Tidying Up With…Me! (Sort of)

School was cancelled three out of the five days last week because of snow or sub-zero temperatures. Instead of washing work pants by the end of the week, I had to wash sweatpants. I was running out of sweatpants. This is either very awesome or very pathetic, but I like to be an optimist.

Plus, I may have been in sweatpants, but I was productive. One evening I watched an episode of that Marie Kondo show on Netflix simply because everyone is talking about it. Then I rushed upstairs and folded a shirt into a tiny rectangle. The following conversation happened:

Me: Andy, look. I have mastered this new way to fold shirts. Our life is about to be REVOLUTIONIZED!

Andy: *blank stare* Uhh…all because you found a new way to fold?

Me: Yes. Because we’re going to become tidy, and it will magically fix everything in our lives. But we can only keep the things that spark joy.

Andy: Dang. Think I’ll make the cut?

Me: Probably.

Andy: How about this work uniform? I have no joy at all when I hold this. So…throw it out?

Me: Oh my gosh you are missing the point. It’s like, do you actually need SEVEN orange jackets?

Andy: Do you actually need an entire wall of books?

Me: *runs to my bookshelves as if I can hug them all at once* Ack! Don’t touch my books! I need every one! Does it have pages? Then JOY JOY JOY! Look, I need every book. What would I do without… *pulls a book off the shelf at random* What the heck? What’s bugami? Why do we have this book?

Andy: I have no idea. It’s your book.

Me: Of…course it is! Because… *flips through it furiously*…it’s about… AH HA! It’s about how to make bugs out of origami. Which I clearly need. And look at all the pretty origami paper!

Andy: *eyebrows raised, smirking* Our lives are about to be revolutionized, huh?

Me: Well, yes. On everything except books. Because I’m sorry, that chick is not making me get rid of books. If she comes in here and tries, she only weighs like fifty pounds. I could literally throw her out.

SO. That’s about how long the Marie Kondo method worked out for us. It did inspire me to start tidying, though, and now my closet is color coded. Check out this Roy G. Biv situation:


I also got rid of a bunch of old clothes and kitchen items that we don’t need. (That’s right, Marie – I skipped right over the step where I was supposed to get rid of books. Forget skip, actually – I FROLICKED past that mofo. And gave it the finger).

Anyway, would you like to guess how many mugs we owned before this week? GUESS.

Did you guess? No peeking.

Okay, time’s up. Ninety-one. NINETY-ONE MUGS. Wtf. Why on earth do two people need ninety-one mugs?! In my defense, I’ve been teaching for nine years. Whoever’s selling teacher mugs is making big bucks, because it’s the #1 gift I get from students. Also, my husband collects mugs from the cool places we travel, so now people get him mugs too (because they think he’s a “mug guy,” and I don’t know what that says about him. Is that good? What else would he be? A teacup guy? A styrofoam guy? I guess there are worse things).

I called Andy at work and asked him to guess how many mugs we have. He said twenty-four. Oh Andy, you unenlightened rube. You haven’t watched one episode of Tidying Up With Marie Kondo like I have. I informed him that we could each drink out of a new mug every day for a month and a half without repeating. I expected him to gasp in horror, but instead he said, “Cool!” Like we’ve unlocked some secret luxury by ridding ourselves the need to wash mugs more than ten times a year (ew). I tried to explain that he was missing the point (again), and that our new, REVOLUTIONIZED lives were so minimalist that we don’t need ninety-one mugs (BECAUSE NO ONE DOES). The point is that we could get rid of most of them and then have plenty of space in our cabinets. Do you know what he said?


He said what’s the point of cabinet space if you don’t put things in your cabinets?

Well, I had no comeback for that, so instead I used my tried-and-true deflection technique:

“Andy. You own a mug of an ape where the handle of the mug is the ape’s arm reaching up to scratch his head. Would you like to grab an ape’s armpit every morning? Would you? They throw poop, Andy. We don’t need an ape mug.”


When he got home, he did admit that he’s never seen that mug. I have a new theory that we had a totally normal amount of mugs a while back, but then two mugs started reproducing, and none of this is our fault. We’re on, like, the fifth generation of mugs that have started popping up in our cabinets. If I had to put my money on the original culprits, it would probably be the “his” and “hers” mugs. They were always hanging out together, and the lips painted on her look positively voluptuous. I am now officially blaming these mugs.


Plus, now we’ve tidied. Guess how many mugs we own now?

Uh…I didn’t count. But a way more acceptable number of mugs, that’s how many!

Andy hopes I go back to school next week, or I’ll just keep bagging stuff and taking it to Goodwill (he’s not wrong). It feels so…productive. Like shopping, but in reverse. Because you get all of this new space, and you find things you forgot you had, and your life feels more in order. All for free!

I used to have this junk drawer in my kitchen, you know? When people would come over they’d be all, “Oh look, what a nice kitchen!” But I would know about the mess lurking everywhere. Want to see my junk drawer now?

Nope, you don’t. Because I haven’t touched it yet. Marie Kondo herself would probably run away screaming if she saw that drawer. She would say, “This coupon expired in 2012. You bought this house in 2015. WHY DID YOU SOMEHOW MOVE AN EXPIRED COUPON?! You’re hopeless. Beyond my help. I will traipse my adorable skirt elsewhere.” She would cast a disgusted glance at my bookshelves on her way out, but I’d be standing by my mug cabinet, all proud. I would say, “Thanks for your time, Marie. Here, have an ape mug as a token of my appreciation.”

Whatever. Scroll back up to the top of this post where you were all impressed by my color-coded closet, okay? Then hope for Andy’s sake that I go back to school next week.

How Do You Survive the Holidays? Help!

It’s not that I don’t love Thanksgiving or Christmas. I mean, who doesn’t love Thanksgiving and Christmas? The whole freaking world loves Thanksgiving and Christmas! Because…otherwise… You’re one of these two characters:

And wouldn’t you rather be these?

By the way, I wanted to include a picture of a guy enjoying some Christmas cheer so that my male readers wouldn’t feel left out. Word of advice: don’t Google “male Christmas model.” It’s nearly-naked dudes wearing Santa hats. Sometimes on their heads, sometimes on their…other place.


I’ll take the grinchy hit here: Holidays stress me out. I’m not even sure that I like them. My favorite time to be thankful is when I’m snuggled up on the couch with my husband and dogs, watching our fireplace, and we’re snowed in so no one can bug us. Or when it’s summer, and we’re driving down a dirt road with nothing but trees for miles. That’s when I think, “Wow, I’m profoundly thankful.”

Thanksgiving is the time when I think, “Ack! I have to cook for HOW many people? And my house is supposed to somehow be magically spotless at the same time? Of course I should be able to do this, because Rachel Ray does it and the Pioneer Woman does it and every other freaking housewife on my social media feed does it. So why am I covered in flour with an underbaked casserole, burnt cookies, and a kitchen full of weird gadgets that I didn’t even know I owned? WHY?”

Then there’s dinner itself, where you mingle with the cousins who you haven’t seen all year, and they ask you awkward questions like “Why don’t you have kids yet?” Because it’s inappropriate to ask that to just anyone, but we’re family, after all, and so it’s probably fine even though we never talk except for at these awkward family events (Hint: it’s not fine).

Then there’s what I call the “résumé relatives,” who ask you what you’ve been up to this year, but it’s in this judgy way where you should have definitely accomplished more than you have (because did you hear how much THEY did this year??). It’s like they want you to send them your updated résumé every year, just so they can scoff and say, “HA! Loser. I knew it.”

And then there’s my grandma, who is honestly awesome but also the strangest grandma ever. She looked me up and down last year and said, “Yes, hm. I suppose you don’t need plastic surgery yet.” YET? WHAT? What am I going to need plastic surgery for?? And why did I barely make the cut?? I was feeling all cute, but then I felt like crawling in a corner and apologizing to everyone who had the unfortunate task of looking at me.

Plus, I mean, in-laws. That’s all there is to say about that, amirite?

So holidays stress me out. I ADMIT IT! I AM A SCROOGE!

Mental illness can make normal holiday stress even more difficult. I’m completely off of my routine, I’m under more anxiety than usual, I have to be all social when I hate being social, etc. The holiday season is not kind to the mentally ill. Lots of people kill themselves during this time, did you know that? “The most wonderful time of the year,” and people are killing themselves at alarming rates. I have no jokes about that one, y’all, because it’s not funny.

So. What do you do to decrease your stress during the holiday season? How do you keep your brain functioning like it should? Let’s comment with tips and all help each other out. Thanks in advance for any advice you may have!

It’s Not That I Don’t Love a Good Scandinavian Tradition…

Allow me to begin by saying that I’m not Scandinavian.

Without spell check, I wouldn’t have properly spelled Scandinavian. True story. The little red squiggles alerted me to my cultural dumbness.


Look at the catalog I just got in the mail:


My first thought was that this was supposed to go to someone else…someone out there who not only knows how to spell “Scandinavian” but also perhaps has ancestors from there or a shelf full of books about it. Flip to the back…nope. It’s addressed to me by name.

Then I thought, “Welllp…wonder what sweepstakes I entered that made Hemslojd think this type of thing would be my jam? Perhaps I should stop handing out my address like Halloween candy.” I’m telling you, though – you win one little trip to Australia, and you are doomed to enter every sweepstakes you see. It’s a thing. (That trip was in 2009 – totally separate story, but a good one. Perhaps I’ll get to that in another post).

Anyway, however it got here, I was standing there with the Hemslojd magazine in hand. I probably should have thrown it away with the political ads and credit card applications and pesky last notice electricity bills (jk), but the tagline caught me – an adventure in Scandinavian tradition? Who doesn’t love a good adventure in Scandinavian tradition? So I procrastinated on doing the dishes and dove in.

Since most of you didn’t get a Hemslojd catalog in the mail today (poor you), I’ll highlight a couple of the products you can buy.

1. This upside-down “Uff da!” mug. I had no idea what “uff da” meant, but judging by the looks of the mug I figured it wasn’t something great. I figured maybe f*** you or something.


Google tells me that “uff da” is an interjection expressing bafflement, surprise, or dismay. Kind of like an unfortunate “Oh!” except way cooler because it’s “Uff da!” Goal for the day: use this phrase in context at least once. You can feel free to use it too. We’ll all tap into our nonexistent Swedish heritage (except if there are any Swedes reading this – then you’re awesome and thanks for such a fun expression to add to my vocabulary).

Don’t you feel cultured already? But wait, the adventure in Scandinavian tradition doesn’t stop there (dang it, red squiggles! I’ve done it again).

2. What is Surstromming? Because apparently it smells like shit but tastes like heaven, and I AM INTRIGUED, Y’ALL. I’m 50/50 on ordering this product off Amazon immediately. I’d order it from the Hemslojd catalog, but they’re only offering a dishtowel and cloth.


UPDATE: I went to Amazon to investigate, and the top hit when I typed in “surstromming” was – I kid you not – this:


I just… I have no explanation. I’m concerned to see what this does to my “suggested items” list on Amazon. I didn’t mean it, Amazon!! I don’t want to buy liquid ass! This was an adventure in Scandinavian tradition that has gone horribly wrong!

Moving on. I had to find something pleasant.

3. Awww…look at these little gnome guys!


Oops. Not gnomes. Tomtes. In case you didn’t read the product description, here it is: “It is said that every home and farm has it’s own tomte, a good-natured little elf who has lived there for generations. He/she is a friend to the animals and all that needs looking after. All that is asked in return is a bowl of Christmas porridge with butter, and woe to those who forget!”


Now life makes sense. Like how our gutters fell off last year? And how our garage door just broke? That wasn’t because of too much ice or normal wear and tear…that was a pissed off Tomte saying, “WHERE’S MY PORRIDGE, B?! I’ve taken care of this place for GENERATIONS. You suck!!” And now I feel really bad. Like, can I give it to him/her late? Do I have to wait until Christmas? Do I have to give a triple portion because we’ve lived here for three years? My bad, Tomte of my house. My bad.

4. Check this one out: Lutefisk soup.


Upon preliminary research, I’ve discovered that Lutefisk soup is make from aged whitefish and is gelatinous in texture. It’s a little like Jello jigglers but except not like those at all, as far as I can tell. For a second with those tomtes and uff da I was wishing I was Swedish, but upon seeing that I might have had a childhood full of lutefisk soup, now I’m not so sure.

Anyway, I legit have to stop procrastinating, but I had to share my Scandinavian (BLAST YOU, RED LINES! HOW DO YOU SPELL THAT WORD?!) adventure with you. This one might even merit a follow-up post in the future, because now don’t you want to know what else is in this freaking awesome catalog?? I do! Plus, free shipping if I spend over $200…

Oh my. Someone throw this thing away.

How I Ended Up at My Brother’s Soccer Game (Pssst…I Don’t Have a Brother).

You probably haven’t met my parents. If you had, you’d be mystified that I’m the crazy one in the family.

A few weeks ago, I got a call from my dad. “I think we’re getting a kid,” he told me.

My parents are empty-nesters. I moved out over a decade ago, and my sister graduated from college this year. It’s probably logical for parents to miss their children or feel a little lonely during this time of life. It is a big transition.

But um…get a puppy. A parakeet. A goldfish. Not a random kid!

I briefly wondered whether he meant a baby goat. After all, baby goats are freaking adorable. My parents live near neighbors, though, so that might be illegal. And they wouldn’t have anywhere to put a goat house. Wait, house? Pen? Barn? Coop? What do you call the place where a goat lives?

Never mind. It doesn’t matter. They weren’t getting a goat.

He said they were getting a foreign exchange student from Spain, and he was moving in with them in about a week. They had just thought of it, and wasn’t it a great idea?

That is so like my parents. I can just picture it: they’re sitting on their cream-colored wraparound couch watching America’s Got Talent, and this happens:

Dad: I miss our girls. Remember when they used to put on talent shows for us?

Mom: Awww. Yeah, that was fun. Maybe we should have another baby.

Dad: Um, we’re over sixty.

Mom: Let’s adopt one!

Dad: Too expensive.

Mom: Let’s get one of those free ones that you just keep for a while. It’s an exchange something.

Dad: Like a rent-a-kid?

Mom: Yeah!

Dad: Is it free?

Mom: I think so. *quickly Googles a couple things* Look! A free kid!

Dad: Okay. Order on Prime so we don’t have to pay shipping.

In my head, that’s how it happened. In real life, maybe not. Anyway, they randomly decided to “get a kid” (*ahem* host a high school foreign exchange student), and my dad has been all pumped about finally having a boy and isn’t it great that now I have a brother?

My dad can’t even pronounce the poor kid’s name. His name is Jaime (HI-may), but my dad calls him Hiney. Yes, like butt. I told him he was saying it wrong, so now I think he may have graduated to Himey. It’s still not great.

When I met Jaime, I immediately said, “If my parents are crazy, sorry. It’s not my fault.” Except I said it in Spanish, because finally the years of high school and college Spanish have come in handy. He was very excited that I spoke Spanish, because he had some things he wanted me to translate. Question 1: who would be picking him up from school tomorrow? (The next day was his first day of school)

My parents looked at each other and shrugged. “Tell him we haven’t thought that far ahead,” my dad said.


I gave Jaime my number and told him to call any time. I’m nervous my parents are going to send him to live with us. They go to Florida for six weeks every winter, and uh…home boy is gonna have to go to school. They claim they’re going to “figure out” somewhere for him to go while they’re gone, but they keep joking that he’s going to come live with us. After all, we always take care of their pets while they’re gone, right? To which I laugh nervously like, “Ha ha ha…NO.” He’s nice and all, but…his high school is twenty minutes away, and I don’t want to drive back and forth to practices and stuff. I don’t even own a minivan! I’m too young for this!

Speaking of practices, when they took Jaime to enroll for classes, he saw the soccer team practicing. He got all excited because he loves futbol, and he didn’t know that it was going to be soccer season in the fall. Unfortunately, he missed tryouts due to, you know, living in Spain. My dad asked the coach if Himey could try out. The coach reluctantly agreed to let him practice with the other guys to see if he was any good. Since Jaime didn’t know he was going to be trying out, he was in jeans and didn’t have cleats or anything.

Turns out HE’S REALLY GOOD. So they let him on the team. Yay Jaime!

That’s how I ended up at a high school soccer game this week. Because my dad called and was all, “You have to drive down for Himey’s soccer game. After all, he’s your brother.”

What I wanted to say was, “Dude. He’s not my brother; he’s your weird midlife crisis experiment who will probably end up living with me in December. In which case he’ll be my son. And my brother. And the whole thing is too bizarre, so you have got to stop watching so much TV. It gives you strange ideas.”

What I said instead was, “Okay, see you soon.” It seemed less complicated.

Go Jaime!


Stay tuned to find out if he moves in with us.

Anyone want a free kid?

What Did You Do in the Last Hour?

I don’t want to be all, “Oh hi! Me again! I’m sure you’re all wondering why I haven’t been posting in months!” Because let’s be real – none of you were wondering. BUT I was talking to my husband yesterday, and I talked about how it makes me jumpy when people in the mental illness blogging community stop posting. Because…what happened to them? I like to think they suddenly won the lottery and moved to an island in the Caribbean where they’re so busy swinging in hammocks and reading books that they’re no longer bothered with blogging about the trivialities of life.

But as anyone in this blogging community knows…that’s not usually what happens. Best case scenario, the blogger’s life got busy. Worst case scenario…well. No one likes to think of that, but we all worry about it.

So – here I am, just in case anyone wondered. I’m not in the Caribbean, but I’m also not a worst case scenario. I’m still over here navigating life on this side of normal – how have y’all been?

Here’s a nugget from my life for you:

Thursday night, I went to a new book study group. I love books, and I marginally like people. So a book group should be fun, right?

For our icebreaker, the woman leading it asked us to detail what happened in the hour of our lives that immediately preceded book study. I think it was a way to show, “Hey, we’re all busy, frantic women. No need to keep up pretense and pretend that we have it all together.” But I couldn’t tell the full truth. I just couldn’t. Because do you want to know what happened in the hour preceding that question? Check it out:

An hour before she asked that question, I was failing at therapy. Oh, you didn’t know you could fail at therapy? Me neither. And YET I DID.

I was sitting in therapy, about to leave, and my therapist said that we should make an appointment to meet again before our next scheduled one. She said it seemed like I could “benefit from some extra support.” Which, okay, I admit that she was right and that an extra meeting isn’t technically failing therapy. But it felt like, “What?! I’m not capable of doing life without you until our next appointment?? AHHHH! How messed up am I?”

This is obviously a me issue, and I probably need therapy to get over the fact that I have declared I failed at therapy (how very metacognitive of me. Someone somewhere give me a gold star, please).

So I reluctantly agreed to remedial therapy, and then it was time to go. Plot twist: my mom works at the same clinic where I go for therapy, but she doesn’t know I go there. My mom gets all jumpy if she knows I’m seeing a therapist or if I’m not completely 100% stable-to-the-point-of-emotionless. I’m still not positive she believes in mental illness as a real thing…in the past she’s told me to pray my way out of it. SO. I didn’t want to run into my mom. My therapist knows this (and even books my appointments under a pseudonym like I’m a spy or something). She peeked into the hall to make sure my mom wasn’t there…but my mom was in the office. Crap. She was doing paperwork, so it could be any length of time until she was finished.

My therapist offered to sneak me out of the back door. She said I could sneak around to the parking lot through the woods and tell anyone who asked that I was looking for deer. L.O.L. But I took the offer. I tiptoe-sprinted through the back hallway like I was trying to escape the KGB, and I got to the woods undetected. Once I got to the parking lot, I breathed a sigh of relief.

PSYCH! NO RELIEF! Just then, my mom walked out the front door. EEEEEP!

I did the only logical thing to do in the situation. It was time to come clean and be honest with my mom like a mature adult, right?

HA. No. Definitely not. She wasn’t looking in my direction, so I dove into my car like an action movie star and hid under my steering wheel. I didn’t really fit, so I was also sort of curled around my gear shift. I was not breaking the line of sight through the window, though, so that’s all that really mattered.

I heard her car leave the lot, and then I waited a couple of minutes before peeking out. Just in case she was waiting out there to be like, “HA! I CAUGHT YOU BEING CRAZY!”

(Wow…I’m suddenly understanding why I need more therapy – lol!)

Luckily, the coast was clear. I turned on my car and high-tailed it out of there before she could realize she forgot something and decide to come back.

I drove straight to book study, where that lady asked me to detail the last hour of my life. And when a lot of women said things like, “I just got done making a homemade batch of applesauce!” or “I found a great sale on avocados at Aldi!” I decided they weren’t quite ready for my full dose of crazy. I went with, “I had a medical appointment that almost made me late” rather than, “I failed at therapy and then had to escape through the woods to evade my mother, where I then got a neck cramp from hiding under a steering wheel while I waited to see if she was going to bust me.”

Come to think of it, I should have said that. Because how many times do I have something so bizarre to say about the last hour of my life?

Missed you all, blogging peeps. Hope you’re doing awesome.

I Wasn’t Drunk Driving. I Was Spider Driving.

I don’t know how long the spider had been living in my car, but he chose the moment when I was halfway through downtown and dodging construction cones to show up on my dashboard to say hey.

I screamed, not because I was scared of the spider but because things aren’t usually SCUTTLING ALONG MY DASHBOARD. It startled me, and it was headed right for my steering wheel.

Women driving a car

I jerked the wheel (to maneuver around the spider inside my car, which made sense at the time). Unsurprisingly, it did nothing except make me say, “Eeeep!” and then dodge the other way to stay in my lane. The spider, unfazed by this, kept inching toward me.

For whatever reason, this didn’t strike me as a nice spider. It was nothing like Winston, the giant spider who lives in my garage. I say good morning to him every morning. It was also nothing like Ned, the stink bug who lives on the lampshade by my bed.

Actually – time out – “lives” is a stretch. Ned is more, well, dead. But he died perfectly perched on my lampshade, and his tiny exoskeleton is a reminder to enjoy the little things in life, like the friendly bug who wishes you sweet dreams every time you turn off your lamp.

At this point you may be thinking, “No way. This chick does not actually wish a dead bug good night every night.” But if you saw Ned, you’d understand why I couldn’t just throw him away.

Well, come to think of it, you might not. But that doesn’t matter.

Back to the point – the car spider was nothing like Winston or Ned. It was more akin to Elsie, my cat who tries to suck out your soul with her eyes. Spidey stopped perfectly centered with the steering wheel and glared at me. Glared. And spiders have eight eyes or whatever, so that was a lot of glare. I was in an invertebrate stare down.

Turns out I had less of a backbone than the spider (which is saying a lot), because I broke the stare down first. If you recall, I was DRIVING. So I had to look out my window to, you know, not crash into stuff. But I wanted to keep an eye on the bugger, so I looked up and down and up and down to try to minimize the time that I didn’t have a visual on the predator.

Unfortunately, I hit one tricky curve, paid full attention to the road, and then when I looked back…no Spidey.


It’s not like he got off at his stop and was trotting down the road. Nope. Spidey was hunting me from somewhere in my car, and now I didn’t even see him. Sniper Spidey.

So then I was looking all over the place and also driving, which was probably quite unsafe when I think about it.

When I finally found him again, he was halfway down the dashboard on the passenger side. I wanted to let go of the wheel and smash him, but I’d already been driving like a texting teenager. So I did a look-front-look-sideways combination all the way home. He started crawling toward me again, like, “Na-na-na-boo-boo. I know you can’t take your hands off that wheel.”

But then – fatal error – he didn’t see me put the car in park once I got to my driveway.

I’ll spare you the gory details, but Spidey ended. And I got home safely. So all’s well that ends well, and I didn’t have to explain to any cops why I was driving crazy.

Hang Up on Your Brain

Someone leaked my phone number to a world of telemarketers. In all honesty it was probably me, because I have the technological capabilities of a dumber-than-average goldfish. I’m sure I put my number on some form somewhere that said in small print, “Yes, I would like everyone who would like to sell anything on earth to contact me.”

But this is OKAY, friends, because I am developing an important skill: hanging up on people.

Not in a rude way, of course. Just something like, “I’m not interested…no, thank you for your time, but I’m still not interested… Actually, this isn’t a great time for me… Well, um, I’d prefer you don’t call back later, because I still won’t be interested then… Okay but really I have to go so I hope you have a great day but please don’t call this number again bye!”


Now I’m going to make a metaphor out of telemarketers (never thought you’d see that, did you?). Brace yourself. *cracks my knuckles*


All people, but especially mentally ill people, need to get a lot better at hanging up on our brains. Because I don’t know about you, but my brain tries to sell me an awful lot of crap that I don’t need. Too often, I keep listening way past the part where I should hang up on it.


Ring ring!

Me: Yes, hello?

Brain: Hi. I’m calling to inform you that you’re basically worthless.

Me: Oh, that’s kind of harsh. Are you sure I’m not worth anything?

Brain: Yep. Definitely sure. You’re a waste of the earth’s oxygen. 

Me: But wait, I thought maybe I was helpful to my family that one time when-

Brain: Nope, not helpful. They’d probably be better off without you.

Me: Now hold on…they say they love me!

Brain: They’re just saying that. They probably feel bad for you because you’re such a frickin nutter.

And then this internal conversation keeps going on, when really it should have gone like this:

Ring ring!

Me: Hello?

Brain: Hi. I’m calling to inform you that you’re basically worthless.

Me: Sorry, not interested.


I’ve been trying this recently, and it’s been surprisingly helpful. I know the negative tracks that my brain likes to follow, and when I feel myself getting sucked into one of those familiar spirals, I’ve been literally thinking, “CLICK.” Then I immediately have an alternative track that I start thinking about or busy myself doing something else so that my annoying telemarketer brain can’t keep trying to convince me of things that are unhealthy.

That might be super weird, but hey – my blog, my rules. It’s been working for me, so I thought I’d share it in case it could help any of you.

What negative messages is your brain trying to sell you? You know the ones – the ones that start as a niggling thought in the back of your mind and end with you on the couch eating ice cream straight out of the carton while you binge watch a show you don’t even like. THOSE ones. Start hanging up on them as soon as they start.


It’s Not a Relapse – I’m Leveling Up

Bad news.

I mean, good news?

Well, NEWS.

I’m going back to therapy.

I haven’t been in over a year, and I was irrationally proud of that. Like, “Look at me! I’ve been successfully handling life all by myself for a YEAR! Look, Ma! No hands!” (As I then hide in the corner and hork down a handful of pharmaceuticals).

I’ve been struggling lately, so I decided to go back. I was initially frustrated with the decision and told Andy that it feels like a relapse. “I’ve been off therapy for a year,” I said. “It seems a shame to break my record.” Like therapy is some illicit drug that I went to rehab for and am now one-year clean.

“You’re not relapsing,” Andy said. “You’re leveling up.”

Say what?

He went on to explain that when I first went to therapy, I was extremely suicidal and was literally trying to survive. This time around, when I’m not suicidal, I can work on Level 2 therapy problems, which focus on how to deal with life now that I’m committed to living it.

Look at me! I’m at Level 2! That sounds way better than “relapse.”

Super Mario Brothers is the only video game I’ve ever played, but I think level 2 is the one underground with the blue turtles, right? Yep – this one:


I get fireballs, y’all. Who’s gonna hate on Level 2?? I’m a brick-smashing, coin collecting badass.

So I contacted my dealer (oops, I mean therapist) and asked if she would see me again. She said yes. Phewf! So at least I’m not going to have to start over with someone new.

Bring it on, Level 2!

My HSA Badge (and Other Perks of Adulting)

There’s a lady in my husband’s HR department who thinks I’m completely nuts.

To be fair, she isn’t wrong.

My husband recently started working for a company that has an HSA as part of the employee benefits package. Now, you probably already know what an HSA is, because you are a mature and financially savvy adult (which I am not). For anyone who doesn’t know…it’s a health savings account. Basically, his company puts money on a debit card that we can use to purchase health related things. HOW COOL IS THAT? It’s like free money to pay for the crap that you hate using your actual money for. Now I just need a GSA (grocery savings account), a CSA (car savings account), and a BOGFMIDLSA (Buying obligatory gifts for family members I don’t like savings account)

Anyway, because I’m on a ridiculous amount of pharmaceuticals, I figured I should learn how to use my new shiny HSA thingy to pay for them. I asked my husband, and he told me to call his HR department. That’s how I started chatting with Hayley.

Hayley is the type of person who probably laughed at some point in her life…but we can’t be sure about that, and it’s probably not ever going to happen again.

To be fair, I guess HSAs aren’t super hilarious.

So I called Hayley and asked her to explain the whole “HSA situation” to me. Where do I get the card? How does money get put on the card? How do I spend said money? Then she started talking about how we could put some money in from Andy’s paycheck that would then be tax free, and my mind was blown.

“Why didn’t I know about any of this?” I said on the phone. “They don’t cover this in school. You know what? There should be a class on adulting. It could cover all the things necessary to be an adult: HSAs, insurance, how to help your friends through a divorce, dealing with your in-laws, etc. That would be a great class, you know? I would take that class.”

“Ummm…sure,” said no-humor-Hayley. “That would be…cool.”

So then we talked about HSAs some more. Finally, after I learned all I needed to know about this magical card, I said, “Awesome, thanks for taking the time to talk to me. I think I’ve now earned my HSA badge.”

“Badge?” I could almost see her eyebrows raise even though we were on the phone.

“Yeah. The adulting class I told you about? We’re going to have vests. Like girl scouts. And I just got my HSA badge. Later today maybe I’ll change the oil on my car, and I could get a badge for that too. I’ll have tons of badges.”


Not even a snicker.


“Who’s there?”


“Audi who?”


And then I hung up the phone.

Okay fine. I admit I didn’t do that knock knock joke. But I should have.

Come on, y’all. Who wouldn’t love a class on adulting? And badges for our adulting vests?? What badge would you want? Tell me in the comments. 😊

I’m Emotionally Immature and I’M NOT MATURE ENOUGH TO HANDLE THIS!

He he…okay, yes I am mature enough to handle it. Because recognizing the issue is the first step, right? I mean…RIGHT?


Oops, there I go again – making jokes to cover up an underlying layer of mental fragility. But who doesn’t like, jokes? HMMMMM?? I’M HILARIOUS. EVEN IF ONLY I THINK SO.

Hold up. Is speaking in excessive capital letters a sign of emotional immaturity? Let me check.

*switches tabs a second*

I guess that would fall under “over-exuberance.” Fine. No more capital letters. I’m getting rid of them all. Sayonara, over-exuberance.

(side note: spell-check wants to change “sayonara” to “savonarola.” wtf is “savonarola”?)

on wednesday night, i totally embarrassed myself in front of my pastor. that’s a long story that ends with, “and then i quickly said goodnight and excused myself to the other room to curl up in a chair and wonder why i can’t ever act like a normal human adult.” then, when i talked to my husband, i said, “seriously. why do i act like i’m twelve? i think i’m emotionally stunted or something.”

and do you know what he said? DO YOU KNOW WHAT HE SAID? (oops, sorry. the capitals leaked out)

he said, “eh, maybe. but that’s okay. it’s a common symptom of bipolar disorder.”


(is excessive punctuation over-exuberant?)

so then I said, “what?!” all freaking out. not offended, really, but just mad that i really might be emotionally stunted, and it might be due to my obnoxious brain. like, my occasional childishness isn’t a quirky piece of my personality – it’s a flaw due to my dysfunctional body. i don’t want a flaw! i want a quirk!

so i immediately got online and googled this to see if he’s right. not that he’s usually wrong…he’s got a doctorate, he’s taken abnormal psych classes, and he (clearly) knows more about my disorder than i do. sure enough – there it was. emotional immaturity can be a symptom of bp.

things started clicking into place like when you arrange random scrabble tiles and they start to form words. maybe my emotional maturity is why i’m such a good middle school teacher…because i’m as mature as my students. perhaps this explains my consistent low self-esteem and need for near-constant validation from people, accomplishments, etc. does this explain my low resiliency and inability to handle change effectively? is this why i can’t handle scary movies – because people under seventeen shouldn’t watch rated r movies and i’m not emotionally that old yet?

here’s a super embarrassing secret: i really like stuffed animals. one time i told my psychiatrist, “hey, when i’m about to have a panic attack, sometimes i can hold a stuffed animal really tight and literally feel calmer and comforted by it. but then i feel like i’m about three years old because i was comforted by a stuffed animal…is that weird? should i be concerned by that?”

my ever-practical psych answered with, “if you have a way to calm yourself down, do it. if you’ve found a strategy that works, don’t question it – be thankful that you have it.” which is true, i guess. i’d rather get drunk or something, but that’s not advisable for people on my meds…or people with bp…or really, people in general. so i’ve got a stuffed panda instead of jack daniels.

judge away, friends. judge away. just don’t tell me about it, because clearly i’m not emotionally mature enough to handle criticism.


can i have my capital letters back if i promise not to be over-exuberant anymore? the lack of proper capitalization is hurting my eyes.

You’re cool with it? Okay. Thanks.

Anyway, my husband seemed super unconcerned by this. He said, “I love you just the way you are. I love that you get excited about things. I love how much fun you are, and your challenges don’t bother me.”

To which I responded, “But if I’m secretly twelve, it’s like you’re having sex with a twelve-year-old. That’s messed up.”

He put his hand to his forehead. “Oh my word, Haze. You’re not secretly twelve. You just might have more emotional challenges than some other people, and that’s totally fine.”

Totally. Fine.


Not fine. But then I looked up ways to increase my emotional maturity – how to age myself like a fine wine – and it looks kind of impossible and/or boring. For example, lose my over exuberance? Like I have to hand over all of my capital letters and my birthday tiara? NO THANK YOU.

On the other hand, it would probably be in my best interests in increase my self-esteem and be able to handle change better. But that seems like something I’d have to go to therapy for, and I’ve been trying to stay out of therapy. I haven’t gone in over a year. I’d really rather pretend I don’t have these problems.

Wait. Hold on. *switches tabs again*

Shoot. “Unwillingness to face reality” is another symptom.


Okay fine. I might be a little emotionally immature. And I might have a little bit of bipolar disorder. There. I faced reality. I’m growing up now. I faced reality, and it’s ugly. U-G-L-Y it ain’t got no alibi!

No wait, now I’m going backwards.