On figuring things out…

Women's Mental Load Linked to Distress, Dissatisfaction, Study Finds | The  Swaddle

I honestly can’t remember the last time I’ve written anything, let alone anything of value. The last year or so has been a huge drain on my creativity and, frankly, my ability to think cohesively. There are reasons for that. Plenty of reasons. And every time I think, “Damn, I really miss writing and I should do the thing”, I just get overwhelmed with all the things I want or (think I) need to write about.

Everything always feels so important and so pressing all the time. There are so many things going on in the world and so many issues that need to be addressed and I’m also trying to figure out how to just let things go while also navigating the idea of choosing just one or two “causes” because I don’t have the mental or emotional capacity to be involved in everything, but how do I choose the things that are the most important to me? It’s an absolute mess in my head. I suspect that’s true for a lot of people.

I even struggle with things like choosing the next journal I should write in. I’d rather just have someone else make the choice for me. Any time I leave the house, I make sure I have three types of books, seven types of pens, two journals, an iPad, my laptop, and my phone because I don’t know what I might need or might want to use and what if I only have one pen, well, what if that pen doesn’t feel right when I’m trying to write?

I have a few hours to myself every day while my kids are at school. I want to read and write and work and rest and work out and do yoga. I need to clean and finish laundry and unload the dishwasher and make sure I have everything for dinner and work on our budget. I get so overwhelmed with options that I end up just shutting down and doing nothing. Which results in me feeling guilty and lazy and unaccomplished.

It’s exhausting.

And it turns out there’s a reason.

Over the last year, I’ve noticed my brain going haywire more often than usual. I figured it was fatigue or stress or depression or anxiety. And it was. It is. But I also started to wonder if it was something deeper. My anxiety meds weren’t working as well as they had in the past. But was that because I was SO happy and healthy in Japan and suddenly SO depressed when we moved to the States? Maybe. Probably it was a lot of that, too.

But it turns out, I also have ADHD. Which can very often present as anxiety and depression. So my meds weren’t “attacking” the correct thing in my brain. My meds would work for a while and then…nothing. So I figured I’d get tested to see if ADHD was something I struggle with. I mean, there’s really no hard in getting tested, right? Either the psych would tell me I had it or I didn’t. And either way, I’d have a way to move forward.

So here I am, a few days into new-ish meds (it turned out the anxiety meds I was on was correct, but the dosage was way off), hoping that I can start to get some balance and control over the inner workings of my brain. I know that medication alone won’t solve everything. I do need to take practical steps to manage things a bit better. My magic Apple watch has been an absolute godsend, helping me set reminders and taskers and generally just letting me empty non-essential shit out of my brain. Technology is absolutely glorious sometimes! I’m much more intentionally meditating and saying affirmations every morning which is keeping my heart rate down. And I’m (finally) working with a PT to fix my pelvic floor, so running is (slowly) coming back into play…and I’m trying to get back to my yoga practice on a more regular basis.

I’m not sure this was writing that was of any substance. Or if it was more of a brain dump/journaling situation. Who knows? But it does feel really good to write again. I should do this more often.

On using the clutch….

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I’m trying to get better about writing consistently. I really am! Frankly, I’m not doing nearly as well with it as I could. I find myself exhausted pretty regularly (don’t we all) and I’d often rather watch an inappropriate television program in silence while my daughter naps. It’s the worst excuse in the world.

So here I go, starting another mission to write every day. I’m using a fellow blogger’s suggestions and hoping it keeps me on task.

Day 1 – My Blog’s Name.

When I first started blogging (probably ten years ago now), I knew that naming my blog was going to be one of the most important things I’d do with it. Naming it and focusing it. Those are the most important factors, if you ask me.

Naming it was easy (focusing, not so much, as you can probably tell). It’s a phrase my dad has been saying to my mom and me for as long as I can remember. She and I have a bizarre ability to transition between conversation topics without warning or explanation. You know how sometimes you’ll be in the middle of talking with someone and, in your head, you’ve said five things, but it’s the sixth thing that actually gets verbalized? And no one has a damn clue what you’re talking about now, but it makes perfect sense to you? Yeah, that’s what my mom and I do. But we can follow each other and know exactly how we go from Point A to Point Square.

Often, these conversations happen while my dad is around. And try as he might, he just cannot keep up. He’s the smartest human alive, I’m sure of it, but following our conversations is just not a skill in his wheelhouse (and when my sister is also involved in our conversations? Fuggedaboutit. He just leaves the room). So one day, a million years ago, he got frustrated enough and just yelled, “Will you two please just use the clutch?!”

So there you have it.

That’s how Use The Clutch was born.
And now it’s part of my “brand”, if you will.
It’s my blog, my editing service, and my wedding/event planning service.
It’s perfectly “me” which is maybe the best part of it all.

On what I want to be….


There are a lot of things that I’ve been known to want to “be” in my nearly-35 years.

In grade 6, I wanted to be a pediatric endocrinologist. I literally have no idea what that is, but I was certain I wanted to be one. I think it’s a doctor for children. No clue. Probably a good sign that I should never have wanted to be that.

By grade 11, I was certain that I wanted to be a prosecuting attorney. I wanted to put away the bad guys! I loved learning about how the law works and it was probably around this time I started watching Law & Order. And if anything was going to push me into something law related, it was going to be that show. My best friend and I consistently “dressed the part” (or what we thought that was, anyway) nearly every day at school. If we weren’t in our cheerleading uniforms, we were wearing pant suits. 1997 was a weird fashion year for me. For most of us, honestly.

Then in grade 12, I had to write a novel for my AP English class and I discovered I wanted to be in the CIA. I big time wanted to be a spy. My same friend from grade 11 had the same idea as I did. We’d recently seen the first Mission: Impossible and, well, we were going to be spies. And it was going to be awesome! I’m not sure about her, but by that time, I was already in love with travel and language, so it seemed I was on the right track.

Then I went to college and everything sort of went haywire (as if it hadn’t seemed that way already). I wanted to be a wedding/event planner, a sociologist, a social worker (another Law & Order-fueled idea…what is my deal?!), something to do with hospitality, and then finally…a writer.

Eleven years, five colleges/universities, and five major changes later, I ended up with a degree in writing and editing.

Hilariously, I found myself back where I started. If only I’d have known about this when I started…I’d have saved myself a hell of a lot of time, effort, and – maybe most importantly – money (which is the portion of this tale that makes me the most angry at Congress. I digress).

So someday, I think I would like to be able to call myself a professional writer. It would be pretty awesome. “What do you do?” “Oh, I’m a writer.” And then for fun, I’d like to be able to add “…for Vanity Fair” or “…for Huffington Post” or “…for the President” but I’ll take what I can. And for now, that’s just me spewing my thoughts at a laptop, hoping someone will read it and maybe find it interesting.

“I coulda been a contendah!”

On embracing new challenges….


It’s National Blog Posting Month. I’d never even heard of this until I was scrolling through my Facebook feed at 5:30 this morning. I seem to find the most random information that early in the morning. Which begs the question: What interesting information will I come across during midnight baby feedings?

At any rate, November is my last full month of not being a mommy so I want to take as much advantage of that as I can. I need to read more. I need to write more. I need to eat out more. All the things that will surely go on back burners, at least for a while, once this girl makes her appearance.

So today, I’m binge-watching Gilmore Girls (though there is one character that has gotten increasingly more annoying and his comedic value is lacking, especially when the smart, witty banter provides so much humor. He’s an unnecessary character, at best). I’m going reading Yes, Please by Amy Poehler (which will likely make me want to re-read Bossypants and Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?). I’m currently drinking pumpkin spiced hot chocolate (this simultaneously makes me long for the day when I’ll be able to have full blown coffee again and also grateful for the quiet I’m currently enjoying). I’m making two soups (mostly because I can, but also because I need to stock my freezer in preparation for the new little munchkin and her surely demanding schedule).

But I think what might be the most important thing for me to remember during this month of writing is that I am a multi-faceted person. We all are. I am not “just” a wife or mother or writer or baker or singer or runner or reader or friend or any number of things. I am all of those things, all at the same time. Doing one of these things does not negate the fact that I am all these other things as well. I don’t stop being a writer while I’m running. I don’t stop being a wife when I’m baking. I don’t stop being a friend when I’m a mother.

Certainly there are facets of my life that will take up more time than others. Motherhood will easily take over for some time. As with learning any new skill, it will take time and practice. I’ll have to sacrifice some of my facets in order to learn how to do this one. The reality is that I can do all of the things I love doing…just not all at once.

So this month, I choose to focus on being a writer and a reader.

Happy NaBloPoMo,y’all!

On finding (what to do with) the time….


I was recently told that writing is a matter of one sentence at a time. So this is my attempt at that.

I wake up every morning, motivated to do something remarkable with my day. And then…nothing. I hang out with my dogs and read the news. I text with my two girl friends who are due to have babies the same time as me. Sometimes I bake. But mostly? I just have nothing to show for my day. Lately, that’s been a little upsetting to me.

The sermon at my church on Sunday frustrated me. In a good way. Talking about how so many of us are “too busy” for the things that are really important. I definitely used to be that person. My days were filled with activities and obligations and appointments. I always had somewhere to be and something to do. There was very little down time. I hardly even took time out for just me.

Now? I honestly think I have too much free time. I miss working, but with a baby due in just four months (holy crap!), there’s not really any logic in trying to find a job right now. I think what I really miss, beyond the relationships one develops in an office setting, is the feeling of being contributory. I miss being a part of a team. Recently, I joined the Navy Ball Planning Committee for our base’s birthday bash. That’s been a lot of fun for me…despite being the only civilian on the team. But it’s something I’m good at. I love planning and executing events. And, frankly, I happen to be very good at it. The team lead gave me an official title…”Flow Coordinator.” My favorite part of any event is the day-of execution. It’s where I excel. A lot of that has to do with working really well under pressure, with deadlines, and with stressful situations (ask me about the time I coordinated a wedding where the groom was deathly ill and in the hospital until well over an hour after the ceremony was to start). Anyway, I’m really excited to be  a part of this team. It’s giving me good exposure to how things work in the military (I’m learning terms and phrases I never thought I’d know or care about) and this event alone will be one hell of an addition to my resume.

But what happens after the party? Where will I turn my focus after it’s all over?

Yeah, yeah, yeah…I’ll have a baby by the end of the year and I know that will take an extraordinary amount of my time. Still though…I want to keep contributing. And I want to make money doing it. So the goal would be to make money from writing. I’m not sure how that will happen. I’ve never been very good at hunting down things to write about or organizations/publications to write for. I probably need to hone my searching skills…dig out my Carmen San Diego costume and start sleuthing for opportunities.

Until then, I (try to) keep writing…one sentence at a time.