Crying Over Cake Fails

By Kate Kole

I made my parents a cake last month to celebrate their anniversary.

Everything was going well until the final step of transferring it to a rack to cool for 10 minutes and then removing it to finish cooling completely.

10 minutes somehow turned into an hour and a half as our baby had a blowout, requiring an outfit change and our weekly groceries were delivered, requiring what’s become a routine wipe down and put away process.

By the time I finally got around to cutting the cakes out of the pan, they weren’t cooperating. I started gently tapping the bottom of the 8-inch rounds before graduating to drumming on them as if I was forming my own kitchen band. Eventually, they began to crumble unevenly onto the plates I had set up on our counters.

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Fill Up. Empty Out.

BY KATE KOLE

I became a fitness instructor and yoga teacher before I became a mom.

The trend towards self-care and inspirational Pinterest boards took off during my training tenure and I enthusiastically turned into a spokesperson for the popular social media proverb, “You can’t pour from an empty cup”.

I cringe a bit each time I recall the way I would readily offer that insight. After class, someone would share with me that it felt so nice to practice. That she knew she needed to do it more often. But between work, and family, and life, it was just hard to find the motivation, and space, and energy. I would nod. Understanding that of course, we all face obstacles. But she needed to take care of herself too, I’d say. Because how could she meaningfully show up for her work, and her people, and her life if she wasn’t tending to herself first? I posed the question rhetorically. Food for thought when she had the time to digest it.

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The Art and Sadness of “Getting Through”

By De Elizabeth

In high school, I referred to them as “Dread Days.” They were, quite simply, days that provoked the feeling of dread, for reasons entirely appropriate in a 14-year-old’s world: science lab with the girl who bullied me in elementary school, a history class presentation where I was underprepared and my crush sat in the first row, having to complete my volunteer shift at the library instead of spending an afternoon with my friends.

Initially, I only used the phrase in my head silently, but eventually started labeling them in my planner with two D’s, written as tiny as possible and in purple ink. In the days leading up to a Dread Day, I’d have a pit in my stomach, knowing that whatever fun I was having in the moment would soon be overshadowed by the knowledge that something unpleasant would take its place. On the morning of a Dread Day, I’d repeat to myself: Just get through it; just get through. When the day was over, I’d cross off the “DD” in my planner, feeling a sense of overwhelming relief.

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Are You Better Now?

By De Elizabeth

CW: The following talks about eating disorders & restricting behaviors.

The first time I heard about National Eating Disorders Awareness Week was in college; I passed a sign in the dining hall that showed a picture of a girl probably around my age holding a piece of fruit. Across the poster, in big letters: “What does an eating disorder look like?” As I methodically put things on my plate, taking twice as long than everyone else because I was terrified to eat anything at this point, I remember thinking: This, it just looks like this. 

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Be Away From Me

By a 3OT Guest Writer

“Be away from me” my almost-three-year-old boy shouts at me, for likely the seventh time this week. To compliment his bold declaration, he throws one small arm out straight in front him and swings it from side to side, as if indicating the exact amount of space he needs in order for me to “be away”.

Though he is good with language for his age, he obviously lacks a command of the English language, which sometimes win us some great little phrases. When he doesn’t want to snuggle before bed at night, I am told to “be off his body”. Typically my husband and I giggle about these mistakes in wording. We try to document them because we know that one day he won’t make mistakes like these. Or he will…. But it won’t be funny so much as a reason for a concerning parent teacher conference.

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The December I Stopped Making New Years Resolutions

By De Elizabeth

The end of the year feels like it’s supposed to be momentous. The parties, the glitter, the fancy dresses. The countdowns, the champagne toasts, the resolutions to try harder, be better, do more, next year. The reflections, the highlight reels, the top 10s. The overwhelming urge to look back, collect your thoughts, and go on to vastly improve.

In reality, the shift from December 31 to January 1 comes without fireworks. It’s soft, it’s quiet, it’s the rustling of a page turning in the dark. There’s no explosion, no flashing lights, no disco ball. There’s you on December 31. There’s you on January 1. And it’s the same you all along.

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Chasing The Crape Myrtle Tree

By Jillian Stacia

On my phone, I keep a list of things that I love – things that make me feel like me. It starts with coffee and ends with deep breaths of forest air.

It may seem dumb, this list. Or maybe a little narcissistic. And it’s slightly sad to have to remind myself that I prefer sunflowers to roses, or that naps during sporting events are my favorite way to unwind on the weekends.

But I find myself looking at this list more and more, constantly adding, editing, tweaking.

I’ll catch myself staring down at the numbers, memorizing the content, reading them like a mantra: the sound of rain, library books, reading on the beach. Continue reading

22 Days Left In The Decade. This Is What I’ll Do.

By Kate Kole

We’ve officially crossed into the territory of the countdown to the end of the year. Only this time around, it feels like there’s added significance. Because we’re not just closing out one round of 365 days and moving into the next, we have a whole 10 years to reflect on and finish strong before setting new goals to achieve.

I simultaneously feel a surge of motivation and a dose of anxiousness each time I see an inspirational Instagram post reminding me of the number of days we have left in 2019. How will you make them count? It asks. I stare at the screen, momentarily frozen as I try to come up with an answer that seems monumental enough to match the transition from one decade to another.

My 18-month-old saves me from the spin cycle of my mind by beginning to climb on the furniture. I toss my phone on the coffee table and wrangle him from the couch cushions, from there moving to play our favorite game of ‘empty all the kitchen cupboards’.

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What Do You See?

By Kate Kole

I’ve always loved those images that can be viewed two different ways, like the young girl or old woman. Once you’ve seen one, it’s nearly impossible to recognize the other. And then, just as quickly, the opposite is made clear and it’s hard to go back to your original perception. It seems inconceivable that the two could coexist. And yet somehow, they do.

Life feels like that sometimes.

6 years ago was my wedding rehearsal. I can remember everything about that day in better detail than I can remember what I was doing this Tuesday afternoon.

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Joy Comes With The Mourning

By Kate Kole

Last week, my older brother would have turned 40. It was the 15th birthday we’ve had without him here with us.

While most dates are just numbers on the calendar, Mondays blurring into Tuesdays and one errand running into the next, birthdays stand apart.

There’s anticipation and expectation. Memories of the past and wishes for the future.

When his birthday rolls around each November, I think about the first year he wasn’t here. The way our grief felt heavy and hard to carry. How we wondered if we’d ever feel happy again.

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