I’m struggling a lot today with compassion.  I am learning how to love myself, and how to acknowledge my struggles and difficulties without beating myself up about them, or descending into an endless spiral of self-pity.  When I’m having a rough stretch (see, e.g., last night’s trip to the emergency room with D1), I find that it becomes virtually impossible for me to feel compassion for certain people in my life.

This rattles me terribly.  I have always been a compassionate, empathetic person.  The fact that I have always been overly willing to put others first is why I am such a goddamned co-dependent.  I’ve been working on it, and I’ve been doing better.  Part of putting myself some of the time involves putting myself ahead of others.  That’s fine and great; I’ve made peace with that.  But there has been this occasional side effect of a complete absence of compassion for certain people in certain situations.  And that’s…well…it’s just not me.

Sometimes I simply cannot listen to one more complaint, because DAMN IT ALL TO HELL, THINGS ARE TOUGH FOR ME RIGHT NOW AND I DON’T HAVE ANY MORE EMOTIONAL ENERGY LEFT OVER FOR YOU.  And then, I read this.  A reminder of the horrible struggles faced by people I care about.  Just as they can’t truly know what I go through on a day-to-day basis, I cannot know their pain.  But I CAN understand that we all live our lives with our own special brand of pain.  Your pain isn’t any more or less legitimate than mine.  People I care about suffer their own pain; very real pain that tortures them in ways I can’t possibly know.  Some days I have the energy to share in others’ pain.  Some days I simply don’t.

Just acknowledging the existence and legitimacy of that pain is enough.  After all, isn’t that what we all want as fully-formed individual human beings: acknowledgment?  I’m working on always keeping that in the back of my mind.  We are all individuals, with the right to make our own decisions (and to handle the consequences of those decisions).  I will accept that these people I care about are following their own paths, and that it is not my job, duty or even my right to try and steer them in the direction that I think is correct.  I will focus on myself, and my own emotional health, because that is all that is within my control.

My husband is one of those men who was born about 100 years too late.  He is old-fashioned in ways that are almost always charming.  He loathes computers, does not have an email account, and had never text messaged anyone until we started seeing each other a few years ago.

It is absolutely batshit crazy how much I love this man.  Oh hell no, we are not perfect.  We argue and clash and miscommunicate.  We are simultaneously infuratingly similar, and shockingly different.  We have known each other for a very long time, but we were out of each others’ orbits for many years.  We face a lot of…logistical challenges these days.  Those challenges can be heartbreaking on bad days.  But this man…my soul is right with him.  And if every day for the rest of my life is a heartbreaking, challenging day, it is still worth every second to share this life with him and these beautiful children.

And last but not least, my blog link of the day; it’s another blog of the humorous variety.  Meaning, I am prone to combing the archives on supremely sucky days.  And after uploading holiday photos to my Facebook page today, one of which prominently features the big butt of Big Dog, I was reminded of my love for PhotoBomb.

I am totally overweight.

As of this morning, I weigh in at 211 pounds.  Now, this is a teeny bit deceiving, because I am quite tall; 5′ 10″ to be exact.  But according to this handy BMI calculator, my BMI is 30.3, which puts me just over the edge into the obese category.  Ugh.  Obese.

My mother has been obese for as long as I can remember.  She was a petite teenager and young adult.  After her first pregnancy (with me), she lost some of the weight, but stayed chubby.  After her second pregnancy (five years later, with my brother), she never lost the weight.  Her father died not long after my brother was born, and years later, my own father (with whom I have a complicated relationship, but don’t we all?) shared with me that my mom was never the same after her dad died.

My mom was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes when I was in middle school.  She never really did anything to control her diabetes, and she continued to gain weight.  14 years ago her doctor put her on insulin.  She considered that a “relief,” because it meant she now had a pharmaceutical way to control her blood sugar and could continue to drink Coke and eat crap.  12 years ago she stopped working, and since then has had a series of health issues that have caused her weight to balloon to what I believe is well in excess of 500 pounds.  She is virtually bedridden.

My own weight issues are inextricably tied up with my mom, and my feelings about her own weight and health.  I have never been morbidly obese, and my heaviest (non-pregnancy) weight was about 4-5 years ago, when I was creeping up on 250.  I’ve been in the low 200s for several years now.  Frankly, I’m surprised I haven’t gained weight since S was born last year.  I’m eating like crap.  I’m not respecting my body, and I’m not making choices that will maximize my potential for a long, happy, healthy life with my family.

I struggle tremendously with exercise.  We cannot afford a gym membership, or a treadmill.  Because my husband works out of state, it is not possible in the winter for me to exercise outside (there is no one to stay with the children, and I am already gone 11-12 hours a day because of work).  Part of me screams to check out some exercise DVDs from the library, and then I get discouraged because there is no place in our teeny tiny house for me to actually do them.  Our living room is far too small.  I get angry with myself because I know these are just excuses, but I feel stuck.  I know I need to exercise, but my mental block seems insurmountable.

I know I am capable of eating better.  I’ve done it in the past.  I’ve had success with Weight Watchers, and with various “watch what you eat” programs endorsed by Oprah/her chef/her trainer over the years.  I’m an intelligent person who certainly KNOWS that Cherry Coke and Twix do not make an even remotely acceptable breakfast.

One of the many reasons I’m here is to give voice to these as-yet unspoken things inside me that seem to stymie my personal growth.  I know I can do better.  I know I deserve better.  And I certainly know my husband and kids deserve better.  So why aren’t I actually doing better?

Anyway, on to lighter things.  Here’s another of my favorite blogs, and it’s one I turn to when I need a laugh.  My pets have ruined plenty of things; it’s great to know I’m not alone.

Jesus H. Christ, yesterday was day 3(!) of my blogging adventure and I ALREADY forgot to link to a favorite blog as promised in my very first blog post ever.  So without further ado, ladies and gentlemen here is Laurie, aka Crazy Aunt Purl.  I taught myself how to knit two years ago, and still fall squarely on the novice end of the spectrum.  But I stumbled across her blog while looking for a pattern for a simple hat, and her blog is so much more than knitting.  So…check her out.

Now that we’ve dispensed with business, let me share more with you about our household.  Not only do we include me, my husband, and the three kidlets, we have two dogs who are most certainly a part of the family.  My husband and I each brought a dog into our relationship when we reconnected a few years ago (THAT’S a story for another entry).  His dog is Mucho Grande, and mine is teeny (but NOT a purse dog, I would like to vehemently and stridently clarify).  Of course, there are both now “our” dogs.

Big Dog weighs over 80 pounds, and Little Dog weighs about 8.  They are different breeds (duh), but they have the same coloring and markings, which makes for some amusing photo ops (Big Dog and Little Dog, standing next to each other, heads cocked in the exact same way, for example).

While I bought Little Dog from a friend and former co-worker who very occasionally breeds her dogs, my husband adopted Big Dog from a rescue organization.  And oh, Big Dog’s story is filled with woe.  We can’t be sure how old he is; at this point, somewhere between 5 and 9 is our best guess (Little Dog is 5).  His prior owner was a woman a few states away, and one day her boyfriend decided he didn’t like Big Dog.  So he beat him.  Nearly to death.  With a baseball bat.

Before my husband adopted Big Dog, the rescue group handled all the vet care and follow-up, including skull x-rays and a doggie brain scan to determine if he suffered any brain damage (if you look at him closely, you can still see that his head is somewhat misshapen from where his skull was fractured).  Mercifully, Big Dog recovered fully from his injuries.

Big Dog and my husband lived together, two badass bachelors, for about a year before I came (back) into the picture.  Soon after my husband and I got back in touch, I went to visit him without Little Dog.  I still remember Big Dog running in the back yard of my husband’s house.  Quite understandably, Big Dog is very, very wary of strangers (less so of strange women, but still wary).  My husband introduced me to Big Dog in the back yard, so Big Dog would have lots of space to run, and not feel cornered.  Big Dog ran and frolicked, and appeared nervous but not ridiculously scared.  After a few minutes, he walked up to me, sort of half-licked my hand, and then ran away.  From that point on, Big Dog and I have been great friends.

Next up was introducing Big Dog to Little Dog.  We were both nervous: after all, Big Dog is so…big, and Little Dog is very little (but sassy, I tell you!).  We needn’t have worried.  Big Dog and Little Dog got along like gangbusters from the get go.  Big Dog is a neutered male, and Little Dog is a spayed female.  Nevertheless, during that first weekend together, Little Dog got all up on Big Dog and humped away.  It was one of those rare moments when something incredibly hilarious happens, and BOTH of us were actually there to see it happen.  We took video of it on my camera (which we still have, and watch, and laugh at).  All in all, dog introduction was a huge success.

Our last hurdle was introducing Big Dog to my daughters, D1 and D2.  D1 and D2 both LOVE dogs, but at that point were very limited in terms of large dog experience.  And then there was the whole issue of Big Dog’s abuse history, and our uncertainty over how he would react to kids (particularly boisterous D2).  We never once worried that Big Dog would be aggressive toward the kids.  We were more concerned that the kids would stress him out in some way.

Once again, our concerns were unfounded.  Big Dog took to the girls immediately.  They lay on him and snuggle with him and play with him and give him treats and take unrestrained pleasure in telling him to sit (Little Dog, I’m afraid, does not sit on command).  When they come home from school, their first greeting is always for Big Dog (not for the babysitter, or for their new baby brother, or for their lame old mom if I’m fortunate to have the day off).

I can’t imagine life without the dogs.  Even if I do have to give Big Dog fancy spa foot baths (read: wash his paws in a pitcher of water) on muddy days after he’s been outside.

Much to my surprise, the universe has rendered me responsible for the caretaking of not one, not two, but three kidlets.  My oldest two, D1 and D2, are from my former marriage.  The baby (who is still actually a baby), S, is from my current marriage.

D1 is at the tail end of her elementary school career.  And oh my hell, these are the days of our fifth grade lives.  She is like me: bookish, sensitive, very “traditionally” smart (meaning she is exceedingly fortunate enough to learn very well in a traditional public school environment).  She has a highly developed sense of empathy, and I struggle at times with worry that she will repeat my own mistakes of always, ALWAYS putting others before herself.  She thinks so much about how things make her and others feel, that she sometimes renders herself unable to actually talk about her feelings.  I think her empathy is a wonderful gift, and I hope that as she grows she will learn how to manage her empathy without it getting in the way of doing what’s best for herself.

D2 is midway through elementary school.  And let me tell you…oh, that two children born to the same parents could be so shockingly, obviously, amazingly different.  D2 will not hesitate to tell you to fuck off (not in those words, much to my relief, but you get the idea) if you are pissing her off, looking at her askance, or breathing in a way that bothers her.  I have to admit, I LOVE this about her.  She is so different from me.  I imagine some of this difference between D1 and D2 is attributable to birth order, some is attributable to goings-on in our house when D2 was a toddler.  And some of it is, I’m sure, plain old genetics.  I’m glad D2 knows how to identify her own wants and needs.  I hope that as SHE grows she will learn how to consistently express those wants and needs in ways that are respectful of other people.

And then there’s S.  I swear to God, the sun shines directly out of this kid’s butthole.  In retrospect, D1 was in the middle of the “baby maintenance” spectrum.  She was neither exceedingly difficult, or tremendously easy.  D2, on the other hand, had colic for a year.  That’s right.  A whole fucking year.  I look back at baby pictures of her and her poor distended belly, and I think to myself “self, no wonder she was so miserable.”  But goddamn, at the time, it was excruciating.  I would lay in bed at night, close my eyes and pray a fervent prayer that she would go to sleep.  I would count; if I made it to 100, I could usually expect a few hours of sleep.  And when the cries would start at 23, or 48, or 71…oh, the despair.

But this boy.  He is the single happiest baby I have ever encountered in my whole entire life.  He sleeps every night from 8 pm until 6 am the next morning.  He smiles.  He plays.  He laughs.  He babbles.  When he cries, it is for ten seconds, max.

There are things in my life that I sometimes allow to bring me down.  Man, I know how to throw one hell of a pity party.  I was emailing with a friend the other day about those frustrations, and we both lamented karma and the way it is TOTALLY not doing its job right now.  But the more I thought about it, the more I thought, my kidlets are indeed my karmic reward.  Three kids, on three different ends of the kidlet spectrum, all wonderful, and all bringing so much joy to my life.  Believe me, there are days when I am ready to send them all packing with the first person who knocks on the door.  But I’m trying so hard to focus my energy on all the gloriousness the world has given me.  And these three little ones…they are at the top of the list.

So I feel like I should write a little about the fact that I am not yet identifying myself, my career or my city, or sharing my family members’ names.  Part of me does feel like it’s a total cop-out, and I am somehow taking less ownership of my thoughts and feelings and writings by staying anonymous.

Part of what has brought me here is my aforementioned newfound commitment to being honest with myself and expressing myself, and working through the issues that I have allowed to dictate the life that I live.

And oh my hell, do I have issues.  Control issues, mostly.  My time with Al Anon has helped me to at least identify my need to control, and I am learning tools that are helping me relinquish my constant need to control every single goddamn thing around me.  It’s a journey and a process: a long one.  One that is filled with two steps forward, one step back.  I’m sure that as I make progress and become more comfortable dumping me thoughts and feelings into the void, I will reveal more about myself.

And now for the part where I share another of my favorite blogs.  Considering she has won “blog of the year,” or something along those lines, it’s a blog that I’m sure 99.9999999% of the blogosphere has read.  Nevertheless, I love what she writes, I love her photos and recipes, and most of all, I love that she is an unabashed optimist.  Ladies and gentlemen, The Pioneer Woman.

There are so many reasons behind the creation of this blog. Really, it’s an online journal in a vast ocean of far wittier, more interesting, more relevant blogs. For me this will be a place to write about my victories, my frustrations, my projects. If what I write makes it in front of someone who finds it helpful or insightful, then great. If what I write sits here in the great void of the interwebs, then that’s great too.

I know (both personally and internetally) people who maintain multiple blogs, generally divided up by subject matter. Hahahahahaha! Oh, that I had the time/skill/inclination to be so structured. No, I expect to post about anything and everything, from my quest to live a healthier lifestyle, to my job, to my family, to the music on my iPod.

I am going to try and do one thing in every blog post, however, and that’s make mention of a blog that I enjoy (and add said blog to the Links section). I have found my way to many, many wonderful blogs via the Links sections on other blogs, and hope to pass on my favorites should any living, breathing soul stumble upon this place.

So, first things first. About me. I am in my mid-30s, and live and work in the greater metropolitan Big City, USA area. I have what I refer to as a Very Demanding Professional Career, and an insanely long commute. The result is that I am often away from the house for 11-12 hours a day, sometimes longer. I am married, and my husband is often gone for weeks or months at a time for his job. So yeah, I am, functionally speaking, a single mom most of the time. I have two daughters who are school aged (D1 and D2), and a baby son (S). Truth be told, I’m chubby and nerdy, and I have a tendency to isolate myself (especially when the demands at home and work are so high). This blog is part of my commitment to myself, to stay in touch what who I am, what’s going on in the world and in my life, and how I live in the world.

Being the obnoxious perfectionist that I am, I noodled on the blog name for an irrationally long period of time. I chose Everything Indeed, because I am accused of using the word “indeed” to an annoying extent. As with these kinds of things, literally the millisecond after I entered the blog name, I regretted it. You see, my main inspiration for being here is my all-time favorite blog, which can be found at http://www.sundrymourning.com. That blogger, Linda, approaches her blog much in the way that I hope to approach this one. And the second I typed “Everything Indeed,” and clicked “submit,” I realized that it is a totally, completely lame copycat name. I guess Linda inspired me more than I realized. But, to my neophyte blogging self, it appears that a blog name is one of those set-in-granite forever-unchageable things in the universe. Like the tides. And Nicole Kidman’s forehead. So here I am, everything indeed.