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Arnebya

Wait, weight?

How do you handle stress? I used to thrive in the workplace that seemed to be going under at any minute — all the activity, the busyness, the get ‘er done. Now? I am cowering at the idea of not finishing a project, ready to run from the office screaming if I haven’t finished something by a promised deadline.

I’m usually a stress non-eater, but lately, that’s been changing.

Remember this post from 2013? I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. In it I lamented being thin. In the four years since writing that, I’ve gained about 15 pounds. My clothes don’t fit. I’m going up sizes at stores I’ve shopped at since my early 20s. I’m both enjoying and hating it. I’m enjoying it because I still often feel like I’m pretending to be a woman because I’m not curvier. I’m hating it because the weight isn’t going where I want it to and because I sometimes don’t pay attention and my girls’ tinier-butted underwear gets mixed in with mine and when I can’t get them on I get mad because did I get bigger overnight? No, you’re just a dumbdumb. Take off your kid’s drawers.

It’s interesting, this slow progression of how I feel about gaining weight, how I was so determined and then eventually started shouting, “NO!” It’s not listening.

I started riding my bike to and from work a few times back in the summer in an attempt to be healthier overall, but to ultimately get a hold on what I considered Facegate: The Continued Efforts of My Face to Balloon Out. Oh, sure, people say they can’t see it, but I can see it, so just agree with me and let me try to reverse the root someone has obviously put on me. I wonder if someone has a voodoo doll of me. I’m generally a nice person, but who knows how others feel. There could be some ridiculously jealous person who is inserting a tire pump into the face of doll me and injecting air.

Oh, shut up; I know it’s what I eat and drink because Facegate is also, strangely, (insert ominous music) Stomachgate.

I enjoyed riding the bike, but I didn’t do it as often as one would think to show that I liked it. It was so freeing and I loved how people considered it edgy. Um, it’s just seven miles one way and mostly downhill in the morning, but OK. I’ll take your kudos because that downhill switches to uphill come time to return and the last hill is menacing as hell. I used to hear voices whisper from the woods: you’re never going to make it up that hill. Throw the bike into traffic and go eat some fries.

I stopped riding because I convinced myself it was getting too cold (that was true, just not when I started telling myself it was true). I am making other healthier choices, though, and I hope to start some sort of exercise class soon. I can’t wait for Face and Stomachgates: The Reversal.

I refuse to buy new pants.

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Games

Do you have games on your phone? Are they yours or your kids’? When I first got an iPhone (was it a 3G? I have a 6Plus now and maybe a 4 in between?) I was determined to keep the apps to one page. Am I misremembering? Was that a thing with the 3G? Or did it not kick in until the 4? I can’t remember. All I know is that I liked not seeming like everyone else with a multitude of apps having to scroll screen to screen.

I have five pages to scroll through now. I blame the third grader.

Of the five pages, I was only using stuff on one and two, at first. The rest are Apple-provided things I can’t delete (but should maybe group into one space labeled Stuff I Don’t Use) and games. His games. And then somehow he moved my three games — THREE GAMES I PLAY — to random places. So the main game I play is Ruzzle. It’s on the first page still. It’s a word search game that I could genuinely play for hours a day. Perhaps I have. Ruzzle is the only game I have ever bought. Everything else is free and if there’s a paid version, I don’t care.

Next is Seekers Notes and it’s quickly becoming more addictive than Ruzzle. It’ll never beat it, though, because it goes off of energy. Each time I play it decreases energy, so I play it sparingly because again, not paying anything. (Seekers Notes is free but you can buy energy through the game. Nope. I’ll just wait six hours for it to regenerate, thanks.) This game is about finding hidden objects. The Post used to have a page of games on Sundays’ physical newspaper ooooh where you had to spot the difference in one and the other you had to find hidden objects. I loved them. I have no idea if they still do that because physical papers. Next you’re gonna tell me your paper boys aren’t grown ass men in Hyundais hurling papers in the rain that aren’t even in a plastic sleeve.

The last game is Wordalot. My coworker turned me on to this one. You have to solve the crossword based off of a photo. I play that one mainly on the subway because it makes it easier to pass the time if I don’t have my book.

The boy has basketball and football and minions and Pokemon and Piano Tiles and Rolling Sky and Dancing Line and Mr. Jump and Tap Tap Dash and OK K.O. and more And I have three games. Three. I wonder if he knows it’s my phone.

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(Say nothing about the emails. I deleted a lot back in the summer and then I don’t know what happened — again — but if you’re not going to help me, Gladys, stop looking at me like that.)

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Knowing It Gets Easier Doesn’t Make It Easier RIGHT NOW

Listen. My oldest child is 16. I know mom guilt wanes over time, but does it ever fully go away? The guilt I have with her is way different from what I have with the 8-year-old, but it’s still there. It’s still there. We went to a college fair over the weekend and realizing how far behind we are with applications and scholarships and knowledge, I feel bad. I went to the 14-year-old’s parent teacher conferences last Friday. She’s not doing well. I feel guilt at noticing she might be struggling, but I didn’t think it was as bad as it is. I mean, I looked at the progress report and said meh, it’s her first semester in high school; there’re things to get used to. But no. She needs help, now. And I feel bad because why didn’t I act sooner?

The guilt lessens as they age, usually, but it’s still there. And I’m still in a season of feeling it pretty regularly with the boy.

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I was able to pick him up from school today, something I don’t do because I’m normally at work and he gets out at 3;15. He saw me and left his friends, bounded down the stairs, and flung himself into my arms like he used to do in kindergarten or first grade but certainly not since he’s far too old at eight to do such. People will see! He looked up at me and said, “This is a nice surprise! It’s been so long since you picked me up.” And my heart splintered and broke off with pieces going into my lungs so that it was hard to breathe and I stayed quiet and nodded and smiled but I couldn’t speak because I would have wailed.

I waved to his teacher. I waved to one of the girls’ former teachers. And then I waved to a parent and she looked at me like I was naked on the sidewalk. I thought I was used to this, the looks I get when I’m at his school unexpectedly. I haven’t determined yet if people think we divorced and share custody or if I’m just too high and lazy to show up more often. My husband drops him off. He picks him up on days he doesn’t have after care. He goes to the PTA meetings if they’re on a Tuesday or Thursday when I’m teaching. He’s on one of the school’s commissions. He’s in charge of the marquee that he won’t make read WINTER IS COMING. The students and parents and faculty see him regularly. Then they see me and look shocked. I love that he’s this involved. I didn’t abandon them, Pat.

I know it gets easier and these feelings aren’t always there anyway. I know I don’t owe anyone any explanation about why I’m not around more, why THEY don’t see me. It doesn’t matter; the kids see me every day. And yet, I still feel guilty about so much that I’m missing and have to get secondhand. I hear about their days most days after they’ve already given the synopsis once. He had to remind me the other day which days he has after care because I forgot. I sent one to school today after she said she didn’t feel well; she had to get off the train before her stop to throw up. Picture day came and went for one. We can’t afford the oldest’s birthday in New York. Don’t get me started on the guilt of financial lack. We’d be here forever and ever, amen.

I know we tend to only feel guilty about the things we care about (seriously; I feel zero guilt over not finishing something at work). Weirdly, knowing that seems to make it that much harder to feel less guilty.