HOT MESS

Five weeks.

Baby #3 is five weeks old already. It feels like it’s been five years, and also, five minutes all at once. And you guys, I’m so fucking. . .

TIRED.

You thought I was going to say in love didn’t you?

No. Tired. I am fucking exhausted as fuck.

I mean, yes I am in love with my baby. Over the moon, practically first time mother level to be quite honest. My social feeds are ridiculous and phone’s memory has been evaporated by baby pictures. This little boy is so fucking CUUUUTTTTEEE.

But that’s not my point, today. He is adorable. I am delighted to be a mother again. But I am also, as you may have caught on— Continue reading

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STORIES

The holidays come with a lot of stories each year.

No, not Santa stories. Not Hanukkah stories. Not even family blooper stories, although all of those do get shared as well.

Instead, it’s the stories I tell myself — I’m not giving my kids enough. I’m giving the kids too much. I don’t give the kids enough consequences. I give them too many consequences. If my kids love their stepmother, it means they love me less, and that I am insufficient and inadequate. If they miss their dad, it means I’m not doing my job well enough. I can’t fully forgive him for the hurt he caused me because he doesn’t forgive me either. He doesn’t deserve to be happy, but I do.

I’m not doing enough, there is more for me to do here, and there, and there, and also there. I am only of value if I am doing something. Nothing I do is ever enough to be excellent.  

I’m too different for the rest of my family to like me. They just don’t get me, and they don’t want to. I’ll never be the kind of normal required to be loved fully by my parents.

Yes. Those stories. Those scripts. Those tapes. Those records.

Continue reading

EAT SHIT?

I keep reading and seeing and all but running into quotes about the shit sandwich. Kristen and Rachel wrote about it today. Elizabeth Gilbert talks shit eating in Big Magic, and she got the idea from Mark Manson. The premise is simple — there is no pleasure without struggle. No free rides. No success with effort. You don’t get to the finish line by simply staring at it, you have to be willing to do the work.

And I super get that. And agree with it. And believe it.

And, I’ve been holding onto this premise that there is some magical exception to the rule, and maybe I could be it. I suppose I believed that if I tried enough varieties of shit, put my time into testing them out and paid my dues, then I’d get to live the rest of my life basically shit free.  

As in, I could just write, and teach yoga, and live simply with my adorable family on a beach somewhere and it would all be champagne and cake from there.   Continue reading

THE THING

When I was 16, this girl at a leadership camp we both attended said at the end of our week about me “There’s just something about Michelle. You can tell just by being around her that she’s going to do something really great.

Every day since that day, I’ve been wondering— BUT WHAT?  

So I went into teaching. Because I loved kids, and I loved working in a place where my work made a difference in real time and in the future. I went to college, and got all the degrees, and all the credentials and all the labels that said “Teacher.”

Being a teacher seemed like it was going to be a really great thing. Probably THE Thing. Except it wasn’t. Not then, for me, anyway.

I put in a solid and commendable effort too. Eleven years in Elementary Education including a three year stint in School Administration, and then five semesters as a College Professor. And I was a good teacher. I made a difference. I know I did great work.

But instead of lighting me on fire, it was burning me out.

Continue reading

CORE

So last Monday, a week ago, I had surgery to repair an umbilical hernia I’ve been ignoring for the last eight years. Per usual, I thought it would be no big deal. 60 minute surgery, home before noon, likely working again by 1pm.

Only, to no one’s surprise but mine, that’s not exactly how it went down. I was in pain and disoriented for a the better part of last week, and an emotional jack-in-the-box through… well, even today.

It was so much more than I’d bargained for, losing the ability to move from my core.

I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t sit up without support. I couldn’t reach for things. I couldn’t hug my kids close to me. I couldn’t eat normally and I couldn’t exercise, not even to take  a simple child’s pose. I couldn’t even wear my regular clothes because of the swelling.

Nothing was normal. Nothing worked like I was accustomed to it working.  Nothing felt . . . certain.  

Old stories crept in. Stories of being not enough, not doing enough, being too much of something, or too little of another, or just simply — wrong. I felt completely powerless. Continue reading

TURN THE LIGHTS ON

Colleague:

So, do you like, think that thinking positive things changes your like, energy? And that negative energy changes it too? Like, does it really matter? Do your thoughts actually change your. . . reality?

Me:

YES! EXACTLY YES. YES. YES. YES!

This was about three-quarters of the way through a really great conversation about energy, science, the law of attraction, about responding and not reacting, and why positive thinking matters. Because it does. It changes everything.  And so does negative thinking.

When things are running smoothly it’s easy to stay positive, life is good, and noticing and admitting that comes naturally. But when things get. . . messy, tense, uncomfortable, painful, and awkward, well, you know how it goes—

Alexander and his Terrible Day, Episode VII.

The negative thought pattern is swift, and we can go from a place of light to one that is very, very, very dark in just a half a breath. But, of course, and also, you can choose to turn that light switch back on whenever you want.

You’re controlling the electrical panel of your life, and you can choose which fuse to flip, and when.

Here’s an example, from the same day. Continue reading

Make a Mess

Burned turkey, raw turkey, turkey jerky, turkey in the snow, turkey on the beach, turkey from the store, turkey in Nebraska, and Hawaii.Turkey on a hilltop, turkey in a valley, turkey with my family, and turkey with my fRamily. Turkey for five, turkey for thirty-five, turkey in silence, turkey in jest, turkey served by me, and turkey served to me. Turkey with my ex-husband as he avoided my family, and, tomorrow, turkey with my new husband as he meets them.

So, yeah, I’ve done Thanksgiving a few different ways, in a few different places, with a few different people. It’s very. . . Michelle of me.

However, these three things still hold true— pie, messes, and uh, turkey gratitude. These, I can count on being at the table each year.

And so, in tribute to said symbols of my past, present, and future Novembers, this year, I’d like to focus on the last two, particularly, Continue reading

LIKE REAL PEOPLE DO

As I write this, it’s now after 10pm. I’m up, working on work projects, sitting on the couch next to my boyfriend while he works on his work projects. In between, in the pause, we’re sipping wine and working on OUR project.

It’s late.

We’re tired.

And happy.

This is becoming a regular thing, the up late and working together bit. We’re building some great things, here, together, in this new space we’ve created. Some really great things, actually.

We’re taking our mutual interests and skillsets to good use, and growing something bigger than each of us. We’re making our own baby. Continue reading

I DID IT ALL FOR THE COOKIE?

When I finished my first Yoga Teacher Training I recieved a bracelet infused by my teacher with a metaphorical “Chocolate Chip Cookie,” I was confused by this, to say the least.

My clarification came as “well, you’re hard on the outside, but warm and gooey on the inside.”

This pissed me off. A lot. I did not like this. At.All. This, was NOT what I wanted to hear at the end of my 200 hours of sweat and tears. I wanted validation, not another assignment.

Because, I am not, a chocolate chip cookie, thankyouverymuch. I am nice, and warm, and approachable, and EVERYONE LIKES ME! Continue reading

WHAT I AM

So I’m on a(nother) trip this weekend, at a(nother) training, getting (even more) connected to myself, my thoughts, my actions, my habits, and who I really am.

 I just can’t get enough of this shit— it’s awesome.

The topic of this conference, in keeping with my summer tour-de-self vibe,  is “Getting To Know Yourself: The Truth Will Set You Free.”

Sounds kinda like the theme of my life story. Hell, it sounds like the theme of pretty much anyone’s life story. Well, anyone who’s willing to do the work anyway.

Because not everyone is willing. Not everyone wants to grow and change, and not everyone wants you to either, actually. Continue reading