Thursday, November 6, 2014

On Pregnancy, Depression, and More Depression

"Julia," you're saying, "it's been so long! Where ya been? What have you been up to?"

Well, this photo represents how Ward and I have both been doing for the past few months.

I know it might be unseemly to admit out loud, but I hate being pregnant. I hate it so, so much. Everything about it is terrible for me, no part of pregnancy is fun or happy. In fact, the only thing worth getting pregnant for is a baby, so that's why I still do it.

I bemoaned my pregnancy with Ward a lot, and I honestly thought I'd be happier this time around since it took us longer to conceive, but I majorly underestimated the physical and emotional toll this one would take on me. For some reason, this pregnancy has been life-alteringly bad. I have a new, terrible personality. I'm sad, weird, and just generally miserable despite having the same large group of happy, fun people around me. I find joy in about 5% of the things I used to. And physically, things are rough: I still have to eat constantly to keep from vomiting, which means I'm consuming a huge amount of calories daily (and not even enjoying it), and because of that I've gained thirty pounds and have far outgrown my maternity clothes despite having a due date that is still two months out. I have to walk slowly and with a huge waddle due to grinding pelvic bone problems, I can't sleep for more than three hours at a time, and I can hardly turn over in bed without help. I'm sad, I'm fat, I breath like a bulldog, and my boobs are like huge, sore, disgusting flesh cantaloupes (not even embarrassed to say that, it's not like everyone hasn't noticed anyway.) But worst of all, I can't be the active, happy mom I want to be for my incredible, fun little Wardy boy. He wants me so badly to do things like hold him, chase him, and dance with him, none of which I can easily do because I'm achy, fat, and sluggish. I hate it so much.

People ask to help me constantly, but it's not a matter of feeling overwhelmed for me. It's just a matter of feeling...like a shell of myself. A fat shell of myself. This all despite having a huge support system of loving friends and family (including Sloan) who readily assist me and are always there to commiserate with me, too.

Don't get me wrong, I know it will pass. I'll have the baby and while I will still be fat and sweaty and exhausted for a year or so, at least I'll be more mobile and less nauseated. But feeling this way for forty weeks is something I don't suffer gracefully.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

On Life and How It Gets Easier

The amount of responsibility in my life is greater now than ever before, but my mellowness is at an all time-high and it's been going in that direction for years, which is a huge relief. If I were still in the 16-22 year age range, I would be screaming and crying at Sloan much more often than I do now (which is about three times a day currently, so just crank that up to the double digits and that'd be a safe bet). I'd still be aggressively using the various emotional manipulation strategies that I'd learned about from watching Dr. Phil and Intervention. And I'd be saying/texting alternately angry and penitent things to basically everyone I know at all times. Basically, I was a loose cannon for a while. (If you don't believe me, ask some of my poor, poor ex-boyfriends.)

(Actually, don't ask them.)

(Please.)

I used to put make up on to go to the gas station. The gas station. I used to eavesdrop on any strangers I was walking past to see if they were talking about me. (Surprise! They weren't.) I used to eat salads. Gross!

And after each exhausting day of clandestinely looking at myself in window reflections and trying to come up with the bombest intellectual comments in my literature classes, I'd lie in bed and retrace every action of that day, berating myself at every misstep or any below average demonstrations of what I wanted to portray as the sexy, smart, and fun version of Julia.
This version.
These days, my life consists of singing nursery rhymes (the lyrics of which I change to be about farts), playing a two-year-old's version of "Simon Says" (which means do whatever you want, Simon ain't nobody's boss), and wiping up spills from the same square-foot of our kitchen floor fifteen times a day. I berate myself far less often now, even though I'm fatter than I used to be, dumber than I used to be, and I make some sort of parenting mistake approximately every thirty seconds. I worry about those things less than I would have otherwise for the simple reason that (pardon my French) I am getting too old for that shit! I was born last century! I had an Ace of Base cassette! I remember dial-up internet! Not only am I getting old, but now I am suddenly busy and have stuff to do because there is this little person creature who hangs around me all day! Every day! He never leaves me alone and well somebody's gotta feed him I guess!
Fruit snacks in milk again?
Lucky!
I'm not saying having a kid instantly mellowed me out, I'm saying having a kid took all of the energy I was using to be fiercely self-loathing and appropriated it to the "Just Survive the Day" department of my emotional life, a department that had been started up as I had gotten older. If I had had Ward before the age of 25...well first of all, he would probably be named something like Hollister. And I'd be dedicating MUCH more of my time to being clinically insane over the permanent and ugly changes to my post-baby body. I would also resent Ward's neediness much more than I ever have currently. But I dodged a lot of those bullets by getting my crazy out of the way before I had him. Sure, he definitely still does things that raise my blood pressure, and he does those things multiple times a day. Things like bite my toes and pour water on my head and punch me in the face. And recently, every time we're in public, Ward has started demanding I tell him the name of every stranger we see. Do you understand how awkward that is? If we are walking close to someone, Ward loudly and aggressively points at them and yells, "Who's dat? Mommy who's dat? WHO IS DAT?!" And this poor person can obviously hear him, but doesn't know if/how to engage, so they will typically pretend not to hear my eventual yelling "I DO NOT KNOW WHO THAT PERSON IS. THEY ARE A STRANGER WHO DOES NOT WANT TO BE BOTHERED," while I gesture wildly toward them when all they wanted were some hot Cheetos from Walgreen's but have now become the silent third party in a domestic dispute.

Anyway. Aging and parenthood have forced a reshuffle of my priorities, and this new sequence of feelings is much more manageable than the previous one that lent all its weight to things like how uncool I might look trying to open a heavy door in front of other people. Don't get me wrong, inconsequential things like my dimpled thighs still bother me much more than they should, but they don't prevent me from leaving the house like they used to. And ya know what? Ward has dimply thighs too...and he weighs thirty pounds. So, even if I lost one hundred pounds right now (probably a traumatic thing to witness), things aren't looking too hopeful in the thigh department.

In conclusion, to all of you teens and early twenty-somethings, know this: things get easier. Yes, things might get more complicated in life, but they feel immensely less complicated (and that's what really matters right?). It just comes with age.

Oh! And Zoloft! That helps a lot, too. Totally forgot to mention that earlier!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Small Announcement and a Big Complaint

Hey everyone! I'm sorry I've left you hanging for so long, not blogging and all. I figured no one would really notice my absence, but everyone has been blowin up my phone and there are news vans camped outside of my house asking about when my next post will drop. Also, whoever has connections with TMZ, can you please tell Harvey to lay off me! His texts are starting to get weird! 

But really, I haven't written or much less done ANYTHING for the last couple of months because Sloan knocked me up AGAIN. I guess we still don't totally understand the birds and the bees because now we're getting another baby due the first week of January. (I'm just kidding. This one was planned and we are ecstatic.)

Now, I'm no pregnancy expert, but I'll tell you what I've learned so far about being pregnant for the second time: 
  1. It is so much worse than the first time.
Terrible fatigue. Bad skin. Immediate and unrelenting weight gain. Much more sleeping and much more barfing. OH THE BARFING. The blowing chunks. The chundering. Doing the technicolor yawn.
This blanket was originally all white.
And after a few weeks of staying near a toilet, I tried to venture out (of my bathroom). Do not do this. It leads to puking in trashcans, bath tubs, your bare hands, and drawers full of clean clothes. And perhaps most devastating and perplexing is that, while I am puking daily, I am still gaining weight at a fast pace, something of a medical miracle.

Our house smells like wet, hot garbage. There is a wadded pile of towels in the corner of our bedroom that no one has touched since, like, Christmas. There could be a family of gypsies under there for all I know.

I've also been yelling more frequently at inanimate objects, angrily crying during pet adoption commercials, and seriously contemplating running to the mailbox pantsless because I'd have to go all the way upstairs to put some on.

This experience has already worn me down to the most desperate and nihilistic version of myself.  I feel so sick, angry, and disgusting so regularly that my mental space is just always that scene in The Lion King where adult Simba is crying and yelling at Rafiki and Mufasa's ghost in the sky over and over.

Sloan and Ward have been champs throughout this. Ward is just happy I let him wander around the house and do whatever the hell he wants all day, which often includes climbing on counters, "pouring" drinks for himself (10% in the cup, 90% on the floor), and watching an unlimited amount of the weird toy-assembly tutorials he finds on YouTube. And Sloan is just happy we are both still living when he gets home every day. Or maybe at this point if he's being honest with himself, Sloan's not totally happy about that. Either way, welcome to the new Julia!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Picture This...

You're at a restaurant having a lovely time, browsing the menu when the waitress arrives, "Are the fried pickle spears good? What about the italian egg rolls?  Or the peanut butter cheddar sticks ? How about all of that together mixed in a big tub of queso?" Your server seems nice, she's young-ish, probably college age. Her hair is short and perky, and she has kind eyes. Her name tag says "Cara" so you're not sure if she pronounces it CARE-uh or CAR-uh, but she seems like the type who wouldn't be bothered if you said it wrong anyway. You ask for a Sprite.

"Sure!" she says, "Is Sierra Mist okay?"
Sierra Mist, I hate you. I hate your flavor, I hate your logo, I hate that your name sounds like something Britney Spears would name her daughter, and I hate that I have to resort to drinking you every time I get my Friday night sack of  Beef 'n' Cheddars to binge on while Sloan thinks I'm out returning a Redbox movie. If I were a professional internet list maker, my first, last, and every list published would be this one:

5 Things That Are Keeping the Human Race From Greatness
  1. Sierra Mist
  2. Sierra Mist
  3. Sierra Mist
  4. Sierra Mist
  5. Sierra Mist
(And yeah, I know I'd lose my readership pretty fast if that was the only list I was putting out there. But I'd still do it.)

Sierra Mist is like your divorcee dad's new girlfriend whose name ends with an 'i' and who has Zumba friends. Every time you see her, she's showing you pictures of her boring-ass Maltese sitting on the couch or at a lake or in a Halloween costume and you are just like get away from me lady you are not my mother (yes, in this analogy, your mother is Sprite). My parents aren't actually divorced, but my mom did once tell me that "If I die before yer Daddy does and he even thinks bout marryin another woman, do not let her NEAR my wedding rang! That rang belongs with you Moore girls and not on some vulture woman's fanger!!" At least that's what I think she said, I wasn't paying much attention to what she was saying because she had just torn open the last Moon Pie (but hadn't yet taken a bite) so I was kinda keeping my eye on that situation. The point I'm trying to make here is that Sierra Mist sucks. Am I saying it could break up your family? No. But I'm also not not saying that, so take that as you will.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

D.A.R.E.

Hey guys! Sorry I haven't written in a while, I've been busy rolling my eyes, yawning and having writer's block. The creative process for me is akin to folding a fully-functional origami motorcycle with my nine toes. Oh well, at least I'm lazy and that counts for something! 

I recently joined a book club and it only took me one chapter to remember why I don't read books...
"THAT INTRO WAS INTENSE!"
Books are emotional manipulators. They sit on your nightstand, watching you sleep, and they clasp their little hands together awaiting the moment you read something heart-wrenching in their pages and you'll cry and they'll be happy. And then, inexplicably, you continue reading the sad story and things start getting a little happier and you think oh good here's the pay off  but then you fall into another sadness pit and your book is satisfied. 
"But Julia, you graduated from college with a literature degree! How can you not like reading books?" That's a good question! Actually, NO it isn't! I just freaking TOLD you! Did you not just read what I said? Honestly why do I even bother.

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Timeless Love!

Julia: So I think Ward and I might go to Memphis again while you take finals and boards.
Sloan: Again? That's for like a month.
Julia: Well I'll only do a couple of weeks.
Sloan: That's a long time!
Julia: *puts hands to mouth* Aww! Are you trying to say you'll miss us?! That's soooo sweet!!
Sloan: *perplexed* That's not sweet, that's normal. I'm not a robot!
Julia: *kissy face* My cute wittle wobot!!
Sloan: Stop it! It's not special to be missed by your husband!
Julia: *anime eyes* DIS IS DA MOST WOMANTIC FING DAT'S EVA HAPPENED IN DA WORLD!
Sloan: Maybe two weeks won't be so bad.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Birth Control

There are a few situations in which I'll cry: a wedding, a funeral, a wildebeest stampede with Mufasa dying underfoot, and a surprise haircut given to me by a toddler.

One of those things happened this weekend.
"How did this happen? I mean, SURELY you didn't leave a pair of sharp scissors within the reach of your two-year-old! And even if you did, SURELY you must've at least been paying enough attention to him to know that he was CUTTING THE DAMN HAIR OFF OF YOUR THICK HEAD before he did any real damage!" Ah, dear reader, you overestimate me. I may be an adult who is competent enough to live on her own, but let us not forget that I am the same person who graduated with a degree in English five years ago and just last week learned the actual definition of the word 'savory' when she overheard a woman's conversation with her five-year-old daughter (I thought it meant juicy! No wonder no one ever wanted to try my Julia's Famous Savory Fruit Salad!)

I wish more than anything I could blame Ward for what he did to my hair, but to be honest, it's all my fault. I've always talked about how fun haircuts were so that I could get him to stay still for me whenever I hack maim trim his hair, so he was probably expecting confetti to shoot out of cannons and a disco ball to lower while we danced to Kidz Bop when he starting in with the scissors. Instead, he ended up bewildered, sitting against the locked bathroom door while mommy rage-cried on the other side.

Things could have been a lot worse. He could have cut my hair right by my scalp, forcing me to get all G.I. Jane to even it out, but he afforded me a workable length. It's also not so bad because I'm not especially vain anymore, mainly due to the time commitment that entails. Yessir, the vanity ship sailed the moment I saw that little blue plus sign while sitting on the toilet three years ago. Now my standard of dress for going out in public is more along the lines of shoes/pants/bra optional.

So I dragged my ratchet ass out and got a $12 haircut to fix that hot mess.
It's a wonder what a shampoo and a little lot of make up can do for your "after" picture!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Only Camping Tip You'll Ever Need!

We went to Zion National Park this weekend and like most people who go camping, I did some things I wasn't proud of; things like peeing in the bushes, blowing my nose in Ward's hoodie, and threatening Sloan with divorce when he hotboxed our tent with his barbecued chicken farts. "Why does Julia talk about farts so much?" some of my readers might be asking. If you're asking that question, then just get out of here because the answer should be obvious to you. Farts are the foundation upon which all hilarity is based and nothing anyone does will EVER change that. Just look at Napoleon!

Before we went to Utah, I checked the forecast and saw that the evening low temperature would be 32 FRICKFRACKIN DEGREES and Sloan was just like, "Don't be a baby, Julia" so we went and froze our huevos off. But once the sun rose, things were great! That's the fun part about the desert: a 30 degree range of temperature between day and night! Really fun.
As we packed our car for the trip, I made sure to bring a couple of pounds of butter along just in case. Sloan got really annoyed because it was kind of melting all over his sleeping bag, but I couldn't risk being stranded on a trip without it. Ya see, when I was cooking cinnamon apples with my grandma a few years ago, she taught me a little trick that has turned out to be useful in a lot more places than just the kitchen. That trick is called "Double the butter!"

Want a flakier pie crust? Double the butter!

Are your green beans too healthy? Double the butter!

Want to get those scuffed hardwood floors shining again? Double the butter!

Having trouble understanding your tax forms? Double the butter!

Marriage falling apart? Double the butter!

Grappling with the revelation that life has no intrinsic meaning or value? DUBBLE THE BUTTA!!!

And wouldn't ya know, MaMa JuJu's butter DID come in handy at Zion when Sloan got his arm stuck in the Visitor Center vending machine trying to pilfer a Twix from the bottom row. It was only a freakin dollar, Sloan! Just pay the money next time!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

My Little Sister Michelle

Because time is a cruel mistress, this baby is turning 23 today. I was the youngest child for five glorious years before Michelle decided she wanted to get in on the Moore Family action. And even though she was an accident (which I will never let her forget because that's all I have), Michelle has been the happy sun around which our family has revolved ever since the day she arrived.
Richard, Laura, and I were ecstatic to get a baby sister and Michelle did not disappoint. She was cute, cuddly, and super weird.
That's a cucumber baby.
She was extremely attached.
Michelle marched to her own drum (still does). She growled at her elementary school teachers, walked around the house with an old cane, and responded with a puzzling amount of rage whenever we called her "Michello" (not that it stopped us from doing it). She was a feisty kid who turned into a peacemaker of a person, and no matter what she does, she's our baby forever and ever.

Forever.

And ever. 

Don't even think about not being our baby.

Do you hear me, Michelle?

Good.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Take It From Me! Life Advice with Julia Rehder

Dear Julia - My kid is driving me crazy, like so crazy I might just sell him to a child collector like Angeline Jolie or Mia Farrow. How do I find the patience to continue parenting?

Oh honey, I feel your pain. Recently, Ward has become very contrary. He will constantly defy any statement I make (whether directed at him or not): "No mommy, dat ice not cold. Is hot." "Dis apple blue, is not red!' and the creme de la creme  "No, I am not Ward! I am Ward!" He has also begun begging for time outs, which I assume is some sort of sophisticated strategy to render time outs moot. NOT GONNA WORK PAL. Or maybe it will, I'm weak-minded. Hope that helps!

Dear Julia - I really love brussel sprouts, but they smell terrible! Every time I make them, my entire neighborhood smells like Del Taco farts for a week. What do I do? 

Here's what you do: you keep making brussel sprouts. You don't stop making brussel sprouts. Make them until your kids leave home, make them until your friends abandon you, make them until the sun burns out because you are a hero and no one can tell you how to live your life.

Dear Julia - Is it actually ironic or just Alanis Morissette ironic that I have an addiction to the TV show My Strange Addiction

Both.

Dear Julia - I often imagine that I'm a unicorn who is disguised as a human so that no one will kill me and harvest my enchanted horn to make faerie dust. Is that weird?

Mikyn, is that you girl? Just kidding, I already know it is you because you're the only person obnoxious enough to spell fairy that way. But to answer your question, no it's not weird. Being a unicorn is a common fantasy, as is imagining your life is a movie or pretending to be Indiana Jones while trying to get under your closing garage door without tripping the sensor.

Dear Julia - Do you think by now that everyone has figured out that you're actually the one writing all of the questions in this post? Because no one has ever asked for you advice before even though you're obviously KILLIN IT at life. 

Listen, I don't know who sent this question in (I do), but people are DYING for my advice! Sure I'm not perfect, but you're not living life unless you're making some mistakes! There are two types of people in this world: the ones at the fancy party who stand in a corner sipping their virgin cocktail and the ones knocking down the candelabra as they seductively lie on a baby grand piano to croak out a slow jazz version of Raspberry Beret. Which one do you want to be?!