August 2018 archive

How to Heal a Cold if You’re a Perfectionist

…in 10 easy steps.

  1. Begin by complaining you don’t feel well so other people around you know that you are definitely sick.
  2. Go home early and post pictures of yourself on Facebook being sick so people know that you are definitely sick.
  3. Start to feel guilty about the fact that you went home early (even though you are definitely sick).
  4. Begin thinking about all of the things you could do if you just got up for a few minutes.
  5. Get up for a few minutes.
  6. Realize you’re definitely still feel sick and go back to bed.
  7. Begin thinking about all of the things you have left to do and wonder if any of them could be done from a laptop in bed.
  8. Get up and get your laptop and bring it back to bed.
  9. Try working from bed but remember you’re definitely sick.
  10. Take cold medication and try to go to sleep, but lay in bed feeling guilty about how much work you didn’t get done.

My Dog Licked My Toast

It started first thing this morning.
I woke up, showered, and made myself a piece of toast. It was Ezekial bread, to be exact. You know, that ridiculously expensive bread that is supposed to be better for me so I pay the 6 bucks a loaf even though it’s probably the same as just buying Pepperidge Farms? That toast.
I set my toast on my nightstand when I leaned over to pull my wet hair out of my towel, only to discover my dog Walter was licking my toast. Now, Walter doesn’t have very many teeth so brushing them is an impossibility. For that reason, his breath is unusually horrendous. This single piece of toast was probably work about $0.50 and my dog was ruining it with his dead-fish breath.

I made it to work on time, though I was starving. I started a new workout routine last night and so I knew I needed to eat. Instead of going and getting myself something nice to eat, there was leftover caramel-covered popcorn in the office and I decided to eat a handful of that.

It’s pretty similar to a slice of Ezekial bread, right?

As the day wore on I spilled coffee on my white shorts (who wears white shorts?!), I overbooked myself and forgot to eat lunch, picked up lunch for a few of us in the office and then ate it so fast that I gave myself heartburn, and by about 2pm my body had the shakes and the chills.

“You look tired,” one co-worker said. I wasn’t tired. I slept great last night. And I really wanted to make it to my gym class since I JUST FREAKING STARTED THIS NEW ROUTINE.

I took an ibuprofen and a sudafed, drank a bunch of water, and charged ahead full-speed.

Until an hour later.

My husband called me to let me know he was on his way home from out of town. “What’s wrong?” he asked.
“I don’t feel good.”
“Oh. Are you a

t home?”
“No, I’m at the office,” I said.
“Go home, then. Right?”

I spent a tremendous amount of time and energy trying to feel well enough to get to the gym because I said that I would. I fought through my work because I made promises I needed to keep. I still had to get to the post office to mail a book and get a check to the pest control company. Oh and Open House at school is tonight…

Go home, Erin.

It’s my biggest flaw. I make plans and then hold myself to them with such fervor that it rarely occurs to me…I don’t have to.
I don’t have to go to the gym.
I don’t have to finish my work or go to the post office or (gasp) go to Open House.
I don’t have to do anything.
I can just go home, drink Emergen-C, have soup, and then go to sleep if that’s what my body needs. The worl

d will still turn, the post office will re-open, and my child will still get into college.

I’m writing this because I want to make sure no one else misses the opportunity to go home. As much as it feels like you cannot simply go home, you can. Everyone else, everything else can wait until you’ve taken care of yourself. I know, I know. I didn’t think it could all wait, either. I’m telling you. It totally can! It turns out that most of the population does, in fact, continue thriving without you being present!

Now, will my son’s new teacher think I’m a slacker for not coming to Open House?
Maybe!
Will it be even harder getting back into my gym routine now?
Possibly!
Will the person waiting on me to send them the book be really, really, really mad I didn’t send it today?
TOTALLY COULD HAPPEN!

Also, though, despite all those maybes, I’m a human being who gets to decide when and who she takes care of first. It would be fantastic if someone was standing next to me all the time saying things like, “Erin! Time to eat. Erin! Let’s have a rest. Erin! Sleep in today!” Alas, as it turns out, that someone has to be me.

You’re totally allowed to show up for yourself first. You’re allowed to say no. You’re allowed to let other people down. You’re even allowed to make them mad. But you must take care of yourself first. Starting now. Promise?

I’m now going to take a bunch of cold medicine with a giant jug of water, snuggle into bed with my dogs, and wake up to see how I feel in the morning. (Heck. Maybe I’ll sleep in.)

Go Where You Are Wanted

Recently, I was listening to an audio class taught by my sweet Kundalini yoga teacher and she said to her students, “Go where you are wanted.” It stopped me in my tracks. Folding my husband’s boxers on the bed in our room I stopped, set the boxers down, pressed pause on my phone, and repeated that phrase to myself.

“Go where you are wanted.”

It’s been 5 years since I’ve been separated and divorced from my first husband. We have done a stellar job rebuilding a new relationship, a co-parenting relationship, that I believe could win awards. (And I do believe there should be awards for co-parenting.)
What I lost in my divorce was my best friend, Karen. She was my blonde twin, my sister from another mister, the truest and most authentic friend I’d had in my life to date. Karen felt very torn between my ex-husband and me during our divorce, and in the end it seemed that she chose him.

This was more devastating than my divorce.

I spent a long time wishing and praying for Karen to come back into my life. So nearly 2 years after our divorce, I reached out to her. It was just a text message but it took courage summoned from my toes to send it. I didn’t know if she hated me or if she missed me or if she even really thought about me anymore. To my utter relief, she replied.
Our exchange was brief and kind. She even used one of our old “just us” jokes and I felt so close to her.

I waited 6 months to hear from her again…

When she did get back in touch, it was to tell me that she was sorry my dog had run away. I guess someone told her what happened. My dog was back by this point so I told her thank you and filled her in. That was it. There was no more after that.

I missed her so much. I missed my friend. I thought about her almost everyday.

A year later, my gynecologist found a lump in my left breast. I was completely terrified. Several friends took me out to dinner to hold me and feed me beer while I panicked and cried. I texted her after a few of those beers, somehow hoping my fear of having breast cancer would inspire her to be my friend again…

By this point I had a new husband. Kind, handsome, and supportive Ryan was there for me throughout the process of mammograms, ultrasounds, and an ultimate “all clear” diagnosis. He held my hand and wiped my tears. I was covered, surrounded, and loved.

But I still missed my friend.

It was almost another year later when she reached out to me. Karen reached out to me. I was overjoyed. I couldn’t wait to catch up with her. We had an hour-long conversation and it was just like old times. She told me she loved me and I told her I loved her back. We were getting this friendship back on track and it was all that I wished for.

The next day I texted her pictures of my wedding. She sent me pictures of her new dog. We were making jokes and giggling and everything felt amazing. “My friend is back,” I told my husband.

That was 2 years ago, and it was the last time I heard from her. I feel a stinging pang of sadness every time I think of the last text message I sent her that received no reply.

Until I heard the words, “Go where you are wanted.” It stung me for years until this moment. Until the day I was folding my husband’s boxers on the bed and I heard the antidote to the sting. “Go where you are wanted.”

How often, I suddenly realized, I have spent time knocking on the doors of those who don’t want me, trying to convince them I’m worth it. Years I’ve spent worried, wondering what I might be able to do to make myself valuable enough for their attention.
Family members.
Friends from high school.
People at work.
Holy cow, I’ve never been a person lacking friends and love. And yet those people who love me have gently stood in the wings waiting for me to finish standing onstage before those who don’t love me, tapping dancing my ass off in hopes that one of them might clap.

It is perfectly ok for people to not like you, to not want to be friends with you. There’s no need to be angry at them for not liking you. It’s just their opinion. But for some reason, our human-selves find it important to prove that everyone can and will like us instead of something far easier – letting those who already love us LOVE us!

It is not selfish to go where you are wanted, either. It is self-love and self-care to allow the people who love you to love you hard, and to gently release those who don’t without sewing their feelings about you to your Girl Scout Sash on the way out.

I have not reached out to my friend again and, at this point, I never will. She is not a friend anymore, anyway. My friends are here. My husband is here. I can see where I am wanted with more and more clarity everyday. And I have less and less interest in those who do not want me.

Go where you are wanted, my friend. Take a look around and starting noticing who is really rooting for you and go there. It is the juice of life. It is the sweetness of life. And it is where you were meant to be: square in the middle of love.

(Thank you, Sat Siri, for being the inspiration behind this.)

 

 

 

 

 

God is my Publicist

During a marketing meeting with my publishing company last week, it was explained to me that in order for my book to “make it”, I would need to hire a publicist. This costs in the range of $15-20,000. They explained to me that famous people don’t get publicists, regular people get publicists and then become famous. 😲
As I flipped through the news online this morning, I saw a flash of Kim Kardashian in some sort of plastic dress, eating an ice cream cone while her husband patted her behind. “Oh,” I thought. “They stage all of this. Every last minute, don’t they? Literally none of this is real…I’m so naive.”
📚Now, I’m not sure how book publicists work and how many appearances in plastic dresses they’ll suggest I make for the good of sales, but I do know that unless this book sells a whole lot of copies, I don’t have the money to pay a publicist. And without a publicist, it’s next-to-impossible to sell a whole lot of copies.
🐔Chicken.
🥚Egg.
Publishing is a massively subjective field. The manuscripts that get pushed to the top of the pile are almost all thanks in part to someone having a good day. New York Times best sellers lists are, in some part, written based on book sales, but also written based on who is writing the list that week. (Seriously.) Amazon rankings are due in part to reviews, and authors often manufacture good reviews to shoot their books to the top.
What I’m saying is…there is no good and wholesome way to go about selling a book that I have found so far.
As I wrote out my plan to get my book in front of as many people as possible without paying a publicist this morning, I heard this phrase in my head – God is my publicist.
Holy crap. (Pun intended.)
🙌God is my publicist.
Whatever happens, wherever the book goes, whatever it is, I will do everything humanly possible here on Earth to see it through. But in the end, no matter who I hire, God is my publicist.
And we’re breathing…
P.S. Can I borrow $20k?