Wednesday, June 17, 2015

an unfinished house

Do you ever feel like if people really SEE you, they won't like what they see? If you are fully known, you won't be liked?

I feel that about myself, and I know it's not a unique feeling to me. 

I loved being away from home at my brother and sister in law's wedding. I love our home, I love the memories we have made here, but I love being away from it, too. A respite from all of the things glaring back at me, unmade beds and unfinished scrapbooks and kitchen utensils I keep forgetting to buy.

I have always had trouble having people over to my house. Having people STAY at my house? Huge deal to me. When I write, when I come to your house, I can choose what you see and what you don't see. Magic tricks, slight of hand, close this door on the messy room, open that one because the bed is made. Tweeze the hair on my face because I am going to church and there are lots of windows there and I don't want anyone to SEE.

Really SEE.

We stayed at my brother's girlfriend's house for four nights. I asked her if she really wanted six children and four adults extra to stay with her. I pondered getting a hotel room at the last minute. I told her she was crazy. 

Whenever I talk on the phone, whenever someone stays with me, I get really uncomfortable. I don't want to do anything or have them see anything that makes them think, "Hey, she's weird. Hey. She doesn't make her kids wash their hands. Hey. She leaves the laundry on the basement floor. OMG. What is that stain in the refrigerator? Please. Taxi. No more staying here."

I know everyone feels this way to some extent, but the OCD exacerbates it to the point where you question absolutely everything. It sucks. 

I dislike cooking for people for the same reason. Insecurity. What if they don't like it? What if there's a hair in it? What if they wish I had used more Rosemary? What is Rosemary? Where is her baby? 

So, my brother's girlfriend. I saw her utility closet, I saw her bathroom, I saw her cry and then I cried and then my sister in law cried and then we stopped and then we all cried again. I saw her in her imperfectness and she is raw and accepting and loving and beautiful.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't want to shut things down just because I am afraid of being hurt. I don't want to hold people at arm's length because sometimes people may treat me badly. 

I don't want to NOT open up my heart and my home because someone may have an adverse reaction that makes me think, "See? I was wrong to do that! I was wrong to let them in!" 

I see another woman in my life, my sister in law, as so much good - I've known her for 22 years, since I was 14, and I wonder how she still puts up with me. When we are out somewhere she is often feeding my kids, lending me gum, taking pictures of the wedding invitation because I didn't think of BRINGING IT ALONG BEFORE WE DROVE 9 HOURS TO COME TO THE WEDDING. She never says, "Um, Rachel? Get a clue. Figure it out yourself." She just gives, and she loves.

I don't know what I'm saying, or if I'm saying anything at all. I'm just writing it here because I don't want to become closed off or hard or afraid of doing or saying the wrong thing. I don't want to be afraid of being known. 

It's not a good way to live.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

the big letdown of life

My first love broke up with me. His parting words were, "You just want too much, and I don't know how to give it to you."

I still think about those words, all these years later. They burnt then and I'm kind of embarrassed to say that they still do. I think I have always wanted too much out of life, and this last week thinking I may possibly have breast cancer made me think it again.

You know that feeling you get when you leave something that was supposed to be awesome but it was only so-so, and you think, that was just mildly "ok", but it wasn't what I wanted it to be?

Life with a husband and kids is like that. Life in my mid-thirties is like that. Right now I'm writing this in between defrosting the chicken and trying to console my three year old who WANTS TAPE RIGHT NOW and honestly, I'm kind of done with today.

me cleaning at the first sign of pubes in the bathroom

My dad took me out to lunch yesterday and asked me what I was "really" thinking in between the concern from my doctor and the visit with the breast specialist.

Honestly, the thing that I was thinking was this:

I don't want my family to watch me die. I don't want my kids to grow up without a mother. I don't want people to find out and to know and suddenly give me that sad clown smile. I don't want people to start wondering how much time I have. I don't want to wonder that, either. I don't want people to say, "Oh, a young mother. That's just so sad." I'm really not afraid of death; in some ways it would be a reprieve from my constant fight with anxiety and depression. I know i'm not supposed to say that out loud, but it is what it is. 

No, I'm not suicidal. Things are really, really good in life, actually. I know where I will go when I die and the only thing that scares me about death is the thing everybody wonders: "Will it hurt?"

People tell me they like to read this stuff because I have the guts to say what few people do. Maybe that's true. I hope it's not. I hope you find the courage to be honest with those you trust.

I'm rethinking things in my life. I'm rethinking all of the things that felt so important to me, like my house being completely clean before a friend can come over. Me being the mom I am supposed to be in my head and falling short of it EVERY. SINGLE. FREAKING. DAY. Me wondering who my children will be in the future and missing my babies from the past. Me struggling to take space to write and just to calm down and think and to enjoy today. My head gets so full of dumb stuff.

The past 10 years have taught me that I do better in a crisis, EVERY TIME. It's the in-between that is hard for me. The dirty dishes, the waking up to the same broken relationships and the same broken world after having hoped that somehow, during my dreaming, everything had righted itself into paradise.

Monday, May 4, 2015


Inflamed/wonky milk duct. Hallelujah!!!

Sunday, May 3, 2015


My appointment and breast biopsy (from what I understand they will be doing) is tomorrow at 8:20.

I was just thinking about how uncertain life is. We think we are going to do all of these things, buy Easter candy on clearance for next year, get the kids a size bigger for next fall, plan a vacation where we will drive next to miles of flax and freesia with the windows down, hoping we can make it to the next rest stop before a child gets car sick and vomits up the Remains of one too many Happy Meals.

I'm scared, if I will be honest with you. I'm scared that the doctor will find cancer in my breast and it's already spread. being scared wouldn't change anything anyway, but it's real and it's what I'm feeling tonight.

I get a panic rising in my chest when I think of all cancer has stolen from so many I love, including my aunt Mary, who will have a lung scan tomorrow - and my sister in law's stepmom, who is fighting the ravages of it in her body as well.

Maybe we look forward to future events, behaving as though we have 100% certainty that they will come to fruition, because living any other way is, in itself, too much of a risk. It's risky to fear everything in a world that already carries so much of the thing we fear, so we hold tightly to love and to hope.

I'm not sure that's such a bad way to live.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

why it's hard to calm down about breast cancer when the odds in the "disasters of the female anatomy category" have not been kind to me

I felt a lump on my breast in the shower last week some time. I sat on it for a day or two, thinking I was being paranoid. I finally called the doctor, but my doctor wasn't available and the only one who was is a doctor who would probably perform a double mastectomy in the office if I asked him to. You kind of have to lead him to conclusions using your own extensive googling, and I'd rather not be the one leading my doctor into anything.

did you sanitize that spear, Jason?
I waited until I could go to the doctor who is female and whom I don't mind touching my boobs. She found the lump right away, scheduled a mammogram and ultrasound within the hour. She also noticed during her exam some odd dimpling on my right breast, dimpling which I had not seen before. I don't really inspect my breasts every day, but Scott had said one day a little while ago that he thought my right breast was getting bigger. Hallelujah! It only took 36 years, but the gods of breast development have been good to me! Finally!!!!!!!!

just kidding. your breast is bigger because it's possibly FULL OF CANCEEEEEEEEEER

i wish i could have been this happy and carefree and not have donuts on my belly
Don't Google Inflammatory Breast Cancer unless you want to be scared shitless. It doesn't show up on ultrasound or mammogram and it moves quickly.

I pray to God this isn't the beginning of some inspirational breast cancer journey. I'd rather read other people's inspiration, not write my own, yes please and thank you.

I just took a Xanax. This isn't how my life is supposed to go. Of course, if this is what it is, I'll deal with it just like my Aunt Mary who is amazing and awesome and oh man, Mary, if this is a taste of the anxiety you have felt on a daily basis for the last 4 + years, YOU NEED A GOLD MEDAL AND A LIFETIME SUPPLY OF XANAX AND VERY EXPENSIVE MASSAGES. AND A FINAL ALL CLEAR SO YOU CAN JUST GET BACK TO THINKING EVERYTHING IS GREAT LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.

Let's review on things related to my body that everyone thought I was freaking unnecessarily about but oh, yeah, actually happened. Just because I have OCD does not mean none of my freak-outs are real.

1. I thought one of my twins was going to die in utero. He did.
2. I thought the remaining twin was either going to die or have something wrong with her. She did. All of the issues she had, omphalocele, imperforate anus (that's where a baby is born with no butt hole. Yeah. it's possible), Lucy's twin Camden had even his heart outside his body, so there's no way he would have made it to birth. The chances of a set of non-identical twins having the same issue is roughly 1 in 49 million.
3. Asher was fine. He shouldn't be in this list.
4. Ectopic pregnancy.
5. Oh! Twins! Just kidding.
6. Three months later and another miscarriage, only this time I got to bring the little person? embryo? products of conception? to the doctor's office in my purse!. I had a panic attack in the drive-through lane at McDonald's. My mother in law was waiting for me with a paper bag when I got home.
7. You had a routine, normal delivery! Just kidding! You're probably going to die.


8:20 Monday morning, a biopsy because my doctor just called and she said, "It could be just a cyst, but let's rule out any other kind of breast cancer."

So, you get to suffer and wait with me. Of course I know you're not really suffering, because people like to read blogs for the drama and to congratulate themselves with things like, "Wow, she's a mess" and "I'm so glad that's not me" and even "This is better than doing the dishes."

Isn't life a funny thing? All the things I was worried about (keeping house clean, making sure kids don't turn into socialist zombies, cringing at the cobwebs in the corners of the ceilings, losing 15 pounds before my brother's wedding, making organic, quinoa banana-less banana bread before the ice cream man comes) sound so dumb now.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for being you, lovely readers. I admire all of you and your ability to read my inane mumblings without judgement. (or, if you're judging, at least you just do it in your head.)

come on, gals. stop posing and do some breast-checking. pronto.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Eight things learned at jury duty.

So jury duty today was much more entertaining than I expected. I was not chosen to be on the jury but learned the following things:

1. Way too many people have been assaulted. 
2. If you have a cold and are hacking your lungs out simultaneously all throughout he jury selection process, the judge still won't excuse you. He will, however, quarantine you into a corner of the room.
3. You have a small business and your employees are playing hooky not manufacturing custom-made light fixtures while you are gone? TOUGH TITTY SAID THE MAMA KITTY. You are not excused. Sit down and shut up.
4. You are 400 pounds not soaking wet and have extreme vertigo where you could fall over any minute? Also, you're a men's high school tennis coach at then ivy school my children will attend and there is a huge tournament today and you're the one running it? By all means, YOU'RE EXCUSED!
4a. No tennis for my kids.
5. A frightening number of people would invite the police to enter their home without a search warrant if the police only said "we suspect you have drugs in here."
6. The opposing counsel's lawyer looked 12.
7. That last statement means I clearly wouldn't have made the jury anyway. ‪#‎bias‬
8. Everyone in our country gets their knowledge of the legal system from CSI: Miami, where the guy with the creepster voice can wave a machine around that can tell who has been in the room in the last 15 minutes.
Cuz, 'Murica.