Shadows & Sunlight

Normally if I leave the office in the first place, it’s to go to Target or Safeway. Those are in a long row of stores where if you walk on the sidewalk, you’re in a shadow. When it’s cold, it provides a welcome barrier from the wind.

Today I had to go to the bank that’s in the middle of the parking lot, and it wasn’t cold; it was sunny. Walking in the middle of the parking lot took my breath away for a moment, as everything looked and smelled and felt amazing. Those moments are precious and I knew the elation would fade, but I made sure to appreciate it while it lasted.

As I continued toward the bank, I realized that something about the open space in the parking lot reminded me of being at the beach. The long walk to and from the parking lot was sometimes nearly as much a part of the experience as the beach itself, and it seemed fitting that there was a man changing his shirt next to his car.

After I got my money, I wanted to get a Pokestop that required my walking towards that strip of buildings. Normally I’d just have stayed the course and walked back in a straight line, in the shadows.

Today I decided that after receiving my balls and berries, I’d go a tiny bit out of my way to stay in the sunlight. And that it was time to start doing more of that, literally and figuratively.


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I Am Hannah Baker (With Less Gorgeous Skin).

As I try to digest/get through “13 Reasons Why,” I’m realizing why I didn’t binge it through in the first place.

It’s an ugly mirror. There is a part where amidst the saintifying of Hannah because she’s dead, someone says that she was drama, all the time, and it was exhausting.

And I realized that I give myself too much credit for not ending my own life. That for two-plus Hannah’s lifetimes, I’ve spent far too many days simply muddling through.

Today was bad. My depression will win in the end if I don’t get help.

A couple of months ago, I posted in this manner and people reached out and maybe you think I ignored you, but I didn’t. Things just very quickly feel insurmountable to me.

But I know that so many of my friends are currently struggling as well, and just aren’t as mouthy.

During episode eight, I Couldn’t Even. Watching Hannah filled with hope as she read her poem about black lace panties and miles of skin, only to have it thrown back in her face, was awful.

Luckily, I got into an hours-long messaging session with one of my best friends ever. Someone whose bright brown eyes sparkled at me in seventh grade and woke up my spirit that had been very broken after getting sent to a weird private school.

Today my spirit felt broken again. It scared me, how much I related to Hannah Baker. But/so what I realize about why it’s so hard to watch, is that it’s one thing to recognize the pain you’ll cause everyone around you if you commit suicide. It’s another thing entirely to recognize the pain you cause just by living with this demon of a disease and not getting help.

I’m so sorry for being exhausting. That is not written with a drop of sarcasm.

Usually when I write things like this, I tie it with a mental bow, but I don’t have one right now. I still feel intense emotional and mental pain. But I know others are experiencing it as well.

I didn’t die today. If you’re reading, remember that you didn’t either. And maybe the sun will come out tomorrow.

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Today’s Coffee Was for the Birds

You know the saying that spilling your coffee is like the adult version of losing your balloon, or dropping your ice-cream cone? I think that is especially true if a) it’s your first of the day, b) it’s purchased from elsewhere, but now you’re home, and especially c) it splatters in extra-dramatic fashion after you try to avoid tripping over your kamikaze cat who likes to blend into the brown carpet at the bottom of the steps.

That’s what happened to Josh this morning and to add insult to injury, I was taking the car to work so he couldn’t go back to McDonald’s for a new coffee. Such a travesty could not remain and McDonald’s isn’t that far, so I decided to just swing by and grab a new one.

It was a gorgeous Fall morning and things started out super Zen, even as I realized I wasn’t sure how to get to McDonald’s without making a U-turn on the always-terrifying Nevada Avenue.  So I had to pull over and use Maps. But eventually I managed to arrive at the McDonald’s via my traditional roundabout manner, and there was only one car ahead of me, so it should only take a minute more!

Fate and the lady in said car had other plans. Her order made me wonder if I was on a hidden camera show. It was basically everything on the menu, filled with lots of “ums” and “Wait no, sorry, that should be…” When I heard “20 sugars,” my heart sank.

Things like that tend to stress me out, even though rationally I know it’s just the luck of the draw. She obviously was ordering for a big group and I envy no one that task. But it’s like being behind someone on the only line at the supermarket and they have a ton of produce and food for the week and you have one sad little frozen dinner. Only at a drive-thru, the person in front can’t be like, “Oh go ahead!”

I decided that this car was not a roadblock (although technically I guess it kind of was); it was a way for me to exercise patience. Also the lady seemed nice, just a bit confused. So instead of letting my blood pressure rise for no good reason, I enjoyed the humor of it all and the beautiful day, even if it was just via Nevada Avenue.

And then, it was like a scene out of a MUSICAL! I got to pull up and the woman who took my order was super friendly. Whether it was relief at my easy order after a tough one, or whether she was just awesome — maybe both! — it was appreciated. I settled in for a long winter’s night waiting for the order ahead of me to be completed, but this McDonald’s was on point, zipping through it all, and in the end I waited for an insanely short amount of time that felt like a fast-food hyperloop.

As I drove away, I thought about how grateful I was to still be feeling chill. What a waste it would have been to get stressed out over waiting, especially when that worry was for naught! Now I’d be home in just a second.

Fate once again had other plans, this time joined by the longest row of cyclists I’ve ever seen. I don’t think the other drivers on the narrow road were thrilled, but after the lesson I just learned in the McDonald’s drive-thru, how was I going to get annoyed by this group of people? They were getting physical fitness when I haven’t even mustered the courage to go back to the gym in three months! Carry on, cyclists! Also they reminded me of ducklings, which made me think of John Mulaney’s comedy, and that lifted my spirits even further.

Finally I turned left, nearly home, and appreciated the sky as I drove up the hill, a view I don’t normally get to see in the morning, since I’m usually driving away from it.

Then I passed a grandmother with two little kids. She was beaming away and waved at me. I waved back and started crying, knowing that if it weren’t for the duckling cyclists, our paths wouldn’t have crossed, and if it weren’t for Lady 20 Sugars reminding me to not freak out over dumb stuff, I’d not have appreciated that moment quite so much, if at all.

Though I was just a block away, the moments weren’t over. First I got to see the astonishing mountains behind the cul de sac, a view that NEVER gets old. As I got out of the car, catalyst coffee in hand, the grand finale arrived when I heard a noise, looked up, and saw a big V of birds, flying together, calling out to each other and moving in perfect unison.

I had to get a picture, but my phone was on the passenger seat. I reached down to put the coffee in the cupholder, annnnnd…it spilled all over.

Jk! I treated that cup like Carla Gugino treated the glass of water in Gerald’s Game. But it still would have been kind of hilarious if it had.

Have a good day!


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October 26th

October 26, 1991 was a different kind of day than I was used to. Cheerleading had become my entire life since 1987, and cheering at a game was nothing unusual.

But on 10/26/91, cheerleading was different. For one thing, we went on a Big Bus. Going to South Shore Christian, a teeny school in Levittown, everyone who took the bus rode a small one, because we were gathered from random homes around Long Island. So to ride on a “regular” school bus felt pretty glamorous, that day.

I don’t remember why exactly we were getting fancily shuttled to an away soccer game. We were basketball cheerleaders. Our school was too poor to afford football, so our sad-ass basketball team equaled our personal Friday Night Lights.

And did I mention we were representing a Christian school? For exactly one year in seventh grade when the cheerleading squad was formed, we had vaguely appropriate uniforms: short-sleeved and lightweight sweaters, ’80s-regulation pleated skirts.

The rest of the time, we were cloaked in heavy, long-sleeved sweaters that would have been fantastically appropriate for actual Friday nights, out in the cold. Inside a gym, not so much.

So on October 26th, it was pretty exciting to embark the Big Bus in my heavy sweater to cheerlead outside. Granted, it was soccer. Why we were cheering for soccer, I do not remember. But it was a great time. The fall air was crisp and my sweater felt protective, not cumbersome. Who won or lost the game, I have no idea. But it felt like all the Sweet Valley High fantasies I’d had my whole life, come to fruition in one day.

Afterwards, my family went to my Nanny and Pop-Pop Posch’s house for a dinner of some nature. And I was feeling completely on point, doing my job as a teenage granddaughter. Making the elders proud via good grades and school spirit.

Kind of like with the soccer cheerleading, I don’t firsthand remember why we were at my grandparents’ house on a Saturday. Most non-holiday gatherings were held on Sundays. But there we were. Since my Pop-Pop had his stroke earlier that year, right before Easter, every following moment with him felt like a gift.

That Easter, super soon after his initial stroke, my Pop-Pop had returned to the fold and the dining room. A proud man, to be sure, and as his hands shook terribly while he stood up to cut the roast as the head of the household, I fully felt his anxiety and the pressure of the situation, even at 16.

I was SO glad to have him back, though. I hated that I couldn’t help his hands not shake and that he couldn’t be fully who he used to be, and that he desperately wanted a cigarette that he wasn’t supposed to have.

A few weeks after October 26th, my Pop-Pop had a reaction to his medication, went to that hospital in East Meadow, and died after a battle with his own machines that were trying to keep him alive, but couldn’t. And shouldn’t have, because he was a proud, strong man who wouldn’t have wanted to ersatz live like that.

He didn’t want pity; he didn’t want help. He wanted to basically be left alone, to be the kind, gentle giant he’d become, even though he wasn’t a big dude. He wanted to smoke a cigarette or two. He wanted his wife to be cherished and loved and respected.

Beyond that, I can’t speak for what my grandfather wanted. He was a private man, a meteorologist for the Air Force who worked long, hard hours for which he never expected accolades.

I loved him. And October 26, 1991 was the last day I remember seeing him alive. Like every time since that Easter, I hugged him even though we’re not really a hugging family, and I said “I love you.”

I think of this every single year since that last October 26th. Pop-Pop, I hope with all my heart to See You On The Other Side ❤



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My Slumbering Heart

It’s become just like a chemical stress
Tracing the lines in my face for
Something more beautiful than is there
I’ve barely been gone

~ Rilo Kiley

My most oft-recuring dream varies in detail, but is always the same at the core: I’ve been on a cruise that I don’t remember; it’s the last day, and I still haven’t been upstairs to see the sun.

You’d think I’d hustle my ass upstairs, but first I need to find my bathing suit. And pack. God, I have to pack; the whole room is an unmitigated disaster.

And meanwhile, passengers who’ve enjoyed the trip are headed upstairs with their suitcases.

It’s been so many years that I’ve dreamed this, that even within the dream, I realize “Oh, this is like my dream and I’ve toats learned.”

Except that I don’t.

I keep packing, literally and figuratively, looking for a bathing suit that I haven’t owned in 18 years so I can at least take a dip in the pool, if not the ocean. It’s that blue one with the white polka dots. It’s in here somewhere…

It isn’t, though.

My second most oft-recurring dream varies little in detail, except for the people involved. We’re always on an elevator, and I never want it to get too high. Because when it does, the bottom drops out and it’s like that ride that gets conflated with Gravitron, but isn’t. We rise and then fall and I simultaneously brace for impact and try to climb onto the walls to avoid the crash.

Sometimes, other times, I fly. I think that I hoped for juicing to get me there. That if I could just close my eyes, grit my teeth, and wait for a morning 29 days later, I could wake up as a superhero. The room from my first dream would be clean and packed and I’d be sunning or swimming, strong now. Better now.

That’s not how it works though, at least not left to my own devices and head space. Even if I went to Jason Vale’s retreat, stayed the course, and came home a changed woman? I don’t think I’d have the confidence to keep myself in the air, or my feet gliding over water, as it were.

Speaking of the Bible and retreats. My mother went on a retreat a couple of weeks ago and I don’t want to overshare her personal journey, but she said one big theme she took home from it was the reality of messiness. She’s messy, I’m messy, everyone is, inside, to at least some degree. And it’s not to say that we shouldn’t try to clean up that mess, but to insert my own stuff/keep hammering in the metaphor, I think it means that we definitely should not be missing out on entire cruises because we think cleaning up that mess is more important than the actual sun.

I don’t know how I’m going to reattempt the juicing hurdle, next. I know that I’m going to, but have spent these past couple of weeks in my cruise-ship room, trying to make it neat and my bathing-suit-clad self presentable. If I could only find one…

And it’s driven me absolutely fucking insane. It’s made me mentally and physically sick. I can’t clean up the mess. I can go to the doctor and have actually burst out of my phobia for a second to make appointments. I even have refills at Safeway to pick up! Quick shoutout on behalf of the world’s introverts to their website where you can make that happen online.

Juicing won’t untangle my brain, or “clean my room.” It won’t get rid of shit inside myself that should have been thrown in the trash long ago. The stronger I feel, the more I’ll feel like a fraud and fall into the pit of neverending self loathing.

The room.

Sorry for abruptly departing (“I HAVE ABANDONED MY BLOG!”), but I needed to. However, besides getting necessary nutrients when I was being diligent, I also broke the blogging seal, and that needed to happen.

Today is my birthday. I woke up to life itself, a roof over my head, and also an incredible care package from a friend of 20 years. It came with chia seeds, apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, pure cocoa, and instructions.
How in the world did I deserve any of that? SPOILER: I don’t. But I got it anyway.

Maybe I won’t ever figure out how to be a superhero, but I’m so grateful to my loved ones for letting me be a Harley Quinn who sometimes drinks produce. Seriously though, I will get back to it, just revamped. Thanks for supporting and/or lurking — I DID promise schadenfreude!

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Juicing, Day 11: Still in a State of Fail

Soooo, obvi, I’m not doing super well with my juicing, these past few days. And I haven’t really been eating a lot, save for the mashed potatoes from a bag and assorted other nonsense.

But I will fix it. That I’m writing right now and not hiding out in a sea of shame and self loathing isn’t award-worthy, but it is a really big step.

Thank you for being here while I try to assemble my personal staircase.

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Juicing, Day 10: Messy Bessie

When I decided to blog about my juicing experience, the high of the produce and determination led me to semi-forget that I’m a mess, and how my brain and spirit fall to shit about every other week.

Everyone was REALLY nice yesterday, when I posted my vulnerable blog. That post has gotten more hits than any I’ve posted in years.

So that makes part of me want to hide, find a safe place, not deal. And I still haven’t had juice in about 36 hours.

But that’s why I committed to blogging this experience. The good, the bad, the ugly. The last couple of days have been ugly, as far as these things go. It’s all part of the process, part of the whole, part of fitting my soul back into my body somehow.

I swear that I’ll drink my apple ginger shot today. And hope that even on the days that I’m the opposite of inspiring, my words can help others know that they’re not alone in their messiness. And maybe those others can help kick my ass.

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