Best way to roast the broomstick. Must try. Five Stars.


Hi. How are you? Fine? You’re fine? Is that the truth? You want me to stop asking? Leave you alone? But what if I care? What if I really care? What if I told you that I’m asking not because I’m supposed to ask but because I set aside the next hour of my life to listen to what’s bothering you or making you happy or tugging at your heart or making you want to throw a rock through a window? (Put down the rock.)

How am I doing? Well, I asked you first. But if you really want to know, I’m hanging in there. What does that mean? Hm. I guess I’m doing okay. I’m focusing on today, this hour, this word. I try not to think about tomorrow or the day after that because sometimes when I lift my eyes and stare straight ahead I see miles and miles of fire. Flames stretching so far that they hide the entire sky. I see waves of terrifying, oppressive heat spilling out across every inch of ground in front of me. And then panic swells in my lungs, that old familiar rush of anxiety and dread and certainty that the world is going to fall apart. So I look back down at my hands, at this word. And this word. And this one. And everything is okay.

Right now I know which end is up. This end, this one right here. This is up.

How are you?

  • JulieG

    I’m pretty good. I’m coming out of a three-day bout with a stupid recurring gallbladder pain issue, and now that I can eat again, everything feels pretty peachy. Other than that, I’m bored at a job that doesn’t challenge me, wishing my real career would get off the ground, and secretly terrified that I’m wasting time, and that when I start having kids in a few years my life will come to a screeching halt with nothing to show for my twenties and early thirties.

    And I can’t even say how reassuring it is to read through the comments and see that no matter how put-together we may look, we’re all going through our own struggles.

    And Heather, remember, when you look up and see flames, there are an awful lot of us out here running up behind you with fire extinguishers. =) You are a source of light in the world. Don’t you ever forget it.

  • Janice

    I’m good. I am retiring (early)in 72 days 22 hours, 43 minutes and 57 seconds. For the first time in my life I don’t have a plan and I’m okay with that. So you’ve probably heard of RIGHT THIS SECOND THEY HAVE CARAMELS, YEP, MILK AND DARK CHOCOLATE SO YOU JUST GET YOUR BUTT OVER THERE AND ORDER SOME. I don’t care because I already ordered mine. I wooted three times today; closet organizers, batteries and chocolate caramels. It’s Woot off day. I woot much more and I will be living under a bridge somewhere.

    Thanks for asking and you’re welcome about the chocolate….

  • constantlyconflicted

    Lately, I feel like it’s Groundhog Dog Day every day for the last few months…at work that is. I’m grateful to have a job and benefits, very grateful, but I no longer feel challenged and my brain is desperate to be stimulated. I’m also grateful for my healthy infant who has completely changed my world and brought me even closer to my husband. I just feel like in order for one part of my life to flourish, another part has to fade into darkness. I don’t believe it’s possible to have everything – the career, the kids, the life partner, the solid finances, etc. – but I do think it can be better than this.

    Heather, just keep swimming. 🙂

  • nikkiana

    I’m less fine than I would like to be. Yet, I’m at peace with not being fine, so it’s less bad as if I were not fine about being not fine. These things will pass. I just have to get through today.

  • Brooke1214

    I’m not ok, but I’m grateful to you that you would ask. I know that you aren’t ok either so maybe we can both just sit with our not – ok- ness together.

    I do hope you get better though. I really do cherish your writings.

    I’m not going to jump. (I’m not on a bridge or any high – thing for that matter anyway) but I kinda want to. I hope you feel even slightly better than this.

    Much love and thanks.


  • jen5150

    I am so happy to say that I am doing fantastic!! I haven’t been able to say that in so long! Over the past several years my husband and I have survived a job loss (his), a foreclosure on our house, renting a house from a psycho landlord who we later found out had a history of assault (sort of “Pacific Heights” in reverse), a job loss (mine), my son almost dying, my father in law dying, and a bankruptcy. Life is FINALLY improving and I can honestly say that I am truly happy.
    Heather, one thing that has gotten me through so many of my times of crisis is to always remember the following: WHERE you are is never WHO you are. Sounds simple but it is so true.

  • NDW1982

    Today I’m a fucking mess. I had a baby 5 weeks ago and lets just say that today was the first ‘cranky baby day’ I’ve experienced so far with this precious bundle of poo and sugar. I managed to get out of my pajama pants but not my pajama shirt (because I had to wear him in a moby wrap all day). So I’m wearing a skirt with a pajama top (super hot)…and its 5:40pm and I have to choose between drinking a guinness or showering after he let me put him down for the first time in 12 hours. Happy Saint Patricks day!

    Tomorrow will probably be better…

  • NDW1982

    p.s. thanks for asking 🙂 You should have a guinness too…or whatever delicious beverage you fancy. Just stay away from tequila. Tequila brings on the ugly cry.

  • katrins

    I’m really good. Right now. (Just worked out and then ate dinner, and that feels great.)

    But earlier, I was in my office trying to work on my novel and feeling really, really useless and frustrated. For the millionth time, I thought to myself, “I COULD JUST GIVE UP WRITING! I COULD GIVE IT UP!!” and that thought briefly gave me hope.

    And then I realized, no, this is what I do, even though it is so fucking hard, I can’t do anything else, and I don’t want to do anything else.

    I think.

    And tomorrow, I will try again. And the day after. And the day after. And then one day, I’ll be on a roll again and I’ll be, briefly, the happiest person alive.

  • Power Leslie

    We’ve just moved into a new house – like JUST just -so my life is in boxes. My armpits were calling out for a razor in the shower this morning, but of course, I have no fricking clue where that could be. Garage?? I have so much shit, it’s ridiculous. More is still left at the old house, and it makes me want to lie down on the ground and cry. My dog is so damn confused by it all she doesn’t know what she doing. (Aussie – go figure.)

    My job is super stressful, but I am so grateful to be employed that I only complain to myself in a tiny inside voice for fear that the universe will hear me and show me what stressful really is.

    My husband and my son are healthy and that is all that is important.

    I think of you often and wish you only happiness.

  • newleaf1

    Hi Heather, thanks for asking.

    I’m okay. I work all the time and it’s getting a little old so I’m hoping that the workload will ease up soon. I have a job and can feed the family, so that’s a great thing.

    My kids are good – everyone told me the teenage years would be tough but they are such interesting people it’s worth the effort. My dad just finished chemo – even though it turned him into an old man I think he got a few more years out of it, so he’s got that going for him.

    I hope you are doing okay. Hang in there and be like Dory – keep swimming, swimming, swimming….

  • RunningFarce

    Go for a run. This helps everything

  • jilllovesbacon

    Earlier today I wanted to punch people in the neck. (It’s a fucking CROSSWALK, people! Pedestrians are supposed to be able to cross! Not dodge your damn cars!) But a little while ago as I was walking down the street, an adorable little boy looked up at me, smiled big, yelled HI!, and waved. I found myself smiling at everyone after that, and better yet, receiving smiles in return. Completely turned my day around.

  • chinacatamy

    I just got word that my old friend died after a six year battle with cancer. She was 31. RIP girl.

    So, that’s how I am. Kinda mad at the unfairness of life and really worried about her dad.

    All my best to you all.

  • filmlady

    How am I doing??

    Well, I’ve been looking at this diagram every day for the last ten days and I’ve finally decided to quit my job to follow my dream:

    Many hugs for you, Heather.
    Thanks for asking.

  • zchamu

    I think I’m OK on the surface.

    If I poke too deep, though, there be dragons.

  • memphislis

    I’m okay. Stressed because it’s TCAP week and a teacher’s worth is now directly connected to the one day of the year the students take the subject area test. Thinking about what you are going through and hoping for calm in your life. Counting down the days till summer. Looking forward to hazy, sticky afternoons at the Ric Nuber YMCA (Memphis). Thanks for asking.

  • knolting

    I’m doing ok. Could go for some ice cream though. Let’s go get sundaes and talk shit.

  • MelissaJ

    i’m doing well…thanks for asking.

    glad to hear you are hanging in there…hope you still feel hands holding on to you.

    we all have points where we won’t…can’t…look beyond the moment…it’s okay…you can only live a moment at a time anyway.

  • aem

    I’m doing well. Thanks for asking.

    I just finished my pharmacy degree and am about to enter the workforce as a 25 year old. Following my three menacing board exams at the end of May, I have secured a full-time job as a pharmacist in my parents’ neighbourhood, about an hour’s commute from where I live with my husband of 8 months. He’s still in school and needs to be close by for at least another year. I’m also is an incredible amount of student debt. Life has been moving fast, which is exciting but also terrifying!

    We’re about to get our very first car, which I’m learning is a huge commitment with a million options (especially with the highway driving I’ll be doing, Canadian gas prices & winter conditions). I’m grateful my parents will always let me crash at their place if needed.

    Well that’s me. And I’m keeping you in my thoughts, Heather.

  • penka86

    I’m doing ok. Some days I’m ok, and some days I’m drowning. Reading what you are going through has given me strength in the moments I needed it most. I happen to be going through a split myself, and I remember disintegrating into a blubbering mess when I read that you were going through a split at the same time that I was. I just keep telling myself that “it will all be okay”. It’s my mantra. It will all be okay.

  • Sonicwitch

    Thank you for asking Heather, I am good. Little bit of Fibromyalgia pain, but all in all doing well holding it all together. Feeling like I’m actually climbing out of the well I was in and looking forward to the future with my lovely family.

    Hang in there chickadee, you are beautiful!

    Keep the following words in mind if you can. These are wise words given to me by the most intelligent person I ever knew.

    Say it slow to your Self with a nice long pause before the last word to get the full experience of what these three simple words really mean.

    Give time………….time.

  • leesuhrenay

    I’ve seen this fire you speak of, your description spot on.
    Breathe. It does get better (I loved that BYU vid).
    I remember going through a fraction of what you are dealing with and feeling as though it could not get better, and then it did…while I wasn’t even looking!

    Me? Thanks for asking. There’s my usual MS crap that I hide and most people have no idea I’m dealing with but its being exacerbated by stress.
    Stress? The usuals of money and that fire you spoke of gleaming in the distance, look down…stay in the now. But now is filled with my planning for my wedding that is coming in 14 and a wake up which is supposed to be the easiest breeziest wedding EVER. But there are the expectations of everyone else besides myself and my groom.
    I was hoping that all this planning would distract me from the 12th anniversary of my mom’s passing. Nope, sorrow and regret are not distractable…only numbed by copious amounts of booze which makes the planning harder and my MS suck even more.

    It does get better?

  • momof8

    I’m freaking out because I am 50. Thanks for asking. Hope things keep getting better for you. Sending hugs and support and well wishes.

  • mmh

    Grief is a funny thing. When you are grieving, all you see is grief. When you’re not, you wonder what the big deal is all about for others who are sad.

    I lost my baby 7 weeks ago. He was stillborn. Awful two weeks, then doing fine for two weeks (fine=not crying myself to sleep), then another awful two weeks, and today? Today I’m OK.

    Thanks for asking. The funny thing with the “How are you?” formality, is that I offer a tempered “fine” when I want to talk, or an overly enthusiastic “Great!” when I want to assure someone that they should not inquire any further about how I am, in fact, doing.

  • Daffodil Campbell

    I am glad you are focusing on the now and doing okay. I know it’s not easy to do and I commend you.

    I’m fine. Really. Family is healthy, we have a home and vehicles in good repair, food in the fridge, etc. etc.

    I am trying to overlook all of the many terrifying/depressing things that are around me. The bills. The neighbors. The painstakingly slow and emotional process of our foster baby being returned to his mother. The reason why my dog refuses to lift his leg to pee anymore. The airline tickets I have to buy to get us all to the east coast this summer…….

    So instead I am sitting here reading. And you know what? The pictures of Cami cheer me up too. So thanks. I was too shy to introduce myself at Camp Mighty and thank you for creating this space on the web that I enjoy so much. But really, I do.

    Take Care.

  • oliviaviola

    My husband told me on Friday that he had been having an affair with an attractive woman that he has feelings for. I threw him out. We have a 5-year old and a 1-year old. And now I have to give him a chance because of our children. And I really don’t know if I want to do that. There’s a lot more but it just gets ludicrously sad and stupid after reading such a depressing confluence of events. FML, indeed.

  • AliciaMaria

    Oliviaviola.. no!!! I’m so sorry. 🙁 I hope you make the best decisions for YOU and your kids.

    Heather. If I’m ever in your area (highly unlikely since I live in Florida, but just sayin..) I’d love to stop by and just give you a great big awesome hug. Hugs fix so much more than guys could ever understand, and although a hug from another girl isn’t nearly as satisfying, it’s still a nice, genuine, REAL hug.

    I think you’re awesome, through and through. Your ups and downs, and in betweens. All awesome. I wish only the best for you and your family! <3

  • AliciaMaria

    Oh. and I’m actually good right now. That could change at any moment though.. 🙂

  • kate8

    I’m not ok. Had to put my dog to sleep 15 days ago after finding we had reached the highest pain pills available to dull his pain from bone cancer. Some days I’m quietly sad and others messy crying with snot bubbles sad. I’m not ok. Some days I worry I will never be ok again. Others I worry I will be ok, but that will mean my dog has faded in my memory.

  • 2christys

    I’m sure you won’t even see this. I have been reading your blog for a year. I was upset when I read that you were having problems. I did not realize my husband was having problems too.
    My husband left me yesterday. Just shoot me. I have 2 small boys. How do you do it? Because I can’t breathe.

  • debramac

    Striving to stay positive is like a full time job you don’t get paid for. But if you don’t try you pay in other big time ways…yup thats what I’m telling myself standing looking at my own reflection.
    My dream job, which can actually be a nightmare run by people who are the dearest people but can still somehow be a total train wreck over and over. Well it finally broke me down today I think for good. I don’t even want to try to pick myself up off the floor this time. I might as well like the view from here. Face it. Deal with it.
    In my dream relationship which can still be so frightenly lonely at times.
    How can it be so hard when all I want is to be happy?
    When I tell myself that unhappiness is a personal choice I’m making I want to slap myself in the face. Which would just be silly wouldn’t it? But self, shut the fuck up, okay?
    I want to be my own boss again and reserve one day a month to be a fucking asshole because I can. I can always chose not to be (and hopefully would chose Not most months) but I want a choice. I want to argue with my employees taking the opposite viewpoint just because I have them at my mercy for a paycheck and THEN the next opportunity I’ll vehemently switch sides and take the opposite viewpoint just to make it fun and all crazy and shit. make ’em so crazy they’d drive 800 miles just to score a joint because the only other thing they can think of to do it just end it.
    I don’t really want those things (ha except the joint) but wonder how to avoid examining that exact evidence and who does that anyway? What a crazy shitty way to waste company money.
    Of course I’d probably end up with an employee who would think…arm….car…vulnerable children…vulnerable boss…….funny…and I’d be in jail.

    Finally something to be really thankful for. I’m not in jail.

    And thanks for asking. You rock eternal.

  • hshellen

    Not great. But thanks for asking because I feel like I can’t talk to anyone about this.

    I am awaiting Friday morning when I get to take a pregnancy test. I have no confidence that it worked because it never does. Because nothing about my reproductive organs can just be fucking normal. And when I look into my future, I don’t see flames; What I see are many, many transvaginal ultrasounds, medication and injections because I am staring into the face of infertility yet again. And so help me God, I swore I would never let myself be here. I wouldn’t do it to my son, I wouldn’t do it to my husband and I wouldn’t do it to me. But here I am. Feeling sorry for myself. Hating everyone around me who falls down on their husband and just gets pregnant. Hating that I can’t control this. Wishing I was ready to just give into it…or give up on it.

  • Moomser

    Hi, I’m hanging on by the skin of my teeth (terrible, ridiculous expression, but accurate) but I’m better than last week… And hopeful that next week will be even better! the husband and I have got a death grip on our marriage, as we’re both still too scared to let go…I hope we don’t end up squeezing the life out of it through sheer stubbornness. We’ll see.
    Glad you’re better and keeping the anxiety at bay!
    You probably know it already, but in case you don’t check out The mood Cure – book, website etc. it really helped me with my depression, I’m still doing it, but I’m no longer stuck down the black hole of apathy and sadness and generalized unhappiness that I was living in, so…

  • amberskie

    Well, I’m a little late to this post but I just had breakfast. Dooce is my coffee. I’m not doing well, instead of fire, I see an ocean. An ocean with a strong current that I know is going to sweep me under and drown me. Something is pushing me in and I can’t avoid it, I’m just hoping someone will throw me a life preserver…

  • tariel

    Prior to reading this post I thought my day was going just swell…After a little self-reflection I now realize that cat poop really does not make for good croutons. While crunchy and crispy, they often times taste like the crackers my grandmother keeps in her glove compartment box.

    O.K., let’s talk.

  • kmpinkel

    SO, yes, I’ve already posted. But I keep coming back and reading everyone else’s posts. You opened so much up by just a simple, heart felt, “How are you, really?” We all know people go through things, that not everyone is happy all the time, because life just gives us shit. But this post of yours has opened my eyes to the hurt, the raw hurt people are going through and it makes me cry and it makes me hurt for them. Infidelities, infertility, death, cancer, depression, sadness, grief. I’ll never ask that question, “how are you?” the same way again. In fact, I may not ask it unless I have time to really listen. Better yet, I’ll just start making the time to listen. So, thanks for asking, Heather, and thanks for all those who posted. I’m listening.

    And on a brighter note, no one posted about having Shingles!

  • callen

    I’m okay. Unlike you, I don’t see fire or waves of heat. I dive into a dark flooded cave where the breathing room is only an inch or two under the ceiling. And it’s times like that, that I just walk the line. Looking down. Following. One step at a time. I remind myself that I should go see the doctor, but by the time I convince myself to pick up the phone, I am okay again. Just keep going Heather. One step at a time. When you get through, you’ll find that angels have been watching over you!

  • mommioandretti

    I’m good…34 weeks pregnant with my second and everything is going well. But, I am planning to go natural this time and am very anxious about my ability to actually do it. Recently re-read your birth story with Marlo and reading success stories like that helps. So, thank you for sharing your life here! I think of you and pray for you and your family often. xoxoxo.

  • Sabine

    Well, two weeks after moving in to my new apartment, I’ve been forced to concede that my packing method – while pretty perfect for getting things moved from one place to the next in a reasonably efficient manner – necessitates a somewhat explosive unpacking method, and what it all really boils down to is that I cannot find a single container in which to carry my salad to work. A goddamn ziploc baggie would suffice, if only I knew where they were.

    But my two weeks post-surgery cat has been allowed to remove his cone of shame and is celebrating by ricocheting around the new apartment, taking corners like Starsky and Hutch, and there is some small pleasure in that.

    We take our small joys wherever we can find ’em.

    Speaking of which, that fart post? The one you re-posted the other day? I sent it to my new assistant while admitting in the email that I had no idea why I thought he would like it. He responded “you know who else likes fart stories? My mother. I sent it to her.” This hiring choice was not merely a score, it’s a grand slam, baby.

  • jnframpton

    Truth is, I found a lump on my breast. I go to the doctor next week and haven’t told a soul. My sister is getting married in a couple weeks and I don’t want my concern to over shadow her day. So I will go to the Dr, see what they say and mention what it is or isn’t after the wedding.
    I’m scared.

  • Kbee

    It’s hard not to respond to things like this because the dialogue itself is incredibly helpful. I’m okay. Everyone in my life is okay. Sure, my uncle is sick, and my nephew refuses to go to school and we’re all stuck in jobs that annoy us. But when the daily grind starts to wear on me, I remember all the people who have it worse than me in so many ways. And I gain inspiration and perspective from how they power through terrible things. Thank you for sharing your life and thanks to everyone else on this thread for sharing. Now I have to go get stitches taken out of my gums. Ow.

  • kristan

    I’ve been a reader for a while but never commented. But you asked how I am doing….How wonderful it is to be asked that (thanks!). Well, my wedding was supposed to be this weekend. I ended the relationship. I wasn’t happy, he wasn’t very nice and wasn’t willing to work on things because it was ‘my fault’ I wasn’t happy. I had the house, the beautiful ring, the life I always wanted. He had a job where he worked a ton but brought home tons of money. I gave up that materialistic life I always *thought* I wanted for HAPPINESS. And I AM happy now. But it’s still sad that I won’t be having a wedding this weekend. So I’m drinking a little vodka drink right now and I will toast to happiness …

  • waitimaprincess

    I’m glad you at least know which end is up and that you can concentrate one word, hour, day at a time. Me? Oh, thanks for asking, butTHISSHITSUCKS! How do you get past the “I can’t ask for help” point? How do you simply make the appointment to talk? How do you diminish the shame at having to make the appointment, needing to talk? How do you say yes to medication if it’s warranted, offered? How do you show up to work? How do you not sit in the bathroom most of the day at work until your legs fall asleep then apologize for being late to meetings but not really caring that you’re late to meetings? How do you not buy more vodka? How do you not buy more vodka then carry it in your purse? How do you not just get in the car and drive? Goddammit, how?

  • Trina

    truthfully, sucky

    I feel like crap, I look like crap, it’s just sucky. sucky sucky sucky.

    i take comfort knowing i can come here though. let’s be sucky together.

  • mleah

    Can someone throw a party so we can all get together and have a drink? I’m not a people person because most people annoy me (or I annoy them, who knows) but I’ve read every single word that has been written in the comments of this post and I want to hang out with you all. We all need a big hug. I feel like I was just given the super-power of knowing exactly what other people are thinking and feeling. Overwhelming, yes. But Heather, with one question you turned a bunch of anonymous names with opinions into people with lives and stories of sadness and happiness that I actually want to know. Who knew I had feelings. So, thanks for that.

    Me, I’m doing better today. And that woman who called me rude for walking too slow down the escalator can suck it.

  • Sallyg303

    I am great, thanks for asking! I have a great family, a job that I love, a roof over my head, food on the table, good health, and a dog at my feet who loves me unconditionally. That’s all I need.

  • _justme_

    Over the past year my response to that question would have been “it depends on the day”. I can actually say that now things are going pretty great! Sure my wife is still out of work with a back injury, one of my dogs just had a costly leg surgery, and we recently took in our 13 and 16 year old nephews……but I am pretty frikken happy! I come home to a woman that loves me, my dog will eventually feel better, and these two kids are amazing! Most people inhale a sharp breathe and say “oh good luck with that” when I tell them we took in two teenagers, but honestly my life has become so full since they have become a fixture in our everyday lives. I look back on life a year ago, and I thank God I made it through the year to be where I am today. Keep your head up Heather, because in a year you too will thank God you made it!

  • ahollinger

    I like reading everybody’s comments. Just a quick snapshot of PEOPLE, so many kinds of people all over the world having different kinds of days.

    I want to wish everyone who is experiencing something difficult a sincere hope that it will get better.

    My partner and I have date night, and I’m hoping to win tickets to see Wicked. But even if we don’t, it will still be date night. And my 3 year old slept through the night all night yesterday. And my mom just sent me a text that said “Dud you call?” which made me laugh.

    Happy Wednesday, all.

  • Lally18

    I am sorry things are not getting any easier. And I am glad that there is this forum to let it all out. I read everyone’s comments in the hope that maybe I would get some perspective and all the crap I am dealing with wouldn’t seem so bad, and I do feel slightly better, but it doesn’t make my crap go away unfortunately. I hate to complain because ultimately, we are all healthy, we have food and shelter and enough money to pay the bills, but I am still angry, sad, frustrated and hopeless much of the time. My daughter (10 months) is a very difficult child. Her new trick is waking up at 3:30AM, pulling herself up in the crib and screaming. The only way she’ll go back to sleep is if we put her down and pat her for 30 minutes or more. Clearly this is not sustainable. She has slept through the night maybe 5 times total. The sleep deprivation is killing me, and the anxiety I feel when I go to bed, and when I hear the screaming start is crippling. I am unable to go back to sleep, even when she does. I didn’t want a second child and now I know why. I dread going home at night and the weekends because I can’t deal with her lack of sleep and constant neediness. I feel like a total failure as a parent because she won’t sleep. I weaned her recently for a variety of reasons and feel horribly guilty about that, too. My husband and I barely talk since I go to bed at 8 most nights because I am so exhausted from dealing with the baby all night. He is increasingly frustrated with me because I am angry/tired/sad all the time. I fear he will eventually give up on me. Oh, and to top it all off, a baby in my daughter’s class has chicken pox and she’s too young for the vaccination so she is a sitting duck. So really, it all does come back to Shingles because if she gets chicken pox, any one of us could get Shingles. FML.

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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