Have the talk.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned this year it’s the importance of having the talk with your kid.  Not the sex talk, although that one is important too.

The talk that says things will be hard but that you will be there with them no matter what.  The talk that says here is what to do when you feel desperate, or suicidal, or confused or hurt or alone or broken.  Here is what you do when you are afraid.

Having a talk with your kids about sex doesn’t make them have sex.  Having a talk about llamas doesn’t make them llamas.  Having a talk with your kids about suicide won’t make them suicidal.  Having a talk with your kids about mental illness doesn’t give them mental illness.  It does, however, give them tools to help recognize things that might otherwise confuse or terrify them.  It may help them to recognize things in themselves or in their friends.  And that can save a life.

They may not understand your talk.  They may think it’s pointless or even silly.  They may not even remember all of the details if they never deal with these sorts of struggles.  But they will remember that you are there to listen and that you are there to help and that there is nothing that they can’t get through.  That a lot of the problems that seem  massive when you’re a kid or teenager will be forgotten at 21.  That it’s okay to fail.  That it’s okay to vent and cry.  That it’s okay to ask for help…even more importantly…that it’s their duty to ask for help.

This isn’t easy.  It’s not easy for parents.  It’s not easy for kids.  But it’s needed.  So to make it a little easier I’m going to share a few things that I’m learning as a parent.  I also asked for an expert opinion on talking with teens and that expert is my teen who gave me great feedback on things that helped her during any struggles she’s had in life.

What is something that you wish you’d told your kids when they were younger…the thing that maybe you learned the hard way or that made a big difference?  

me: I wish I’d asked ‘How are you really?’ and repeated it a few times to get past the basic ‘Great’ and into the real details of what’s going on in her head.  I wish I’d explained that just because someone’s struggle doesn’t look like mine it doesn’t mean that their struggle isn’t just as real and just as hard.

What’s the thing you wish that you were asked?

Hailey: I wanted someone to ask “What do you need?”  Not just “Are you okay?” or “How was your day?” but “What do you actually need from me that I’m not doing?”

What do you want to hear?

Hailey:  Not “You’re fine.  Don’t worry.”   Because when you don’t feel fine and everyone keeps saying that you are you feel even worse.  I wish someone would have told me that it was okay to not be fine sometimes.  I want to hear that there are ways to fix it.

What advice would you give parents about talking to their kids?

Hailey:  Maybe ask the school counselor how your kid is.  They see them at school and might know a lot more about what’s going on that they aren’t sharing.  Make sure your kids aren’t just talking to you about their problems because it’s really helpful to vent to people who aren’t your parents.

What would you tell kids who are struggling right now?

Hailey: Talk to someone.  Find someone to listen.  You can even practice on your stuffed animals if you have to until you find the right words.

me:  Don’t give up.


Your turn.  Talk to your kids.  Ask them what they need to hear.  Share what you’ve learned here if you think it could help someone else.  Parenting is terrifying and we are constantly fucking up.  What is perfect for one kid is not for another.  We bumble through and try to make the right decisions and fail and succeed and hide and celebrate and do wonderful and terrible things…just like the kids we are raising.  But we don’t have to do it alone.

You are not alone.


PS. This is a very serious post and I don’t like serious so I’m leaving you with this:


Babies are the worst kind of birds.

So cupid is like the mascot of Valentine’s Day but basically it’s a baby, right?  At first I thought it was an angel which would be sort of sweet but ultimately questionable because that means the ghost of a dead baby is making you want to have sex with people and that’s weird.

Then I did some research and turns out that cupid is not an angel but is instead a God of Erotic Love (who also happens to be a baby for some reason?) and I guess it’s because sex makes babies but it still doesn’t make sense because babies are the worst and now they have wings?  Have you met babies?  They shit everywhere and they’re always barfing.  The only thing worse is if you gave it a weapon, WHICH SOMEONE DID.

I explained all of this to Victor and he just stared at me but probably because he just realized that he’s only in love with me because he got shot by some invisible aeronautic toddler.

PS. I waited until after Valentine’s Day to post this because I know some of you love it and I don’t want to shit all over it when you’re enjoying it.  Unlike certain flying babies.  Just saying.


Hailey started knitting a few weeks ago and she told me that she wanted to teach me how because it helps with anxiety and also because I keep telling her the cats need knitted hats.  Turns out she’s really good at it but I sort of suck, partly because I drop a lot of stitches but also because I get into the rhythm of it and don’t want to stop and that’s how I ended up with a scarf that is almost as long as me in spite of the fact that it’s Texas and no one here ever needs scarfs.

Hailey kept trying to help me, nicely pointing out that I’d missed a lot of stitches, that I left big holes in it and that giant knots and loose threads were hanging out of it all over.  “It’s really nice,” she said.  “But…it got weird.”

Victor walked by.  “Wow.  That scarf looks like it’s seen things.”

Hailey tried to tie up yarn that had come unraveled at the ends.  “It’s come undone.”

And they weren’t wrong.

But somehow it fit me.  Raggedy and weird and strange.  It’s come undone but honestly, who hasn’t?

But it’s soft.  It’s warm.  It’s comforting and nice even when it’s falling apart.  “This scarf is perfectly me,” I explained.

And they both looked at it with new eyes.

“It’s…artistic,” Hailey said.

“It’s certainly…unique,” Victor said.

And it is.

Also, I totally made hats for the cats and it was awesome but then I texted the pictures to myself so that I could put them on my blog and I got one of the numbers wrong so I ended up texting a stranger pictures of me and my cats in clothes I knitted and I don’t know if I should apologize or if I have a new best friend.

Trust me. He totally loves it.

Sassy beret.

Booksgiving, part 4!

Four years ago this very day I decided to give away 30 copies of my books to people who maybe hadn’t been able to pick one up yet.  I gave them out quite quickly but then lots of other people were like, “I WANT TO GIVE BOOKS TO PEOPLE” and suddenly people were buying each other books and sharing their favorites and adding to their lists of what to read and listening to others about what book they really HAD to read this year and it was fucking incredible.  Honestly the only thing that would make it better would be if we all had otters to bathe, but I can’t provide otters so it’s BYODO.  (Bring Your Own Dirty Otter)  That gives us something to aim for in the future, I guess.

We called the whole thing “Booksgiving” and have celebrated it every year since and this year is no exception.  SO.  Here’s what you do if you want a book.  Make a brand new wishlist with the one book that you want (and make sure that you assign a shipping address to it because otherwise it won’t work) and leave a link in the comments.  I’ll pop in and send a copy of Furiously Happy, or Let’s Pretend This Never Happened or YOU ARE HERE: An Owner’s Manual for Dangerous Minds to 30 lucky people.

If you’ve already read all of those then feel free to chose a different book.  Depending on how much I have left (the books are different prices) I’ll try to send other books as well.

The only rule is ONE BOOK PER PERSON ONLY ON YOUR LIST, with the exception being if you have a child and want to add a book for them too.

If you want to share your favorite book you’ve read recently in the comments that would be awesome.  Or if you wrote a book and want to pimp it out then go ahead.  And if you want to buy a book anonymously for a stranger just check through the comments.  A few books I’ve really loved this month are My Sister, the Serial Killer, The Woman Inside: A Novel, and The Hazel Wood.

Click here for a quick run-down of how to make a new wishlist (Don’t forget the step about adding your address to this specific wishlist!) and when you’re done just leave a comment with a link to your wishlist.  (If you don’t live in America just add that info in the comment so it’s easier to search for people in your area).  Make sure that the book you select is available for Prime shipping and isn’t from a 3rd party seller or a used bookstore because those can’t be shipped to wish lists.

If you decide to gift someone with a book just find a wishlist that has a book on it and buy it.  When you check out select the person’s wishlist address or registry address (You’ll just see their name and city, but not a whole address for privacy reasons).  If they don’t have an address they forgot to add it so delete the book from your cart and try another.

Now, let’s go book shopping!  (PS. This is the best pick-up line in the history of the world.)

Do you still like me?

You know when you realize a friend has stopped “liking” your stuff on social media and you wonder if you’re fighting and just don’t know it and more time passes and you get obsessed and want to ask if they’re mad at you but you don’t because it’s fucking ridiculous but it still bothers you and then you realize that maybe you’re accidentally ignoring other people’s statuses because Facebook isn’t showing them to you and maybe there are other people thinking that you’re mad at them but you’re totally not and you want to tell them that but you can’t because you don’t know who they are and then you think that you’re probably accidentally fighting with LOTS of people but have no clue whatsoever who or why and you wish you could put a status on Facebook that says “Are we still friends or do you hate me – circle yes or no” but you don’t because you’re not in 3rd grade anymore but your brain is totally still in 3rd grade so you just continue to obsess about these terribly quiet fights you are having that are also possibly imaginary?

This is what it’s like in my head all the damn time.

We don’t deserve cats, y’all.

You don’t always get to see Rolly on my feed because she’s our only pet who doesn’t like to dress up in costumes but she’s always behind the scenes and has a special talent.  You know how some cats can tell when someone is about to die and they’ll lay on their bed until they pass?  I know some people think it’s because they’re empathetic and can tell they’re needed but personally I think it’s more likely that that cat wants to eat you and can recognize that you’re an easy target.  That being said, Rolly has this strange ability to know when I’m feeling really sad.  She carries mouthfuls of cat food around while loudly meowing for me and accidentally spitting out the food in a trail behind her and when she finds me she’ll drop the cat food on my lap or in my shoe and look at me expectantly and I have to pretend to eat it or she’ll get her feelings hurt.

It’s both sweet and also a little insulting because she thinks I’m bad at being a cat and can’t fend for myself, which is really pretty accurate now that I think about it.

I don’t have an ending to this except to say that if you struggle with mental illness you need to go out and get yourself a whole posse of rescue pets because they are magic and will remind you that sometimes what you really need is to be gentle with yourself.

Furiously stabby

So if you follow me on instagram you know that when I’m stressed out I embroider because stabbing things thousands of times with tiny needles is great therapy and keeps me from stabbing assholes who probably deserve it since you’re not allowed to stab people even if it’s only lightly in the leg with a fork (according to my therapist).  I usually buy the patterns on etsy but a bunch of people were like, “You should make your own pattern” so I did and yesterday when I was in the waiting room to see my shrink another patient looked over at my work and was like, “Oh.  Well that’s…oh.”  And I’m pretty sure that’s code for “You can go in front of me because clearly you need more help” and so I explained, “It’s a dead raccoon who lives with me” and then she nodded and said she’d left something out in her car and I’m guessing that it was her sense of whimsy and artistic appreciation because personally? I think it’s some of my best work.


If you’re reading this, you win.


If you are reading this, you win.

If you are reading this it means you’re here.  It means that you’ve made it through the bullshit that life has thrown at you.  It means you’re still surviving.  It means that you are stronger than every bad thing that has ever tried to take you down.

It means that you are brave.  And strong.  Stronger than you think.

It means that you are broken.  Because you can’t get through it all without being touched by challenges you’ve fought through, and are still fighting through.  But broken is okay.  As Leonard Cohen said, the cracks, after all, are how the light gets in.

If you are reading this it means that you have touched people.  That you have helped others in so many ways.  In reading this you remind me that my words are important…that my struggle is worth it.  You make differences every day without even knowing it.

If you are reading this you probably feel guilty.  You have screwed up.  You regret.  That’s okay.  That’s how you grow.  That’s how you learn.  If you have regrets it means that you care, and that same empathy and introspection are what make you compassionate and kind.

If you are reading this I love you.  Even if I haven’t met you yet.  Even if we never meet.  There aren’t enough of us out there in the world…the misfits and the weirdos.  Stick around. Be my friend.  And I will be yours.  Forever, if you are reading this.

I think my underwear just tricked me into entering a legal agreement and from now on I’m adding a page to my books informing people that purchasing the book legally entitles me to half of all their egg rolls.

So I just opened a box of bra I got in the As-Seen-On-TV aisle at the drugstore and it came with a surprise class action lawsuit inside and now I’m questioning all my life choices.

PS.  Victor say you can’t say “box of bra'” and I disagree because I’m totally saying it and you say “box of rice” or “box of macaroni and cheese” so if you buy a bra in a box it’s a box of bra.  This is all basic common sense and I think he’s missing the bigger point, which is that I think I just entered into a binding legal  agreement with my own underwear.

PPS.  Annnnd I just noticed that the picture I took was in Spanish because I’m an idiot.  In my defense though it makes about as much sense as the English version:

I’m back?




Turns out it’s really hard to write about emotional things and even harder when they involve someone you love whose privacy you want to protect.

If you read my last blog post you know that the last few weeks have been really awful for our family.  You also know that I can’t share details because it’s hard when things live forever on the internet and unfortunately there are still stigmas that linger today.

One day I will write about it though because it’s important.  And because I have been flooded with emails and DM’s from people who could read between the lines and have been through the exact same thing.  And they think they’re alone because they don’t share the details because they also want to respect privacy.  And that’s wonderful.

And terrible.

It’s wonderful to respect the people we love and protect them from the world.  It’s terrible that so many people are struggling.  It’s wonderful to know that we are not alone…that it’s something SO, SO many families deal with.  It’s terrible to know that so many of us battle this in the terrifying quiet of our houses.

One day, perhaps a few years from now, I’ll write about this.  Maybe with the help of the person I love.  I suspect this will be a very long story one day, and one that may help others.  I hope by the time I write it I will have more answers than questions and less fear and doubt in myself.  I hope that last week is the worst week of my life…that it gets better from here.  I hope…no…I know that every day is a step forward and a new opportunity.

Here’s what I’ve learned that I can share with you:

  1.  Depression in me doesn’t always look the same as depression in you.  Seemingly happy, outgoing, successful people can have it.  And it can be really confusing and painful to them because it presents in such strange ways that they don’t realize that they’re dealing with it until they are in a dangerous state of mind.  Depression in kids can look different than depression in adults.  Depression in extroverts can look different than depression in introverts.
  2. Everything you’re dealing with that you think is the worst thing that has ever happened to anyone?  It’s happened to people you know and love.  It’s happening now.  You are not alone.
  3. There are amazing tools available that can make an incredible difference.  Medication, therapy, etc.  There are brilliant people who will rescue you who want to help.  You may not know them yet.  You will meet them.  They will save you.  And you will save someone else.
  4. People are fighting much harder battles than we know.  Be kinder than you have to be.
  5. There are bad resources.  There are bad hospitals or doctors or therapist or tools.  There are good resources that are bad for your particular needs.  You will go through these as you look for help.  It’s okay to say, “This isn’t right.  I deserve better.”  You do.
  6. Communication is important.  Love is necessary.  Compassion and laughter are key.  Cheesecake is great.  Hindsight is 20/20.  Doctor Who reruns are medicinal.
  7. It is a gift to take care of someone you love.  It is exhausting and terrifying and guilt-inducing and it is the greatest gift I’ve ever been given.  Reach out to the people who love you when you need help.  I promise you they want to help.  And if they don’t understand, call the suicide hotline.  They can help.  They’ve helped me.
  8. It’s okay if you make a mistake.  We’re born to make mistakes.  Keep trying.  It’s going to be okay.
  9. You’ll get through this.
  10. You are not alone.

Today is the first day in a long time that feels normal.  I think (I hope, I hope) that we’re on a good path.  My family is safe and this morning we ate breakfast together and laughed.  We have each other and I’m so grateful for it.  I’m grateful for you too.  For listening…for understanding…for being there.

I’m crossing my fingers that the next blog posts will be back to the silly and irreverent ridiculousness.  I’m ready to get back to normal…or as close to normal as I’ve ever been.  I think we’re on the right path.

Thank you.  I love you.

I don’t have a good graphic to add here so here’s a video of Hunter S. Thomcat doing a hurtfully accurate impression of me:

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