Happy Thanksgiving

I don’t get days off, but don’t expect some long and poignant post today. Well, maybe you shouldn’t expect that most days. Today is Thanksgiving, a day that people set aside in hopes that it makes them feel grateful for everything that they have for at least one day a year. It’s a day that politics should be left out of. I’m sure Halloween has pretty gruesome history behind it, still going to celebrate that. It’s not about the past; it’s about where we move forward.

I’m thankful for every day. I’m thankful for my beautiful boys. I’m thankful for their successes and their struggles, because both make me a better mother and human. I’m thankful for my supportive family, who’s always there when I need them the most. I’m thankful for my husband, who always lifts me up when it feels like everyone else wants to take me down. I’m thankful that I have a house, food, and loved ones. I have a lot to be thankful of, which I’m very thankful for every day. We don’t need a single day to be grateful. We should be grateful every day.

If you are lucky enough to spend the day with family, remember how lucky you are. If you are working today, putting your life on the line to ensure the safety of others, thank you for your service. We are thinking of you, grateful for your selflessness. If you aren’t fortunate enough to be with family, be with the family you choose. Blood doesn’t mean family. Love does.

Happy Thanksgiving and remember the lessons of today every day of your life. Even in darkness, there is something to be grateful for.

Social Media Help For Esports

Some teams have an awesome team behind their social media accounts. As a Boston Uprising fan, I feel as though they have done an amazing job. The Overwatch/Overwatch League teams (and Blizzard team in general) also have a knack for getting information out and actively engaging with their fans. This is just one of many things that I personally love about Blizzard. The problem is that PR on the social media front tends to be a problem for these teams/stars, especially in the Overwatch League and apparently now their Contenders teams.

You may have heard that there’s a new team in town: the Toronto Defiant. I cried a little on the inside when they had Neko in their video releasing info on 2 of their new players. The reveal was well-produced and the hype around it was perfect. This was social media used in an effective manner to achieve awesome results for the team. Even though this worst kept secret was something some Boston fans were hoping was fake. (Which quickly disappeared when Neko referred to HuK as a lying bastard on the internet, but still some of us clung onto hope that Neko would be our fearless Zen/Ana once again.) The Neko incident of calling HuK out on and it going viral on social media is just one of many ways that the PR team has failed players on the social media front. I could go into real life examples of how social media can give people a negative impression on you without the polish of an experienced professional, but I really don’t like to talk politics on Gaming Day.

Way back when DreamKazper did that terrible thing, I pointed out that this was just one of a few examples back then that you have these kids who are impulsive and inexperienced socially (in most cases) who need help navigating the finer points of engaging fans and social media strategies. As an Uprising fan, I can point to NotE and Gamsu as evidence that when a player uses social media properly can grow a massive following without any drama. Gamsu posts images of the beautiful views when he hikes or hilarious images of him missing his flights. Then there is NotE who goes the puppy route and keeps up this wholesome and goofy image that he has. These are players that have either been coached properly on social media PR or ones who just are personable and relatable people with a talent for social media.

Then you have teams like, I don’t know, the Toronto eSports Club who went full nerd-rage on Twitter. “We were told we couldn’t have our name so we quit Overwatch”. They sounded like petulant children. Does it suck that they had to change their name because of the Toronto Defiant? Absolutely. I don’t think it was right that they had to change their name. Throwing a childish fit on Twitter? Probably not the best way to go about it especially if you want sympathy over the situation. Plus, I mean just flat out quitting the game and bashing how awful it is? That brought up a lot of concerns for Uprising fans (and potentially even their players/staff) of what this meant for them since this seemed like a rash overreaction one the part of their academy team. When HuK comes off as a reasonable party in a situation, then you know you’re wrong. This is another case where someone who shouldn’t have a Twitter account while representing other people makes everyone look bad. (Applies to politics today as well.) In case you’re wondering Toronto eSports doesn’t actually own the academy team, the Uprising do. So, this really means nothing.

These teams and players need better social media coaching. Fissure has an awful reputation due to his social media presence. xQc has a reputation due to his online persona where you either love him or hate him. Social media today can make or break your brand if you let it. In a lot of these cases, they are letting it break them. I’m no expert on social media, but I have done enough where I don’t utterly squash the brand I’m trying to build up. If you don’t have the funds or means to get social media professionals to manage the more difficult people, maybe it’s a good idea to at least train them better in these areas. In most cases, the Overwatch League players are freshly 18 with their own income, living on their own, coming into a massive fan base. It can be easy to get caught up in the fame, not realizing the consequences of your actions in the grand scheme of things.

When Talking to Your Child About Death

The first time I had to discuss a death with my son, it was my aunt who had passed away. He was still young enough where he didn’t exactly comprehend it and it didn’t ultimately have an impact on him. (I want to say he was 3ish at the time?) The second time I had to discuss a death with him, it was my paternal grandfather. This time he was in Kindergarten. Still, he was too young to really understand. I asked him if he wanted to go to school, if he wanted his birth father’s family to take care of him (it was just before his Christmas break started) while I attended the funeral. I missed the wake to take care of my son. I couldn’t miss the funeral.

My son, who even still is a lot older mentally than he should be, decided he wanted to come with because it was the right thing to do. I reluctantly agreed that he could go, thinking that he was too young to be at a place like this. But I figured if he was mature enough to ask and understand what was happening, that he was able to attend. He wanted to come up to the body with me. I held his hand and we prayed together while kneeling in front of my grandfather. We attended the Catholic mass afterwards, where people were crying and remembering my grandfather. I stayed stoic, as I tend to do. Probably why I have the reputation for being “cold”. I stayed stoic until out of the corner of my eye, I noticed my son was trying to be like everyone else. He asked for a tissue, and started dabbing his dry eyes because everyone else was crying. He started forcing sniffling noises while doing it. I didn’t want to laugh during a somber mass, but I chuckled. He didn’t understand what was going on, but he knew the motions that he needed to go through and he just wanted to make sure he was doing it right.

It was a long time later when I had to tell my now older son about a death in the family. This time, it was his biological paternal grandfather, a man he maybe met twice? I remember failing at this opportunity, making a joke because that’s who I am. “Dylan, you know what sucks more than your computer dying?” Yeah, you can finish the joke. I said it. I should be ashamed of myself, I know. But you have to be me and my son to understand. He didn’t react. He didn’t even really know the guy. He was confused as to whether he should go to pay his respects, be alone among a room of people who he didn’t even really know. Ultimately, he decided that it was better for him not to go. He was 15; that was entirely his choice.

My youngest son’s school was doing a project about Veteran’s Day. We decided that it would be cute to write about my maternal grandfather, who served in the Navy and passed away when my oldest son was about 2 or 3 months old. We named our youngest after my grandfather, so we thought it would be cute for our son to learn about him. It was cute until he asked why he didn’t meet my “Grampa”. I calmly explained to him that my grandfather passed away a long time ago. “He’s dead?” I nodded. “Did he die in the war?” I explained that he died of cancer and that cancer sucks. “What happens when you die?”

I stopped. What was my approach here? What do I say to him? Do I say what I believe? That he’s just dead and there’s a body in the ground and that’s really it? I couldn’t do that. I found myself saying the words I’ve learned through all my years of Catechism. “Well, he’s in Heaven watching over us to make sure that we’re okay. He’s protecting us.” My son went on. “What’s Heaven?” I found myself getting wrapped up in a lie that I didn’t believe, as parents often do in so many situations. “Well, it’s where good people go. And your great grandfather was a very good man.” He nodded, asked a few more questions, and that was the end of the conversation. Until he kept bringing it up. “How can he protect us if he’s up in Heaven?”

I wanted to say to  him “Mommy doesn’t believe in God or Heaven or angels, I just lied to you because the truth sucks”. There was no right answer here. I had to keep going with this lie to protect him. Just because I didn’t believe, doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the right to believe if he wants to. It’s a loaded topic dealing with death, especially when discussing it with your kids. I worry about the day when I have to tell them that someone they were close to died because I’m the last person I’d want to tell me if someone passed away. The last. I’ve done it before. I’m not very good at it. I blurt it out without softening the blow. I answer questions honestly. I’m brutal and cold. I admit my faults. I have no idea how I would tell my child that someone they loved died. I could barely make it through a conversation about telling them how someone they didn’t even know died. Did my child need to know that my grandfather died of cancer? Was that too much to put on him? Did I screw up my oldest by telling  him the news through a joke?

I’m a mom trying to figure out this hard stuff just like everyone else. My way probably sucks and I don’t know how to fix it but it surprisingly has worked up until this point. I’m numb to the death thing and admittedly that has hardened me. My first thought it never “oh that sucks”, it’s always “okay, what needs to be done next.” I hope that I figure this out because as you can see, my gut instincts are not great here.

When Watching History Unfold

No matter what side you’re on (and I don’t really mean political parties), watching the impeachment is actually important for history. I like watching history unfold, telling my children stories about it. Both of my boys, my oldest who is in AP history and my youngest who just wants to know everything about everything, have watched along with me. Why? Because one loves history and the other loves knowledge. However, the problem comes in when I’m trying to teach my children about this moment.

Remember how I just said it doesn’t matter what side you’re on? That’s the first part of the problem. There shouldn’t be a “side”. It should be what’s right; what’s just; not: “they’re lying no you’re lying no there’s nothing there but there’s something there that may not be moral but it’s not illegal okay maybe it’s not illegal but it may be illegal but not really but kinda”.

My youngest asked me what should be a seemingly simple answer: “Did he do it?” No parent really wants to say “I don’t know” to their child when trying to teach them something. But that’s the truth. We don’t know because no one cares to tell us the truth. The American people deserve to know the truth. To see the truth. All we get to see is grandstanding and mudslinging and half truths. We don’t know the answer. The people who want to know don’t participate in “sides”. I want to know the truth. But all I see is a partisan event unfolding in front of me where it doesn’t matter if he actually did it.

You may be thinking “Of course it matters”, but you’re wrong. It doesn’t matter. The Democrats just want him to be guilty because they don’t like him and that can set a very dangerous precedent for the future. The Republicans want him to be innocent because they don’t want to be wrong in backing that horse. Neither side cares about the truth or integrity. They care about being right and getting their way. That’s unfortunate because in the end, the Americans are the ones getting screwed. They are the ones that are left in the dark arguing talking points that they heard from “their side” rather than caring to take the time to see whether or not he’s guilty. And if he is guilty, that just shows he can get away with more because, why not?

Not that it matters. Even if they had him dead to rights doing something illegal, the Republican lemmings wouldn’t care. I actually am starting to believe that he could kill someone on stage, right on camera, and they’d just say “Well, he’s our guy so he can really do whatever he want. That dead guy probably did something 20 years ago that was super illegal anyways.” Even if he was completely innocent, the Democrat lemmings would say “well, he did something wrong and we’re going to find it” and waste more of our time. It doesn’t matter if he did it or not: he’s going to get away with it.

It’s not the politician’s fault; it’s ours. We’re the ones that keep electing people that only care about their own interests. Who care only about party first and everyone else later. That’s our fault. We’re the ones who don’t look at stances or records, but at that tiny letter next to those people’s names. The minute we start saying “I’m voting for _____ because he’s ____” is the minute we are complicit. It’s that “Us vs. Them” mentality that’s ruining America and we’re just sitting back going “But Fox News/MSNBC/CNN said this and that means it’s absolutely true because journalistic integrity. They wouldn’t lie to us.” Oh yea they would, and you’re eating it up.

So how did I answer my son’s question? I told him the truth: It doesn’t matter. He looked confused. My oldest understood. “But you break the law, the police come.” That concept seemed so simple. “You are innocent until proven guilty in America”, I said. My oldest son snickered. He wasn’t wrong. “So he didn’t do it?” I sighed. “No one knows and no one really cares.”

Venturing Into a New Genre

I’ve been trying to come up with my next project. I have many that I have started, but either got tangled up in some plot knot that I couldn’t get out of, second guessed my story, or just haven’t flushed out the idea for my children’s book. Finally, something hit me that inspired me enough to do a very rough sketch of the character. A fantasy character. My first adventure into the fantasy genre. As someone who’s barely read anything in this genre aside from World of Warcraft lore/novels and Game of Thrones, this is going to be a challenge I think. I know. But one that I hope I can scrape together the time and brainpower to go through with.

The idea started off from simple inspiration: a character with a name (no spoilers) that was a nickname a beloved friend used to call me. He would say it every time he logged into the game, one we played together for nearly a decade together at that time before he suddenly passed away. He was a precious friend and amazing human being that I think about often. Lately, that name has been nagging me in my brain as if the character needed to come to life. It sounds strange, but other writers could easily understand. I’m not too insane. Mostly.

The problem is all that I have is this angsty fantasy character, a name, and a specific look. Do I turn this into a kid’s fantasy illustrations with my subpar art skills? Do I make it a middle-school aged fantasy novel with some illustrations to bring this character to life? Would it be a series or a one-off? What would the plot even be? It’s hard to navigate this uncertain world but I hope this project brings me back into doing something I love, because there is something soul crushing about spending all of your brain power into something that isn’t yours.

Here’s to hoping that I manage to figure this one out. I think my sanity needs me to channel some of that creative energy in my mind.

Don't Believe the Social Media Hype

We all live off of our social media. I’m definitely on Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit for an obscene amount of time everyday. It’s the best way to keep up with Overwatch League news and get those precious Baby Yoda memes. (Those get me all the time.) But this is also where people put out the best versions of themselves. Even I try to take images on my more self-conscious days that don’t show off that pile of toys and other crap on the floor that I just didn’t feel like picking up.

The problem is that for every time a parent brags about their child’s grades or gets those adorable photos, it’s not real life. While they are taking that picture of that awesome report card, her children are probably tearing apart the house as they scream bloody murder and tattling on each other while she has her other hand on the bottle of wine. Because sometimes the glasses aren’t enough and you just need to go to the big show. It’s like that meme where everything’s on fire and they are sitting there going “It’s fine”.

That mom isn’t posting a selfie saying “felt cute” because she felt cute. More likely she needed the validation because that day was an awful day. That’s fine. People need something to make themselves feel better and they shouldn’t be judged for that. I’m pretty much a 90% anti-judgement person. The rest of the 10% is reserved for parents who don’t use car seats for their kids, mistreat their children in any way, mistreats my children, mistreats dogs, and people who don’t like Baby Yoda memes.

People see those perfect photos of their “perfect”children and other people get jealous. I’m guilty of it. When I see a parent who has a young kid who started speaking on time or early, I get a little jealous or feel bad about myself because my youngest didn’t start talking until he was 4. It’s normal to feel bad about yourself as a mother, especially when looking at social media, because there is so much pressure on us. We have to stay at home with the kids, but also work to earn money. We have to have a clean house all the time, have a size 3 body with DD chest, be perfect cooks, and slaves to society. It’s a lot of pressure to put on people who on most days just feel successful if their kids are alive at the end of it.

You need to be careful on social media. Don’t believe everything you see. Don’t believe every news story that pops up without checking sources. Don’t believe that the person didn’t take 20 selfies before deciding on the perfect one. Social media is about perception. People want others to perceive them as perfect. See, I may sometimes take photos that minimize the mess that’s usually surrounding my home. But I’m honest about being an adequate mother that just gets lucky sometimes. It happens. Sometimes I do get the house perfectly clean. Sometimes I cook a killer homemade meal, and others I toss chicky nuggies and tater tots on a cookie sheet so I can get back to work. No one’s lives are perfect, so don’t let social media trap you into thinking they are.

It All Started 49 Years Ago

I grew up in that generation where it was normal for families to get divorced. I could safely say I grew up with a lot of people who lived with single parents. It wasn’t something crazy. Divorce happens for whatever reason. The most important is usually that it’s just better for the kids if the people are apart than together. Sometimes the person who completed you, who made you a better person together, eventually becomes someone that you become better without. Life happens.

Today, my parents have been together for 49 years. That’s insane to me. Growing up, the idea of staying together with someone for that long was nuts. How could you possibly stand one person enough to want to live with them forever? I didn’t get it when I was younger. Even now, as a skeptic when it comes to romance, I’m shocked as I realize my husband and I have been married for nearly 10 years. It doesn’t feel like it. We just get along so well that every day is a treat.

My parents’ relationship taught me some valuable lessons. For one thing, never seeing each other works wonders for a relationship. (Joking, of course. My parents worked different shifts and my dad worked a lot growing up.) That’s why our “Sunday Dinner” was so important. Even though it was lunchtime, it was called “Sunday Dinner” because my dad worked nights and that was like dinner time to him. The whole family would eat together that one day a week. The siblings that moved out would still show up, eventually with their kids, and the house was full of people. That was the time my father cut out to make sure he spent time with us. Our parents would work together to make a massive meal for all of us, and it was something that I’ll remember and pass on to my kids. It’s still a tradition today, with my family going to their house to spend Sunday Dinner with them, even though they are both now retired.

I also learned the importance of being treated well. My father dotes on my mother. Whatever she wanted, she usually got. Whether it was that expensive sweater from Ireland or a new computer, my dad would always make sure that my mother was taken care of. That taught me everything I needed to know about choosing a partner for my life. It taught me how a spouse should treat their wife/husband. There should be love and care and respect. There would be work. That married couples weren’t an ownership; they were a partnership. These are all very important things that I learned growing up watching my parents.

They also taught the value of resolving an argument. I would be lying if I said my parents never argued. They did. But they always resolved their argument. They didn’t belittle each other. They definitely fought for what they thought was right, but they never stooped. It turns out, everyone one of their fights was a good lesson in conflict resolution. There was a fight, and then there was an end. Children need to see that. They need to know that it’s okay to fight to give them realistic expectations in a marriage. Marriage is work, and it takes a lot of work to stay together for nearly 5 decades.

I’m grateful to have my parents still alive and still together. I’m grateful for the lessons that they taught me about marriage, even when they didn’t know they were teaching me. I learned that if you love someone enough to take the plunge, you love them enough to keep working at it in your own way. You can’t always stay together, and you shouldn’t always stay together. I’m not morally opposed to divorce. Families split up for their own reasons and that’s okay. This was meant as a way to applaud my parents for this long marriage and thank them for the lessons they taught me from watching them as I grew up.

No Use Crying over Spilled Coffee

I have found myself in a perpetual state of being tired. Like, I have gone beyond “mom” tired into a realm of crossed-eyes and feeling as though I’m watching my body function rather than actually functioning myself. I was too tired to make myself a coffee yesterday, which I probably could have used my entire Chemex full of coffee and still be tired yesterday. After waking up to having my hair pulled out of my scalp by my violently-sleeping child and then struggling to get back to sleep when it happened around 2 a.m., I managed to barely get through my work. Though the second much longer article I needed to work on took way too long due to my brain short-circuiting throughout the day. Still, pretty productive day thanks to not sleeping.

Last night, probably around 11pm, a good 20 or so hours later, my body finally gave in and I tried to sleep. It was a rough go because apparently at that point I had gone beyond exhaustion into “second wind”. Finally, midnight I was out for the count. Then woken up at 2am again, then asleep until 5am. Then I gave up and just started to work again.

I went to make coffee, apparently the last of my coffee, when I noticed my son didn’t put away the cheese after supper last night. As I grabbed it to remove it from my counter, I turn around to hear the sounds of the coffee beans spilling out of the coffee grinder. I was all ready to go. I was excited that even though it was my last bit of coffee, there was a delivery coming from the coffee subscription I signed up for when I got my raise from work. I envisioned the joy, albeit short-term joy, that this coffee was going to give me. I was even eyeing to see if there would be enough to enjoy a few cups throughout the day, then of course try the new coffee when it came in later. My hopes and dreams of caffeine were crushed with that sound of the coffee beans hitting the floor.

I swept it all up into a pile, then I sat down to mourn my coffee. My dreams. My caffeine that I so desperately needed at this moment in time. I’m not particularly known for being emotional. Some would even say I’m cold. (They’re probably not wrong.) But that moment, I almost felt tears. It was a tough one. I considered whether or not my floor was that dirty. I was that desperate. I looked at the pile and noticed pet hair. I still considered it, if I’m being completely honest. I’m not sure if it’s because A) that coffee was that good; B) I was that desperate for coffee; C) Did I mention I barely slept in 2 days and my sanity is gone?

Today is really one of those days as a working at home parent where I don’t think there’s enough coffee in the world to deal right now. Sure, the easy solution could be kicking my anxiety-night terror-riddled child out of my bed. But, I’d still have to wake up and try carrying this tall and not so light child to his bed every time I wake up and notice him. And as I like to think that I’m more stubborn than him, I’m probably not especially at any time between 12 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. I keep hoping that it’s just another phase I need to get through, figuring that his emotional development has always been a little behind the rest. Maybe.

But there’s no sense in crying over spilled coffee, no matter how exhausted you are. I still have to put on my big girl pants and work, clean, and being the adequate (maybe mediocre) mom that I am. Except I’m a little less adequate today without any caffeine to cover my lack of sleep. I do have to say, until my body crashes this lack of sleep has done wonders for me on a productivity level.

Some Interesting Changes at the Overwatch League

As it turns out, the teams are not the only ones making crazy moves in this off-season. Just in recent days, some significant changes have happened with the talent for the Overwatch League. While we were already excited to see Custa take up his new role as an analyst and Jake as a caster, there were still a lot of questions as far as who we can expect to see as talent. With a little over a month away from the start of Season 3, let’s take a look at what we do know about the talent.

During a holiday cooking stream, Sideshow leaked some great juice: him and Bren had signed their contracts and visa’s willing, they would be back for Season 3. Honestly, the league would be a little more boring without those two characters that can offer such great insight on the desk. Would we see a Puckett/Sideshow/Bren/Custa desk? That would have been an amazing desk to see.

That seemed to be the last bit of good news that we would get. Monte announced that he would not be returning in a somewhat scathing post, implying that the league was dying. Was he being spiteful because he no longer had as much value as he thought? Did he really just want to move on? You can speculate all you want, but there were probably a combination of factors. Later, DoA would comment about uncertainty in his Overwatch League future, which it would be hard to imagine DoA without Monte.

Then, Puckett made the announcement that he was moving to freelancing instead so that he could go with his wife as she pursued a great job opportunity. What could the desk possibly look like? Soe/Custa/Bren/Sideshow? That didn’t seem too bad.

Except… Bren in a post baiting fans announced that him and Sideshow would not be returning to the desk. They were switching over to casting roles. Which was equally exciting and depressing. Sideshow was an incredible analyst. He was insightful, hilarious, and just fun to watch. Those are also the things that make him an awesome caster.

So where does that leave us? We don’t know about DoA or Soe officially. Jake doesn’t have a casting partner announced yet. We have only Custa on the desk. We can assume Uber and MrX aren’t going anywhere, since they are easily the best casters in the league. Achilios and Wolf will probably stay in Asia, casting Overwatch League games there while putting their wealth of knowledge of the Korean Overwatch scene to good use. (Speculation, no official word on this duo either.)

What could happen? Soe could take over hosting the desk. She was much better as an interviewer/host than an analyst, so this would be perfect for her. Plus, who doesn’t love Soe? She is fully of personality and positivity, and you just need that in your life. I could see them putting Reinforce back on the desk with Custa. Mostly because he should never have been taken off of the desk. A final analyst to work on the desk? Some people think Avast will take over, but I think he may end up as a caster instead. Whether he ends up with DoA, Jake, or they finally get ZP over to the league, I think casting may be better suited for him.

There’s still plenty of time to see where to go from here. I’m just getting hyped up about the upcoming season, especially after watching Swimmer’s stream and realizing that he is a massive support upgrade that we absolutely needed on our team. We’ll see how this all goes. But what I do think is that this league is not dying, at least not right now.

It’s All Fun and Games Until You Pass Out at a Work Party

It should have been a fun night out. My husband and I are admittedly not a couple that does date night regularly. The kids are only young for so long, after all. But one day that we always have for date night is my husband’s work party. The close knit group of employees gets together and fun is had.

It started off great. Talking with great people at the beginning of the night, my husband winning us another trip. (Which, will include the kids.) It was full of sweet exchanges. That was until I felt it start to happen. I felt a stabbing pain in my side, that evolved into the feeling as if someone had a fire sword slicing through the lower part of my abdomen and back. This wasn’t the real thing. This was the “minor” pregame of what the next two weeks were going to be like for me. Then, my head started swirling. I couldn’t think or focus. I tried to drink water, hoping it would pass….

…Except the only thing that “passed” was me out on the floor. I barely remember it. I remember leaning onto my husband, warning him of what was about to happen. He could only protect me from seriously hurting myself, only walking away with a banged up elbow, a sore shoulder, and a hit to my dignity. I remember the people huddling over me. I think I heard someone mention calling 911 and the thought of the ambulance bill woke me out of the spell.

Still weak, a few of the women helped me to the bathroom. They helped me splash cold water on my face and wet paper towels. The made sure the bathroom was cleared so my husband could come in and take me back to the table, where they had more water and ginger ale. It was a sweet moment. It was embarrassing. I had to admit that it wasn’t because of the heat or the fact the food was slow to come out. It was because of me. Because I’m defective. Not because I had drank too much, which honestly would have been the better way to go down. Just as embarrassing, but you won’t feel the pain until the next day.

This wasn’t my first major dizzy spell that has led to me passing out. I remember one time where it happened while cooking dinner and I hit my head on the tile floor and the glass measuring cup I was holding smashed against my face. The glass didn’t break, but my face and eye were pretty swollen. It was something I could shrug off as “it happens”. It does. I’m used to it. It still terrifies my husband every time though.

It’s never an easy thing to say “I have a thing where my period basically feels like I have the worst flu of my life for 14 days.” I don’t typically leave the house starting the first day of the placebo pills until after the symptoms completely subside. I have dizzy spells, I spend a lot of time nauseated sometimes to the point of aversion to meats. Just looking at them in a picture is nauseating, let alone the smell. There’s always the fear of leaving blood trails everywhere I go because I seem to bleed out an obscene amount. I’m practically resigned to my bed whenever I can because I’m prone to dizzy spells and I get headaches so severe sitting up isn’t worth it. There’s also the cramps, which are significantly more painful than child birth. It’s like someone has a noose that’s lit on fire wrapped around your lower abdomen and back and your left hanging for 2 weeks as it gets tighter every day.

The problem is sometimes there is no fancy diagnosis. Apparently people need that for validation that you aren’t some wuss with a low pain tolerance. They think you just need to suck it up. There’s not a solution for it; the ones in power seem more concerned with women having babies as God intended and not about the harsh realities some people face. I get to spend time I should be out at a job or being more active curled up in the fetal position wondering why there’s nothing I can do about how I feel. There’s no magic pill that makes it bearable and you need to keep reheating that heating pad to function enough to at least be the adequate parent you are. But you can’t. Because you have a hormonal headache so bad you can’t even open your eyes to look at them.

It’s embarrassing to write about this. But it shouldn’t be. I’m not the only one who has this struggle. Maybe someone else has it too and wants to know that it’s normal. The problem is that it isn’t normal; it’s just common. There should be a solution to make life more livable without hearing “just suck it up”. But, you’re not the only one with this struggle. The picture here is a selfie I took during a bad migraine in my dark room, curled up in agony with my Pixel Night Sight so I didn’t have to hurt myself with the flash. This is the reality some of us deal with.

Side note: I’m am very thankful to those who helped and reached out to my husband to ask how I am doing. It’s very kind. It definitely helps to know that there was no judgement and that people genuinely cared.