10 years, the terror of gloves, and hard punches

My kid is turning 10 this week.  People always say how fast kids grow up.  I have to say that my first ten years of parenting has felt like a hundred.  A combination of being a less-than-ideal parent and having an especially challenging child has made each year feel like a long climb.  Except for this past year.

Nine year olds are fucking amazing!  Well, mine is, anyway.  I don’t doubt that we have lots of challenges coming up in the future but I’ve made sure to enjoy every little scrap of fun we’ve had with Max this year.  I have wasted not a single minute of it.

I draw the conclusion that I LOVE babies and toddlers for about one hour at a time.  Also: only one child at a time.  It’s not that I don’t like posses of children, it’s that they make me panic irrationally and they also make me irritable and want to smash walls and move into a senior center.

Older kids, though?  So amazing.

(Not in quantity, just one or two at a time)

I love nine year olds and ten year olds!  Their minds are racing forward full speed, they’re inventive, funny, curious, listen better, take an interest in the world outside themselves, are more well behaved, more rational, and a little more laid back (even mine) than little kids.

Because I’m not divinipotent I can’t begin to guess what this coming year is going to bring, but I’m hoping ten is going to kick ass just as much as nine did and I will take this moment to say how deeply happy I am not to have to go through another first nine years.

In case anyone besides Ann read the post titled “Ableist”, I removed it, but only temporarily.  I wasn’t finished writing it but accidentally published it.  I know I keep publishing things and yanking them.  When I don’t do that I end up publishing all kinds of bloody minded dark stuff like the late night blood and guts bit I published this past weekend.  Or stuff that will make my devoted friends decide to give up on me at last.  The Ableist post is going to come back.  With Ann’s comment in tact.

I just admitted to a close friend this week a little OCD issue that has been developing (against my efforts to suppress it) which I’m quite ashamed of.  Now that I’ve told her I feel I should disclose it here.

For anyone who isn’t aware of it, OCD has a tendency to become increasingly severe over time, particularly if untreated.  Even when treated it has a tendency to escalate.

OCD can sometimes be truly uneconomical as well as being environmentally unfriendly.

I’ve had a glove issue for a long time.  It was a mild issue requiring only that before putting on any pair of gloves a thorough examination must be performed in which each finger must be smashed flat, the whole glove shaken out, and whenever possible completely turned inside out after the other actions are performed.  When this is done I crush all the fingers and shake a second time.  Then I gingerly put the gloves on while pushing down all feelings of grave anxiety.

This was the status quo for many many years.

Then a few years ago it turned out not to be enough when it comes to garden gloves.  Garden gloves are the worst because they put off pheromones to attract spiders and earwigs and moths to nest and delight in the comfort of dark tunnels of cloth.

Some bugs just can’t be shaken out of gloves.  Sometimes if you smash them your finger feels them inside and makes you want to vomit.

So I started bringing all my garden gloves inside where fewer insects could find them.  I am a slob and frequently forget to do this.  So for a long time I could still perform the other rituals (of safety!) and still wear the gloves IF they’d only been outside for a day.  Anything more and I’d have to get a new pair.  I get the Atlas gloves so theoretically I should be able to wash them.  However, my brain rejects this possible method of rendering gloves safe to wear.

In the past year I have bought a brand new pair of gloves every single time I’ve gardened.  Luckily I haven’t been gardening much because I’ve decided that if I have to choose between my garden and book writing, I choose book writing.

Never the less, it’s a shameful misuse of resources (money, materials) and a horrifying abuse of the landfills.  Now you know my newest OCD issue and I’m sure you feel more enriched and superior for knowing.  It is easy for someone without OCD to say I should just  believe the gloves will be fine and to get over my fucking self.

If you can’t guess how I respond to such sentiments then you don’t know me even a tiny little bit.

I often garden without gloves because of the glove issue.  However, there are a lot of garden chores which demand glove wearing.

Max won’t eat crackers he spills on his bed (yes, I let him eat in his bedroom) but he’ll eat a cracker he drops on the floor.  What’s great about having me for a mom is that I may laugh but only because being OCD is so irrational that it really can be funny when it isn’t ruining your life.  (Just for clarification, spilling crackers on his bed makes Max go ballistic with panic and this week when it happened he started bawling and then his nose started bleeding.  It isn’t a little issue, it’s quite dramatic.)

On Sunday night I discovered the song “The Funeral” by Band of Horses and I have not listened to anything else since then.  I’m pretty sure I’ve listened to it well over one hundred times already.  I rewrote the entire chapter 4 to it.  (Actually I rewrote chapter 4 to classical piano music first and it was a real snooze-fest and then rewrote it AGAIN while listening to “The Funeral” and it is now suspenseful, intense, and has set the bar for the next chapter much higher.)  Rhapsody would let me play it about twenty times before cutting me off.  Then I’d finally convince it to play it another ten times before it would refuse to load.  I had to buy the mp3 so Rhapsody couldn’t keep cutting me off.  It was a technical nightmare which caused me to lose my shit a little (I have a very low threshhold for coping with technical difficulties).  I was at the most intense part of the chapter and I couldn’t finish writing it without this song.

(Just as a side note, it is commonly thought that authors’ main characters are themselves.  I have to say that all main characters have some of the author in them, but Cricket is not me.  Cricket is who I wish I was.  I have created my own heroine.  If I could be anyone in the entire world I would want to be her.)

Chapters are often written to one song played repeatedly until the chapter is finished.

I hear this kind of thing can make some people really lose it.

I’m still fat as hell in case anyone was wondering how that’s going.  I think I regained some of my weight loss from this summer.  I’m not freaking out about it though.  As long as I’m fat because I’m not working at losing weight I can hold myself responsible and try to get myself to step back on the road.  I can’t stand to work hard at losing and have the work not pay off at all.  Getting off of Paxil and onto Celexa is one of the best things I’ve done in a long time.  Not freaking out all the time over every tiny little mishap is such a relief.  Also, when I make efforts at fitness- the payoff is back.

I’ve just been letting myself be distracted and eating way too much cheese.

However, in spite of still being a very large lady, I am getting stronger all the time.  I’ve been having a lot of foot issues which has made me miss out on some Kung Fu classes and sometimes I do the Kung Fu but  have to sit out some exercises.  I am determined not to let all my physical issues derail my progress.  So my new strategy is that if I have to sit out any of the class exercises, I do a bunch of exercises that don’t exacerbate whatever issue I’m trying to go easy on.

Last night I had to sit out a little and here’s what I did instead: 80 (half)push ups, 4 planks, 4 rounds horse stance (1 minute each), and 3 complete rounds of brutal wall kicks.

That’s what I did while I “rested”.  I’m damn proud of myself for that.

I might look a little Sumo-ish but I’m strong and getting stronger.  My kicks are getting higher and more accurate.  My punches are getting tighter and harder.

I really love punching.

Punching is satisfying and makes me feel happy.

I just keep imagining what it will feel like to do all these things with 80 pounds less weight.

I could die tomorrow, but if I get to make it to forty five I want to be stronger and fitter and lighter and find a better hairstylist who can give a consistently good haircut.

I think the best thing my new medications have done for me is to restore my ability to hope and to believe that I can accomplish what used to feel impossible and to have the patience to get there.

Even when so much is uncertain in my life all the time.  And half fallen apart.

It’s okay.  Better to have a rope to hang onto rather than a rope to hang yourself from.


  1. Ann says:

    Thanks for being so considerate about the comment for the post to be. I thought it was good… raw, and full of fire.

    I have an ex friend (at her insistence, since I’m an asshole) who insists (again) on visiting my blog. I keep posting obnoxiously upbeat and happy things, but she won’t bug the fuck off. I can’t be outright evil to this bitch because some of her family (married into) are my friends, too. So, I try to be not so subtle, but she is a lurking annoyance. So, if my posts are annoying and vomit inducing that’s why. Sorry for any continued disgust.

    People don’t understand mental illness or imbalance. My husband has OCD tendancies with an addictive side dressing. I have ADD with a hint of ADHD. These things do not an asshole make.

  2. EmmaC says:

    Ha! I love “OCD tendencies with an addictive side dressing.” So perfectly descriptive.

    Angelina, thanks for sharing a little window into your own OCD tendencies. I’ve been fascinated by OCD ever since first learning about it in college, but I’ve never actually known anyone who has it (that I know of, at least). It’s really great to hear your experience.

    Also, it makes me happy to hear that this year with Max has been a good one. I feel like it wasn’t that long ago that you and Philip were really struggling with him and it seems like you’ve all really hit your stride as a family. I hope it feels this way to you, too. 🙂

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