Overheard on Facebook – For Vivian

So the wondrously multi-talented pharmacist/hairdresser/opera singer/fighter for justice Becky Boyd has a section on her blog called “Best of Facebook“.

I like the concept, enough to steal the idea from her (which is probably prohibited in the “legal disclaimer” section…hmmm. Do I need one of those? Or does my header suffice?). There are times when a Facebook status update turns into a rant, but one that might be worth sharing, worth capturing.

This one seemed to resonate with people, and Vivian’s dad has actually encouraged me to share it far and wide, so in her honor, here it is.

A 17-year-old girl from my church took her own life this week. There are waves of heartbreak and grief in the wake of it; the pain is unfathomable.

Although I didn’t know her particularly well, this haunts me nonetheless.

From the age of 14 until almost 40, I was almost constantly suicidal, whether actively or passively.

If I had access to this thing we call the Internet at 17, I’m not sure that I would still be here. And I honestly don’t know how I made it through my late twenties.

But I am here. God spared my life.

I wish He had spared hers.

I wish I could tell her that it does get better, that at some point you will look at your life and be shocked to find that you are glad to be alive. That you will someday gain a new appreciation for the line in the story of Pierre that reads, “He rubbed his eyes and scratched his head/and laughed because he wasn’t dead”. This odd, giddy feeling that life is here and it’s horrible and wonderful all at once, but it’s here to be lived, and that you are still here to live it.

I wish that I could tell her that she was loved so much more than she could possibly comprehend, and that, no matter how she might have felt in any given moment, that there were people who could not – who cannot – imagine life without her.

On Tuesday, I flew to New York overnight for the sole purpose of seeing the Macy*s Christmas windows. I got to spend time with an old friend, walk until my feet ached, and take in the sights and sounds and smells of the city. It was a ridiculous, impulsive trip, and it made me ridiculously happy, albeit a few hundred dollars deeper in debt.

If I had died at 17, or even at 27, or 39, I wouldn’t have had this moment. I wouldn’t be able to feel the subversive pleasure of doing something you can’t really afford, just because life is here…just because you can.

If I had died at 29, there are a dozen or more children I never would have gotten to know. A million little moments – things Elijah or Donovan say that have me doubled over in laughter, the precious smiles and hugs from Jacylyn’s beautiful twins, sweet little Elias talking about “Aunt Rain”.

These are the little joys in life. They are sometimes few and far between, but if we look, we can find them. And somehow, in the spaces between those moments, we live, and we survive, and we remember that the bad times don’t last forever.

Life is not just hard; It’s brutal. It’s agonizingly long at times. It sucks to be the one who doesn’t get to die. Life is both a gift and a burden, and sometimes both at the same time.

I wish I could tell her all of these things, but I can’t anymore. So I’m sharing it here, because someone you know may need to hear these things. Maybe you yourself need to hear it.

The pain does subside. You are loved infinitely more than you can possibly fathom. You are here for a reason. Don’t ever doubt that.

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes with the morning. And the morning does come.

Please, please, please, make sure you don’t miss it.

 

Planning some radical changes

…to my relationship with food. Does that sound over-dramatic? (so unlike me, I know!)

I am indebted to Michael Pollan, particularly his book Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, and to a slew of documentaries, including Forks over Knives, Fed Up, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, and others I am probably not remembering right now.

I don’t know how quickly I will do this, or whether I will jump in with both feet or make changes gradually, but here is what I want:

I want to be done with simple sugars, too much sodium, artificial ingredients, processed food.

I want to cut down – or perhaps eliminate completely – my meat consumption.

I want to train my body and taste buds to crave what is healthy. I want to explore ways to make *real* food exciting.

I want to be healthy. I want to have the energy to do the things I hope to do in the next twenty, thirty, or forty years that I have on this earth.

So much will have to change. I am already pondering how and when to say a final “good-bye” to a seemingly unending list of favorite foods…Krispy Kreme, Reese’s, cheesecake, newly-discovered chicken from a place that is (inexplicably) called Pizza Ranch (the pizza is meh, but the chicken!!!!!).I find myself trying to figure out how to plan a funeral/good-bye ceremony for each of these.

I am embracing the idea that my addiction to crappy food is as much (or more so) a physiological issue as an emotional one.

I am trying to imagine my life with these radically different food choices…what it will mean for my socializing over restaurant meals, my day-to-day food preparation, and so on.

This will be really, really hard. But I’m determined. Baby steps or big leaps, two steps forward, one step back, or spectacular failures followed by eventual success…I don’t know what it will look like…but I’m certain that it will be an adventure.

Stay tuned…

I found a treasure!

So I had completely forgotten about this. The funniest thing is that I have no idea how to get back into it because I don’t know which email address or account I used to create the blog. BUT I had painstakingly transferred all of my snarky Duggar posts (including the one that gave me the most hits EVER on my site) to this other blog, out of some misguided attempt to…I don’t know what. A friend told me that perhaps I should delete the posts if I was feeling sheepish about them, and for several years now I thought that’s what I had done…so to me, anyway, this is a treasure. Or maybe I’m just not a nice person?! Yeah…that too.

Anyway, enjoy the snark…if you dare!

http://antiduggarology.blogspot.com

random, whiny, unedited

(otherwise known as “would have made this my Facebook status, but that would have been super-obnoxious”)

I went to an orientation this morning for substitute teachers for a center-based special education program in a town about 30 minutes away from me. I don’t know if I will sub there a lot, but in part it felt like it was free training, and I think I also needed the motivation.

Motivation is not something I have enough of, today or any other day.

My eyes lit up when I saw the kids. I felt energized by the information that was shared. The assistant director of the school used the words “evidence-based practice” several times, and I was impressed with the facility and the energy of the place.

(It was a little bit…white, though. Maybe “white” is not the right word, but it felt too perfect…wealthy…insular. The names of the teachers were overwhelmingly of the same ethnicity, and it felt like a bit of an insider’s club. Maybe not fair to judge after an hour in the place, but let’s just say that it was clear that we were not in an inner-city school district.)

Motivated. Trying to remind myself that I need to push forward with this school thing and then I can be around kids all. the. time.

You think that would have spurred me on…go home, dive into the schoolwork, get this one class out of the way so I can go on to the next…

But no. I turned on the Uber app, hoping to cover my trip out to the boonies. Took two riders. Needed lunch; was craving Chinese food, so I stopped and got some. Carb coma ensued. Fell asleep (but not for long enough). Woke up. Went shopping for no reason.

I need to sleep, because I know it will help me to feel better. But I am sick of myself, sick of knowing that I could be moving forward, but for this invisible force that holds me back. Sick of my house being in total disarray…sick of the crap I eat that is probably making me more tired…sick of my days getting away from me and my constant level of disorganization.

My therapist tells me that she has nothing new to add to the situation, that I have the knowledge that I need…I hear her words, I know she is right.

But I am still stuck.

I am running out of time. I am wasting my life. I have barely twenty good years ahead of me career-wise, and yet I am driving towards this goal via the slowest possible route, even though the highway is easily within my reach.

And right now, I just need to go to sleep and tell myself that I will make better choices tomorrow.