Thursday, May 31, 2012

Things I Love Thursday - Part 40

It struck me this morning as I was snug on the train with my Hunter boots on and my umbrella and my husband right next to me all dry and safe and going to my JOB that it wasn't always this way.  I keep my past close, and one thing that I keep super close is that last year before getting sober.

That last year I lived in a Chicago Public Park, on a bench.  It was my home base, if you can call it that.  By my choice. I pushed everyone away and chose to drink over anything and anyone else.  I begged for money for vodka. The gut rot, cheapest vodka.  I walked around a lot.  I walked around in a stupor as I was drunk all the time.  I drank around the clock to keep myself medicated.  I didn't want to feel or see what was happening.  I remember vividly how people looked at me.  The way moms walking with children looked at me, or tried to avoid looking at me.  The way people walking to the train to go to work looked at me.  Walked around me giving me a wide berth, as they didn't know what I was capable of.   It was a terrible, lonely, never ending existence. 

I keep that time close as I am now so desirous of a baby.  I once had no home.  I once had no self respect or self esteem or love in my life.  No stability.  No self worth.  So when I say that a baby would be icing, I mean, a baby would be icing on the cake that is my INCREDIBLE life today.  When I say life is so good, I mean it with every ounce of my being.  LIFE IS SO GOOD.  I am so grateful I didn't die.  I am so grateful to be sober.  I am so grateful that I am here to experience what is so incredible and worthwhile and what I was searching for all my life but didn't even know what it was until it found me. 

Having a home, a job, a husband who loves me, my family being proud of me and getting to be involved in their lives, but most of all - above all the external stuff - having the self worth I always craved and drank because I couldn't find it within me, THAT is the Thing I Love this Thursday.  SELF WORTH.  Elusive and fleeting.  When you find it, grab it by the balls and hang on tight.  Work for it.  Do the hard work.  It doesn't come easy when you've lost so much.  And it takes time.  It takes a long time to heal and to experience that self love and worth you never ever knew until now.  YOU are so worthy.  Make yourself worthy.  Be worthy. 

I have flashes from time to time of people looking at me as if I am not worthy.  And I don't even let it get to me for second.  I look them right back in the eye, no head down walking away quickly.  I AM HERE.  And I am worthy.  And I will look you in the eyes with pride and self worth.  What you do with that is your choice.  I choose every day to hold my head up and carry on with the grace and dignity that I have worked so hard to achieve and that was so lovingly given to me to pass along. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dangerously Close to Narcissism?

Before I get all pregnant and fat and sassy (thank you for being so patient with me about my journey, when the time is right, I will update you, but know all is well here on our end) not able to wear my cute little dresses anymore, I've been documenting myself.  It's become something that I look forward to, partly because I have narcissistic tendencies, partly because this is a period in my life I will never get back.  The period before child.  And it's really fun.  And, have I mentioned, I LOVE FASHION. And shoes.  And full length mirrors, when I feel good about myself.

So, if you have Pinterest, check out the board. 
What Are You Wearing Today?

 Here's a quick and dirty mosaic of all outfits so far:

Today's outfit:

Charlotte Russe dress, ModCloth shoes, Jean Jacket.  Or is it Jeans Jacket?

So, am I a Narcissist?  Dictionary defines as:
Excessive preoccupation with self and lack of empathy for others.
Narcissism is the personality trait that features an exaggerated sense of the person's own importance and abilities. People with this trait believe themselves to be uniquely gifted and commonly engage in fantasies of fabulous success, power, or fame. Arrogant and egotistical, narcissists are often snobs, defining themselves by their ability to associate with (or purchase the services of) the "best" people. They expect special treatment and concessions from others. Paradoxically, these individuals are generally insecure and have low self-esteem. They require considerable admiration from others and find it difficult to cope with criticism. Adversity or criticism may cause the narcissistic person to either counterattack in anger or withdraw socially. Because narcissistic individuals cannot cope with setbacks or failure, they often avoid risks and situations in which defeat is a possibility.
We all have ego.  There's a saying - "I'm an egomaniac with an inferiority complex".  I am not a narcissist.  In fact, every single trait here is opposite of who I am.  And yet, the fear I have of becoming such a person is great.  I want to always risk and be OK when I fail.  I want to always feel compassion and give people a chance.  I want to always feel among people and not above or below them.  I want to always be able to take criticism and make myself better, stronger, more.  I have no fame, power or success, and really?  That is just fine with me.

There is a difference between being nice and passive and having compassion.  I am so grateful I know this difference, have learned this difference and practice this difference.  I practice being humble.  I practice being loving and kind and patient. There is nothing passive about me.  I am honest and to the point, but also kind.  That doesn't mean I am nice.  But it doesn't mean I am a bitch either. 

That said, it's OK to like yourself.  To have fun with your physical appearance and feel better when you look better.  It's not all I am by any means, but we are in these physical vessels for our time on Earth, so we may as well have fun with it and rock some kick ass heels while we can. We are complex creatures, and owning the positive and the just plain ugly human parts of ourselves is all part of it.  Acceptance and love for ourselves and our flaws, our quirks, our intricacies, our beauty, is all part of the ride.  I for one, am enjoying the hell out of it. 

I said last night at a meeting when talking about a period in my life that was just OK, "I could have stayed that way for the rest of my life and have been fine.  But who wants fine?  I want GOOD." 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Things I Love Thursday - Part 39

It's our 3 year wedding anniversary today!

The greatest thing is to look back and not want to change anything about your wedding.  ESPECIALLY THE PERSON YOU MARRY.  Ours was quick and easy (zing!) at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas.  We had our favorite friends and family there (even my Boss and his wife flew out - He is the BEST) and we had an absolute blast.  

My Peanut Nephews were the ring bearers. Christopher had no idea I had them carrying Cubs pillows until he saw them walking down the aisle.  It was THE CUTEST THING EVER.

So, today and every day, the thing I love is my dear sweet Dumpster Husband.
  I still don't know why he married me and continues to make me laugh every damn day, but I sure am glad he did and does.  I LOVE being married to him. I LOVE LOVE.  I believe in second chances.  We are so very lucky.  We are not perfect and we yell and scream and tickle and push buttons and then we make up.  In ways that work FOR US.   We respect each other and come out of it better and stronger.  We cheer each other on.  I've always wanted somebody "on my side" and I have him.  I never had that before.  Unless I'm really wrong, and then he tells me and for that I am grateful.  If I had to pick anyone in the world to spend time with, it would be him.  We have a blast together.  We make a great team and for that, my marriage gets the coveted Things I Love Thursday.

He's the cutest.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What the Hell are You so Gotdamned Happy About?

I get one question consistently from my blog and FB page and actually, in the past few years, in real life.  It's some iteration of, "How are you so upbeat all the time?"  Or, "How are you so grateful after everything you've been through?"  Or, "What the hell are you go gotdamned happy about?"  People sometimes don't like it when you are happy.  Sometimes, though, they want what you have. 

This is surprising to me as I don't think of myself as someone who is shiny happy all the time. 

I'm not so upbeat all the time.  Things suck sometimes and that is just fine.  So what?  It sucks, I get in a bad mood, I hate everybody and myself.  I think people tend to think if they complain and say something sucks and feel sorry for themselves, that they are not living in gratitude or light, but it's not true.  I believe we have to feel and accept the darkness in order to feel the light.  TO REALLY FEEL IT.  For a while.  And then we go on to find something, anything, to be grateful for.  The shit passes.  It really does. 

I get in dark places.  I've been in VERY dark places in my past, even after getting sober, it took years to get to a place on contentment and gratitude that I've found today.  I've been in bad relationships, bad jobs, and just unhappy with myself and my life.  And while  it may have taken longer than it "should" have, I got out.  The only way to change your life is to CHANGE YOUR LIFE.  Make the change you want to see happen.  I'm not getting all Tony Robbins on your ass, but dammit, stop whining and do something about it.  I say that to myself all the time.  It all comes from within ourselves. 

I only know what I live.  I go to AA.  I work the steps.  I find 5 things to be grateful for every damn day.  GRATITUDE WORKS.  Nothing else worked for me.  NOBODY wants to go to AA or a 12 Step program, but based on the emails I get, many of you want to fill the hole in your soul.  I cannot stress it enough.  Everyone needs something. 12 Step Programs don't fill that void for a lot of people, but I do hear over and over and over and SEE IT working for so many who resisted so hard at first.  Give it a chance.  What have you got to lose?  Don't make excuses, just try something different. 

I fill it the hole in my soul with universal love, helping others, and gratitude for all I have today.  It takes a lot more energy and stress to be angry and bitter.  I AM LAZY.  Living in gratitude and hope takes less energy than holding onto resentment and anger.  You know the saying,  "holding onto resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other guy to die"?  The 12 steps have given me the gift of being able to let go of resentments and THAT, gives me freedom.  I see resentment and bitterness in people and it is such a turn off, I'm repelled by that garbage.  It's toxic.  And it just so happens I like to be happy.  Living in gratitude helps me do that. 

It's not easy, it's not all shiny puppies and rainbows and unicorns and rainbows and polka dots and SPAZ DANCING ALL THE TIME.  Life is hard.  How we choose to approach it with our attitude makes all the difference in what that can look like.  Don't cover anger and hurt.  FEEL it.  FEEL it.  FEEL IT.  And then work through it. 

That's my basic response to so many that have reached out to me.  If you are struggling with gratitude and with finding something to be excited about waking up for.  Find one thing.  ONE THING.  I focus on having a roof over my head many times. Being a free woman - I am not locked up anywhere. I have food to eat.  Any furries that you have that love and depend on you.  The list can then go on and on.  Just keep doing it.  Keep choosing hope.  Every day.  That's all I need to worry about is today.  Tomorrow is a whole different deal.  If I can do my best today and be grateful for all I have, I am a successful.  And success from where I'm standing feels pretty gotdamned good.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Things I Love Thursday - Part 38

On the train coming into work today it struck me that my little peanut nephew is going to be 7 in about a week.  And then I got weepy on the train.  Again.  This the the baby that made me change the way I thought about babies and having a child in general.  In short, this kid CHANGED MY LIFE.

The Thing I Love this Thursday is my oldest nephew. 

My little brother and his wife had their first baby in 2005 - they now almost have 4 (Julie's pregnant with their 4th!).  I remember where I was when I heard he was born and thinking, this is crazy.  I don't really like babies or kids, but I'm in love with this one already.  And it was pretty quickly afterward that I got to fly to Charlotte, NC and meet him for the first time.  Stick a fork in me, I am done. 

Get ready for the Katy Hair Train - EXPRESS.

When Aunt Katy fell in love.  The first time I met the little peanut boy. 
Left to right, My little mama, Me and little teeny peanut, Julie, teeny peanut's mama, Buck the brown Boxer and Sugar the white Boxer.

I mean, COME ON. 

First Christmas.

Fancy Aunt Katy so in love she gets on the floor and rolls around. That says a lot.

It's too early in the morning for Aunt Katy to count these apples.  You do it, m'kay?
Fast forward a few years to this young, thoughtful, articulate boy who can crack me up.  I'm not kidding.  He makes me laugh so hard because he's so observant and will make jokes that are relevant to what the adults have all been talking about.  It's astounding.  I'm not politely laughing at this kid, he makes me guffaw.  That is something most adults cannot get out of me, and this 7 year old is doing it all the time. 

The last time I was there - they live in Arizona - about 2 months ago we were walking to go play some baseball, and he took my hand and so sweetly said, "Aunt Katy, now that you are here, would you like some organic produce?"  Just kill me.  His mom and dad are so careful about what they eat, and my Sister in Law Julie is using a local organic farmer for produce now and Cruz knows I'm vege and thought I would want some.  I will never forget that sweet little voice and that moment as long as I live. 

He's always been so into animals and farms and he wants to be a farmer/cowboy/police man, at least he did a little bit ago, I'm sure I am way behind.  But, I keep trying to tell him he and Aunt Katy can open an animal sanctuary together someday.  That would be most excellent.

He's a Lego master.  He gets a new set, for ages 5 years older than he is and he has it all put together in one day.  His dad just stands there slack jawed watching him.  He is so good at sports and plays every one with enthusiasm and gives it his all.  He is so sweet to his little brother and sister and helps whenever he can.  He is his mom's best helper and has been since he could barely move.  He is like the Assistant for everything in their life.  Nothing gets past this kid. 

 I'm in love with this kid.  He made me want to be a mom.  That, along with me being ready spiritually and mentally and finding my dear sweet husband, it is time.  We have a child in our future.  It's going to happen.

One of my favorite things is watching my husband play with these kids.  They think Uncle Chris is HILARIOUS. 

I admit I get him pretty rad gifts, this space suit is a winner.

I wish I could play the piano like this kid.

And just for kicks, here's my favorite picture of my little brother and I right now, because if he and Julie weren't so freaking awesome, their kids wouldn't be so freaking awesome.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I've Never Met a Vice I Wouldn't Have to Quit

If there is something to abuse or get addicted to I will.  Hard. 

I'm an alcoholic, we all know that, and my entire blog incorporates my sobriety.  It has invaded every part of my life and I'm so grateful.  SO you could read any of my posts and get a hit of sober goodness. 

Aside from that though, name a vice that I've tried and I can tell you about quitting that vice and how difficult it is. 

One year ago right now, I was 35 pounds heavier.  I was on Zoloft.  I was smoking about 10 cigarettes a day.  I was drinking massive amounts of caffeine and still eating a shit ton of ice cream on a daily basis. 

And then one day I said, ENOUGH. 

I quit all of it.  Maybe not the smartest way to go about getting healthy, but that's what I did.  I did it all in preparation for having a baby and being around for that child and my dear sweet husband in the future.    That is a work in progress, but I am so happy I made that choice.  In many ways, it's always been easier for me to justify doing the right, healthy thing for someone else, i.e., a baby, than for myself.  Sad, but true.

Now that I've made these changes though, I cannot imagine not having made them. 

I've written about all these issues and you can read about them here:

So, having said all that, you know all my weaknesses.  And they are a plenty.  I am no expert in anything except bullshit.  And hope.  So maybe this is encouraging somebody out there to take a chance and try something new and different.  To try something that doesn't seem natural.  And the more that you do it, the more it will become natural.  I won't say, "if I can do it, you can do it" because I hate when people say that to me.  Just because I do something, doesn't mean everyone else can or should.  

I will say that I am rooting for you.  A lot.  And it's not easy, but it is worth it. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

They call me The Raging Owl-coholic

I was kind of a bad ass figure skater (shakes head, NO, I wasn't bad ass at all) with kick ass wings and bangs.

We played a game on the FB page a while back where I asked y'all what would be a good Roller Derby name for yours truly, and as usual, you cracked my shit up.

Needless to say, I'm obsessed with Roller Derby, ever since my figure skating days, I've wanted to try it, and I think I may have the balls (so to say) to do it at this point in my life. 

This is a game we could play forever.  Tell me what your name would be. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Things I Love Thursday - Part 37

This Thursday leading into Mother's Day, where the timing couldn't be worse or more anxiety ridden, where my every thought and hope and prayer is resting on what happens tomorrow in that blood test and then the next weeks after that, I choose hope. 

This is the last post you will see of mine before I go for a preliminary blood test to see if I am pregnant or not. I am not going to post about it here or on the Facebook page right away. I KNOW YOU WILL RESPECT THAT DECISION.  All in due time, I will share with you when I feel safe doing so.  In the meantime, I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for each message and prayer and thought you've given my husband and I.  And by all means, KEEP THEM COMING!

What I love this Thursday is just being present.  Being able to fully participate in this gut wrenching time in my life with my husband.  Who has shown me courage I didn't know he had, going through this with me.  He has shown confidence and love and patience and kindness toward me that, if possible, has made me love him even more.  As awful as this in-vitro process has been at times, it's been an incredible bonding experience for us.  I don't recommend it to anyone as a marriage enhancer, but, for us, it became a positive.  

Being sober, BEING PRESENT, is the thing that means the very most to me because as I always say, without it, I have nothing.  I know there are mothers out there struggling with sobriety.  I know there are kids (and that can mean adult kids too) out there watching their mothers who are sick and struggling and are so hurt because their addiction is so much more important to them than you are.  To you kids I say, it isn't.  I promise.  Almost every mom I meet has expressed to me that they love their kids and would do anything for them, they just can't stop drinking.  Which of course makes the cycle all that much worse.  They would give ANYTHING if their kids never had to see them using.  I have no defense for that, I am simply saying this thing is so strong, it takes over even what you love the most, namely, your kids.  It takes down entire families.  I see it every day. 

Becoming an alcoholic was not in my life plan.  I KNOW, SHOCKING.  And yet, it's the best thing that's ever happened to me.  I never would be where I am and have the life I do if I hadn't become an alcoholic and then gotten sober.  I am profoundly grateful that I got the gift of sobriety before I had a child.  I don't know why I got it when I did and so many others don't.  That is not my burden to understand or explain, I just need to hold on for dear life and continue to carry the message.  If I keep doing my part, my child will never have to see me drunk, dead or worse.  My child will see me fully present.  Fully sober and there.  IF I KEEP DOING THE NEXT RIGHT THING.

I know that I have an army of support here.  I know that in my real life Chris and I have so many people praying and hoping and dreaming and wishing and sending me such loving energy and I can feel it.   All of you who have walked this path before us, I salute you.  Those going through it right now, much respect and love.  And find something to laugh about - QUICKLY! 

I have said to you many many times, Everything will be alright.  Either way, we are good.  We are great.  We have all we need and want.  A baby would just be icing on the cake. 

My husband and I are united and WE CHOOSE HOPE.  What could POSSIBLY be better than that?

Now, a genuinely warm and loving Happy Mother's Day to all of you incredible mamas out there.  I love you for what you do and the love and kindness you've shown me.  Those are some damn lucky kids that you have. 

And to my own little Mama -

who I wrote a guest post about that just about did me in, I love her so much - stay tuned for that one down the road......
My dear amazing Mother-in-Law -  

who raised an incredible man in my husband and is so kind to me, it's astounding.....

and my Sister-in-Law Julie -

who is rasing three incredible kids with a fourth on the way - I am in awe of you and how you do it.   And I really like you too.  That's the best part.   

And lastly,  to Mary Tyler Mom, and this post she wrote, that inspired this post.  She talks about the other side of Mother's Day, and the people we have lost, or never even met, in all kinds of ways.  There is a lot of hurt out there on Mother's Day.  She has the courage and the grace I aspire to. 
And she ALWAYS chooses hope.

To all of you amazing women, HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!   

Monday, May 7, 2012

You Should Really Fix Your Teeth

I really wasn't that good.

I was a teenage Gleek.  I was in choir from the time I was a wee awkward chubby girl.  And on it went until my junior year of High School when my Choir Director told me I should audition for the musical.  It was Anything Goes. 

I did.  I auditioned.  FOR THE CHORUS.  Because it never EVER occurred to me that I could be anything other than in THE CHORUS. 

Then the Director called my mom at home and asked if I could audition for one of the leads instead of just the chorus.  I flipped the hell out.  My mom encouraged me.  And I did.  And I got the part.  Talk about heady.  Look, Theatre and Chorus kids were not the cool kids at our High School.  But in that circle, to be a lead in a musical, meant I was PRETTY. HOT. SHIT. 

Hope Harcourt in Anything Goes.  That's me on the right, sailor dress, bad perm, shoulder pads.  Who cares that it was a 1920's show?  The set designer had to specially design rails on the "boat" set for me to hold onto while singing my solos, because I was so spastic and couldn't stand still while singing.
I started watching Glee because I am absolutely a geek and a glee club kid and a nerd and musically and theatrically gifted.  In certain ways.  But in many, more important ways, I was just not very good. 
Rachel Berry on Glee
I won't say I was a Rachel Berry, because I didn't have a pinkie's worth of her talent, but the yearning and the passion she has for the stage and performing, I had that.  For a long time.  With the figure skating for years and years and then the couple years of high school theatre under my belt, I was ready to conquer the world.  To become an actress.  And, I didn't want to be famous, I just wanted to do my CRAFT.  To perform and have people recognize the genius of my ability in the THEATRE.  AHEM AHEM AHEM. 

Every single high school has these kids.  These kids that are special at this one thing.  The football hero, the math genius, the Prom Queen.

I told my parents I wouldn't go to College, as I was Broadway Bound.  Not Los Angeles, that wasn't for me.  I longed to be on the stage.  And honestly, I did at that time.  My dad said, NO FUCKING WAY (not in those words, but close) are you not going to college, so we compromised and I went to school for theatre.  I have a B.S. in Acting.  Hold the snickering down please. 

Stage Left.  I even got to have a baby bump in part of this one.  The Baker's Wife in Into the Woods.

College was a battle.  I wasn't that good and the deck was stacked against me as there were politics and talent at play and I didn't really get many good shows and parts.  Also, I was super nervous and didn't play the game very well.  I wasn't a victim and it's not "poor me".  That's just how it was.  The Theatre School experience is a post for another day.  Or many posts.  Anyway.....

I graduated college and went out to a ton of auditions and got a few parts in Chicago theatre for a few years.  I got a couple agents, although they basically told me I was generic and needed to get my teeth fixed.  I waited tables and became a drunk.  I was living the dream! 

Into the Woods AGAIN as the Ugly Stepsister(s) in the pink.  Long story. 
And it was fun.  And it was what I wanted.  Until it wasn't.  And then one day I realized, I don't even enjoy doing this anymore.  So I just didn't go to auditions anymore.  I didn't look at the Hotlines for notices.  All of this coincided with me becoming a serious drunk, mind you, and the last show I did I was in a COMPLETE black out.  I read reviews of this show in the paper, talking about how good my performance was, and I had NO MEMORY of it. 

The worst part of acting for me at least, was auditioning.  There was a scene in the last Glee where Rachel was up on stage and flubbed a song for an important audition.  Even if you've never had to audition for anything, you cringed for her.  I've done that flub.  A few times.  And it is MORTIFYING.  I dream of these times now a few times a week.  No lie.  I wonder if it will ever go away.   If I feel like doing it again, I always can.  I just heven't felt the need, the desire, the passion to do it again, so I figure, why force it?  Chicago is a great city for theatre, and my dear husband happens to be a big shot Director.  He is really good.  He is way better at acting and directing than I ever was at acting.   

There are many reasons I love my life today.  One of the main reasons is that I no longer have to audition for any part.  I don't have to pretend in any part of my life in order to escape.  Not through acting, and not through alcohol.  I've gotten the part I never dreamed I was good enough for, and that is being exactly who I am in my own skin.  Oh, and I never got my teeth fixed.  Fuck all that bullshit.  I am good enough just as I am. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Things I Love Thursday - Part 36

In order to get the full effect of this edition of TILT, you must quickly go GO HERE. DO IT PLEASE.

Cool?  OK, so we know I'm obsessed with RuPaul.  But this TILT specifically addresses a new love.

Large and in charge, Chunky yet funky, MISS MISS LATRICE ROYALE.

When she spouted those glorious word above the 5 G's - I had to stop my dvr and take a picture.  I was gobsmacked.

Dida Ritz.  Oh my lord, girl.

This is Latrice.  Now, Latrice done some time, bitches.  He's not ashamed of it.
 He's loud and proud and of course, I love that.
If I hear one more queen talk about "Something Something REALNESS", Imma vomit in my sweater.  Get a new line already ladies!
THIS is Latrice's lip sync for you life that kept her in the running, SHE DOESN'T EVEN MOVE AN INCH.  She just owns it.  While Kenya is spazzing out all over the place looking like a right fool.  Oh to have Latrice's confidence, MY GODS. 
She didn't win the competition.  Sharon Needles did, which is a whole. nother. level. of love.  LOVE HER.  And I love Chad Michaels too, Phi Phi can go pound sand. She sucked.  But for now, let's leave with a couple quotes from the always classy and in charge of HERSELF Latrice upon leaving the competition. 
“You have changed my life forever,” Latrice announced to RuPaul, in front of judges Santino Rice, Michelle Visage, Wynonna Judd, and Rose McGowan and surviving queens Phi Phi, Sharon Needles, and Chad Michaels. “You have changed the world of drag forever. I love you and respect you so much, and thank you for seeing something special in me. Thank you.”
You could have mopped me up from the floor.  I was a fucking disaster when she got eliminated.
She is so grateful and carries herself with such dignity and class, I fell completely in love with her.
Then in the last show she said to Ru,  "I want people to know its ok to make mistakes; it's ok to fall down. Get up. Look SICKENING and make them eat it."

I mean, need I say anything more?

Latrice Motherfucking Royale is a Thing I LOVE This Thursday