Tag Archives: family

Naughty Dog (A-Z Challenge)

So I’m very tired and could not for the LIFE of me figure out a blog post for “N” in the #AZChallenge, but then my family dog Roxie did this:

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I apologize for the quality of the pictures but I was mad and the dog was biting my butt.

She has been digging at/ chewing up the carpet (which is 20+ years old) in the upstairs hall since I came home last month to heal my broken foot, but today took the cake. I tried to stop her from ripping it up but she just jumped and tried to bite my butt cheek, which is as annoying as it sounds, so then I was like, YOU NAUGHTY, NAUGHTY DOG! And then I realized “naughty” starts with “n” and here we are. So basically, the dog is badly behaved, my parents have to spend five grand on hardwood for the upstairs, but, hey, I got a blog post topic out of this SO IT’S ALL GOOD.

Seriously, though, she does not give a FUCK about this carpet, guys:

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Oh, did I do that? Oh, well.
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U mad, ho?

The problem with this whole situation is that naughty dogs are somehow even cuter than well-behaved dogs, unfortunately. Behold:

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Cute dog butt
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Cute dog face.

So even after she nips at my butt and eats the carpet and then vomits up the carpet pad in the middle of the night, I find myself petting her and stroking her ears and saying GOOD DOG!

And she wins. Every single time. She wins.

That naughty, naughty darling dog.

Sorry, gtg give this bitch a treat.

 

Please share links to pictures of other NAUGHTY dogs in the comments! I will also accept comments praising and/or condemning Roxie the naughty dog.

 

 

 

Sometimes We Are All This Delicious, Mangled Cake

Yesterday, it was twenty degrees out and snowing (IN EFFING APRIL), my broken foot was aching from the cold, and I was stuck in my parents’ house. I tried writing and failed because my head was foggy from weather-induced depression. The family dog, also suffering from cabin fever, was determined to spend the entire day either licking my nose or biting my right forearm (not sure why my arm and nose are yummier than other parts of my body) in spite of every treat, game, or other scheme designed to distract her. I was PMSing and on the constant verge of tears. So, after a few hours of trying to be productive and positive, I gave up on and decided I was going to bake an AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL chocolate cake with cream cheese icing from scratch, because IT WAS AN APRIL SNOWSTORM OF DEATH, SCREW EVERYTHING.

The cake itself turned out beautifully; the icing was easy to prepare and tasted great. Then I tried to put the icing on the cake, and it turned out like this:

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I don’t know what happened, but every time I tried to apply icing to the surface of the cake, it, like, tore the top of the cake up. I tried a knife, a spatula, a spoon, my fingers–it was all a bust. So, after mangling my beautiful cake with ill-applied icing for ten minutes, I gave up and began to cry.

Now, I realize that crying over a badly-iced cake is…not rational. But I was SO tired of the day, and my aching foot, and my foggy winter-in-April brain, and all I wanted was to PRESENT A PRETTY CAKE TO MY FAMILY AND EAT IT FRONT OF THE SAD-EYED, HUNGRY DOG AS RETRIBUTION FOR HER NIPPING AT ME ALL DAY! WAS THAT REALLY TOO MUCH TO ASK, UNIVERSE?

My mom, engaged in reading on her Kindle, basically rolled her eyes at my temper tantrum, and I snapped, “OH, FUCK IT!” and spooned a glob of cake-and-icing into a bowl and took a bite.

It was delicious. My parents had some for dessert and loved it, and the dog looked at us all as we ate with a satisfying mix of envy and yearning in her eyes (HA, DOG, THAT IS WHAT YOU GET).

As I sit here typing this and eating more of my leftover mangled cake, I realize that yesterday I WAS this cake: messy and ugly, but yummy inside. I took a useless, gross, bad-mood day and tried to make something good of it. We all do this–some of us more often than others–and the results are mixed. Sometimes we rally and create a beautiful masterpiece, complete with vanilla fondant and sugar roses. Sometimes, our best achievement is a shower and clean pajamas, and store-bought cake if we’re lucky. Most often, though, we end up somewhere in the middle, with a delicious chocolate-and-cream-cheese glob of almost-but-not-quite greatness to show for our efforts. All of these outcomes are okay, because despite the messy icing, we are all sugary goodness underneath.

Today, the sun’s out, and the cake will be gone soon if its current rate of consumption continues unabated, as will the snow. I hope you make the best cake you can today 🙂

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Witness the sad, cake-less dog in the middle distance.

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post; please leave a comment below, or share or like if you’re so inclined!

 

Bad Blood and Mad Love

You know that feeling when you wake up after a week of being sick and stuffed up and achy and the cold or flu or whatever the hell it was that was making you miserable is just GONE and you feel fabulous? That just-after-sick feeling? Well, that’s similar to the way I feel when the veil lifts after a depressive episode. After the crapfest that was the past few days, that’s how I feel right now. Flyin’ high, and also motivated as hell. I’m ready to kick depression and anxiety’s ass and take some names. I’m gonna get in shape and heal my foot and write thousands of words a day and learn to grill fish and take a multivitamin and be a movie star. I’m high and I’m singing to my mental illness, adapting the words of the glorious Tay-tay:

Hey depression: Remember when you tried to write me off? We used to be mad love, but after what you’ve dooooone, NOW WE GOT BAD BLOOD (HEY!).

This feeling won’t last, of course–that’s the thing about feelings, they never last. But it’s an important feeling. It’s an anchor, a dock I can tie my boat to when the waves get rough. It’s a third nautical metaphor I can’t come up with right now.

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It’s a compass to shore? Eh? No, that sucks. Sorry, shitty writer here.

It’s a high partially fueled by the amazing support I got in the comments on this blog, from facebook posts and texts from people I haven’t spoken to in years. It’s from knowing I’m not alone.

I wrote that post the other night in the aftermath of despair, wanting desperately to connect and pay forward the kindness my mother shared with me to the internet at large. I wanted to see if I could help others and let them know they aren’t alone. I did, to a certain extent, but those same people made me realize that I am not alone, too. Really realize it.

So depression and I may have some bad blood, but you guys and I? Y’all, we got MAD LOVE.

HEY!

Would love to hear from you! Leave a comment on this post, and do share and like, too.

 

 

Not alone

Be warned: this is an honest post about depression and self-harm, so don’t read if that is not what you need right now.

Tonight was not a great night. Depression combined with PMDD combined with injury combined with rain combined to form a cocktail of true shitty-ness.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before, but I have an intermittent history of self-harm. My depression and anxiety kick in, I get angry and disgusted with myself, and instead of just crying or shouting or hitting something else, I hit myself, usually in the head or leg, or both, to the point of bruising. Obviously, this is not good.

Tonight I was thoroughly convinced that I was a mean, fat, disgusting, stupid, lazy, weak-willed, worthless, uncouth, ungrateful, shallow, timid, and boring person, all at the same time. The cognitive dissonance required to think all of these things about myself at the same time was pretty impressive, but the result was not–I hit myself for the first time in probably over a year.

Besides the physical pain I caused myself, I also caused my mother, who saw me do it, emotional pain. I feel awful, and thinking about her distress brings tears of guilt as I type. But I am also grateful to her for helping me calm down and redirect the urge to hurt myself into actual discussion of my feelings, which she often shared when she had PMDD in her twenties and thirties. I’m grateful that she hugged me and dried my tears and told me she loved me. I’m grateful that she forgave me for the fear and hurt I made her feel by hurting myself.

I am lucky that I wasn’t alone.

I’m still somewhat stuck in a depressive a black hole, but my mother’s being present with me tonight was like a tiny sliver of light in that darkness. So I want to pass it on, right now, before I lose my nerve and delete this post:

If you are in despair tonight and there is no one there to comfort you, you are still not alone. There are millions of people who are with you. I am one of them. Even if no one is there to physically hug you and tell you that you are worthwhile, I will tell you now: you are not alone. You are a good person. How you are feeling is temporary, but whether this feeling lasts one hour or one day or one week or one month, you are NOT alone. 

Consider this a hug from me ❤

Love you.

 

 

The Thirty-First Year of the Jackie

So, it turns out that–despite the existence of alcohol and chocolate–I have made it to my thirty-first birthday. A year ago today, I was in a sort-of-impressive-sounding corporate job with a four-hour round-trip daily commute and an email addiction. I was really depressed, and so, shortly after turning thirty, I took a leave of absence which ultimately led to me quitting my job. It was the scariest thing I have ever done in my life, with the possible exception of going into that super gross hot tub at Myrtle Beach during our senior trip in college (those flesh-eating viruses are NO JOKE).

Now, one year into this journey off the beaten high-achiever path that I’ve dutifully followed for most of my life, I’ve achieved a new milestone: being proud of myself on my birthday.

This may not sound like a big deal, but for me, it really is. Once I was legally able to drink, I stopped enjoying my birthday. Every January 5th brought on a contemplative funk during which I lamented my lack of achievement and progress during the previous year: “Some people my age are olympic medalists! Half my friends have graduate degrees! Look at that guy; he’s only twenty-three and he makes so much more money than I do! Look at that girl; she’s only twenty-five and she’s married with a baby!  What have I done? Look at how worthless I am!”

I once expressed this attitude to one of my coworkers at Google a few years back. She was a pretty cool chick and refreshingly honest, and she was baffled by my view of aging. She’d lost a close family member at a young age and birthdays inspired gratitude in her–she was always happy and relieved to make it another year. I remember nodding and chastising myself internally for not being grateful enough for my birthdays and for not having cancer or losing an arm to that Myrtle beach hot tub, and then going right back to dreading early January and berating myself.

This year, however, is different. When it comes to traditional measures of success, this year certainly hasn’t touched most of those that preceded it. I can’t say that I work at a fancy company. I can’t say my salary is XYZ bucks per week. I can’t talk about awards or kudos or performance scores at work, or drop the name of any executives I work with.

What I can say, however, and what I’m proud of, is that I’ve had the most new experiences in the past year of my life than in the previous eight put together. These experiences ranged from good to bad to everything in between, but they made me think (and blog) about myself and the world deeply, and in different ways than I have before.

I experienced the joy of realizing that I could write, and write well(ish), and write enough words and sentences and paragraphs to make a whole book-type document that people might want to read. I experienced the excitement of getting an agent, and the subsequent anxiety and boredom of submitting to publishers.

I experienced the love of my family, and the grief of saying goodbye to a family member, albeit a furry one. I also experienced the excitement of welcoming a new love into my life, though this created drama with my old love, which was iced coffee (sorry bae).

I experienced the stress and exhilaration of travel, from people-watching the crazy costume-clad nerds of San Diego Comic Con to getting knocked up by food in Florence and trudging through the rain in Paris in super ugly shoes and seeing Britney dance way worse than when I saw her on tour when I was sixteen.

I witnessed two amazing couples get married on opposite-ish sides of the country and cried my eyes out both times because I AM A SAP, OK?

I experienced breakdowns and bad nights, and discovered new coping mechanisms to pick myself up when I fall or when the world seems too much to handle.

In short, I experienced life, and I had the time to really take it in, as opposed to watching it all pass me by. And, for the first time since I was a little kid, I’m proud of myself for that fact alone. I’m proud of myself for trying to live well, and I’m grateful to all those people (both IRL and on this blog) who have come along on the journey with me this year.

So, here’s to the thirty-first year of the Jackie! May the thirty-second be just as interesting, and may you still be interested enough to tune in and read about it once in a while 🙂

Love,

The Birthday Girl

 

 

The Single Millennial’s 15-Step Guide to Surviving the Holidays

THAT’S RIGHT, KIDDOS! It’s the most wonderful time of the year – if you’re rich, have excellent will power when it comes to eating and drinking, and are happily coupled.  Otherwise, as I well know, it can be a tough time, so to help you deal I present to you the Single Millennial’s 15-Step Guide to Surviving the Holidays! READ WITH CARE.

Step 1: Put up all your holiday decorations, including your organically farmed hypoallergenic spruce fir, energy efficient LED lights, and flameless menorah, all while enjoying the holiday stylings of Michael Bublé on Google Play! Check your calendar for the month to make sure you have all of your holiday parties and events scheduled. Make a detailed diet plan for those days when you’re not attending a holiday event to make sure you stay healthy and energized – and avoid putting on those extra holiday pounds! Pledge only to have 1-2 drinks per holiday event so as to remain hangover-free throughout the season!

Step 2: Mug of soy cocoa in hand, sit down to make your holiday gift list, including all your dear friends, coworkers, and family members. Smile as you plan fun surprises for the people you love the most in your life and imagine their faces lighting up with joy when they open your beautifully wrapped, thoughtful presents! And wow, that Michael Bublé can SING, am I right?!

Step 3: Though you have already planned out all your holiday events and shopping, you receive a last-minute invite to drinks with some friends the night before the company Christmas party. You decide to go, but you’ll just have one glass of wine – that won’t mess up your schedule!

Step 4: Wake up the next morning with a massive hangover. You’re unsure how happy hour at the wine bar turned into karaoke at 3 am, but you know you have to rally for the company party that evening so you try to hold back the vomit. You promise yourself that you will not drink at the company party – last night was a fluke, and it won’t happen again.

Step 5: Ok, so you got completely wasted at the company holiday party and dirty danced with your boss while your coworkers took videos and posted them to Instagram – so what? Everyone else was smashed, to0! Besides, the rest of your holiday events this season are with family and close friends, so you won’t be drinking a lot. What’s one night of letting loose? Also, thank the lord that they didn’t play any Michael Bublé.

Step 6: Still hungover from the company party the night before and in your pajamas, you go on Facebook at 2 pm and see a twelve-paragraph rant from your Great Uncle Ronnie about how Fox News says there’s a war on Christmas going on, led by Muslim-In-Chief NOBAMA, Planned Parenthood, and Feminazis.  Feel your stomach heave with too many mocha martinis as you thank your lucky stars you haven’t seen Great Uncle Ronnie in seven years and will likely never have to talk to him in person again.

Step 7: Around 4 pm, you receive a call from your mother informing you that Great Uncle Ronnie will be attending Christmas dinner this year and you will need to purchase a present for him. Take a long shower and cry from the DTs and then go to the bodega. Buy and immediately consume a Family Size bag of Ruffles Cheddar and Sour Cream chips. Go to bed at 7 pm full of self-loathing.

Step 8: You wake up early feeling much better the next day, so you decide to go online to attack your Christmas shopping. Let’s see…maybe a sweater for Lucy, and Eric might like that new book by Ta-Nehisi Coates…

Step 9: …Jesus Christ, when did sweaters and books get so damned expensive? You haven’t seen Eric since Halloween, so he probably won’t get you anything, either, and he can just buy that book on Kindle Unlimited if he wants it, anyways. And Lucy, well, that girl comes from money and her boyfriend’s always buying her expensive shit, so there’s nothing you could get her that she doesn’t already have. You’ll just get cards for everyone at Walgreens, that will be fine, right? You don’t need to spend money to show your love for your friends!

Step 10: Oh, shit, you have to buy something for Uncle Ronnie. According to his Facebook page, all he really wants for Christmas is an AR-15. You briefly consider buying him a copy of Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay but decide you do, in fact, want to survive until 2016. You order him the latest Michael Bublé Christmas CD instead. Take that, asshole.

Step 11: Attend your annual friend group holiday gathering. Every other fucking person there has brought gifts for you, and all you have for them are these damned Walgreens cards. Also ERIC GOT YOU A SEVENTY-FIVE DOLLAR GIFT CERTIFICATE TO TARGET ARE YOU KIDDING ME? You slink to the corner, ashamed, and drink the equivalent of two bottles of wine by yourself as you realize that not only is everyone else more generous than you are, they are all also in long term relationships and you are the only single person at the party. Are you the only single person BECAUSE you’re not generous? Is that why? Also, why is the host playing Michael Bublé music? Why are you alone? WHYYYYY AM I-

Step 12: Wake up feeling awful. Realize that after you blacked out the night before, Eric and Lucy had to pour you into an Uber during surge pricing and drag you up three flights of stairs to your apartment to put you to bed. Oops. If nothing else, you now owe them each a major apology gift. Get on the scale and decide that since you’re already fucked, weight-wise, you might as well go all-in. You order an entire large pizza and eat it alone while watching While You Were Sleeping on TV with commercials, even though you have the DVD on your shelf (you’re just too lazy get it and put it in). Fall asleep at 2 am with your head on the pizza box after watching your thirtieth commercial for the upcoming Michael Bublé Christmas special.

Step 13: Travel home for the holidays. Somehow, end up in the middle seat  on your six hour flight. Because of “high winds” your plane needs to land in Vegas for 30 minutes to refuel. Thirty minutes becomes ninety and you order three of those little bottles of wine to keep yourself sane as the two giant men on either side of you jab their elbows into your ribs and fart copiously.

Step 14: Arrive home and watch your parents bite their tongues to avoid commenting on your disheveled and bloated appearance. Go to your childhood bedroom and pass out for ten hours because, damn it, you’ve earned it, and you need to steel yourself for Christmas dinner with Uncle Ronnie, who’s told your mother via text several times that he’s really concerned that you haven’t found a man to take care of you yet and that it’s all Feminism’s fault.

Step 15: On Christmas morning, your mother lets you know that Uncle Ronnie is at home with gout and will not be attending Christmas dinner after all! Beam as you sit down with your family for the meal, and tear up as you realize that, hey, maybe there is a God, after all! Huzzah! Joy to the World, bitches!

Finally, after dinner, your mom tells you she’d like the whole family to join her in the family room to watch the Michael Bublé special, which she recorded on DVR.

WHHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYASYD;LAJS;GAKS?

In the name of Bublé, I wish you a happy holiday season.

 

 

A New Love

So I know that last week I became engaged to Iced Coffee, but I have a new love that has supplanted him: Roxie.

Here she is:

Roxie Face

Now, she only weighs 7 lbs, and is also a dog, but I am ridiculously in love.  Just look at her PLAYING IN THE DRIVEWAY!

(That is my mom saving her from eating mulch at the end)

In all seriousness, I was a bit nervous about meeting my parents’ new puppy when I came to visit them this week.  As you may recall, we lost our family’s beloved 14-year-old black lab, Jazzy, back in August.  It was a lot harder on all of us than I had expected – even my brother and I, who don’t live at home anymore, were devastated.   So while I was excited to meet this new family member at my parents’ this week, I also felt weird – would I be constantly comparing her to Jazzy?  Was I a bad person for wanting to meet and love a new dog when we had just lost such an important part of our lives?

Well, it turns out that while there have been some bittersweet moments when I still miss my old girl, Roxie, like all dogs, has her own separate personality, and loving her is as effortless, in its own unique way, as it was loving Jazzy.  Despite the fact that Roxie has these SHARP LITTLE RAZOR TEETH OMG I FORGOT PUPPIES TRY TO EAT EVERYTHING INCLUDING YOUR NOSE AND FINGERS.

Welcome to extended family, Roxie!  You’re my new love!  (Sorry Iced Coffee 😦 You’re just not as cuddly as Roxie is, and also you occasionally make me jittery.)

You CAN go home again

**Trigger Warning – this post discusses suicidal thoughts**

(yeah, I know, I’m that girl with a trigger warning on her blog post lol)

When I started this leave of absence I was really looking forward to going home, and then as soon as I got here I began to regret it.  Not so much because of the cold (and JESUS CHRIST IS IT COLD) or the snow (and JESUS CHRIST THERE IS SO MUCH MOTHERFUCKING SNOW I CAN’T EVEN), but because it didn’t immediately cure the depression I’ve been feeling since early January and, in fact, seemed to make it worse.  When I go home for vacations I generally feel a wave of relief as I lug my suitcase up the stairs and dump its contents on the floor of my childhood bedroom.  I sigh with contentment and prepare to regress into a blob in a sweatshirt who reads a lot of trashy novels and indulges in Starbucks mochas on a daily (or even twice daily!) basis, and I revel in it.

This time is different, though, because I’m not here for a break in between performance management cycles.  I don’t have a return ticket yet.  I’m here to rest, yes, but also to try to figure some things out, and to not be alone in an apartment while I do it, because I’ve been really sad recently and it can be dangerous to be alone and sad.

Last week, instead of dumping my clothes out on my bedroom floor, I emptied out my old chest of drawers for the first time in 15 years (fun fact: apparently I had a fondness in middle school for shorts with stuff written on the ass because I was #sofancy) so I could put my real clothes away.  I spent a day cleaning out my closet and desk so that I have actual adult living space.  I moved in, at least for a little while.

Instead of the relief I typically feel when coming home, I was listless and depressed.  My brain was on overdrive, running a loop of self-directed insults about my worthlessness, ugliness, and laziness on repeat.  My mom in particular kept asking me what was wrong.  At dinner on Sunday with my parents and my brother, things got bad.  I don’t remember exactly what was said, but basically my mom got frustrated and fell into the trap (which many family members of depressed people do, it’s common and understandable, if not useful) of trying to get me to “snap out of it” and “appreciate how good” I have it and realize that “other people are a lot worse off.”  I retreated into my room and didn’t come down until past midnight, when everyone else was asleep but her.

For the first time since the night in early January when I called her sobbing, we talked about real things.  Specifically, I explained the full extent of how I’ve been feeling since I turned 30.  I’d never told her all of it.

The Thursday after my 30th birthday, I spent the entire shuttle ride (nearly 2 hours) home sobbing quietly in my seat.  It took me 30 minutes to shuffle the two blocks from the bus stop to my apartment; I kept considering going back and throwing myself into traffic on Stanyan (not a very reliable suicide plan, but whatever).  When I got home I wrote a suicide note.  I thought about going up on the roof and jumping off (not the best plan either, in hindsight; a jump from my roof would likely only have maimed me, albeit badly). And then I called my parents.  I don’t know what would have happened if I hadn’t, but I think it would have been ok.  I would have called my therapist or the company emergency hotline, I think.

My mom was understandably upset to hear about all of this, but she was also relieved that we were talking about it.  She apologized for what she’d said earlier, and after an hour or so of talking I felt so, so much better, and still do three days later.

One thing we talked about is that a lot of people have suicidal thoughts.  It’s not uncommon, and it’s not something to be ashamed of or something that makes you weak or crazy.  The important thing is to get help and talk to someone, and realize that actions are different from thoughts.  I didn’t act that night, and I’m glad that I instead called my parents and have since discussed that night and how I’ve been feeling with my therapist, doctor, some friends, and now my mom.  So yeah, if you’re going through anything, please check out the many resources that are available and feel free to call a friend or family member to be with you until you feel safe!

Anyways, after having this conversation, I’m finally beginning to feel a little of that relief that I usually feel when coming home.  I don’t feel as lazy or useless and the monologue of insults in my head have quieted (even though I took a long nap today lol).  Part of me thinks that I had to come home just to have that conversation with my mom, if nothing else – to be able to look her in the eye when I told her how I’m feeling and know that, while she doesn’t always understand me, she loves me and will always try to help me no matter what I’m going through.

So yeah, I’m not entirely sure what this post was even about, but at the end of the day I’m glad that I’m here and am able to write this, I guess.  And yeah, if you ever do feel like you’re in so much pain that you would consider hurting yourself, call a friend, family member, or go to www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org or call 1 (800) 273-8255.

In lighter news, tomorrow my mother and I are going to a Muse Paintbar to paint a picture of a willow tree while drinking wine, so…that should be interesting!  Stay warm, my friends.