Some people get drunk with power. The neurotic get drunk with worry. That first little shot of doubt sets the spiral in motion and it builds on every subsequent swig of what if. It happens fast. The worry burns in the veins; you can feel it seeping and spreading. Before you realize what’s happened, you’ve gone from fine to woozy in mere minutes. The worry-drunk mind, stumbling and paranoid, will have entire mental hotel suites trashed and emotional televisions thrown out windows in the span of a half hour while waiting on something as stupid as a text message reply.
1. I am forever losing the bread tie.
2. I leave the top loose on the jar of peanut butter.
3. I will eat all the damn peanut butter.
4. Putting laundry away is my least favorite thing to do ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, so it just piles up in the bedroom.
5. I snore.
6. I don’t cook.
7. I suck at buying groceries because I don’t cook and therefore don’t understand how food works.
8. I am no good for staying awake for movies that start playing after 10 p.m.
9. I am a packrat.
10. I will ask questions about that show you are watching, while you are watching, even though I have no real interest in it.
I remember a span of, like, a decade where I didn’t fall down. I guess that was my 20s. Even when I was drunk, which was a significant portion of that decade, I don’t think I fell down. Or maybe I don’t remember falling down, but in my book, that is just as good as not falling down*.
Seems like I hit thirty and suddenly I can’t stay off the ground. I am constantly getting wrong on my feet and feeling myself teeter a little bit to a scary angle. And one time a few months ago I fell down while holding my baby! I mean, full on building-implosion-lookin’ falling down while trying to keep my child’s skull away from the ground. I didn’t even trip over anything, really. Just forgot how to walk. Is this because my brain is malfunctioning? Or because I am too big for my bones?
A couple of months ago we were in Memphis at the old house and it was raining out. I just wanted to get from the car to the front door. But somewhere along the way as I jogged along the path, my legs started going in different directions and gravity kicked in and I went to my knees. Er, knee. Just the one. Ray glanced me from the car and told me later that he thought I was Tebowing out there in the rain and didn’t think much of it. Which sort of tells you how insane he thinks I am, but I digress.
And then I did it again today! But let me set this up for you. “This is some Final Destination stuff!” said Rich, the cook at work.
I was walking from my car to work (a lively jaunt down a long parking lot, down some stairs, across 11th, down the sidewalk, and up an ALWAYS WINDY Porter) when the strap on my fancy work-appropriate flip-flop broke in the middle of 11th. I scrambled to untangle my foot from it and retrieve it from the street before anyone fleeing the Gulch for lunch plowed into me. And then, absent the same kind of red-hot embarrassment that might have flooded my veins had this happened at any point in my teens or early-to-mid-twenties, I strolled back across 12th. Lopsided, of course, because I had just one shoe on.
Luckily I had a pair of shoes in my car (a by-product of my supreme laziness when it comes to fully unpacking my car after a roadtrip), so I went back to retrieve them. The pavement was hot on my feet but I kind of secretly love that so it wasn’t that big of a deal. I put on the other shoes — light brown wedge heels if you care or enjoy extraneous information — and hoofed it back across 11th and into the office, sweatstache prickling the whole way.
Fast forward to dinner time, when I made my way down to the cafeteria. It began as a normal trip to the cafeteria, and ended with one step in a slightly greasy area of the floor near the hot bar, at which point my legs — completely unsupported by my cute little patriarchy-approved wedge heels — went in different directions. I couldn’t stop it. It was a force of nature. I Tebowed, and I nearly crushed my face on the corner of the big metal hotbar. My arm flailed ahead of my big dumb body and slowed my momentum, luckily. All this happened, of course, in front of Rich and some other fella I see down there regularly. They were horrified, of course, and were nice enough to wait to laugh until I cracked the first joke.
BUT WHAT IS WITH THE TEBOWING, BODY?!
I mean, I guess it’s better than faceplanting everywhere I go.
* Oh god, how could I possibly forget Tebowing in the liquor store?
I’m no good at being social anymore. Last night I went to a cookout and struggled with my own crushing awkwardness all night, unsure of what to talk about with the people I have known for a long time. Maybe it’s the sobriety but I feel like a fucking drag, like my presence is too heavy and kind of rude to bring into what’s supposed to be an atmosphere with levity.
The other night I got a text from an old friend, asking me what I was up to, and I thought initially he had texted me by accident. I’ve been holed up a long time, I guess, and I know it’s only temporary but it’s a tough pill to swallow, feeling like I should keep to myself but knowing that’s an awful cycle to get into and stay in.
I had a hormonal hissy-fit yesterday while making a third batch of test cupcakes. I had piped in the colored filler and was ready to top them all off with the canned frosting I bought a week ago, when I realized the can was deliriously lighter than it had been the last time I had used a mere week ago on my first test batch. The top was messy and full of icing, and I couldn’t find three of the five piping tips. I knew my dearly beloved boyfriend had used the icing for something, but I didn’t realize just how much he had used until I piped two cupcakes’ worth of icing and poof! the container was spent. There were 10 more cupcakes to go and I just fucking lost it. Yelling, slamming cabinets, throwing the canister down, woe-is-me-ing — the whole dramatic crazypants bit. It just felt so incredibly insulting and defeating to have busted ass and run around town all day getting the ingredients and tools needed to finally make these mothereffing cupcakes work, and then to run out of got-danged frosting THAT I JUST JUST BOUGHT, without being able to finish the batch. I don’t know what dear boyfriend has been putting frosting on. He told me something very lewd but I am almost positive he was kidding. Almost.
Anyway, it was my first double-over-in-heaving-sobs moment since very early on in this pregnancy, when I was bona fide batshit crazy for about a month and a half. I’m not beating myself up about it too much, though, because, you know, feh. And I hope this will serve as a “I am just going to get crazier so please think before you do ANYTHING that might annoy me” warning to darling boyfriend, who really should fortify himself against the hurricane of insanity that is about to come ashore.
As for what non-pastries are cookin’, this week I should be sheltering a baby that’s as long as a bell pepper or a sweet potato, depending on which food metaphor-producing newsletter you prefer to believe. It is very difficult for me to imagine something that size inside of me (no jokes, please), but I suppose I see how it could fit in there and be relatively unobtrusive. I just have to accept that my organs are no longer contained solely within what I’m used to thinking of as my torso, which is a real loopy thing to think about.
Since that first unmistakable bloop, I’ve felt faint twinges and flutters here and there, but not much where I thought, I know what THAT is. More question marks than exclamations so far. But something’s happening in there.
Today we had a big, important ultrasound. Sweet potato was cooperative (more or less), and we found out the sex. I have to keep mum until Monday night, when we’ll be going to Saltillo to visit my family and bring them each a sex-reveal-cupcake-o-gram. I am getting tired of saying “gender-reveal cupcakes” because it’s actually the sex we will know (gender is so much more complicated than the bits between your legs), but every time I talk about the cupcakes, I don’t feel like getting into that discussion. Tamara suggested I just start calling them Sex Reveal — Gender Is a Social Construct — Cupcakes, which I think is a great idea.
Today’s ultrasound found that I’m measuring almost right on track — about three days ahead. Sweet potato is a hefty 8 ounces (average for 18th week is nearly 7 ounces), and I’m pretty sure it’s because that big ol’ head is housing a big ol’ smart brain, which is slightly heavier than a less smart brain, because knowledge is very heavy. Probably.
All the organs are there and we’ve got a nice, complete spine. Sweet potato was pretty lethargic during most of the exam — the tech said (s)he was probably dozing — but started squirming there toward the end with a few more vigorous pokes. We saw that little heart just pumping away (143 beats a minute, yes I asked) under that translucent skin. I cannot explain how unbelievably weird and amazing it is to see that. I looked over to see Ray beaming at the display monitor. I think it gets more and more real for him the more we get to glimpse what’s going on in there.
I am so relieved to finally be able to use pronouns (even if I will be avoiding using them online for a few days) and to think about practical things like nursery stuff and registries and names and preschool and college plans and whatnot. Oh god, it’s all happening really fast, but sort of in slow motion right now.
I got lost in it for a while there. It was without question the most brutal trip into the stuff I have ever weathered. I didn’t think I would make it out. There were times when I actively hoped I wouldn’t. The mind is a funny thing sometimes. My mind is a funny thing always.
I’ve backed away from the maw. Life has more in store for me than the darkness. I am too eager to lose sight of that some days.
I feel like I have been waiting for a Jell-o mold to set up for a really long time. I peek into the fridge periodically and poke at it, then go about my business for a while. Then I check back again. It’s never going to set up, is it?
Just a friendly request to PLEASE PUT THOSE LEAVES BACK ON THE TREES WHERE THEY BELONG, AND STOP LEAVING THEM ON THE CURB. Lately, it has been noticed that great heaping bags of sweating leaves have been piled up at the edge of your yard on the curb and left to sit for days at a time. While we understand that some loss of leaves is natural every autumn, it is frowned upon for leaves to continue to fall into the new year, and for you to bundle them up and leave them bagged and abandoned on the curb. Not only does it detract from the uniform tidiness of the rest of the block, but by leaving your trees bare, you are subjecting your home and your neighbors to an increased level of sunlight, which can both bleach roof shingles and cause skin cancer.
It is a well-known fact that there are “trees” living on the blocks just north of us that never lose their leaves, except for when they spit out those brown needles that, when they accumulate in great enough numbers, can cause a person in house shoes to slip and fall and moan unattractively and unsuccessfully for help. On numerous occasions we have been duped by these brown needles of death, and the city has been notified several times of the danger they pose to unsuspecting busybodies creeping through neighborhoods at night to sift through trash bins. If your trees are losing their leaves so fully that you are still bagging them once January rolls around, it is advisable that you take a look at how you are caring for these trees and perhaps change your tree-care habits.
We take great pride in our neighborhood and hope you will join us in our effort to uphold leaves as inherent parts of trees that should never be neglected enough that they want to fall to the ground and be stuffed into plastic bags and left at the curb. By returning these leaves to their rightful places on the branches of your trees, you’ll be doing your part to help keep our neighborhood looking great!
Thank you in advance for listening to a bossy-ass piece of paper, which was certainly not made out of any tree-related products.
(Background is here.)
The responses I’ve gotten to what I wrote about Charlie Brown’s Sad Thanksgiving for Fatties have been really interesting. Whole lotta solidarity coming from the ladies re: the weight crazies. I’m so thankful that there are people who will reach out to connect about such a very personal issue. BUT. I hate that the need is even there. I hate that there are other people fighting this same fight, routinely winding themselves into knots of shame over how much space they are taking up in the world. I want to make it go away for you, and you, and you, and you. All of you.
I talked to my dad last night, and he told me he hadn’t meant to upset me so much by his comment. Which, yeah, I know, which is why I had initiated the apology sequence by leaving him a note last Friday morning saying as much. And then he went on to ask me if it had been “that time of the month” and when I said “it’s always ‘that time of the month’” meaning I am fucking crazy ALL THE TIME HAVE YOU NOT NOTICED THE GENES YOU ALL GAVE ME, he told me not to wear my feelings on my sleeves. Which is an interesting thing to tell a person who comes from a family of passive-aggressive people who often feel slighted at the least little thing.