Living on a Prayer

2020 has not been kind so far.

As I write this I’m sitting in my living room as my daughter naps. My wife is sitting on the couch next to me, creating art on her iPad. We’ve been home for two weeks, sheltering in place. Kourtney’s hours have been reduced to zero for at least another six weeks– you can’t really put on plays and musicals when all the people in your state are supposed to be social distancing. As a result, she’s home everyday, and I get to eat all of her lovely bakes because surprise, I am also home. My organization is considered an “essential business” because it provides services to the homeless and other marginalized communities, but my job specifically is non-essential so I am working from home most days unless they need me to support our front line departments serve meals, or create hygiene kits. I’m lucky, I’m getting paid. I haven’t lost my job. I now get to navigate working from home with a toddler who frankly doesn’t appreciate that I keep looking at my computer and not her.

This is our life in the middle of a pandemic. Continue reading

Listen to my Birth Story on The Birth Hour!

I’m excited to share that my birth story has been featured on one of my favorite podcasts, The Birth Hour! If you’d like to hear me talk about Aminah’s birth (or hundreds of other people’s birth stories, they’re all pretty great), you can find my episode here!

I really appreciate the opportunity to share my birth story on the show– I never tire of getting a chance to talk about my home birth experience, and I’m definitely a birth nerd so talking about birth in general is something I’m passionate about. I hope you enjoy the episode, and be sure to check out other episodes of the show. Thanks to Bryn at The Birth Hour for having me on the show and for giving so many people a space to share their stories!

Welcome Back

Well. It’s been awhile.


Clearly I took an extended hiatus from writing on this blog. There are a lot of reasons and excuses for doing so, which I’ll lay out here for my own sake, but let’s be honest, it doesn’t really matter why I stopped writing, it only matters that I stopped. One major reason was because I just didn’t feel well enough to write. And when I say that I mean emotionally well. Every time I thought about writing on this blog, just the thought made me feel just drained and exhausted. I love being able to “put my thoughts to paper” so to speak, but I felt like I had to present my best self, my best writing (what even is my best writing???), telling stories that were meaningful and made me feel important. But I wasn’t my “best self”. I didn’t know if what I had to say was meaningful, and I wanted this blog to make me feel big when I was feeling small.

When I first started blogging in college my goal was to put to words everything in my brain that I needed to get out. I had all of this creative energy bouncing around in my body and I didn’t know what to do with it, and I had hoped that by writing it down and sharing it I could both make space for other things but also somehow connect with people at a time when I was feeling isolated and alone. I didn’t want to go out into the physical world and interact on a regular basis because it was scary, but connecting on the internet felt like a great alternative. This is not to say that I NEVER socialized, I socialized often, but it was often emotionally draining and anxiety-provoking. I thought, maybe people will find me on here and I can make meaningful relationships without leaving my house. And then suddenly I had a blog, and it had a theme, and I was exploring new things I was interested in, particularly around spirituality.

But my life changed, my priorities changed. I stopped feeling like this was a space for my voice to be heard. I mean, who was reading this blog anyway? I felt like I was in a desert yelling and wondering if anyone could actually hear me. How far did my voice have to travel for me to be heard? And honestly it was a bit demoralizing. But that’s on me– I’m not promised an audience just because I have a blog. And is that the only reason to have a blog? No. If I truly want a larger audience, then clearly I need to do things a bit differently to achieve that desired result– and I’m not sure I’m willing to put in that work yet because I’m not sure that’s even what I truly want.

So I’ve been staying away. But now things have changed.

I got pregnant. I had a baby.

I’ve been dying to write about these new experiences, and not a day goes by without me thinking about trying to get my thoughts and feelings and recent memories written down somewhere– although as I have been thrown into the chaos of early parenthood, finding time to do this has been very difficult.

So I’m back. And I’m committed to getting this all written out so that I can come back and remember, and so my daughter can one day find these posts and read the the story of our family. This blog is for her.


Things I Have Not Forgotten

My mom says I have a habit of reminding her of her parenting failures. The conversation often starts with a “Mom, remember when…” and ends with something she did that in hindsight she perceives as not good parenting. Like, remember when I was six and I asked you if Santa was real and you said no? Or, remember when you used to wake us up to the song Rise and Shine, but instead of ending it with “Children of the Lord” you ended it with “Children of the Corn”? Remember when I was eight and you read us The Giver and the father killed that baby in it and said “Bye bye little guy!” as he put him in the garbage chute? My mom hears these stories and thinks of her failures, but I don’t see them that way at all. I keep telling the stories because I think they’re funny, they make my childhood colorful, and they’re part of what makes me who I am today. The Santa story taught me that I don’t need a fantastical, magical figure to enjoy Christmas and it made me appreciate what my parents went through to get gifts for me. I still sing the “Children of the Corn” song and chuckle, but when I was little I didn’t get the reference, I just thought that was how the song ended. It’s one of those quirky family traditions. And although The Giver was a little intense, having my mom read to me and my brother as children fostered my love of reading both fiction and nonfiction.

None of these stories hurt me, none of them haunt me or make me feel like I had a bad childhood. All things considered, I had a pretty great childhood. I was fed, I was clothed, I was loved and I was happy. But every parent knows (even the really good ones) that they fuck their kids up in some way, despite the best of intentions. And I remember those moments too, those moments when the adults around me inadvertently cemented in me this idea that my worth is connected to my body. Since I’ve been fat since I was child, I have had plenty of adults in my life tell me in different ways that my body is too much. I was not often offered any fixes– I’ve heard lots of stories of women who were put on diets when they were children, and my parents never did that to me. I don’t really remember them helping me with my weight at all. It was made pretty clear to me that it was my problem. Continue reading

I Might be Afraid of Therapy

Do I need therapy? I don’t know.

In many ways I’m feeling really great and my life is going really well– my marriage feels solid, we’ve made a lot of financial goals that we’re either meeting or on track to meet, I’m feeling relatively stable at work so I’m not feeling like i’m moments away from getting fired (and therefore moments away from poverty). I’ve been feeling many moments of pride over being able to save my money and I’m beginning to relax about money because I feel like we’re being more fiscally responsible and we’re able to plan for our future! It’s a little overwhelming to think that in the last year we’ve gone from living paycheck to paycheck to planning on having a kid (!!!) next year because holy cow we can actually afford one! We’ve been talking about getting a car because WE CAN AFFORD ONE. We’ve been talking about renting a new apartment because WE CAN AFFORD IT. And we want it!

So to recap– my marriage, my finances, my work life (and most of my relationships in general) are great. I’m feeling super stable.

AND YET….. Continue reading

2017 Resolutions

Every year around this time I make a long list of resolutions for the following year. Sometimes I make a long list (like I did on my previous blog for 2012), and sometimes it’s just one thing (this year it was saving 10k by January 1 2017). I don’t really have a middle ground, it’s one thing or all the things! Anyway, I figured this year I’d do another resolutions list, shorter than the one in 2012 but with what I consider pretty big goals. Here’s the list:

  1. Eliminate credit card debt by December 31
  2. Eliminate refined sugars from my diet
  3. IF I can maintain my protein goals, become a vegetarian
  4. Get pregnant
  5. Only weigh myself ONCE a week
  6. Convert to Judaism (just do it already!)


I’ve already begun working on the first two– watching my credit score improve as my debt decreases has been quite exciting for me, and I’m slowly craving sugar less and less so I think the transition will be easier than I thought– but the rest all begin on January 1. I’ll keep this blog up to date on my progress. I might also add some additional resolutions before January rolls around. We’ll see!

Writing for an Audience of One

Two years ago I discovered NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, and I was super stoked about it. I made an account on their website, filled out my profile, and prepared to write a whole novel in a month (NaNoWriMo is a challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days). Before I began blogging, I used to spend a lot of my free time writing for myself– poetry, short stories, novels that I never really finished. I remember my parents had received this totally ancient PC from a friend and let me use it– it wasn’t connected to the internet, but it didn’t matter– and I would sit down in front of the computer, turn on some music (usually the Beatles or the Shins) and write for hours, creating alternate realities where kids had power and parents didn’t really exist and magic was everywhere (you know, kid stuff). As I got older I found livejournal and greatjournal (remember livejournal?!) and that really exposed me to the catharsis that can come with online journaling and blogging, but even then I still made time for something beyond my own experience, something creative and outside my own life. It was nice to be creative and fantastical, to write about anything I wanted, to have my characters do whatever I wanted them to, to play out what-ifs or if-onlys in Microsoft Word. I continued to write through high school and into college, but eventually I stopped devoting time to fiction and spent more time writing midterm papers and blogging.  Continue reading

I can’t see the future but I think it will be bright

I’m a planner. My present is total chaos (you should see my room right now, it’s as if hurricane Matthew made it all the way to my bedroom), but when it comes to my future, I like to plan for as much as possible. I create my own budget through excel which includes budget projections based on differences in pay, a savings tab to keep track of our 10k savings goal, and a debt tab that shows not only how much we owe but also how long it will take to get under a 30% debt ratio. Every time we go to Disneyland I make an excel spreadsheet that details all of our reservations, park hours, schedules for entertainment we might want to see, and a budget for the week we go. So yeah, I’m a bit of planner. Continue reading

Beyond Coping

It’s been awhile. After my last few posts I got some comments from people, mostly people concerned about my welfare because I was really honest about how I was feeling at the time. If you haven’t read those posts, here’s the short version: everything is shit, this process is shit, I’m shit, we’re all shit. Basically everyone was like whoa, are you okay? TOO HONEST, REWIND. I really didn’t mean to sound like such a debbie downer, but I was also just feeling really low and didn’t want to lie about it. This is my blog, of of course– if  I can’t be honest here, then where? I was quite taken aback by the responses. Many people suggested I see a therapist, some people tried to convince me that what I was feeling was only temporary, a few people tried to compliment me and tell me I’m a good person. Most of it felt really intrusive which I know is stupid because this is a PUBLIC blog and I share intimate details so of course people are going to be intimate in their response. But I felt a bit intruded upon and embarrassed because I got to vulnerable, too open.  Continue reading

Thoughts On Being Fat

I’m a member of a couple of wls groups on Facebook, I have an Instagram account that’s dedicated to my wls journey (I only follow wls accounts there, so it’s all weight loss pretty much all the time). I spend most of my screen time reading about weight loss stories, looking at before and “after” photos, bombarding my mind with images and narratives around losing weight. Most of the time (I would say probably 99% of the time) people talk about how happy they are being thinner than they were when they were fat. I understand that, I see why people want to put that message out there because there’s this idea that all fat people are (besides lazy and gross) totally miserable because they’re fat. If you’re depressed and fat, it’s not because you have a shitty job, or because you have a chemical imbalance in your brain, or because you’re going  through a rough patch in a relationship. It’s not because you just lost a loved one, or because people treat you like shit (because of aforementioned fatness) or because you’ve suffered trauma of some kind.

It’s because you’re fat, and you know it, and you hate it and hate yourself. So, the solution to that is to be thin. When you get thin, the depression will go away. And sure, some people (probably a small percentage) are depressed specifically about being fat and losing weight helps them feel better. But it’s not a cure all for all your woes. Also, not all fat people are depressed in general or depressed about being fat specifically, and that idea totally oversimplifies depression. I don’t know if you can tell, but the whole thing really grinds my gears. Continue reading

Today I’m 26

I wrote this post on my birthday last Wednesday. 

Today is my birthday. I’m 26 years old. It’s funny, I’ve been feeling 26 all year, so this birthday feels a bit redundant.

Last April I developed an ear infection in both ears. I suffered for the first few days, working and pretending that it didn’t hurt but it got worse and worse until I was unable to work anymore. I made a doctor’s appointment with the first available doctor at the Alameda kaiser, which was a huge mistake. The doctor I met with basically told me that he didn’t see an infection, that I was fine but how many times a week did I exercise? Asshole. despite the fact that you could see my ears were swollen, he gave me a prescription for some Tylenol for the pain he didn’t believe I really had and sent me on my way.

I woke up the next day in so much pain I began to cry in  that uncontrollable, please-gods-just-end-the-pain kind of way where it’s hard to even speak because the tears and the sobbing come out in bursts; you’ve broken the dam that holds you together and everything is falling out all at once and your body can’t decide whether or not your words or your sobs are more important. Not that it matters because they just flow out of you without your permission or control. This was the condition I was in as I went back  to the doctor’s office, this time meeting a different doctor who may have thought I was having an emotional breakdown. It was hard to even get to the office– all I could feel was the throbbing in my ears, which felt like it spread to the rest of my head. It was constant pain, even with the Tylenol it had raged on through the night, so I was exhausted and in pain and incredibly frustrated by the time I’d gotten to my second appointment. at this point I was so swollen my ears were sticking out, and there was no way any sane doctor could look at me and think there wasn’t an infection. I could barely handle the examination because it hurt to much to be touched, and obviously  the whole time I’m trying to fight back tears and failing.

This doctor agrees that there is indeed an infection, but he’s not going to give me antibiotics. Instead he’s going to give me a vinegar solution (something that I could probably have done at home and could have saved myself a trip) and some extra strength tylenol. I felt defeated. When were these doctors going to take me seriously? Could they not see that I was obviously in pain? Where did they get their degrees? Did Kaiser just find these men on the street and think, yeah they’ll be fine. Just stick them in the office and hopefully no one dies.

I sobbed all the way down to the pharmacy and continued as I waited to see my name pop up on the screen on the wall, you know, the one that lets you know your prescription is ready. I sat there, out in the open, and cried like a baby, unashamed and a little bit unaware of who was around me. I didn’t care that I was a grown ass adult. I was hurt, physically and emotionally. And those doctors made me feel like my pain didn’t matter,  that I didn’t matter. I was just another faceless patient to them, and they couldn’t be bothered to provide me with quality medical care.

And then, out of nowhere, this older black lady walks up to me. She doesn’t know me, in fact we’ve never met before. She doesn’t ask me what’s wrong or even ask me my name. She looks me in the eye and tells me that everything is going to be okay. I think I may have mustered up a thank you through the crying.

She asks me if her prayer group can pray for me, and I say yes. Can you imagine that? She asks me if it’s okay if she and her friends pray for me! At the time I was to inward to really care, and I of course said yes because I knew in that moment that I really needed support and I was gonna take whatever I could get. But her small act of kindness…. I’m not sure if she knows how much it meant to me, even a year later. She saw me when I felt invisible. She saw my pain and validated it. That didn’t make the pain go away, but it made it slightly easier to bear. It was a reminder that the pain was only temporary and I wasn’t going to feel this way forever. And I appreciated her asking if it was okay for her to pray for me because it was her recognizing that even if she is connected with the Divine in a certain way, I might not be– I mean, she didn’t know me or my personal beliefs and she didn’t make assumptions. She made me feel like a person.

Today, I turn 26. And I feel invisible. So I’m remembering this woman, this moment when a stranger came up to me and said I see you, and you matter.

No More Pants

I’m done with pants.

I think I’ve said this before on my old blog, but I’m beginning to really get tired of pants and their tyranny. I’ve spent a lot of time in the last few years wearing pants almost exclusively because I have been so insecure about how I look in dresses and skirts, but I really hated it, sometimes taking off my pants the minute I got home. They’re itchy, they’re sometimes really constricting, and so fickle! You have to be just the right size to fit them– gain a few pounds and they suddenly try to cut off your circulation, lose a few pounds and they no longer want to stay on and you’re constantly pulling them up so you don’t show the world your undies. Dresses and skirts are a lot more forgiving and flexible (for the most part). Got a big booty? It’s okay, your a-line dress has got you covered (literally). Gained a few pounds around your middle? THE DRESS STILL FITS. Lost a few pounds? NO PROBLEM. Even if the dress is a little loose, you can just slap on a cardigan and go on with the rest of you day like a boss.


Maybe I’m turning into Jessica Day (but WAY lazier). 

Continue reading

Revealing my Authentic Self

On Saturday Kourtney and I went out (basically on a double date) with two of our favorite people, R and P– I don’t know how they feel about being on my blog so I’m gonna keep them as anonymous as I can. Anyway, Kourtney and I have known R since high school, and although we haven’t known P for nearly as long he’s really great to hang out with and he and Kourtney have a lot in common so they’ve got a bit of a bromance going on. They live a few hours away from us but they just happened to be in town, so we went out for dinner and drinks. Kourtney and P decided to go to the bar, so R and I stayed and talked and it was awesome and SO VERY MUCH NEEDED.

R and I have pretty different stories, but they stem from the same mental illness diagnoses. We both suffer from anxiety and depression that has been, at various points in our lives, severe and debilitating. We are both in recovery for eating disorders. We’ve both dealt with self-injury. And we both have loving, supportive spouses who sometimes just don’t get what it means to be clinically depressed or anxious and how that affects the way we function in the world. So we just really get each other. It’s been awhile since we’ve been able to hang out and really talk about how we’re doing. I didn’t realize how badly I needed to be understood, to talk with someone who knows what it’s really like to deal with mental illness on a daily basis. To share our war stories. I felt like I could really be my authentic self, because of all the identities and parts of me that I carry, my mental illness identity is one I try to hide the most– and it feels like a burden sometimes.

I felt like that burden was lifted on Saturday, at least for a little while, as we talked and shared with each other. And we reminisced and got nostalgic about our high school days and we talked about what we were like back then, when we were teenagers. About how it was awesome and scary and we were happy and angry and sad and our minds were totally wild, unchecked. We had no idea how to cope with what we now know is anxiety and depression (and probably many other things), and all we had were really our friends to get us through it. Now we’re adults and we know better– we have resources we didn’t have back then, and we know how to advocate for ourselves, and we’ve learns (some) better coping skills. It’s kind of interesting to see us both as adults with jobs and spouses, and notice how our anxiety and depression manifest in different ways now– we have adult problems. Like taxes, and insurance, and rent. And although our lives are pretty good (I would even go so far as saying really good), we still struggle. Because clinical anxiety and depression do not depend on good times or bad times. They go beyond that. Sometimes I feel depressed even when everything seems to be going right. And I’m still anxious 95% of the time– on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being not anxious at all and 10 being full blown hospital level panic, I feel like I’m at a 3 most days.

So yeah, it’s nice to have someone who gets that. Who understands that it’s mental illness is ILLNESS, and that it’s manageable, but it doesn’t just go away. And some days are better than others. So I really appreciated having the time to talk with her and be heard.

When it’s too hot to write, you babble

I’m sitting in my office, lights off, shades closed, fan pointed directly at my face. My office is on the first floor, and you would think that, because heat rises, it would be the cooler down here. Incorrect. It’s outrageously hot in my office, and I’ve become pretty dehydrated over these last couple of days, sitting in here and sweating ALL OVER– leave it to sweat to remind you just how many crevices and rolls you have on your body. I feel like I’m leaking from all of my pores. One of my coworkers commented that she thought I had lost weight– honestly, I believe it. It’s probably water weight from all the sweating I do here.

It is really difficult to do anything when it’s this hot outside, and that includes working (I’m moving about as fast a snail) and blogging. But I can’t completely blame the weather for my reluctance to blog. It seems like every time I log in and look at all of the unfinished posts (and there are many) I lose all motivation–  I don’t want to really think critically about what I want to write. Sometimes I just want to take my my thoughts and put them straight to paper– no themes, no structure, just stream of consciousness. That’s where I’m at today, as my fan blows warm air on my face, and I drink my fourth glass of water. Also, I’m really hungry but I don’t want to go get food because walking in the heat sounds worse than sitting in this sweltering office.

Sorry, I’m a little fixated on the heat right now.