What is it about humans that are drawn to things that are bad for us? Why do we choose the road less traveled? And seriously, why do we make things as hard as possible for ourselves? No other animal does this. Well maybe they do, I don’t know, nor do I care. What I do care about is how completely insane I feel most of the time. #batshitcrazy

First of all, why do we have children? Go ahead and grab your pitchforks, I dare you to find me. I took the road less traveled remember? We live in the woods, on a mountain. But more on that later. Children, why? Other animals have their babies, feed them for a while and then disappear when they are looking the other way. Humans on the other hand, have babies, worship them blindly and give up the rest of their lives for those little versions of ourselves that literally count the days until they can get away from us. We meet all of their needs and most of their wants for the first 18 or so years of their lives, then we reluctantly let them go and spend the rest of our lives thinking about them, missing them, and giving them anything we possibly can that they still may need. They ignore us, hold grudges and blame us for every little thing that ever goes wrong in their very small world. Do you think cats carry their litter of kittens and dream about how they will grow to find the perfect mate and have babies of their own someday. Do they forever leave food in their dishes in case their babies come home hungry one day? Do cats go over every single moment of their time with their kittens wondering how to make sure they know that they are the single most important creature in the entire world? I don’t think so. #iwanttobeacat

Second of all, why do we have friends? I mean I get the whole companionship thing, I get why we need a partner in our lives. Animals do the same thing, some of them at least, even mate for life, but humans need friendship. We not only need someone who swears to be with us and only us for the rest of our lives, but we also need contact with other humans that we are not bound to forever. In fact, our partners just aren’t enough most of the time, we require more. We voluntarily share our lives with humans that have nothing to do with our family circles. And then we mourn the loss of their presence, we miss people that we signed up to not live with. We carry their burdens for them, we worry about them, we love them, and completely by choice. Sure some animals travel in packs much like girls do when they venture to the restroom, but animals do it for protection, for survival. Do dogs lose sleep over the fact that their little dog bestie is seriously ill? Do they pace back and forth and pray with every breath while the dog they were puppies with is in labor. Probably not. #dogsaresmarterthanhumans

Third of all, why do we need more? We seek better jobs, better money, better stuff, better cars, better houses. We need more, things. Of course we need to provide for ourselves and our families. We need houses because we can’t rough it in the nature, we need cars because God forbid we use our feet. We have to buy food because obviously we aren’t going to find nourishment outside of the grocery store. But we are never content with necessity. We want more. We want what someone else has. We want to dream big and actually, eventually, live the dream. We live in cities and want nature and turn everything we know upside down to get there. And then we drive back and forth, and back and forth, to the cities that we so badly needed to get away from.  Do bears spend all of their lives fishing for other bears and then find a way to feed themselves? Or, do they see their neighbor bears hidey hole and realize that theirs isn’t quite as good and then wander around all winter looking for something better. Again, no. #istillwishbearswerefriendly

And lastly, why do we choose everything else over health and safety? We eat poison everyday that we know can actually kill us because, OMG it is the best thing ever. We pour liquid down our throats that can change us into a terrible version of ourselves just so that we don’t have to feel, quite as much. We smoke because that seven minutes of our lives that we give up every time we finish a cigarette doesn’t matter quite as much as our nerves do at that very moment. We fry our brains with cellphones because we traded convenance for potential cancer. Seriously though, even chickens (and I have very little respect for chickens at this point) have better self-preservation instincts than we do. What chicken would leave its coup at night for ice cream when it has been properly nourished all day? Would a chicken ever walk towards the fire to breathe in smoke so that it could feel something else in its lungs besides the fresh clean air? Still no. The only thing chickens do to willingly put themselves at risk is when those mother cluckers crow outside my window at 5:30 in the freaking morning. #icecreamisbetterthanchickens

I have realized recently that I pretty much chose a life that is extremely difficult and inconvenient. Sometimes, maybe today, I just want to cry. In fact sometimes, maybe today, I cry in the shower because it’s the only few moments of privacy I get anymore. I fight with my kids, I worry about and miss my friends, and I live in the nature and therefore spend most of my time in the car driving out of the nature. The only things I do for myself are eating right (pretty much the most inconvenient food plan as possible), and hiking (pretty much the most inconvenient form of exercise and me time known to man). Right now, I feel like I could rip someones throat out, it’s just too much. #iwishiwereavampire

I do know, however, that these were my choices. I can’t even blame all this horse shit on my husband, we did this together and I’m not going to pretend that I don’t know that. These feelings of frustration and insanity will pass. Maybe not completely, life is really freaking hard right now, but I do have a sneaking suspicion I may feel better in three to five days, because…







Into the Woods

“Boots on the ground, 8am,” she said.  I stared at my phone for a few moments thinking there’s no way in the world that’s not a typo. I waited for her to correct herself until finally I realized she was serious. In my world 8am does not involve hiking, it involves sleeping. Even on the days when it’s my turn to take the kiddos to school and after a solid hour roundtrip of driving, my bed calls to me, and I answer. No, mornings just don’t work for me. She would understand, I’m sure.

Except, if mornings weren’t my excuse, something else would be. It’s hard trying something new, but I decided a while ago that when Fall arrived and all the slithery things were back in their hidey holes, I would go.

I could always feel the draw of the outside. I loved the idea of it but hated the reality of it. Florida was just not for me, it was swampy and humid and flat and the only adventure I could picture involved water moccasins or alligators. Georgia was better but it still didn’t call to me. I was perfectly content to sit at home with a bottle, yes bottle, of red wine and a good book.

But Tennessee.

Maybe it’s because we landed right where we started. We are just miles away from the place where my husband and I first became an us. We are surrounded by the same river, the same mountains, and the same adventures that started it all. Maybe it’s because I am finally sick enough of not doing the things that scare me. Maybe I decided that if I wasn’t going to crawl in a hole and die here, I would have to try really freaking hard and actually learn to fall in love with this place.

For whatever reason, and I suspect it’s a little bit of everything, I agreed to go with my crazy new friend, into the woods.

Before we even left her house, I slipped and fell right on my ass. Her dogs came to console me and I thought how this could be a foreshadowing of events to come. What if I fall when we are way in the middle of nowhere but instead of Labradors I’m met by wolves, or mountain lions, or bears? Yes, I err on the dramatic side, but it could happen. It could. 

Luckily, along with all my dramatic flare, I am also quite stubborn and decided to continue on. About three steps into the trail I had a coughing fit and peed my pants. I had been sick for the past few weeks but luckily, being accustomed to my weak pelvic floor from three babies ruining my body, I was prepared for such events. It’s not glamorous but it is humorous.

We hiked four miles that day, climbing a rocky and somewhat steep (at times) mountain. It awakened something inside me that I had only hoped was there. It wasn’t easy at all but it wasn’t impossible either, and at the end of the trail I felt a peace and a calm that I hadn’t felt in a long time. But beyond the sense of accomplishment and the need for food (right now) there was the desire for more.

We saw things that day that I would never have seen if we didn’t pursue them. There was something about having to work for the beauty of nature that had me captivated. It was something just out of reach but waiting patiently to be found. IMG_20171024_180856

And so it began, this new me, seeking instead of waiting. Searching instead of hiding. Loving instead of loathing. This new me that wants to find all the trails, see all the waterfalls, climb all the mountains.

Except though, sometimes, the mountains aren’t outside at all.

Our lives are full of mountains that we are forced to face, and we can embrace them and climb them or we can stay safely in the valleys that we are used to. We get so comfortable in our lives, in our marriage,  or with our children, that when something larger than life comes along that we can’t quite see our way around, we can tend to bury our heads a little and try to ignore them.

What happens when our marriage changes? The conversation runs a little dry. The excitement fades, or we just change into a different version of ourselves, and the two of us don’t make quite as much sense as we used to? What happens when we have to fight really hard or just pretend like everything is fine, as always.

What about when our kids don’t resemble at all, the perfect tiny humans that we are so accustomed to? When one day they become something that is just out of our reach. They don’t come to us willingly with their deepest darkest hurts. Do we believe them when they say, “I’m fine,” thinking that if they truly needed us, they would let us know?

We could stay in that comfortable place and pretend like everything is just fine, even though we know deep deep down that it’s totally not. We could turn away from the giants in front of us because we are too afraid to deal with the fact that sometimes life is just not okay. Or, we could pursue the unknown?

We have in fact been given the capability of enduring anything that life throws at us. Yeah, it takes courage to climb into the depths of Hell for our children, but they are our children. We are the ones that were chosen for our particular child because we are the ones equipped to be their parents.

It takes strength and perseverance to muscle through the not so glamorous seasons of marriage, and even though we didn’t quite know what “for better or worse” actually meant at the time, we still signed up to try.

We have the choice to climb. We may fall, and bleed, and cry (and pee) to get to the top, but whether we choose to or not…

The mountains are there anyway.