general angst

How A Writer Brain Can Take Over Your Life, Blob Style

Sometimes, having a Writer Brain really sucks, especially when you’re worried about something. Now, when you’re writing a scene or plotting a novel, it’s great to have your brain flying forward and imagining all these possible scenarios. For instance, a young woman walks into a restaurant. Here are things that could happen:

  • She sits alone at a table. Checks her watch. Orders. We think she’s been stood up. We find out that she wasn’t expecting anyone at all. She’s a lonely woman who pretends to be waiting for someone, and hopes maybe one night, someone will share dinner with her.

 

  • She meets some girlfriends for a reunion. They haven’t seen each other in ten years. She is having an affair with one of the women’s husbands.

 

  • She meets a man she’s been set up on a blind date with. He is seated at the table. He’s cute. They laugh. They flirt. After a bottle of wine, he gets up to go to the bathroom and she sees that he has really short legs. In fact, the guy is only about 4’4”.

 

See? Lots of possibilities. But when you apply this same Writer Brain to a real life situation, it sucks. Big time. In fact, a Writer Brain can take over your life Blob-Style.

Consider Kealoha’s concussion that I mentioned last week.

 

In reality, I know that he has a mild concussion and that they’re very common and that unless something goes really wrong, he’ll be totally fine in the next few weeks. Hopefully before the wedding.

 

But it’s that phrase “unless something goes really wrong” that makes my brain go into overdrive.

 

Here’s what I’ve been thinking. I imagine full scenes happening in which:

 

  • Kealoha goes in for a scan and finds his brain is swelling at an abnormal pace. They call him in for immediate brain surgery. I have to work but Kealoha tells me he’s fine. It’s only a little neurosurgery. Then he gets his head shaved and is operated on. He has to relearn how to walk. At our wedding, he waits for me at the aisle in his wheelchair. It’s very emotional because everyone is like, dude, he just had brain surgery and he’s still here. He must really want to get married. He can't say "I do", but he can say "Errggg" and everyone pretty much thinks that counts.

 

OR

 

  • Kealoha’s brain is so rattled that he can no longer smell or taste anything. He has a life changing moment where he decides he needs to hit every tiki bar in the country before he can say his vows, in the hopes of getting back his taste and smell. He packs his bag and decides to take a trip for a while. He’s not sure if he’ll be back for the wedding, but he’ll try.

 

OR

  • Kealoha falls into a deep coma. That’s all I’ll say about that one, because everything that happens in this scenario is so depressing that I can’t even talk about it.

 

For some reason, my Writer Brain didn’t envision what actually happened.

 

  • Kealoha goes in for a scan. It takes five minutes. They say that if anything is really wrong, he’ll hear from the doctor right away. Friday ticks away. We don’t hear anything from the doctor, thus we can assume everything is fine. We spend the weekend taking it easy. I run errands, obsess, and am generally anxious. Kealoha takes codeine and giggles. And he takes naps.

 

Hopefully, everything will be just fine. It will be just fine. I’m just having a deep panic attack about the wedding. And whenever I’m happy, I brace for something bad happening. So. I know this. I know I need to relax and stop worrying.

My biggest worry is my weight. I've been trying to lose weight for two months, but I lose some and then gain it back. I'm not committed enough to do a deprivation diet. I just can't! I also know that I am the same weight I was last year so I need to stop obsessing about what everyone will think of me when I walk down that aisle. I need to remember that the people coming to the wedding are our closest friends and family and they love both me and Kealoha just the way we are.

 

Ah. I do need to say that in all my terrible visions, I never once imagined abandoning Kealoha even after he needed speech therapy and had to relearn how to walk. In my mind, I’m always there with him. I even push the wheelchair.

 

Now that’s love.

How about a naked wedding?

So the muther humping dresses I ordered don't fit. I'd like to blame the company I ordered them from, but I think instead I'll blame my genetics. When people ask me my nationality, I usually say, I'm not sure but we were a people who birthed babies and carried heavy objects. Hence my hips. And, apparently, my ENORMOUS ribcage. If I wear a cape for a wedding, no one will know that the blasted thing won't close and I can give up my impossible dream of trying to diet myself into thin-dom. I am not thin. I'm no Princess Kate. I'm possibly TWO Princess Kates sharing the same body. Yeah. Each one of my legs is a Princess Kate.

I'm not bemoaning being fat. I know I'm not fat...but searching for a wedding dress is bringing up every single insecurity I've ever had in my entire life over everything.

(Sometimes, a girl needs hyperbole.)

My future mother-in-law is coming over in a few minutes to take my enormous hips out to find a dress. I envision much crying to come. Why is this so hard? Why is it hard to find a dress that is flattering to a woman with hips and knockers? Huh? I ask you, why is it hard to find a dress for a WOMAN, a dress that doesn't look like a mumu, or like I can hide midgets under my skirt, or a dress that is so tight I can't breathe or if I want to breathe then I have to remove some ribs?

This shouldn't be so hard.

If this doesn't work, then I'm sending out new invitations to everyone. They will read as follows:

Please Join Kealoha And Tanya for their Clothing Optional Nuptials. Please note, they will not serve hot food or drinks to cut down on possibilities of burns. They will also not offer a limbo contest (for obvious reasons).

On second thought, if I don't find a dress, maybe I'll just paint one on. The wedding is during Art Prize after all. Maybe we'll make the top ten and win a big prize. Maybe even a trip to Paris!!

*sigh* Let me have my fantasies, please.

On Pringles, My Kids, And General Mom-crying

PROLOGUE (skip this if you just want the current story) I spent a good portion of the evening crying last night. Meh. It happens. I think everything just finally piled up and all the stress had to go somewhere. It was either tears, or eat an entire pint of chocolate peanut butter ice cream. If we’d had chocolate peanut butter ice cream in the house, I probably would’ve gone that way.

First off, we have to go back a little bit. I haven’t had a real vacation of relaxing and recharging since I left my marriage. So that’s over two years. I had two trips to New York. One I took my niece to and developed a tooth infection and needed a root canal. And the other I went there to pitch my 4th novel. They were fun trips, but not relaxing.

If you go back further, then I haven’t had a vacation since being pregnant with Louis. So…almost seven years. (Although why I would need a vacation when I didn’t have kids, I can’t quite figure out. What do childless people do with all their time? Don’t take offense. I just mean I’ve forgotten what life was PreKids.)

Keep in mind that I’ve been working my butt off since having kids, but particularly these last two years where I managed to start over from nearly nothing….except $600 from my ex and a couple of narration pay checks in the mail. Over these last two years, I’ve started teaching full time at a college (they just renewed my contract for a third year), bought a house, written two books, found daycare for the kids, tended them, nurtured them…and re-met and fell in love with a great guy. I’ve accomplished a lot.

THE CURRENT STORY

I’ve also realized (especially over the last month) there’s only so long that you can keep running before you collapse. I’m not collapsing, but I am exhausted.

It makes the conversations I’ve had with my ex and his wife this week that much harder to bear.

Now, I’m not attacking them. I try really hard to empathize with their perspective and choices, and I usually do a good job. But my ex called me shocked to hear that I had given our son Pringles.

Pringles.

He’s upset because I shouldn’t give the kids processed food and he doesn’t want them to be overweight and the food industry is manipulative and controlling and I should know better than to give toxins to our children especially when they have allergies.

Yes. I admit, in times of weakness, I let the kids have snacks. I don’t have time anymore to cook everything from scratch. When I was a stay-at-home mom and in a marriage that was ultimately too controlling and confining, I cooked EVERYTHING. From homemade bread, to snack crackers, to roasts, to whipped cream. If I could’ve milked the cow, I would’ve.

I’ve since learned that life is about balance. While I try to encourage my kids to make healthy choices, I also don’t want to control their diet so fiercely that they’re terrified of gaining too much weight or they eat a diet that is so bland (and free of salt, fat, and wheat products) that when they get out into the ‘real world’ they go crazy. I also need to balance out my own time. I can’t cook everything anymore. Not when I’m working two jobs (teaching and narrating), writing, exercising, and trying to stay sane.

Sometimes the kids get PRINGLES. I’ve also given them GUMMIE BEARS. This week for dessert, they had SMORES. I have, on occasion, taken them to MCDONALDS.

I don’t think I’m an evil person for doing this. I think I’m a normal working mom who is doing the best for her kids. I make mistakes, but it’s not out of neglect. I also want the kids to know that life is about balance. If you have a treat some time, then be a little more active and eat some more fruits and veggies.

You know my kids’ favorite meal? It isn’t McDonalds. I haven’t ruined their palates forever. In fact, I’m shaping their palates to be pretty discerning and appreciative. Their current favorite meal is homemade chicken strips with panko and sesame seeds, edamame, and Chinese noodles.  I’m proud of that…and I’m proud of the way I’m raising my kids.

There’s more to this story though…the other part of the crying fit had to do with allergies, our cats, and trying to make a decision that’s right for my kids and our family…all while being pummeled and criticized for being a selfish parent.

Trust me. I’m not a selfish parent. I love my kids deeply and I’ve done everything I can to give them a loving, stable life. I do the best I can.

Thankfully, in two more weeks, I’m taking a real vacation. No kids. No teaching. No narrating. Just time to recharge and reassess. And possible, quite possibly, eat some PRINGLES. I like the sour cream and onion ones the best.