Monday, January 1, 2018

Chapter 1: Completely Scathed

It's 2018.  This means that I made it through 2017.

Relatively unscathed.

Well, I take that back.

I was scathed.  I was totally and completely scathed. 

But no one really knew it.  Because I didn't let them see it. If there's one thing I learned on the farm, it's that you never let them see you scathed.

Or sad.

Or furious.

Or weak.

Really, the weakness was the bad one.  The term game face didn't just apply to life on the basketball court.  It applied to all areas of my life.

Friends were being shitty to me?  Game face it. 
Boys at church said horrible and hurtful things to me while the teacher just sat back and let it happen?  Game face it.
Endless torment from bullies in elementary?  GAME. FACE. IT.  
Heartbroken because I didn't get asked to prom?  Game face it.

College was much of the same.  The one and only person who actually got behind the mask of my game face... well, I married him and heaven knows how he has managed to survive my insanity for the last 20 years.

So, yea... the game face has worked for me for a long time.  But it also has a drawback.... because the things that hurt don't pierce the game face, but often neither do the good things.  And how's that for a mid-life crisis epiphany?

In January, I lost my dad.  I wish that I could say that his passing was peaceful and that I have moved on.  But, the truth is... I don't think I have.  In fact, I think that his passing has spotlighted my game face weaknesses in a way that I wasn't prepared for.  And it's freaking me out.

Dad struggled for his entire life with clinical depression.  It was my job to make him smile.  I learned this at a very young age.  I was the comedian for him and would do whatever it took to make him laugh.  I credit my dad with my quick wit and sense of humor.  Because of him, I honed it until it was razor sharp.  Because even though he dealt with that debilitating depression, he had a quick wit.  He just didn't always feel empowered to use it.

I do.  And I know there are people out there - men, mostly - who either don't care for me or who are intimidated by me because of it.  And that's okay.  *cough*chickenshits*cough*.   

Side note:  Really, I still don't know why I never got asked to prom.

And the humor, it keeps me content.... but sometimes that's not enough.  I actively seek out things that will make me laugh.  It's like a drug to me.  If you can make me laugh, I will always hold you in high esteem.  You're my dealer, after all.  And if you can intertwine comedy while having some tenderness and vulnerability then I will forever be your fan.  Mike Birbiglia does a great job with this, as does The Bloggess.  And I can't get enough of either of them.

In 2017, I finally admitted that I needed some help.  I had a breakdown because I JUST. COULDN'T. HANDLE. IT. ANYMORE.

"IT" being... everything.

And nothing.

At once.

I have a full-time career.  Two kiddos that I don't deserve and who I love so much that I want to punch someone in the throat about it.  A husband that is my rock.  At the time of the breakdown, I was the President of the Junior League of Ogden, which if I'm being honest, I'm still shocked about.  I mean, how in the world did I convince anyone to let me take the helm of that organization?  At the same time, I was also taking on new responsibilities at work and trying to make sure that my kiddos got their homework done (they didn't), were eating healthy (they weren't) and getting along like you read about in on the mommy-blogs here in Utah (LIES). 

And it just... it was just too overwhelming.  I couldn't keep it all together.  It was too hard.  And I was giving all of the best of me to everywhere... except my family.  And that's not right.  That's not right at all.  And OMG, it shouldn't be this hard.  And why isn't Benny isn't here so I can cry and scream and yell at him?

When he got back from his work trip the next day, I told him that I needed help.  And he was all:  "Uh... yea. I've been tryin' to tell you for years now."

And then I punched him in the throat.  Because I love my kids.

So, I went to the doc and talked with her.  After hearing about my family history, she was shocked that I had never been on any type of anti-depressant.  My explanation of being the one in the family that made it out without any mental health issues made her roll her eyes and guffaw.  She GUFFAWED at me.  I don't know if you know much about the medical profession, but if a doctor does that to you... it's not good. So, she put me on an anti-depressant.

And I promptly gained 40 pounds.

Which was awesome.  Really, 2017?  My dad dies AND I gain 40 pounds?  You can SUCK IT.

So, that went on until October before another doctor stepped in and made a course correction and I was able to lose over 40 pounds by changing my anti-depressant and addressing a couple of other medical issues that I had been ignoring.

Because I'm a grown-ass woman and I will ignore what I want to ignore, mkay?

And all of that has helped me a lot. There's nothing quite like being able to button a pair of pants that your fat-ass couldn't fit in just 4 months ago to really build your ego.  But I still feel the game face factor.  And lately, I've noticed that I'm just really damn hard on my kiddos.

And that's not what I want for them.  Or for me.  Because that's what they'll remember when they're my age.  And then they'll be sitting in the coffee shop on New Year's Day thinking about how their lives have gone and they'll think back on their life and go:  "Man... my mom was a hard ass and just not very fun... and nothing ever was good enough for her.  No wonder I'm the way I am. I don't know if you know much about parenting... but that's not good, either.

I'll concede that it may just be an effect of the Christmas "vacation" and the fact that I would be a suck-ass stay-at-homer, but I feel like it goes deeper than that. There's something not quite... right.  I don't know if it's the medication that needs to be adjusted.  Or just my focus and attitude.  I think it's the latter.  I think that my spirit is telling me that I'm not whole.  That I'm missing something.

Two days ago, we ordered Chinese because we wanted to eat just a teeny-tiny bit of food and feel like ass for two days.  AS ONE DOES.  But silver lining... this was in my fortune cookie.  

I've been tossing around this idea for years now.  And I've had a lot of people urging me to do it.  With the ease in which you can self-publish these days, and the absolute joy I get out of writing... it seems like a no-brainer.   But it's going to take more than me just deciding to write a book.  It's going to take me committing to writing every day in my blog.  It's um... going to take me committing to updating the blog to look like a legitimate blogger... not a wannabe still living in the world of, while there's Wix and WordPress out there just waiting for me to play in.  And besides... fortune cookies don't lie.  Ask my girls who were fighting over whose lucky numbers were better from their fortune cookies. 

Just thinking about getting back to writing brought a sense of peace to me that I hadn't experienced in quite a while.  And at that moment I realized that feeding my soul through spreading my verbal vomit onto the internets was what I was missing.  And if I could find my peace and contentment through something like this... by following my passion and exploring my talent and hobby, I could be a better mom and wife.

But honestly... I want more than to just write a book. I feel like a book... it's just the beginning.  Who knows where it will take me but at least it's a first step. 

Don't get it twisted... I fully expected 2018 to leave me scathed as well... but I think that's the point.

Isn't it?