Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Suicide Prevention Awareness Week

Good day, darlings!

I wanted to pop into this sorely neglected bloggy of mine to talk a bit about a cause that's become important to me over the past half-decade. Someday I promise I'm going to get back into writing here as it's excellent therapy blowing word chunks all over the Interwebs. (How's that delightful mental image for you?) Maybe if I cut out the unnecessary things like putting on real pants I'll have more time to devote to this.

I like this plan. #pantsarestupidandihatethem

Business ownership in one meme.
Anyway ... I am not the same person I was five years ago. No one is, of course ... I hope - isn't the point of this life thing to grow? It's been particularly whirlwind-y for me, though. Five years ago, I was five months into parenting and just beginning to suffer some of the more serious side effects of a severe hormone imbalance.
Fast forward 1,827 days, three more kids, two moves, and yeah, you could say I'm a little bit different. I'm squishier, wrinkly-er, and so much more exhausted than I ever could have imagined. I'm a newly-minted part owner of a business that's been around since 1885 (!!! ... more on this later ... probably ... once the terror subsides a bit and I can think something besides SHITSHITSHITWHATAMIDOINGSHITSHITSHIT) ... so yeah, definitely don't want to fuck THAT up.
I'm also technically an "adult" (in a few months I'll no longer be able to select that "18-25" age bubble when doing surveys *GASP*). And I'm still terrible at life-ing but slowly getting more okay with the fact that I am TERRIBLE AT LIFE-ING.

The most profound thing I've experienced, besides becoming a parent, is going through four rounds of postpartum depression and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (which I guess is technically part of parenting. So yeah, PARENTING. HOLY CARP.) The hormone clusterfuck that accompanied pregnancy and post-pregnancy after each of my four kiddos was severe enough I ended up suicidal.

Thankfully, and ONLY by the grace of God, an amazing husband and family, and the hair of my chinny-chin-chin, I made it through.

I BARELY made it through.

Now that I'm back in my right-ish mind, it's terrifying to look back and see how close I was to the edge. What's worse is looking back and seeing how well I faked it. Nobody knew. Nobody knew that every time I took a bath all I could think about was drowning myself (which I gotta say kinda ruins the point of the whole relaxing aspect of THAT endeavor) or that every time I picked up a kitchen knife the urge to slit my wrists would be so strong I'd have to sit down and put my head between my knees or that I was terrified to go anywhere because I was wanted so very badly to just drive my car over the conveniently located cliff on the road to our house.

And it's NUTS. IT IS SO NUTS, YOU GUYS.

I would be going about my day doing regular human stuff and suddenly feel like I didn't deserve to be here anymore. The juxtaposition between how completely normal and fine life was and the horrible hurricane in my head was ridiculous.

But. I made it through. I survived. Why? Because I said something.

I told my husband.
And I told my mom.

And it scared the fucking bejeezus out of them and I owe them like 5 to 7 years of life and 1,480 gray hairs apiece. But I told them.

And that is the ONLY reason I'm here today to write this at my pear juice-encrusted kitchen table while Kellan (who is two and a half and HE KNOWS IT) smashes peanuts into the floor and I listen to my 80-something neighbor mow his ginormous lawn and pray like the dickens he doesn't keel over.

It's the reason I'm smelling the breeze blowing through the window with just a touch of fall in it and getting excited to see the leaves change upriver.

It's the reason I can still eat too much cake and drink too much wine and be horrible to my husband and have awful terrrrrrrrrible text message fights (SO not recommended) only to eventually remember that we love each other and that marriage is HARD, but that I still get to be here to work at it.

I said something.

And I know I talk about this a LOT and it's not exactly a warm fuzzy thing, but I'm going to keep saying something in the hopes that maybe I can help someone else.

So, in honor of National Suicide Prevention Week September 5-11, I ask that if any of what I just said resonates with you, tell somebody how you're feeling. If you don't have a person you can trust, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

And if not, if you're one of the lucky few in a good place mentally, I ask that you check in with your loved ones. Ask them how they're doing, how they're REALLY doing. No judgment, no shame, just the truth.

As the saying goes, it will set you free. It will be scary as SHIT for everyone involved, but it will.

You can also change your social media profile pictures to a Suicide Awareness Ribbon this week. It's a small, and some would say stupid, gesture, but it's something.

Lastly, please, please, please remember that YOU MATTER. You are important and precious and special and beautiful and unique and no matter what that overwhelming darkness whispers to you, the solace it promises is a lie. There is NO ONE who can live your life better than you. Don't give up. Keep breathing. You can DO this.

All the good vibes, my friends. <3





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Friday, July 29, 2016

Take The Picture

Approximately a week ago, G found scissors in the playroom while I was making dinner. It doesn't take much Sherlock-ing to deduce what happened next ...

A photo posted by Caitlin Walker (@walkerwhimsy) on

After I finally gave up trying to blend the chopped sections and shaved her head, she stuffily informed me, "IT LOOKED BETTER WHEN I DID IT, MOM."

Her Royal Highness
The thing is, we're supposed to do family pictures Sunday.

When was our last official photo, you ask?

Let me just tell you this: every printed picture in my home predates/features a newborn kid #3.

He's two and a half.

So an updated family portrait? Kind of a big deal.

And now, JUST IN TIME for it, everyone has matching buzzy cuts!

Including .... ME!

Except I kept my bangs. Because Franken-zits. And forehead wrinkles.

I chopped it all off in my bathroom. Partly to allay mom guilt, partly to feel spontaneous again, and partly because HOLY COW IT'S FREAKING HOT THIS SUMMER.

As I sliced and diced, I contemplated rescheduling our photo session. And staring down at a sink full of hair, I had an epiphany.

Okay, maybe it doesn't deserve that label. But I've been functioning on 5 non-consecutive hours of sleep a night for five years, so for me, IT WAS TOTALLY AN EPIPHANY.

Ready for this truth bomb? This nugget of wisdom? This Proverb from a Ma-verb?

... "okayyyyy, stop it now" whispers a weak and thready voice of rationality ...

Here we go:

WHO. THE HELL. CARES?

It's not exactly what I imagined our family photo would feature, but it's US.

My God. It is soooo us.

It made me think about all the other times I haven't taken a photo because the setting wasn't perfect. The floor was littered with baby toys and Cheerios. I looked like I had been steamrolled seventeen times (as opposed to the usual twelve to fourteen.) Someone's face was covered with cookie. People weren't wearing pants.

... let's be realistic, though. There are FOUR of them and ONE of me and they are basically wild animals. Pants and clean floors and applying concealer and wiping faces every 10 seconds are all somewhere below "KEEP THEM ALL ALIVE" on the priority list. Way, wayyyyyyyyyy below ...

My challenge to myself, and to you if you'd like, is to just TAKE THE DAMN PICTURE.

The family portrait ... in a dressing room.

A photo posted by Caitlin Walker (@walkerwhimsy) on


The "Art" projects.

A photo posted by Caitlin Walker (@walkerwhimsy) on

This (mostly pants-less) disaster-in-progress.


Record the moments and the memories of your loved ones in all their weird glory. Take pictures WITH your kids, not just of them (extra hard if you, like me, feel you resemble a deformed Muppet.) Your results might be out of focus or overexposed or grainy or terribly proportioned or a million other things.

TAKE THE PICTURE ANYWAY.


We are hoping for happy kids and PANTS - PLEASEFORTHELOVEOFGODPANTS - this weekend. The buzz cuts are just part of our messy, beautiful (... but yeah, mostly messy) story. <3



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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Reasons & Ruminations

When tragedies occur, it’s in our nature to want a reason. WHY did this happen? HOW could it have been prevented? WHO is to blame? WHAT can we do to stop it from happening again?

If we can identify a cause, we can bury the uncomfortable truth that we have much less control that we’d like to think. Lately, however, the reaction to tragedy has been to scramble frantically onto our soapbox of choice and explain it all away.

Too many guns! Not enough guns! Homophobia! Homosexuality! Muslims! Christians! Trump! Obama! Illegal immigration! Race! Police brutality! Processed food! Vaccines! Abortions! Global warming!

We live in a world where bad things - terrible, horrifying, gut-wrenching things - happen every single day. And instead of coming together, we let them drive a wedge even deeper into what is an already dangerously divided society. We pick and choose “reasons” for these atrocities and use them to bludgeon anyone who disagrees.

As I’ve watched and cried and raged over recent events like the Orlando mass shooting (and the deafening silence of so many who claim to "love"), the death of Christina Grimmie, the “sentencing” of Brock Turner, our joke of an election process, our corrupt government, the transgender bathroom brouhaha, and all the other pain and suffering and injustice and ridiculousness that is happening every moment, I can’t help but wonder what I was thinking to bring children into such a fucked up world. 

How the hell do I explain to them we live in a society where someone thought he had the right to murder 49 innocent people because they were different than him? And how do I explain that instead of reacting with shock and grief and horror, many flew right by logic and straight to their keyboards, desperate to prove they know WHY it happened and HOW it can be prevented?

For now, I’ll shield them. But as they grow, I hope to teach them sometimes there is no reason except that evil runs rampant in our world. I hope to teach them to react with compassion, to feel grief, and to recognize the immeasurable value of a human life no matter how different that life is from their own.

I certainly can’t pretend to know why awful events occur. But I can do my very small part by raising good, compassionate people who know how to spread love and light and peace. That is my fight. Living my humanity, recognizing the beauty and fragility and preciousness of life, and teaching my kids to do the same.


For the families and friends of the victims of these tragedies, our hearts grieve with you. May your loved ones be honored by our commitment to choose love over hate every day.
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