To my twenty-something self

I had a delayed adolescence in certain ways. I worked through various issues/traumas later on, and so it took me awhile to kind of “grow up.” It’s just how it was.

I found some old photos of myself. I was actually at the very end of my twenties in these photos: 29 to be exact. How did I think I was so ugly? And not good enough? That was a farce, a lie. Now, maybe yes, Maybe I look crappy and unpolished, but I looked great back then. Wonderful even for an average-looking person such as myself. It is amazing how one’s self esteem can just diminish reality. I think since the moment I turned 13 I have never been fully-confident. I cherish the confidence I had as a tween and a child. I wish I had that back. Somehow it seems like it will never materialize even though I am more confident than I have been.

I think there are too many choices and decisions right now that need to be made that are essentially making me feel like I am ripping myself apart.

I saw those pictures today and I thought how happy and free I looked even though I wasn’t. Everything can look so perfect on the outside but be so messed up on the inside.

Beauty fades but self-love does not. That’s got to be the cheesiest shit I have written to date, but it’s true.

 

Advertisements

I’m mommy and I know it: Why bitchiness prevails amongst mothers

Covers like the one on TIME magazine “Are you Mom enough?” spur anger and contention amongst even the mildest of people.

It made me think about why moms are so quick to attack each other. Sure, there are a few moms who aren’t like that–I try myself to see a person’s view and feelings when a mom shares a view or thought that is different than my own. I have friends who parent in a different way than myself, and I find that I learn something from them. I learn another perspective and sometimes another way to do things. I don’t always agree, but I don’t feel it is my place to tell someone what to do unless the person asks me. The fact is though–and let’s face it– 7 times out of 10 when you share a thought with another mom, that other mom is evaluating how “good” you are as a mom. If your thoughts and ideas are valid. If what you are doing makes sense.

“How can she do that?” “Why is she doing that?” “Well that didn’t work for us.” or “Eh that is interesting, maybe I should do that.” Would that work for us?.”

Even the most confident of mothers think this from time to time. They defend their views with staunch confidence, but deep down we all feel like maybe we are not mom enough sometimes. That’s why the whole article irritated everyone before  anyone even got past the cover page. 

It’s not an exact science, parenthood. Find one study that says one thing, and you are certain to find a study that says the exact opposite. None of us will really know if what we are doing truly “works” until our children grow up into adults, and even then, some “good” kids backslide.

We pick at each other because as women, we have less resources than men. We are paid less, valued less, promoted less, given less. We are dealing with a complicated time in which the old view that a mom should raise the kids is being juxtaposed with 2 other different views: women should work and fulfill their careers–a feminist stance that came into being probably around the 70’s/80’s and that the father should fulifill at least fifty percent of parenting alongside the mother. That moms are not the only moms.

Women are conflicted. We (not all of us) want to work and have goals, yet we don’t want to walk away from our children. We don’t want to work and instead stay home with our kids, yet we miss being who we once were. While men are now expected to be more involved in domestic life, they still don’t have the pressure. When a baby is born, people immediately ask if the mother will be home or not in some way or fashion. It is not unusual for a dad to be home, but it is not expected. When a baby is born, the dad is expected to work.

When we become mothers, we are born again into conflict. We are supposed to be everything. We cannot just be a mom or an employee or a chef. We must be everything, in most cases.

When you bring all this angst into the picture, it is clear to me why mothers fight each other. It’s as if to say, “See, I am good enough. I do it right. You do it wrong.”

If only we could gather together and support each other in our choices as diverse as they may be, we would have a better social/network/societal life. Think of it this way: when people get together to vote as a group, they are powerful. IF women chose to band together regardless of race/class/and sexual orientation, we would be an extremely dynamic and powerful political entity.  We would be happier.

It will probably never happen even though the old feminist in me can hope.

  I am grateful for the moms friends that I do have as I feel that they support me in what I do, even if it is different from what they are doing. They keep me sane!  Sadly though, I feel as if there are more moms who are bitchier than there are moms that are not. It is a little like high school, part deux.

Instead, the next time someone does something as a parent that I find different or maybe even wrong, I am going to ask myself (unless it is out-and -out abuse of course) how that person’s choice might be valuable to me or to someone.

How it might work instead of how it might not work.

Maybe if everyone did that, life would be easier.

Stand-up/Sit-down

When I used to do stand-up, my life was much different. Late night hours. Random bars/comedy clubs/colleges/dives. Sometimes I loved getting on stage and did what I could to get on stage. Other times, the idea of doing some shitty show at 2 in the morning to 5 tourists made me want to scream. It was a fun time– an unpredictable time, but it was also a time full of self-doubt, bad men, sexist pigs, and mentally ill people galore. I was depressed more often than not. I went into the “field,” left, and then came back again. The first time around, I really just threw my ideas into my act without a lot of organization as I was really just getting my feet wet. It was more like an experiment. I could talk about family or MTV or some random bad date. Nothing really gelled together as one. Sometimes a joke bombed or just didn’t quite work, and sometimes it really worked. The problem for me was as a female who felt unattractive (looking back I was much more attractive than I am now probably which may or may not be saying much), I was amongst a group of people in which there were few women, and many men. This for me was good, but mostly bad. Bad because I needed love and approval and the people I was around weren’t always with genuine intentions. I ended up leaving the field, only to come back about 2 years later, maybe a year.
Coming back was a good thing. I needed the time away to strengthen myself as a person.
I had spent a decent time working on writing at Columbia–was still a student– and my writing in general, had gotten better. This seeped into my comedy. I also thought about what I wanted to portray and wrote about things that meant more to me–family problems, past trauma, goals, dreams. Dark stuff. I feel like just before I left again, I was on to a particular writing style that could really work for me.
I left because I wanted a more stable life. If you really want to make it, you’ve got to be out late, travel to wherever…and that wasn’t exactly a life for someone who wanted to get married, finish college, and have a baby/babies.
I miss the stage, and I’ve already spoken to my husband about going back, which he is supportive of, once our kid/s are old enough to withstand a mom out late now and again. I will probably never pursue it enough to the point where “making it” is my goal, but I’d love to do a few dive bars, clubs, and stuff for fun. I think I have a lot more to say and I feel like I am a different person–hell I know I am.
I was a very unconfident, anxious, and depressed girl…who was easily swayed and dismayed by the fucked up men who ran the business…or who did comedy with me. There were a few nice guys in the business, no doubt, but there were many who weren’t. Now I’ve got motherhood to talk about. Family. Trauma. Marriage. Disappointments and triumphs. And even though I don’t need to be famous and am not driven to be a star, I feel like I have something to share and would get a lot from being up there in a new perspective. I don’t need the money–I just need the laughter. Even the dead silence when a joke doesn’t work. It is part of me and will never go away.

And it’s just a miracle

When people try to get pregnant, they don’t spend their time thinking about what could possibly go wrong with the pregnancy, how hard it might be, or how things might not go well for the baby. If we all thought that way, no one would reproduce. If we all really sat down and looked at odds/ facts/figures/ genetic possibilities…we’d never reproduce.

For some people simply conceiving is difficult. For others, being pregnant is difficult, sometimes even life-threatening. For an act that simply just takes one time to occur, it’s amazing how just one sperm and one egg meeting can create so much havoc.

People spend their days/hours figuring out how to get pregnant…how to give birth…how to get the baby to sleep/nap…how to get the baby to be independent, yet no one seems to ever focus on just simply savoring in the moment. The child. That baby.

I read a story today about a 6 month old baby girl losing her battle with spinal muscular atrophy. I bet her parents weren’t trying desperately to get her to sleep through the night already. I bet they also weren’t thinking about SMA when they were trying to get pregnant. We have so little control over what happens–other than good prenatal care and genetic tests…that in so many ways, we simply have to have faith when it comes to giving birth/conceiving a child.
When we were pregnant with our doodlebug, we got a call that there might be something seriously wrong with doodlebug…or possibly nothing at all. After a Fetal MRI, 2 hour ultrasound in which I was lying with my legs in the air and head down, and a fetal echocardiogram at CHOP, we were told that doodlebug looked beautiful.

I cried so hard and hugged the man who gave me the news. It was the worst day of my life. The two weeks leading up to the tests I cried every single day, even Christmas shopping. I tried not to, but it was hard.

I never thought this is what pregnancy would be like. When we left CHOP with the good news, I was overjoyed. We were overjoyed.

When I first got pregnant and could not eat anything, I was terrified of losing the pregnancy…and honestly scared I’d die. It sounds stupid, but starvation can kill someone. I never thought it would be so hard. I never thought that this was what it would be like.

I am sure that couple who lost their child did not imagine that this is what parenthood would be like.

I will spend every day enjoying my daughter’s dependency and attachment to me until she herself is ready to move ahead. I will relish every night, even the ones when she does not sleep. I may be tired. I may be cranky. I may complain sometimes. I may bitch when she starts the 2’s temper tantrums, but I will always relish this time with my daughter. I will always be grateful I am the parent of an alive, beautiful, healthy and smart little girl.

We were all miracles once. If we can start to respect life, both human and animal, what would our world be like?