The honey heavy dew of slumber

For Cathy

I went to a meeting this morning, and because I was told to do this when I woke up at 29 years old suddenly sober, naked and terrified, I shared: I am in pain.

As it were, I’m not the only one. 

Living a sober life can be like sinking to the bottom of the ocean, a black, unknowable, blind pit, in a one-woman submarine, only there’s no release valve for the air pressure, so you go up and down in the water, you can’t see a thing besides what the dinky lamp attached to your craft shoots out, miserable and too small a light, and the pressure just builds. You want to open a window but it’d kill you. Gin is the window. 

So what you’re supposed to do is get on your knees and say, please god release this pressure so I can go help the next one-woman submarine who looks like she’s 5 minutes away from drinking the window. Or you meditate and learn to quietly tolerate the sensation of drowning. Lighten up, as they say.

And if you learn to stop obsessing over the fact that you’re alone in a tiny tin can in huge, unknowable, dark ocean, if you can shut up for long enough about how we’re all dying down here, maybe you notice a fish. Maybe it’s an ugly fish, and you curse at it’s weird lips like two stacked lumbar support pillows and it’s eyes which, due to bad placement (who invented these things?) can only see you with one eye at a time. Fuckface. It swims away and now there’s nothing but plankton, little flakes of white cascading in whirls and whooshes, directed by some kind of physics, I’m sure.

Another fish, less beautiful than the first.

And then you think, fuck, how can you guys stand it down here? This is terrible. It’s dark, it’s wet, it’s boring. The pressure is killing me. An ear pops.

More fish. A school! Numerous slimy silver bullets. Man, what I wouldn’t do for a Coors Light.

The way the light catches them, the little flares like stars on a space highway, it’s not bad. Groovy sci-fi stuff. A moment of grace punctures how sorry your feel for yourself, because suddenly: you’re there, you’re noticing what’s right in front of you, some mundane thing, numerous and circular and bigger than you. 

So you stare out your window and watch them move. After a minute they swim away again, and everything goes dark outside your one woman submarine. For this instant, you’re not so angry. The pain dissolves. Like everything else, it’s fleeting.

You glance down and notice a button. It says SURFACE.

It was always right there in front of you. 

You press it. Up you float.

You remember that you know how to swim. You move towards the light. 

There’s a prayer: It is in self-forgetting that one finds. You die all day to understand what it is to be alive. 

Lucky for us, nothing is solid. Not death, life, feeling, memory, truth, gin, fish, ocean, air. 

For my dear friend who is dying: thank you for showing me the SURFACE. Thank you for helping me find the light.


Why You Should Love Your Saggy Postpartum Skin

Nine months ago, I looked like this:

large and not in charge

large and not in charge

No, that’s not last years Halloween costume, where I stuck a beach ball under an assless hospital gown and pretending to be incubating quintuplets. That’s what I looked like when I was admitted to the hospital for induction, 41 and a half weeks pregnant, right before fifty hours of labor.

I gained about 60 pounds during my pregnancy, much to the horror of the medical professionals around me. A sonogram technician once told me based on my appearance alone that she was sure I had gestational diabetes (I didn’t). In my third trimester, my midwives advised me to stop eating carbs (which I responded to with hearty laughter and then ate a pizza). I was a giant pregnant lady and I gave birth to a giant baby.

Mostly, the weight has slowly come off, and without rigorous effort on my part. I find formal exercise remarkably unfun, and am also not going to not eat three donuts last Saturday when someone brings donuts to your house. I do eat a pretty healthy vegetarian diet, and I do take walks with Lucy because it puts her to sleep. I’m grateful to be back in a place where I can fit into my old clothes and not have to buy a bunch of new ones.

FullSizeRender (4)

The thing about losing weight postpartum is that it’s not like things just go back to where they were before. After a couple months of breastfeeding, my triple F boobs that could have served as flotation devices in a turbulent river completely deflated, morphing into a pair of 3 day old flapjacks. My butt got bigger (which actually, I’m fine with).

is that a boob fold?

is that a boob fold?

My stomach, never my crowning physical glory, droops sadly around the sides of my pants like a ziplock bag full of vanilla pudding. A fold of skin dangles above my bellybutton, presumably protecting it from linty intruders.

hey there

hey there

Despite not being a contender for this years’ Victoria Secret catalogue, I’ve come to appreciate my postpartum body, and feel more comfortable in my skin than I did even pre-pregnancy. This weird, lumpy body grew a tiny, autonomous person, someone who laughs, eats pieces of leaves off the floor, and squats when she farts. That’s a hell of a miracle.

Here’s why you should embrace your new, postpartum skin, too:

1. Winter is coming. And if you believe the not-at-all sensationalist media, it’s going to be a cold one. Save money on outerwear by wearing your layers underneath your skin!

2. Unconventional Storage. Use the folds to your advantage, by tucking away treats and toys for later. You never know when your baby will scream inexplicably and need to be bribed with food (it’s when you’re driving, working, or sleeping).

for example, these teething biscuits, which are not organic

for example, these teething biscuits, which are not organic

3. Your baby needs something to hold on to during airplane turbulence. Or breastfeeding, screaming jags, or when you become your baby’s personal climbing gym. Who knew the term “love handles” was literally a thing?

4. The 90’s are in. Just in case you still consider yourself to be above sweatsuits (I’m not), try on this fantastic current trend. Adopting a 90’s trend will grant you plenty of coverage for your midsection, and has the added bonus of making you look like an insane person who should not be approached. I once wore a side ponytail to Trader Joe’s and noticed a 67% decline in other customers asking my daughter “how old he was.”

via Popsugar

via Popsugar

5. You can’t be more The Best than you already are. Seriously. You made someone. And now you feed it, dress it, love it, and change it’s horrific diapers. There is nothing beyond “The Best,” which is what you already are.

What I Learned From Three Amazing Moms in Ten Very Long Days Across the USA

Last week, at 2:30 in the morning, I got up out of bed, packed a taxi up with an enormous suitcase, stroller, backpack, diaper bag, carseat, and a seven month old and left home for our first of five flights to four states in ten days.

Yes, I am fucking crazy.

I need a 10-year-long nap

I need a 10-year-long nap

I also now feel capable of doing basically anything, but not without the simultaneous experience of a month-long low-level panic attack and raging insomnia. I’ll accept the tradeoff, because even though I cried in the airport on the way to baggage claim after the last plane touched down through bad weather, I feel brave as hell.

There were a few reasons why I booked this trip four months ago, mainly to launch my very first business. I expected a crazy adventure, the excitement of sharing our new project with the world, the exhaustion, and the relief of home. I’m surprised, however, by the thing I keep thinking back on, the meatiest conclusion: I feel like I just returned from a corny but insightful Goldilocks-style pilgrimage to see how other mothers raise their babies, and how each of these styles fit into my own perception of motherhood.

Lu and I spent time with three other mothers on our trip. Here’s what we learned.

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