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Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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Tuesday
Aug122014

Seize the Day

Last night was one of those nights I felt like a junkie trying to stay clean. Off work at ten. Home to an empty house. Itchy, pacing. Longing for my babies. Bordering on panic. What am I doing? I can't do this. This is too hard.

I ended up filling the void with a frozen pizza and season 8, episode 1 of Dexter. Serge and I left off at the end of season 7 last year and became so obsessed with the Breaking Bad series that we hadn't had a chance to finish out Dexter. Watching Dexter without Serge felt like cheating on him more than sleeping with someone else would've. It was our show. First episode I've watched without him.

The news about Robin Williams kept stealing my focus. Devastating. Beyond comprehension, really. The man who made the world laugh was so sad he couldn't fathom another day. Depression. It's something my mind has only flirted with occasionally, mostly in response to difficult events in life and never to the point of contemplating suicide. But so many bloggers have written so eloquently about their struggles with the disease that I have some idea of how debilitating it must be. Not only debilitating but misunderstood. Because we can't really see depression, we often have less compassion for those suffering. But depression is a tricky bastard. Maybe the trickiest illness of all because it lies to the person suffering from it. It twists their brain to the point that ceasing to exist seems a better option than the daily grind they deal with. Maybe if they physically manifested what was going on inside we'd be more inclined to help? We're so courteous to those rolling around in wheelchairs or with other obvious impairments, yet we often overlook people battling inner demons. But what if what was on their insides was visible? If that were the case then Williams would have been hemorrhaging blood, missing limbs.

Think of all the people who are suffering from depression as bad as his right now. If Robin Williams can't make it, imagine how hard it's got to be for the average person struggling with the same thing. It's not a choice. You can't just snap out of it. Your brain lies to you and before long you're in a hole so deep you need help to get out. If there's no help... Then what? And maybe you feel beyond all that. All the reaching out and asking for help or whatever. I read a quote on Slate that bitch slaps you something fierce with what it's like to suffer from a mental illness like clinical depression. "There comes a point where love does not matter. When things are bad, I don’t care that people love me. All I can see is that I’m a burden, that everything I have ever done is wrong, and that these good people who love me are wrong as well. At my lowest, love cannot save me. Hope, prayers, daily affirmations—none of these can save me. Therapy and medicine are what matter, and those don’t always work either."

So while reaching out might not help, it might. If there's a chance it might, then take it. I guess what I'm trying to say is if you're reading this and you're sad, tell someone. If there is one thing we can learn from Robin Williams - a legacy even larger than his talent, if that's possible - it's that you should talk to someone. Anyone. And keep talking. Leave a comment, message me, whatever you've got to do. Don't be embarrassed, don't feel like you're being dramatic or annoying. We're all in this life thing together, you know? It's hard. Don't ever assume someone else has their shit together based on a couple pithy Facebook posts or well-lit Instagram photos. As Robin Williams' death so heartbreakingly illustrates, it's often the people we least expect who are suffering the most. If you're stumbling, reach out. You may not know it but there are a bunch of us who want to help and keep helping even if your brain is telling you otherwise. It's the one thing I like most about blogging. People are here. People care. People who have never met me take the time to comment about how they're rooting for me in life and it never stops blowing my mind. And it isn't just about me. It's about you, too. I guess that's really all I have to say about that. I just wanted you to know, whoever you are and however you happened to get to this site, that I care about what's going on with you.
Monday
Aug112014

Before There Was Blue Ivy...

We took Violet to kindergarten camp today. A little thing they do to get the kids acquainted with the school and teachers before the real deal starts in a few weeks. She marched right in, curls bouncing against her shoulder blades, nice to meet you-ing everyone she met. By coincidence, while getting some of her papers together I ran across these old pages of possible names we wrote down while I was pregnant with Violet. My baby is starting kindergarten. My sweet, precocious, brilliant, feisty, kind daughter A.K.A. "Sister" is growing up. Sometimes, out of the blue, she comes up to me, grabs the sides of my head and presses her forehead to my forehead while staring me directly in the eyes and says, I LOVE YOU, MOM. I'm so lucky that girl is in my life.
Saturday
Aug092014

Liberation

Blogging is such a weird fucking thing, isn't it? Just the act of writing your personal feelings, journal-style, in a public forum is - uh - interesting, to say the least. And then all the sponsored shit infiltrated everything everywhere. Personal blogging kind of lost its way for awhile there, didn't it? Well, it's still missing in action. Legitimate personal blogging is all but gone now. Most of the good bloggers have gone totally sponsored and/or edit what they share to the point of boringness. I went that way for a bit. Shit, I have a couple sponsored posts on here that make me absolutely cringe in horror when I go back and read them. Me, half-heartedly trying to weave my love for Pillsbury into a personal post. Sorry about that. It is what it is. You need to make money to live and suddenly there are people telling you that you can get paid to do the same thing you've been doing for years for free and you're like, why not?

I can give you about fifty billion reasons why not, actually. You can't write what you want when you're trying to look attractive to potential sponsors and even if you do write what you want you'll get accused by the hate sites of creating drama to try and drum up page views which is awful to read after sharing something meaningful about yourself. You can't win. The only way to write truly authentically is to take it back to the beginning of blogging. No ads, no sponsors, no reason to care about page views. While sponsored content and ads works for some people and I admire them for creating Internet spaces they enjoy where they can also get paid, it didn't work for me. It got to a point where I was being told by several people I look up to, who were looking out for what they thought were my best interests, that if I wanted to be considered for sponsored posts I needed to tone down my language and modify my voice a bit to appear attractive to companies looking for bloggers to shill their shit.

To that I say: FUCK THAT.

I'd like to point out that there is no longer any contact info on this blog (hit me up on Facebook if you want to message me) no rate page touting slightly inflated traffic numbers, no ads. I chose to not continue working with my agent, who I still adore. Nothing. This blog is no longer monetized. I actually lose money here now because of the cost of maintaining the site. I work full-time in the social media department of a large company and have managed to carve out a pretty great living writing for other websites so, after writing here for nearly a decade, this place needs to be for me. Where I can say what I want to say without fear of pissing off Pillsbury or Allstate Insurance or Hillshire Farms, all of which I've managed to do in the past. Although it's the stuff I think most of us want to read, authentic people who say what they want to say on their blogs are pretty rare these days. Like I said, they're busy cultivating their "brand" or they're afraid of turning off potential sponsors and probably afraid a couple hate websites will give them The Business or they're just scared to share anything meaningful about themselves or the people they love because of a possible negative response from readers. A lot of great bloggers/writers have closed up shop because of that. Because they're writing in a public forum they're supposed to become impervious to all the sewage the Internet sends their way, develop this really thick skin or something and it all just gets to be too much because they're human beings and the Internet can be such a hateful place.

But it can also be a really beautiful place. I've met so many fantastic people online and a lot of opportunities have come my way just by being here, on this site. It's still worth it to be here for me. Matter of fact, I need this place, this website. So here I am. Still writing here after all these years. Only now I have nothing to prove. I used to write to prove I was a good writer, then I started writing for Caroline, Serge's ex-girlfriend (and one of my best friends now) and anyone who remembers that whole saga knows what I mean. After that I started writing for sponsors and then I started writing defensively, maybe as a response to a certain website that likes to give me The Business and then I think I wrote to convince myself of things that I knew deep inside were not true, if that makes any kind of sense to you. But now, for the first time ever, I feel like I'm just writing for me. And you. It's liberating, you know? I've got lots to share and I hope you'll feel more inclined to share in the comments as well. Thanks for sticking around. You guys mean a lot to me. Your messages, comments - all that shit means a lot, especially right now as I figure out what the rest of my life looks like.

Speaking of what things look like... My Charlie looks like me. After two Serge clones, it's a novelty. Let's bring this thing to a close with a couple gratuitous baby shots, yeah?

Tuesday
Aug052014

My Ex Is Sexier Than Ever and It's Pissing Me Off!

"It's kind of become our running joke. I arrive and Serge does his Sexy Guy voice and pretends like we're meeting for the first time. "Hey, girl." Then he'll toss me a cloying wink and say something like, "The kids are in the living room," and use his arm to point while flexing it really hard. He's joking, of course. But he's enjoying it, too. And yeah, it's funny and also annoying, dammit!"

Hey! In addition to Babble and Mom.me I write for YourTango now about pretty much whatever I want. And I can swear. I like it. This is my first post. If you want to keep reading, click on over.
Thursday
Jul312014

My Crew

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