An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation


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?

  • Meegs

    I’m… feeling a bit stuck, honestly. Oh I’m good and all. Things are fine. Nothing is necessarily wrong. I just have so many small, medium, big changes I wish I could make, but don’t know where to begin and some aren’t really feasible anyway and…

    So stuck.

    But okay?

  • Brett

    Thank You ! Hopefully I won’t get in trouble now !
    (I Had A Rock In My Hand)

    So, Now I Can Say I’m “Doing Fine”

  • Jawnbc

    I’m good thanks. But I’m sitting on some huge personal news that makes me giddy with excitement that’s going to break some hearts when it’s made public. And until all the loose ends are tied up I feel like a lying shetbag when I speak to my family and colleagues.

    But mostly I’m pleased you popped your head in here briefly. For the really, really tough days I have one surefire way to smile: Ken Lee

  • dooce

    Wow. Thank you everyone for sharing. I’m blown away. Floored. Moved to tears.

  • Teresa W

    I don’t know if you read Stephanie Nielsen’s blog, nienie, or not, but her post today is about pain. I thought of you when I was reading it. Stephanie has gone through so much yet has so much positive to say. She has her down days as well. So anyway, I don’t know if you keep up with her life but you might want to give it a look. BTW, I am not Mormon but United Methodist, but she has given me a different slant on being Mormon. Not that I am likely to join.

  • dianaparkhouse

    Honestly I would rather we just talk about you. I stopped talking about me a long time ago. It’s for the best x

  • jessiCat

    Today? Better than I thought I’d be. Let me share a little of my batshit-crazy-ex-husband phychoness with you all. If you read anything I write on the DoCo, you know that I am happily living with my son, my Sgt McYummypants & his son. My ex-husband is like a giant boil on my ass that I never know when its gonna ooze out and get messy. He’s an un-medicated bi-polar. That sentence alone should give you some indication of what I deal with. So, crazy brings our son home last night after his baseball game. The baseball game that he purposely told me the incorrect time for so that I would miss it. And so would Sgt & Bonus son. Yeah, he’s a douche canoe like that. Anyway, after hanging up with him (on him, actually) from a really shit sandwich of a phone call in which I was just asking when my child would be home, he pulls up outside. His OTHER ex-wife (who has my same exact name….no, seriously) is in the passenger side. My son is in the back. Sgt is irritated that psycho was rude to me, so he goes outside and tells my son to give his daddy lovin’ and go on in the house. Psycho tells my son not to move and calls the FUCKING POLICE because he “feels threatened”. W.T.F.!?! He only felt threatened because he is a pussy little bastard who wanted drama. So, 2 county policemen pull up in front of my house (neighbors are all peeking out front to witness the redneck show!) and separate us to ask us what is going on. OH! And right before the cops get there, ex-wife-in-law has run her dumb ass up into MY HOUSE crying (I think she was high or something….ya never know because that bitch be crazy too…lol) and saying she can’t believe I’d ever put my son in such a horrible and dangerous position to be around a “dumb, mean, shit-head redneck” like the Sgt. Um, scuse me??? Not today, sister! I got up off of the loveseat and started walking towards her, and my exact words were “Are you fucking kidding me right now? You have said for the past 2 years how lucky I am to have such a loving man in my life and how he’s wonderful for Matthew. Meanwhile, you let psycho BEAT YOUR ASS IN FRONT OF MY SON AND YOUR DAUGHTER. Did you forget about that? You need to shut the fuck up and back the fuck off of my porch…NOW”. And she did. Quickly. So back to the redneck show in my front yard, basically he scared the shit out of our son and wasted the county’s money for NOTHING. Total. Douche. Canoe. Y’all.

  • lala34mc

    You know the scene in When a Man Loves a Woman where Andy Garcia comments to his kids that mommy (Meg Ryan, who is having a particularly tough morning) has “as much as she can handle with her coffee and her little spoon?”

    I always think of that scene when having a day like you described, a day where it’s just one single step at a time. Coffee. Spoon. Mix. Etc.

    Today feels like this:

  • JustRhi

    Did you realize you just wrote a beautiful poem? Poetry — words evoking emotion and image.
    Beautiful . . . you ARE.

    Oh, and I am YOU in a few years — healed, wiser, loving my daughter and knowing the dance was, oh yes, it was, worth the pain.


  • Pandora Has A Box

    I’m okay; thank you for asking.

    I had a moment in Las Vegas on Sunday when I wanted to pitch myself out the eleventh floor window. That wasn’t fun. I went down to the casino and gambled for a while at 5am. Lost $175. *Wanted* to lose money.

    Today? Today I’m okay. Better, in fact. We’ve adopted a third cat—or she adopted us—(heaven help me), and The Box Daughter and Mr. Box have agreed on a name: Asha Grey Cloud. If I can survive the transition with the DoCo Kitties and Miss Asha, it will be fan-fuckin’-tastic. The jury is still out, as the DoCo Kitties have only peered at the newbie through the window.

    And how are you, darlin’?

  • Daddy Scratches

    Is it a bad sign that I’ve been sitting here trying to formulate an answer to “How are you?” for several minutes? Because, the truth is, I’m so overwhelmed by everything I have to do coupled with the fact that most of my days now seem comprised almost entirely of stuff I don’t actually want to do that I don’t have the slightest clue HOW I’M DOING.

    I’m a dad. And a husband. And a teenager in a 42-year-old body. And a frustrated writer in a cubicle. That’s how I’m doing.

  • kaplunkski

    EXACTLY how I have been feeling

  • Trina

    @jnframpton lets hope it’s nothing, but I understand your situation. BUT should is be something, you really need to tell someone, screw the wedding, this is more important, and your family needs to know. They’ll shoot you in the foot afterwards if you don’t. Trust me. I know. Well not really, but you know what I mean.

  • gladcow

    I’m doing well. Sort of all right. Tired, really. Once I get that sorted, I’ll feel like a more human person.

    I have to tell you about last night, though. Yesterday was a slog. Long day of work, children needing to be at different places at the same time, errands, no time for eating. I was tired and overwhelmed. But, then, my son’s choir sang a song so beautiful it made me cry. Sometimes this, this NOW, is enough. Hugs, Heather.

  • susiefish

    I’m in the middle of feeling incredible anxiety about this pregnancy. My first pregnancy I was blissfully unaware of any complications and breezed through it, now enjoying my 2.5 year old son. But after a very painful miscarriage last summer and months of not being able to conceive again, this current pregnancy is bringing me nothing but dread. Those vivid dreams pregnant women have? Mine are all horrific reenactments of my miscarriage. I’m a yoga teacher for crying out loud, I feel like I should be able to curb my anxiety and chill the f*ck out. But instead I wake up every night with complete certainty I’ve lost the baby and I’m just waiting for the spotting to appear. I have an appointment with my midwife tomorrow so I will hopefully get a little relief once I hear Baby’s heartbeat.

    Thanks for asking, it’s nice to get things off my chest.

  • Monkey

    Tired. Drained. Between work and moving and family drama, I have nothing left. I’m not seeing any flames though, so I guess I’m doing just fine, all things in consideration.

  • slh25
  • BurgundyS

    Honestly, after reading this entry, I’m terribly worried about you. I have been reading your blog for about 9 years. I know that you are so on top of your depression/anxiety and know when to get help, and I also appreciate that you don’t share everything with us and maybe you are seeking help.

    Going through a separation or a divorce is hard no matter what. Doing it with two small children and an extremely demanding job is ridiculously hard. I hope you have the support you need and that if you need a longer break, or therapy, or a meds adjustment, you will get it.

    I hope none of this comes off jerky or meddling. I am truly just concerned for your wellbeing.

  • joyluck76
  • Laura Jones

    Remember fire brings renewal. There are pine trees whose seeds can not germinate until they have been through fire. Maybe you’re on the brink of a whole new breakthrough when it comes to writing or motherhood or relationships.

  • uncouthheathen

    I am okay! Thank you for asking!

    I remember when my ex and I first separated and it felt like the universe exploded. It was so hard to make sense of anything because what I knew of my life suddenly was gone. I used to say, all the time, I bet a year from now I’ll look back and think about how awful this all was and not even know how I managed to make it through all of this. And then suddenly it was a year later and I was looking back and thinking – I HAVE NO IDEA HOW I SURVIVED SO MUCH BULLSHIT. You just put your head down and plow through and when the really bad days come, maybe you go to bed early and know that tomorrow has more potential. May is two years and I’m still trying to put pieces back together, but the beauty in that is getting to choose what goes where, what I want to keep and what I let go of. Little by little…life is mine again. Divorce is a motherfucker. That much I know is true. Keep plowing ahead, you’re going to make it through the fire and look back and know you made it, even if you don’t know exactly how.

  • LDD

    Appreciating the dialogue! Loving Cami’s travel outfit. Nice diversion to my daily grind. I’m doing just fine. Kids are OK, baby is weaning (BOOBS!), work is mostly tolerable and I slept 6+ hours. Can’t complain.

    Read this yesterday in House Beautiful mag I treated myself to: “My favorite quote is by Joan Didion. She was asked by a writer if it was true that she used her good silver every day, and she said, ‘Every day is all there is.'”

    I have no idea who Joan Didion is, but I dig it:


  • Rike

    I am ok, at least that is what I think.
    My former hostmum (i was an aupair) has cancer. I am scared to death that she won’t make it, but usually I don’t allow that thought in my head, because it would mean, that three kids (3,6 and 9 years old) would grow up without a mum. That is too awful to even think about.
    Yet I am scared because I lost my dad and step-dad due to cancer.
    I wish I could do something, help somehow, but between us is a huge ocean, that is really hard for me.
    So I think I am ok, at least most of the times, when it is busy around me and I don’t have time to think.

  • Angeerah

    I am mentally preparing to potty train my 3 year old this weekend. In fact, I am taking Friday off from work to accomplish this task.

    And this will be our fourth attempt. Ahem.

  • MaLo

    I’m doing pretty well. My job environment lameness isn’t bothering me, the sun is shining, and my guy is on day 2 of his new job, after his second bout of being unemployed in the past 2 years. And it’s a good spot and opportunity for him. Yay!

  • cipsi

    Bored out of my mind at work. (But happy to have a job at the very least).

    Trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

    I’m happy you’re hanging in there.

    One day at a time is a great way to take things.

  • Babydoll

    I’m doing pretty fair, H. Thanks for asking…

    I’ve heard it said to be where your feet are. Pretty corny, but that’s how we roll in California.

  • cobaltblue

    How am I? Been chronically ill for 18 years, the last 7 of which I have been unable to work. Found out landlady wasn’t renewing my lease about 2 wks ago, giving me 7 weeks to find a new home. Living on gov’t assistance does not make it easier to find a new place. Can’t use current landlady as reference, since she and I are on the outs about my noisy neighbors. She won’t take a hard line with them, so I have to cope with the noise. She says she doesn’t want to renew my lease because my catbox smells bad. I write her a letter saying I disagree, and I have at least 4 ppl to back me up in writing. Two days later, she calls me, has done an about-face, says she will let me sign another one-year lease, knowing I don’t want to stay because of the noise problem. And the night before, she brings 3 prospective tenants through my “smelly” place. None of them exhibit any signs of disgust or repulsion at any “smells” in my apt. My mom is also visiting at the time, says my place smells perfectly fine. WTH? (p.s. my sense of smell does not function).

    Now I have found a new place and want to move in this coming month, and my power company says they need 45 days advance notice to start up electricity in any new residence, have no idea when the power might be turned on at the new place, and I MUST be out of my current place at end of May 31st. I’m so stressed I’ve been breaking out in hives for two weeks, on top of all my other health issues. I’d feel so much better if God would just strike me dead.

  • strawberrygoldie

    Shellshocked. Confused. Smiling, because it is what I have to do.

  • AliciaMaria

    kmpinkel and mleah. word. I want to hang out with everyone here and have a drink. I’ve said it before, but this is awesome. Just a bunch of real people gathered here because of Heather and her words (thank you dooce!!) and we’re all opening up about shit that we haven’t dared to tell anyone else. How moved and honored I feel to be a part of this.

  • theurbancowgirl

    Yesterday was one of those terrible, no good, very bad days. This afternoon I hated my job. This evening? Is better. Mainly because I’m working on my hotel bed drinking wine.

    I’m glad to hear that YOU are doing okay.


  • Yep

    Hi beautiful lady. I lost my nerve and took down my post, but I want you to know how great it felt to write it all down, and to honor your sincere and heartfelt question. I read every single response. I feel like I know 130 new human beings now. PS your hair looks fucking awesome even in the grow-out stage, and I hate you for it. 🙂

  • Amy3Marie

    Today I am sad. The sadness has seemed to permeate my every breathing second of late. On the 13th of this month I was informed the school where my oldest daughter goes, yours does too, they won’t accept my youngest daughter. Sure, they have excellent reasons, but to me they seem like shit.
    I feel guilty every day for my daughter. I keep waiting for the guilt to pass, she has CP. It doesn’t pass. It doesn’t get better and for the love of god I’m tired of it. It weighs me down, especially during moments like this, where nothing is going the way it was supposed to, and just what the hell am I supposed to do with my daughter who is your daughters age? Take her out of the school she loves? Then what do I do with the “unaccepted” daughters twin…who of course was accepted? Do I send two kids two a wonderful school and ostracize the third even more than she already is? Do I let my oldest daughter stay and keep the twins together? How do I go about explaining this?
    Where oh where is the god damn instruction manual on children? I could’ve sworn you posted one once…I’ve searched the archives and come up blank.
    I’m tired. The word thing…yeah, tried it. Even read all the other responses, some of which took my breath away. Sometimes life is just the shits. I guess I expected better.

  • bellamaxjoy

    Well. It is up and down. My husband and I are in the reconciliation stage of a 26 year marriage. He got too close to another woman, and although it was a total mid life crisis on his part, and I know that I forgive him, and he is doing his part to make me feel secure again, after 8 months I STILL deal with bad days of ” you are fat, you are getting older, droopier,ect.
    But today, right now,in this moment, I am good. Thank you for asking

  • monkeysmom1

    Wow. I don’t feel alone now. I am doing okay, thanks for asking. But I know that panic feeling you describe. I hope it goes away soon. After telling the counsellor on Tuesday eve that I get this way, he states a I need to make a “success recovery plan” for when I feel this way. To stop and take 3 VERY deep breaths. I’m tested right away, when I get home to hear our hardwood installer just broke his finger. (We have our whole house packed up, the job set to start very soon. There are 24 boxes boxes of wood covering an entire room of the house, which my kids are using as a playground.) I know this sounds trivial compared to many comments here, but for me – Install the plan!!!

    Meanwhile, we are pleading with my severely mentally ill mother’s doctor to have her declared incompetent. She desperately needs long term care. Install the plan!!!

    Did I mention I am having dinner for 9 tomorrow night? Install the plan!!

    But there IS Good News: We’re taking my two girls to Disneyland next month, which is a long cherished dream for me. So I’m truly counting my blessings. Because what else can we do right now??!!

    Hang in there everyone! 🙂

  • sturmhaus

    We have a new PUPPY!!!

    He has soft, floppy ears, enormous paws, and a deafening bark. His name is Charlie. When he’s naughty I call him Charles, but mostly I pet his silky ears and tell him what a great dog he’s growing up to be.

    It is good to have a dog again – really good (we lost our last dog more than 2 years ago).

    Keep on keeping on, Heather.

  • ERStolpe

    I’m hanging in there, too. My therapy is going gangbusters, unpeeling layer after layer. And now new stuff is exposed. Not so good when your job is super-stressful. So now we’re stopping and doing grounding work instead, to keep me in the present and not so PTSD-y. My job is perfect for me, I’ve loved it for years. Right now, my job hates me, and I, well, I … want to keep my job, because I know this won’t last and it will get better. It WILL. So it’s one day at a time, one hour at a time, and put down that rock.
    What is it, is there something in the air?
    Maybe it’s just the law of averages, and it’s our turn…
    Life is complicated, God is good.

    Keep writing, I need the connection, and I’ll write, too.

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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