Saturday, August 25, 2018

Letting go...

This past year has been rough in ways I did not anticipate, but I think I handled it all really well, honestly. I have learned a lot about all kinda things that are now completely irrelevant and I'm not entirely sure I'll ever put that knowledge to use. I have been really hurt, abused, neglected, and treated badly by the very systems that are supposed to treat me well and support me. I felt anger and had all these ideas for how I was going to take my experiences and turn them into a bunch of good to help other women in situations like mine.

But the truth is, I don't want to do that.

I'm tired... sometimes because I have a baby who wakes up at 5:25a, even though I really, really, really need to sleep until 7a or even just 6a. But I'm tired of all the emotions and the research and the thinking and the righteous anger. I just wanna let it go.

I had intended to sign on and write a couple of blog posts that are in my head about things relevant to what I experienced this year... most especially a blog post about the myth that "breast is best". (Spoiler : it isn't. Humans get 99% of their immunity from the placenta and the amniotic fluid and breastmilk only helps fight bacteria and viruses that get in the digestive track and cause diarrhea. So if you have clean water, formula is scientifically equivalent to breastmilk and no one should be spreading any other lies.) But I don't want to write these posts.

In fact, I don't really want to write any posts.

I just don't have the right situation to open up my computer and write a post. I have to go in another room or put Babe in something to keep him from grabbing at it or wait until Adam is home and go away ... and I don't want to do any of those things.

I share most of what I'm experiencing on Instagram (thehonestbadger) and I like it there.

I've been struggling with all the things that could've been. Oh how I wished I had a natural labor and vaginal delivery. Oh how I wish I could've breastfed. Those things didn't happen and I can't redo them and feeling butthurt over them isn't doing me any favors. I had planned to bury it all in the dirt in the woods and let it go, but I'm not even sure I'll do that.

I've had this old Apple TV that a friend gave to me. I couldn't get it to talk to the remotes I had. It sat in my bag for months. I went to the Apple store last night and they restored it and it started talking to my remote again. I brought it home and couldn't get it to talk to my remote to make it connect to my WiFi to work. So I just threw that fucker away.

I threw away all the fabric I had been holding onto for all the projects I'm never going to sew. I threw away the idea of starting a traveling wedding business.

I've been cleaning out my life because what I want to do is hang out with Babe. Everything else is just a bunch of crap that takes me away from him and makes me more tired. I can't focus on the things I want to do, like getting back into marathon training, when I feel like I'm focusing on everything else. I feel that way about this blog.

I constantly compose blog posts that I never write and don't shorten them for Instagram because I keep holding on to the idea of this blog. I don't wanna do that anymore. I might pop back in from time to time and I will write a letter to Babe on his first birthday, but this blog feels like another obligation I can't really fit into my life and don't really want to fit into my life.

I think it's time to let it go.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

101 Things UPDATE

I was starting to feel like I'm behind on so much that it's probably been two years since I started my last 101 Things and I'm not going to finish any of it. I'm relieved to find out it's been less than a year. I still don't think I've done much on the list. So, I'm gonna write it all out again and reorganize it and elaborate on some.

Tomorrow, I think I'll write out the ones I want to accomplish before the end of the summer. But for now, here is the list and what I've done and what I know I won't do!

Start : September 24, 2017
Finish : June 21, 2020

FINISHED :
Private : 027, 028, 030, 033, 034.
039. Write and publish all labor/delivery/etc. Posts
---> here
062. Make a vegetable garden
---> I grew squash this year and sunflower seeds and herbs - all of which are edible. So I did it!
088. See Cleveland Symphony Orchestra in Severance Hall
096. Lie under the stars with Adam
---> Did this last month. It was cool.

NOT DOING :
Private : 029, 031.
063. Make baby blanket/snuggy/thing
069. Maintain Passion Planner for first year of Taran’s life ---> I did this until April and realized I want to do something else, so it's sort of half did, half didn't. Sometimes, plans change.

IN PROGRESS:
041. Finish right tattoo sleeve
035. Grow IG following to 5000
091. Grow hair out
099. Speak Spanish to Taran
---> I do have books and some turns of phrase, but I could do better.

Travel Goals :
001. See Lake Superior
002. Travel to remaining five states
003. See the Northern Lights
004. Road trip Hwy 1
006. Go to Puerto Rico
007. Plan UK trip
008. Plan Romania Trip
009. Plan Norway Trip
010. Go on UK, Romania, or Norway Trip
011. Visit Bella
012. Visit Prince Edward Island
013. Visit Pelee Island
014. Visit the U.P.

Private Goals :
015.- 034.

Blog/Social Media Goals :
036. Grow FB likes to 5000
037. Try one monetizing option
038. Write and publish all End Self-Hate posts
039. Write and publish all labor/delivery/etc. posts
040. Maintain Fat Tuesdays more consistently

Tattoo Related :
042. Get race tattoos
043. Plan Moby Dick tattoo
044. Plan Taylor Swift tattoo

Running/Active Goals :
045. Run one more marathon
046. Run two half marathons every year
047. Camp for at least three days
048. Go on backpacking trip (3 or more days)
049. Go fishing
050. Ride a horse
051. Go rock climbing (outside or inside)
052. Hike all the trails in all the Metroparks of Cleveland
053. Go kayaking
054. Ride bike 100 miles
055. Train for an Ultra
056. Figure out section hiking the Appalachian Trail
057. Begin training to hike the Appalachian Trail
058. Run Honolulu Marathon
059. Participate in a Triathlon event
060. Learn how to meditate
061. Learn one stupidly complex yoga pose

Things to Make :
062. Make a vegetable garden
063. Make baby blanket/snuggy/thing
064. Make cloth wings
065. Create album of first year for Adam
066. Create European Tour albums
067. Print European Tour albums
068. Use Chat Books for recording Taran
070. Make high-waisted panties
071. Make a bra
072. Make a jacket with buttons
073. Make pants with fly
074. Make family trees for me
075. Create coat of arms for me
076. Make a quilt
077. Make croissants from scratch
078. Make homemade jelly
079. Make biscuits from scratch
080. Learn how to can vegetables

Places to go :
081. Attend another Renaissance Festival
082. Attend another Comic-Con
083. Attend a tattoo convention
084. Go to Muster on the Maumee
085. Go to Haunted Mine in Dayton
086. Go to Moonville Tunnel
087. Take Adam to Kennywood
088. See Cleveland Symphony Orchestra in Severance Hall

Miscellaneous :
089. Contact Cleveland Clinic Patient Experience Board about experiences as an autistic adult
090. Get a dog
092. Donate hair
093. Buy no new books (in English) until library has been read
094. Take first steps to creating scholarship fund for animal hospital
095. Buy new cowboy boots
097. Get back to investigating genealogy
098. Find (and maybe buy) a suitable camper/mobile home
099. Speak Spanish to Taran
100. Print Emily’s photos
101. Watch these six movies with Adam :
--------->Apocalypse Now, On the Waterfront , Barry Lyndon, Rebel Without, Casablanca, Charlie Chaplin
005. Create that database!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Baby Boy XIII

Dear Baby Boy,

In our culture, there is a dichotomy regarding attitudes about pregnancy, giving birth, and motherhood. On one side, everything is easy. Go about your life as you always did. Continue to move, continue to work, continue to eat, continue to carry on conversations as you always have. Allow your body to change just enough to get the job done, but no more. Don't lose your personality or your brain or your career for the sake of a child. Simply fit that child into your regularly scheduled adult behaviors and carry on, because it is not that big of a deal. On the other hand, everything is a much bigger deal than it ever was. Change everything about who you are and all of your lifestyle choices to make sure you create the perfect vessel for carrying a new human life, ensure you bring that life into the world in the most spiritual and beautiful way you ever could have, and create an environment of love and nurturing, ensuring that child grows and develops as perfectly as possible. Your body will change but so will your heart and your entire world view because you will now feel the greatest love you have ever felt and the strongest, most unbreakable, most life changing bond you have ever experienced. No one else can possibly relate to you in the same way anymore, you are a cut above every other adult who has never had a child (or who cannot have a child) and this will be the toughest but most rewarding job you will ever have.

Some people quantify this job using pay scales for domestic workers. Some people deride those who dare change their social media avatars to an image of their child because what a disgusting display of lack of identity.

The truth is somewhere in the middle.

When I was growing you inside of me, I did not love you. You did not exist. You were an idea. You were sometimes a feeling. You were a series of physical changes that grew more uncomfortable over time but did not make me feel like utter shit. I wanted to provide for you the best way possible, so I did change my diet and exercise and did everything I believed I could to ensure you had the healthiest possible start. It was relatively easy as far as things go, but it was emotionally taxing, largely due to outside forces. There were expectations put on me and I could not relate to them. I could not relate to you.

Giving birth to you was traumatic and terrible but not because of any physical aspect. The medical community fucked me over hard and robbed my body of its natural abilities...something they were waiting and eager to do from the moment they began providing care for us. Every decision I was expected to make was not about me. It was, supposedly, about you, but not really. We were a medical procedure gone wrong and no one really cared about us, so long as they could get you out and keep me alive and check all the boxes they were supposed to check. When you were born, I did not feel a greater love than I had ever felt, because I really don't even know what love is supposed to feel like. Love is a cultural ideal that I do not understand. I did not suddenly feel a surge of protective emotions or a bond that was stronger than any other bond. I wanted to care for you, and I enjoyed you, but how could I feel bonded to you? I didn't even know you, and I still don't.

As you have grown, I have neither felt some sort of amazing connection to myself or the universe nor have I felt burdened with the impossible. You are bright and funny and interesting. I do like being around you. You make me laugh a lot and your growth is a source of constant interest and wonder to me...not because it is some sort of amazing miracle, but because it is interesting to watch a human baby develop. I do not like you all the time. You make life more difficult because of your needs. I cannot forget about you (although I did once for about a minute). I cannot leave you unattended. I cannot ignore your needs or your existence for my own needs or existence. You must be cared for because I brought you into this world and it is my job to keep you alive and to teach you how to exist in this world until you can do it all on your own.

I do not feel like a different person because of you, but I do not feel weighed down by you either.

We have our ups and downs and I am sorry that I yell at you when you won't lie still for a diaper change or won't go to sleep. I spend the vast majority of my time caring for you by myself and it is sometimes exhausting. I worry that I'm not doing it right...that I should be taking you to more places, reading more books, singing more songs, and feeding you more food. I sometimes want you to go away because I want ten minutes where I don't have to think about you at all...but I also feel like I want you at all times and when I am away from you for more than an hour or two I miss you more than I've ever missed anyone. You always seem to be loud when I really want some quiet, but I really love talking to you as you learn new sounds. You babble on and on and it is a source of almost constant amusement. I hate that you are now walking everywhere and climbing on everything and still putting every piece of dirt and fuzz and whatever in your mouth. It is very stressful because I cannot leave you unsupervised for even the time it takes to make you a bottle. But I love it because it is just so fucking interesting and you are quite an adventurous explorer. I hate that our bed smells like pee and that you stick your hand right down in your poop whenever I change a diaper. I don't like giving you baths and I'm quite certain I'm failing at introducing you to solid foods because I hate the mess and won't do it. You have met very few other children because everywhere that is not home makes me incredibly uncomfortable, but when you have met other children, your interactions have been hilarious.

I have no hopes or dreams for you, other than to ensure you are alive and to give you every possible opportunity to grow and develop. I don't care how big you'll be or if you'll fulfill societal ideas of your gender and biological sex. Everyone else seems to give a shit about these things and I don't. I look forward to getting to know you as you develop into a whole human being. From what I know now, you are the kind of person that brightens up every room you're in. I think you'll have a million friends who will befriend you for life. You are incredibly smart and I am sure you'll conquer every subject you desire to learn. You are strong and inquisitive and very athletic. You are develop physical traits early. Maybe you'll play some sort of sports, maybe not. I believe you will be able to do whatever you desire because you have a strong, solid body. I think you will want to learn because you are such a little investigator now and I can never hide anything from you, even when it would be incredibly helpful if I could.

I don't know who you will be, but I look forward to getting to know whomever that is.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

List

I really don't know why I'm having such a hard time getting back into regular blogging. It's a fucking to do list! I'm spending a LOT of time on Instagram and I've started putting my to do lists in my story and updating them as I go, changing it up and adding to it throughout the week. I don't think I want to give up this blog entirely, but I'm really having trouble making it (and other things) a priority. I'm trying not to be too hard on myself about it, though.

IMG_8404

This week :

01. Run or walk, do some yoga (maybe)
02. Resize and save poster board photos
03. Update planner
04. Blog posts
07. Rip some more CDs
08. Post more albums to Facebook
09. Read to Babe
10. Sew bathroom curtain
11. Put together letterman's shadow box
12. Frame and hang remaining artwork
13. Frame all that other stuff for those other people
14. Repackage dolls and fabric
15. Make photo books for first three months
15. Sew remaining prefold conversions
16. Dig up rose of sharon and mulberry
17. Fill in white boards
18. Call student loan agencies
19. Draw landscape plan
20. Draw one fabric pattern

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Monday on a Tuesday

I really want to get back into a rhythm of writing. I have a lot of thoughts and now I have a kitchen/dining room table to set up on and I just ordered some calendars for the walls in the kitchen/dining room, so I feel like I'm in a position to have everything set up to get back on a rhythm. Now, I just have to actually do the stuff!

---_0480

This week :

01. Run or walk, do some yoga (maybe)
02. Resize and save poster board photos
03. Photograph second G. project
04. Blog posts
07. Rip some more CDs
08. Post more albums to Facebook
09. Read to Babe
10. Figure out database questions
11. Put together letterman's shadow box
12. Frame and hang remaining artwork
13. Frame all that other stuff for those other people
14. Keep planner up to date
15. Make photo books for first three months
15. Edit ALL the photos and upload
16. Garden!!!

Friday, June 29, 2018

Baby Boy XII

Dear Baby Boy,

You've made it to ten months! I'm a little late in posting this, but I'm trying to cut myself some slack.

About you : Still talking a TON! Sometimes, you sit down in a corner of the room and just go on and on while playing with your toys. I am SURE the conversation is very interesting and I love hearing all your thoughts. Also, YOU'RE WALKING!!! Right now, it's just short distances, but it's happening. When I applaud your skills, you clap back! Pretty soon, I know you'll be going everywhere on your own two feet!

You've met more people and since the weather is warm, we get out and about. You love dogs that we meet. You also love music and will dance when it comes on tv or when I play music throughout the day. You make everyone smile, because you're so damn cute...but you're also very personable. You're fun to be around.

You've got five teeth and you like to use them to bite HARD. This is often funny but painful. You seem to have settled into just a couple of naps a day and many hours of being awake. We spend this time going out to the library or to the mall, to check things out where you can't put every thing in your mouth. 'Cause baby boy, you really love to put every single thing in your mouth and it drives me a little bit crazy!

You're growing every day and you seem like such a solid little person. Sometimes, we all sit around the table and you even eat solid foods. Sometimes, we lie in bed or sit on the couch and have a little snuggle. You're very strong and curious and adventurous, and I spend a lot of time making sure you're exploring the world safely. Lulu (our cat) seems to really like you. She lets you chew on her tail! And Ozzy (your uncle's dog) thinks you're a puppy who should run around and play with him. You find delight in all animals, even if they're licking your face.

It's fun to watch you grow and to see the new things you learn every day and to figure out how to communicate with you as you learn different gestures and sounds. I think this summer is going to be a great time to have adventures with you and I'm excited to show you the world.

2FCB2A08-2602-43FB-B13A-70C158B53803

Hey Mama,

Life is starting to feel really good...and you're starting to feel really good.

The apartment is settled, though there is always something to add. You've really taken over the garden in the apartment and it's a fun job, even if it's tiring. You've started sewing again and I know that you're getting ready to run. Not everything is perfect and I know getting a schedule seems like an impossibility, but take your time, it will come.

Look, people are always going to misunderstand. Honestly, it's like they choose to misunderstand. This is not your fault. You are as honest as you can be, and if people want to listen only to the thoughts in their head, that's not your fucking problem. Embrace the new people who come into your life and be unafraid to let go of those who can't distinguish fact from opinion and want everyone around them to agree with everything they say.

Summer is that time of year when the entire world is talking about how fucking great it is because of all the summer things to do. The attitude is one of happiness and enjoyment. This is a good attitude even for you. Life is pretty fucking good. Things are happening and all that chaotic shit seems to be settling down. Enjoy this, 'cause you totally fucking deserve it.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Baby Boy XI

Dear Baby Boy,

Nine months old today yesterday!

I'm feeling very guilty for not writing this on the ACTUAL DAY...but oh man, life!

About you : Talkin' up a storm. Many, many sounds. Whispering, breathy sounds and very loud sounds and murmury sounds. You also sing to yourself. I don't know what your songs mean. You sing to yourself when you're deep in play. It's very, very adorable. You LOVE to laugh and to play and to explore. You're particularly adept at climbing, which is awesome and also sometimes challenging. We have to keep you safe and you are determined at doing as much as possible! You push and pull your toys around, because you are so strong. You've been cruising for a while and you've even stood on your own for a few seconds!

You are so bright and interesting and curious and fun and it's so awesome to watch you grow.

I really do love you very much and I'm so excited about this time in your life, except for one thing...

You are OBSESSED with putting everything in your mouth! Boy, you have to stop! You're driving all of us crazy! I feel like we have to have constant eyes on you!

But mostly, you're just fun and delightful.

You met my friend, Theresa, and you went to your first concert - Emily Keener. You met your Uncle Matt and Aunt Becky and you cried when Uncle Matt held you. It's mostly because we don't get out and about as much as some babies. That's ok. There is plenty of time for that. We did go to the mall to try out the tot lot, but it's a bit too big for you.

Life is an adventure and as the weather warms up, I think we're going to have many more.

IMG_9512

Hey Mama,

ALMOST there! You almost have your apartment ready to go, there are just a few more things to get settled. It's VERY frustrating. You almost have the garden in shape, but you need a few more plants. It's VERY frustrating. You're right on the edge of the next steps and it's kinda overwhelming.

Baby Boy is delightful, as usual...and so smart and curious and athletic...you can take credit for that. You're doing a bang up job.

As for everything else - just don't feel guilty. If you feel like you have to let someone else down to take care of yourself, then you're not really letting someone else down. You HAVE to take care of yourself and that is the bottom line. If you feel like you're falling behind on some things, don't stress. You have a lot on your plate and you're really conquering a lot of shit.

Worry less. You're on the right track.