To My Best Friend Who Just Had A Baby

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You, my best friend, had a baby on Friday! She’s tiny, gorgeous, and perfectly healthy. A new life born to do good, bad and everything in between. You are one more in a string of friends that have recently had babies. Everywhere I go, I am surrounded by adorable pictures of adorable kids doing adorable things.

Outside I coo and I make cute noises and I could just eat up every single one of them. I snuggle the few I’m allowed to see. They are each beautiful in their own unique ways.

Inside I cry, I rage, and I beat the hell out of myself for not doing this thing that is the epitome of womanhood. I can already feel you drifting away from me. It started with you telling me not to come see you at the hospital and then not to visit until you are “ready.”

I get it. You want some private time with the new love of your life. You want grandmom and grand-pop to come and snuggle her up and make her laugh. You want close family to come and adore this life you created and celebrate with you and your husband. The same husband who STILL did not build the crib for her (I seriously want to hit him for that). She’s been alive barely two days and already you are so in love you can’t imagine life without her. I get it. I really do.

But I miss you. I miss our long talks, and our laughter, and our friendship. I miss being able to call you up and get and give comfort. I miss our passion and our absolute faith in God. Did you know I’m struggling right now to know if what I believe is true? How could you? We barely see each other as both of us settled into our careers, me a Social Worker, and you one of the best damn middle school History teachers out there.

I miss all of my friends that have joined the Sisterhood of Motherhood. It is a club I am excluded from. And I am so happy you got in because you wanted this for so long. But I wish I was there too. I wish we could have our kids grow up together and marvel at all the small miracles like when they first roll over, or crawl, or walk, or say that first precious word. But the door has been firmly shut in my face by friend, after friend, after friend and even a few family members. It’s not that you shut the door unkindly. It is just a space I don’t belong and can’t understand because I am not a mother.

So congratulations my dear friend. I am so thrilled about the journey you and your husband are now on. I will miss you but should you need me, I will come running. After all, that is what best friends are for.

 

toes

COVID and Elections: Hell In A Cell

When I first started dating my husband he was very into wrestling and loved to watch shows like Raw and Smackdown. For the uninitiated the WWE is a soap opera for men with pretend fighting that looks real and sometimes can actually cause real injuries or even death. I’m not a huge wrestling fan but it doesn’t bother me if it is on.

One of the most interesting matches I would watch with him was called Hell In A Cell. Basically the two combatants would be in the ring and a 24 foot high steel cage would descend from the ceiling and cover the ring. The only way out was to pin your opponent. But everything went in this match and there were no disqualifications, pretty much anything went. It was brutal and definitely not for the faint of heart (I know it’s fake but sometimes you honestly forget that when a huge man is jumping down on someone from on top of a huge steel cage).

Ever since March I feel like I have been part of a Hell In A Cell match with COVID. I have ducked, I have dodged, I have occasionally fought back but COVID is a strong opponent that keeps changing tactics. Faucci, public opinion, masks, no masks, sanitizer, gloves, death, hospitalizations, etc. It was enough to drive you mad. But eventually I kind of got to a place where I could sort of breathe (with a mask on of course!).

Then came election season. The tag team partner of COVID that hit me over the head with a brick and then whacked me with a steel chair while I was down and has not stopped hitting since.

I have never, in the 38 years of my life so far, EVER seen anything as destructive, divisive, corrupt, cruel, or soul sucking as this election has been. There have been mud slinging campaigns at election time. There always will be because people are people. But this took it to a whole other planet of attack.

People I love, people I care about, who I thought I knew well are ripping each other apart over this election. I can’t stand it, my heart and stomach both literally ache. Oh and don’t forget I get to go to work and hear how COVID is tearing families and communities apart.

Yesterday I attended church via online (still not comfortable going back yet even though they’re allowing up to 50 people inside). The topic of the sermon was “A Nation Divided.” The first 3/4 of the sermon were great. We should not judge others for their choices. We are not going to tell you how to vote. But use the Bible as your guide to how God wants you to vote.

And then….
it fell…..
completely apart…

I was told that as a Christian I should vote for someone that (fill in four political agenda points). I’m not going to share what they were but suffice to say that I did not agree with those four points and therefore felt shamed into thinking I was not a good Christian woman.

I spent the whole day on a serious rage spiral because I felt attacked on such a deep level. It did not help matters that I am in the middle of a medication change which has left me feeling like an exposed raw nerve every minute of every day. I screamed, I yelled, my husband consoled and validated me and eventually (as always) rage turned into depression and I slept a good portion of the day away until we had to go to his mother’s house for dinner.

Today I took a mental health day from work. I literally laid on the couch for the majority of the day trying not to cry or scream (I failed at not crying). I felt like someone had taken a sledgehammer to my very core. The hate I’ve witnessed, the fear, the frustration, it all came to a head in the last two weeks and I could not even muster the energy to move until about 4:30pm.

I love God so much, I believe in Jesus as my Lord and Savior and that because I believe he died for my sins, I am forgiven by God and will get to go to Heaven one day. That is enough for me. That is my faith and I’m comfortable with that. So for someone to come along and say that this is not true because I don’t vote a certain way hurt me in my soul. My faith is important to me and has gotten me through some rough times. To say I’m not a believer if I don’t do [fill in the blank] is to attack the very core of who I am as a human being. And that hurt.

I have asked my pastor if we can talk about this as it was one of our elders in the church who preached today and I did not feel comfortable talking to him directly as everyone was patting him on the back and telling him what a great sermon it was after it ended. I am waiting to hear back but I feel he will be able to hear my side and not judge me for it. He’s good like that.

So today was simply a venting of frustration, hurt, and pain. Please pray for me or send good vibes my way. This pandemic is killing us in the helping professions and unlike docs and nurses, nobody gives us any credit for the hard work we do (not saying docs and nurses who are killing themselves fighting this don’t deserve 1000% credit, but don’t forget parents, teachers, counselors, and social workers who are feeling this just as hard as they are).

Thanks for listening. Hopefully the next post will be a bit brighter. Spread love not germs ❤



Win A Signed Copy of An New Jerusalem’

My friend Stephen Black is a talented writer and this is his second book. You should check out both the book and his blog as he has a great way of putting things that really makes you think.

Fractured Faith Blog

Good Morning from Northern Ireland. It’s Day 2 of the launch for my new book, ‘The Kirkwood Scott Chronicles: A New Jerusalem,’ and I have a competition for you all that is also being run on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The winner, drawn randomly on Friday, will receive a signed paperback copy of the book with a personalised message. It no doubt will be worth millions in years to come. Yeah right, Stephen.

To enter all you have to do is share this blog post and comment below. The first book in the Kirkwood Scott series, ‘Skelly’s Square,’ is currently available to read via your local Amazon site as is the linked novella, ‘Bomb Girl.’ So get sharing as it could be your lucky day. Thank you to everyone who has been supportive of my writing. You motivate me to keep going through the good times and the bad.

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The Land of Should

(In your mind as you read this please picture the snootiest person you know and read this in their voice. Hope you enjoy!!)

Welcome to the Land of Should! I am your tour guide today and my name is Penny Perfect.If you need assistance and I am not around, They will tell you what you should do as a perfect person like me has many things to do to keep our land of Should running in tip top shape.

The first thing you should notice about our land is that everything is done in shades of either black or white. There are absolutely no shades of gray permitted as things need to be one way or the other. We wouldn’t want to confuse people by muddying the waters with possibilities or exceptions. There are no exceptions allowed here. Our laws are absolute and if you do not follow them all, you shall be kicked out of our territories forever.

Your house should be equal to your status so that people are clear about who you are and what kind of work you do. You should also have a car that matches your status which makes it easier to identify who the rich and powerful are versus those who are just scraping by. After all what would happen if someone rich and powerful stooped down so low as to spend time with people of a different class? They might start having compassion and decide that everyone should be equal and obviously we can’t have that! Can you imagine?!

You should be married if you are a woman and have at least two children. It is not required for your husband to participate in the family other then to be the bread winner. You should put all your dreams and wishes aside to make sure his come true because after all what perfect woman wouldn’t want to do that for the head of their household?

You should strive to be as skinny as possible because after all we are perfection seekers here. Anything above a size 2 is not acceptable and you should work as hard as you can to get here or lower. The absolute most perfect size is double 00 but we do acknowledge that this is difficult to achieve so we do allow the sliding scale from there to size 2. Remember a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.

You should make sure you are always perky, happy, and smiling. We don’t want to bring anyone down with a frown now do we dear? If you are having a difficult day it is okay to drink some mommy juice to take the edge off and make sure that frown turns upside down. If you are really weak and cannot manage to do your duty and be happy, please refrain from leaving your house as it is unfair to all the other women doing their part to make this the loveliest town ever made.

Excuse me, where are you going dear? I haven’t finished the tour yet. What do you mean you are going to look for a home in the Town of Possibilities? Don’t you know how dreadful that place is with their murky rules and exceptions and mingling of perfect people with not so perfect people? There is misery and complications and a lifetime of wondering if you have made the right decisions. At least here you know what the rules are and you know what to expect. Everything is cut and dry, black and white. Why would you want to leave? Well okay speed your little car away.

I don’t understand why nobody want to move in here anymore. Ah well back to smiling brightly and pretending it’s all okay. La te dah, life is great!

*BANG*

There is perfection in silence alone.

They’re Coming To Take Her Away

My grandmom is my heart. She is one of the most selfless, loving, kind, and beautiful hearted people I have known in all of my life. She stood by me when I was struggling through YEARS of anxiety and depression and never gave up on me. She gave me faith when I had none, and she never stopped believing I could get better. Her love carried me through some really rough days.

My grandmom is turning 90 in October and mentally I know she is getting older and slowing down but in my head she’s still my energetic grandmom who could always make me laugh and who is constantly blessing people around her. My two aunts have agreed (without my grandmother’s consent) that it would be best if she moved to Texas to live with my Aunt Donna. My Aunt Joan said it is a done deal but my grandmother doesn’t know this yet.

My grandmom has already told me several times she does not want to live in Texas as all her friends and her church are here and she is very active in her church. She said Texas is hot and my aunt lives about 80 miles from anything to do so she feels she will be bored out of her mind. I agreed she should stay where she is comfortable and local. She said she is going to visit my Aunt Donna in November for three weeks to “shut her up” about pestering her to move to Texas and she plans on coming home. Apparently that is not going to happen and my Aunt Donna has already renovated a suite for her and is planning on her never coming back after that visit.

For the record, just because someone is older does not automatically mean you take away their freedom of choice. I could see if someone had Alzheimer’s or dementia or could not take care of themselves. But my grandmother has meals on wheels delivered to her, her landlord is constantly checking on her, she has someone who cleans her house once a week, she spends time with her neighbors. She has plenty of people who look in on her and care for her.

I know I sound like a spoiled brat who just wants things her way, but as I said before, my grandmom is my whole heart and if she moves, I really feel I will never see her again because I can’t afford to go to Texas (nor do I want to as a Philadelphia Eagles fan). I won’t even get to see her for Christmas and this will totally devastate me. I need her in my life and phones calls are not the same (though we talk often on the phone).

Please pray for wisdom for the situation and for my aunts to be respectful of my grandmother and her choices.

I Quit: Poem About Social Work

Today I quit my job
I’d had it up to here
I was tired of all the stress
The crying and the tears.

I went back the next day
Just as I knew I would
Because I know I’m needed
To bring some love and good

Tomorrow I’ll quit my job
Because of this or that
Paperwork piled high
But I always somehow come back

Why do I do this silly dance
Round and Round I go
Soaring with the few highs
Crashing often in the lows

Am I madwoman
Doing the same over and over again
Or do I just stay in this work
For the totally incredible friends

Some days I lose my ability
To love, to feel, to care
As the stress piles on and on
And becomes too much to bear

I eat chocolate to ease the pain
Color when I can
Get lost in good books
So I don’t have to think about it again

I show up early
Work late most days
I do it for the idea of hope
(Definitely not the pay)!

So if I can spread kindness
Give resources here and there
Show others it’s not hopeless
Then I guess I really do care

So here’s to a broken system
We do what we can do
I’ll show up early tomorrow
Bring hope, healing, and a little love for you

Summer Is….

The bright sun beating down on your back as you mow the lawn. Sweat pouring down your face as you just walk from the house to the mailbox and back. Warm rain storms and puddles to splash in. Bright fluffy white clouds and laying on blankets arguing over what each one looks like.

The smell of charcoal grills and propane grills firing up all kinds of goodness; hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, vegetables. Your mom’s potato salad that you don’t really like but you eat because you love her and don’t want to hurt her feelings. It is cherry jello and ice cream with sprinkles (jimmies as they say in Philly) and lots of whipped cream and a cherry on top. It is water ice and pretzels with mustard.

The loud bang of fireworks bright in the sky, twinkling as they fall and disappear. It is a sweaty hand intertwining with another sweaty hand as you walk the boardwalk. It is the pounding of the ocean waves, the smell of pizza and popcorn as you walk down the boardwalk. It is mini-golf, tag, kick the can, and sweet first kisses that you’ll never forget.

The brown skin of my Italian husband and the red skin of my Irish/Polish skin. It is SPF- 100 suntan lotions and sprays. It is the smell of salt and sand and coconut lotion. It is the soothing balm of aloe at the end of a day spent swimming and splashing with friends. It is the best sleep all year because your body is warm and has been soaking up sand and sun all day.

The crackle of bonfires while camping at the lake and eating smores. Ghost stories, late nights, cabins, and finding God. It is the best fruit time and corn on the cob with butter melting down your face time. It is family and friends and a coming together of people who matter most to you. It is lawn chairs and beach chairs and book after book. It is the songs of summer and wearing the coolest shades you can find.

It is a feeling, it is a memory, and it is indescribable although I’ve tried.

 

The Wheels In My Head Go Round and Round

Most days I get done work and I think, today I really need to write about [insert interesting thought I had during the day]. But I don’t. I spend all day looking at a computer screen writing notes, making calls, doing video conferences, fending off crisis after crisis and when I’m done…I’M DONE.

My mind is a constant whirlwind of thoughts and it doesn’t slow down unless I read a book or do something else that captures my total mind for a short time. I am worried about everything, solving nothing, but still going to work every day claiming “I’m fine” when people ask as they pile more stuff on for me to do because “I know you can handle it,” or “You got this.”

I DO NOT GOT THIS…..

I do however have an endless supply of mental confusion, irritability, tears, insomnia, and headaches. If you are in need of those, I have them in spades. I am normally very organized, very on top of things and today I literally just froze because there were too many tasks and not enough brain power to figure out how to do it all by the end of the week. Then I get told I’m training new people which I do love, but not when I am managing two care loads of children because a co-worker is out.

I worry I’m not doing anything to support the black community. I invited my brother over for dinner tomorrow because I’m so afraid I’m going to lose him and everyone I love if I don’t see them RIGHT STAT NOW. It’s ridiculous but now I am having tacos with my brother on a night I really don’t have time for it but I felt like if I didn’t see him and his girlfriend and my niece then something bad was going to happen and I would never see them again.

I worry I’m not doing enough to grow my faith. I’m not doing enough for my church and for my community. The sky is falling and I’m chicken little screaming and running all over the place except nobody can hear me.

My anxiety is on a roller coaster all day long and so is my depression. I am up and down and I want to get off but the clown at the controls says sorry kiddo you gotta keep riding. I think if I wasn’t on medication right now I would have a full on mental break.

I know this is all first world problems. I’m not starving, homeless, or anything else really terrible. But I am overwhelmed. And the fear and the feelings are real. So I just needed to vent a little in the only private place I have in my life right now. None of my friends or family know about this blog but I do have a small family of friends on here who care and that helps on nights like tonight where I feel like I’m falling apart.

I Have No Words

I did not know what to say for the last few days. I have no words to express the depth of my sorrow, my anger, my frustration, and the ache in my heart. I am watching the country I grew up in, and loved, tear itself apart.

I am seeing hatred on levels I never thought possible in my lifetime. I am seeing destruction and chaos. I am seeing broken families, broken people, and broken lives.

I keep thinking it can’t get any worse and then 2020 proves me wrong again. I have watched videos of people I respect sobbing, and hurting, and raging. And I can’t do a damn thing for them.

Or Can I….?

I can stand up for people who are being treated as animals and not the beautiful people they are. I can open my mouth. I can protest. I can demand change.

And most of all….

I CAN LOVE PEOPLE JUST AS THEY ARE BECAUSE THEY ARE MY FAMILY!!

I personally believe that God made each and every person exactly who they were made to be with skin tones that vary, and heart and souls that may be different from our own, but still beat and are capable of working together. I believe everyone is my brother and my sister and I will defend them and love them because we are one big family.

I WILL NOT TOLERATE HATE!!

I am crying as I type this because my heart hurts for Mr. Floyd’s family and all the other families who lost a sweet soul for absolutely no reason other then pure hatred.

Please be kind. Please share some love today. It is so needed. And to all the friends I said I didn’t see your color when I looked at you, I apologize because I did see it, I just never saw the difference it made until these last few years. I see you now. I love you. And I stand beside you in respect and solidarity.

Baby Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough

wordle-depression

Happy to report that after two weeks of safety quarantining in our home both my husband and I have not experienced any symptoms of COVID and can rejoin the world outside our doors.The sun is shining and there is a beautiful breeze outside today. All is technically well. And yet both myself and my husband are struggling horribly with depression right now.

We both have gained a significant amount of weight due to being home and no gym to speak of. We sporadically exercise when we have the motivation (which is not often). People say we should just go for walks. Good advice except he has back pain and I have back and foot pain (thanks heel spurs). So I work and bake and we snack ourselves into momentary bliss, then feel like assholes when we’re done eating.

I love my husband more then life itself, but I cannot make this better for him and he can’t make it better for me. His mother keeps making snide comments about our weight and her being disappointed in him that he’s not working. Then we discuss his sister’s upcoming divorce and all this serves to make everyone miserable. Then we discuss the current state of our State and everything crumbles.

I feel like I’m sinking in quicksand with no way out. I feel the darkness closing in around me as it always does when I am depressed. It wraps me in its invisible bubble and though I can’t see it, I feel it. It literally colors everything more gray and dull. All enjoyment to be had is sucked away.

I know this will end but I am tired of these cycles of depression, recovery, more depression, etc. I feel I have no right to these feelings. I am working. I am paying my bills. I have toilet paper for crying out loud. My kitties love me and snuggle me daily. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? Yes I know chemical imbalance….need to change your thoughts…eat better….get some sleep…practice mindfulness…etc…etc. But honestly right now I would like to crawl under the covers and never come out again unless I can get a brain transplant. And a total body makeover.