Category Archives: stuff

REST YOUR ARMS, REST YOUR LEGS.

You guys. Both babies are napping and I just made myself a cup of coffee and I’m sitting down to write.

I don’t think you understand how unprecedented this is. For the past ten weeks, I’ve been running around like a chicken with its whatever-blah-blah or staring blankly at the floor because I’ve been either too exhausted to lift up mine eyes to the heavens or stubbornly ignoring my scolding self-concious that says “Get up! You don’t deserve to sit down! There are dishes to be done, crumbs to be swept, and these things can’t wait!”

They can wait, you big meanie.

I’ve been going through these highs and lows of ENERGY! and I NEED A NAP OR EVERYONE WILL SUFFER! like a clueless hormone monster. Brandon will get texts from me on Monday that say “I’ll be a waddling sack of lard forever!” and by Wednesday I’m back to “Skin and bones, I tell you! All I’ve eaten today is a piece of popcorn and I found it in the couch! I’ll never again have time to eat!” It’s a good thing that I married the most gracious man ever. He encourages me too much. But I need that, apparently.

What I also need is to slow downI need to eat when I’m hungry and eat well instead of going going going until both kids are asleep, then eating three potato chips because I’m too faint to stand up and make myself a meal. I need to take that nap when it’s there for the taking and, after waking up, stay in bed and just stare at the little life lying next to me. I need time to write. I need time to think. I need to leave the stroller in the car and teach my almost-two-year-old to stay near me while we’re in the store. How can I expect him to behave well if I don’t do the same?

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LOOK UP.

Someday, you may have a kid, and then you may have another kid. Three weeks after this other kid is born, you may wiggle your head and marvel at how three weeks can simultaneously feel like three days and three months. You may feel physically incredible, not unlike one of those miracle healings, considering you just squeezed a small person through your pelvic bones. So incredible, in fact, that you purposely try to find something negative because this is supposed to be a rough time and women are starting to look at you sideways when you tell them how great you feel. You walk past a mirror and there it is — negativity’s best friend, your body. You can’t help but smirk a little, the same smirk you’d find on the face of someone who had just spotted an old fling. It may be negative but it’s familiar. Your eyes narrow toward where your shirt pulls in places it didn’t used to, but when you say “pulls,” you’re really grasping here because the reality is that out of the thirty pounds you gained for this pregnancy, you maybe, maybe have ten left to lose and it’s only been three weeks.

“But it’s a floppy ten pounds,” you say to yourself.

In a search for something negative, you can always count on your trusty body. Just look down and it’s there. Look down at the way your thighs spread a little wider on the couch, at the way you can’t quite button your hot pants yet. Yes, look down and find something to bitch about. Forget about the fact that your son came on his own and your labor didn’t have to be induced. Forget about the four short hours of labor that made you feel like Warrior Woman and the five minutes of pushing with only one tear that healed in a week. Forget about how your newborn regularly sleeps for six straight hours at night, a feat that enables you to enthusiastically engage and love your toddler during the day. Forget about how your fridge has been full for weeks because of the generosity that overflows from your community. Forget about the two paid weeks your husband was able to take off of work so the four of you could really get used to being just that — the four of you.

Forget all the good stuff, then walk by that mirror again and focus only on yourself because that is much easier to do than to live your life in gratitude for the four hundred blessings you’ve just received.

Or.

You could snap out of it. You could lift up your eyes and look around at your beautiful life. You could recognize that, even if it’s always at the last minute, He always comes through for you. You don’t deserve any of this. None of it has been gained of your own accord. If it were up to you, you would revel in your own pathetic depravity because you know you don’t deserve any of this. But you’ve been adopted and with that adoption comes the most magnificent inheritance and abounding grace in the form of health and babies and food and love. Stop looking at your body because your body does not matter but this grace and these people are forever.

Look up.

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UNSOLICITED ADVICE.

I tend to overlook my own birthday, but when my friends have birthdays I get all reminiscent. I won’t turn 25 for another year and a half, but I don’t need to wait until that quarter century mark to tell you what I’ve learned in this little life so far. That year and a half will probably lend a list in itself. Each year until now has certainly brought forth its own gargantuan lessons slash wait-what-just-happeneds. So happy birthday, Jess.

Don’t mistake best friends for boyfriends. Just because you enjoy spending every waking hour with someone does not necessarily mean you should consider marrying said someone. This should apply even more so if you do not enjoy kissing said someone.

Stop disappointing your parents. No matter how inept, wrong, outdated, mistaken, or dumb you think they are, they aren’t. They are trying. They are doing the best they know how. Stop hurting them without fear of consequence. They really do love you and want the best for you, even if that best is different than your best. Plus, you may need to move back in with them at least twice (each) in your severely complicated adult life, so it would be wise to keep that bridge unburned.

Just because your boobs are bigger than all the other girls’ does not mean that there is something wrong with you. Don’t spend your life trying to hide them under large t-shirts and the same black cardigan. Someday, you will learn how to dress them in fitted clothes without looking like a porn star and you will see that if they were any smaller, your hips wouldn’t look balanced and you wouldn’t be able to help your future daughter or whatever embrace her God-given body because you’d be left with zero insecurities, and a woman without insecurities is no woman at all.

There will come a time in your life when you deem showers unimportant. They’re not.

When you are nineteen and a boy lets himself into your bedroom, don’t freeze. Run. Run so far away from there because if you freeze, it will negatively affect every single moment of the rest of your life and you’ll have to go to trauma counseling forever and that is such a drag.

Don’t worry about not knowing what you want to be when you grow up. Chances are, you’ll turn into a classic housewife slash homemaker, in which case you’ll be so glad you didn’t spend millions of dollars on a degree you’d eventually forfeit once you had kids. And the things you enjoy doing most, like baking and drawing and reading and music, will come in handy when you’re raising tiny humans to be the kinds of people who don’t let themselves into young girls’ bedrooms.

Paint your nails. You may or may not work a job for five years that prohibits such things, so for god’s sake, reclaim your identity and paint your nails.

You will nurse a seething hatred for your home town. You will loathe the scorching summers. You will loathe the fact that it is a city sprawled out across too many miles. You will try to leave it twice, try to begin again thousands of miles away from it, and twice it will call you back. You will learn to love the summers because every year they fade into nine months of blissful weather. You will love the sprawl because it will take you at least twenty minutes to get anywhere, twenty minutes of driving and twenty minutes of music, twenty minutes to breathe. It is true to its name. It is home.

The friends you lose are worth losing. If they weren’t, you wouldn’t have lost them.

And when you know, you know.

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BECAUSE.

Because sometimes you just need a quiet place to sit and read, and that’s okay.

Because sometimes you don’t want to answer people’s questions, and that’s okay.

Because sometimes you’ll be the quiet kid, and that’s definitely okay.

Because sometimes you won’t have the words to say in the moment, they won’t come until afterward, and you can write them down and save them for later, for only you.

Because you’ll never be what they wanted you to be, and that’s okay too.

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FEELING RESOLUTE.

I’m vowing to get my camera out more. To actually take it with me when I leave the house. I have thousands hundreds of iPhone photos but they’re all snapshots. I want more moments. I think those only come with not treating my Nikon like Bertha in the attic. And I want photos of more than just E. I want to remember our life, where we went (even if it mostly consists of the inside of Trader Joe’s) and what surrounded us along the way. Photos of Brandon and me and our friends so that in ten years we can act appalled at our (then-) outdated hair styles (because right now we look really, really cool).

This is my middle-of-the-year resolution.

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“You can’t just eat good food. You’ve got to talk about it too.” –Kurt Vonnegut, Jailbird

Sometimes I wish I lived somewhere, like France, where instead of giant pantries and economy-sized freezers there exists an eat-as-you-go philosophy, with more farmers’ markets than supermarkets, where you can buy just a handful of berries if you want just a handful of berries, and it’s ridiculous to eat something you might not necessarily want to simply because it’s going to expire soon, and it’s not weird or unhealthy to have a cookie dipped in a latte for lunch if that’s what you really want because you’ll make up for it later when you buy freshly picked spinach and tomatoes and bread that was baked an hour ago and cheese that came from goats that live just over there, and there is no such thing as leftovers because you bought just enough for today and tomorrow you’ll want something new because food should be exciting and pretty, not a five-pack of cotton underwear.

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A PIN BOARD OF SORTS & A CONFESSION.

This philosophy.

These 22 rules of storytelling by a Pixar storyboard artist.

White cake.

This article on the adolescence of American Christianity — if you’re into eight-page articles on that stuff.

This song.

And this song, too.

Now, for my confession.

Here is a sad, stupid truth: I am too practical to be creative.

Creative in the sense of making things. Stuff.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m really creative when it comes to masking the fact that I haven’t showered in three days or in soliciting information I might not necessarily be privy too. But when it comes to creating stuff, I run full speed into the wall.

If it were up to my right-brained self, I’d make this blanket. But I have no need for another blanket. I have a perfectly fine blanket. I certainly can’t fathom actually purchasing a plain white blanket, fabric paint, and heart sponges. I might purchase them and make it to give as a gift, but no one’s birthday is coming up that would want this and Mother’s Day already happened. But I love that blanket and I want to make it. But I don’t need it. The turmoil!

I know — you could just make it for me.

Great.

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