What I’ve Been Doing Instead of Writing

Happy New Year, friends!

Ok, ok. The new year started nine days ago. I’m a little late to the game. But you know what? Technically, a new year starts every single second so there.

I decided to give myself a break from writing what with a two month old and the holidays and what not. But at some point, a break can become a state of being so I forced myself to take time to actually write.

It’s not that I don’t have anything to write about. But it is a muscle that has taken a good 3-5 month break because let’s be real, I haven’t written much in the back quarter of the year.

I couldn’t even get it together for the typical 2016 round up posts like my top posts of the year, my top Chinese posts of the year, my top books, etc.

So, what have I been doing instead of writing both to relieve stress, exercise my brain, as well as entertain you lovely people?

Here then, is a handy list:

1) Munching on Sasquatch.

Look. He’s two months and change and fat. SO DELICIOUSLY FAT.

He’s my last baby so dammit, I am his sole source of nourishment and he’s gotta be 15+ pounds by now and I MADE THAT so you know what?

I GET TO EAT HIM.

2) Playing Two Dots and its sequel, Dots & Co.

Instead of doing something productive like reading or writing or parenting, I play this mindless game. I’ve even thrown money at it. I’m not too proud to admit that.

I even got my brother, my sister-in-law, Cookie Monster, and some friends addicted.

I’ve done my duty to society. You’re welcome.

3) Read.

I finally got off my ass and started reading again. Ok, I guess I haven’t really stopped reading so much as took a month or so break from reading fantasy novels that really are a huge time investment.

It has been glorious.

I will be doing a book post soon so I will expound on those books then.

But needless to say, reading has been awesome. The authors are really stepping up their game.

However, this does cut into my sleep so I am tired. A lot. And this also does not help with the writing thing.

4) Stalked and overshared on Facebook.

Ok, that really isn’t any sort of new behavior. But it certainly has taken up a lot of my time.

5) Adulting.

Yes, yes. I have gotten a head start on my goals for 2017 and actually started to pay medical bills on time. (Seriously – this is the first time out of the four babies I have actually paid for the birth bills within six months of the baby appearing.)

I also submitted insurance claims and opened brokerage accounts and transferred money and added beneficiaries and made sure that if Hapa Papa and I were to both die that Sasquatch would get his fair share of our loot.

Priorities, people.

6) Avoided reading the newspaper.

Even though I have a digital subscription to the NYT and used to also read HuffPo religiously, I have completely stopped reading articles unless they are posted on Facebook.

I think I got burned out on the news during the election.

I know I should go back to reading because being informed during the Trump Presidency will be key to making sure our rights aren’t eroded and stolen out from under us.

But still. I needed a break.

7) Using my Instant Pot.

Okokokokok. I don’t want to overstate my actual usage. But I’ve used it 5-6 times since my friend came over and made me dinner so I consider it a win.

It doesn’t really take up that much time. I just wanted to brag.

8) Texting.

Again. Not a new thing. But I want to be honest.

Now that I list things out, I feel a little embarrassed. After all, you can’t call yourself a writer if you’re not writing.

(Although, really. Is it a constant state of writing that makes you a writer? Or you have to write a certain percentage of time? I mean, if you’re not actively seeing patients, you’re still a doctor, right? So how come you can only call yourself a writer if you write? Sorry. Tangent.)

Anyhow, this is just a pre-emptive pronouncement that there are BIG THINGS coming down the pipeline. And by BIG THINGS, I mean, just the usual. I just wanted to hype myself up to get excited about writing again.

Mostly, I just need to get back in the habit of writing and re-learning the fact that I can no longer dedicate huge swaths of time to writing (among other things) and need to figure out how to work productively in short spurts of time.

You know, be an actual grown up.

Alright. That’s it for today. What have you been up to during the holidays? Let me know in the comments.

My Love is an Act of Will

LoveIn case you missed my performance back in May, here is a video of my reading for Listen to Your Mother SFI’ve included the transcript of my piece after. Also, please do check out the entire line up for Listen to Your Mother SF 2016. They are hilarious and moving and fantastic women with wonderful stories. You will not regret!

“Mama,” said Gamera. “I love Daddy more-er. He’s the funnest.”

Twice a day, my 4 year old daughter, will inform me without fail that she loves my husband more than she loves me.

She has her reasons.

He was her first word. He’s way more fun. He plays with her (especially that awful Cooties game that I would rather stab my eyes out than play). He takes her to McDonald’s and indoor play spaces and to the park.

He calls her “Sweetness” and “Baby Girl” and cuddles with her at night and throws her onto his shoulders and plays Tickle Monster until she collapses into giggles on our bed.

He is the funnest.

And most of all – he rarely yells at her.

For the first eighteen months of my oldest son’s life, I never yelled or raised my voice in anger. I used to be so proud of myself.

Gamera never got to meet that person. She was six months in my belly and had another three months to go. By the time she showed up, I was tired and overwhelmed and had made yelling a way of life.

It was slow at first. A slow ramping up of fury until it broke over my small children in a consistent wave of screaming and yelling.

And later, at two and a half, she would defend herself and her older brother, holding her ground. “You don’t know what you talking about it!” she would stomp, face red with scowling, arms crossed in indignation. “Mama, you’re NOT kind!”

So I totally get why she loves my husband more-er. Who wouldn’t?

Before I had children, I thought love would be effortless, flowing through me as water from snow melt.

Who would have ever predicted it would be like squeezing blood from a stone?

Who knew love could be so hard – especially when it sent the dark corners of my heart into stark relief?

Of course, I knew that love was not always easy. I had plenty of experience of that in my romantic relationships. And I knew from growing up with an abusive father that love for our children could look much different than what I wanted for my own kids.

But I had thought – I had hoped – that I would be better. I would be different. I wouldn’t let my father win.

But I was broken still and my inner beast, the echo of my father – his script, his cadence, his very words – spilled hot and rushed through my trembling lips and clenched fists.

Of course, she loves her Baba more-er.

I accept that she may never know or understand that my loving her is an act of will.

Not because she is not lovable. She is. All my children are.

But I hope and pray that they will never understand firsthand how I clawed my way up from my despair, buried under decades of lies, denial, and self-protection.

That I love her when I ensure that the cycle of abuse will end with me and not be passed onto them.

I love her when in November 2014, I decided enough was enough and asked for help.

I love her when I choose to do the hard mental and emotional work when I go see my therapist every Friday and plonk down $150.

I love her when after a year and a half of weekly counseling, I have finally turned a corner and now rarely yell.

I love her when I get enough sleep.

I love her when I pay attention to what my body is telling me – and when I listen to my body.

I love her when I drop my armor of anger and apathy and allow myself to feel and process pain, fear, and anger.

I love her when I look at the hard truths of my growing up, my coping mechanisms, and their consequences.

I love her when I choose to walk away from her instead of scream.

I love her when I humble myself to apologize and ask her for forgiveness.

I love her when I let her feel what she feels and say what she thinks – even if it’s messy and dramatic and overblown and infuriates me to no end.

I love her when I model how to pursue healing.

I love her when I tell her that even if she loves Baba more-er than me, or is angry at me, or even hates me, that I will love her. That she can never lose my love.

I love her even though she loves her Baba more-er than me.

It doesn’t matter.

Because every day, my love for her is a hard won act of will. And that is enough.

Top 20 Reasons Why I Actually Live in a Frat House

If we’re friends on Facebook and in Real Life, you’ll likely notice a common theme regarding posts about my children. They’re a pack of wild animals.

No exaggeration.

It’s my fault, really. I don’t particularly care if the kids beat the shit out of each other as long as they don’t do it in public (I don’t want to look like a bad parent) or beat up other people’s children (because again, I don’t want to look like a bad parent).

I mean, I used to make half-hearted attempts to stop them. After all, isn’t their taking kung fu supposed to teach them discipline and proper shit kicking etiquette, et al.? And again, aren’t I supposed to care that my three children are often mostly naked and all I hear are their little fists pounding against each other’s flesh?

But then I realized that I don’t actually care and trying to tear apart my barbarians only pisses me off. I yell and try to enforce rules about not hurting each other only to get kicked in the face or whatever and quite frankly, it’s not worth it to me. If they wan’t to punch and kick each other, they are welcome to it.

In fact, I’ve gotten to the point where I tell them that if they hurt each other in the course of their actions, to not come to me and cry about it because I will just tell them it’s their own fault and that’s what happens when you beat the shit out of each other. It hurts.

They are a pack of vicious dogs.

Also? The keyword for this post really should be, “Beat the shit out of each other.” Seems to be a recurrent phrase.

So, in light of my children being a horde of uncivilized assholes, I submit to you the Top 20 Reasons Why I Actually Live in a Fraternity House:

1) To steal from Irish Twins, my life is full of genitals and injuries. If that’s not frat life, I don’t know what is.

2) My house smells a lot like farts and dirty socks. And rotting food. Especially in the couch area. Not sure why. And I may never discover the true reason (other than my children have sieves for mouths).

3) The floor is crunchy. And sticky.

4) The house is in complete disrepair. I’m missing blind slats, the carpet is for shit, there is not a surface that has not been urinated on (or hasn’t touched a naked bottom), floor tiles are loose, a toilet seat has been cracked for years, certain bathtubs have a permanently loose hot water handle that keeps falling off, and there are random “imperfections” in our walls.

5) I’m not sure what we eat, but I think it’s a lot of nuggets, pizza, and fries.

6) Did I mention that we have a lot of injuries?

7) And exposed genitals??

8) There are countless hours of HaloMinecraft, and YouTube being played.

9) I am always finding random socks shoved in weird places. But always only one sock. Never a pair.

10) My children know what a trash can is for. And yet, this knowledge somehow doesn’t translate into using it.

11) There are armies and armies of empty plastic cups laying around on flat surfaces.

12) Conversations are basically one long fart, poop, or pee joke.

13) Someone is always being wrestled, sat upon, punched, kicked, yelled at, or light-sabered.

14) No one goes to sleep at a reasonable hour.

15) The backyard is full of debris from destroyed plastic toys and disintegrated chalk and sand and rocks and miscellaneous crap.

16) Someone is always climbing or jumping or falling off of a chair/bannister/couch/random hangy thingy.

17) We are always out of food.

18) There is rarely any homework or “learning” going on. Did I mention that I homeschool?

19) Not a day goes by without at least one mention of penis, “gagina,” or butthole.

20) And finally, there are a lot of “fucks” thrown around (though to be fair, that is mostly from me).

So there you have it. Please tell me I’m not the only one?

Also, I’m pretty sure none of my friends will ever consent to come over ever again. Not unless I steam clean and/or bleach every possible surface area of my house. (And even with that, they will have to come over immediately after this deep steam occurs because otherwise, my house will revert to its base state of grossness.)

Hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day. See you soon!