Sunday, August 23, 2009

my list.

The woman I want to be is:

One who sends thank you cards and snail mail.

One who listens to others more than complain.

One who has cool hair, tattoos, piercing, and doesn’t care what others think.

One who does crafts with her kids.

One who smiles most of the day.

One who is actively following her dreams.

One who cleans her house before she goes to bed.

One who wears what she wants.

One who compliments more than criticizes.

One who has fabulous dinner parties.

One who kisses her husband every day for more than 7 seconds.

One who sews and crochets.

One who laughs easily and loudly.

One who loves herself.

One who is always ready for drop-in guests.

One who has solid and quiet faith.

One who accepts compliments gracefully.

One who has a strong family ruled by love and respect, not fear.

One who is a writer.

Some are silly things, some are very serious things. But they are all things that I want to be said about me.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Chasin' Rainbows

I went to my doctor on Monday, as my anti-depressants prescribed in Alaska have finally run out. My parents love their doctor, so choosing a new guy wasn’t a problem. Ma came with me to watch the kids and have her blood pressure checked…which is a whole other post about my mom and the sickness she has to deal with and how it is isn’t fair that someone so good and wonderful has to deal with all she does.

This appointment was…different. Usually, I go in, tell them I have clinical depression, they give me pills. So the four of us go back to the room, we weigh, we chat with the nurse, we wait. He came in, he looked at my facial orifices, he asked me what was up, I told him I need pills.

But then he talked to me.

Like, really TALKED.

Asked me how I was doing. Asked about my home stresses. Asked why I thought I was sad.

Asked if I wanted to be happy.


Let me tell you, that is a loaded question.

I have had this diagnosis for two and a half years. I know that it is a chemical problem, I know that it is encouraged by hormonal changes. I know this is a physical problem.

But I am coming to realize that I am leaning on it, depending on it as an excuse to not try. To not strive for happiness.

I know that exercise will help me, I know it will release endorphins, will benefit me physically, but also help me feel strong, in control of myself. But it has taken me until now to establish a routine. It has taken an unconscionable amount of time to make myself get off the couch, for my own health.

I know I am too hard on Jason, I lean too much on him, I blame him for too many things. But I do it anyways.

I don’t think that I be able to completely leave medications behind like my doc thinks I can. But I can make myself happier than I am now. Because I sure do cry a lot for someone who is on a steady anti-depressant. So we made a plan.

I have to exercise every morning. With Jason around in the mornings, there is no excuse not to. Today was hard…truthfully, if Jason hadn’t pushed me, I would have skipped it. I was sore and sleepy and grumpy. But now I am glad I did.

I have to lower carb, especially white carb, intake…Doc thinks my body doesn’t like them. (Although I am pretty sure my face does.)

I have to cut out pork. My family had heart disease history, so even though I currently have no cholesterol issues, Doc wants to make sure it stays that way. (sadly, this comes just after I find an awesome garlic lime pork recipe.)

I have to choose to be happy every day. I have to get up, smile, and pray that God helps me make that choice every day.

I have to decide what I want to do with my life. I know this seems strange, but one of the things that makes me sad is not having a dream anymore. Before I got pregnant, I was on a very straight course: bachelors degree (with honors) in theatre, grad school in Philadelphia, a few years in small theatres in New York, then become a professor at a small college. I even had my honors project picked out, lined out. Then I got pregnant, and choosing a profession that pretty much dictates poverty was out of the question. So I have been floundering, trying to decide which ‘normal’ career will make me happy.

I love being a stay at home mom, I adore my kids, and spending every day with them. Bu what is my purpose outside of that?

I want to be a writer (obviously, duh, isn’t that every blogger’s ultimate desire?), but doubts assail me. Something keeps me from taking the steps to do that. Everyone who knows me has heard me talk about writing this book or that book…it has been a long standing dream.

So Doc says I have to believe it will happen. He told me stories of his life, things that made it seem impossible that he would ever get to medical school. But he did, because he worked for it, he never gave up the dream.

So…it is time to grab the dream by the horns again. I have to try.

And my last assignment is to decide what kind of woman I want to be…and become that woman.

I’ll get back to you on that one. I gotta do some research.

Disclaimer: I recognize this is not the path to happiness for everyone. This is just the way I am trying to find my rainbow.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Just the way you are, if you're perfect*

This subject is so old hat, I am loathe to bring it up.

But, the truth is, this blog is an expansion of my brain. And part of what is occupying my brain lately is weight loss. Though in my head, it is Weight Loss. And sometimes WEIGHT LOSS.

There is a struggle associated with weight loss that has nothing to do with wanting to eat cupcakes. It is the struggle of whether to try in the first place.

Like many women, the desire to lose is constantly wrestling with the desire to have self-acceptance. By going out of my way to decrease my waist size, am I not basically saying that I dislike myself? I tell myself it is all for my health, that I don’t care how I look as long as I am healthy. But I know that part of what drives me is the desire to wear sizes in the teens, to look at the tag on my jeans and not see a 2 followed by another number.

And how awful is it that I initially typed ‘be a teen size’? Like I am not Rebecca, I am not a woman, a mother, a writer, a wife…I am a 22, and that is what defines me the most?

Also, what about my daughters? I put a lot of effort into teaching them to be strong, independent, caring people. I teach them to eat healthy food, how to exercise their bodies. But by being dissatisfied with myself, am I instilling in them societal beliefs that big people have something wrong with them?

So I move forward gently, quietly. Trying not to call much attention to the face that I am dieting. Not saying the word diet. Doing exercises that resemble salsa dances, jumping jacks, things Violet likes to do. We move and sweat and laugh together, as we try to master the moves before us. Projecting a not-quite-true image of self-love so my daughter doesn’t learn that hating yourself is the norm.

The truth is that for most women in this society, at least the ones I am around, hating yourself is the norm. That we tend to have one or two things we like about ourselves, and hundreds of things we don’t. Really, shouldn’t it be the other way around?

I don’t have a delusion that Violet and Carli are going to love everything about themselves. But my goal, what I strive for is that the things they like severely outweigh the things they hate.

Daily we work on it. Daily I tell them the wonderful things I see in them. Daily I tell myself the wonderful things I see in myself, so that eventually the self-love half-truth can become a whole truth. Daily that list grows.

And daily I eke my way to a healthier me, one that can keep up with them each step of the way. My ultimate goal is not ‘Hot Mom’, I have no desire to look like a super-model. I am not even shooting for a single digit size. The ultimate goal is the size 14 I was when I became pregnant with Violet, which was the healthiest time in my life (mostly due to being too broke for groceries and having to walk miles across campus each day. I don’t plan on using this method.)

But for now, my immediate goal is 2 pounds a week, 40 by December 31. I direct your attention to the tiny box on your right, boldly reminding me each time I come to this site that I have WORK TO DO.

Little by little, step by step, day by day.

*Alanis Morrisette, Perfect

Friday, August 7, 2009

Those Days

Tuesday night, my girls didn’t sleep.

They went to bed at 8:30, sure. Then I cleaned house, folded laundry, did my chores…I went to bed at 12:30.

Carli woke up.

I fed her, changed her, got her back to sleep. I fell asleep about 1:30. Then 2:00 am rolled around.

Violet woke up.

Not from a bad dream, not for any reason. She just wanted to be up.

She fell asleep around 4, during which time I fed Carli another time. I fell asleep around 4:10.

My wonderful husband let me sleep until 11, but I woke up in a mood.

My bad days are few and far between, but when they hit, they are vengeful. And when I have so many good days in a row, like I have been…the bad days are just awful.

I snapped at Jason. I cried into a pillow. I wanted to crawl into my cocoon, like I always do when the bad days come.

It just makes me feel so out of control. My girls aren’t the targets, my husband is. I pick fights. I call him names. I scream at him.

He has been through this enough to know when it is an episode. That it is chemical in my brain, not representative of how I really feel. But he still has the patience of a saint to sit through it.

After he went to bed, my sister called. She took us out of the house, and gradually, my day ebbed away.

I am still a little edgy today, especially when my blood sugar got low, and Jason grabbed my butt in the grocery store. I usually love that, but NOT when I am on edge…

Tomorrow, I should be back to normal.

These days are getting farther and farther away. I just wish…I just can’t wait until they are gone forever.

I hope that it happens. I know it might not ever go away. But I can hope.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tuesday Night Rocks the House

My nights are pretty tame. Primetime hits, and I sit on the couch, feeding Carli her bedtime bottle. Violet sits beside me, and we watch whatever I deem safe for her to watch.

Tonight, it was her favorite, America’s Got Talent (love me the guys in the pageboy caps and suspenders…RAWR)…just about the only show I can get her to sit through the entire hour for. Well, the first hour was the one where they pared the contestants down to 40...and I bawled through the whole hour. Then they showed the previews for the new season of The Biggest Loser…and I bawled. (her WHOLE family DIED!!!!) I am fairly sure I bawled through a Sprint commercial. (Their 3G network is SO BIG!)

I need to get out more.

My gypsy heritage affords me many perks…curves no matter how much weight I gain, olive-ish skin that rarely sunburns, the propensity to be the loudest in the room and thus Center of Attention.

However, it also comes with hair. True, the stuff in my head is thick and adorable (I humbly proclaim), but the stuff growing out of my chin is equally thick and not nearly as adorable.

Seriously. I can get up in the morning with nary a hair…and by lunch, my fingers will feel the beginnings of one starting to poke through. And that baby is BLACK and THICK and while that may work for Beyonce, I am not feeling it, yo.

The BEST (insert sarcasm here) is when I am at Target, handing the clerk my debit card, and Jason says, “Reka, you have more facial hair than I do!”

Not that that has happened recently. OH WAIT YES IT HAS.

Carli does not stop moving while she is awake. She hasn’t started crawling, but she can get anywhere on the first floor of my house in less than a minute by rolling her little self at the speed of light. Sometimes so fast she spits up from dizziness.

She’ll climb onto the shelf under my coffee table and sort through my books. She’ll roll under her swing so she can lay on her back and push it with her feet. She makes a bee line (caterpillar line?) for anything Violet leaves on the floor.

Her favorite is the shoes, though.

Living in Canada, then Alaska, for so many years has cultivated a habit of taking off our shoes at the door. This creates a pile of shoes near our front door. Which Carli likes to roll around in.

I came down the stairs this morning (Jason watches the girls when he gets off work so I can sleep till 8), There was Carli, laying on the floor, grin huge, dimples flashing…hugging Jason’s topsider.

That’s my girl.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Good-bye, crappy first half of the year.

Jason works the night shift at a hotel. He goes to bed at 2 in the afternoon, sleeps until 10, is at work by 11. This is a schedule that works for us as a family: we go to the beach at least once a week, during the day when the tourists are low; we go grocery shopping as a unit; he gets to go do the menial errands, like paying the water bill and going to the bank, without me. I get to take Violet to pre-school story time at the Library without lugging along CJ. I don’t have to drag both girls along with me to doctor’s appointments.

But there are certain things I miss…the main one being primetime television with Jason. Even though his night schedule increases family time, it severely decreases couple time. This leads to watching a lot of America’s Got Talent/Wipout type shows with Violet instead.

In order to still have time to connected, I stay up late on Friday nights. Jason doesn’t change his sleep schedule on the weekends; we found out through trial and error that it just made for a grumpy, grumpy husband. So, Friday, I put the girls to bed and hang out by myself for awhile, until Jason wakes up. Then we watch a movie or whatever TV-on-DVD he is currently hooked on, laugh, catch up on our lives, sans kids.

So, I was up at midnight on Friday, and realized that August was officially here.

The year is officially on its way out.

Thank Heaven.

There have been some amazing things that have happened this year. We have moved to a lovely place where I get to go to the beach for no reason at all. I have a beautiful, wonderful little elf of a new baby girl. I get to finally be the Stay at Home Mom I longed to be.

But, ho-lee. Everything this year has been a struggle. I feel like I have been clawing my way to normal all year. From the reoccurrence of my PPD to Carli puking up nearly everything we fed her to just the one million everyday things that seemed to take over my brain. Nothing tragic, just…hard. Maybe it was the whole Mercury-in-retrograde thing.

But the past month or so, things have started to lighten up. Maybe because my brain is beginning to return to normal, maybe because we are settling into life here. Whatever the reason, I am grateful.

And I am looking forward to fall. It is my favorite time of year…pumpkins and scarecrows and crunchy leaves and the tinge of non-barbecue smoke in the air. Halloween and Thanksgiving. I can’t wait to take Violet and CJ trick-or-treating without having to layer them in long johns. And to have cool nights when I can wear my favorite, 10 year old hooded sweatshirt again.

I am just excited. Something has lifted, and I feel joyous again. Bring it on, last half of 2009.