Yo.

Image 7-20-17 at 8.09 PM (4)

 

Hello!  I’m Christy.

In a nutshell, I am a:

  • Mama
  • Teacher
  • Soon-to-be published author (March 29, 2018!)
  • Grief survivor
  • Podcaster
  • Over-sharer

I think you’ll love it here if you have ever tripped up the stairs, if you love to read, if you love true crime, if you have any kind of emotional baggage, if lots of people stress you out (or don’t), or if you have at least one child who is obsessed with Halloween.  🙂

At any rate, I’m glad you’re here.

XOXO,

Christy

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The other night I was at Target, all by myself. I had just gotten a cavity filled, and it was Valentine’s Day, and although I personally think Valentine’s Day is ridiculous, I still sort of felt lame to have a mouth so numb that I couldn’t even close my lips, and to be wandering around Target alone trying to find swimming goggles.

I have long since learned my reactions to stress are as follows:

*Eat my emotions

*Cry

*Buy things I don’t need

*Obsessively clean and de-clutter all the things I bought that I didn’t need

I suppose this list could be worse (I mean, jail time is probably not preferable, etc.), and I’m guessing from my experience a lot of you out there might have a similar list (kudos to you if stress makes you exercise, yo, way to be!). What frustrates me is that although I can recognize it, and I know these are my habits, I’m not “strong” enough to defeat them.

I get told I’m strong a lot. Strong for surviving. Strong for writing a book about my tragedy. Strong.

But there are things I am not strong about (which, if you’ve read me for a while, you already know them, so…) and my ability to cope with stress is not one of them. I am honestly so lucky that my husband wants to stay married to me and that my friends still love me (You do…right?).

Recently I found out that I’m being forced (well, it’s “voluntary,” but if you don’t do it, you lose your healthcare benefit) to participate in a wellness exam thing. Essentially, I get my blood drawn, and if I am not healthy enough, I have to go to classes to learn about how to get healthy.

I won’t pass.

But those classes? I mean, you guys, I’m an educator. I have a master’s degree because I LOVE to learn. I know about nutrition. I absolutely know how to lose weight. Quite honestly, I am not strong enough. I usually don’t even try because I hate what failing feels like.

And these tests, these employee “wellness” exams? Research shows they don’t even work. But I’ll tell you what they do-they remind me that as much as I work on it, my worth is always going to be valued based on my weight.

So, anyway, I was a little down, and feeling extra fat, and grumpy, and I was walking through the book aisle in Target.

Suddenly, I heard, “OMG NO way. I am totally Sophia. You are Rose.”

Giggles.

“Um, there is no way you’re Sophia. You’re so Rose it’s not even funny.”

“Well, at least I’m not Dorothy, like her!”

I looked over to see myself, 16ish years ago, with my college BFFs, Danny, Julia, and Sarah. I swear, it was like a movie moment where it flashed in front of me and I couldn’t help but smile.

There were one boy and three girls, the boy talking rapidly and almost running through the aisles, while two girls were scanning the books and one girl was yelling from a few feet back, having stopped to look at something no one else was interested in. The boy was wearing shorts and a muscle shirt and talked a LOT with his hands.

Eery, I remember thinking, how similar this is to my “past” life.

I watched them for a while, listening to their playful banter and I longed to have those days back. When we would enter the grocery store, and Danny J would yell, “Mrs. Paul’s Fish sticks, lightly battered, and…GO!” and Sarah, and Jul and I would race through the store trying to be the first to find them, screaming “SUPER MARKET SWEEP!” when we found the right box.

I miss actually getting kicked out of the Walmart parking lot because Danny insisted I push Julia around in a cart and he knocked both of us over. Getting a ticket for dancing in a fountain.

I miss staying up until 4 a.m., pretending to do our homework, at Perkins, knowing the next day I could just take a nap. Impromptu road trips. “Spring Break 2000!” when we called and set up like 8 real estate appointments on the lake to pretend like we were buying a lake house. Ice cream, and laughter. SO. MUCH. LAUGHTER.

I’m not carefree enough now. And I try, you guys. Everyday. I try to find the joy. Maybe it’s the weight of motherhood. Maybe it’s the stress of this book and everything it represents. Maybe it’s what working in a school has become. I guess it’s most likely a combination of those things.

Maybe it’s the work of trying to pretend I’m someone I’m not or the pressure of living up to everyone’s expectations.

What I know is that I need this back in my life. Maybe not tickets and getting kicked out of parking lots, but laughter. So, yeah, I’m going to fail my “wellness” test because I am overweight. I’m going to go sit in a class while they tell me to eat more protein and more vegetables and that there are “good” fats and “bad” fats.

I probably will still go buy fancy pens I don’t need at Target, and let things make me cry, and send my husband out for french fries at night when I’m feeling down.

But I am going to make it a goal to do it laughing.

You with me?

 

My daughter, she humbles me (let’s call this a poem because I didn’t feel like using normal sentences or punctuation and I’m feeling SUPER poetic tonight)

My daughter, she humbles me.

She is everything that I am, and also everything that I am not.

I couldn’t have imagined

how lovely she would be

how brave

how kind

how

resilient when I least expect it. Grateful and caring and full of LOVE

This morning, a glimpse of her walking hand-in-hand with her friend-

she has no idea he has Autism

she only knows she loves him

and she’ll tell me, “he’s just still learning, mom”

But, of course he is. You all are. After all, you are only 7.

Seven.

How much can we expect from someone who has been on this earth for 7 short years?

How much can we expect from kids who are LEARNING?

Learning to be a good friend, learning to know what to do when you’re not, learning how to be assertive, yet kind, but also slowly learning what you actually want in a friendship (and what you don’t)

Today, I had to break my daughter’s heart

I had to tell her no to something she really wanted to do. She deserved to do it. It was not about her.

Not the first time, and won’t be the last, of course

yet hearing her sobs almost broke me

It wasn’t her fault. She can’t understand. She is, after all, only 7

All this time I’ve worried about being her mother. Can I be good enough when I am so broken? Can I give her what she needs when I can’t give myself what I need?

We got home after an emotional afternoon full of tears and she hugged me.

“Thanks for being the best mom and for keeping me safe, mom. And you should know, I was not mad at YOU. I’m never mad at YOU. I was just sad. But it’s ok now. It really isn’t that big of a deal. And like you said, I’ll understand someday.”

A million pieces became my heart.

She is 10,000 times as great as I will ever be.

even with our ridiculous expectations

and sometimes downright unfairness,

she is resilient.

With her chin up and her shoulders back, she carries on.

My daughter, she humbles me.

Control (that I don’t have)

I have pretty much been sick since Thanksgiving. On and off, of course, but really I’ve just been trudging through. I haven’t had a winter like this in…well, ever. I’m feeling my age, I’m feeling my stress, and I’m feeling the loss of CONTROL.

Ah, yes. Control. My nemesis.

To me, there are clearcut things I can control:

*My house being clean

*My desk at work being clean

*My to-do list getting neatly checked off one box at a time

And there are things I cannot control:

*My weight

*My kids’ weight

*My kids’ behavior

*My students’ behavior

*The weather

*Getting sick

*Being stressed

*The fact that people still buy LulaRoe

and that list could go on…and on…and on.

When I was a little girl, I developed anxiety. My father was a yeller and an “almost hitter.” So, he never actually hit me, but he would scream and cuss and throw things and then lift his hand like he was going to, but then he wouldn’t. Also, I got yelled at for things I couldn’t control (i.e. the dog escaping out the door, accidentally burning the garlic bread, crying because I was called a little crybaby).

I’ve been told by a physician that when you have that kind of stress in your life, your body gets stuck in that “fight or flight” mode, and then your body secretes the hormone that is meant to deal with stress (you know, like a mammoth storming toward your or something). So since I’m stuck there, I feel stressed all the time, even when there is nothing especially stressful happening.

When I first moved in with my husband, I lost control over the things I knew I could control. Suddenly, I couldn’t keep the kitchen counter cleaned off, and the cap on the toothpaste and the bottles turned toward the front in the refrigerator. This was an issue, but we made it through (with a lot of talking and a TON of compromise).

Last year I made the very difficult decision to start taking anxiety medication. It has helped in SO many ways. I feel so much better about my ability to handle stress and how I interact with people. But, it doesn’t change the over-arching problem which is that in my life right now, I have so little control.

I always have “that student.” The one who is one of my favorites, who is super smart and respectful and funny, but the minute he/she leaves my classroom, he/she gets into trouble. And when that happens, I have to “deal with it.” Meaning it’s my job to handle the behavior even though I wasn’t there. Sometimes I just want to scream, “SHE IS A CHILD AND THIS IS HOW SOME CHILDREN ACT AND I CANNOT CONTROL IT I CANNOT MAKE HER STOP LEAVE ME ALONE.”

I don’t, of course, and so I sit in meetings and develop plans and we try different things and sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t, but in the end what I am left with is: I am a failure. I can’t get this kid to act right.

Then, of course, I come home and I have my own children. They are not perfect, by any means. And you definitely can NOT control them. Same as above–I work out plans, we talk, we give consequences if needed, we model good behavior, we set expectations, but in the very end, they are CHILDREN. We can’t control them. And as adults, I think we step in WAY too soon and end up making the situation worse. But when I feel like someone is judging my kid or me, that losing control feeling starts to come over me.

This semester I’ve taken my very first student teacher. Turns out that is crazy hard, yo! To lose control of my classroom, but be sitting right there in it…that’s a new one for me. It’s good, though–it’s a good challenge, but definitely hard.

I bet you can see what I’m getting at. All day long I try to control things that I can’t. And the things I can control I can no longer control because I have a husband and kids and my house is messy and I could go around screaming “PICK UP YOUR SOCCCKKKKSSSSSS” or I can just accept it and move on. And 94% of my co-workers wear those leggings every day (BAHAHA!).

It’s not that easy for me, though. So I’m stressed. All the time. Sometimes, I feel like my head is going to explode. I feel so lucky in this life, but right now there are so many people with so many expectations of me and I’m scared because it all feels so ridiculously out of reach.

I walk into my house and see junk all over the kitchen table and I have an actual physical reaction to what I see. Those of you reading who don’t have anxiety, I know this may sound weird, but it’s true. And I cannot control it. It’s not the stuff that’s making me anxious, its everything else, but that counter is like the physical representation of it.

I have decisions to make all day long. And not just for me. Not just for me and my children. Not just for me and my children and my students. It is non-stop and overwhelming and some days I just want to hide under my covers and not THINK. Not worry about how much sugar my kids are eating or how I have tried anything but this boy is never gonna learn how to add mixed numbers and did I let them have too much screen time today and what is a healthy dinner I can make tonight because I need to take out the chicken and is that person angry with me because she just walked by without smiling and what do I still need to do to get ready for that meeting?

All of this is making me sick. I’m not sleeping, I’m stressed all the time, and my immune system is crap. I’m too tired to exercise, which is making it worse. I tried to take proactive steps here, and I quit the spelling bee and switched a committee I was on.  It didn’t help much. Because what it really is when you get down to it, is that there are just so many factors that I cannot control and I’ve “known” I was a failure since I was a little girl. And losing the twins certainly didn’t help anything about feeling like a failure.

I beg for reminders that I’m not failing. That I’m doing ok. I get into a place where I need attention and extra love and I want to feel special. It’s not a part of me that I am especially proud of. (Hint: I’m there now, LOL!)

My goal for this year is acceptance. Acceptance of myself, of who I am. Acceptance that I am not perfect and that I need help to get most things done in life. This is where my work is headed.

Also, sleep.  I need a lot more sleep. 🙂

 

It’s my truth, yo.

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

― Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about memories. During the holidays I was with my sister, who is several years older than me, and we were reminiscing about some things that happened when she was in high school and college.

“Remember how mom and dad wouldn’t buy you a car, so you used your Ice Cream Shoppe paycheck and went and bought a Camaro?  A 16-year-old buying a Camaro!  So crazy!”

She looked at me with her eyebrows raised. “Um, Christy, it did not at ALL happen like that. I didn’t get that car until I was in college and working almost full time. My first car was a $500 neon blue Pontiac Sunfire.”

This hit a nerve. How could I remember something so differently than what was true? Granted, there was nothing particularly special about my sister’s car, so it’s not something I would have necessarily filed in my brain.

There are stories running through my head 24 hours a day. I wake up in the middle of the night and write things down, but 99% of those ideas don’t turn into anything. My days are so full and there are 800 bajillion things I have to do, and so sometimes I look back at my notes and I have no idea what I meant. I found one the other day said, “Jockstrap/teenage acne”.  Uh…I have literally NO recollection of writing that or what in the world I was thinking about.

I have all these memories from my childhood, ready to come out. I have come so far in pretty much just writing all my inner demons down that I feel like this would be the next step. I know there are people out there who think I am embarrassing myself and my family by being SO honest. I truly, truly don’t care, however, because I can see my reach and how much just talking about this has helped others.

The thing is, they are going to make some of my family members look bad. And so I hesitate. I’ve never, ever wanted to hurt anyone in my family. I swear, I only want to help people. My experiences as a child are SUCH a big part of who I am today that I want to share them. But what if it was just my perception as a child and I’m remembering it completely incorrectly (Camaro vs. Pontiac Sunfire)?

On the other hand, I want everyone to own their truth and this is MY truth. And, like Ann Lamott said, I guess if you didn’t want someone to write about it on the Internet someday, you should’ve acted better, yo.