dear me…

Dear Self…

It’s been a year, my friend.

A year since you felt that you were caving in to what you thought was a weakness…an embarrassing flaw.

A year since you read Emily‘s blog post about not feeling right after having a baby and tried to brush away the fact that all the commenters suggesting she seek help?  Were talking to you too.

A year since Cort read the post and thought it rung true for you too.

A year since you sat and had yet another horrible ugly cry meltdown in your brown chair, and since Cortney sat across from you and suggested you call the doctor.

A year since the call.

A year since the visit.

A year since the first little pill.

It would be two more months yet before I could admit this to the world, but at least I had admitted it to myself.  And to Cort.

It would be even longer before you would decide you also needed AND wanted to talk to a therapist, but by then you had discovered that you were not, in fact, blogging in isolation…there was an entire world…blogasphere, if you will…out there.

You made very close friends because of your postpartum depression.  Not only did people in your life come forward in emails and private asides about their struggles, but you met Casey (through Emily) who let you know you aren’t alone.

And from there you met Katherine and Lauren and Miranda and Grace and Kimberly and Amy–women who have become so very important to your daily life.  They are you…us.  They have shown you that they are us and are successful, and have downfalls and bad days, but they bounce back.  And so can we.

In this past year you…

…have learned to communicate better with Cort.

…found patience you didn’t know you had.

…been able to work through Eddie’s meltdowns instead of having one of your own.

…stopped bottling your feelings because you were afraid of them.

…accepted that you have something chemically different in your brain now than you did before.

…realized you can’t “do it all”…at least not alone.

…have tried to become a voice for all those who feel the way you do…who have traveled your path…but are silent.

…have started to accept yourself.

You have come so far.  I am proud of you in so many ways.  And so are others.  Cortney, you families, your friends…they love to see YOU.

It’s not over, though.

You didn’t hit the year mark and get a nice release form to turn in stamped “DONE”.

This is not over.

Your anxiety is back and you may be dealing with depression for the rest of your life.  Right now you are struggling with this.  You need to accept that this is what it is.  Life is different now, but those things don’t define you.

You have the tools to get through the rough parts now.

Cortney has a new job.  The transition is much harder for you than you would like to admit to people.

He has always been home to make your world less chaotic.  Of the 21 months that you have had a child together?  He has been home for 17 of them.

You feel completely thrown into whirlwind of utter confusion.  You feel lonely and abandoned.

This is the anxiety talking.

You can do this.  You just need to adjust.  And it’s TOTALLY OK to need an adjustment period.  DO NOT feel bad about that.

You also need to forgive yourself.

Yes, your undiagnosed PPD made you all crazy and mean and awful to be around.

But you got help.

Everyone has forgiven you.

Even those you were the worst to.  Yes, even Cort and your mom have forgiven you.

You need to let go of how terrible you were.  You need to let it go so you can go forward.

They have let it go.  They never EVER hold it against you.  You need to stop holding it against yourself.

Friend, you are not “fixed”.  Some things can’t be “fixed”.

But you are better.  You have survived.

You are a survivor.

And you will, in the immortal words of Beyonce, keep on survivin’.

Love,  Me

teaching isn’t just my job, it’s my job.

Thanks to the makers of Pine-Sol® for sponsoring my writing. A study shows a clean smelling home can help children succeed, so Pine-Sol® is supporting Reading is Fundamental (RIF) this year. Click “Like” on Pine-Sol®’s Facebook page here and they will donate books to RIF!
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I don’t remember books not being in my life.

Growing up, the bottom drawer of my dresser was so full of children’s books that the bottom eventually fell out from the weight.

My  mom always had a pile of books on top of the refrigerator from the library, and a few more on the front seat of her car waiting to be swapped out for new ones.

My dad was always reading the newspaper.

We had a set of encyclopedia and a set of childcraft encyclopedia.

Words were my life from early on.  In grade school I lived for scholastic book orders.  In middle school my mom brought me piles of books home from the library.  By high school?  I had decided that I wanted to read–and talk about those books–for the rest of my life.

And so I became an English teacher.

I have worked for over a decade encouraging kids to read…to entice them into becoming life-long readers.

The school I work in is filled with students who didn’t have their own books as kids.  They come to us behind…because they don’t know what it’s like to have books in their life for fun.

Not a couple years ago, after about 90% of one of my classes failed to do a short assigned reading assignment, I polled the class with this question: “How many of you had your own books as kids and were read to all the time.”

One girl raised her hand (she did the assignment, by the way).  I died a little inside.

That same year our school started doing RIF (reading is fundamental), a program that gives students free books.

I was suddenly aware of the gift my parents had given me.

Also that year I found out I was pregnant with my son.

Immediately, I gathered my favorite childhood books and piled them in the room that would be his.

I would sit in the middle of the room and read the books out loud to my dancing fetus.

A year later, I was reading Green Eggs and Ham to a squirmy infant.

Not long after that, we traded the “paper pages” for board books because he wanted to handle them and gnaw on the book clumsily turn the pages himself.

Now, as a 20-month old, he brings me book after book to read.  He points out the letters to me and says some of them.  He points out the kitties and the dogs and the moons and the balloons.

I burst with pride when his little finger points at the pictures as I read the words…as he examines each page before we turn it.

I know this is what my parents did.  And I know it is a large part of why I became a successful student…and teacher….and writer.

It is never ever too early to start reading with your children.  Each time you choose to put down your phone, or step away from your laptop (in my case) to read with your child, you are sending a message about what is important.

Each time your child sees you pick up a book or newspaper instead of watch a reality show?  You are showing your child where your priorities are and what you see as valuable.

Your child…and education are important.  Show this to your child.  Read with him/her.

Don’t forget to click over to Pine-Sol®’s Facebook page to support our children’s success. I was selected for this Pine-Sol® sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

Today my post for The Red Dress Club is over at my other blog. Please click below to go there.


that was my mind being blown

In the words of our good friend, Quincy (of Little Einsteins fame):

I CANNOT BELIEVE IT!

Let me back up.

I have been having a no good, very bad week.

My depression was taking over at the beginning of the week.  I combated it by writing about it, getting lots of love from you all, and then getting over myself by doing something for someone else.

Then I got the bad news that my cat was not doing well.  He has been diagnosed with kidney failure.  I can’t blog about that right now, but he is almost 17 and I have had him for more than half my life.

I just had a cloud over my head.

When that happens…clouds and falling into depression holes?  I start to doubt myself.  BIG TIME.

I start wondering if what I am doing here in this little corner of the blogasphere is just a bunch of whining.

And then…it was like the heaven’s opened and angels sang.

There, sitting in my inbox was an email from BlogHer telling me they would like to syndicate one of my posts.

I know you all tell me I’m good.

Cort tells me I am a lovely writer.

My MOM tells me she loves my writing.

But according to Cort, I do NOT give myself enough credit.

So yes, I was still shocked.

They are syndicating “She Taught Him to Dance” today.

It would mean so much to me if you would jog over there and sparkle my world…and drop me a line.

I was syndicated on BlogHer.com

WAIT!  if this wasn’t enough to leave me with a dumb, goofy smile on my face for a week?  BlogHer randomly emailed me yesterday after my post for The Red Dress Club was put up and asked if they could use it tomorrow for Valentine’s Day.

People?  I almost fell out of my chair.

Don’t worry.  I will remind you again tomorrow.  But people?  From what I have heard?  BlogHer doesn’t just FIND you and ask for your posts.

I may have peed a little bit. (do you hear that Rita and Melissa?  You made me pee!)

Ahem.

Today I also wanted to let you in on a little change in operations here at Sluiter Nation.

Starting tomorrow I will no longer be participating in McFatty Mondays.

I just don’t feel like it’s my thing.  If you love it, please, PLEASE go read Blair and Miranda.  They are awesome and honest and so good at writing about it.

That doesn’t mean I am quitting my goal to lose the weight.  I am still participating in Healthy Train, and I am still striving to make better choices.  I am just not going to commit a whole day of blogging to it.

Instead Mondays are going to be my day to put up my post for The Red Dress Club Memoir prompt.  The link up is on Tuesdays, but I want to continue Top Ten Tuesdays because it’s just fun…at least for me it is.

Speaking of Top Ten Tuesdays…this week is my Top Ten Wears.  Yes, I have pictures of my most worn things in my closet.  Look out.

So to recap:

I’m at BlogHer today.

I’m at BlogHer tomorrow.

I have fallen off my chair.

No more McFatty.

Doing Memoirs.

Top Ten Tuesday = stuff I wear.

Whew.

McFatty Monday

Here we are again.  Monday.

Last week I skipped McFatty in lieu of doing For the Love…Of Blogging.

No more skipping.  I’m back to laying it out there for you all.

This week I weighed in at 196.5–two pounds lighter than two weeks ago!  Yay!

I’m still struggling with this journey, to be honest with you.

Last week in my therapy session, I admitted that I knew I would feel better–healthier–if I could find time to exercise.  I miss going to the gym.

Before I got pregnant with Eddie in 2008, I was going to the gym regularly and eating much healthier meals.  I was losing weight and feeling really good about myself.

While pregnant with Eddie, I continued to work out and eat great.

Since starting this weight battle again, my eating habits have improved.  A typical day for me looks like this:

Breakfast: cereal with 2% milk and coffee

Lunch: a fruit, a cheese stick, a fiber one bar, water, and some sort of healthy meal (usually leftovers from dinner).

Afternoon: a diet coke or coffee

Dinner: a protein, a small portion of carbs, and a veggie (sometimes fruit too), and water

I have stopped eating snacks in the evening opting for more water.  I have also been being better about taking my multivitamin, my calcium, and my vitamin D sup.

But I can’t find time to move my booty.

So I asked my therapist if she thought I should give up the hour I spend blogging and writing each evening after Eddie goes to bed, and instead spend it on the treadmill.

She told me, “absolutely not.”

Her reasoning is that being here, on the blog, is the way I verbalize…it’s the way I work through my thoughts when I am not in her office.

It’s important to my MENTAL health.

We agreed that until my schedule allows me to do both blogging and exercising, blogging needs to be a priority–especially since I am eating and sleeping better (which is obviously having a positive effect already).

That doesn’t mean that I won’t still be looking for room in my schedule to occasionally walk or run or do yoga, but I am not allowed to stress out about not doing it.

As long as I am making good choices, the rest will follow.  Exercise will come when my schedule opens up.

You all can hold me to that.

Tomorrow’s Top Ten Tuesday will be my Top Ten Causes that I Support.  I hope you will join in and share the causes you believe in too.  Plus?  We have a snazzy new button!  Yay!

Secret Mommy-hood Confessions Saturday

I really like that Kim does Secret Mommy-hood Confessions Saturdays.  I helps me vent out things that have been weighing on me all week.

So here is today’s:

I’m tired.

I know that is not a juicy one.  In fact, now you’re bored and will probably just move on, and that’s ok.

But I’m going to plunge ahead anyway, Ok?

This week totally exhausted me.  So much so that after getting out of bed this morning at 10:00 (thank you, Cort!), I played with Eddie for an hour and then passed out on the couch for THREE HOURS.

This week was hard on me even though it really wasn’t a bad week.  Ever have one of those?

I am tired of picking up after teenagers.

I am tired of students leaving things behind and then freaking out WEEKS later.

I am tired of having to say, “get back to work,” “let’s focus,” “talk while you work…WHILE you work,” among other things.

I am tired of giving a thousand chances to maybe get a D- instead of an F.

I”m tired of having to hound 18 year olds about graduation requirements.

I”m tired of doing more for less.

I also learned some exhausting lessons this week.

students never hear you the first time (this should not be knew, but in light of the week, it was frustrating).

adults can act every bit as immature as a 14 year old can.

adults can back stab you if they think it will get them in good with someone.

not many people can keep a secret.

massive week-long blog events that include a gazillion giveaways are incredibly rewarding…and exhausting.

I need to toot my own horn when I want to be recognized for something I am proud of.  Maybe others will pick up their horns for me too, but maybe not.  So I have to play LOUD–for myself.

It’s exhausting to be proud of yourself.  Many positive things happened to me this week–mostly in the blogging world–and keeping up with them left my head spinning.

But I will end this tired ramble with the things I am proud of, that I hope you will take the time to check out.

The first is huge.  HUGE.  I have a new button on my blog.  It looks like this:
I was syndicated on BlogHer.com

That’s right!  I am on BlogHer with my post My Mother’s Hands.  Because of tons of encouragement from this lady, this lady, and of course this lady, AND with Cort rooting me on, I shoved all my fear of rejection down and submitted five of my babies posts to BlogHer.

Knowing the talent that they usually pick up, I really wasn’t expecting to hear back (I know, I know…lame of me), but when that email landed in my inbox?  I FREAKED OUT!

Cort was gone to class and I just scooped Eddie up and danced and cried with him.  He thought his momma had finally lost it.

So anyway, please go read my post over there…and leave me some love and sparkles if you like it.

I have also been adding this little guy to a couple of my posts lately:

 MommyofaMonster This post was featured!

That’s right, the sweet and talented Natalie has taken notice of me lately (which makes me blush), and has featured me two weeks in a ROW on her Monster Likes weekend round up of her fave posts.  This week my writing tips made the cut.  Go check out who else she likes this week (always good reads, by the way).

Third, in case you hadn’t heard, I am now on the team at The Red Dress Club

I am all sorts of honored and still blown away that Nichole and Cheryl–two writers I hugely look up to–would even consider me to be part of their team, let alone ask me!  To me, this is exactly the thing that has been missing from my writing life.  It pushes me to read more, contact other writers, and think outside of my own writing box.  I love it.

Speaking of The Red Dress Club, some of you may or may not know that I have this blog:

this is where I do my creative writing.  Right now there is a piece of fiction I just posted–and I almost never write fiction–that I feel pretty good about.  I’d love for you to give it a read and tell me what you think.  It’s called White Agony.

Since I am listing things I am proud of here, I also still have Katie’s Bookcase:

I haven’t posted here in a while since I am in the middle of reading books…as are many of my contributors.  If you have read a book that you would like to submit a review for, contact me, and we will set something up!

Lastly, if you haven’t entered all of mine and Miranda’s giveaways?   You can find a list of all the links here.

More than one person asked me this week asked how I do it all.  Even my therapist wanted to know.

And I just shake my head.

I don’t know.  I really don’t.  I all I can say is, if you really, REALLY love something, you will do it.  If something brings joy to you in spite of the challenges it causes, you will do it.

Or at least I will.

But?  It will still tire me out.


McFatty Monday…some progress

Once again I am here to share my results of the past week in my quest to be less of a tub more healthy.

This week is full of good news! 

First of all, I weighed in at 193 this week!  That is 5.5 pounds less than last week.

Now, before you start congratulating me, I must say I think this is due to a few things.

For one, I failed to mention in last week’s McFatty post that some of my extra weight last time was maybe most definitely due to that womanly thing that happens every month.  I was ALL sorts of bloated.

So this week, I noticed my pants fasten a little easier.  In fact Friday night at the homecoming game, I found myself constantly pulling up my capri pants so that i wouldn’t moon the whole dang home side.

I also lowered my calorie intake.  You all totally confirmed my suspicions that 2100/day is just too much. I am now at a goal of 1700/day.  It’s a LOT harder to stay in that limit, I am finding!  In fact, I went over twice this week.  Oops.

Also this week Saturday I did the Susan G Koman Race for the Cure 5k.  I’ll blog more about that later, but that was 3.2 miles of walking/running that allowed me to have two bites of Eddie’s cupcake at a birthday party later that night…and STILL stay under my caloric goal for the day!  WOOT!

I must pause here and thank Kristin for all her help with making over my breakfasts.  Eggs, wheat toast, and yogurt with granola have been keeping me happy until lunch for sure!  This week I am making over my lunches.  Trying to add some more healthy proteins to get me through the rest of the day.  And as always?  I am doing my best to drink more water and less, well, less of everything else. 

(Although this has been a BAD week for sweet, delicious coffee drinks.  They are my rewards for things, people, and I cannot quit them).

I’ll keep you all updated if I find anything particularly wonderful for lunch.  I am sure I will.  Kristin posted some yummy ideas, and I am excited!

And of course I must give the lovely Blair big ups for creating this lovely way of keeping myself in check!  Go check out her McFatty update.  And of course the rest of them here along with the button so that you too can join in on McFatty Mondays if you so desire!.

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