Tag Archives: worry

Lost: Sense of Adventure

scaredy cat

I really don’t have time to be writing this, this morning, but I have something I want to say so I am doing it anyway. I used to be the most fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of person you would ever meet. I cared nothing whatsoever for social conventions, I never stopped to really wonder what other people thought of me, and I did whatever I wanted, pretty much as I wanted to do it. I never let my lack of money or worries about my shitty car stop me from going on long trips out of town. I wasn’t afraid of falling in love, or concerned with taking things slow and seeing if maybe this guy (or that guy, or the next guy) was good for me- just the spark was enough for me, and I was all over it. I went through (crappy) jobs like most people go through underwear, I was broke all the time, and I wrote overly emotional poetry with absolutely no shame whatsoever. I would also corner you and make you listen to me read it out loud, without a qualm.

Now, I realize that most of this behavior was drug fueled, and I was also young, and that, after a time, it crossed a line into dysfunction and sadness. I don’t miss that part. But goddammit, sometimes I wish I had retained a tiny bit of it. I am quite possibly the most tightly wound I have ever been in my life these days, and the irony of it all does not escape me- I am finally at a point where I could take my nice car, which is under warranty, on a road trip during my paid vacation which is coming up, and guess what? I am totally afraid to do it. I thought maybe my daughter and I could take a drive up to Oregon, where I have never been, and stay a night or two in a hotel, and do some exploring. But all I can think about is “I’ve never been there, though. I don’t know where anything is, and what if something goes wrong?” I mean, can you believe what a massive wimp I am being?

I have some other stuff going on- someone called the city on me, and code enforcement has to come out, with my landlady, to make sure I am not doing anything illegal here (which I am not), and I have been downright obsessed with the outcome of this situation for days on end. I am terrified that I am going to be made to move, I have blown it out of all proportion, up to and including looking online for new houses and crying when I look at my dog who I am sure I will have to re-home. Oh, for Christ’s sake! Who even am I? I have survived conditions and situations in my life that would make most people run home to their mothers, and I am having a heart attack over something that isn’t even an issue? Even if I did have to move, which I highly doubt I will, I will simply figure it out. But why do I let myself freak out like this in the meantime? What good does it do? I have never yet failed so completely in this lifetime that I was not able to recover, and that was under the worst of circumstances. I am already so far ahead of where I once was, I don’t know why I would even spend a moment worrying about anything.

Do you know what these two things have in common, the fear of driving out of town with my kid, and the fear of the impending code enforcement visit? I have lost my sense of adventure. This girl, who once loaded everything she owned into her car, and moved to another city, in another state, with her seven year old daughter, where she knew no one- not a single solitary soul- has become kind of a chicken. I’m afraid of my landlord. I’m afraid of getting “in trouble”. I’m afraid of messing up. Weren’t we just talking about this a few posts ago? Maybe this isn’t as simple as just making up my mind to stop being afraid…because I think what is really going on here is that I don’t have a lot of faith in myself. I’m afraid that now, when I finally have it all together, that other shoe is going to drop and all hell will break loose.

The thing is, there is no reason for me to believe this. I have tons of proof that I am doing everything the way I am supposed to, and zero proof that I am a failure, or irresponsible, or cannot be trusted. So, my question for you this morning is, how do I connect the dots? How in the world do I internalize those facts, how do I start believing in myself? Because this is really getting old. I want to find the strength to be confident in myself- if I could do it while I was a drug-addled maniac, why is it so hard to do it now?

Sorry if this was kind of all over the place- I am really on a time crunch, but I’m hoping someone will have some words of advice for me. Because seriously, I have had it.


Three Things, Late Again

three flowers

I can see a bad habit emerging here, but I do have an explanation- I just didn’t feel like writing yesterday. I mean, writing a blog. I worked on my novel some, after dealing with some technical issues (mine, not the computer) with Word in the early morning hours. Not only did I not feel like blogging, I didn’t even check my stats compulsively yesterday, or any of that. First time since December that I can recall just checking out of here like that. I needed a break, I guess. But enough of that- here are my final three things for February:

  1. Housework. I have been really, really trying to keep my house picked up lately, and, at the ripe old age of 42 it finally hit me- you have to do this shit every single day, don’t you? Like, if I don’t pick up the house every single day, it looks like hell again. I am both outraged and saddened by this fact- and I know it to be fact, because I didn’t really pick up the living room last night and, even though it was clean in here yesterday morning, it looks pretty messy right now. There is a giant pile of unmatched socks on the coffee table, next to several pieces of sketch paper abandoned by Camryn, a jacket and a pair of Uggs on the floor, and the “couch blanket” half on, half off the couch. There is also an empty laundry basket, a backpack, and a bathrobe on the couch. I was busy working on the kitchen last night, I didn’t quite make it to the living room. Maybe I should just work in the kitchen? But seriously, I went online, searching for a housekeeper yesterday, then realized I could be saving that money for fun stuff if I just managed to keep the house clean on my own. I mean, it’s never happened yet, but people change. Right?
  2. Worry. I don’t mean to brag, but I kind of consider myself a professional worrier. I am so good at it that when I run out of relevant things to stress out about, I am an expert at making up scenarios in my head in which things could theoretically go terribly wrong, and then I worry about those make-believe things. This morning, I found myself worrying that my tax refund would be intercepted by various government agencies that I owe money to, but don’t remember owing money to. Like, what if there are a bunch of things I have forgotten about, and they all take part of my money, and then I am expecting all this money, and I don’t get any of it?! What will I do then? Well, a) that isn’t going to happen, because it’s a made up scenario, and b) even if it did, I would just do what I always do- keep going. Still, it makes me anxious, just thinking about it. That’s how good I am at worrying.
  3. Gratitude. I think a good way to wrap this up is some perspective on all of the stuff I just wrote. How lucky am I to have this messy little house? How awesome is it that I have any house at all? There was once a time when I would have given anything to have even a crappy studio apartment of my own to lay down my head in at night, and now I have a whole house! With two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a laundry room, a big old yard…it might not be fancy, but it’s a lot more than I’ve had before. It’s a lot more than I should have wound up with, considering my former trajectory. And even if the imaginary government agencies take every penny of my tax return, I still have a great career and a paycheck I can depend on. So I need to be be grateful for all the blessings in my life, rather than feeling overwhelmed or worried. I am going to be okay. I am always okay.

And that is the best I can do for today. As always, have a speedy Friday, and may your weekend go by slow as molasses.

Calm Inside the Crazy

be here now

Sometimes I think I just shouldn’t leave my house. Or read the news, like, EVER. Seriously, days like today really bring home the phrase “Ignorance is bliss”.

What might be bothering you, Courtney? You might be asking yourself right about now. Well, let me enlighten you- In the very immediate sphere of living, we have a massive flu outbreak here in my little corner of the world; yes, I realize it’s probably also in your corner of the world, but I’m not there, I’m here, and I’ve suddenly become very preoccupied with remaining healthy. The flu sucks ass, for one thing. The last few times I’ve had it, it knocked me on my butt, and I HATE being sick. I am such a massive whiner when I am sick, and there is no one around to take care of me, plus I have to miss work, and I am always treading the line of disciplinary action for one reason or another. Aside from me, if my kiddo gets sick, she gets REALLY sick, like, asthma-inhaler-wheezing-no mom anywhere can sleep when her kid can’t breathe- kind of sick. I work at a hospital, and it is banana’s up there, I am not kidding you. We are breaking records, and not in a happy way. So there’s that. (And yes, we had our flu shots, but they are only about 10% effective this year.)

Going beyond that a little bit, we have fucking Donald Trump for president. I still can’t even believe I am typing those words with any degree of seriousness an entire year later. After my hope that our country were smarter than that had been crushed last November, I came up with the paltry little hope that maybe he wouldn’t be able to screw things up that bad- I mean, we have a series of checks and balances, right? This is a democracy! How bad can it get?

The answer to that is still unfolding, but I can sum it up in one word- Bad. Or three words- really fucking bad. I guess before I got my hopes up I should have factored in Twitter, eh? I mean, can we all agree now that this is not going well? Can someone make him stop antagonizing North Korea? Can we please get a grown up with some sense in there to help out? Because I am feeling very, very nervous about things.

I don’t want to get sick. I don’t want to die in a nuclear holocaust. I don’t want to keep reading about the scary, crazy weather happening ALL THE TIME, EVERYWHERE. I’m frightened. I’m frightened, and overwhelmed and pissed off because I have no control over ANY of this shit. None of it.

So what can I do, then? First of all, I can remember that I am here, right now, not sick, not in the middle of a war, and that I am safe and okay, in my own little home. I can be present right now, which is the only time that really exists, right? Deep breath, in and out. I can choose not to look at the news- either on TV or on my phone. Let it go. There is nothing I can do about any of it right this very second.

Most importantly, I can remember that I have faith, not just when things are wonderful, but also when they are scary or dark or weird- you either have faith or you don’t, right? I have to remember that I trust that God, the Universe, whatever you choose to call it- that there is a plan and I don’t have all the information, and that is okay. Whatever happens, I trust in God, period.

And finally, uncertainty is ever present, whether we are conscious of it or not. This only underscores the fact that we need to wake up and be as grateful for our lives RIGHT NOW as we would be if we knew it was all ending soon. How loving would you be, how easily would you forgive, how much more would you savor the small things, if today was your last day? I mean, it changes everything, doesn’t it? And that is really kind of sad, isn’t it?

Sigh…I needed to get that out so badly. Stay healthy, warm and close to your fallout shelters, my friends. Jesus, I hope that last part isn’t necessary.

That Spark.


I am going to ask you if you remember being young, to which you will reply, “Of course I do!”, and in your head, you will see a snapshot of yourself at seven, the one you hated when you were small because your mouth was closed funny (to hide your missing front teeth), but love now, because your hair was so pretty and your freckles were amazing. I don’t want you to think about that snapshot. When I ask you if you remember being young, I want you to be fifteen again, or sixteen, seventeen, even- whatever that age was when you were in the front seat of a friends car, an hour past curfew (but your parents think you are at her house, and her parents think she is at your house), on your way to a raging party, and your favorite song comes on, and you are singing, your heart is leaping, your hair is blowing around you like you’re in a video, and you feel FREE, finally, totally, irrevocably free! That moment when you realize that you are pretty much as good as gone, one foot out the door of the home you have always known, that foot almost twitching to bolt out into the vast unknown world.

Do you remember being young? That wonderful stretch of time when limits are removed, and choices need to be made…eventually. But nothing, absolutely nothing, is preventing you from doing whatever it is you want to do immediately, which is usually something in a group, probably illegal, and always too much fun to stop until the sun comes up, or everyone passes out. When you are finally eighteen, and that phone there in your pocket stops feeling like a burning lump of coal, weighing you down like a boulder of guilt because you haven’t called home to tell some ridiculously overdone lie. You are an adult-lite: all of the perks, none of the expectations or even the ability to really run your own life yet. You are 18- the only thing you really know how to do yet is mess things up, party, and call home when you need help- which you will probably get, and which is probably more often than you want anyone to know.

Do you remember being twenty one or twenty two, and looking in the mirror before you went out to the bars for the night, and realizing how beautiful you were? How perfect your clothes fit, how perfect your make up was, how amazing your hair turned out…and you walked through rooms oozing self confidence, and you could see the boys checking you out from the corner of your eye. I remember one night, at about twenty two, when a boy- I guess he was a young man, he was a few years older than me- that I had known when I was in the ninth grade (I had a crush…no, I had an obsession with his best friend, which was quite one sided, embarrassingly) ran into me at a popular, packed bar in Monterey. He was walking past me, and I was looking straight ahead to avoid eye contact with any of the oglers, and he glanced at me, then did the most flattering double take I have ever seen. He grabbed my arm and I looked up, seeing it was him, and felt a satisfaction I remember to this day. “Is this really Courtney?!” He said, “Wow! You have really grown up!” Or something like that. The words weren’t nearly as important as the sentiment, and the way it made me feel. As if life was just so amazing, and I was just getting started. As if anything could happen.

That is what it was, I think- the sense that I was just at the beginning of something that would become my life, and the world was my oyster. As if anything could happen. That vast unknown was no longer beckoning, I was out there in it, and I was not afraid in the least. I was far too young and inexperienced to be afraid. I was sure that I would either stay the same forever, or simply grow more awesome.

Do you remember being totally unafraid of what lay ahead? Or, what about this- do you remember the first time you became afraid of whatever was next? I don’t remember either of those things, just like I don’t remember when that feeling of happy anticipation about life started to fade, or when my ability to roll with the punches got a little more prone to avoiding the punches in the first place. I couldn’t tell you when cynicism replaced my unguarded trust in people, or when I began to worry about nearly everything, after having worried about nothing my entire life. I can’t tell you when the changes began, but I can tell you that I felt it. I felt it, and it scared me, until it got big enough that it started making me forget that I had ever been another way.

I have been in mourning off and on for the past few years,and I thought it was my youth that I so sorely missed. I thought it was the perky tits and shapely ass that just grew there, asking nothing of me in return. I thought it was me missing all the heads that turned when I passed, and that I was shallow and vain for feeling so terrible about it. But I think it was so much more than that. I think it was the spark of life that lit me up, day after day, making me feel so alive, and so full of promise, and as if life would never be more awful than I could handle. That I would be able to smile my way into peoples good graces forever, and I would be fine. I missed the feeling of buoyancy, of being full of so much hope that I could barely keep myself from floating away.

We become heavier, earthbound things, at some point- most of us do. The spark of life and possibility gives the impression of being your inherent nature, but it is burning less brightly just as you hit your stride. It’s like a heat source that propels us, gives us the momentum we need to launch off into our lives. We don’t stay young forever. We have children, and we begin to put someone before ourselves, we learn about love in a whole unexpected new way, as if we have only been using a third of our hearts our whole lives, and now this whole new level reveals itself. But with love comes the worry, and the guilt, and the trappings- responsibilities, no more all night parties, no more spontaneity, no more loud sex or sleeping in. We get jobs and start chasing money the way we chased boys, we start to want things, we start to crave safety the way we once craved freedom.

We bolt the door at night against the vast unknown, and tell our children about the dangers that exist out there. Strangers and weirdos and drunk drivers, people who could harm them. Waking up to the feeling that anything could happen today fills you with anxiety now, instead of excitement. For just one day, you would like NOTHING to happen. Fifteen years ago, a day when nothing happened could send you careening into crushing, life ending, despair. Now, it would be a miracle. You watch your daughter, at seventeen, as she chomps at the bit, one foot in, and one foot out, of the only home she has ever known-whatever place you were, that was her home. She is suffering under the burden of these last few months at home, going crazy because she can’t answer the siren’s call she hears out there, out in the sea of possibility. It seems impossible that she is almost grown, but then you realize how tired you feel, next to her. How crazy everything she says now seems to you. The spark is blooming in her spirit, gathering heat, getting ready to launch this beauty into the unknown.

And now you know the way your mother felt, looking at you. A mixture of pride and annoyance, excitement, hope, and fear. Confused by the swiftness of what had seemed like such a lot of time, but ready, willing, almost, to let you go. Telling you how great you’d be, and crying in the shower every day. This journey is a tricky one, and nothing ever, really, is what you think it will be.  When you are young, you know you will get older, but you don’t really believe it. And when you get older, you know you you were young, but you can’t really remember what it was…can’t forget all you know, and all that’s ben, not even for one second so that you might remember. Bittersweet, each part of life, a loss for every gain, and something left behind with every step.

Some Days Are For Wising Up



I’m just going to come out and say it- yesterday was tough. The previous two days, Saturday and Sunday, were a blissed out, low frequency hum, slow and indulgent. All about naps and walks and peace and quiet. Then, Sunday evening, all hell broke loose…oh, brother, my inability to be less than honest will not allow me to stick by those words. The truth is, two things happened: 1) my older daughter went behind my back and obtained a Chihuahua with issues off of Craigslist- after months of arguing, I might add, because I could not imagine yet another pet underfoot, here. Especially a neurotic, yapping, nervous wreck of an animal like a Chihuahua. I mean, step on Lucy, my Black Lab, and you move on with life; step on a Chihuahua, you’re a murderer. Then, Camryn came home. I was already kind of freaked out about the new dog (her name is Honey Bee, by the way), now imagine the sound of a very excited three year old hyped up on junk food and just released from a car after driving for three hours. Imagine that, mingled with a nervous puppy, a very excited lab who thinks she is the same size as the Chihuahua, an irritable teenager, an upset mom, and a very angry, overweight house cat. Yeah.

So, we went from the slow, indulgent, low frequency hum to a discordant death-metal riff screaming through really good amps in like an hour. I’d hoped that the next day (yesterday) would be better. But instead, I woke up to about three minutes of privacy. Both of my kids were up and about. All of the animals were running around. I didn’t get to meditate, I wrote something half assed, I never went for my morning walk. This was not a good way for my day to start.  Then I remembered that my daughter had an appointment with her probation officer (don’t ask), and my little one wasn’t feeling great…So, off we all went, to the courthouse, at seven a.m.

I was in a less than sparkly mood. I was rude to the lady at Juvenile Probation, to the point that she actually asked me if I was sick! I snapped at my daughter’s intolerance of her little sister, then I snapped at my little daughter for being a pest. On the way home, I bought donuts, thinking that would somehow make things better…it didn’t. Crappy food is like putting a used band-aid over a new cut- a recipe for disaster. 

Things didn’t get better from there…the poor little dog my kid brought home had been weaned early from her puppies (she, at ten months, is still a pup herself) and her teats were terribly engorged. By yesterday, they were much worse. I had already called in at work because my little one was feeling sick, so I took the puppy down to my vet. The bottom line? Honey Bee needs surgery this Thursday, period. So that’s what we are going to do.

The rest of the day just carried on in the same fashion. Lots of noise, lots of snapping at each other, even meanness coming out that had been absent for so long. I felt full of shame at my impatience and inability to take any of this in stride. Not only was I not happy, I couldn’t even fake like I was. It felt really, really bad. By 6:30 in the evening, I was so wiped out, my three year old and I lay down to watch cartoons, and both of us just passed out.

This morning, I woke up feeling nervous and angry about the previous day. I have worked so hard to get to a spot where I am okay, that I am afraid of losing it. The truth is, if I have to be angry, fearful AND clean…I wasn’t sure I could do it. Then, while I was trying to figure out how to write about all of this, this morning, a pattern emerged. And it hit me: Yesterday hadn’t been about me helping me. It had been about me being there for others-others who really needed me. 

Think about it- This little dog, she needed a loving home, and people who could give her the love and help she needed. Without us, she would have gone to the pound, and very likely been put to sleep. As a matter of fact, the lady at my vets office made a point of telling us “You have saved this dog.” And my older daughter, who is asleep right now, cuddled up with her new pet, maybe she needs this little girl, more than I realized. Also, I told her she has GOT to get a job now, if she wants to keep her dog, because I simply cannot afford to care for another pet. My daughter is painfully shy, but she pushed through that yesterday to go check back on an application she put in at a restaurant down the street. The look of pride on her face when she came outside, just because she had overcome her anxiety to accomplish something, was priceless. 

The moral here is this: Yes, it is important that I take care of me- every day, I know what to do to make sure I am okay. It is my job to find a way to squeeze that stuff in with whatever time I have. But not every day is about me taking care of me. Perhaps the Universe has decided I am well enough now to start giving back a little of the love it has shown me. My job is to do this as graciously as possible. Yesterday, I fell a little bit short. I forgive me. Today, I understand- challenge accepted. I am a work in progress, for sure. But I know I am up to the task of sharing some of what I have with whoever needs it. I know I am.

Now, it is time for my walk. I don’t want to take any chances.



I am one of those people who is extremely uncomfortable when flying. There is something about being strapped into an extremely heavy object, in a relatively small space, thousands of feet above the planet where I belong, with NOTHING HOLDING ME UP. Something alarming. Thinking about this while in flight has resulted in some barely contained hysteria (not to mention several passengers around me drinking what seemed like an awful lot of wine), as I try to figure out how the mechanics of flight and the law of gravity could possibly come together peacefully! Luckily, I found a way to deal with it. By sheer force of my will alone, I have carried commercial flights half way across the United States. It is an awful lot of work, and I felt like I needed a serious massage by the time we touched down (Ah, sweet, sweet ground), AND, the armrests of my seat will forever bear the half moon scars of my finger nails…but I was able to pull it off.

I have employed this same fierce concentration while watching Ice skating in the winter olympics, but with much less success, and at traffic lights with hardly any success at all. And now, I have used it on my toddler. Not to break her will with my own, as you might assume. No, I don’t subscribe to that method of parenting (most of the time). This was far more serious…I stayed up the entire night listening to her breathe, cringing as she coughed and tried to clear her throat, using my amazing powers to keep her safe and alive, at least until morning.

I think I have had it with this illness. It was bad enough when I had it a few weeks ago, but it is far worse to watch your normally chipper, cheerful, happy, robust little girl reduced to a limp, hoarse, snorffling, feverish little waif, in a matter of mere days. Now my teenager seems to have yet another version of illness, previously unknown to this household. My resolve to be happy in spite of outside circumstances did not bargain for severely ill children. I’m sorry, my happy has fled the building. I mean, I’m happy that my babies are alive, happy that I can hear Cammy breathing relatively normally right this very second. I’m happy that all three times I lept out of bed and flipped the light on during the course of the night, Camryn wasn’t actually blue faced as I thought. That makes me happy, indeed.

I don’t like my inability to control my fear at all, though. I go from fine to the verge of a panic attack in nanoseconds, and most of the time, it’s in response to nothing more than my THOUGHTS. In other words, not an actual problem I am observing unfold, but an imaginary scenario that exists nowhere but between my ears.  I would like to learn to knock all that off, honestly. You know, I can, for a short period of time…until I forget, and Camryn coughs, or I begin to question my judgement about when, exactly, I should rush her to the hospital…and what if I’m too late?! What if I call 911 and they are all BUSY? What if I misunderstood the doctors directions, and my kid suffers permanent damage from my negligence?! Just writing it down, my heart begins to race. If only I could be calm, cool. collected instead of this hysteria prone, outburst having, raving harpy maniac I morph into. Even my best attempts to restrain or disguise my panic only result in that incredible tension that draws my shoulders up to my ears, cords to pop out in my neck, and anything I say shoot from my lips like poisonous darts or small but devastating bullets. Not to mention a definite forcefield of intensity three people deep all around me. The same forcefield,  I believe, that is strong enough to keep sky vehicles aloft. Or a very close relative.

It’s just that I love my kids SO much. I am so afraid of losing them that it actually nauseates me to consider. I remember when I held my oldest daughter for the first time, when I was just 22, and brimming with that special level of self absorbtion that only a very young, very ignorant girl can be full of. I was not prepared for the ramifications of actual, pure, REAL love in my life- I didn’t even know I didn’t know about it until I looked into that tiny face, and a pair of enormous, wise, brown eyes, fringed in long black lashes, looked back at me. I was like, “Uh-oh.”. I knew then, deep inside, that I was screwed. I now loved another human being enough to see myself and be displeased with things- things that had been totally no big deal a few months back. I now loved a person that wasn’t me, that I couldn’t control, that I didn’t even KNOW. And I was so right. I wasn’t her, I couldn’t control her (not in the ways that I wanted to), and I didn’t know her…not then. It only got worse when, 13 years later, I decided to try it all over again.

And so, I stayed up all night- all but maybe 45 minutes of fitful, jerky, dozing off, I prayed, I talked myself off of the ledge of panic a time or three. I felt my daughters feverish face, worried, watched cartoons that she likes, even though she was mostly asleep. I kept the age old vigil of mothers across time and the span of the world…all of us do it, at least once per child. I studied her face, I smoothed her curls back off her face. I lay my head gently on her chest, and listened to her breathe. I willed her to continue this habit for at least the next seventy years. There really is not sweeter sound, is there?

Memory Lane in a BAD Neighborhood

Well, hello, strangers. I haven’t had a lot of time (or the inclination) to write much lately- life has been busy, and filled with a lot of stuff I don’t feel qualified to handle. Unfortunately, there IS no one else, so I don’t have a lot of choice. Work has been insanely busy and I’ve been trying to put in as much overtime as I can (as it turns out, that’s not a whole lot in my case), the little daughter has made it her mission in life to see how many times per day she can come perilously close to killing herself via a multitude of dangerous activities. The big daughter is also trying to get herself killed, only she, it is obvious, wants the old “suicide-by-mom” thing. She is the winner, this week, of the crazy making award. And also, my car is in the shop for a repair that is exorbitantly expensive for a thing that isn’t even freaking broken (timing belt). So I have been reliant on others to taxi me about since Tuesday. In other words, I’ve left my house ONCE.  So, because I’ve been sticking close to home and trying not to kill my children, I’ve had time to dive into the piles of crap I have squirreled away in boxes and bags in every nook and cranny of my home. I went through a small crate and large drawer that were crammed full of notebooks-everything I had written from 1993 forward.  I put my notebooks in chronological order, reading through each one, something I had never done before. What emerged, when taken altogether like that, was a really sad, really clear life story of a troubled, unhappy, desperate girl who has TERRIBLE taste in men. But there was some really great, hopeful stuff in there, too. That’s where I found what I’m posting today, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did when I stumbled across it the other day. It’s the story of how I felt when I finally got clean and got my life back. (written three years later around the time I relapsed…again…I must have been trying to remind myself of the truth). I am transcribing it word for word, so bear with the structure and the jumping of tenses-I never dreamed it would ever be seen by anyone but me.


Today, it dawned on me that this mental beating I give myself every time I make this choice, it is exactly how I felt almost constantly for the 11 solid years I sacrificed to my addiction. Now, I say “almost constantly” because I do clearly recall having SOME fun, albeit bizarre, times in there. But I knew, I knew, I KNEW, as surely as I knew my own face, that I was doing myself a terrible disservice. The way that I kept on and kept on and kept on living that way, until finally it had been YEARS- I knew I was cheating myself, my mom, and my daughter. Just about every one who loved me, or who got sucked into the abyss that was my life, got the short end of the stick.

At some point, you realize you are using now JUST to stay two steps ahead of your own terrible reality sinking in. When you are already so weakened, so compromised, so ghostly, it is terrifying to entertain the thought of actually turning around & seeing the path of destruction you left in your wake. It’s just too, too much.

What I didn’t know then that I do know now, is that continuing to claw your way blindly and frantically ahead is not the answer. It is familiar, and how you do it, and strangely comfortable despite how it looks from the outside. When you are in the middle of  addiction, and it is YOUR horrible, bleak life, you are totally in your element. You know many other creatures just like you, in varying degrees, you have a language, a culture, a kind of code all your own, and you have lived in the shadows for so long that venturing outside of your tiny world causes you extreme discomfort. You no longer know how to interact properly with normal folks, you are too loud or too silent, too nervous, too shifty, too angry, too flippant, too self-involved to even notice how out of sync you are half the time. You get irrationally angry and immediately defensive when the slightest threat is even perceived. This is how you keep folks at bay, being short fused. People don’t press when they are afraid of what might set you off. You are moody and unhappy and you hate every single thing that there is, especially yourself. Except for your daughter. When you look at her, you hate yourself more than you even thought possible, but you love her in the deepest, most tender way. That love is like a weight on your back, only you can’t tell if it is making everything even harder, or if it is the sole thing keeping you planted on earth, or both. Maybe it’s both. But you look at that girl and your throat closes, and your eyes burn, and you can no longer escape the cloak of your despair.

Oh, I am so sorry, but I have to start work right now! There is more, and I will just make it a separate post later today. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoyed this so far…it truly is that way when you are strung out for so long. It’s a nightmare, and you can’t even figure out what is wrong with you while it is happening to you. In case you ever wondered why “those people” are the way they are and do what they do. It’ s very sad. But it CAN get better, and if you check me out later, you can read the rest.

Time Flies By…

Hellloooo! Man, if I can’t manage to finish and post this blog, then I give up. I have been trying for what seems like a very long time to blog about SOMETHING…but for one reason or another, I either couldn’t finish it, and/or decided not to publicize my most private goings-on. I’m fairly certain my life is pretty averagely dysfunctional, but it really makes me wonder about the secrets within families and between people who are closely bound in ANY kind of relationship. I used to talk about everything with anyone, and I still do talk very openly about a lot of stuff-most stuff, even. But time and experience taught me (the slow and painful way, naturally) that some things are not open for discussion. If you discuss something, you are inviting the opinion, advice and judgement of the person you are confiding in, and you just never know who you can really trust 100%. I used to have the biggest mouth in the entire world- I didn’t mean to, and when I said I promised not to tell, I meant it. But even when I tried my hardest, I’d let some small detail slip, and then get so nervous trying to backtrack that eventually, I’d just miserably repeat the gossip, verbatim. Now, I’m older, and not only do I have more self control than I once did, but I also don’t care nearly as much about other peoples issues. That sounds mean, but it’s at least a good indicator that I’m trustworthy. By the time you finish telling me your secret, I’ve already forgotten the first part. Also, if someone wants to know something I don’t want to tell, I just say “yes, I know, but I’m not telling you, so quit fucking bugging me.” which was hard for me in decades past. Ahh…the finer points of growing up.

Speaking of which, my birthday is just a few days off- I am blown away that I am turning 37. Not because I feel like I am old, really, but because I can’t believe how insanely fast my life is going by. It feels like as soon as I get used to being who I am, where I’m at, everything changes again…I honestly remember the day that I turned ten years old so clearly; I was, what? Fourth grade? I sat at the very top of the monkey bars and contemplated the fact that I was now a DECADE old. From here on out, my age would have TWO numbers in it. I literally thought about that, twenty seven years ago, in Fresno, California, at Del Mar Elementary school. That same little girl is still right here, as well as the chubby middle school kid, the mouthy teenager who thought she knew it all. That teenager succumbed to a lifestyle that took her away from dreams she never even had a chance to start dreaming, and that teenager gave way to a young woman who was beautiful and insecure and sick, funny, weak, smart and unkind. Lots and lots of things occurred, lots of time went by, and she didn’t go very far. That same, scared, defeated girl is still here, too. I have been so many different women in my lifetime…life is not perfect, but at least today I am not afraid. I am not terrified of tomorrow. I don’t have to rely on anyone else for my life to move forward. Sometimes I forget the difference between FEELING AS IF my life depends on someone else, and HAVING my life rely on someone else. I’m okay with the person I am today. I turned out all right after all!

There were some blissful times in my life where I really kind of had it all…well, not “all” in the sense of tangible, luxurious things. I had none of that. What I actually had was NOTHING. No rush, no worries, no responsibilities, no place I needed to be. I just did my thing, all the time, partying, up for nights in a row, staying wherever I wound up and never feeling like I had anything less than all the time in the world to get down to business.  I dragged that stage out quite a while past where it was appropriate, and it wasn’t the same anymore. I felt time going by, felt the need to be more, have more, see more than I was seeing from that place. So I moved along, finally, and started filling up my life with grown up things. I enjoyed, and still enjoy, the sense of achievement that comes with accomplishing a dream, however small. What I don’t like is the worry and problems that come attached to everything I love or want or value. I worry about my kids, my job, my relationships with people. I worry about money and bills, my car, my phone and my laptop. I worry about my teenager not fitting in, and then about her fitting in too well. I worry about things that happened a long time ago, and things that may very well never happen. I NEVER used to worry about stuff, and now it’s always happening, like background music…I’m humming along, not even aware of the song. Also, I feel stretched a little thin, a lot of the time. These are the things I don’t love about this phase of my life. I want to be calm enough to enjoy all the good stuff that is right in front of me, but there’s so much to do, and so many things going on, and I get that tight, tense, angry feeling…like one little minuscule thing, and I’m going to snap. I don’t like all the chores and rules and activity of being this kind of adult. I feel like I still haven’t quite caught on yet.

Every year, around my birthday, I sort of look at my life and see what’s what, and come up with an idea of where I’d like to go next. Things I’d like to work on, eliminate, think about, and so on. This year, I just want to cut the shit. I want to stop knowing what I need to do, and doing something else instead, and then hating myself for it later. I want to plant my feet firmly on the earth and do what is best for myself, even when I’m scared to death of what that could mean. I want to enjoy the beautiful faces of my daughters, and never forget for a minute how blessed I am or how fast it goes by. I want to find the right words to say to Aisley, to make her softer. I want my Camryn never to have a reason to be so hard. I want to be with people who love me and have my best interest at heart, and I want to recognize when that is not the case. I want to laugh more, cry some, and be angry a LOT less. I want to slow down. I want to stop running, and just slow down. What is the point to this life if I’m too busy to see all of the real and valuable things it contains? I want to remember how much I love, and am loved. That’s my goal this year…and maybe the rest of them, too.

I’m wondering if you guys have that same, surreal feeling about your life ever? Does it seem impossible that you could be however old you are? Are you a worrier, and if so, have you always been, or is it new? Thanks for reading, and I’m so glad to be back!

My Worst Fear…

Is actually happening to someone else, just over the hill. She’s the mother of a beautiful teenage girl, just like me- I don’t know her or her daughter, but I know she is beautiful because I see her face every time I turn on the news. Her daughter, Sierra LaMar, is missing. She’s been missing for fourteen days now…FOURTEEN DAYS. Do you know how long that is for a mother, when your child is missing? Every time I start to imagine it, my mind pulls away in fear, and I can’t. I just can’t imagine it.

I joke around all the time about how awful my teenager is- I’m not saying it’s not true, I’m just saying I crack a lot of jokes about what a hormone imbalanced demon she is. There are times, though, when I am in the middle of things with her, and it’s all I can do to keep from snatching her by her neck or popping her right in her rotten little mouth. I am NOT laughing then. There are moments such as those, when I literally cannot come up with one pleasant feeling for that kid, not even pity for her evil little soul ( 😉 ). It’s really hard to live with her, day in and day out, the way she bullies (yes, she really is a bully-she makes everyone completely miserable until she gets her way. That to me is a bully.) everyone in the house.

But I’ll tell you what-I would gladly live with that kid every day for the rest of my natural life if it meant I could rest easy knowing my baby was safe. My heart goes out to Sierra’s parents and family, but more than anyone else, her mom. I just don’t know how you could possibly get through a day of that kind of fear and worry. Let alone fourteen. There is no drug that could calm you down enough. There is no prayer, except an answered one, that could really comfort you. It upsets my stomach just thinking it over.

I know that while Sierra is missing, they don’t really know if she is harmed or even if she is alive. They aren’t really even saying for sure that it’s an abduction- they are calling her “involuntarily missing”, which sounds about the same to me. They found her cell phone a block from where she was supposed to catch the bus to school, in a field. Later, they found her bag in another field, a mile from the first one. I am trying to ask myself this- if my little girl, my Aisley was missing for fourteen days, would I want her found alive at any cost? I don’t mean to me, of course at any cost to me. But to HER. I am not trying to be morbid, I just can’t fathom that you could avoid those thoughts in those shoes…selfishly, I think my answer would be yes. Maybe I’m just crazy enough to think that there is nothing a mothers love can’t fix. Maybe I would just tell myself that, or anything at all that I needed to, for a chance to hold my daughter again, hear her voice, see her smile. Even to hear her scream how much she hates me, even that would be wonderful.

So many children go missing all the time, every single day, more than you can even comprehend when you look at the statistics. Some of them run off, some are stolen by their parents, or other family members for reasons that are usually at least not horrific. Then there are the kids like Polly Klaas who was stolen from her own room during a sleepover by some evil man and murdered, or Christina Williams in Ft. Ord right here on my peninsula, who was out walking her dog and was never seen again until they found her bones years later. I just don’t and can’t for the life of me, understand it. How can a person be so sick and so selfish and so broken inside that they can destroy so many lives? Those children need not have suffered, ever, but at the very least, their suffering ended. What about the ones left behind who must face the rest of their lives with this part of themselves missing, just stolen and destroyed for nothing, no purpose at all? I don’t really believe you can qualify as a human being when you are capable of such things- there is a vital part missing in those people, and knowing they walk among us, blending in, is terrifying.

I don’t really believe in the death penalty for most things- I think being held in prison for every single day of your life is a far greater punishment than death, and I don’t mind that my tax money has to feed those prisoners. Money well spent. But when it comes to pedophiles or people that steal and harm children, I can’t lie, I change sides. My two girls are THE most important people in the world to me, without exception. That’s what being a parent does to your heart. You devote yourself to loving them and caring for them, to shaping them and to letting them show you who they are, and it is the most intimate of bonds- you will find none closer. And a twisted, crazy minded man is going to just destroy all that love and work and hope and dreams for the fulfillment of some urge he can’t control? Well, that guy needs to die. I like to think that usually, God knows what he is doing. I don’t pretend to know what the master plan is. But I can’t help it in situations like these.

I didn’t mean to rant like that, but I guess I did. I ‘m tired and I ought to be sleeping, but this has been on my heart all day today. I hope that those of you who read this and who pray will include Sierra and her family in your prayers. I certainly will- right after I say thank you God, so, so much, that my babies are here and safe. Please keep them that way.