Yes or No? Please Check One

Am I any good at my job or do I suck? Yesterday I was all on Cloud 9, sifting through my new clients for 8 hours, feeling on top of the world and savvy and useful and good. Today one of my oldest clients said she wants to get a new coach. Trying to be zen about it, failing miserably. Is it because I don’t actually know what I’m doing?

And now the fear, the stuff’s-going-to-fall-out-from-under-me fear. And the fact that, looking into it and reading the new ADHD book I have to read, I wonder how much of that is because of Sean and because something has always been pulled out from under me. Have I just gotten so used to that that it feels reasonable? Do I need to reconsider?

Or…do I need to beef up my skills/brace myself for a sudden loss of income?

What if I’m actually not that good at it? I’m not great at converting clients…I’ve lost 3 or 4 regulars now. That sucks, right? I’ve never gotten a 1-year client. That sucks too! What if I suuuuuck?

And on top of that, I’m tired. I wanted to type “exhausted” there, but it seemed melodramatic. I’m working a lot–in the morning, then coming back to do consults in the evening, spending a good 1.5 hours checking in with my clients on days off. Which isn’t THAT much, but it starts to seem like a lot. A lot of always being “on”.

And I am not doing the other things I want to do. Is that my fault? Bad time management? I mean, there’s got to be time in there to write and/or. Right?

What if I’m never the things I wanted and want to be? What if I just punch that time clock till the bitter end? What if I’m always afraid to buy a Roth IRA because I might lose my job? What if my relationship just keeps piddling along like a half-dead thing floating? Is that normal? That’s not normal. Argh.


Something Like a Wellness and/or Life Vision

My body is healthy and strong. I am active and athletic, and do not feel held back either physically or emotionally from the things I want to do in life.

I look good in my clothing. It is easy for me to find attractive, affordable, and fashionable clothing choices that suit me because I wear a size that’s available most anywhere.

I am happy with my career path. I feel fulfilled, useful, valuable and valued. I am content with the financial freedom my earnings allow me and my family.

I hold certifications in health coaching and in other similar areas, and I use them to coach clients both through corporate entities (like Vida) and on an individual basis. I am also either in the process of or actively designing a worksite wellness branch of my coaching.

I write. My short stories are published regularly because I A) write them, B) workshop them thoroughly, and C) submit them regularly. I also am either working on my novel or have completed and am moving on to other steps with my novel. I take my writing seriously, and I take myself seriously as an artist.

I enjoy my Etsy shop. I regularly select items to feature in it, photograph them promptly and keep it up-to-date. Because I have figured out my schedule, this is not an imposition and fits in nicely.

I regularly meet friends for lunch or coffee, and don’t hesitate to reach out to someone when I need or want company.

I am patient with my children, and enjoy the time I spend with them.

My husband and I thoroughly enjoy each other’s company. We go out regularly for date nights, and we plan things together that are active and fun and that we both enjoy. We also regularly host other couples or families for gatherings.

My house is neat and orderly enough to not be a humiliation, and I feel like it reflects my style and personality instead of just being a place to dump my shizz.

My attic and basement are not cluttered with crap I need to get rid of. I have gotten rid of it, and now there is room for things I love and value.

I save for retirement and college.

We travel to interesting places–my kids have been outside of the country and enjoy their time traveling to exotic locales.

Haters Gon’ Hate

I stir up trouble sometimes, I do.

I kind of like it.

This will come to a surprise to exactly no one who actually knows me, and probably not many people who don’t know me, as well. Mostly because, frankly, most of us kind-of sort-of get off on some degree of stirring up trouble.

Not to say, trolling. Or shitty stuff like that. More…going forward with something that you recognize will inspire backlash or annoyance or butthurtness or pursed-lip-expressions.

Yep. That’s going on my tombstone. Inspirer of Pursed-Lip Expressions!

But, yeah. Trouble. I stir it up.

I belong to this Facebook group (I know, I know, you stopped reading THERE) that is for a community of people trying to lose weight. Many/most of them had VSG surgery. And it’s populated by, as you can imagine, a pretty wide swath of the populace. (Hee!) And it’s verrrrry interesting to see what kind of nonsensical crap different people of differing educational levels in different parts of the country are recommended/TOLD to do by their different health professionals. But hell, that’s a topic rich enough for another day.

I digress.

What has stood out to me, as I mostly ignore it but sometimes notice what people say, is that there are a whole lot of people who have seemingly traded in one psychological issue (food addiction?) for another (food restriction). And those people are NOT shy about pushing their superiority and judgement on others, as misguided and fraught with unhealth as they may be. (Is “unhealth” a word? Because it’s underlined in red. But I feel like it should be a word. IT IS NOW A WORD.) What’s sad is that these people are so often obviously suffering from what is pretty obviously very disordered eating. They certainly shouldn’t be advocating that other people adhere to their lifestyles. And what’s sadder than that is that there are plenty of people out there who could really benefit from bariatric surgery (not that everyone could/should–that some people are THERE. Or should be there.) who probably dismiss it entirely because they come across so many food nazis who give them the impression that everyone who has bariatric surgery spends the rest of their lives living in miserable deprivation, eating only xyz grams of lean protein per day, supplemented by a few ounces of approved vegetables. Ummm, no. And that wouldn’t be healthy. Or normal. Or OK, for chrissakes.

Anyway, these people drive me nuts. Don’t spew your crap all over everyone, mmkay? It’s not cool. So I sort of posted something sort of thumby-nose at them…punctuated by a “take that, haters and food nazis!”.


Well, actually, most of them left me alone. I just attracted one holier-than-though food nazi, who seemed to be under the mistaken impression that she is the only person who has the intelligence or wherewithal to navigate things. Sigh. Luckily, I consistently shut her down (nicely, mais of course!) with my brilliantly-written prose. GOOD THING I’M FUCKING BRILLIANT.

And how.

Everything is different and nothing is different. I can go with my friend and our kids to the Museum of Science, get stuck in traffic, and get home. I can hang at my friend’s with our kids and have a playdate, have a few bites of pretzels and chips. A smidge of cake, even. I can attend a child’s birthday party. I can I can I can. I’m totally normal.

Except that I can’t eat. Well, I can. But not really. Not normally, just yet. I know it’s coming. I know it’s there, on the horizon.

Is that good? Or is that bad? I’m not sure. It’s good because I miss eating, I miss being able to just eat like a regular person. So yes, I want to do that again. I want to be able to take advantage of free kids meals at Texas Roadhouse on snow days.


Then what happens? Do I go off the rails? Will I? Will I waste the work, make it all for nothing? But what if I do?

It’s tough. I’m not able to eat much, successfully. Cheese, though, I can. And I love cheese. Oh god, how I love cheese. So I tend to have it a couple times a day. An ounce in the evening, soft soft brie or cambozola. But I feel weird about that. Like I’ve binged, overeaten, stuffed myself too full. Even if I’ve only had 700 calories that day.

Which should be fine, right? 700 calories. That’s nothing.

Is it? Is that Ok? Is that too much? Will I still lose? Will I lose fast enough?

The Honeymoon Period, they call it. Those first few months after surgery, when the weight falls off you more easily, when you don’t have to struggle as much to peel the pounds off. Before it gets harder. Maybe not as hard as it was before, but harder than it is in the beginning.

So I’m in the honeymoon period? I guess? But it doesn’t feel like a honeymoon. It feels…confusing. And slow. But at the same time, fast. I mean, just shy of 30 pounds down in a month…that’s not slow. That’s fast. So fast that it’s a mindfuck, in a way.

Some clothes are looser, some clothes aren’t as loose as I want them to be. Really, I guess they have to get looser. Eventually. That’s the idea, right?

Hurry up, wait. I want it to be slower, I want it to be faster. I want it to be more less more less more of a mindfuck. I want it to hurry. I want it to slow down. I’m glad I did it. I’m sorry I had to do it. I don’t know.

Aaaand Now I Fix It.

So, post brain-dump, I really should get in there and come up with some potential solutions to all my stressors, right? Well, I will. Because I’m awesome like that. WOOHOO GO ME

1. MONEY. Ok. So, I don’t really have an exact solution for that. But obviously, we can try to live more frugally. A strange bonus of my impending surgery is that, afterwards, it won’t really make sense to go to restaurants for a while. And when we do, I’ll be eating much less, probably not a meal. So there’s that. Also, hopefully I will find some creative ways to bring in money. The dog-sitting thing? Working harder at the Etsy shop? Actually trying to sell some writing? The job I’m interviewing for? Other jobs? We’ll make it work. Right?

2. SURGERY. So, that’s stressful–that’s fair. But it’s a safe surgery, and I don’t have to do it if I don’t want to. Totally up to me. And I probably won’t die. Right?

3. WEIGHT LOSS. That’s a dumb thing to be stressed about. I’m doing great with the weight loss. I will continue to do great. NBD.

4. JOB INTERVIEW. Well, it got rescheduled for Tuesday. But I feel much more confident after practicing some of my health-speak out loud. Now, it’s going to be up to me whether I want the job, or not. Totally. And I can make that decision.

5. DISNEY. Still there, still a bit stressful. I’m actually totally stressing about telling the teacher right now. But seriously, are they going to kick him out of school? Probably not, right? That’d be asinine. So I probably should just chill.

6. BRYCE. Still a bit stressful, but hopefully things are moving in the right direction? He’s being evaluated at school, we’re working on finding someone for him to talk to. So, hopefully that’s not going to be a Great Big Stressor much longer. Hopefully.

7. WRITING CLASS, SEAN, AUNT MARY. Oh, shut up Stress Puppy Amanda. You’re cool. Everything’s cool. Get over yourself.

Reasons I Feel Stressed Right Now

Hey! Let’s do a brain dump and see if I feel better afterwards! Shall we? Ok! GO!

1. MONEY. We are really short on cash right now. Sean doesn’t get paid till Monday. This is fast becoming a way of life for us. There isn’t enough money, and we’re not living extravagantly, and we can’t even get things we want/need. And it sucks, especially when he makes so much money. WTF?

2. SURGERY. I’m still going forward with the surgery, so far. And I’m mostly happy about that. But obviously, it’s not even “just” surgery that might up and kill me, it’s also an entirely new way of life. No soda, no bread, a different way of looking at food and dealing with it, part of my body gone forever, irreversibly. It’s totally fair that it’s stressful, it should be.

3. WEIGHT LOSS. For the surgery, see above. I have to lose weight for it. And that’s cool, and understandable. And I’m doing fine. But I have to do it. And think about it. Etc. forever.

4. JOB INTERVIEW. I have a job interview tomorrow. I haven’t had a job interview in like 8 years. And I’m not even entirely sure that I want a job. Or, this job. But we really need the money. But I’m afraid I’ll suck. I’m afraid I won’t get it. And I’m also afraid I’ll get it, and then I’ll be a slave to the schedule, and I’ll shelve my writing like I’m doing now, and it will suck but I won’t be able to stop because we need the money.

5. DISNEY. This is “good stress” in a way, right? Because I’m looking forward to the Disney trip? But I also have to deal with it. And we have to pay for it. And I have to tell Bryce’s teacher. And I’ll probably get a lot of shit for it, which sucks. And my cousin is pissed that I didn’t book stuff through her. And what if something goes wrong or we can’t do what we want or or or?

6. BRYCE. What is going on with him? What with the screaming and meanness and awfulness? And now we got that paperwork in the mail saying we needed to meet for the “initial meeting” for his IEP and maybe I was fooling myself but I totally thought he was normal and I was getting him checked out partly to show how brilliant he is and how very wrong they are and now he might need an IEP. Seriously, WTF?

7. WRITING CLASS. I start my writing class next week. I like writing class, so this shouldn’t be stressful. But I feel so overwhelmed by every little fucking thing these days that I feel overwhelmed by even just the idea that I’m going to have to show up for class and do things. Lame on my part.

8. SEAN. We aren’t close like we used to be. Is our marriage failing? Or is it just slowly dying off bit by bit? He doesn’t even get up in the morning, and he mostly seems to avoid me and then deny that he’s avoiding me. We hardly talk. We haven’t been out together for a date night in almost a year, literally. Which sucks.

9. AUNT MARY. She is ill. She needs help. Sean needs to step up and take better care of her and keep his fingers on everything properly. But he also needs to work hard at work and make cashola. And I can’t make him do it. Or can I? Am I really doing enough to assure that she’s safe and cared for? I know Sean requires management. Am I under-managing him in this case? Will it be my fault if something happens to her?

Ok. Now I’ve dumped my brain. Part of my wants to start making a list of possible solutions here. But maybe I’ll save that for…tomorrow?

No Sawdust. But Some Sadness.

If you’re wondering about the title, it’s the title of one of the chapters of a Marguerite Henry book. Misty, probably, or Stormy, Misty’s Foal. It was called “Sawdust and Sadness”, and if I remember correctly, it was about the kids (whose names I no longer recall) cleaning up after a storm during which Misty had escaped (with or without her foal. Probably without. Probably that’s when the Pied Piper knocked her up. Hmm.). So, there was sawdust. And they were sad. And for some reason, it’s always stuck with me, tucked itself away for me to remember every now and again when I feel sad, but not too sad.

So that’s the thing. I’m sad. Ish. Depressed. Ish. Like, not so bad that I can’t get out of it. Just…down. And stressed. Just fucking brimming with stress. Stress dreams every single night. Crazy ones–I’ve expanded past my typical “crazy filthy bathrooms” and “you’re naked and lost in high school” repertoire into “you’re hooking up with your friend who was married to you your other friend and who you would not ever, ever hook up with even if you did find him at all attractive which you don’t” and “it’s snowing and you have to save the guinea pigs” and shit like that. Stress dreams.

Part of it is Bryce. Ok, a lot of it is probably Bryce. The days are getting more and more difficult. His screaming is growing louder and louder, his throwing and temper tantrums hover above whenever he’s home like ghosts. I’ve begun to feel like I’m in an abusive relationship with my child, walking on eggshells, keeping him happy, appeasing him at all costs lest his temper flare. It’s awful. And sometimes I think terrible things that I am eaten up with guilt over because I KNOW they’re not true. I adore him. I do! It’s just…so hard right now. 

And what makes it harder is Sean’s laziness. His total inability to be consistent. I can say again and again, “you have to follow through. You have to follow through. YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW THROUGH!”. But if he doesn’t feel like it, he won’t. And mostly, he doesn’t. Why would he? It’s harder, and he does what’s easy. Nearly always. 

Not to pick on him, either. But it is a frustration. 

And now Juniper is starting to pick up the throwing, the tantrums. Fuck me. It’s going to fuck her up too, and that’s not fair. But I can’t very well say, “Don’t act like your crazy brother! Stop it!”, now can I?

I stop at Whole Foods on the way home from the gym, I walk the clean cool aisles. I buy fruit and olives, body wash and pre-made gazpacho. I put slices of bacon from the hot bar into a box, I eat them, one piece after another, on the way home. My jaw hurts with the chewing. (My jaw hurts a lot lately, like I’m grinding and clenching extra with the stress. Not to mention the snoring that Sean bitched about. Who knows what that’s about, but I am having trouble sleeping.)

Angela’s coming to town next week. I’m going to see her, she’s going to stay here. I’m so happy to see her! I so don’t want to see her! So complicated. I’m fat, I’m in a down spiral, she’s healthy and happy and fucking Hawaiian. I’ll have to mention the surgery to her, get her feelings on it. Or will I? I don’t fucking know. And what about the surgery, anyway? 

What’s up with that? I’m going to surgically have most of my stomach removed so I can be thinner? Really? That’s a thing? That I’m doing?

I don’t even know. I swing back and forth wildly. I stay with “planning to”, then I swing back to “WTF”. Because really, WTF? But I do get it. I mean, it’s me, so I should. Just one more thing, one more decision that’s tough.

And the other stress, some of it good. The planning of the Disney vacation. Good! But stressful. The juggling, the optimizing. It’s a lot of work. And the money, and the spending (or not spending) of it. And the shit with the Friends of the Medford Library and their book wastefulness and general inability to do shit right. And me and my desire to please. And the writing, or not writing, having no career, wanting to have one but not working hard enough towards it. And the Etsy store, that is intermittently loved and mostly ignored even though I want to love it. 

And that I don’t cook anymore because it’s too overwhelming. It’s too fucking much trouble.

And the fact that I feel like I could crawl into my bed and go to sleep, right now.