Love and Ashes: Re-Examining My Understanding of Lent

Sometimes my fasts were thinly veiled diets, leaving my far more concerned with how my body would look after forty days of no dessert than the condition of my heart. Other times I would choose something far too ambitious and cave within the first week, leaving me with the uncomfortable conclusion that I must like Netflix more than Jesus. Occasionally I would see it through and experience a half-hearted sense of accomplishment. I did the thing; I got the gold star. But sitting there in the pew on Easter morning, belly full of donuts and TV privileges restored, I didn’t feel any “closer to God”--another pervasive church phrase. I drifted from the practice along the same timeline as I drifted from the Church. Who needed one more way to feel like a failure?

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The Work is Waiting: The Obnoxious Truth When Life Is Pretty Chill

This deferment of happiness, the idea that everything will be fine when X, Y, Z happens is a particularly insidious one because it’s a half-truth. When our external circumstances improve, we do feel better. But if that were the end of it, then post-traumatic stress disorder wouldn’t exist. Temporary things can permanently alter our brains. We don’t just moonwalk out of survival mode the moment danger has passed, even if at first it feels that way. The work--the dumb, vital, boring, beautiful, infuriating, transformative work--is waiting for us as soon as the honeymoon is over.

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New Year, New You! (Just kidding)

Last year I wrote a blog post I never published about how I'd stopped setting resolutions to transform my body, mind and soul into the equivalent of Gwyneth Paltrow's glowing steamed yoni. Not true. But this year, seriously, I am not transforming. No drastic weight loss, no finished book in 30 days. None of that shit. This year, it's all about the slow, methodical, incremental change that is a gentle life.

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Life on Life's terms: Fear, Perfectionism, and Grief

Perfectionism is a trendy concept. Most women I know think of themselves perfectionists. We're high achievers, the girls with our hands raised first in grade school. I've never taken this idea too seriously. In the grand scheme of personality defects, perfectionism is like saying you were born with a  rapacious intellect. Oh, you want to be good at everything? That sounds debilitating. [*insert judgmental eye roll here.*]

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JamieComment
Deep in It

Sometimes, it feels like all this work to be okay is just too much. Getting to stasis requires Herculean effort. Yoga classes, meal prep, mantras, affirmations taped to my bathroom mirror, walks in nature, organic everything, rock-sized supplements. A cacophony of wellness bombarding my every moment. I can't keep up. 

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JamieComment
Sit Down, Be Humble: My Decision to Start Seeing a Therapist

For an entire week I stopped doing any housework whatsoever, letting dishes overflow and clutter pile like a landfill on top of our dining room table. I stopped eating because my stomach was continually in knots. I stopped talking to my friends. I cried multiple times a day for no particular reason I was able to identify. After getting the kids to bed, I would sit silently on the sofa for hours, paralyzed. I felt like my anxiety had been cranked to eleven and blown the circuit on my brain. I just...didn't work anymore.

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Self Care and the Scarcity Trap

Too often, when I say I'm enacting self-care, what I really mean is that I'm ramming my anxiety down my own throat in the form of whole pints of ice cream only to existentially puke it back up the moment the sugar high leaves me. Or I'm using Netflix to put off difficult conversations and tough choices which are the hard, necessary work of building character. When self-care gets distilled down to gratifying your short-term desires at the expense of your long-term health and growth, it ceases to actually be care. It becomes something delusional. And, if you've been swimming in the self-care rhetoric like me, pretty damn hard to pin down and face.

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Recovery 101: Sh*t Is ALWAYS Getting Real

I took it all in stride, my arms swinging wide for all to see: Look at me - I got my shit together. But then Life, that cruel goth mistress who likes to stick hooks in her back and hang from the ceiling, let me know who was boss in this joint. Just to be clear, it's her. Not me.

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RecoveryJamieComment
Road Trip Oracles

Marriage is all about compromise. It’s important to see your partner’s preferences as having equal value to your own—they’re differences, not deficits. Differences are the spice of life! A really great time to practice compromise is with driving styles. On a seven-hour trip. With two cranky children in the backseat. It helps to have a counseling appointment set for the day after you return.

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NikkiComment
Endorphins Rock! Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Exercise

There's a time and a place for setting a goal and charging headfirst towards it. I will always love a challenge, and that can be a great thing. But when you find yourself lost and adrift in the absence of said challenge--when your two polarized modes of fitness are training with Olympic dedication and binge watching Netflix wondering what's the point of it all--then you know something is out of whack.

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RecoveryNikkiComment
The First 7 Days of New Mamahood As Represented by Characters From Orange is the New Black

Recently, a friend who had a baby last week reached out to me with some concerns that I recognized all too well from my own postpartum experiences. It got me thinking about how key facts of the first week postpartum hadn’t made it onto my radar before I had Eleanor, and how much of a relief it was to read articles like this and this and realize that I was totally normal and not alone.

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