I wrote this piece for Roxane’s LA book party at the Last Bookstore on August 18th. It was an incredible night — people were packed deep into the store, on every floor, sitting in corners, hidden between stacks of shelves — so many men and women who stayed the entire time, despite the intense heat from all those bodies waiting to hear Roxane speak. It was a blast. Thank you again to Roxane for inviting me. Roxane’s books are making all kinds of year-end lists, and it reminded me that I meant to post this here.
Oh, this is nice. I’m outside.
I’M OUTSIDE! WOO!
Yes, I’m outside, with my friend, like a real lady and I am going to have some lunch. A lunch date! Oh, I’m on a lunch date with my friend like I’m a real, live, normal person. This is fantastic.
She’s been talking. My friend is definitely talking right there. I should probably pay attention.
Man, it’s pretty outside. I forgot how nice life is when you’re around it. Look at all these people, just having lunch. Enjoying their day. People all look so pretty and happy and nice. These people all look so nice.
I hope the baby is napping.
Can she see my breast pads through this shirt? I hope I look okay. I am almost positive I remembered to put on deodorant before I left. I could check the app to see if the baby is still asleep, but —
NO. I will NOT check the app! This is MY TIME and there’s nothing I can do if the baby is awake anyway, because I’m way over here, enjoying my lunch with my friend like everybody else gets to do and I should do because I’m still a person.
“WHERE IS BABY?”
This is the text I get, several times a day now, from all over the country. Sometimes it pops up on a Facebook window. Sometimes it’s just a subject line of an empty email.
“WHERE IS BABY?”
As if I’ve hidden the child somewhere, confused Christmas for Easter and hidden this ripened egg under a rock in a field. Like I’m lying to them all and I’m waiting until Baby’s First Tooth before I spill any details.
My own mother asked today with sadness, “Will you tell me when you’re going to the hospital? … or do I just find out after the baby’s here?”
I know they are all asking out of love and excitement. It just cracks me up that it has been reduced to–
“WHERE IS BABY?”
Baby is still incubating, heavy enough now that my stomach rests on my legs when I’m sitting, making me feel like an exhausted bus driver.
Did you know you can have contractions for days and days and days that mimic labor but don’t turn into labor? Not these cute Braxton-Hicks things you hear about sometime, little “practice contractions” that can pop up at any point during your pregnancy. These are minute-long, full-on cramping, every ten minutes contractions that just stick around for ten or twelve hours until you finally fall asleep? Then they wake you up every few hours when a particularly strong one happens, and then the next day you just have them all day again? All the while your friends are texting–
“WHERE IS BABY?”
And you know exactly where Baby is, because your body has been trying to push the baby out since Thanksgiving.
This is just one of the things on my very long list titled: Things People Don’t Tell You About Being Pregnant Until You’re Pregnant, Which Is Just Way Too Fucking Late, If You Ask Me.
How’s everybody enjoying their holiday season? Already had a few teary fights and regrets? Having a lot of life-altering meditations and heart-to-hearts? Thinking about your life and what has happened to it? Determined to be able to see your feet again by this time next year? I hear ya, friend. I lift my non-alcoholic beer to you in solidarity.
I’m entering the final stretch of a very long period of time that has been my Visibly Pregnant season. It is exhausting — not just because of how pregnant I am — but because it has brought out in full force the You Should Be’s.
[AUDIO NOTE: I performed this piece this past weekend at Anna David's True Tales of Lust and Love (also starring Melissa Villasenor, Morgan Walsh, and Claire Titelman.) I highly recommend listening to this tale in all its mortifying glory -- it's better with the sound of an audience screech-laughing in horror. Here's the link to the recording of the show. (On iTunes here in the 11/12 show.) I'm the third story.]
[WARNING: This story is not for the squeamish.]
So I’m super pregnant. And with that comes all these horrible things. Like, I can’t feel my fingertips – haven’t been able to in weeks. It’s carpal tunnel, it apparently happens to pregnant women, and it’s shitty. My gums bleed when I brush my teeth, I’ve lost all the hair on my arms, I am down to one position in bed where I can sleep without my legs going numb, I’ve got this cold I’m not allowed to take anything for other than hot baths and pity parties, and there’s a parasite that lives inside of me that absorbs all of my nutrients. Or as my El Salvadorian housekeeper likes to say: “Your baby is stealing your beauty.”
* When I’m in a public restroom and a lady comes out of the stall, I really want to stop saying “Thank you” to her when I pass her on my way in. And I mean, I really thank her in a genuine way, every time. There is no need for this thank you. It’s not like I was about to pee my pants. If anything, all it does is draw attention to the fact that I’m about to use the toilet she just finished using. I will be in her “pee space,” as the mother of an ex-boyfriend of mine used to say when she’d scold him for using the bathroom before I did.
That has also stayed in my head forever, so I will now share it with you. She said when boys pee they stand in front of the toilet, and there’s a “stream of pee space” that is created that is exactly where my head goes when I sit down to pee right after him.
* I need to work on not being so obsessed with the pee space.
I don’t usually make resolutions for the New Year, maybe because it’s too easy to put off any big decision until December 31st. If I need to do something, I try to put it on my weekly to-do list so that it gets done. I also don’t usually tell you guys my plans to like, finally organize the bookshelf in the spare room or watch Felicity since it’s come up about sixteen times in the past month. These are things I can’t imagine you care to know.
However. I’ve found something I’d like to be held accountable to. It’s also something you might want to try as well. Because I think all of us, especially women and girls, will be better off with this resolution going forward.
I’m going to stop saying “sort of.”
“I had two female friends in my life before I started roller derby. Two. Now I have eighty. That’s a big deal.”
(This piece isn’t new, just new to me. It was nominated for a 2008 Sports Emmy for Outstanding Short Feature earlier this year.)