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immigrants, border immigrants, immigrant children, zero tolerance, immigration

Zero tolerance for humanity, this is the America our President wants us to live in. A world where we dehumanize entire races and refer to them as criminals and “vermin”. Spreading the gospel through fearmongering that these “vermin” will infest our country.

A world where we rip children from their parent’s arms and put them into “camps” where child migrant detention workers are told to stop frightened siblings from hugging, denying them even the simplest comfort through the trauma of being stolen as they watch their parents being arrested for trying to seek a better life. If nothing else has made the connection for you between Germany in the 40’s, the “camps” should make it crystal clear where this all is headed.

immigrants, border immigrants, immigrant children, zero tolerance, immigration

This could be me. This could be many of you. And don’t kid yourself, if it’s being done to immigrants at the border, it can be done to anyone. Just because you had the good luck of being born inside this country does not make you better, more deserving or immune from the wrath of zero tolerance. Because let’s be honest, the only thing that makes you any different than “them” is dumb luck. You are not better in any way than any other human being. A human is a human is a human. Tomorrow, zero tolerance could be pointed in your direction.

READ ALSO:  No Sanctuary for Children

What I find to be the most sickening thing about all of this (and the list is long) is that our current leader has asked himself, “What is the quickest way to get people to give up on their dreams? What is the quickest way to stop a strong-willed asylum seeker in their tracks?” Threaten to take their children away. This is America today.

Some people value being “right” over being moral. They value getting their way, over giving in to help others. They would rather die proving us wrong than relent to make things fair. Kindness, respect and human dignity are provisional and not extended to all people. To them, not all humans are created equally.

No one is safe; not even children. In fact, they are the targets. Anyone with a brain knows that the fastest way to stop anyone from doing anything, including fighting for their own life until the bitter end, is to threaten their child’s life. We lose the ability to live for ourselves the moment we become parents because we serve a higher purpose.

immigrants, border immigrants, immigrant children, zero tolerance, immigration

As parents, we would lay down and die for our children without hesitation. It’s not even something we rationalize or think about. It is instinct. I’m not even sure we can control it. If our child is in danger, we throw ourselves in harm’s way without a moment’s regret. It’s compulsory and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

READ ALSO: We the People

But as every parent knows, that kind of all-consuming, unconditional, miracle, life-affirming love has a price. The price is that we will do anything for them and would rather sacrifice everything, including any chance of happiness and safety and peace, to make sure that they are safe and have a better chance at life.

This is why so many immigrants come to our country from Central and South America (and around the world) seeking asylum; seeking shelter; seeking safety; seeking a better life for themselves and for their children. These are third world countries where the most valuable thing you have is family and we are taught from a very young age that family is everything. To deny them even that basic right is a cruelty beyond measure.

They do not come to steal your jobs. They do not come to rape you. They do not come to pillage your towns and destroy your lives. They do not come to flood your streets with drugs and murder your children. Most people seeking entry into the United States come for one thing and one thing only, a better life. It has absolutely nothing to do with you, least of all to harm you.

When I became a mom, my entire life changed. I was no longer who I was. I was a mom. My life was no longer my own and it never will be again because I relinquished that life for a bigger more intentional one. My purpose is to care for, love and raise good human beings. I am the keeper of the future, as are all mothers and fathers.

The people who want to build the wall know this but they don’t care when it applies to immigrants because they have dehumanized this group down so much that they no longer see them as human beings, and they never see them as equals. This is how they deny culpability. This is how they sleep at night. This is how and why they rip sobbing children from the arms of their desperate parents.

READ ALSO: If we Do Not Recognize, We Cannot Heal

The children being ripped from their parents’ arms are not collateral damage of immigrants coming to this country. No, the children are being used as pawns by our administration. Give us our wall, stay on your side and your children will be back in your arms. Until then, we will take them. Displace them. Make them disappear. You will never see them again. Our government is holding their children hostage. Our President is terrorizing families seeking shelter and asylum.

immigrants, border immigrants, immigrant children, zero tolerance, immigration

Imagine coming to a country, someplace you have always believed is better than where you come from; less dangerous, less volatile, less crooked and you find yourself being so cruelly refused.  Not only are we sending you back. We are sending you back with empty arms. We will eliminate the very reason you came seeking a better life. Go back to your dismal life with your empty arms and let this be a lesson to you, we don’t want you here and your children mean less to us than garbage.

The only way any of this changes is through Congressional legislation. Even though, please keep in mind, there is currently no law requiring that families be separated at the border that is a mandate of our President. This is your America.

It is up to you and me and every single person in the United States who respects and values human rights to experience a little discomfort, step up and speak out on behalf of the sobbing, frightened, motherless children in the camps. If we don’t help them, who will? You can stop this madness. Start small.

Contact your Congressional leaders, raise your voices to let them know this is not ok and we have zero tolerance for separating parents from their children.

Contact your congressional leaders. Find them here.

Here is what you can say:

“Hi, my name is _____ and I reside in ______. I’m urging Senator/Representative ______ to denounce Trump’s family separation policy and use all of Congress’ authority to stop it. I urge you to support of Senator Feinstein’s bill, the Keep Families Together Act, S. 3036, and insist that immediate attention be given to the atrocities occurring at our border.”

Sign the petition.

I signed a petition to Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and The United States House of Representatives and The United States Senate, which says:

“Stop tearing children away from their parents. Families belong together.”

If you believe families belong together, please sign this petition? Click here 

Make your voices heard. This is our America.

 

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Anthony Bourdain, suicide

I was shocked for a second time this week when I heard the news of Anthony Bourdain‘s suicide, only days after Kate Spade was found hung earlier this week. I didn’t want to be writing about this again. Not twice in one week. But damn it, if I don’t I’m part of the problem. The problem is we don’t talk about mental illness enough. We push it aside. Drop it like a bomb and run away. No one wants to be associated with it.

Anthony Bourdain was a depressed, recovered addict but he was so much more than that. He was a father, a son, a world-renowned rock star chef. He was my husband’s idol. I mean traveling the world, eating and drinking your way into the hearts of every culture and even though he was dry and sardonic he was kind and embracing just beneath the surface. He cared. He was real.

READ ALSO: Ode to Joy a Personal Kate Spade Story

The thing is we didn’t know everything about Anthony Bourdain, as we seldom do about anyone. We knew what we wanted to see. We saw what we wanted to believe. In America, we mistakenly believe that if you have all the things, you will be happy. But, I’m here to tell you that is bullsh*t. It might be true if you don’t suffer from mental illness. If you do suffer from mental illness, the things you have is irrelevant.

I just read this People Magazine article and being someone who does have a diagnosis, I see the signs. They are all over this. Every word. He told the world but no one was paying attention. In fairness, if you have not suffered you probably don’t know what to look for or how to help.

We see what we are allowed to see. We see what we want to see. We see the surface. We are complacent and happy to accept the surface.

People these days are in such a hurry to get to the next thing. Post the perfect pic of the perfect life. No one is actually talking or caring about one another, just what they present.

This People article has quotes that I recognize. He told the world he had issues. He didn’t have a mental breakdown in front of cameras for all to see but he wasn’t hiding it.

The thing is we see someone like Kate Spade or Anthony Bourdain who have so much and we ask ourselves, how could THEY want to kill themselves? By all appearances, they have everything we want.

Anthony Bourdain, suicide

If you’ve ever been clinically depressed, you know that depression and mental illness do not discriminate. It doesn’t care how much money; fame or things you have. It is not born from being without. It is an illness. No one gets a pass because their life looks perfect.

Even if you have everything and you can tick all the boxes off for happiness, that doesn’t guarantee happiness. Not when you’re mentally ill. It’s a feeling of being broken beyond repair and that causes a despair that swallows you whole. Money, family, fame and success have no bearing on it.

You try to hold on to get through the drowning feeling, especially for those you love. You suffer through and your lungs expand and you hold on to every ounce of breath in your body to survive but sometimes…you drown. The weight of the world is too much.

READ ALSO: I am Robin Williams

If you’ve never felt this way. I hope you never do. The only way to stop this is for us to look up from our phones, see the people around us, practice kindness, get educated and remove the stigma of mental illness so those who suffer can get help without feeling shame.

The shame is literally killing people. Not getting help for your mental illness is like not grabbing the life preserver when you are drowning. Please, stop making people afraid and embarrassed to grab the life preservers.

I am angry that so many people are becoming victims of their own mental illness when it can be prevented if we all just remove the stigma of getting help. It doesn’t make you weak. It makes you self-aware and healthy. It keeps us alive.

To remove the stigma, we have to normalize mental illness. Getting help can’t be a source of shame. Checking in on our friends, beyond the surface, needs to be a thing again. No one wants to be responsible for someone else’s life and you shouldn’t be, friendship should not feel like a chore. But a little human compassion and genuine caring, the small gesture of asking someone who they are and actually being present and listening with your entire self can make a huge difference.

The mentally ill don’t need babysitters, or to be told to relax or get over it. They need to feel like someone cares that they are on the planet, that their existence means something, that they can get through it. They need to know it won’t be easy but it’s not impossible.

How are you feeling after learning that Anthony Bourdain was found dead by suicide?

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Kate Spade, Kate Valentine Spade, Andy Spade, Davide Spade, Suicide, Beatrix Spade, fashion, depression, bipolar

Like many of you, I was shocked and then immensely saddened by the passing of style icon and designer, Kate Spade. I was out shopping with my daughters, ages 11 and 13, when I read the CNN blurb of her suicide, I was speechless. It felt tragically personal. I had so many questions.

Then the news began to report the details. A red scarf. A note to her daughter, Beatrix. Suicide by asphyxiation, similar to that of Robin Williams. We all know how I felt about that. It hit me like a ton of bricks. It all feels a little too close to home.

I’m still shocked that Kate Valentine Spade is gone. By all appearances, she seemed so vibrant and happy-go-lucky but, that was the brand, right? I, of all people, should know that life is not always what it appears to be. Sometimes there is madness just beneath the surface, holding us down like an anchor around our necks.

It’s not like we all go around shaking hands with every stranger saying, “hello, my name is blah blah blah. My diagnoses are…” That would be weird, right? Helpful, maybe but definitely socially awkward. Instead, many of us walk around with our illnesses on our shoulders like some sort of punishment and never seek relief out of shame. The shame is what kills us because it makes us too afraid to seek the help we need.

READ ALSO: When Mental Health is Marginalized

You’re probably wondering when is she going to get to the “personal” Kate Spade story. My story is personal and it relates to Kate Spade in the way that I can personally relate to her circumstances and depression. I have no “that one time I met Kate Spade” story for you today. But, in a way, aren’t we all Kate Spade’s, that’s part of what made her so beloved.

Kate Spade, Kate Valentine Spade, Andy Spade, Davide Spade, Suicide, Beatrix Spade, fashion, depression, bipolar

She was an American Dream success story. A girl from the Midwest who made good in the big city. She took nothing but a dream and built it into an empire. She hustled her ass off and in the process, we all fell in love with not only her bags, shoes, clothes and accessories but the woman who made them. I’ve always admired the woman as much her designs.

“Don’t rest on your laurels. The end result isn’t as important as the effort that goes into it. Jump all the way in. Don’t be afraid. And don’t worry so much,” Kate Spade.

I’ve always fancied my personal style as Carrie Bradshaw meets Audrey Hepburn meets Coachella. It all depends on my mood, as are many aspects of my life. Kate Spade helped me keep it classy; she brought the Audrey to my wardrobe. I’ve owned many of her pieces over the years and I wore them each proudly because it felt like I was finally a grown up. Her pieces are classic yet edgy. The touch of Holly Go Lightly we all so desperately crave in our lives. Even my girls love Kate Spade.

I don’t know what her diagnosis was nor would I try to guess. Diagnoses are very personal and indiscriminate. You can’t share them until you are ready and every single one of us are different. Some of us can’t hide them and everyone knows that something is “off”, some us of blend into normalcy and you never know the anguish we are suffering through on a daily basis and some of us would rather die than reveal our diagnosis.

For me, before my diagnoses, I thought I was broken. That feeling is daunting and overwhelming and nearly too much to carry. Definitely, too much to carry alone. Hearing my diagnoses said out loud gave me so much relief that I cried tears of joy because I realized then that I was only bent. But it was a humbling experience that I mostly got to experience in private surrounded by those who loved me unconditionally.

I didn’t come out to the world as mentally ill (see, I still cringe when I type that because I know that to someone, somewhere that diminishes what they think of me) until 2012. I was diagnosed in 2000. It took me over a decade to be able to be completely open about it and yet, it still bothers me to say “mentally ill” out loud. I feel like the moment anyone hears “mentally ill” they conjure up images of people in padded rooms in an asylum wearing straitjackets. I can’t imagine how someone of Kate Spade’s notoriety would deal with a diagnosis or if she even had one.

It’s obvious that she was depressed; that’s usually a given in a suicide. I read that her sister is claiming that she suffered from undiagnosed Bipolar. As I am Bipolar (I just cringed a little again) I know a little more about that disease. I know firsthand that it can make you depressed and it is a fact that 15 % of people diagnosed with bipolar disorder will commit suicide, half will attempt it and 80% will contemplate it.

I was part of the 80% in my teens. It was over a decade before I was diagnosed but your brain doesn’t need an official diagnosis for you to feel the full weight of the symptoms. You just do. And when you don’t know what is causing that pain, it’s so much worse because you assume there is no relief. You assume you are terminally broken, so what is the point of trying to live? If you’ve never felt this kind of melancholy, you are lucky. If you have, you know exactly the depth of despair of which I speak. It is unmistakable and sometimes feels unlivable. Many of us have been here.

I only dwelled in darkness for brief moments of my lifetime. For me, the darkness gave way to mania and immense irritability. My natural state is a revved up motor stuck in neutral which can be, at times, equally as painful. Imagine being chronically up and never being able to turn your brain off; that is your brain on mania.

I know it seems like I’m rambling now but my point is this, you never know what someone is going through in their life or in their minds. We all wear our protective armor and some of us are better at hiding the pain and misery than others but that doesn’t diminish how strongly we feel it, only how clearly you can see it from the outside.

I am sad that the world lost Kate Spade, absolutely gutted. I don’t know if she had a formal diagnosis, I hope that she did, if only she knew what it was because the feeling of being terminally broken is so much worse than being mentally bent. I also know for a fact that even when we are at our lowest, we can still know that we are loved and love others even if we feel we don’t deserve it. I hope she had that too. Sometimes the reasons are outweighed by the anguish and that has nothing to do with the people who love you. They are enough but you feel that you are not.

Unfortunately, there is only one way to survive this kind of depression and it is to get through it, which is much harder than it sounds because it hurts unbelievably. You have to get the help you need, whether that be getting the initial diagnosis, medication and therapy all the way through to making the choice every single day to keep fighting through the excruciating pain you feel on some days just to breathe.

If you feel depressed or you are thinking about harming yourself, please call the 24-hour Hotline National Suicide Prevention Helpline 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK).

I know when you are in that dark place, it feels like there is no way out but there is and it starts with letting someone throw you a line; someone listening and making you feel heard. Talking through it can provide enough relief to get you through to the next day.

READ ALSO: Carrie Fischer; the Warrior Princess who gave me Hope

And if you are someone who sees a loved one hurting, depressed, overwhelmed with sadness let them know that you are there for them. Listen and encourage them to get the help they need but know that you cannot force someone to feel better and they can’t simply cheer up. And no matter what their life may look like to you from the outside, you have no idea what they are going through on the inside so don’t diminish their pain by telling them that they need to “get over it”. It’s not that simple. They need your support and unconditional love. Full stop.

Kate Spade, Kate Valentine Spade, Andy Spade, Davide Spade, Suicide, Beatrix Spade, fashion, depression, bipolar

I hope her legacy is the immense joy her pieces brought to so many of us and will bring to future generations of young women. My thoughts and prayers are with those who Kate Spade left behind and though they will never fully be able to understand or accept what she has done, may they find peace in knowing that she is no longer in pain.

What is your Kate Spade story?

 

 

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miscarriage, loss, pregnancy, I forgot, fertility, motherlode, babble.com, babble, amy klein

I Forgot

It was a crazy busy day last Tuesday.

I was flying across the country.

Headed to a conference for this blog.

Excited to see old friends.

Trepidatious for a reason I couldn’t quite place.

I Forgot.

6 years ago on that day.

All I could do was cry.

I lost my baby.

There was no heartbeat.

I turned primal and feral.

But today, I forgot.

READ ALSO: Unexpected  Pregnancy at 40, what would you do?

Every day, I think of that day.

Every moment, I know something is missing.

There is no closure but I have made peace with the pain.

It took 6 years to not wince at the thought of it.

But today, I was busy with minutia and there was no marking of time.

I Forgot.

The lady next to me on the plane had a beautiful little boy.

He climbed into my lap and held my face.

I was moved.

His little arms and legs, that smile.

I’ve missed it.

READ ALSO: Missing that New Baby Smell

But on the plane, I Forgot.

I arrived and met my friends.

I was weary and distracted,

Discombobulated and put out.

Disconnected and distant.

I was there but I wasn’t.

That’s when I realized that maybe I hadn’t remembered to cry

but my heart did not forget and it never will.

Have you ever forgotten an important day in your life and if you have, how did you deal with that?

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Kanye West, Donald Trump, Make America Great Again, Dragon energy brothers

I think maybe Kanye West, (or is it Kanye West Kardashian?) is having a midlife crisis, an identity crisis or flat out needs some attention. He is running around Twitter posting pics of himself wearing Make American Great Again hats. Tweeting that Donald Trump is his “dragon energy brother”. Did your brain just go, “WTF” too?

We all know that Kanye West has always been about the drama and loves to stir every pot counter-clockwise. Attention is his middle name. Part of what makes him and Kim work, they get each other. Plus, they are both so busy looking at themselves in the mirror and snapping butt selfies that they don’t have the time to be bothered with what kind of crazy the other is involved in.

After Kanye West posted the pic of himself wearing the “Make America Great Again” hat and criticizing former President Barack Obama, there was backlash from fans. 

Kanye West, Donald Trump, Make America Great Again, Dragon energy brothers

 

Look, I get it. As a Chicagoan, he has his right to have his opinion about the state of Chicago and, even though I loved President Obama, it wasn’t always smooth sailing ( remember how the gulf oil spill seafood situation was handled?) But he knew what he was doing and to be fair, he was handed a giant bad of crap when he took office. 

There’s been some beef (in Kanye’s mind) between Kanye West and Barack Obama since the President called Kanye a “jackass” in 2009 after the Taylor Swift incident at the VMA’s in 2009. Didn’t everybody?

READ ALSO: My Father the Immigrant

As one who thrives in drama, after the backlash started to roll in, Kanye West tweeted this about Donald Trump. 

Kanye West, Donald Trump, Make America Great Again, Dragon energy brothers

“You don’t have to agree with trump but the mob can’t make me not love him,” West tweeted earlier Wednesday. “We are both dragon energy. He is my brother. I love everyone. I don’t agree with everything anyone does. That’s what makes us individuals. And we have the right to independent thought.” 

Fuel meet fire. Twitter exploded. Kim Kardashian may have broke the internet with her ass a few years ago but I’d say Kanye West gives her a run for her money with his penchant for drama in the public eye and especially on the internet.

Of course, Donald Trump, who also loves Twitter attention had to tweet back to Kanye West, obviously, quoting his dragon energy brother. 

Kanye West, Donald Trump, Make America Great Again, Dragon energy brothers

“Thank you Kanye, very cool!” Trump tweeted on Wednesday, quoting West’s tweet.

The series of tweets comes after fans lamented a report this week from Hot 97 radio host Ebro Darden that West recently told him, “I love Donald Trump,” and defended a previous tweet in which the rapper complimented conservative commentator Candace Owens according to CNN.

I’d like to say that I am shocked but nothing Kanye West Kardashian does shocks me anymore.  I am kind of sick in my stomach that any person of color could support an openly racist man who feels that people of color are less than he is. Also, I thought we all figured out in 2016 that “Make America Great Again” was code for “Make America White Again”? Maybe Kanye was too busy stirring up his own drama that he missed the memo or maybe he is keeping his enemies closer. Maybe he is the smartest man out there or maybe he is straight up batsh*t crazy. 

READ ALSO: Eminem’s the Storm Says what All of Sane America Feels about Trump

I do agree with one thing Kanye said, we do all have the right to independent thought and freedom of speech so I guess we don’t have to like what he tweets or thinks or who he loves and supports, even if it is Donald Trump. We have the option of turning the channel and not reading his tweets, not engaging and not reacting because isn’t that why Kanye does everything? For the reaction of the public. Isn’t that his brand? Maybe this latest series of tweets on Twitter were nothing more than Kanye West once again stirring the pot counter clockwise.

What are your thoughts on Kanye West’s tweets on Twitter yesterday about Donald Trump?

Real dragon energy brotherly love or just one more way for Kanye to keep his brand front and center in the public eye?

Also, I still don’t get On Fleek or why that Walmart singing boy is so funny to floss to so can you please explain to me what the hell “Dragon energy” is? Is it like dragon breath but in energy form?

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hysterectomy, uterine fibroids, fibroids, endometriosis, gynecological issues, perimenopause , uterine biopsy, cancer, poor man's d and c, D&C

As a woman, after a certain age, that age is 30, seems like for every gynecological issue the final solution for everything is a hysterectomy. You’re spotting. Let’s give you a hysterectomy. Cramping. Hysterectomy. Heavy periods. Hysterectomy. Uterine fibroids or endometriosis? Hysterectomy. You stub your toe? Bump it, let’s throw out your uterus.

It’s not just me. I have loads of friends who have suddenly been recommended to get an “elective” hysterectomy. I don’t mean elective like getting your teeth whitened or vaginal rejuvenation. They mean, “well, you’re done having babies. You don’t need that thing anymore. Crampy? Tired of periods? Why not try floating ovaries on for size?” So does that mean since I won’t be breastfeeding anytime soon, we should just cut those off too?

I feel like it’s jumping the gun a little to offer to remove my parts just because things don’t run exactly as they used to. I mean, I’ve been pregnant three times and each time I was, it was like there was a little Oprah here in my uterus going, “And you get a uterine fibroid and you get a uterine fibroid and YOU GET A UTERINE FIBROID!” Heaven forbid you find out that you have endometriosis, they may not even ask. They’ll just go ahead and schedule you an appointment.

READ ALSO: The Gynecological Misadventures of a Millenial- ish Mom

There were two births and a D&C, things are not what they used to be. But, every 28 days, menstruation happens and every 14 days ovulation happens. My fatal mistake was that at my last appointment, I went in there complaining about my “heavy” periods. You know because I was getting tired of 5 days of heavy bleeding. Next thing you know, ” How about a hysterectomy, Debi? You have uterine fibroids that aren’t growing. You said yourself that you’re not going to have any more babies. Why not just get the “procedure”?

So the doctor did my exam and low and behold, my irritable cervix decided to have some breakthrough bleeding right during the exam. How damn rude. My doctor, knowing that I am a complete freak about these things sprung a surprise biopsy on me. Ironically, not the kind of surprise you want. It was like a painful pop quiz for my cervix. Remember, that deep cervix who is a major priss? She does not like to be poked and prodded. She needs a little tenderness.

I went from waiting for biopsy results, Mama’s first cancer scare, to biopsy-induced bleeding. My doctor said the heavy bleeding was most likely from the fibroids that are not growing but are pressing on my uterus and when I menstruate are causing heavy periods. These were my options. Can you guess the first one? A hysterectomy. Absolutely nothing wrong with me but since those pesky periods were annoying, let’s just take out that uterus of yours. Nope. Pass. Next, up, we can go in and surgically burn them to make them smaller. Lastly, we can just put you on some low dose progesterone birth control pills. Yes, I said. I will take option C. Also, why was the least invasive option given last?

READ ALSO: How to Explain Where Babies Come From

The catch was that I couldn’t start my birth control pills until I started my next regularly scheduled period. Which never came. Three months later, walking around feeling 13 months pregnant because I was so bloated I called my doctor and gave her the scoop. She said these things can happen. My uterus and cervix got all freaked out from the biopsy and like an anorexic’s body goes into starvation mode and tries to hoard calories, my uterus and ovaries were holding on to my eggs and lining like they were the last in the world.

Finally, I had a period. Oh and if I thought the “heavy” periods of before were bothersome, let me tell you what 3 months of built-up uterine lining exiting your body feels like. It was painful and “heavy” can not even come close to describing what happened to me. I was afraid to leave my house. It was like having spastic bowels but in your vagina.

I stuck it out for 3 months but basically, it felt like I was hemorrhaging all month long and remember the severe anemia I had? It’s back with a vengeance because my gynecologist made the connection, the uterine fibroids are causing the heavy bleeding which is causing the anemia. Iron and I are in it for the long haul.

I started getting depressed, remember the old nurse who asked me if I was perimenopausal at that last visit? Yeah, I just called her old because she called me perimenopausal. Well, I started thinking maybe I was and if I was, there is no way I will survive menopause. No effing way I can go 3 months without a period and feel like a Thanksgiving day parade balloon or bleed out for weeks at a time. My anemia got so bad I was having blurry vision and feeling fainty.

I quit the birth control and just like when I got the biopsy, my angry cervix and uterus got together and mutinied on me and had some weird rando 5 day period like experience and this past Saturday ( while I was on vacation because my period has wanderlust) I get my period…28 days later. Is it just me or do you see why they named that zombie movie what they did?

Anyways, the day I got my biopsy, I had spoken to my bestie (who is also a doctor) and she told me that she was having a hysterectomy and getting herself some of those fancy newfangled floating ovaries and I should do the same because periods are for losers. I felt kind of peer pressured, like in high school when some cool kid offered you a blunt at a house party and you didn’t puff and you just gave but you second-guessed that decision for the rest of high school. Maybe floating ovaries are for me? But then, if I let them take my uterus the terrorists win and by the terrorists, I mean that fucking 60-something-year-old nurse who asked me if I was perimenopausal. I got really offended, and now, I just want to keep having my 28-day cycle forever and hear my gynecologist tell me that I have the uterus of a 25 -year-old.

I guess the moral of the story is don’t complain about a 5-day “heavy” period because it could be way worse, by like 3 months. And also, even though I know all the cool kids are doing it, I’m not sure floating ovaries are for me…yet. What about you?

Has your gynecologist offered you vaginal rejuvenation with a side of hysterectomy?

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icrescendo fasting work best for women, intermittent fasting, crescendo fasting, fasting for women, weight loss secrets, eating disorders, anorexia

Have you ever wondered what is intermittent fasting and why does crescendo fasting work best for women? I never had until a friend of mine lost 80 pounds doing intermittent fasting. Then I got interested, really interested because 80 pounds is a lot of weight and I need to lose at least 100 pounds to be near my goal weight.

I currently weight 254 pounds. Yep. I just said that out loud. Close your jaw. I know it’s shocking. It’s the heaviest I’ve ever been in my entire life and it’s freaking me out. I keep having nightmares that I’m being featured on my 600 lb. life. My goal weight is 137 pounds but for starters, I’d just like to get below 200 pounds.

READ ALSO: Why worrying about being skinny is stupid

So intermittent fasting and more specifically, crescendo fasting, is just exactly what it sounds like; fasting intermittently. I’ve done some research and there are several ways to do this but since I was anorexic for a good portion of my teens and twenties, I’ve decided that I should do the least drastic of all the choices; crescendo fasting. Maybe I shouldn’t even be considering intermittent fasting or crescendo fasting since for me restriction is a slippery slope. But I’ve got to try something and crescendo fasting seems reasonable and it’s better hormonally for women.

Being that have to keep a close eye on my hormones and am of the perimenopausal age range ( anywhere between 35 to 50 is perimenopausal) doing anything that could throw my hormones out of whack sounds like a pretty terrible idea. After my experience of juicing, I have learned to listen to my body.  Nobody wants manic Debi making an appearance anytime soon and even less so, irritable Debi.

From all those years of anorexic restricting, my metabolism is the worst and since I can’t restrict the way my mind wants to, I’ve just been eating all the food with wild abandon. It’s not like I sit around binge eating (I never was one for binge eating) but I’m an emotional eater. My problem is I live in extremes; eat whatever I want to whenever I want to or don’t eat at all. Exercise incessantly or not at all. I need to find a compromise and a happy medium.

I saw a lot of my friends were trying something new and I started researching to answer the questions what is Intermittent fasting and why does crescendo fasting work best for women?

Currently, I eat whatever I want. Though, honestly, I hate eating. I love food but it gives me nothing but guilt. Yes, I have a love-hate relationship with food. Yes, I have been to a therapist this is how I can identify all of this.

I haven’t been able to exercise properly lately because I’ve been perpetually injured for the past couple of years and that makes even normal movement painful. I want to use this intermittent crescendo fasting as a way to reboot my metabolism; my life. I need to regain some control. I don’t want to weigh 103 pounds like I used to. My goal is 137 pounds but I’d be perfectly happy with 153 pounds (because it’s 100 pounds less than I am today and it’s in my healthy range). Honestly, today, I’d be thrilled to see it get to 199 pounds.

READ ALSO: Tips for raising healthy daughters

I’m not searching for perfection. I’m searching for less weight on my knees. Shopping off the rack and clothes fitting me right. I want to look nice in the clothing that I like. Be able to sit Indian style on the floor and not cry from the weight on my tailbone. Fall and not break something because there is so much weight on every impact. Feel good when I look in the mirror. To not jiggle when I walk. I want to not feel like my center of gravity is going to make me topple in heels. Be able to dance and not worry about if anything is hanging out. Get out of my head because what my body looks like shouldn’t make me take pause but mostly, I want to be healthy. My goal is to be around to dance at my daughters’ wedding receptions and run around the yard with my grandchildren someday without getting winded.

I know that many of you may be shaking your heads thinking, this sounds like a bad idea. Maybe it is but I have checked with my doctor and it’s not like I’m going days on end without eating because there are other versions of intermittent fasting where people go 24 or 48 hours without eating anything at all. I know that would be a bad idea for me. I get hangry and I turn mean but also, as a former anorexic, I know this would be too comfortable for me and I don’t ever want to go down that road again.

What is Intermittent fasting? Why does Crescendo fasting work best for women?

Rules of Crescendo Fasting:

  1. Fast on 2–3 nonconsecutive days per week (e.g. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday)
  2. On fasting days, do yoga or light cardio.
  3. Ideally, fast for 12–16 hours.
  4. Eat normally on your strength training/intense exercise days.
  5. Drink plenty of water. (Tea and coffee are okay, too, as long as there is no added milk or sweetener)
  6. After two weeks, feel free to add one more day of fasting.

 

what is intermittent fasting, why does crescendo fasting work best for women, intermittent fasting, crescendo fasting, fasting for women, weight loss secrets, eating disorders, anorexia

I started today along with logging everything I eat and how much. I’ll keep you all posted on my crescendo fasting journey. We’ll give it a try and see if it bears results and I’ll check in once a week on here and let you know how it’s going, what I’ve lost and how I’m feeling.

Update: Fell off the wagon with some traveling. Restarting this journey when 5/16/2018. Updates will follow.

Now that you know the answer to the questions; what is Intermittent fasting? Why does Crescendo fasting work best for women? Will you consider this healthy lifestyle?

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run, hide, fight, how to survive an active shooter event, Shelter in place, gun control

How do you feel about raising kids in a time when it is necessary that they are taught run hide fight protocol as a means to how to survive an active shooter event. It’s not weird to them. It’s the norm and that scares me. There’s even a handy Run. Hide. Fight. pocket card to help you remember what to do in those stressful times.

They don’t even come home freaked out when they are told to run, hide and fight when there is a potential that there might be a “wild polar bear” loose in the hallways.  Yeah, that’s what the principal has code-named “active shooters” as to not “frighten” the children. They’re not frightened. I’m terrified and I have been since Sandy Hook.  Every single morning at drop off, every time I hear a siren during the school day and I cross my fingers, pray and hope that at pick up two in tack healthy children are returned to me. This is my life.

But our government is having an issue pulling the trigger on common sense gun control, which is ironic because I believe they are all very concerned with the citizens of the United States maintaining their “right to bear arms.” You think at the very least, they’d know how to pull the trigger and shoot.

The bottom line is that people like me want all the guns to magically disappear because we’d feel safer sending our kids to school for 7 hours a day, out from our watchful eye learning to live in the world, like normal people. People who place a higher value on keeping their guns can’t seem to reconcile how to protect our children and keep their right to bear arms. So, they deflect; mental illness, a rogue gunman, anomaly, and my favorite, “the bad guys will still find a way to get guns! I need to be able to protect myself!”

The response is that maybe we should arm our teachers. What? We don’t pay teachers enough money for all the work they do, as is. We entrust our children’s education and safety to them for pennies. It’s insulting really. Teachers should be paid like doctors because as far as I am concerned they are doing something just as important, every single day. Why would we add to their responsibility and give them guns? They are trained to expand our children’s minds not take down an active shooter. They are not trained officers of the law. This is ridiculous.

I would never expect a teacher to be the marksman who has to stand between my child and an active shooter. Have you met a teacher? They are, generally, wonderful, good people who genuinely care about children and want to help them learn and grow in the world. In the moment of truth, I think most teachers would throw themselves in harm’s way to protect their students but they shouldn’t have to.  This isn’t the world we should accept. We need to protect both the teachers and the students.

A school shouldn’t be a dangerous place to go. Going to see a movie shouldn’t be risky. Shopping at the mall with your tweens shouldn’t be potentially life-threatening. I, you, we shouldn’t have to hold our breath and pray every single time our children walk out the door that someone doesn’t murder them simply because they can and they have access to guns.

Today, I was scanning my Facebook feed and a video was shared of a thing called “Shelter in Place” which is basically, a bulletproof room built into the classroom equipped with cameras on the outside so that the classroom after loaded into the makeshift panic room can see when it’s clear. They say takes a few days to install and about 30 seconds to load the entire classroom of children and teacher into the “shelter”. I’m wondering what your thoughts are about this?

Here are mine, do I love that it can potentially save my children from a gone wielding maniac? YES! Do I want to live in a world where my children have to live every minute of every single day on the defensive just in case a lunatic with a gun decides he’s having a bad day and wants to shoot them because our government won’t impose common-sense gun control because their egos are more important to them than my child’s life? No!

People have told me that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. This is true but if there were no guns, people couldn’t use guns to kill people. They’ve told me that no matter what.. the “bad people” will always find a way to get guns. And I ask them, is there a secret “bad guy” arms dealer that passes out cards and everyone knows how to find because I’m pretty sure that there are a lot of lazy people out there and if it were harder to get guns, they’d give up trying. Maybe they’d use knives or fists like a real man, give a victim a chance to retaliate.

I’m pretty positive that not every thug on the street or mentally unstable person with an ax to grind would find a gun but when you can walk into any gun store and get one, that makes a difference.

I won’t lie, if it were up to me, no one would have guns but the police and the military because they are trained to use their weapons and that is their job. I get that people don’t like to be stripped of their rights but people also need to realize that the constitution was written at a time when the right to bear arms was necessary. We didn’t have a competent military yet and the people needed to be ready to form a militia and fight if need be. They needed to have their own arms. It was like a BYOB party but the second B was actually a gun and the party was a war. Make sense now?

What I’m saying is that your right to bear arms argument doesn’t hold water these days. Just be honest, you “want” to own firearms because it makes you feel powerful in a world where most of us are powerless. It makes you feel strong in a world where we are vulnerable. But it’s false bravery. A gun is only as effective as the gun owner who is holding it. If you are not properly trained, just because you have a gun doesn’t mean you can actually protect yourself. In fact, you’ll probably just piss off an attacker and he’ll shoot you in the face.

That’s the thing, the bad guys aren’t announcing their attack. They are getting you when you are vulnerable; when you’re sleeping, watching a movie with your kid or your kid is at school trying to figure out that damn common core math or taking the iStep tests. My point is that if the guns were not available, a lot less innocent people would be getting murdered. Statistics don’t lie and as much as you want to argue with me and call me names, you know that is true.

I don’t want to take your guns away from you. I want to keep all of our kids safe. This isn’t about you or making you feel weak; it’s about protecting our children. It’s about not living in a world where our children don’t even scoff or think anything is scary about being taught to run, hide and fight. They just do it. It’s about not having to teach my girls to bob and weave if they escape. It’s about not having to have secret words and panic rooms in classrooms. It’s about not having to worry if your child’s teacher is the sort who would through himself between a bullet and your child. It’s about all of us feeling a little safer, a little braver and a little kinder. It’s about polar bears not being a threat in the hallway, a movie theater, a concert or a mall ever again.

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why assuming is a bad idea, making assumptions, midlife, change, midlife crisis, middle adulthood

Ever wonder where the old adage about why assuming is a bad idea came from? I like to think of myself of as being open-minded yet, a tad cynical. I feel it’s what gives me my “scrappiness”. I’m not doe-eyed and I’ve always been skeptical, just a little bit. I never trust anything 100% because that’s when we make an ass out of me and sometimes you.

Anyways, I must be getting soft in my old age because I forgot my own wisdom and made an assumption about someone. I was wrong. I was very wrong but it reminded me of something, never judge a book by its cover. Get to know the story first.

It also reminded me that you never know what’s going on in someone’s life at any given moment. So that sour puss they are sporting, the one you are judging them for, it may be the best the could muster on this day. Maybe their dog just died. Maybe they just found out they have cancer. Maybe they really need to go to the bathroom and you are what’s standing between them and a bowel accident of epic proportions. The thing is we never know, do we? Bear all of this in mind, when I share the story that reminded me to always get to know the story behind someone. It’s seldom easy and never black and white, so stop judging and dole out a little more kindness and understanding.

There is an elderly gentleman in our neighborhood, who for the better of the past 5 years that I’ve lived in this house, has walked the trails behind our home. I see this man on a daily basis more than I see almost anyone else. He is constantly walking.

Over the years, he has lost weight and gotten in shape. He has smiling eyes and always says hello. He just walks, all year round. Headphones on, head down, walking for infinity.

I won’t lie, somehow from his smiling eyes, stoic determination, and gentle face, I made the leap ( the assumption) that he was most likely an elderly man who had fallen on ill health and rather than give up, he was determined to be in peak physical health. I imagined him beating cancer, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and just about any physical ailment that a man his age might be encountering.

In a way, he inspired me. I saw him walking when I was dealing with my own health issues and he inspired me to get hold of myself. I mean if a man at least 30 years my senior could be so dedicated to his cause, I could at least put forth an effort and so, I did and it worked. I’m healthy.

But you know, I never had a real conversation with this man. I talk to a lot of my neighbors but he is always walking and I know how hard it is to stay motivated to work out so I didn’t want to interrupt his groove. I had this whole idea of him that I looked up to. I’d see him from my kitchen window as I washed the dishes or from the laundry room and think to myself, Get it Grandpa! Then, I found out the truth.

One day while talking to another neighbor, who has lived here for many years longer than I have, this elderly man with the smiling eyes walked past and waved to her. She, around his same age, waved back but in an almost annoyed way.  I was curious.

I said, “Wow! That guy walks a lot! He must be the healthiest man in the neighborhood. I wish I could be as dedicated to working out as he is. Did something happen to him?”

“What do you mean?” she asked.

“Did he have a heart attack or something? I see him walking constantly, all day long. I assumed he had some kind of health scare that caused the inspiration to walk constantly.”

“Nope, He didn’t have a heart attack. Nothing is wrong with him except he is a drunk!”

Not what I expected, at all. “What do you mean?”

“I’ve known him for many years. He used to be a fall down drunk. Now, he’s a walking drunk. He drinks so much that he gets sloppy and falls into bushes and talks too much to the neighbors. My husband ( a sheriff) has found him in our bushes many times and taken him home.”

Aghast, “WHAT?”

“Yeah, his wife wouldn’t tolerate it anymore so now, he drinks until he’s drunk. Walks it off. Drinks some more and then walks it off. This is what he does all day long. Drinks and walks.”

WTF?? Talk about missing the mark. I was so far off the mark; I wasn’t even on the right continent. I have to admit, I am somewhat disappointed. He’s not an inspiration; he’s just trying to make the best of his shitty situation which when you think about it, isn’t that all any of us is really doing?

Maybe he is an inspiration after all. Obviously, not in the traditional sense. I won’t be joining his workout program anytime soon or anything but he’s making lemon drops out of his lemons and that’s something, right? But it was a gentle reminder, it doesn’t help to make assumptions about other people, good or otherwise, just let the story unfold an get to know people and their stories for what they are not for what you imagine or expect them to be.

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rise of the real, how to blog, blogger, blogging, daddy bloggers, women's rights

Rise of the real blogger are the five sweetest words that I’ve ever heard. The most important thing I took away about social media and blogging from Disney Social Media Mom’s Celebration was to just be myself online and trust in who I am as a blogger. The universe not so subtly reminded me to get back to what I’ve always done and trust my gut. Recently, I was told that I was being “too real” when I blog. I’m not even sure how that’s possible but from my understanding, authenticity cannot be manufactured. Real life is seldom perfect and when you present it in a way that is… you’re lying, either to yourself or your audience.

“Rise of the Real, be yourself, Be Authentic, connect with your audience, emotional connections,” these were just a few of the ways I heard the universe telling me to be myself. It is the very premise on which my website was built.

I kept hearing it over again at the Disney Social Media Mom celebration like a whisper following me around. It felt like the universe telling me to stop worrying about what other people were doing. You’ve heard the truth will set you free? Well, I believe it. The moment I started second guessing myself, doubt crept in and it manifested itself in a crippling fear of failure.

READ ALSO: How Mom 2.0 Renewed my Faith in Blogging and in Myself

I saw other people doing it better and getting bigger and I thought, hey, maybe they know better than I do. But doing what they do didn’t feel right for me because writing for me is more than a means to an end, a creative outlet or a career choice. Writing is a big part of who I am as a person and how I move through the world. I tell my stories because it’s how I process and make sense of life.

Rise of the real is confirmation of what I’ve always believed; honesty is the only way to blog and live.

I share with others because I think we are all connected by our experiences and while they don’t all play out the same way, we all experience them. Life is universal, some of us just do it differently than others. We all do what works for our family, for our lives but we all have those moments of failure and success and even though they may be different, the gut-wrenching pulls of failure and the elation of success (whatever the scale may be) is the same.

I’ve always shared my stories because I knew that people could relate on a human level. But then someone told me to think before I “speak” (write) because being too real can be a turn-off. I almost believed it. To be honest, it sent me into shut down mode. I got a terrible case of writer’s block. Turns out that I can’t overthink every single word I write because if I question every single thing I say or do, I’ll never do anything. I’m a leap first, ask for forgiveness person. It’s who I am and I don’t want to change that.

READ ALSO: What Every Blogger should know about Blogging

My stories connect me to you and your comments and responses connect you back to me. So often the online world feels like throwing something out into the abyss and leaving it there but that is not how blogging and social media have worked for me, not at all.

Blogging started for me when I was a new mom, completely disconnected from the outside world. Drowning in motherhood, my blog was me reaching out for someone to throw me a buoy and my readers, those connections/ their stories and ability to relate to what I was going through, they were what kept me afloat. If the stories I share can do that for someone else, it’s all worth it. I know they can because I’ve read the comments and I’ve made the connections with people all over the world through our stories.

A million page views a month may not be in my near future but I have posts that people all over the world have connected with and commented on over and over again. Some of my most personal stories that, if I had used common sense, I would have never hit publish on are some of my most popular because everyone is not perfect. Most of us have a hard time of it. We struggle, we fail and our success, our stories, are in the fact that we keep getting back up. Not that we never fall and never fail but that we keep trying and we overcome.

Someone once told me that people don’t want to read reality because they live it. They said reality is not “positive” enough. I say seeing someone I can relate to triumph through their hard times and succeed in their good times empowers me to do better. It makes me feel like I can do anything and it makes me happy for them. When they are in pain, I cheer for them. I don’t block them from my feed because they are bringing me down. I check in to make sure they are doing okay. My readers and followers are not just names of people I don’t know. We’ve connected. They know my family and in many cases, I know their stories too because they’ve shared in response to my stories. It’s a very organic and symbiotic relationship and I love it.

I get it. Too much negativity is a bummer but life isn’t always unicorns and rainbows and beaches. Sometimes it is. But sometimes it’s ugly cry, raw and hard. But mostly, it’s minutia and daily moments peppered with a good mix of profound bliss and misery. All of those unexpected, uncontrolled moments are what make up a life; beautiful in its glory and agony.

So, I ask you, do you prefer to read about how great someone else’s life is all the time? Or do you prefer the truth? The sometimes amazing beyond anything you could imagine, sometimes horrible and sometimes humorous day-to-day of life. Some days, it’s even downright boring but even in the minutia, it is relatable because who hasn’t been bored in their life? The thing I’ve realized it that it’s not about changing the truth, it’s about the way you tell your stories. It’s all in the narrative.

How do you prefer your blogging, transparency in the blogs you read or a blogger who edits reality to make it prettier?

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