tip Tuesday: let it go

photo 2I don’t know if I had particularly clarifying dreams last night, but my first thought of the day was “let it go.”  The Disney song is so pervasive that if I closed my eyes and tried really hard I could probably turn this Pittsburgh tundra into a badass palace.  But let go of what?

I’m sitting in bed, sipping chai tea and watching the sun rise over the park.  This is the soundtrack.  I tried to light some candles but my nightstand ones burned down so I lit a few matches and blew them out just to enjoy that smell.  That smoke-smell is a muse on its own. And then I get it.

Let go of:

Everything.  Anything that makes me feel heavy, unworthy, unlovable, restless, and dull. Anything that doesn’t add to my goals.  Anything I wouldn’t want Lucy or Michael to be thinking or participating in.  Anything I wouldn’t want my friends to be thinking or participating in.  Anything that can’t be changed.

Easier said than done, especially for those of us who’ve been through the ringer.  If you’ve suffered a tragic loss, abuse, neglect, or any big heartache, it’s natural to OBSESS, even if those things aren’t recent.  Surely if we think enough about something we can figure it out and avoid it in the future. Except we can’t.  And unless you are the cause of someone else’s loss, abuse, neglect or heartache, you aren’t responsible for those bad things.  Let it go.photo 1The nasty thing about loss, abuse, neglect and heartache is that we can only go through the past so many times.  When that becomes unbearable, we replace that noise with meaningless things that don’t feed us.  You know what I’m talking about.  I’ve participated in all these behaviors in the past week.  They’re not particularly dangerous taken on their own, but collectively they can be roadblocks to letting it go:

  • Too much of voyeuristic/reality TV shows (a little can be interesting in a psychological sense)
  • Websites/profiles of people who are responsible for said loss, abuse, neglect and heartache.  Yep, they are still there, still being douchey.  Yes, they unfortunately have really great hair and other douchey people like them.
  • Stalking frenemies.  Those people you might kind of get along with if they weren’t self-important
  • Music/Books/TV we don’t really like but feel the need to complete.  We don’t have much time on this earth.  It’s OK to turn the channel, close the book.  Same with people you don’t really want to hang out with
  • Physical habits that fill the silence: biting nails, picking zits, overeating, not eating enough
  • Thinking of all those THINGS you kind-of-sorta-need eventually
  • Making too many lists instead of doing things
  • Worrying about what total strangers think of you
  • Thinking in terms of “if only. . .”  If only I had that new job, that promotion, that extra $1000
  • Online putzing: refreshing websites obsessively, reading articles you don’t really care about, too many cat videos, Twitter statuses, blog stats
  • Old emails/mementos from toxic people

I could go on, right?  We are only human, but how many times a day do we do tons of these things?And it actually prevents us from letting go of hurt.  Because to let go of hurt, you have to hold it in your hands first, and you can’t do that if your hands are tightly clutching all this other crap.  You have to examine hurt, hold it loosely, and then. . .LET.  IT.  GO.photo 3

I have a diagnosis!

If you’ve ever had a condition doctors couldn’t diagnose, you’ll understand my utter relief that they FINALLY figured it out.  For the past 8 months, I had appointments almost every week, sometimes multiple a week.  The symptoms?  Facial swelling and redness, eyeball swelling and redness (I could no longer wear contacts) and constant headaches from all the swelling.  I talked about my medical issues before but didn’t want to litter the blog with updates or talk to friends about it.  I was tired of being a broken record.  The only thing that helped was a strict diet of absolutely no caffeine, fruit, dairy, or carbohydrates.  Try that for a few days and you’ll want to kill yourself.  When I exclusively ate beans, fish, and veggies (excluding tomato and avocado, which are technically fruits), it MOSTLY went away.

Besides the headaches and dietary restrictions, my vanity was crippled.  Let me tell you: if you lose 20 pounds but no one can tell because your face is swollen. . .what a reality check. God was really working on me, challenging how I judge people by their physical appearance.  Why are women so hard on themselves and each other???  I felt lazy, ugly, and fat on days with awful flare-ups.  I focused on the symptoms that affected my vanity rather than the tiredness and headaches, which were actually more debilitating.  Proceeding as usual was hard with what Michael called the “constant noise in the background.”

BUT today the doctor of doctors looked at my pictures, medical history, my eyes and skin and diagnosed me with Morbihan’s disease, ocular rosacea, and rosacea.  Treatment is medication for at least a year and some creams.  I just emailed my two main doctors the good news—they are going to be overjoyed.  They were calling friends in other cities and talking to specialists to figure this out before throwing up their hands and suggesting a dermatologist.  I was tested for auto-immune diseases, allergies, and tried multiple medications and nothing worked.

The doctor could’ve told me it was cancer and I would’ve said, “What’s the game plan?” I just wanted a label—not knowing is always scarier. Maybe someone else Googling their symptoms will find this post and find an answer sooner than I did.

I don’t know how to add emoticons to WordPress, so imagine the dancing lady in red and a smiley face doing somersaults here ;)  Let the healing begin.


Happy Birthday, blog!

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Pastedreams is 1 year old today!  Thank you all for keeping up with me and special thanks to Bobbie, Chris, and Gillian for encouraging this endeavor in the first place.  I made this blog public last February when I was drowning in snow in NYC and was a new mom to a 2-month old.  We stayed inside a lot, and I was tired and restless.  Blogging was a great outlet that supported me through that time and so many others.  I originally aimed to share my life with Michael’s family and our friends, but ended up connecting with lovely strangers.  I really appreciate all your comments, likes, views, and support.  The past year has been CRAZY, mostly in a good way: we moved from NYC to Pittsburgh, went through lots of job changes, got used to being parents, traveled a ton (Lucy has already been to 14 states!), bought a car, and grew a lot.  I’m writing more, doing more art and craft projects and, largely due to this blog, feeling mentally sane.  So here’s to blogging—I promise to be just as honest, open, snarky, eclectic and creative in the coming year!


PS. Forgive the obscene amount of photos. . .I didn’t even include any over the past two months.  This year has been ridiculously full of great memories!!

pimping out the babe (hug a mom today)

I don’t litter social media with pictures of my baby, which makes it weirder when people EXCLUSIVELY like photos of her.  It’s like they are searching for gold in an otherwise lackluster mine.

I get the impulse: there is nothing cuter than a baby.  When I scroll through a feed and DON’T like a friend’s baby picture it feels like an angel will lose its wings, so *click* goes the like button.  Still, it’s a little creepy to ONLY “like” baby pictures.  I’m invested in that parent’s whole life, not just their little product of procreation at which they were very successful.

Do any other moms feel like this or am I snarky?  Lucy is my heart and she has reshaped my world completely.  But when people only invest in her, I feel like I better keep the baby pictures coming or disappear into a pile of diapers and vegetable purees.

Sometimes I think, “Heather, wear the hairshirt of obedience and be super Mom.”  It seems sacrilegious nowadays to talk about ourselves as being whole people.  We are either career women or career moms, not both.  And we have to live through our children, be talked to through our children.  A couple of my mom friends feel this way.  They are tired of getting texts that only request pictures of their baby, tired of people at church knowing their children’s names but not their own after the fourth introduction, etc.  Children are adorable, safe, pure, hilarious (and great at cocktail parties).  They naturally demand attention wherever they go.  This is precisely why you should hug a mom today.

I’m a mother.  I’m also a hard worker, a writer, an artist, a wife, a friend.  If you know a mom, don’t always ask about her kid.  Don’t just “like” the baby photos.  Be more substantive.  Ask what music she’s into lately, what books she’s reading, what her favorite thing is to do with her child, what her plans are for the future.  Talk about the last episode of Downton Abbey or who wore a hideous dress to the Oscar’s.  I’m so grateful for my close friends who GET this.  Often we don’t discuss Lucy at all, which is fine, because when I get off the phone I can smell her on my skin (delicious) and I’ll be soaking her up all day.  It’s easy to disappear into her, but on behalf of all other moms, don’t let me.

around town: Point Brugge

PB3PB2PB18Pittsburgh is snowy as hell, but that can’t keep girlfriends from trudging through a snowstorm to brunch together.  Yes, I just used “brunch” as a verb ;) Point Brugge Cafe is a 10-minute walk from our house, even in the snow, so I was ashamed it was my first time, but I’ll pilgrimage to it a lot to make up for lost time.  Laura and I are also starting CrossFit this weekend.  I think the general plan is to eat here as frequently as our budgets will allow, and then work it off in a class that I only heard described as “absolute torture.”  Awesome.PB11While America got ready for Super Bowl Sunday, I stuffed my face with mimosas, coffee, and Eggs Benedict, vaguely wondering what teams were playing.  Laura and I were freezing cold by the time we arrived, and had about a 30-minute wait so we camped out at the bar.  After eyeing their fancy shmantzy cocktails, I asked the bartender what she recommended: the mimosas.  I was dubious. Mimosas are always too sweet but I was pleasantly surprised—they had a KICK.  As you can see.PB12We happily drank and chatted at the bar while waiting to be seated, and weren’t forgotten by the waitstaff, which you sometimes are if you sit at the bar first.  Jesus must have been directing the whole seating experience, because we got the best table in the house, right in the corner window.  I think we ordered dessert just to stay there a little longer.  Also, aren’t girlfriends the best?  Living with a VERY introverted male, I can forget how refreshing a good gab session is!  Review of Point Brugge at the end, but really these pictures speak for themselves.  All pics by me except for the one of me, courtesy of Laura.  I’m kind of incapable of glam poses like her!PB23PB15PB16PB14PB9PB19Atmosphere & Staff: Buzzy, lots of people, good background music (lots of Radiohead), brusque but friendly waitstaff.  A very Brooklyn-cum-Europe vibe.  Arrive early enough to get seating at the front of the house, or wait for one of those tables.  The whole restaurant smelled like bread, garlic and butter, which is always a good sign.  Waitress brought us more hollandaise sauce at our request and kept the coffee and mimosas coming.  Family-friendly as well.  There was a baby behind us and she had a highchair.  It made me miss Lucy (what is it with spending like two hours away from your child and missing them?!)

Setting:  On quaint Reynolds Street, with the Aveda Salon and Pino’s Italian, a cafe and a couple specialty shops.  These were closed on Sunday afternoon, but it’s still fun to walk around.  The snow made it very picturesque and walking there made it more enjoyable.  Driving in snow is so stressful.

Drinks:  Strong and good.  Coffee was perfect and free refills!  Unfortunately they didn’t have hot chocolate, which is a big minus in Laura’s book.  Since it’s a European-style cafe, you’d think they’d have hot chocolate, especially in the winter time.

Price:  The price is right.  Unlimited coffee, two mimosas, Eggs Benedict, and shared dessert with Laura without paying NYC prices (I think about $35?).

Food:  We both ordered the Eggs Benedict with crab cakes instead of Canadian bacon.  The crab cakes were very crabby—none of that excessive breading.  As my friend Aki says, you “want to taste the ocean” and I could.  The hollandaise sauce was scant, but that was quickly rectified and it didn’t break.  It was served over thick toast that had a slight brioche flavor.  The poached eggs were perfectly done—very runny.  All I wanted was a side of Tabasco for the eggs, which I know is not very European but Texas kind of ruined my palette for regular breakfast food.  I could take or leave the fruit, but it made the plate pretty.  Apparently this Point Brugge is known for its Moules Frites and the couple next to us shared those and they looked amazing: next time.  For dessert we ordered the flourless chocolate cake filled with Irish Cream.  The cakey part was delicious, and I don’t even like cake that much.  The Irish Cream tasted exactly like Bailey’s, but filled most of the cake, so once we ate a few bites there was only a mass of cream left.  Not really to my taste, but next time I’ll bring Michael the lump of cream and he’ll go nuts :) Maybe I’ll figure out a gluten-free recipe of this later. . .