In Case You Forget

Dear Amber,

It’s okay to not have all the answers. No one expects you to be perfect, so neither should you. And while it’s okay to not have all the answers, if you do have one–say it. Don’t dumb yourself down, sell yourself short, or forget who you are. Stand up for yourself and what you believe in. You’ve got the forum, you’ve got the words. Don’t waste them.

Amber, it really is okay to be yourself. You don’t have to prove yourself to the mini van driving soccer moms. There’s nothing wrong with going against the grain sometimes. People may judge you at times, but that’s their problem. You’re kind, compassionate, intelligent, and nurturing…the music you like and the cut of your jeans don’t affect who you are underneath them. You’d be the same woman and the same mother if you had blonde hair and wore matching sweater sets. Don’t let the harsh words of passersby break your spirit. You are a good mom.

Also Amber, please let yourself breathe. You’re a single mom with a job and school. Self-care is important, taking care of your daughter’s mama is important. Don’t burn out now, ’cause you are SO close to being done with school. After that, this is all going to get so much easier. The dishes don’t have to be washed the minute they’re dirtied. The only thing you need to be worried about above all else is Eden. She needs to be cuddled and sung to and you need the happiness that comes from doing so. You’re the real life Lorelai and Rory – embrace it.

Amber, you’ve got to let go of the dream of having a real mother-daughter relationship with your mom. It’s not going to happen and you don’t need to be sad about that anymore. Focus on the mother-daughter relationship that REALLY matters – the one you have with your daughter. You can break this cycle.

You are so much more awesome than you give yourself credit for. Losing weight won’t change you. You’re beautiful just how you are. You’re a good mother, a good girlfriend and a good nurse. You have a big, bright future ahead of you, girl.

<3 Me

In Retrospect

A few days ago, I wrote a post for Band Back Together about my struggle with self-injury. It was hard to write, more difficult than I’d expected it to be and for several reasons at that. One of the reasons: Remembering the beginning. Remembering the reasons, remembering how confused and scared I was. Most of all, remembering my mother’s role in it all.

I started hurting myself when I was 10 years old. My injuring increased in severity and frequency over the years and at 13 I threw in an eating disorder for good measure. When I was 16, I put myself into therapy and at the first appointment we were going over my history and when I mentioned the age I started cutting, my mother turned to the therapist and said “Yeah, I knew she was doing that.”

She knew.

She knew that her 5th grader was cutting herself with x-acto knives and she didn’t. say. a. word. Not one word. Not to me, not to a doctor, not even to my dad. She washed the blood stains out of my clothes and silently watch me kill myself. Years later when I finally attempted suicide, putting myself into a coma, Mom didn’t visit. Not one time in the weeks I was in intensive care. Not so much as a phone call or a card sent with my father. No word for a month.

My mother let me stick with my self-destructive mission and didn’t bat an eye when it nearly killed me. My mother belittled me and insulted me for everything from my grades to my weight. My mother told me one day while driving me to a doctor’s appointment, “Sometimes I just want to drive this car off the road and kill both of us…put us both out of our misery.” She threatened to commit me to a state mental health institution. She forced medications on me and played the victim in therapy sessions. My mother was too self-centered to put on her big girl panties and deal with the problem in front of her. Her 10 year old child was screaming out for help and she ignored her.

She ignored me and I can never forgive her.

Metalways and Napcations

it’s no secret that I love music. I love the fire, the passion, the crushing emotion. I name drop Vital Remains so often you’d think I’m Pulling a John C. Mayer. Music is my heart, my lifeline. I’ve sang opera for a decade, my Partner In Crime a guitarist for close to the same. My daughter will soon put fingers to keys. Music punctuates my life, but being a single mama-college student hybrid makes getting to shows kind of difficult. That’s why I’m so excited for the METALWAY!
Jeffers and I are planning on packing up the combat boots and heading to Des Moines in November. A trip that will include Cannibal Corpse, Devourment, Dying Fetus and Vital Remains. Our getaway. Our metal getaway. Our metalway.
While going to a concert may not mean much to some of you out there, to me it’s huge. Music is my heartbeat and I haven’t had it in awhile. It’s one thing to plug in the iPod and rock out in the living room, but it’s quite another to be in the crowd. You can FEEL the music. You can see the emotion in the eyes of the band members, the sweat on their brows. You watch the venue explode with the bass line, the pit devolving into the rhythmic passion the sound intended.
It’s religious. It’s everything.
To some people, it’s sound. It’s chromatic notes and a time signature. To me, it’s a reason to wake up in the morning. It’s the thing I share with the other thing I wake up for in the morning– my family. My sweet little alternafamily, with our zebra print rugs and death metal soundtrack.

Music and family.

Diaper pins and combat boots.

Disappointment

I have a love-hate relationship with The Twitterz. I love the ability to connect with people who share my ideals, my situation. I love getting updates on Vital Remains concerts and yelling about my stomach aches. I do not love my proximity to overzealous lactivists.

Let me state first and foremost: Breastfeeding is natural, beautiful and the best thing for Mama and Baby alike. Usually. That said, I don’t like it when people start fighting over someone else’s decision to not breastfeed. You, as some random chick on the internet, do not know someone’s personal reasons to bottlefeed. There are plenty of perfectly valid reasons to not breastfeed. Maybe the new mama has to take a medication that could pass through her milk and harm the baby. Maybe Mama has an eating disorder and doesn’t trust herself enough to provide adequate nutrition for Baby. Maybe Mama’s like me, and for six exhausting weeks she tried relentlessly to breastfeed but she just couldn’t produce enough milk. Maybe she pumped for hours to procure, maybe, an ounce. Maybe she tortured herself with thoughts of inadequacy. Maybe she thought she must be destined to be a horrible mother, because her body couldn’t complete this most basic of tasks. Maybe she cried and cried and blamed herself. Maybe it hurt like 1000 knives in her heart as she bought that first tub of formula.

I sure hurt. That deep kind of hurt that comes from feeling like you Failed Your Child. But then my daughter grew. She thrived. She smiled. She learned. I carried that girl in her baby sling and cooed at her and held her as close as I did before the bottle.

It didn’t matter that she drank formula from a bottle instead of milk from my breast, because the heart was there, the love was there. She’s healthy. She didn’t fall apart without breastmilk. She’s fine. She’s better than fine.

One day I will have another baby. One day I will again try to breastfeed. But if again, it doesn’t work out, I won’t torture myself over it. Switching to formula was the best thing I could do for *my* family. Everyone deserves the right to choose what they believe to be right for their families and their situations. If those decisions don’t match your own, that doesn’t mean you should sit behind your computer screen and call them ignorant. Raising children is about love and compassion, not unsolicited judgments and name-calling.
It's about love.

This is my Rage Face

So saturday night I was kept awake by my neighbors. My neighbors half a block away and across the street were having a party. A party that raged until 1:00 am, during which nothing but 80s HAIR METAL was played. LOUDLY. I was very angry, and had fantasies of curbstomping people to the sounds of Devourment, but was thwarted by my being extremely, pathetically tired. So instead, I wrote this:

Dear hair metal jackasses,
It is midnight and your music has been blasting ALL NIGHT. I live across the street and down half a block and I can hear the LYRICS to your pathetic music. Neither my 2 year old nor myself appreciate this. If this happens again, I WILL call the cops. Shut the hell up. Maybe you want to feel the noise and rock your boys, but me and the toddler want to SLEEEEEEEP. Please cease your ridiculous crap and be respectful of your neighbors.
Thank you,
A human fucking being.
P.S. Get a better taste in music. Twisted Sister sucks ass. Also, screw you
.

Clearly a masterpiece. I didn’t follow through with the sending of that note, and for that I’m a little bit sad…

Mistake

Today, I binged.

Two liters of mountain dew, a pound of M&Ms, and a bag of potato chips…gone. Thousands of calories consumed in under an hour. It hit me like an electrical storm, throwing me, zombie-like, into the kitchen. I ate and ate, mind numb, until as quickly as it came, it ended. I started to shake as I realized what’d happened. Embarrassed, ashamed, heartbroken, scared. I didn’t purge, not like that makes it any better.

I’m upset with myself, but that won’t help anything. I shouldn’t -can’t- dwell on this misstep, and instead choose to make my next choice a healthy one.

It’s okay to make mistakes, Amber.

Please, stop crying.

Playground as High School

Anybody who’s been bored enough to read through my (limited) archives has probably noticed one of the several times I’ve mentioned my age. I’m 22. Young, yes. You probably noticed my daughter’s age as being 2 years and if you do some math that means I was 20 when she was born. (Yeah…I didn’t say difficult math). I became pregnant when I was 19, and Eders was born a few months after my 20th birthday.

My age has never been a factor in any of my decisions. I know that I am physically a young person, but I also know that mentally, I’m a whole lot older. I’ve never gotten along very well with people my age and probably never will. While that never used to bother me, I’m noticing more and more that I feel…sort of lonely. Most of my high school/college friends stopped calling when I got pregnant, and that stung a lot more than I’d expected it to. It bothered me that people only wanted to be my friend when that meant concerts, myspace-style photo shoots, and shopping sprees and not hanging out at the house with me while I breastfeed a newborn and change diapers. I get that my lifestyle has changed. I’m a homebody, and I’d prefer to stay at home with my baby then go out and get drunk, but I’ve always been that way, you know? What’s changed, other than I have a child now? I’m not a different person, I’m the same Amber I’ve always been, I just get to add “mommy” to the list of names I respond to.

Bummed out that I’d lost 87% of my social circle, I thought I’d try to make some “mommy friends”. How well did THAT work out…let’s see…I have none, so badly. I can’t seem to relate to any of the parents I’ve met. And they can’t really relate to me either. And why should they? I’m frickin’ weird, and I know that. I get told fairly often that I’m intimidating, which I think is crazy. Who’s going to be intimidated by me? I’m a little 5’2’’ elf of a person. Sure I’ve got tattoos and am probably wearing big ol’ ass-kicking boots, but if you’ve ever heard me speak, you know I’m as bubbly as any high school cheerleader ever was. And then I figured it out. To the average parent I see around town, I’m young. I’m TOO young. My lifestyle is too old for my old friends, and too young for my potential new ones. I have no intention of changing who I freaking AM just to make friends, though. The Interwebs will find my particular brand of quirk interesting, right?!

Right…..?

*tumbleweed*

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