How To Feel Small
This will be long. Get a drink. Go pee. Read it in segments. Blow it off because it is too long. Whatever suits ya.
A lot of people do not know that when it comes to my author life, Eric (my husband) is the real brains behind the operation. I write the books and he edits and adds smart stuff to it, but mostly, his job is that he is my marketing jeanyus and all around manager/agent kind of guy. That works out well for me because I get to spend all day, every day, writing and editing and creating and he does the dirty work that causes me to break out in hives of exasperation Perfect arrangement.
He came to me recently, and honestly, it could be yesterday or it could be 3-4 weeks ago, because lately, my life sort of moves in a fog that ultimately results in thoughts like “Oh. All these people are in my house now. It must be a weekend.” Anyway, Eric said to me at some point in the recent past “You really need to update your blog.” In today’s market of modern authorship, you not only have to write a good book or ten or forty, but you also have to be a master of social networking. The advice I first heard was “pick one and get good at it” and my favorite is Facebook, so that is where I live. You can find me there at www.facebook.com/katrinarasbold. I used to be a major blogger, but it got to the point after around 15 years that not only did it feel as though all of my words had been said, but I also had just said them on Facebook, so I would look at my blank blog page and wonder what I should say or re-say and try to remember all I had Facebook’d for the past few weeks.
I recently sat down to post a blog entry, but instead, I did my nails, then baked Nathan’s birthday cake, then showered and dressed for his birthday party that was not for another two hours or so and then frosted and decorated his cake and then went to his party and had a lovely time and now…here we are a week and a half later with me trying again. Part of the problem is that the past couple of months have not been easy, so you get into that that fine line of what you should put out there and what you should keep public. In the past, I have not so much walked that line, as drunkenly stumbled all over it and usually ended up lying face down on it, crying and getting “line” all over my face and clothes. That’s a metaphor, y’all. Just go with it.
My baby of six children just turned fourteen, which more than launches me into the Crone Zone, especially considering that I was already at an age when I gave birth to him that had my father been attempting to marry me off, several goats and possibly some land acreage would have been involved and I am not talking in medieval times, I’m talking now. I love being a Crone and when I recently had my own birthday, people would slyly say those things that they think a woman of “a particular age” wants to hear like, “Oh you’re finally turning twenty-nine again, are you?” or “How does thirty finally look from the other side?” The truth is that I want to claim every single ones of my years not only because I have come so far, but because it has been a hell of a ride. I would not go back for anything in the world unless it could be done with full knowledge of what I now know and the ability to change some key mistakes I made along the way that over-complicated things and hurt people who in no way deserved it. I am always suspicious of people, specifically those who are older, who say, “I would not change a thing if I could.” I always feel like they are not being entirely honest with themselves or with me, one or the other. I have a ton I would change if I could.
It was a good year and even though the past month or so has been positively brutal, the knowledge that it is a formative and rewarding year does not escape me. At the time of this writing, we are firmly embedded in the flow of the Harvest, on the brink of the second Harvest at the Autumnal Equinox. I feel confident that the Universe once again aced me on the planting. For those of you you do not know, each year at the Vernal Equinox in March, I “plant” something to grow in my life that I will harvest in the Fall. I have done this every year for the past sixteen years and it has never once let me down. This year, I had two goals in mind. I wanted a steady income stream for myself and I wanted to lose a healthy amount of weight. I worded it exactly that way, too. In my head, I had no designs on what the first goal would look like when it manifested, but I suspected the second goal was going to involve a somewhere between a hundred and half a hundred fat pounds taking their leave from me, depending on whether I got into an “average” body build or into my high school body build.
Oh Universe… you sneaky bugger, you.
The first part manifested beautifully, although I have not yet seen the fruits of my labor. They will come sometime in October. Wanting an income stream for myself is not a luxury to feed my ego and give me shopping money and fine cocaine to sneeze off of the mirror. It is a necessity for survival. At the beginning of Harvest, I had written three books that I self-published, Leaving Kentucky in the Broad Daylight (my autobiography up until I left Kentucky in 1978), Energy Magic ( a book about the properties of personal energy and Divine energy and how to use both to achieve positive life change), and CUSP, which I wrote with Eric (a book that provides a year long framework for creating long-term positive life change). At that time, I had sold a handful of each of the books, primarily at our two major festivals in Sacramento.
After a lot of hard work and twelve to eighteen hour days at the keyboard, I now have fifteen books published on Amazon.com and they are doing quite well. In fact, Energy Magic has consistently remained a number one best seller in Paganism on Amazon and not just among e-books, but among books. That is all very exciting to me. I have helped launch several other new, very promising writers and that is exciting as well. I am in the process of writing a very wonderful fiction series that is so good I can’t wait to see what happens next. It is sort of writing itself.
I am at last living the life I always wanted to live as a professional author. If you want to see the books I have written, you can go to www.rasboldink.com and see a list. When I first began publishing on Amazon, Eric got very, very excited and wanted to be a part of it. Until then, he had only helped out with CUSP. He went through most of the books I wrote and added some wise words here and there, so I added him as a co-author because he made the books tighter and better than they had been before. At first, I was resistant to this. Ego made me want to keep it all for myself and have it be something I accomplished on my own. I did not want to share the spotlight with him. At first, I also felt a nudge of resentment of, “Do you have to have your hands in every single thing I do?” Almost instantly, I realized that these were self-defeating and selfish ideas. The Energy Magic movement was something that we started together sixteen years ago and of course we should share it. Also, because of California’s community property laws, if we divorced, he would get half of my fabulous author wealth anyway, so why not put him to work? As it turned out, and I mentioned this at the beginning of this entry, he had a flair for marketing and loves to do that part, so letting go of my ego and small-mindedness and small spirit-ness benefited me greatly. I know the books are more successful because of his efforts and I also know that if I had said to him, “You know, I really want this to just be mine,” he would have backed off immediately. I also know he would have always wondered how much more successful it would have been if he had been involved, regardless of how successful it actually was. My point is it all worked out and the book thing is going well. I hope to continue it for a very long time because in March when I did my planting, I really felt like those three books were all I had in me. This is highly indicative of how The Universe works: It shows you how strong and how deep you really are when you had no clue.
I did not have the tremendous success with the “losing a healthy amount of weight” as I envisioned, but I did have success. I lost a total of twenty-two pounds and I learned exactly what I have to do to allow my body to lose weight in a healthy and regulated way. I just have not done all of those things. There are a lot of reasons why. I am happy with my weight loss and I feel wonderful. I have had some tremendous emotional revelations and that has been extremely valuable. I learned how to dress and wear make up for my body type and for the image I want to project. I gained tremendous self-esteem and I feel really, really good. Most of the time, I eat incredibly well and I am working more on the exercise. It is a process.
The biggest challenge is the lack of coping strategies. I do not drink, don’t smoke, don’t gamble, don’t compulsively shop, don’t whore around, and I don’t ride the drama train. My thrill seeking and comforting is limited to good food. I have not over-indulged lately. That is not the problem. I do not binge eat and I do not purge and I do not compulsively eat anymore. The problem is that in order to lose rather than just maintain the previous loss, I have to work at it aggressively, 24/7, and give it everything I’ve got. If I eat healthy and have very moderately sized portions, I will maintain the weight I am now. Losing involves more aggressive measures.
My other big challenge in this is that I love myself and do not have the self-loathing that seems to motivate a lot of people. I’ve heard people say they would kill themselves if they weighted 150 and anytime they get above 130 or so, they go apeshit making sure that weight goes away and have a tremendously negative opinion of themselves until it is gone. I, on the other hand, think I am gorgeous and exciting and vibrant and fun. Alone, I would not likely think much about weight loss, but would instead, focus on the eating and exercise habits that make me feel my best physically. I know that to be lots of vegetables, lots of lean protein, and minimal white things. Since I did Carolyn’s induction diet back in April, I am comfortable eating that way and it is my baseline. The biggest challenge for me is not the loss of candy or cookies or fried things. It’s not even potatoes, which I used to love and now just taste sticky and starchy and gross to me. It’s soft drinks, sodas, etc. I have completely given up on all artificial sweetener, so when I have one, it’s the real deal. I work hard to keep that at a minimum and usually have iced tea or water. I very, very rarely drink juice anymore. During my emotionally challenging times, it has lately been the soft drinks that do me in. As soon as I have one, I blow up like a balloon and look like I should be floating over the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade with 9-10 burly men holding me down with ropes. No one has to convince me that I have to let it go. I’m just not ready yet and there isn’t really anything anyone can say to make me ready. It has to come from inside. I have already made so many positive life changes this year in regard to nutrition and I know this one will come as well. It’s just not there yet. Inevitably, when I post something like this, I get a lot of well-meaning comments and emails telling me about the poison I am drinking and the damage I am doing and why I should stop immediately. I am confident that we all have things in our life we should stop doing immediately. I get that.
A little over a week ago, I made the mistake of confiding to Eric, in the midst of our latest huge emotional issue, that for my Harvest this year, I had already harvested a ton of self-esteem, the knowledge of how to dress to look my best, and the skills to lose the weight, plus the twenty-plus pound weight loss and since what I had specifically planted was to “lose a healthy amount of weight,” I was going to give myself some time off of having weight loss as my primary focus. I would still eat healthily and still exercise, but I wanted a break from having to focus on it all the time.
I should have never said a word because he lost his shit. There was a week long conflict about how my excess weight impacts him and the family, how I am presenting myself as an Energy Magic visionary and I have to look the part, how I have let him down, how I have an air of failure about me because of my continued lack of success in this area, how there is something fundamentally broken inside me because I have not lost the weight, etc. (All mostly paraphrased.) Despite many previous conversations of this ilk, I totally did not see this coming. I thought he and I were in a different place and wow, did I get blindsided. There was a time when I would cry and promise and beg and dissolve into a big puddle of self-hatred, but I have come so far since then and now I just get frustrated with him, which does not help the situation. I try to look at him and see the pain and disappointment he is working hard to manage and sometimes, the hurt just takes over and all I see is “douche canoe,” which does not lend to a successful and happy marriage in those moments. He will readily admit that in all other respects, I am an awesome wife, but this one thing just drives him nuts and sometimes, it overtakes him. Likewise, I will readily admit that in all other respects, he is an awesome husband, but this one thing really irritates me.
As anyone who has ever lost a significant amount of weight will tell you, you can’t do it for someone else; you have to do it for you and you have to do it when you are ready. I do not feel that my planting was in vain and honestly, if I had not told him that I wanted to take a break from having weight loss be a major focus for me, he likely would never have known. I learned so much this year about how my body responds to food and exercise and really fine-tuned what it is I need to do. I lost a lot of unhealthy nutritional habits and I know they are gone for good. I can feel the finality of it. I am fully engaged in the ongoing process. I just wanted a month or so without the goal in my immediate crosshairs so that attention could go elsewhere for a while.
Seeing his extreme reaction, I did not take the break I planned and got right back onto the boat again just to preserve peace in the family. This did nothing to really abate the tension, which eventually worked itself out for the most part, but I am still processing some of the lessons from this experience. In life and even when you are married to a good person, there will always be times that, well, suck. The trick is to not let them define you, to clearly separate what is your shit and what is their shit, and to not take any of their shit. 😉
On top of that, there’s the whole other crap that goes on part.
I told you this would be long. Part of it is because it gets to the point that the stuff is too hard to talk about and like I said, you hit that line of whether to keep it in or let it out.
My son, Nathan, is the one who turned fourteen a couple of weeks ago. Of my six children, he and Joshua (30) are the thrill seekers and are the ones who kept me on my toes the most. The other four are fairly tame in comparison. Nathan is easily led by friends, although he is greatly improving in that respect. He loves to be popular and we all know how much trouble THAT can get us in, even on the best of days. He also is Mr. Cause and Effect… “What will happen if we do THAT or THAT?”
A year ago last July when he was about to turn thirteen, Nathan let a friend who is a couple of years younger than he is talk him into going up to an “abandoned” house here in Grizzly Flats. A lot of people have second homes up here and there are also a lot of houses that have been foreclosed upon or just left. Of course, a house is never truly abandoned. Someone owns it somewhere down the line. I had encouraged Nathan to be friends with Jon because Jon, by all accounts, had a terrible home life and I thought maybe needed a good family example and a good friend example. :/ Yeah. Anyway, just before Burger Night one Friday in 2012, Jon and Nathan went up to the “abandoned” house and started screwing around. They broke four windows. Nathan says he broke one and Jon broke three. They discharged a fire extinguisher. They kicked in a shed door and looked around in the shed.
A neighbor near the house heard what was going on and even though she knows me very well (very small town…very), she chose to stand there and use her phone to film the kids and what they were doing rather than jerk Nathan up by his ass and bring him to me. She also chose to come to me after she had already phoned the sheriff and gotten law enforcement involved. Why she thought I would not rectify the situation myself, I cannot imagine. What I would have done was contact the owner, who she knew, and let them know what happened, then have Nathan pay for and perform the repairs with me and Eric. “Nathan, this is how you hang the new door you bought for the shed.” “Nathan, this is how you glaze a window.” If that was not plausible, we could at least choose our own contractors to do the repair work professionally.
Instead, the sheriff came to Burger Night and interviewed the neighbor there and spoke with me and then went to our home and arrested Nathan for vandalism. Once it became legal, we were informed that we were prohibited from contacting the owner in any way.
I have since spoken with many kids in the area who confirmed that “kids go up there all the time and screw around” and the house is rumored in Grizzly Flat Kidland to be abandoned and we have already clarified the “abandoned” issue above but these are kids and they think they know things that they don’t know. The owner came to the house after being informed of what happened and was furious at all of the damage that had been done over the years. He apparently had not been to the house in years and was not aware of what had been transpiring in his absence. According to several people in the area, he swore to “make the parents of these little sons-of-bitches pay.”
Mind you, I am not saying that what my kid did wasn’t wrong and that he wasn’t an idiot for doing it. He was. He was punished severely for a total of six months. I am also not saying that the victim does not have a right to have the damages repaired. He does.
So after this point, we waited since there was little else to legally do. The statute of limitations on this arrest was one year. About eight months into it, a juvenile probation officer contacted us and said we had to meet with him right away, so we dropped everything, including Eric taking time off of work, and went to meet with him the next day. When we arrived, he took us into his office and told us that he could not discuss the case with us at all because it was being referred to the District Attorney due to the “extreme amount of restitution” being demanded by the victim. With nothing accomplished, we went back to wait some more.
Two weeks before the statute of limitations ran out, the same probation officer phoned us again and asked to meet with us. Because Nathan had been under thirteen when the crime was committed, the DA had bounced the case back to the Juvenile Probation department to manage. As it turned out, Nathan and Jon were, as we suspected, being held responsible for any damage that had been done to the property since the owner had last been there. Nathan was sentenced to six month’s of probation, sixteen hours of community service and two days of work project. He was also given a “no contact” order with Jon, which was fine because he had not been allowed to spend time with Jon since the incident and Jon had, in fact, moved to a town that was a good distance away. This was Nathan’s first offense. He also had to make restitution, which we assumed would be half of the damage.
We assumed wrong.
Nathan did his community service this summer and, in fact, did around 24 hours instead of the required sixteen. He also completely his two days of work project a week early by our request. About two weeks ago, we found out that Jon’s mother is now in jail. The father is nowhere on the scene. California state law makes all parties involved equally responsible for the full amount of restitution. It is not shared. So if the person with whom you committed the crime does not pay, you have to make up their part. Since Eric works for El Dorado County as a Veteran Service Representative and therefore, has a “means to pay” and since Jon’s mother has not worked for many years and receives public assistance and is now in jail for whatever and does not have a means to pay, the entire cost falls to us and folks, we are talking four nice figures. We have talked to, on and off the record, a handful of juvenile probation officers who have confirmed that there is really nothing we can do and that if this leaves Juvenile Probation and goes to court, such as with a restitution hearing, the matters are extremely weighted in favor of the victim and it would not likely go well for us.
To top all of that off, when his mother went to jail, Jon and his many, many siblings were fostered out. Can you guess where Jon now lives? In the house directly behind me. If I am in my back yard, I can throw a rock and hit it and right now, that sounds pretty good. The police approved the placement even with the no contact order in place. So now this kid’s bus stop is my driveway (literally) and his territory is up and down the streets that my property corners.
On top of all of that, my other wild and crazy son lost his home and he and my grandson are now basically homeless and living in someone’s garage off of their good will.
Let’s see, what else? Both of the Cadillacs (my 91 and Eric’s 78) have been down with a number of major issues from shocks to water pumps to fuel pumps to blown up radiators to brakes to the air conditioning and of course, the radio does not work in either one, which is certainly not major, but while I’m making a list, it counts. Eric is frustrated and tired and angry from having to work on the cars all of the time and still, his car is not fixed. That doesn’t count something major that went out on his mining truck, just insert miscellaneous major mechanical thing here, as well.
I am looking for the lesson in all of that as well.
In addition to that, I got a refurbished iPhone 4 in May and was all excited and uppity about it and a few days after the 90 day warranty expired, the back light screwed up and apparently has to be taken to the Apple store (90 minutes away) and sent away at a charge to be fixed. The brightness will only go up to halfway before the back light will go black, so I am squinting to see unless I am in total darkness. I took it to the ATT store and they played with it and said, “Oooh. Yep. Broken.” Since I have given away all of my phones that I transitioned out of, I am kind of up a creek.
We always say that “nothing that happens at Harvest time is a bad thing” and that it is all part of the plan to move us toward a better place. I am trying hard these days to keep myself seated in a positive, joyful space, but it has been hard and a couple of times, I have fallen into a pretty deep depression. That, of course, rarely avails anyone anything and even though I am comfortable and familiar with my dark places, it is not easy for my family when I am there.
I do not enjoy being around people very much now because everything seems to hurt, so I am staying sequestered for the most part because it takes all my strength to stay whole and together. If I do choose to spend time with you during this time, you must be very special indeed. 🙂 If I do not and end up refusing a situation, it is likely not because you are anything less than special, but more that I do not trust myself that day to hold it all together and put on a nice public face as well.
As the old song says, “We’ll understand it all bye and bye.” Right now, the only understanding I have is that “life happens” and I am trying to keep my head straight and my back strong rather than collapsing into a pile of tears and snot and resentment. The smile is important and I keep it around most of the time.
I may not have lost as much weight as I intended when I planted, by some days lately, I sure do feel small.