WhatW

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Racing To Win at Losing AKA:Parenthood

I've mainly been using this blog as a therapist's chaise longue to process through my ED recovery lately, and that's okay.
A large part of my recovery story was and is becoming pregnant and then transforming into a mother (still doing that second part), but there are many transformation occurring within and around us all the time.
For example, my baby, my little squish, has suddenly transformed into a toddler.

I was looking the other way.
At the end of April he was still only just sixteen months. He still had all these little rolls on his arms and legs like the can of biscuits when you first open it. His head was still a little big, and he had very little hair. He slept twice a day and only woke once or twice in the night to nurse a little and then cuddle back down to sleep. He liked books, but couldn't sit still through them, and he played with toys in an abstract way picking them up and putting them down without any kind of idea what they were for. Blocks weren't for stacking so much as knocking over. Toy trucks and trains were for banging on things to make noise, etc.
Then May arrived and blew us apart with a solid five weeks of teething.
Everything went topsy turvy as my kid cut six molars in the course of a month.
Our sleep schedule shot to shit.
He ran fevers, drooled constantly, was congested, sneezing, coughing, and generally miserable. He went back to nursing several time a day to ease the pain, and he didn't play much at all. He couldn't sit still he was so uncomfortable so reading was out. We spent a lot of afternoons plonked in front of the tv watching a movie as he nursed the pain away.
I was happy I could do that much and shoved aside those feelings of guilt that I should be doing more.
Then with the beginning of June the teething ebbed away like the tide.
And strangely, it took with it the last of his babyness, leaving me with a toddler and the feeling that he had become a new animal overnight.

Suddenly he was eating a ton more food, entire hamburgers at dinner time, bagels and cream cheese for breakfast, his own portions of sweet potato and beans.
Along with the newfound appetite, his body and energy were changing. He didn't want to nap twice a day, instead sometimes he'd play through his a.m. naptime, racing around at a breakneck speed, picking up his toys and examining them with new curiosity. He began to bring me books to read aloud, only to squirm out of my lap halfway through and go to chase the cat or run a train around the floor ON ITS WHEELS like you're supposed to!

Out of nowhere he threw tantrums when I picked him up to leave the playground, wriggled out of my arms when I tried to dress him in the morning, and refused to sit down in the tub for his bath.

I felt ambushed by this new, willful child who replaced my dumpling of a boy from only two months earlier. I didn't understand that I needed to discipline him, not just keep him alive, and it blew my mind when one night after chasing him for ten minutes with a t-shirt for him to sleep in, I gave up, and he came over to me with a onesie he picked out himself which he then allowed me to snap onto his body as if to say, "i just wanted to wear this, not the one you chose."

Yet, there were huge new wonderful things about this toddler, he wrapped his arms around the back of my neck and kissed my face then leaned back and smiled at me and my whole heart exploded with love. He clung to my legs when we went to the library and there were new kids he didn't know, and he held out a hand so I could help him anytime he wanted to climb stairs or descend the steps out of our apartment. He petted the dog and giggled hysterically when she licked his face. He chased the cat, and tickled her ears, and I could tell him to be gentle and he would pet her more softly.

Then he hit a kid in the head with a toy train at the library because he didn't want to share, and the next day, he slapped another baby in the face who was trying to climb the same structure as he.

Mortified, I bundled his screaming, squirming self into the stroller and ran away, shouting apologies over my shoulder to the understanding parents, descending into a pit of shame on the walk home.

Now I have these new obstacles to surmount, screen time to police, games to supervise, and lessons to dispense. I feel as though my job as mama, all encompassing love noodle has been pulled out from underneath me and these new responsibilities thrust upon me with no warning.
Perhaps that's the riddle of parenting, just when you catch up to being what your child needs, they shoot ahead of you, and you have race to acclimate to the new thing they need you to be.