A secret confession:

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So the front door to our building hasn’t ever really shut properly. We’ve lived here for almost four years, and I can’t ever remember feeling the door slam CLOSED in that concrete way that doors are supposed to do. But that was fine, mostly, because I’m not good with locks.

Then, a few weeks ago, some guy got mugged across the street. We heard him screaming for help through our open window – B! called the cops while I flailed about, eventually bursting onto the scene, arms akimbo, yelling. The two dudes who mugged the guy had taken off up the street, and the victim seemed shaken but not really hurt. It was all of 10:30pm.

“We’re moving,” said B!, making a big scene of shutting the door behind him. “And we’re getting this thing fixed!”

I laughed.

Then, my key stopped working in the door that doesn’t close. And one day, inevitably, someone locked it while I was out at work. Luckily, I had arrived home in midafternoon and not after dusk – but that’s all it took to get me on the phone with our landlord making all types of demands.

“What is it that you need?” he asked wearily, finally returning my third voicemail.

I explained the situation, mugging and all, and the next day a locksmith was at the door. I gave him my sweetest smile and thanked him for his help, and my new key – magically! – worked just fine. It was a big relief, finally having a door that shut and a key that worked, because seriously the previous night I’d had to break in through the basement, climbing over the IKEA Wasteland of Broken Dreams that lives underneath our downstairs porch, IN HEELS NO LESS, to get to the rickety back door.

But, guys, here’s the thing.

I just realized.

My key wasn’t broken. I was just using the wrong one. For like, a couple weeks.

Hey, I SAID I wasn’t good with locks.


TBH, sometimes it’s like, FML. And that’s OK.

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I had it all set in my head to write this great “I Overcame My Eating Disorder” post, and then, unexpectedly, I had cause to watch some of my wedding video. It totally took the wind out of my sails, people. I was so thin then, and I mean, I LOOKED happy enough.

The gist of it was that my aunts came in to town last weekend – three of them – and of course it made me think about how my body has changed since last they saw me. And like, I don’t go around all the time feeling bad about how I look, but let me tell you I tried on my entire wardrobe before deciding what to wear when the whole family met up.

Thing is, I don’t know how to write about this. I don’t know how to write that sometimes I look in the mirror and literally do not recognize myself. I’ve been eating disordered since I was 14, and I always want to stay positive and light for teh interwebz but sometimes it’s just not that easy. If I want to keep writing, if I want to keep being honest, then I really have to admit. It is not that easy all the time.

Why do I want to share this? Why do I want to expose myself in this way? I mean, everyone’s weird about their body, right, why put it out there? Because nobody TALKS about how they’re weird about their body. Nobody TALKS about how it feels. And I think that’s important. At least, it makes me feel better to think that.

So we went out to dinner, my aunts and my parents and me, and we all had Bloomin’ Onion and steak and what have you, and the whole time I was feeling like this huge whale that probably should have gotten a salad instead of a filet mignon. And at the end of the meal, my aunt leans over to me and tells me how amazing I look. That I really look amazing.

This, from the woman who probably remembers me as I was in my wedding dress, all thin and beautiful. This is me then, just after the wedding, on our honeymoon in Mexico. What you don’t see in that picture is my bulimia. And now I don’t have that. It’s cause to be happy. It’s a reason to be proud.

Right?


Marriage Is A Human Construct.

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I considered posting this on Facebook, but quickly thought better of it. So why not post it on my blog, and THEN post it to Facebook. Amiright? Of course. So here it is:

I probably support gay marriage more than most people – certainly more than most people in North Carolina – but I have to say, I’m kind of over the “marriage as a human right” argument. Marriage is something we made up in our heads. I mean, think about it, initially marriage was just a transfer of property (daughter, dowry) between two families, usually to gain stature in the community. These days, it seems, it’s little more than a calculated risk made at a certain time in one’s life to fill expected roles and have a really awesome party. It’s not even a real thing, much less a human right. Like, I wouldn’t say that voting is a human right either. Voting is something we cooked up so we could elect a democratic government. It’s totally fake, like Columbus day. This is not to say that it doesn’t have importance or value, but, in my mind, it is not a human right.

Now, I spent a good deal of my parents’ money on my own wedding, and I produce wedding videos as a part-time job, and I was once married myself. I totally love weddings, and a happy union is life’s greatest blessing. That’s something that should be within everyone’s reach. The happy part is real. But the marriage part is completely made up.

Sorry to break it to everyone.


How having a cat changed my mind about everything.

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It was senior year of college – Syracuse University studying at the Newhouse School of Public Communications. It was the first day of first semester, and my film business class was going around the room introducing themselves. Saying what they wanted to do with their lives. There were an unsurprising number of aspiring producers and directors – it WAS a film BUSINESS class and all – so it kind of threw everyone for a loop when I said I wanted to be a mom. “A mom?” I could almost hear them all thinking. “I mean, why is she even HERE then?”

But I did, I really wanted it.

That stayed with me through graduation, through my first job, through my marriage. More than ten years of the tumult that is life, just waiting for the day I’d hold my own baby in my arms. And then, of course, everything changed. You might think it was the going crazy, or the going broke that did me in. Or, surely, the divorce? The divorce must have been the nail in the coffin.

Nope.

It wasn’t the Bin, it wasn’t the cash, and it wasn’t the men or my own poor decisions – It was that goddamn Jake that finally made me realize I might not want to have children. That goddamn Jake and his liver disorder (or whatever it was) that nearly killed him last summer. I mean, I’m usually able to accurately describe most feelings with words, but I have no language for how awful it was to sit by and watch him suffer. This poor sweet creature, just so sick and so sad. It literally hurt my heart. It broke me. And I thought: what if this was my child? What if this was my own child I had to hand over to others, what if it was MY kid that was being poked with needles and force-fed pills, knowing that he hated every second, not knowing if he’d even make it to the other side? I don’t think I could bear it. I truly don’t think I could.

Watching someone you love suffer is the worst pain of all. We want our children to be happy, but life, intrinsically, is the most painful wish you could grant. As the Buddha teaches us: life is suffering. I find that to be the noblest truth.


And another thing, while I’m on a roll here,

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http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-truth-about-borderline

This article, found through a Twitter feed I follow at work, made me at least 6% less productive on Tuesday. I remained devoted to my job, turning my attention back to more relevant Tweets, but something about it stuck with me long after the day was done.

Now, let’s be up front. I’ve never been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. I have a lot of other official diagnoses, but BPD is not one of them. However, they did teach Dialectical Behavior Therapy, a treatment schemata for those *with* BPD, in The Bin while I was there. I found the techniques very helpful: mindfulness, awareness, cultivated skills and concentration. I’m not saying it works every time, but, really, it’s not supposed to. Emotions are normal, and, we learn, they come and go.

The horrible thing about depression is that it seems to NEVER let go. Being depressed is like being trapped under a heavy, moist, 1-ton bale of stinking farm hay, and not even having the energy to wedge yourself out. And when you’re treating someone depressed, I’d imagine, the first order of business is to lift up that load and help the person stand. So in the hospital, every bit the picture of classical depression, it’s no wonder that they diagnosed me thusly.

So I’ve not been depressed lately. But I haven’t been great, either. Where my moods were once a one-note hum, they’re now a jazz arpeggio. Like, that kind of crazy jazz I hate. I’ll be fine one minute, just OK the next, and then feel myself slipping over the edge into something dark and mushy. Sometimes I’m able to catapult myself back out – sometimes I’m not.

None of this is like depression. But a lot of it is like borderline. Although I’m able to maintain relationships, it has more to do with my resolve to stay healthy and the infinite patience of my companions. Although I’m usually able to compose myself, I generally feel just on the verge of going technicolor. And impulse control? Let’s not even talk about all the ways I venture to excess.

I feel bad about it, really. I feel like I conquered one horrid beast only to be faced with another, more jostling foe. And anyone can tell you, the worst thing about feeling bad is feeling bad about feeling bad. But this article, instead of bringing me down, gave me some measure of hope and self-forgiveness. It’s exhausting to manage these moods – the euphoria and the depths – and since I’ve now been trained to bring awareness to every flicker, each movement is obvious to me.

So maybe it’s OK to be exhausted. Maybe it’s OK to be sad sometimes. And maybe it’s OK that my on-off switch flips at the speed of a strobe light. Maybe this is just the new me, and now I just have to learn how to handle her.


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