Fashion & Sponsored Posts.
A few words (maybe paragraphs?) about fashion. Fashion exists for comfort except on possibly rare occasions when all you’re supposed to do is look good. Get some comfortable shoes, some comfortable pants, a comfy shirt, and maybe a cozy sweater to complete your outfit. Are you going to Walmart? Please, leave the stilettos at home. I don’t care who you think you’re going to run into.
I love it when I see a woman dressed to the nines at the airport. She has a short-sleeved (maybe ¾-sleeved) shirt, stiff pants, stiletto heels that only Lady Gaga could reasonably get away with, and no sweater or jacket in her carry on. I stand there with my Old Navy bulky sweater (as a backup, of course, temperature varies in airports and planes), long-sleeved V-neck sweater with a tank underneath (peel off layers, if need be!), comfy jeans, socks, and New Balance sneakers. (Bonus points if you own a clog that allows you to wear socks with it.)
This folks, is my fashion. A Beatles T-shirt and bootcut jeans held up by a belt. Skechers shoes. Done. I’ll also have you know that Chapstick did not sponsor this post even though I use their cherry-flavored lip balm in the winter. Just the right hint of red and I don’t need to look into a mirror to apply it properly.
I am probably the sloppiest fashion person you’ll know. So sloppy, I don’t even take pictures of myself. (Well, mostly because I’m fat now and don’t like the way I look but still…)
You will be hard pressed to find me doing product giveaways on this blog. For one, I don’t blog often enough, and two, the only sponsorship I’d care for is from The Container Store (which, boy, could I take pictures of all the ways I contain my home…). But I am just not into fashion. The stores I talk about are limited. (Have I told you about this great store called Target???)
There’s a jealous part of me that wants to be a mommy blogger—in the business sense of the word. To win sponsored trips to Disney and other vacation resorts for my family. To acquire a nice gift card for myself and another one to give away to a lucky commenter. But the time, the effort, the pretense… I don’t have it. Not only that, I talk about topics that alienate people, not encourage them to come read a post.
So I am just content to be a blogger who’s a mommy. Thanks.
I believe I’ve alienated many of the people of color I used to get along with online. I’ve probably annoyed many of them too. But I suppose it’s all right because I’ve always had a hard time getting along with people of color. There’s been a string of shootings, usually involving white cops and black victims. I don’t believe it’s all about race. I think I’ve iterated before that the white cop vs black victim thing is more of a class issue, eg, middle-class person policing a lower income neighborhood. I’ve been challenged on not being colorblind. And the older I’ve gotten, the less colorblind I’ve become. I think that’s OK as long as recognizing color isn’t used as a tool for division.
I’m not of the popular black opinion that white privilege and white supremacy dominate everything. Do I believe white privilege exists? To some extent, but I don’t believe it’s as pervasive as people of color make it out to be. For example, is a white girl who speaks well and dresses professionally more likely to get a job than me? I think so. That’s white privilege. However, if I dress professionally and speak well, will I beat out the white girl who shows up to a white-collar interview in a T-shirt and jeans? Yep. I believe that, too. Being the most qualified for a job doesn’t just mean that your qualifications on paper meet whatever standard the hiring manager’s got. Being the most qualified for a job shows that you’re a well-rounded individual: You look good on paper, can express your thoughts clearly, and know how to dress properly for an interview. White people have the advantage (which I guess is white privilege). But I’m not of the opinion that white privilege can’t be overcome. People of color just need to work twice as hard to obtain something a white person can easily get.
Then, there’s the issue of white supremacy. Please, let’s leave the term “white supremacy” with the groups it belongs to: the KKK, the Aryans, and the Nazis. The term “white supremacy” has connotations of suppressing the advancement of other races. The majority of white Americans do not do this on an active, regular basis. To accuse the average white person in America as being a white supremacist is an insult. Nevermind that the white person may have friends of color. If that white person treats people of all races with respect, love, and kindness, that kills any form of white supremacy they can be accused of. White supremacy is played out in the hatred of other races. Not in the average white American.
I don’t really listen to rap, R&B, and typically “black” music. Not the new stuff, anyway. I noticed I only have 3 stations featuring black artists on my Pandora radio: James Brown, Rihanna, and Nat King Cole. I had a Mary J. Blige station I barely listened to. I had a Mariah Carey station that I didn’t like. I had a Kanye West station featuring songs I would thumbs down. I had a Sean Paul station that I got tired of. Although we’re getting on the dubious side of race here, I had a Michael Jackson station that played mostly Jackson 5 and Motown rather than 80s and early 90s pop.
So I’ve embraced my Pandora stations in all their diverse glory: the 3 black artists I briefly mentioned and Norah Jones, Sarah McLachlan, Aimee Mann, Rebecca St. James, Yo-Yo Ma, Paul McCartney & Wings, The Beatles, Bread, Ke$ha, Britney Spears, Sara Groves, Neil Diamond, No Doubt. I also have an MC Chris station for my husband that plays “nerdcore” and comedic songs, which is a station I also happen to enjoy on road trips. The artists on my Pandora station are overwhelmingly white. And that’s OK! They produce music that I like and my preference for music has no racial color.
The main theme in my head is how I don’t fit in. I don’t fit in within most situations. I am not the kind of person to bully my way into fitting in. I am hyperaware of the perceptions of the people who surround me and I make it a point to adjust myself to fit their expectations. I have several Twitter accounts that serve as an extension of who I am: my established account with the most followers and the most interaction; an account where I spout religious and political opinions; a professional account; and an account open to all friends, family, and coworkers that is relatively safe and free of topics that may cause arguments.
A few topics on my mind will be posted in the coming days:
- Fashion & Sponsored Posts
- Politics & News
Nothing particularly exciting. Just what you’ve come to expect from me: rambles.
I’ll break you down
I’ll take you down, down
Fill you with sadness
Make your life madness
— Fauxliage, “All the World”
It’s 1:11 am. I went to bed at 9:30 and I cannot sleep right now. I woke up restless, agitated, and irritated. I am almost always restless, agitated, and irritated these days. My patience is a thin layer of ice. Every day, I have thoughts about suicide or just not being around anymore. This doesn’t seem like a temporary regression. I feel like I’m practically right where I was in late September sans the panic/anxiety attacks.
Let’s be frank, here. I don’t want to live anymore. I’m tired of the different medications, I’m tired of the insurance hoops, I’m tired of the trial and error. My emotions are being torn apart and people tell me to “hang in there” until this science experiment yields some kind of solution.
I slog through my days, trying to deal with simply living. Making coffee, brushing teeth…basic tasks are difficult again. I’m writing this post through sheer force of will but I want to sleep. But not enough time has passed since I awoke from tossing and turning.
All I can think of is using a gun. Quick and easy. I know that method would offend many but it’s the only form of suicide I know that will be effective.
And I’m tired of talking about suicide. I’m tired of threatening to kill myself. One day, I’ll make good on my threat.
Critics at their worst
Could never criticize
The way that you do
No, there’s no one else I find
To undermine or dash a hope
Quite like you
And you do it so casually, too
— Aimee Mann, “Nothing Is Good Enough”
I am my own worst critic. And the negativity and criticism have reached critical level in my head to the point where I have seriously considered suicide. I even had a plan, too. Won’t tell you what so I don’t give any ideas to others who might be vulnerable but it was a plan I was comfortable implementing.
I have cried a lot recently. Cried over my self-worth. Cried over the time PPD took me away from my child. Cried over my difficult relationship with my child.
I guess it’s kind of bad. I have this “Christian” faith in God. But when it comes down to it, the faith that once helped to keep me alive I have now, in actions, abandoned. I haven’t really found a good excuse to stay alive. Except for my husband. I know he’d be devastated without me.
And I mean, devastated.
On September 29, I enrolled in a partial hospitalization program (PHP) in attempt to avoid full hospitalization. (The last time I was hospitalized, I was almost sexually assaulted.) My actual PHP began on September 30. Insurance has approved 10 days in the program and I have only been able to attend 5 out of 8 days so far due to medication side effects and illness (the worst migraine of my life that lasted at least 48 hours).
I have been dealing with a lot of anxiety too. It prevents me from doing the most basic (and annoying) tasks. I had an anxiety attack over balancing my checkbook, checking my personal email, looking at my reactivated Facebook account. I refused to even try checking my work email for fear I’d get sucked into flipping out of work projects and concerned emails from coworkers.
My husband has repeatedly expressed his desire for me to live. I want to honor that. If for no one else, I am going to attempt to fight back against my suicidality and negative thoughts so he can enjoy the rest of his life with his life partner. I feel fight in me right now. I can’t promise that I’ll feel fight in me on Monday. But I’ll try to hold on to this feeling.
I was enrolled in a PHP after my full hospitalization back in 2006 and I don’t remember it being half as good or effective as it is now. While it was structured back then, it is even more structured now. There’s a pattern to it. A 50-minute pattern that I appreciate. It starts off with the full group participating in either yoga (Mondays and Fridays) or mindfulness meditation. Then we break off into 2 groups for a daily check-in where we rate and discuss how we are feeling that morning. Subsequently, the 2 groups combine for a class based on a specific topic, such as core beliefs, shame, self-care. (Quite honestly, this is the one “class” where many of us nod off. Sometimes it’s boring but sitting there as if it were a class is sleep inducing.) After that, we have lunch and then head into open group where we can discuss anything that is on our mind or help someone who is particularly troubled or struggling that day. Finally, we end the day with mindfulness meditation again and a “check-out” that allows us to rate how we are feeling at the end of our daily PHP.
Quite frankly, I never appreciated structure until this program. I always disliked structure because I felt like things would become “routine,” which of course was the point. I preferred variation, changing things up, and never knowing what might come next. But as I’ve gotten older, lack of structure bothers me. It drives me nuts. Life with a toddler is anything BUT structured. Never knowing each day whether I’m going to work late is NOT routine. Structure doesn’t have to be precise or exact. Group doesn’t always end exactly at 12:20 pm before lunch like it should. Sometimes it ends at 12:17 pm. Sometimes it ends at 12:25 pm and cuts into our lunch a bit. And that’s okay with me. It’s a simple reminder that life doesn’t always go according to plan, and I can get back on track as soon as I am able.
My PHP experience is teaching me quite a bit. I’m learning to forgive myself and be patient with myself. To not be so quick to criticize myself when I screw up or to spew negative words at myself when I’m not perfect. I’ve identified a few core beliefs that are extremely negative and cause me to feel worthless and hopeless. I’ve learned that shame causes me to be impatient with myself, to not settle for being anything less than “perfect,” and causes my inner worth to feel tainted.
I’ve also identified several aspects of self-care for myself. I’m not sure how to incorporate them daily but weekly may have to do. A few activities that I consider to be self-care include the following:
- journaling or blogging
- listening to secular music in the comfort of my home
- writing a short story or novel (yes!)
- spending time with friends
- reading the Bible
- listening to Christian music that inspires me
- attending church regularly and being part of a community
To help manage much of my anxiety, I have learned breathing techniques and grounding techniques. I never knew there were actually tangible things I could do to calm myself. I’d rather use these techniques before popping a Xanax.
So my PHP has been extremely helpful for me, and I’m really trying to absorb all of the information provided to me. I’m not ready to return to work yet. I still need to get my medication adjusted to the right dosage that allows me to function regularly (eg, lack of day drowsiness, lack of extreme morning grogginess, absence of headaches and nausea). I still have a weird jittery side effect whenever I’m still or at rest so I’m hoping that eventually goes away.
One of my primary tasks is deconstructing the core beliefs about myself.
- I can’t do it.
- I don’t fit in.
- I’m a loser.
- I’m worthless.
- I’m not as smart or talented as others so I’m no good.
- I’m boring.
- I’m not important
- I’m not capable.
- I’m stupid.
- I’m ugly.
- My thoughts are dumb.
- My opinions aren’t wanted.
I’m having a moment where I feel like many of those things aren’t true. But WOULD TO GOD if I always thought that way. The first step to breaking down my negative core beliefs is simply identifying them. Somehow, I’ll need to move from there. (I have a handout about this but it’s riddled with spelling and grammatical errors so I’ll have to find something on the Internet.) :)
There’s a better story
Of true love of true grace
There’s the hope of glory
And our first chance to be truly brave
It’s the place we’re going
When we can’t stay where we are
— Sara Groves, “Rewrite This Tragedy”
I don’t subscribe to the views of most black people. In fact, I may be the only black person who thinks the way I think and feels the way I feel about race relations in this country. Nevertheless, I’m a black woman living in America and I will say what I feel. My opinion is just as valid as anyone else’s.
The most recent incident of racism is the shooting in Charleston. Anyone who claims that it is not racism in any way is a flipping idiot. A white man walked into a black church, sat down with the people for an hour, and then proceeded to kill as many of them as he could. It doesn’t matter what he allegedly said. It doesn’t matter what his Facebook profile (that has since been taken down) said. It doesn’t matter what all his relatives say about his burgeoning interest in white supremacy. The facts clearly tell us that a white man, who was not a congregant of the black church, walked in and deliberately stole the lives of 9 innocent people.
But I don’t believe his actions are representative of the majority of white people. Most white people in America are not “white supremacists” and stand in solidarity with black people against injustice. While America has moved beyond government-sanctioned racism, it doesn’t mean that racism in American no longer exists.
If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know that I have always struggled to fit in with the black community. I don’t harbor views that make me leery of every white person I come across. In fact, I embrace many white people who enter my life. They have accepted me and made me feel like a person instead of a woman with a dark skin color. All of my bridesmaids (save my maid of honor) were white. My husband is white. The majority of my friends are white. I have many white acquaintances. I have rarely felt racially threatened by a white person. When I dislike someone, the color of their skin usually doesn’t factor into it. It often stems from the fact that I think they are idiots, ignorant, or inconsiderate.
Racism in America has escalated to a high level because of the media constantly shoving supposedly race-related incidents down our throats. Not every incident against a black person is directly race-related. (Notice I used the word “directly.)
Recently (within the past year or so), we’ve had a lot of incidents involving white police and black victims. A white policeman does something stupid and a black person usually suffers at the hands of the cop. As a friend (who is white) mentioned, there may be a subconscious element of racism. In America, we engineered to be leery of black people because they are often seen as “criminals” or untrustworthy. For me, it’s all about dress. If a dude (white or black) is dressed with a bandana over his head, has a baggy T-shirt on, and his pants are sagging down so you can see his Calvin Kleins, I will cross the street to avoid him. Again if a dude (white or black), is dressed professionally or even in a casual manner that appears non-threatening, I will remain on the same sidewalk. Appearance does matter.
Getting back to the white police versus black victims, I think a lot of these situations are the result of a majority of white men being cops who police predominantly black communities. As a result, there are often clashes between the two, so when a fatality occurs, it’s automatically branded as a race-related incident. I don’t believe these white cops wake up in the morning thinking, “I’m gonna kill a [insert N-word here] today.” No. These cops wake up willing to perform their duties, and when an incident occurs in area that is in or close to the inner city, some cops (again who tend to be white) act rashly, leading to the unfortunate deaths of black people.
I don’t believe the murder of many of these black victims is premeditated. But I do think we have a lot cops who are complete morons and should never have been allowed to serve.
Throughout American history, mostly in the 20th and 21st centuries, clashes between black people and white policemen have been common. Before, it was government sanctioned or government allowed. While these kinds of incidents are not as common as they used to be, there are still far too many problems occurring.
Does racism against black people in America still exist? Yes, absolutely. Are there cops who are racist? Yes, absolutely. But I think we need to do better as a country to improving race relations. White cops need to bridge the divide and reach out to black communities. Get to know them so that when an incident occurs, the first cry isn’t racism. The first cry is “most white cops aren’t like this in our community.”
Black people need to reach across the aisle too. Approaching a cop is always scary. But again, if a police officer appears non-threatening, simply smile or make a comment about his willingness to protect the community. The police are people too. They are under a lot of stress—far more than most people can imagine. A bright spot in their day can make a difference in how they respond to situations. Often when someone is in military uniform, people thank them for their willingness to serve and protect our country. Why can’t we begin to do the same for a police officer in uniform too?
Easing tension between blacks and police is a 2-way street. Maybe my ideas for bridging the gap aren’t the best. But we’ve got to start thinking of ways to improve race relations in this country instead of implementing self-segregation. White people are NOT the enemy. And if we embrace the ones who embrace us, we can begin to weed out the ones who want to harm us.
Right about now, I should be posting about my mid-year goals. But this year has sucked so bad so far that my mid-year goals are what I want to write about least.
Are the basic things okay? Sure, my entire family’s healthy (for the most part) and we’re all alive. We have food, shelter, and water. We’re doing great on that front. In fact, I’ll even let you know that we’re financially more well off than we’ve ever been.
But I am miserable. I wake up every day wishing I were dead. What I earn does not make me happy except for the few seconds twice a month when I see how much has been direct deposited into my account. I am able to distract myself with Facebook and Twitter. But when those things are gone, I am left alone with my thoughts. And my thoughts cannot figure out how to escape. How to extract myself from my current situation. I cannot even brainstorm a decent way to commit suicide.
The year started off great. On January 2nd, one of my best friends and I spent the day in Philly taking in Independence Hall and enjoying a few beers at a bar featured on the Food Network. Then January 5th came. And then every weekday after that. It all felt like a nightmare. Being excluded. Not fitting in. Dealing with catty women. My current work situation takes me back to high school and the questions that I grappled with then: Why doesn’t anyone like me? Why won’t anyone go to lunch with me? Why won’t anyone hang out with me after hours? Am I not cool enough? Am I too weird? Is something wrong with me? I showered today but did I not soap well enough to eliminate any odors?
In early April, the senior editor left and I became the only editor in the entire agency. It’s not a big agency, only 28 people, but there’s enough work flowing through that I cannot handle it alone. I have found egregious mistakes in the final round before things have gone to print. On Friday, I found an egregious mistake on a piece that has already been printed and will cost the agency hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. (Likely thousands.)
In late February, the agency hired a new supervisor for the copy department. She has been difficult to get along with. At every moment I think she’s a cool gal (she’s going to San Diego Comic Con this year), she does or says something that upsets me. She seems to have cooled off within the past few weeks but I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. I feel like I can’t get too comfortable anywhere.
People at the agency I thought I was friendly with have distanced themselves from me. People only discuss business with me. No one takes a real interest in my personal life. (Not that much is going on but I am a person with various interests too, I think.) I make an effort to discuss personal things with others but the sentiment isn’t reciprocated.
My son is a man’s man. He loves daddy and grandpa. When he hurts himself, feels sick, or tired, he gravitates toward daddy (when it’s just me and daddy around). I always thought I’d be the one to kiss his boo-boos and cuddle with him when he’s not feeling well. I always thought I’d be the one to put my child to sleep, play with him, watch TV with him, and take care of him. He likes me sometimes but not always. I’m not who he clings to. I don’t even feel loved by my own kid. When he was first born, I felt like I couldn’t bond with him and now I feel like PPD has robbed me of my ability to bridge the gap created by those first few months. He doesn’t even want me. Sure, he’s familiar with me and I can make him smile and laugh but if you spend enough time with the kid, he’ll gravitate to you too. He’s just a really nice, fun kid. But I’m no one special. And I want to be. And the fact that I’m not kills me. I’d rather be out of the picture than feel rejected by my own son.
My therapist tells me I need to love myself and accept myself. I’ve pretty much decided that’s not happening so we need to find another solution. Loving myself would require rejecting the majority opinion that others have rejected me and have deemed me not worthy of inclusion. Accepting myself would require thinking that my quirks (soft rock love and all) are awesome and what other people think be damned.
I can’t do that. Because I want to be loved by others. I want to be accepted by others. No, not everyone has to like me, but I want someone to extend the invitation to feel included. I want to not feel like a freak and a weirdo around the people I spend most of my time with every day. I just want to be included.
I recently took a test for certification as a medical/scientific editor. It was sufficiently challenging. I wouldn’t be surprised if I passed or failed either way. It was a weighted test with difficult questions counting more than the easy ones. This year has been such shit, I’m sort of expecting to have failed. So I guess I will be surprised if I pass after all. (Even if I don’t, I will make plans to get to attend a conference in San Antonio later this year to try and take the test again.) I keep in touch with the former senior editor and she’s convinced that I passed. She’s one of those people who’s always convinced she’s right. And I hope she is.
My marriage is great, though. My husband and I will be celebrating our 10th anniversary in late August. No small feat! We’ve weathered my reoccurrence of mental illness, infertility, the death of loved ones, job changes, hospitalizations, surgeries, various friendships, waxing and waning spirituality, and so on. To celebrate, we’d like to take in a Red Sox vs. Yankees game at Fenway in July. I will be up there for a patient-centered conference on maternal disorders so we have been able to work it out.
My spiritual life is crap. I pray very little. I rarely attend church. (I’ve been attending the local Roman Catholic Church on and off.) I can’t tell you the last time I’ve read my Bible. I am back to the point where I am probably going to hell but am begging and pleading the Lord God Almighty to accept me into heaven in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I’m not an atheist or agnostic. I have been antisocial and have not wanted to engage in corporate worship. Or schmoozing with anyone from church, for that matter. And then there will be the questions: Where have you been? Haven’t seen you. We’ve missed you!
Maybe we should go back. I know they actually miss us. But this stage of life has taken away our energy to socialize weekly and stay out late Sunday through Thursday. (Friday and Saturday are more flexible for us. But even then, the little man goes to bed at 8:30 pm and our community group gets together at 7 pm. What’s the point of going?)
I’m behind on domestic life. My husband does EVERYTHING: laundry, dishes, housework. He takes care of the little man when he gets home and stays with him through the night (No, our little man is not sleeping on his own and he does not sleep through the night. He is 16 months.). My husband drops him off at daycare and takes care of him in the morning. I now do very little. I wake up, go to work, spend at least 8 hours there, come home, eat, drink a beer or two, and then pass out. I’m very unhappy with my life. I’m a crap mother and a poor excuse of a wife. Being a freelancer allowed me the time and opportunity to do everything I needed to while still earning an income (albeit, inconsistent and fluctuating). I kept up on the checkbook, did laundry, managed medical bills and made sense of the explanation of benefits from insurance. My desk wasn’t super tidy but I knew where everything was. I kept an eye on items that needed to be restocked. Sure, I was powered by 5 cups of coffee a day but I was efficient and useful. My home has never been pristine but it’s not the mess that it is now (and no, it doesn’t really have much to do with my kid). I eat out every single night. I can’t tell you the last time I had a homecooked meal. We used to spend Friday nights with my in laws and my husband’s maternal and paternal grandmothers. Now everything is disjointed and I can’t tell you the last time I’ve seen my husband’s paternal grandmother (who we used to see every week).
I drink beer like it’s going out of style now. It’s the only way I can relax after a grueling day at work. If I’m honest, it’s self-medication. Alcohol has a relaxing effect on me that my actual medications to manage bipolar illness don’t. If I need to, I will drink beer AND take my medication. I really don’t care. If I get sick and die doing that, I’m actually okay with that. I really am that miserable here.
If you’ve read this far, thanks for reading. This post isn’t necessarily for others to read (although since you’re seeing this, you’re obviously welcome to it) but more of a brain dump for me because I haven’t been able to write.
I miss writing. Blog posts, news articles, creative writing—I miss it all.
Most of all, I miss me.