I’m Losing Weight, but I’m Still Depressed… What Gives?

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shout out to myfitnesspal, i wouldn’t be here without you! *princess wave*

Since December 1st, I’ve been focusing on tracking my daily water intake.

Since January 1st, I’ve been focusing on tracking my daily food intake, and preparing meals that improve the quality of my life instead of weighing me down.

Since February 1st, I’ve been focusing on weighing myself and tracking my weight (at least weekly).

Simply by paying attention to what’s going into my body, I’ve lost weight.

In the past two months, I’ve incorporated light exercise. (Shoutout to Leslie Sansone with her amazing Walk at Home workouts. They may be designed for the elderly but hell if I mentally feel good enough to do more than that. In the very least, I feel good enough to do these and feel accomplished in what I’m doing and I keep going back to them).

Technically, I’m actively losing weight.

So why am I still depressed?


I’m not doing this for anyone else. Not to dramatically grasp at more time with my kids or my spouse like they do on the weight loss shows. If I die tomorrow, so be it. I will go when I’m meant to go.

I started watching shows like that when I was probably seven years old. An overweight seven year old. It made it seem like if you lost weight, you could make it all disappear. Either subliminally or purposefully the weight truly represented all the stress, the anger, the pain of the world. Losing that excesss baggage would transform you into a different person, a person who loved Zumba or ate beetroot everyday.

Honestly, the only way I feel different is that I’m annoyed.

All of my comfy shirts are too big and I’m too cheap to buy new ones right now.

How annoying.


Something I realized though, even though I’m not doing this for anyone else, if someone saw me on the street they’d probably think “wow, they must be really unhealthy.” But this is the healthiest I’ve ever been. I’ve worked hard to feel as good as I do.

I’ve never been particularly insecure about my weight in the past. I’m obese. That’s a part of life for me.

I was discussing with my mother the other day how odd it is that the straight sizes in clothing stores are “SMALL-MEDIUM-LARGE-EXTRALARGE”. How demeaning is that? Obviously that’s how it is, I’m not saying the entire fashion industry should change tomorrow.

But for all of my life, I’ve just been a number. Plus size clothes are somehow more honest in that way. Maybe that’s why straight sized women are so scared to have to go up a size, the insecurity forced upon them by the SML sizing. Do they not realize there’s an entire ‘nother world on the other side? It’s honestly getting cooler every day. Plus size fashion is a socioeconomic statement, it means so much more than “I wish I was still a medium 🙎😞”. It says, “I’m living my life without repression. I deserve fun clothes that actually fit me.”


I watched my mother eat disorderly my entire childhood. She deprived herself physically and mentally, and worse she did it for other people. She did it to somehow make things better in her mind. To keep her husband from calling her fat or lazy when they fought. She is still eating disorderly 20 years into my life. She will never be at peace with the thing she uses to fuel her body.

I don’t ever want to become that person. Being fat is a part of me. It’s part of my heritage, my ancestry. It’s connected to my mental health, and my family’s mental health history. It’s part of my environment, my socioeconomic status. As long as I can get a meal at McDonald’s for less than groceries it will always be unfair and unhelpful to ask, “why are poor people getting fat?”

You know why.


I am fat.

I am depressed.

I am angry.

I am beautiful.

I am joyful.

I am peaceful.

They are all one in the same because they all make up me.

I don’t intend to ever change that about myself.

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Wannabe Artist | Creativity vs Artistry, Psychology Behind My Art Envy, and Impostor Syndrome

I am not an artist.

I have never been drawn to traditional art, except when I was 12 and thought I magically would be able to paint masterpieces after watching too much Bob Ross. Yes, at 12 I was watching lots of Bob Ross. No judgment!! BR was an utter gift to this world and his soft quiet encouraging voice was exactly what I needed to be watching at that age. I still tear up when I hear that “happy painting, and god bless” at the end of an episode because of how much helped me when I really needed it.

Art effects me emotionally, as you can tell.


The most art I’m exposed to on a regular basis is my online friends’ (usually digital) pieces, along with other random people I follow for their art. Most of this is fanart, but any time I see originals I am enthralled by how creative an artist can be.

(some recent inspiration for you)

EDAROW

PERDITIONXROAD

O10FU

JENSUISDRAWS

1MK

JORGE JIMENEZ FOR DC – Nightwing #37

(this piece has been my phone background for probably two months and i’m still deathly obsessed with it)


Art combines abilities I don’t have with creativity I like to think I have. Creativity is hard for me to explain (and I’ve tried before). Creativity makes me happy. Creation makes me happy, but it is not who I am. I wish it was.

When I say, “I write” I don’t mean that I am a writer. I wish I was. Not for the connotation, the label or the recognition, but for the idea that I could possibly belong to a community. I pass from hobby to hobby and circle back because I like psychology. What makes people tick is everything to me. Compassion, capitalism, and conversation is swirled in every community regardless of if that community is based in creation or common interest.

 

Film, TV, Music, Traditional Art, Digital Art & Graphic Design, Physical Creations, Fiber Arts.

reusable, handmade, functional, homemade, natural, 100% organic.

 

I will say, after gaining over a year’s worth of continuous experience, I’m just starting to become comfortable with the idea that I might be a seamstress. I’ve been sewing daily for over a year, nearly a year and a half.

I am creating things, sure.  But there’s something there that makes me struggle to realize that there’s any creative connotation to what I do. And I think that’s okay, it’s creative enough for their to be pride in my creation in the end. Does mixing textiles and formats and projects change enough to make me a creative? I highly doubt that this is the truth.

I am arranging things, materials, to create a final product. Every error sticks out to me, every detail that I would have done differently. I guess my art is a one shot kind of art, one chance, one opportunity, so you have to live with the outcome. It seems rough, but it makes it all that much sweeter when it comes out perfectly. No matter how much I wish I had unlimited materials, time, money, everything so I could just do what I love.

Hobbies are still airborne for me. I read. I write. I soap. I sew.

I wish I did more creative endeavours, but there’s this little brain worm hanging out that says it would be a waste of time. That I could never be talented enough to succeed at any of them. Too much of my self worth hangs in what I do for others, and I know that. Like some odd circular pattern relating to my need for validation, and my need to be seen as worthy by society. Oddly enough, I have labels for why I feel this way, and yet it doesn’t change how I feel.

Impostor’s Syndrome.

Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.
Despite external evidence of their competence, those exhibiting the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be. “

We can battle all day over success, how success is in the eye of the beholder. But I think that’s why success makes me anxious, and I’d rather think that I’m an impostor than successful in any way. Someone thinking that I’m successful in a creative field just makes it worse, gives me terrified expectations for what I should be.

Sometimes I wish I could just exit stage left on creativity. Creativity can be rewarding, but it’s also terrifying. An expectation that I don’t want on my shoulders. And lord knows that expectations are the last thing I want.

Being surrounded by art makes me feel fulfilled, happy, and connected, and yet, there is nothing more demoralizing knowing that I will never be able to create something as gorgeous. And it’s always ‘as’ this and ‘than’ that. For all of us who are still clinging to their conversational Spanish for their love of the language, some sort of self validation in that, and are desperately using duolingo to maintain it, that is what we call a comparison of inequality!

Spanish Dict

Let’s just say, regardless of the language, this train of thought is pretty negative for those who are on the “less than” end of that spectrum, whether it’s self imposed or not. I need to think more in comparisons of equality, to be honest. Bring on the tan and tanta, please! I’m ready!

And, related, I’m working on digging myself out of a pretty deep depressive hole at the moment. This is pure depression, by the way. Internal, angry yet dissociative, depression. I haven’t figured out how to deal with this in a healthy way because this is really one of the only times I’ve felt this way. My best friend described this as “climbing the hill”, but I don’t think that’s accurate for me. It’s more like climbing to a plateau, or digging out of a hole. I think that’s those expectations again. I don’t have any expectations for me mentally, because that makes the fall worse. I want to be at a 5 on the mental balance scale. Right in the middle, not at zero horrible and not at ten perfect. Average. I think that’s what I deserve, as a human just trying to be a functional being.  Speaking of scales, I really relate to the quote, “If I’m not between a 3 and a 7 on the emotional scale, I’m crying,” except I’m more like 4 and 6. If I’m feeling something, I’m crying. Which is a great indicator, because when I’m actually depressed, I don’t cry!

So yeah, putting expectations on creativity and the creative themself is fucked up and I hate it. It makes me feel utterly terrible. Give me a baseline and I’ll meet it. I can do that. But if you expect me to reach 110% like an Olympian, you may want to move on. I am way past unrealistic, motivational public school posters. Even aiming for 110% is an unachievable goal, and will only cause harm.

At the same time as they were preaching “give it your all and then more!!” they were at the same time preaching “make SMART goals, things that you can do in small obtainable steps”. Seems a little counter intuitive to me… But isn’t the entire school system that way?


Anyways, I just wanted to release so feelings, some food for thought into the universe, no matter how negative they may seem. I genuinely have no idea how much of it made sense. That’s okay 🙂 Today’s love is this mashup, I listened to it the entire time and it helped me from getting too crazy pants over the subject matter. I wish you all the happiness in your journey. Love and Light.

Body Hair, Preconceived Notions & Femininity

This post came about because of a blog post written for Glamour magazine (there is explicit discussions about sexuality in this article and how it’s intertwined with body hair, so it’s definitely nsfw, but a GREAT read if you’re comfortable with that). This post was also written because of the subsequent discussion from it after it was posted in one of my cloth pad and RUMPs Facebook groups. I found it super interesting and almost enlightening how open and honest people with vulvae can be about something purely personal to them. So cool! But that’s probably just my thing, I love learning about things regarding the female reproductive system (stemming from a life of struggle with my own 😂)! But anyways, here we go, get ready for a (not so wild) ride on my opinions, my experiences, and an overview on the interactions between body hair and femininity!
originalblueI recently told my best friend of eight years that I have never shaved my legs. We grew up together, having met in sixth grade, and she had never noticed my leg hair until we moved in together and she was laying on them looking for it. She was surprised, to a degree I was not expecting, and even said she was jealous. I was blessed in this life with super thin barely there body hair so I got really lucky in terms of modern societal expectations, but I also believe that someone who has quadruple the density of body hair compared to me should have the same ability to not shave and still not be ridiculed for that choice.

I have such sensitive skin, I have never been able to find a deodorant that my underarm skin doesn’t react to to some degree. Not like, “just a light itch”, more like blistering burning incredibly painful rash that I would scratch at in my sleep. Even before I wore deodorant, I would get heat rashes under my arms and in the creases of my elbows and knees. That’s not something I ever ever want to mess with.

I have a super low pain tolerance (waxing any part of my body was and will never be an option), and my personal hatred for shaving is ever present so there aren’t really many options. Not to mention, I really don’t want to! I never even got a shaving or period talk from my parents, not even just the facts, so I’m kinda messed up in terms of societal expectations. I just… don’t care!

My mother and I have a close friend that insists that women HAVE to shave their armpits and pubic hair for “cleanliness”, that there is something that makes women different from men that forces them to NEED to do it. But that comes off to me like a disposable pad or tampon or douche commercial from the 80s. Like, “feeling not so fresh?”. Sure…

(p.s. about that ad, no modern doctor would ever “recommend” putting vinegar in your vagina, oh my god. how to majorly throw off the pH of your body 101. We have learned more about the human body since 1981, believe it or not.)

We know the scientific purpose and benefits of body hair, but we also have the ability to effectively and safely remove it. It is a personal choice that adults should be able to make. As long as said body hair isn’t causing harm to you or impacting your person, I’m fine. Judge me all you want, only I can control how “clean” I am. Like, that “shaving = cleanliness because women are different biologically” is a pretty staunch post-WWII era belief, when most women were forced back out of the workforce and into more traditionally feminine jobs and housewifery. During the war and before, shaving was not 75% of what it is now. Just like the rise in disposable feminine products, imagine how much the body hair removal industry makes off of feminine insecurity created by societal expectations and preconceived notions.

It’s okay to shave for a partner as long as they aren’t making you do it (which is unhealthy in general) or making you feel bad about your body because of your body hair. If you are in that situation, here are some things to remember:

Your body hair is there for a reason, your body wouldn’t grow it if it was inherently gross or unclean. Maintain good overall hygiene and there’s nothing to worry about. Body hair will always be a trendy topic, and there’s nothing wrong with experimenting or never even touching it. As an adult human, be conscious of your own self worth and your ability to make decisions for yourself regardless of others. Know that your body is the one thing you will always have, and will always be in. It’s your body, and yours alone. Own it, take care of it, and be your best version of yourself for you.

My Seasonal Depression & Contradictions in Mental Illness

I am an anxious person. I was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder and OCPD at nine years old. This means that my mind is constantly running at 110, even if it looks like it isn’t.

However, every so often, my mind will go blank, the fatigue will set in, and I have to remind myself that I need to do things like eat, drink water, and shower.

Yes, I’m talking about seasonal depression. Not the cutesy tumblr winter blues (don’t come for me, I love tumblr, but it all can have incredibly skewed views on mental illness), the true Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD, as it’s appropriately named). Except, I have never felt flat out sad because of SAD, so it’s a bit of a contradiction.

826d9e80bc1f500ea7e9dd22526d87d9
2quirky4me, sigh.

In fact, the whole idea of seasonal depression didn’t quite mesh with me when I was first informed of the idea of it. I had experienced strong reactionary depression before to certain traumas, but nothing like this.

It came out of nowhere. I’m the type of person who felt very comfortable labeling myself as a sufferer of severe anxiety, (or someone who was challenged with severe anxiety, as my friend’s therapist insists upon phrasing it).

But anxiety in itself was a contradiction to depression, in my mind. How could I actually have anxiety severe enough to consider it a disorder if I became depressed to the point of not caring enough to recognize my ongoing anxiety? It swirled around in my head like a whirlpool, at a time when I really shouldn’t have been analyzing my mental health issues.

I’ve been able to realize why it affects me the way it does a bit more clearly, now that I’ve had the time to analyze it while not being afflicted with it over the years.

I live in a place where we have very defined seasons, mostly when considering Winter and Summer. Often, Autumn and Spring are super short, barely lasting a month. My SAD affects me most often Summer going into Autumn, as the temperatures turn cold. When I was in school, it affected me more when the Winter transitioned into Spring. And last Summer I had it happen when we were turning the AC on and off “every other day”. That made me realize a little more of how it was a mental reaction to a physical situation, and it started to make more sense.

So, during these very short transitional periods in the weather, I get extremely fatigued and mentally just weak. Occasionally, on really bad days, I get lovely “behind the eyes” migraines when I literally just have to chug water and Tylenol and sleep. In general, I cannot concentrate, and I often spend time just phased out during the day. The thing about that it is normally when I daydream or don’t concentrate on what’s happening around me, it’s my anxiety making itself known to me. My mind running 110, as I like to describe it.

With SAD, there’s nothing.

I feel the need to do… nothing.

I wait it out, and use the periods when it isn’t hitting me as hard to do as much as I can.

But motivation is so hard to find when there isn’t anything there. When nothing feels like it matters or will ever matter again.

And believe me, seasonal depression is no joke when you realize you’re feeling it. Because it just makes you angry that you can’t snap out of it. And in my case, it kicks in my anxiety.

“Why aren’t you strong enough?”

“You have so much you could be doing!”

“You have to do that now! Everyone is relying on you, you have to succeed!”

“Just do it, there’s nothing stopping you.”

But my anxiety is wrong. My Seasonal Affective Disorder is stopping me, berating me, making everything harder for me. And there’s no shame in it. I shouldn’t have to ignore it, to fight it, for it to be valid. It’s a part of me like my dry skin or my bad posture (since I quit choir years ago). Just because they aren’t positive things doesn’t make them the end of my world, or the world.

The thing about mental health issues is that they don’t care if they don’t make sense to you.

You can live your entire life mentally ill not understanding why you have it, or how or why it affects you the way it does.

And it’s scary. When they inflame, it feels like there’s nothing left to hang onto. To tether you.

But in the end, it passes. It changes, it metamorphosizes, it varies. Everyday.

Despair isn’t the only answer. It’s never the only answer. Because we are strong. We build ourselves up everyday, we face ourselves everyday. Even on days when we don’t want to move, to get out of bed, we think of how it would be if we were better. And that reinforces us. It gives us hope. And that’s all we need to face the struggle as it ebbs and flows.iinrxqx

~//~

This is my experience with SAD, of course, and there are tons of people who experience it a lot more severely than I do (even though I sort of downplayed it for the narrative’s sake here). I just thought it may be interesting to share it because I have a different experience with it because I have severe anxiety. They work in tandem and against each other in different ways for me than most.


Today’s Music Pick:

Hostage – Danrell X Småland

I love this type of song. Over the past few months, I’ve been going back to it over and over. The first 10 – 15 seconds has such a strong hook, and then it transitions into this softer easy listening type of vibe. It builds up to a strong chorus, and it’s mixed electronica with  pure vocals pulls me in like I’ve never really experienced before. So unique! As I’m listening to it, it sways past me with it’s easy listening vibe and then it’s over and I don’t know where the time went. All of the pieces fit together so well, almost too well, with how it just flows despite the contrasting styles. [ My Music Playlist ]

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How I Told My Family & Friends I Started A Business Without Being Terrible

The following passage is what I posted on my personal Facebook to finally tell them that I had started my own business without sounding like I wanted to sell them anything. I also didn’t want to be so vague as to give them no details, but I just don’t want them buying from or gossiping about my business. It is what it is, of course, but I respect my close friends and family too much to impose any feelings of guilt on them. However, in the same vein, I’m not good at keeping my own secrets, and I hate not sharing the things that make me happy with the people I love. So, this was the compromise I came up with to share my enthusiasm and optimism about the whole situation, while not emotionally manipulating anyone.

” Okay, this is a positive post, on a positive topic, but I’ve been trying to find a way to post this on Facebook to share with all of you without being annoying and doing that, “I’m doing something, but I don’t want to share any details and drag people along because I’m looking for attention”. 😬 Basically, I may be good at keeping other people’s secrets, but definitely not my own anymore, so y’all are getting this post. Enjoy!

Many of my closest family members know this (mostly because Mom has shared it with them, which is totally fine), but over this past month I’ve started up my own (super) small business sewing custom items! I don’t really want to go into a ton more detail than that, but I do work with a lot of quilter’s cotton, so if you see a pretty one be sure to send it my way  Anyways, I’ve had a ton of fun with it, and I’ve actually made money (surprise, surprise). I currently have three custom orders open now worth over $100, and the photo below is some of my orders over the past month ready to go out to customers.

I never thought I would be a “business owner”, and I’ve never been the type to enjoy capitalistic marketing, but it was just a natural progression. Most of the things I enjoy making have super bright, positive, honest, and active communities.

It’s all fun to me, sewing is fun, buying fabric is fun, communicating in the online space is fun, promoting my products through photography is fun! I took to sewing very quickly, and the fabric buying process even quicker!  It has fit me well, and it makes me happy to have a purpose day to day without pushing my boundaries (too much). I think making a little money to put in my savings account is just a bonus. Especially at 19, I don’t have any major regrets in my life, and I think that this little business that I’ve built is a turning point for me and my mental health, among other things. Feeling like a productive member of society does that to you, I guess!

And thank you to Amy and Mom in particular for being incredibly supportive over this past month, and dealing with my whining. It’s well appreciated by me, believe me. And thank you for reading this beast of a post, if you did. It means a lot for the people I care about to support me, and now that I think I’ve mostly whittled down my Facebook to people I care about, it makes me happy to be able to share things like this. Have a lovely week, y’all.  “

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Nail Routines, Top Coats, and Anxiety

I'm so excited, these are day six #nails, the majority of polishes I've used before have chipped within three! This is #OPI Bubble Bath, with #SecheVite on top. I just can't deal with how good this looks, especially after six days. This is my first experience with Seche Vite, and I'm just so pleased. It makes the texture of the polish feel so nice on my nails, and that's a super big deal for me (because if my polish is bubbly or lumpy or anything, I'll remove it by any means necessary right then and there.) #OPIBubbleBath is a good peachy nude with a baby tone that you would get with a baby pink. It's quite sheer, I believe this is four coats, and it barely covers my nail line. However, it isn't suffocating on the nail and is so comfy just to get used to wearing nail polish. I feel like it's a nice reliable nude that doesn't make you look dead. I think I'm the last person in the world to try Seche, but if you haven't, go for it, and give it a try if the texture of your polish is important to you. Bubble Bath definitely requires a certain skin tone, but if you see it in store and you think it will work for you, the quality is definitely there!

A post shared by Pixie ✨ (@pixielovesitall) on

Published on Instagram on September 29th, 2015.

I have a long history with nail polish. I’ve been surrounded with it since I was born, from my older sister to my mom to my grandma. However, the processes that have existed around me regarding it haven’t been the best.

My older sister (~a decade older) always helped my paint my nails when I was younger. She would occasionally paint her own, I remember her using a navy shade during one winter. However, I have no idea what her current nail routines are. No idea. I don’t even think she has any interest in nail varnishes AT ALL. In the past almost ten years, I don’t think I’ve ever noticed her wearing polish in almost any situation that I’ve seen her (a rarity in itself).

My grandma wore nail polish for her entire life. Her choice was always shear ivory or shear light pinky shades. I was always impressed with her nail shaping, and how consistently long her nails were. Her nail polish routine was impeccable, and she did it every Sunday morning after church. It’s really inspiring, but I don’t know how she had accumulated 15 bottles of nearly the exact same shade of polish. I guess that happens when you are nearly 80 years old. Fun fun fun, looking forward to that.

My mom wears dark brown nail polish. That is literally all she wears now, and has ever worn in my memory. Not to shade her, but she doesn’t have the best nail care habits in the world. Cut them down when they get too long, apply another coat of brown when they start chipping, and she moves on with her life!

I’m extremely lazy, so you’d probably think Mom’s method would appeal to me! But it’s just another case of, “I don’t want my nails to be the exact same colour all the time”. So I have to go through the removal and painting from scratch every time. Which is completely normal! So many people do this all of the time. But it is quite annoying for a lazy girl like me.

However, I have severe anxiety. This usually manifests itself in my hands. From my nails, to texture isues, to rubbing my finger tips. Now, I don’t bite my nails, but I have had issues with biting and picking the skin around my nail beds. Gross, I know. I try so hard not to, but sometimes it is a reflex until I notice and stop myself.

The rubbing my hands is what I’m going to be addressing today. As I posted on Instagram a hot minute ago, I struggle with texture issues. I tend to use my nails as a worry stone if I don’t have one with me (which is almost always, unless I pay specific attention to make sure I have it with me). And it really is convenient. But some issues arise because of this.

If my nails don’t dry fairly quickly, I will smudge them. And then they won’t effectively function as a worry stone and I’ll fixate on a certain area and… it’s just bad news bears all around.

Enter: the Quick Dry Top Coat.

Believe it or not, there was a five year period when I was painting my nails, and not using any sort of base or top coat. This is slightly scary for me now to say, even though I still rarely use a base coat (unless the colour is particularly dark). I truly could not imagine painting my nails effectively without a top coat now. In fact, I painted my nails with Sinful Colors’ Sinful Shine polish in “At Sea” when I was away and forgot my Seche at home.

Big mistake.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA
Seaaaa (lol), look how gorgeous! Swatch from Shizzle-Nizzle!

It smudged terribly! Even after leaving it to dry for half an hour without touching it. Like, true finger prints on my thumbs and middle fingers. It still had a tacky top layer hours and hours later. How do people regularly paint their nails without a quick dry top coat? Please remind me. Call me a modern woman, but I don’t really want to be sitting and blowing on my nails for an hour waiting for them to dry.

So yeah, Seche Vite. After steadily testing it out for nearly a year, and finishing a whole bottle, I’m into it. It does everything I would want a topcoat to do. A clean shiny finish (which feels lovely as a worry stone), dries the top surface quickly to prevent smudging, and elongates the wear of my manicures. Everything I want, personally. It isn’t a beauty pageant, but aesthetically it helps me deal with my anxiety with still letting me paint my nails with whatever colour I could desire. And that is enough for me! ❤

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Summer Fun? | The Story of Our Pool

My family is about as far from the idea of “wealthy” as you can get. We’re not necessarily struggling now, but we haven’t ever had much excess. We’ve always rented, and we don’t have AC in our current home. As my mom has gotten older, she’s gotten more and more dependent on having a pool to cool her down on hot, humid days.

The thing is, we live in the upper Midwest. That means there are nearly as many hot days in the summer as there are cold days in the winter. (And about a month in between for spring and fall, of course.) The battle for heat regulation is a steep one around here.

Arguments arise often about heating choices in the winter, and, surprise surprise, cooling choices in the summer. However, each year that we’ve lived here, we’ve gotten by with a half dozen box fans and a small rectangular kiddie pool.

Original Small Pool
This was the type of pool that we used before, they were around a foot and a half deep. Known affectionately as the Bathtub by Mom and I, they were simply big enough to fit us both and cool us down when necessary.

Something that also comes along with living in a rickety old farmhouse in the middle of nowhere is stray cats. They come through in small packs, rotating from one house to the next ever nonchalantly. They keep the mice away, and we live in peace. However, this also means that they are in search of water to keep hydrated in the summer heat.

And so, every single one of my mom’s poor little inflatable kiddie pools had fallen victim to the sharp claws of these strays after a few weeks. The little kitties jump up on the edge of the pool, bend down, and drink, using their claws when they lose balance, of course. It didn’t take more than a few hours for the pools to deflate after that. These pools were simply water, no chemicals to be worried about, and small and cheap enough that we didn’t bother to cover them. It just wasn’t an issue we wanted to address until they were finally popped.

We have seven pools in our garage, all flat as British pancakes, from the seven years we’ve gotten them since moving here eight years ago. They’re in the garage because of good intentions. An intention of, “We’re going to spend hours patching that up to use next summer” that never comes to fruition. Basically, Mom just goes out and gets another $25 kiddie pool, and the stack continues to build.

However, by the time we hit about a four pool stack, Mom started getting wise to the situation. Thinking, “I’ve spent over $100 on all of these pools, not to mention the water from emptying it every few days because we don’t use chlorine. Why don’t we just get a better one to use for more than a year?!” Well, this was not good by J, my beloved yet commandeering stepfather. And some of his complaints were valid, sure, the pump requires electricity. Another day, another dollar. It’s chill. I get it.

And so, a three year back and forth has occurred between them on whether or not to get a larger above ground pool. And in that span we’ve added another three to the stack, another nearly $90 down the drain. And the back and forth nagging and contemplation and frustration about the whole situation.

Until my stepdad decided to just go out and get a pool. A real pool for us. He used the excuse of Mom’s birthday, and spent the afternoon putting it up. That’s definitely telling of the balance we’ve got going on here, but it’s fine. It all worked out.

And let me say, the setting up was a whole ‘nother experience in itself. From the leveling process (see sand under pool), the fight over using chemicals or not, the fight over using the filter or not, blah blah blah. Mom and I didn’t even get to get in it until the day after, so I think it made the experience seem every more drawn out. It was just a long day in general.

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Our pool! Very closely framed because J was dancing behind it with the skimmer.

…I hate to admit it, but I think it was worth it. The pool isn’t fancy, it definitely wasn’t expensive, but in my mind it symbolizes something more. An ability to compromise, to grow past one’s predetermined volition for someone else’s comfort. An ability that I wasn’t sure my family even had. And no, I’m not just blowing smoke out of my ass, I mean it.

By the way, the cats haven’t touched the thing so far. I think it’s a combination of having it covered with a debris cover when we’re not in it and my homemade cat repellent. It’s really done the trick. They know that they can’t get any water out anyways because of the cover, and the smell reinforces that it isn’t a safe watering hole. I simply spray some vinegar on the sides, as the acid is mild enough that the vinyl on our pool isn’t damaged by it. Then I spray a little lemon and lime juice on the ground around the base of the pool. Cats absolutely abhor both citrus and white vinegar. It’s worked so far, I reapplied once after it rained and it worked like a charm.

So *knock on wood* we’re hoping that the pool will last at least through the summer, and possibly onto next summer. Woo!

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Current Music Pick // Oats in the Water by Ben Howard

This song was featured on season 4 of The Walking Dead, and that’s of course how I discovered it. It’s the most well known of Hershel’s themes and I really love it so much. Hershel is a great character with amazing growth, strength, and… he evolves into one of the best people on the show from one of the most unliked characters ever. The tragedy of his own and the overall Greene family arc is simply beautiful. And sad. So very sad…

The song itself is unique. It has a bit of an indie trill to the vocals that can be a bit distracting or add to the listening experience depending on when you listen to it. It has some smoothing warmth to it, and is somehow occasionally gritty? The tone is an uneasy building up to an impassioned version of the chorus that is just gorgeous. The guitar solo is impressive yet not overdone, and definitely throws back to some of the strong 80s rock that I grew up with. I tweeted about it when I found it, but man I only like it more now. It’s been on repeat for days.

My Music Playlist