I am so sorry; I have toddlers

I am so sorry. I have this tendency to over apologize. As if the words convey the same amount of sincerity each time they are senselessly uttered like a montage of movie clips. Don’t be sorry. Be quiet. Sorry! (Spaceballs). When I get angry, I want to yell out that I am just so sorry. Sorry for all the things I cannot control and all the things that the rest of the world (or my anxiety) perceive as wrong. I’M SORRY, ASSHOLE! (Uncle Buck). These days, most of my apologies are toddler related. The things they do that are beyond my control.  I want to apologize. I’m not even confident on which end that came out of.” (Bridesmaids)

To the world; the unapproving stranger’s glance when I pull an Ipad out of my purse for my toddler and the looming Target meltdown. To the sock police, whose eyes the site of toddler feet in public have bludgeoned. To cashiers, servers, and customer service representatives who had to pretend their screaming voices are cute. To the person waiting for my parking spot as I buckle them in and dismantle a stroller. (or frustratingly say screw it and throw the entire unfolded beast in the back of my SUV) To the driver I flicked off in a fit of toddler style road rage, because driving is frustrating enough but then you add the stereo echo of crying and I am a kettle of boiling blood. To the three employees of Sears who collectively tried to stop my running son as he weaved in and out of washing machines and I trotted behind trying not to drop my crying daughter:

 

 

 

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One Year

One year later. those words keep echoing as I was writing this week’s essay. It is about growth, acceptance and adventure. My favorite topics to write about. As you are reading this, try this writing prompt: where were you last year? what did your expectations for the immediate future include and how is the reality different? 

I realize I am curled up next to a crackling fire. My toes are heating up and the night air above me takes on an embracing calm chill. I need this now more than ever. My phone is unable to reach a call, or a buzz of bank alerts as a reminder of how close I am to failing at this. But I can’t yet define failing as every day is just a struggle to get from one moment to the next. So many people depend on me not to fail that I may have been doomed before I started. (According to my anxiety) What a year it has been. I say to the fire, and the air. Here I am, writing in the dark. Living this moment a year later than when I started this journey. Two toddlers are asleep in a tent; I hear a soft roar of their snoring as I take my sigh of relief in the form of a freshly poured glass of wine. The fire is begging me for it and I am happy to abide. This is my therapy, my happy place. My love hate relationship with the world, especially the people in it, has pushed me toward solo relaxation. No waiting in line to use the restroom or nudging my way through crowds while lost in a sea of people watching – Just me, the fire, the chatter of my older daughters and light conversation with my husband.

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I Should Take a Day Off

Cassidy.Marie.Rose
October 12, 2017

I wrote the below essay when I was desperately trying to get the most out of a little free time. When we have a day off, are we truly able to shut down? This isn’t just for parents, but anyone who has trouble truly putting their mind in a relaxed state. 

I am taking a few hours off, I decide. From everything. I am ignoring the pile of dishes that beg for my attention like my absent toddlers. All these things ring in my head like the distant church bell echoing the words, “should, should, should” But guilt is always in my atmosphere. I should update my calendar, I should watch this show, and I should clean my room. My TV is stuck on the Netflix screen saver in all its glorious temptation of shows that reach for my legs to trap me like quick sand onto my couch. I hear Jackson’s little voice interpreting the show previews, as he often does. Orange is the New Black: look at all those doctors. The Crown: The princess is looking at a helicopter. House of Cards: Those guys are monsters. Fuller House: they are having a picnic and need another dog. Luke Cage: He is trying to get through the window. But Jackson isn’t home right now, and I really don’t want to watch TV.

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Thirteen, for a moment

Cassidy.Marie.Rose
July 14, 2017

I used to call the moments of brain dysfunction writer’s block. But after the birth of my third (then fourth kid) mom brain has become the more appropriate term. It was about my second pregnancy when I realized how downright dumb I felt. As if my intelligence and actions were somehow blocked, like a kink in a hose blocking water flow. I’m smarter than this, when I walked into the kitchen for the tenth time forgetting I simply needed a glass of water. There was an incident, somewhere near the end of my second pregnancy, that involved a parked car and me fleeing to another grocery store to make it go away. Hit and run sounds so dirty, so we will call it a panicked pregnancy glitch followed by a knock at the door. It didn’t take long. It was the image of a pregnant woman, wet from sweat and tears on hot June day, and an equally confused husband who just couldn’t answer the question of why, that most likely got me in much less trouble than I deserved. To this day, I can’t answer the question of why beyond the loss of reason, intelligence and impulse control that goes along with a body swelling with hormones and water retention.

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The Uncomfortable Monster

Cassidy.Marie.Rose
July 5, 2017

I live in this haze of memory and future fear, feeding the monster.

That is how anxiety works, it is the monster that lives inside of me. It scares me into two corners of past and future and get stuck there, unstuck from this present moment. The monster creates “to-do” lists and completion checks. Then it slides me into depression like the ocean waves hitting the sand it curls around me as I distantly get caught up in my own thoughts and worries. Everything becomes a reminder of the future – the things I should be doing- the mother, woman and human that I should be. It dictates my shame and tells me dreams don’t count unless they have financial value. Suddenly title, whether a book or job title, matter more and important things are only measured in currency. And I retreat into absence.

So I have been noticeably absent lately.

Absent from my writing, my goals or even my persistence. It is easy to do. I have been battling a case of seasonal anxiety. It is a lot like allergies. There is the mental fog, pressure, pushing against the brim of my nose until it itches. The uncomfortable itch of allergies pressing from my cheeks to the whites of my eyes. They begin to water. Something isn’t right. I desperately want to sneeze, to release. My nose begins to water, trying to drip in sync with the tears that slide down my face and brush a salty glaze onto the corner of my lips. I am in full bloom anxiety season. Medicine is my first instinct. It could unclog some of the pressure on my face, slowing down the need to sneeze (release) and the need to cry. But it puts me in a fog, a haze, like trying to see out of the front window of my car through a film of pollen disposed from the trees. Just like allergies, there is no magic solution for the pressure. In the midst of this anxiety season I am working harder on coping techniques. But pills, like coping techniques, only work when I take them everyday like a routine.

There are also bad coping techniques

Self pity fills my eyes with tears. I blame myself, then I blame others. They are too demanding, or distant or unable to give me the answer i want to hear. Or they are struggling their way through anxiety season as well. I look at the pages I just wrote. The only friend that listens completely to my words, and becomes them. I sneeze on the pages. First there was the itching, then the pressure that squeezed the brim of my nose. Look at the light. I have been told. So I stare right into the bright side and sneeze beautifully onto my blank journal page. I am finally able to fill my lungs with oxygen and see the entire portrait

Writing is my strongest weapon against the monster

I have always known I need to write. I call it a lot of things, my dream, my passion, my saving grace. It is the release of the words and thoughts that are swirling around my head like magnets on a refrigerator. When I write, I can organize, control and beautify them. My pen is my armor and my sword. Sometimes other people read and relate and I get high on that feeling, that connection. Sometimes I get high on my own words, like an artist who just painted a masterpiece.

So I just keep writing.

Easing my future, calming my past and keeping the anxiety monster under my bed.

** drawing by my amazing daughter. I asked for a cute little monster to personify my anxiety. She added the goat characteristics because “goats always look anxious”