Playful, elegant, and not above the judicious use of the word “shit."

A brief pause

Yesterday afternoon I walked out of a building in Rockefeller Plaza to a car hired to take me to the airport in Newark. I’d been up since 5AM, and although I normally don’t notice the two-hour time difference I climbed inside and collapsed against the door. I could feel my body shutting down, starting with an ache in my neck that then stretched into every corner of my body. By the time we arrived to the terminal, the exhaustion tripped up my arms and made it almost impossible for me to lift my luggage over the curb.

My well is totally dry. I’m just… spent. Physically. Emotionally. I collapsed this morning in a workout while trying a series of squats I’ve performed a hundred times before. My body just totally gave out. I was really proud of myself because I hadn’t cried in two days, but when my legs fell out from underneath me I couldn’t hold it back anymore. I was so embarrassed.

These last few months have been the most difficult of my life, so difficult that I’ll go into auto-pilot almost involuntarily and when I get to the end of the night I don’t know how my body managed it. I’ve tried to focus on other things that bring me rare moments of peace. Things like my girls and my dogs and the crazy things Cami puts on her body. I know some of you continue to wonder why I keep posting pictures of Cami. And the answer is, well, they make me happy. I desperately need that right now.

Finding new music and making playlists have been my therapy.

I need to take a break before I surrender to the exhaustion. I need to fill up my tank so that I can give more to my family and find more moments of peace. My girls deserve that. I know it seems like I’m just posting a picture or two here, a written post there, a link to a video. But there is so much more going on behind the scenes that I’m having a hard time keeping my head above water. I know I’ll get better at it, but right now I’m so drained that I feel like I’m clawing my way from hour to hour.

All of this is to tell you that I’m going to take a little breather for the next week. I’ll still be posting photos of the things that bring me joy, but in terms of written posts I’m going to pull some things from the eleven years of archives I have sitting around. I also want to thank you for all the words of encouragement you’ve sent me, especially the ones who’ve assured me that the crying will eventually wane. You enable me to support not only my family but two employees who use this job to pay their rent. And I want you to know that I do not for one second take that support for granted.

Thank you guys so much.

  • marti ward

    So I’ve been reading a while but I’ve never commented. Just wanted to let you know that when I went through a tough time about 5 years ago I couldn’t quit listening to Cruel and Gentle Things by Charlie Sexton. I can’t find a video to post but it’s great song. Hope you get some rest.

  • slh25

    rest. everybody needs a rest sometimes. do what makes you happy. put your feet up, cry in the closet, walk, run, talk to yourself, eat crappy foods, hug your daughters, cry, laugh, listen to music if you want to, read crappy magazines, do absolutely nothing and do not feel guilty about it. rest. you will be back IF you want to. REST

  • Sabine

    Do what ya gotta do. We’ll be here when you come back.

  • morgenthaler

    It’s not *brand new*, but if you haven’t listened to James Vincent McMorrow yet, you are in for a real treat. Check out this beautiful fan video of his track ‘If I had A Boat’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2XPDP6KkkE

  • tay_meier

    do what you have to do. we’ll all be here when you need us. that’s a promise.

  • amycduncan

    I saw you on the Today Show yesterday and just wanted to let you know how sorry I am to hear your news. Stay strong and don’t feel bad for taking a break. We all need that sometimes. Stay strong and you will get through this!

  • sarahfromthenorth

    Even though you looked and sounded terrific in your interview I could ‘feel’ your exhaustion and fragility .. it was a very good, raw interview. I wish you, your girls, your employees and Jon nothing but the best. I cannot imagine all you are dealing with and that you still can do all that you have to do. Enjoy your break. Hug your kids! 🙂 xoxo

  • filmlady

    Hugs. Hugs. Hugs. HugsHugsHugsHugsHugsHugs

    When in doubt, post some puppy pictures of Chuck. Or don’t even post anything for a while.
    We’re not going anywhere.

    Many hugs for you,
    Joanne

  • Becky Cochrane

    I have some half dozen creative outlets to help me feel happy and fulfilled, and not ONE of them, however harmless, doesn’t garner criticism from somebody. If Cami’s spirit, whimsy, and individuality make you happy, who cares what other people say. Friends nourish each other; we’re lucky to have them–you and Cami are lucky to have each other.

  • victoriasauce

    Sorry you feel like crap. It’s understandable.

    Head over to iTunes, Jack White’s upcoming solo album is available for full streaming. You can find it on the front page. Feel better soon.

  • Naperville Now

    Keep writing, even if it isn’t for “us.” Consider it an extension of therapy (and at the right price!).
    Take care —
    Sue

  • alto girl

    Everyone else has already said it, but here it is again – take plenty of time for you. I’ve been there and can say that it really does get better. Go veg out on a beach and NO working out! Read, drink, swim, and sleep. For as long as you want and then some. Just be!

    I’ve read your blog for years and don’t often post a comment, but you are an inspiration to me. Please stay healthy, for your girls, for you, and selfishly, for all your readers!

  • Tracye

    I saw you on the TODAY show last night, I was so happy I didn’t miss it, on a repeat and I thought you seemed a little out of it. I don’t even know you but you just seemed glazed over not your bubbly commenting self SO I’m glad you’re taking a break.

    It sounds like life is just in your face right now and you shouldn’t feel bad about taking a break. Everyone needs a break from the race every once and again so I say get you a coloring book just for yourself what, it works, or start knitting what, it’s soothing and just zen out.

    Life has been kicking my ass I mean, teaching me fortitude, for about 2 years now and I can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel so chin up. Do whatever brings you bliss and makes you laugh.

    This post is longer than intended sorry for the length and YEAH…I don’t get Cami either but if she brings you joy then Cami do your thang and Heather, enjoy.

    And P.S. I know how you loved DOMINO, so did I, so imagine my glee when I saw it on sale in Barnes & Noble.

    DOMINO IS BACK.

    Rejoice!

  • Janice

    …about effin’ time, darlin’

    We will be here. Be well

  • bawb23

    Ok, you’ve convinced me to share my best kept music secret with you. Click the Streampad link (in a new window is my preference) here: http://mudwerks.tumblr.com

    The most eclectic mix I know, never fails to entertain. I like it even better than KEXP.

    Also, hang in there, babes. You’re amazing and you don’t need to prove that to anyone – particularly yourself. Just… Be.

  • ThePeanut

    Thinking of you and sending lots of love and hugs your way. You have a very loyal fan base. We’ll be here no matter how long you take. <3

  • lucidlotus

    Dude, whatever you are throwing down, I’m picking up. Pics of fabu Cami, music I never knew I always loved, ARGH written in ginormous letters.
    Relax, revive, rejuvenate. Because your kids deserve it, sure. But because you deserve it too.
    Shit be hard, yo. And it will be for a while. But it will get easier to carry and it will becomes less brain stabbingly epic.
    Take care of yourself. We’ll be around.

  • MCD525

    Don’t be ridiculous. We are the last thing you need to worry about. Real life trumps internet life a million times over. Put Heather first. She deserves it.

  • billysSillyCoconut

    I love you Heather. Like a sister, a best friend. I’ve been there too.

    Take as much time as you need. And if you don’t feel like posting, don’t. We can browse 11 years of archives ourselves ; ).

    You’ve been here for me for the past 6 years and through the times when nothing was constant for me – you were.

    Don’t worry about us.
    We love you.

    Susan

  • TwinkleTeacher

    You do what you need to do. The best place is start feeling well and happy is doing what you are doing already. Look for joy, follow it, and hold the f onto your hat. Stay strong. Sometimes it’s the shittiest stuff that ends up the best in the end.

  • ber0606

    I experienced what I like to refer to as “the dark days” during the summer of 2009 after discovering that my husband of 10 years was having an affair, “wasn’t sure that he loved me” and was moving to another state. I pretty much spent the entire summer curled up in the fetal position on my parents’ floor while they helped to take care of my two children, ages 5 and 2. I had never experienced depression before, not like that, and haven’t since. I don’t remember much of that time other than it was physically painful. The first weekend that I spent without my children was excruciating. Intellectually I knew it would get better and I just wanted to fast forward a year, but it just wasn’t possible. I had to feel the pain and mourn the loss of my husband, family and life as I had known it. It sucked and I cried, a lot. I had to be medicated.

    But what’s my point? It gets better. By the end of the summer I had lost 20 lbs, looked awesome, sold my engagement ring and got my boobs done. They are really amazing, you should feel them. I discovered things about the bond I have with my family and friends that I never could have had I not been devastated the way that I was. I will never forget the way that my best friend dropped everything, drove to my parents home and spooned me that entire first night after my dreaded disocvery. Or the way my crazy little sister insisted that she give me daily “spiritual massages” complete with essential oils and crystals, to cleanse my soul. Or the way my gay Bil spent a weekend complete with spa services, a psychic reading and a broadway show in an attempt to make me smile because he couldn’t bear to see the pain on my face. Like Cami’s outfits, it was truly food for the shoul. You will surivive and be stronger because of it, I have no doubt. Take a well deserved break. We, your readers, love and support you. And I’m happy to break the legs of anyone who doesn’t.

  • hrm18

    Take care of yourself.
    Get some sun, get some REST.
    You deserve it. You have gotten so many of us through tough times with your writing/sharing.
    We support you!
    Wishing peace for you and yours.

  • lkb827

    Oh honey (ok, so I first typed homey), how I wish I could give you a hug and just let you feel the warmth and support surrounding you. Having to trudge through the deadlines and the pressure while going through something so incredibly painful, whatever that may be, means that you subsist merely on autopilot, but that only goes so far. Do NOT feel guilty or bad about stepping to the side to take a breath and take care of you. Yes, you have family and children and employees, but if you push yourself so hard that you eventually collapse, you will have done no one any good, especially yourself. You must do this for you, and for them. We will still be here.

  • TigerLily

    Add me to the list of those who are glad you are taking a break — for you, for your girls, for your soul. You need this. We’ll all be here when you’re ready to post again.

    If I may be so bold, if the separation still leaves you crying every single day and has left you in this place in which you are emotionally bereft, perhaps it’s not the right thing after all? I know nothing apart from what I’ve read on your blog and on Jon’s, but it just strikes me that none of this is right. Perhaps that’s wishful thinking on my part, but those I know who have willingly “taken a break” were generally relieved as opposed to devastated. I can’t help but think that maybe, just maybe, your emotional state is telling you something. In any event, I wish you peace in your heart and in your very being. You deserve it.

  • Dawn56

    Good lord, woman. Get thee some rest! We’ll still be here.

    The tears will stop. Yes, they will. Although it’s impossible to believe at this point, there will come a day when everything is just so much better and you look back and wonder why the heck you were even so upset.

    In the meantime be good to yourself.

  • JustRhi

    Been there done that –> do what you have to do to get through your own personal apocalypse. Mine was the end of my 17 year marriage on Friday coupled with finding my Mom dead in her apartment on Sunday (she was 85 and ready to go, but DAMN that timing sucked). I did autopilot for a few months and then it all came apart…I highly recommend Elizabeth Lesser’s “Broken Open” — It saved my life, my sanity and, in the end, helped me find a new happier relationship with my ex-husband (who now has a great new wife who I lovingly refer to as my ‘wife-in-law’ — she used Sisterwife once, but coming from the same background you did, I said: “UH NO to the Hell” — YOU have to take him home, Not me, I like it better this way. Hugs, from the Great-granddaughter of FOUR polygamist greatgrandfathers! Here is my ‘story’ — if you need some ‘misery loves company’ relief…
    http://acollectionofmindlint.blogspot.ca/2010/08/i-ate-i-prayed-i-loved.html

  • bambooska

    I have been with you and your blog for the past 8 years and will continue to be with you and your blog until the last minute. Loyalty is my last name.

    Find peace above and underneath water!

  • painterdoll

    Heather, the only thing that surprised me about this post is that you did not post it months ago. I don’t know how you even post everything that you do. When my well is empty, it seems the words shut down. The images I paint shut down. I have not painted in over three months since I moved to Colorado. Often, creativity requires a foundation to build upon. Go build your foundation. Pamper yourself. Let yourself cry as much as you need to with no apologies. Read books that you’ve been meaning to read. Enjoy finding beauty in the little things. We’ll be here waiting til you return.

    P.S. I adore the Cami photos and would be super disappointed if you stopped posting them! They bring so much joy to my day. They make me happy, too, like you. : ) Please know that us members of the community care about you so much. I just ache inside knowing you’re having such a tough time, but you’re not going through this alone.

  • Jen

    I’m here to add my voice to the others – yes, please do take some time for yourself and your girls. We’re not going anywhere! I wish you peace and tranquility through this next week. You are loved!

  • nroliver

    Oh love, you’re allowed to take a break. Take more than a week. I’ll be here when you get back.

  • hanniy

    **HUGE hug**

    And I like the Cami photos. She seems fun and I love seeing the things she puts together – it’s stuff that I would never dare to wear (or have the wherewithal to pull off) but I LOVE to see it on her!

  • mleah

    Eleven (#42), thank you. I’m going to say those 3 lines to myself every day and so glad you’re saying them to your little girl. She’s going to be so awesomely (yep, a word) strong and powerful.

    Heather, at my job working for The Man I earn 20.02 hours a month in vacation time that I use to see my family, turn off the Blackberry and sleep in. “The Man” in your world is, you. TURN OFF THE COMPUTER AND BACK AWAY (but don’t step on crazy Coco).

    xo to you and the girls (and Chuck).

  • akpetey

    Try listening to the new Beach House. “Lazuli” has the crystalline but moody-voiced music that allows your mind to just wander. And let go. And wander some more.
    I just listened to Beirut and Beach House while being on-call in the Primary Children’s cancer unit…and it was more than reviving…it soothed me so I could continue all night with my cares for the kids. Hope it does the same for you.

    http://www.gorillavsbear.net/2012/04/17/new-beach-house-lazuli/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+GVSB+%28gorillavsbear.net%29

  • lala34mc

    I’m so glad you’re finally posting this, Heather.

    I’ve only commented a couple times throughout the years. I’ve been reading you since L.A. and feel I’ve grown up with you! Leta and my (first & only) daughter Alma are right around the same age.

    I’m with all the others that say, GO. Take a break. Let it be longer than a week if need be. Nobody is going anywhere.

    I’m with a previous commenter who said Elizabeth Lesser’s “Broken Open” saved her life. I read it in the first days after my daughter was born and it literally kept me tethered to the earth. I still refer to it often.

    I’ve been through one or two stretches of gut wrenchingly awful times. I feel you, sweet girl. Don’t try to be any way. The pain is there to change you, molecule by molecule, into the next amazing version of yourself. It’s the reason you can do your job, be a mother, a friend, a hilarious and honest writer and all the other gorgeous things you are — because you’ve gone through pain. I find this mindset comforting, anyway. “In the difficult are the friendly forces, the hands that work on us.” — Rilke. You are closely held :).

    A hug from Boston.

    – Laura

  • Sighhbrrgal

    Although I’ve been reading your blog since sometime starting Leta was about 3, I’ve never commented. And I joined the community simply because I wanted to comment yesterday. I do realize that I’m probably full of myself to even ponder the notion that anything I had to say would mean anything of the slightest bit to you, but what the heck.

    I saw your interview on the Today show. Who was that?

    I’ve seen many of your interviews, video posts, etc. over the years. What happened to the confident, bright-eyed, strong, and intelligent woman envied by most “mommy bloggers” and women in business across the country?

    You were scared, tired, done, and lacking the keen sense of fashion that defined who Heather Armstrong embodied. I don’t know how you made it through the segment. You smiled when you saw the red light on the camera but when you didn’t know it was watching you … you slumped.

    You wrote that you fell apart afterwards. Not surprising since it appeared you might have done that before the interview.

    Am I rubbing salt in the wounds? Not a chance.

    I just wanted to say that after reading what you’ve written after all these years … I know, and you need to know, that you are one “ah-ha” moment away from rebuilding yourself to the person you know is still inside you.

    She’s there. You will find her again. No one can do that for you. Not even your girls. Not the dogs. Just you.

    Not that it matters … but I believe in you. Now, if only you could believe in yourself once again.

    We are not defined by the people around us, the children we give birth to, our family or friends. We are defined by who we are deep in our soul. We just need to throw back the curtain and let the Wizard out (stupid metaphor but I couldn’t help myself).

  • Mrs.Stinson

    http://lyricstranslate.com/en/alles-neu-everything-new.html-0

    that’s a literal translation of “alles neu”. hot a huge peter fox fan but this is a cool song!

  • L Arnold

    Two things – First, my grandma once told me that when you really need to cry, it’s because you do. You -need- to. Let your body release the tears and the sobs. No one thinks twice if you need to go to the bathroom or need a glass of water in the middle of the night; tears are no different.

    Second, I completely get the ‘autopilot’ – sometimes it is the only tool you have to get through the days. I have chronic depression that waxes and wanes. Luckily these days I am on a ‘high’ wave, but boy can the lows be crippling.

    The best analogy I can think of is being in a pool that is so deep you can’t quite ‘touch bottom’. You know the bottom is -right there- but you just can’t reach it, so you have to tread, and breathe carefully. And the smallest, smallest of waves can keep you from breathing…. the most minor of hassles or personal slights can very easily sink you because you are so close to sinking already….

    But during those weeks I try to remember this is one moment in time, in my illness, and each day I have to live through a ‘dark time’ (as I call them) is one more day closer to when it will be light again.

    I hope that helps. Take care of your self.

    Dig up some classic Chuck shots, that might be fun!

  • christyfutch

    We know; we recognize the pics and the collection of stuff you find for what they are: things you paste in the windows to hide the emptiness. You started thsi site to let us know that we’re not alone. You’re not alone either. Take your time; we’ll be here when you get back!

  • GraniteGirl

    Heather, you are fantastic and so brave for putting your life and your struggles on the Internet for all of us to see and learn from. But be the valedictorian of taking a break and take some time for YOU and YOUR FAMILY! That’s the most important thing. Take care of yourself and we’ll still be here when you’re ready to come back. Hugs and fist pumps to you, Heather, you are fantastic and we love you!

  • settembre

    (((Hugs)))I’ve been reading, been thinking about you, been hoping things get easier and better soon. The crying will abate. It takes time. Unfortunately, that time might feel like it’s crawling. Seconds might feel like hours. Hours might feel like months. Months might feel like years. I am glad you are taking some time for you. You need it. 🙂

  • freakydeak

    Breathe and hug on those you love! We’ll be here when you get back 🙂

    hugs from Ithaca, NY!

  • Vikiroo

    Heather,
    You need and deserve time for yourself. Take a break and regroup. Your pictures make me smile and I love Cami! Her self confidence is inspiring 🙂
    Looking forward to you coming back full force 🙂

  • PlanetA

    Brava Heather for taking care of yourself. Selfcare is completely undervalued in our culture. Proud of you!

    On a different note, you were great on the Today show. LOVED your outfit. : )

  • DebbieQ

    Take your break (not that you need my permission or anything0. We will all be here when you get back.

  • Dawn

    Heather, I have my fingers crossed so hard for you and your family. All the best to you.

  • Knittingfrog

    I was amazed you had had the strength to carry on so long already.

    You are an inspiration and a daily reminder to take nothing for granted…good or bad…but to always stand up for yourself and what you believe in.

    Take a break lady, you have more than earned it, and sending you many good vibes that your dark skies clear up again soon!

    We will be there when you come back 🙂

  • artmeetslife

    It is what it is. Gather your self, woman, we will be here when you are done.

  • sleighly

    keep on keepin’ on, heather. you the woman.

  • EliBailey

    I know not everyone’s separation/divorce experience is exactly like mine was, but frankly I’ve been amazed at how well you seemed to be doing. It WILL get better, and you should take lots of breaks and say no to as many things as you can right now. When you’re right on top of all the stress and all the tearing down of your life as you know it, it’s enormously traumatic. You have to have enough time and distance to rebuild and have enough good memories built up between the trauma and the present, if that makes sense. I’m glad you’re taking some time and trying to focus on positive things. What helped me the most was just having people to talk to who cared, and hugs. I visited a small church one Sunday, and a short, motherly-looking woman came in and hugged everyone because apparently that was her thing; she was a hugger. When she hugged me – this woman I’d never met before – it wasn’t just a hey how are you, it was a sincerely caring hug, and I just about lost it. It still makes me almost cry to think about it, and how much the niceness of strangers (and family and friends) helped so much. I hope you’re getting lots of hugs.

    Oh and also I enjoy the photos of Cami because I find it amazing when anyone can pull of wearing stuff like that in public. There are parts of her outfits I do like, but I keep hoping for one I’d actually wear in its entirety. : )

  • Scott Morrice

    My heart goes out to you-it really does! You need to read Bruce Sanguin’s recent post titled Finally Comes The White Flag at: http://ifdarwinprayed.com/finally-comes-the-white-flag/. It is good for a couple of reasons: 1. it reassures you that you are not the only person in the world who faces this kind of darkness (and, personally, I always find that somewhat reassuring), and 2. his way of handling his own issue is not a bad template. I wish you the very best!

    Scott