Fear it and do it anyway

5 01 2015

So I’ve been working on myself. Not with a hammer and nails or anything. Internal stuff. Nothing you can see and yet, I think maybe you can. This past year, so much has happened to me, I think I have grown emotionally at least 25 years. I learned that just because you want something doesn’t mean you can have it. It doesn’t mean that you can take it from someone else because you want it. I learned that love means different things to different people. I would do anything for the people I love, but they do not feel the same way. It isn’t wrong, just different. And  I get to decide if I accept that or not. I don’t have to stop loving them, but I can put up boundaries to protect myself from giving everything when they would take everything and give nothing. Boundaries. That is the dumbest word to me. But it is what is giving me an inner peace and wisdom like I have never known. I put up a boundary against the fear. Against the drama. Against the pain. I keep the negative at bay. All with the boundaries. I don’t even think about it any more. The boundaries are just there saying, “Nope, not buying it. Stay back. Keep your shit. I’ve got my own. This too shall pass (my mom says that a lot)” and my favorite boundary, “You will be afraid of it whether you do it or not so do it anyway and stop being afraid.” Man does that one feel good!! I have learned how to say “No.” Guess what? It is a complete sentence!! I just say it and close my mouth. I look at the other person defying them to say something else. I feel like I know myself more now than I have ever known myself in my life!

I was talking to my therapist (if you don’t have one, you should get one! Mine is fabulous! I wish everyone could have a therapist like mine! She is a miracle in my life!) and telling her I didn’t feel like I knew myself and I had no idea how to learn who I was. Here I am a few months later and I know myself. I don’t understand myself in a situation right away. I have to sit back and assess. That’s okay to do. I am not wrong to do that. Now don’t get me wrong, if the house is on fire, I grab my kids and get out. But I don’t have to react. I can think about how I feel before I say anything. Before I do anything. I was taught that I had to go into crisis mode as soon as something out of the ordinary happened and let’s face it, unless you’re living Groundhog Day, the movie, every day is going to be different, hence crisis mode. I have now learned to sit quietly and listen to myself. My first reaction isn’t panic. Unless you’ve grown up in a house full of drama and crisis you can’t possibly understand what that means. It is so calming. So quiet. I have time for understanding. Time to be kind. Time to be nurturing. Time to give back. I no longer feel drained. I feel like I am alive! I have my optimism back. The glass is half full. All from some little ole boundaries.

So if you’re afraid of standing up for yourself, if you’re afraid of saying no, just set one boundary. One line no one can cross. Start small if you like. But it won’t be long before it feels so good to reclaim your real estate, your life, you’ll be laying down lines all over the place. You aren’t pushing people away. You aren’t being standoffish. If you are, you’re a little too protective maybe and you might have some issues a therapist can help you with. This is not being anti-social. This is about not letting the people who drain you, take advantage of you, or take everything from you, not letting them suck you dry. It’s about taking care of yourself. It’s about standing up for what you want. Instead of stepping backwards, it’s about holding your ground and then, when you’re ready, stepping forward and brushing those people away. You’ll know when you’re ready. And when you meet new people, you’ll know what kind of person they are and you’ll have the boundary up before they ever try to cross it.

Being afraid is normal. I’m afraid of a million things. But, I’m learning to be afraid and do them anyway. I read all those positive sayings on Pinterest and I pin them like everyone else, but I finally believe them. I actually believe you should do the thing you are afraid of most. Then you can stop being afraid of it. Whoosh you can stop thinking about it. One more thing out of your mind. It is so simple when you think about it. If you set the fear aside and you think about it with no emotion, it is so, so simple. So….wish me luck on the 14th. I’m taking the GRE to get into Grad school. Fear- MATH!!! I’m afraid of failing, but I’m doing it anyway. I won’t know until I try. And I am so sure this is what I am supposed to do!



Change (The Fattest Girl in the Room)

23 04 2013

Is it money in my pocket that jingles when I walk? or those coins that litter the bottom of my purse weighing it down. Or is it the change in the ashtray- in the cup on the counter at the convenience store, “Take a penny,” it invites.

Or is change intangible, like the seasons, coming and going through the years, like the sun rising and setting, reliable and faithful.

Or is it something unexpected. Happening when you aren’t looking, fast and terrible, or slow and good, fast and good, slow and terrible. Change like the wrinkles in your aging skin. Change like the world and it’s ever present threats of war and terror. Change like the rapid growth of a child. Change like a new job. Change like your dreams as you grow.

I don’t like change. I like stability. When my moods change it’s not good. When things in the house change, it’s not good. I don’t adjust well. I need sameness. I could eat the same thing every day and be fine. I could wear the same thing and I do the same thing every day. I need things to remain the way they are. I am scared of change. Why? I don’t know. Is it the challenge? I’m afraid of trying to adapt. I’ve been walking such a fine balance, I’ve been able to function. I can get up every day. I can get a shower, go downstairs and at least pretend to be normal. I pick my kids up from school when they need me. I take them to the doctor. I even make my own doctor’s appts. But one slight change, I don’t think I can adapt. I am a wall, an immovable force that cannot change. I hold up this house, if I move, the house, I, will fall. Don’t make me change.

But what happens when I change. My body. I am tired of it. Trying to drag it around. I’m like a walrus on the rocks, rolling around, not walking so much as waddling. I am so sick of this body. I am so sick of the words that hurt me. So what happens when the fat girl stops being the fattest girl in the room? How do I stop being her?  I’ve only ever known her. How do I come to terms with not being her? How do I reconcile who I see in the mirror with who I am in my mind? Who I’ve been told I am my whole life? “You need to lose weight.” “He broke up with you because you’re too fat.” “No American man will marry you, you’re too fat.” “You will go on a diet before your sister’s wedding, right?” “I’ll pay you to lose weight.” “I’ll buy you the loveseat to your sofa if you lose the weight before your wedding.” That swirls through my mind. Constantly. How do I shut that up? Yeah, those were people that supposedly loved me. So I can only imagine what you would think of me if you saw me. If those are their thoughts about me. How much worse would a stranger think of me. What would they say if they could. So……

Change. I don’t know if I like it. I actually feel vulnerable. Without my fat to protect me. It keeps people at bay. No one wants to be friends with the fattest girl in the room. Or, they do because she makes them look so good. Or they pity her. But the truth is, I don’t want you to be my friend. I’ve learned friends hurt. People hurt. They don’t change. Can I let go of my position of being the fattest girl in the room, my safety net, my invisibility cloak to not be the fattest girl in the room? I’m scared. While nothing else has driven me to therapy lately, I think it’s time to go. I don’t know who I am if I’m not the fattest girl in the room. I’m scared to find out. What if I don’t like who I am? What if someone wants to be my friend again? What if they hurt me? Can I do that all over again? What if I am seen? What if I am noticed? How do people hide in this world when they don’t have a coat of fat to make them unappealing? How do they keep safe from people? From looks? Because right now, I can say you don’t like me because I’m fat. But when it’s gone, why? What reason will it be that you don’t like me? And I don’t think I’m strong enough to stand against that shame again. Last time nearly broke me. Don’t see me. Let me be hidden always. Don’t notice me. I’m still the fattest girl in the room.

My Scarlet Letter

15 10 2012


I’ve known I was adopted my entire life.  I remember my best friend and I taking the shortcut to school, just a little hill instead of walking the flat surface, and she asked if ever wanted to know who my real mother was.  Who was my real mother?  The woman that gave birth to me or the woman that goes to the teacher conferences and heads the PTA? Is it the woman that bore me in shame or the woman that makes me hold my head down in shame? They have something in common- shame. No matter which one is my real mother, they both have given me my very own scarlet letter.

When I finally thought to ask what it meant to be adopted, it was if I had asked for birth control in the

fifth grade. I was quickly chastised and told not to tell anyone that I was adopted. Shame. Big red letter A on my chest. One step lower than everyone else because I wasn’t wanted by the woman that gave birth to me. It really didn’t matter if she was 16 when she had me and had no way to take care of me. It didn’t matter how much my parents wanted me. I wasn’t allowed to tell. It was a secret. That meant it was something to be ashamed of and made me less of a person. I remember the first time my mother called me illegitimate. I looked the word up as I was too young to know what it meant, but it felt bad. I had to know what it meant. She hadn’t said it to me, she’d introduced me as her “illegitimate daughter”. That word had a weight to it as the woman looked at me. I can remember blushing. Knowing it wasn’t a complimentary word. I didn’t know how to spell it so it took some time to find it, (way before computers) but I did find it because it rolled over my tongue silently as I sat like a good little girl while my mother visited with the woman. It rattled through my mind turning over and over coming closer to the meaning as I sat in the car on the ride home. I’d learned not to ask questions about things like this. It could only lead to places I didn’t want to go with my father with whom I didn’t want to deal or be alone with.

So at home, I slid the dictionary down, I remember it so well, a version of Websters, dark blue like denim, with gold lettering and onion skin thin pages like my bible. Illegitimate. There was the true meaning born of parents not lawfully wedded which my mother meant, I assume. Why did that matter? Did she look like a better person because she had taken me in? The truth was she had purchased me through a lawyer and my pediatrician. She took me home when I was three days old straight from the hospital. I was the baby she couldn’t have. I’d say we were mutually beneficial to each other. But Illegitimate means other things. Illegal. Not sanctioned by law. Not recognized as lawful offspring. Bastard. Now we were getting somewhere. Maybe my mother was a saint, rescuing me from the gutters, or the hands of the law. I wasn’t sure. There was no one to ask. And so I kept it to myself, hiding under my skin, with my head down because who wanted to look in the eyes of an illegitimate child?

I wore that scarlet letter A on my chest, carried it like a burden on my back for such a long time. When I got away from my parents, started therapy I always realized the first words out of my mouth were My name is H. I’m adopted. As if that was my excuse for why I was like this, whatever this was. It took me many years to discover what “this” was. Not something I’m able to discuss. But I think it’s why I was vulnerable and felt like a victim all my life. Because I knocked myself down a couple rungs from the rest of the world because I was adopted. So I let people use me, walk all over me, make themselves feel better by putting me down because I was a bastard.

The power of words, I’ve read them and felt them, I’ve written them, and I’ve lived them. Bastard doesn’t hurt anymore. I’ve had close family members call me my mother’s “daughter” in a letter, her brother in fact wrote me in a letter declining an invitation to her 80th birthday party that he thought it was nice that his sister’s “daughters” were throwing her a party but he would do something with her alone to celebrate. Now who is the bastard in that scenario? And did he ever celebrate with her? I’m not even sure he called her. That’s okay, as they say, “Karma’s a bitch” or maybe she’s a bastard. Anyway, he’s getting his tenfold. I’ve saved that letter. Why? I don’t know. There are plenty enough people in the world to remind me of how mean people can be. But his cut was the worst and I guess I want to remember why I have to always be on my guard. I can pull that letter out and all kinds of emotions are stirred up. The little girl being called Illegitimate by her mother in front of someone, the shame of being adopted when there should be none, and the outrage and the lie of a beloved uncle that I only found out at 40. And the guilt all over again at 40 that this man I had loved and called Uncle hadn’t really accepted me as family ever. So maybe it’s just a reminder that no matter what, you’ll always be let down. Or that shame from your childhood will never completely go away.

So for what it’s worth…Hi my name is Heather. I am adopted. That’s my excuse. The Scarlet Letter A has faded, but I guess it will never go away. The shame I was taught as a child will always be with me whether you see it or not. It’s there hovering just under the surface. Shame like that just doesn’t ever go away completely.


What do I want to write about today?

13 10 2012

It’s football day at my house. Everyone is glued to the t.v. My youngest survived his school trip-3 days away from home. I survived it too. I only called once. Don’t give me the eye roll, he cried the night before he left because he was falling apart. He hadn’t slept Monday night at all then went to school and stayed awake all day. At about seven after we had him all packed and I was getting his meds together he came in and said he needed to cry. Pills pushed aside, I held him. I KNOW that feeling. But he couldn’t let go with me. But when daddy called, the tears started. There is no shushing of tears in my house. There is no “Stop it, you’re making it worse,” or “You’ll make yourself sick” or all the other inane things parents say to make their kids stop crying. If my kids need to cry, I let them. I hold them and tell them to let it all out. I don’t say “Everything will be okay.” I don’t know what’s wrong so I can’t say that. It may be their meds and that will take an adjustment and I don’t know when that will be okay. Or it may be that, as in this case, he was totally exhausted and needed to let his emotions out so he could go to sleep. Or it could be something at school that I might or might not be able to help them with. I can’t make my son pass Biology. I can’t make a girl like him. I can’t make the kids like my youngest son. I can listen. I can let him cry. I can make sure no one is hitting him or calling him names or making his life miserable. (This is something I check often because of what we experienced in Massachusetts.) But I let my kids cry no matter how old they are, no matter that they are boys. Sometimes, you need to cry. And stuffing it back in or ignoring it makes the pain that much worse. I don’t like them hiding their feelings. This world is tough. It’s like we are born fighting and we have to keep fighting every step of the way especially us, with our BPD. So I’m their safe haven. I’ll always be here to hold them if they need to cry. I’ll always be here no matter what, but they know I know. Sometimes, you just need to cry.

Comfortable places

11 10 2012

So I’ve realized that I feel comfortable saying what I need to say on line here. Blabbing about what pisses me off, and there are a lot of things lately that piss me of. But there are good things too. Like today, I forgot that I do have a physical friend that wants nothing from me. She doesn’t take anything from me. She listens to me and I try to make sure to listen to her. It was kind of funny. We haven’t seen each other since 2009 when I moved away for two years to Cape Cod. I came back in 2011 and she tried to meet me for lunch forever. But I cancelled every time. The truth was, I’d gained weight, hadn’t colored my hair, didn’t look like the old me and certainly didn’t feel like the old me.

But today I saw her. Yeah, I almost cancelled. But I forced myself out of the house. And it was good. I hugged a friend. We talked about marriage and having babies and how life changes so much after you get married, your priorities change. The bar scene goes away and you just feel like staying home and enjoying each other’s company. Or do day outings, just the two of you. We talked about my sickness. How I haven’t been well since I’ve been back. How I have to go for cancer treatment again very soon. I’m sure it will be benign as they always are but still, on my nose, it’s the same side for the third time in a row. It’s already thin now, I’m not sure it can handle another surgery. I have places that hurt. I have one on top of my head where I am sure they will have to shave my hair to get to it. Do you know how long I’ve been growing my hair?? Years. I can finally braid it. It’s all the way down my back. And I’ll be losing a large chunk of it. It’s possible that this one won’t be benign. It’s been there a long time. I just forget to mention it. And here’s me all vain about my hair when I could have melanoma. How petty.

My son is away at sleep away camp. He has bipolar disorder and the day before Tuesday night, he was up all night. And I do mean up all night. He watched a movie and then read. He says it’s his fault, but I know it isn’t. It takes, guanfacine, to make him tired and keep him stable, he take Intunive 3 mg SR (yes I know it’s the same med but it’s slow release so it helps through out the day), he also takes 125 mg of Lamictal. That puts him to sleep. The night he stayed awake was a manic phase. He’s a rapid cycler. He was in my arms crying the next evening, the night before his trip. He was all packed and ready to go. But I worried. So tonight I did the mama bear thing and called the lady in charge to check on him. She said he was having a great time, he just played a game and he was having his last class before snack and showers. She said he was really smart answering questions when asked. I’m just hoping he is making friends. He has none that call the house to play with him. God do I worry about him. His just a little off normal and kind of geeky, but he’s charming when he wants to be and smart when he wants to be. Even though he can be a pain in the ass, I miss him. We all do and that’s funny because I didn’t think we would. I love J.

That’s all for now. I’ve got other things to say but Good Golly Miss Molly I’m exhausted. Only took four hours for my pills to kick in. Yay me! Oh and I hate the new NetGalley.


What’s the title about?

5 05 2012

So you might be wondering about the name of this blog. Or you might not care. Well here’s the story and you can read it or not. When I was in my mid 20’s maybe 26, I ran into a boy I went to school with. I went to school with him forever. I remember him from 5th grade, but it may have been earlier than that, I just remember him teasing me about wearing a bra then. And I went to college with him. During that time 5th grade to 12th grade in particular we were always in the same homeroom b/c his last name ended in U and mind ended in V. So even if we didn’t have a class together we always saw each other. He was a nice guy, said hi. I invited him to a girl boy party because he was the lesser of most evils, meaning I was incredibly shy and had no romantic interest in him and he had none in me so he was safe and I wouldn’t have to go alone. Of course he had a girlfriend. He told me yes he’d go with me. She didn’t like that so he cancelled on me last minute. Of course she wouldn’t like that what was I stupid?? But I’d never had a boyfriend so I didn’t know how it would feel. So she was for ever known after that as Sally Butthole C. We said her last name out too, but I don’t want to write it out in case one of you three know her.

So, I went to said party alone. (Yes I’m getting to the title in a roundabout way). Everyone else was much more experienced than I when it came to boys. I was in 9th grade and had never been kissed. Never had a boyfriend, never slow danced with a guy etc. No, I have no idea what was wrong with me except I was extremely shy and I tended to like the same guy for a very long time. Jan T. from sixth grade through 9th grade. Little crushes in between were always  stomped on when my “friend” S. would somehow become their girlfriend ahead of me. Then who wanted them after I’d heard the gory details? That little scenario carried on well into 10th grade.

So, back to the party. We played Post Office. I didn’t know about it so I thought Tom was going to whisper a secret in my ear. Instead he smacked the living shit out of my face so hard it left his handprint on my face! I cried! It hurt and I cried like any girl would do. I’m all dressed up in my Christmas dress and high heels, my date has dumped me and I get smacked in the face with the slap heard round the world. He did get in trouble. Big time. He apologized. I had previously thought we were friends. Apparently not. Needless to say the game was over. I don’t remember much after that but a bag of ice on my face and severe humiliation. To this day I have no idea why he slapped me so hard.

So back to Mr. U. after 9th grade he and Sally broke up as they were going to separate schools and again I saw him in homeroom. We graduated eventually and in college I saw him a lot more that first year as those of us that graduated together tended to stick together. Plus my college roommate was in love with his roommate. Again, there was never anything romantic between us. I couldn’t even say I know him very well at all. I do know that when he broke up with someone he never looked back because in high school he dated the same girl all the way through and when something happened between the two of them, they broke up and nothing would make him go back to her.

Cut to after college, been living on my own, working and I’m at the grocery store buying stuff to make my future husband which I didn’t know at the time something for dinner. I’m climbing into my jeep (yes I was a lot more fun back then) when I hear someone call my name. There is Mr. U. He comes over we hug and exchange information about what we’re doing now. That’s when he tells me. “You know, my mom always asked about you, said you always had the prettiest smile. That’s what she called you, the girl with the pretty smile.” I knew what he was saying. I always look like I’m smiling. Even if I feel like shit on the inside or I want to kill someone, I still look like I’m smiling. I can’t remember what I said to that. I’m sure I blushed that happens quite easily. We said goodbye and I haven’t seen him since. I don’t go to reunions. There are very few people I want to see from high school and one or two in particular that I absolutely don’t want to see, so I just don’t go.

But the name of this site has to do with what’s behind that pretty smile. What I hid all those years. It won’t be pretty and I’m not even sure I’ll have the courage to tell it. So….that’s it. That’s why I named it that. You can hang around if you want, but don’t pass my story along as I tell it and please don’t use it. It is mine and mine alone.



On Writing

4 05 2012

I went to a book signing with YA authors on Tuesday. Beth Revis, Stephanie Perkins, Kiersten White and Megan Miranda. Their books run the gamut from Science Fiction to Contemporary to Supernatural. And I picked up some really interesting information about writing for YA. I think though, the most important thing I heard was from Stephanie Perkins. She said to become a better writer, you must become a better reader.
What? What is a better reader? She explained that when we react to something in a book, we should stop and figure out what it was that made us react.

So with that information in mind, I read my current book with that in mind. I tore that book apart. I picked it apart and yet, loved the heck out of it. But I found out what I didn’t like and what I did like about that book. So, now, I am going to be a better reader. I’m still going to enjoy what I read, but, I’ll be a much better informed writer. I’ll be looking with a more critical eye so that I can use what I like in my own writing. Because somewhere inside me, I just know, there is a story waiting to be told. And I am going to tell it. And you will read it.

BTW, how have you guys found this poor neglected site and why would you follow it? I haven’t written a thing here. But glad to have you.