In Which I Give Thanks to My Water Bottle

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Actual water bottle, coffee cup, and wristless owner of both

Yesterday, during a benign Facebook exchange, I discovered my sister no longer drinks caffeinated coffee.  This, from a woman I recall drinking an ENTIRE POT of coffee all by her lonesome self.  I hadn’t noticed she’d switched, exclusively, to decaf, despite my several personal deliveries of Dunkin which I ordered from a text message that explicitly specified DECAF in her order.

It goes without saying she got the quickness in the family and I can correctly grammartize the word motherfucker in a blog post.  OUR PARENTS ARE SO PROUD.

Typically, I allow myself 2 cups of coffee a day.  Less than that and I fall out of routine, which for me and my self-diagnosed ADHD-ness is what medical professionals lovingly refer to as a NO effing BUENO, SHERRY.  (That’s a quote from my therapist, BTW.  Hi Deb!) More than two cups and my hands shake and my heart races and the only difference between that and a typical anxiety attack is the lacking sense of massive pending horrific doom.

An aside…and revelation I JUST realized.  I’ve dealt with some shit in my life, and if watching that show Intervention taught me anything, it’s that I would’ve been a perfect candidate for a serious drug problem.  But!  That bitch anxiety?  She had my back and actually steered me wayyyy clear of ever trying any illegal substance, out of fear that the presence of even pot would kill me.  Or, propel me into a life of crime.  Or both.  Huh.  Look at me, all finding the bright spot and shit.

Back to coffee.  Today?  It’s not even mid-morning and I’ve had 3 cups.  Because, well, life, and shit is getting realsies up in this tween wrangling piece, and while I don’t think I’m dealing with anything Earth shatteringly new, it’s all uncharted territory for us.  The past few months have brought about lots of change and planning for futures and realizations and Axe Body Spray, and suffice to say, Momma is unprepared.

Hence, the 3rd cup of coffee.

While I watched this hot vessel of what I’ll surely regret in a few hours brew into my mug, I couldn’t remember the last time I’d chugged some water.  Some months ago, I bought a specific shaker cup for my morning smoothies and, while at work, I’d wash it out and use it for water for the day and at the gym.  Immediately, I craved that cup full of clear, liquid gold, and I pulled it out of the Designated Plastic Container Cabinet™.  But, the lid was nowhere.  to.  be.  found.  SHIT.

Now, of course, a normal person, would just take the cup, sans lid, fill that shit, and get her ass to work.  But, you’re not immersed in the blog of a normal woman.  I needed that lid, because what if I spill!  How will I drink at the gym!? It became obvious, in that moment, that I’d clearly failed as a parent, employee, daughter, sister, and human being because I COULD NOT FIND THAT BLESSED LID FOR MY SHAKER CUP.  I should just give up, go back to bed, and let the kids sustain themselves on chocolate chip waffles and Spotify.

Aim high, kids!

Clearly, that 3rd cup of joe transitioned from caffeine crutch to path of destruction.  This is how anxiety gets ya.  She spews irrational commentary that you start to believe, because if you’re told something long enough…you know the rest.  Lately, I’ve become more proficient at recognizing her bullshit, and calling her out on it.  Which, I think, is why I opened the drawer to my left, under the Designated Plastic Container Cabinet™, the perfect home for plastic container accouterments.

Like, lids.

There it was.

And, just like that, in the light of my kitchen, dim from two ceiling fan bulbs having blown out, which is probably a better look for me in flannel pajamas anyway, I smiled to myself because maybe, just maybe, if I can find an appropriate home for all my water bottle lids (they were ALL in there),  maybe I have the foresight to navigate all this craziness after all.

Maybe, but after just one more cup of coffee.

Irrational, but Real

Anxiety lies.

Anxiety tells me things I should know are untrue.

She whispers in a voice inaudible to anyone else, but I hear her.  Clearly, and with vigor nopeand conviction.

She feeds on my self-doubt and worry, like fucked up nourishment for her evil mission.  A veritable mental vulture who preys on the dying.

One particularly weak day, she convinced me my boyfriend sent me away to the grocery store so he could leave me under the cover of darkness, and sneak away.  Much to my surprise, and her chagrin, upon my return, he was there.  Still.  Always, I hope.

She dictates my wardrobe choices, her chatter about my body, and how it should be hidden above all costs, chirps in my brain, as I don another sack or over sized something.

She convinces me I can’t be a writer.  A good mother or productive employee.  A viable candidate for a job.  A strong, beautiful woman.  A caring daughter.  A productive, protective partner.  She casts doubt, that maybe I did deserve that, or was asking for the other thing, or certainly this will be the day something awful will happen.  Maybe it was my fault.  All of it.  Everything.

I never invited her to the party.  I never asked her to stay.  She’s an all too familiar stranger, a squatter in my mind I’d evict the second I knew how.

For now, I fight however I can manage.  Sometimes she disappears with a simple hair flip or some decent music.  Other times, like now, she’s almost impossible to shake, and the voice on repeat telling me all the things I can’t do and he’s never going to marry you and your family still thinks you’re a fuck up and you’re going to get fired and you’re fat and you’re ugly and your house is a wreck and you’re a loser because you haven’t finished your laundry and just wait until you see what tomorrow brings because if you thought today was bad…

So much for sleeping tonight.

Breathe.  I need to breathe.  And acknowledging her awful presence to someone other than me helps, too.  Sometimes I stand in the mirror and smile while I she spews her rhetoric, to help lessen the blow.  Other times I punch a pillow.  Or take a walk.  Or lie down and let the bitch wash over me with all she’s got.  Eventually, she tires out, too.

I’ve been able to outlast her this long.  Here’s to one more day of winning the race.

42

People often tell me I don’t look my age.

Just today, in a conversation with an acquaintance, I said something in reference to my teenage years, and attempted to include him in the conversation with, “at OUR age…”.  He shook his head yes, and I asked, “we’re both the same-ish age, right?  I’m 42.”  He nods, as if to acquiesce our being similar in age, then says, “I wouldn’t have said you’re 42.  I figured we were around the same age…I’m 38…I would’ve pegged you for late 30’s.”  I gave the obligatory thanks and went about my business.

Weirdest.  Compliment.  EVER, the whole “you don’t look your age” business.

Don’t get me wrong, this guy meant well, but THAT’S what we choose to commend women for as they age?  Like, congratulations you old bat!  You’ve out run the most common, outward signs of aging and probably had a decent start with good genes and effective skincare regiment, but here’s a medal anyway for inheriting your grandmother’s clear skin and discovered the benefits of using Oil of Olay twice a day.

Look at me, winning at life, keeping Proctor and Gamble in the black.  GEEEEEEEEENIUS.

Here’s the thing, though, and this may come as a shock since society tells us that, as women, we need to preserve our youth AT ALL COSTS, that once we hit the age of 35, it’s all Botox and eye serum and root touch up and concealer and contour and skirts to *there* and swimdresses, but…I LOVE being my age.  Of all the ages I’ve reached so far, this one?  42?  Is the best one yet, BY FAR.

Sure, I got my license at 16, but that’s when I got super dumped by my then high school boyfriend (Hi Steve!) and 18 was a bust because my college girlfriends and I discovered the only real things you can do on your 18th birthday is vote, legally sign a contract, buy smokes, and rent porn.  We did two of those, and I won’t say which, but suffice to say politics nor putting legal pen to paper were not on our minds then.  21 was a bust, as I spent it in a dive bar, in Boston, drinking something called a “Red Death”, which tasted JUST like Hawaiian Punch with a bonus vomitous hangover.  I got married at 27, and we all know how that turned out.  Had my kids at 30, and while that particular event ranks preeeeetty dang high on my list, it was newborn twin induced blur and don’t remember much, except for the post partum depression and bonus anti-anxiety meds.  I got divorced for my 40th birthday.  At almost 41, I met the love of my life, and that takes us to present, 42, the best age I’ve been thus far.

There’s magic in the number 42, some say it holds the secret of the universe, which, if that means finally mastering the subtle art of disguising my double chin with bronzer, sitting comfortably, alone, in a Starbucks, sipping a coffee and chuckling aloud at a Facebook post where my sister worked in the phrase “dick touchers”, or the excitement of auto payments notifications, then look no further for the answer to life.

All this to say, why not just compliment my ass, instead.  It’s just easier for everyone.