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.

  • andywidget

    Oh the blessed bathroom floor. That cool, hard, unforgiving surface that sometimes is the only place to be. Towels for pillows or to muffle the god awful noises that sometimes escape and echo off the tile. We’re right there with you…

  • amzorbas

    Like the hair, and yes – the bathroom floor is a familiar, comforting place.

    We are all here with you. I don’t know if I would be strong enough to refrain from reading what people were saying about me if I were in your situation, but try not to. I read some of it tonight and had to stop almost immediately. I was so shocked that people could take some sick sort of satisfaction from this. People like that are so ugly inside, and what they say has no meaning in your life.

    I sound like a self-help book! Just know, Heather, that you are not alone. We’re here, rooting for you all.

  • Suede

    I was so shocked by your announcement. I have only ever seen evidence of love when I’ve come here, which has been years and years. I don’t often comment because I don’t want to bog down the comments -I don’t expect yo to read what I have to say. I went back to the archives and read some. I was right. So, so much love between you. It’s hard for us to reconcile, because we only see one dimension of your life. All I can hope for you is to remember the truth of who you both really are. It’s a unique privilege to share your life with you. Thank you.

  • Mrs. Sitcom

    Heather, I’ve been thinking about you, and the girls, and Jon, and the dogs, ever since your and Jon’s posts last week “announcing” what was going on. I’m not much of a [consistent] praying type, but I’ve been praying for you all since then, in my own way, more so because I just want to see your family “make it,” and want to help in the only way I feel like I can. I’ve loved reading your blog for the past few years and the “window” you’ve given your audience into your life, and hopefully my few measly prayers will add to everyone else’s prayers and light and good thoughts, and help in some way. Also, totally off-topic? I love the hair posts. I’m super-excited that you’re growing it out, and can’t wait to see what you decide to do with it. I have to agree with your hygienist, too — I think it looks great now, not at all in-between! Take care of yourself, allow yourself the space to just feel your way through this (which it sounds like you are doing, HIGH-FIVE!), and know that you have a huge, HUGE group of people rooting for all of you. Take care of yourself and the girls and the dogs…we’ll all be here.

  • jen.yaya

    Well, you don’t look like Peter Pan anymore, so you’ve got that going for ya! No seriously, the hair is cute. Even in its frustrating growing-out phase.

    Also, I was always more of a crying-myself-sick-while-curling-up-in-a-ball-in-the-bathtub-as-the-shower-ran-over-me kind of gal. The water made the tears disappear and all I was left with was the thunderous screaming moans and gasping for air.

    We’ve all been on that bathroom floor in one way or another (staring at the dirt and the dog hair and the grime collecting in the crevices of everything), and we’re all still holding your hand. xoxo

  • AliciaMaria

    I love your hair! I think it looks cute while it grows out. 🙂

    and fwiw, Personally I’m a car crier.. and a shower crier, and.. a sitting in front of the computer crier.. (that’s when I usually get up a go make a drink, which either makes it worse, or much much better..)

    Big hugs your way.

  • The Bold Soul

    Oh, crying on the bathroom floor while assuming a fetal position: been there, done that. It helps. But you might want to invest in a high-quality, extra cushiony bath mat because damn, that tile is cold, and why add to your pain?

    I think it’s good you’re finding ways to let it out and just to feel it. Whatever it takes to get you through that day or that moment.

  • jalla

    What is this I read about cold tile in the comments? I surely hope you do have heating in the bathroom floors in Utah. I cannot understand how one would do without it in a cold climate.

    Your hair looks super cute!

  • edenland

    Pain means change. Swear to fuck pain is your friend, even though it may not feel like it.

  • lillpetunia

    i think you look beautiful. not just your hair. my heart aches seeing the sadness in your eyes, and it goes out to you. you have made me laugh so many times for years now. i wish i could do or say something to make you laugh as well. you are in my thoughts and prayers and i hope that your eyes will find their light again.

  • Tme

    What a cute haircut, I just want to grab you and hug you and squeeze you and call you George. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

  • waitimaprincess

    Ditch the bath mat. The cold floor is so much more poetic against a wet cheek. Found this out accidentally. Couldn’t afford a bath mat, was using towels, but the towels were being washed and goddamn that floor was dirty once I got down that close.

    Just keep breathing.

  • Sparklemommy

    Thanks for sharing your story. Hug your children and tell them ‘I love you’ that’s the best therapy I can think of. Also forget about everything else and play with them in their world. It is amazing the worlds they can create. Good luck with everything.

  • Fridaymom

    Heather, hang in there. If it is any slight consolation, you look really pretty!!

  • McGearStella

    Your hair is getting there.

    There doesn’t need to be humor in every day.
    Really, there doesn’t need to be humor in every week.

    We’re here, humorless or hysterical.

  • jesslikewhoah

    GIRL! Your hair looks fab! I’m so jealous. I think i’m plateauing. Psht. Keep it saucy, sister. We’re still holding hands. Love.

  • Steph Bachman

    The first time through, I thought the pain part of the ticker was because of your knees and was trying to fashion a comment about the judicious use of NSAIDs (which I am now doing since my knee currently hates me too), but since it is the other . . .

    Well, you look really good. Hope the pain dulls to small caps and then non-caps and then gets squeezed out by “buy flour to make cookies with kids” and “fold the laundry” and “pay bills” and other banal stuff.

  • Doghouse Mama

    Hi Heather,

    Big assumption that you’ve got two pains-that joint/muscle/tissue/ligament and that soul searing deep emotional one.

    Knowing both so well, and ending up on the bathroom floor for both, my answer is: Because it’s hard. When your body hurts, it supports the joints and muscles and allows you to stop working to support them. When your soul hurts, it reminds you that there are some solid things out there you can hang on to.

    For the physical pain-Alleve. For the emotional pain-us.

    With love,


  • edgyveggie

    Your hair is ridiculously cute! Like, Marlo cute. You should take a twinsies pic together while you both have this adorable, waif-y feather thing going on.

  • cartoongoddess

    Your hair looks intentionally lovely, and wow, it grows quickly. The bathroom floor hasn’t looked good to me lately, but the wall in the hall just outside the bathroom is totally awesome.

    Strength. Any way you can…

  • chrissie lynn

    there’s something to be said for the bathroom – it’s where we feel comfortable enough to “let go” and so it’s fitting. (part of the reason homebirth mamas choose to labor there, it’s quiet and most are comfortable being alone there.)

    i hope it gets better soon.

  • According to Trish

    I know that pain. Total suckfest. One of the few things that helped me keep my chin up was that others had been through it, too.

    In that light, here’s my story: The D-Word. Yeah, that one.

    Hang in there, sistermomma. You’re not alone.

  • delpien

    my dear sweet lovely,

    there is nothing anyone can say or do to alleviate this heartache that has become the full-body experience that permeates your entire being every moment of every day…..

    for me, i was a walking train-wreck for an entire year, and many days i wished i could hibernate in my bed while the world went on without me. not possible with a toddler and a pre-schooler, so my shower and my mini-van became favorite places to melt-down: there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

    ….and in it’s own quiet way, the cosmos carried me until i was able again to walk on my own.

    we can only walk with you along this path on which you find yourself. for those of us who have walked a similar path before you, we bear witness to the fact that you are stronger than you know.

    when you’re going through hell, just keep going.

  • lemmonwheel

    Hey Heather,

    I don’t know what you’re talking about!!!! I think your hair looks awesome; you totally pull of the “growing out” stage.

  • slinkerwink

    You will make it through. You will be stronger. You will be yourself, wounded but unbowed, and you will see life differently. Whether you or Jon are still together after this trial separation, you will learn from your mistakes in your relationship and move forward anew. We all make mistakes in our relationships. I’m married, and I’ve made a few mistakes. I’ve been selfish, haven’t considered my partner’s needs sometimes, and communicated badly. I took a step back, thought for a long while, and became better. I’m not perfect, but I am trying, as is he. We love each other, and we try to do our best everyday.

    Marriage is hard work, even though we’ve been married for two and a half years now. Relationships take effort. You stay married every time you make an effort to be kind, considerate, loving, and remembering that you are a team.

    That stops being that way when two people forget to do that. It is my hope that you and Jon will remember, but even if it does not work out, please know that you have a strong community of supporters here. I’ve been a lurker/reader of your site for the past five years, and decided to comment.

    You are smart, you are funny, you are beautiful, you have two wonderful girls, two crazy dogs, and you have made an impact for the better in people’s lives in sharing your mental health experiences with them. You are awesome!

  • TxSuzyQ

    The hair is sort of getting that cute “Meg Ryan” look! I like it! That style has a sweet, young look to it!

    I’ll also go ahead and agree with others on getting a plushy bathroom rug if that is where the crying must commence! I have been there a few times myself, although, I highly recommend allowing the kitties in [in your case, dogs!] because, oddly enough, they seem to know how to comfort me. Maybe a nice shelter kitty is in order?! I’d put money on Leta being more of a cat person. =]

  • Laurie13

    I can feel your pain through your words. Ugh! Sending you constant gentle hugs, Heather.

  • Owlette

    first: hair, adorable.

    second: floor. yes. been there. the first time i actually fell down and just laid there weeping was the time i gave myself permission to feel every emotion and WALLOW if necessary. (i deemed it necessary. often.)

    keeping it together wasn’t easy, but i’m convinced the wallowing made the process faster. because, ya know, it’s just so *stupid* and *boring* after a while that i had to move on or join a side show as the woman who never stops crying while eating doritos and/or entenmann’s rich chocolate donuts.

    i’m deeply hoping that a trial separation gives you both the breathing room you need to come back together with renewed commitment.

  • Mrs.Writer

    Heather, I have been following you since 2003 when I went through my own series of bad hair days and remember reading archive articles like the one about the IT support guy at your prior company. But this is the first time I have joined to provide any comments. I want you to know that I am praying for ALL of you, Jon, the girls, etc. during this time for restoration.Know that no matter how or why this has happened you are valuable and worthy of (all of you)! And that this world is BETTER place because you have been willing to share your life with strangers. Strangers that you remind that we are not alone in our valleys either. Remember The Velveteen Rabbit:

    “What is REAL?” asked the Velveteen Rabbit one day… “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

    “Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When [someone] loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

    “Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

    “Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

    “Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

    “It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.

    “Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand… once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.”

    thanks for being REAL.

  • dianemaggipintovoiceover

    how can you NOT be aggressive with the car horn ’round these parts? worst. drivers. ever.

    and with regards to the end-of-running, the wasatch beckons for soul-searching hikes. not that you don’t know this already.

  • Apepito2011

    Heather, I have been in a similar place in life. I went through a divorce 6 years ago. Pain doesn’t begin to describe it. Although the decision to leave my husband was mine, it was still heart-wrenching. (I will say, it was the best damn diet I have ever unintentionally been on.) I cannot imagine what you must feel though. Children put a new perspective on everything. I will say that I somehow found my way out of that deep dark well that I had tumbled into. It took time, friends and lots of therapy, but I did eventually see the light. I also gained back that 30-something pounds I lost. I’m now happily married with a 9-month old ray of sunshine little boy. You will see the light too…I know you will.

    ps…I have shingles now. Seems the stress of losing my job, having a baby and losing my father to cancer last year all caught up with me. I thought of you when my rash first appeared. Nice huh?

  • gcostaki

    F-your hair. I want to hear more about your separation! It’s waaaaaaaaaaaaay more exciting to read about.


  • debramac

    The comfort of the bathroom floor is proportionate to the number of little boys in the house. You should be good. Except for Chuck. You probably make Tyrant use separate facilities for the help. Right? What? You don’t really? I read that somewhere. Maybe I’ve confused my media. Or the decade.

    Much love Heather. Thinking of you….

    BTW, I can’t come over for drinks Friday because of stalker laws and all, ‘K? Hope you understand. Maybe when you remove the restraining order. Bahahahahaha

  • OrangeLily

    Am I ever slow on the uptake…. at first I thought you were talking about the physical pain of taking spin class through your injuries, and I thought, what a moron, exercising through and exacerbating the injuries.

    Oops, I meant, MORMON.


    Don’t be offended, I’m the slow one here.

  • poopinginpeace

    When I’ve gone through similar pain, I choose to listen to Coldplay’s “Fix You” on my iPod while locked in the part of my bathroom that just has a toilet. Not sure why there. I think because it’s the only part of the house I can lock myself in where my kids won’t question why I locked the door.

  • aj1972

    I don’t know another way to reach out, but wish I did. I get it. I’m there, though my choice of break down place is the kitchen sink as I wash dishes, but maybe that’s becuase I’m anal retentive in my cleanliness.

    1.75 years ago (and that’s pretty exact) my daughter was stillborn after being told I’d never be able to have a baby on my own. I realized at her service that my husband had choosen his family over us (now that is one long ass story). Cut to a few months later, after I was diagnosed as not just grieving, but with severe PPD, when mom was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. It took awhile to reclaim myself. After her death I did, and have lost friends in the process.

    I wish I was there to hug you and tell you, I get it. I left my husband, not the easiest thing to do, ever, but now feel more empowered then ever. In fact, just 6 months after seperating, I’m happier then I’ve been in years.

    I wish I knew you personally. Cause we are sisters, and when the shit flew for me, I looked to your writing for my strength. SO, you don’t know me, but I’m here. Hugging you, Leta, Marlo, Jon, Chuck, and Coco every single day because I get it.

    Pain is always there, but so is the beauty…even if it’s the tile on the bathroom floor. Hold on to it…this will pass, just not easily or quickly. Forgive any typos…I’m crying for you as I write this.

  • Mom Gone Mad

    For the record – I think you have great hair. You seem to have the kind of hair that you can wear any way (short, long, in between…). I on the other hand have very thick hair and so short or in between is out of the question. I end up looking like I have a mushroom growing on my scalp. So, positive thought for the day. You have great hair!

  • Bones

    OH the bathroom floor and I are friends. But a bit of info, if you turn on the blow dryer while you are dying inside, the noise kinda blocks everything else out and you can breathe a bit better. Loves to you.

  • mrs_k

    I love the bathroom floor. I’ve spent far too many occasions curled up on it as a result of food poisoning – a different kind of pain, but similarly quite visceral and uncontrollable nonetheless. I like them because they don’t coddle me like the couch or bed, where I’m comfy but then suddenly hot and claustrophobic. Nothing but cool, firm support from the floor.

    Anyway, spend as much time as you need. We love you.

  • R Atkins

    I was married on the exact same day and year that you and Jon were. I am going through a divorce now and am going through the list of emotions that go along with it (we have a child as well). I cannot find the words to express how I’m feeling but have found your posts lately to be very theraputic. You explain my feelings and emotions perfectly. I am so sorry that you are going through something as well. I admire your strength and how you are able to express so freely and honestly. I hope you have more good days than difficult ones. Thank you for opening up to the world and saying what so many people feel.

  • Sadie923

    The bathroom floor is the location of choice because when you’ve cried so hard you’re vomiting, you’re conveniently located. Plus, then the cool tile feels good on your cheek.

    That and the bed? Who can get in that bed without just getting SADDER.

    I am sorry you’re going through this.

  • Stenar

    Your hair is cute. I love your writing. You’re so witty. Even when you’re sad, you write so well. I hope you feel better soon. Speaking of people running into you… my boyfriend and I saw you at Smith’s at 9e and 21s once, but we’re not the type to bug famous people when we run into them at the store. Although, if I ever run into you again, I’m going to let you know how much I love your writing. It brings me great joy, emotion, tears, and happiness.

  • shannonwdalley

    I cry in the shower. Keep your chin up.

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.

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