No Cooler Needed

It’s amazing how much all of the old comes into the new, even when you want to let it go.

I’m not a doctor or a therapist, and honestly I haven’t even talked to my therapist about this, so this may not even be actual PTSD stuff . . but it sure as fuck feels like it right now.

Packing for vacation and I’m So Fucking Stressed.

I see a bottle of water while I’m going through my mental checklist for the 100th time and wonder if we packed the cooler . . . I’m not even taking a cooler on this trip . . . and I realize, I am questioning if we packed the cooler because in every other road trip/vacation I’ve ever taken as an adult, the cooler would have the food to make it through this trip. . . . and if I forgot the cooler, I may not have had food to eat at some point on the road. . . and there wasn’t typically money to buy extra . . .or if I did, it meant scrambling to replace where I took that money from.

In day to day life I’m constantly changing what size purse I carry . . and it’s because for a long time once I didn’t have a car, I had to make sure I could carry everything I might need. It became one coping mechanism of many. Have all of the motrin and the tylenol, and the battery backup, and the headphones, but also something to occupy your brain, and extra change for the bus, and your water, and something to eat because you could get stuck in the middle of no where and then what.

The concept of, if you forget it, you can just buy one if you need it. That’s completely new to me. Not that I didn’t typically have some cash on me. And I always made stupid decisions with money, but every decision I made with money was followed by weeks of rearranging every other financial thing in my life to make sure we still ate, and that the lights stayed on . . . and making sure we didn’t get behind on bills and have to move . . AGAIN.

Or in the case of a road trip to visit family, making sure that we could still get back home at the end, without overdrawing the bank too much more than I had already planned for.

And I still have a hard time leaving my house without my water bottle and a giant fucking purse full of things that I almost never use, because it’s so hard to get out of survival mode.

And how many times have I had to remind myself that I don’t need to pack a cooler this time?


In 2001, shortly after my 21st birthday, almost 2 year old Kidlet and I took a road trip from Baltimore MD to Texas (Austin I think).

When I got pregnant with Kidlet, one of my best friends was there to give me a hug.  And now she was in Texas and she was pregnant and wanting a hug, so, I went to make it happen.

The soundtrack for the trip was from Disney’s Tarzan. Kidlet and I listened to it over and over and at one point I reached back during You’ll Be In My Heart and held his sleeping foot and made a promise to him to always be there, and to show up no matter what it took.

The other day something made me think of that soundtrack and I played it and the memory came flooding back of that first road trip. And the first major thing I did without the safety of my family right there. When I realized I could do this thing called adulting. And when I realized I could do this thing called mom-ing.

Still here kid. Just a bit further away and still so so proud of you.

Job Coach

I don’t think my new job coach expected to tear up when she said she liked to learn more about her clients so she knew who she was helping . . .

Yes, I will help rewrite the cover letter cause your stock one isn’t enough to convey my personality. . .

Nope, I don’t mind disclosing . . . Yep, that’s what makes me, me.

She seems to understand what I want to do and why. And has an idea of accommodations that will make it a possibility within my limitations.


This is to piggyback of the other post I shared.

I was an ostracized kid. I had a weird cough when my asthma acted up, and I was too much, and I was ‘off’ compared to the other kids my age, and I just didn’t fit in, and still to this day I’m not exactly sure why, and shit, at 37 years old I’m just now finding my place in this world and owning it. Which may have been a big part of the problem, I tried way too hard to fit in and I just don’t fit in, I stand out, and honestly, that’s the best part about me.

And if I would have walked in and shot up a school that would have been my fault, and not the fault of the kids who knew I didn’t fit in. Yeah, they were assholes for talking behind my back and making fun of me and making sure I knew that I wasn’t wanted and wasn’t good enough, but being nice has NOTHING to do with violence and gun safety and keeping guns out of someones hands.

And including people who make you uncomfortable isn’t your job.

There’s a fine line between accepting someone who is different, and expecting people to be close to someone who they are uncomfortable around to keep them from doing something harmful to themselves or others. That’s not your job.

Don’t talk about people behind their backs (venting when your feelings are hurt is one thing, but theres’ a line were it crosses to making fun of someone), tell people if they upset you, and help them learn to be better or do better if you have the emotional energy to do that, otherwise drop it. But you don’t have to be around someone who isn’t your type of person.

(oh, and fuck you all who made me feel like shit when I was in school, and especially fuck you who joined in on charades while we’re at it)


Going through things tonight I found a baggie of papers I had never looked at closely.

Parker and I handwrote lots of letters during my multiple psych inpatient stays.

While I never saved cards and don’t have many of them, she apparently saved a bag of folded letters that remind me of stuff from school days, folded in little shapes.


This little note was written on the back of a list of phone numbers of people that we were in the shelter with at the time. So it was the first of my series of breakdowns and inpatient stays, when she was holding both of us together.

Welp, that punched Draven and I both in the feels.

Of course, as I’m typing this… Draven walks out of the bedroom holding the box that Parker currently resides in and turns it back and forth looking at it (Her) and says “Mom, you used to be so heavy”

And, there’s the humor and the light. This is how we survive!

Other Side

Here’s why ‘work’ felt amazing today.

When I was relying on food pantries and social service agencies and spending half the week finding whatever resource I could to pay bills and keep fed and still make it to doctors appointments …..

I’d show up at a food pantry and they wouldn’t be open during those hours anymore, or at all. Or, they’d hand me yet another box of cans to go with the 3 boxes of cans in the basement when what we really needed was some fresh food, meat, something that wasn’t loaded with salt and might make me feel human for a day or two. That meant I took time away from something else productive to get to something that wasn’t needed in that moment, or in the case of the closed pantry, that was completely useless.

Sometimes that meant spending money on transportation or using up a favor.

I said that we needed a wiki based program, something that could be updated by those of us using the services. Nothing is up to date by the time large agencies pass out lists or post them online and most of the small agencies don’t have the resources to man phone lines. And I started looking into what it would take to make it happen, at least locally. But it ended up slipping by the wayside.

United Way updates their database yearly on a rotating basis, I just started training to make the calls to the providers. She was emphasizing how important it is to get detailed information so the clients know up front what each provider is able to help with, to avoid wasting their time/energy. Fresh food vs canned, how much towards a bill, what are the income or paperwork requirements, etc.

And, they are working towards a searchable online system that would allow notes to be left by users. It’s a long way away but they know it’s needed because they can’t keep up either.

I don’t know if I’ll end up working here in a paid capacity, but it feels so good to be on the other side of this.


Between therapist and pdoc helping me figure out what was happening last week and this week, talk therapy, a lot of mental work while sitting around, clawing my way back up, a shit ton of ugly crying, and a med adjustment . . . . I’m seeing glimpses of the bad ass me that I know is in there. Mixed episodes and this kind of rapid cycling is far scarier and more destabilizing than I remember, and I’m really glad that I went so long without this.

My therapist asked me what my anxiety looks like, there is a piece of art hanging in her office, a random mashed together jumble of 3d mixed media stuff. I told her it’s this constant noise of thoughts and words that looks and sounds like the painting, all different colors and sounds and sharp edges and smooth, but 3d and even 4d isn’t enough to describe the amount of dimensions, it’s like a 20 sided die, but the size of the earth, and I’m an ant, or a grain of sand.

But it starts small, one thought, and if I ignore it, it echoes around and gets bigger, and bigger and bigger, so I voice it and it goes away. But at some point, the more I feed them the bigger they get and the more they multiply until I’m this tiny molecule surrounded by these swirling mixed media 20 sided die of thoughts and I can’t remember what I did yesterday, or even earlier today because I’m too busy trying to respond to every single thought and put it to rest so they stop getting bigger.

“Yes I’m good enough” “Nope, the house isn’t on fire” “No, that ambulance isn’t for my kid” “No, you aren’t going to screw it all up” “Yes, you paid that bill”

I keep trying to find answers for why I’m like this, or why I’m like that. I need a solution, I need to fix me so that it all goes away. But I’m not my labels, I’m not my anxiety or the adhd or the bipolar or the anxiety or the grief. Those things help me find ideas for solutions, it helps me look for coping mechanisms, but I can’t get too bogged down in trying to fix me because I’m not broken.

I’m still trying, and I’m learning how to put away what doesn’t work, and take a few steps back, and when the anxiety gets bigger than me, I need to learn how to go back and find the stuff that made me Self Saving Warrior Princess in the first place. I spent an entire year telling myself that I was enough, and then a few stumbles while I was learning some new skills completely knocked me down. I need to find what made me bigger than all of this in the first place, and figure out how to hold onto that, while still learning all of this new stuff.