My Cat Peed on my Bed, and Other Things I’m Thankful For

I always have a lot to be thankful for, but this last week, man. It didn’t seem like it was going to go my way at first, but here we are, only midweek and it’s making a turn around.

After months and months, I’m Thankful I’m in Texas!

Not pictured, but still in my little car, 2 cats/1 bird

In August, Chris and I were excited that we were finally getting to leave Washington State and move to the big T.X.  We took a road trip with three vehicles packed to the brim (one towed behind Christopher’s diesel), four kids, two cats, and a parrot, only to find that the house we had leased was in the middle of a meth village and wasn’t livable. Cockroaches flew around. The floor was sunk in. The roof was caved in and there was a hole in the roof of the back bedroom. A PVC pipe ran from the neighbor’s yard to the well. There was mold everywhere. And so much more. I didn’t feel safe having my kids there. 

We rallied. We abandoned the lease, which we feel the landlord broke by not following even basic HUD standards, and we packed up all the aforementioned people, animals, and things, and drove to my parents’ house. In Virginia. 

Thankful for this man. Note the septic tank and the giant hole.

There I stayed with my boys while Christopher went off into the big ol’ world and bought us a house in a cute farming community. The thing is, while it isn’t a crack house in Meth Village, it had been abandoned for sometime and that’s the reason it was affordable, and it wasn’t livable either. While I was in VA, Christopher worked his ass off day and night so that the house would be livable. He put in a septic system. Got the electrical working. Made sure everything was clean.

He did it. The house is livable and after 3 months of me doing the one thing I swore I would never ever do when I left home for the Navy (live with my parents, who are very nice people. But I’m an adult.). 

So, this year I’m thankful that I’m in my new home for Thanksgiving. And I’m thankful for my handyman husband that made it happen. 

Laila is here!!!

She was so little!

My step-daughter, who just turned 18 and got into her top pick college by the way, is visiting from WA! I have nothing else to add to that one. I’m thankful for her every day. But I’m especially thankful that she’s visiting for Thanksgiving. 

Oh Yeah! Let’s talk about Clyde, the newest Heiser.

On my way back to Texas, Christopher sent me a picture of a puppy as a question. My answer was a resounding yes. On the night I got here, we drove out and picked him up. The lady that had been caring for him sat down with us for a half hour and told us his story. 

Thankful for the family that rescued this goodest boy

It turns out some jackass abandoned Clyde, along with his sister, Bonnie, and another puppy that unfortunately passed before they were found. They were skin and bones, had mange, worms, and infections. Clyde is four months old now, so he was about 12 weeks when they found him and his sister. He weighed only 5lbs. His foster mommy got him well, but couldn’t keep two puppies because she already had a family full of dogs. 

So, this year I’m thankful for my new puppy. And I’m thankful for kind people who take in strays and nurse them to health for nothing in return. 


My computer isn’t broken! Super Thankful for that one.

They’re cute though…

Soooo, this is where I tell you I’m what’s called “StupidSmart.” I’ll tell you what, I know some random facts that will blow your mind. I can learn just about anything from a book (not math. Fuck math). But sometimes I lack basic common sense. My computer wouldn’t turn on. It upset me, thinking it broke, which isn’t a stretch when you consider that both of my young sons have taken turns pushing it off of me or a table. 

My computer is fine. It was the charger. I have a new one. 

This year I’m thankful I don’t have to buy a new computer, and that only my charger died. Maybe next year I’ll be thankful that I’ve learned common sense.

Garfield got really sick this week.

Like we thought he was going to die. 

Three days ago Christopher told me I needed to go check on Garfield because something was off with him. His third eyelids were prolapsed. He was wobbly when he walked. It only got worse. For two days he sat still, his head tilted to one side. He stopped meowing. He didn’t even purr out of stress. 

And he didn’t pass stool or pee. 

A vet told me it was likely that he was poisoned or hit by a car. But she leaned toward antifreeze poisoning because he wouldn’t pee, and said that it could be affecting his kidneys. We were afraid we were going to lose him. 

how can you not love him?

Garfield was born under my step-daughter’s bed one month after Johnny was born. We’ve had him from his first day of life. And there wasn’t anything we could do for him but wait. 

He’s starting to get better.

Yesterday there was some improvement. He started getting up and walking around in circles. He purred a little. He would meow. And he hissed at Clyde. Anger is always a good sign. You need energy for anger and fear. 

And today, he peed on my side of the bed. His kidneys are working and he continues to improve. And even though I needed to do a load of laundry, I couldn’t be happier. 

So this year, I’m thankful for a God who answers prayers for healing. And I’m thankful that my cat peed on my bed. 

If you liked this post, please comment, like, share…all the things. Tell me, what are you thankful for this year? Think I should quit the writing gig? Tell me that too!

I post short stories and book reviews on Saturdays. Randomly I’ll even post bonus content throughout the week, just like this.

Poem for Franklin

If happiness were golden,

and you were gray;

I would choose you.

If there were blue skies,

and you were the rainy day;

I would choose you.

When you’re grown,

            and your footsteps fade,

                        from the length of my hall;

And your handprints are larger,

            than the ones on my wall,

When your hair no longer

            falls in your eyes,

and doesn’t stick up silly

on that one side,

Though you will walk away,

            a man,

I will still choose you.

For your gray

            is that quiet moment

right before dawn,

And your rainy day

            washed me clean

and made me new.

No matter what you do,

I will always,


Choose You.  

Only in Darkness

I was never so captivated as I was during our nights together, just by the look of her. I can’t explain it. But even hidden in darkness, her skin held an iridescent glow. It was like the universe needed to be inside her as desperately as I did, and it illuminated every inch of her from within. There are other women to fill the void she leaves in me when she’s gone, but none have entranced me as she has. Blessed Sorceress, I was at her bidding, if only I could stay with her longer. 

When we were spent; when she’d had her fill; we laid motionless, bathed only in the light of her. Her silken charcoal hair caressed the skin of my chest. 

She stirred, and my heart broke to feel her rise. Harsh light from the bathroom cut through the dark as the last of her starlight faded away. I sat up to watch her dress, drinking in the last moments I had with her. It was never enough. 

She left without a word, and I sank back onto the firm mattress that only moments before had been my forgiving heaven. I worshiped her.

But these moments, shrouded in darkness, were all I could give. 


I haven’t been getting good sleep lately, so a bout of depression and/or anxiety was bound to happen. And that’s OK. It’s only sometimes.

But it does mean that I write depression poetry and post it to the internet.

Today is a better day. Yes, sometimes the self-care doesn’t work. But I got a good night of sleep, and this time it did.

Now, go drink a glass of water and take a minute to relax. And read a poem.


It’s like a drain plug being pulled

And all the feeling rushes to my toes 

And soaks into the ground

And nothing is interesting

Or necessary

It just is


It’s like the faucet is on full blast

But there is no drain plug

The sink is clogged

The water overflows

And everything is rage inducing



I’m just convinced that I must be awful

No evidence necessary

Not even that which proves me wrong

I must be

The monster that is my mind tells me so

And it doesn’t argue

It only declares


I just sit

I stare at the messes

I ignore all the sounds

I can only feel the emptiness

Or the fullness

Or the awfulness


The medicine isn’t enough


The self-care doesn’t work


I haven’t been getting good sleep lately, so a bout of depression and/or anxiety was bound to happen. And that’s OK. It’s only sometimes.

But it does mean that I write depression poetry and post it to the internet.

Today is a better day. Yes, sometimes the self-care doesn’t work. But I got a good night of sleep, and this time it did.

Now, go drink a glass of water and take a minute to relax.

Book Review of “Glazed Suspicion” by Allison Pearl

I used to be affiliated with Amazon for commissions and such. I don’t know if I still am, but I didn’t put any of those special links in this post. So, there you go.

I spend a lot of time lurking at trying to discover new writing and blogs to read. That’s how I ended up finding “Glazed Suspicion” by Allison Pearl, being published serially on Anaiah Press. I read chapter one and I was completely hooked and needed to read the rest right then. While you can read the book chapter by chapter on Anaiah Press, I was happy to find it on Kindle Unlimited. I snapped it up and kept reading.  Bonus that I found happened to find it in time for my first book review on this website. Happy Day!


Glazed Suspicion is a romantic suspense novel that follows donut shop owner,  Nikki Appleton, and good guy cop, Josh Bennet, as they try to uncover who wants Nikki dead. It’s book one in Pearl’s “Love and Danger in St. Claire” series.

Every story needs a sexy cop, right?

Taking place in a small Pennsylvanian town, St. Clair, the book opens with a mystery caller making an anonymous tip that Apple’s Fritters, Nikki’s donut shop, is being robbed. Josh is on duty and rushes there, worried that Nikki may have shown up to open the shop early. Spoiler, she’s safe, for now. But when the rest of Josh’s colleagues show up and find that the robbery had been staged, and drugs had been hidden in a wall, everyone but Josh is convinced that Nikki faked the whole thing. 

It’s in these early pages that we learn that Josh has had feelings for Nikki since she showed up in town and bought the shop a year previously. So it’s no surprise he’ll spend the rest of the book risking his career trying to prove her innocence when the evidence implicates her and risking his life when the who-dun-it keeps trying to kill her. 

My opinion is…

Love is always better with baked goods.

I’m not lying when I say that the novel, the first in the “Love and Danger in St. Claire” series, has a strong first chapter. It also ends strong. Most of the middle is strong too. However, there was a plot thread that threw me off every time it came up that dampened the experience for me. Not enough that I won’t read the other two novels in the series. And I think most readers would feel the same way after picking it up. But it will put off a few readers. 

Glazed Suspicion is a romance. You know from the beginning that Nikki isn’t guilty because half the novel she’s the POV. There is some suspense of whether the evidence will make Josh doubt her innocence. The characters are well characterized. I believe most of the dialog is something that they each would say. The main plot is also your typical suspenseful, who’s out to get me, type novel and it’s written well too. So A+ for characters and main plot.


The novel has a thrown in, preachy, christian subplot. I don’t know how I didn’t suspect that reading the first chapter, because if you visit Anaiah Press you’ll notice the logo has a cross in it.  

Josh is a christian. His convictions tell him not to be in a relationship with a non-christian. Which is fine. I agree. Religious differences can create major problems in relationships, and they are often difficult to overcome. However, I didn’t see a mention of Josh’s faith being an obstacle until the second chapter. Before Josh’s cop buddies arrive to investigate the crime, Nikki tries to kiss him. There’s an entire chapter before this. 

You learn very early that Josh is interested in her and she’s shot him down. And, when her life is in complete upheaval and she’s surveying the damage of what is basically her home, the place she’s sunk almost all of her money after escaping a rough life, she decides that she just can’t help herself and tries to kiss him. 

 Out. Of. Nowhere. 

 I was out of the story for a minute after that one. I can’t understand what would motivate someone to kiss someone for the first time in those circumstances. Am I wrong? It’s like in movies right before some pivotal moment where the characters are in mortal danger and everything stops so they can have sex. Maybe not right now?

 Josh rejects her advances for two reasons. She’s vulnerable and he’s not an asshat. This is great. It’s fantastic character development. Josh isn’t a guy that takes advantage of someone when they might not be thinking clearly. And she’s not christian.

Donuts of love….

This is the first time we see his faith. Previous to this, we learn that he has a crush on her. And that he’s had this crush for a full year. He’s asked her on a date! It’s why he rushes so quickly to the scene of the robbery.  Why is this an issue we’re just hearing about? Where were his convictions when he asked her on a date? When did they talk about something as personal as religion? 

It gets better…

Then I kept reading. Yes, the mentions of Josh’s faith, and Nikki’s inner monologue when she thinks about how she’s wrong for him because of her lack of faith, is a little jarring for the rest of the book. But there’s a point when Josh goes rouge cop, and isn’t acting officially any more, and the story really kicks off. (Previous to this, he’s taking her around with him in uniform and it just bugged me. I don’t know. When he’s not working for the police station it made more sense to me.)

 I don’t want to give any spoilers about how Josh and Nikki resolve the religion issue, but the story line felt contrived for emotional conflict, and the ending felt too easy and anticlimactic. I’d love to know if you agree after you’ve read the book. 

Danger Donuts…

 It also bothers me that this is seems to be the only conflict to them being together. Nikki has an entire past. She has clear self-esteem issues that make her feel like she’s unlovable. But as soon as they take care of the religious thing it seems like there’s no resolution to these personal issues that Nikki (and anyone that has similar issues) deserves to have fully confronted so she can heal. I hope this is resolved in the next book.


 I’d give the book between 3.5 and 4 stars. It’s a quick, easy read. Most of the story is engaging. And I would recommend it to anyone that doesn’t mind a strong christian subplot, or that enjoys a side of suspense to their romance. It’s a book that you could pick up on a Saturday morning and finish by bedtime. It’s not so suspenseful that you’ll have a heart attack wondering what’s going to happen if you need to put it down  (and with two little boys, I had to). But it kept me guessing. I didn’t know who was out to get Nikki until near the end of the book, and there were enough twists and turns that I still wanted to know who it was until I got there, subplot be damned.

So. Glazed Suspicion. It’s cute. It’s fun. And you can read it for free here. So bonus.  

If you do read it, come back and tell me what you think.

If you enjoyed this book review and would like to see more, subscribe for updates! I post an original short story every 1st and 3rd Saturday, and I post book reviews every 2nd and 4th Saturday. Remember to like and share this post to social media. 🙂

One Broken Crayon: A Short Story

The Crayola Ultimate Crayon Collection Coloring Set, 152 crayola crayons in a dazzling array of every color you could imagine. The box even held the glittery and metallic specialty colors. It thrilled Stacy; it was exactly what she asked for. When she opened the mega coloring book wrapped beside it, her birthday was complete. Coloring was Stacy’s favorite. 

 She ate a piece of the gluten-free, dye free, almost tasteless birthday cake her mother had made with all the quickness and smiles her five-year-old self could manage. Then said thank you, grabbed her presents, ran to her room, and leapt onto her unmade bed. Cuddling into her ruffled purple covers, she ripped opened her box of shiny, new crayons. 

So shiny. So new.

She flipped to the middle of her coloring book, Stacy grabbed the sea green from her box and colored in a kitten, her eyes animated and bright. She followed the green with cotton candy pink for the kitten’s eyes; the kitten sat on a periwinkle blue chair, in a salmon pink room, with laser lemon yellow carpets. There was also a fireplace in the room that Stacy colored with plum purple, adding mango tango orange for the fire. When she finished, Stacy colored five more pictures in the same fashion. She paused only to use her new kindergarten sorting skills to organize each color into similar color family tiers, and then it was time for bed. 

After Stacy fell asleep, the tier of Neutral crayons voiced their concern at not being used much. Stacy liked the several tiers of Vibrant colors most, even eschewing the basic primary and secondary colors for those closer to neon, glitter, and metallic. The brighter a crayon was, or the harder their name was to read, the more Stacy chose it.

Thank you, Jenny’s Crayons, for letting me use this image.

Time went on. Stacy colored more and more pictures in her imaginative way. The Neutrals became more upset as each night fell. They found their lack of use disturbing; each feared getting thrown out or replaced, never having fulfilled their purpose. 

The Vibrants didn’t understand what the others whined about; Stacy overused them! Most of their papers peeled back as Stacy sharpened them away to nubs.

Stacy loves to color.

“She used two colors all the way up yesterday!” one shouted. And besides, they argued, Stacy’s parents took out the over sharpened, shorter crayons, throwing them in a random craft drawer. They replaced each crayon they removed with the contents of different, smaller boxes in the night. Stacy, occasionally, even melted the worn out nubs of vibrant crayons onto canvases with her mother, who then hung them around the room for the entire crayon box to behold in terror. Instead of trying to understand the Neutrals and their fear of replacement, the Vibrants yelled that they were being so put upon. 

 Neither side understood the other. They argued each night. Stacy just kept coloring. 

Can you imagine the horror…

Mauve found herself at the middle of all the arguing. Not purple enough for Stacy’s taste and never being used, she soon had enough of the bickering. While the Neutrals didn’t get used often, Stacy used them when she colored more realistic scenes. The Vibrants should appreciate their luck, being used each day. They were crayons, after all; they lived lives of fulfilled purpose!

One night, Mauve, sick of not being listened to, jumped from the box and landed on the wood floor of Stacy’s room as her mother checked on the girl. Stacy’s mother picked up strewn about art supplies, careful to be quiet and not wake her daughter. When she reached to replace the over used crayons, she stepped on Mauve. It shocked the remaining crayons to see such a beautiful color broken into pieces. Mom looked down, noticed the broken crayon and threw Mauve into Stacy’s trash can. Stacy and her mother wouldn’t even use Mauve in the melted crayon art projects that so horrified the crayons. 

The mother reached into the dark craft drawer that housed the forgotten, used-up crayons and the small boxes of unused colors for a new Vibrant replacement, but tsked finding the last box empty. She tossed the empty box on top of Mauve in the trash can casket. 

Such emptiness.

And so, united by horror and sadness, all the crayon box tiers mourned their discarded friend and regarded the gap where Mauve was missing with heavy hearts. The crayons around the gap couldn’t stand like before. They missed Mauve, and her voice of reason, all the more.

Until the next morning when Stacy woke up to color a giant poster.

All. day. long.

The crayon box was divided once again, and their nightly arguing continued. 

*** hi there! If you liked this story please share it on your social media and join the conversation below. 🙂 ***

A Silly Story Where Everyone Lives HEA

Once upon a time, there was a world in which everyone was very, very sad. All the people on this world were terribly unhappy, and it seemed like there was nothing much of anything to be done for it. A general sense of moroseness pervaded all society.

It was a blue world. Everything everyone saw was blue. The houses were blue, the windows on the houses were blue. The trees, and the leaves on the trees were also blue. Songs were written to commiserate the blueness of this world. 

It was a very sad, very blue world. 

And then, one day, an astronaut journeyed away from his miserable, blue planet, with his blue love interest, and their Blue Tick Coonhound (that ironically was an odd shade of grey with dark colored ears and spots—but it matched the blue world and everyone was too depressed to mention it). 

The astronaut finally landed on a new world—it was, predictably, not blue; not that the dog knew any different. Also, as predictable as it was to find a world that wasn’t blue (it was the astronaut’s mission to find such a place) the astronaut was still mostly shocked. His love interest was not shocked; they were mildly awed by the colors, but not shocked. 

Yellow sun filled the air, and a light breeze blew the scent of wild flowers through their blue hair. Suddenly, the astronaut and his love interest, even the dog, felt less—blue. Not so very sad. Maybe even a little happy. 

The love interest laughed. 

The astronaut laughed in response to the love interest’s laughter. 

The dog couldn’t laugh, but his tail wagged, and that was cute. 

So, knowing this world was happier, the astronaut and his love interest, and their grey dog, returned to the depressing, morose, far too blue world. They talked to Blue World NASA (which was properly funded at the time) and a transplant mission was born. 

The blue world wasn’t a very big world, or a very populous world, so it only took about ten moderately sized space craft to move everyone to the new, happier, sun shiny, Not Blue World. 

The astronaut, his love interest, their (not blue) dog, and the rest of the blue civilization made it to the Not Blue World, and everyone was happy. The dog was mostly confused, but happy nonetheless. 

The End.

Bible Study: Dimensions of the Faith

For me studying the word of God means diving in and tearing it apart and drinking from it absolutely as much meaning as possible. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

What’s the Bible study about?

It shouldn’t have surprised me that being in a place where my faith was last strong that I would feel the pull of God to study His word. So I started looking up free bible studies and theological classes. For me studying the word of God means diving in and tearing it apart and drinking from it absolutely as much meaning as possible. I’ve never been satisfied with the touchy-feely level of Bible study. It’s never been enough to feed my spirit. Like most things in my life, if I’m passionate about it, there is no halfway. If I study the Bible, I will study it from a scholar’s point of view. (It’s exhausting, but I’ve learned to accept that this is how I do things.)

So I found one of this class called Dimensions of the Faith, and it is a seminary-level course. It’s actually several courses that give an overview of the Bible and of Christian faith.

Why I’m doing it?

Because we are the church, and understanding that many churches are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, I want to invite you to participate in this Bible study with me. I am not sure how I will structure this as far as blog posts go as I’m more interested in conversation and dialogue. I’m also not sure if a lesson will take me a day or if it will take me several days. I’m not sure if this will be like my post a day challenge that I started on April 1st and have yet to do another post. Because it seems like that is how I approach a lot of things, I go full throttle, and then I burn out very quickly. But the best chance I have finishing this course is for inviting people into the journey with me for accountability.

Image by Godsgirl_madi from Pixabay

So I hope that you will join me for this Dimensions of the Faith journey. And that you will come back and read my thoughts, and comment with your own feelings and ideas. I want us to strike up a beautiful dialogue about faith, and God, and how it all fits into our life. Particularly when it seems like the world will never be the same again. I’ll talk to you soon.

The Bible I’m using

Now, I am an affiliate sales person for Amazon. So I will include a few links to items you could purchase and use for this study. However, I know that even when the world isn’t struggling, individuals might be. So I am always going to try and list a few free resources as well.

Image by <a href="">Kerstin Oliveira</a> from <a href="">Pixabay</a>

For this study I downloaded a free PDF version of the NIV Bible. You could also use a Kindle Version or Print Version of the NIV Bible. Or really, any version that you feel most comfortable using. I have several bibles at home and I will always state which version I pull different versus out of. You can find multiple bible translations for free at In the next several weeks I will be starting two new “Book Shelf” pages for the site. One will be for general books that I recommend. The other will be for the different versions of the bible, from my collection, that I recommend and why.

Screw The Virus: You Can Still Make 2020 Your Year

The thing is, we all went into 2020, saying this would be our year. And if the memes are to be believed, as they almost always are, a lot of us don’t feel that way anymore. We’re on month four, and we all feel beat down. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

2020 is off to a rough start. But you can still make 2020 the best year of your life thus far and start the decade off right. 

Book Cover of "The Gifts of Imperfection" By Brene Brown

A couple of years ago, a therapist recommended I read “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Dr. Brene Brown. Dr. Brown is a researcher at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social work that specializes in researching shame and fear. I’ve owned the book for about that long. Still, there’s nothing quite like being fired right before a major pandemic (and a subsequent stay at home order putting a damper in my job hunt) to motivate a string of personal growth reading.


I’m not going to summarize the book now for two reasons. One, I’m only on chapter three and, to be intentionally cliche, that’s a bit like putting the cart before the horse. Two, the book is a gut punch guys! After I’m done reading it, I want to do an in-depth chapter by chapter read along. But what I want to establish now is that I really needed this time.

We’re not off to a great start…

Don’t get me wrong. I’d much prefer for 2020 to stop being the dumpster fire it seems hell-bent on embracing. If I had my choice, the coronavirus wouldn’t be the reason I’m 2700 miles away from home in VA trying to balance homeschooling my six-year-old. All while trying to keep my toddler from destroying my mother’s house (I’ll write a whole nother post on that one).2020 is a dumpster fire


The thing is, we all went into 2020, saying this would be our year. And if the memes are to be believed, as they almost always are, a lot of us don’t feel that way anymore. We’re on month four, and we all feel beat down.


This year isn’t over!

The deeper I get into this book, the more I realize that this can still be our year. Maybe not financially (#thankscorona). And we may not be making it to any beaches this year due to social distancing (#seeabove) so, even if you work for that beach body…

Help me make this happen!

The thing is, our New Year’s Resolutions often get in the way of what’s always been the most important; our sense of worthiness and connection to the people that we love. That’s what “The Gifts of Imperfection” is all about. Owning our story to overcome the feelings of shame that keep us from truly participating in our lives as our most authentic self.


Several weeks ago I wrote this,

OCD stands in the way of 2020 being great


I’ve held myself back for a lot of years because I’m so paralyzed with shame and fear due to my mental health and various traumas feeling like, if I let people see the vulnerable and broken parts of me that I would be rejected, even though I have years of therapy (and the best friends and family a girl could have) that prove shame wrong day after day. And I’ve listened to the lies of people I should never have trusted. I’ve internalized my failures and let a disorder I know is based on irrationality and anxiety rule my life.


I won’t sit on this side of the computer screen and tell you I’ll never do those things again. Owning your story doesn’t come all at once. And I can’t complete a lifetime of personal growth before I’m even 30 (it’s against the rules). But I can make 2020 my year regardless of the circumstance. A sense of worthiness and connection is born out of the love of self, and of friends and family.

And this year I’m going to love myself. Make 2020 your year and love yourself too. 




You Should Read This Blog! It has a click-batey title ;)

     I’m not feeling hopeless, but I am feeling a little defeated after this past weekend and a very Monday Monday. More battered and bruised than a snow day has a right to make a girl feel. I yelled to much. I cussed a bit. I didn’t cook dinner, and we ate junk food or leftovers most of the day.
     I shouldn’t be feeling this way. By all measures, I should be feeling accomplished. When problems arose for my job this weekend, I rallied and solved them as fast as I could. When I made mistakes, I owned them and pushed passed them with far less anxiety than I usually would. Just a few short months ago, I would have obsessed over them (and my husband would have heard me mention them more than a mere three times).
       So why do I feel this way? Why don’t I feel like I did well when there are measurable data that says I did? Why do I insist on concentrating on the parts I did wrong less than stellar?
      Well, part of it is my brain’s way of making sure that it never happens again. When I was going through therapy one of the first things Dr. B. explained to me is that humans still have a primitive brain under our fancy cortexes. We evolved to have anxiety so that we avoided situations that could possibly kill us. Flash forward to the developed, modern, self-aware human brain–I have anxiety over my failures, so I learn from them and don’t get fired. I’m afraid of getting fired because, jobs=money and, money=food and, shelter=NOT DEAD.
     Put more simply, Failure still = DEAD. Dead = bad. And so, anxiety persists regardless of our self-awareness, telling us to learn from it and move on. We’re not dead yet.
     Another part of it. The more important part is that I prefaced my feeling with “I shouldn’t feel this way.” The science says I should. That it’s normal for me to be somewhat anxious when I’ve made a mistake. But we grow up telling ourselves, or being told by society, a host of “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts.” To a large extent, they define our behavior.
     You see, if I shouldn’t feel sad or anxious, then I’m going to feel guilty for those feelings and compound the problem. I’m going to keep thinking about what a lousy job I did. For someone like me, with OCD, that guilt will make me obsess over each tiny thing I did leading up to the mistake. All to prevent it from ever happening again (and once I’ve solved that problem, I’m going to move on to another, and another, and another…it’s the song that never ends).
     This isn’t unique to me, and it has far-reaching implications that challenge the very fabric of what we think makes us US. For example, our society tells us that men need to man up, they shouldn’t cry or express emotions. Well, that doesn’t mean they’ve stopped feeling them, only that they’re repressing them. Suddenly a literal cup of spilled milk turns into a fist into the wall. All because he couldn’t cry when his goldfish died when he was 15, even though he won it at the fair with his dad 5 years earlier, and it represented great memories. Or, perhaps you’ve heard this one, “she shouldn’t have been drinking…she should put on more clothes…” We lable each other with these arbitrary terms to the extend that we’re willing to punish each other for not living up to them. 
     Yes, there are some real Shoulds and Shouldn’ts out there. You shouldn’t steal. You should probably eat a mostly OK diet that consists of more than puffs of powdered corn product…But I don’t think they apply to feelings.
     Here’s the thing. We compound our negative feelings when we pretend they aren’t there. Saying you aren’t angry, even if you think the reason is ridiculous, doesn’t make you less angry. But admitting you’re angry might just let a bit of steam out.
     So, I feel sad tonight. And a bit defeated. And I’m still OK.