I Am a Mother, Capital “M”

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This wasn’t in the pregnancy books, or in the sage advice from my mother.

I wasn’t told that mothering would be easy. I wasn’t coddled or given unrealistic optimism. Motherhood is ridiculously difficult. Despite my feminist inclinations, I still wanted to be a Mother, with a capital “M”. It was still the “single most important thing” I as an individual could give to the planet; the future. Or something along the same propaganda vein.

Being a Mother wasn’t a primal feeling, or a long, thought out decision-making process with the ones I loved. It was much simpler. I wanted it. Maybe because I wanted to guarantee I’d have someone caring for me when I was older, maybe because babies with all of their babbling and chubby cheeks are adorable. When I say it out loud it sounds like I wanted a glorified pet. But that’s what’s comforting in life, isn’t it? Someone you can care for and who can care for you, when the diaper-wearing role reverses down the long line of average modern life.

So it’s simple, I did this for me. Selfishly.

She has green eyes, like me, reddish blonde hair, like I wish I had, and she’s wittier than a lovechild of Tina Fey and Woody Allen. She’s mine, she’s me, but better.

It would be easy to blame my selfishness. To say my body rejected her because I chose to harbor another human life only so I’d have someone obligated to love me. It’s easy enough for my husband, who barely looks at me without sobbing painfully, to say that I killed our child, his child.

It’s harder to say that it happened because it happened.

I would just love to tag along with the rest of the world. Say that because I didn’t take the pregnancy part of motherhood as seriously as the actual live baby part I am to blame.

“I want to try again,” I say to my husband.

“The doctors said it’d take a miracle to make you a mother again,” he scoffs and takes a swig of gin before vacating the room once more, leaving me in solitary confinement.

I am never not going to be a Mother.

I am the one who decided to go out on New Year’s Eve, five months pregnant with our bundle of life. I did go to that friend of a friend of a friend’s apartment, sipping cautiously on wine while the clock counted down on the year and my well-being. I was supposed to have a mother’s sense, not to trust strangers and put all else before the bundle of cells growing inside of my womb.

But was I really supposed to have the knowledge that my friends would lead me into harm’s way? That there really are people in this world within close enough range of my person that fetishize pregnant women? That my predator had a friend who was just as mentally disturbed as he was? I was supposed to expect to be drugged, brutally raped at the back of a noisy party, and have no one come to my aid.

Funny enough that what excited my rapists most they stole from me. Maybe they didn’t want to share with anyone else.

According to my husband this was no random occurrence. “Everything happens for a reason,” we’re told over and over again. It’s supposed to be comforting. I am the least comfortable I have ever been. I summoned this upon me because I was selfish? It was my fault? This was no logical action of reason. But I don’t have the energy to say anything back. I died along with my offspring.

I close my eyes and hear, “Mama”. “Mama” in a way that suggests anything but familial love. A way that a mother should never have to hear.

If that’s justice I have lost all faith in humanity. Almost as quickly as my loved ones lost faith in me.

Sure, after I felt the sticky blood between my thighs I drank; months later I’m still drinking. Still holding on to that creature required to love me by birthright. Praying to the only god I have known, forgiveness.

I am tired, though. Of begging people to believe that I love my child. So I refuse to stare into their scathing eyes, searching for redemption. I know what I am bound to. I know she is still mine, that I am still her Mother.

I cannot be happy. But at least I can finally close my eyes against my inability to placate others, and cradle my perfect little chubby girl against my breast.

She is so beautiful when she sleeps.

Don’t Abuse the Power of Pretty

I’ve met plenty a pretty person, and I think it’s good for beautiful people to have confidence and don’t shirk away from their attractiveness. But there comes a point when knowing you’re pretty can turn into an abusive power.

The type of power abuse I’m referring to is commonly known as a “tease”, “heartbreaker”, or a “flirt”. These have feminine connotations, but I have met a fair share of handsome gentlemen with the same tendencies as beautiful women. These power abusers know they’re beautiful, enjoy it, and like to see others reactions to their beauty. Often times I’ve noticed that it becomes a bit of a game to them, seeing the opposite sex (or same sex queer) squirm. It is an incredibly powerful feeling to not have to do much other than exist and smile to make someone melt. And like all other powerful feelings, it can become addictive.

Look at how many I have on the line!

Look at how many I have on the line!

The opposite is also true of beautiful people; they can also not like to address their beauty or use it per se, because they are embarrassed by the attention or it or would feel entirely too conceited for them to acknowledge it in any way, shape, or form. I used to be this way. And yes, if someone asks me now if I think I am attractive, I say yes. It is an objective quality determined by any number of things including general cultural cues, independent preferences, and moods. But if I think I am an attractive individual, for whatever reason, I shouldn’t be embarrassed to acknowledge it. Anything else would be demeaning. There’s a difference between that and modesty.

Modesty is important. If you do think you’re attractive, don’t make a point of bringing it up to people, or rubbing it in their faces. Such attitude would be what is known as a “sore winner”. Confidence is great, but crossing the bridge into braggart territory is just harmful. The abuse of power I’m talking about is another harmful effect of being a sore winner in the game of beauty.

I had a friend once, who was off and on in a committed relationship with a guy for several years. I thought for sure they were destined to be married (turns out they were, they are now married.) But she would always attract the attention of other people, guys and lesbians alike. When she was single she would flirt and smile and offer her attentions to almost anyone, leading them to believe that she was really on their side and interested. She had many offers to become romantic with these other people, but she always declined and ended up returning to her steady flame. What bothered me most was that even whilst she was taken she would continue the flirting and sending “I’m really interested in you” vibes to these other people that were quite obviously interested in more than just her vague friendship. I told her once that I felt she was leading them on and that it wasn’t very nice. She just looked at me and said, “It’s fun.”

While it was fun for her to see how many callers she could get from both sexes, it wasn’t as fun for the people who thought they had made a genuine connection with her. What a surprise when all that alone time she spent doting on them turned out to be nothing more than a mild entertainment for her. It usually left them confused, upset, and very down on themselves. Being played with like a toy isn’t fun for the person standing in as the “toy”- no matter what Toy Story leads us to believe.

I try to be wary of this. I’ve gained confidence since high school, but I want to be responsible with it. As much as it sucks, beauty is power to an extent. If a guy I don’t feel romantically inclined to or even physically attracted to asks me to do something like sit in his lap or hang out one-on-one in a romantic setting I turn them down. Better to let them know immediately that it’s not what you’re into than to lead them along and play with their emotions. That is just cruel. And you never know, you may be distracting them from opportunities to meet the real person for them.

Late Night Writing

Why is it easier to write late at night?
Or in the very early morning.
After the sun has long vanished
But hours before light reappears.

Are rays of light penetrating
To my mind’s inner workings?
Am I paranoid
Or just damn tired?

The thoughts come slower
But more deliberately.
With certainty,
Justification, and purpose.

They creep upon me
Like facts I had been ignoring.
But by computer screen light and darkness
Their honesty is striking.

Did the words decide to play this late?
Or did I beg them to
Because it’s easier being truthful
When there’s no one to reveal the truth to.

Lifeling

She thought she was okay. The tears rushing down her face seemed to say otherwise.

Why won’t this let me be? Why won’t I let myself be? Clare thought to herself. She was always thinking to herself, speaking truths and half truths and outright lies. But who was there to check her? No one else heard the snide remarks, the reprimands, the pitiful whimpers.

Or did they?

She could never tell. But usually she told herself they didn’t, or didn’t care. As if her emotions were of any monumental concern to anyone else. Puh-lease bitch. She thought to herself once again. Why you?

There was definitely something wrong. NO! The thought charged forward. Don’t you FUCKING CRY….Again. The again dropped off as her eyes blurred, once again.

I’m a strong woman. She often told herself. I am a badass bitch come down from on high like the fucking hammer of Thor! But once the empty arrogance retreated to its tiny bitch haven in her brain the unbidden thoughts returned.

That’s how Clare knew the truths from the half truths and the lies. The truth reared its depression prone head whenever it damn well felt like sauntering up to consciousness. The confidence had to be fabricated and forced upon her thoughts. The empowering thoughts never came unbidden, they were sent for with envoys, banners, and entreaties. And they could only be disturbed to respond a small percentage of the time they were beckoned.

When the boasts didn’t answer a summon the truth only became stronger. Weakling. Clare usually got that one unbidden. You’ve lost the courage to speak to anyone but yourself. A vicious voice would often say. Well, hello then lovely. Fancy seeing you here. It would jest.

She would jest. She had to force herself to admit that all of the voices were actually her. I really am a bitch. That brought the first smile to her face for days.

If people had noticed her smile they probably would have stared in awe. Stand and bow, bitch.

She had the urge to buy a Butterfinger from the vending machine. Clare had some self control, I mean, she did send envoys to her own brain. That was the small shred of dignity she retained. It didn’t really make her feel dignified. But people complimented her on it. “You’re so healthy!” and “I wish I had the discipline to exercise like you do!” No one could say anything about her personality, so they used the only material given them: Clare’s legs. “Man I would kill for those legs!” Was a favorite.

In truth Clare only restrained from gluttondom because she wanted to punish herself. It was a perfect way to show you had control, moulding the parts of your body that could be altered without a scalpel. Now I just need to take up knifing, she thought. Then I’ll really be in control. What a sick fuck, she thought next. That was more accurate.

The only other time Clare felt any relief was when she was singing. Alone. No one else would hear that wailing. Only the walls of her shower and the confines of her car echoed back to her.

The water could drown her out. The car could stifle her bellowing, when her notes would suddenly shatter and her tears broke free. She could choke to herself, allow her recovery to come when it pleased.

She hardly ever wiped her face anymore. She let the wetness evaporate on its own. The streaks were another shield. No one would bother her with a salty face. Why get trapped into the sad sack saga of a complete stranger. It’s so much easier to go about your day with nothing but your blind ambition and sense of self importance guiding you.

There was one thing that truly cheered her. She knew how to be alone.

Not everyone can do that, be alone. Some take it as a sign that they’re not worthy of attention, that they drive people away. Clare on the other hand boasted about her aloneness. Never loneliness, she was not lonely. There is a difference.

Clare could while away the hours as well as a cat could. She identified with feline nature, independent, sassy, almost effortless in her daily happenings. She didn’t think that this was a bad habit. Who wouldn’t want to be able to entertain, or at least occupy, themselves for hours on end? Life went by slowly and quickly in the same instance, and Clare thought there was something to that. As if she had unlocked the key to life itself.

Well, she wouldn’t go that far. She still cried at random junctures without apparent cause. She couldn’t claim to be the advisory to the world, much less to any single sap who would listen to her.

She would often read; magazines, novels, non fiction, science journals, even instruction manuals. Sometimes she retained the information with startling clarity, and other times her eyes would just glaze over and she would enjoy the simple physical act of reading. She found people left her alone more often when she read in the public places she was required to visit. No one wants to be that dick that interrupts an intellectual act.

Other times she would stare out of her dusty window above her bed. Again, sometimes processing information with great focus and sometimes completely shutting out the world and all of its petty stimuluses.

What really got her through her emotion filled days was the fact that nothing mattered much. She would die, just as all would die. She would live, just as people were meant to live. She could comfortably couple with solitude for the rest of her days without impact.

In the end, she was nothing more than a speck of carbon living out its life sentence on earth. No matter what decisions she made she would always have an expiration date. There was an odd comfort in that, but a comfort all the same. Viva la insignificant! She smiled.

I’m Trapped in a Glass Case of Emotion

So I’ve been freaking myself out lately. I’m stressed about finishing stories, getting people to return my calls, emails and messenger pigeons, and personal life is not helping matters. I normally have such a good memory and now I’m starting to forget things. Blerggggggg.

I hate admitting to being overwhelmed, but I am. It seems like every other minute someone is demanding something from me. And I know they’re not demanding in a mean way, they just expect me to fulfill my obligations. But my obligations are smothering me. Work, school, family and friends all want a piece, but I only have so much to give. I’m out of my comfort zone and it’s terrifying.

All I want to do is watch Anchorman and take photos of my adorable dogs.

See? Adorable.

See? Adorable.

But sadly and gratefully I’m in college. I have to take my own measures of de-stressing to clear my head, or I will keep forgetting things and crying in random intervals because I’m not sure what else to do.

So today I went to Rockbridge State Park, and it was beautiful and serene for that half hour I spent there. Leaving wasn’t something I wanted to do. As I drove back into city limits the pressures returned to my shoulders and I think I physically hunched over more. I’ll try to stop being so negative. And whiny. It’s annoying.

Autumn time is the best time.

Autumn time is the best time.

Multimedia Woes

I like multimedia, it’s necessary for photojournalists to be able to create multimedia. However, I am not super technologically savvy. Especially with older technology. AKA the wack video camera Madalyne and I checked out for our multimedia project.

It required a tape, strike number one. Madalyne had to buy a pack of three for $14. Strike number two: We don’t know how or have the means to put it on our computer. Strike number three: It looks like the footage is damaged in some way. Did we tamper with the tape? Spill something on it or play football with it? No. It just doesn’t want to work. You’re out, wack camera with tape.

So this means we’ll have to re-interview our two subjects. We won’t be able to re-film that b-roll, but I took stills at the event, so it’ll have to do.

Woe is me, booo hooooo. I’m done crying now.

Derek said he is going to tell the Missourian to never check those cameras out to anyone again. Praise be.

Nothing Inspirational to Note

Not all weeks are fantabulous, even when you use words like fantabulous.

So no, today I may not find anything particularly inspiring, encouraging, or plain old good. But tomorrow and the days that follow will bring something else. Let’s just hope this is rock bottom, because honestly this kind of emotion doesn’t jive well with the need to finish classwork.

Here’s to a hopefully better and more productive tomorrow.

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