Drunk Blogging

One late night a police officer pulled me over as I drove back to college from my job. He told that exhausted driving was as dangerous as drunk driving and followed me the last few miles back to campus.

I’ve often thought of that warning as I hope yo make wiser decisions to avoid sleeping behind the wheel.

But at 4am I wondered how different exhausted tweeting is from drunk tweeting. I’ve never blogged or tweeted while drunk, possibly because I’ve never actually consumed enough alcohol for that to happen. But I follow sufficient people who do so on occasion to know that I personally need to avoid drunk posting in any form.

The question remains though: is exhausted blogging really as dangerous as drink blogging?

Perhaps someday I will be rested enough to look back on this and answer the question.

6 Years

It has been a little over a year since I had that moment of truly understanding why people get divorced. I was not particularly concerned that I would get divorced soon, but I finally knew why divorce happens.

I have said many times that there is one reason that Josh and I are still married, and that reason is Josh. I often say it like a joke, but it is quite true.

Earlier this year I asked the ever-optimistic Josh why he thought we would not get divorced. He answered that we loved each other. I was oddly upset by his answer since it seemed completely inadequate. After all, the vast majority of Americans love their spouses when they marry. But Josh countered that he does not believe that is actually true.

A few months later I encountered two separate sources speaking of how they did not know what it meant to really love someone more than themselves until they had children. This isn’t a new concept for me, but I was surprised by how foreign it felt.

I tried to ask Josh about it without first revealing my perception. He agreed with me that we have both loved the other more than ourself for at least as long as we’ve been married. Perhaps the fact that others do not share this experience adds to the challenges they face in adjusting to parenthood since it is such a radical introduction to real love for them?

I am not sure that I am capable of ever loving anyone unconditionally, but I know as much as I know anything that I at least conditionally love Josh far more than I’ve ever loved myself.


We went to mass to celebrate our anniversary. We chose our wedding date because of the Saint honored on that day, and we haven’t been able to go to daily mass together in half of forever, so it was perfect.

A few weeks later Josh knelt beside the couch where I laid and looked immensely pleased with himself as he looked up from seeing the date on his phone. He said “happy anniversary!” I annoyingly asked him “anniversary of what?” He looked back at the date again and corrected himself. My birth date and our anniversary date apparently look the same when one is exhausted. I suppose I should credit him with remembering our anniversary twice.

I didn’t cry on our wedding day. I was far too focused on getting through the day without collapsing or vomiting from pain. Of course I probably would not have come close to tears in any case since that was not my style.

I did cry at my sister’s wedding two years ago. There was nothing naive about the way she approached marriage, but I knew it would cause her endless pain. Now one of Josh’s sisters is about to marry and I wince for her when I think of it. Josh’s family stuns me with their happy marriages, but I feel the clear impending misery of this one. Somehow I cannot explain why I have so much sadness for the death that marriage brings to others when it has been so life-giving to me.

I suppose that is interwoven in the intensely personal nature of it all.

When I was 16 I encountered a divorced couple who related to each other quite well. I decided that I wanted to marry someone who would be reasonable, charitable, and all-around great to be divorced from.

At this point it seems most likely that I’ll never know, but I suspect that there is no one in the world who would be a better ex-husband than Josh.


I think it would be remarkably refreshing to encounter the sort of homeschooling parent who can confidently say “all forms of education have their drawbacks, and blah blah blah is what I am doing in order to counteract the disadvantages that I have caused my child by choosing homeschooling.”

Okay, so maybe I’d like to hear something more coherent than “blah blah blah” ;-) but it is incredibly disheartening that parents are willing to homeschool their children without ever seeking to understand the possible long term drawbacks.

If I were feeling more snarky and less sad about the unnecessary harm perpetuated by those who otherwise pour so much into their children, I would hint that public school is the place for the children of people so intellectually lazy that they refuse to consider the obvious ramifications of dramatically “alternative” parenting choices.

Blogging Truth

If you write a post many of your readers will assume that you are obsessed with the topic. After all, they would never bother taking the time to write a post unless something was burning through their brains and blazing out of their fingers.

If you use social media to toss out casual complaints about your life, people will remember you as a complainer who is never satisfied. Things you do not remember years later will be the first thoughts that come to another’s mind upon seeing your avatar.

If you flippantly take a strong personal position in a comment section, people will likely have it in the back of their minds years later when you post about your new reality which just so happens to be precisely what you previously argued so strongly against.

If you put the word “blogging” in a title of the post, and then mention social media more broadly, your readers will know you truly have nothing to say.

A Tale Of Two Blog Posts

I spent four hours awake in bed today. I was still except for the movement of my thumb on my phone and occasional rolling of my eyes at the inevitable on Twitter. After an hour I had caught up on everything ever written by anyone I’ve ever heard of, and then the really wild reading began.

Something truly astounding happened: I found a decent writer and after 1,500 or so words I thought I knew her deal. But. Suddenly I was reading words I’d never encountered outside of my head. She shared a truth I’ve never been able to explain and then she raised her eyebrow at me as if to ask whether I was going to make her same mistake.

There was no way to thank her, so I simply continued reading, wondering what else I might encounter in this miraculous world of posts that contained actual thoughts.

Soon I was back to a familiar blog with a guest post from another stranger. It was so another lengthy person essay intended to convey a very specific message. I almost held my breath waiting for more truth to seep out. It never came. Instead, after the writer glided over her clouded memories of past obsessions, she finally tossed out a few lines completely undercutting any value in the supposed purpose in sharing her story. Dear God, please don’t let this be me in another ten years.

I don’t think I actually finished the last paragraph, though I somehow think that my eyes must have seen it all.

This is, of course, the way it is with blogging. You have know way of knowing which writer you are to me. I have no way of knowing whether my heartfelt thoughts will pour over your wounded soul like so much salt and vinegar. And yet I post because I know that “hurters gonna hurt” regardless of what I do or don’t say. Both of the women behind the posts that struck me today ultimately wrote for themselves. It is somewhat shocking that the first post helped me so much, but it is not at all surprising that the second post served simply to remind me that people are usually too selfish to really love when writing about how others should live. The truth is that if the last post hadn’t slightly offended me I simply would have kept reading until something else filled that space.

Be honest, how often do you see posts that bother you? How often would you guess that your posts hurt others?

On Man Colds

Two weeks ago I was struck down by a cold.  At 6:00pm I was feeling fine.  At 8:00pm I had the worst pain in my throat, and then things progressed from there.  I tried to explain it to Josh.  He was just recovering from a week of the flu, so I knew that I had to explain the evil of it all quite carefully if I wanted the full sympathy that I deserved.

I put it in the simplest way which required me to cough out the fewest words: “I have a man cold.”

I find the ridiculously sexist term somewhat amusing because none of the men I’ve ever known well at all have been remotely close to “man coldish” types.  Hence the whole concept strikes me as ridiculous, and thus rather funny.

Unfortunately, Josh had never heard the term and I lacked the energy required to explain it.

I’m too sick to see clearly, does this look like a good herbal remedy to you?

By 2:00am Josh had apologized multiple times for making me mad, and shaking my head desperately wasn’t cutting it, so I resorted to grabbing my phone and typing out an explanation:

I’m not mad at you. You’re wonderful. It just hurts so much. By the time you hear me bark anything out, I’ve usually said it several times and it hurts. So much. I’m sorry.

Or something like that. In any case, he got the point that I really am a super-wimp and did not take it personally.

The next day I needed to warn my sister that I was possibly contagious. She is a somewhat normal adult who has spent years of her life on Facebook and YouTube when not in feminist theory classes. I told her the crazy funny fact that Josh had not heard of the term “man cold.” Of course it turned out that she too had never heard it either. Dear sick me, how was I to explain that one?!

Thankfully the worst part of the cold only lasted for 18 hours and I could soon control it with painkiller. That’s right, I was reduced to taking painkiller for a cold. I told Josh that the only time I’d ever felt something remotely close was when I had strep throat and coughed up blood. I wondered if for years and years I’ve simply not noticed the pain of colds because it was nothing compared to my regularly scheduled feminine suffering. Perhaps the pill destroyed my ability to cope with the slightest pain?

I did my best to contain my germs and warned Josh to stay far away. He laughed it off because clearly I had finally succumbed to the flu he’d fought for a week. Apparently it did not matter that my symptoms were so different, it was just the woman-man-cold version of his flu.

Three days later Josh lay on the couch quietly moaning that this cold was so, so much worse than the flu. The only thing that came close was the pneumonia he’d had so many years ago.

I nodded with genuine sympathy as I brought him some tea. And then I thanked God that I had gotten the cold first. If Josh had acted this way without me first experiencing the pain I would have been upset rather than supportive. I would have assumed that he was really depressed about life or something and using the cold as an excuse. Not that he would do that on purpose, but really, who gets completely knocked out by a cold?

It seems that I needed yet another lesson in the reality that pain is incredibly difficult to understand. As far as I know we didn’t pass the cold on to anyone else, so I celebrate that as a major victory, even as I nurse my sinus infection two weeks later.

Now, will  someone please have sympathy on me and tell me that Josh and my sister are odd and I am slightly sane in expecting that they would have heard of the term “man cold?”


Some things in life must be shared.

Of course I am talking about things such as pumpkin chocolate chip cookies that really are cookies rather than mini cakes.

I just made these, and I suddenly found myself facing the choice of either eating the entire plate of cookies or else posting about them in order to distract myself.

I wanted pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, but all of the pictures I found online looked too much like little cakes. Of course cake-y cookies have their place, but if I wanted that I’d probably just go for two-ingredient cookies. As I looked at the recipes it occurred to me that several were basically a traditional chocolate chip cookie plus pumpkin. Which is funny because if I were adding pumpkin to something like that I would feel the need to use it as a substitute for something like the egg in order to not change the consistency. Oh wait!

So I followed my typical half-batch cookie recipe:

1 stick of butter

1/2 cup brown sugar (really closer to 3/4 cup in order to balance out the pumpkin)

2Tbs. real vanilla

1 egg 1/2 cup pumpkin

1 cup flour

1/2 t. salt

1/2 t. baking soda

6oz chocolate chips

Since I was terribly impatient I put the dough in the freezer to cool for an hour before cooking rather than patiently waiting for it to magically improve overnight in the refrigerator.

And they are amazing. They don’t have that classic autumn pumpkin flavor that I thought I wanted, but they do have a wonderful caramelly depth to them. And the lack of crazy in-yo-face pumpkin is fine since I used the rest of the giant can to make a more typical pumpkin bread along with a pumpkin (non-sweet) yeast bread.

Thank goodness I got over my two-week sickness of avoiding baking in favor of only cooking healthful foods!

Thoughts of Death and Life and Almost Understanding

I nodded in silence as my friend continued talking about her feelings, but I was several steps behind, trying to fit together what she had said. I had not been at all surprised by my friend’s serious depression and surrounding issues, but I was stunned to hear that this was the first time she had ever thought of ending her own life. She had made it to her 20s without ever once thinking of killing herself, and now a significant part of her turmoil consisted in processing the fact that she had thought of what was previously unthinkable. If it had not been so serious to her I would have smiled and patted her on the head. Oh honey…

It happened again a year later. Someone else confided that she had thought of suicide and I was shocked. I knew enough of her background to be beyond baffled that this was the first she had ever had such a thought. How on earth had she made it through so much without ever thinking the obvious? I was somewhat distracted by the action required to get her help, but whenever I thought of how horrified she was by the thought, I would puzzle over how it could be. How can some go through so much and remain so innocent?

Eventually my confusion was replaced with tremendous deep pity for these people. Their immediate psychological suffering was so much worse because they were horrified by themselves for having thought of death. One was filled with shame for her thoughts, and both were so consumed with self-analysis because they were unable to process the fact that sometimes thoughts of death can simply be part of life.

I do take these things seriously. From a medical standpoint both of these cases were well-controlled, and much simpler for me to respond to than situations such as one in college in which a fellow student needed help, but would likely have to leave school again if I forced her to seek it. I have known six people whose deaths were clearly caused by themselves, and others where the question lingers. I know far, far better than to lightly dismiss concerns of self-harm.

Yet I also know better than to allow myself to be consumed by the horror of another as she waits for a needed change in medication. I know darkness, and I know that it can simply be a part of some lives. It comes. It goes. There are truly horrible things about this world, and most of us will encounter at least a little at some point. Perhaps it is in some ways a sign of health to think clearly enough to consider many possible outcomes.

When fuller understanding came for me it was more than a little heartbreaking. You see, it is so, so terrible for people to be faced with emotional pain when they were never prepared for it. This is true with the lightest suffering, and it is true with the pain which can ultimately cause one to end one’s life.

It took the most severe cases to help me understand something which I had struggled with so much in watching how others suffered desperately with situations that I knew I should have been able to understand due to shared experience, but somehow I simply could not understand their pain. It seems that not everyone was born to suffer. Some can undergo continuous difficulties with barely a shudder. Others  live for years with only the most minor scrapes and thus drown at the first wave of real pain. And it does not matter what causes it, there is nothing livable about lungs full of water.

Now, if only I can remember this well when it is actually needed.

Summer 2013

Two weeks ago I swore. More precisely, I said the word “hell” in a “what the hell” sort of way. I can’t remember precisely what caused it, but I know that it wasn’t that bad, and that Josh laughed harder than I have seen in a long time. He doubled over completely as I attempted to explain what had happened: I had been searching my brain for an appropriate word since I don’t say things such as “heck” and somehow while I was searching “hell” came out.

I later asked Josh what was so excruciatingly funny about my swearing in that context, and he said it was that he had never heard me do so before. I told him that that was because I had not ever done so before. I use words such as “hell” in writing when I mean it, or when necessary to accurately quote. I have cursed a few times aloud since that first not-so-fateful August day in 2002, though I’m not sure anyone ever heard me.

. . .

I am exhausted and angry and happy and it is all quite amusing when my head is clear enough to reflect on reality.

In mid-August I flipped through pictures of the summer and realized that I did not remember the times they were taken, even though I was the one who took most of them. My sister seemed to think I should have expected as much: “of course memory is lost when one is beyond exhausted and stressed!”

. . .

Only recently did I realize that it is rather unusually morbid that I walked around knowing in my head what the “worst thing” was that I might experience in life. I suppose I shall blame it on a misunderstanding of my mother who was probably trying to instill some Carnegie resilience into those around her. In any case, I have often shushed myself by assessing a given situation and reminding myself that it would not even fall into the top ten worst things that might happen. This summer, I have been continually threatened with the second worst thing on my list. It is infinitely less terrible than the worst thing, but I had no idea that I’d ever approach one of the Top Five in my personal list. So, yes, stress. But the funny thing is that it is sort of like extreme pain: you can’t really feel it because you so quickly lose consciousness. So the worst things are the worst things, but they can’t actually be felt as the worst things because they are beyond the point of feeling.

. . .

I celebrated my birthday by going to the gynecologist. I told her that I did not want to have surgery again for another six months. She suggested Lupron. I told her that I was scared of Lupron and would like to try something milder first. She wrote me a prescription for a 90-day pill where even the “placebo” pills actually contain a small amount of estrogen. I paid $216 out of pocket for the generic version and decided that I was just going to have to be well in 90 days in order to avoid paying that again.

It took me a while to realize that my newly found anger was directly tied to when I started the pill. When I told my sister about it she laughed and declared that my anger is truly pathological in the primary meaning of the word. I told Josh about my sister’s joke. He told me that I was very good at hiding my anger and I almost burst with pride.

We once heard the queen of knowledge of fertility explain that anger and depression are the same thing in terms of hormonal disorders, it is simply a question of whether the emotion is directed out or in. Josh and I agree that this outward-turning thing is so much easier to deal with than the depression. But what do you call a stifled external expression of hormonal confusion? In any case, it seems that the start of the summer was merely some very mild foreshadowing of what was to come.

Or maybe it is all a mechanism of self-defense. I now see that everything is so much clearer with eyes clouded by anger, and that can feel safe compared to overwhelming uncertainty and self-doubt.

. . .

 Alternately, perhaps the anger is due to the fact that I started eating meat. I talked with Josh about everything that I have not yet tried in an attempt to be well. The list included:
  • LDN
  • Eating meat
  • Finding a new religion with a god who gives health to all the faithful

Since the first is scientifically crazy and the last isn’t emotionally possible for me, I focused in on the second option. I estimated that there is less than a 5% chance that it could help, but I’d go barefoot for 90 days for a 2.7% chance at increased health. And I certainly don’t want to admit to suffering from the Naaman’s disease (you know, the deadly disease of being willing to do crazy things but balking when a simple solution is offered?) so I decided to try the thing normal people do and eat meat for 90 days after half a lifetime of skipping it.

. . .

I suppose that I need to update everywhere I’ve used the term vegetarian. After all, you can go around worshiping yourself and still call yourself a Christian, but one willful bite of meat and you’re no longer a vegetarian. On the other hand, I will probably be skipping all animal products by the time I get around to updating social media profiles. So much for trusting what you read online!


5 Years

I am backdating this to the day that I wrote most of it. Because I can.

This month we celebrate five years of marriage.  I have spent the past month or so thinking about our marriage in terms of the concept of flourishing (yeah, yeah, MacIntyre got me in the end. Whatever. This is my life, and I remember nothing directly from MacIntyre, so now he’s free to eat my mind out).


I made a mistake when I married Josh five years ago.

Sometime about a year or so ago Josh kindly explained to me that I am unusual in my eagerness** to admit mistakes.  According to Josh, normal people are disinclined to admit their mistakes, and almost never do so when they have gotten away with the mistake. Apparently in Normal-People World, if one lucks out and does not suffer the just consequences of one’s mistake, then one is allowed to assert that no mistake could have possibly been made. Strange, strange stuff, this normal world!

I love to admit mistakes, because it allows for hope. If I made a mistake, then it means that there was an alternate path where I could have done better. And that means that perhaps I can make correct choices in the future that will allow for a previously unthinkable good life. If I messed up, then perhaps there is something that I can do to make up for what I did. Perhaps I cannot improve my own life, but I can at least serve as a conscious warning for others. Or something.

So I easily admit that in marrying Josh when I did I made a mistake. A beautiful mistake.

It is clear that I will not be able to coherently explain why it was a mistake, though goodness knows the hubris that goes into one thinking that one can defy the stats on young marriage and divorce in our culture. Stats and coherent explanations aside though, evidence of a mistake comes back to the concept of flourishing, or the absence thereof.

I have observed early*** marriage in general to be contrary to flourishing and that was certainly the case for Josh. By marrying the man I claimed to love too early, I reduced his potential quality of life significantly. I do not dwell on this fact for the joy of the pain. It is necessary for me to realize reality and remember the past in order to clean up the present and make space for a healthier future. If getting married five years ago was not best for Josh, does that mean anything about being married today? What do I need to do to make shared life good for him today? What can be done to build on the first too-early years to infuse value into the future?

The answers are scattered. Some things I need to do are trite, some are impossible.

On the very practical, uuuuuuuughhhhh side, I have been working on organizing the apartment. One day I happened to check Twitter and it was full of links to Organizational hacks for the rest of us. While I realize that the author is trying to be funny while posting something that builds traffic etc. etc. I had a punch-in-the-gut serious moment. The very un-funny truth is that much of that post reflects the reality of my approach to our living space and it simply is not okay. The “hey, I’ve got ADD and better things to do than maintain a physical space conducive to human flourishing” attitude results in surroundings that tell those we live with that they are not worth the effort of a clean and organized environment, even when such is within our control. At least in my life, this is pretty much the same as telling Josh that he simply is not worth enough for me to bother to change my life to improve his.

I have not yet succeeded in any of my attempts to make things better. Correcting mistakes is not that simple, even five years later. But I am aware, and regularly making feeble attempts at improvement. I do not know where redemption hides. Perhaps I will stumble over it as I celebrate the gift of five years that should not be.

**Granted, it may take quite a bit for me to realize that I have erred, but when I finally do realize it, then I tend to admit it readily.

**”Early” is, of course, a relative term, but perhaps that is part of the issue. Josh and I were married 4 & 6 years younger than the median age for first marriage in the state where we first lived together. Community wisdom is often found in averages, and we did not live in an Amish community with Amish expectations and Amish support for marriage that would have made our age rather perfect for marriage.


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