My Baby’s Colic Nearly Killed Me

This post originally appeared on ScaryMommy.com on July 10, 2019. https://www.scarymommy.com/babys-colic-nearly-killed-me/

It was also featured on: ForEveryMom.com https://foreverymom.com/baby/my-babys-colic-nearly-killed-me/

and on MomsCove.com https://momscove.com/my-babys-colic-nearly-killed-me/

I still remember the days (and nights) when the cries never stopped. The screams, echoing through our house for hours on end. The anxiety I felt at not being able to fix or soothe my baby, who seemed to be in distress constantly. The sleeplessness from the long, unending nights is still a recent memory. The trauma to our family as we attempted to live and function in a household with a baby who would not or could not stop crying, the sounds of which I can still hear in my head. Even now, two years later, with a thriving toddler and cries long gone, I’m still haunted by those days and nights where we fought to survive for months with a baby suffering from the condition known as colic.

When our second daughter was born, I anticipated that it would be a breeze, just as it had been with our first daughter, who only cried when she needed something, even as a newborn. I was sorely mistaken. Our second daughter was nothing like our first and she made it apparent from the moment she entered this world, screaming so loudly that the nurses even commented on the ferocity her cries. At the hospital, she cried constantly, and when we brought her home, her cries didn’t stop for nearly 6 months. 

After few weeks of incessant crying, I took my daughter to the doctor and voiced the issues we were facing, looking for any solution to this very real and hard problem we were faced with, a problem that was very much a part of our lives. The doctors agreed that she suffered from colic, but the issue with colic is that it’s an elusive condition, of which the cause is still unknown and unproven. Colic is defined as when an otherwise healthy baby cries or fusses frequently for a prolonged period of time. Many theories exist as to what causes colic: from allergies to digestion problems, to body positions to transitional difficulties. None are certain or scientifically-proven. Therefore, the doctors couldn’t offer much advice or support to help us, and they simply explained that this was just a phase that our daughter would “grow out of” in a few months, and that we would “just have to make it through.”

I spent many hours searching Google for solutions and advice and I spent a lot of money seeking a cure-all solution. From baby gear and sleep positioners to formula for babies with milk allergies, I tried them. All of which promised to solve our problems and soothe my baby.  None of which made any lasting improvement or impact. 

After a few months without things getting better, the cries everlasting, things started feeling especially grim. I went back to work, a job in itself that was incredibly taxing as it involved diffusing upset or angry clients from situations that had already been escalated by the time they reached my desk. So, while the escape from my daughter for eight hours a day was at first a welcome relief, within a few weeks, my energy levels had been beyond depleted. From 8am to 5pm, I spent my day fighting battles in the office, and then all night long, I spent my time fighting battles at home and in my head. It was never-ending and inescapable. 

The colic was a trying time for the entire family. My husband and I, both feeling defeated, exhausted and on edge at all times (he worked a job as equally as stressful as mine), both took our frustrations and anger on each other because you can’t take out those feelings on a helpless baby, even when the baby is the cause of it all. My 3 year old, a once vibrant little girl, became reserved and quiet. She took to covering her ears with her hands and shaking every time she was in the same room as the baby when she cried, a reaction to the internal stress she was battling in her own way as well. We were all impacted by the colic. 

Being an introvert, this new life was killing me quickly. As someone who relies on having quiet, alone time to recharge my energy, I was not getting any alone time anymore at all, much less quiet alone time. I constantly lived my days with the feeling that I was drowning. I felt like I was dying and sometimes, I wanted to. I was depressed and miserable. I hadn’t bonded with my baby and deep down I worried that I hated her. I felt like the life I was living was not a life worth living anymore and I frequently began to imagine what would happen if I killed myself. Visions of a gun came to my head often at random times, usually when I was stressed from my daughter’s crying, which was almost always. Everything felt bleak and hopeless.

At this point, I knew I needed help before things escalated further, and so I visited my gynecologist. My husband came along for support as he was getting concerned for my mental well-being as well. He said that when the baby would cry more recently, my face would change and I’d get a blank stare on my face, as though mentally trying to escape the reality and gravity of what our life had become. He said he felt like I had PTSD, but the trauma was still ongoing and there was no escape.

My doctor was nice for the 10 minutes she sat with me and let me try to explain the gravity of my situation. She had a student doctor shadowing her, a stranger who I’d never seen or met before, present while I tried to hold back tears and explain how hard things had become in my life. Of course, my doctor said that this was common for new moms- postpartum depression. She seemed sympathetic as she prescribed me some Paxil and sent me on my way, explaining that the feelings would pass in a few months, and asked that I come back in two months for a check-in. 

The Paxil did help. It took the edge off my anxiety and the dark thoughts that pressed my mind during those merciless days. However, the only thing that ultimately worked was getting through to the other side of the colic period in one piece. Just as quickly as the crying started with my daughter’s entrance to the world, it stopped. One day our home was suddenly filled with a calm quiet. After so many months of crying, it was a quiet that seemed strange and foreign, albeit a welcome relief. 

As more weeks and months passed, things slowly started to feel like they were getting put back together again in our lives, the toxicity of our home dissipating as it was replaced with the smiles and laughter of a baby growing and thriving. I finally started to bond with my daughter

Nearly two years have passed since the colic period, yet as I remember back to that time in my life, I am still haunted by the feelings I came to know, the pain and loneliness of it all, the hopelessness I felt. Having a baby who suffers from colic is an experience that truly cannot be described in words to someone else, but can only be known by living through it oneself. I know there are hundreds of other mothers living through it now, knee deep in the throes of suffering through this experience, searching for other support and other experiences online. 

So, Momma, know this: I know your pain. You are not alone. This period of your life is temporary and it will be gone before you know it. Though it feels like it may last forever now, it’s fleeting. You’re doing amazing, even if it doesn’t feel like you are most days. Your baby needs you, so hang in there, because all of this pain and anxiety will be gone soon. Things will get so much better.

Momma, you are brave, you are fierce, you are strong. 

You are a survivor. 

I Live in a Zoo, with Little Kids and a Mess Too…

You’ve seen the pictures online and you know where I live – in a house that is always clean and perfect…

Yeah right. Who am I kidding? I have little kids, dogs and a husband in this house too. Let’s be real, it’s a mess most of the time. We live in it, and having little kids around makes it especially hard to keep the house clean. Pretty much impossible. I can spend all day long cleaning the house and making it picture-perfect, but I have these two little kid hurricanes, trailing behind me, destroying everything in their wake. They’ll move from room to room, pulling things out of drawers, dragging items out of their places, etc, etc… A trail of clothes, toys, dishes, and random crap they’ve pulled out of places they don’t belong, always close behind them.

Since there’s two of them and only one of me, I’m pretty much always losing this clean house battle, no matter how hard I try to keep up with it. And if it’s not one of the kids leaving behind a mess, it’s either my husband or the dogs leaving things behind, or even me. I’m not the cleanest person in the world either; I’m not perfect. However, as someone prone to anxiety, I like a clean space to live in because it centers me and makes me feel happier.

Most days I’m on top of my game, running around the house, gathering up the mess and cleaning the clutter. But I’ll never win and some days I get so frustrated with losing the clean house battle that I just don’t even try at all. The end result is always the same – a messy house.

I just try my best…

I just get through, one day at a time, trying my best to do what I can. I tell myself that it’s enough, even on the days I don’t feel like it is because I’m constantly exposed to other people’s lives online all day through social media and I feel like I need to compare myself to them. I do compare…

Of course, I never post pictures of my messy house on Facebook or Instagram, because who wants to show the world the mess, right? Who wants to admit to it? Who wants to see it? Aren’t we online to try to escape reality? Yet, that’s part of the problem right now.

We all project these perfect images online and everyone else gets to see these highly-curated photo versions of our lives that are not entirely accurate or truthful. I know I am guilty of this. It just causes everyone else to feel inadequate with their own lives. In reality, we’re all likely living a different life behind the social media veil.

Today I’m taking my veil off. Therefore, I present to you pictures of my messy house and how it appears in real life 90% of the time. Go ahead, judge away! 🙂 And if you have small children and tell me you have a perfect, clean house all the time… well, then you’re a liar. Because it’s not possible. It’s just not.

This online phenomenon has very real and negative repercussions on our society right now. For example, depression rates have spiked since social media came into existence (University of Pennsylvania. “Social media use increases depression and loneliness, study finds.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 November 2018.) That’s why, today I decided to come clean about not having a clean house most of the time. What you see online is not what reality is in most cases. So stop comparing yourself to other people based on what you see online, and stop feeling inadequate about your life and house! You’re doing just fine.

In closing, I’ll just say that no one is perfect. I know I’m not and now you all know too. My house is nice, but messy most of the time. My kids, my husband, the dogs, me… we’re human (except the dogs) and we live in our house, a messy house that’s filled with lots of love and playing and living. And I wouldn’t have it any other way; it’s our perfect little zoo.

End disclaimer: My Instagram feed @The.Marsh.Life has an influx of curated images that portray a perfect house and life. Despite what I’ve outlined in this post, I don’t plan to change my feed presence going forward for several reasons: 1. I love to bring beauty to other people’s feeds. 2. I consider many of the photos artwork. 3. My Instagram is an entirely different social experiment I’m running that I will eventually disclose and talk about at a later date.

The Marsh House: Our Private Paradise

We found our little house on the lake/pond by sheer luck. In fact, we weren’t even in the market to buy a house at the time we stumbled upon it. If anything has ever been meant to be, it was our luck in finding this house when we did, and winning the uphill battle to make it ours.

The year was 2012 (spring) and my husband, Harry C. Marsh and I had just purchased and moved into our very first house 10 months prior. We were completely happy with our current house, fixing it up as we lived there, doing small projects here and there. We weren’t at all interested in finding a new house for ourselves, but we had started playing with the idea of real estate investing and we were looking to explore that. Harry had been searching online through Zillow for a few weeks for a good deal when he came across the little house on Mintbrook late one night. This was long before he was one of Charlotte’s largest Real Estate Closing Attorneys, and a few years before I became a licensed Realtor. Our knowledge of this process was limited, but we were eager to get our feet wet in the game.

Harry found our house online in the middle of the night, sitting on the toilet after a dinner of Papa John’s Pizza. The pizza had given him some indigestion, so while he was on the toilet, he decided it was a good time to search for investment houses online (leave it to Harry). It was there, seated upon his throne in the dark of the night, that he first stumbled across the listing for our house. The photos of it poor and rough (the listing agent did a piss-poor job, thank God), but what caught my husband’s eye was the private lake/pond and the 3.8 acres of land the house sat upon. We’ve both always had an infinity for nature and an appreciation of the outdoors, so the listing peaked his interest, despite the horrible photos.

The next morning was a Saturday and so we set out driving to go find this house in the woods on the private lake that had our attention. The house and land were listed for a grand total of $109,000. The listing remarks warned us that it had been a foreclosure and that the house had been empty for nearly 3 years due to “title issues,” but we were interested, nonetheless. There was just something about the photos, despite how unappealing they were. It was like the listing was calling to us, beckoning that we come explore this house.

I can still remember the way I felt when we rounded the corner onto the private road and the lake came into my view for the first time. The way my heart lurched forward into my throat and I immediately felt sick, because I knew that I would never be the same again unless I could somehow make this paradise mine. The land this little house sat upon, so beautiful and so unique. I knew that we had stumbled upon something special, a true diamond in the rough. Harry and I were both speechless as we got out of the car and walked around the yard and down to the lake. Both of us scratching our heads, wondering how it could be, that a place such as this even existed. We were both emotionally bonded to this house and this land, the moment we saw it and stepped foot on it.

Getting it under contract wasn’t easy. It had been under contract for nearly a year prior and they had been unable to close due to “title issues.” The previous buyer had finally walked away, giving up after waiting around for months. The Saturday we saw the house was the first day it had gone back on the market as an active listing after nearly a year. By that afternoon, we had a Realtor showing us inside, and despite the holes in the walls and ceilings, and the snake skins in the basement, both Harry and I were begging to write up an offer right then and there. “Whatever it takes” both of us said. “We’ll wait 3 years for this house if we have to.” We knew this place was something special that we would never come across again.

We submitted a full-price offer that weekend. At some point, our Realtor informed us that there were multiple offers on the house and that we would need to submit our highest and best offer. I still remember how sick I felt, physically and mentally, before we got it under contract. The nausea. I couldn’t eat. If you’ve ever been heartsick, the feeling is similar to how I felt. The idea of not getting the house became so unbearable, I could barely function. In my head, it was already my house, I just had to convince other people the same. I had imprinted on it, or it had imprinted on me, I still don’t know. Regardless, something magical had already taken place, some force I couldn’t see, but could only feel. I knew in my heart that I belonged in this house with more certainty than I’ve had about anything before. The words needed to describe the emotional bond I felt to it, still escape me to this day.

We raised our offer $30,000 over list price and waited an agonizing, painful, sickening week before hearing the welcome news that our offer had been accepted (we were dealing with a bank seller, so that process does not go quickly). The relief from getting this far was celebrated, but short-lived as the process of getting to the closing table was an entirely separate, tumultuous endeavor that took a lot of work, creative thinking and sleepless nights to get there. The title issues, the fact that Harry and I were both 1099 employees at the time with a lot of student loan debt, the private road issue, the inoperable well, the encroachments, the question of habitability, etc. The list goes on. A new issue every day to battle and fight through.

Had it not been for our relentless problem-solving and sheer will to own this house, we wouldn’t have. Most people would have given up, as the process wasn’t for the faint of heart. Even now, as I sit here, typing these words, the memories of the anxiety from those months, still hit me like a ton of bricks. I can still remember the sick feeling I carried with me for nearly 2 months. But, as I said earlier, this house was meant to be ours forever and through this force, destiny, or whatever you want to call it, we found ourselves at a closing table on June 18th, 2012, signing our names in blue ink to a stack of closing papers, pinching ourselves to make sure it was all real.

The first summer we lived in our new house was nothing short of a dream. Without a doubt, the happiest, most surreal summer of our lives. I remember the giddiness I felt as I went about my day, cleaning and painting, fixing it up as we moved in. We spent the first night in the house on a mattress on the floor in the sunroom, staring out at the water and listening to the bullfrogs sing us to sleep. Every single day was a new adventure on this property, each as equally fun and exciting as the next. That summer will live with me forever, and even now, as I live through my days here, I’m still taken away by the beauty of this house and the land it sits upon. It still takes my breath away when I stop and think about it all…

I started this blog post because I wanted to showcase the house and the work we’ve done to it since we bought it seven years ago (additions and remodels). Instead, I’ve gone and written a love letter to my house. I guess it’s a story that needed told and enough of one to fill up an entire page, so I’ll save the remodel posts for another day, when I’m not feeling so sentimental.

As for right now, I think I’ll walk down to the dock, and as I sit and look out over the water, count my blessings for another day in paradise. #GratefulEveryday

P.S.- here’s what the house looks like today.

The Peloton Effect: How One Bike and Treadmill are Changing Lives Across the Globe.

I think it’s important that I start off this post by explaining that I’m not getting paid a dime to write this. I have no affiliations with anyone at Peloton, other than a one-time Instagram like by instructor, Matt Wilpers (which made my day). I purchased my Bike and Tread for the full price and I pay the full monthly premiums just like everyone else. I’m just a normal person: a wife, mother and writer, residing in Charlotte, NC, and I just happen to be in love with Peloton, a company that has not only made a positive impact on my life, but on an entire community of others around the globe.

I purchased the Peloton Bike first, but before I made the decision to do so, I scoured the web, looking for honest and real reviews, experiences from other people like me. There are a ton of them out there that explain everything you could want to know about the cost, the monthly subscription, equipment, classes, etc. I won’t go over any these points with you because you can find all of this info aplenty online already, www.OnePeloton.com is a great place to start. The reviews I did read gave me the confidence I needed to make the splurge and purchase the Peloton Bike, a decision I’ve never regretted.

The Bike came a few weeks later and was everything that was promised…But it was so much more. You see, what the reviews failed to tell me about was this entire online community of “Pelotoners,” a family of sorts, that would come along with this new exercise bike. The online Peloton Community is huge on both Facebook and Instagram, and the hundreds of thousands of people who belong to this community are some of the most accepting, encouraging and motivational people you’ll ever meet. So when you get the new exercise equipment, you also find yourself immersed within this online Peloton Community, belonging to a Family, there alongside you to share in your successes and triumphs, and also to be there for you when the times get tough.

In my months of belonging to the Peloton Family, I’ve seen people encourage others like nothing I’ve ever been a part of before – congratulating those for hitting Century Rides or Runs (100th ride or run), hitting personal records (PRs), running races, weight loss goal accomplishments, and other personal achievements not necessarily related to exercise, but about life in general.  I’ve also seen this Peloton Family encourage those through some tough times, when they’re down and in need support: Prayers for those battling Cancer or other illness, raising money for charity for those in need, sharing grief when loss is experienced. The Peloton Family has created hundreds of friendships, relationships, even an engagement and marriage to date. It’s an all-accepting environment, a group of like-minded individuals, all working to better not only themselves, but also working to better the world. The camaraderie is unparalleled.  

Running has always been my favorite exercise. The endorphins you get when you push your body far beyond the limits of what you think is possible is the best drug on earth (and it’s legal!) So naturally, a few months after I bought the Bike, I bought the Tread too. A purchase that I’ve thanked myself for every day since it arrived.

In addition to the online Peloton Community that comes along with these exercise machines, the instructors who teach the classes make the workout experience even more amazing. All of the instructors could also qualify as some of the best motivational speakers you’ll ever hear in your life.  So every class isn’t just about the workout, they’re also filled with so much motivation and inspiration about life and how you handle your life outside of the workout, that you come away from each class, not only sweaty, but also ready to conquer the f***ing world too. The personal growth I’ve experienced since purchasing the Bike and Tread has been invaluable. The best self-help money I’ve ever spent in my life.

The point I’m trying to make in all of this is that the Peloton Bike and Tread aren’t just your normal exercise bike or treadmill. They are so much more. Peloton is so much more than just a good workout machine. Not only will you get to experience some of the best workouts of your life (the instructors will kick your ass), but you’ll get to become part of a Community; join a Family full of individuals like you, just looking to improve themselves and improve the world we live in. You’ll get to experience some of the best motivational speeches you’ll ever hear, while working up a sweat, and come away from the workout, feeling STRONG, FIERCE, and CONFIDENT about accomplishing anything you set your mind to. The lessons you learn in class, stay with you long after the music stops. Peloton is an entire life-changing experience.

So, if you’re on the fence and not sure about making the purchase, I hope this post has given you some additional insight into the brand that is changing lives every day. Come join our community. Not only will your body thank you for it, but your entire life will thank you for it. You’ll never be the same person again. You’ll grow in more ways than you knew possible. Come and see. You won’t regret it.

I’ll see you on the leaderboard.

-krush0910

P.S.: Use this promo code at checkout to get $100 off accessories for your Peloton – like clip-in shoes, heart-rate monitor and weights.

Promo Code: 7ZBFDA

How Accepting Death Brought Me Life

Let me just start by saying that I’m currently lucky enough to be healthy and without any terminal illnesses that I know of (knock on wood). #thankful. However, I want to acknowledge that I am dying. We are all dying. Any one of us could die at anytime.

I realize I’ll lose about half of you right here, because the idea and subject of death is too overwhelming to acknowledge for many people. That’s okay. There was a point in my life when I felt the same, but the older I get and the more I think about dying and the reality of it, the better my life becomes as I live it.

When I turned 30 this past year, the reality of my own mortality started to hit me. Before that point, in my teens and twenties, the thought of death was so far and distant in the future, that I never spent time thinking about it. It was always there, way back in the shadows of my mind, but I always thought to myself every time it surfaced, “I’ll get to that later.” Mortality just wasn’t something that I acknowledged before I turned 30. The anxiety surrounding it was too great for me to face.

Death is scary and most people will spend their entire lives ignoring the fact that we’ll all face it at some point. Once I started to come to terms with death head on, acknowledged the fact that I could not control it, that it was inevitable, that many people whom I’ve loved before have gone through it already, I started to feel more comfortable with thinking about it at all. Once I could think about death fully, it forced me to think about life.

When I thought about my life at the time, I realized that it was centered on existing versus living, just biding time to get to through each day, not really living at all. Every part of my day was conquered as a task on checklist, just getting through one chore to go onto the other, most as equally unpleasant as the next. Get out of bed, get myself ready, hair & makeup, dressed, get the kids up, get them fed and dressed, load them into the car, drop them off at school, go to work, get through the 200+ emails that accumulated through the night, acknowledge the employee who hasn’t shown up, take on their workload, deal with the problem files, handle the complaints (from clients and employees), fix the mistakes, answer the questions, take the blame, keep current on workload and email load (average 1000 emails a day), keep the books straight, bills paid, angry people at bay, payroll, HR, train the new employees. Teeth grating, daily migraine, constant toxicity. Face and acknowledge the stress head on. It’s the business. Then, go home and clean the house, cook the dinner, play with the kids, give them their bath, do a bedtime routine, try to keep up on the emails in the middle of all of this (lose that battle, so just fight the fires), try to spend time with the kids that is meaningful, feel guilty that I don’t have enough energy to, feel guilty from neglecting all my relationships with friends and family who think I’m just unfriendly or ignoring them, get a guilt trip attack from dad for this every other day, usually too drained to fight, get into bed, get another guilt trip from my husband for not giving him enough love or attention. No time for myself in any of that. 10pm. Sleep. (take an Ambien to shut the mind off). Reset. Start all over in the morning (Take a Phentermine to start the mind up again).  

I would wake in the morning, throat closed and nauseous from anxiety, already stressed from a day not yet lived, just looking forward to the night and going to sleep again. Sleep was my only time of peace. Just getting through. That was my life. And I know that is the life that many people “live.” A life of existing and not of living.

You can have all the material wealth you’ve ever dreamed of, but if your mind is always at war and never at peace, then you have nothing at all.

I’d get myself through the days by thinking about what life could be like one distant day in the future, that it would all be worth it one day in 25 years when I was 55 or 60. Only then, I would finally start living an enjoyable life. Problem with that is that we don’t control the variables. Whose to say I’d survive until then? We’ve all seen young people die. It happens every day: illnesses, car wrecks, accidents, things outside of our control. And if I do survive to retirement age (which probability is in my favor), what does my life look like? How is my health after 25 or 30 years of self-medicating to get through the day? Or the years of combating the severe stress – what are the effects on my physical health? More importantly, my mental health?

All of you are sitting here, reading this, thinking to yourself, “Oh all of that sounds fine and dandy, but her husband is Harry C. Marsh, a lawyer who runs a successful law firm, so it’s easy to just give up and quit and move onto something else. Lucky her.” And you’re absolutely right. I am lucky in that regard, I am. I won’t sit here and sugarcoat it and say that it’s anything different than what it is. I am lucky and grateful and appreciative. I am. I acknowledge this truth.

However, I will say, that despite all of that, some of the happiest years of my life, were the years before all of this. The years when I spent my time creating instead of processing, the years when we had very little money to our names, the years before the stress came and we got all the joy we needed just from being around one another, when it was about relationships and experiences. Because, those were the years in which I truly lived.

I am one who can with absolute certainty tell you that money cannot and will not buy happiness. I know this for a fact and from personal experience. I used to think I could find happiness in material wealth, and I’ve spent a lot of money buying a lot of things I didn’t need, attempting to fill some void deep within myself (can anyone say Louboutins?) I would get pleasure for awhile at first after big purchases, but by the end, almost no pleasure would come from at all. I couldn’t fill the void with money, because material items don’t fulfill a life. It can make things easier, sure, but it doesn’t erase your problems, it doesn’t make everything happy and joyful, it doesn’t make the anxiety go away, or the depression. It is not a cure-all. Some of the worst years of my life have also been the wealthiest years of my life. I will say it again-

You can have all the material wealth you’ve ever dreamed of, but if your mind is always at war and never at peace, then you have nothing at all.  

So when I turned 30 and started thinking about dying, it forced me to start thinking about living. Thinking about how I was living my life caused me to re-evaluate my entire existence. I started to think about the things that mattered to me, the things that would constitute a fulfilling life- relationships, experiences, creating, kindness, being a good person. Just existing versus living was no longer an option for me when I started to look at the story this way. I couldn’t wait for some distant day off in the future that would maybe come one day. I had to make a change before it was too late. There are no do-overs in life. We don’t get second chances to try again.

Money can’t follow me to the grave and from my years of working in the law firm, I’ve seen the damage of what it can do when it’s left behind. Families, so willing and eager to throw away relationships in favor of fighting over money. Wounds and anger never healed. Lives torn apart.  I don’t want that.

Instead, what can follow me in death, are the memories of my daughters, of a mother who was present and happy and worked every day to make them happy too. What can follow me in death are the things I create with my mind and my hands, the memory keeper and the experience-capturer of a family who lived. What can follow me in death are the relationships I formed with my friends and family and the experiences we shared with one another, the stories that will live on.

What can follow me in death is the legacy of a life that didn’t just exist, but a life that was lived.

Wedding in the War Room: The True Story of How My Husband’s Boss Married Us in the Office During the Friday Lunch Hour

The story of my wedding day all begins with the cockroaches on the airplane.

Yep, you’re reading that right. Instead of snakes on a plane, I’m talking real, live, creepy-crawling roaches on a plane. A plane that my then-fiancé, Harry C. Marsh and I found ourselves stuck on back in 2011.

Sadly, my friends, I am not allowed to tell you the complete story of the cockroaches on the plane in great detail due to an agreement we reached with the airline. Legally, all I’m allowed to say on the official record is “It has ended”.

To give you some sort of insight into the cockroach incident, I’ll share this CNN video about the viral news story that swept the nation eight years ago, featuring yours truly, Harry C. Marsh and myself 🙂

When you click on the play button below to view the CNN news story, you will have to also click on the link that says “Watch this Video on YouTube” to be redirected back to YouTube to actually watch it. (They want advertising $$$)

Remember when I told you that being married to a man like Harry C. Marsh should come with it’s own instruction manual, or at the very least, a prescription for Xanax?

Well, I rest my case.

The story broke late on a Friday afternoon when the lawsuit was removed from state court and refiled in federal court by the airline’s attorneys in a power-play attempt at intimidation. By doing this, they opened the case up to the public record, and it immediately became accessible to anyone and everyone under the sun. (sidenote: isn’t this airline now bankrupt and defunct? Perhaps they should have had better lawyers… but I digress).

A journalist from our local WSOC-TV Channel 9 found the lawsuit and immediately covered the story on the 11 pm news that Friday night, live from the Charlotte Douglas International airport. From there, the story exploded across the nation in a matter of hours. It was featured on every MAJOR news outlet in America (and many other countries). In fact, the story was so popular, it stayed on CNN’s top trending stories for 5 days straight. We received calls from the Today Show, The O’Reilly Factor, Good Morning America, CNN, CBS Television Studios and many, many others, begging for in-person interviews.

In the words of Harry C. Marsh himself, in an email to his boss containing a link to an online article about the lawsuit, “Oh lord, I’ve stirred up some shit.”

By Monday or Tuesday the following week, I was a nervous wreck. As someone already prone to anxiety, you can imagine what something like this would do to me. Literally, hundreds of news articles about us were plastered all over the internet with thousands of posted comments (a lot of them negative). People even found our home address online and they were posting it in the public forums. I was an absolute basket case of anxiety.

At the time this story took place, Harry and I had been engaged for well over a year. We already lived in a house we owned together and we even had shared bank accounts. In our minds, we were as good as married already, just not legally.

Both of us had never been keen on the idea of a big wedding, or even a wedding at all. Instead, we thought our money would be wiser used on real estate investing or some other venture. Neither one of us liked the idea of being the center of attention in a room full of people, and the task of planning a wedding never appealed. We had never counted on a big, large event in the first place; it was never in the cards for us. That being said, when the cockroach lawsuit story swept the nation, we hadn’t had any immediate or active plans to wed. We both figured we’d just get around to it when we had some spare time or a day off.

However, the media circus we found ourselves caught up in had me absolutely distraught. I remember laying in bed one night talking to Harry, on the verge of tears, asking him what I should do if someone came to the door. (I worked from home at this time and our address had been published online in numerous places). I was legitimately scared about the situation.

In an effort to take my mind off of the situation, Harry did what Harry thought made the most logical sense at the time – he suggested we go and get married. The tactic must have worked. I don’t remember the exact conversation, but obviously, I agreed. Apparently, we both thought that when you find yourself in an extremely crazy situation, just go ahead and make it crazier. Getting married seemed to fit the bill.

We figured Friday would work as good as any day, so we set in motion to obtain our marriage license downtown at the county registrar. We knew that the magistrate would be the easiest option for us, and we made plans to go on Friday afternoon, after work.

Believe it or not, there was a time before Harry Marsh Law existed. At the time, Harry was working for a landscape management corporation as their in-house corporate legal counsel. He must have gone into the office that Thursday morning and told everyone of our wedding plans. It was a smaller company with about 20-25 employees, so word of the pending nuptials spread quickly.

Shortly thereafter, another executive at the company, a man by the name of Randy Ream, approached Harry about the wedding and posed a suggestion, “You know, I’m an ordained minister and I could marry you right here at the office. We can do it during lunch on Friday and everyone can watch it.” Harry, realizing that this would be much easier than driving to the magistrate’s office and waiting in line, readily agreed to the suggestion, thanking Randy for the offer.

According to a gmail chat between us that day, here’s how Harry broke the news to me:

Harry@gmail.com: New topic, marriage!
Harry@gmail.com: We’re getting married Friday here, at Northwest, in the War Room
Harry@gmail.com: Randy is performing the ceremony

me: lol
me: no way

Harry@gmail.com: Yes, Randy wants us in the war room at NW on Friday at lunch.

me: you cant make me

Harry@gmail.com: we’ll have plenty of witnesses
Harry@gmail.com: they’ll put music on
Harry@gmail.com: Randy can give a small ceremony

me: ….

Harry@gmail.com: it’ll be fun
Harry@gmail.com: and, funny

me: Okay…

Harry@gmail.com: and he knows how to fill all that paperwork out
Harry@gmail.com: he’s legally allowed
Harry@gmail.com: so yea, why not…

I agreed. Why not? After all, I decided that it would indeed be easier to have Randy perform the service than driving all the way to the county courthouse and waiting in line to see the magistrate. Harry and I have always been about convenience and our own wedding was no exception to the rule.

Harry Marsh and Kaitlin Rush, Circa 2011

Friday morning rolled around and began like any other day. I set out to work at the computer for the morning, while Harry went into the office like normal. Business as usual.

Meanwhile, Harry’s co-workers were busy preparing… a little. Someone even took the liberty to download a video of a trellis situated on the beach, set before the ocean sunset. They projected this video on the whiteboard to serve as the backdrop to our ceremony, a pleasant touch to the cold, war room setting.

At the office, Harry was catching hell for not having wedding rings for us. So, he enlisted the help of someone to run over to the local Walmart next door and buy a nice set of sterling silver weddings bands for us, both of which set us back a grand total of $35.

To this day, eight years later, these $35 wedding rings still adorn our ring fingers.

I arrived at the office 10 minutes early, and was greeted by the sight of everyone sitting at their desks, working away, as though they would be doing on any normal day. It was just a normal day, after all. I found Harry in his office and he notified everyone else that the bride-to-be had arrived and we could all commence with the wedding. He introduced me to Randy Ream, the officiator, and we all filed into the war room to set the service in motion.

The 20-25 employees filled the seats and as I stared out at the sea of stranger’s faces, present to witness our Holy matrimony, I was filled with a gratitude for their fascination, enthusiasm and encouragement over our vows. I imagined that I was playing a role in an episode of “The Office.” I was Pam and Harry was my Jim.

The ceremony was short, sweet and got the job done. After the kiss, we turned to face the room, welcomed to a roar of applause as Harry’s co-workers cheered us on. A woman I had never met before stepped forward and gifted me with a small candle. It was touching and I was moved by the support and dedication they showed us. Both of us relieved to be finished with the task at hand.

Afterwards, Harry and his co-workers went back to their desks to work, and I left to go back home to finish my work for the day. I called my parents on the drive back to share the good news with them. My dad was the most supportive of all and offered me the following words, “I’m just so relieved to hear you aren’t living in sin anymore.”

______________________________________

So there you have it. A story that ends as quickly as it begins. Within a few more days, the media frenzy moved on, but our love remained unwavering as we celebrated the days of our marital bliss.

It will be forever known to us as the week of the cockroaches and of our wedding. It was a week of trying tribulations, and some of the most exciting days of our lives. A week packed full of many emotions – disbelief, excitement, nervousness, fear, confusion, love.

LOVE. Yet more proof that even in the most scary and trying circumstances, love will and does find a way to conquer all. Even under the threats of a cockroach-laden airline, hungry journalists, and incompetent lawyers, we learned that love wins in the end of the story. Especially, and most definitely, when a man named Harry C. Marsh plays a part in it.

A Walk in the Woods- Where Time Stands Still

This morning, shortly after the sun rose, while the ground was still wet from the night’s dew, the dogs and I ventured outside and took a walk in the woods surrounding our house. When we moved here 7 years ago, I had anticipated doing this frequently, as our land includes acreage on the other side of the pond. Truth be told, it has been years since I had been over there. The last time I went walking in our woods was before I was pregnant with my first daughter, Adria, 5 years ago.

Life just got away from me…

I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees

-Henry David Thoreau

The beauty of being in the woods is that it feels like you’re going home. The all-encompassing solitude and quiet, the smells, the colors of the leaves and plants. The bugs. It never really changes from year after year and when you enter that sacred haven, you know what to expect and what you’re going to get in return. It’s a place where time stands still as the world changes all around us.

The dogs came alive in the woods, too. Frisky, uninhibited, joyful. Freedom to explore nature. I could sense the excitement in their energy. They are getting older and more laid-back at home, but in the woods, they were puppies again.

I found a fallen log and sat down for awhile. Just soaking in the quiet solitude of the morning and my surroundings.

Tranquil.

Harmonious.

In those moments, my head was clear, nothing else mattered, and I was completely at peace with my myself and my life. It has been so many years since I haven’t felt the tug of anxiety choking in my throat every moment of the day. But in the woods, suddenly all the things that once felt like such a big issue, mattered very little.

Recently, I’ve been grappling with overwhelming emotions as I come face to face with years of repressed right-brain activity and creativity. It has all battled its way to the surface and smacked me right in the face. As a child, I was very artistic and creative and my strengths were always with the arts and language arts. For the past decade, I have completely repressed that part of myself and I have lived and existed in a stark, analytic, black and white, numbers game reality where I only used my left-brain, day and night.

I have this image of myself in head, literally throwing up all the years of repressed creativity from the past decade. I cant get rid of it. All the ideas, ingenuity, and vision that has been suffocated by the years of transactional, mundane, day-to-day processing.

I’m so thankful for the journey so far. Every day, every minute, every second. The introspection I have right now would not be there had it not been, or had anything been different. I have to acknowledge and appreciate everything, even the bad days. Especially the bad days.

Insight feels good.

I’m Ready for today. I’m Ready for tomorrow.

I’m Ready.

Desperate For a Break from Reality: Why I Had Elective Surgery to ‘Get Away From it All’.

This article was also featured on Mom.me at: https://mom.me/lifestyle/why-i-had-elective-surgery-to-get-away-from-it-all/

I had more liposuction a few weeks ago. Unlike my first surgery last year to aid in recovery after two difficult pregnancies and c-sections, this surgery had nothing to do with my body. In fact, my body image has been quite positive lately. I work out on a regular basis, my clothes fit well and for the most part, I feel okay in my own skin. No, this time I elected to go under the knife because I knew it would award me a one week, guilt-free vacation on the other side of the anesthesia. I know it sounds crazy. It was.

My career revolved around a conflict-riddled environment, a law firm that I ran with my husband, Harry C. Marsh. Our office handles roughly 300 real estate closings a month with 4 offices and 16 employees spread throughout the Charlotte, NC area. I was in charge of it all. It was a work environment where every day I invariably had to go to battle with clients, Realtors, employees or contractors over any number of issues. It had slowly worn me down. I needed a break.

As I’ve said before, the only self-worth I’ve ever found in myself was through my work. That’s why after my second daughter, Caroline, was born and when she was only 6 weeks old, I enrolled her in daycare and went back to the office. I felt like I had to. My guilt and anxiety drove me to.

But, I wasnt ready. Caroline had Colic and I was sleep-deprived. It was a disaster waiting to happen.

At night, the baby would be crying and my 3-year-old toddler would be fighting for attention as I tried to process closing files, respond to emails, and also keep the employees motivated. All the while, always flirting the line of a nervous breakdown myself. My husband used to say I looked “shell-shocked” every time Caroline cried (which was all night, every night for the first six months). And even though those times are long behind us, I still don’t think I’ve quite recovered now. The effects of those first months still haunt me.

I was an introvert with no free moments alone to recharge my own energy. From 8 am to 5 pm, I was busy fighting battles in the office. From 5:30 pm to 10 pm, I was busy fighting battles at home and in my head. Everyone around me, always grasping and clamoring, needing something more from me; my children, my clients, my employees, my parents, my husband. The guilt was all-consuming. I even picked up smoking again (a habit I had dropped in college 10 years ago) as a means of survival. A quick excuse to step out for 10 minutes, unperturbed.

To say I felt like I was drowning is an understatement. I was dying.

My husband, Harry C. Marsh and I have always made a great team. He has always been able to see the big picture while I have been able to execute the details and accomplish the nitty-gritty work. It’s how we grew so quickly. We worked side-by-side in the same office for 5 years (even though we had other empty offices we could have chosen to split up and work from). Our energies would often feed off of one another, good or bad. The problem was that during the bad and stressful days (pretty much everyday the past 2 years), those energies came home with us and we would continue to talk about and feed off one another’s toxicity as the night wore on, much to the detriment of ourselves and our children. We never escaped it. So, as I would attempt to parent the kids, mind halfway somewhere else, Harry sat at the computer, putting out fires and dealing with crazy sellers and investors. Our work never stopped.

As the kids have gotten older, things have gotten easier at home. I now get a full night of sleep and Caroline doesn’t cry nearly as much as she did during those first months. At least her cries now have meaning and purpose, a means of communication, a problem I can solve and fix. So, in that regard, things are much easier. Yet at the same time, they have still been damn hard and I’ve just been so tired lately…

Therefore, I elected to have non-necessary liposuction surgery a few weeks ago in an effort to get a break from it all. As a full-time working mom, I was really that desperate. I knew it would afford me a week of guilt-free, quiet time at home with no crazy drama or emergency closings, no screaming, no crying, no people to deal with… Just a week of laying in bed, watching Netflix and reading books in a quiet house and no one would bother me. Heaven on Earth.

The closer I got to the surgery and the more people I had to tell about why I was going to be out, the more insane I realized my plan sounded. That I was so eager to put myself through a painful surgery in effort to get some type of semblance of peace. It wasn’t normal. When I realized this truth, I knew something had to change; I couldn’t keep going the way I was going.

I realized I was in the wrong industry.

Unlike my husband, who thrives on drama and resolving conflict, I HATE it. It stays with me for longer than the average person, festering and causing internal mental anguish far longer than it should. I FEEL things more strongly than others do. Always have. Always will. I’m not cut out for conflict-heavy work. I’m just not.

And, that’s okay.

Life is too short to be so miserable. No amount of money or recognition is worth it. The life I was living before, was not a life worth living.

So now I find myself here, taking things day by day, focusing on my family and myself, trying to pick up the distorted pieces of myself and put them back together. Growing.

Who knows where I’ll end up or what I’ll do do. I’m still trying to work that out myself.

All I know is that I am human. I am broken. And, I am working on healing myself one day at a time.

Caged In: Raising Daughters in a Sexist Culture

When I was a child, I had big, elaborate dreams. I was going to be and do anything I set my mind to and no one was going to tell me otherwise.

…Until they did. Even my own dad.

One childhood memory sticks out more than the others. I was about 10 years old. My parents were still married. I had a brother, Ryan, who was 3 years older than me, and we all lived in a small ranch in a lower-middle income part of town. My parents both worked hard, long hours in stressful jobs and they were able to provide a good life for our family; our needs were always met, but we didn’t have a lot of money.

My dad and I were driving around town in our Plymouth Voyager minivan and we found ourselves in a well-to-do neighborhood full of mansions. Nice cars in the driveways and perfectly-manicured yards all around us. A neighborhood that we could only have dreams of living in one day. As we drove along the roads of beautiful homes, laughing and talking, pointing out which houses we liked the best, my dad proudly said, “You know, one day, your brother Ryan will get to live in one of these houses. When he grows up.”

I still remember the way that comment hit me. The way it made me feel inside. I can remember thinking, “Why not me?” My grades were good, I was a well-behaved child who liked to draw and read and follow all the rules. My official Stanford-Binet IQ test score was 150 and I even attended a school for the gifted.

So, Why not me?

This wasn’t the only time I felt caged by my gender, but it was one of the first times I can remember it affecting me. As I grew older, I started feeling that cage closing in around me more often, in places that one would expect it, but even in places one wouldn’t.

I felt it when I read the magazines and books, watched the movies and television shows. Examples all around me, showing me how I should act, what interests I should have, how ambitious I should be, what I could do with my life, what was expected of me, and what my limits were as a female in our society. I felt it in the schools and classrooms, in the lesson plans and assignments. I felt it in the workplace on the daily when men (and oftentimes women), would call to verbally assault and bully either me or any of the other female paralegals about a problem or issue. Yet, when Harry spoke to them, it became a matter of “Yes, sir. No, sir” with no questions asked. Even when the messages we had relayed had been the same.

“Sometimes they just need a man to talk to” became the joke around the office.

But, no one was laughing.

It brings me back to our children and to the messages we’re sending, the lessons we’re teaching them. It’s already started for my daughter at the tender age of 4. It’s affecting both the little girls and the boys. I see it all around me.

Recently, the daycare we send our daughters to (which is wonderful and great, all things aside), decided to celebrate Mother’s Day with a Tea Party for the Moms at 2 pm on a Friday afternoon. Great for the working moms, right?

My daughter, Adria, spoke about the Mother’s Day Tea-Party non-stop the entire week leading up to it. 2 pm on a Friday. How was this a good idea for the working mothers, relying on daycare to watch their kids so they could provide for them? I made a point to be there. I could tell it was important to her. Since it was on a Friday with a busy day full of closings, I had to push my work off onto others, and leave the office with the guilt of being absent there in order to be present for my daughter.

At 2 pm sharp the Tea Party started. Adria and her classmates stood in a little group and sang a cute 30-second song about Mother’s Day to the moms who were able to attend. Then, we all ate some cake and went home. The event lasted all of 10 minutes. It was cute and sweet and fun for the kids whose moms could attend. However, the trauma to the kids whose mothers weren’t there, immeasurable.

Only about half of the moms were in attendance. I’m sure the rest wanted to be there, but couldn’t due to work and trying to provide for their child. What I really recall about that day is the anguish of the children whose mothers couldn’t be there. They were vocally crying, visibly shaken and upset, feeling ostracized and unloved by their mother’s absence. The absent mothers were probably just as upset, plagued by guilt over not being able to make it there for their child. So, while I appreciated the daycare’s effort to do something cute for Mother’s Day, I was frustrated by the entire event.

However, what made me mad was how unjustly different Father’s Day was handled when it rolled around a month later.

Daycare celebrated Father’s Day with “Donuts for Dad”… at 8 am. Obviously. Because how can we expect men to just leave work in the middle of the day to come hear their child sing a cute song for 30 seconds and eat some cake? The men are working, right?

But what about the moms?

Gender discrimination has no limits on social status or money. It is everywhere. When I was in college, I worked as a counselor at a camp that hosted children from some of the wealthiest families in America and Europe. The children of politicians and ambassadors, celebrities and movie-stars, business owners and CEOs ( Peugeot, Bacardi, Johnson & Johnson, Matt Damon and Kelly Ripa’s kids, to name few). I primarily worked in the arts and crafts cabin during my time there. The head of the art department was also a woman, in her mid-40s, with a background in education. She was a school teacher during the year and had taken the camp job as a summer gig. She was a mom and had two young daughters attending the camp for the summer as well.

I remember one day we hosted some of the 6 and 7 year-olds for an arts and crafts lesson. The moment the children walked through the door, the art teacher separated the girls from the boys and made them each sit at their own table, apart from one another. She then proceeded to give them separate art projects based on their gender.

The girls received paper and flower stencils, some colored pencils or paint to doodle with. The boys received some neat wooden toy snakes to paint and play with. I remember the look of disappointment in the little girl’s eyes as they watched the boys playing with their toys. The paper in front of them, left blank and uninteresting to them in comparison to the toy snakes. Even at the young age of 6 or 7, the children were being taught that they deserved to be treated differently based on their gender alone. They were being taught that this was okay by another woman, a teacher, a mom and should-be role-model.

To this day, I still regret not having the courage to stand up and say something in defense of those little girls. I was not strong enough back then and had all too often seen this type of behavior accepted as the norm. My silence affected those little girls the same way I had been affected before by so many other people who could have changed the outcome if they’d had the courage to raise their voice. To simply say, “It’s not okay.”

Years ago, when my dad made the comment about how my brother would one day be successful enough to live in a mansion with no mention or regard for me, or that possibility for my future as a female child, he affected me. He was a good father who had no ill-will intentions, and was only relaying the same sentiment he had learned himself, raised in a culture that promoted it. He probably thought nothing of that comment ever again. Yet, those words, along with daily exposure to a culture built on patriarchal values and misogynistic men (and women), affected me deeply. It affected me so much that as an adult, I could only find any semblance of self-worth in my career because I had to prove them all wrong, even at the expense of my daughters by placing work first. I felt like I had to show them all that I could do more, be more, work harder, smarter and better than they all thought I could or that was possible from a female.

Perhaps I did show them all, but it broke my spirit in many ways, too. At the end of the day, it’s still a man’s world. Harry’s name was still on the door, and I was just the “young lady” to the old men (and women) in the conference room.

How can we expect things to change if we don’t have the courage to talk about the problems?

In so many ways, our culture has advanced in leaps and bounds since our parents were children. I’m proud of some of the progression we’ve made. Yet, in these modern times, we are still accepting rooms full of men, telling us and telling our daughters what we can and can’t do as women. Even today. Even in 2019.

1 step forward, 2 steps back…

What messages are we sending our children? Is this something you’re okay with? Putting our little girls in cages like we’ve been taught our whole lives?

I’m not okay with it. Not for me, not for my daughters. Not on my watch, not anymore.

Look at the faces of my daughter and her classmates above. They deserve better.

We can do better.

____________________________________

This article was also published on www.DaringWomanInc.com on July 9, 2019.  #daringwoman  #imadaringwoman  

Click on the image below to link to the online published article.

The True Story About How I Met My Husband… on Craigslist.com

I have been asked how I met my husband, Harry C. Marsh, many times before. Honestly, everything I’ve told you about this story was a lie, until now. No, we did not meet at a party, or through mutual friends like you thought we did. Today, I’ll tell you the true story about how we actually met… on Craigslist.com – home of the dick pic, the Craigslist killer, scammers and swingers galore. And also to the greatest love story of all times – ours.

The year was 2009. It was during the fall of my Junior year of College in Cincinnati, Ohio where I was studying to be a Graphic Designer at The Art Academy of Cincinnati. My best friends and I were all single AF (and living the good life). Every Sunday night, we would all get together for “Sunday Dinner,” as we called it. Everyone would cook a dish and we would rotate the hostess and apartment we met at every week. It became a ritual of sisterhood, friendship and family for us.

On a chilly November Sunday night, I hosted my friends in my 2nd floor walk up apartment in downtown Cincinnati. We were all getting excited for the upcoming dance our school was hosting the following weekend, an alumni event used to raise money for scholarships. It was a costume ball that we would need to dress up for, and since we were all single AF, none of us had dates.

At some point during the night, as we talked about our plans for the dance, one of us (and I honestly don’t remember who), had the idea to post an ad in the personal section on Craigslist “for fun,” to see what kind of responses we could get. Truth be told, I think we were all getting a little tired of the single life and being lonely in the relationship department (it’s hard to find decent men at an art school). I believe we were all kind of open to finding someone, or at least I was. Of course, none of us wanted to admit to this at the time.

Since we were at my apartment, I got my computer out and opened it up, created a Craigslist account and we all sat around my kitchen table and wrote an ad that went something like this: (disclaimer, this is a recreation of the actual ad, because I have long since lost the original posting)

5 Young, Hot, Art Chicks Looking for Dates to Costume Ball Next Saturday Night

About us: 21, single, hot, looking for a good time. We all had dates lined up with men we met on www.WriteAPrisoner.com, but their release dates were pushed out and they are still incarcerated, so we have to find replacement dates.

Requirements for you: Must be between the ages of 16 and 60 years old. You must submit a photo of yourself in the proposed costume you plan to wear to the ball. (No dick pics please! You will be disqualified). Write a little bit about yourself and if we like what we see, we’ll send you more info about us.

– 5 hot girls

I can’t even begin to tell you what kind of crazy responses we received from that ad, all equally as hilarious, insane and inappropriate as your imagination can think up. Since we had created and posted the ad from my apartment and computer, all of the responses came to my email. Out of all of the crazy, one stuck out to me and was the only email I responded to.

It just so happens, that Harry C. Marsh WAS browsing the personal ads on Craigslist.com for a date that very night and our ad happened to catch his eye. Now, before you start getting all judgmental on him, you have to understand that these were years before TINDER and BUMBLE existed. The Craigslist Killer wasn’t even a thing yet. The only online dating available was Match.com and eHarmony.com, both of which came with costly monthly membership fees. To Harry, who had just graduated law school, currently unemployed, living at home in his parents basement and studying to sit for the NC BAR exam, he didn’t have much spare money to spend on costly dating websites. So, give the man some credit please.

Below is the email he sent me. Luckily, I DO have every email we shared, so the below exchanges are exactly what transpired between us that chilly November night.

INTERESTING POST ON CRAIGS LIST

Interesting post. Any information about the females? I’ve got a doctorate degree.  27…in good shape. And, I figure I could be entertaining.  But is it worth my effort?  Are the females fun?
Art ‘chicks’ are usually larger…insecure….and have plenty of baggage  (simply my observations over the years).I’ll admit that they’re usually entertaining, however.

You may be wondering what made me respond to this email (out of all of the others) and since this is the TRUE story of how we met, I’ll be honest. I responded to this email because of one line. This one right here: “I’ve got a doctorate degree”.

Yes, yes, I was not only single AF, but I was materialistic AF too. Isn’t that what our culture teaches us? Aren’t we all? (another post, another day).

So, I wrote him back:

If you couldn’t tell by the post- yes, we are a lot of fun. As for the insecure, overweight, and baggage aspect, absolutely false. I, personally tend to be a little too secure with myself to be quite honest. Had my friends over tonight and we more or less did the post as a joke to see what responses might arise, although a date could be entertaining.  Send me a pic.

He followed my orders and immediately sent me this picture. (Raw, unedited, unfiltered, Harry C. Marsh at 27ish years old). You’re welcome.

When I saw the photo, I paused for a moment. And then I thought to myself, “Im talking to the unabomber. A killer is messaging me.”

I still wonder why, out of all the wonderful photos he had of himself, he decided that this was the best one to send to a potential mate. It is still beyond me. (No wonder he was still single). But, then again, that’s Harry.

My husband is a very handsome man, but he has never cared about the power of a well-tailored suit, a nice hairdo or polished shoes. Instead, he uses his mind to win people over. To this day, I still have to throw away his underwear or undershirts when they get holes in them (otherwise he would still wear them), or tell him when to go get a haircut. His brain has never worked in a way to care about things like this, because he’s too focused on other things that he deems more important (and usually they are). Unlike me, he doesn’t care about impressing anyone with his appearance, and even though he could buy a well-tailored suit or an expensive pair of shoes, he still buys most of his clothing at Costco or on Amazon. This trait is one of the many reasons I love him. There are many things one can learn from a guy like Harry.

When I didnt respond immediately, in true true creep fashion, he sent me another photo. This one, MUCH better.

And I thought to myself, “I can work with this”.

We were off with a flurry of emails to one another, back and forth. Hundreds of words, sentences and lyrical prose, compiled over days and weeks as we came to know one another. I had never met anyone quite like him, and he said the same about me. Eventually, we ended up meeting in person, and as they always say, the rest was history…

On our first anniversary, I gifted my husband with a book of our first emails to memorialize the story of how we met. Every so often, we’ll lay in bed at night and read to one another from the book, reminiscing on the days when our relationship was young and we were just beginning. It’s good for the soul to remember.

So there you have it, the true story about how I met my husband on Craigslist.com. If you’re lonely, or still searching for that special someone, and ready to give up, don’t. Just remember that Love can be found in all places, even where you least expect it – even amongst the dick pics and whackadoodles on Craigslist.com.