An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

Hair, day fifteen

This morning I was trying to concentrate on the music pumping through the speakers in spin class but the thoughts in my brain poured through the circuitry like those tickers announcing stock prices: PAIN, PAIN, PAIN, PIANO LESSONS, LUNCH, DOCTOR’S APPOINTMENT, PAIN, CONFERENCE CALL, PAIN, PAIN, DINNER, PAPERWORK, PAIN.

If you invested in pain you can now afford a yacht.

Sometimes the pain manifests itself in an inexplicable upset stomach, sometimes in a loss of appetite. When I know the kids aren’t around I sometimes let it rush over me like it wants to and I’ll sink against a wall, my face hidden in my arm.

Sometimes I’m really aggressive with the car horn.

The more I talk to other people who have lived through something like this the more I learn that the bathroom floor is a common place to lie down when you cry. Why there and not ten steps over on the cushioned bed? Because that’s not poetic, and this kind of pain demands the kind of imagery that starts wars or lights up an entire city.

I was just going to show you a picture of my hair, my increasingly untidy WTF hair, but I thought I’d let you know that today I wanted to find some humor somewhere but it never ran across that ticker. I trust that I will see it soon and want to thank you for being patient while I look up at the ceiling from this bathmat.

  • playrawkstar

    looking good so far! and on the quasi bright side, at least the only place to look from the bathroom floor is up.

  • Schnauzie_Mom

    Sometimes, it feels like the only right place to sit is on the bathroom floor. The Internet will sit with you for awhile.

  • kristysf

    When he moved out, I landed on the bathroom floor at least half-a-dozen times. There were also a few shattered plates and one very shattery (but oh, so poetic) martini glass. I felt like a Hollywood starlet (from decades ago) after that one.

    Also, it got better. Much.

  • Fifi Coon

    I love your hair!! I am so sorry about all of this – everything I could come up with sounds so trite. I have tried not to cry as I have read your blog the last few days. You and your family are in my thoughts.

    I usually end up on the bathroom floor after too many alcoholic beverages. I have found the cold tile to be very comforting in many ways.

  • runkara2

    1. I think it’s ridiculous that your hair is that cute when you are growing it out.

    2. The bathroom floor is good because it’s cold and hard – which adds at least two more things you can be miserable about. As in, “things suck, and now I’m stuck here on this cold, hard floor – with bathroom germs on it.”

    I’m sorry you are blue – I hope you feel better soon…

  • pxlchk1

    The hair is cute. Don’t sweat the small stuff. 🙂

    Maybe you should splurge and treat yourself to an extra-cushy, luxurious new bath mat.

    The bathroom does seem like a sanctuary. It’s closed off, meant to be all about you. It makes sense that’s where one would retreat to feel a little extra raw for a bit and give yourself a bit of healing time.

    Stay strong. Keep going.


  • jumbopaperclip

    For what it’s worth, I think your hair looks really cute in its growing out stage.

  • Kathryn

    for whatever reason the bathroom floor is the best place for pain – physical or otherwise – I think the cold tile has something to do with it

    thought I was the only one, apparently not which is comforting in and of itself

  • quiet june

    I think there’s something in crying on the bathroom floor, like, there’s no worse place to lie down and bawl, so that’s gotta be the worst the pain will be. Unless you empty out the garbage can and then lie in that. My theory is that as long as you’re not lying in trash, you can be pretty sure things are going to end up okay.

  • Trish has 3 girls

    I really dig your shag. It’s very retro-70’s-cool. And it’ll be a bob before you know it. I can only begin to sort of, maybe not really, imagine what type of pain you are in. I have 3 small children and have been married for 13 years. I can’t imagine if our relationship was evolving in this way. Hang in there! You’ll make it to the other side.

  • debbie millman

    The kitchen floor works equally well, especially if it is in a NYC apartment. Most of our kitchens don’t have windows.

  • Marie_Lynn

    Spend as much time on the floor as you need. Mt husband and I spent 6 months apart. It was before we were married. Or even engaged. But it did not dull the pain. It was horrible. He had left at the time because we had just gone on our first trip together and he had his first REAL taste of my panic attacks. The inconsolable monster panic attacks. It was too real for him. And he also had no idea what to do. He is a guy. They fix stuff. He could not fix me. I could not eat on the trip. Could not sleep. The 6 hour ride home after a week of hell was even worse. Not once did I calm down. The minute I walked into my apartment I was fine. That made it worse. He felt worthless. It was painful. But funny thing is. We never stopped talking for some reason. We always seemed to circle back to each other. And everything ended up fine. We are married now. I am honestly pulling for you guys with every fiber of my being. It is funny that my husband while still not a fan of my panic attacks or the fact that hardly leave the house due to my agoraphobia/emtophobia we have never been stronger. Ever. Feel what you need to feel. The worse thing you can do is fight it. Live it. Ride it. Surf it. You have always been an inspiration to me. I started to read you blog in 2001 when I was completely housebound. To the point that walking out the front door was the equivalent of being locked in a cage with a hungry bear. It was terrifying and also terrifying that I could even be like that. How did I get there? Your blog lifted my spirits. And I hope that all the love from all of us can lift yours.

  • Pandora Has A Box

    Your hair looks gorgeous in this stage. I suspect that you and your hair would look gorgeous in any stage, including wearing a burlap sack and covered in seafoam green paint. Not that you need me to tell you this…

    I’ve always found bathroom floors to be extremely comfortable places in times of stress.

  • librarianjess

    I was just there, on the cold bathroom floor, a few months ago. There is something about it that’s right. I also cried a lot in my car. I believed I would never ever get through it, truly — but I did. It is better, so much better, on the other side. We’re all here on the cold tile with you until you get there. Love, the internet.

  • Meauxzie

    @librarianjess: you just made me cry. You have restored my faith in mankind. Heather, whatever the outcome or path, just as others have said, it will get better. You have to remember that people want to help. If a friend offers to bring you a jar of Nutella, a bottle of red wine and the Valley Girl DVD, you say “Yes.” And for the love of God, please tell me you’re eating Nutella during a crisis like that and not being all “Paleo” through it 🙂 As my father would say, “Hang in there kiddo!” We’re pulling for you.

  • Sonika

    I haven’t had kids in the mix, but I’ve lived through a divorce and there were definitely moments when I would just… wail. Inconsolably.

    Just as the bathroom floor is good to cry on, a used towel makes a great hankie because screw it – you’re going to wash it anyway and let’s face it, you’re producing enough snot to kill a rainforest if you keep using tissues.

    (Which is to say, lots of love to you, your hair, and your bathroom floor.)

  • Sonika

    (Also, you do get through it. I’ll be celebrating my fourth Divorce-a-Versary this March and it’s hard to believe it ever ended – but it did and I’m not exaggerating to say that my life is a million times better. In the moment, I couldn’t imagine that ever being true. I thought that it would always be a burden on me that I’d never get past it. And yeah, it’s left a lot of emotional scar tissue – but scars can sometimes make you stronger.

    Also also, oh hell yes with the crying in the car. With incredibly emo music in the background like some damned indie movie montage.)

  • Absent Minded Housewife

    I tend to do my crying in the tub. I have boy children and crying on the floor is sometimes asking for trouble even if they’ve been told to pee in their own bathroom.

    I also used to have very short hair and while I may want to go back to that hairstyle sometimes I never want to go back to the growing it out part. I recommend a headband. On short growing out hair it makes you look sassy instead of looking unkempt or spastic.

  • cmckinnon1

    I agree about the bathroom floor being as bad as it gets so it has this auto-draw. I have endured fall down anywhere, crying, walk into your bosses office and tell them that you just found out your fiance has been screwing your bestfriend…for years (totally appropriate corporate behavior) horrible betrayal and pain and I am standing on the other side of it stronger and happier than ever.

    Thankful really. To the both of them.

    Just feel it and then get up off the floor when you are ready and get ready for the wild ride called the rest of your life. For me it was finally getting off the couch and out of my red bathrobe.

    I am not speculating that he cheated, I am just accessing that because that was some of the worst PAIN PAIN PAIN I have lived through.

  • apostate

    About 13 years ago, back when I was a young Mormon single adult, I broke up with my now husband because he wasn’t the one who was going to take me to the temple. I had the misfortune of realizing that the man of my dreams was in fact an atheist and a liberal democrat, which went against everything I had ever been taught in YW. So I broke it off. It was the “right” thing to do and it very near killed me emotionally. The years that followed were the darkest of my life. I barely functioned at times. I remember one particular breakdown I had on the bathroom floor of my parents’ house. I locked myself in there and sobbed while my mother tried to communicate with me through the door. It was very 14-year-old-girl-ish. To my mother’s credit, she suggested at that moment that maybe it would be better if we just got back together and married. But even a motherly endorsement couldn’t undo 20 years of indoctrination that easily. I eventually did get back together with him and we married, but not for another miserable 18 months.
    Sometimes things work out. Also, bathroom meltdowns are the best kind, IMHO. So at least you have that for what it’s worth. Whatever happens, it will get better some day. I truly believe that.

  • Rivercat0338

    The worst part of laying on the bathroom floor is when you look over and notice the part behind the toilet could definitely be cleaner, and then you’re sad and kinda nauseous.

  • Mindy Lee

    I hope you have an amazing friend who loves you to pieces and will come over and sit with you on your bathroom floor.

    Sending you and the girls and Jon and even the dogs tons of internet love and hugs and good thoughts.

  • luv and kiwi

    All great adventures start from the bathroom floor…just ask Elizabeth Gilbert.

  • Lauren3
  • Janice

    Bathrooms aren’t so comforting to me anymore. Last time I was lying on the floor, it was because I tripped at the doorway, did a triple lutz and would have stuck the landing if not for the tub smacking me in the head. I landed in a position one can only achieve if one is unconscious. When I regained said consciousness my dog was standing over me and her ‘fetch’ toy was in my hand. To this day I have no idea what she thought we were playing.

    It took me a couple of hours to untangle myself and crawl (yes, crawl) to my bedroom, dog in tow. I did not go to the ER because I live alone and did not want to be admitted to save their legal ass and that signing out AMA shit is expensive.

    Next day at work no one appeared to notice until I got called in to a senior manager’s office who asked what happened. Bar fight. Big sigh from him. I was ‘encouraged’ to go see my doctor. Fractured my orbital bone and a concussion.

    Funny part was I had an interview to intern at a shelter as part of grad school. I show up with a hugely swollen black eye and fractured face. They didn’t ask and I didn’t explain but needless to say I didn’t get the internship….

    I know this is so very long and so off topic but I thought you might need a little off topic humor and this was so much better than an inappropriate botox joke I was going to make.

    Seriously, get the fluffy rug….

  • MamaBee

    Here is the web address of an amazing blog written by a young woman who is traveling to extremely poverty stricken places delivering babies and helping women there. I hope maybe you will take a look at it because it’s really interesting and perhaps it will help you to count your blessings and take your mind off your troubles for a bit. We could all use some of that! Take care!

  • Bannod

    Why do you look so good, and I always look so bad, when growing out hair?

    My place to cry (huge gut-wrenching sobs) is in the shower, with my head buried in my arm. No one hears, and I can blame my blotchy face on the hot water. I don’t cry pretty.

  • tokenblogger

    Take more walks with the girls and the dogs.

    It’s all I got.

    Haven’t been there, done that, etc.

    (Except for the hair growing out thing.)

  • The Girl Who

    Hair is smoking hot. Would totally do you in a completely sexual way, not even in a Mormon third wife kind-of-way! Alas, I no longer live in the 801, yo, or I would totally be loitering out front of your house.

    Anyway, I have scream-cried into a towel with the shower on while in the fetal position on the dirtiest of floors. One time the piss stains around the base of my toilet (created by HE WHO I WAS CRYING ABOUT) even distracted me into a fit of bathroom cleaning, which, you know, is healthier than downing a bottle of wine but certainly not as fun.

    But seriously? Cleaning the piss from the em-effer I was crying about? Fucking hell.

    Just keep rockin’ on wit yo bad self… The fact that you actually went to spin class is HUGE.

  • jhankamer

    I think your hair is cute! You have one of those faces that could rock just about any hairstyle. I am praying for you and your family. You are such an inspiration and lifeline to so many people. Please take care of yourself!

  • Keri.M

    My husband and I separated for 11 months when our daughter was 3. I had a breakdown. I’m proud of you for being able to form coherent thoughts. We ended up back together b/c it just hurt more to be apart. I hope it works out with Jon, but whatever happens, you’ll be stronger in the end (it’s the only result for that much pain). And, b/c we are moms that love our girls and we want to show them how to survive any ordeal with grace, healthy responses and the goal of eventual happiness, you’ll get through the worst of it for them. And, maybe a few (or 11) drinks. People are here praying for you (I know that’s not your thing) and thinking of you and wishing you the very best.

  • meadetibbetts

    The first thihg I see is the sadness in your eyes. This brought tears to MY eyes, right here at work. I have been following your blog for more than a few years now and I’m so sorry you are going through this. Take it one day…one minute at a time.

    Your hair though…looks lovely. I say Embrace Messy Hair. I have to, mine is CraZy!

  • fruitcrackers

    I’m sorry you’re going through this. There’s nothing anyone can say that takes away that punch-to-the-gut feeling you get at times, and there’s nothing that you can do to make it go by faster. So hang in there, cry on the bathroom floor, and keep in mind that there will come a day when you look back and feel proud of yourself for making it through in one piece. You’re a tough broad, Heather, you’ll make it through in one piece.

  • jessijd

    I like the bathroom floor because 1) It is the one place that people are scared to walk in on you and 2) If you stay in there long enough, they just think last night’s beans didn’t settle with you and they are too scared (or embarrassed) to ask. (Just make sure you flush the toilet a couple of times between sobs.)

  • Gina47

    I was going to say that I didn’t do the whole bathroom floor thing, and then I thought really hard … pain pain pain …. and whammo, there it was.

    I realized the reason I did it (twice) was because the upstairs bathroom was the farthest place away from anywhere else in the house.

    We need some sort of padding in that room. And to keep it cleaner for just such occasions. Because once I started thinking clearer, and the incredible oceans of snot were cleared away, I was a bit dismayed to find myself there.

    Still hopin’ and prayin’ and thinkin’ good thoughts for your family. Plus I loved your short hair!

  • tracy

    ok, so I get the appeal of the bathroom floor for privacy reasons, especially when you’re trying to hide the sadness & pain that is threatening to break the list bit of your soul that remains in tact. but the bathroom floor? ewww. maybe it’s just my bathroom? I mean, I shake the bathmats & sweep the bathroom floor at least twice a week, wet-swiffer and/or do a quick wipe-down with my beloved Clorox wipes once a week, but between my dog’s dirty feet & his pension for drinking out of the toilet, and the amount of my hair that winds up on the floor on a daily basis by (HOW AM I NOT BALD??), my bathroom floor is, well, nasty.

    My, is-this-going-to-be-my-nervous-breakdown-for-real-this-time?, crumpled into a heap on the floor with my legs pressed up against my chest, my face either buried in my arms (there may even be some rocking back & forth involved), or looking up at the ceiling (heaven?), silently begging for help & an answer to WHYWHYWHYDOESLIFEHURTSOFUCKINGBADSOMETIMES, go-to spot is my kitchen floor. Specifically, the right-side corner crazy (aka lazy) susan. I don’t know what it is about THAT spot, but that’s where I go.

    I know it’s supremely selfish to have those moments in front of my daughter, though, so THANK GOD my psychiatrist realized my meds had “crapped out” & got me on a new cocktail that finally started working. Now, my days still pretty much suck, but at least I’m not balled up into the fetal position on my kitchen floor.

    Hugs, mama….separation (I won’t mention the D word in your scenario, which is where I’m currently at) sucks. And even though it doesn’t help me AT ALL in the moment, I keep telling myself people do this all the time….I will survive it, too.


    PS…your hair is still adorable 🙂

  • painterdoll

    Your hair looks beautiful, Heather! Hang in there. The pain does ease over time. Be gentle with yourself and surround yourself with loving people and all the things you enjoy most. We love you!

  • aliagirl

    I love your hair! And bathrooms are wonderful places to cry (that or very dark/messy closets). Hugs to you.

  • ppo11

    Hang in there! It’s going to suck and hurt but ya know what, it gets better. Each day you get “A little bit stronger” (like the Sarah Evan’s song). Your an amazingly talented writer and there is so much more for you to do in this lifetime!

  • SurprisingWoman

    Oh lord, I couldn’t lay on my bathroom floor right now. There is enough hair on there to make a cat. I cry in the car.

    I am happily married and I still cry in the car. A lot. And at TV shows, or movies, or books, or my thoughts. Right now I just cry. All the time.

    I went through the hair growing out thing. First I grew it out, one length to about waist. Then I decided to quit coloring it and had to go through the “looking like a skunk with the white roots” stage and finally cut it up to my shoulders. I have long white hair down to the top of my thighs now and have been maintaining here for about a year. It’s gorgeous.

    Hang on, Heather. It gets better. I have been there and done that and I had the leash in my hand once too. You will be okay and the girls are going to be great, it just takes a bit of time.


  • mkdsmall

    Two years after my own “bathroom floor” relationship during my divorce after 10 years of marriage. I can say it does get better. Better comes in waves – sometimes spread apart at first but then the better days get better and more frequent. The bathroom mat is lonelier now but I am OK. The hardest part was the guilt I felt over hurting someone I still loved and cared about to get what I needed. I still love and care about my ex, but we were not right for each other.

    However this path you are on unfolds you will be OK too.

    I don’t comment often but I wanted to say it takes strength to be true to yourself.

    “You never know how strong you are until strong is the only choice you have.” – unknown.

    I have been following your blog for many years – you ARE strong!

  • paulam

    I LOVE your hair and feel like you have to find joy where you can when you are going through something so difficult. I have read your blog for a few years and am very sad that you are going through such a hard time. I hit the lowest of the lows when I filed for divorce from my husband 13+ years ago- I had a 3 month old baby, a 1 1/2 year-old baby, a 3 year old, and a 5 year-old. I must have been crazy- I WAS- but it needed to happen for me to survive (does that make sense?) I also cried many times in the bathroom, sitting on the edge of my tub, crying so hard that the lady who was helping me with all of those kids, a lady who barely spoke English, heard me and came to see if I needed help. It was truly kind but the humiliation and sadness I felt, the what in the world would I do feeling, was more than I thought I could bear. I’m telling you this because I did get through it ( and because I did a lot of crying in the bathroom). My kids are happy and stable- great kids who study hard,get in trouble, cuss more than they should, and are crack me up every day. They are now in high school and college. Leta and Marlo are lucky to have such self-aware and caring parents. I survived (through many days that I thought I couldn’t) and you will too. I’m thinking of you.

  • meegieshell

    You stood by me while I struggled with PPD. You might not have known it, but your blog helped me tremendously at that time in my life. I’m sticking by you through this pain, my friend. And your hair looks rather cute!

  • JenS

    Sigh. I want to take you to my house and tuck you into bed and cover you with the blankets and then feed you yogurt like Charlotte did for Carrie in Sex and The City.

    I feel like you’re still trying to be too strong and put up a brave front. You don’t need to be the valedictorian of separation.

    Your hair is beautiful. Women would give up children for hair that beautiful. You are beautiful.

  • karen ethier

    Wish my hair looked that cute, growing out or no growing out!

  • sandidanil

    Not sure if it helps to know this or not, but I’m in pain too. Perhaps there is some obscure comfort in knowing that you are not totally alone.

  • kmpinkel

    As you grow your hair out, you and Marlo look more and more alike. DO NOT SHARE HAIR THINGY’S! It will not be cute, unless Cami wears it.

    And why is the bathroom the place to go? maybe its because there we have everything we need. water, toilet-to use after the water or to vomit, the coldness to help us dwell in our despair and alone- ness, the solitary confinement that we feel we need, but subliminally, someone is going to need that toilet and then you will have someone, if even for a brief moment, and we won’t be alone.

  • travelmonkey

    Words of wisdom, I have none. I read your blog everyday, and I am keeping you and your family in my thoughts. I can’t even imagine how hard this must be. You have such a big community here who is showing so much love and support. Always, keep that in mind.

    Embrace that bathroom floor and take time to embrace your feelings. Sometimes it feels better to push them away and “try” and not think about it, but making space for those feelings will help a lot. I agree with the person who said, treat yourself to a new bathmat! Ok, maybe a few words of wisdom slipped out:)

    Your hair is so cute! Man, when I grew mine out, wow, it was horrible. Can you say 8th grade boy from the 80’s!

    Take care of yourself.

  • HeatherSop1

    I have been reading your blog regularly for years because of all the things that make it you. Yes, your humor has a lot to do with who you are, but it’s not all you are. No need to ask us to bear with you during this time. You take the good, you take the bad – right? I do hope life feels a little lighter for you soon.

  • carawahlgren

    Well your hair looks super-cute anyway. You got that going for you.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

read more