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2014 Canadian Weblog Awards nominee

Trouble With Words

I wrote my first guest post almost 2 years ago for one of my dear blog friends. I remember waiting impatiently for the comments to start rolling in.  When they didn’t, I made sure to hit my browsers refresh button a hundred times.

My post flopped and I was crushed. 

I cried big old crocodile tears and plowed through a bag of cookies.

I went on twitter and apologized to my friend when she had butted in and said,”Kimberly, I thought that it was hilarious.”

Then she professed her love of Canadians.

We spent a good portion of the night tweeting and I will admit that I had no idea who she was.

In the morning I clicked over to her blog.

Empress.

The Empress.

I love Alexandra for so many reasons. Her writing is flawless and beautiful with a large heaping of funny on the side.

I respect her and her amazing support of all bloggers big, small, and in between.

And because my sweet friend reached out to me when I couldn’t handle life anymore.

She was my life line and the giant kick in the ass that I needed.

Everyone, please welcome my dear friend, The Empress from Good Day Regular People.

**********

I can’t remember how or when I met Kim, and I can’t imagine not knowing her, either. We bonded, of course, over mutual hots for Chuck Norris but it’s our commitment and promise to never let a woman suffer through Post Partum ANYTHING alone that is the glue that binds us.

I am a PPD/anxiety survivor. I made it through the scariest time in my life with the help of a nurse sent from heaven, and a hospital support group.

What also saved me and still saves me to this day, is a sense of humor. There is so much that happens in the first young days of motherhood that that can leave you without a well of resource: no sleep, no time, no interaction, no one to understand. All these factors can lead to a woman who is stumped for an answer when you greet her with “Good Morning.”

“Uh. Duh. Me? Good Morning? Duh…”

What to say back, what to say back. Well, I’ve prepared a quick guide for all of us trying to muddle through with only three or four hours of sleep and not having had an adult to speak to in DAYS. And here it is:

The Guide To Social Responses, For the days you’re having trouble putting three words together:

When someone asks you a question, it is customary to provide a response. Even a nod is a response. Do anything, but for the love of mike do not just stare back blinking.

If you’re too brain dead to provide an answer within seconds, requesting repetition of the question will buy you some time. Example: “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you, could you repeat that?” (meantime: thinkthinkthink)

When people ask “How Are You?” As tempting as it is … oh and there will be days where you will literally have to pinch the skin on your arm to keep your mouth shut, DO NOT answer a passer by truthfully. The lady down the block really doesn’t want to know. They’re just being polite. A good answer is “I’m fine. (lielielie) Thank you.” And then walk away.

Answer questions as positively and confidently as possible. Example: “I’m great. Thank you for asking.” (translation: I must go now so I don’t begin random screaming at your poor innocent face.)

If you can muster out a smile, do it. You’ll look less frightening that way. Practice in front of a mirror, and try to not wear bright red lipstick during these sleep deprived phases. The bags under the eyes from no sleep in combination with a pair of blood red lips kind of leave you looking psychotic, girlfriend.

Timing of your response is crucial. When a passer by inquires as to how you are, the response should be immediate without sounding clipped. Quick, but let them finish their question. Just as important, answer within two seconds of their question. More than that and you’ll fall apart. The trick is to ANSWER FAST before the truth starts beating down the door to your mouth.

If you encounter someone that begins to talk your ear off and you are barely holding it together, you can quickly bring the one sided conversation to a close with a cough attack. Don’t cover your mouth with your sleeve, arm, hand, anything. They will be so turned off and grossed out by your lack of social awareness that they’ll gladly terminate the conversation, on their own terms. (hey, don’t judge, it works, and it’s all about survival at this point)

*Most Important Advice Here: save the truth talk for friends, family, the M.D.’s, the medical staff in your life. Reach out to them and spill the beans to them. They’re the ones that can help you.

But the poor widow at the post office that just stopped in to pick up her monthly pension check? Please, she reallly doesn’t want to say “Good Morning, how are you?” to hear “Awesome! I controlled my impulses long enough this morning that instead of starting the kitchen on fire I got myself out for a walk … and here I am! Yay me!”

Leave that celebration to you and your health care team, they’re the ones that want to exchange that bit of small talk with you.

Good luck, and also? twitter is a good temporary “safe” place when you’re waiting for a Dr. call back.

Check any of us here, with the hashtag #PPD. We’re here, and you can brain dump on me anytime.

***********

And she means that.

You can follow The Empress on her blog Good Day Regular People, on twitter, writing for Aiming Low, Funny Not Slutty, Mamapedia , and make sure you check her out on YouTube when she read her beautiful piece on motherhood for Listen To Your Mother

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79 comments to Trouble With Words

  • Lindsay

    Yay me! Yay you!

    Yay all of us for kicking this shiz in the pants and being able to laugh about it as we go. I always have believed that if we can’t laugh at ourselves first, we surely cannot have the luxury of laughing at others.

    Humor has gotten me through the best of times and the worst of times, and I’m so glad it works for you ladies, too!

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    @Lindsay, Have to laugh, right, Lindsay?

    Laughter in between tears is makes the longest days possible.

    xo

    [Reply]

  • I love you, my Kim. So happy we met, so happy you count on me. So happy we have each other.

    Get well soon, girl.

    xo

    [Reply]

    Kimberly Reply:

    @Alexandra, I am so honoured to have your words here friend. You mean the world to me.
    xoxo

    [Reply]

  • Giggling at the widow in the post office so not wanting to know. I used to wonder what would happen if, when people nonchalantly asked, “How’re you”, I stopped them and said, “My house is in reposession, my car broke down, I lost my job, and I only have 8 toes.” I’ve always wanted to know how various people would respond. But realistically, there is no reason to saddle strangers with our woes. That’s why it’s good to have actual friends (people inside only our phones/computers can still be real friends). And that’s why any of us should be grateful as hell to have Alexandra behind us, calling us friend. She is one of the strongest supporters of “get up and get the shit you deserve” that I’ve ever “met”.

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    @Arnebya, Oh, sweet Arnebya.

    What would we do without the friends we found on the internet. Seriously, my life changed when I logged on. Not sure why no one in this town can stand me, but that’s all right…because I got me my girls, and I’m grateful for every single one.

    Thanks, mama.

    [Reply]

  • You guys are amazing. I did not have PPD, but had a friend that suffered through it, and it’s terrifying. And you still manage to find the funny in it, while giving help. Totally awesome.

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    @Pamela, Oh, Pamela…PPD is like watching your life through a video camera. Very disconcerting.

    Thanks for coming by and supporting us with your love.

    [Reply]

  • Two of my favorite people in one place. What better way to kick off a weekend?

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    @Alison@Mama Wants This, On my way to see how you and those two luscious babies are doing.

    xo

    Thanks for always being such a love.

    [Reply]

  • GrandeMocha

    I remember people talking to me & I had no idea if they were even speaking English. I don’t think I had PPD but I defineately needed more sleep!!!

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    @GrandeMocha, You know what else? I’d hear ME talking and had no idea I was speaking English.

    Life in those PPD sleep deprived days: HOLY COW but a recipe for WWII torture suggestions.

    [Reply]

  • What a great post! A sense of humor is critical to survival in this life for sure!

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    @Eva Gallant, Oh, Eva. Thank you. Glad you liked it.

    Sometimes, in these sleep deprived days: we just need a manual.

    I made the mistake of telling the poor man on an elevator with me once just “how I was.”

    *shudder*

    [Reply]

  • Thank goodness for friends, a good laugh and a glass of wine. I wouldn’t have survived parenthood without them.

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    @Karyn Climans, A good laugh, in my case: a cold beer (Wisconsin you know)

    All we need to just get one more day down sometimes. Thank you for stopping!

    [Reply]

  • ~~~YES.
    Laugh. Love. Drink Wine <3

    You. Both.
    Inspire & Rockkkk. xx

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    @My Inner Chick, You sweet lady, how wonderful are you???!!

    xo

    [Reply]

  • I love when you ask how someone is doing, and they are like “Not great. You see, I’m having a hell of a day…but first let me tell you what happened three weeks ago…”

    I AM FINE IS THE CORRECT RESPONSE!

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    @Nicole, EXACTLY. No matter what is trying to punch its way out of your mouth, seal.those.lips.

    save it for those PAID to listen.

    like I say, you can’t use your friends as therapists forever.

    [Reply]

  • I should have this on a post it note or tattooed to my forehead “I’m fine. Thank you.” I may have overshared with coworkers about breastfeeding, pumping and my lack of sleep.

    My husband would ask me simple questions, and I could not answer at all. It was like my brain was on permanent sleep mode just like a computer. Nothing can prepare you for how difficult making a decision like what to eat is so difficult with sleep deprivation and PPD.

    I love both of you ladies. xoxo

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    @Jenny, I hear you. I can remember almost bursting into tears at the mere question, “how are you?”

    [Reply]

  • Totally agree, Alexandra! I sometimes forget this advice, and talk to my friends like they’re trained therapists or something. Doesn’t usually help either of us. But I think they’ve learned over the years too. Now they just will sometimes ask politely how I’m feeling and that’s my cue to give a quick snippet of how I’m doing and then move on to more casual conversation like, what’s on tap this weekend?
    TGIF! :)

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    @Jennifer, Oh, honey, forgive yourself. This post was tongue in cheek.

    Did I ever tell you about the time this poor man was verbally assaulted by me? I was so desperate for an ear. He was just sitting, at a coffee shop, and I had the out of my PPD mind nerve to sit next to him and begin:

    I’m so lonely. Would you like to see a movie together? I mean, it’s OK, I’m not weird. I’m just looking for a friend. I think it’ll be all right don’t you. I mean…

    To which he looked at me scared shitless and picked up his coffee AND LEFT.

    OH EM GEE but I made a sweet old man FREAK OUT and pick up his coffee and leave.

    Yes, the highlights of my life and please dear god do NOT let this be a scene that flashes before my eyes when I die.

    xo

    [Reply]

  • This woman?
    She was the one who took me under her wing when I started blogging.
    She introduced me to the PPD supports available in the Internet and on twitter.
    She told people I was here.
    I love her and I look up to her.
    I owe her more than she knows

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    @Leighann, And thanks for making me do the ugly cry. I LOVE YOU LEIGHANN. I am always here for my PPD mamas, that I admire and feel fiercely protective of.

    [Reply]

  • Two ladies I respect and read.
    But wondering, do these rules apply to those of us with 17 year olds and no PPD? Because there are days… (more than I care to admit)

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    @Ally, THe feeling is mutual. I love my PPD mamas. Ferociously. You all: AWESOME kickass badass dudes.

    [Reply]

  • Too bad I didn’t have this list at my darkest. I dumped on far too many people, just begging someone, anyone to save me. It’s a really hard place to be in. But I think we’re all stronger for it. hugs to you both

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    @Motherhood on the Rocks, It is a really hard place to be in is an understatement, beautiful lady.

    It almost killed me.

    Love you.

    xo

    [Reply]

    Motherhood on the Rocks Reply:

    @Alexandra, Me too. hugs

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    @Motherhood on the Rocks, xo

  • I love you, Alexandra. But you know that.

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    @Katie, Forever PPD warrior bounded hearts. xo

    [Reply]

  • Love the part about practicing smiling in the mirror! Too funny…and true!

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    @Sanstrousers, Laugh now but I really did it.

    That mirror was my friend: how I found out to ixnay the red lipstick psycho look.

    [Reply]

  • Yuz

    Thanks for the laugh!
    I always found sounding overly happy & excited would put people off. It’s the other end of the crazy spectrum!!!!

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    @Yuz, That which doesn’t kill you, makes you funnier.

    My PPD almost killed me. Why I will NEVER take my PPD button down. It was 17 years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday.

    With a community, we can survive it. LOVE THE #PPD hashtag.

    [Reply]

  • This post and all the comments made me feel safe in a happy loving environment! Thank you

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    @Nikky44, Aw, sweet Nikky. Can you get on twitter? We’re all behavingness on Kim’s post, but on twitter? #PPD mamas are naughty. And fun. And bring smiles and pass the time and give a shoulder and hugs all around.

    Can you get on twitter? IT WILL MAKE YOUR WORLD SO MUCH ASTOUNDINGLY LESS LONELY ANd GIVE YOU STRENGTH.

    [Reply]

    Nikky44 Reply:

    @Alexandra, Thank you Alexandra!! Yes I am on twitter it’s Nikkyy44 :)
    Thank you <3

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    @Nikky44, Just tried to find you on twitter to follow, can’t see you. Where are you???

  • My love for Emp dates way back to my early blogging days.

    Love you both in fact.

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    @Lady Jennie, Me with you, also. Can’t wait to just sit and chat when we meet. Your blog is a place of truth, down to earthness, and just being in the moment. I love visiting you.

    [Reply]

  • I love the blogosphere for many reasons, most of all because we don’t have to be alone anymore. I know that I’m not the only one suffering. Keep spreading the love (and the awareness), ladies.

    Also, I really am growing to hate that question “how are you?” even though it’s completely ingrained in our collective psyche and it would be rude not to ask it, what’s the point of formalities anymore? When will we get over them?

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    @Lucy, *highf8ve* Me and you both. ONly ask if you really care, otherwise: just say Hey.

    xo

    GOOD TO SEE YOU!!

    [Reply]

  • seriously empress you are taking all the fun out of traumatizing those brave enough to ask me how my day is going…if they would just wait until one cup of coffee is down it would be ok…smiles.

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    @brian miller, B, I don’t believe you.

    But, those of us with blogs, I think fare better, right?

    WE’ve got our peeps.

    How was your weekend? Never mind, on my way to check it out.

    xo

    [Reply]

  • Great post. I wish I knew you when I was drowning.

    But I know you now, so that makes up for it.

    XOXO

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    @Suniverse, Sweet Suni: don’t make me cry.

    Yes, I wish I knew all of you here, when I spent my first 3 years in this small town where people would get up and move away from me if I sat next to them at the park.

    Dark, dark days: how I made it through reminds me of just how strong I am.

    I love you.

    [Reply]

  • Love The Empress – and yes..The Twitter is a temporary safe place. xo

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    @tracy@sellabitmum, Right, T? What would we do without our twitter: where people who like us are there??

    xo

    [Reply]

  • two awesome kick ass amazing beautiful women in one place?

    I’m not sure how to conduct myself.

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    @MommaKiss, The way you always do: irreverently and soooo kitten with a whip.

    xo

    [Reply]

    MommaKiss Reply:

    @Alexandra, kitten and with a whip.

    oh yes.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly Reply:

    @MommaKiss, Go ahead…say the p word…

    [Reply]

    MommaKiss Reply:

    @Kimberly, pretty?
    pooped?
    purple?
    peen?
    there are so many options!

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    @MommaKiss, Oh, she IS SO NAUGHTY!!!

  • This post is a rare gem. All new moms should get it in their in box. Just in case.

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    @Maggie S., Sweet thing, how I miss you. xo

    [Reply]

  • This is great, Alexandra. You and Kimberly, and the rest of the Army, are the best support system there is. Just knowing you guys are there gives all of us comfort. Even those who have never been diagnosed but have lived through our own dark moments.

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    @Natalie @MamaTrack, We stand a chance, as long as we have ONE person to hold our hand and say, I KNOW.

    xo

    [Reply]

  • Hooray for laughter and friendship and all of the goodness that the two of you bring – together.

    xo

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    @Galit Breen, Right, Galit? TO just have one person at the ready, who will listen and not judge, but just love.

    So right.

    xo

    [Reply]

  • The Empress rules! I can’t imagine a nicer, more supportive shoulder – no matter what a person is struggling with.

    I’m proud to call her my friend.

    XOXO

    A.

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    @Anna Lefler, I am so lucky with the people I’ve met. The good people I’ve met, that have saved my life. (no small thing)

    Thank you so much, Anna. xo

    [Reply]

  • ed

    informative and oh so funny:)

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    @ed, Ed, you are a light in my life. You need to know this.

    [Reply]

  • I want to fly over there and taptaptap all the meanies who moved away from you on park benches and ask them WTF? Just reading that makes my chest tighten. Your advice is great, and will work for depression too, I think. I’m going to try to remember the 2 second rule for squeaking out a response, because you’re right. Any longer and the eyes well up and the truth threatens to spill over where it’ll just make a big ugly puddle for people to step around as they flee.

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    @KABLOOEY, Kablooey: right. right.right. I remember those sad, sad days: so desperate for someone to talk to, and just only being able to look at people and barely squeak out a syllable.

    Days I’ll never forget, and never want anyone to try and live through alone.

    xo

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    @KABLOOEY, Also, pssst: what is taptaptap secret code for?

    Like wipe them out? Yeah? Then yes, by all means …taptaptap.

    [Reply]

  • Ed: we have a perfect relationship: you bring spark back to my imagination, and I make you laugh.

    So happy….

    [Reply]

  • This is exactly the kind of thing I point to when people criticize twitter or the internet as a waste of time. Sure, there is silliness out there, but there are real people who form real and helpful and needed communities. Didn’t know about that hashtag. Amazing.

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    @Nina, Yes. The power of the hashtag, the power of the tweeted out post.

    The power of the internet to those of us who barely struggle through, one hour at a time. Thank you for your kind words, Nina. They mean a lot.

    [Reply]

  • I don’t know how I missed this post last week, but I LOVE (and need) the reminder that we NEVER know what is going on in someone else’s life, mind, heart at any given moment…

    A smile, a kind word, a nod, understanding.
    That’s all any of us wants at the end of the day.

    Okay, maybe a hug and a glass of wine, too.

    And Kim – your intro about your guest post flop made my throat sting because I’ve been there. With the “refresh button” and the sinking feeling in my stomach. Your honesty always gets me in the gut…

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    @julie gardner, Kim is so easy to love.

    So honest and ready to say anything, if it helps someone else.

    Really. I love her.

    And I’ve come to love you, too, Julie.

    Thanks for being so kind.

    [Reply]

  • I’m so incredibly happy you found Empress when you did. If there’s anyone out there who can provide an ear, a shoulder, and will let you sit down for a good cry, it’s her.

    Lovely to see you both good bloggy friends :)

    [Reply]

    Alexandra Reply:

    @Charlotte, Sweet Charlotte: I love that I know you. Will you be at BlogHer this year?? I would love it.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly Reply:

    @Charlotte, I seriously honestly needed her at that exact moment in my life. Love her.

    [Reply]

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