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Archive for October, 2011

Searching For Great Kids’ Activities

This past weekend was pretty tough. Have I mentioned recently that my children are crazy? They’re getting better. I mean, it’s not like it was when they were two but it’s certainly not easy yet. Sometimes I feel bad when I see other moms of young twins -younger than mine. They will give me this pleading look and say, “It gets easier right?” And then I look them straight in the eye and say, “Oh yes, if you can just hold on until they’re two, you’ve got it made” which is an outright lie. But I am doing them a favor. Everyone needs hope, a light at the end of the tunnel, a reason to get through another day. And truthfully it does get somewhat easier but my twins are almost four and it’s still pretty constant.

They do entertain each other now though. I love to watch them have their private jokes with each other. They whisper and giggle and plan and scheme and are generally pretty darned cute -so see? I don’t bitch all the time! Sadie is also willful and demanding and insists on being carried everywhere and Matilda is emotional and sensitive and very very specific in her likes and dislikes -okay so a little bitching.

The thing that’s the hardest about having three kids honestly is keeping them entertained and coming up with family friendly things to do. I wrote a Babble post about the things I DON’T LIKE TO DO and I will follow it up with some things I do like to do but I need suggestions. Why not check out the things I’m not into first though so you know just what kind of freak you’re dealing with.

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on October 24, 2011 5:43 pmUncategorized9 comments  

Earthquake!

With the San Francisco earthquake hitting the other day, I know I’m not alone in stopping to think about exactly what I was doing on the night of the Northridge quake in 1994.

The biggest disaster that night had little to do with plates or windows.

I remember the situation like it was yesterday. I was sleeping at my new boyfriend Billy’s apartment, when at 4:30 a.m. the two of us were shaken awake by a thunderous noise and vibration. Glass shattered, dishes slammed out of cabinets and crashed to the floor, people screamed, the entire building shook and shook and then the lights went out. It felt for a moment like the world was ending. And then it stopped.

“Earthquake!” Billy yelled.

He made a grab for me in the dark to make sure I was okay before rolling off the futon and grabbing his favorite pair of cut off sweatpants from the floor where he’d dropped them the night before. I could hear the tenants of his apartment building noisily gathering in the floor’s hallways and making their way outside. I was busy reaching around in the dark trying to make contact with my bra. This was such a nightmare. I made it a rule to sleep with clothes on ever since I’d been living practically on top of the San Andreas fault. It seemed that natural disasters loved to strike in the cover of darkness and I didn’t want to get caught running outside naked. But I’d relaxed my rule a bit since getting regular sex and now it was looking like I might end up going outside braless.

Billy and I had a sickening realization seemingly at the same time. Oh God, his parents.

“We have to go get my parents.” Ah yes, my new boyfriend’s parents were staying in a hotel down the street. They’d arrived just the night before and I was supposed to be meeting them for a civilized breakfast that day (much much later that day). For the first time. Meeting my boyfriend’s parents. And as we stood there panicking, his parents were most likely being evacuated down the stairs. I wouldn’t have time to find my bra let alone run a comb through my hair.

And that’s how I met my new boyfriend’s parents –at 4 in the morning on an emergency stairwell after a major disaster. We made awkward introductions –mainly because since I was at their son’s apartment in the middle of the night, it was obviously we were sleeping together despite only knowing each other a month or two. The whole rest of the day, and their trip really was a mess of demolished apartment buildings and dealing with scared pets and freaked out roommates.

We went on to date for over a year but from that moment on, the writing was on the cracked walls.

P.S. if you want to read about my equally horrifying recent trip to the pediatric dentist check it out on Babble.

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on October 22, 2011 3:21 pmUncategorized3 comments  

DGDF: Sara’s Story

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. – Anais Nin

Today is the day. Tuesday, October 11, 2011. I want to remember this day forever.

The day I decided to stop drinking.

The sunrise was beautiful this morning. Possibly the best one I’ve ever seen. Pink and blue hues in the sky sprayed with just the right amount of clouds, the brilliant orange sun barely peeking over the fall trees, as if uncertain of making its appearance.
There are knots in my stomach. I can’t breathe (allergies). I am on my period.

I am incredibly exhausted from being awake all night, tossing and turning and trying to banish the unwanted thoughts that kept racing through my head, taking up space where happy memories should be.

I look like absolute shit; my face is broken out, there are heavy purplish bags under my eyes, my hair is frizzy and disheveled. I am wearing an oversized Nike sweatshirt belonging to my husband, stained because of me, a constant reminder (as if I need one) of how I’ve continually let him down. But not again. Not again.

Not ever again.

I am terrified. I have never been in control of my own life, never been in the driver’s seat, always a passenger, always letting someone else or something else take the blame. I can’t do that anymore. I can’t live like this anymore. I can’t.

I joke around a lot and talk about drinking more than I actually do it; I exaggerate when I’ve had a bad day and say things like, “I want to drink my body weight in alcohol,” and it’s funny. I’m being sarcastic and it’s funny, and everyone laughs. Except it stopped being funny. I can control myself some of the time, which is why it’s been so easy to rationalize why I continue to drink, not to mention that I live in a town where drinking is practically mandatory, and raging alcoholics are accepted with open arms. I blend in here. Alcohol is socially acceptable. It’s the times that I don’t stay in control that outweigh the times that I do – those are the times that, at this point, have accumulated to an incredible number that I don’t even want to think about. It’s killing my marriage. If this were reversed, I’d have left Andy by now.

I have used alcohol as a scapegoat, every time. I could do anything with it. I could be invincible whenever I wanted – do, say, or act however I pleased when the numbing liquid flowed through my body. If I offended someone, “I was drunk. That’s not the real me. It was alcohol.” If I did anything bad, it was the reason. I’ve relied on it. It has been a friend. A friend who’s always been there for me, no matter what. And breaking up is hard to do.

I am absolutely shaking with fear that I won’t be able to do this, that I’ll fail. I’m ashamed. I’m embarrassed. I’m hurting inside. Badly. I’m so very sorry for the things I have done to people I love, afraid that they won’t accept me even if I quit drinking, afraid to become who I really am instead of who I am with alcohol.
I have never been so scared in my life.

I’m afraid to face the truth and push denial out of the way, because to do that means I was wrong all these years, wrong for thinking I was okay, and wrong for thinking I could control myself. To admit that I was wrong means all those years, all those incidents shouldn’t have happened, and that means I have regrets. And I want no regrets. I feel guilty. I feel like a scumbag. I’m open about everything in my life, including my depression (which drinking exacerbates) but this, for some reason, ties my stomach in knots. I’m so afraid of what people will think. Maybe because bipolar disorder, though not fully understood by the general population, at least, I think, seems more like a disease to people; they view it as something beyond a person’s control. Alcoholism, I feel, is looked at by many as a weakness, a sign of making bad choices, not necessarily a disease, even though it’s been proven to have genetic predisposition involved, as is the case with me and my family.

Of course, depression runs in my family too, and I have obviously been self-medicating for a long time now. It’s the first thing I reach for, my go-to, my trusty friend. With a glass of wine I can feel good again. It’s a great feeling. It’s the nights that the glass turns into two glasses, then a bottle, then two bottles…the nights I’ve blacked out, remembering little, if nothing, about a majority of the evening, wondering what I said, what I did…who I did it with…the horrible dread of trying to recall the next day, what took place the night before, the hangovers lasting days – those are the reasons I want to quit drinking. At this point there are no benefits.

But mostly it’s my marriage I want to save. I have an incredible man and he does not deserve this. There are a couple of other reasons too, and it’s a knife through the heart to hear them ask why Mommy won’t get out of bed. No, it’s not every day. It’s not even too often at all in the minds of many, I’m sure. I know there are so many people who are in much more advanced stages of alcoholism than I am. But this is not their life. This is my life. And I know I have to do this if I want to keep it. I want to be a better wife. I want to be a better mom. I need to be a role model.

I know in my gut, with every fiber of my being and pound on my body, that this is the only solution left. I’ve tried limiting drinking to weekends, drinking only at home, drinking only a certain kind of alcohol, drinking only for a certain number of hours – I’ve tried everything. I’ve taken “breaks” from drinking before when I’ve been spiraling out of control; I’ve “slowed it down.” But once I started again, I ended up right where I had been. I know I can’t just “take a break” this time. I know my addictive, all-or-nothing personality, and telling myself I can stop for a while and then set limits once I start again does not work. I’ve tried that. It’s a slippery slope. I’ve exhausted the options, made the excuses, and fiercely embraced the denial with a warm, tight hug every single time. This is it. This. Is. It.

I am very scared. What do I do? Can I still have fun? Will I fit in? Will I always feel awkward now? Do I attend AA meetings? I’ve always thought of alcoholics as people who get up in the morning and have to drink. People on street corners with tattered clothing and bottles hidden in brown paper bags. People who in general seem much more “out of control” than I am. I’ve never thought of myself as “one of them.” As it turns out, there is no exact alcoholic profile. I am one of them.

I’m not sure where to go from here, how to go from here. My path has not been marked out yet. I know that I do need to go from here, though, and take the path I have never taken. In order to save my marriage, my family, my life, I can’t stay on this path. My therapist said just as much a few weeks ago, when I had, once again, vowed to be better. Yet somehow, some way, no matter what precautions I try to take, no matter how much I worry and think, and try, really, really try…I somehow always take a detour, and I’m back on the old path again. That path has now been blocked off, eradicated, and filled in with the grasses and weeds of yesterday. I know I have a problem.

So today, I am going down a new path. The path of sobriety. It’s surreal. Alcohol has been such a focal point in almost everything I do. It’s very hard to imagine my life without it. It might not look like to others that I even have a problem, but I know I do. I’m scared that people won’t be supportive, and I’m scared to be this honest and vulnerable. I don’t know exactly where I’m going yet, but I know where I’ve been, and if none of it had happened then I wouldn’t be where I am. And that is at a point of great change. Everything in my life has lead me to this point. Everything.

My name is Sara, and I’m an alcoholic.

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on October 14, 2011 3:00 pmDon't Get Drunk Friday12 comments  

I Blame The Biggest Loser

I feel good about my body! I wasn’t thrilled with the pockets of fat on my thighs but now that they’re gone -thank you Final Inches – I feel downright satisfied. Weird huh? Healthy, not too skinny, certainly not fat, perfect really -perfect for me. And yet. I still sweat a little when I see a scale. It doesn’t matter what the numbers are, they still need to be headed down. I blame Biggest Loser for making me overly concerned with a number on the scale. Okay, sure, I’ve always been a bit hyper-focused on the number feeling that at 125 all was right with the world but at 127 I was a miserable failure who may as well pull a flatbed up to the nearest Krispy Kreme, wait for the light to go on and then load up and go nuts. Yes, I’m all or nothing, black and white with no shades of gray.

But I’d gotten so much better in the past few years. I still take off my shoes when I get on a scale but I won’t strip down naked including jewelry. At least not at the gym…or doctor’s office, which is a huge step in the right direction. But when I watch Biggest Loser I still feel that ugly pull. It’s gross how invested I get in those numbers falling, and they have to fall a lot. Two pounds is for pussies! Only double digits feel like an accomplishment. I really don’t like the feelings this show inspires! I know it isn’t healthy. And you just know those trainers don’t think it’s healthy either but they get just as caught up in it!

Sure these contestants have a lot of weight to lose and they try to make it goal oriented but there really isn’t a finish line. We all know that right? Let’s not fool ourselves. I guarantee you that not one of these contestants ever feels done, ever feels like they have arrived at their weight goal like they’d been planning a trip to Paris for a year and finally landed at Charles de Gaulle. No way. These contestants may have originally set out to lose 95 pounds, thinking that would be an unimaginable feat but then, against all odds, they get there! But they must find it’s like trying to stop an 18 wheeler going down hill. You can’t just hit the brakes and expect to stop cleanly. I’m sure they still hear Jillian and Bob’s voice with every bite of Jennie-O turkey burger and Best Foods light mayonnaise. Do you really think it would be possible for these people to ever have a normal thought about food again? I doubt it.

That’s why these people sometimes look way too thin at the final weigh in. They got to a point where they looked good but they could no longer stop looking at the scale as the enemy so the only choice they had was to keep going. I totally get that! I know that feeling of not being able to “just be” in terms of weight. But I am not feeling that today. Today I feel fat with a PH baby!

Does anyone relate or am I talking to a wall?

It’s the main reason that I don’t own a scale. I also turn around and get weighed backward at the doctor’s office. Sure I look like a neurotic freak but it’s the price of my sanity. Scales are like crack.

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on October 9, 2011 10:48 pmUncategorized11 comments  


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