In this post, a stream-of-consciousness list of some things that greet me on this 35th year. Plus a lot of Beyonce gifs.
Welp. I turned 35 last week, and have hidden out from reality, as one does when they turn 35. Thankfully, it wasn’t as hard or bad as I thought it might be. I’ve just been hunkering down with my man, my kids, my pets, my friends, and myself, appreciating this time for what it is and doing a proper amount of reflection on these past 35 years on Earth.
When I woke up last Wednesday and started analyzing my feelings, I realized that to me, 35 means very subtle paradigm shifts, simpler goals, and a lot of self-confidence that wasn’t there before.
Confidence in my mothering
Those first several years of mothering are a doozy. Fleeting, intense, loud, and always accompanied with an ungodly lack of sleep. It’s easy to forget oneself, to think that the rest of your life is going to be like this, this living for others, this lack of personhood. Wondering if our bodies will ever go back to looking the way they did before (probably not, and that’s okay).
Then there is the uncertainty of new motherhood, that feeling that you should always be looking it up or getting outside advice, that our instincts are unreliable. Even a few years into being a parent you find yourself encountering new situations and feeling woefully unprepared. Each time there is another school shooting or gun related emergency here in Colorado, I find myself at a loss for words, out of child-friendly explanations and googling the correct, non-frightening language that experts recommend using. In all parts of adult life, there is always a situation that will force us out of one’s depth.
But then, of course, the kids start to grow. They start coming into your bedroom less at night. Their problems become familiar, their sicknesses less terrifying, their bodies bigger and stronger. They meet developmental milestones, they get smarter, and talking about the ugliness of the world becomes easier and less scary to explain. They start to use their own critical thinking, skills you helped instill in them over their formative years, and you see the importance of laying all that groundwork.
I have become better at being a mom. I’ve become the confident, has-an-answer-for-everything, always-in-the-loop mom that I have always wanted to be. And I’ve learned that fortunately, you don’t have to be the troop leader, the classroom helper, or the PTA president to gain this experience and confidence. My parenting is never about what it looks like to outside adults, and always about what it feels like in my home and in my children’s hearts.
You need to show up. And you need to do the work. Ask your kids the right questions, keep communication constantly open and free from judgement. Keep your relationship as fluid and dynamic as your growing kids are, but also lay the stable and never-changing foundation of the family being a safe place to fall. One of my main goals as a parent is to provide a home where each of our children feels safe to be who they are, feel what they feel, and share what they choose. Our home is our shelter from a world that can feel cruel and unsafe. “Family” means the people who help you weather the storms that life brings everyone.
Basically, it gets easier, just like all the mother’s told me it would. And with that ease comes the confidence of 11+ years of mothering. Not only have I been raising my two girls without totally screwing up for 11 years now, but I’ve been a stepmom for 5. A stepmom! I never could have predicted that, and yet here I find myself modeling what a healthy, two-parent home looks like to my step-kids, every week. Showing them that their father is incredibly appreciated and loved. Showing them that they are deeply loved and entitled to be children.
Anyway, this is long and rambly, so let’s try to find a point. When I woke up at 35 I felt really good about the state of the mothership. The kids are alright. They are well-behaved and polite. They don’t lie, they don’t bully, they don’t use hurtful language or display disturbing character traits. They are high achievers, jokesters, multi talented little adults. They are the sweet children that have weathered divorce and remarriage, and are thriving in a unique blended family that looks different from their peers. They will gain insight and knowledge that other people do not have by growing up this way. They will see how dynamic the word family is, how it encompasses a wide and varied picture of fathers, mothers, step mothers, bio dads, bio moms, step dads, family friends, extended family, online friends, furry friends. They will know first-hand how important it is that families be allowed to form and thrive under all circumstances and conditions, that 1 mom 1 dad = forever isn’t the norm anymore, and people have the right to create their own families based on who they love.
Blue Ivy says, please stop worrying about corny ass shit.
Confidence in my marriage
All I can say is, when you’re finally with someone who meets every single need, you realize goddamn, this is what it was supposed to be like. My husband is my best friend, my favorite person, superman, king, confidant, protector. He is everything to me, I only wish I had found him sooner, to have more time with him. On the days that he’s gone I count the hours until he’s back. On the days he is here I am happier than any other time. We communicate all day long and he always lets me know where he is and what he’s up to. Constant reminders of love, inquires into one’s day, always helping and making my life easier. He never says an unkind thing to me, never talks over me or dismisses me. He cleans, he does laundry, he does the dishes, he raises kids, he cooks all the time, he skateboards, he can kill with his hands, and he makes me laugh, every single day. He is the literal best. No one could make me happier.
I’ve noticed a trend among the blog gossip threads that I frequent. About husband and wife teams who work 24/7 together, raising families and generating income together. Hate readers will say something like, “ugh, how can anyone spend that much time together? I love my husband and I would hate working with him every day.” And as much as I enjoy my gossip threads, that particular criticism makes me lol at the jealousy it reveals. Because I too, love my husband, and him being at home, every single fucking day, the man I chose to live my life with, raise my kids with, and end my days on earth with, is a fucking dream come true. It is the greatest privilege, the best gift I can receive from him. When it’s right, when it’s real, you don’t need or want time apart. And you certainly don’t concern yourself with what others think about the amount of time you spend together.
I’m very tired of apologizing for the fact that I’m crazy about my husband, and in my 35th year I’m over pretending like I’m too cool to be as in love as I am. Like, sorry it makes you uncomfortable, but it’s my marriage, not yours, so get over it.
It’s like we’ve evolved as a society where we see romantic relationships as the flawed and imperfect institutions that they are, and yet no one is given props for making it work. In my 35th year I recognize that my marriage is one to inspire envy, and I. Ain’t. Sorry.
Upgrading to a real skin care routine
Gone are the days of cleanser and a moisturizer. I’ve said it for the past several birthdays, but dammit, it’s time for my skin care routine to grow the hell up!
I’ve stalked r/AsianBeauty for months now, slowly trying to learn the basics of K-beauty. Learning the order, all the abbreviations. AHA and BHA and SF (yuck) and learning all the disgusting truths about skin issues. Right now to my routine I have added salicylic acid, rosewater toner, double cleansing, derma-rolling, and two facial oils- one full of CBD!
The biggest struggle with K-beauty is sticking to the routine, and the importance of consistency. There is a morning and evening routine, and they need to happen every single day. It takes so much time, but it’s something that I’m currently forcing myself to make time for. Just trying to age gracefully ya’ll.
The dread in ones stomach that says, “you haven’t done enough”
Honestly? Sometimes that reminder is welcome. I really haven’t done enough of what I want to do before I die. 35 feels like alarms going off, bells and sirens. Time. is. up. Playtime is over! What do you have to show for these years?! And I’m over here like, uh… nada. I guess I could sit around and feel depressed about what I have not accomplished, but that would cut into my slay time, so I’ll pass. Acknowledge the dread, understand that at least you have goals, a lot of adults don’t even have that. In this case dread and fear is a sign that you’re thinking about what’s important.
Surrounding myself with people I admire & having high barriers-to-entry when it comes to letting people get to know me, my husband, or my children.
This can be hard, especially for antisocial me. But admirable people exist and they aren’t going to magically become a part of my life, I need to invite them in. Fortunately there is no shortage of incredible humans out there, and I’m learning to seek out those with character, with values I share, and whose successes I admire. I’ve heard this mentality in entrepreneur shit for years, how important it is to have friends in your life that are really doing things, accomplishing way more than you, are constantly learning and working on improvement, doing things far outside your comfort level. It challenges you to become better and keeps you from stagnating in your social circle.
Toxic people? Not a part of our lives. Period. Some people are truly not worth your heartache, time, or energy, and especially not worth the heartache to your family. When people break your boundaries over and over, you are fully and completely justified in protecting yourself from them, forever. Be grateful for the good times, indeed, treasure those good times, but never keep toxicity in your life just because a low bar has previously been set. Outsiders need to earn their way in, and there ain’t no free pass into this heart of mine.
Quitting Zoloft and Wellbutrin
In November 2017, after months of lowering my medication with my doctor’s approval, and after ten + years of continued use, I quit both of the pharmaceuticals that I have been on treat my diagnosed major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. I did this by using CBD every day while I cut down my Zoloft and Wellbutrin amounts, and by sticking to a serious CBD routine through the last dose and subsequent withdrawals. It’s been over two months, with some definite rough spots, brain zaps, and depressive episodes, but I now feel over the hump and like CBD is going to work well for me long-term.
I’ve been on those pills since I first battled with postpartum depression, and it was no easy task to go off of them. Thankfully for all of 2017 I had been consistently lowering my doses and adjusting my body to less and less drugs, so when I finally took the plunge in November it was not as difficult as I was prepared for.
There was no huge reason I went off Zoloft and Wellbutrin. I actually really like the way they treated me for all of those years, but over time I realized that I was going to be addicted to these pills forever, and that by saying yes to them at the lowest point of my postpartum depression, I was signing up for decades of use without ever discussing the long-term effects. In retrospect it doesn’t seem like the best option, especially since there are things like legal cannabis and super legal CBD that are proving to be just as effective.
Doubling down on the things I like, and saying hell no to the things I don’t
I like to stay home and get high. It’s truly my favorite activity. I also like Beyoncé, and so am free to pepper my blog posts with her flawlessness. I don’t like leaving my house all the time, feeling pressure about my wardrobe or hair, spending lots of money on nights out, or rubbing shoulders in some sort of social setting. But the world can make you feel weird about doing your own thing. Like, why don’t you go out? Why don’t you do this, why don’t you do that.
Because I don’t want to, and I don’t have to.
There are a lot of things I don’t like to do. Like deal with judgmental bullshit. And guess what? No one is making me deal with dumb shit I don’t have time for.
The things that I need to do, and don’t want to do? I’ll do those. That’s called being an adult. But care about everybody else’s opinion? No, that’s not happening. And that’s also part of being an adult.
I am very happy to say that at 35 years of living I have gotten the message loud and clear that I’m here for me, my man, my kids, and no one else. This life is mine, and I’m in charge of everything that happens in it. I’m not gonna be here for unsolicited advice, for unwanted opinions, for insights I didn’t ask for from people who are not a part of it.
I’ve also gotten the message that it’s okay to say no, often and loudly. When you run your own business, when run your own life, you’re going to need to know how to say no to people. I’ve always been a pleaser, someone who says yes despite the mental, physical, or financial toll it might take on me. Having been burned by both horrible humans and well-meaning humans asking too much, I’ve learned to say no. No I won’t do that, no I won’t agree with that, and no, I’d rather not. I’m not putting you first, your company first, your drama first, just no. The answer is no.
A sidebar. You know, someone recently commented on one of my YouTube videos, “so much foul language. We like you better when you don’t curse”. And I was literally like HA HA! Girl, you really think you’re going to jump into my life, onto my shit, that I made, and allowed you to watch, and tell me things to change? Girl, bye. I’ve got one mama, and you are not her.
And so, dear diary. Those are some birthday thoughts from this stoner mom on her 35th year. Each year I become less interested in drama, in time-wasting, and game playing. I’m here for this life, I’m showing up for it every day. Not wasting the days, not waiting for something to come and change everything for me. I’m controlling this ship, no matter the waters, for myself and my family. I guess until i die, and that’s called life.