If You Don’t Like It, It Doesn’t Exist

If that really worked, I could pinpoint things on my body that I don’t like and it will magically fix itself. Oh, the power of ignorance.

It’s something we tend to do though, isn’t it? We don’t agree with it or don’t like it, so we shut our minds unable to accept the actual reality of the situation. It’s a truly amazing thing, right? Except, it’s not. That’s not called “wishful thinking” or “ignorance”; it’s called “delusion”. And there seems to be an abundance of delusion going around.

This isn’t just about our President, who seems to ooze delusion. Maybe that’s the trickle down effect I keep hearing so much about these days. I know, I tend to never so crudely say things like this about politicians. But delusion is a lot more dangerous than hypocrisy. When you spout hypocrisy, people can see it easier. I don’t think people buy into their own hypocrisy quite as much as they swear by their delusions. That’s what’s so scary about it.

When any politician dismisses any negative news about themselves, it’s delusion that drives them. When they bash polls as rigged or fake news, they are being delusional. For instance, when Trump bashes the primary network that backs him for the polls numbers they show as “Fake News”, it’s pure delusion. What news isn’t fake to him? Alex Jones’ InfoWars? Breitbart? IE: actual fake news? You know who else gets that delusional over their existence? Tyrants do.

I’ve never used this harsh of a language when talking about the president. Mostly because as criminal as I found him to be (and I thought Hilary was suspect as well, so don’t give me that “you’re just a lemming, dumb liberal” crap), I just thought he was too… “not there” to really be an issue. He wasn’t an actual racist; he just was dumb enough to allow himself to be surrounded by them. He doesn’t want to be president, he just wants the title. He sold himself to the American people and people buy into it. Fortunately for me, I’ve never been one to like salespeople or trust them any more than those “Windows is closing and wants to give you a refund” phone call.

But when delusion gets tossed in the mix. When there is a real fear to those who write their opinions, or even worse write the truth, that they will get shut down or blacklisted. Or even jailed for whatever reason they can. I feel like I’m no longer watching those insane television shows where there is a massive government conspiracy; I actually wonder if I’m living it.

The problem with delusion is that people firmly believe it. When people believe that strongly in something, you can’t convince them otherwise. They think that if they don’t like something, it ceases to exist. It doesn’t. It still exists for everyone around the delusional person. Bashing polls as fake because you don’t like what you see means nothing. It just means the people that follow you buy into it without question and those who don’t, think you’re insane.

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The Balance Struggle

The reality we all have to face is that it’s very hard to balance everything that you want and need to do in the day. Those people that say they can handle it all either have an addiction that causes them to never sleep, thus seemingly like they are more productive than the rest of us. Or rich enough to get help to compensate in other areas of their life so that they can accomplish everything. I can’t. Plus, the fact that my ribs feel like they are on fire and being stabbed all at once has drastically reduced my productivity. Especially if it involves lifting anything, bending down, or twisting my body. The struggle really is real.

I have so many projects on my back burner as a result of contractual obligations to clients for guaranteed-ish money, brain not worky, and family struggles. Projects may be easy in concept, but really have not worked out as well as I had hoped by now. I had planned to start my comic series already. I had planned on at least being in the late stages of my next children’s book. It’s not happening for the foreseeable future unless a miracle happens. We’ll see how it all works out. I’m hopeful that maybe soon, probably when the kids are home from school over the summer, I’ll have more time to dedicate to this.

The problem is that, mom’s especially, are held to a higher standard than everyone else. We’re supposed to be able to balance full-time (or more) jobs, bake things for bake sales, attend PTO meetings, manage sports/extra-curricular activities/doctor appointments, have laundry done regularly, have food out on the table every day, and have a spotless house. Oh and did I mention that we’re supposed to be simultaneously a size 0, with curves, and a large chest? Yep. Go us.

Sacrifices are inevitable. You’re not going to be perfect. You’re never going to be perfect, even if you are. Society dictates way too much of how we function. No, your makeup doesn’t have to be perfect every day. It’s okay that you’ve decided that today is pajama day and you’re going to lock yourself in your room watching trash television eating ice cream while the kids are watching the same episode of “Paw Patrol” on repeat. Stop worrying about finding the “perfect balance” because the truth is the perfect balance is whatever you say it is. It’s your life. You just go on doing you.

The New Healthy Journey Begins

I did document my weight loss, finally getting back to my weight after I had my youngest son. It took about a year, but I did go from the 200lbs at my pregnancy to my pre-pregnancy weight of 125lbs. It was seemingly easy, and without too many plateaus or hurdles. I maintained this weight loss probably until my youngest started preschool and I spent my time in and out of meetings, managing a baseball schedule that was a daily thing, eating convenience foods because there was really no time for much else. That tipped the scales, but things weren’t bad. Then, I had a medication switch and had to juggle even more hectic schedules. Add in stress eating, and here we are.

While I still haven’t crossed back over that 200lb. threshold, I still gained a lot of weight back. At first, with the new medicine, I tried to get back into things. But I was always tired and it seemed just looking at food made me gain. Weight gain as a side effect is never good, but that wasn’t the only reason. My husband would bring home fast food at lunch time. Everyone would just eat crap food. It’s easy to fall back when it’s there all of the time. That’s why healthy eating really is a family sport.

But then it happened: my husband decided that we would go on this journey together. I had lost some weight thanks to switching back to my old medicine, which was great. We banned soda from the house, we found alternative snacks that would help us get those hunger pangs without a lot of calories. It’s been only a week and I’m already down 2 pounds. I’m proud of that small progress. It would probably be better had my youngest not bruised my rib, making working out a little more difficult. It’s not a necessarily hard journey for me, if you keep things out of the house.

I don’t like a lot of awful things. I’m not a huge french fry person, I don’t really like baked goods, and I hate things that are too sweet. I stay away from chocolate, not a major fan of pasta. I do love buttered bread, garlic bread, ice cream, sour Skittles, and some chips. Those are my weaknesses. Iced tea is my weakness, though it’s still a much healthier option than a can of Coke. My biggest weakness is feeling stressed out and wanting to hide in my room with junk food. Fortunately I have kids, so that’s not always a possibility.

With a new calorie tracking app and a ban on crappy foods, I think I can do this again. Hopefully soon, my ribs will not feel like they are being stabbed and I can get back into workout mode. I’ve done this once, I can do it again.

When Your Little One Has Anxiety

As a parent, you go into it realizing that you’re going to have to make some hard choices. Where are you going to live to ensure they get the best education? Private, public, or charter schools? Religion or no? How strict are you going to be? Anytime a parent tells me about a plan that they have for their child, I do chuckle to myself in judgement. A friend mentioned to me about their birth plan as if that plan was going to be a reality for their process. I half jokingly told her that her birthing plan would be better tossed in the trash, because the real reality is that things with children hardly ever go as planned. Did I plan to have a baby over 2 weeks overdue in the middle of what seemed like the hottest summer/fall ever? Nope. Did I plan on an induction? Nope. Is that what ended up happening? Abso-freaking-lutely.

One of those things that parents rarely plan for are those “what-ifs” that seem impossible. Did I think that anxiety in children displayed at such a young age? No way. Did I understand that my child having anxiety was a real reality that may come to life? Yes. But I didn’t plan for an approach other than “I don’t want to medicate my child unless it’s absolutely necessary”. This isn’t a debate about whether I think a parent is wrong for choosing another approach; everyone’s different. I’m not there yet and that’s my choice of what I think is right for my child. Should a time come where I have exhausted every other approach, this will become more of an option. But I’m not there yet.

That was when my husband came across this program called Mightier, which apparently is a program that was created at Boston’s Children’s Hospital. Expensive? Yes, but when you factor how much the co-pay would probably be for the medications, it probably equals out to the same amount. Plus, it teaches coping mechanisms and ways to ease the anxiety rather than just giving medicine to cover it up. Yes, these are medical issues. But if I have to choose a painkiller over physical therapy to find relief rather than just mask the problem, I would rather deal with the cause and not just the effect.

It’s only been a few days, but I can definitely see it started to sink in for him. When he starts to get into his “anxious episodes”, we calmly tell him to do his “Mightier breathing”. The program comes with a heart monitor and it stops the game on the tablet and pops up a meter with a breathing exercise, making it a game for the child to get their heart rate from the red to the blue. It’s training him how to do these breathing exercises in a way that I have failed. If this has been my experience after only a couple days, I can’t wait to see his progress grow. But so far, I’m taking these little wins.

I don’t expect to cure his anxiety. I still suffer my own anxiety issues. But it’s not about curing it; it’s about finding ways to manage it. I manage mine by exercising, music, knitting, art, and writing. Does that work for everyone? Absolutely not. Are there people who do benefit from having these life-saving medicines? Absolutely. Medications for anxiety and depression are not a crutch or a weakness; they are the same as taking medication to keep your heart beating properly. They can be essential to life. Mental illness is just an illness, and you treat illnesses in the way that you feel is the best for you while taking a medically practical approach.

Finding Controversy Where There Isn’t Any

“How dare Google not have the American flag on Memorial Day?” , I saw on Facebook. I didn’t consider that. I went to my Google homepage and I saw a screen that was plain, in the colors of mourning, with a link to listen to Taps, a song that sends a chill down any American’s spine. I remember listening to my son practice it on his trumpet as he was being groomed to be the person to play it at the parade when he was old enough. I would have been so proud to say that was my son playing that song in honor of those we have lost. (He ended up quitting band upon entering high school, due to the band director being disapproving of those people who wanted to do both band and sports.) I found nothing offensive; in fact, the opposite was true. I appreciated the simplicity, the focus on the mourning of these men and women who fought for our rights to be offended at whatever we wanted to be. I thought the somber simplicity was the perfect approach. The day is about those who we have lost. It isn’t about arguing about patriotism or being outraged.

I don’t need to see an American flag everywhere to know someone loves their country. I don’t have a flag on my lawn, doesn’t mean I don’t love my country. People equate a symbol, the flag, and boast it as if it’s the only way to show your patriotism. We’re not supposed to honor symbols; we’re supposed to honor the spirit. Yes, I do believe in saying the pledge. Yes, I do believe you don’t talk during the anthem and you show your respect as you would if you were praying. I don’t need to wear the flag to show my love for those who are serving, have served, and sacrificed it all for us. I believe in showing respect to our soldiers when we see them in public, with my sons saying “Thank you” or saluting them. It’s the little acts, not the grand gestures. I believe that you show your patriotism fighting for those who can’t whenever you can. I believe that you show your patriotism by giving thanks to those who chose to fight so that you didn’t have to.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in the flag. I repeat, in bold this time: This doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in the flag. This is a symbol of our country, this is something to be revered. I just mean to point out that the most important thing, the thing that we are actually fighting for, is the American spirit. The spirit of not being told to sit down and take it. The spirit of fighting for our beliefs, for justice, for peace. The American flag is a symbol of the American spirit; not a replacement for it.

This need to be outraged about everything has gotten crazy. Some people on the far-right insist that it’s only the “snowflake libtards” that get outraged over nothing, when it’s both sides that want to make everything “a thing”. I recently joined groups for my community because I wanted to see about our local politicians. I wanted to see how us citizens could inspire change. Instead, I see dumpster fire level outrage over nothing. I see people flaming each other for nothing. I see the worst in humanity when really, I just wanted to see how these people wanted to help our communities. Instead, it’s all fake outrage. It’s finding controversy where there isn’t any. Apparently this is the new American way.

I don’t believe in searching out controversy. I don’t believe in following those who do. I believe the politicians and the media want us to be outraged at whatever they tell us to, in part, just because they can do it and no one will question it. I question it. I wonder why they are making a mountain out of a molehill. I believe in getting back to the true American spirit.

Better Late than Never?

Unless I’m deathly ill, or I’m playing nurse to other people in the house, I try not to miss my regular posts. Unfortunately, sometimes that does happen. But I try really hard. Today was one of those days were my to-do list was too much. However, I wanted to get something up because I’m a big fan of sticking to routines, almost annoyingly so. Routines are something that I can find comforting, which is why I try my hardest to stick to as rigid of a routine as I possibly can. Maybe it’s superstition or maybe it’s a necessary by-product of working from home, where you are your own boss and taskmaster so you need to be on the ball. Whatever the case is, I have a routine that I often stick to as close to the minutes as possible. When I said “rigid”, I meant it.

My youngest son has been “not being the best version of himself”. That’s the new way that us parents say “he has been an absolute nightmare, send help in the form of wine, coffee, or both”. I almost wish that I could say that it was only at school that he’s been struggling, but it’s not. He’s been worse as I was hoping he was starting to settle down. His teacher emailed me, discussing his struggles in class. Fortunately, his struggles don’t involve bullying or otherwise not being kind. His issues are the usual with him: he’s overly anxious, struggles to focus, and sit still. These aren’t new struggles with him. But I’m with the teacher: something has snapped within him and he’s worse than he’s ever been.

He’s my baby. My special little boy. My little love. I feel bad about how much I have to take deep breaths before trying to calmly talk him down. His big thing right now: tornadoes. Anytime he sees clouds, he goes off about tornadoes and how our house is going to explode. I know he has anxiety. I know that I’m trying my best to hide my own anxiety to the point where he doesn’t learn how deep it goes but also showing him that I have ways of addressing my anxiety in healthy ways. Like through my writing, knitting, or exercise. His anxiety is something that I had hoped he would have grown from, that it was just a phase. I’m starting to think that this is something we’re going to have to work on in the long run.

To solve these issues I’ve decided to go back to the “Georgie Basics”, as I call them. I bought a new calendar and chart to help get him onto a stricter routine. I’m going to figure out some activity, maybe art related, to get him to work out some of those issues in his mind. Something that requires him to sit down and focus, but that he won’t care he’s sitting down and focusing on it because he’s enjoying it so much. I’m going to get him to start doing “Mommy and Georgie” yoga. I’m going to try everything, because he’s my boy and that’s what I need to do.

Dealing with children who have these types of struggles isn’t easy. It’s easy to backseat parent when you don’t have the same struggles. It’s easy to judge someone for not giving their kid medications for their anxiety and focusing issues. It’s even easier to judge them for giving them medication for their anxiety and focusing issues. But until you are there, on the front lines of these battles, leave it to those who live the struggle. I’m sure they don’t want to hear how your perfect kid never had this issue, but they read in this place that medications kill kids. (Not really, but you know exactly what I’m talking about here.) For the rest of us, keep your head up. We’ll get through this together.

It Isn’t About a Law; It’s What the Law Stands For

When I first read about the now-infamous Georgia law, I thought it was an Onion article. To be fair, most news these days I end up thinking is really just an Onion article. In this case, it wasn’t. While I had a hard time finding what the law actually said without running into articles from both sides of the aisle, the general consensus seems to be the law is ridiculous. (If that part about the miscarriage is true, thanks to law makers for making innocent women feel more invaded after such a traumatic loss. Good on you, guys.)

But what I realize is that people shouldn’t be upset with this law. This law was purposely meant to be ridiculous. They want it to be challenged in the Supreme Court. Why? Because then, they could start their crusade to overturn Roe v Wade. Because now they have the potential to do this with a conservative judge majority. Because maybe next they should find other ways to control what people do with their lives. Perhaps ban people from having sex at all unless they want to be forced to have children. Maybe ban birth control, because we don’t think people should have that either.

You can’t go on a crusade about Sharia Law in other countries or worried about it coming here when you are trying to enact a Christian version in America. Where does the line get drawn? I’m not pro-abortion. When I was a scared, pregnant teenager I never even considered having an abortion. Why? Because it wasn’t something that I felt right doing. Just because I personally don’t agree with it, that doesn’t mean I don’t think there are certain circumstances where I would do it. If I had a child that was 100% going to die right away or have a miserable 2 hours of life where it suffers, I would absolutely get one. It would be the hardest decision of my life, but I can with a clear conscience say that I would never want my baby to suffer needlessly. I’m not pro-abortion. No one is pro-abortion. People are pro-choice. I don’t think it’s any of my business what another person does with their body. Their abortion doesn’t affect my life.

I don’t like the idea of a woman being able to lose control of their own body. It feels like a violation. It feels like you’re okaying someone to violate them and they can’t do anything about it. How many women died because of back alley abortions before abortion became legal? How come it’s all about giving birth to babies, but after that it’s good luck to them? Isn’t it more fiscally responsible to allow women to get this procedure instead of paying for children to stay in foster care forever because they aren’t a “desirable enough baby” or for the entitlements that the parents will need to support it? But go on, talk about life and liberty and all of that.

The law isn’t the scary thing. The fact that this law is purposely made to be awful so that they can force the courts to revisit Roe v Wade is the scary thing. What’s scary is what downward spiral is going to happen. What’s next? You have to leave religion out of making laws. There’s a reason why there’s a separation of church and state. What about banning other religions? Or atheists? Or forcing religion to be taught in public schools? Or overturning gay marriage? This is an attack on civil liberties. This is a scary turn for women, especially those who have been victimized and will have to face that for the rest of their lives. Go on. Let’s let a woman get assaulted, force her to have that child, go through the purpose of a trial that will only lead to the rapist going free because he wasn’t poor or dark enough to go to jail, only to have him turn around and get custodial rights to that child. Don’t believe in abortion? Don’t get one. It’s really that simple. Let’s go back to those draconian days where women are property that people can do whatever they want with. Or… let’s put up a fight.