No one talks about the fact that trauma never truly goes away.

Every year leading up to Halloween, I secretly hope that it will be different this time. That maybe, this year, I’ve done enough work in therapy or been sober long enough to finally make my demons disappear, because I am an optimist.

And every year, despite my best efforts, the darkness creeps in.

The holidays are a huge trigger for me. For the past 20 years, my sadness and anxiety begins around Halloween and slowly ramps up until after New Year’s.

Every. Fucking. Year.

It’s like clockwork, which is something I don’t understand and likely never will.

It starts with the dreams. Then there’s the inexplicable lack of energy and isolation that I always assume is due to an oncoming cold, or maybe an overindulgence of Halloween candy. And then, out of nowhere, the heaviness, a profound sadness that I can’t explain, and when I try to, I get angry.

I’m angry for being sad. Who wants to be sad during the most joyful time of the year? NOT THIS BITCH.

I’m angry that this weight is still there, after so much work! So many books and journals and countless hours with my therapist, EMDR and letters I was told to write but not actually send, inner child mumbo jumbo and group therapy and service work.

It is still there.

The sadness persists.

I’m angry because every year, I have to admit to myself that what happened to me not only blew up my life, but also rewired my brain because trauma does that. I’m angry that no one told me that trauma never goes away; you can’t work it off like stubborn fat. You can’t pay someone to freeze it off like a wart. You can’t ignore it. All you can do is learn how to live with it.

I drank for years to blot it out, and despite years of refusing to acknowledge the elephant in the room, the effects have bled into every single part of my life. My trauma affects how I parent, my reactions to the people around me, and my marriage. It deeply affects my marriage, actually, because it turns out that it’s really difficult to be a partner when one has no self-worth. For the record, I have self-worth now, but during the holidays it takes a nose dive: all day long, I battle irrational thoughts. It’s the worst.

This entire post is me acknowledging my feelings instead of ignoring them and expecting them to go away, and when they don’t, reaching for a package of cookies since I’m sober now and I don’t have vodka in the house.

Instead of drinking vodka or eating cookies, I’m telling the world that what we do and say to other people matters. Our choices have a ripple effect. I obviously can’t change what happened to me, but I do have the power to change how I cope with the aftermath for the rest of my life.

I drank to numb the pain of being a victim. I DID NOT WANT TO BE A VICTIM. Shudder, gross, ew, no. That sounded, and still sounds, like the weakest shit ever. I’m not a victim, but I do have ongoing issues with post traumatic stress disorder that I’ll likely battle for the rest of my life.

My demons don’t have to define me, and they don’t have to ruin my entire holiday season. While I may never be completely normal during this time of year, I don’t have to drink because of it. What I’m supposed to do, I’m told, is be kind to myself. I am terrible at this.

Yesterday, that looked like buying a 7.5 foot tall Sunkist orange, pre-lit Christmas tree and paying extra to get it here ASAP.

Today, instead of drinking a Monster Zero to power through my day, I took a nap.

I let my 7-year-old fix my hair.

I’m putting my experience out there so that other people can see that recovery is possible. It’s not easy–God, it’s not easy–but it’s the reason why I’m able to be a mom and a friend and a human being who can make a positive impact on the world instead of being a vapid black hole of unhappiness.

If you, like me, are struggling and just sort of treading water to make it to the end of this brutal year, I just want to tell you that it’s going to be okay. We’re going to make it, and these difficult feelings will pass, and the sun will come out again.

Via @adamtots on Instagram

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Everything you need to know

How can I sum up the events of Election Week in the year of our lord 2020?

Here you go. Click, press play, sound up, enjoy.

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“BUT MY RIGHTS!” and other excuses for being a terrible person

There was a time long ago, before I got sober, when I truly did not care what other people did as long as it didn’t directly affect me. I was self-centered, which is pretty typical for a white, middle-class, stay-at-home mom.

I had blinders on. Purposefully.

After I got sober and started working on myself, things got real uncomfortable, real fast. If you’ve followed me for awhile, you’ve heard me talk about how early sobriety felt like someone ripped off my steel armor and skinned me alive in broad daylight. I felt like a newborn mouse — fragile, hairless, blind, and disoriented.

But I didn’t give up, even when it felt like I wasn’t going to make it; even when I had to deep breathe through my day, taking it five minutes at a time to keep myself from jumping through a window or getting loaded. I’ve put in the work, and it is the hardest work I’ve ever done. Not just getting and staying sober, but the excruciating emotional labor of unearthing the why. Why I want to self-medicate. Why I want to self-destruct. Why I never felt good enough.

Ugh.

This stuff is heavy and exhausting and it’s cost us thousands and thousands of dollars in therapy bills, but I can finally tell that it’s paying off because I’ve managed to stay afloat during the Worst Year Ever: 2020. This is the year that put all of my progress to the test, and so far, I seem to be passing because I’m still sober, my marriage is intact, and I’m not incarcerated. Yet.

The downside to emotional health is that I’m so unbelievably and fully aware of ALL THE THINGS, and then I have to find healthy and appropriate ways to process my feelings about said things. Today, I shall blog as a way to process my feelings about what I like to call the “but my rights!” people.

The “but my rights!” people don’t want to wear a mask because they don’t believe in science and they think that COVID-19 is just another version of the flu. They don’t want to be told that they have to put on a mask before they enter a store, because keeping the pandemic under control is infringing on their Constitutional rights. Somehow, they manage to put on shoes and, I assume, undergarments, but the line is solidly drawn at donning a mask.

These are the same people who don’t flush the toilet in the Target bathrooms and probably also can’t be bothered to wash their hands, but who am I to make assumptions? I mean, all I know about them is that they really do not care about other people.

The “but my rights!” folks are the ladies who hover over the toilet and spray their pee everywhere and then just leave it, because who cares? That’s what a janitor is for! They’re doing that person a FAVOR! They’re ensuring the janitor has a lot to do!

The “but my rights!” people are the men who don’t bother to aim their urine, the ones who throw McDonald’s cartons on the ground and leave used condoms in the neighborhood park. The “but my rights!” people don’t clean up behind themselves, and they don’t teach their kids to be aware of other people because let’s face it — other people don’t matter.

The only people that matter to the “but my rights!” people, other than themselves, of course, are:

  1. The NRA
  2. Their Pastor
  3. Jesus Christ
  4. Millionaires

These are the same ones who claim that racism doesn’t exist because it hasn’t actually impacted their life. The “but my rights!” people find each other and form a pack that others are rarely allowed to enter, keeping them insulated from having to think too much about … well … anything.

I can’t imagine being so entitled and wrapped up in my own privilege that I would argue against wearing a thin piece of fabric over my face to protect other people from MY germs. It’s selfish. It’s disappointing. And finally, I’m using that behavior as an example of what NOT to do when I talk to my kids about being a good citizen. Wearing a mask is literally the least we can do, and yet, that seems to be too big an ask for a large number of people down South, where I live.

But my rights!

That’s interesting to me. Mostly, because wearing a mask been proven to save lives, and also because it’s not hard to wear one. I mean, it’s not super fun, and it can be annoying, but so are sports bras. And I know adults can handle it, because all of my children are capable of wearing one.

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This is Why Women Seem Angry.

My friends and I have a working theory that women generally run out of fucks sometime after midlife and that’s why there are so many old women roaming around who simply do not care. I’ve long wondered when I would stop worrying so much.

That time has arrived.

We believe that our fucks ran out ahead of schedule, and the reason why has three main anchoring points.

ANCHORING POINT ONE: The last 4 years.

“What do you mean, Harmony?” Allow me to clarify. THE LAST FOUR YEARS OF LIVING IN TRUMP’S AMERICA.

I have lost respect for so many people. Social media provides a place for literally everyone with internet access to state their opinion and now I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are surrounded by racists, people who don’t think racism is a deal breaker, people who grandstand about wanting to close abortion clinics (but don’t want to care for the women and children who are in need), hypocrites, bigots, and religious zealots who cloak all of these things and more under a coat of righteousness.

Clearly, I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that the past 4 years have been depressingly eye-opening, horrifying, and my circle of people continues to grow smaller — which is a good thing. Before 2016, I was living in an alcohol-induced fog where it was easy to pretend that nothing was wrong. I didn’t want to look at anything that made me feel uncomfortable feelings.

That’s gone now. I’m awake, and I’m sorry it took me so long to get here.

ANCHORING POINT TWO: The pandemic.

I mean, what else is there to say? The isolation, the fear, the outrage, the pressure cooker feeling of being in a house for months with three children, only to realize (months later) how much I actually enjoy being at home all the time with my kids BECAUSE EVERYONE ELSE IS STUPID.

“But that seems harsh.”

Yeah, it’s actually not. Because a lot of people actually die of this virus. Over 180,000 and counting just in America — and if you try to tell me the CDC cannot be trusted then just do me a favor and never, ever return to this website again because you are shitting on the expertise of every scientist and doctor who have devoted their careers to finding the best ways to care for YOU.

Back to why I hate the general public: why would I want to go anywhere when people don’t even believe that Covid-19 is a real thing? Those dumb motherfuckers could sneeze or cough their ignorance onto one of us and we could become asymptomatic carriers and infect my mother or one of my in-laws and then they would end up dying alone in a Covid unit and we wouldn’t even be able to have a funeral.

So, yes. The pandemic used up the remainder of the tolerance I used to have.

ANCHORING POINT THREE: Racial issues.

See my previous blog post.

Now, I realize this all sounds very gloom and doom and perimenopausal, but it’s actually quite liberating.

For example, I put a Biden/Harris 2020 sign in the front yard. My husband is still arguing that Biden isn’t the best choice and he plans to vote third party, but don’t worry, I’ll keep working on him.

In the meantime, our sign blew over in the wind so I went out to stand it back up. Two doors down from us, a tree service was removing one of our neighbor’s rotting trees. There were about 7 (white, very strong-looking) men standing around on the sidewalk staring at me while I adjusted my sign. I looked over at them and waved hello.

Not one of them waved back.

They just stared — not with interest, but with disgust and possibly disbelief. I actually delighted in knowing that I was ruffling their feathers, because yes, I am a white woman who refuses to accept our current administration’s vision of “Making America Great Again.” In fact, it turns my stomach.

While I’m sharing about things that turn my stomach, I’ll add to my list the people who think it’s okay to shame women who visit Planned Parenthood.

“Why is that, Harmony? Have you had an abortion?”

No, thankfully I have never had to make that impossible decision. However, I believe that Planned Parenthood is an important organization and here is why: when I was in my early twenties, not in school, and working a minimum wage job without insurance coverage, that is where I had to go in order to get a prescription for birth control pills. It was $80 to see a doctor and it was a struggle for me to scrape that money together.

Also, every other woman I saw in the waiting room was white, just so you know.

Had I not had Planned Parenthood, what other choice would I have, really? I’ll tell you. I would have had to depend on my partner to always wrap it up, and I wasn’t willing or able to believe that he would. Most men from my generation were brought up to believe that birth control is the woman’s problem and their thought process ends there. Kind of like how dinner is also the woman’s problem — same school of thought. As an aside, my sons already know that where their ejaculate goes is actually their responsibility, but that’s another topic for a different day.

Some people would say I shouldn’t have been having sex outside of marriage, and to those people I’ll say this: that archaic, Bible-based idea is something I one hundred percent reject. I won’t even have the discussion.

Had I not had Planned Parenthood and I did accidentally end up pregnant at that really stupid age, I would not have chosen to get married before I was ready to, nor would I want someone else to decide for me whether or not I was going to carry a child. Because no one can make that decision for another person.

Even people who think they are ready to become parents (exhibit A and B, Harmony and Robbie) aren’t ready to become parents. People who never wanted a kid in the first place? Those children are the ones who truly suffer. I hope that all of the staunchly pro-life people out there can find a way to band together and figure out how to give unwanted babies safe and secure homes, because the government has FAILED AT THIS.

(See also: the foster care system.)

So back to the fact that I am out of fucks. The longer this pandemic drags on, and the more people continue to refuse to do basic things like put on a damn mask to keep other people safe, and the more I notice how people mistreat those who are different or speak about them in a way that’s really not okay, the less I care about what any of those people think.

And it is awesome.

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Not Here to be Your Bitch

After a solid couple of years where I managed to mostly avoid drama in my personal life, I had a major falling out this week with my extended family.

Normally I wouldn’t write about something like this on my blog because it involves blood relatives who have not given their consent, but in this particular situation I think it is important to talk about what happened because it is so common — especially given our current social and political climate.

The event, which is a really nice way of saying “the crazy fight with my family on Facebook” was a result of years — a lifetime, really — of unspoken, clashing opinions about everything from politics to boundaries, until it all came bubbling to the surface in one of those spectacular social media trainwrecks that cause people to pull over onto the side of the road so they can safely upload screenshots to Reddit.

So, what happened?

Well, it’s a lot to try to boil down into a digestible explanation, but essentially I am related to people who do not understand how racist they truly are. Or maybe they do know, deep down, but they keep it sorta tucked away and ignored because they have the luxury to do that.

This relative is one I don’t know very well, but when he sent me a friend request on Facebook months ago, I accepted it. I have a sneaking suspicion that he extended that request because he enjoys the company of the rest of our family and probably, erroneously, assumed I share his views. And the thing is, this is typical — right? All of us are just trying to make it through the day. We are all human beings with our own thoughts and feelings.

But his comments. Oh, his comments. Just so much increasingly offensive racism. At first, I engaged. Then, I stopped and chose to ignore. That was a lot easier. I wondered, should I unfriend this guy? But I didn’t, which I now regret, because I have never censored my social media accounts. If people fight, they fight. If they call me names, I don’t hide their comments. I let the chips fall, because I am not in the business of trying to curate my image or the image of my family. That would make me a fraud. 

Additionally, I’m in weekly therapy to unlearn codependency. This is an important thing to note because through a lot of intense work I have come to understand that I am not responsible for anyone else’s words or actions. Only mine.

One day, I received an email from a woman of color who took the time to school me. I didn’t like what she had to say because she was calling me out, and it stung. She said, “You call yourself an ally, but you won’t even deal with your own family.” She’d lost respect for me, and the longer I sat with it, the more I realized that she was right.  

Over the summer, I started a job with Upworthy writing branded content. Shortly after, George Floyd was killed. The protests started and my work shifted in nature, giving me the opportunity to interview and really dig into the major racial and social issues in America. 

Once you see it, you can’t unsee it.

My non-white friends raising boys have different conversations with their sons than I have with mine. For them, it’s terrifying when their husband leaves the house at night to run to the grocery store. They dread the day their children learn to drive. My friend with a LGBTQ child was outed by kids at school. My son’s friends. My daughter’s friends. My friends. Their fear is legit; the things Maverick comes home and tells me that other kids say, the things they think, drives the point home.

“Why are kids so hateful?” People ask that all the time. 

It’s because they’ve learned it. Full stop.

We are faced with a choice: perpetuate the problem, or address the problem.

***

On the day that Joe Biden announced his running mate, I posted a Facebook status about how much I look forward to voting this November. Most of the comments were from friends who are similarly excited to restore some semblance of sanity to the White House, and other friends had questions about why I am voting for Biden rather than Trump. 

But then, here comes my relative, dropping racist comments. After months of ignoring him, I snapped. Now, let me be clear: I REIGNED IT IN when I addressed him. I did not say so many of the things I wanted to say so many of the times he commented and called me a “baby killer” (because I think women deserve the right to make decisions about their own bodies) or a “libtard” (I’m a registered Independent).

This time, when he started, it wasn’t about political differences. He was insulting me and my family, because his comments were about race.

Racial issues are not political issues. Why are we mashing them together? 

I don’t understand how we got here, but I do understand one thing: calling out my white relative was my responsibility. You’ve heard the saying “get your people,” right? That’s what it means. 

I called him out and my family lost their ever-loving minds, publicly, for all to see. They called me a hypocrite. They said I don’t understand where I come from. They called me elitist, and said I just don’t understand tongue-in-cheek humor.

They said I should be ashamed of myself.

Apparently, I failed to fulfill my family role and shield my racist uncle from the consequences of his actions, and they are very disappointed in me. As a recovering people pleaser, I didn’t enjoy it. My nerves are shot, my stomach is upset, and I’m fairly certain I’m giving Robbie nervous diarrhea. But also? I sleep really well at night.

The family dysfunction explosion was so bad that all kinds of people texted and emailed and said “WHOA.” And I was like, “YEAH.” The shock and awe was hard to pinpoint: was it because of what I said or because of what was said to me? No way to know for sure, but no matter how you look at it, the situation sucked.

I love my family, and what I am about to say is complicated, because while I do love them, I am also so deeply disturbed by their thought processes that I’m not quite sure I ever want to be in the same room with them again. Which leads me to my next point: just because someone is related to you, doesn’t always mean they should be in your life.

The hill I chose to cut off my family on is the hill of white supremacy. They don’t know that they’re white supremacists because they refuse to acknowledge that it’s even a thing.

If I didn’t have children, I might not be bothered by racial issues, but guess what? I am a mother who has a responsibility to do the right thing. In the words of a friend, I am not here to make other people comfortable. And neither are my children.

Maverick is almost 12. He’s got a diverse group of friends. They talk about stuff. He has questions. We dig. We talk, because brushing it away or shutting down isn’t communicating and teaching — it’s actually the opposite. When I got sober, I leaned in real hard to being uncomfortable almost all the time. Because frankly, if I don’t teach my three children how to go out into the world and establish their boundaries, how will they ever be happy, joyous, and free?

They won’t.

Robbie and I teach our kids that if someone makes a comment that is inappropriate, it is okay put up your hand and say “That’s enough.” It lets the other person know that you have a boundary. That you aren’t willing to participate. If enough people would just SPEAK UP, maybe, just maybe, something would change. Maybe if enough white people said to other white people, THAT ISN’T OKAY, then we might be able to heal this unfathomable rift in our country.

But, if white people are not willing to acknowledge the problem, the problem only grows. If I shut my mind to the experience of other people and refuse to acknowledge my part in the perpetuation of racism, then my kids will absolutely continue the cycle. Nothing would ever change. 

I only have one life. I want to make it count.

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My Attitude Is The Best Attitude

Please note: I’m writing this post for posterity. In the event that I don’t survive the remainder of 2020, because there are so many hurdles left before Christmas, you guys — so many hurdles — I want to be remembered for my upbeat, can-do attitude.

** Robbie is reading this right now, wondering who I’m talking about. “Upbeat?” “Can-do attitude?” YES, ROBBIE. I AM UPBEAT. I AM THE MOST UPBEAT. **

Part of why I decided to go ahead and have “Trump” and “Pence,” (the two largest of my family of hemorrhoids) removed along with “Betsy DeVos” (the uterus, duh) is because this year is already terrible so let’s pour some more misery into this flaming fire, shall we? I am an all-or-nothing girl, so when things seem pretty bad, I like to ramp them up to nearly intolerable. That just makes sense to me.

Today I had my pre-op appointment. My surgeries are Thursday morning, bright and early. But here’s the important part: I learned during our discussion that Tammie, the nurse, talks to her dog breeder in Alabama more than she talks to her own son. The also instructed me not to shave any part of my body from now until after I return home from surgery.

I could feel my eyes widening, like REALLY REALLY WIDE, as Tammie talked.

Me and my Hibiclens.

“Um … Tammie? Can we circle back to what you just said about not shaving?”

I can’t.

I can’t not shave my armpits for, let’s see, 4 days. And I told Tammie this, very plainly, making sure my eyes were adequately expressing my level of alarm. I negotiated with her and was awarded permission to shave my pits but nothing else for the remainder of the week. The rest of the instructions — Hibiclens, enemas, whatever — didn’t faze me. I breezed right through, because administering two enemas back to back on Thursday morning before the sun comes up is no big deal. But prickly armpits? NOPE. Not having that.

Like I said, I have a wonderful attitude.

Speaking of attitudes, I wanted to tell you guys about my venture into the Land of Botox. I turned 40 in December. Then a lot of really stressful personal stuff that I’ll eventually write about, but can’t yet because I’ll scar my kids for life, happened.

Several days later, our world was upended by a pandemic, so by April I was really feeling terrible about my face. Now, I realize that is vain and shallow, but I was stuck at home 24/7 with the kids while my husband continued to work and every time I looked in the mirror, I just looked exhausted. Which I was.

But I don’t want to actually look as miserable as I feel inside, so at my friend’s behest I made an appointment with the best cosmetic dermatologist in town, Dr. Zedlitz of Z Dermatology. Now, I’m not telling you about her because she asked me to (she doesn’t even know me, she only injected my face one time, but SHE WILL GET TO KNOW ME, BELIEVE THAT). I’m telling you so you’ll know exactly what I did to make myself look well-rested when I am, in fact, not well-rested at all.

First, I got IPL which is this treatment where they put goo on your face and then run over it with a laser. The light attaches to pigment, so any dark spots, hyperpigmentation, or redness is drawn to the surface. I looked like a spotted disaster for like a week and then it all flaked off and revealed really remarkably even skin.

After my IPL, I walked down the hall for Botox. Dr. Z talked to me about “the look” that some women have when they’ve gotten too much work done and how it’s really important to her as a doctor and AS AN ARTIST, BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT SHE IS, to avoid “the look.” She will flat out refuse to inject a patient with anything that will give them “the look.” I think her exact words were “I don’t want anything to do with the look and I don’t want people associating me with the look.”

What I’m driving at here is how important it is to find a doctor who understands that cosmetic shit is supposed to make you look BETTER, not like a plastic robot.

So anyway, she parked Botox between and all around my eyes and a little in my forehead, but I learned during my visit that my eyes are deep set and my forehead is short which is an unfortunate combo for someone with a wrinkly forehead. As far as my forehead goes, there’s not much they can do and that is why some women choose to get bangs when they are approaching midlife. See also: Britney Spears.

It’s now been about 3 months since I got it all done and I’m really happy with the results. I’m supposed to go back for another round of IPL after summer has ended, and after that I’ll likely have something done to get rid of the scarring on my chin from years of hormonal cystic acne, and then I can just focus on keeping up my very intense twice a day regimen of retinol and vitamin C.

Oh, and sunscreen. All the sunscreen.

I used to think women who got their face lasered and/or other cosmetic procedures done were wealthy. That is false. Robbie and I aren’t wealthy, and my decision to do this right as the world is basically imploding might have been a bad move financially, but know this: if I’m going down, I’ll go down looking damn good.

Also, I’m a grown woman and I can do what I want.

Within reason.

Ish.

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Let’s Discuss Butt Stuff

I promised you a special post dedicated to my upcoming hemorrhoidectomy, and today is your lucky day. Gather round kids, it’s story time!

After debating over how much detail to share about what, exactly, is the matter with my asshole, I’ve decided to start with this: a customer service representative from the hospital system where I’ll have my surgeries called me to make sure I am aware of the deductible amount that we’ll be responsible for.

But before she got into the exact dollar amount, she tripped over what I was having done. I think her words were “partial hysterectomy and … ** trails off unintelligibly ** “

Me: Yes, I’m having my uterus removed AND AN ASSHOLE REPAIR. Let’s call it a “butt job” just for fun.

Her: Oh my! That sounds …

Me: Like your worst fucking nightmare? Yes. Mine too.

Her: I was going to say that it sounds painful.

Me: It will be.

Her:

Me:

Her: Okay, Mrs. Hobbs, have a wonderful day.

Just so we are clear, I’m having two unfortunate procedures done on the same day because I don’t have time to recover from two separate unfortunate procedures. The uterus needs to go and my two hemorrhoids need to go and yes, I’m terrified. I cope with terror by oversharing.

People don’t like to talk about their assholes, I’m finding. Robbie had to ask for a couple days off work so he can keep an eye on me, and he told his co-workers “Harmony is having some woman stuff done.” Uh, actually, I’m having one woman thing done and the other thing is a human being thing, but he didn’t want anyone to ask questions.

“Why not? Are you embarrassed of my asshole?” I asked.

He totally is.

Now I want to talk about fears, because I have a lot of them. First of all, according to my Gastroenterologist, “no one gets hemorrhoid surgery without serious painkillers.” Even with the pain meds, he warned me that it will, and I quote, “feel like someone is stabbing you in the anus with an ice pick for two weeks.”

I corrected him. “You mean, it’s going to feel like someone is stabbing me in the asshole for two weeks.”

“Yes, it will feel exactly like you’re being stabbed in the anus.”

“You mean the asshole.”

“Whatever you want to call it.”

“I’d like to call it the asshole.”

***

I was probably born with a weak asshole, but childbirth absolutely wrecked it. If it never bothered me, I would be content to ignore it; however, when we went on vacation in January 2019 and I missed out on zip lining because I was in the belly of a Carnival cruise ship where the hospital is located, that did it. I CANNOT LIVE LIKE THAT. It is, like my doctor says, “a quality of life issue.”

I’m afraid of the pain, obviously, but I am also afraid of the painkillers. I’ve never enjoyed taking painkillers, recreationally speaking, but I know myself well enough to realize that the combination of pandemic + painkillers + actual pain is not great for someone who is a recovering alcoholic. My anxiety over relapsing is worse than my anxiety over the actual recovery process itself, which is saying a lot.

My way of coping with the fear of relapse is to talk about it incessantly. I’m locked in a self-propelled cycle right now where I stress myself out and then wish that someone would shoot me with a tranquilizer dart to put me out of this self-imposed misery.

Asher had his tonsils and adenoids removed last week and took pain meds for a total of three days. The remainder of the Hydrocodone is sitting in our fridge. I envision guzzling it. Then I tell on myself. The vision goes away only to boomerang right back when my anxiety ramps back up.

Someone emailed me recently to ask if I am on medication for anxiety and depression. GIRL, YES. 100%. Five stars. Highly recommend. Super grateful that I was already doing this pre-pandemic, because WOW, guys, the world is really imploding out there.

In conclusion, no one talks about butt problems and if I tried not to talk about my butt problems I would feel ashamed of my butt problems and most likely relapse in one way or another. I don’t want to relapse, so I’ve named my hemorrhoids “Trump” and “Pence” and they have got to go.

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Removing Body Parts During A Pandemic

Okay … having Asher’s tonsils and adenoids removed during a pandemic was not actually a “nightmare.” It was an intensely stressful experience that likely aged my appearance several years.

The nightmare was the part where our recently-paid-off, 2-year-old refrigerator stopped working and Robbie had to run out and buy a mini fridge literally the night before the surgery so that we’d have a place to keep our popsicles. But before that, I spent the better part of an hour on the phone with a Customer Service representative from LG. During that time, she took down my name, address, phone number, email address, the model and serial number of the refrigerator, and the information on the repair company who told me the compressor was out.

Why did giving LG that information take almost an hour?

GOOD QUESTION.

The second part of the nightmare occured when Robbie (pictured below) dropped me and Asher off at the house after his surgery and immediately went shopping for a new refrigerator and did not return for the better part of the afternoon.

It took much longer than anticipated because Robbie is in sales and therefore he takes no bullshit from sales people. I genuinely feel sorry for the sales people who come into contact with my husband. He not only takes their tactics, twists them around, and somehow turns the situation in his favor, but he can also do math in his head at a startling speed and often calculates the prices two steps ahead of the person who is supposed to be “helping” him.

After spending a significant amount of time dealing with a salesman that Robbie later deemed to be incompetent, he took our business elsewhere to Best Buy where he found a unicorn of a fridge with all of the things we wanted for a way low price because someone stuck the wrong price tag on it. Until it is delivered, we’re making it work.

This thing is housing all the ice cream.

Asher is 8 years old. He is a quirky conundrum — delightful, but puzzling. He requires patience like all children, but I’m learning that there is a very specific brand of patience that he needs from me and it’s the kind I don’t come by naturally.

He is a quiet little guy. He shuts down if people are too loud, look too long, press too hard with questions, or are in any way aggressive. So that’s tough, because I am kind of aggressive when I’m under stress. It’s one of my biggest hurdles as an adult because when I’m agitated, I just want to burn shit down. I am extreme. I’m working on it, so moving forward, let’s just call it “passion” and “energy,” okay?

Right now, during the pandemic with all of the uncertainty which is another thing I don’t deal with very well, I have to work really hard to stay calm and even and kind and keep my voice at a normal level instead of screaming WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCKING HELL IS HAPPENING NOW at my laptop or cell phone screen.

Because I have passion and energy.

I was prepared for the worst. I expected Asher to hemorrhage from the throat or come out of anesthesia throwing up and I thought everything at home would be terrible.

None of those things turned out to be true, thank goodness.

He’s been a really, really easy patient. His brother and sister have been SO sweet and kind and my belief in our ability to raise good people is bolstered.

We finally figured out that mixing his pain meds with Sprite is the easiest way to get him to cooperate. He’s been eating a tiny bit, mostly ice cream, smoothies, and yogurt, but mostly he’s just drinking water because my second biggest fear after throat hemorrhage is dehydration so I push water on him passionately and energetically.

I’d like to give a shout out to my friend Jess, a working mom of 4 whose husband also works in the car business and is not home much, for bringing that yellow ice chest full of ice to our home. I wanted to hug her, but instead I smiled and waved and prayed that our family doesn’t end up giving her family the virus.

I prayed both passionately and energetically, so I’m sure it worked.

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Do You Want To Build A Deductible Snowman?

This morning during the short drive to summer camp, Maverick and I were talking about the virus. We all know which one. I don’t need to type it out.

“If an 11-year-old can understand the importance of wearing a mask, what is wrong with all of these adults running around without one?” His face reddened with anger.

WORD.

He’s worried about his grandparents and his great-grandparents. My kid, who already suffers from anxiety, chews his fingers until they bleed. He can’t understand how anyone would refuse to do something as simple as wearing a face covering in public, an act that shows respect and concern for our fellow humans. I mean, I don’t get it either — I have no explanation to offer him.

In our house, we believe in science. We have spirituality, too, although we don’t have a name for it — I tell the kids that something looks out for us, and I call that power God. Even though I’m unsure of God’s location or gender or even how much of the Bible is rooted in reality, I know there is a God, I know I am not God, and therefore, I do NOT need to know the details about how God chooses to operate. Because at the end of the day, why does it matter?

So back to the virus. There are countless conspiracy theorists out there producing countless conspiracy theories and I just don’t have the energy to even.

Guys.

There is so much actually happening … how do you have the mental capacity to come up with this extra stuff that may or may not be going on behind the scenes? Every time I start going down a rabbit hole online I get like 2 pages in and I’m like, NOPE. Just nope. Don’t have the bandwidth. Can’t. Real life is already crazy enough, I cannot handle additional crazy.

I cleaned my office this week and came across a few Christmas presents I never got around to wrapping or gifting to my friends. I think nothing could EVER BE MORE APPROPRIATE.

Speaking of bitter, our 8-year-old, Asher, is having his tonsils and adenoids removed tomorrow. I’m not bitter about that — I’m actually excited for him because he hasn’t been able to breathe properly since infancy. I thought it was allergies, so we had him tested. It wasn’t.

Then I thought it maybe since he shot out so fast at birth, maybe something was defective in his facial structure? Like, can that happen? Reddit says it can.

Anyway, multiple tests and scans later, we learned that his adenoids are enormous — what does that even mean? I plan to find out tomorrow. Are we talking golf ball size? — and blocking his nasal passages.

The part I’m bitter about is this: my husband picked our health insurance plan and I’m sure he pragmatically selected the cheapest one because that is how husbands are, and our family deductible is an actual pile of money. By that I mean I could withdraw said money from a bank, but I’d have to get a loan first, and I would have such a large pile that I could lie down on the floor in it and make a deductible angel.

Since Asher’s surgery is really important, because hello — our kid can’t smell anything — I figured 2020 should be the year that I finally address my messed up asshole.

The asshole repair deserves its own post. You’ll have to wait for that one.

(It will be worth waiting for.)

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