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February 13, 2019

“10 Crockpots”. An essay on Self-Love during Life in Real Time.

10 Crockpots. An essay on Self-Love during Life in Real Time.


“I have ten crockpots”. She said.

As I was already bored and had been only partially listening, I thought maybe I heard this incorrectly.

Who the hell has 10 crockpots? And why?

I was sitting in the restaurant at my friend’s 40th birthday get-together, and this woman across from me is going on about this and that, and lands on the topic of the upcoming Super bowl and the party she will be hosting. For which she will require nine crockpots. And how she has that covered, with one extra crockpot to spare. I pick up my beer and swallow a couple times, before asking her to “tell me more about that”. She proceeded to go into great detail about where each one of the crockpots came from. What happened next all occurred inside my brain and this time, It spared nothing because as it happened that particular day, I was ripe for the thrashing. It let its entire dysfunctionality rip loose at one time, as I sat tensely trying to keep the seams from bursting open, lest the Ugly spew forth. I hear ‘10 crockpots ‘and a speedy flight of verbiage was underway in my head. Destination: Nonstop service to “she has her life together, has her Game on”. ”And I don’t”. “Because I don’t have 10 crockpots.”


The on-flight commentary went something like this: “She obviously has made better choices than you have because she has made enough money to accumulate 10 crockpots, as well as the reasons to ever use 10 crockpots. Not just use them, but all At one time”. “How does this manage to signify success to me?” I timidly question the brutalizer. The Voice amplifies; it sees its opportunity and goes for the KO, no second thoughts. “Because You Suck Heather. You barely have any crockpots, you only have One. Who only has one? Failures. You fail at everything Heather. Hopefully no one at this table asks you what you do for a living because you will either have to lie or else sound like the total loser you are. Because you blew it. Again. You are so good at that. At least you are good at something, I guess Heather. “


This slamming goes on in my head as I sit placidly smiling my fake, plastic smile that I use when I am forced to be in a group of people interacting for way longer than my introverted, Aspie self would prefer. It goes on until I feel lower than my lowest Low, there is no more beer in my bottle and I seriously think of ending my own life to spare the lives of my poor children, and the level of embarrassment they must feel at having me for their mother.

The party ends and I am finally home, released of the burden to socialize with humans I don’t even know and don’t care to know, and my obligatory presence has concluded. I breathe. And cry a little, and curse, and look at the various bottles in my medicine cabinet. I close the cabinet and breathe a sigh of edgy relief that there isn’t any more alcohol in the house because we just finished it over the recent holiday season. Thank God.



So, I began the process of tending to my own emotional acre, recognizing the space I was in. I poured myself a generous pile of M&Ms and turned on Law & Order. I mean, because what better way to avoid entertaining ideas of killing myself than to watch violent TV and binge-eat chocolate, right? Today wasn’t a good day to die anyway. I need to be wearing better jeans for that.

This voice of Self-loathing pops up, so often when I find myself in limbo searching for the next phase. Heather, who lives like this? Heather, Who are You? Heather you are an embarrassment to yourself and your children. They have nothing to be proud of you for. You quit everything. What do you have to show for being in your 43rd year of life on this planet, hmm? Rather, Hmmm? Like a Catholic Nun teacher hovering over you if you have been clowning around in the classroom. Tapping a Ruler on her wrist –The Ruler…. I lay there eating and crying at stupid storylines for a couple hours until finally sleep engulfs teary, slobbery Me, as I turn off the TV and roll over silently pleading that tomorrow be a better day. And of course it will be. How does the song go? “All we are really given is the sunshine and our name..” At least we can count on those two things.


The key to survival of the emotional fittest, as I like to call it, is to really meet ourselves where we are in those tender moments of self-betrayal and doubt. The voices can be so loud and obnoxious, stripping us of dignity and even the ability to breathe sometimes. It is so important to remember that the only place these voices live is in Our Heads. They cannot thrive when we take away the fuel of listening to them, and believing them, and take ourselves back out of our heads and into what is actually Real. Sometimes stopping and asking ourselves, in the throes of something or at least as soon as we are cognitively able, “Is This actually Real?” 99% of the time, the answer to that is a resounding No.

Often in order for me to be able to get to that place, I have to spiral down first, such as that night after the party. I draw the emotional pity bath and soak in it up to my chin. But then, I remind myself that I don’t live there. I stand back up, drain that pity bathwater and step out. Dry off. Call a friend. Go for a walk with the dogs. Dress myself in something that makes me feel amazing. And go make a purpose of finding something that brings me out of the worry and into the happy – and feeling grateful that I can look at and say my life is worth all of the valleys as well as the peaks.

And then, maybe, just maybe, I go shopping at a couple thrift stores.

But definitely not for crockpots.

Written By: Heather Herrick

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