Friday, November 30, 2012

Screw Skinny

skinny [ˈskɪnɪ]
adj -nier-niest
1. lacking in flesh; thin
2. consisting of or resembling skin
skinniness  n
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

I don't know about you guys, but I've had it with this "Skinny" bullshit. I. Am. Over it. In case you haven't noticed, Skinny is the new buzz word for what women should aspire to be. Bravo-lebrity Bethenny Frankel (who I so happen to love) has created an empire for herself out of her invention, Skinny Girl Cocktails. At first I thought it was cute. And smart. Everybody knows alcohol is loaded with empty calories so if you're a drinker it makes sense to want to cut back and save yourself a few guilty thoughts or extra crunches at the gym.

More power to you.

However, Skinny Girl isn't the only Skinny out there. Not only are there cocktails, there are entire books called "Skinny Bitch." I don't know if you've read any of the Skinny Bitch books but they're exactly what they proclaim to be. An actual mean spirited and yes, bitchy, diet book that pretty much tells you if you eat anything other than pristine, fat-free, chemical-free, organic nothingness you are a fat loser and doomed to misery and loneliness.

I have had enough of this insanity. Do you see the definition above? Lacking in flesh, consisting of or resembling skin. Why on God's green Earth is that anything to aspire to? When I think of the word skinny, stick figures come to mind. Stick figures with no curves, pronounced vertebrae and collar bones sticking out like brittle badges of honor.

Congratulations. You're malnourished. 

It seems like everywhere I turn someone is promising to make me skinny. And for a long time, I bought into it. I even bought that book - Skinny Bitch - and read most of it. And it made me feel absolutely horrible about myself. So I stopped reading it and had myself a sandwich. But how many other women out there don't stop reading? How many others buy into this idea and make themselves miserable or worse? How many women out there are hurting themselves in order to fit into a size zero? 

Look, I've been thin most of my life. But I've also struggled with anxiety most of my life. And for about fifteen years I couldn't eat the way I wanted to eat because my anxiety and panic was so bad that every time I'd try I'd basically shit my pants and want to die. I had an eating disorder by proxy. And it sucked. I never felt well, I was always tired, often depressed, and severely, severely anxious. I didn't go anywhere or do anything without a cocktail of Immodium and Zanax. And even with those things, chances are, I'd be losing whatever food I ingested before the night was through. My inability to eat safely and without fear limited my life to a tunnel of safe spaces and people who understood my struggle.

So I've had it. I'm done. I don't want to be skinny and I don't know why anyone would be. I'd like to be healthy please. Svelte perhaps. Or gamine. What beautiful words to describe the female form. Yes, please, I'll take those.

Screw skinny! Who's with me?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Going Viral

The past couple of days have given me the horrible reminder that human. Like, for real. And sometimes humans get sick and there's nothing we can do except ride it out and hope for the best. That was my plan at least. I don't know if there's much more I could do for a stomach bug.

My preparations for illness haven't actually changed much since I was a kid. At this point,  I've gotten it down to a science. First, I sequestered myself in the bedroom in order to help quarantine the cooties. Not doing so would just be mean. Also, I prefer to be alone when I don't feel good. Way less yelling happens that way.  I called upon Jacob to bring me the Trifecta: water, ginger ale, and Saltine Crackers. The Saltines are my big guns. Normally I would only eat them with some sort of delicious topping or perhaps in soup. When those babies get pulled out, and there's no peanut butter to be found, that's when I know I'm sick.

When ill I find it necessary and completely appropriate to become totally committed to it. Why go halfway I ask? If you're sick enough to stay home from work, you're sick enough to go full diva.

No I will NOT accept  the cheap tissues! It's Puffs Plus with Lotion or bust! I don't care that it's a stomach bug and I don't need them! They're part of the deal.  They have soothing lotion in them! And don't even think about coming at me with your weak ass, generic ginger ale. Canada Dry or death I say. It has real ginger - an actual homeopathic aide for stomach ouchies.

Approved television includes but is not limited to: Friends (any season will do, but preferably season four), The Big Bang Theory, Harry Potter movies, and occasionally, on the most dire of occasions, Finding Nemo. Just keep swimming guys. Just. Keep. Swimming. Gets me every time.

And what's that? You want to go out and get yourself something to eat and leave me here all alone? Well screw you buddy! It must be nice! Why don't you take your stupid solid food and frosty beverage elsewhere because this is a registered virus zone and we have no room for food chewing hooligans in here.

I can't even tell you how screwed I would have been...
The good news is, the storm has passed and things are getting back to normal. Well, normal as far as I'm concerned which may very well be a different definition of normal than what you're used to. Nonetheless, big thank you to Jacob for delivering the goods even if he refused to touch or hug me in any fashion for the past few days. I'm hoping his plan of No Touchies! works for him because that virus sucked really bad. And I'm pretty sure he'll blame me anyway.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012 Part 2

My Pepere  is 83 years old. Pepere is the French Canadian word for grandfather and is pronounced Pep-ay. From the age of 12 until his mid-seventies, he smoked cigarettes. Admittedly, he smoked a lot more of them when he was younger, before the whole thing about cigarettes being deadly thing got out. Unfortunately, he lives with COPD and Emphysema most likely as a result of smoking.

Some times are better than others. Right now is not one of those times. He has a hard time when the weather turns cold and even though it was actually quite balmy by November in New England standards, it was way too cold for him. As my dad, Jacob, and aunt got him out of the car I held the container of oxygen. My dad and Jacob then had to lift/pull him up the tiny three steps leading to the front door. Three tiny steps have never been so stressful. My Pepere gripped the handles of his chair with white knuckles and tried to breathe through the oxygen tubes in his nostrils. His lungs sounded like some sort of stew bubbling and choking him from the inside.

Once in the house he relaxed a bit. We gave him some wine. He definitely liked that. And he ate like a champion. I wish we could prepare all of his food. The assisted living place he lives in is super nice. I would be greatly pleased and relieved to know that when I am frail and old I was going to live in a place that nice. But the food is regular, facility type food and when I've eaten with him I've found it to be perfectly fine but far from exciting. I can see why he'd chow down when surrounded by really good stuff.

I feel lucky to have a grandparent left. Not a lot of people my age do and mine is incredibly special to me. It hurts my heart to see him sitting with us, too tired to participate in conversation, trying to listen but clearly overwhelmed and stressed out. He wants to be out of his home so badly but when he does go out, he pays a huge price. I'm sure he went directly to bed when he got home and I don't think he'll be bothering with dinner tonight. Getting him back in the car was difficult and awkward and awful. I hated it. It made my throat ache and my mom cry.

I am so grateful that he's still here. I want him to stay forever. I know he can't but that doesn't change my wish. I hate seeing him weak, I hate seeing him hurt, yet I remain grateful he is here and he came today and we got to be with him one more Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving 2012

This Thanksgiving I say thank you to so many for giving me so much.

Thank you to the people who pushed me really hard. The ones who said I wouldn't make it, that I'd bitten off more than I could chew, that I'd never survive on my own, alone, in private practice. Thank you to the haters, the jealous, the small minded and small-hearted.

You made me try that much harder.

Thank you to the bullies who made my life suck as a kid but who taught me the difference between a real friend and someone who only wants to use you. Thank you to the mean girls who tried to bring me down. You sure put a lot of effort into hating me, I hope it was worth it, because I don't hate you.

Thank you to the nerds, the artists, the geeks, the misfits, the weirdos. When I look at you, I see: friend. I see somebody like me, who has turned negativity into compassion. Cheers to choosing kindness over fitting in and flying under the radar. You are brave every day.

You give me the courage to be me.

Thank you to the heroes who don't wear uniforms. The moms, dads, and grandparents on the front lines of raising our next generation. Your job is harder than it's ever been. Thank you to the teachers, the coaches, the bus drivers, para-professionals, social workers, therapists, and guidance counselors. You give our children a place to grow, to learn, to be accepted.

You were my role models. May you continue to inspire.

Thank you to the animal rescuers, the canine and feline foster parents, the ones who give of themselves, their time, and their money to protect those without a voice of their own.

You humble me.

Thank you to the unsung heroes. The ones behind the curtains who aren't looking for recognition. The ones who do what has to be done for the good of others even though they may not have enough for themselves. Thank you to our men and women in uniform of any kind - military, fire, police, and first responders.

You run in while the rest of wait with baited breath.

Thank you to my husband, my family, friends, dogs, cats, and even Mr. Peepers - our finch who we thought would never die. RIP Mr. Peepers. You really hung in there and your peeps and beeps are missed already.
I love the shite outta you guys and I really hope you know that.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Get your nom on!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Appreciate the Bad Stuff

Today you're probably not going to like me very much. Because today is "Appreciate the Bad Stuff Day." Yes, you heard it right - I want you to think about the things in your life that have been the most challenging. This means they are probably the things you learned the most from. When we are shoved out of our comfort zones we have no choice but to act instinctively. There's no time for pondering, hemming, or hawing. There is only action and at the hardest of times, you were likely stuck between two lousy choices. Maybe you didn't even have a choice. Maybe someone out there made a choice for you. Maybe you're still living with the after shocks and it seems nothing will ever be normal again.

If that's the case, this post is extra important for you to read. Because today we are not seeking a solution to the problem. We are seeking your truth. What is the core belief that is stopping you from moving forward? For many of us, it is the belief that we are not good enough. And the pain comes from that fountain of fear.

While it may seem torturous to look back on life and re-examine the things that hurt the most, remember - you are safe now. It is in the past, nothing is going to bring it back. If you keep seeming to stumble on the same type of problem over and over, chances are, the universe is trying to tell you something. I believe until we accept whatever lesson the universe is trying to teach us, we will remain in a loop that forces us into the exact situation that brings the most difficulty. Lessons come to us organically and without us consciously seeking them out. We have no power to decide what lesson gets sent our way or how it's delivered. We can only control how we react to it.

One example of this for me is my difficulty dealing with male bullies. I grew up with a big, ogre-like bully making my life suck every morning at the bus stop. I had buried that memory deep under layers of crap, far out of sight. Then I met Jacob. He's a bit of a giant. And he's loud. And pushy. And triggering as hell. It's taken me years to get used to the fact that although he's big and loud, he's not a bully. He's not trying to hurt me, he's trying to help me and sometimes he has to yell to be heard. Because, apparently, I am stubborn. (Of course, I'm also always right but that's beside the point.)

Also - being with Jacob has forced me to toughen up. I know if he were weighing in he'd say I'm still not tough but learning to fight back to someone of his size and volume has taken time. Now I can hang in and not freeze up, go to Anxiety Land, and hide. I can yell if necessary - and sometimes, it is necessary. Because we're humans and we're going to fight sometimes.

It's also taught me how to deal with male bullies at work. Occasionally I get a guy - usually a father of one of my kid clients - who thinks he can push me around. With "men" like this (and I use the "" because real men don't threaten, bully, or intimidate) I used to freeze up. I would just sit on the phone and take it as they yelled about how evil their Ex-wife is or how the kids have no respect for him and it's my job to make them.

The last time that happened was over the summer. Oh what a douche canoe that guy was. Typical alpha male, bullied and abused his ex-wife and children, decided to try it on me. After leaving me numerous inappropriate voice mails, I finally picked up the phone when I saw him calling. When he started ranting I cut in and informed him that I was not calling about whatever his ex-wife does. I was calling to talk about the children. When that only served to make him angrier and his voice rose several decibels, I decided it was a waste of my time to even bother with this fool. The old Erin would have stayed on the phone and taken the abuse. The old Erin would have probably cried after that phone call.

This Erin - the one who stayed present and didn't get sucked down into his toxicity - simply stated, "Sir, you are way too aggressive for me. This phone call is over. Do not contact me again."

And hung the hell up.

Because sometimes, the lesson we're supposed to learn is when to cut our losses and move on. I was brought up not to quit. To stick things out even when they're hard. The lesson I deeply needed to learn was that sometimes, quitting is the right thing to do. Walking away, disengaging from negative situations, takes a certain amount of guts. It is not the easy thing when every cell in your body is screaming, "ATTACK! ATTACK THE SCUM BAG!"

The lesson I finally learned was how to stand up for myself and cut off a bully. It may have taken me over 20 years to learn it but I got it now! And you can rest assured, I am grateful for that lesson.

It takes courage to walk away - you can do it!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude

Tis the week of all things thankful and for that, I must demonstrate my gratitude in as many forums as possible. I am taking it upon myself to search out little things that I don't always notice or pay attention to. Life gets in the way a lot of the time and it's easy to miss the stuff that you're used to.

Over the next couple days I will be posting about things I am thankful for. Cliche, I know. But what's a girl to do? You can't fight the holiday season. It will win every time. No matter how hard I may try to deny it, the season is upon us and it's about to get real. Festive, that is.

Thanksgiving in my family has been exactly the same my entire life. It's held at my parents' house and while some years the number of attendees fluctuates, everything else remains the same. Besides the traditional turkey and stuffing, we eat a delightful concoction of meat and potatoes called fowd which is supposedly a French Canadian thing. I don't know if that's true or not but fowd is delicious and you can trust and believe, I will be eating it like a wolverine.

Having a reputation of being domestically challenged, nobody asks me for help. Ever. I make exactly one side dish - sweet potato casserole. I do this once a year, preferably at my mom's house. During the preparation I am heckled by my mom and sister who are both good at cooking. I have learned not to bother getting upset, my inability to cook means I don't have to do jack squat. This works for me.

I am appreciative of the fact that I am basically feral when it comes to cooking. I don't trust anything and show my discomfort by hissing and spitting at whatever challenge I am facing. I may have resorted to biting on one occasion. Just the one!

Anyway, gratitude is the feeling that makes things better. Gratitude is the only force on earth that can shine a light on the truth of what you already have. It can highlight the bits and pieces of your life that you take for granted. The secret to happiness is appreciating what you have at this moment. Allow me to demonstrate.

I am grateful for my beloved dogs. As Shamus sits on my lap and systematically destroys yet another toy, I say Thank You to God (or higher power, Buddha, nature etc.) for bringing this tiny tornado into my life. When you say "thank you" it means you consciously acknowledge that which makes you feel happy, loved, and fulfilled.

For this week, share three things you are grateful for per day. Not just because it's Thanksgiving, but because you want to appreciate your life more. You want to focus on the positive. You want to say "Thank you" to those who are in your life every day and those you only see once in a while. No matter where they fit into your world, take a step back and appreciate them. If you're lucky, you'll be hearing the words "Thank you" a lot this season.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Aging Gracefully

Confession - I have dealt with acne since high school. The only blessing about it was that it was on my back and chest. Easy to hide. I may not have loved my senior prom dress but that sucker covered me up the way I required. My senior year of college I finally went on Accutane - a terrifying medication that is not only unpleasant to take but comes with horrifying side effects that include alien babies, mood swings, and constant chapped lips. Awful though it was, it worked. I was free at last! Free at last!

Until I turned 30. It was as though my skin had received a memo - time to screw with Erin! Yup, it came back. Not nearly as severe or painful but this was on my face. Well, my jaw lines. I have been fighting it ever since, finally breaking down and buying Proactive which, to my delight, worked quite well! Alas, post-acne scarring and discoloration is something I was unable to solve on my own.

Enter Groupon. There was a deal for a facial that looked pretty good so I went for it. That is how I met Sandra Downie. She is a kick-ass, take no prisoners, medical grade specialist. She also so happens to be incredibly nice and easy to work with.

Just a side note - I think I may have spent too much time in spas because I basically shuck my clothes for any treatment. It's just been ground into me that when you're having a service done they want you to be as accessible as possible. So...I hopped up onto the table and got under the blankets. Poor Sandra. When she came back in she was shocked, amused, and confused. Apparently that piece of cloth laying at the end of the table was a little spa dress thingie. Used to maintain modesty and stuff.

Oh we had a good giggle over that one.

Yesterday I returned for my silk peel. I must say, I was basically clueless as to what Microdermabrasion is. I liked the way it sounded and Sandra said it would be amazing for my skin. Has anyone else done this treatment?

I had no idea the power she was about to unleash on my face. It was awesome. Painful? Meh, a little. Basically, she has a tiny vaccuum (a tiny Dyson, not a wimpy little Dustbuster) to suck out anything and everything in it's path. It felt weird yet satisfying. Like I had super strong lines of tape on my face that she was pulling off.  This is the difference between getting a regular fluffy spa facial,and calling in the National Guard after a skin related natural disaster. Not soft and delicate pampering, but all business, no nonsense face fixing.

Sandra's motto: If you're going to live it up, you've got to Glam it up!

I'm not super glamorous but I do love glowing, scar-free skin!

This is Sandra Downie - go like her Facebook page! Go now! She can help you!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I have Nothing Nice to Say

I know I'm not the only one who has to deal with crippling ineptitude on the part of outside agencies. I'm sure everyone has to deal with some form of idiocy with their jobs. It's inevitable. But seriously? DCF (Child Protective Services in CT) has to be the worst agency on the planet.

I practically gift-wrapped a child abuse case for them. Seriously had records from the day the kid revealed the abuse up to present day. There is a 0% chance that this abuse didn't happen. The abuse was perpetuated by a family member who has a slew of other complaints from other parents and children.


Except, DCF, in all their wisdom, failed to provide state police with the evidence. Apparently they told police there was no evidence. Which is funny because I provided it. I gave everything I had to DCF and the state police  like an intelligent, professional person who actually cares about justice being done. Somehow they either lost whatever they had or they just didn't do their job. I suspect both.

My hatred for this agency is bubbling over. They have caused so much pain and unnecessary trauma to so many of my clients and, by proxy, me. I was taught as a child to trust authority figures and respect them. This case and several others like that have displayed time and time again DCF's complete inability to work with other professionals. They simply take whatever information they want, systematically belittle and attempt to discredit anyone who disagrees with them, and make all their own rules. I have seen children illegally taken from their parent by DCF after DCF lost in court. They went ahead, lied to the parents, took the kids. All without a single court order. And have destroyed at least three lives because of it.

I really hope this is true.

Where are the watchdogs whose sole purpose is to make DCF play by the rules? Why do they get to do whatever they want with total immunity? Why do they allow workers in the field, in direct service with families and children, without actual clinical, psychological training? I hate to say it but there are a lot of people working for DCF - a state agency that pays really, really, well - who have no business at all working with these families.

Ulcer creation at its finest.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Veterans Day

Dear Veterans Day,

Thank you for the reminder you bring to those of us sitting safely stateside in our living rooms. For many folks, this is a day off and if we so happen to remember what it's for, more's the better. Thank you for reminding us that today is for the little guy. The soldiers who are away from their families be they stateside or overseas. The men and women who choose to serve their country even if the job itself is less than glamorous.

Not all soldiers are fighters. Not all soldiers carry guns.

Today, take some time and think about the immensity of the job our military has to do. Feeding thousands of soldiers, making sure the garbage is taken out, that the facility is in good working order, and the essentials - food, clothing, and shelter, are provided even when they are meager to nonexistent.

Think about the mechanics, engineers, IT professionals, electricians, and plumbers. Think about administrative office and legal staff - the paper pushers who make sure orders are filled, people get paid, wills get written, and health insurance coverage is ensured for the soldier and the family back home.

Remember the medics, nurses, and doctors working to save lives. Think about the guy who unloads the helicopters when they are full of injured or dead. Think about the person who changes the sheets when they are soaked in blood from the hurt and dying. Think about the folks doing the masses of laundry.

Give thanks for the USO who brings entertainment and love from home. Give thanks for the personnel who volunteer to work with the USO and take on the extra work it takes to help keep morale high.

Most of all today, give thanks for these people - they are keeping you safe no matter what their role may be. Not everyone is meant for the front lines. No matter how large or small the job may seem, our military personnel are working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year. Every day should be Veterans Day.

Monday, November 5, 2012


Between the 20 emails a day the Obama team sends me and the 200 political ads and arguments I see every day on Facebook, not to mention the onslaught of television ads, I think it's safe to say everyone will be glad when this election is over. (And yes, I am crossing my fingers and toes and imploring the baby Jesus to make sure Obama wins because I suspect Romney is a robot and the root of all evil. That's not what this is about though.)

The one thing about any election that drives me crazy is those who say, "I don't vote. That's my political statement. I hate both candidates so I'm exercising my right NOT to vote."

I know this is going to rub people the wrong way but...that's a cop out. It makes you sound like a little kid who's been told to pick between broccoli and peas. You don't like either choice so you plant your feet in the mud and refuse to budge. But mom says you can't get up from the table until you eat one.
Well...shit. That sucks. You vow to sit there all night.

Then you look over and see everybody else relaxing after dinner. They're enjoying some TV and maybe even some ice cream. But there you sit. Resolute.

Eventually, you will make a choice. And that choice may come from logic or it may come from emotion. Either way, you're getting the hell outta the kitchen. You're going to eat those peas or choke down that broccoli. Maybe if you put a little thought into it, you'd find out you don't actually hate peas. When forced to choose between the two, peas are apparently your best option. Peas it is then. Dinner (and voting) over. Time for Sponge Bob. that situation...the only person you're impacting is yourself. That's why we don't let little kids vote. As an adult, however, what you do - or don't do - impacts everyone around you. That is the single-most important thing you can teach your children.

People have fought - and died - for your right to vote. If voting wasn't such a big deal, why would there be so many people fighting to stop you from doing it right now? Why would there have been a Constitutional Amendment granting women and people of color the right to vote? Why were there riots and imprisonments and laws passed to stop anyone voting in the first place?
Why do I see photos of giant lines for early voting? Why the fuss about the Republicans trying to pass voter identification laws that directly impact our most vulnerable members of society - the elderly, the poor, the any other color but snowy white?

Seriously folks, get out there and do your civic duty. Take an interest even if it's only for one day, in who is representing you - not just in the White House, but locally. If you don't vote, you don't get to complain. Don't like the results? Too bad. You have disempowered yourself. You're free to do that because of the thousands upon thousands who fought for your freedom to be apathetic.

If nothing else, voting allows you to participate in something bigger than yourself. It reminds you that you are not alone. You are not the only one thinking what you're thinking and feeling what you're feeling. You have brothers and sisters in the same, exact boat looking for the same, exact thing. You just so happened to be born in a country the rest of the world wants to be a part of.

You're an American and you should be grateful for the opportunity to participate. Maybe it's because of my exposure to the war in Iraq. Being a real military spouse with a loved one in a war zone is something you can only understand when you've lived it.  Maybe it's having a veteran of the Korean War for a father.  I know I look at things differently because of those truths. But I wouldn't change that for the world. Being an American has actual meaning for me and if you're thinking that voting doesn't matter, maybe you should ask yourself what it means to you.

Fancy speak for putting one's feet in the mud.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Erin - 1, TD Garden - 0

It's like I have two people living inside me. The fun Erin who loves going to basketball games and concerts and being with people. Who lives in the moment and absorbs the energy of an excited crowd like a sponge. Who really loves being a part of something larger than myself with every fiber of my being.
Then there's the other Erin who is still riddled with anxiety even though I now have it under control. I'm not going to have a panic attack, but that doesn't mean I feel great and can stay fully present at all times when I'm put to the test.

I gave myself a big test yesterday. Jacob texted me early in the afternoon and said the Celtics were having their season opener tonight and would I want to go? Of COURSE I want to go! I love basketball games and the Celtics are my fave pro team! Kevin Garnett! Live and huge and in person! (And yes, he's even larger in real life!) Jacob wanted to take the plunge. He stumbled on incredible seats for a great price on Craigslist. Third row, center court, right behind where the announcers do their thing. Amazing. I'd never been to a professional athletic event before. I grew up on UConn mens basketball and developed a love of the game, the players, the spectacle, the crowd, the whole shebang. Love it.

However, being the Panic Queen of the Universe has kind of limited my access to it for many years. The TD Garden in Boston is one of my "hot spots" - a place I have attempted to go in the past but was unable due to crippling panic. Years ago, when Jacob and I first got together we decided to take a mini trip to Boston to do some sight seeing and go to a Bruins game. He is a huge Bruins fan but had never been to a game. He was beyond excited and honestly, so was I.

There we were, barely dating a month, but already a unit. He had splurged big time and gotten the Bobby Orr seats which, if I remember, come complete with a lap dance from Claude, the Canadian coach, and a Zamboni ride. However, that day, a water pipe had burst, flooding the train station beneath the Garden and condensing the crowd, creating for me, a feel of things not being safe. We had gotten there very early and unfortunately, that's my red zone. The time leading up to an event is my absolute worst for panic. What happened next was quite possibly the largest panic attack I had ever had. I was convinced I wasn't safe, I was going to die, Jacob was going to hate me and dump me, I was going to throw up. Diarrhea rocked my body as cold sweats and hot flashes slammed through me and even after spending 20 minutes outside in the car, I could not, would not, go back in there. Jacob was furious. He didn't know me fully at the time. He didn't know what to do. He was scared and disappointed and rightfully so.

He did, however, drive me home. He didn't break up with me despite certainly considering it after seeing the truth of my crazy. Was he upset? Yes. Apparently, however, it wasn't a deal breaker. Something that should have comforted me, and it did, but it also terrified me because what if this happened again? He's a social guy. He loves going places and doing things. Sporting events are his crack. The man loves it. What guy wants to be with a girl who can't go to anything with him?

Anyway, clearly, we worked things out what with getting married and everything. The TD Garden, however, remained my Everest.

Last night, I conquered it. Mostly. I even had the complication of having eaten a bad bagel earlier in the day and seriously feeling like crap.

BUT survived the 90-minute drive and the epic traffic that made us miss the entire first quarter and all the cool stuff leading up to tip off. Survived the game despite the fact they played like crap. Enjoyed seeing David Ortiz about 20 feet away from me the entire game as he sat on the sidelines. Really enjoyed the time-outs when they play music and put people on the big screen. Seeing people absolutely filled with joy, dancing like fools, dressing up in crazy costumes, that was awesome.

I'm not 100%. I'm not dying to go back to the TD Garden. But I am thrilled I went there, had fun, spent time with my hubby, and did something even a year ago,  I never thought I could do. It's a marathon, not a sprint when you're an anxiety and panic sufferer. This stuff doesn't go away overnight. Living actual, concrete proof last night that I can do it, I will continue to face my fears, I will not be kept in a box by my anxiety is precious to me. I have every right to live my life. I deserve to be free and I intend to fight for that right without end. Because at the end of day, it's really me I'm fighting for. And I am worth it.

Hey Paul Pierce! You're RIGHT THERE!

Amazing seats, I totally felt like a celebrity!