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Rita Arens
My name is Rita Arens. I like to write. A lot. Many pages.
Recent Activity
I'm so proud of you. Keep up the good hard work.
Toggle Commented 4 days ago on Watching 'THIN' at Surrender, Dorothy
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Thank you, Becca!
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I'm watching a documentary about eating disorder treatment called THIN. I think I understand better why so much in-patient treatment doesn't work. I don't see staff showing compassion. They refer to the patients as antidepressant junkies, even the suicidal ones. The parents seem clueless. I'm angry, watching this. I get 3-4 emails a week from people who have read my ED posts. I can't believe there is so little out there that is real. I want to wrap my arms around these women and girls (and sometimes boys). They are so scared of their own bodies. They should be more scared of their minds, and their minds are being sadly neglected. ED is about the mind. It's about looking into your future and asking yourself if you can stand the thought of suffering at this level in five, ten, fifteen years. If you have ED, you have three choices: you can suffer indefinitely, you can recover, or you can die. Those are your choices. Some of us contract terminal diseases. The difference between those people and the general population is that those people know how they will die. We will all die someday. The human mortality rate is currently 100%. The question is: Do you want to speed it up? I didn't care when I was sick. When I looked at recovery, I started to care. I reached for happiness, for peace. I didn't want to go on like that. That daily struggle between life and death is awful. How can anyone keep it up indefinitely? At what cost? It is my hope that anyone reading this while hating his or herself can see the three choices clearly and want, seriously want, to eliminate the more dismal two. There are evolutionary reasons our brains can drive us for perfectionism that... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Surrender, Dorothy
thank you!
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Yes, absolutely she is.
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I am glad, too, Katherine. And it IS you, lady.
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Oh, thank you!
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In preparing to write this post honoring my friend and activist/entrepreneur, Katherine Stone of Postpartum Progress, I searched my gmail, which has also archived my old hotmail account, to see when we first found each other. I dug up an email from Katherine dated April 15, 2009, which would've been a few weeks after my daughter's fifth birthday and about a year after I started getting help and taking medication for my anxiety disorder. Katherine wrote: This Mother's Day - Sunday, May 10 -- Postpartum Progress will host its first annual Mother's Day Rally for Moms' Mental Health. Each hour, on the hour, for 24 hours straight I will post a different "Letter to New Moms" written by survivors of and experts on perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. That email signified just one of Katherine's countless efforts to make moms suffering from mental illness feel more normal. I did write that post, and Katherine and I have written for one another on the subject of maternal mental health again and again, knowing we can prop each other and even strangers up over the miles with our voices. The first time I remember clearly having a long conversation with Katherine in person was at Type A Mom in 2010. She was a little intimidating with her long, red hair and tall, lanky self and these totally adorable sparkly heels, which she later said her kids bought her. The kids and the shoes stuck, because it's important to remember even people who present as physically beautiful and loomingly tall and effortlessly stylish are people with insecurities and doubts. It's easy to meet people at blogging conferences and think they are perfect, but nobody is perfect, and everyone has her struggles. Katherine embodies that dichotomy for me. Here is this person who looks... Continue reading
Posted Jul 10, 2014 at Surrender, Dorothy
I would love to see you, Kim! I know for sure I will be at the grammar roundtable and at the blogs to book panel, so please come say hello!
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There is something really amazing about fireflies, isn't there?
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I can't resist going outside on summer nights. It seems untenable to me that these flowers I planted six years ago can grow now as tall as I am, choking off the space around them with their stretching blooms. I didn't know what I had done. No matter how old I grow, on summer nights, I am seventeen again, pressing my face to the thick air, listening to the tree frogs and the owls and the cacophony of insects that create a din where in winter there is only silence and cold. The cold sometimes creates a sound that is not a sound, but more a feeling. The trees rustle where the boughs meet fifty feet above my head. I wonder who planted these trees or if they planted themselves. I wonder if the trees will still be here after I am gone from this place, and I am certain they will be. The trees don't care about my business. They'll offer shelter and shade to anyone and no one. Summer nights convince me that I could walk away into them, walk for miles into their thickness and here on the edge of town I could disappear into the thickets where the deer live and the coyotes howl, pressing against the edge of the houserows. They ignore our presence and continue to be wild at the edge of it. Once in high school I took a walk late on a summer night along the edge of a highway and out in the fields farmed by my relatives, I saw a million fireflies light up all at the same time. That they did that every night, that they still do that every night while I am sleeping or watching Netflix continues to center me and remind me that my little melodramas... Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2014 at Surrender, Dorothy
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thank you, Kim
Toggle Commented Jul 7, 2014 on It Comes, the Rain at Surrender, Dorothy
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It is the meaning of my life, at least. :)
Toggle Commented Jul 7, 2014 on It Comes, the Rain at Surrender, Dorothy
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I arrived back from my aunt's funeral around six. We'd planned to rent a pontoon all day, enjoy the lake before camping. That didn't happen, but death comes when it comes, nothing to be done about that. My aunt was a wonderful woman, and despite the Pick's disease that robbed her of her speech, what I remember most from her was conversation. I returned from the airport still in my funeral dress and immediately changed to camping gear. We managed to pitch the tent and get down burgers and s'mores before the rain came. In my grief I went straight for sleep, but within a few hours I awoke in a puddle where the tent leaked. My daughter slept through hours of thunderstorms when my husband and I sat stark awake, hands pressed against the leaky tent walls, wanting to make it to morning for her on her first night in a real tent. When the thunder peaked, she awoke and hid in her sleeping bag, and I pulled her down to me on the mat off the cot and felt that feeling a mother feels when comforting her young no matter what the age. That feeling might be the meaning of life. I woke this morning with the tent rocking in a 20-mph wind, but in the midst of my grief and exhaustion was the memory of comforting my girl with my physical self against the wind and rain, and the knowledge I would not let anything come between her and me. Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2014 at Surrender, Dorothy
Thanks to Grace Hwang Lynch of HapaMama for inviting me to talk shop. Check out her post here! On Writing I recently did a Skype author interview with my niece's English class. They asked when I started writing, and I realized I was younger than their 14-year-old selves when my fingers started itching. I began with poetry heavily influenced by Shel Silverstein and progressed to thinly veiled plagiarism short stories in the style of Ray Bradbury. After being published in a chapbook that I think probably published anyone who sent anything in, I had the bug bad, and it really never left. So let's talk about writing. What am I working on/writing? Right now, I am not writing anything. A few weeks ago, I sent my contemporary new adult novel, THE BIRTHRIGHT OF PARKER CLEAVES, to my agent. He said he would read it. I was happy, though I felt none of the excitement that I felt when people asked to read THE OBVIOUS GAME, because now I know not to drink the water until it's been filtered, or some other terrible metaphor for becoming jaded by the publishing beast. I have a few ideas for my next novel, but for now, I wait to see if my agent will represent PARKER CLEAVES or if I need to go to Plan B. (I do not know what Plan B is yet.) How does my writing/work differ from others in its genre? Well, for one thing, it's in my voice. I know that sounds silly, but it's true. If I find a writer I like, I'll read anything that person writes. I fangirl easily. It's my dream that people will like my voice and then want to read anything I write, and I realize that is totally vain. But it's the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 1, 2014 at Surrender, Dorothy
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On Sunday, my wonderful Tante Sue passed after a long struggle with Pick's disease. I remember most about her that she loved to socialize. Pick's stole her speech. It makes me very angry. It doesn't make sense. I hate you, Pick's. On Monday, my daughter's buddy Ka'Vyea Tyson-Curry left Children's Mercy Hospital after two months of recovery from multiple gunshot wounds. He's ten. He likes books. He did not deserve any of what he got. It makes me very angry. It doesn't make sense. But I love you, modern medicine. Thanks for saving Ka'Vyea. I miss my aunt. I'm glad Ka'Vyea is doing so well. Life. It's complicated. You just have to hold on. None of it makes sense. Maybe that's not the point. Maybe the point is just to ease each other's pain in any way we can. Continue reading
Posted Jun 30, 2014 at Surrender, Dorothy
*snort*
Toggle Commented Jun 25, 2014 on RIP, Simon the Fish at Surrender, Dorothy
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All streams go to the ocean.
Toggle Commented Jun 25, 2014 on RIP, Simon the Fish at Surrender, Dorothy
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Bettas are actually fairly hearty and only require a small bowl. And they do make eye contact, which is as good as you're going to get with a fish.
Toggle Commented Jun 25, 2014 on RIP, Simon the Fish at Surrender, Dorothy
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We maybe could've rehabbed Simon, but it was kind of painful to look at him after he ate his tail.
Toggle Commented Jun 24, 2014 on RIP, Simon the Fish at Surrender, Dorothy
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The little angel's betta fish, Simon, went down the toilet, where all streams go to the ocean, last week. I bought Simon on a whim as a surprise one day, because I had fond memories of my own betta fish in college and because I think every child needs a fish. My daughter hadn't even asked for one; it was just one of those impulse things I do as a mother because I can. When she came home from school that day, I showed her Simon, and I think I was more excited than she was, but she grew to love him and shed a tear when we made the decision that anyone who has fungus growing on his side and who has eaten part of his own tail is probably on the shady side of the tree now. RIP, Simon. We made a trip to the pet store and came home with a new tank and a new betta fish, which the little angel named Serendipity without really knowing what that name meant. I promised to buy more distilled water so we could take better care of the tank, even though Simon did actually live for three years through his murk and that is pretty good for a betta fish. It's been a week and it's time to start switching out half the water like the man at the pet shop told us to do. The man who also looked at us with his jaw dropped when we admitted we never turned out the light on Simon's tank and said, "You know they don't have eyelids, right?" and made me feel as though we had strapped Simon to a chair and played The Cure and showed him non-stop video of the bombing of Hiroshima. So now we turn out... Continue reading
Posted Jun 24, 2014 at Surrender, Dorothy
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Thanks, Julie!
Toggle Commented Jun 19, 2014 on Hotter Still Thirteen Years In at Surrender, Dorothy
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Thank you!
Toggle Commented Jun 17, 2014 on Hotter Still Thirteen Years In at Surrender, Dorothy
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thank you!
Toggle Commented Jun 16, 2014 on Hotter Still Thirteen Years In at Surrender, Dorothy
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Today is Beloved's and my thirteenth wedding anniversary. Yesterday he was in the shower while I was putting on makeup in the bathroom mirror, squinting at my reflection with annoyance. Me: "So ... do you still think I'm hot?" Him: "Sure. But you'd be way hotter if you handed me the new bottle of conditioner." THAT WAS EASY. Love you, babe! Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2014 at Surrender, Dorothy