Author Archives: hazelhillboro

I Wasn’t Drunk Driving. I Was Spider Driving.

I don’t know how long the spider had been living in my car, but he chose the moment when I was halfway through downtown and dodging construction cones to show up on my dashboard to say hey.

I screamed, not because I was scared of the spider but because things aren’t usually SCUTTLING ALONG MY DASHBOARD. It startled me, and it was headed right for my steering wheel.

Women driving a car

I jerked the wheel (to maneuver around the spider inside my car, which made sense at the time). Unsurprisingly, it did nothing except make me say, “Eeeep!” and then dodge the other way to stay in my lane. The spider, unfazed by this, kept inching toward me.

For whatever reason, this didn’t strike me as a nice spider. It was nothing like Winston, the giant spider who lives in my garage. I say good morning to him every morning. It was also nothing like Ned, the stink bug who lives on the lampshade by my bed.

Actually – time out – “lives” is a stretch. Ned is more, well, dead. But he died perfectly perched on my lampshade, and his tiny exoskeleton is a reminder to enjoy the little things in life, like the friendly bug who wishes you sweet dreams every time you turn off your lamp.

At this point you may be thinking, “No way. This chick does not actually wish a dead bug good night every night.” But if you saw Ned, you’d understand why I couldn’t just throw him away.

Well, come to think of it, you might not. But that doesn’t matter.

Back to the point – the car spider was nothing like Winston or Ned. It was more akin to Elsie, my cat who tries to suck out your soul with her eyes. Spidey stopped perfectly centered with the steering wheel and glared at me. Glared. And spiders have eight eyes or whatever, so that was a lot of glare. I was in an invertebrate stare down.

Turns out I had less of a backbone than the spider (which is saying a lot), because I broke the stare down first. If you recall, I was DRIVING. So I had to look out my window to, you know, not crash into stuff. But I wanted to keep an eye on the bugger, so I looked up and down and up and down to try to minimize the time that I didn’t have a visual on the predator.

Unfortunately, I hit one tricky curve, paid full attention to the road, and then when I looked back…no Spidey.


It’s not like he got off at his stop and was trotting down the road. Nope. Spidey was hunting me from somewhere in my car, and now I didn’t even see him. Sniper Spidey.

So then I was looking all over the place and also driving, which was probably quite unsafe when I think about it.

When I finally found him again, he was halfway down the dashboard on the passenger side. I wanted to let go of the wheel and smash him, but I’d already been driving like a texting teenager. So I did a look-front-look-sideways combination all the way home. He started crawling toward me again, like, “Na-na-na-boo-boo. I know you can’t take your hands off that wheel.”

But then – fatal error – he didn’t see me put the car in park once I got to my driveway.

I’ll spare you the gory details, but Spidey ended. And I got home safely. So all’s well that ends well, and I didn’t have to explain to any cops why I was driving crazy.

Hang Up on Your Brain

Someone leaked my phone number to a world of telemarketers. In all honesty it was probably me, because I have the technological capabilities of a dumber-than-average goldfish. I’m sure I put my number on some form somewhere that said in small print, “Yes, I would like everyone who would like to sell anything on earth to contact me.”

But this is OKAY, friends, because I am developing an important skill: hanging up on people.

Not in a rude way, of course. Just something like, “I’m not interested…no, thank you for your time, but I’m still not interested… Actually, this isn’t a great time for me… Well, um, I’d prefer you don’t call back later, because I still won’t be interested then… Okay but really I have to go so I hope you have a great day but please don’t call this number again bye!”


Now I’m going to make a metaphor out of telemarketers (never thought you’d see that, did you?). Brace yourself. *cracks my knuckles*


All people, but especially mentally ill people, need to get a lot better at hanging up on our brains. Because I don’t know about you, but my brain tries to sell me an awful lot of crap that I don’t need. Too often, I keep listening way past the part where I should hang up on it.


Ring ring!

Me: Yes, hello?

Brain: Hi. I’m calling to inform you that you’re basically worthless.

Me: Oh, that’s kind of harsh. Are you sure I’m not worth anything?

Brain: Yep. Definitely sure. You’re a waste of the earth’s oxygen. 

Me: But wait, I thought maybe I was helpful to my family that one time when-

Brain: Nope, not helpful. They’d probably be better off without you.

Me: Now hold on…they say they love me!

Brain: They’re just saying that. They probably feel bad for you because you’re such a frickin nutter.

And then this internal conversation keeps going on, when really it should have gone like this:

Ring ring!

Me: Hello?

Brain: Hi. I’m calling to inform you that you’re basically worthless.

Me: Sorry, not interested.


I’ve been trying this recently, and it’s been surprisingly helpful. I know the negative tracks that my brain likes to follow, and when I feel myself getting sucked into one of those familiar spirals, I’ve been literally thinking, “CLICK.” Then I immediately have an alternative track that I start thinking about or busy myself doing something else so that my annoying telemarketer brain can’t keep trying to convince me of things that are unhealthy.

That might be super weird, but hey – my blog, my rules. It’s been working for me, so I thought I’d share it in case it could help any of you.

What negative messages is your brain trying to sell you? You know the ones – the ones that start as a niggling thought in the back of your mind and end with you on the couch eating ice cream straight out of the carton while you binge watch a show you don’t even like. THOSE ones. Start hanging up on them as soon as they start.


It’s Not a Relapse – I’m Leveling Up

Bad news.

I mean, good news?

Well, NEWS.

I’m going back to therapy.

I haven’t been in over a year, and I was irrationally proud of that. Like, “Look at me! I’ve been successfully handling life all by myself for a YEAR! Look, Ma! No hands!” (As I then hide in the corner and hork down a handful of pharmaceuticals).

I’ve been struggling lately, so I decided to go back. I was initially frustrated with the decision and told Andy that it feels like a relapse. “I’ve been off therapy for a year,” I said. “It seems a shame to break my record.” Like therapy is some illicit drug that I went to rehab for and am now one-year clean.

“You’re not relapsing,” Andy said. “You’re leveling up.”

Say what?

He went on to explain that when I first went to therapy, I was extremely suicidal and was literally trying to survive. This time around, when I’m not suicidal, I can work on Level 2 therapy problems, which focus on how to deal with life now that I’m committed to living it.

Look at me! I’m at Level 2! That sounds way better than “relapse.”

Super Mario Brothers is the only video game I’ve ever played, but I think level 2 is the one underground with the blue turtles, right? Yep – this one:


I get fireballs, y’all. Who’s gonna hate on Level 2?? I’m a brick-smashing, coin collecting badass.

So I contacted my dealer (oops, I mean therapist) and asked if she would see me again. She said yes. Phewf! So at least I’m not going to have to start over with someone new.

Bring it on, Level 2!

My HSA Badge (and Other Perks of Adulting)

There’s a lady in my husband’s HR department who thinks I’m completely nuts.

To be fair, she isn’t wrong.

My husband recently started working for a company that has an HSA as part of the employee benefits package. Now, you probably already know what an HSA is, because you are a mature and financially savvy adult (which I am not). For anyone who doesn’t know…it’s a health savings account. Basically, his company puts money on a debit card that we can use to purchase health related things. HOW COOL IS THAT? It’s like free money to pay for the crap that you hate using your actual money for. Now I just need a GSA (grocery savings account), a CSA (car savings account), and a BOGFMIDLSA (Buying obligatory gifts for family members I don’t like savings account)

Anyway, because I’m on a ridiculous amount of pharmaceuticals, I figured I should learn how to use my new shiny HSA thingy to pay for them. I asked my husband, and he told me to call his HR department. That’s how I started chatting with Hayley.

Hayley is the type of person who probably laughed at some point in her life…but we can’t be sure about that, and it’s probably not ever going to happen again.

To be fair, I guess HSAs aren’t super hilarious.

So I called Hayley and asked her to explain the whole “HSA situation” to me. Where do I get the card? How does money get put on the card? How do I spend said money? Then she started talking about how we could put some money in from Andy’s paycheck that would then be tax free, and my mind was blown.

“Why didn’t I know about any of this?” I said on the phone. “They don’t cover this in school. You know what? There should be a class on adulting. It could cover all the things necessary to be an adult: HSAs, insurance, how to help your friends through a divorce, dealing with your in-laws, etc. That would be a great class, you know? I would take that class.”

“Ummm…sure,” said no-humor-Hayley. “That would be…cool.”

So then we talked about HSAs some more. Finally, after I learned all I needed to know about this magical card, I said, “Awesome, thanks for taking the time to talk to me. I think I’ve now earned my HSA badge.”

“Badge?” I could almost see her eyebrows raise even though we were on the phone.

“Yeah. The adulting class I told you about? We’re going to have vests. Like girl scouts. And I just got my HSA badge. Later today maybe I’ll change the oil on my car, and I could get a badge for that too. I’ll have tons of badges.”


Not even a snicker.


“Who’s there?”


“Audi who?”


And then I hung up the phone.

Okay fine. I admit I didn’t do that knock knock joke. But I should have.

Come on, y’all. Who wouldn’t love a class on adulting? And badges for our adulting vests?? What badge would you want? Tell me in the comments. 😊

I’m Emotionally Immature and I’M NOT MATURE ENOUGH TO HANDLE THIS!

He he…okay, yes I am mature enough to handle it. Because recognizing the issue is the first step, right? I mean…RIGHT?


Oops, there I go again – making jokes to cover up an underlying layer of mental fragility. But who doesn’t like, jokes? HMMMMM?? I’M HILARIOUS. EVEN IF ONLY I THINK SO.

Hold up. Is speaking in excessive capital letters a sign of emotional immaturity? Let me check.

*switches tabs a second*

I guess that would fall under “over-exuberance.” Fine. No more capital letters. I’m getting rid of them all. Sayonara, over-exuberance.

(side note: spell-check wants to change “sayonara” to “savonarola.” wtf is “savonarola”?)

on wednesday night, i totally embarrassed myself in front of my pastor. that’s a long story that ends with, “and then i quickly said goodnight and excused myself to the other room to curl up in a chair and wonder why i can’t ever act like a normal human adult.” then, when i talked to my husband, i said, “seriously. why do i act like i’m twelve? i think i’m emotionally stunted or something.”

and do you know what he said? DO YOU KNOW WHAT HE SAID? (oops, sorry. the capitals leaked out)

he said, “eh, maybe. but that’s okay. it’s a common symptom of bipolar disorder.”


(is excessive punctuation over-exuberant?)

so then I said, “what?!” all freaking out. not offended, really, but just mad that i really might be emotionally stunted, and it might be due to my obnoxious brain. like, my occasional childishness isn’t a quirky piece of my personality – it’s a flaw due to my dysfunctional body. i don’t want a flaw! i want a quirk!

so i immediately got online and googled this to see if he’s right. not that he’s usually wrong…he’s got a doctorate, he’s taken abnormal psych classes, and he (clearly) knows more about my disorder than i do. sure enough – there it was. emotional immaturity can be a symptom of bp.

things started clicking into place like when you arrange random scrabble tiles and they start to form words. maybe my emotional maturity is why i’m such a good middle school teacher…because i’m as mature as my students. perhaps this explains my consistent low self-esteem and need for near-constant validation from people, accomplishments, etc. does this explain my low resiliency and inability to handle change effectively? is this why i can’t handle scary movies – because people under seventeen shouldn’t watch rated r movies and i’m not emotionally that old yet?

here’s a super embarrassing secret: i really like stuffed animals. one time i told my psychiatrist, “hey, when i’m about to have a panic attack, sometimes i can hold a stuffed animal really tight and literally feel calmer and comforted by it. but then i feel like i’m about three years old because i was comforted by a stuffed animal…is that weird? should i be concerned by that?”

my ever-practical psych answered with, “if you have a way to calm yourself down, do it. if you’ve found a strategy that works, don’t question it – be thankful that you have it.” which is true, i guess. i’d rather get drunk or something, but that’s not advisable for people on my meds…or people with bp…or really, people in general. so i’ve got a stuffed panda instead of jack daniels.

judge away, friends. judge away. just don’t tell me about it, because clearly i’m not emotionally mature enough to handle criticism.


can i have my capital letters back if i promise not to be over-exuberant anymore? the lack of proper capitalization is hurting my eyes.

You’re cool with it? Okay. Thanks.

Anyway, my husband seemed super unconcerned by this. He said, “I love you just the way you are. I love that you get excited about things. I love how much fun you are, and your challenges don’t bother me.”

To which I responded, “But if I’m secretly twelve, it’s like you’re having sex with a twelve-year-old. That’s messed up.”

He put his hand to his forehead. “Oh my word, Haze. You’re not secretly twelve. You just might have more emotional challenges than some other people, and that’s totally fine.”

Totally. Fine.


Not fine. But then I looked up ways to increase my emotional maturity – how to age myself like a fine wine – and it looks kind of impossible and/or boring. For example, lose my over exuberance? Like I have to hand over all of my capital letters and my birthday tiara? NO THANK YOU.

On the other hand, it would probably be in my best interests in increase my self-esteem and be able to handle change better. But that seems like something I’d have to go to therapy for, and I’ve been trying to stay out of therapy. I haven’t gone in over a year. I’d really rather pretend I don’t have these problems.

Wait. Hold on. *switches tabs again*

Shoot. “Unwillingness to face reality” is another symptom.


Okay fine. I might be a little emotionally immature. And I might have a little bit of bipolar disorder. There. I faced reality. I’m growing up now. I faced reality, and it’s ugly. U-G-L-Y it ain’t got no alibi!

No wait, now I’m going backwards.


Why I’m (Sort of) Thankful for Bipolar Disorder

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! This morning I came across a post on titled “I Am Thankful for Bipolar” (You can read it HERE). My thought before reading the article was, “Uhhhh…no. You, my blogger friend on bp hope, are clearly even more nuts than me.” But as I started reading, I realized that maybe there are pieces to be thankful for. And, on this national day of thanks, I thought maybe I’d try it. Can I really be thankful for what seems like the worst thing that’s ever happened to me? Well….maybe yes. I’m going to give it a shot, anyway. And it’s like coping with bipolar itself – you don’t go from “my life is over” to “total acceptance” in one day. I haven’t even gotten there in two years. But maybe I can baby step my way to this thankfulness thing. So, here we go:


1. I learned what true love is. My husband has always been a great man, but now I am truly humbled and blown away by how much he has been there for me. The lesson I’ve learned is this: true love isn’t roses and diamonds. True love is when I was hiding in my closet because I was scared during a panic attack, and he found me, wedged himself into my tiny closet even though he totally doesn’t fit, and said, “I’ll just hang out here because it’s hard to be scared alone.” Umm…HEART-EYED EMOJI. That’s what love looks like, my friends.

2. I learned who my real friends are. Turns out I had a lot of fake friends, and I didn’t even know it. You would be shocked at how many people drop off the map as soon as they learn you’re bipolar (no, you probably wouldn’t be shocked. Most of the people reading this are my mentally ill friends, so YOU KNOW). But I’ve had friends who have been there for me in huge ways. It’s like I threw all my friends into a colander and saw who came out on the other side still with me. Now I know who to count on when things get rough.

3. It humbled me. Looking at the first two items on my list, you can see that I’ve needed a lot of help and support. Everyone does. I used to live under this delusion that I was fine by myself. Literally my first sentence as a toddler was, “I can do it” because I was mad that someone was trying to help me into my high chair. Well, newsflash, baby me: you need help. We all need help. The sooner we realize that, the sooner we’ll stop running ourselves into the ground trying to do the impossible.

4. It taught me about hope. If you’ve ever felt depression, you know the crushing darkness of the word “hopeless.” But that also means that hope, when you find it, is the most glorious treasure imaginable. It’s like people not appreciating the sun unless they’ve seen the rain. Friends, I HAVE SEEN THE RAIN. But then I have also seen the sun peek out from behind the clouds, and I’m able to see that with a joy that people who have always been stable would never be able to experience.

5. It helps me see life as a second chance. A suicide attempt is never good. Ever. But the fact that I tried to take my life two years ago means that every day I live now is part of a second chance. I really see it that way – I am thankful for every good experience because I occasionally realize, “I almost missed this.” Also, I see life as fragile, and I am determined to make the most of the second chance I have. I don’t waste experiences like I may have if I took it for granted that I’d live to be old.

6. It changed my view on mental illness. When I was on SSRIs for depression and they never worked, I started thinking that maybe most mental illnesses were just people not handling life well and looking for a scapegoat. HA. I was wrong. I don’t need to explain this to you, but mental illness is very real. You know that, now I know that, and some of my family members and friends know that now too. I’ve raised awareness for these issues with my life. Maybe people know a little more now, and it can make other people with mental illness experience 1% less stigma than they would have otherwise. That’s a definite win.

7. It gave me a book to write. I’ve always loved writing, but since being diagnosed, I’ve written my best book yet. It’s about a high school girl with bp. I just finished revising it about a month ago, and I’ve had eight agents request the full manuscript. Keep your fingers crossed for me that it sells – I could be raising awareness on a larger scale if this book were to be published.

8. It gave me YOU! You blog people are some of the finest people I’ve known. You’re supportive, you’re not judgy, you’ll laugh with me, you’ll cry with me, and I can feel infinitely less alone in this struggle. Thanks for being there. I’m thankful for literally each person reading this post. For many of you, I read your stuff too, and I love it. Thank you for writing. If not for my bp, I never would have met you.

9. It made me who I am. In a book I once read, a girl with Aspbergers said that her disorder saved her from “the banality of normalcy.” I like that quote. Even though sometimes I wish for “normal” more than I want anything else, I do have to admit that normal can be boring. Whatever this illness is, it is NOT boring. I’m wild, I’m goofy, I’m a creative writer…who knows how much of that is tied to the way my brain works? I wouldn’t want to lose any of those things, so if any of them are connected to my freaky brain chemistry, then I’m thankful for that.

There you have it. The reasons why I’m sort-of thankful for bipolar disorder. Here’s your challenge for the day: take that thing that’s making your life difficult (you know – that one thing – we all have them), and find a way to be thankful. If you can’t be thankful, find a way to be sort-of thankful. Today of all days is a good day to give it a try. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

thankful brain

Now my kitchen smells like smoke, which means I probably forgot about something cooking – eeeep!

Worth it. 🙂

I Didn’t Technically Lie to the Pastor’s Wife

Here’s the thing: I might be a little depressed. A little.


I hate admitting I’m depressed, because then everyone freaks out and goes on high alert and treats me like some infant invalid. But I think I might be a little depressed. I finally admitted it to myself a few days ago when my husband suggested we rake leaves together. He definitely didn’t need the help raking leaves…he just knew he wasn’t going to get me to go for a walk, and he said some fresh air would be good for me.

Then I said, “Ugh. I don’t want to rake leaves. There are so many STEPS to raking leaves!”

“Steps?” He gave a confused glance to my FitBit.

I sighed. “Not those kind of steps. Think about it. In order to rake leaves, I would have to…step 1: get out of bed. Step 2: walk over to my closet and pick a sweater, because it’s cold. Step 3: Find some gloves. Who on earth knows where I might find gloves? Step 4: Walk downstairs. Step 5: Put on shoes. Step 6: Go outside and actually do raking of said leaves. There are so many steps.”

He smiled a strained smile and said, “Okay, yes, that’s a lot of steps. But I’ll be there with you for all of them! So….step one. How about you get out of bed?”

So I did. And I did all of the steps. And we raked leaves. But it shouldn’t have felt as monumental as our (ginormous) pile of leaves to be able to do those things.

I was supposed to lead a Bible study on Saturday, but I texted the pastor’s wife and asked if she could cover me because I “haven’t been feeling well.” WHICH WAS TOTALLY TRUE. Except I wasn’t puking or anything, so I felt really shady about bailing. I told my husband as much, and he said, “Aren’t we always saying that people need to regard mental illnesses as real illnesses? Then you need to regard it as a real illness too. If you’re not feeling well mentally, you’re not feeling well. It wasn’t lying.”

So I think it wasn’t lying.


But then I realized maybe I haven’t been doing so well, because one of the ladies in the church group was a little concerned about me. I didn’t show up to church last week, or our committee meeting on Tuesday, and then I bailed on the Bible study. She asked if I was okay.

Sure. Of course. I’m fine. Even though I missed all of those because I was in bed…

As I said, I think I might be a little depressed.

My focus is super off… I’m still showing up to work, but I’m making DUMB mistakes like forgetting about quizzes or completely blanking on things I should know. The other day I was reading answers to something and I read the answers to numbers 16…17…18… and then started back at 13. My students were all confused and asked why I just skipped back five problems. Oh, did I? I had no idea.


So…..what do I do now? Wait for this to be over? It’s been about two weeks. It’s a lot of crying and sleeping. If I call my doctor she’ll make me take more or different meds. I HATE MEDS. And this will probably go away soon. As a matter of fact, I feel better today. Maybe I won’t take a nap when I get home.


People who have been here before – holla at me. What do I do?

cat help

I’m in the Wrong Coffee Shop

I’m working on a craaaaaazy stressful revision project right now (Pitch Wars, for those of you familiar with the publishing Twittersphere). I always work at a coffee shop near my house – we’ll call it Fifth Shore. I love the coffee shop. It’s a hipster, let’s-compare-our-tattoos, the barista has purple hair and goes by the name “Mojo” kind of coffee shop. I’m pretty sure I could get a whole stack of Coexist stickers simply by raiding people’s backpacks. Also maybe drugs. Whichever.

Not that I want drugs. Also I have no tattoos (YET). Don’t ask me why I love the place so much. I think it’s a combination of the fact that I never run into anyone I know there, and seriously the people are so cool. I love talking to them. They’re totally different than me, and they’re mostly awesomer. I know awesomer isn’t a word, but I bet I could use it at Fifth Shore because anything goes.

The problem is that people are starting to discover Fifth Shore. It’s a little hole in the wall place, but now it’s getting popular. When I went in today, I literally couldn’t find a place to sit. I wanted to yell, “Excuse me, I was here before this was cool. All you bandwagon fans can leave now. No, not you, Man Bun. You can stay. You fit in. And you, with the leopard tail coming off the back of  your pants, you can stay too. But the rest of you – out!”

(Side note: there was really a guy with a leopard tail coming off the back of his pants. See why this place is so awesomer than other places??)

So now I’m across town at a different coffee shop. I almost went to – gasp – Starbucks, but I just couldn’t. It would have been the opposite vibe from my beloved Fifth Shore. I don’t want to listen to well-dressed baristas loudly mispronounce names to let the local richie riches know that their tall-double-lattee-no-whip-extra-pretentious is ready. No one there would have a leopard tail. How could I possibly get writing done in a place that reeks of financially and culturally successful humans?

(This is the part where my husband would say, “Hazel. You’ve got issues.”)

So now I’m at this new place, we’ll call it Coffee Avenue, and it’s okay. It’s a lot of hippie Millenials on their MacBookPros. The place markets itself as being all local, fresh, and organic. I have nothing against organic food, but this seems like overkill. The Wifi password is “Freshcrops.” Not joking. Someone just called from the counter, “Who ordered the tofu burrito?”

Tofu. Burrito.

They also charge a dollar more for tea, but I guess that’s because it’s so very local and fresh and organic. Unfortunately, they don’t have my right flavor (Mango Ceylon), so that threw me off too. I had to try a whole new tea. I got peach – what is this madness?

If you can’t tell, I get a little crazy about my routines. Now my groove is all off. I’m probably going to write junk. Don’t hit up my comments section with, “How dare you impune the hallowed name of Starbucks!?” or “Tofu burritos are the best thing ever!” I get it, okay? Everyone has their thing. There’s a coffee shop for all of us. If this post is offensive or otherwise crappy, it’s because MY COFFEE SHOP IS FULL AND HOW ON EARTH AM I SUPPOSED TO WRITE WITHOUT IT?!?!?!

I should forget the whole thing and go buy a leopard tail.



There’s a Surprise Piano in My Living Room

No joke.

That’s not some click-bait title where I want you to THINK there’s an unexpected piano in my living room, but then you click the link and realize I really meant this as a deeper metaphor for life or something. Oh no, my friends. Nay. There is a literal, honest-to-goodness, full-sized piano in my living room, and I had no idea it was going to be here.

This is one of those moments where I stand back and think, “Damn my life is weird sometimes.”

Here’s how this went down:

I mentioned to my husband a few months ago that I’d like to start taking piano lessons. Why did I say that? I don’t know! It’s just something I said! I haven’t taken piano lessons since I was nine years old, but I have a bunch of students who can totally jam on my classroom piano. I don’t know…it sounded fun, okay?

So two nights ago, I got home from my relaxing bike ride, and guess what was in my driveway? JUST GUESS.

If you guessed a piano, you’re half right. The other half is that my parents-in-law, brother-in-law, and his awful girlfriend were also in my driveway. And my mother-in-law was taking video of me because isn’t it the best surprise ever that I am now the proud owner of a piano?

I just about died. Or killed my husband. I couldn’t pick which. Instead, I smiled for the camera and tried to act excited about the piano in my driveway.

Here’s the thing: he was honestly trying to be nice. Early in the summer, we had talked about me using my classroom piano to practice if I took piano lessons (which was HIGHLY theoretical, let me remind you). But apparently he decided, “You know what’s more fun than practicing in your classroom? Practicing in your living room.” So he went out and GOT ME A PIANO.

Which is sweet and romantic in one sense, but a total disaster in another.

See, the thing is, we have no room in our house for a piano. Our place is tiny. My in-laws hauled the monstrosity into our house, and literally the only place it can go is in the living room. Our dining room only has enough room for the table, the kitchen is where I cook, and the living room is the only other room on our ground floor. We’re not one of those fancy-schmancy families that has a living room, a family room, a den, and a playroom. Oh no – this is it. One room.

Within that one room, the piano had to be on the only interior wall. It can’t go on an exterior wall because it will spontaneously combust or something. I don’t know. The whole family was like, “IT HAS TO BE ON AN INTERIOR WALL!” At this point I was mostly in a daze, so I think I said something really intelligent like, “Ummmmmm…okay.”

So they rearranged the furniture for me in the living room, and now the furniture is all higgeldy-piggeldy in random places in the middle of the room. Don’t forget that I already have the ugly chair from this post, and our couches are green, and the decor is black and gold…it honestly looks like a broke and blind college student decorated the place. We’re the “before” picture on one of those home makeover shows.

After his family finally left, I said I had to go work on my novel. Then I went to my local coffee shop, sat at the cafe bar, and made new friends by saying, “You GUYS. My husband just brought home a PIANO. What am I going to do?! He’s the best guy ever, and he was trying to be so nice, but I don’t want a piano!”

I tried to use that night to calm down, but in the morning my living room still looked ridiculous. Then my husband and I got in a fight, which is rare for us. But come on… A PIANO?! First the ugly chair, and now this? And he had his whole family over while the house was a total mess, which I’ve told him a million times makes me feel like scum. His brother already thinks I’m the worst wife ever because I’m so bad at “keeping house.” And his parents…

Okay, you know what? Enough about my in-laws. You get the point. I was embarrassed they were here when the house was a mess, I was embarrassed that I had to pretend to like the piano, and – if you’ve been following along closely – I DON’T WANT A PIANO IN MY LIVING ROOM.

The fight ended with Andy agreeing to get the piano out of the house. His parents agreed to take it (on an INTERIOR WALL I’m sure). I was still mad, but also I felt ridiculously guilty for not liking his surprise. I know he was coming at this from the purest motives, but the whole thing was so upsetting at a time when, for unrelated reasons, I am already so freaking stressed it’s ridiculous.

Sunday night at church I stole a hymnal (yes, I realize the irony in that). I’m going to give it back eventually. Calm down. Anyway, I figured that as long as I had this beautiful, flawless piano in my house, I might as well plunk around with it and see if I remember anything about how to play.

That was a mistake.

Here’s the problem: I really liked playing it. The wood is so gorgeous, the keys are shiny, and playing old hymns was so calming and fun. Andy sat next to me in the ugly chair and worked on things while I played, and he would request songs for me to try next. I remembered more about playing than I thought I would.

This morning I said, “Hey, before your parents take the piano…can I have another day or two to play on it?” He (understandably) looked at me like I was completely insane. That’s not an inaccurate assessment, really. Sure, I had just spent all of Sunday talking about how the piano needs to be out of this house immediately, and he called his parents and said that he needed to get it out ASAP. His literal word was “urgent.” He told his parents that it was “urgent” to get it out of here.

But today I went to school and printed out some sheet music…and I may or may not have contacted the lady who will hopefully be giving me piano lessons…and oh my gosh WHAT IF I KEEP THE PIANO?

I came home and played on it some more, and I enjoyed it more than I’d care to admit. I told my husband, “I really wish I could keep it…but our living room is in such an embarrassing state that I feel like I have to choose between the piano and ever having company over ever again.”

I mean, I can’t keep this piano. I CANNOT. My living room is a complete mess, and there is literally no other way to cram the furniture into this tiny room. Believe me, I’ve tried.

But the piano is so pretty.

I can’t keep the piano when I threw a veritable tantrum about how it needed to be gone and how I was so mad at him for buying and transporting a piano without talking to me first. Is it possible to humble myself and say, “I was being crazy. The piano is beautiful, and now I want it?” Would he even accept that? At this point, I don’t deserve the piano.

Which I’m not even sure I want.

BLOG PEOPLE: What do I do?! Do I keep the piano and let my living room look like a garage sale exploded? Or do I ditch the piano and have a quasi-normal living room but no fun or relaxation of playing my favorite hymns?



Why I Would Make a Bad Scientist

Based on my current life circumstances, I have concluded that I would be a bad scientist. This would be me:

Real scientist: Hmmm…I believe the gas bubbles in this beaker are because I just mixed baking soda with vinegar.

Hazel: Are you sure?

RS: Excuse me?

H: I’m just saying…it could be that, but it could be any number of things. I think I saw some dust falling from the ceiling when you put that baking soda in. Maybe it was asbestos. Does asbestos cause a reaction with vinegar?

RS: I don’t think so…

H: Ah HA! You don’t think so. So there’s a chance.

RS: No, I’m pretty sure it was because I put baking soda in with the vinegar.

H: Do you know if that beaker was clean? Maybe there was residue in there from the last guy. Was Frank working in the lab earlier? Everyone knows Frank is a slob. He probably left something in there, and it had a delayed reaction with the vinegar. Aw, Frank. At it again. Someone’s really got to talk to him.

RS: I cleaned this beaker myself.

H: Have you been hanging out with Frank? Maybe his slobby ways have rubbed off on you. You have to be careful who you hang out with – you are who your friends are, you know. And here you are, saying that the bubbles are from adding baking soda to vinegar, when really the facts that you’ve been hanging out with Frank and that this building might have asbestos could be causing the whole thing. Then you’re going to have faulty results. Such a shame.

RS: But it’s been proven-

H: *shakes head* Such a shame…

Today I’m having one of those days – an “I probably don’t have bipolar” day. I’m stable right now, you see, and probably all of my past symptoms could be explained by other things. The decisions I made while manic were because really I’m just very stupid sometimes. I could function with no sleep for days on end because, well, who doesn’t do that once in a while? Talk to college students in finals week.

Sometimes I get depressed because, umm…because life sucks sometimes.  I just handle it a little worse than other people. That doesn’t make me bipolar, it makes me…I don’t know. Something else. Bad at handling life.

As for the delusional panic attacks…uhhhh…I’m simply very creative. I think impossible things are happening because my creative mind is not constrained by the dimensions of reality. See? Now, that doesn’t sound so bad. I’m not bipolar, I’m very creative.

Or maybe it’s really the baking soda in vinegar that caused those bubbles.

No matter how much evidence I see pointing to the fact that I prooooobably have bipolar, I still have days where I think maybe I don’t. My husband, in the kindest way possible, will say, “Hazel. I’m 100% sure you have bipolar. You need to come to terms with that.”

And then I’m inevitably all, “Well, that’s awful certain. 100% seems a bit presumptuous. I don’t think we can ever be 100% certain of anything. Are you even 100% sure we exist? Maybe we’re holograms projected by an alien race to test certain sociological and cultural patterns.”

Then he’ll raise his eyebrows and say, “Uh…now I’m 101% certain.”

Haha…that part didn’t actually happen. He does say he’s 100% certain, though. I’ll accuse him of having no evidence, and he’ll give me the following:

  1. I’ve been diagnosed with it by a psychiatrist who’s been practicing for thirty years.
  2. I have experienced every symptom of it.
  3. The medications to target the symptoms have effectively eliminated the majority of the symptoms.
  4. He (my husband) has a doctorate and has taken multiple classes in neuroscience and abnormal psych. My diagnosis matches what he’s learned in school.

To which I inevitably come back with, “Okay yes but what if…” and then come up with some alternate reasoning about as logical as Frank and asbestos.

Does anyone else do this? I think I so badly want to be rid of this disease (what a gross word) that the only choice is to not have it in the first place. If I have it, it’s a lifelong battle. I can’t be “cured.” My only choice is to live with it – forever – or find another explanation for my eight years of symptoms.

Isn’t Occam’s razor the one that says, “The simplest explanation is probably the correct one”? Occam’s probably right, since he’s all philosopher-y and whatever.




Oh boy. Help me out, blog friends. How do you get over days like this?