When did we decide kids shouldn’t suffer?

by renegademama

You know what I realized recently? My kids aren’t suffering enough.

Oh, come on. I don’t mean like that. Not suffering abuse or neglect or whatever. Get your head out of the gutter.

I’m talking about healthy suffering. Toil. Good ol’ fashioned WORK. I’m talking about discomfort, doing things repeatedly that are physically, mentally and emotionally unpleasant because you have to. Because it needs to get done. Because there’s nobody else to do it.

mac2

the man in question.

So, I have this husband who grew up on a ranch. Actually I only have one husband, but he did in fact grow up on a ranch. Eighty acres of farmland and a small, family run slaughterhouse (sorry, vegans). And from the time he was old enough to work (so like, 7? 8?) he was expected to, um, work. He had to get up and feed animals – when it was pouring rain, hailing, or Christmas. The animals don’t care. When it was 45 degrees or 106 degrees and a cow got out, he had to go handle it with his dad, whether or not he felt like it. I used to watch him catch chickens and my God he hated it. I’ve never seen a person more irritated. I could tell he was miserable, through and through.

There’s value in misery, I tell you.

And he worked in the slaughterhouse (still does, actually. In fact he’s there as I write this, at 7am on a Saturday). I’ll save you details but I’ll tell you this: It IS NOT pleasant. I don’t care how gently SouleMama makes it seem to slaughter turkeys or whatever the hell she does, it’s messy and disgusting and freezing cold (or stiflingly hot). It’s foul (fowl? hahaha. TELL ME I’M NOT FUNNY.) beyond recall. It’s physically exhausting, and it’s relentless.

But as a result of this relentlessness, his life reflects some principles that make him a damn fine human being (if I may say so myself), and something of a lost art.

He understands:

  • The world is not here to cater to him.
  • Hard work is a natural part of life.
  • Physical discomfort is not that big of a deal.
  • If something needs to get done, YOU FUCKING DO IT.

Sometimes it seems like we all work so hard to provide our kids “comfort” and “a nice childhood” that we forget that a good portion of life is just WORK: dirty, grimy, unpleasant. I mean, isn’t it? Isn’t a good part of your life doing things you don’t feel like doing?

Not that we’ll all be toiling on ranches under the beating sun, but rather, life requires the ethic that underlies that work, the willingness to do the damn job until it’s done because it needs to get done.  And even though you don’t want to, even though it’s terrible and unpleasant and exhausting, YOU DO IT ANYWAY.

Let me back up. Here’s what happened. One of my kids was purposely doing only half of an assigned daily chore because s/he found it distasteful to his/her delicate sensibilities. Vague enough for ya? Yeah, well the details don’t matter, and I don’t really want to call my kid out on the internet (well, not directly, at least). The point is the child was purposely deceiving us for a month because doing the unpleasant portion of the job was JUST TOO MUCH or whatever the hell. Couldn’t be bothered. Couldn’t be made to feel uncomfortable. I discovered this and was furious. I’m like wait. WHAT? On what planet does this make sense to you? Everybody in your world works, homie, and hard.

Georgie is ready to work.

Georgie is ready to work.

Your dad is an ironworker who commutes 4 hours a day to provide for his family. Your mom is 8-months pregnant teaching 3 classes, trying to develop a freelance career and raising 3 other kids. We aren’t martyrs. We’re working people. Not because it’s glamorous, but because we want to eat.

Your grandparents work. Your great-grandparents STILL WORK. We aren’t some silver-spooned, Town & Country-reading douchecanoes who sit around basking in trust funds and lamenting the plight of the world. Come the hell on, kid!

But then I realized in a moment of painful self-honesty that my kids have never really been made to suffer much, to get their hands dirty, so why am I surprised? If life teaches you that comfort is the expected baseline, why would you ever accept the opposite? If daily existence confirms your right to unadulterated pleasantness, clearly unpleasantness is an anomaly to be avoided. Right?

I’m realizing that sometimes, kids need to work hard, really hard, against every shred of their desire. They need to be made uncomfortable. They need to get super freaking pissed off and do the work anyway.

At least, I think they do.

Yeah, my kids do chores (SORT OF), but rigorous work? Not so much.

Hours of work? Probably not.

Work that really, really pisses them off? Doubt it.

And this is supposed to be a good thing, right? These kids that have such a “nice life,” such a relaxed, supported life?

Right. Until they grow up to be the The Entitled Asshole in my English class. Oops. Was that my outside voice?

OF COURSE IT WAS and I MEANT IT.

I’ve seen the product of “Oh honey, the world is here to serve you” and people, it ain’t pretty. I’ve seen the product of “Dear, we’re all here to make you more comfortable” and “You shouldn’t have to suffer, sweetheart” and it manifests in an expectation that the world should love them for showing up, for breathing. It develops into an attitude of “well I’m here and I’m wonderful and I really feel like I should be able to do the bare minimum of work and you will compensate for my laziness because duh! I’m me!”

I’ve seen the results of the every-kid-deserves-a-trophy mentality* and I am here to tell you IT ISN’T WORKING.

Every kid does not deserve a motherfucking trophy.

You know who deserves a trophy? The kid who works the hardest. The kid who puts in the most time. The kid who shows up and BRINGS IT.

Alright fine. In tee-ball they all deserve a damn trophy, because they’re four.

But after that, kids deserve what they put in, nothing more and nothing less. And I’m not getting all “American bootstraps mentality for the win!” on ya. Come on. I know there’s more to the story than that, and hard work alone doesn’t guarantee “success” in the world, but I also know 100% that I cannot teach my kids the world is here to serve them, or even, really, as harsh as this sounds, that the world gives a shit about them. The world does not care about my kids. The world cares about itself.

My job is teach my kids to ask themselves “What can I contribute to the world?” Rather than “What can I take from it?” So many takers. I want to raise givers. Imagine if we all raised kids who grew up asking what they could contribute to the situation, to each other, to the world?

Okay, John Lennon, settle down.

But seriously, that wouldn’t suck.

And since right now my husband and I and this house are their “world,” we’re going to start with some gardening in the hot sun, some washing of floors and some Saturdays spent cleaning and organizing and sweating, a lot, all day. And there will be no trophies given.

The trophy is knowing you did it, and you did it well, even when nobody was looking, even when you didn’t feel like, because it had to be done, and you, thank goodness, were there to do it. There’s an unparalleled sense of satisfaction there, when you give, when you work your hardest, for yourself and others, because you were needed.

And if there isn’t satisfaction, get over it. Not all endeavors in life are infinitely fulfilling. You did the work necessary because you understand that sometimes work is necessary. And that alone sets you above Entitled Douchebag status, which, I’m sure we can all agree, is a win.

HA! OMG. There. There’s your trophy, kid: You aren’t an entitled douchebag. 

You can thank me later.

 

www.renegademothering.com

*Note: I did not invent the trophy thing. Somebody told it to me and I stole it but for the life of my I cannot remember who said it. So, if you’re reading this and you’re the one who said it: 1.) you’re a genius; 2.) sorry for stealing your shit; and 3.) tell me and I’ll cite you, MLA style.

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Sometimes life is about becoming unstuck, and that’s it.

by renegademama

You may remember we were burglarized last September, twice. In one week. They stole my laptop and essentially every piece of jewelry Mac had ever given me during our 13 years together. They stole my grandmother’s ring, the single item I inherited from her.

It took months to “get over it,” but recently, the wound was reopened. Basically, through a rather coincidental chain of events I’d rather not elaborate on, we found out for sure who burglarized our home, and it was the person I suspected: Our former nanny’s son, a young man addicted to methamphetamines.

I knew it was him the moment I saw my jewelry box laid open, empty. I drove immediately to his home. He was in the street. I walked right up to him looked him dead in the eyes and said “Hey. I get it. I was a drug addict once too. Just give me back my things. Have them show up on my doorstep and I’ll give you $1000. No questions asked.”

Looking back, I realize he had probably already traded everything for a 20 sack, maybe two.

He went around and around about how it wasn’t him. But I knew it was. The sight of his face in my mind’s eye makes me feel sick. Lying motherfucker. I had no proof, but I knew. 100%.

And the worst part is I knew it was going to happen before it happened. I saw it in my mind. I literally saw in my mind that this person was going to burglarize our home.

I knew it the day my nanny sat in our living room and told me her son (who lived with her) was addicted to meth. A thought crossed my mind: One of these days, he’s going to find out through his mom that you’re gone for the weekend and he’s going to burglarize your home.

Three months later, that is precisely, EXACTLY what happened.

 

After my nanny left that day, I called my mom. I told her “I need to find a new nanny. I need to disconnect. Something bad is going to happen.”

But I did nothing.

I talked to Mac about it, told him my concerns. I am no stranger to drug addiction and what it causes. I am no stranger to the monsters people become.

But still I did nothing.

I did nothing against my better judgment.

I did nothing against every cell of my being screaming at me “Stop this. Get out. Bad things are going to happen.”

I did nothing because I ignored my intuition.

I did nothing until it was too late.

And that is the part I can’t get over.

That is the part that haunts me, late at night when I think about the family photos and videos that were lost in the stolen laptop and the pearl necklace gone, the one Mac gave me a couple months into our relationship, and the diamond ring I remember so clearly on my beloved grandmother’s thin, wrinkled gorgeous finger.

I did nothing because I was stuck. I was stuck in a motherfucking rut and I could not see out. I refused to see out. I would not see out.

Life gave me the signs. It gave me the chance to redirect, to move along, to do something new. The universe hinted, nudged, and at times downright pushed and shoved, but still, I did nothing.

Why? Because it was too hard. Because I preferred the comfort of my rut to the difficulty of a new course.

Our home was dark. The neighborhood was terrible. I hated it. We all hated it.  It was a dead, depressing place. We lived two houses down from a known drug house. They’d do deals in the street. They’d park in front of our house waiting for the delivery. Sometimes I’d walk up to them and knock on the car window, ask if I could help. Probably not the safest move, but it gets to the point when you don’t fucking care anymore. The neighbor on our left occasionally got drunk and poisoned animals in the neighborhood. We lived in near-constant fear of our animals getting out. One day our cat did. We found her on our driveway, poisoned the same way our two kitties died when we first moved in, two years prior, before we knew. Our street was a thoroughfare to the worst street in town, so a constant stream of addicts and drunks poured down our road like a sad parade. They left their trash on our lawn and their baggies on the sidewalk.

We needed to move a long time before, but we didn’t. We didn’t because we were stuck.  We didn’t because sometimes the misery you know is easier than the unknown, because it’s safer, or you think it is, simply because it is known.

It all starts to feel so heavy: The change. The fear surrounding it all: What will happen? What if it doesn’t work? Where will we go and do and how will it all work?

One day turns into the next and the next and the next and it’s just you and the aching intuition, the burning feeling that something needs to change. But nothing changes, because nothing changes. And fear.

The burglary ended it.

Shaken to our core, we were faced with the reality of what our life had become and how distant we had grown from that reality. Within 45 days our house was on the market and we had moved into my mom’s house. Within 90 days our house was sold and we were in escrow on another. Around 4 months from that burglary we moved into the house we live in now, a place I love so much I never want to leave (which is its own problem but one I love to have!). I had forgotten how much a miserable house can bring you down. I had forgotten what it feels like to love where you’re living, to feel “home” each day, in your home.

Action. Finally. Happened.

In a way, that burglary was the best thing to ever happen to us, but still I’m full of hatred sometimes, toward him, but mostly toward myself. Why didn’t I act? Why didn’t I do something? Why didn’t I trust my gut and heart?

I know. I already know: I was doing the best I could at the time. And really, it was just stuff gone. It’s just stuff. Means nothing.

But shit. It’s hard. You know?

Hard to face the elements of responsibility in our own lives, hard to square off with the truth about ourselves. It is not my fault that he burglarized our home. It is, however, my fault that I denied my intuition and chose comfort over change, even though that comfort was making me fucking miserable and I KNEW IT.

It is my fault that I didn’t leave a house and town and situation that was sucking the life out of me.

It is my fault I DID NOT ACT.

Life is strange, isn’t it? The way we stay in things that are killing us because at least we feel safe – hang out in the muck and dirt and mire because at least it’s the muck and dirt and mire we’re accustomed to. The way we justify the shit in our lives as if it’s other people’s faults when really it’s us – we’re the ones too chicken shit to move, paralyzed by our own indecision, cut off at the knees with terror. Of what, who knows. How could it be worse than this?

Until life slaughters us one day, to be reborn.

I’m beginning to think life is just a series of little deaths, of becoming unstuck, of seeing how fear pulses through my mind and spine and legs, moving my body for me, on nothing more than a glorified rat wheel. Around and around we call it “living.” I know the truth but I’m too scared to face it. That bullshit job, relationship, habit, whatever. The truth rests deep inside of me. I work every day to ignore it, until I cannot any longer.

I was stuck. I’m not stuck now.

I want to forgive myself, but some mental construction won’t work. “I forgive you Janelle.”

Ah, fuck off.

That shit never works. I need action. I will forgive myself by staying unstuck, by laughing at the voice that says “You can’t. It’s too hard. Stay here.”

I tried that, asshole. I went down that road and it didn’t work. I couldn’t get off  the track on my own so life did it for me, and it hurt. I was shattered into a new direction.

I’m responsible for that, too, I guess. New digs and freedom. My own failure to move – literally and figuratively – killed me. But to begin again. Unstuck, one more time.

Maybe I’ll trust better, sooner.

Myself, and life.

The real kind.

 

sometimes I feel like this.

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Hey new moms: I got a “babymoon” for ya.

by renegademama

You know people keep talking about these damn “babymoons,” and once again I find myself shaking my head. Setting aside my disdain for the term itself (on account of its excessive cuteness), I just don’t understand how a trip to Turks and Fucking Caicos is really a “last hurrah” at all.

Yeah okay I get it: Quality time with your partner before the baby arrives and your life is ruined. Wait. Not what I meant.

It’s a time to “renew” and “reconnect,” blah blah blah, fine. It’s a time to really take advantage of your childless status. But why the hell are we telling new moms to take a vacation as the way to celebrate and cherish the way their lives are now (as opposed to the way it will be when baby enters the picture)? I mean that’s not the shit we miss. Right? Is it? Big vacations? Nah…I mean some of us could never afford those anyway, and Mac and I still take mini-vacations occasionally. At least I think we do.

Anyway for me it’s the little stuff, or was, back when I remembered life without kids.

If we really want to help women appreciate life before baby, I really think a trip to Florida isn’t the way to do it.

Hey, first-time moms. You want a babymoon? Try taking a shit and enjoying the way nobody bangs on the door.

Come to think of it, I have some other ideas:

Why would you EVER want a break from these faces?  Ha. Ha. Ha.

Why would you EVER want a break from these faces? Ha. Ha. Ha.

  1. Go to a restaurant and have a conversation, like as in the whole time. Just do that. Just talk and eat. Do nothing else. Notice the way you don’t have to bounce a baby on your knee while eating or nurse anything or leave the restaurant entirely because Lungs of Steel refuses to enjoy the ambiance.
  2. Come home from work, sit on the couch and do nothing. Trust me.
  3. Get on the phone when you feel like it. Have a conversation. Talk as long as you want. Soon, the second you get on the phone, no matter how sure you are the baby is asleep, no matter how long she’s been happily playing by herself, no matter how short the call, the SECOND that call connects is the SECOND your baby will demand your undivided attention. (Note: the importance of the call is in direct proportion to the likelihood that your baby will not let you make that call. Just FYI.)
  4. Have sex with the light on. What? Dude. When there’s a chance a small human could enter your room at pretty much any moment, that light ain’t going on.
  5. Actually just have sex anywhere you want.
  6. Get in the car and put on Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop.” When he says “motherfucker,” enjoy the way you don’t feel guilty for playing music with swear words.
  7. Then, drive around in silence for a long, long, long time.
  8. A long time.
  9. Put your groceries in the car. Get in the car. Drive away. Appreciate how fast that was.
  10. Go to a bar on Friday night with friends, get totally shitfaced, stay up til 2am, THEN SLEEP IN ON SATURDAY like the rest of your friends. Wait. Nevermind. You’re pregnant – BAD IDEA. Just sleep in Saturday. That’s revolutionary enough. Babies don’t care how late you stayed up. They also don’t care that you’re hung-over, puking, feverish or depressed. Neither do toddlers or kids. So yeah. Just sleep in on Saturday over and over and over again.
  11. Cook a meal, sit at the dinner table and eat it with you partner, relishing the way you aren’t trying to quiet, ignore, or discuss deep philosophical shit with offspring, or teach them manners or tell them to eat their whatever or sit still damnit or stay in your seat or clear your place or stop bickering or OMG I hate dinner.
  12. Crawl into your bed and observe the profound lack of infant in it.
  13. Pack up your stuff for an overnight stay somewhere. You don’t actually have to leave, just pack. Just pack because it’s SO FUCKING EASY TO PACK when you aren’t packing for a baby.
  14. Go to bed when you feel like it. As in, when you feel tired, go to bed. Yes, that’s it. That’s the whole exercise.
  15. Watch whatever the hell you want on Netflix.
  16. Spend some quality time with your dog.
  17. Do laundry. Revel in how there aren’t 1,436 loads.
  18. Don’t handle poop.
  19. Walk barefoot in your house. No toys? Exactly.
  20. Stare at the floor of your car. Soon you’ll forget what it looks like.
  21. Clean a room in the morning. Clean another room in the afternoon. In the evening, delight in the way BOTH ROOMS ARE STILL CLEAN as opposed to re-destroyed in a sickening cycle of cat-and-mouse games. (By the time you clean one area of the house the other area is destroyed so you just keep going around and around and around cleaning rooms while others get destroyed, feeling the cat on your tail, wondering why you do it at all but also unable to function in the borderline-subhuman condition known as “kids in home.”)
  22. Get yourself ready. Right. Yes. That. Get YOURSELF ready and then leave.
  23. And then go on a trip, I guess, but not because you won’t ever get to again, rather because this is the last time you’ll go on a trip by yourselves when you won’t be oddly, frighteningly, inexplicably missing the insanity of numbers 1-22, just a little, as you walk around that gorgeous beach without your kids, thinking simultaneously “God it’s nice they’re gone” and “Damn I miss those little bastards so much. WHEN DO WE GO HOME?”

Now THAT is a fucking babymoon.

We'll just call our trip to Monterey our 4th baby "babymoon." Wait. Does that exist? Is that a thing?

We’ll just call our trip to Monterey our 4th baby “babymoon.” Wait. Does that exist? Is that a thing? Since HE DIDN’T LICK MY FACE IN THIS ONE (I yelled at him), we’ll use this to prove we’re a romantic couple that takes babymoons and shit.

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This week…just in the knick of time…she was saved by salt air and fog.

by renegademama

(First of all, it was last week, but whatevs.)

After a super handy internet helper diagnosed me with chronic depression based on the last blog post I wrote, I figured it was time to make some changes.

I jest. That’s the stupidest fucking thing I’ve ever heard.

First of all, EINSTEIN. You can’t diagnose strangers, even if they write things that make you go “Hmmmmmm?” Depression is a real thing, a serious thing, and 1,200 words on the internet are insufficient “evidence” to make such a determination. Or you might, at least, want to meet the person first, and then diagnose them based on blog posts.

Kidding. STOP DOING THAT.

Secondly, please consider just for a moment how goofy it is that you diagnosed a person with chronic depression based on A SINGLE piece of writing. Chronic, one blog post. CHRONIC, one single blog post. Do you see the problem here?

I love the internet.

Also, if I were clinically depressed, I wouldn’t be writing. I’d be in my bed, possibly with some cocaine and a bottle of whiskey. I’m sorry. Was that a little dark? Yeah, well, so is clinical depression and THAT’S how it manifests for me and THAT is why I’m calling this human out rather than “being grateful” for her “concern.”

I think maybe people find it so utterly baffling that a woman wouldn’t be totally and completely fucking INTO MOTHERHOOD at all times that they can only conclude there’s something wrong with her brain. I mean, clearly this shit is adorable and infinitely fulfilling and it’s just irrational and frankly, incomprehensible that sometimes it could turn into a slow soul-sucking death.

Is hyperbole a symptom of clinical depression? I’m sorry. Inappropriate. Let’s move on.

When I was a kid, I grew up about 40 minutes from the ocean in Central California. We went there a lot. It was often cold and foggy (northern and central Californian beaches often are, no matter what they show you on TV). My mom would pack us up and head to the beach on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Often it would be 4 or 5pm. The fog rested on us, turned my hair into ringlets around my face. I loved those curls. I thought they were adorable. I’d wear a sweatshirt and jeans rolled up and my toes would flip the cold sand. It smelled like life. There were these trees that seemed to grow out of the sand with sprawling branches and a thick cover, like the coolest natural fort you’ve ever seen. Maybe cypress trees? We’d play under them while my mom made hot dogs and we listened to the waves and smelled the water and made up stories and got lost.

When I was in high school, I moved further north. After school when I was drowning in nondescript teenaged angst (maybe clinical depression?!) I’d listen to live Dead as I drove the 30 minutes to Bodega Bay. Often, at some point the sun would turn to deep fog, but I always had a sweatshirt in my car. I’d sit on the beach and smoke cigarettes and drink coffee and write profound shit in my journal. Sometimes I’d fall asleep. I was alone. I loved being alone. I got back in my car and nothing had changed but it had all changed.

The ocean still does that for me, though I live 2 hours from it now.

We went Saturday morning to Monterey. My 35th birthday was on Friday. It was a birthday trip. My mom was there, as she’s always been. She rolled up her jeans and held my toddler’s hand.

My closest friends came. They drove 3 hours and paid for a hotel room to be there, with us, to celebrate, with us. It takes my breath away to have friends like that, people who love me like that. And people I love like that.

It rained on Saturday, but we went to Lover’s Point where there are rocks and tide pools and shelter from the wind. Sometimes all we need is some shelter from the goddamn wind.

I always seem to find it, in time.

It was so beautiful I wanted a romantic selfie with my husband, but he licked my face because he’s a fucking moron.

photo 2-3 photo 1-5

photo 1-4 image

It didn’t rain on Sunday. We went to Pacific Grove and found this amazing little restaurant that serves perfect breakfast. PERFECT BREAKFAST is no joke. Shit’s revolutionary. George got a buckwheat pancake and Rocket ordered lox, which I found adorable, until I saw it was $12.50. OOPS. Oh well. Kid’s got class. Or something.

photo 2 photo 3 photo 4

Then we went to Carmel. And it was sunny.

photo 1-2

some people “jog” on the beach for fun. I shall never understand such behavior.

photo 2-2

my mom and georgie.

photo 1-3

 

And then I came home, on the almost last day of March, and fell asleep remembering that my hell month is over and the universe always, eventually, hands us what we need, in salt and fog and sand, or lox, or the kiss of a friend or a licked face. Asshole.

Saved again, in the knick of time.

***

3littlebirds etsy

Also, I wanted to introduce a new sponsor. I’m really excited to have her join us because a.) She’s a mom like us making genuinely adorable things out of her home in southern Oregon and b.) part of the reason she started her business is so she could keep herself from going nuts as a sudden stay-at-home-mom amidst her 4 (!) offspring, a fact that strikes me as amazing.

I mean, when I’m overwhelmed I EAT SCONES. Rhiannon makes adorable baby and children’s products.  

Check out her Etsy shop. She makes teething rings (totally getting one for my baby) and blankets, burp cloths and children’s clothing (all at fair prices). She uses bright, engaging fabrics not traditionally used for “baby” items. In her words: she tries “not to make single-use products so people can enjoy our toys for longer than just the teething stage. Same thing with the clothing  - the dresses can be worn for years just by adding leggings, shorts, long sleeved shirt etc.”

Favorite quote from our interactions:  ”My kids are awesome most days…when they’re not I put them to work in the ‘sweat shop’ that is my home-based business.” Need I say more? She’s our people. We love her.

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22 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized, weeks of mayhem | March 31, 2014

I wish they’d stop calling this “sacred.”

by renegademama

I’m feeling ill-equipped for motherhood lately. I can’t stop being an asshole to my kids.

I’m yelling too much. My patience is almost always already gone.

I lose it over nothing. Them. Being kids. Doing annoying kid things. Leaving their shoes on the couch one more time. The 5th time I have to ask him to get dressed. The bickering again about the dishes. The flailing in the back seat.

I know it’s me, you know. I know it’s my exhaustion and profound discomfort and the weight of this baby on my back and bladder and heart.

I realized the other day I haven’t had time to love this baby. Does that make me a monster? That probably makes me a monster. I feel distant, disconnected. Though I feel her (him?) against the deepest swells of my body, and the little pushes and jabs comfort me, I only barrel forward through the days. I only wonder how it’s possible to pee so many fucking times a night. I wonder how many thoughts can awaken me at 4am. I wonder why I screw around on my phone until 10:30pm when my whole self needs only sleep. Maybe it’s the privacy, the silence. Maybe I’m just not equipped for adult life. Maybe the responsible decision will always elude me. Or it will sometimes, at night, when I should be asleep.

I want to settle down and wonder at my baby.

I feel the weight when I rise, go down, roll over in bed. Every time I get up I wonder how so simple a task could be so hard. The pressure shifts. My joints barely cooperate.

My kids drain me. That’s pretty much all.

I do it one more time. I do it a hundred more times.

I should be in better shape. I should have taken better care of myself. I should eat better.renegademothering.com disaster

You think I’m feeling sorry for myself.

I am, though it doesn’t manifest in inactivity. I wake up in the morning and think “I can’t.”

But I do.

Not because I’m some fucking martyr, but because there’s no other choice. It’s a job. You get up and fucking do it.

I look at the calendar and wonder how much longer. How much longer will I be teaching these classes? Standing for hours at a time. Standing until my hip and thigh go numb. I took on too much, I guess. I took on too much but we need the money. A woman in Austria told me pregnant women get 8 weeks standard time off before the baby comes. I went to Austria. Austria is nice. Do they take Americans?

They say “You should feel blessed and lucky to be 30 weeks pregnant with a healthy baby.”

What a lovely family you have.

What a sacred thing.

Well, it doesn’t feel sacred now, motherfucker.

It feels like work. Grueling, brutal work. It feels like relentless work, like the kind that robs you of your air and laughter and body. It feels like taunting teasing heavy heavy labor.

I wish they’d stop calling it sacred.

I wish they’d stop talking about motherhood like it’s some sort of gentle rainbow across a bucolic meadow. I wish they’d stop telling women like me who are barely doing it that “motherhood is the most important job in the world.”

Is that true? Is that really true? Then what does it mean that I suck right now? What does it mean that I just cannot pull it together and I probably won’t for at least 2 more months?

I am failing my kids. Myself. My husband.

Right?

The weight of the souls of 3 kids. Their futures. Their whole beings: It rests on me, right now, ME this broken human who hurts and took on too much and can’t or won’t do much of anything beyond getting through, barely, trying not to get mad today, to keep it under control when all I want is for it to end – RIGHT NOW – this pregnancy – this job – the finances and futures and laundry – I’m crushed under it all (And what were we thinking anyway? And will it be worth it and how will we handle it all?)

Are these lives really on my shoulders, right now? Am I all there is?

 

No. I don’t think I am, and I wish you’d stop making that shit up.

The fact is that motherhood is important, and my role in the lives of my kids cannot be diminished or overlooked or ignored, but it’s also a fact that sometimes humans suck and my kids will be just fine.

Sometimes this shit is sacred.

SOMETIMES THIS SHIT IS NOT SACRED AT ALL.

Sometimes it’s day after day of just pulling through and wondering when things will chill the fuck out again. Sometimes it’s wondering what exactly you were thinking. Sometimes it’s searching for the meaning in all this work, just like any other job.

Only with this job, you’re raising America. With this job, you break souls. With this job, the world looks at you and yells “YOU DID THIS TO YOURSELF. Figure it out.”

Do you realize how insane that is? We tell women “motherhood is the most important job in the world” but then bash them for struggling with it.

 

Incidentally, it’s not the most important job in the world.

Let it go, people.

I am a mother, but I am a whole lot of other things, and right now, I am a woman who is totally and completely NOT FEELING IT.

Will that ruin my kids? Probably not.

Will that crush their little hearts? Doubt it.

Rather, they’ll probably learn that people struggle sometimes and battle personal demons and sometimes you don’t get the “best” version of a person. You get a piece of them. You get glimpses. You feel their love in splintered fragments, as it’s always been, because this is humanity. These are humans. This is as good as it gets for us.

Right now, I am the mother who doesn’t read stories.

I am the mother who can’t cuddle for more than a minute or two.

I’m the mother not tucking you in…getting you late to school, letting you watch too much TV, feeding you questionable dinners.

I’m the mother who doesn’t want to hear stories or endless toddler questioning and “what happened at school today?”

I’m the mother who doesn’t care.

I’m the mother not RSVP-ing to parties, forgetting commitments, not helping with projects.

I am the one irritated with the way the kids eat, the one telling them to brush their teeth because damn! That breath. Foul little creatures, really.

I am the mother finished, demolished, pulling herself up with nothing.

I go to bed.

 

I’m the mother in bed, who lies down at night and feels the weight of all these things, hears her own yells rattling in her gray brain, wishes she could be a woman who holds her fucking tongue and lets it go.

To preserve the sacred family. To stop messing with goddamn rainbow meadow and shit.

In 5 years she’ll be 16 years old. My first, nearly grown.

I turn my giant body and flinch at the pain of my back, and that thought.

In 10 weeks my toddler will gaze into the face of a new baby. She stomps in each morning “Can I cuggle (cuddle) with you?” I hold her though my bladder protests violently. In 10 weeks a baby will be in this bed too. Where will she fit? There will be times I cannot hold her. There will be times she is not the center anymore.

I close my eyes and hold those mornings.

I listen to my son breathe as he sleeps on my husband’s chest. I wonder how his first 2 weeks of homeschool went.

I realize it’s 5:30am.

I’m so tired.

 

I wish my love were enough, enough to make me the kind of mom who doesn’t cave sometimes, into some place only time can dissolve. I wish my love were enough to make me “strong enough” or good enough or pure enough or whatever the fuck it is that makes women capable of doing all this and feeling all this and finding themselves pinned to the ground by life and still, not yell at their kids. Turn off. Shut down. Crawl away.

Yesterday I read them The Tale of Tom Kitten.

Today maybe I will make some stir-fried chicken.

In 10 weeks I’ll birth a baby and find myself reborn too, with a gush of waters I’ll enter this family carrying a new extension of my heart, my blood, my life.

I’ll watch my family enfold him as they’ve done me, and I’ll kiss their heads with a whisper of thank you, for holding me as I trudge humanity. Motherhood. The shattered sacredness of today.

 

because they look like little rocker warriors.

because they look like little rocker warriors.

 

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This week…I’ve been repeating my mantra..and…it’s not really working.

by renegademama

 

  1. For the past few months, I’ve had a mantra. It’s very complicated. It goes like this: “All you have to do is get through March.” I knew this month was going to be a killer one. I’m teaching 5 classes: 3 at community colleges in 2 cities and 2 high school English classes for homeschool students. And I’m 29 weeks pregnant. On Mondays and Wednesdays I’m gone from home for 12 hours straight, working. I used to “relax” and “rejuvenate” (did that make you laugh out loud too?) on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Fridays, but now I teach two of those days too. So basically I just want to off myself.
  2. Had I known this would be the month Georgia’s preschool would suddenly close, AND the month wherein we would decide to pull Rocket out of school, I would have just thrown in the towel on March 1. You win, motherfucker. I’m out.
  3. I wake up every day thinking “I can’t do this.” I can’t get up. I can’t get them ready. I can’t drive the hour it takes to get the three of them dropped off (Ava is still in school in our old town 30 minutes away, and Georgia’s preschool is 30 minutes away from that). I can’t prepare these classes. I can’t stand and teach. I can’t grade these papers or write or send those emails or find shit or do laundry. I can’t. I can’t do my life.
  4. And then I get up and do it one more day. Sometimes I text my best girl and she tells me “You’re already doing it.” And she’s right. Our greatest struggle, our hardest time, we’re often already doing it.
  5. Ava went to her first dance on Friday night. A 6th grade dance. She was worried her dad wouldn’t let her go so she told me “Hey mama I’m just gonna tell daddy it’s a ‘social.’ I mean it’s a 6th grade dance. It’s not like anybody dances at 6th-grade dances. People are way too freaked out for that.” I think it’s funny that I have a 12-year-old observing and analyzing the social dynamics of other 12-year-olds. That’s normal, right?
  6. We have pulled Rocket out of school. He is being homeschooled by his grandmother out on their ranch. We are working together but she has essentially taken it over. I am one lucky woman, and so is my son. There is no way he could be homeschooled by me right now.
  7. He was coming home from school with headaches every day, learning absolutely nothing and losing his soul (from what I could tell). Maybe it was a terrible classroom. Maybe the school just wasn’t right, but it doesn’t really matter who’s “at fault,” right? It wasn’t working. Period. In the week that he’s been home, for the first time ALL FUCKING YEAR he was excited about something he did at “school” and told me all about it… “Mama! Did you know yeast can grow without sugar! We set up this experiment…” and “So there was this guy who started this bird organization (Audubon) and he had a ‘lifetime bird list’ so Nana and I started one and I already have two birds!”
  8. It’s nice to have my boy back. I’m glad this disaster of a school year left enough of him that he can be rebuilt. Cheers.
  9. Georgia is obsessed with the baby exiting my belly (admittedly, I can relate). As I mentioned on Facebook, I explained it comes out the vagina, and she said something involving milk and vaginas and I was like “no milk is boobs” and the whole thing was slightly disastrous. There was some hope of comprehension this morning when she said “So the baby comes out the bagina,” but then she announced: “But the bagina doesn’t make milk because it doesn’t have the recipe!” Right. Sure kid. That’s exactly what’s up.
  10. Why are kids so fucking weird?

And is this not, friends, exactly what an 8-year-old boy should be doing for his “school day?” Hanging with his grandpa, eating an apple out in the country?

photo-3

Ah, fuck it. I have no idea what kids “should” be doing and I have no idea what’s right or wrong or good or bad with any of this. I’m just trying really hard to keep my boy’s spirit and curiosity intact (or at least not diminishing before my very eyes).

I’ll do anything to not lose him.

 

Also, hey. In case you forgot (since it’s been so long), I used to write these “week in review” posts on Sundays. I’ve kind of gotten out of the habit (um, understatement?) but I’m going to start writing them again (maybe every 2 weeks?). And at the end of these, if I have a new sponsor, I’m going to tell you about that sponsor. And I’m really, REALLY excited to tell you about this one.

Heather Thorkelson is the founder of “Republic of Freedom.” Her title? “Architect of Freedom, Idea Generator, and International Sherpa.” Or, in fewer words: a fucking badass, real-deal life/business coach for people trying to build a livelihood rooted in freedom. For people like me who have a vision, desire that vision, know the vision is possible but have no fucking clue how to get there.

She helps us get there. She’s done profoundly interesting things. She is living a life most of us only dream of (um, she just got back from some crazy trip to Antarctica with some team of researchers or some shit and then she was in Peru and apparently her 2014 will be in “Canada and Europe”). But she started terrified, too.

I don’t call people “inspiring” because, um, most people aren’t. It’s a word so overused it’s degenerated into platitude. But when you see a human living a life of freedom, her definition of freedom, a life that she designed  rather than some other person’s version of “success,” well, that’s some actual inspiration.

She has helped me personally, and in a time when I was ready to throw in the towel on everything I was trying to do. (writing, etc.). Here was my email to her: “You’re amazing. I can’t believe you’ve just helped me like this, outta the blue. Thank you for carving a path for me. Helping me see shit. You really are fucking awesome and I am elated we’ve crossed paths.

Jesus. What luck. I feel empowered and alive.”

Republic of Freedom

 

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17 Comments | Posted in weeks of mayhem | March 16, 2014

Dear Internet: I hate your “new study”

by renegademama

I sure love it when a “new study” hits the internet, particularly if it relates to some super-heated parenting topic. It’s just so fun. All of a sudden, all the people have new “evidence” to sling at the “other side.”

All the humans now have “irrefutable proof” that they were, after all, right as fuck and you were, absolutely 100% (as they always suspected!) WRONG. So they shall post it on Facebook with a barely perceptible shrug and smile, just so damn happy to have this “new science” validating their opinions.

No worries if it refutes 20 years of prior research. No worries if it’s profoundly biased and/or funded by a company with a vested interest in the outcome. No worries if it’s flawed in its research methodology or put together by high schoolers on mushrooms.

In fact, there’s no need to read any of the actual study! All you gotta do is read the article in the Huffington Post written by some asshat with as much relevant expertise as my toddler, summarizing the study and paraphrasing the “science” they don’t actually understand (or trying to, while remaining SEO effective, of course).

Forget they’re writing for a damn media source with a financial interest in sensationalism and the “latest trends,” (so they can trap new parents on Babycenter who are simply fascinated by this “new research”). And forget the emphasis on keywords and polarizing, extremist titles that will increase Google hits and traffic, translating into PURE CASH for the website. I mean, there’s nothing like a bunch of well-meaning parents to feed “latest studies” to by the spoonful.

Nothing sells like: “New Study Shows Breastfeeding is Over-rated” or “Research proves that homebirth kills” or “Study concludes pacifiers stunt emotional development.”

Here’s what they’re actually selling us:  You want to be “in the know?” You want to remain on the cutting edge of informed parenting? All you gotta do is read our 3rd-party interpretation of a “study” you’ve never glanced at, avoid  critical thinking at all costs and use what you read as “irrefutable evidence” to post all over Facebook, Pin, Tweet and email. This weekend, regurgitate at playdates. And then, bask in the glory of your rightness. All you need is a link, homie!

I mean how could you argue it? It’s science! It’s data! It’s REAL.

Obviously. There’s acronyms and shit.

Look, internet, unless you’re going to read the actual study, examine who funded the bastard, research the methodology (and have the ability to assess it in the first place), study what other experts in the field have to say about its outcomes, assess where this study fits into the larger picture (what else has been said over the years?)…I don’t give a flying rat’s ass about your “new study.”

Basically, one study means jack shit, even if it does validate your side of every flame war you’ve engaged in during the last 5 years.

One study is ONE MOTHERFUCKING STUDY.

You gotta look at overall flows, dude. You gotta look for patterns, for trends, for recurring information. I’m not a scientist. I get confused by words like “force” or “planet.”

My geology professor hired me in his paleomagnetic research lab because I got the highest grade in his survey course. I worked for him for a year or so while he tried desperately to explain to me 3-dimensional magnetic properties of rock (or some shit) – ultimately mumbling one day “Um I’m not sure science is your thing.”

Yeah, it’s not.

Neither is math. BUT I DIGRESS.

The point is that even a moron like me knows that science doesn’t work in giant, sensational sweeping movements, particularly if it involves lots and lots of humans. It’s not ALL GOING TO CHANGE because A study was published.

In other words, we’re getting played, people. They play on our desire to do right by our kids. They play on our devotion and love and profound fear of fucking up our offspring.

But you know what? These “new studies” may mean something significant within the field, but they are almost wholly irrelevant when it comes to my immediate, on-the-ground parenting decisions. They are contributing information to the discipline. They are lending new insights. They are donating to a body of research from which scholars can, over time, pull accumulated information that may actually inform my parenting.

But until then, it’s just “Oh good, another study I can completely ignore.”

And watch the shit-slinging begin.

Calm down, internet, it’s just one study.

SETTLE DOWN ASSHOLE.

Things are the same as yesterday.

 

www.renegademothering.com

in case you missed it the first time

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Journal entry: 3/5/14

by renegademama

On this day 5 years ago I woke up in a bed in mom’s house and it was not a special day. I had called in sick to work, again, and I was sweaty with a pounding head. The sun insisted on attacking my face. The bed was under the window, in prime sun-assault location. It was 10 or 11am. I probably heard a leaf-blower or gardeners, a car cruising by on its way to work, or somewhere, engaged in some life, somehow. My mother was at work. She let me come back to her house a few months earlier. My children were at school, though I didn’t drive them there and I hadn’t in months. Years?

My husband was at work. My dad and stepmother were at work. The whole fucking world was at work, or so it seemed. But I was in that bed, again. Twenty-nine years old at 10am in a bed in my mother’s house, shaking and sweating and not going to work, again.

Again.

More lies. More deceit. I knew that bed.

I rolled over and looked at the nightstand. I specifically remember rolling over and looking at the nightstand. Another day. Another 24 hours. Another span of failure, of deceit, of faking it. Another 24 hours of Tylenol and water and a shower, cigarettes and some food and smiling at my mom when she came home, pretending I was sober and she needn’t worry now. Another 24 hours of the haze in my brain, the low hum of failure rolling on and on and on in my gut until the whole thing is fog.

It clears with the first drink. Or it did, before, when alcohol still worked.

I had no idea why I lived the way I lived. I had given up examination. There was nothing left to explore, no corner left to illuminate. Five visits to rehab countless psychologists (DBT, CBT, Jungian, biofeedback!) psychiatrists and an institution of mental health – I take my pills to fix me. They never fix me.

I looked at the nightstand again. Books piled up. Glass of water. Maybe a journal I hadn’t written in. For years.

The sun keeping on and fucking ON and the cars going by and me, there, one more time a heap of not-in-the-world. Failure. Cannot hang. Cannot work, drive kids to school, be a wife mother daughter employee friend.

It crushed me, that truth. I have never felt a pain like the one that morning. I had never and probably will never again feel reality eat my heart and guts and soul into nothing. I writhed. I physically writhed under the crush of the other worldly.

I saw my life roll out ahead of me like a carpet might unroll across an empty room, or a street. A walkway. It went on for a long time, rolled fast and hard all the way to the end. I saw it all. I knew I would end up a desperate drunk. I knew alcoholism was THE ONLY OPTION FOR ME. I would die a useless alcoholic. And there was nothing, nothing I could do about it. Freedom was not for me. Life was not for me. I was not a victim. I deserved it. I made it. I lived it.

I am this. This is me.

I was out of moves. I was out of fight. I was out of new angles, approaches, bullshit. I had no new perspectives, ideas. I had not a single source of life.

The bottle killed me that morning.

You don’t have to stop breathing to die, you know.

 

It’s 8:49am on Wednesday, March 5, 2014.

I can’t keep writing. I have to take a shower so I can get to work on time.

My kids had some eggs this morning, my mom drove them to school because she helps me out on Wednesdays. I brushed my toddler’s hair and yelled at my tween to get off her brother’s case. I reminded my son to brush his teeth. When the kids got in the car I yelled ‘Have a good day at school!’ I walked in the house and had a cup of coffee.

 

It’s March 5, 2014.

It’s the best day I’ve ever had.

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27 Comments | Posted in alcoholism | March 5, 2014

Where the hell is my glow?

by renegademama

I’m 27 weeks and 1 day pregnant. You would think I’m in Peak Glow Zone. But I’m not. I think somebody has stolen my glow.

Somebody has stolen my glow and replaced it with hemorrhoids.

What? Too much information? TELL ME ABOUT IT. It’s too much information FOR ME and I’m the one dealing with it. I know things about myself I’ve never wanted to know. Regions of my body that should be ignored at all costs have become the central focus of my day.

I have an idea. Maybe we can stop talking about this for a minute or two and instead, you can shoot me.

OLD PEOPLE GET THIS.

Oh that’s right. Old people and lucky pregnant women.

So you call your midwife and she’s like “Don’t use that over-the-counter stuff it’s got mercury in it” (you hang your head, having already used it for two days you are sure you ruined your baby with mercury poisoning) but then she suggests potatoes and you’re like “You want me to do WHAT with potatoes?”

I’m sorry. Is this unpleasant? Of course it’s fucking unpleasant. This is what I’m trying to tell you. I’m supposed to be glowing but instead I’m being told to do ungodly things with potatoes.

One thing I know for sure: My glow has definitely not been dimmed by sleep problems. I mean, provided I meet a few simple conditions, I sleep like a damn baby.
You know, as long as

I’m on my left side or my right side (but not either side too long)

and I’ve got a pillow between my legs

and one under my belly and

one to hug,

and I have eaten recently but not too recently because heartburn

and we have the rear bodily region taken care of

and I’ve peed within the last 15 minutes and

it’s not too hot and

there are no weird smells in the air

and my husband isn’t snoring

and the dog isn’t snoring either and there aren’t offspring taking up the bed and making me really super fucking hot and the

baby isn’t poking my bladder with one of its 12 limbs

and it isn’t between the hours of 2 and 4 because those hours are for thinking not sleeping dumbass,

I sleep fine. I sleep great. I’m out like a motherfucking light.

Now that I think about it, there may be a small sleep issue harshing my glow.

Or maybe it’s the fact that my 3-year-old has recently learned the word “Never!” but not just never like standard never, she’s learned the never that’s stretched out, like “Neverrrrr!!” You know, the dramatic one yelled in response to the enemy force demanding that you “Surrender!” but instead you charge forward in brave defiance, wielding a sword and screaming “NEVERRRRR!”

And Georgia now says it about 174 times a day.

“George. Put on your socks.”

NEVERRRRRR!

“Georgia, come eat your dinner.”

NEVERRRRR!

“Georgia. Say you’re sorry for ramming your finger up Rocket’s nose.”

NEVERRRRR!

That shit will fuck with your glow, I tell you.

I should be a soft picture of maternal beauty, but at some point my softness morphed into a walking ball of STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING NOW or I may kill you. The other night at dinner I was literally going around the table telling each member of my family how they were eating wrong. As I was doing it, I knew it was insane.

Now ask me if I stopped.

NEVERRRRR!

Speaking of not stopping, maybe the glow diminishes with every empty carbohydrate you consume. If that’s the case, we have discovered the problem, folks. I’ve gained 35 pounds already (FUCK OFF SCALE) and it’s not healthy weight. I know this because I’m not eating healthy food. I mean I do sometimes. It’s not like I’ve consciously eliminated healthy food. I just supplement it with the occasional almond croissant. On occasion. Occasionally. Somewhat regularly.

Somebody give me a glow.

I haven’t bought any baby stuff because Jesus who has time for that shit?

I want to get excited but all I am is uncomfortable and tired and trying to figure out how the end of the third trimester has come 2 months early and how it is that my entire lower region is being held together by strings (that’s what it feels like, not actually what’s happening) and WHAT, exactly, compelled this whole circus.

I want to be glowing, but I’m a dim flickering bulb, barely doing its job and annoying the shit out of people.

The other day my husband watched our 3 kids walk out of the room and with a very serious face asked “Why did we think we needed another?” and the truth is I really couldn’t answer and NO it’s not that I don’t want this baby and NO it’s not that there’s any doubt in my mind that the second this child locks eyes with me and I inhale his (her?) heaven breath and watch the petal mouth root for my breast that I will think to myself “Oh. There you are. How did we make it this long without you?”

But for now, when I’m supposed to be “committing to a nursery theme” (we have no nursery) or joyously picking out a “going-home outfit” or planning a “baby moon” (what the fuck is a “baby moon?”) or laying around fantasizing all day about fingers and toes and dimpled elbows I’m like “Leave me alone so I can soak my ass in some Epsom salts.”

And then I hop onto Old Navy to buy my svelte little body some maternity clothes and I see this broad:

021814_US_AllJeansOnSale_dp_mat

and while she’s skipping all joyous and shit like some sort of blond happy swan I’m like “Where’s the Metamucil, assholes?”

It’s all so hot. I’m just so hot.

My glow, it’s everywhere. In all the places.  Can you feel it? I’m a radiant ball of reproducing glory.

Somebody hire a photographer so I can take those maternity shots where the mom makes a heart with her fingers and holds it in soft sunlight over the gorgeous arch of her womb.

Yes. Please. Let’s do that. That will be cute. I feel so cute right now.

Can’t you see it in my face? The double chin? ANYWHERE? (No seriously I could’t even muster the energy to look away from the damn phone or attempt to “smile for the camera!” Couldn’t be funny. Couldn’t be cute. Could only push button.)

the face of joy

the face of joy

I’ve got 13 weeks to get my motherfucking glow back.

THIRTEEN WEEKS.

Think I can do it?

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Dear readers, expect some changes up in here.

by renegademama

Hey there.

So, check it out. When I started this blog about 3 years ago I did it for one reason: Because I wanted to know if the rest of the parenting world was crazy or I was. I spent a year walking around writing blog posts in my head. I’d write a whole thing while driving to work, get to work and do nothing about it. This went on until I couldn’t stand it anymore. Finally I said “fuck it” and wrote this.

I had about 30 readers. Twenty-nine of them were blood relatives. I promised myself I’d never write out of obligation. I never expected anything beyond having some fun. I never expected anything at all, actually.

But over the past three years, as you guys have come and stuck around and shared my posts, a whole lot of opportunity has come my way from this, and to my endless surprise it looks like I may have a chance to be a real writer.

Alright that’s bullshit. I’m a “real writer” now. What the hell does that even mean? I’ve been writing since I was 9 years old. A lady in church handed me a journal and said “You should write every day.” So I did, because it sounded like a good idea.

Writing became like air to me. I’d vomit across those pages before I went to bed. I kept paper in my car, in my bag, in my backpack. The last pages of my school notebooks were covered in crap poetry and barely legible prose. In high school, I’d drive to the ocean by myself and sit on the beach, smoke cigarettes and drink coffee and write my whole existence across the pages of a journal. I was so deep when I was 16. I’d listen to live Dead on the way to the beach and contemplate life, so by the time I got there I’d be all hopped up on Jerry and angst and waves against fog and salt air. I wrote through college, and I wrote a little after having my first baby, but then alcoholism choked me and I stopped, almost completely, for 7 or 8 years.

I was too dead to create.

When I came alive again, I found you guys.

And here’s what I want to say: I’m going to try to make a living out of this writing thing, and the first thing I’m going to do is start selling ad space on my blog. In the next couple days you’ll see them appear on the sidebar. Tomorrow the “Hire Me” page will change to “Hire Me/Sponsor Me” and there will be info and prices and stuff. My monthly hits (thanks to you) are high enough that I can do this and possibly earn enough to make it worth my while. We live a simple life. I’m not looking for riches. I’m looking for a way out of working my ass off for barely anything so my family can keep eating. I won’t be throwing whatever the fuck on my blog. You won’t have flashing toilet paper ads up in your grill. If it isn’t a service/business I can get behind, you won’t see it on my sidebar. That’s a promise.

I’m also considering selling merchandise. I’m thinking mesh caps with the mohawk kid logo. I’m thinking shirts that say “Try not to be a dick.” Maybe “Mothers united in the fight against helpful parenting advice.” Maybe some of those crazy ass bumper stickers I made.

It’s not deep. It’s like: “Hi. I need money. Buy a fucking t-shirt.”

Is this selling out? Probably. Not very “renegade,” right?

Yeah, well, if trying to make a living from something that arose organically from my own work so I can spend more time with my family and pursue the art that pretty much defines me makes me a “sell-out,” then I’m a motherfucking sell-out.

I want to write books. I want to make a living writing books. I can’t do that if I’m killing myself working at outside jobs and raising kids (which I’m doing now), so I’m going to try to open up some time and space through this blog. There just isn’t time to work and have kids and write big shit. I need a room of my own. I get you, Ms. Woolf.

Who knows? It might actually work.

Incidentally, part of this is your fault. You keep asking me to write a book. You keep telling me you’ll read it. And you’ve given me fire, and hope, and a sense of direction. It’s weird to figure out what you’re supposed to be doing via accident.

That’s how I know it’s real, I guess, because I didn’t set out to “be an artist” (although my personal goal in life is to get on NPR and be the one writer in the history of mankind to NOT SAY PROFOUND SHIT).

I set out to find, and connect, and do what felt right. I did what I needed to do because there was no other choice. I would have gone insane had I not started writing this thing. It was like a rabid dog scratching at my brain. Eww. Imagery.

The results have been more than I ever imagined, and I’d be a motherfucking fool to not see how deep this rabbit hole goes.

And I’d rather be a sell-out than a fool.

At least I think I would.

Anyway thank you. I just wanted to let you know, and thank you, again, for all of it.

 

P.S. I really, really want your feedback on all this. Please share your thoughts, ideas, opinions. I mean it. I will use the info to guide this whole thing. Unless you tell me I’m a sell-out, in which case I’ll just respond “Yeah. Duh. We’ve  been over that.”

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109 Comments | Posted in posts not fitting elsewhere. | March 1, 2014