Category Archives: Hard Stuff

Owning Recovery

I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember. As mom to Hope, my mental health has definitely wavered in ways I didn’t anticipate; I don’t mean that to sound bad, but parenting is hella hard.

I’ve learned a lot about myself and my mental health and emotional wellbeing during these years as well. I’ve been consciously working on being better and stronger and figuring myself out. At 48, I’m still working on that.

Hope will be 20 in about two months, and I don’t expect her to be where I am. I don’t expect her to be as self-reflective or as clear about life. But as we head into a year and a half at home and almost a year since the down-slide started; I find myself wanting Hope to take more ownership of her recovery.

I know she wants to get better, but there’s really not a lot of activity behind it. I know it’s got to be hard cooped up here, without school, friends, or a job. We are now past the stage of devastating depression that left me terrified; she’s improving. I’m relieved. But that’s it.

I’m still shouldering Hope’s recovery; I”m not sure if she’ll ever take the lead. At the smallest suggestion of *doing* anything, a litany of excuses come tumbling forth, sometimes before I can even complete my sentence. I hate that and really never respond well. Just this evening I had to take a deep breath, remain calm, go deep into the communication skills tool box and explain how it makes me feel when she makes excuses.

There are times when I really wonder when and how long Hope will need my intense involvement in her mental health care. I know that my feelings about it are colored by my own journey, how my intense need for achievement as a proxy for worthiness is so different than Hope’s. I know that comparing our journeys is stupid, a fools’ errand, and yet there are quiet moments where I ramble off how I took on getting myself help almost as soon as I entered college and how I’m still managing appointment schedules for a young adult who is literally doing nothing all day but surfing YouTube and TikTok.

And then I feel guilty about even remotely comparing us, and then I start the crazy thought process all over again. It’s so ridiculous.

But I do wonder…does Hope want to own her life in a way that looks…kind of normal? I don’t know if she’s healthy enough to really consider it. I don’t know if her trauma’s of the last year, that involved some really bad adult flexes, have just made her regress in ways that push off adulting for a long time. I don’t know. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t either.

I’m trying to be patient; I’m trying to follow her lead 70% of the time and push/pull her 30% of the time. Once I post this, I’ll be sending her places to apply for a job. I know that getting out and working will help her. I aspire to bickering over the car and finally deciding to buy a second car because her life will have grown to such a need. But that’s probably a long way off.

For now, I am shouldering and powering the return to the fragile health status we had before. It’s rough when you desperately want to return to a more normal version of not normal, but here we are.


Ten Things on Thursday: 4/15/21

  1. I’m weary. It is really all I can do to keep going this week. Seriously, another man in Minnesota shot dead during the Chauvin trial? Make it make sense, because I’m blown.
  2. And now, Chicago has just released the snuff film of 13-year- old Adam Toledo being murdered by police. THIRTEEN years old. Seriously, are cops just walking around scared all the damn time? I mean, I know I walk around scared of them…Oh and lest we forget the Army Lt here in my state who was pulled over in bumf*ck, VA behind some temp tags in the window, pepper sprayed, career threatened.
  3. And folks are mad about property damage resulting from protests. BURN THAT ISH ALL THE WAY TO THE GROUND AND THEN I CAN USE THE ASHES WHEN I’M SITTING IN SACKCLOTH GRIEVING. People>Property. I hate it here.
  4. I think I’m really burnt out. The monotony of working from home, vacationing at home, weekending at home, all without a meaningful break and escape has really gotten to me this week. I’m just over everything.
  5. In other news, Hope will get her first vaccine next week! I’m currently planning our annual 4th of July trip to see my sister and her family. I really can’t articulate how happy this makes me.
  6. I’m actually cooking this week, despite my emotional state. I’m trying to reject wholesale emotional eating. I can’t also let extrajudicial killings of unarmed BIPOC folks also make me unhealthier than I already might be. Seriously I was in therapy this afternoon talking about how I’m basically emotionally being held together with bungee cords and invisible tape. Anyway, I’m making Tikka Masala tonight.
  7. The weather has greatly improved and I’m so glad. I need my sunlight and my outside time. I’ve also been following some tips from Tiktok photogs on how to better use my camera phone. See some snaps from this week’s neighborhood walks below.
  8. No, I’m not really “on” Tiktok; I just really wanted to see some content that was cross-posted on Instagram and got sucked in. The way my schedule is set up though, I’m on it roughly 15 minutes a day before I drift off to sleep. I follow mostly goofy animals and a few social justice accounts, but those are getting cut. I need one place online where I don’t need to be reminded that the world is a whole hellscape dumpster fire.
  9. I’m guessing my emotional state has not been helped by the fact that I’ve skipped my weekend bath ritual for the last two weeks due to scheduling. Please know that this will be dutifully corrected this weekend with a super long soak. Hell, it might happen tonight.
  10. To Tymeyers who wanted to know what some of my fave podcasts are:

For entertainment: Hear to Slay on Luminary (singularly why I pay for that service!), The Read, Ratchet and Respectable, Savage Love, Jesus & Jollof, Fanti, Terrible Thanks for Asking and The Moth.

For lowkey education with Hope: The History Chicks, Mafia, Serial, Undisclosed, Code Switch, In the Thick, Shots in the Back, Slow Burn, Nice White Parents, Today Explained, The Daily, It’s Been a Minute, Reveal, Invisabilia. We are currently listing to Spy Affair about Maria Butina. There’s really no shortage of amazing content out there. This is just a fraction of what’s in rotation. I listen at a faster pace and crush a lot of info on my walks.

I just couldn’t even pull this list together yesterday. It was all I could do to tidy the kitchen after dinner, watch a show with Hope and crawl into bed with my nightly piece of cake. I’ve also got another post in my drafts and well, hopefully it will get published this weekend.

This morning’s sunrise.
This one is currently my zoom background.

Ten Things on Wednesday: 4/7/21

  1. The family trip was so good. The hotel situation was a disappointment (no room service, turn down service or room cleaning due to COVID). But I got to see my parents, Hope got to see her grands and Yappy got to come (which is all he ever wanted). We had “easter” dinner on Saturday and Sunday breakfast before hitting the road. The grands almost always provide 2 meats–bacon and sausage; which means they are going straight to heaven one fine day.
  2. Returning to work on Monday was harsh. The demands, the requests. I can legit spend all day just answering emails from the previous afternoon and beyond. Things go on the to do list and seemingly never come off. This time off really showed me why I enjoy traveling so much. When I know I’m going far away, I shut down work ABM immediately upon logging off that last day. I’m done. I’m able to truly unplug. These COVID staycations are rough because it takes me so much longer to unwind. By the time I really hit my stride in relaxation, it’s time to go back to work. Ugh.
  3. Hope put chopped hot dogs in her ramen tonight. I was buzzing around the house listening to her, and that factoid stopped me in my tracks. I wondered aloud if such a combo made me a bad mother. I mean really…I got 2 things going for me: 1-Hope gets higher end ramen. Her love of Asian food means any old ramen just won’t do. We make a special trip to the international store each month to stock up and supplement with online ordering of more difficult ramen to get locally. 2-I buy chicken hot dogs, which tend to have a little less fat (and Holy Homeboy knows what else); Hope loves them. Hope swears this wasn’t a struggle meal, it’s a college meal. My response? Is there a difference, really?
  4. Spring has sprung finally. I’m still waiting for the spring rains here. Normally April really means showers here. The lack of rain means things are blooming faster, and the pollen is flying. It’s kind of a beautiful torture.
  5. Anyone else have a kid who has horrible allergies but utterly refuses to take meds or irrigate so they just snort/slurp/sneeze/sniff incessantly, which really weirds you out because it’s a whole ass global PANDEMIC outside? Just me? Ok.
  6. I did not have my luxurious, stress-relieving bath this past weekend. I mean, I got to my parents, which was a more than worthy trade, but it’s now Wednesday night and I’m eager to get in my tub.
  7. I’m seriously considering a bathroom renovation. I can’t change the footprint, but I’m looking for more storage, a taller toilet w/ bidet features, a deeper tub, a heated floor and shower shelving for my Saturday bath candles. You know, simple upgrades. LOL.
  8. 2021 has officially rained down hot flashes on me. Since what appears to have been hormone changes that made me miserable in January, I hadn’t really had too many menopause symptoms. And then the weather turned nice, but not nice enough for the air conditioner. Monday night I thought I would combust. Last night I threw open the windows and turned on the ceiling fan. Much better. Tonight, I’m adding the floor fan. Seriously, this is some BS. Who do we have to blame for this? It’s really effed up.
  9. I am not watching the Chauvin trial. I wait for the New York Times to send me the notification of their daily rundown. So much of the news coverage insists on replaying George Floyd’s death video on a loop. That is traumatic AF. Stop playing the video! I know that once the prosecution rests it’s going to be a real shitshow, and I can’t bear to watch that murderer deny killing this man when we have video that says otherwise. Lock his ass up.
  10. Beau got me into Netflix’s Who Killed Sara? Quality TV, even if the dubbing kinda sucks. It’s nice ot have something to sink my teeth in. Hope and I are still watching Grimm on Prime. We’re also listening to a podcast on Maria Buttina, the young Russian woman who the FBI alleged was something of a spy. We booted her back home; ironically she turned up on the news this weekend. It was cool because it gave Hope a face to got a face to go with the story; she’s all in on the show now. Podcasts on road trips have always been a cool way for me to teach Hope current events and history on the low. We start a show, I dig up a few articles to rope her in and she totally gets immersed. She knows all about how Las Vegas came to be thanks to a mafia podcast we binged in 2019 on road trips. Good stuff!

Until next time…


Scratching the Itch

Last night the man in my life asked me if adopting Hope satisfied my need to have a biological child.

It was a heavy question for any number of reasons.

  1. I will forever be wounded by my infertility.
  2. My beau is an adoptee. He shared this with me recently after dating for quite some time. Turned out to be game-changing information for us, and I’d like to thank adoptees for teaching me to act like I got some sense.
  3. Beau is childless.

I was honest, and I said no. It satisfied my desire to be a mom, which was ultimately a stronger pull, and Hope is absolutely my daughter. But did it “replace” my desire for a biological child? No.

I thought so much about this over the last 8 years.

My grief around infertility has changed a lot over the years. Initially it was really messy, as all grief is. I did grieve the imaginary scenario that I’d been cultivating since I was in high school. I would be married in my early 30s to an amazing partner with whom I would have a couple biological children and then look into expanding our family through adoption.

That was my script.

So as I slid into my late 30s, unmarried and suddenly considered infertile, I really grieved the loss of that ideal I had constructed for myself. I remember feeling like it was the last bit of my dream that I lost. Never-mind that my career was going great, I was working on my doctorate, and I was enjoying a really good life. The door definitively closed on my dream, and that was what my grief was about. And sometimes it still hurts acknowledging that, but that’s not where my grief lies now.

I told Beau that my grief has less to do with any imaginary biological child and more to do with how betrayed I felt and feel by my body. We’re conditioned to believe so much of being a woman is about the ability to incubate a new human and have all these warm, nurturing, maternal feelings. Well, not being able to have a child because my body “failed” was and remains hard. I’m like, I’ve always been overweight, but my entire adult life I’ve tried to eat decent and be as active as possible so that I would be able to handle pregnancy like a champ. Instead my body wasn’t even riding the bench. It just sucked when I needed and wanted it most.

My grief wasn’t about having a baby. I was never all jazzed about babies. I just wanted the chance to be a mom. Ultimately it didn’t matter how; it was just that my body was supposed to be able to do this thing that women do. And, well, it couldn’t.

Hope satisfied my desire to parent; that part is the same as what I desired in having a biological child. But in answer to Beau’s question, no it didn’t satisfy my desire to give birth because it was about my body and not the child.

He seemed to understand. I reminded him that grief is a wicked thing. He agreed.

Then I told him about how in 2020 I worked hard to focus on what my body can do rather than what it can’t. While I didn’t commit to doing it because of grief, the reframing definitely helped me resolve some of my grief. Of course the fact that I did get to be mom to Hope is really the story here. I am a mom, which is really what I wanted. I am fortunate to have matched with Hope and be accepted by her. There are times when I really marvel at the fact that I have a version of the family I dreamed about. It didn’t happen as I thought, and the life partner is still missing in action, but I have this family–me, Hope and Yappy.

It’s more than enough.


Ten Things on Wednesday: 3/17/2021

  1. Happy St. Patrick’s Day. I wore my green glasses today.
  2. Things are…all over the place. I almost hate it when someone asks, “How are you?” Like, there’s a pandemic, I’m an extrovert trapped at home; my daughter is struggling and I don’t know exactly what I can do to make it better, work is emotionally draining 99.9999999995% of the time and my own mental health always seems precarious.
  3. So, I”m doing fine.
  4. Except, that’s not really true.
  5. I am fighting the good fight though. With daylight savings I can get more outside time and I’m delighted by that. I’ve taken Yappy on an evening walk every day this week. The increased sunlight and exercise is always great for my mood. I’ve started sleeping with my weighted blanket again. Sometimes that added weight, pressure just is so soothing.
  6. I’m really struggling with parenting right now. We have a good medical team. We’re really trying to give Hope autonomy with her care as a young adult. I’m trying to give her structure, but it’s really a lot with everything that’s going on. The issues are just like whackamole; we get one thing under control and something else pops up. Depression is getting better, but now the anxiety is debilitating. I can only imagine what it must be like for Hope. Not being able to find a “fix” is killing me. I really feel helpless and super frustrated. I don’t see this ending anytime soon.
  7. At the end of every day I’m exhausted. I would probably allow myself to get in my bed at 7:30pm if it didn’t sound SOOO early. Sometimes I do it anyway, but days like today…I’m trying to wait until at least 8pm.
  8. In other news Yappy is now using steps to get on and off of my bed; I’m so proud of him. A few months I noticed he was starting to have to work harder to get up on my bed; it’s a big jump. I bought some doggie steps, tried a couple of times to train him to use them. He looked at me like I was stupid. I shrugged and just left the steps there. After a month he started randomly using the steps, just like that–no prompting, no treats, nothing. He just started using them. Now he uses them consistently unless he’s feeling frisky and wants to hop up. If only everything was that easy.
  9. I am supposed to get my second vaccine next week. I’m now able to really count down the days until I can see my parents, who will be getting their second shot tomorrow. Just knowing I will be able to hug them in a matter of weeks nearly brings me to tears.
  10. I still wish I was motivated to write more, especially about parenting and older child adoption. Sometimes I get so frustrated because so much of the adoption conversation is dominated by infant, international and transracial adoption. I really wish more folks were writing about families like me and Hope. There are absolutely threads that are similar, but there are narratives that are different–not better or worse, just different. I often find myself trying to decide if I want to weigh in on posts even though I know the conversation isn’t about older child adoption and I want to hear about those stories and from those adoptees. I’m realizing that I might need to reconstruct my adoption squad. Our challenges never really go away, but I don’t necessarily seek the same kind of engagement and help that I used to seek. This young adult thing is different, and while in some ways it’s hard to remember what life felt like before Hope, it’s only been 7 years. It’s crazy. I just wish there were more folks talking and sharing about this kind of journey. Sometimes it’s lonely out here.

One Pandemic Year

One year ago, today, I was buzzing around a local hotel with other colleagues making sure that the next to the last day of our annual conference went smoothly. I remember being tired, but excited because Hope was on a bus headed home for spring break. I was looking forward to seeing her when I got home and maybe ordering takeout.

Little did I know that that was really *it* for us, in terms of going out and living free. I had taken a few days off from work to spend with her before she headed back to her small liberal arts college. I ended up working from home full time later that week, while we just assumed that she would be heading back to school in a couple of weeks when this COVID stuff all blew over.

Three weeks later we were packing up her dorm room masked and gloved up.

A week later I had COVID, assuredly contracted during our brief trip to pack up her things.

We’ve both been home ever since.

Hope did have a couple of summer jobs, but quit, in part, because classes resumed remotely in September.

We’d been managing to hold it together until then, but early fall presented an escalation in our struggle. Honestly, things just went totally left in August and it’s been a daily struggle ever since.

Hope experienced a series of traumas related to some decisions that 19-year-olds can be prone to making. Honestly, I made some of the same decisions, as did many other 19-year-olds I knew at the time. It’s just a wickedly unfair world that some of us pay dearly for those choices, while others get skate away trauma-free.

I had to really remind myself to meet Hope where she was and remember what that season of my life was like to be as empathetic as the moment required. It’s easy when you have nearly 30 years more life experience to forget what it was like and how easy it was to do something that didn’t seem like it might have lasting repercussions.

There were definitely days when I failed miserably at meeting the moment, and other days when I nailed it. I’m hoping that Hope shows me the grace I don’t deserve as the years pass.

The hits just kept coming through the fall and into the new year. This kinda lost pandemic year totally wreaked havoc on both of our mental health statuses. The loss of control, the lost freedom, the inability to have the usual levels of family and friend support has been so challenging.

I see a lot of loss ground for Hope in some ways; I see a lot of lost ground for me as well.

My own career soared during this time, but it came a huge cost. In the weeks following the murder of George Floyd, my job and voice was in high demand. There was little time for my own processing of grief and anger. It was mostly a lot of work.

And then after a month or so, a lot of anger and frustration about how folks chose to engage me, how little my own humanity seemed to matter, how much was just constantly demanded of me. I really had to start working on creating boundaries in ways I didn’t have or want to before.

Ten months later, I still trying to create boundaries with almost virtual electronic/barbed wire fencing. I do this in the face of receiving recognition for the work I do within a largely homogenous profession. The wear and tear on me this last year…whew.

Add on how I seem to be sliding into menopause…and I just feel…tired, cranky and crazy.

It’s all hard to describe, but it’s just perpetually feeling off. I’ve got some cream and I’ve upped my self-care game, but I’m headed to the doc this week to just talk about what I can and should be doing during this time to cling to my sanity and to not kill anyone.

This year has been hard.

But it hasn’t all been bad.

Hope and I are probably closer than we’ve ever been. Our parent/child relationship is evolving to a parent/young adult relationship. The biggest difference is knowing that being of legal age means I just have to let a few things go and focus on leaning into the years of trust we’ve built.

Our conversations are different. The gaps in knowledge around life skills are more apparent. My pushing and pulling is not seen through entirely negative eyes; she can tell me how she sees things. We are closer, and I’m hoping that whenever the next new normal lands that we’ll maintain this level of emotional connection. It’s nice.

I have also finally, genuinely moved to a place of acceptance regarding my body. This last decade of my life has featured a number of body betrayals that were just layered on to two previous decades of body image problems. I exercise every day. I try to eat reasonably healthy. I do not deny myself foods that I enjoy. I ride my bike. I walk a lot. I do videos and I invested in work-from-home equipment that would help me maintain some healthy habits.

I wrote some time ago that I really shifted my thinking to what my body can do and how to maintain and expand its capacity rather than focusing on how it looks. Honestly, regarding my body, the last 4-5 months or so have been the most liberating of my life.

I still fight negative thoughts, but they are fewer and far between.

Most of all, Hope sees me being less critical and that means a lot as well. She’s a beautiful girl, and she struggles to establish healthy eating and exercise habits. The best I can do is model them for her.

In total, it’s been a rough year. I don’t know when the pandemic will be “over.” I got my first vaccine a few days ago and I’m excited that I will be able to see my parents for the first time in nearly a year in a matter of weeks.

It will be a while before Hope is eligible for the vaccine. Because she’s unemployed and not in school this semester (much less hardly leaves the house), she’s very low risk and will be at the bottom of the list for the vaccine unless something changes. I’m hopeful that this year brings some better energy to both of us. I hope that we can get back to some version of our old normal at some point this year


Ten Things on Wednesday: 2/10/21

  1. How is it mid-February? So much has been crammed into the first 6 weeks of the year that I swear it should be June.
  2. Anybody watching the impeachment? We’re 2 days in, and well, the House manager’s case is compelling. I mean really, it should be a slam dunk, but the way blind allegiance and hypocrisy are set up…
  3. Hope is really coming along this week, and when Hope does and feels better, we BOTH do and feel better. I think we might finally be getting a little more stable. This is a long road though, and I’m used to upset apple carts. My optimism remains guarded.
  4. I’m entering a crunch period at work, and I’m struggling to work thought my anxiety about it. Lots of presentations, lots of zoom meetings, and a never ending inbox of cannibalizing requests. The things people ask of me are just…beyond. Like, I’m not a therapist. I’m not a search engine. I’m not a priest. I really don’t know what people expect when they email me. It’s just so unbelievable sometimes. It is exhausting, and I genuinely do not understand why people will spend 3 paragraphs writing about themselves and then ask something that an elephant in Thailand could probably figure out how to ask Google, Siri, Alexa or Google Assist. #Baffling. If I were to ever write a memoir about this period in my life, I’m totally including the shittiest of the shitty emails.
  5. Anyone watch Bling Empire on Netflix? I binged it a couple of weeks ago; it’s essentially if Crazy Rich Asians was a reality show. There’s a whole story line in which a TRA Korean adoptee searches for his birth family and another woman looks for her dad that she hasn’t seen since she was a young girl. Both characters find some resolution in their searches. It was really lovely to the guy’s mom be supportive of his search., but I was also glad to see that the show didn’t shy away from the fact that he really felt like he needed to know why he had to be adopted. The abandonment, the open wound…even with a good life and what appeared to be a good family and support system, he needed to know about himself and his people. Would love to hear other thoughts.
  6. I made CBD gummies last weekend. I purchased isolate from a local shop, researched some recipes and voila. I look forward to improving the next batch. Each gummy has about 15mg of CBD. Two take the edge right on off of me. I made them for Hope to help her sleep. We’ll see what works.
  7. I need a vacation so bad. Not a staycation, but a get on a plane and fly far, far away, where the food and language are different and the drinks are cool and plentiful. Travelzoo keeps sending me trips and I so want to book something. Maybe I’ll book something after I’m vaccinated. I soooo need to get away from the DC area for a minute.
  8. Yappy is not enjoying winter at all. At 6, he’s surprisingly showing his age. He’s not feeling the snow, sleet or rain. He’s only willing to cuddle on his terms. He’s demanding when it comes to just about everything. Doc says he’s healthy. My spidey sense kind of worries about him.
  9. Anyone else watching TV and sometimes getting anxious because folks are all close together without masks? Just me? Seriously though I’m really increasingly conscious about the trauma response to life during a pandemic.
  10. I need this upcoming long weekend. Got a few Valentine plans, but I mainly plan to rest. Of course I still need to create these presentations for next week…they ain’t writing themselves. But I’m looking forward to sleeping in, having my long hot bath and napping.

Modeling Behavior

Not gonna lie; I have a number of vices…

Cake.

A good glass of wine.

An occasional edible or three.

Pizza.

Shopping.

Buying organizing stuff that I don’t bother using to actually organize.

And a bunch of other stuff…

But I also have a lot of healthy habits.

Daily exercise.

Simple prayers of gratitude.

Cooking.

Desperately fighting my anxiety and depression.

I’m fortunate that I have had only a few moments in this life where my mental health rendered me unable to function. About 15 years ago, I took a month off from work to just pull it together. It was hard. I was keeping crazy hours, trying to define myself professionally, trying to navigate a dreadfully unhealthy relationship, and struggling with an eating disorder. I just had to hit the pause button.

The early years of parenting nearly brought me to the brink. I’m not ashamed to admit that I wasn’t prepared to really tackle the trauma that Hope had endured. I thought I was, and Lord knows I fought for her every step of the way. The reality is that those pre-adoption classes that agencies make APs take as a part of the approval process are bullshit; they are soooo woefully inadequate. I knew nothing about secondary trauma, post-adoption depression or all the ways in which trauma might manifest in my daughter’s worldview.

There were definitely times when it brought me to my knees, begging for a timeout from the rest of my life so that I could really figure out how to parent and do it well.

I spent a lot of time just putting my head down and plowing through.

As Hope and I recover from another recent major trauma, I’m considering hitting the pause button once again.

I’m tired. This pandemic with non-stop social unrest has gotten the best of me, and it’s gotten the best of Hope as well.

In recent years, I’ve really tried to model healthy behavior for Hope. I work out daily; even if it’s just a YouTube workout video in the living room. I get outside every day, rain or shine. I balance my sweet tooth with attempts to get my fruits and veggies in. I get up; I get dressed even when there is no where to go. I, at least, put on fresh lounge wear. I make sure she sees me reading for pleasure, for work and for information.

When Hope fell into the deepest pit of depression a few months ago, I really tried to include her in light workouts, cooking, doing hair, reading. It was hard to see her decline and just roll over to go back to sleep. I get it; gosh to I get it. I often feel like I could just roll over and sleep for ages because my emotions are just too much that they feel both burdensome and invisible. But I’ve got to work and keep us fed and sheltered, so I soldier on.

With the recent developments, we’re back into the stuck in bed thing. It’s so hard because really, there’s a pandemic and crazies are out protesting an election that was resolved months ago. Other than going for a walk and to buy groceries, being out and about isn’t really an option. On my days off I still get up, get dressed and pull together a plan for the day—even if it is sitting on the couch watching movies. I try to stay active. I try to model pushing back on the darkness for Hope.

It’s hard to maintain that flow. It also feels useless as my beautiful daughter languishes in bed for days at a time, getting up to eat after I’ve gone to bed and jacking up my Netflix recommendations even when she has her own profile. I encourage her to try. She never regrets getting up and about, but she never initiates it on her own.

Recent developments have just taken their toll on me, and I’m finding it hard to keep going. I, too, could use some time to lay in bed—even though I know I won’t, or at least won’t the same way Hope does—and just sit with my emotions. I’m kinda overwhelmed with all that’s going on.

So, I’m looking to take some time off. Even with that, I feel bad because I need to cancel some engagements and some workshops I committed to recently. But I try to remember that if I got hit by a bus, those things would go on and folks would simply find someone else to do the things I thought I would do. Cancelling is not the end of the world, and some of this stuff…well, I probably should’ve said no to in the first place anyway.

I’m trying to model self-care. I’m trying to model coping. I’m trying to model self-love and resilience. I honestly don’t know if the lessons are landing, but I’m doing the best I can as I try to find my way through my own darkness.

We’ll see what the next month holds and whether I take the time I need and show my daughter how I hit the pause button. I just know I’m really tired, right now.


Ten Things on Wednesday: 1/20/21

  1. Today I breathed. It’s not that I think Biden/Harris will solve all the problems, but I certainly don’t think they will cause as many as we’ve seen during the last administration.
  2. Watching VP Kamala Harris take the oath of office with Justice Sonia Sotomayor with my daughter this morning was…amazing. #RepresentationMatters
  3. I can’t really describe the relief I felt watching the Troll in Chief and Troll Barbie take flight and disappearing.
  4. My only sadness is that I couldn’t take Hope down to the mall to watch it in person. Don’t get me wrong: inaugurations are cold (it flurried here this morning) and usually crowded, but the energy is amazing. It’s actually very cool and super patriotic.
  5. Did y’all see Michelle Obama and that guy she’s married to? (I love him too.) My gawd that woman is gorgeous. The hair, the outfit, the lashes…the gorgeous former president. I live!!!
  6. I really needed today. It’s like a bright spot in a dark time for me. The pomp and circumstance! The lofty, aspirational charge of it all. The hope. I needed it really badly.
  7. Things around here are still precarious. I’m still fighting burnout. I’m still trying to prop Hope up in the midst of new traumas.
  8. I think I’m going to tackle my front closet and my bedroom closet. They are both a disastrous mess. I was always taught that your closets are a reflection of your life, and well, those 2 closets are a disastrous mess. I’ve been consciously avoiding them for months. I know that tackling them will help.
  9. I also need to do some purging. Things feel really cluttered around here. So, stuff has to go. Of course I’m also still shopping for a new low profile treadmill; so part of my motivation is to make room for new ish.
  10. I’ve been really trying to be more introspective right now. I’m honestly feeling a bit lost. Motivation is low. I slap on a functional face on workdays and feel like collapsing after 5pm. I really have not experienced these feelings in a very long time. I don’t like it, but I’m fighting through.

In the Days After

So, a week in and I swear I’m ready to already write 2021 off.

Unless you live under a rock, you are aware that the US Capitol was overrun this week in a coup attempt.

Sigh.

Many moons ago, I worked on Capitol Hill in the House of Representatives. I was there for a little over a year as an intern, working for a member from a district similar to the one I grew up in. I primarily worked on tobacco and education policy. It was a plumb gig, as the special assistant to the president of my university recommended me for the position. It was only supposed to be for a semester, and it lasted a year.

I also interned on the Hill for a House Committee chair during my second year of college.

I went on to be an association lobbyist for nearly a decade, spending many days on Capitol Hill meeting with staff and Members on topics in my portfolio.

There is a certain mystique to the Capitol complex. There are tons of tunnels connecting all the buildings. Hidden doorways and chambers, a little subway on the Senate side. There almost always a bustle of people coming and going. Security is always tight; you had to go through metal detectors long before 9/11. There were places where you lowered your voice, more out of reverence than anything. It’s a special place; its representative government live and in real time.

There were lots of things I hated about working on the Hill, but I never forgot how fortunate I was to have been able to work there—It’s a place where careers are made. I often thought of the enslaved people who helped to build the complex and what their spirits must think about me being in that space. It gives me chills.

So, to see people literally climbing the walls of the Capitol building was really emotional. I have friends and colleagues who work there. My current beau works there. To see the space desecrated in ways that really were unthinkable was hard personally, but as an American—yo, WTF.

The news didn’t report how some of these folks urinated outside of offices. There are only a few pictures of the largely Black and brown custodial staff who had to clean up the horrendous mess folks left. They didn’t talk a much about how security rushed to save Members of congress, while staffers where left trying to barricade themselves in offices under siege. I saw staffers tweeting at their bosses in hopes of checking to see if everyone was ok.

And then of course there’s how easy it was for the Capitol to be overrun. Last summer, most of downtown was boarded up because of fear of possible damage to property. My office building has pretty much been boarded up since June given all the protests that have taken place. During the summer tanks and other military vehicles were all over downtown DC. It reminded me a lot of what it was like in the city right after 9/11.

But not this week. The National Guard didn’t get called up until well into the afternoon. Images show that insurgents were treated with patience and kindness throughout the afternoon. There’s lot of video and audio of these terrorists threatening and harming police—so I’m guessing all that Blue Lives Matter stuff is out the window. There is literally no explanation other than giving emotional White folks the benefit of the doubt that wasn’t afforded to protestors who just want law enforcement to stop extrajudicial killings of Black and brown folks. If you know DC, you know this is true.

Even the arrests in the aftermath—what around 20 people? And I’m supposed to feel some kind of way about that? Do you know how many hundreds, and nationally thousands, of people who were arrested during BLM protests last summer? In protests about extending oil pipelines through reservations and sovereign Native property a few years ago? The juxtaposition is hard to swallow.

I watched coverage of what was happening with Hope, who concluded that if this came with adulthood, she didn’t want it. I wonder how all of this will shape her ideals about democracy and participating in it.

Lots has already happened since the coup attempt, and I’m hopeful that this country will get it’s ish together, but Wednesday was a hard day to endure since then.

In the meantime I’m still going to be hunkered down right here until at least after the inauguration.


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