Why You’ll Never Hear Me Call Myself A “Pothead Mom”…No Matter How High I Am.

Image courtesy of Davy Lobby via Flickr

Image courtesy of Dave Lobby via Flickr

Ever since Kiri Westby published her controversial and totally not anonymous piece “Confessions of a Pothead Mom” last week I’ve gotten many a text/DM/FB message/email from someone asking “Be honest — are you the HuffPo Pothead Mom?”

I’m not, of course, Kiri Westby is — but the fact that so many people were wondering if I had written the post speaks to two things: The first, being that my reputation has preceded me, and the second, that the stigma against marijuana is still so strong that the assumption is that when someone speaks out in favor of it they are doing so under a pseudonym because who in their right mind would admit to toking on the Internet? Until today, not me.

When I read Westby’s piece I reacted, and reacted again. It was a roller coaster of a read for me, and although I instantly felt compelled to respond, I realized as I sat down to write that I had so many conflicting feelings on the issue my head was practically spinning with angles for this post.

  • Nooooooo….don’t call yourself a Pothead Mom. Don’t do that to us. Don’t give us that label.
  • No, no she’s totally right. This is a double standard that needs to be discussed. Parents are drinking wine and bragging on social media all day long and yet we’re stuck smoking joints behind planters with rubber gloves on.
  • Why do we have to create parenting identities out of our vices anyway? Wine-swilling Mom. Cursing Mom. Pill-popping Mom. Is being a parent so terribly uncool that we must compensate by showing the world how hard we can party regardless of who is under our supervision?
  • Wait a minute. I’m a medical marijuana patient. This isn’t a vice. This is a prescription which I’m using as prescribed. Why am I so shamed by it?

It was that last thought that spun my perspective around. We’re a generation that’s been highly medicated since our youth, and yet it’s rare that we stop and think about the medications we’re taking and how they affect our body. As a fibromyalgia patient with an anxiety disorder I’m prescribed any number of benzos, painkillers, muscle relaxers, and antidepressants pretty much whenever I ask. I don’t feel any shame over taking any of those pills because they’re warranted by medical conditions as far as most people are concerned.

But when I take the xanax for my anxiety, my energy level plummets along with my nerves. I once lost a writing job because I was overly sedated in a meeting. When I take the soma for the debilitating hip pain and radiating arm pain that my fibromyalgia brings, I often don’t remember portions of the evening when I wake up the next day. And not the final moments of the evening. I lose chunks of my night like you might if you were getting black out drunk. If my child woke with appendicitis in the middle of the night and came in to wake me, there’s a very good chance I wouldn’t wake up, and perhaps even more terrifying, if I did, I might take her to the ER and not remember how we got there the next day.

A few weeks ago I decided that I was going to quit marijuana for good. I was carrying a lot of discomfort about how much a part of my routine it had become and I thought it was best to just kick it to the curb.

And then something strange started happening. I went through my xanax prescription twice as fast as usual. I started taking the soma more and more frequently. Days kind of started blending in to each other because I’d wake up groggier and groggier. I had eliminated the wrong thing. Marijuana (which, in case I haven’t been clear I am totally legal to use under California Senate Bill SB420 — and yes it’s really called that) was the medication that was helping me most. It was prescribed for the same conditions, and yet, every time a young celebrity overdoses and dies it’s the only thing in my medicine cabinet not inevitably listed on their toxicity report. Because unlike EVERY.OTHER.MEDICATION I’ve been prescribed to help with my buffet of auto immune and anxiety issues, marijuana can’t kill you.

We have so far to go in this country with just the simple stigma of Marijuana as street drug rather than beneficial natural medicine which as an added bonus can also be made in to useful cloth, paper, oil, and is easily renewable. We stand by as children have life-threatening siezures and give them drugs so strong they risk shutting down their brain stem when just a few drops of CBD extract (a non psychoactive element in marijuana — meaning it doesn’t make you feel “stoned”) can give them something closer to a normal life than many of their families have ever dreamed. We watch as pregnant women lose babies and risk death from illnesses like hyperemesis gravidarum while science has shown time and time again that marijuana could have wildly positive effects on morning sickness of all severities with no negative effects on the unborn child. Instead, we continue a manufactured war on a valuable renewable resource that’s been portrayed by the US Government as a class I drugwhile they are simultaneously funding studies that determine that marijuana has medical value.

In her piece, Westby wrote –

I’m obviously not the only mom who smokes pot. In fact, I’m guessing that there are a lot of us out there. Sometimes we recognize each other and, in doing so, enter into a sisterhood of winks and whispers, complicit in our mutual understanding and our public shame.

That resonated with me. I’ve felt that shame too. I’ve shared the same glances. I’ve invited the woman from my pot shop and her kiddo to my daughter’s birthday party because she told me she doesn’t want to the stigma of her job to overflow onto her daughter’s social life so she keeps her distance from most Moms. But shame indicates a problem. Shame indicates we’re doing something wrong. We’re not. For Moms like Kiri Westby and myself, we’re not even doing anything illegal.

If we’re going to have a conversation about pot, medicinal or otherwise, I think it needs to start with the stigma even those of us who support it and benefit from its medicinal properties have trouble shaking. For me that starts with the decision that there doesn’t need to big a big secret or a big confession. I’m a Mom. I’m a card carrying medical marijuana patient. Those are just two of about a million things about me.

Feed Me Seymour

On Becoming An Accidental Nomad

[Editor's Note: This is the first post from Sara, one of my dearest friends and now a monthly contributor to The818. Need more details? Click HERE. -m-]

This isn’t the life I expected to have.

When we sold our house in Los Angeles 2 ½ years ago and moved to New York to be closer to family, I actually remember uttering phrases like “forever home”, and “never move again.” We would take advantage of the fantastic public schools and have campouts in our large backyard. We would decorate and renovate. We would host Thanksgiving dinners. We had plans.

Unfortunately the plans that looked so good on paper fell apart once we actually tried to live there, crumpling under the stress of trying to find the right house, the right community, the right friends, all on my own while my husband traveled extensively for work.

frequent flyers

Travel has always been a part of Sean’s job – but as tax incentives drove movie production out of California and New York, more and more of the jobs he was offered were far-flung and in cities we’d never been to. The year we moved to NY, he spent eight months traveling to Baton Rouge, Atlanta, New Orleans, and Iceland.

The main thing I learned during my stint as a single Mom was that I did not want to be a single Mom. I don’t sleep well when I’m the only adult in the house. I really don’t like taking out the garbage. I like shoveling snow even less, and it’s especially hard with a small child strapped to your back. My children missed their Dad, and I missed my husband.

gypsy1

at a hotel pool in Baton Rouge

Which is how we found ourselves making the decision in late 2012 to pack all of our belongings into a PODS container, move out of our rental, and become nomads. Disenchanted with the life plan we’d spent so many months cultivating, it felt like an easy decision. Still, I arrived at our temporary Nashville home full of trepidation. This wasn’t the plan. This wasn’t the life I expected to have.

As it turns out, we had a pretty amazing time in Nashville. We reveled in the balance of ease and access living in a smaller city affords. I trained for and ran a half marathon. I made some lifelong friends.

gypsy2

teaching Dashiell to ride a bike in Nashville

We took a month off when Sean’s project finished and traveled back to Los Angeles to visit our old home and dear friends. Soon after that, he got a job in Brooklyn and we moved into the subletted apartment of a fussy violinist. We spent the hot Summer swimming on Coney Island with my sister and driving upstate to see my parents on the weekend. Just as the weather started to turn, we learned we would be packing up and moving to Chicago.

gypsy4

the boys on our street in Brooklyn

That August, instead of buying a new backpack and box of crayons for my five year old in preparation for sending him off to Kindergarten, I headed to a coffeeshop with a binder and color coded markers and planned our syllabus for the year. I had officially become an accidental homeschooler as well.

gypsy7

math and pancakes at a restaurant in NY

Traditional schooling wasn’t the only thing we gave up in deciding to prioritize keeping our family together over having a permanent home. I no longer have old friends within a fifteen-minute drive (or even a fifteen hour one, sometimes). Our “old standby” restaurants are ones that we discovered six weeks ago. It gets exhausting finding a new babysitter every few months. I miss hanging things on walls, finding the perfect spot for a vase I bought, and being able to cultivate a backyard garden. I also gave up something I have a long-standing, deep-seated, passionate love for: the ability to plan anything beyond the immediate future.

On the flip side, there have been great advantages: I get to sleep in the same bed as my husband most nights. I have a built in partner in kitchen cleanup, crossword puzzles, and after-bedtime drinks. I got to experience firsthand the joy and triumph of my little boy as he mastered reading. When my kids made Valentines this year, we sent them to friends in five different states.

gypsy6

with friends all over the country

I have watched my children frolic in purple lupines at the base of a glacier in Iceland. I have taken them for popsicles under the Brooklyn Bridge and made snow angels with them in the coldest Chicago Winter since 1884. I have been impressed by how well they handle a nine-hour flight. I have been amazed, constantly, at how they navigate cross-country moves with the flexibility and ease that so many of us grow out of. It has been a great lesson in letting go, this life, especially for someone like me who spent most of my former years holding on very, very tight.

gypsy3

playing with baby goats in Iceland

As I write this, I sit under a sun-drenched window in Georgia holding my baby daughter (who at six weeks old has already been in three states and on four planes), watching my husband and boys race around the backyard of another temporary home. I know it won’t last forever – or maybe even much longer – this accidental gypsy life. I know I will mourn it once it’s gone.

This isn’t the life I expected to have.

But in so many ways, it’s better.

Feed Me Seymour

Say Hello To Sara. She’s A Nomad.

Sara

So remember yesterday when I said there would be some contributors joining up around these parts? Their posts will be peppered in with mine from time to time (you’ll hear from each of them every few weeks) in hopes of bringing a broader portrait of modern marriage, parenthood, adulthood, and family life in general. Because for our generation, things have kind of taken on a life of their own, haven’t they?

The first contributor I want to introduce you to is Sara. Some things you should know about her:

  • She’s a film industry drop out and one hell of a crafter.
  • We lived together for seven years after being assigned one another as room mates at NYU.
  • We once took a plane to Paris with no return ticket and no place to stay.
  • She’s an incredible photographer (and cinematographer — she shot my thesis film back in our NYU days)
  • Her husband looks like George Clooney.
  • She has three kids, two boys 6 & 3, and a 6 week old newborn baby girl. Two were born at home.
  • She’s a nomad. As in, she hasn’t lived anywhere for more than a few months in several years. (She’s going to tell you more about that in her first post.)
  • She’s the person that inspired me to start a blog. She had a blog first and it was super awesome. She also left the very first comment here on The818.com.

Without further ado – “On Becoming An Accidental Nomad” by Sara.

Feed Me Seymour

Flashback Because I Feel Like It

Face Is it weird that I look at these pictures and miss this baby?

Man I want another kid so bad. We’re not there yet (for obvious reasons) but my hormones haven’t gotten the memo. BABIEEEESSSSSS. GAAAAAAAAAAAAAH.

If that didn’t totally gross you out, check out this recipe for my favorite kosher for
passover chocolate covered matzah with sea salt and coconut and droooooooool.

Guess what? This week contributors are coming to The818.com.
Almost none of them are currently bloggers but all of them are seriously
close friends and smart writers who I can’t wait to introduce you to.
It’s very exciting. Change is good.

Feed Me Seymour

Finishing The Unfinished: A Creative Footnote to #CutYourCrap

ShardsIn this week’s installment of Cut Your Crap, in an attempt to help get things moving for those folks feeling a pit constipated in their Spring Cleaning, I shared a few tips from Karen Kingston’s “Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui” one of which was to evict anything unfinished from your home. It’s the part of Spring Cleaning/Crap Cutting/Clutter clearing that both excites and terrifies me most. Because as a creative person, unfinished projects are kind of my thing.

Unfinished screenplays, scraps of paper containing book ideas, and post ideas, and obviously totally earth changing life altering million dollar ideas line my hard drive. But then there are the crafts – the baby sling I never quite felt I’d made secure enough, the tiny spot in our bar where the wallpaper wraps around because I’ve never cut that last bit off. The spot in the hallway that’s still yellow. The wall’s worth of wooly pockets I sewed myself only to realize the fence I had in mind wasn’t strong enough to hold a living wall, the half-upcycled mid century dresser in the basement. And until this week, a vintage muppets lunch box from my youth was filled with the shards of a prized possession that shattered after falling from my dresser sometime during my first year post-college. But last weekend, fresh back from the newest Muppets movie, Dee spotted the near-antique sitting on a shelf and decided she wanted it for her own lunch-carrying purposes. (The girl has taste, I’ll give her that.)

image-3As I opened the lunch box and rediscovered the shards for the 47th time, I knew that I had a decision to make. There would be no re-housing them in a tupperware and shoving them in the back of the craft closet for another ten years. Not during #cutyourcrap.

MeScott looked on with a smirk at the corner I’d painted myself in to. “Just throw them away” he taunted me. But I could not.

The small votive candle holder was a thirteenth birthday gift from a close friend (Hi Shiri!) and I loved it. I loved everything about it. It’s color, it’s drippy glaze, it’s handmade-ness, the way light reflected on the walls. It was one of the first things I owned that felt like MINE. 

fixingOver the years, there have been many other projects, I’ve given up on and recycled or dismantled to be used to other future whims. But not my shards. So this time, in honoring my pledge to live a less-cluttered life I dug the gorilla glue out of the drawer, and right then, in my bathrobe, set about gluing my beloved belonging back together. 

finishedAll this time I’ve been chiding myself over lack of inspiration and laziness for unfinished project, but my personal challenge to my creative self over the course of this Epic Purge we’re tackling together is to review all of those unfinished things (mismatched wall-swatches aside) and evaluate my love for them. It’s not how long they sit. It’s not how long they wait to be pieced from shards into a whole. It’s not whether I think they’re good, or valuable. It’s just whether I truly love them that will dictate if they’ll ever see completion.

Feed Me Seymour