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amalah
Washington, DC
Recent Activity
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If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of self-harm or suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text CONNECT to 741741 in the United States. I no longer recognize that version of myself. The version from the hospital, from the bathroom floor, and from long before the bathroom floor. The version who was sloooooowly being crushed under the weight of her anxiety, the one who walked around with a pained, twisted smile pretending to enjoy a conversation or activity but who was more than likely too preoccupied with arguing with some corner of her brain hissing thoughts like run, panic, window, glass, goodbye. The version who wanted to stay home, to stay in bed. For whom Jason would cautiously lock up all the Tylenol and Advil before leaving her alone. That particular safeguard started happening just over a year ago; we didn't get there overnight. The descent is slow and sneaky. I blamed my work stress, household stress, the election, that fucking garbage-haired racist buffoon, my period. There was always something I could point at and blame for why I was feeling so unsettled and unbearably anxious. (The depression, on the other... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at amalah . com
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So this happened! I wore my finest (and only) actual wedding dress and a bridal tank top, which is a thing that exists! Look at Jason aiming for silly but still landing on just plain handsome. He's so annoying like that. (Visible bra strap earns you +1,000,000 bonus Vegas points.) (While cracking up during the wedding ceremony earns you +1,000,000 marriage points.) We did it! And then promptly left the fancy vow renewal certificate in our Lyft. (Our driver found it and brought it back. Thank goodness, otherwise our 20-year marriage might have been INVALID or something.) Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at amalah . com
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...and we're gonna get re-married. Jason and I are headed to Las Vegas this weekend for our long-planned vow renewal celebration. And yes, that's my original wedding dress in all it's poofy, polyester glory. It's coming with us, somehow, along with the rainbow Vans. (And no, the dress doesn't really still fit. I was 20 years old and lived on saltines I stole while waitressing! I shall be wearing it as a skirt and pairing it with a suitably tacky t-shirt for the occasion. Jason also has some hilarity planned for his outfit.) Anyway, we're excited! Vegas! Elvis! Ball gowns and Hawaiian shirts! It's all very us, to say the least. Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2018 at amalah . com
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Are you sick to death of other people's awkward back-to-school photos cluttering up all your feeds? WELL TOO BAD. HERE ARE MORE. AS REQUIRED BY BLOG LAW. I'm sorry. I don't make the rules. Seventh grade, still defiantly wearing a Minecraft shirt in the face of Fortnite, which he refuses to play on principle. (I don't know what that principle is exactly, he's just very adamant about not playing Fortnite. Up yours, peer pressure!) And fourth and second grade, respectively. We never have our act together enough to make cute little signs or anything, but I did manage to find some Post-Its to write their teachers' names and bus numbers on since they were both suddenly nervous about getting lost in the school they've been attending for years now. (To be fair, it's massive. I'm pretty sure you could fit my entire high school in the cafeteria.) (My high school didn't even have a cafeteria. Or fact-based science curriculum!) I did have my act together enough to make him eggs, however. He was very happy with them. He also came home SUPER EXCITED because the cafeteria now has a SALAD BAR. (A salad bar! My school definitely didn't have that.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2018 at amalah . com
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Work really took over my attention this week...(along with three camp-less boy children running around the house during their last gasp of summer vacation and all I can say is Bionicles. Bionicles everywhere. Places where no Bionicle should be, like in the dishwasher, my bed, the goddamn toilet.)...so I'm going to cheat today and re-post something from social media that most of you have already seen. But what better way to spend your Friday than watching it again and again and again, because honestly it gets funnier and funnier and funnier each time? Jason installed a new motion-activated security camera by our garage, and about 10 minutes after I tasked Noah with taking the recycling out to the curb, he sent me the following bit of footage. A post shared by Amalah (@amalah) on Aug 28, 2018 at 1:31pm PDT Classic Noah. Downright ICONIC Noah. Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2018 at amalah . com
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We're back from a lovely week away at the beach, where perfect days were sandwiched between hellish sleepness nights because the residents of the apartment above us apparently liked to run laps in combat boots while rearranging all the furniture between 3 and 5 a.m. We did not particularly love our rental this year, because 1) SEE ABOVE, and 2) We discovered during dinner one night that it was possible to very easily and accidentally trip the lock on the sliding door leading out to the second-story, screened-in deck from the inside, thus locking your damn ass outside. We were all completely stuck for about 20 minutes until we managed to get the attention of some people coming down a nearby flight stairs (who, thankfully, were NOT the nocturnal Sumo wrestlers from directly upstairs) who came inside our unit and rescued us. Meanwhile, we'd left the stove on and all the smoke alarms started going off, and I don't think I need to even TELL YOU who specifically and "accidentally" tripped the inside lock, right? Mmm-hmmm. Baby Ike is back on his bullshit. Also, 3) This was on the coffee table and haunted my every waking moment, because WTeverlovingF. But,... Continue reading
Posted Aug 28, 2018 at amalah . com
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Quick question. No, wait. Two questions. 1) WHYYYYYY DID I BUY THEM THIS 2) How long before the batteries die a malicious early death and I can claim that oh, sorry, those are SPECIAL batteries that we don't have and need to be special-ordered and delivered via yak from Malaysia, meanwhile, why don't you leave Simon with me and also, bring me a hammer. For reasons. Unrelated. Other than the beep-borping-insanity brought on by that damn thing, I'm doing pretty well. I still hit the occasional rough patch where either the depression or anxiety spike, but since I finally have the ability to know what life feels like WITHOUT those dueling bastards, I can actually stop and recognize that okay, time for some self-care or mindfulness or deep breathing or sunshine or whatever the fuck. It's been a really, really long time since I could even tell the difference. The kids are doing really well too -- they're all such funny, matter-of-fact sorts who are just like, okay, Mom was sick but now she's getting better. She takes medicine and goes to a lot of doctor's appointments to stay better and out of the hospital. Yay Mom! I'm hoping that... Continue reading
Posted Aug 14, 2018 at amalah . com
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We're coming up on another anniversary -- our three-year anniversary with Yellow House and our new little neighborhood. I'd say it's still going well. I love the 1) curious attempt at an apostrophe between their names, 2) the abandoned attempt to spell "friends" before opting for the much simpler "BFF" and 3) the fact that Ike went back later and wrote the names of several other neighborhood friends because he didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings. This has been Friday Happy, something I just now made up as an excuse to end the week with something that made me smile real big. Continue reading
Posted Aug 10, 2018 at amalah . com
Jason uses Google Photos (while I'm more of a "I have seven different cloud accounts for photo backup but forget about all of them until the exact second I drop my phone/spill wine on the laptop" kinda gal) and it occasionally makes little collages for him automatically, clearly using some kind of terrifying facial recognition/tracking technology that it's best to not think too hard about. It made this one of us recently, which could be accurately categorized as "Selfies Taken In Bars" or "Photos In Which Jason Looks Infuriating Handsome & Charming While Amy...Is Also...There." Us from amalah on Vimeo. Very apt for today, our 20th (T-W-E-NNNNNN-T-I-E-T-H) wedding anniversary. The anniversary of the day I somehow convinced this man to marry and run away with 20-year-old me. Well before my jawline started melting into my neck. And if that weren't crazy enough, I've also somehow convinced this man to marry me AGAIN, next month. We'll be renewing our vows in the style we always dreamed our first dirt-poor, underage wedding could have been. Which is obviously: Vegas. And Elvis. I can't wait. It's been a really tough year, there's no denying that. Definitely the kind of year that puts the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2018 at amalah . com
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Ugh. What a downer of a post to keep up all week. Let's get back to what this blog is REALLY about, which is hardcore punk rock. of course. The Reptilian Army from amalah on Vimeo. And here's a random selection of the pure joy that radiates 24/7 out of this ridiculous hammy child. This is his last week of swim camp, and then Noah starts a game design camp and then we're going to the beach. And Jason and I will be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary next week! This summer got an undeniably rockiest of rocky starts, but I think we turned things around pretty well. Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2018 at amalah . com
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Someone I love very much called me over the weekend. It wasn't the first time they've called, but it was the first time I answered in years, due to their struggles with addiction and mental health issues. You just didn't know which version of this person you'd end up talking to. But they'd tried to call several times after finding out What Happened, and their voicemails and texts seemed to be coming from the good version. The kind and loving version, the version I desperately miss. So I answered. It was the other version. They were very, very drunk and immediately started talking about suicide. About a bottle of pills and balconies and being in possession of a gun. Maybe it was a super misguided attempt to empathize, but it only made me cry and beg them to stop stop stop. No no no. Jason grabbed the phone out of my hand and hung up, alarmed at my hysterics and well-versed in this particular person's abuse and manipulation. "Why did you even answer?" he asked as I sobbed. Because I thought they were better. I thought they deserved to hear from me that I was better. I thought we could... Continue reading
Posted Jul 30, 2018 at amalah . com
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Noah finally finished It. And as promised, he was allowed to watch the movie version of his choice. He chose the new movie, and we enjoyed some nice ol' fashioned mother-son bonding time over classic horror-movie jump scares and a demonic child-eating clown. He LOVED It. Absolutely loved it. Every creepy, fucked-up second of it. Although it turns out he'd already found almost all of the more intense/murder-y scenes on YouTube without our knowledge, so that's some doubly excellent parenting right there. He's currently grounded from screens and the Internet for the rest of the week and trying to get around it by asking what other scary movies we can watch together instead, because he knows I'm a sucker. Do we go for Poltergeist? Stick with King and The Shining? The first Paranormal? Blair Witch? Exorcist? Gotta get him schooled on the classics of the genre for maximum nightmare fuel. Meanwhile, Ezra is attending a rock camp this week. He's the guitarist for a band called The Reptilian Army. This Friday is their first concert, and they'll be playing a Pennywise song (no idea which one! but he is very excited about it because Noah will think it's cool!) followed... Continue reading
Posted Jul 25, 2018 at amalah . com
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Leaving your phone charger downstairs is an excellent trick for getting out of bed in the morning. It's amazing how much better you feel after washing your face. Wunderlist is a great to-do list app where you can include "get out of bed" and "wash your face" every day and get a jolt of satisfaction when you cross that shit off. If your shoes are completely decrepit and falling apart because you've worn them almost every day for the past 15 years, you're allowed to buy yourself new shoes. You're even allowed to buy yourself new shoes just because. Remember how your baby would sleep six hours one night, then only 45 minutes the next night even though you did everything exactly the same? Remember the sleep regressions and the teething and slow dawning realization that baby sleep doesn't progress or improve on the most logical or linear path? Yeah. This is like that. And that's okay. Counter the anxiety of house or dinner guests with cleaning the everloving crap out of your house, even if it's just one or two small corners of it. Gaze at all the everloving crap you've managed to throw out with a sense of... Continue reading
Posted Jul 23, 2018 at amalah . com
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On top of it all, in the middle of everything else, Ike has dyslexia. I've suspected something was up for awhile now (one of my older brothers has dyslexia and I started spotting some similarities pretty early on). Ike is a smarty-smart-smart-pants and a good little student, but kept falling farther and farther behind in reading and writing. He knows his letters and phonics and all the mechanics and spends hours looking at books and trying to write, but when faced with with any word longer than three or four letters, he's completely lost. He flips letters around and upside down and fills the middle of words with strings of random vowels. His eyesight is fine and he's on grade level (or even a bit above) in math and everything else. He's been in speech therapy for a year now to correct his lisp and articulation problems, but his progress there hasn't resulted any improvement in his writing or spelling. I signed him up for a summer reading program that he LOVES and works SO adorably super hard at, but he's so behind his peers the teacher bumped his online curriculum down to the kindergarten level. And then he told... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2018 at amalah . com
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This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. The first 50 readers to sign up with Blue Apron with this link will get $50 off their first two weeks! I came home from the hospital late Friday afternoon, just in time to meet the boys at the bus stop. I showered, changed my clothes, and unpacked the plastic hospital bag of pajamas and books and other ward-approved belongings. A few hours later, I made dinner. Chicken and poblano tostadas with roasted zucchini, to be exact. It was the easiest way to feel normal again. I've since learned not to rush back into "normal" too quickly -- the next day I attempted to take all the kids to all the lessons and then run all the errands by myself and nearly broke down in overwhelmed, anxious tears the YMCA parking lot -- but to focus on the little things. Like scrambling eggs, packing up backpacks for camp, folding laundry, making dinner. (Opting for comfort food much? Oh, you know it.) Dinner I can do. Dinner I can handle. Dinner has to happen one way or another, and I feel better and stronger for making an effort to spend 30-40 minutes on it... Continue reading
Posted Jul 16, 2018 at amalah . com
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At first glance, the psychiatric ward looked like any other hospital floor, just kind of crappier. The furniture was older and most of it was mismatched. My roommate had a side table with drawers while I only had one of those wheelie tray things they serve your meals on. On the other hand, I had a hospital bed that adjusted automatically with buttons, while hers was so old it adjusted with a weird sort of hand crank. The ward was too nondescript and bland to feel haunted, but ghosts were everywhere. The wall above my bed was covered with bits of Scotch tape and vague, faded squares of whatever had once been displayed there. Photos? Artwork? A manifesto of some kind? Another wall was covered with doodles of interlocking triangles and arrows pointing at the centers. By the sink, the outline of where a towel rack used to be. On the ceiling, the empty track where a privacy curtain once divided the room. The closets had both empty brackets for clothing rods and gouged-out hinges for doors. There wasn't even a toilet paper holder in the bathroom; just a weird metal cubby for the roll to sit in. All the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 12, 2018 at amalah . com
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We spent the 4th of July in Baltimore, then went up to Hershey, PA for the rest of week. The boys only had two requests for summer vacation: Fireworks and Hersheypark. We were happy to oblige. (And yes, of course Noah brought the Declaration of Independence to its birthday party. And Sonic the Hedgehog, because why not?) (My phone died barely an hour into our day at the park, so this is the only documentation of my physical presence.) It's now been a full month since it happened, the event, the attempt, the night it all nearly stopped but didn't. Sometimes it still feels very near and very close, while other times I look up at the sky and see fireworks, or the world whizzing past on a rollercoaster, and it fades far, far away. To a different time and place I have no interest in ever revisiting. Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2018 at amalah . com
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Every night, Jason would call me on the ward and put his phone on speaker so I could listen in on the familiar, boisterous chaos. He'd put the groceries away while the boys squealed and shrieked over all the new cereals and bickered over which box to open first. They'd all try to talk to me at once and the dogs would start barking and someone would say "whoops" and Jason would say "get a paper towel" and I'd sit there on the other end of the line with a big grin on my face and tears in my eyes because I missed it all so much. And then the ping of guilt, because I missed so much of it all. So many morning when I couldn't get out of bed to pour the cereal or scramble the eggs or kiss them goodbye before school. So many evenings when I was irritable and impatient and snappish, when whatever mess required the paper towel would be like, the last fucking straw. I'm done. I'm out. I can't deal with any of you right now. (And then the vicious, downward spiral of guilt, because I'm a terrible mother/wife/friend and I'm failing and... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2018 at amalah . com
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This post is sponsored by thredUP. Raise your hand if you do any of the following things while shopping online: Go on a wild Add To Cart spree only to end up with a mortgage payment's worth of items at checkout, where you get overwhelmed by the decision-making process and ultimately abandon everything. Spend a inordinately long time debating the multiple color/size options on a single item (do I dare buy something other than black? what the hell is a S/M vs. a M/L? if the model is 5'11" and somehow wearing an XXS, what time does the second train arrive in Cleveland?) before getting overwhelmed by the decision-making process and ultimately abandon everything. Scream at your screen that you JUST WANT PANTS THAT FIT AND MAYBE A NICE TOP AND PLEASE STOP TRYING TO MAKE $150 BIKINI BOTTOMS A RELATED ITEM OKAY before giving up and going back to Amazon to look at costumes for your cats instead. Ahem. Yeah, my issues with clothes shopping run pretty deep. It's why I own so many yoga pants that I dislike almost as much as actual yoga. So I very much dig thredUP's latest product offering: curated Goody Boxes that outsource... Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2018 at amalah . com
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Let's take a break from the flashback-type posts and talk about today. Specifically, how I am feeling today. I feel really, really good today. I felt really, really good yesterday. And the day before that. I came home from the hospital with several follow-up appointments already made for therapy and my psychiatrist, and a lot of medication. (Well, a lot of prescriptions for medication, technically. Which Jason dropped off at Target on our way back, while I sort of shuffled behind him in the flip-flops I'd been given at check-out [I'd shown up at the ER barefoot], blinking and marveling at all the colors and sane-looking people.) I've dropped all but two of the medications from the daily regimen (because sleep is nice but so is being awake enough to like, function a level or two above comatose) and Jason keeps anything and everything with overdose potential hidden away in an undisclosed location. (He did the same thing with the benzos at first but eventually we stopped that because I never really took them and also I was feeling fine! Totally fine! Nothing to worry about here, folks.) (Back on the ward, we collectively declared "FINE" to be an unacceptable... Continue reading
Posted Jun 28, 2018 at amalah . com
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The game truck was there. Ezra's handmade GAME ON IKE! banner was there. His cake was there. (And it was delicious. A million billion thank yous to Isabel for making it happen.) His big brothers were there. All his friends and grandparents were there. His mom was there. And it was perfect. Continue reading
Posted Jun 25, 2018 at amalah . com
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Every morning, we were asked to set a goal for the day. These goals were written next to ours names on a whiteboard, along with our mood rating, which we ranked from one to 10. There really weren't that many goals to choose from -- attend groups, get your meds adjusted, work an AA step, and....uh...take a shower? Walk some hallway laps? Re-read the July 2016 issue of Glamour for the seventh time? -- and since this was a short-term facility, eventually everybody set the goal of discharge planning. For some patients, that meant dozens of calls to dozens of 30-day rehab centers in search of a bed. For others, a spot in an intensive outpatient program. Or a series of fraught counseling sessions with desperate and/or estranged family members, since you either went home with them or to a homeless shelter. Or not at all, for a few patients who set their goal to "discharge planning" every single day but were obviously not going anywhere. Then there was me. I just wanted to get discharged in time for Ike's birthday party on Sunday. I'd promised him a Sonic the Hedgehog cake. I needed to be there. I needed to... Continue reading
Posted Jun 20, 2018 at amalah . com
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Warning: This post is graphic. Help is available for free by phone or text if you or a loved one are contemplating self-harm. I was likely never in danger of dying from the overdose itself. I was more likely to die choking on my own vomit while unconscious on the bathroom floor. Not exactly a glamorous exit off this mortal coil. They send you down to inpatient wearing nothing but oversized paper scrubs and a pair of grippy socks. I wasn't allowed to wear a bra. You can wear approved, non-drawstring clothing after your first psychiatrist consult, which usually takes about 24 hours. A few people didn't have anyone to bring them clothes and spent their entire week in those paper scrubs, which eventually shred and rip and disintegrate. We raided the ward's lost-and-found and found some community t-shirts, which could get passed along to the next paper-scrubbed newbie. Three female patients ended up wearing the same shirt with a vaguely sexist slogan on it, which they shrugged off because at least it wasn't chafing their boobs. You learn fairly quickly to always change your clothes in your bathroom, since your room doesn't lock. Your bathroom doesn't actually lock either,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 18, 2018 at amalah . com
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Warning: Graphic suicide talk ahead. Help is available for free by phone or text if you or a loved one are contemplating self-harm. I remember looking at the empty pill bottles on the bathroom floor. First from overhead, then at eye level. The labels blur and I close my eyes. I remember feeling cool tile on my face and relief in my veins. Done. It's done. I don't have to think about doing it anymore, because it's done. I don't remember how I got downstairs to the basement, or how long it took. Did I walk? Stumble? Crawl? Did I stop to contemplate my children's bedroom doors on the way? I don't know. Part of me wanted to get up off that floor, and it did, somehow. I remember Jason roughly dragging me towards the bathroom and his fingers in my throat. The part of me that wanted to stay on the bathroom floor wails and howls and begs him to stop. After that, there's nothing. A dream about a dark, underground bar. There's an old jukebox in the corner. I am dancing and laughing and spill a drink on Michael Keaton, who is also there for some reason. Then,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2018 at amalah . com
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Wow. Wow. WOW. For once, I am truly out of words. Which, as you can see from all the stereotypical-crazy-person scribbling I did in the psych ward last week, literally never happens. (I wrote everything using the same kind of tiny eraser-less pencils you get at IKEA. I find that beautifully poetic, in a way.) I am out of words because you, the Internets, the peoples, the friends in both real and online life, said so many words. Kind, loving, caring and kick-ass words. Which I was not expecting. I don't know what I was expecting. (WHO READS BLOBS ANYMORE, RIGHT?) I suppose more warped depression-think led me to believe that I would hit the publish button and get either 1) crickets, 2) a couple head-pats from one or two people, or 3) a bunch of comments accusing me of Being Dramatic or Attention Seeking or Dooce Did It First or something. (Fun fact! A few weeks ago I talked myself out of calling the Suicide Prevention Hotline in the middle of the night because I worried I was just being super dramatic. Plus Jason had a really early work meeting the next morning and someone had to get to... Continue reading
Posted Jun 12, 2018 at amalah . com
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