Tuesday, February 25, 2020

TL; DR I need a walk and a salad

Ooh y'all. Remember when I was all, "OMG! I feel so much better! Life is good! Peace the fuck out, anxiety!" HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Admittedly, I feel about 1000% better these days. I no longer wish that all the people around me would get raptured up, leaving me to wallow in a sea of darkness alone. I'm rarely in danger of being so egregiously awful to my family that they lock me under the stairs. I feel happy and content more often than not. But feeling better also means that when I don't, it's a lot more obvious.

Yesterday as I was driving to work I was beating myself up for, once again, spending money on stupid shit. I'm a shrink, for God's sake, I should be able to figure out why I do dumb stuff. It's not like I haven't been doing this for, basically ever. I got to thinking about what was going on when I was absent-mindedly hitting "add to cart" this weekend. Here's the thing I figured out: I was SUPER anxious about Eli's wrestling tournament this weekend. Being a wrestling mom is by far the most stressful sport situation we've had. It's an emotional roller coaster for him, and it really is watching my sweet precious sneuxflake engage in hand-to-hand combat. And it's ALL DAY LONG. Saturday was 14 hours (post to come later when I'm not so angsty). Add to that that it's Girl Scout Cookie season, so my garage is full of cookies that the girls haven't had a chance to sell yet, which in my anxious brain equals out to cookies that I will have to buy (not true, but still). And then all THAT triggers a nice little dose of body dysmorphia where I decide that since I'm such a failure at all those things, I probably am also a gruesome, enormous troll who really shouldn't be seen out in public. AND THEN AND THEN I think, "Hey! I bet that if I bought Lady Gaga's new lipstick, all my problems would disappear! But that's silly to ship one tiny thing, so I should get some new tights and a craft kit and a set of silicone lids" And then, like Micheal Finnagin, we begin again, because now I've spent stupid money and failed at my arbitrary savings goal and I may as well climb under a rock.

Luckily I have a really long commute, and as I was driving I thought, "How would I work through this with a client?" So I started to think about what was going on and what I was feeling when I started to add things to my cart. I think I've come to the conclusion that when I start buying things or planning to spend money, I often am feeling like something needs "fixed" or nurtured. I bailed on the derby class because I'm pretty sure that I legit broke my butt, so I haven't been exercising. Most of my staff at work got taken out by the virus from hell so work has been especially stressful. I didn't do a good job of meal planning so we've eaten out more than I'd like, meaning that my body doesn't feel as good as it could (and see: stupid money). That also means that I start to feel like I'm not doing right by my kids, especially since Eli needs to be mindful of his fuel and his weight for wrestling. And this is SUCH a first world problem, but our housekeeper got hit by the same nasty bug that's making its rounds around here, so she hasn't come to my house in a month, meaning that we've devolved into our previously acceptable, but apparently no longer well-tolerated, level of clutter and chaos at home. On the other hand, when I am in a routine, when I am exercising and eating at home and keeping the clutter in check, I feel much more capable of handling the inevitable chaos and curveballs.

It's so annoyingly simple, and I think that in part that's why I, and I'd guess lots of other people, have such a hard time with it. I teach my student's that the first thing they should look at with their clients is "Are you eating well? Are you sleeping well? Are you breathing well? Are you exercising?" You can't do any deeper work until you've got those four components in check.

So here's my plan: I am going to mindfully prioritize the basics. Perfection isn't attainable, but I can strive to eat a sandwich at home instead of another night of drive-thru french fries. I may not make the gym every day, but I totally can find a few minutes to walk the dog. And I think that I'm going to start using my calm app (that I accidentally bought on Black Friday) as a buffer when I feel the urge to buy something on-line. I can do a quick meditation to check in to see if I really need more label maker tape, or if I really need to take a walk and eat a salad.

We'll see how it goes. I vacillated about putting this out there, but I think one thing that's hard for me when I get into this place is feeling like I'm an anomaly, the one adult who doesn't have her shit together, the one strong, modern woman who can still be crippled by thoughts of the size of her bingo arms, the single highly educated, well employed doctor that can't hit a certain savings milestone, the one mother who can't get it together enough to feed her kids a damn vegetable. That feeling breeds shame and shame breeds depression and anxiety. And once again, Dear old Micheal Finnagin, begin again.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

I tried roller derby and didn't die

A friend from work, who is WAY cooler than me, plays on a local roller derby. I'd fangirled over this enough that she had the crazy idea that I might be interested when her league offered a "Roller Derby 101" class. Obviously I couldn't be lame, so I committed to trying it out. And then promptly freaked the freak out over the next few weeks because I kind of forgot that I've only roller skated a handful of times. 

The night before the first class, I had a nice little pep talk with myself and decided that I'd commit to going to three classes. If after that I hated it or felt stupid, I could stop. 

The first night, I carefully picked out my roller derby outfit and headed downtown. DEEP downtown. The practice was in a warehouse in a pretty not great part of town. I'm not sure what else I expected? Once I got there and signed in, they directed me to huge bins of loaner gear and I picked out skates, pads, and a helmet, and then one of the real skaters helped me figure out how to put it all on. Why do they look so cool in their helmets and I look like such a doof? My skates have these really cool patches on them though that I love a lot. Makes up for the weird cheap mouthguard. 

Guys? Roller skating on a derby floor, on derby skates, is HARD AF. The first night was all about "derby stance" (basically a sustained half squat), single knee stops (basically sliding on one knee), and "sticky skate" which I've decided is the one skill that I want to nail down by the end of class. Also falling forward, which I failed at emphatically, causing me to swear loudly and spend the last week Googling "I think I broke my butt."

But come the next class I felt like, if I did break my ass, it wasn't enough to keep me from hitting my three class goal. I'm proud to say that this week I only fell once, and because I was better at derby stance it was from a MUCH lower altitude. I'm still not a good, or even reasonable, skater, but I can toe walk which maybe eventually will turn into a jammer start (look at me speaking the language!), I can single AND double knee stop, and I got way better at the sticky skate. Now I want to master the cross-over skate without tipping over or slamming into a brick wall.

I am EASILY the lamest skater in this class. Some of the women (and one man) have been doing this for years and they're REALLY good (and also? maybe they should take a 101b class for the people who aren't really new?) I was worried that I'd be the lame middle aged mom, not even considering that I'd be a lame middle-aged mom who can't stay upright. But everyone's so nice and encouraging. And it's such a mix of people! There are other middle aged moms, cool hip 20-somethings, a couple ladies in their 50s+. There's yoga pants and cool skater shorts and one lady that wears a tennis skirt unironically.

Next week will be class three. My goals are to be able to wear my mouth guard without gagging and to try going a bit faster. All the coaches have told me that a lot of these skills are easier faster, but they've failed to mention how to slow down. I think I need to just embrace the idea that I might crash. I guess if my ass is broken, I can't break it much more?

Thursday, February 6, 2020


We have a mailbox that inmates families can call in to if they have questions about their brother/dad/boyfriend/son related to their healthcare. Typically it's people wanting to check on medical conditions, make sure they're seeing a counselor, etc. Someone calls them back and answers their questions and it's all good.

Today I was walking by as the lady was returning calls and heard, "No, ma'am. He's in segregation. It's like solitary confinement. We don't put people in holes.... No. Ma'am. I'm trying to explain to you. He said in his letter that he was in THE Hole. Not A hole. We don't put people in holes. We don't even have any holes here. He's in a cell. Not a hole...He's definitely not in a hole, I promise."

So...PSA. California does not put inmates in holes. I hope this woman feels significantly better.