Tag Archives: honesty

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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“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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I really like being alone.

I really like hanging out, too. But mostly I like being alone. I eat more vegetables when I’m alone. Obviously I am in the constant company of a toddler, but when said toddler came from inside of you and can’t put together more than two syllables, it’s pretty much like being alone.

I do have close friends. Three, to be exact, and I am surrounded by a super church community. I see my parents regularly and they see me regularly. But at the end of it all, if I had to check a “yes” box or a “no” box, I’d check “no” to all of them. Why?

Because our life is finally our own.

Because we finally have a home.

Because that is where these moments happen. Not the staged “oh my gosh this is happening right now let me get my camera where is my camera oh no i missed it!” moments that we’re supposed to take pictures of. I mean the mundane mornings spent coloring with coffee cups in hand, when I come out of the bathroom to find E sitting in a pile of books, turning page after page, content with our little rented space and all the things that will happen here. Here in our home.

So, I’m not eager to get out of the house. I don’t get stir crazy. Not yet. I could sit on this carpet and play with these plastic dinosaurs from breakfast to dinner, just my little monster and me. And I think that’s okay.

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When your only becomes your first.

“Smile, E.” Own it.

I told Brandon that I feel like Oscar’s getting jipped. When I was pregnant with E, he was all I thought about. Now he’s still all I think about (other than milkshakes). Sometimes I forget that I’m pregnant, until I collapse horizontally onto the couch and remember why I’m so exhausted. I want to dream more about him. About what he’ll be like, if he’ll be a participator like his papa or an observer like his mama. If he’ll run circles around the coffee table whenever football is on the TV, or if he’ll keep stacking blocks on the carpet, one on top of the other. If he’ll go with the flow like his brother, or if he’ll be spirited and stubborn all his own.

I guess I’m less enchanted with the whole growing-a-human thing this time. I’m not supposed to say that, but that’s how I feel. Maybe it’s because I just want to meet him already.

Two kids by 23.

Rest assured, Oscar Maxwell — you are so loved and much anticipated.

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Why I can’t write stuff.

When I was sixteen, my mom found and read my diary. I wrote everything in that sucker, especially about my make out sessions with my first boyfriend. There was nothing dirty or shocking about what I wrote. I just really liked kissing, and this boy, who always was the perfect gentleman, but my dear mother was convinced that I was on a sinful path to the streets. She made me call him over to our house that very day to break up with him.

I was humiliated. We had done nothing wrong.

And I’ve never been able to write, honestly write, since that day.

I didn’t learn a damn thing from that situation. I take that back – I learned to stuff whatever normal, healthy feelings or emotions I had, especially toward boys, stuffstuffstuff it away because it was bad. Wanting to kiss a boy was bad. Feeling attraction was bad. Not knowing whether or not I was going to marry the boy before I kissed him was bad.

How was I supposed to know if I wanted to marry him before I kissed him, before I dated him?

Thus ended my writing career. I’ve tried, over and over again, to start over and write what I really think. To not give a damn, to not constantly look over my shoulder, expecting the worst of consequences. I’m an adult now. No one can force me to break up with anyone.

Funny how milestones like first boyfriends and first breakups, especially involving your parents, turn into something deeper and uglier and creep into your soul and whisper at the back of your brain for the rest of your life.

Much later in my life, I publicly wrote about what I really thought of someone I knew. I never used this person’s name, never demeaned their character, simply relayed an event from my perspective with a lot of humor thrown in. It was an awesome piece of brain. It was what I felt. My father read it and, because he knew this person, demanded that I delete what I had written so as not to bring repercussions upon himself. I understood where he was coming from, heard his case and complied. But there it was again.

Your true feelings are bad. Your opinion is bad.

I was sixteen all over again.

But you know what? I’m over it. My thoughts do matter. And I’m going to write them down. If you know me, then you know I’m not a gossip. I’m not a basher. I just write funny stuff. Real stuff. If I offend you, don’t read what I write anymore. Or write something about me that I can read and make it funny and make it real.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to write more stuff.

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