November 29, 2012

Dear Frijole/Undertoad Crossover

Dear Frijole,

As I write this, you are 8 1/2 months old.  You've now been out of me longer than you were in me.

You have five teeth at various stages of coming in.  You love avocados, hummus, cheese, yogurt, and yams.  You love to dance, and you and your father are the only people in the entire world who like the sound of my singing.  "Yo Gabba Gabba" and "Dora the Explorer" get you excited, and you lick the TV screen to show your appreciation of the characters you like best.  When you take a bath in the evenings you love to play with your pink rubber duck.  Always as we are finishing your bath, we say goodbye to Duckie and he quacks and "kisses" you on the cheeks and nose and your smile gets so huge.  Sometimes you murmur "mama" in your sleep and it does something in my chest that I can't quite describe.

Some of my favorite moments of the day come when you wake up.  You sit up with blanket marks on your face and sleepily rub your eyes.  You'll play quietly with your animals for a few minutes:  touching them, patting them, biting them, burying your face in them.  When you notice me watching you, you break into a grin and eagerly stand up in your crib to reach for me.  I hug and nuzzle you and take in your baby smell.  I could pick you out of hundreds of babies just by smelling you.

You are--many times over--the most beautiful thing in my world.  I can barely believe that I am lucky enough to have such a beautiful, sweet, playful, inquisitive little girl to love.  The responsibility of guiding you into becoming a confident, courageous, compassionate young woman is a daunting one, but one that I take very seriously.  

I can't look at newborn pictures of you without weeping, because every day takes you further away from being my tiny baby.  It is bittersweet to be leaving your babyhood behind, but it is amazing to watch you learn and grow and change.  You are my greatest joy.



October 27, 2012

Fighting words

"The front door's open.  You don't have to make a scene."

October 24, 2012

Sergeant Pepper Taught the Band to Play

Twenty years ago today.  Can you believe it?  I don't feel old enough to have fallen in love for the first time twenty years ago today.

October 24, 1992.  It feels like the day life as I know it began.  Thank you for that.  They are happy memories for me.

October 23, 2012

A tube is a tube is a tube

A: Can you run out and get me a tube of Orajel? We're almost out and I'm starting to freak out.

I: (picks up a tube of Desitin diaper cream) Can't you just use this?

A: That's for her butt.

I: (Looks at tube again, shrugs) Okay.

October 18, 2012

By way of explanation

I:  What's wrong with that girl?  Is she right in the head?

A:  She's from Indiana.

I:  Ah, okay. That explains it.

October 17, 2012

Cut short

Ivan and Sophia drove to San Jose to spend two nights at his mother's house.  Sophie's "nana."  I stayed behind.  The prospect of a couple nights to myself to sleep and do nothing were nearly too much to contemplate, and I looked forward to it for days.

I cried when they left yesterday. As Ivan was loading the car I sat and talked to Sophie. As I told her how much mama would miss her, the images flashed through my mind. The wrecked cars, the flashing lights and sirens. The passersby who stare at the wreckage in the median as they pass, eager to get where they're going. The phone call that would take them both away from me.

But I gritted my teeth and persevered!  I had packed her bags.  I had packed her meals.  I knew she was in good hands.

And the first night was blissful.  After several hours in the company of a friend and a plethora of champagne. I drifted in and out of sleep at will for hours and hours.  I haven't gotten dressed.  Haven't cleaned or put anything away.  Hell, I'm drinking the rest of last night's champagne out of the bottle next to my cup of coffee.  


Anyway, Sophia's father, whom I'm too peeved at to call by name this very second, called. "Do you miss me?" he asked. 

"I miss you both," I replied, because she is really the one I miss and I was trying to be diplomatic.

"Well, great! Because we are coming home tonight!" he exclaimed, waiting for my display of enthusiasm.

I felt tricked. My voice was flat. "You're what?"

"Tonight. We're coming back tonight. We should be there by 8:00."

"Don't come back tonight." My voice was quiet and near pleading.

"Well, now I'm DEFINITELY coming back tonight," he said grouchily.

Turns out that they are having a lovely visit and Sophia is being a model child, but she woke him up at 4:30 am. He changed and fed her, but then she WANTED TO PLAY. Why would a baby want to play at 4:30 in the morning? Ivan asked himself. And if I have to stay up with her, how am I going to get any sleep? His poor sleep deprived brain wondered. When she woke him up again at 7 am, he suddenly realized the answer. Take her home to her mother! Ivan can't possibly risk not getting 8 hours of sleep a second night in a row--and besides, that lazy bitch already had her night off!--so we drive back home to Concord so mama can take over and papa can go to bed.

Voila! Problem solved.

October 10, 2012

Room for me in your internal world

I found the poem we both forgot you wrote for me.

Sometimes I wish
I could sink deep down
into you
into your subconscious
and touch those parts of you
that bring tears to your eyes
and flight to your heart

I never feel as close to you
as when you are scared

October 9, 2012

"Planet Earth is blue, and there's nothing I can do."

I see the things he posts and he is still the same. Still exactly the same. And it makes me  miss him. I read his rants and random declarations and imagine how I would respond. I generally imagine his retort and find myself laughing. Even though nothing actually happened.

I miss the long nights we sat and talked and drank for hours. And sometimes we just drank. He knew when to hug me, when to change the music, and when to make a giant farting sound with his mouth.

I am missing my friend terribly.

Ah, Scott. Fuck.

September 30, 2012

How I long to fall just a little bit,
to dance out of the lines and stray from the light,
But I fear that to fall in love with you
is to fall from a great and gruesome height

- Dar Williams

September 19, 2012

On grammar

I feel I am reasonably competent when it comes to using correct grammar and punctuation, but I am definitely conscious that there are rules I don't know. Chances are I learned them at some point and just forgot.  Two examples came up just last night and it  occurred to me:  I lost the ability to absorb any new grammar rules in the 10th grade. I remember the day it happened, too. I was sitting behind Patrick Abernethy in Mrs. Tomes' first period English class. We were in the middle of diagramming sentences and suddenly I couldn't remember what the fuck a past participle was. And I knew I would never know again.

(I do recall that one is not supposed to end a sentence with a preposition or begin a sentence with "and" but those are often inconvenient for me.)

August 12, 2012

The end of an era

On this, my final morning living in San Francisco, I sat outside in the cool air and watched the fog.  I wish I could hear the foghorns from here.

June 3, 2012

For poorer

On the positive side, she thought, you really get to know someone when you have spent some time broke with them.  When there's no money for restaurants and bars and trips you have to be more resourceful about having fun.  Small things--like soy sauce to go on top of the plain white rice--seem like luxuries.  You get good at amusing each other for free.  She had known those things already, but she'd learned something new with this period of poverty.  She had learned what it was like to have someone steal food for her.  The profound gratitude and loyalty she felt when he returned with something to eat and physically put it into her hands when she was hungry and humble and vulnerable...well, that was new to her.  A lot of people didn't understand a lot of things about their relationship, to be sure, and this was one more that not many would comprehend.  But to her loving someone meant nourishing them with food, and when he opened his bag and pulled out what he managed to find, she wasn't sure if she had ever been loved more.

May 23, 2012

Be careful what you wish for.

On Monday, Ivan and I were having a bad day.  We've faced some pretty serious financial setbacks lately, and the stress of them added to having a new baby is really...hard.

I have been considering whether I should leave San Francisco and return to the east coast.  The toughest thing about it is that Sophia and I would be returning alone.  Ivan would not be joining us.  But other than him, there really is very little left for me here.  Most of my friends are gone.  I have been feeling terribly alone and lonely and isolated for quite some time.  And the cost of living that I managed to keep up with before is killing me.

When I look at how my life has changed in the last 3 1/2 years for the worse, it all leads back to Sept. 18, 2008 for me.  I still can't believe how one man could take so much from me in one night:  my power, my self-confidence and self-worth.  I just can't find them again.  And finding them again while struggling for basic survival at the moment is proving nearly impossible.

I read a Postsecret postcard awhile back that made me weep in sharp recognition:

Anyway, back to the bad day on Monday.  I was anxious and distraught and afraid.  I sat outside on the front steps while Ivan was inside with his sister and Sophia napped in the bedroom.  I closed my eyes and wished for something to happen to provide me with clarity.  I was trying to figure out how I could leave the person I love--and my baby's father--in order to try to make a new life somewhere else.  And to make it even worse, I would not be leaving from a place of strength.  I would be leaving because I am fucking broken.

In my irrationality, I imagined that a natural disaster like an earthquake would absolutely fucking shake things up--help me put them in perspective.  Despite feeling a little superstitious, I wished for it to happen.  I closed my eyes and wished it intensely.  I felt desperate for anything that might help me make this gut-wrenching decision.

Ten minutes later I was inside changing the baby and arguing with Ivan again when the oven caught on fire in the kitchen.  Ivan and Natasha tried to put it out, but it only got worse.  I heard Natasha say from the kitchen, "Get out.  Get out now!" and I grabbed my baby and we were the first ones out the door.  The smoke filled up the house so fast that we couldn't even get a baby blanket.  Natasha was on the phone with 911 while smoke billowed out of our windows.  Approaching sirens screamed while I curled myself around Sophia to keep her warm and covered her ears from the noise.

I felt guilty for the wish I'd made.

I sat on a nearby stoop while a crowd of neighbors and other passersby gathered and stared.  Three fire trucks blocked the intersection and the firemen rushed in.  I felt miserable and afraid as I held onto Sophia and crooned softly to her.  In my mind I was asking myself:  "Is this it? Is it time to go?"  I saw Ivan looking at me and knew that he knew what I was thinking.

We are now safe and back in our house.  There was minimal damage, but the damage we did have has only added to our financial burden.  I'm not sure that the fire provided the clarity I wished for, but it did sink me a little further.

I feel weak.  And terrified.  And terribly alone.  Where is the girl who arrived here in 2005 with such courage and hope and a 'fuck-it-I'll-make-it-work-somehow' attitude?  I need her now.

May 11, 2012

The nature of the universe

Me:  I have a question for you.

Ivan (with his back to me at the computer):  Okay.

Me:  It's just something I was thinking about last night and it occurred to me that I didn't know how you would answer the question.

Ivan:  Okay.

Me:  And all you need to give is a yes/no answer.  I'm not trying to force you into a conversation about this.  I just want to know fundamentally what you believe.

Ivan:  Okay...

Me:  Do you believe in predestination?

Ivan (turns around):  What the fuck...?

Me:  You know, fate.  That we're all traveling down the road we were meant to travel.  Everything's laid out for us.  Can you boil down 'yes' or 'no' whether you believe in that or not?

(What followed was his half hour long thoughtful, off-the-cuff articulation of his views on predestination, the existence of God, and the nature of the universe while I listened.)

Me:  (pauses)  You know, I forgot that about you.

Ivan:  (raises his eyebrows inquisitively)

Me:  I forgot how you can TALK like that.  You explain yourself so well and you're so thoughtful.  I fell in love with you while you were doing that.  I forget that you can do it because we get bogged down in these mundane conversations about going to work and the baby and what's going on today.  I just forgot how much I love to listen to you.

Ivan:  (ducks his head shyly and laughs)

May 4, 2012

May the 4th be with you/go fuck itself

Today everything feels like a bit too much.

I started off surprisingly chipper given my three hours of sleep, but I have been sinking into exhaustion since then.  I just can't seem to get caught up.  Everything is piling up around me and everyone else needs attention and I am so sleepy that I just want to  curl into a ball with my baby and sleep for 500 years.

May 3, 2012


My name is Sophia and I hog the bed.

April 30, 2012

Baby shower

Yesterday, my friends Diana and Tamara hosted a baby shower for Sophie and me down in San Carlos.  I picked the guest list that consisted of my very favorite former coworkers from The Company That Shall Never Be Named.

(Too bad I didn't take this picture until later into the party.)

Because they are kind and pay attention to those kinds of details, two of my very favorite beverages were served:  sangria and lemonade.  I partook in multiple glasses of both, but I had to restrain myself from the sangria--I had to drive my baby home!  Sometimes being a grown-up is hard.

It felt nice to put on a little makeup and actual clothes without baby spit-up and talk to adults.  Plus, there were beautiful gifts (including a baby swing that I hear I will drop down to my knees and thank God for!), a lovely lunch, and delicious cupcakes.

The party girl pretty much slept through the entire thing.

(She has her mama's long toes!)

I was especially pleased to see my long-lost buddy Ruben.  We used to have lunch, take walks, and sneak off for sangria together at one of the Mexican restaurants in downtown Los Altos during workdays at The Company That Shall Never Be Named.  I would talk his ear off, sing songs, and re-enact dramatic conversations for him while he listened and occasionally gave me strange looks.  Once he sat with me in my car and quietly held my hand during a panic attack, and I will never forget that.

It was amazing and way overdue to spend an afternoon surrounded by friends.  I felt loved.  Now I'm going to curl up with that feeling and let it tie me over.

April 22, 2012

Greater than the sum of their parts

Somehow, the combination of these "A Softer World" comics expresses me today better than my own words.

April 15, 2012

Moment by moment

I'm finding that as a new mom (to a pretty quiet, relatively low maintenance baby, I should add) there is plenty of time to think what with being up at all hours of the night.  Being an anxious person, my brain often translates this into "plenty of time to worry."  In my hands has been entrusted an enormous responsibility.  And the future is so big and scary and unknown!

I have been finding that the best way to cope is to keep my mind on the immediate, practical things of which there seems to be no shortage.  Hour by hour I keep my focus on the next diaper change, the next feeding.  Day by day I mark time by how many diapers I have left, how much formula has been consumed, and whether there is enough clean laundry.  Longer periods of time are tracked in terms of well-baby doctor appointments.

This mental system is working well.  I might be tired, but I'm waking up with a smile most mornings and doting on my daughter around the clock.  The big, scary unknowns are mostly kept at bay with the exception of one area into which my mind has taken to wandering.


Ugh!  So heavy!  Even for this angsty blog!

But I find that my well-being has taken on all these new implications.  It's not just me anymore.  Every decision has new meaning.  Every dollar I spend has taken on new importance:  is this really the best use of the money?  Will there still be plenty for diapers and formula?  (And now we've come full circle!)

I continue writing to my daughter in her "Dear Frijole" blog.  I lovingly fill out and paste pictures into her baby book.  Most of me wants to capture her childhood as thoroughly as possible, but the darker parts of me whisper, "Just in case...just in she'll know..."  I want to beg members of my family that if something happens to me, please let her know!  Tell her how much I loved her and who I was and how much I wanted her!  But I say nothing because that sounds crazy.  Or fatalistic.  Or [gulp] like foreshadowing?

Enough of that.

She won't remember the moments, of course, but I try to pour immeasurable tenderness into all of my attentions to Sophia.  I stroke her arms and legs and silky hair.  I rub her back.  I kiss her kicking little feet and dimpled hands and chubby cheeks.  Every morning around 5am you can find us snuggled on the couch under a big cozy blanket and these are some of my favorite moments of the whole day.  Everyone is asleep, the house is silent, and we are safe, warm, and together.  I block out the big, scary unknowns with that fact and for an hour or two, at least, that is all there is and that is enough.

(Taken this morning.)

April 2, 2012

Alone again or...

Yeah, said it's all right
I won't forget
All the times I've waited patiently for you
And you'll do just what you choose to do
And I will be alone again tonight my dear

Yeah, I heard a funny thing
Somebody said to me
You know that I could be in love with almost everyone
I think that people are
The greatest fun
And I will be alone again tonight my dear

* * *

The lost cause of words walks away with my nerves
'Cause I'm gay as a choir boy for you

* * *

You are so hot.
I would like to steal your digits
And I am so hung up on it
I would like to move away from it.

* * *

Don't stop, don't stop, don't stop
Talking to me

* * *

I want a bit part in your life.
A walk-on would be fine.
I just want a bit part in your life
(A bit part in your life)

I want a bit part in  your life
Rehearsing all the time
I just want a bit part in your life
(A bit part in your life)

Little more than a cameo
Nothing traumatic when I go

* * *

(You know who you are.)

With credits to Love, Two Gallants, Modest Mouse, Foster the People, and the Lemonheads, respectively.

March 26, 2012

Saying good-bye to breastfeeding

Nine days ago I became a new mother.

About this I am filled with happiness and fear and excitement and exhaustion and weepiness, but also with an emotion I did not expect:  intense grief.  Regarding breastfeeding.  Or my lack thereof.  Let me explain.

I assumed I would breastfeed my daughter, Sophia.  I've assumed since I was a little girl that I would one day do this for my child when I saw my mother breastfeeding my brothers.  I had visions of my child emerging from my body, wet and wriggling, and being placed upon my ample breasts already overflowing with milk and beginning to eat.  My motherly instincts would kick in as I held her to me and basked in the glow of fertility and womanhood. My assumption was so entrenched that while stocking up on baby necessities in the last few months, I didn't bother buying formula and a bunch of bottles:  my boobs would supply what I needed!  Baby feeding supplies?  Check and check. 

I heard people talk about how difficult breastfeeding is and I thought I had adequately braced myself.  I was ready to be patient with both my body and with Sophia.  I was ready for sore nipples and purchased lanolin ointment in preparation.  I bought expensive nursing bras after test-driving a couple.   I thought I was reasonably ready for the challenge.

I was wrong.

The first time I put my baby to my breast, I felt anxious anticipation.  Within a few seconds Sophia had figured out what was going on, and her little lips had eagerly enveloped my nipple and she began to suck.  I was thrilled!  My baby knew what to do, and soon when my milk "came in" from wherever it mysteriously was, I would be able to supply her with the food she needed.  Awash in motherly competence, I beamed with pride as the nurses in the Intensive Care Nursery (ICN) at UCSF exclaimed over how good her latch was and how well she sucked.

"You don't have to worry about those two," Nurse Sue knowlingly informed other nurses who worked in the ICN, "they're as good as anyone I've ever seen at breastfeeding."

Well, of course my child would figure it out quickly. She was her mother's daughter!  She was smart, and it was a sign of the overachievement to come.  She would be walking at 9 months and reading at  3 1/2 years.

These positive feelings lasted for approximately 48 hours.  While I was reflecting upon my good fortune that breastfeeding was practically in the bag, Sophia was being fed formula in a bottle with a nipple that was much easier to suck from and much more productive than mine and had grown impatient with our little suck-on-mom's-nipples-for-half-an-hour-to-get-colustrum-and-help-her-milk-come-in-BEFORE-you-can-eat song and dance.  Soon she preferred to go straight for the bottle when she was hungry.

Who could blame her?

But it felt awful.  At first I just felt a little let down and disappointed that my milk hadn't come in as quickly as I'd hoped.  But after a couple of feeding sessions' worth of watching my baby repeatedly make faces when she realized which nipple she was being given, I started to get upset in earnest.

I was reassured repeatedly by nurses.  This was not abnormal at all, they told me.  C-sections slow down the process, it was explained.  Premature babies may also slow down the process, I heard.  Just give it a couple more days and it will happen, I was promised.

A lactation consultant dropped by my room.  An electric, hospital-grade breast pump was delivered to my bedside so that I could get down to the business of hooking myself up to the machine and pumping every three hours.  The ICN pediatrician stopped by to offer breastfeeding tips.  Each time the nurses' shifts changed, I got advice from all of them all over again.  In front of a small, concerned audience, I was instructed how to "express" milk from my breasts and then subsequently failed to do so repeatedly.  Everyone around me was "Rah-rah-rah!" on the breastfeeding bandwagon and I felt left behind.

While everyone meant well, what it ultimately meant was that my every three hours feedings with my baby began to feel like work.  Work at which I was failing!  Along with other exhausted new mothers on the 15th floor, I shuffled zombie-like in my gown to the nursery around the clock, but I began to hate it. It was stressful and goal-oriented and frustrating.  When the telephone rang in my hospital room or my alarm went off signaling that it was time for the baby to eat, I groaned and cursed.

I felt dread about feeding my baby, and I started to cry every time it was time to feed her.

When I managed to survive another feeding, I went back to my room and fell into bed with relief, only to immediately begin eyeing the clock out of anxiety for the next feeding.

Eventually, my colustrum stopped showing up when I pumped.  It felt like I'd officially failed.  "Your negative emotions are probably affecting the process," I was informed.

Well, hell.

These feelings were not okay with me.  I started electing to skip the attempts to get my baby to suck from my own breasts and began going straight to the bottle when I fed her.  I wanted back the moments we had previously shared when Sophie had her belly full and we would rock in the chair together and snuggle.  My nursery breastfeeding boycott was very controversial.  Nurses confronted me while I was feeding my baby about why I was doing what I was doing.  Had I thought about the implications of this decision?  Her doctor came to talk to me.  A second and much-lauded lactation consultant was sent in to get to the bottom of my situation.  A social worker came to have a little heart-to-heart with me about my feelings.  One nurse took it upon herself to call the lactation specialists and inform them whenever I fed the baby without putting her to my breast so that they could call me on the phone in my room later and ask my why I hadn't put the baby to my breast at her last feeding--why was I stopping breastfeeding?  I felt spied on and harassed, and that was the last straw. 

I desperately wanted to take my baby and go home and away from the eyes of all the doctors and nurses and the other mothers breastfeeding in the nursery.  An identical electric breast pump was scheduled to be delivered to my house the day I brought the baby home.  I looked forward to my own private attempts to feed and bond with my baby.  Then an address mix-up and the approaching weekend delayed the delivery by several days.  Now, even my hopes of succeeding at home were fading away, and I felt miserable.  I cried my first night home when I desperately needed sleep to be ready for her next feeding and changing.  "I'm not going to be able to breastfeed our baby," I moaned to my partner.  "I feel like a bad mom."

The next morning Aurelia, a home care nurse, arrived at my house to give Sophie her first check-up.  She was kind and soft-spoken and filled with questions and advice.  I knew in advance I couldn't bear another conversation about breastfeeding, and I prepared to put on a brave face about how it was going.  We sat down in the living room with Sophie and my mother, and Aurelia got down to business.  "I'm hear to check the baby, of course," she said, "but I really want to start with asking you about breastfeeding."  I broke down into a weeping mess and blubbered out the whole situation to her.  Fat, hot tears rolled down my cheeks and I felt embarrassed, but there was nothing I can do to control them.  It was heart-wrenching.

Aurelia was caring and empathic.  She listened to my story and said, "You are not required to do this.  You did your best.  You gave your baby the colustrum that would give her the antibodies that she needed.  That's the most important part.  They are very pro-breastfeeding at UCSF and there's a lot of pressure.  You can't beat yourself up about this. You know, not breastfeeding is a choice, too."

This was a new idea.  I wasn't sure I liked it.

Aurelia kindly helped me by making the phone call necessary to track dow the wayward breastpump that was supposed to be delivered to me, and assured me that it was not too late.  "Your hormones are very active for a couple of weeks.  If you decide you want to breastfeed, there's still time."  My relief was incredible.

Today while laying with Sophia on the bed, one of the lactation consultants from UCSF called me to check in.  I felt my stress level rise immediately.  How was breastfeeding going? she wanted to know.  Have you tried this?  And that?  What about this combined with that?  Predictably, I started to cry.  I explained to her that I felt that the pressure around breastfeeding was affecting my bonding with Sophia.  She softened. 

"Honey, if it doesn't work it's not the end of the world.  She will still grow into a wonderful young woman.  She will still be happy and healthy.  When you feed her formula, hold her skin-to-skin.  Your baby deserves to feel you against her--she deserves that contact and so do you.  Stroke her arms and hands.  It will be fine.  If breastfeeding is not working then don't let it affect your relationship."

I was surprised by what I was hearing, but grateful.  This active breastfeeding proponent was assuring me it was okay if it didn't work for me, and that I had nothing to feel guilty about.  I started letting myself off the hook.

Tomorrow the breast pump is supposed to be delivered to my house.  I still plan to work on breastfeeding at my own pace.  I don't know if it will work.  It may have already slipped through my fingers, and that still hurts me.  But I no longer feel like a bad mom.

March 15, 2012

My/our temple

It is a very strange thing to find that your body has been taken over by another being.  And strange to be a container carrying precious cargo that everyone else has an opinion about and an interest in and my god they are going to let you know!

Before I was pregnant, when I needed mental health assistance it could be very, very difficult to get the help I needed.  Endless phone calls and waits and unreturned messages and frustration and confusion for which I just didn't have the energy.  So it was strange to become pregnant and suddenly find that everyone could not help me fast enough.  My baby's health and well-being are important enough to complete strangers that they want to bend over backwards (to the extent that their budgets allow) to connect me with services. 

Want to take a jewelry-making class with other moms-to-be?  Here's a pamphlet!

Care to try prenatal acupuncture?  Come to our free clinic!

Feel like you want support when you bring your newborn home?  Let us sign you up for a few visits from a home health nurse!

Compared to what I had gotten used to, it has been rather dazzling. 

I am trying to take advantage of every service and opportunity I can manage while it is available, especially now as I'm reaching the end and being pregnant has become very, very difficult.  I was aware that it might, but never would I have been able to imagine how.

At the beginning of my second pregnancy, I was warned that miscarriage, pregnancy, and birth can all being very challenging experiences for women who've experienced sexual trauma.  When I thought about it, it made sense.  I was glad to be warned and I filed this knowledge away with the idea that knowing was half the battle and now that I knew I would be fine.

How I was wrong.

(To be continued.)

March 8, 2012

Introducing...Dear Frijole

Did I mention I was having a baby? 

I've been discussing this topic elsewhere for privacy.  Now I'm ready to share.

February 11, 2012

Praise you

You have no idea I'm writing this.  In fact, it's entirely possible you'll never read it unless I purposefully send you to this blog entry.  We have been together nearly 1 3/4 years, and god knows we have had some turbulent times when I didn't think we could or would make it.  We are working so hard on our relationship because we love each other and we want to make it.  I try to make a point of telling you the things I appreciate about you, and here are some things that I am incredibly grateful for that you deserve to hear.  I probably couldn't say them aloud without my voice breaking.

1.  When I make something for you to eat, be it a can of soup or a stew I worked on for hours, you never fail to earnestly thank me for it.

2.  Every single day you are at work you call me to hear my voice, even just for a minute.

3.  You love my birdies and are good to them.

4.  Nearly every day you tell me that I am beautiful, even if I just woke up and I know perfectly well my hair is sticking out in all directions.

5.  After we lost our first baby and I was devastated, I was angry at everything.  Even when I was irrationally furious with you for having a healthy child when I did not, you didn't get mad at me.  You held me.

6.  You pour me a cup of coffee every morning even though I am perfectly capable of doing it myself.

7.  When you taste something delicious, your first reaction is to share it with me.

8.  You tell me your dreams when you wake up, and you listen to mine.

9.  Sometimes you fall asleep holding my hand.

10.  You never make me feel bad for the seemingly endless things I feel unable to do at the moment.  Instead, you reassure me and walk around all the things left undone.  This is a constant source of relief.

- end of sap -

The spotless mind

Joel: I can't see anything that I don't like about you.
Clementine: But you will! But you will. You know, you will think of things. And I'll get bored with you and feel trapped because that's what happens with me.
Joel: Okay.
Clementine: [pauses] Okay.

January 15, 2012

What Mrs. J's class saw

I still dream about my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. J.  She loved me because I was quiet and got good grades and made 100% on all my spelling tests that year.  But I hated her.  She got mad and lost her temper easily, and when she did she said nasty, mocking things to her students.  This volatility was an anxious kid like me's worst nightmare.

One of the students that Mrs. J's wrath was regularly directed to was Robbie V.  Robbie was a naughty boy who was usually causing trouble, but even worse was the fast that he smelled like mothballs.  The rumor around school was that Robbie's parents were mean to him and made him put his clothes in mothballs as punishment.  I have no idea what the actual situation was, but I identified with Robbie because my home life was unhappy, too.  I tried to be nice to him, and I didn't complain if I had to sit next to him at lunch like everyone else did.

One day in class, Mrs. J. was fed up with Robbie, and she placed his desk in front of hers so she could keep an eye on him.  She was in an exceptionally bad mood that day, and I watched her warily as I tried to draw as little attention to myself as possible. 

At one point she got so irritated that she said, "Robbie, you smell.  I'm sick of smelling mothballs.  Stand up."  Robbie slowly did as he was told.  Mrs. J. grabbed her can of Lysol off the bookshelf behind her, directed him to hold his arms up and turn around slowly, and then proceeded to spray him up and down. 

The class was surprised and looked around at each other for cues on what to do.  Some stifled giggles behind their hands clamped over their mouths.  I was horrified and started to cry.  I can still remember the look of shame and humiliation on Robbie's face as he stood in front of the class with his arms out.  And I still dream about it to this day.