Autism, Grief, Uncategorized, Women's Fight

The Eye of the Sparrow (Part Four)

For about ten years, things were great with our team. We became a little family. We embraced each other’s idiosyncrasies. We invited our spouses and kids to our quarterly get together’s. MF invited all of us to her husband’s 50th party because all he wanted for his birthday was to “jam.” I had never been to a party where they had a real band in the backyard equipped with stage, dance floor, microphone, and instruments. MF’s brothers and brother-in-laws all were musically gifted as well. They all performed and sang on stage, even MF, her husband, her kids. It was by far, the coolest party I had ever attended.

I had planned on sleeping over so I was lucky enough to witness a real “acuostic jam session” between MF, her brothers, sister, nephews, nieces, and her kids etc. Everyone was enjoying drinks and were sitting around with their instruments.  MF nephew asked her if she had heard of the song, “Angel of Montgomery” By John Prine, sang by Bonnie Raitt. MF replied “Kinda”. He said, “All right, Let’s do it.” Her nephew handed her a notebook with the lyrics written inside. All of MF brother’s, nephews etc began playing as if they rehearsed this everyday; which they didn’t. They all had regular jobs but played music for enjoyment.

I always knew MF was a good singer, however, I had never expected to witness what I did that night. I hate to sound like Stepbrothers, but honestly, she did sound like a combination of Fergie and Jesus; as if Bonnie Raitt or the Angel of Montgomery herself was in the room. It was fascinating to watch.  When she was done singing and the guys were all done playing, everyone seemed to say “Whhooooaa” simultaneously.

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Soon after, MF’s husband hurt his back really badly while landscaping, his mother died of Alzheimer’s and his business fell apart. He was unemployed and lost.  Meanwhile, their son was approaching high school graduation and becoming a legal adult, which was setting MF and her husband into a tailspin of anxiety and concern about his future. It did not help that MF was going through menopause and this seemed to trigger a new onset of mood disturbance symptoms. She could not sleep, she would fly off the handle and at times it was as if she could not stop talking. One day I teased her and asked her how much coffee she had that day. When she asked Why, I told her she reminded me of Kramer from Seinfeld when he drank too many cafe latte’s. That didn’t go over well 😬.

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Thankfully, the Doctor and Rokstar could always get MF laughing no matter what was going on; usually by taking a break and watching a few SNL clips or Thug Life videos. Of course her flying off the handle led to some comical stories. MF would often to refer to herself as a “Straight up Ridah” inspired by “Ambitionz of a Ridah” by Tupac.

Our personal favorite “Ridah” story was when MF got into a debate with a bad ass, hilarious, six foot tall Amazon woman at work. At our next party, the two of them decided to settle this debate by agreeing to disagree and then by having a “dance off”.  Both tenacious women claimed they won and it was an event we still laugh about, mainly because of the “Ridah’s” perspective and comments about it.

Following the dance off party, MF was doing well again for a while, until her family was struck by another tragedy. Her niece that she was extremely close to,  lost her 10 day old full term newborn. Understandably, MF fell apart again, and it seemed to take her much longer to bounce back. This seemed to break her heart and spirit more than anything else ever had. Seeing a beautiful, angelic baby in a bassinet/casket is something that no one should have to witness and it is a traumatizing sight. It is one of those things I deeply wish I could “unsee” because that image is burned in my brain. I cannot fathom the pain that  MF, her family or this baby’s mother had to endure.

One day MF conveyed to us that she finally found comfort from the tragedy in the bible verse Matthew 10:29, 31. It was difficult for her to see God’s plan this time through the baby dying, however her faith helped her find peace. I still was detached from my faith so I ignorantly teased her for being a “Bible Person”. When she explained it to me, I hated to admit it made sense but I had not yet made my peace with God and everything tragic that seemed to happen in this world just kept my resistance alive.

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After this incident, MF’s husband to seem to spiral out of control. It seemed he could not cope with the severe back pain, the financial pressure of losing his business, his autistic son’s future, his daughter’s college career and then his wife’s grief and depression. MF was struggling with her husband’s episode because he was always the rock that kept her and her son together. His patience with his son was limitless and MF would frequently say that he has the patience of a saint. However since her husband was self employed, worked alone at home, he did not have time for many friends or a support system of coworkers as MF did.

Rokstar was very concerned when MF did not show up for work February 8th, 2016 and she was not responding to texts or phone calls. Rokstar, The Doctor and I were talking on the phone together three way and we decided that we should stop over at her house to make sure everything was okay. It was snowing and we were thinking something may have happened with their power. Deep down, we all knew something was wrong but unsure what happened.

No one answered the door, it was eerily dark and quiet until the dog started barking. The Doctor called the police on her home phone while the three of us remained on our cell phones together. We all had a sick, nauseous, trembling feeling. The police would not disclose anything to Rokstar and myself except that there was someone deceased in the home and that they would contact us once the identity confirmed.

One can only speculate why MF, her 18 year old son and her husband were found dead in their home. One can only guess what happened based on the information that is known. Ironically I found peace and comfort in “Don’t be afraid, you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” One thing I do know is that when you have a a friend that you love, you do not want to see them in pain. I do believe she is no longer afraid and in pain anymore and does not have to worry about her son’s future because she is right next to him. Additionally, she would be going ballistic everyday if she were here to see Trump president😂.

Autism, Uncategorized, Women's Fight

The Eye on the Sparrow (Part Three)

Once ML (Mom-Lady) grasped the job and had some good days at work, she calmed down and was able to become MF (Mom-Friend) again. MF was able to recognize how her anxiety literally hijacked her brain and her fear of feeling inadequate or stupid triggered some massive shame.  MF also reluctantly went back to counseling and shifted her mindset; coming up with a “new normal” about her dreams for her family.

MF always had a hilarious spin on everything. Her impressions of people were on point and she had our coworkers, doctors and even patients erupting with laughter. Most of all, her therapeutic interventions with patients were professional, empathetic and real. She was extremely compassionate and went above and beyond with each patient. MF had the patients laughing and sometimes was able to “roll with” where ever our patients were. If the patient needed to sing, she would sing with them. If they needed to pray, she prayed with them. She danced with patients in the hallways if that is what they needed to do.

Some of her escapades with patients led to some hysterical stories, hashtagable phrases and our team developed an almost secret language of inside jokes. This “language” originated it seemed, when MF, (a five foot two, petite, Irish, woman with glasses) began dancing with a six foot five African American Male who was in the greatest mood of his life thanks to his manic episode and auditory hallucinations of Motown music playing.

His euphoria led him to believe that this was a kick ass time and he was eternally grateful to be sitting in the ER hallway that we all referred to as the last stop before HELL.

He thought his ER visit was awesome and jam-packed with good times. The lucky ones to witness this dance routine could hear this male yelling “It’s gonna be a good time!” He was also doing that grunt sound like James Brown as if he just consumed the most delicious, satisfying meal of his existence. Meanwhile, MF was donning a protruding-lower-lip-pouting-smile, shaking her head back and forth in agreement as she were saying “Damn Right”. #itsgonnabeagoodtime

I rarely worked with MF but when I did, I could see the cohesive connections she had formed with each of our coworkers. MF and the Doctor ended up having tons of pop culture tastes in common and watching the two of them have a discussion or debate was mind-blowing. MF and Rokstar ended up being two peas in a pod and they discovered that Rokstar was basically a younger version of MF.  MF and the Seasoned Social Worker (SSW) both were avid newspaper readers and would have in-depth, intellectual and political discussions. Lucy and MF had this sister relationship where they would talk about their daughters and husbands; laugh hysterically together yet have these emotional arguments about work and make up like family. Unfortunately for the Doctor, MF and Lucy would seem to always have these heated fights while working with her and she was awkwardly stuck; like the middle child. Then Lucy, the doctor and MF would all laugh about it later.

MF and The Hunter had opposing political views, yet they both possesed a dark and dirty sense of humor (thanks to MF’s three brothers). They would be crying laughing about raunchy things then switch gears into a heated political argument; he would enjoy getting her all riled up and pissed off just like a brother would. MF and The Barber were about the same age and they clicked when discussing their generation and their kids.  MF loved jewelry, flowers and fashion which was the topic of discussion between her and The Movie Star; who was also the biggest fan of her impressions. If you were a strong-minded, opinionated, independent woman, LOOK OUT, because you were bound to butt heads and get into it with MF as Kendall, NaeNae, CeCe, and Jacquaylan did. They would always resolve it laughing while maintaining mutual respect agreeing to disagree.

Eventually MF became comfortable with her new normal and found the humor in many of her son’s rigid views. She would have all of us cracking up with stories of epic failures in trying to beat the spectrum. “CFG!Delete!” was another coin phrase after MF and her husband attempted to get their son to broaden his palette besides chicken nuggets, fries and grapes. This attempt was met with rage as her son burst through the door exclaiming “CFG! Delete.” Translation: “Delete that bullshit lunch you gave me. Get me Chicken nuggets, fries and grapes immediately.” #cfgdelete

MF would share her initial mortification of being at parties where her son would say his version of “thanks for having us” when leaving as “Thank you for the chicken, it was kinda disgusting.” She would obviously laugh privately and most of the time agreed with his brutal honesty. Her son would lecture anyone who would listen about the fact he knew the names of the all of the editors, costume designers, sound effects specialists, stunt doubles, and other random titles of people involved in movies that most people do not pay attention to. MF, her husband, her son and her daughter all possessed musical talent and amazing singing voices. Her son would belt out songs anywhere, even during class and all his peers and teachers would stop and listen because it was too beautiful to interrupt him.

When MF was happy and in a good place, she was unstoppable and intoxicating to anyone around her. You felt lit up as if the sun was shining just for you. When she was not in a good place, it felt lonely, cold and dark to be near her. Things that put her in a bad place seemed to be anything that triggered shame. An example, MF refused to watch the movie Shrek 2 because her son was unable to stop talking during the movie, a woman complained and they were asked to leave the theater. Her son was too busy going through the first Shrek movie dialogue in his head and reciting it out loud to care; however MF and her husband did. They were heartbroken and beginning to see the signs that being on the spectrum in junior high was more evident and not so cute anymore.  This triggered more fear and shame in MF, which led her husband to want to fix it and make her happy again. He could not bear to be in the cold and dark place and longed to be in her shining presence again.

MF was able to snap out of it fairly quickly with some good laughs, connection and her faith. She knew when she was being a “debbie downer” and would slip into character doing Rachel Dratch’s facial expressions and the “wah wah”.  She enjoyed singing at church, watching her daughter sing at church and seeing her siblings in a good place. MF was too cool for school and you would actually forget she was a mom sometimes because she seemed too in touch with everything. She was caught up with the latest binge worthy netflix shows, could jam to Missy Elliott, Ed Sheeran and Adele. If MF was singing, you knew she was in good place. However, for the Doctor and I, who also enjoyed singing; we felt completely inadequate singing around her because our voices sounded like sick dogs. MF could stop a party with her voice.

I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

-Civilia D. Martin

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Autism, Uncategorized, Women's Fight

The Eye on the Sparrow (Part Two)

A few weeks before my wedding, my brother got into a terrible car accident. It truly was an accident, however, one girl died and others were badly injured. My brother was arrested and we weren’t sure if he was going to be able to attend my wedding. My mom, sisters and I were so devastated and scared. I was a mess at work and of course I fell apart the second I saw my Mom-Friend (MF).

I was angry. I was SO angry that it hurt. I was so angry at God for doing this to my family. “How much more is my family supposed to take?” I said to MF. I had disclosed to MF many of my family’s hardships and she confided in me many of her family’s hardships as well. Somehow we both had the same gift of laughing in the face of adversity.

“Believe me honey, I know. I ask that question quite often.” MF said genuinely. She gave me hug and I was slobbering all over her shoulder so I started to laugh. MF said “You can use my shirt as a Kleenex, really it’s okay.” I laughed, red faced, with a stuffy nose. MF took a deep breath and said “I am sorry I told you to get some real problems. Jeez, you showed me up.” I laughed again and so did MF.

Thinking about the people injured in this accident and the family of the girl that died made my wedding seem like such a trivial occurrence in this life. Thinking of my brother, terrified in jail and coping with the guilt of the accident weighing on his shoulders made my wedding day seem so stupid in the big scheme of things.  I get the lesson God, get off my balls. 

Thankfully my brother was released and was able to attend my wedding.  I hated to admit it but this tragedy occurring  with such a joyous outcome made my wedding so much more meaningful for me. There definitely was a shift in my faith and I was still pissed at God; but this situation caused me to care less about the actual wedding and focus more on enjoying the moment with my family.

However, going back to the office space job after my honeymoon was exceptionally painful; like that kind of nauseous and disgusted pain. I remember I went roller blading in the morning before I had to take the train and part of me was secretly hoping I would get hit by a car so I wouldn’t have to go to work (whisper…red flag.) Google Kristen Wiig’s SNL skit Red Flag.

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Clearly I knew I had to starting looking for another job. Eventually, I received a call from my graduate school buddy, Rokstar, about a job she loved at a hospital. I interviewed with an older lady, then a doctor and a seasoned social worker. Later, only to discover my fly was unzipped the entire interview. I got the job anyways.

It was difficult to leave my work gals, but I told them that if I would rather get hit by a car then come to work; then my leaving is definitely for my own safety. (whisper…red flag) We all laughed. Mom-Friend (MF) was happy for me, sad and pissed at me simultaneously. (MF) had already applied at the same hospital as soon as I told her I had an interview.

My first shift was with the doctor I interviewed with and she turned out to be extremely laid back, fun and enjoyable.

“First we will have breakfast, I really do not like to talk until after 8am unless I have to.” The Doctor said confidently. Fine by me. I am not a morning person either. We enjoyed breakfast in silence and then we began “training”. The Doctor’s version of training was talking about pop culture and we had many genre’s in common. The Doctor explained that the only real way to learn this job is shadowing and then just to do it. Again, Fine by me, this job rocks. 

MF also got a job in my new department and she began a month after me. One thing I didn’t anticipate was MF turned right back into Mom-Lady (ML); anxious, stressed, bitchy. She wasn’t cool with the laid back training process and began asking the Doctor multiple questions upon her arrival at 7am despite my warning to not talk to the Doctor until after 8am.

“Well you are a chatty one, aren’t ya?” The Doctor said to ML.

ML called me the second she arrived home from her first shift. ML was extremely pissed off about her experience “training”. I wanted to laugh when ML told me what the Doctor had said to her. I reminded myself that this was just ML anxiety talking and once she feels more comfortable, she will become MF again. Day after Day I arrived home happy and grateful as hell. Day after Day I received intense, stressful calls from ML.

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Finally, I ended my training period and was thrown into the job.  I thrived in the hectic, chaotic environment and I laughed all day long with my co-workers. I was so grateful to my graduate school friend, Rokstar, for calling me about this job. Rokstar was happy with my initiation into this job, however, she struggled with ML as I did. Each shift I worked, I would hear more stories about everyone struggling with  ML. I didn’t know what to do or how to handle it.

I noticed that in the entire time I have known ML, she has NEVER once complained about her husband, her kids or anything else besides work and the news.  MF was so enamored and proud of her family! Her face would completely light up when talking about her daughter and laugh when talking about her son. She spoke so lovingly about her husband. Her husband would make her lunch everyday and drive her to work so she would not have to walk in the cold through the mile-long parking lot.

I was the opposite where I found myself bitching about everything else except work. I seemed to joke around about work and our boss. Fortunately, this is how everyone else was at work and we related to each other; which was maybe why ML was struggling. ML took work extremely seriously. I brought this to ML attention one day we met for lunch; concerned that she was so fixated on the problems at work and I commended her that she never complained about her husband or kids. ML was quiet for a long time and then I saw her chin was trembling and her eyes began to well up with tears.

“I can’t complain about my family because if I did I would start to cry.” MF said with a quivering voice. “My life is my kids. My daughter and I do nice things together and I am so into her plays and activities; but at the same time my heart breaks for her. I want her to soar and not be held back by us. I fear she will be forced to take care of her brother when my husband and I are gone. I do not want that for her. I am not sure if my son will be able to take care of himself. The school seems to be trying to prepare us for his future autonomy. They have been providing us with information on residential facilities if we do not have family that will care for him if anything happens to us. I tell my husband all the time I better go before he does because my heart cannot take that kind of pain. I want my daughter’s dreams to come true.” I was completely crying now.

“I mean, let’s be real. I can’t really complain about the struggle I have with my son’s Autism because I probably sound like an asshole to them. If I show them a picture, he looks fine. He is completely adorable. If one more person tells me that my “Son looks fine” I am going to snap. No one could possibly know what it is like until they walk in my shoes. My problems are different than everyone else. I am ANGRY. I am angry that there is Autism.  I am angry at God for doing this to my family. I have already been through so much, how much more do I have to take?” MF said. It was silent for a while, I had no idea what to say. I could not say “I understand” because I don’t. I felt that would sound ignorant because I have no idea what it is like for her. I am not even a mom yet.

“Jeez, get some real problems.” I said to her. I bit my lips trying not to laugh. I could see a smirk emerge on my MF face. Now I totally understood when MF told me to get some real problems when I was complaining about my wedding dress.

Get some real problems is right.

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Women's Fight

The Eye on the Sparrow (Part One)

In 2002, I was finishing up grad school and ready to “Make a Difference”. I took the train to my new job, walked around Downtown Chicago like a tourist, all bright-eyed and excited for my new opportunity. I was also engaged and in wedding planning mode. Life was amazing.

When I arrived for my training at the NBC towers, I was beaming with pride and so impressed with the office location. I felt so cool taking the elevator to “my office” and using my badge to scan myself in to unlock the door. I walked into the training room and found six other girls in the training room. We all appeared to be about the same age, well except one woman.

She was wearing glasses, had short stacked hair and a blazer: dead giveaway for a mom. She did not look happy. She asked about 17 questions before the first break. I did not understand why this woman was insisting on knowing everything right away. The same thing happened day after day for two weeks, constant questions from this Mom-Lady.  It seemed as if the other five women had the same thought as me because we all began to make eye-contact with each other when she asked yet another question. I had no idea what I was doing either; however this women’s questions emphasized that I was also clueless and made the training longer.

By the time the Monday arrived for week three of training, the newness wore off. It was winter and freezing downtown. I was exhausted from waking up so early, while it was still dark out, to begin my journey to what it felt like the north pole. It takes a lot of effort to be in the loop by 8:00am. I was also beginning to realize that I voluntarily signed up to be in the real-life version of Office Space: the cubicles, everyone complaining about the copier jamming, and all the staff in the cubicles with the same flat-zombie-like expression as Peter. (“Peter…What’s happening?”)

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Finally on Friday of our last training day, we somehow decided to walk to the same place for lunch. As we sat down, one of the girls my age unloaded, “I am sorry, but do any of you guys know what the fuck we are doing?” All of us burst out laughing.  The bubble of phony professionalism was broken and everyone unleashed their confusion, realness and fear. It was such a relief to hear everyone’s insecurities. Even the Mom-Lady was laughing and was making funny comments.

After we all had our food, Mom-Lady stated she felt compelled to tell us something. You could sense the uncomfortable tension by the abrupt, dead silence at the table. Mom-Lady explained that she had been in the field as a clinician for fifteen years until she took time off to be home with her kids. She was married and had two children, a girl (8) and a boy (5). She disclosed she was 42 years old and “feeling pretty humiliated” about going back to work after being off for eight years. “My husband is self-employed and his business was doing well. We were able to afford my being a stay-at home mom. However, with all the insurance changes and pre-existing condition limitations; private insurance cost a fortune. Unfortunately, I need to go back to work to provide insurance for my family.” The story continued to get worse. She then confessed she had also allowed her license to lapse during her time off, and without a license, you could not get hired anywhere except for entry positions. Therefore she had to basically start over and take the licensing exams which were not held until next year.

We all sat there stunned and speechless; wide-eyed and jaws gaping open. None of us were even married yet or had children. I could not even fathom this kind of stress. The silence was unbearable and I assumed it was making this Mom-Lady more uncomfortable than she already was. I had no clue what to say. Everyone began looking down at the remains of their potbelly sandwiches and sitting on their hands for what seemed like an eternity. When things are tense, uncomfortable and awkward I always think of funny things and feel the urge to laugh inappropriately.

Before I could think I blurted out: “Jeez, remember in Office Space when he says “Every time you see me, that’s on the worst day of my life. He’s got nothing on you. Sheesh! That SUCKS!”

Thankfully the Mom-Lady began to laugh, probably more out of gratitude that the silence was broken. Then we all began to laugh. It wasn’t the most professional, empathetic, therapist-like thing to say but it broke the ice. We all returned to the office laughing, relaxed and more cohesive than when we left; by being honest and raw, we had bonded.

The next week, we were all thrown into our roles and able to grasp the actual job fairly quickly. We had to just do it in order to learn it. We discovered instant messaging and we would IM each other all day long. It turned out the Mom-Lady was pretty hilarious once she got over her initial anxiety. We all laughed hysterically all day long at her instant messages, nicknames for team leaders and her in-person impressions of different coworkers.

Mom-Lady was honest, eloquent and had an amazing ability to say things to me that I would not tolerate from anyone else. An example, one day I was talking to my own Mother on the phone at work. I was all stressed out about my wedding dress and that “I would not be able to lift my arms all the way up” and “how would I dance if I can’t lift my arms up!” My Mother became stressed and worried too and the two of us were like two balls of irrational anxiety. Mom-Lady apparently overhead me talking from her cubicle and came over to my desk smirking. Mom-Lady basically told me straight up to “get some real problems.” I was knocked right into a reality check. Then she elaborated, “I know your wedding seems like it is the most important day of your life right now but seriously, I have been married for 12 years, and in the big scheme of things it is not a big deal. It’s one day.”

I was dumbfounded at first. Then I embraced her authentic honesty because it was exactly what I needed. I began to giggle and I replied, “Oh yeah, well then you explain to everyone at the wedding why I am dancing and walking like this.” I stood up and began doing some dance moves resembling Ed Grimley from SNL and walking with my arms planted at my side like Molly Shannon in the Seinfeld Episode “The Summer of George.” Mom-Lady and I began to perform Ed Grimley dance moves in my cubicle while laughing hysterically. We spent the rest of the week walking down the hall not moving our arms like Molly Shannon.

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Mom-Lady taught me to laugh at myself and she turned out to be the older sister I never had. Over time she became my favorite person to talk to. Eventually she changed from Mom-Lady to my most cherished Mom-Angel-Friend. My Mom-Angel-Friend was definitely an example that fear and shame can bring out the worst in people; and in some circumstances, you do get a second chance to make a first impression.

Uncategorized, Women's Fight, Yoga Pants

Aunt Flo is clearly not Catholic

So…The time has arrived again for my monthly quarantine. Where I just allow myself to suck it up and accept the fact that this is another obstacle women have to deal with. I find myself talking about this monthly problem to anyone of the female species who will listen. I keep wanting to double check, “Is this right? Is this normal? Am I really supposed to bleed this much?”

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I find it preposterous that I am supposed to cope with this on a monthly basis! I am literally debilitated.  I am not even joking or exaggerating, I wish I was.The vadge-splitting, ovarian stabbing, excruciating cramps have not been this bad since childbirth labor contractions. Only each month, I do not have an epidural to cope. I would consider myself a pretty tough chic, but this is my kryptonite

With Aunt Flo’s arrival, I am also blessed with menstrual migraines from the hormonal fluctuations. These migraines have me waking up to skull-crushing pain on the side of my head; and will not subside until I take my prescription migraine medication. I have a friend who has severe cases of vertigo with her migraines! She cannot even drive at times! How terrifying!

The only thing that got me out of the house yesterday was my daughter’s two volleyball games and my commitment to my volunteer duties of concession stand. My leaving the house was made possible by: four Motrin, then two Extra Strength Tylenol and multiple different witch doctor remedies I have tried over the years to function. I do not even bother with tampons anymore. I feel like my baby-maker would actually laugh out loud if I even tried to put one of those in.

Baby-Maker says to Tampon: “Psshh”.

So I opt for the extra-long overnight pads to prevent accidents even during the day. They are one step below what we receive in the hospital after we deliver a human being out of a hole as big as a quarter that expands to fit a football. (Why aren’t we paid equal wages as men again?) Anyways, these bad boys usually don’t miss anything unless I am unable to change them frequently; about every 45 minutes or so. You know, because I have nothing else going on in my life.

Anyways, as I served Gatorade, water, ring pops, nachos, and popcorn to cute, adorable kids way younger than mine; I neglected to notice the 45 minute mark had passed. We were now in the red zone of 90 minutes and counting. I missed my time to change my diaper and now it is havoc. I was quickly reminded when I felt my jeans get hot and swampy while laughing at some hilarious women.

These women were ecstatic about how we finally got Diet Coke at the Concession stand; there reactions were cracking me up. They made the Diet Coke sound so tantalizing that I considered having one myself, which I would have had to steal because of course I had no cash😂. My thievery idea was interrupted when I was suddenly paralyzed by the sensation of laying an egg in my jeans. The more I laughed or moved, the more I triggered my uterus to shed…during the day…in public. Don’t mind me everyone, I am just passing a clot…from my vagina, no big deal.

img_6843-1When my concession obligations ended, I walked to my car slowly as if I didn’t want to wake a sleeping child; do not wake the beast. This missed diaper change resulted in an “accident” and my having to wash my clothes and another vain attempt in finding some kind of clothes that were “diaper” worthy. I remembered when my kids diapers would leak, I had to put a onesie on them to keep them in place. I was beginning to consider the onesie idea for myself; except my tummy is so bloated and tender that would be difficult for me to pull off snapping the crotch alone.


I woke up on this Sunday morning in January, feeling grateful that I didn’t sneeze at my daughter’s games yesterday (which usually results in the floodgates opening.) I was thanking God and baby Jesus that we had no games today so I could stay in the privacy of my own home and bleed out. I decided to allow myself to embrace Aunt Flo for all the joy she brings.

Her arrival is a gentle reminder that I am not having anymore children, that I am not crazy because the last few days of rage were just hormonal related and my scorching case of irrational hunger is not from a tape worm.

Then I saw on my calendar today was not empty! We have a Mandatory Mass for Catholic’s Schools week.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

img_6841My God, why have you forsaken me? I am not ready to put on real pants again. I can only hope that God understands it is not my fault and it is the hormones I was blessed with. I want go but if I have to take these baggy-black-loose-waisted-maternity type pants off again, I may loose my mind.

So I did the unspeakable today.

They both got ready in their uniforms, I dropped them off at church and…I went back home.

The guilt is almost too much to bear. Since none of the meds have kicked in yet, I got over the guilt quickly as another wave of rip-roaring pain growled beneath. I have endured hot wax being poured on various parts of my body and had the hair ripped out by its follicles; I could tolerate that with little effort. However, Aunt Flo’s wrath is one that kicks me when I’m down. Aunt Flo waits for no one and clearly does not care if it is Catholic Schools week! She doesn’t care that I need to be on my game. If Aunt Flo is Catholic, I imagine her like this:

img_6840I already called my doctor, a left a message. Yes on a Sunday, so I do not forget to do something about this. Once she leaves town, I forget about the hell she just put me through…until next month!

I will not allow myself to forget this time that Aunt Flo violently strips down the walls of my uterus resulting in excruciating pain, rage and feeling unable to function for three days! I am sick of feeling terrified to sneeze or laugh or revolving my schedule around this skank.

Be it Tube Litigation, IUD, Hysterectomy, the pill…I do not care. I am done. This bitch is goin down!

Please feel free to share any funny or traumatic experience in the comments. It feels good to get it out and laugh about it!

Ross Stores, Women's Fight, Yoga Pants

Fight Club: Business Women in Yoga Pants

Fight Club: Business Women in Yoga Pants

The First rule about fight club is that we should talk about fight club.

We should talk about the constant fight for women to do it all. We are supposed to be business women, short order cooks, waitresses, housekeepers, unpaid Uber drivers and oh yea, moms.

What I envision when someone says “Business Woman” is Sigourney Weaver in Working Girl.

1. Power suit with huge shoulder pads

2. Big office with name& Big TITLE on the door

3. Briefcase & Business cards

4. Stiletto heels

5. Big coffee

6. RBF

This vision seemed to be the only kind of women who could support a family on their own.

Have you ever tried to cook dinner in a dress, blazer or pantyhouse? Total fire hazard.

I could never imagine myself in this role, nor did I ever want to be. Plus I like to be comfortable in my clothes. I thoroughly enjoyed being a worker bee and a mom. I tolerated some humiliating treatment in the past because I thought that’s “just the way it is” and some things “will never change”.

When my kids both were in school full day, the “mom-brain fog” seemed to lift and I was able to think about myself again. I got my health and nutrition back in order and found personal development.

It began with podcasts by Chalene Johnson. I noticed that my day went so much better when I would listen to her podcasts before work. I felt more empowered all day and I finally believed that I did not have to tolerate anything I did not want to.

These podcasts brought me to the realization that after working at the same job for 12 years; I was bored. I was unchallenged, frustrated, fed up with coworker-scheduling dynamics and micromanagement. In my heart, I knew I was meant for more. I was also tired of working evenings, weekends and holidays.

I was ready for the next step…BOSS.

That is what “moving up” means, right?

You become what you think about.

So, I made Pinterest Boards entitled “CEO” “Like a Boss” & “Boss Bitch”. I began actively looking for clinical supervisors and managerial positions.  

An opportunity presented itself and I was offered a Clinical Director position.

I enjoyed giving my two weeks notice to my manager and advising him that I would be leaving to be a DIRECTOR of a department (a title higher than his). I fantasized about this moment for months and his uneventful reaction solidified that I made the right decision to leave. (However I was disappointed he did not beg me to stay, counter with a pay increase etc.)

If you could fight anyone who would you fight?”

“I am the Director of this department” was  broadcasted by me as many times as possible throughout the day. I relished in watching people’s facial expressions change or check their tone when speaking to me.

I am IMPORTANT.

I am POWERFUL.

I thrived on getting up early, working out, sending emails, checking the status of “MY” department.

I owned it.

I rocked boots and $12.99 dresses from ROSS (I know-I am so fancy).

I listened to audio books on my commute. I was UNSTOPPABLE. This is what I wanted! I made it happen! I am killing it. I am making more Money and MONEY IS POWER!

After one month, I was hysterically sobbing after working late…again… and receiving a humiliating phone call with the CEO on my “day off”. My brothers wedding was that night and I didn’t want to go. I went with puffy eyes.

After two months, I was miserable all the time .

I was so confused.  After all, this is what I wanted?

Why am I so unhappy? I assumed it was the growing pains of change. I missed the connections and laughing with my coworkers.

I was lonely.

However, I told myself every morning

“It’s lonely at the TOP” and I persevered.

I focused on what I COULD do. I created a cohesive, unstoppable team like a tribe! I worked on empowering my team members. I devoted time cultivating relationships with my staff and knowing them personally. I got in the arena with them and did the work. I became the manager I always wanted: Someone who has got your back!

I EARNED the title I had and proved to my team that I am their fearless leader.

That did not matter to management though. Now I understood my previous boss a lot better.

Now I was miserable…empty, exhausted, and depressed.

Yes I made a lot more money “per year”. However, In reality, I was putting in 55-60 hours a week at work and spending 3-5 hours in my car commuting.

How much more money was I really making?

Also, I noticed I never felt free. I finally was “off” on weekends with paid holidays; but I was never truly off.

I had no clue what was going on with my kids. I was missing the kids games and planned dinners with my family and friends. I was passing out in my work clothes next to my kids because I missed them so much.  I was not sleeping well. I was getting massive carpal tunnel in my hands from holding the steering wheel so many hours and from typing, writing, and holding the phone.

The coworker “drama” I used to deal with became silly and comical; like a family argument that you look back on and laugh about.  The coworker drama I was exposed to now was some serious shit and I was the one who was supposed to handle it!

So what did I do? What does every girl do when they feel empty? I shopped. I bought more stuff. I justified to myself that I, I need to look good: I AM THE BOSS. If I look good, I feel good. I worked harder and got deeper into the trenches of my arena.

I refused to give up.

I noticed at my kids games that I did make, I had to answer the phone and be available. I was preoccupied with how my department was doing.

My kids were not doing well at school.

I actually craved punching in and working a weekend shift like I used to. I missed working my ass off and then leaving for the day, completely free.

I believed I was being immature and this is what being a “Business Woman” is all about.

I have to tough it out. I have to keep fighting.

Then one day a friend said to me, “You never smile anymore.”

I started to cry. It was the painful truth I was avoiding. I was no longer myself. I realized my kids looked sad and stopped asking me to do things with them “because you always have to work.” Then I noticed that I stopped giving a fuck…about anything…

“Worker bees can leave. Even Drones can fly away. The Queen is their slave.”

Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club.

One night another friend said to me, “Your kids need you.” The guilt, pain and loneliness was unbearable.

After a chain of extremely stressful events that left me feeling lost and sitting in the parking lot, crying by my car; I had a moment of clarity.

What I wanted to be is the BOSS…OF MY LIFE…

I knew in the gut that this job was not the answer. I didn’t call my husband. I didn’t ask anyone for advice. I didn’t ask for permission. I trusted myself. No excuses.

Thankfully I kept a plan B, I stayed on as registry at another hospital. My supervisor there said he could guarantee me at least 20 hours a week. 

I walked in and resigned from my “BOSS” job.

I felt like a failure. I felt like a quitter. Yet I knew I made the right decision. It was a terrifying ambivalence.

It felt like I put my heart and soul into building and decorating a house and establishing relationships with a family; only to hand it to someone else. -Quillan Kelly-Dunn

Then I randomly found some podcasts by Marie Forleo who described failing as a “WIN” because at least the risk was taken and there wouldn’t be that “what if”.

By taking a risk, you found what didn’t work.  At least you know now what you don’t want. -Marie Forleo

Not gonna lie, things were rough in my marriage for two months, but I appreciated my kids and every moment I had with them more than I ever did in my life. That was PRICELESS.

I enjoyed going to their games, being present, making dinner and punching in and out. I enjoyed the “freedom” of being a worker bee.

My husband eventually realized how stressful it was without me being home and how much time and money we were spending on gas, tolls, and trying to figure out childcare. I was smiling again without the stress of what to wear, what to eat and was able to sleep.

I assumed the full-time career I longed for did not exist; however, I wrote it down anyways.

I surrendered by trusting the universe and having faith. I let go of worrying about how my resume looked. I let the chips fall where they may. I gave up the illusion of control.

Things became desperate financially. Out of this desperation, I accepted the first job offered to me. It was less money, temporary, and not that great of benefits. It turned out to be an amazing fit for me that utilized all my strengths. I found my passion, my drive, my balance and my purpose again.

It turned out to be a job I had never done before in the field and working from home. I spent less money on clothes, food, gas, childcare, & commuting. I was free to drop off and pick up my kids every day from school. It also turned out to be exactly what I had written down:

I wrote down: “a job where I could balance between my family and career while maintaining myself, my sanity, my integrity, and be in charge of my own schedule.”

“It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”

Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club.

I was looking to feel important, powerful, unstoppable, assertive, ballsy, fearless, empowered, driven and fulfilled. I was looking for a job to make me feel that way.

What I truly wanted was to feel in charge of my life=a title does not equal that.

I am without a full time job again today 1/23/28(my company closed 1/12/18). I am writing this in my yoga pants, with messy hair/no make up on; yet I feel more important than ever.

I feel in control and more powerful than I ever have.  

I feel like a business woman.

I can give myself whatever title I want.

My office is anywhere I want it to be.

I can wear yoga pants or a Ross dress if I want. I’m ready to FIGHT.

“What you see at fight club is a generation of men raised by women.”

Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

After all, you do not have to “get ready” to fight if you are already wearing yoga pants.

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 Next Blog:

https://quillankelly-dunn.com/2018/03/28/my-brain-is-oatmeal/