Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!

fightingjerryspringercats

I can’t help myself. It all started when I had my daughter. I’m more of a Netflix type of girl, but those first few months with a newborn were rough and I was desperate to put anything on the TV to keep me awake.

Soap opera…flip. Commercial…flip. Daytime talk show with an all women cast…flip. A woman in a wedding gown fighting a stripper over their redneck boyfriend…score!

I don’t have a logical explanation for why I started watching it. It was an awful feeling – one of despair and embarrassment. I felt guilty for watching people degrade themselves in such a manner, but I just couldn’t look away. Maybe, it was the shock value? Maybe, it made me feel better about myself? Or, perhaps it was just the fact that these “guests” reminded me of people I knew. For whatever reason, I continued to watch.

Like most people, I hate humiliation, I even hate watching other people be humiliated, but Jerry made me feel better about it. He sprinkled humor into the foul situations in which these guests became entangled. He’s always so witty. I know it’s a trashy, sleazy show, but every day at noon, I would tune in. It was a surprise every time.

It became an addiction that spiraled out of control. I found myself watching Youtube videos of old episodes. I would try to get my daughter to nap before it came on so I could watch it without disturbance. With my cup of coffee, 5-day old pajamas, and my tangled and barely brushed hair, I would plop on the couch to indulge. I was elated when I heard that introduction. Jerry! Jerry! Jerry! I was disgusted with myself, but I continued anyway.

I never could admit to others that I liked it. I treated it like people treat pornography. Whenever someone walked into the room I would turn the channel quickly or close my laptop. I know that if anyone found out, they would ask me the dreaded question: Why do you watch that crap?

I DON’T KNOW!!!

Finally, the time came for me to stop. Or, so I thought. There was one episode that made me feel so guilty that I actually had trouble sleeping that night. There was an image that to this day, I still can’t forget.

There was a woman who was easily 300 lbs., dressed in a bikini, dancing in a pool of butter. Yes, you read that right. She told this guy, whom she slept with once, that she would do anything to have him again; she would dance for him. They brought out a plastic pool filled with sticks of butter and she just swayed in the pool. The guy’s fiance came on stage to confront the man, and while this was happening, the girl just danced in the background. Falling and swaying, falling and swaying. As time went on it got worse. She spent more time standing back up than anything else. You can see the look in her eyes as the audience just kept laughing. I did not find it funny. Why would she subject herself to such ridicule? Why would she humiliate herself on live television? It was one of the saddest things I ever watched. That’s it Jerry, you went too far!

I went through withdrawals for about a week, choosing to watch random picks on Netflix instead. But, one day I was surfing Youtube and for my suggested videos, I saw it. There it was, right in front of me. The temptation was too much and I clicked it. A woman was yelling at another woman and her dentures fell out onto the stage. (Go ahead and Google it) I don’t know why I laughed, but it was hilarious. And just like that, I fell off the wagon.

However, today is definitely the day I stop. My now 18 month old daughter was playing in the living room. I never let her watch Jerry Springer, but I know that she has heard it from the playroom from time-to-time. As she was singing happily to her stuffed animal, the introduction to the show came on. When it went to a commercial, I faintly heard my baby girl say, “Jerry, Jerry, Jerry”.

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Maybe, it’s because I’m Blonde?

grenade

 

Maybe, it’s because I’m blonde?

Nah!

It’s actually because there is a broken circuit in my mind somewhere that makes me do some really stupid stuff. I don’t just mean stupid as in putting a fork in the freezer or forgetting that I let the dog out an hour ago. I mean stupid, as in the dictionary definition of it.

a :  slow of mind

b :  given to unintelligent decisions or acts :  acting in an unintelligent or careless manner

c :  lacking intelligence or reason 

I know, it seems a bit harsh to be admitting to the world that I am, indeed, quite air-headed at times. I am a college graduate, yet can sometimes make worse decisions that a toddler. I know that the color of my hair matters very little in my decision making skills, but damn, can’t I just hang on to that excuse for just a little while longer?

Alright folks, I’ll relieve the suspense. So, what on Earth could I have done to warrant such a self-proclaiming lack of intelligence? Well…let’s begin with small stuff.

  • The very first month I started dating my boyfriend, I asked him to help me carry a couple baskets of clothes into the laundry room downstairs. Being the gentleman that he is, he obliged with no complaints. After my laundry tasks were complete, I opened up the bottle of liquid fabric softener (to be clear, I have never used it in my life until this point) and poured some into the cap. I then proceeded to empty the fabric softener into…here’s the kicker…the DRYER. My boyfriend looked appalled. “You realize you put that in the dryer, right?” he asked confusingly. “Yea.” I replied in a quick moment of panic. Although, I was a liquid fabric softener virgin, I tried to come up with a firm, unyielding reply. “I do it all the time.” He laughed, I laughed, but while I laughed I realized that I never read the back of the bottle. How could anyone in their right mind believe that this was the normal way to use this item? Well, I guess that’s the type of thing that happens when you’re me.

Thankfully, my boyfriend stuck around. For at least a good 15 minutes, I sat in the living room, face burning like wildfire, reading the back of the bottle. I was clearly, very, very wrong.

It’s sad to say that the fabric softener incident was just a few drops of water in the stupidity bucket. You might be thinking, “Well, Rhonda, it probably doesn’t get much worse than that!” But, it does. It really does.

  • One day I stopped at my local pet store to buy a bag of dog food. After lugging the heavy bag to the register, my stomach started rumbling–my lack of eating throughout the day was getting the best of me. I was starving! As the lady was ringing me out, I noticed a beautiful, delightfully decorated basket at the end of the line. Freshly made Buckeyes! 50 cents a piece! All proceeds went to the local animal shelters. I love Buckeyes! There they were, staring me down with their peanut butter and chocolate elegance, I was a sucker and bought four of them. I was so hungry that I put my bag of dog food in the back of my car and reached in the bag. The Buckeyes were huge, just glaring back at me, daring me to take a bite. Before I even made it to my seat in the car, I took one big bite and chewed…and chewed…and chewed. How odd. It was grainy, kind of tasteless, but it did not register in my mind that it might be a dog treat. For a split second I even thought that maybe this was some strange adaptation of the classic treat. It took at least one more chew before I spit it out. Yes folks, I ate half of a homemade dog treat. Damn you pet store, damn you…

Now, you might be laughing, or you might be grossed out. You might even be sitting behind your computer screen wondering why I would share these embarrassing moments with the world. Well, this year for New Year’s I’ve decided that I need to work on being more myself. I want to stop feeling all of that pressure to hide the parts of my personality that are actually quintessential to my being, whether I like it or not.

Maybe, I do some of theses things because I’m blonde. But, realistically I do these things because at times, I’m stupid. Going back to the definition:

a :  slow of mind   I was certainly slow about realizing that the Buckeye was not for human consumption. Remember, I chewed it several times.

b :  given to unintelligent decisions or acts :  acting in an unintelligent or careless manner – I was in a hurry to do laundry. I didn’t even read the instructions before I dumped it all over my freshly washed clothes. (unintelligible decision or act and careless manner)

c :  lacking intelligence or reason – I have no idea why I do this stuff. Just to remind you, these are only 2 of many, many stories. (Lack of reason)

I think that all of us can be stupid from time to time, but I also think that some of us show it more than others 😉

 

 

 

 

Confessions of a First Time Pregnant Woman

 

Truth!

Truth!

 

Confessions of a First Time Pregnant (and Big-Boned) Girl:

When you’re pregnant, everyone tells you about their experience with pregnancy.  Some people hardly change  their daily routine, while others  change their entire world. Some women barely gain any weight, while others gain way too much. When I found out I was pregnant, it was a shocker! I was 28, in the middle of college. When I first found out, I lived in a one bedroom apartment and drove a beat up 97 Hyundai Elantra. How was I going to handle this? Will my relationship with Ric survive this? We had been together, but we weren’t even thinking about living together yet.

Needless to say, for the first few months that followed, I was utterly depressed. So much so, that I neglected myself and my body in a way that I didn’t even know existed. I was constantly overeating. By the end of my pregnancy, I had gained 70 lbs. The reason for this post is certainly  not to shame anyone, but it’s  meant to bring awareness to a part of pregnancy that so few people talk about. If you find yourself in  this situation, remember that you are not alone and you will get through it.

The first thing I should’ve done was look at my family history. I come from a line of big-boned women. When the women in my family get pregnant, they really get big. Odds are, I would get big too, and I did.

Confession #1: Eating and Exercising

My life in a nutshell.

My life in a nutshell.

My average weight has always been between 145-165 lbs. Up until I became pregnant, I was pretty ok with this. I was no model, but I enjoyed having curves; I relished in the fact that I could eat ALMOST anything I wanted when I wanted it as long as I walked it off later. Since I loved the outdoors and had an active dog, it was easy to indulge in a few hours of hiking, walking, and climbing a few days a week.  When I found out I was expecting it did not dawn on me that I will not have the energy to do these things anymore. Instead, I continued my gluttonous ways.

Most people tried to make you feel better about eating and gaining weight during these 10 months. It’s so easy for everyone to say that it’s ok to eat whatever you want…after all, you ARE pregnant, you’re eating for two. And, I won’t lie, you do feel so much better after you’ve eaten your second hot fudge sundae from Handel’s, but it’s important to remember that there will be a very dear price to pay. Once you’re pregnant, you’re not supposed to lose weight. So whatever pounds you pack on, stay there until the end. If you must binge eat, you better enjoy whatever it is to the fullest extent because I promise you, you will look at the after effects for many, many months to come.

In the mean time, here are a few uncomfortable truths:

  • Women who are pregnant and can still find time and energy to exercise will unintentionally make you feel bad about yourself. You will secretly hate yourself  more than you ever have before. But, you know what, that’s ok. While their exercising, go get yourself another hot fudge sundae…that will make you feel better…for today.
  • For the first 5 months of my pregnancy I watched my motivation walk right out the door. I would still walk my dog but the trips were always cut short…shorter and shorter each time. I then found myself making the excuse that it’s too cold, it’s too dark, it’s too much…movement? The baby was clearly telling me that she was tired. Sadie would have to wait until tomorrow to go to the park. I then got so lazy that I would just put my dog in the front yard and throw the frisbee to her. The poor girl would then bring it back to me in anticipation of our old, fun game of “run around the yard”, just to find out that I wouldn’t budge. She, too, lost interest and began finding it more fun to chase the squirrels.

 

Confession #2: The Social Life

As with any life-altering event, you can’t help but worry that all of those people that filled your life with joy and excitement might not stick around during those 10 months of mood swings and fragility. Although it’s a rite-of-passage to handle most of this time alone with your significant other, it still stings a little to feel left out from the fun circle you used to be a part of. The worst of which is entirely your fault, not theirs. It was just so hard to find the energy! Why is it impossible to have the same social life pre-pregnancy versus during? Well…

  • Nothing will go according to plan. You will plan to still have a social life…until you get home from work and realize that every ounce of you just wants to fall over and nap. That’s ok though, because you will just nap for a little while and then you can go visit your friends. Oh…oops, accidently sleeping four hours longer than expected can ruin your whole day. It’s totally fine though, your friends love you enough to understand and you can always go visit tomorrow.
  • It’s no big deal to go to your friend’s going away or graduation party pregnant. So what if everyone else is enjoying their delicious alcoholic beverages, smoking their luxurious cigarettes that you had to give up or dancing their asses off on the dance floor? You can still enjoy good company from the comfort of your table, where you can prop up your swollen feet, eat a second plate of food, and reminisce about how fun it was when you were able to do those things. And I’m not going to lie, at the point of said reminiscing, you will start to panic because honestly, your life is about to change FOREVER. All that fun that you used to have will be gone and replaced with all of the “joys” of parenting. It’s ok if at this time you wonder “How in the hell am I going to get through this?”
  • Your loyal friends will understand and do the best they can to keep you up to speed on the important moments of their life. Just a small piece of advice to anyone who is a friend to a pregnant woman—please share whatever details of your life you want. It’s almost like a soap opera that we get to enjoy from a distance. We might not be able to go to that concert with you, but it’s really fun hearing about the details…believe it or not, that is not sarcasm, it’s the truth.

 

Confession #3: Confidence, Identity, and Maternity Wear

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You will never appreciate your old body as much as you will after your first pregnancy. I was never one of those girls to wear sundresses, skirts, or even shorts for that matter, but being pregnant has changed my perspective.

  • On your way to Handel’s Ice Cream, I mean…the fresh produce market, (yea that’s it) you realize that your clothes are starting to feel really tight. After you eat (those fresh fruits and vegetables of course), you head to the store, only to find that nothing in the store fits you! Nothing will make you more depressed than looking at your large, stretched out body in a full-length mirror while you try on adorable clothes that in no way fit your enlarged legs or gigantic baby bump.
  • When you leave two or three stores in defeat, it’s incredible just how guilt free you feel while stopping at McDonald’s to get that large fry and Frappuccino. After all, it’s too late anyway. You might as well consider wearing a moo-moo.
  • Expecting a baby can be so beautiful when it comes to family. If you’re as lucky as me and my significant other are, then your family will be over the moon with excitement. Pictures will be snapped at every visit, perky conversation about names and baby themes will engulf the room, and everyone will rub your belly like they expect a genie to pop out. It’s all so beautiful until you see yourself plastered all over Facebook and realize that you’re huge! Most times, I had to do a double take to make sure that it was really me. It is at this moment that you realize how much you love your significant other. If you’re with a great guy, he will have managed to make you feel beautiful and sexy even though you have CLEARLY changed. This is both a blessing and a curse as you will now go throughout the rest of the pregnancy knowing that he is just trying to make you feel good. But honestly, sometimes that’s all you need.

 

 

Confession #4: The Body

How I loathe you heartburn!

How I loathe you heartburn!

 

It’s ok to cry when you look in the mirror. I know that sounds so dramatic, but there are only so many times that you can hear the phrase “Oh honey, you’re pregnant,” before you go bat shit crazy.

It started with a few small stretch marks that turned into a lot of stretch marks. At least they were only on my legs…and my belly…and my arms…and my chest…

Next cane the the cellulite, jiggling its way to every curve I once loved.

To top it off, the constant nauseau, gas, and bloating ruines any chance of even wanting to wear make-up or fix my hair.

Besides all of that, there were some serious consequences to gaining so much weight so fast:

  • Gaining so much weight can really put a lot of pressure on your joints. Bending down was excruciating.
  • My feet had been so swollen that when you presses on my “cankle”, the indent stayed there. The doctor checked for serious problems and I was fine, but I was clearly retaining a LOT of water.
  • There is such a thing as Pregnancy Induced Carpal Tunnel—it feels like both of your wrists have been shattered.
  • There were days where I felt so weak that I literally had to have Ric roll me out of bed.

 

Confession #5: The Relationship  

cartoon

You will never know the extent of a man’s love until he has had to deal with his pregnant significant other. After working all day, they literally come home to a second full-time job in which there is no way to train for the months to come. If you have a good man, he will recognize that this is tough on you and he will do what he can to walk through this process with you.

  • When I first met my love, I did all that I could to wear sexy, fitting clothes. Now, I wear nightgowns, yoga pants and hoodies, yet he never failed to tell me that I was the most beautiful woman on the planet. Hey, I knew it was bullshit, but knowing what to say at the right time is half the battle.
  • I’ll never forget the day I cried in the department store because I couldn’t find a bra that fit. My ribs were sore, my clothes were too small and I felt so insecure. Ric made me pick out several maternity outfits to try on. When I came out of the dressing room, he was speaking with an older woman who was an employee there…they were talking about maternity bras. My heart melted.
  • Many people will say that pregnancy will make or break a relationship, and I can see why that might be true. I’m thankful that we were strong enough and loved each other enough to get through the rough spots and enjoy the perks. There is nothing sexier than a man who can physically, emotionally, and financially take care of his family.

 

Conclusion

In the end, nothing else will matter once you hold your baby in your arms for the first time. All of the worrying, stress, and pains of the human body fade away when you see their tiny little fingers and toes wiggle. I knew that my nights of careless fun and wreckless abandon were behind me and at first I was scared. But I think that God had a reason for making pregnancy take 40 weeks: It gives the parents enough time to adjust to the life-changing situation that is about to occur. I might not be able to do all the things I used to do, but I have a new purpose, one full of love, life, and happiness. Not only do I have this amazing little being to care for, but I also found out so much about my relationship. It truly is a blessing to know that I have a loving partner, who is also an dedicated father, standing by my side. I know that the friends that have stuck by me will be the ones who attend my daughter’s future birthday parties, they will be a huge part of my wedding day, they will always be there and I will forever be grateful.

Pregnancy is the ultimate test: It’s a test of partnership, patience, confidence, friendship, and relationship. If I can survive those 10 months before birth, the rest will turn out alright. Everyone will have their own opinions and ways of handling it, but it’s up to me to make the best of it, but now it’s time to leave the multiple hot fudge sundaes behind.

 

 

Until next time

                     – Rhonda Farabee 

First Time Parenting…I’m Never Going to Sleep Again

funny

Being a first time expectant mother, I think that I have worried about everything under the sun. Sometimes, I lie awake at night wondering if I have the medical expertise to be a nurse to an infant, although I have never taken a medical class in my life. Will I be able to effectively address a boo-boo considering that two years ago I accidently cut my own hand with a knife and needed my mommy to bandage it up for me? How am I going to comfort her when she is getting a shot when I used to be terrified of them as a child?

When I’m not stressing out about finding the perfect detergent that won’t irritate her fragile skin, or finding the best bottle so she won’t have to deal with uncomfortable gas issues, I’m constantly dwelling on her safety. How do I tell her not to climb rocky hills or trees when I loved those things so much when I was a child? Those types of childhood adventures have truly paved the way to the woman I am today.  When I was a kid, I use to go outside to play and by doing so, I found a life-long love of nature that I want to share with my daughter. But how do I do that when such dark, ugly stories of kidnapped children and school shootings seem to plague this world? I wonder how I am supposed to shape and mold this beautiful little human to be resilient yet hopeful.  I want to keep her so safe that nothing can ever harm her, but I also know that sheltering her will hurt her more than help her. How do I teach her to be strong and independent, but still make sure she knows that her father and I will know what’s best?

I think about how I’m going to have the “the talk” with her about the birds and the bees when she is a teenager. How do I make her understand that respecting herself will get her so much further in life than allowing others to take advantage of her because she wants attention? How do I teach her to be kind to others even when others are not so kind to her? How do I tell her that there is a difference between unconditional love and infatuation? I need her to know that her family will always be there for her, even when the boy she likes in school breaks her heart. I want her to know that people’s feelings are important and not something to play with, but I also want her to know that sometimes people will hurt her feelings and it is ok to feel sad about it as long as she remains strong afterwards. There are so many lessons that I will need to teach her, some of them I still haven’t learned myself. These are the things that keep me up at night.

But, at the end of the evening, when my eyes begin to close, a moment of peace overwhelms me. I can’t use any of these worries to foreshadow my parenting. Every mother and father wonder about how they will do when it comes to raising a child. Some succeed and some don’t, some do their best and get the worst and some do their worst and still end up with the best. All I can say it that I will give it my all. At the end of the day, as long as she has two parents who love her so much that they would give their life for her; they would sacrifice themselves for her; they will always protect her, then everything will turn out alright. Her father and I will be lucky, because in many ways we will be raising a child, but in so many more ways, she will be raising us.

Rhonda M. Farabee

Until Next Time!

The Unveiling of a Painted Soul

Water Red Heart

Ever since New Year’s Eve, the entire world around me changed. My family and I had lost one of the most influential people of our lifetime. My grandmother was incredibly strong and damn, was she feisty. I’m pretty sure that she wasn’t afraid of anything. Even if she was, you would never be able to detect it. Even during her last few days with us, when her world was surrounded by concerned loved ones and medical personnel, she was still doing her best to keep us calm.

As crazy as it all was, I’m glad to know that my grandmother is in a better place, and not a day goes by where I don’t feel her spirit in some way. This is why I felt the need for a personal reflection on these past six months. If you have ever lost someone you love, then odds are you’ll understand. A few things I’ve learned from my grandmother:

If they don’t like it, then they don’t have to look: When I was a kid, I had my hair cut really short. One of my aunts was a “practicing beautician” and decided that I should be one of her victims. As I walked around school with my boyish haircut, I would cry because of all the mean comments that the other kids would make. My mother did the best she could to help me through this time, but it was my grandmother’s wisdom that stuck with me. She always reminded me that I don’t have to please other people. In the end, it was how I felt about myself that mattered. This advice has stuck with me to this very day.

You need to find a good man: When my last relationship burned down to the very essence of nothingness, my grandma reminded me that there was still someone out there that would be loyal and loving. Even though I argued that no such person would ever exist, she promised me that he was out there. It wasn’t until two weeks ago, that I looked up at the sky and whispered “Thanks Mom (grandma), it turns out you were right, but then again, you always are.” Through a crazy leap of faith, I found my Prince Charming. He fills my world with so much happiness that I forget what pain feels like. I never thought that would be possible, and I thank God, the spirits and my grandmother every day.

If it happens, it happens, but it always happens for a reason: These words seem so simple, yet they are so profound. You can’t stop certain situations from happening. You can’t stop people from making certain decisions, and you can’t stop acts of fate or destiny. A few months ago, I had a rough patch. My paycheck kept bouncing, my car broke down, people that I grew up with kept unexpectedly dying, and I felt like I was entirely alone. I couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. But, just like everyone else who feels lost and alone, I pushed through. I had to keep living because if I didn’t I would be wasting my life. And although the sadness can cloud our optimism for the future, it’s imperative that we hang on because in the end, it all happens for a reason. If I wasn’t in constant peril about my bounced checks, I never would have become motivated enough to find a new job. If I hadn’t decided to admit to my mistakes and apologize to those I’ve wronged, I never would have found Charming. If I hadn’t lost so many people that I loved and cared for, I never would have been reminded to show love to those who are still here today. We can never predict our future, but we can choose to believe in it.

***This is for my grandma! She inspired me to do better, to be better and she often reminded me that sometimes the best advice was the kind that no one ever listens to. Love you Mom (grandma)! Thank you for watching over all of us!

Yours truly,

Rhonda M. Farabee