Sunday, October 19, 2014

Elizabeth Turns Six

It was a crisp, sunny Sunday morning, much like today, that Elizabeth came into this world. It's hard to believe it's been six years. As I look back at our photos, I'll admit that it's hard to remember life BT (Before Triplets.) But when I look at her at 4, it feels like that's her natural age to be, and I imagine I'll still be looking at her when she's 16 thinking, Aren't you still four years old? 

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. All adolescent behavior aside, she's still got a while before we reach that point. Let's take a moment to remember Elizabeth, one year at a time:

2008. Hello, world!

She was a doll from the get-go.
 2009. One Year—Bald and Beautiful
Her swing obsession had an early start.
 2010: Happy 2nd Birthday! Here's three younger siblings!

We all started taking what comfort we could from food.
2011: Three! 

She finally got hair and her own birthday party.
 2012: 4 and On Top of the World.

I hope she never stops climbing.
 2013. The Big 5.
By now she knows what birthdays are all about and this time it was all about Burger King.

2014: Six Years Old!

Elizabeth has been planning her birthday for months. She wanted a "Frozen Party," (which only family attended, but we did have goodie bags!) a trip to Chuck-E-Cheese's, and to go apple picking. Not ambitious at all, right? 

It was our first trip ever to the Chuck Man's and I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun it was. Twenty bucks for enough tokens for the kids to play games for a good two hours. Not bad at all. 
I think she only wanted to go to get redemption prizes. 
We'd been meaning to go apple picking since fall began, but this was the first Saturday with cooperative weather and no other big plans. We went up to Penning's Orchard in Warwick, NY. The best part for Adam and me was the drive through all the fall foliage. It was stunning. 


We picked out some pumpkins, too.
 Elizabeth is growing up so fast. She loves Kindergarten and her teacher, Mrs. O'Malley (who lives across the street.) She loves riding her bike, climbing trees, putting on dance performances, doing crafts, and being the little leader of her triplet minions. She's taking ballet classes for the first time this year, but she says she doesn't want to be a ballerina. Right now, she's leaning towards being a "girl police." She tries her best in everything she does. She has a very tender heart but she's already starting to grumble when I try to smother her with kisses. *sniff* She's learning to read, loves making herself worksheets of arithmetic problems, and is still and ever more will be a daddy's girl. 

We love you, Elizabeth. Happy 6th birthday!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Four Years Old

The triplets turned four years old today. Here's a little profile of each one and what they're up to these days:


Charlie is our little athlete. If it involves a ball, he loves it. He's taken an interest in soccer, which Adam is happy to encourage, so he got a tot-sized soccer ball and pop-up net for his birthday. At our family reunion in July, he even tried his hand (and foot) at ping-pong and hacky-sack with the adults. 

Charlie is also our most tender-hearted of the three. Every night as I tuck him in, I'll say, "I love you." He'll respond, "I love you" back. Then I'll say "Sweet dreams," and he'll say, "sweet dreams," as he curls up into a ball under his blanket. He also has developed the habit of crying out, "How you dare!" with the appropriate shock and indignation when his feelings are hurt, as well as shouting, "You'll never love me anymore!" when I get angry. ???

Charlie loves swimming and developed enough skill and strength in lessons this summer to be able to swim in the deep end (supervised.) And he loves loves loves jumping off the diving board. He loves playing with train tracks and building blocks, as well as tea party with his big sister. We sure love our little Chuck-E-Cheese.


Eddie continues to be the biggest of the three, having grown this summer to be an whole inch taller than his brother. Eddie also continues to be obsessed with all things Buzz Lightyear and now owns FOUR Buzz Lightyear dolls. He just received the big kahuna, the actual life-sized Buzz for his birthday today. He's got it tucked under a blanket next to his bed as he sleeps tonight.

Eddie is also still very independent and enjoys his alone time. When he does play with his siblings, it usually involves him being either the super hero chasing the bad guys, or being the bad guy chasing the good guys; either way there's a lot of chasing and shrieking and, unfortunately, fighting in the end. Speaking of chasing, there is no end to the amount of energy this kid possesses. After a full day of playing in the park, riding on his scooter, and swimming in the pool, he'll still be running laps around the living room at 7 o'clock at night. The only thing he does slowly is . . . everything I ask him to do he doesn't want to do.

Eddie loves mac and cheese with a passion. He loves to help me make lunch and dinner and smash the strawberries for Saturday Pancake Day. He can't sit still long enough to draw pictures, but he'll sit in front of a pretend drum set (with bowls, pans, and chopsticks) and play "rock and roll" forever. And when he's calm enough to give them, his hugs and kisses are the sweetest. We love our Eddie Bear.


We'll often be out and about in the neighborhood, and someone will say hello to Lucy, calling her by name. She'll ask me, "How do they know me?" and I'll respond, "Everyone knows who you are, Lucy." And it's true. Her reputation precedes her. She is a firecracker if ever there was one. When you are part of her "fravrites," you will be showered, nay, smothered with love and affection. But if you cross her, watch out!

Lucy still loves to make people laugh. She'll cross her eyes and stick her tongue out just so, and you can't help but giggle. But lately, if we crack the slightest smile and something funny she does inadvertently, she'll run and hide in grumpy embarrassment. Which, of course, only makes us laugh all the more. 

Lucy loves coloring. She loves it so much, she doesn't just stop with paper, but has spread her art to walls in almost every room in our home. She's even fallen asleep coloring. She loves to swim and moves her body in this awesome dolphin-y undulation that makes her look like a little mermaid. She LOVES dogs. She will run as fast as she can on her little legs to chase after any and all dog walkers in the park to ask them, very politely, if she can pet their dog. Then she'll revel in the sloppy doggie kisses and beg me to get a puppy of her own. (So not happening.) She loves building with the Duplos, playing house with Elizabeth and her brothers, and looking at books. She's even begun to sound out words and can read simple sentences. Oh, and she bites. Lucy BaGoosey is a cutsie for sure.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

In Summer!

Bees buzzed and our kids blew lots of dandelion fuzz and this is what we all did this summer:

We had a graduation (and a first-time Daddy-daughter road trip for Elizabeth.) We're so proud of Aunt Kim and are super excited for her freshman year at BYI-Idaho!

Two alums of Mexico Academy

We had a family reunion!

The whole gang for a fireworks/bbq/dance party extravaganza

Playground fun with Cousin Isaac

Living room fun with Cousin Timothy
The kids LURVE their Aunt Amy

Good quality sister time

Aunt Amy, Dad, and Aunt Jill all turned 60 this year so we had a fiesta to celebrate.

A fiesta complete with pinata, Cafe Rio, and a "photo booth" with props

BJ and Adam got a lot of good Bro Bonding Time.

It filled my heart to bursting to see my kids and my brother having so much fun together.
 Other family reunion activities included fire-fly catching, many trips to the lake, Frozen and Lego Movie showings, a canoe trip down the Huron River, disc golf, a girls' day out at the salon, and a cousins' dinner out. Oh, and lots and lots of late night talks that we never wanted to end because we were all so glad to be under one roof together.

But the summer was only half over! We still had . . . 

Cotton Candy! At every opportunity!

Fun on bounce houses!

Fun on slip-and-slide bounce houses!
 Don't forget Pioneer Day!

Stick Pull. Can you guess who won? 
President Bria taking on his first counselor.
Now that's a good way to resolve any tension in the Branch Presidency.

And guess who learned to ride her bike without training wheels.
We also had swimming lessons!

Eddie being brave in the deep end
 And dance lessons! 
Taught by neighbors Maddie and Allia. For $3/lesson. Adorbs.
 We rode some ponies.

 And some boats.

And some see-saws.
You can see me behind Charlie, so innocent, not knowing what pain and humiliation awaited me.
 And we saw as many fireworks displays as we could.
With the Li's at Wharton Canal Day, which, btw, have the best fireworks show we've ever seen.
I'm so sad summer is ending. The weather has been so wonderfully mild and the kids are old enough to really enjoy swimming, staying up late, catching fireflies, and all the wonderful things we love about this time of year. I hope next summer is just as awesome.

Sunday, June 22, 2014


"When you guys walk in the gate, we're all on high alert." 

I couldn't think anymore. The pain was too great. All I could say was, "Wow" before my throat constricted and I didn't trust myself to speak. I turned away and I told the kids we were leaving. They flocked around me, asking me what was wrong. I waited until we were out of sight of the front gate of the pool before I stopped and let the sobbing start. 

"What's wrong? What did the pool man say?" they asked. I didn't even know how to explain it to them. He thinks I'm a bad mommy. 

*        *         *

I was completely blindsided. Charlie was on a towel, trying to warm up. Elizabeth had bumped her chin so she was sitting with Adam a few feet behind me. Eddie was jumping into the water over and over, as he loves to do. And Lucy was floating around, her three favorite noodles under her arms, paddling away in her Little Mermaid swimsuit. Then I noticed the Pool Man coming up to us. 

"She can't be out there with the noodles."

I was so confused. "Out where?" I knew that toys and things weren't allowed past the rope that marked the shallow end. But she was on our side of the rope.

"Out there. In fact, I'd prefer it if you didn't use noodles at all, especially since you're not in the water with her." I was sitting on the pool steps, six or seven feet away from her. I looked at her red curls, so bright in the sun. I started to feel a terrible burning in my face but my mouth seemed frozen shut. 

"She can't swim, right?" he continued, and again told us he preferred we'd use a life jacket or something else. Adam started to ask him about the rules about noodles. I waded out to her, a burning darkness spreading inside of me. I brought her up to the steps, took the noodles and put them on the pool deck. The Pool Man walked away. I sat on the steps for a minute. The pool was almost empty. A half an hour ago, it had been crowded with kids splashing and laughing and moms and a few dads sitting on the steps, chatting or throwing balls to the bigger kids. There were lots of kids with noodles. There were lots of moms sitting on the steps. 

"F*** this. We're leaving." I said. I called out to the kids to get ready to go. Adam protested. He wanted to let the kids stay. I sat on the ground and cried. Eventually I left with Charlie, the cold one, my head swirling with everything I should have said and should have done.

When Charlie and I got home, I felt them coming, one by one: the crying jags; the numbness; the desire to hide; the ruminating thoughts. All the depression symptoms came back, familiar but no less dreadful. I didn't want to make dinner. I didn't want to talk to anyone. I just lay on my bed and let Adam do all the work. I pitched in to get the kids to bed, but that was it. Later that night, I talked it over with him. I talked it over with my mom. I talked it over with my friend, who'd witnessed the scene. I knew I should use the skills I'd learned at Crazy School, but I didn't even want to. I could challenge my thoughts. I could act opposite of the emotion. I could do something to distract myself. Maybe I'll just feel better in the morning, I thought. But one thing I did want to do. I wanted to talk to Pool Man again, on my terms, with my thoughts collected and my emotions under control.

This morning, I took the kids on our pre-church walk. In our Sunday best, we walked through the park to the pool. I explained to the kids that I was going to talk to the man in charge of the pool and that they needed to be quiet and wait patiently. What I really meant was, please don't act out of control. Please don't make me look bad. When we got to the gate, I asked to speak to the Pool Man. He came out and I said I wanted to talk about what happened yesterday, to find out more about his concerns. I explained that we were happy to comply with pool rules, but that I'd seen other children with pool noodles before, and other moms sitting on the steps watching their kids play. Why was I being singled out? He told me he was "very concerned." I think he used that phrase a half a dozen times. He referred to our "history" at the pool. Earlier that week, Elizabeth had been helped by a life guard. I was in the bathroom with one of the triplets. My mother's helper was in the water with the other two and Elizabeth was further out. She'd gone to get a ball and had cried for help. She later told me she could touch with her tippy-toes but she was too tired to swim. Neither the lifeguard nor my mother's helper mentioned the incident to me. I didn't find out about it until I was turning in a form at the neighborhood association office and the office worker mentioned it. "My daughter has four kids," she'd said to me, a look of great concern on her face. "So I know how hard it is to keep track of them all." My mind had gone blank then, too, mostly from shock that I hadn't even known what had happened. But hours later, the subtle condescension in her voice made me burn with shame and then anger. 

The Pool Man's face wasn't one of pity. It was steeled. His eyes were narrow and his mouth pinched. He told me he'd seen me "rescue" Lucy a few weeks ago. She'd gone out too far and was in distress and I'd run to get her. The lifeguard hadn't even noticed. He talked about how he's seen how Adam or I will stay in the shallow end with the four kids while the other goes off the diving board a few times; about how we let the kids take turns jumping to us in the deep end. "It's just too hard. Too many kids," he said. I was getting more and more agitated. I asked him how many kids he had. When he answered "two," I said, exasperated, "Then you don't know what it's like. This is what we do. We think we are keeping our kids safe. Where I come from, having four kids isn't a big deal." He repeated that he was very concerned about my kids' safety. I asked if he was targeting us because we have a big family. He said no. "So should we only come if we have four adults?" Again, he said no. Then he told me that he and all the life guards are aware of us, that they've discussed us. That's when he said, "When you guys walk in the gate, we're all on high alert." 

The crash this time was further still. At dinner, Adam and I were struggling to get the kids to set the table, sit down to eat, and be quiet for the blessing on the food. Everything was a battle, and every kid was either crying, whining, or yelling. I walked away from the table, lay down on my bed, and wondered why I even bothered, why I put myself through this. Then my old friends came back. They'd be better off without you. Wouldn't it be better and easier if you just died? I imagined it. I thought of plans. It soothed me and scared me. As soon as Adam came in I told him I'd been having suicidal thoughts. He coaxed me back to the dinner table and the rest of the night with the kids went okay. 

Now they're in bed. I've discussed it again with my mom, with Adam, and with my friend. "He's the one with the problem," they say. "It's about him, not you." "You're doing a good job." But do they really understand? What it's like to be a circus parade everywhere you go? To feel like a pariah at the library when three of your kids are running in all different directions? To want to melt into the earth when you're trying to get them all across the street and one breaks away and runs. You're on high alert, Mr. Pool Man? Try living my life! I'm ALWAYS on high alert! If I were to let that fear rule me, I'd never leave the house with my kids EVER! But deep down, there's the awful monster that eats away at all your confidence and contentment every time you make a mistake, or doubt yourself, or get a rude comment from a stranger about your parenting. Maybe I am neglectful. Maybe I shouldn't try taking them anywhere by myself. Maybe I am a bad mother. 

When I walked with my children away from the pool this morning, I felt like I could never go back there. And tonight, I felt like I couldn't even go on. But I am going on. And I will go back to the pool. I'll let you know how it goes, and what I figure out about myself in the process.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

With Honors

Friday was a big day in our house. Elizabeth "graduated" from preschool and I "graduated" from Crazy School. So now Elizabeth is officially ready to go to kindergarten and I am officially ready to be a healthy, productive adult. Ha!

But we really are proud of our big girl. During last year's preschool graduation, Elizabeth had terrible stage fright and spent the whole time with her head down. This year, their class was doing a beach-themed program and they practiced for weeks. Elizabeth talked all the time about wanting to be brave on stage. She even asked Adam for a father's blessing the morning of the program. And boy, did she nail it. She shimmied, she hula-ed, she even posed for pics with her "diploma." We were thrilled and so was she.

She's really loved her time at preschool. I think pairing teenagers with preschoolers is genius. And she still has a mad crush on Hank.

We even got to introduce the triplets to her teacher, who will be their teacher when they're in the program next year. And I use the term "introduce" loosely. We are talking about 3-year-olds.

If you're dying to see it, and I know you all are, the link to the video of her group's dance is here

So that was Friday morning. Friday afternoon I went to my outpatient program for the last time. Since they have rolling enrollment, patients start and finish at different times. When someone finishes treatment, they do a little graduation thing on their last day. And it is awesome. First, a volunteer from the group writes your name on the board and numbers 1 to 12. Then, your fellow patients call out positive attributes they've noticed in you during your time together; they're called affirmations. The last one, #12, is saved for you to say something positive about yourself. After this, you're given a certificate where another group member has written all the affirmations down for you to keep. Then, the group and the clinicians give you feedback about how they experienced you. Finally, you tell the group what you've learned, how you've changed, and any advice you'd like to share with the newbies. And then everyone claps. And you feel like a million bucks. It's wonderful. 

I was really nervous about graduating. I felt like I'd had this safety net for so long that was now going to be taken away from me. Plus, it came on unexpectedly and they switched the day at the last minute. Since different people attend program on different days, I was worried that some of the people I'd grown closest to wouldn't be there. But thankfully most of them were. Their feedback was so touching. They talked about how caring and helpful I was. One friend, my little buddy I sit next to every day in group, joked that he couldn't talk about me or he was going to start crying. So of course I got choked up for real. After they said all their nice things, I asked if I could give everyone an affirmation in return, since I wouldn't be there for their graduations. I've seen so much strength and beauty and pain and growth in that group, it wasn't hard to come up with something for each person. I guess that's what happens when you get to see someone at their most vulnerable—you can't help but love them simply because of their humanity. Maybe that's why I love novels so much, because they let us peer into the soul of another person (albeit a fictional person.) 

When they asked how I'd changed during the course of the program, I had to pause and think. I knew I'd learned a lot and had a lot of "a-ha" moments. One of the most important things I've learned is that I am the sole determiner of my happiness. I know it sounds cliche. Whenever I used to hear people say, "you can choose to be happy!" I'd want to punch them in the face. But now I can see that my gut reaction was anger because they weren't saying, "You can choose to be happy . . . and here's how. Here's all the junk you need to work through to get there. And here's how you can stop sabotaging yourself . . . " etc. Now I have more tools. I have more awareness. 

For example, a while back, my clinician asked me to fill out a self-esteem worksheet about what I'd learned about myself when I was a child. I could not for the life of me fill it out. What beliefs did I learn about myself? Huh? But I dug and I dug, and with my shrink's help, I started asking the right questions. For instance, when we were kids, my siblings would often call me "mother" as an insult. And I hated it. But I was—I was like a little mother to them, always trying to make them behave. As I talked to my clinician about this, I started to see why. My father would often get very angry with us and chase us or take a threatening stance and look at us like he was going to hurt us. Even though I don't recall him ever hitting us, I remember being viscerally afraid of him when he got mad. So, as a young child, I learned that misbehavior made me feel unsafe. So being "good," made me feel safe. I learned that I must be good at all costs, and I did everything in my power to make my siblings be good so we would all be safe. That's just one part of our family's dynamic, but those beliefs and coping mechanisms I learned as a child play out in my life today and are causing me harm. So I challenge those beliefs. When someone is doing something I perceive as "wrong," I can take a step back and be mindful of what's going on inside me—how my issues might be coloring my perception. And then I can ask myself if it's any of my business, if I'm trying to gain admiration or acceptance by being the "good" one, that sort of thing. Guys, this stuff is amazing!

So that's some more of what I learned. But have I changed? I look at how I interact with my kids, and I know I still have a long way to go, but I really feel like I've made a lot of improvement. The combination of the skills I learned with the meds I'm now on (remember that self-control in a bottle?) has really helped me, well, chill out. I don't loose it as much as I used to. I'm not afraid I'm going to hurt my kids or myself anymore. It may be because one of the meds makes me wicked tired all the time so I'm just too worn out to get in a rage, but all joking aside, I don't care. I'd rather be gentler to my family and myself than have more energy, even if it means I won't be throwing Pinterest-worthy parties or launching an at-home business, or, you know, mopping the floor. And I'm not giving up. My #12 was "tenacious," because I've learned now that, no matter what life throws at me, I have the strength and skills and tenacity to overcome. Booyah.

At any rate, it was an emotional day for all of us. And since I was given a Red Robin gift card for my birthday (hello, bottomless steak fries!), we decided to skip the hassle of making dinner and instead celebrate our graduations by going out with the whole family. Yum! 

So here's to the grads of 2014! Have a great summer! Keep in touch!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Ten Beliefs That Will Not Cause Problems

As promised, here they are. I'd be very interested in hearing which ones resonate with you and what your reactions are. This stuff is so interesting!

1. Everyone doesn't have to love me.

Not everyone has to love me or even like me. I don't necessarily like everyone I know so why should everyone else like me? I enjoy being liked and being loved, but if someone doesn't like me I will still be okay and still feel like I am an okay person. I cannot "make" someone like me any more than someone can get me to like them. I don't need approval all the time. If someone does not approve of me, I will still be okay.

2. It is okay to make mistakes.

Making mistakes is something we all do, and I am still a fine and worthwhile person when I make mistakes. There is no reason for me to get upset when I make a mistake. I am trying and if I make a mistake, I am going to continue trying. I can handle making a mistake. It is okay for others to make mistakes, too. I will accept mistakes in myself and also mistakes that others make.

3. Other people are okay and I am okay.

People who do things I don't like are not necessarily bad people. They should not necessarily be punished just because I don't like what they do or did. There is no reason why another person should be the way I want them to be and there is no reason why I should be the way someone else wants me to be. People will b whatever they want to be, and I will be whatever I want to be. I cannot control other people or change the. They are who they are; we all deserve basic respect and reasonable treatment.

4. I don't have to control things.

I will survive if things are different than what I want them to be. I can accept things the way they are and accept myself the way I am. There is no reason to get upset if I can't change things to fit my idea of how they ought to be. There is no reason why I should have to like everything. Even if I don't like it, I can live with it.

5. I am responsible for my day.

I am responsible for how I feel and for what I do. No one can make me feel anything. If I have a rotten day, I am the one who allowed it to be that way If I have a great day, I am the one who deserves credit for being positive. It is not the responsibility of other people to change so that I can feel better. I am the one who is in charge of my life.

6. I can handle it when things go wrong.

I don't need to watch out for things to go wrong. things usually go just fine, and when they don't, I can handle it. I don't have to waste my energy worrying. The sky won't fall in; things will be okay.

7. It is important to try.

I can. Even though I may be faced with difficult tasks, it is better to try than to avoid them. Avoiding a task does not give me any opportunities for success or joy, but trying does. Things worth having are worth the effort. I might not be able to do everything, but I can do something.

8. I am capable.

I don't need someone else to take care of my problems. I am capable. I can take care of myself. I can make decisions for myself. I can think for myself. I don't have to depend on someone else to take care of me.

9. I can change.

I don't have to be a certain way because of what has happened in the past. Every day is a new day. it's not true to think I can't help being the way I am. Of course I can.

10. Other people are capable.

I can't solve other people's problems for them. I don't have to take on other people's problems as if they were my own. I don't need to change other people or fix up their lives. They are capable and can take care of themselves, and can solve their own problems. I can care and be of some help, but I can't do everything for them.

Sheesh! I see myself in so many of them. But like #9 says, I can change! Sorry if this is too much touchy-feely stuff. More funny stories and cute kids later. Oh, and there's no indication on the handout what this is from, but if you want to know the source, I can ask the powers that be at Crazy School.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Crazy School: Weeks 3-?

Anyone who knows me well knows that I cry easily. I see a sappy Hallmark card commercial, I cry. I hear a news report with a mom in Syria crying about her dead child, I cry. Someone flips me off for accidentally cutting them off, I cry. And then there was the time I saw a live production of West Side Story and embarrassed my date by sobbing so loudly. Yeah. If I were a Care Bear, I'd be Tenderheart Bear. 

I'm like Gus, a Sympathetic Crier.
But I also sometimes cry when I recognize truth, when something deeply affects me and I connect with it on a spiritual level.

A while back in Crazy School, we were talking about distorted thinking. I talked a little about it on my post here, about cognitive distortions. Different terms, same thing. So we were talking in our class about different types of thought distortions, like catastrophizing. You know, worrying about something, making it a bigger deal in your mind than it really is. Or overgeneralization. Your husband forgets to take out the trash and you get mad because he NEVER takes out the trash! We talked about how you can challenge these thought distortions. You can say to yourself, "Really? He never takes out the trash? Then why isn't our house buried in trash? He must take it out most of the time. I'm glad he does that." Or with catastrophizing, you can say, "I don't know what the future holds. I'm going to stay in the now. Whatever happens, I can deal with it." One of the thought distortions I could relate a lot to was personalization. I'll quote from the handout: "Thinking that everything people do or say is some kind of reaction to you. You also compare yourself to others, trying to determine who's smarter, better looking, etc."  As we were working on coming up with statements that could challenge our individual distortions, the clinician gave us a handout to help. "Ten Beliefs That Will Not Cause Problems." Weird title, I know. I read the heading of the first belief, "Everyone doesn't have to love me." Tears instantly sprang to my eyes. I read on, 

Not everyone has to love me or even like me. I enjoy being liked and being loved, but if someone doesn't like me I will still be okay and still feel like I am an okay person. I cannot "make" someone like me any more than someone can get me to like them. I don't need approval all the time. If someone does not approve of me, I will still be okay."

It's hard to put into words what an impact that had on me. It's like my mind realized three things all at once: 1) I'd lived my whole life believing everyone DID need to love me; 2) I never realized I'd been operating under that belief system; and 3) That it was false and was causing me pain. So that's what my head was doing. My heart just wigged out and told my eyes to cry. It was like someone's been carrying a backpack full of rocks around for decades and suddenly they realize that they can take it off. 

Maybe this seems like "duh" stuff to you all. But it was huge to me. I started to look at my life and see how this false belief has affected me. Even in group therapy, I've noticed that I try really hard to be the helpful, happy, upbeat one. I'm not afraid to be real and talk about my problems in group, but most days, I'm trying to help everyone else. I'm bringing cookies. I'm checking in with the ones who seem most troubled. How much of it is flowing out of an inner well of love and goodness, and how much is just a desperate plea to love me? Don't you love my chocolate chip cookies? You should love me, too! 

I have more to say about this, but I'll end here for now because it's past my bedtime. But if anyone is interested, I can post the rest of the Non-Problem-Causing thoughts. Maybe your mind will be blown. Or maybe I'm the only one having Ted-like epiphanies over here.