80 percent chance of stress. sigh.

I just took an online stress test and scored a 431. Anything over 300 means a high probability of stress-related illness. My probability was 80 percent. Is bitchiness considered a stress-related illness? Cause my forecast is showing a slight chance of bitching with a very good chance of sarcasm. So, this test doesn’t reveal how stressed a person is, but rather quantifies the level of stress related to life events, such as marriage, divorce, job change, relocation, death in the family, etc. Let’s see in the past year, my husband’s company in Virginia closed, and we moved to a new state, where I remain not gainfully employed, but stylishly unemployed. With only one income and two children, it’s become increasingly difficult to keep up financially, especially with Christmas on the horizon. We’ve had four emergency room visits since moving here, including my daughter breaking and re-breaking her arm. At this point, we may be stuffing our stockings with unpaid medical bills. Last month my grandfather passed away. And, this month, my landlord pulled a very unnecessary power play, revealing herself to be the devil disguised as a chiropractor. I’d say I have reason to be stressed.

From a distance I look like one of the hipster trophy wives of my neighborhood who chooses to stay at home and blog my troubles away, but the truth is, I have yet to find a job. When I moved to Atlanta last summer, I was thrilled to see so many mom & pop salons here. I thought I’d have no trouble finding a job here. Plus, my in-laws were also moving to Georgia to be close to their grandkids and promised to help with childcare. Six months later, I have yet to land an interview, and my in-laws moved to BFE, officially nixing the possibility of helping with the kids. When I do find a job, I will face the huge dilemma of finding childcare for my son this late in the year, which is frightening considering people here camp out to get their kids into Pre-K. I wish I were joking. Real camp-outs with tents and sleeping bags, and we’re not talking about ivy league pre-schools. It's just your basic inner city supply and demand issue, something I never had to worry about in my hometown.

When I decided to change careers in Virginia, I walked into the best and most creative salon in the area (Wink – go there!) and was hired right away. It was intimidating and humbling to be the salon bitch, but I loved the job and the people. Apparently, motherhood prepared me well for grunt work. Plus, I’m not too proud to start at the bottom of the totem pole (which in our salon would look like a stripper pole) because I planned to work my way up and be a huge success with my own business someday. I thought of myself as one of those Oprah success stories in the making of a stay-at-home-mom who follows her passion for health and beauty and now makes millions of dollars selling her own cosmetics line on QVC. Damn that Oprah and her Dream Big series.

I could easily play the Debbie Downer card and complain the days away, but I'm determined to stay positive. Yeah, that opening paragraph rant? That was vivid description, not complaining. Despite the number of high-scoring stressful events in my life, I’m not all that stressed. I could be in total denial, but I prefer to think of this calm as zenfully detached. I will not let these life upsets give me any unnecessary wrinkles or zits. By the way, how much does it suck to be in the wrinkle cream plus zit zapper stage of life? Can women not get a freakin’ hormonal break? Seriously.

I may describe my life troubles in great detail to my closest friends and here in jaimes, but I don’t dwell on my issues, and I always find the humor in a situation. I allow myself occasional bouts of self-pity, usually in the shower, but by the time I’m ready to flat iron my hair, I’m done. I detail my family’s glass-half-full attitude in my post, Life of a Fisherman’s Son. My family doesn’t see much point in complaining. Drove me crazy as a teenager since whining is a rite of passage for high schoolers. My pessimistic outlook coupled with the all-black wardrobe and bullying sarcasm did not a homecoming queen make. And, yet, my family still loved and accepted me, from my fauxhawk covered head to my combat boot covered toes.

If my family could accept me during my teenage years, I can accept the growing pains I’m facing now as an adult with kids of my own. Maybe that’s what my parents were preparing me for. They knew life would get much tougher than the teenage drama of a punk rock girl. Honestly, I’ve had so much crazy crap happen in the past year, I think I’m immune to drama. Or, I’ve just gotten really good at accepting it. Trust me, I’m not a naturally optimistic person. It’s a perspective I’ve gained in recent years. Having children helps put a positive spin on life because they are so happy and hilarious most of the time. The other day my son called Doritos, "Ricardos," and I cried laughing. Plus, I’d rather them not have a Debbie Downer for a mom. A Surprising Susan, maybe, or a Funny Francis. Gorgeous Gilda. Happy Harriet. Loopy Lucy. Chatty Cathy. Anything but a Debbie Downer.

crack up with debbie downer


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