Where I go when I find myself in an existential hole

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What am I even doing here? What will it be like when I die?

On nights when I allow myself the space to think too much and too deeply, my brain digs itself into a deep existential hole. The hole comes through a series of questions, each question digging a deeper hole while making my chest tighter.

The questions follow a predictable pattern that looks something like this: “I wonder how I will die. Where will I go when I die? Will I know that I died? How is life going to turn out? How long will I make it…

I hope you’ll always like me

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To my sweet boys Maverick and Abel,

Maverick, you are 7, and Abel, you are 4. I am deep in the trenches of parenting you; of “mommin’ it hard” as I like to say to my friends. I am tired. Constantly.

Long ago I lost the ability to pee by myself or take a shower without interruption. I now relish waking up at the crack of dawn to have a quiet hour or two to myself, opportunities to hear myself think over a book and cup of coffee. I say things like: “Cut the attitude!” and “Those shoes give you…

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I walk into a box. It is too small for me. My shoulders brush the walls when I spin around. I can not make big movements. I have to shrink to fit and feel even slightly comfortable in this space.

I have been in the box for a while now. I adjust to the walls and the security they provide. The box may not be comfortable, but it’s predictable.

One day, the box feels less comfortable. Something has changed. I think the box is shrinking, or maybe I am growing.

Shrinking myself to fit inside the box becomes increasingly uncomfortable…


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I recently wrote a piece about how life changed during the COVID-19 pandemic and how some parts of life will never be the same. I noted a change in interpersonal relationships and how the combination of a pandemic and a contentious election caused me to see unknown sides of people I thought I knew but turns out not as well as I thought.

Throughout 2020, I pruned my relationships with others. If the relationship wasn’t serving me, I let it go. I cleaned my Facebook list of people I knew from high school but would hide from if I saw…

Cereal Isn’t the Problem

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“I don’t let my kids eat sugary cereals full of dyes and processed ingredients. They want to eat food that is good for them so they don’t even ask for the sugary cereals anymore when we go to the grocery store!”

I roll my eyes as I pass this Facebook post during my regular scroll. I am irritated, but not surprised. This post comes from the same mom that posts regular pictures of her kids eating salads and vegetables. …

There’s no coming back from a global pandemic.

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A year ago, the world was stopping and we were all freaking out. The uncertainty of what a global pandemic meant for us all was scary. Figuring out how to work from home, remote learn, and share the same space with every household member for weeks on end came with unexpected lessons. At that time, I wrote about finding peace in the slow down and enjoying finding joy in simpler things. Being forced to stop being busy allowed time for reflection, connection, and the ability to be intentional about what I spent time on. I read more books in 2020…

Reflections from a worrier on trying to raise worry-free kids

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“Maverick is worried you don’t know it’s a half day today,” the message from my son’s 1st grade teacher reads on my phone.

My son attends full-day in-person school, but every Wednesday is a half day. On half-days, I pick him up from the local Y after work, where he is taken by bus after his short day so that I can work a full day still. On half-days, he brings a home lunch and packs his swimsuit for the Y pool. At 7 years old, he knows that the absence of his home lunch and his swimsuit in his…

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“Why are you hurting me?” says the great big birch tree as I pull off his bark, the long thin white strips curling over themselves. The bark feels more like a piece of torn-out notebook paper than of a living part of a tree. “Because it makes me feel good,” I whisper to the tree, hoping he will understand that some have to sacrifice so that others can sustain.

“Nikki! Don’t rip the bark off of the tree!” yells my uncle, the owner of the yard that houses the great big birch. …

How we enable abusers with our need to make sense of the world and how we can stop doing it.

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Whether its child abuse, intimate partner violence, sexual assault, or another type of abuse, if your response to hearing a story about a person who has used harm against another has been “I just can’t believe it. They have never acted that way toward me,” you’ve enabled an abuser and minimized a survivor’s experience. Was that your intent? Probably not. So why is this so often the number-one response when people find out friends or family are different people behind closed doors?

As humans, we have a deep need to make sense of the world. We aren’t good with ambiguity…

The world is opening up, but what if I’m not ready to go in?

Photo by Richard Balog on Unsplash

June 1st is the date on everyone’s mind and on everyone’s news feed. Even though there’s no specific plan in place and guidelines haven’t been released, everyone is already sure life is going to start going back to “normal” on June 1st. Plans are already being made to bring remote workers back on site, and parents are scrambling trying to figure out the best type of childcare arrangements to support this. Although there is much assumption and speculation of what the next executive order out of the Governor’s office will be once the current shelter-in-place order expires, there is nothing…

Nikki T

Midwest working-mom, runner, wife, friend, and sometimes yogi. I write about being a human in this wild world.

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