The Cost of Admission

Some days, nothing goes the way we plan. Some days, our plans are completely derailed and we want to throw our hands up in the air and give up. Sometimes those days stretch into weeks and months. We can't see any light, not even a glimmer. We waiver, we weaken, and we surrender. 

The way we surrender, though, determines our outcome. Do we surrender and give up completely or do we surrender our illusion of control and let go?

It's not been an easy few months, and I would, if I believed in luck, say we've been short on it. But I don't believe in luck, and despite or because of the law of large numbers and all those other cognitive biases I know because I teach them, I greet unexpected events as opportunities and gifts, the chance to grow, to bend, to let our pent up emotions sometimes. 

So when we were forced off the road this afternoon by an oncoming vehicle and the drop off was enough to shake us up, bend the rim and cut the tire, leaving us a quarter mile from home, I could have let it ruin what had been a lovely lunch with the girlies, a favorite friend and the cutest one-year-old I know, followed by the girlies spending their birthday money on Legos.

Instead I called Rick and he drove down to change the tire. While we waited, a nearby neighbor came out with his jack, ready to help.

The rim and tire are shot, and Honda wants nearly a grand to replace the rim and tire. Not money we have right now, so Rick called around. We'll order an after market rim and new tire from Pepboys for a fifth the cost when we get paid, and they'll order the rim. So, my car is parked for at least ten days. 

Some of the most important lessons I've learned my daughters taught me. They were un phased by the experience and started building their Legos as soon as we got home. Because neither Rick nor I complained, they took it in stride, a minor detour from their planned day, but no big deal.

And it's really not.  Not in the scheme of things.

Not as we live our lives in this ever increasingly shrinking world where we are connected to friends all over the world through the magic of the internet. Not when we have the opportunity to bear witness to the devastation so many people experience.

We talk about our problems, some of us recognizing it's a first world problem and feeling a slight guilt when we know that third world problems are so much worse. They always have been and always will be, so let that vague embarrassed guilt go.

Today was like any other day. It had its highs and its lows, its wow moments and its heart aching moments.

I choose to surrender and open myself up to life in all its painful majesty, to accept the cost of admission, which is unbelievably high but undoubtedly worth it. 


The Yogibo Max

10% off coupon code: Countering

Last week, I was contacted by Yogibo.com to see if I'd be willing to accept one of their bean bags to review, specifically in terms of how my children on the spectrum found it. When I looked at the site, I started drooling. We were very kindly sent the Yogibo max, which is six feet by two feet by two feet and priced at over $200.

I am in love with this bag. My girls are in love with it. My husband slept on it, it's that big. The cats are impressed. And the dogs think it is theirs when no one else is on it. 

The girls have laid on it, reclined on it, laid under it, laid side by side on it. You name it. They've done their school work on it. The couch has not been used since the Yogibo Max arrived.  That is how awesome it is.

If I had money, I would redo the living room in them! There are several options and lots of colors to choose from.  

Yes, I'm biased. We were given an expensive product free that my girls love, that provide sensory input that is calming, that makes them feel special. But, trust me when I tell you this is better than Temple Grandin's hugging machine. It's soft but heavy enough and large enough that when you lie under it, you feel pressure. I've used it that way. I would totally do a double in my room for me. It would be my safe space when I'm overwhelmed by kids, critters and the demands of my job and my anxiety disorder which tend to render me skittish and unwilling to be touched. 

So, anyone with 400 dollars, consider that to be my Christmas gift wish.

Yes, that's the Yogibo max under batman decorations and dogs.

Here's the Yogibo max out of the box.

Definitely dog approved.

Kids testing it.

Go to www.yogibo.com and check out their stuff. Kathleen at Autism Herd also wrote about it and if you up use her coupon code, you can get ten percent off.  Totally worth it!



A Sunday Epiphany: I was due one

You ever notice how epiphanies come  at the weirdest of times, you know, like at six in the morning when you are sitting on the toilet surrounded by six cats of various sizes all meowing and some of them climbing on you? And you're talking to them suggesting that if they weren't climbing their way up your body, you would totally be able to pee quicker and then they'd get fed quicker and it would be a win-win for everyone and then the dogs wander in and wonder where their cat food is?

Yeah that. But still I had an epiphany, which the critters were not impressed with when I yelled loudly, "He was totally scripting!" This epiphany was in relation to a conversation I was having with Bobby, which I don't go into detail here, because it wasn't the conversation so much as that it took me 8 hours to get what was going on. He was using bits and pieces of dialogue to explain something I didn't get at the time.

So we had a talk this morning about emotions, feelings, moods , innate temperaments and situational behavior, which was probably me scripting from prior psyc lectures, but whatevs.

Anyway, after we were both thoroughly confused and exhausted but maybe realizing we should skip these kinds of talks in the future (I'll let Lily do them), he kissed me on the cheek and took the dog for a walk without being asked,  by the dog or me.

I'm pretty sure that's because I'm such a motivational speaker.


Whatever. The other title was great before you ate it, Blogger.

“I've crossed some kind of invisible line. I feel as if I've come to a place I never thought I'd have to come to. And I don't know how I got here. It's a strange place. It's a place where a little harmless dreaming and then some sleepy, early-morning talk has led me into considerations of death and annihilation.” 
― Raymond CarverWhere I'm Calling From: New and Selected Stories

I was freaking insightful but blogger ate it, so you don't get to appreciate that incredible epiphany.

Don't worry. There wasn't really an epiphany, I rambled about being lost, absent minded, confused and unsure about everything. 


Break, then--that's what crazy glue is for

Several years ago, I was told by my therapist, who was trying to be helpful, that if I hadn't broken yet, I wouldn't in the future, in response to my concern that I would face the same mental health issues some family members had, that I would, in fact, at some point break.

That's stuck with me, but not because it made me feel better about the several challenges I was facing, but because it made me feel pressured to continue to be the one that kept on going, didn't make major foul ups, to keep being the responsible one.

That one sentence from my well-meaning therapist, meant to console and empower me instead made me often feel worse about myself and the challenges I was dealing with.

If I could go back three years and offer myself an answer to that question, based on my in-depth awareness of just how much I mask of my internal states, I'd say something completely different than the therapist did: what I needed to hear then, what I still need to hear.

Breaking is okay. It happens. It's not the end of the world. It doesn't make you a failure. If you break, you are not alone and we will pick up all the pieces and put them back together and you will be stronger yet softer for it. You will be more compassionate, kinder. You will know that we all need to be taught to bend, to change, to ask for help, to speak our story aloud, and that when we are true to ourselves, those broken pieces will fit back together so much better.

You also need to know that you will live experiences that will shatter you. You will think you'll never be able to get past it, that part of you will remain there, in those shattered moments and that's okay, too, if you remember to stop and love yourself, all of yourselves, the ones that are shattered, the ones that are bending so far you are certain breakage is inevitable, and the ones who have risen, stood back up and prepared to battle yet another day. We contain multitudes, after all, and the sooner we learn that truth, the easier it will be to love all of ourselves, even our contradictory and difficult selves.

I have broken in the last three years, several times. Some of those shatterings I hid until I couldn't any more. I am a work in progress, and part of that progress is learning to admit aloud to others when I'm struggling and when I need help. And then to follow through to get that help.

And to keep telling myself that breaking is just part of life. Break, pick up the pieces, and see what kraggle* and duct tape can do to get me on my way again.

There are worse things than breaking. Breaking leads to change and growth. 

There ARE worse things than admitting I don't have this, that I need support. That's what I would have told me three years ago, if I'd been my therapist. But she didn't, and I stopped seeing her because I couldn't be honest about the depth of my despair or what all I was struggling with. The facade of having it together was more important than telling her she was wrong, that I was broken in innumerable ways. 

Admitting I'm chipped and scuffed and missing some of my polish, that's actually not so hard, not so bad. It's a good thing to teach my girls, to be honest about ourselves with our loved ones. They still love me. Rick, who knows all of me, has never wavered in his love or support. Sometimes he's missed that I've shattered, but that was my fault for hiding it from him.

So maybe I come out the other side of these confessionals like the Velveteen rabbit, real if tattered. I honestly don't know, but I do know I have to tell it, own it, embrace the lessons and move forward, always ready to look back and reach out a helping hand to the me's who are struggling to find their way.

*kraggle--Lego movie