So let's start right off with the good stuff: I'm officially 35 weeks along today and my evil spawn continues to marinate. After the whole saga with the hospital, this is positive news. I'm technically still threatening preterm labour, and in case you're interested, my annoyingly irritable uterus has been contracting every ten minutes or so for the past three weeks (super fun, you should definitely try it), but whatevs! The fetus is still pickling and that's what matters. I'm not worried anymore.
My apartment remains only semi-ready, but I'm making slow progress day by day. We built some shelves in a narrow closet in the former guest room/office (now baby room/guest room), and I've made some progress on the worst of the cleaning. I'm exhausted all the time, since even mild exertion (from say, walking, bending over to pick something up, or being alive, etc.) leaves me dizzy, and I'm also bored with being largely confined (I've barely left the apartment in weeks), but the good news is we've got a window AC up in here, so at least it's comfortable. And at least I can still work, since all my work really requires me to do is sit at my computer in my pyjamas. All in all, things are going well.
You know, I complained a lot about pregnancy in one of my hospital posts from a few weeks ago, but one thing I'm finding, especially since this whole complication, is that people can be really nice to you when you're pregnant. Yeah, annoying strangers are always touching you without your consent, old grannies give you obnoxious advice when you're trying to read your book on the bus in peace, friends you thought you could count on disappear while acquaintances you never liked much in the first place show up to share every condescending, fear-mongering anecdote in the universe. People treat you like an incubator instead of a human woman. But, despite all of that, other folks can be really really nice.
See this cute little baby outfit? It's a cardigan, a hat (or touque, specifically, because we're Canadian you know), and a set of wee booties. It's handmade from a cotton/acrylic/silk yarn. It's machine washable. It's pre-shrunk and pre-washed. It's seasonal and gender-neutral. And you know who hand knit it for my unknown spawn? A girl I knew in University who I haven't seen in approximately 15 years. (Thank you Rejeanne!)
We've had, maybe two interactions since I let Queen's, but she saw that I was pregnant because of a Facebook post, wrote me a congratulatory note, and then she mentioned that she'd like to knit something for the baby and asked what colours would I like, etc., and I was all 'Sure, sure, go ahead, any colours are fine, blah blah blah' not really expecting it to happen, because so often in life people say things, but actual follow through is way less common.*
But lo and behold, just a few weeks later, this little outfit arrived at my door all the way from Edmonton, perfectly executed, super soft, paired with a nice card. Amazing.
I could not have been more surprised. I mean, it was a really sweet thing to do. Wasn't it?
NOBODY does stuff like this. Nobody. Nathan keeps bringing it up because he can't believe it actually happened either. "I'm so touched!" he keeps saying. And "That is the nicest thing." He seems truly astonished. What does that mean about us? Are our friend-expectations too low at this point, or is this sort of kindness really as unusual as it feels?
One of the main things I've learned in pregnancy is that having expectations will likely lead to disappointment. Friends don't always do what you want them to. You land in the hospital and you're surprised because the people you expected to care don't, and other people do. Folks don't always react or act in the ways we might have hoped for. But there are these funny little moments, where people do the kinds of kind things you never expected and never asked for and it gives you a little boost when other things are a bit of a bummer. That's a pretty nice to thing to discover, right? And I guess it's true for life in general, and not just for pregnancy. People can be sweet. And when you're not expecting much, sweetness is that much sweeter.
*So often, we run into someone we used to know on the street or something and we go "we should have lunch" or "let's get together to catch up soon!" but rarely do such sentiments turn into actual meet ups. And that's okay. That's just how people are. Sometimes, the over-promising is a little extreme, however. I have a cousin who, beginning in 2004, kept announcing that she was going to give me a housewarming present of some kind. She must have mentioned it 15 times, nearly every time I saw her, over the course of years. Two apartments later, said present had never materialized (which was fine because I didn't actually want or need or ask for anything), but because she kept mentioning it, we had to do this weird little dance where I had to thank her profusely every time she mentioned it, as if the phantom present was a real thing. It was very odd.
This is the third and final instalment in the "I'm so fucking bored because I've been in the hospital" series. For part one (random musings) go here, for part two (ranting about pregnancy), go here. This particular instalment is all about the boring medical stuff and how I ended up here in the first place and what they did to me, etc. The series ends here because it's Friday and I am being discharged. Hooray!
So what the heck happened that landed me in the hospital for three days, eating delicious foods like the breakfast featured above? (Which, just FYI, I actually did enjoy.) I'm GONNA TELL YOU.
It was all very un-dramatic, to be honest. I woke up at 3am a few days ago and I couldn't get back to sleep. That happens to me sometimes. I had a little cold and wasn't feeling great, and I have sleepless nights on the reg, so it wasn't that concerning at first. I had one just a few days ago after a particularly distressing social interaction at a party. It's not unheard of for me. So I just filled the time watching old Law & Order SVU reruns and waiting to relax. Only, I couldn't relax. I felt ... odd. I had an OB appointment in the afternoon anyway, but once 10 am hit, I decided to just roll out early to see what was what.
Cut to one hour later and I was already waiting to be admitted to the high risk antenatal unit of my hospital, where I now am. It happened fast. My regular doc saw me fast and she was going on call at the hospital anyway so everything else happened fast too. The issue was/is that they thought I was TPTL (threatening preterm labour). No way to know for sure. There was just enough of a possibility that I MIGHT go into preterm labour to justify keeping me here for monitoring. Wah wah wah.
So yeah. Like I mentioned in the first instalment of this series, I spent most of that first day waiting in L&D triage, taking note of the other patients (including The Zombie Lady, Moaning -With Reason- Myrtle, and The Unnamed But Unfortunate Vomittess). Poor ladies.
I passed the time having various tests and slowly working my way through an absolutely inane out-of-date copy of O Magazine, which featured Oprah on the cover (obvs), decked out in enormous emeralds and an emerald-green velvet dress, while posed seductively next to an apparently benevolent, sleepy-eyed male lion. (Truth: She actually posed next to a man in a stuffed lion costume. They Photoshopped the real lion in later. Just one of the things I learned reading every page of that boring magazine.)
RIDICULOUS. But as I wasn't actually expecting to be hospitalized, it was all I had. Feast your eyes, my friends.
But you don't care about that. You clicked through to this instalment because you care about the medicine! You care about the tests! OKAY THEN. Well, here's how they went:
Urine Test: Fine. Done to check for stuff like UTIs/Bladder infections, which can cause labour cramps, I guess. Negative. No problem there.
Ultrasound: Fine. Decent movement (though I'd been noticing it less in the last couple of days.) Baby a good size. Cervix long and strong. Not unlike a man's peen. (PENIS JOKE.)
Betke-Kleihauer Blood Test: Fine. I think this checks if maternal and fetal blood have mixed at all. So it can tell you if you've got any bleeding in the uterus you might not have noticed, from the placenta detaching a little bit or something. I don't know. Doesn't matter. It was negative anyway. No blood mixing. All good.
Non-Stress Fetal Monitoring: They did this twice a day, every day I was here. It shows the baby's heart rate, baby's movements, my heart rate, and any uterine cramps, contractions or tightenings, and then spits the whole report out onto paper so you can see any patterns and trends. Surprisingly, this is where I didn't do so well. Even though they were mild, not what I would call painful at all, I WAS having "tightenings" and they were regular. So NOT Braxton Hicks, basically. Apparently, this was a concern. As soon as the staff doc glanced at the tracing, he was like, "Yep. Well, you're going to be here awhile. Not Braxton Hicks. See you tonight!" VERY UNEXPECTED. I mean, maybe that is silly, but I really didn't think anything was happening. I wasn't in pain. I just felt a little funny! I thought for sure they'd say "Nah. It's nothing. Gas, probably, you farty monster." And that they'd then just send me home. Not so!
Shows what I know, both about farts and about the uterus. (FART JOKE.)
Fetal Fibronectin Screening Test: Another issue. Mine was positive. Boo! Fetal Fibronectin is a protein that is like a sticky glue, from what I understand. Anyway, it leaks from where it's supposed to be and can be found behind/below the cervix if a preterm labour is likely (or rather, more likely) to occur. The test is sort of like a Pap, but more unpleasant. Hurts way more. I don't know why. Just another pregnancy evil, I guess. Anyway, they swab for it, and if you have it (and I did) then they say you are a bit likelier to go into labour sooner.
Anyway, all this boils down to the following: The results of the Fetal Fibronectin test and the Wee Contractions combined made them admit me and keep me for the last few days. They also decide to give me a steroid treatment that helps the baby's lungs develop if by chance it IS born in the next two days or so. It's not like an anabolic sports steroid in any way save one. Guess how they give it to you? As a series of two shots ... IN YOUR BUTT.
THAT'S RIGHT. I HAD TWO STEROID SHOTS, RIGHT IN THE BUTT. I AM BASICALLY JOSE CANSECO.* (*You know, I keep making this Jose Canseco joke, but nobody seems to appreciate it besides Nathan. Note to kids: If you are thinking you might want to get married one day, I suggest you seek out someone who appreciates your bad jokes. Even if your jokes are truly awful and have no punch line, like mine, just find someone who likes them. This is quite possibly the key to a happy marriage.)
Anyway. That's the whole deal! It's Friday now and the tightenings have decreased/stopped and they're springing me, so I'll be home really shortly. HOORAY! So far, I haven't gone into labour, and I'm not officially on bed rest. I'm just supposed to take it easy, not walk much, not lift anything, stay home, and chill. And indeed, when I do walk around, the tightenings start up again, so I guess I better listen. It sucks because there is a LOT to do at home. The apartment is a mess, the crib isn't built, The bathroom is filthy, and I have loads of crap to take to Goodwill, and so much laundry...
Whatever. I guess I'll just lay on the sofa like a queen and order Nathan around. Good thing he likes my jokes. (HE REALLY DOES, TOO. HE READ THIS LINE JUST NOW AND WAS LIKE "HAHA, THAT'S FUNNY!" EVEN THOUGH IT WASN'T, REALLY.)
I've actually enjoyed my time in the hospital. I expect everyone was extra nice to me, because my sister is a staff doc here and they all know her, so that was a perk. I think that's why I ended up in a nice, semi-private room, why I had a big window view, and why everyone was just super sweet to me. (Don't get me wrong, it's a good hospital and I'm sure the staff are nice to everybody, but I think they were probably EXTRA nice to me. I detected a little extra niceness. I'll take it!)
The whole experience, except for worrying about actual preterm labour, has been restful, like a holiday. I just lay around in my blue hospital gown, looking like a slug and listening to the baby. I couldn't do anything, so I didn't do anything, and I think that was positive. My nature is to do a million things at once, even though I haven't been feeling great for awhile. Even walking a kilometre to the Dollarama was tiring me out. I push myself too hard sometimes. So this little hospital sojourn was probably a good thing. I was actually supposed to be out of town this week, and that fell through, which was disappointing at first, but worked out for the best. Had I been in Owen Sound or something, this whole experience would have been a shit show.
Anyway, I better wake Nathan. He is sleeping in the chair beside my bed, where he's been, basically the whole time. I snapped a picture of him napping there yesterday, which I'll include below. He looks kind of stiff. Maybe he knew I was taking his picture. Haha. He is embarrassed by that Adidas shirt he was wearing (which he got for free, so don't judge him). Don't worry, I did send him home at night. It's not good to indulge a worry wart TOO much and I didn't see the need for him to sleep at the hospital when I was feeling fine.
He looks pretty cute, actually. Especially now that he's not in the Adidas shirt. (ZING!) Partners get their own wrist bands and can come and go at all hours. Not like regular visitors who get kicked out at 8pm. It's nice.
SO. Yeah. That's pretty much it. All is well and I am going home. The baby remains alive. I can tell, even though I'm off the monitors, because he/she/it has had hiccoughs for the past six minutes. Poor little weirdo fetus. I'm betting it's going to be cute. Cross your fingers that I don't find out for sure for at least a couple more weeks, though. 34 weeks is my minimum goal. (Can you hear me, baby? I know you can't read, but just in case you can tell what I'm thinking through some magic baby osmosis or something, here is my message to you: Stay in there for a little longer, please. Don't be an asshole.)
Anyway. All is well. Home soon. Series complete.
UPDATE: Sadly, as soon as I left the hospital, my contractions/tightenings/etc. got way worse again. So... now I'm kind of stuck on a sort of modified bed rest. NOT REAL BED REST, though. I don't think that's considered worthwhile science anymore. Now they just tell you to chill. Not lie down ALL the time, but take it pretty easy. No buts. Except my butt. Which is full of steroids. Just like Canseco's. Man, I am going to be bored. Send me emails or something, okay? I am going to need to be entertained.
This is part two in my "I'm so fucking bored because I've been in the hospital" series. For part one, go here. TL/DR: I am fine!
Look, I never wanted to be the sort of woman who talked a lot about, let along blogged about her pregnancy, but again, at the moment, I have nothing else to do besides think about pregnancy and sit here in a hospital bed, so what the hell. It's happening.
I'm going to tell you the truth now. I'm going to lay the truths on you. This is important because when it comes to pregnancy NO ONE WANTS TO TELL THE TRUTH. Everyone purports to want to tell the truth, but then they don't, or won't. They tell you a load of other stuff instead. And they say it all with this tone of superiority and authority, like they REALLY KNOW THINGS because they pushed one out once upon a time, or their sister did, or I don't know. It's crazy. It's all bullshit. They do not know stuff. Nobody really knows stuff! Even doctors don't really know stuff. More than half the time, they're guessing! When it comes to pregnancy, there is just too much to know. All this over-confident advice-giving know-it-all-ness is useless.
That's the truth.
Another truth about pregnancy is this: Pregnancy is ridiculous. It's gross and weird. And it's socially annoying, because everybody thinks they understand it and that your experience is going to be really similar to their experience, but ... don't bank on that. I mean, it might be, sure, because that does happen sometimes, but just don't expect it. Try not to expect anything. Expectations are not your friend. Repeat this to yourself: I have no idea. They have no idea. NOBODY HAS ANY IDEA.
You'd think, considering all of human history, we'd have a better grasp of how this really normal thing might go, but we don't. WE JUST DON'T. I think this is partly the fault of old-timey anti-women nonsense (Who can understand anything about those crazy vaginas!? Bros and Bro-Doctors 4 EVA!) and it's partly the fault of hormone rushes that make you forget how shit really went down (real science) and it's partly the fault of a cultural conspiracy of competition (make other people feel like shit so that you can feel better about yourself). Regardless, for whatever reason, we don't know a lot and yet we all act like we do, and that is nonsense. The truth is that pregnancy is just way more complex than any of that.
I know a few other pregnant folks IRL right now, and other than just being pregnant, we seem to have nothing in common. It's been really irritating. Really lonely. So much of my pregnancy experience hasn't lined up with expected norms, and so many "friends" haven't really been there for me, and that's been isolating. (A few people have been great. My pal who understands Graves disease has been great. My pal who I always said hated children has actually been wonderful. And my 25 year old Brother-In-Law has been like, my best pregnancy friend and supporter. Out of nowhere. So thanks, you guys.) Alas, many other people haven't really been interested. Worse, some have been actively terrible.
Just by way of example, here's one relatively small thing about my pregnancy that has been really strange, and that I never expected, and that has been impossible to talk about: I have gained no weight. No weight whatsoever. Zero pounds. Literally ZERO. Even now, pushing on toward eight months, I am still down from my starting weight. It is thyroid/thyroid medication related. CLEARLY. But even the doctors don't really understand it. They have admitted this. They have admitted their surprise. Still. It's a fact. It's happened this way. There's no denying it.
But let me guess... you don't believe me. Right? NOBODY BELIEVES ME. That's everyone's first instinct. The doctors didn't believe me at first either. They had to see the scale themselves. Other women don't believe me either. But even more importantly, if the subject comes up, and they do eventually believe me, other women get angry. They fucking hate me for this. And they're really bad at hiding it! Everyone is just so bitter and so hung up on their own pregnancy weight issues, they can't think about anything else. Everyone wants to tell you about how they gained 60 lbs, or 16lbs, or how they "got their body back" right away, or how it "took two years", or about how you'll definitely start packing it on in the end. But they don't know! Nobody knows! Nobody knows shit about this! That's what I'm trying to tell you! Shallow, terrible men talk about how "lucky" they are because their partners carried "perfect basketballs, just up front". SHUT UP, I want to say, but I don't.
It's been awful. No one ever wants to talk about what it's actually been like for me. Because my weight loss offends people, because it pushes too many jealousy buttons, I basically have to stay quiet about it.
Our fat phobic culture is so fucked up, everyone thinks weight gain, even in pregnancy, is evil. But it's not evil. It's normal and healthy and when it's not happening for you it's really fucking scary, and really fucking hard. You know what no weight gain has ACTUALLY been like? You know what is ACTUALLY means? It means I've been A) constantly terrified that my baby is not growing, and B) constantly worried that my baby already dead.
I've been (low-level) high-risk since the beginning of my pregnancy, because of the thyroid stuff and my advanced maternal age (haha), so I've had more appointments and more ultrasounds than most, and thank goodness, because the time in between each one has been so nerve wracking, especially with so few understanding friends around. And nothing is even wrong with me, really. There are so many women having seriously high risk complications right now, and I bet nobody gets that either. It's SO frustrating!
Worst for me is that I've had to stay quiet about something that has really been worrying me. The only thing other women want me to do is apologize. That's all they can handle. It is all our fucked up pregnancy culture wants to hear: I know! I'm so lucky! I'm sorry! Thanks be to Jesus that I didn't gain any weight! Aren't I lucky, lucky, lucky!?I KNOW. I KNOW. I AM SOOOOO BLESSED. YAY!
It's so fake and it's so maddening and I'm telling you right now: NO. NO. I AM NOT FUCKING LUCKY. In many other ways, yes, but not in this one. So fuck any and all of you who thought that, even for a fleeting second, and fuck any of you who tried to make me say it. Fuck you. Seriously.
And my eating disorder. Jesus. I mean, I'm doing well. I'm still "recovered" but man, pregnancy has been hard in that regard. STAYING recovered has been hard. It's been hard to have to listen to lecture after non-scientific lecture about "healthy eating". And it's been hard to have to report constantly on what I have been eating (normal stuff, thanks). It's been hard because I haven't had cravings and I haven't felt especially hungry (I must be lying, right?). It's been hard to have to monitor my weight at all, but that's what the medical community wants and if you're worried, you give into it because at least it's info, right? At least it's numbers. At least it's something. Only, I just wish someone had told me that those numbers, that info, might not mean anything at all. I really wish I'd known that before I was pregnant. That would have been nice. And I wish, I wish beyond all else, that I'd been allowed to talk about any of it without experiencing so much hostility coming back at me.
(The online community is great, don't get me wrong. God bless secret feminist groups and other safe spaces where we can speak about this stuff honestly. I just wish I had a bit of that in person, IRL, you know? As nice as my nice pals have been, very few people get this.)
So that's another really true thing about pregnancy: It can be really isolating, especially if you're experiencing something that other people might see as "weird" or something that might make other people jealous, or something that pushes other people's fucked up buttons and makes you hard to relate to. You might be lonely as a result. You heard it here first.
One bit of relief, the belly grew, even though I didn't overall. That was comforting.
The final truth about pregnancy that I want to impart is this: Many other parents (and many other pregnant people) ... suck. They suck. YOU MIGHT SUCK. Parents are the worst! Sorry, but you are. YOU PROBABLY ARE AND YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW IT.
Truth-bomb time: If you are thinking of becoming pregnant, here's what a lot of your social interactions are now going to consist of:
1) Endless tiresome conversations with older ladies whose experiences are both seriously embellished and 35+ years out of date. You will be peppered with anecdotal, irrelevant-to-you-and-your-actual-experience, Dr. Spock-type advice.
2) Endless tiresome convos with parents of your own (or near-to-your-own age) who can't stop talking about the misery of parenthood and who can't stop smugly telling you "you'll see" whenever you complain about anything real in your own life because nothing is worse than being a parent and they want, more than anything else, for you to be just as miserable as they are. They want you to know about how HARD their lives have been. They want your life to be hard too. But not just hard, hard in exactly the same way their lives have been hard since having a child. It's schadenfreude. Many other parents are awash with schadenfreude. It's gross.
And insane. It's insane! I am now convinced that nothing makes a person more smug than becoming a parent. Nothing makes a person think they know more. Nothing makes a person more condescending or more obtuse or more filled with superiority than having a child. Nothing makes a person less able to understand that actually other experiences and other life choices and other feelings (even the feelings of single, or childless people) still matter and are just as important as the experience of any parent in the universe. NOTHING.
It's an epidemic.
(IS THIS GOING TO HAPPEN TO ME? PLEASE SAY NO. I DON'T WANT TO JOIN YOUR RANKS, YOU SMUG BASTARDS. Please tell me if I get like this, everyone. Please.)
So that is another major truth about pregnancy that no one wants to be honest about: Lots of other parents are awful and if you aren't vigilant, you might become awful too.
TL/DR? PREGNANCY IS THE WEIRDEST FUCKING THING. OTHER PARENTS ARE AWFUL. EVERYTHING IS UNPREDICTABLE. THESE ARE FACTS.
But... look. I don't want to end on a bad note. Pregnancy is also lovely. I really mean that. It can be really lovely! Even though my experience has been kind of weird, and hard in some ways, and stressful in others, it's been nice in so many ways too.
I feel that tummy pride I never expected to feel. I lay my hands on it and feel happy. Nathan lays his hands on my tummy and it's adorable. It really is. He reads aloud to the baby -- endlessly boring Babar books -- and it's silly on one had, but also ... meaningful. Cheesy. But wonderful, too. It's that feeling that they show in the movies, but that I never really believed would happen in real life. Who knew?
And parts of pregnancy are peaceful and calming. It can help put things in perspective. I feel more together now that I did before. Even though in reality, my life is totally out of control.
Best of all, pregnancy has really has made me feel like righteous and powerful being. I'm all like Daaamn right I'm growing a HUMAN FUCKING LIFE UP IN HERE! I AM CLEARLY SUPERWOMAN! LOOK AT THIS BODY FUCKING BUILDING ANOTHER BODY. AMAZING.
There are all these good things happening too. That's all I really want to say in the end. And that's what you need to know. That good things can go hand and hand with the bad. That's what pregnancy REALLY is. When it's not disgusting and horrible, it's lovely. It a million different things and some other things as well. Don't let anybody tell you different. Your pregnancy is going to be yours and it's not going to line up perfectly with anybody else's. Everybody is going to talk endless shit at you and that is going to be overwhelming and annoying (or helpful and nice -- I don't know -- everyone is different!). You just have to do you and do your best not to worry. If it's awful, that's okay. If it's great, that's okay too. You just never know.
That's the true truth about pregnancy. It really is. It's complex as hell. Now you know. Don't say I never gave you anything.
Okay, part two DONE. Stay tuned for part three.
A note before we begin: For the last three days, I've been stuck in the hospital. I am okay. It's just pregnancy stuff (more on that later). It's been boring as hell. Luckily, there was decent wifi, and Nathan brought me my keyboard, so between that and my iPod, I was able to write some stuff. None of it is very good, but it filled some of the time and I had absolutely nothing else to do.
Said boring writing will now be converted into three blog posts. I'll put them up in a series right now. Here is what you can expect from each part, in case you don't want to wade through the whole slog of rambles. Note, for those interested in what actually happened, medically speaking, you'll probably want to head over to Part 3. That part will also contain at least one joke about Jose Canseco and butts! Tempting! I know.
In the Waiting Line, Series Contents:
Part 1: Musings -- Just rambly nonsense that tumbled out of my head in those long boring hours of hospital day one, when I had nothing to do but look out the window and at the tracing paper mountains. Boooooring.
Part 2: Fucking Pregnancy -- Ranty complaining about everything that is terrible about pregnancy, other pregnant women, and other parents in general. (Jesus, some of you people are insufferable.) But don't worry, I talk a little bit about the nice things, too. Pregnancy is a complicated beast. Don't let anyone tell you different.
Part 3: Jose Canseco's Butt -- Or how I ended up in the hospital, what happened, and all the medical stuff. Spoiler alert: I'm totally fine! Don't worry. (Or rather, don't celebrate, ENEMIES.)
HERE WE GO. PART 1: MUSINGS. (Probably the worst, most useless part of this whole rubbishy series.)
It might not look like it, but I have a pretty good view. From my hospital room, I mean. Yep. Hospitalized! Didn't you read the preface? I ALREADY TOLD YOU THIS. I am in the hospital! WOMP. But don't worry, while it sounds serious, but it isn't really. (Probably. I hope.) There's really no way to tell, but it's likely that everything will be fine.
I am "TPTL" or Threatening Preterm Labour. All it really means is that there have been some signs that I might go into labour soon. OR ... maybe not. The signs could also mean nothing and I might hold out for another 8 weeks like I'm supposed to. (Cross your fingers for at least two. Two more weeks would be AMAZING, statistics-wise.) I am currently 32 weeks, which isn't so bad. If it did happen, say, tomorrow, my baby would be a premie, and would head over to the NICU, but it would likely be completely fine in the long run, so all in all, no matter what, I am good shape. I'm just in the hospital. And I'm bored. out. of. my. mind. So read on if you want to know the sort of things I think about when I'm bored.
What was I saying? Oh yeah. I have a nice view. That's a good thing. I'm in a semi-private room, with no one in the other bed (sweet!), and the other bed has no view at all. If a lady does end up parked there, all she'll have to look at is her ugly* husband and a bland green wall. (*Or maybe her handsome husband! Or her non-husband baby daddy. Or her same-sex partner. Or her poly family. Or her second-best friend. Or Oprah. I have no idea. Ugly husband just seemed like the most likely scenario, but I admit, I don't know her life.)
Lost my train of thought again. SIGH. Hospital brain.
YEAH. So. I have a view. It is kind of a strange view. The windows have dots all over them, I guess to filter the light. And the venetian blinds are between two panes of glass, so you can't really open them all the way, which is annoying, but the windows themselves are big and that's nice. So what's strange about it? It's just really unfamiliar, this view. Here I am, fifteen stories up, getting a perspective on the city that feels completely alien. I can't make out any major landmarks. It's all just rooftops and treetops and towering incineration stacks that you'd think would be memorable, but aren't. There's a 'Where am I?' aspect to everything here that feels strange.
All is both known and unknown.
I swear, I could be almost anywhere. Cincinnati. Detroit. New York. Vancouver. Chicago. Even Paris. Even London. Even Mumbai. I've been to all those places, and as long as you're not parked above or adjacent to a well-known, movie-famous skyline, this is what those cities look like, too. Maybe this is what every city looks like.
There are other things things to consider. The light, for one. I only managed a couple hours of sleep last night, so I was up for the sunrise.* (*Parents who are now wanting to comment with some sort of "Oh ho ho! You'll see! This will be your WHOLE LIFE NOW." please desist, and read part two. I want to tell you how annoying you are.)
I've always liked the dawn of the day. (And I suffer from periodic insomnia, so I do see it on occasion.) Nonetheless, I associate it more with special occasions. First light means a vacation departure. First day of school. A sporting event. The relief that comes after an unpleasant illness of the night. So every dawn I see feels like a little trip into the past.
This morning called to mind September, 1998, my first day at Queen's. It brought the same light that I remember hitting the interstate in Wyoming, June of 2007. The buildings opposite were reflecting the EXACT blazing amber that filled my elementary school windows, track and field trials, May of 1989.
For me, every dawn is less itself than it is these other things. And maybe next time, it will be something else as well. It will be this view from the hospital, the day I thought I might have my baby, but didn't. One more memory in the pile.
A hospital, in some ways, is a bit like a hotel. (Okay, maybe that's pushing it. It's like ... a motel, but in a big city like this, in labour and delivery where most people aren't really sick, it's really not so bad.)
I know I'm being silly. All I really mean is that you're here at the hospital, and you've gone some place else. Its smells are the smells of Away-From-Home. I am in such good shape, I am actually enjoying it. I like the weird food (even though it's bad). I like the slightly rough linens and towels. They're so dry and crisp, trailing the vague scent of institutional detergent. Everything's so damn clean and I didn't have to wash any of it myself! Maybe that's pathetic, but I kind of love that feeling. It's a hotel feeling. Not unlike being on holiday.
I know this is a privilege. Feeling good, being 32 weeks, and not being too worried puts me way ahead of so many of the other women who are currently admitted here. In triage, while I was waiting for my test results and to see if I would be admitted, three different women cycled through the adjacent space -- one who vomited at least 15 times, another who moaned pitifully through every contraction (of which there were many), and a third who was clearly in so much pain, the only sounds she could make were exactly like those terrifying rattley rasps you hear from zombies on The Walking Dead.
Anyway! Here comes my terrifyingly gelatinous meal! It's some sort of ... stew? MYSTERY MEAT. I love it! See? If you really try, you can always make your own fun. (Sometimes.)
So signing off for now. Stay tuned for part two.
It's my birthday. I am 35 years old today. THE BLOG IS TEN. Believe it! We are both sailing into our twilight years, Internet people. We are riding the wind.
I always have trouble with these birthday posts. I feel like they are required, and yet, I'm always wholly uninspired. I never feel like I have anything to say.
I truly don't mind getting older. There are some sad things about this birthday, mostly related to the stuff I wrote about in my last post, but in general, aging is surprisingly enjoyable. (If I live to be REALLY old, I'll probably need to revise that opinion, but for now, I'm sticking with it.) And I'm lucky. I look young. Since I fail to enjoy so many little markers of privilege (not white, not thin) I'll take it, even though it's obviously a ridiculous thing to worry about. Still, it does allow me to make a lot of "old" jokes. Today's went like this: "I'm getting so old. I'm basically the Crypt Keeper at this point. In a few years, I'll probably be a ghost."
That's me. Super hilarious.
Anyway, one thing that's different this time around is that I have some news. It's been on the DL long enough, I think...
I'm pregnant. Knocked up. Harbouring a fugitive. Up the duff. In a delicate condition. BAKING. With child, as it were. (To compile this list, I Googled "euphemisms for pregnant", just so you know. Don't do it. It's stupid.) I'm about 6.5 months in and I haven't told that many people. So consider this your official notice. Additional info is available on this vaguely humorous website we made. It's entitled OUR PARASITIC SPAWN. What can I say? Being pregnant is some crazy ass nonsense. And I'm sure having an actual kid will be even worse. At the same time, there are so many people who want kids and haven't been able to have them, who have had traumatic pregnancy experiences, and who just don't want to hear about it, so it's not always easy to talk about. I've kept it quiet for a lot of reasons.
Nonetheless, congratulations ME, right? Chalkin' up another year. Growin' another human. Doin' all the shit. It's all happening. I guess that's all I have to say about that. If anybody needs me, I'll be eating cake.
The Game of Life image via
I used to think you could build your own family.
The idea of the urban clan loomed large for me. I saw it in my future -- a pack of pals that would sit around my dinner table at the holidays, closer to each other than we would be to the families we were born to. We'd care more. We'd share more. We'd trust more easily. The families we were saddled with might remain, because everyone has responsibilities, but our chosen family would be the one we'd love. Our chosen lives would be real. And then, I guess, I was hoping everything else wouldn't matter so much.
Around fourteen years ago, I was finishing up University and living briefly in England on a sort of exchange program. September 11th had recently terrified us, and as a result, intimacies in my tiny community developed quickly. (I think I've written about this before.) Friendships slipped into overdrive, with no effort at all. One of the friends I made was a pretty Californian blonde with an open heart and a fondness for tarot. She encouraged me to have my palms read. I can't remember much about it -- not where we went, not the woman who performed the act, if we even went anywhere at all or if the reading was performed by another student over breakfast in the cafeteria. I couldn't tell you the supposed length of my life-line, even if I wanted to. I remember only one thing about the experience and it is this: The person who read my palm told me that someday, I'd build my own family.
Biology wouldn't matter. History wouldn't matter. Make friends, she said, and they will be your home.
I believed it. I'm not a particularly superstitious or spiritual person, despite a Catholic b̶r̶a̶i̶n̶w̶a̶s̶h̶i̶n̶g̶ upbringing. Nonetheless, what she said sounded so true to me -- so perfectly doable. Silly, I know. Embarrassingly naive. But I was young. The new millennium hadn't yet defined itself and the new-agey 90s had yet to disappear into the distant past. It was easy to believe. And after all, wasn't her prediction already beginning to come true? Hadn't I just spent the majority of my university years living in a house with friends I was more attached to than I was to any of my actual cousins? Didn't I have a so-called best-friendship that had already spanned more than fifteen years? Wasn't I, at that very moment, feeling at home in England, surrounded by people who'd been strangers to me mere moments ago? These were the people who'd make up my clan. It had already started. It would only get bigger in time. I was relatively sure of this. The idea of making my own family felt right because it was what I wanted. It was what I was already striving for.
I've seen the occasional movie. Haven't you? In Hollywood, the myth of the urban family is usually attached to gay men: Rupert Evert as George in My Best Friend's Wedding. Robert Downey Jr. in Home for the Holidays. But if that's too hard to recall, don't worry, you know what I'm talking about. We've all seen Friends. That's what I wanted. It's what I thought I had. And I'm not sure I've experienced a more disappointing realization in my life than this one: The urban family doesn't really exist. Not for me, anyway.
I've written before about the fidelity of friendship -- about how important it is to me. I used to think it was this way for everyone -- that everyone cared as much as I did about the people we'd respectively chosen. What was the point of friendship, I wondered, if not fidelity? Friendships weren't sex. They weren't about fickle attraction. Friends weren't the stupid cards we were stupidly dealt. Friendship was about choice -- solid commitment for no reasons other than love and fun. Even as a child, I never took my problems home with me, never confided in my mother. If I needed something, I went to a friend and I expected them to come to me. I saved up my secrets for a select few. I invested in certain people in a way that was sometimes devastating. I empathized to the point of tears when a friend lost someone, was hurt, was sad. I felt what they felt. I made myself sick -- literally sick -- with worry over the problems of the people I loved the most. At work, I designated a friend as the recipient on my life insurance policy. I made plans for my yet unborn children: If something were to happen to me, who would get them? That same friend, of course. It was barely a question. What was the point of friendship, if not all that?
Who else can you count on? Not biology, certainly. Not those stupid cards you were stupidly dealt. I mean, within the last five years alone, members of my own family have threatened to sue me over a blog post, not to win, mind you, but for the express purpose of bankrupting me and making me miserable. "I'll make you poor for the rest of your life" was, I think, the exact threat. If I'd been invested in the idea of familial fidelity, I think this might have hurt more. Luckily, it's been a long time since I've counted on biology. This is, I think, I fairly normal impulse in our culture, particularly if you understand what it is to be disenfranchised at home.
Make friends, and they will be your home.
I put all my eggs in the friendship basket a long time ago.
In other words, I fucked up. I mean, Hello, Self! The idiom is 'DON'T put all your eggs in one basket.'
Don't. Not do.
Closeness wanes for a lot of reasons. I'm a grown up. I get it. People I never imagined losing have disappeared from my life as a result of a host of little factors I never thought to worry about. Partners have been found and some of those partners haven't liked me (or vice versa). Cross-country (and global) moves have made closeness more difficult. When I split with the boyfriend of my twenties, I couldn't stand the sight of him or of anything that reminded me of how foolish I'd been to stay with him, so I stepped away from anyone connected to him, and then, having behaved selfishly, I felt I couldn't go back. Babies were born and people got busy. This is all normal, all perhaps predictable. It's been harder to watch personalities change, to see friends stop caring about me for no defined reason. Regardless, watching the people I love step back has been, to expand on that metaphorical idiom I mentioned earlier, like watching the eggs in my little basket crack, one by one, for no good reason at all. The goodness leaks out and the things that are left are too sad to ponder. In every case, I've obsessed over how things have changed, why they've changed, and who is to blame. In some cases, I've wanted (and still want) answers. It is only when I look more closely at things that I realize that I already have the answers. They're just not satisfying. In fact, there's really only one answer. I cared a lot. They cared less. We're still friends. That's all. It's humiliating, but hardly sinister.
I've been stupid in a lot of ways, but in one way in particular -- in thinking and feeling a certain way, I assumed others were thinking and feeling similarly. It's a rookie mistake. A friend is not a mirror. So while I was investing in my urban family, I missed a few really salient truths. One major one is this: Everyone I'd chosen for my little friend basket already had a family. And not just a family -- a nice family. For a long time, I benefited from those relationships. I enjoyed being welcomed by warm mothers who weren't my own. I felt honoured to be invited to family birthday parties, cottages, christenings and weddings, even funerals. I never felt like an outsider. I felt adopted. I made too much of these things, clearly. I enjoyed those comforting mom-hugs a little too much. I read too much into kindnesses that weren't me-specific. And as a result, even the slightest lessening of affection has felt like a death. But to them? It's nothing. A return to what they had before. That random girl? That woman who was at so-and-sos wedding? They don't miss her. They don't miss me. Why would they? This hurts me, but it isn't their fault. They weren't to know.
It's not as though I've lost these people entirely. My friends are still around. Like I said, we're still friends (at least according to many people's definition). We're still going through the motions. Things aren't the same, but is that so bad? Still ... why? That's the thought that nags. WHY? WHY? WHY? It's in my nature to blame myself so I'm always wondering what I did wrong, what I might have done better. I can't figure it out. I know I've loved enough. I know that. It would not be possible for me to have invested in or been more available to my chosen family. I've been a fucking Super Friend. So it can't be that. It has to be something else. I cared more. I cared too much. They didn't. Is that all? Is that really all? I expected too much to begin with?
I keep trying to change my thinking. If a friend goes from calling every day to emailing twice a year, is that really such a bad thing? Is it worth being this hurt over? We're still friends. We're just not family.
I keep telling myself to get over it.
It isn't working.
I tried to build my own family, but I fucked it up. Maybe my mistake was believing it was possible in the first place. Maybe the urban family isn't really a thing. Or maybe I just chose the wrong people. I don't know.
I guess I'll start over. I'll do better this time.
This post was originally published on Ijeoma Oluo's "iamthisfat" Tumblr, May 22, 2015. Republished here for posterity.
This is how fat I am. Or rather, this is how fat I was three years ago, on my wedding day. I’ve been both significantly smaller and significantly larger, but this photo is not so far off from the size I am now, and more importantly, it accurately represents me at moment when I both felt fat and was fat, at least by many societal standards. (And even when I was thin, I felt fat. So this is an important distinction.)
I look happy in the photo. Is that the first thing you noticed? My happy smile? The truth is, I was happy. I was celebrating my marriage. But I can’t think about that. When I look at this picture, my happiness becomes so irrelevant, I can barely manage to consider it. Instead, the first thing I notice is my moon-pie face. The second is my upper arm. (I measured one once, years ago, and found that my relaxed right bicep had the same circumference as a friend’s leg. That’s hard to forget.) The third is this:
I am fat.
And that is the thought that echoes. It eclipses everything else. There are days when I say “I am fat” and I mean just that – that my body is bigger than your body, bigger than her body, bigger than my culture tells me I’m supposed to strive to be. It means boutiques don’t carry my size. It’s a hassle, but it’s not an indictment. It it is only what it is – nothing more. I am fat. It’s as easy as saying “I’m short” or “I am tall”. These are good days. There are days when I say “I am fat” but leave unsaid a secondary thought: “but at least I’m not that fat”. On these days, I am ashamed. Though I’ve learned enough to keep such thoughts to myself, I haven’t succeeded at banishing them entirely. They are vain thoughts, stupid and mean. I wish I was better.
On my worst days I say “I am fat” and I wrap up in that statement all of the other things fat has come to mean. I say it and all the other words so many people think when they hear the word “fat” rise into my mind. I say it and I watch the distaste flicker across my friends’ faces. They are thinking ‘fat = lazy, gross, smelly, stupid, evil’. They are thinking ‘fat = bad’. And I am too. They hate that I verbalized it because they know I’ve caught them out. They know I know what they’re thinking. This may seem like projection, but I don’t think it is. I’ve been thin. I remember how it was. People censor themselves now that I’m fat. They forget while I remember. So many folks seem to prefer the word “overweight” – have you noticed? It is a word that disgusts and infuriates me. (Over what weight, exactly?).
In protest, I’ve started to talk more about my fat, and about myself. I mention it often, and I refuse to use euphemisms. I am trying to teach people that it’s okay, that being fat is okay, that saying fat is okay, but it rarely works. I’m not much of a teacher. Suddenly, my friends are all a-flutter. “You’re not fat!” they cry. “You have such a nice smile!” Some just shake their heads, rejecting what I’ve said, uncomfortable with the fact that I’ve said it. This is supposed to be soothing. Looking at this photograph, one friend in particular noted, “Look at how happy you look. That’s all I see.” It is the first thing she said when she saw the picture. It is the only thing. If she hadn’t added the second bit, I might have believed her. As it is, her dishonesty galls me. After all, a man has mooed at me from a passing car. A lady in the supermarket has removed an item from my cart, saying “You don’t need this, sweetie.”
I know it’s polite to pretend, but I am fat, okay? It’s a fucking fact. It’s not a secret and it’s not a surprise and listening to people lie about it – though I know their intentions may be good – makes my palms tingle with a strange desire to slap. It makes me so angry.
And it has created a distance between me and the people I was close with when I was thin. I can’t forget how they used to lament their bodies in front of me, how they used to panic when they pushed into size six territory (never mind size sixteen; god forbid, twenty-six). These tiny women used to call their bodies (their thighs, their stomachs, their cankles, their arms) “disgusting” in my presence, and now they’re saying I’m not fat and that all they see is my smile? Spare me. The gulf between us is too big to leap. There are so many reasons for my body’s size. And then there are no reasons. My body just is, and I don't need a reason, right? When I can, I believe that. I let my Size Acceptance/Fat Activism freak flags fly.
But on most days, on regular days, I fail to live up to my own political standards. It’s so hard, in this world, with these people around me, to be as tough as I need to be. So often, I find myself obliquely apologizing for the way I look, for not wanting to walk into yet another store that won’t serve me, for whatever I’m eating at any given moment. I find myself explaining myself away, casually listing off the “reasons” for my fat body when I sense even the slightest judgement (so, all the time, since the judgement is constant) – this drug, and that drug, my thyroid disease, my eating disorder recovery, and blah, and blah, and blah. These reasons are real, but I wish I could shut up about them. My body doesn’t need a reason.
It doesn’t matter why I’m fat.
It doesn’t matter. IT DOESN’T MATTER.
The discrimination is real. The unfairness of the world is real. I don’t deserve it, but not because I have good “reasons” for being fat. No one deserves the boatloads of shit that the world can pile on us. That’s what matters. So why can’t I stop explaining? Look. Look there, in the last paragraph. I did it again. I listed my “reasons”. I snuck them in. The truth is this: I think I’m always trying to say, “This fat is not my fault.” As if “fault” matters. As if that is something I should spend even a millisecond worrying about. I want to be a “no apologies” type of person, but I guess I’m not there yet. I worry I won’t get there. This worry has replaced all my old worries about wanting to be smaller. Maybe this is small comfort, but it feels like progress.
To return to the photograph, yes, I was happy. I was happy in that moment, but it doesn’t make me happy now. Looking at this photograph makes me sad. It makes me anxious. Still, I keep it up. I allow it to remain tagged on Facebook. I let it exist because I figure it won’t hurt to fake it until my dark heart finally catches up with my brain and my mouth stops spouting reasons. I guess I’m just testing myself. I’m testing everyone else, too. I need to know if I can trust you. This photo says one thing louder than all other things and it says it in a way that I can’t always manage succinctly in my actual life, with my actual mouth. It says, This is how fat I am.
– Jen Selk (www.jenselk.com)
You what's really come a long way? The internet. Every year, I look online for old punny Valentine's Day cards, and the pickings used to be slim, but man ... things have changed.
That's true about everything on the web, I guess. There's just so much MORE available now. Exponentially more. I think back to things I searched for about 10 years ago and how I'd get excited to find one or two helpful things, and how those same searches now turn up so much more information. It's pretty great.
So what better way to use this abundance than on old, punny Valentine's Day cards, right? WHAT BETTER WAY. Here are 10 that I particularly enjoyed. (God, I love this stuff.)
I know this one is a little small/unclear, but it seems perfect considering this whole mess the anti-vaxxers have created.
I don't make New Year's resolutions any more. Haven't for a long time. If you know me, you probably know that. There were a few years when I pretending I'd stopped, but was really quietly pressing my eyes shut on January 1st and mentally laying out a few "sincere intentions", but in recent years I haven't bothered with such nonsense. I am who I am. If I'm going to change something, I'll change it, regardless of the date. And if it's not in my nature, it's not going to happen, no matter when I start trying or how "sincere" my so-called intentions.
New Year's has finally become just another day for me. (NYE is a boondoggle, but never mind that.)
Or ... has it? It's hard to shake all those years of socialization. It's been harder than expected to completely slough off that desire to be born anew.
I guess all that resolution energy needs to go somewhere, so I tend to find myself tidying at this time of year. New Year's Cleaning, let's call it.
I tackle all the usual suspects. The dust. The clothes that don't fit. (They never do. I'm a fat lady again, requiring another huge wardrobe change and several Goodwill trips. I'll probably have to do the same again in six months when I get either bigger or smaller. Irritating.) I have shelved the mysteriously- and constantly-multiplying books and sorted out my desktop and backups (finally). And I have culled my "friends". Is that harsh? To categorize friendships in the same was as I do books and clothes? Probably, but I do it anyway. I've written (on the blog) about this pretty extensively before -- about my preoccupation with the end of friendships and when and if it's right to let thing die. Click the "Friends and Foes" tag on the right and many examples will appear. So to some extent, I am probably repeating myself, but nonetheless, this is a perennial topic of interest for me, so I can hardly help it.
I am always actively culling people, online in particular. I have a longer block list than Nathan has actual Facebook friends, and I'm fine with that. Facebook isn't about strangers for me. It's about real people I actually know -- maybe only in passing, sure (I have acquaintances and elementary school cronies on there, just like the next person) -- but it's primarily about people I like and people who, even if we don't talk much, I feel comfortable letting in to some extent. And for me, just like in real life, if I feel like the relationship is entirely one-sided, or like I'm the only person who brings anything to the table, I don't see the point. I don't see the point of a hollow friendship. You know what a hollow friendship sends back at you? Echos. That's it.
Friendships can be delicate little flames, yes, but is it so hard to keep them going? Especially when you interact primarily online? It's not exactly a lot of work. And if it feels like it is a lot of work, is the friendship even worth it?
I think of my tendency to cull as harsh, but fair. I have a system. It's not just arbitrary. If I have fond feelings for someone, but am feeling distance or pointlessness, I first try to make things better, and if we don't really interact beyond the occasional "like" or comment, that might be fine, just so long as I continue to feel positively towards said person and just so long as I feel like the relationship is relatively equitable. If I feel, however, that a close online friendship has withered, or as though I am at all resentful, I start a little process to test the waters. (This is the fair part.) And then, depending on how it goes, I either feel better and the friendship is renewed, at whatever level seems right, or I feel the same and/or shitty so I cut it off. I delete. I block. Goodbye. That's it. (This is the harsh part.)
As 2014 fell away, I initiated this process several times and things went both ways. I wrote a message to a woman I haven't seen since I was a student in 2001, and her response, while not overly-familiar or friendly was warm enough and balanced enough that I was left feeling like we were on the same page. We don't really interact, but remain Facebook friends. Win.
I sent an email to a woman who was once a very close friend (she's not on FB), but whom I rarely talk to and she replied with a very short message, but one that nonetheless felt authentic. We still don't talk. She lives far away, in California. She's busy with a new baby and a demanding job. I haven't seen her since 2008. But we're okay. I think we're still friends. There are physical and practical barriers that limit our closeness right now, but no resentment. Win.
On the flip side, I sent a former coworker (someone who I felt quite close to at a pretty pivotal time in my mid-twenties, but haven't talked with in a long time) a warm and friendly message about wanting to reconnect. After a couple of weeks, I could see that she'd read it, but hadn't replied. A deeper look told me that, in fact, she hadn't replied to anything from me since 2011, despite behaving normally and positively up to that point. I have no idea what happened, but regardless, I deleted her. We're clearly not friends any more. Loss.
Just a few days ago, I tossed a line to a man I used to know when I lived in Vancouver. He was one of the few people I met on my own -- not through my ex, not because of university. Between 2004 and 2007, I felt like we had something real. We connected. We exchanged long emails. We met for coffee and lunches. He talked to me about his plan to propose to his girlfriend before it happened. I was at his engagement party. I knew what was going on with his work. We were, I think (or rather, thought) true friends. But then I wasn't invited to his wedding. Okay. No problem. It was in Australia. I couldn't have gone. Nonetheless, it felt a little strange. We kept talking a bit, at least online, as he moved across the planet. The talking stopped late that same year. I sent the last message. It was relatively long. He never responded. And for the seven years that followed, we existed only as "friends" on Facebook. I watched as he had children, moved to yet another country, got a big-time job with a big-time company, posted photos of the his-and-hers luxury cars he bought (clearly we had less and less in common), but we didn't interact. No likes. No comments. Nothing. (At least not from his end. I tried for awhile, but tapered off in embarrassment when my efforts weren't reciprocated.) And slowly, I started to feel resentful. So I started my process. I went something like this: "Hey! It's been such a long time. Seems like you're doing amazingly well. Wanted to say hi -- test the waters, that sort of thing. How are you?"
He replied with one-liners. "Hi," he said. "Yes, it's been a long time. I'm doing fine. You?" I pressed on. I didn't ask a million questions, but I did leave a couple of short, nostalgic comments meant to open the door and to give him the opportunity to tell me something, anything, real. I mean, after all these silent years, I was hardly going to chase him a full speed shouting, "Be my friend! Be my friend!" Not after I had sent the last, ignored message. So I was subdued, but I made the effort to start the conversation. (I so often find it's left to me to do this sort of work, but I do it, because it's what I can do. At the same time, it is sometimes a source resentment.)
He didn't engage. He didn't tell me anything. All he sent back was a sticker. A Facebook "thumbs up" sticker. No actual words. Nothing real. What was I supposed to do with that? What was I supposed to say? "Haha," I wrote. "A thumbs up sticker." Pretty depressing, really. I guess those will be our last "words" to each other. At the same time, if there's nothing there, there's nothing to fight for, right?
It felt to me that the message he'd wanted to convey had been received. That sticker (and only that sticker) was what our once-upon-a-time friendship was worth to him. And frankly, I have a little pride. I'm not going to beg. We're just not friends anymore, so ... bye. Another loss.
Not with a bang, but with a whimper, right?* I don't think that is how the world ends, but it's certainly how some friendships do. It makes me sad, but it's possible that it's for the best. That's what I tell myself. If I cling to things that don't matter, or to people who don't care about me, I won't have any energy for the things that do or the people who might.
And the good news is, here we are in a new year and things feel tidy. I feel like there's more space in the world for the good, and that feels better than any resolution.
*Yes, yes. I know these Eliot references don't really apply. I do have more than one English degree, you know. I'm using them anyway. It's just a blog. For effect. Geeze.
Jen Selk Speaks is the personal blog of ... you guessed it - Jen Selk! Random musings, self-indulgent rants, tmi moments, whatever your voyeristic pleasure, you'll find it here (within reason). Once in awhile, the blog may even contain something substantive.