Monday, July 20, 2009

Ready to get off the rollercoaster

Perhaps if you read my blog you have noticed a bit of inconsistency. A little bit up one day, down the next. Ah, clinical depression and the drugs that fix/help/heal/? it.

I wrote a while ago about realizing that the medicine I was taking wasn't working anymore. I immediately went to my doctor who put me on a program to wean off my Effexor and start taking a new medicine, Pristiq. The thing is, according to my doc, Effexor is the most difficult pill on Earth (her words) to wean off. Ha, ha! I thought, I'll be fine.

And some days I'm great. And some days holy shit. I know that this will get better but jeez. I feel like I'm horribly hungover. I feel nauseous. But that really icky hungover/10 weeks pregnant (one or the other, not both) nauseous where the only thing that makes you feel better is to eat (which is really helping with the whole dieting thing).

I feel confused like I've never felt confused in my life. I walked around the grocery store in a complete fog. I couldn't really discern the difference between all the products. Even with my list in hand I felt unsure, confused and embarrassed like everyone could tell I didn't know what I was doing.

And the mood swings, oy vey. One second I'm laughing my head off, the next I'm yelling at R or chastising Maggie for not opening her mouth fast enough to take a bite. What a meanie I am.

I just want to be normal again and be done with this. How much longer?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Ignore the Wallpaper

When I was 17 or 18 and started having guy friends I started hearing stories about "psycho ex-girlfriends." Oh the things these girls did. And every story was always liberally sprinkled with accounts of how crazy this ex-girlfriend was. And being 17 I thought wow who knew there were so many psychos out there. And then I listened a little closer to the stories. Hmmm. . . you blew her off on her birthday to go a party without her and she got mad? Yes, what a psycho indeed.

And as I started dating I started noting the things I wasn't allowed to do if I wanted to avoid the dreaded psycho title. Let's see you can't get mad. Big one. No anger. Didn't you know only psychos get angry. So your guy lied to you about where he was going or blew you off or didn't return your calls. If you get angry, you're the psycho. So just laugh it off. Ha, ha, I don't mind. And if something is in your face at that very moment and you explode, oh dear. Every guy there (and every girl that is also trying to avoid said title, see: psycho) will attest to your psychosis. And when they retell the story, believe you me there will be no mention of the cheating or the lying or the disrespect. No, just that you blew up.

Society has really progressed if women don't even have to be threatened with actually being locked up (see: The Yellow Wallpaper) in the summer rental but just accused of being psycho is enough to keep us in line. But I digress.

When lightening strikes a person there is always an exit point as well as a entry point. You see the body cannot contain all that angry violent electricity and it must be released. Fury is no different. The fury that women endure must come out. And when you scare women into not releasing it as anger how does it come out? Well if anger is shouting and life is a library, we must turn our need to communicate into whispering or give up on communication.

Yes, the Stepford wife. Push it down. Never stop smiling. Take up a speed habit or fuck the gardener but try to keep up appearances. Carry your own weight by working full time and also take care of the kids and cook and clean. Why do you spend so much time online? Why do you relate to these women you can't see but can hear and don't relate to women you can see but can only hear the wah, wah, wah? Why doesn't someone else have to ask you these questions? Why are they in your head because you are so well trained that you self-regulate?

And for the things that must be communicated, there is always the whisper. The quiet sneaking pull of manipulation. If you cheat or lie or disrespect I'll laugh it off but I also might sleep with your best friend. Or casually mention that you aren't so great in bed. Or subtly suggest that you are weak or stupid or less than or whatever I know will hurt you the deepest. Push me and I'll push back. But of course then you'll tell everyone how evil and cold I am. But it'll take more than that to hurt me, I was only 16 the first time I was called a cold bitch and that was by my Dad.

And if it's evil and cold you want, oh I can do that. I know that role like the back of my hand. I know how to push down the worst pain and disrespect with a cold smile. And I know when tears will best serve what I want or need. I know how to inflict pain in all the right places. Yes, I know this role. So well that I'm quite sure my daughter will learn it too at my knee. My own precious Estella.

This is what makes my blood turn cold. My Maggie, my baby. I want to teach her to shout. Fuck inside voices, shout, my girl. Never whisper or give up.

But how do I teach what I cannot do? Learn. I will learn to stand up. Learn to be like Elaine who stopped whispering before we had gotten to high school and never looked back (even when her "friends," including me, tried to school her). Like my stepmom. I'll take the remedial classes that I somehow missed. Not only because I think my way is bad for me (it is) but because I don't ever want my baby to be like this. I always want her to take care of herself first. I want her to stand up and demand to be treated respectfully. I want her to know that it is ok to say no. I want her to shout.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Thing about R

First this post is totally a response to Becca who wrote a comment on my post about R being a commitment-phobe. (Becca, you have no email address on your page. How can I respond and tell you how great you are if I can't email you???)

So, R is an odd guy. (I just remembered that he told me he didn't want me to ever write about him on my blog. Hmm. . . I'm almost completely positive that he doesn't read it so. . . ) He loves me. He does. Sometimes he shows it in interesting ways but he does love me. He also sees us as being in an extremely committed relationship. He just doesn't know if it will last forever. He said to me, "How can I know how I'll feel in 10 years or 50?" Which almost exactly what my sister said to me right before she married her husband. Together we (me and Elaine) decided that you can't know but you have a pretty damn good idea and it feels ok and you go for it. Right? It's worked out well for Elaine so far.

But R doesn't know. Which leaves me a weird place. I say that if we didn't have Maggie I wouldn't put up with this but I don't know if that's true. This is what is so fucking confusing. On the one hand, I want to get married. It's important to me. But I realize that there is not so much difference in married life and living-together-committed-non-married life (at least I think). And R isn't so bad. He's silly. He dances a lot and then asks if I like what I see in a cheesy voice that always cracks me up.

In fact when we're together we're always laughing. It is really hard (although God knows I succeed when I need to) to be mad at R because he's so silly. He hammer dances. He bends over seductively :) in front of me. He bought like 5 pounds of candy so that he could sift through it to find the kind I like for Mother's Day. He crawls all over me in bed and refuses to let me read my book some nights because he needs attention. He calls me Mama Bear. He sings Who's that lady? occasionally for me. And that doesn't even cover our daughter, that he adores and plays with and hold and rocks and brings to me in the morning so I can nurse while I'm still waking up.

When I think about all of this it leaves me wondering why I would ever leave. Is a ceremony and marriage certificate worth missing out on hearing R sing,"Your my (clap, clap) la-dy!" I don't know. I really don't. Well that's not true. Tomorrow and the day after that, I don't know. But today I know.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Semantics

Dad: What's this on the floor?

Me: Water. Well, regurgitated water. . .

Dad: . . .

Warning: Ranting Ahead!!!

Although I'm super late to the game I have decided that I am going to put in my 2 (holy shit, there's no cents sign. who knew?) cents about the whole mommy wars/staying at home vs. working mom stuff. Why? Because I can. Because this is my blog.

I think the fact that are sides at all is fucking ridiculous. I mean seriously, you have one side saying mothers owe it to their children to stay home and be mothers and the other side saying we worked too goddamn hard getting out of the kitchen for you to go back of your own will. Why? Why are we fighting amongst ourselves? The whole idea of feminism was choice. It used to be that women's "choice" was to get married, pop out kids and raise them and take care of the house. Then feminism came along and said no more, if she wants to be an astronaut or a doctor then she can and will.

So now there's this huge deal about opting out. And I get it. I mean to someone who fought for women's rights and to liberate women from the home, I could see how it could seem like a waste. Like you free a caged monkey and then she goes back in. But here's the thing I'm not a caged monkey. I have a degree and a career and I would still rather give it up and stay home and raise my daughter (and all the other babies I want) and cook and clean and all that. Nothing has brought me more joy than my daughter and I want to give her the best. And the best thing I can give her is time. Time to tell how beautiful and smart she is. To show her that she is special and worth my time. To love her.

This mindset of being feminist means doing x, y and z is the problem. Like thinking men are the enemy so to be a real feminist you have to be a lesbian. Or you can't wear make-up or dresses. And you shouldn't love being a mother. Feminism is about leveling the playing field. The right to vote, the ERA, affirmative action, Discrimination act, etc. The point was to raise women to an equal status to men.

But to me all of this is irrelevant. I have to work outside the home. No one pays me to stay home and raise my kids. Ipso facto raising kids is worthless. Mmmm. . .

Follow me for a minute. I can stay home for a whopping 6 weeks of unpaid maternity leave (and getting this passed was a fucking miracle). There are very few programs that offer assistance in daycare and if you get that assistance it comes with a massive stigma. And what about insurance for kiddos? A child born with medical problems can be denied insurance and there's no safety net. No law saying someone must help this child.

And we fight amongst ourselves? Divide and conquer, eh? Call me a femi-nazi. Call me a socialist. Call me late for lunch. I'm just saying what's the real problem? Who's the real enemy?

And now that I'm good and riled (is that a word? is it spelled correctly? hmm. . . ) up I'm thinking about all the things that piss me off about the state (hah!) of this country and I'm getting tired thinking about all those things and how they never seem to get better and now I'm sad and I'm no longer in the mood to rant. So off I go. Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Is it just me?

I'm having an ethical/moral dilemma. R invited an old Air Force friend of his to come stay with us this weekend. He also has a wife and 3 kids. R was really close with him (Carlos) and his wife and is very excited. (As an aside while I was pregnant she had a not-even-pretending-to-hide-it affair and wanted to leave Carlos and their kids but I guess they've moved on.)

So R informs me that we are doing something silly on Saturday, what was it? Oh yeah we're going to Medival Times and he wants Maggie to spend the night with someone because we are going to go out after that. And what will we be doing with their 3 childrens (ages 13, 9 and 4)? The 13 year old is going to watch them.

Ok, I really don't want to judge anyone else's parenting but really? You're going to leave a 13 year old in charge of 2 little kids. And R told me they offered for their 13 year old (boy--not sure if that matters but still) to watch Maggie. My baby. My almost 10 month old baby. Not fucking likely.

So do I have right to say, Uh-uh, not in my house? Which is what I did. But now I'm sure they are going to be quite offended, which should make for a pleasant weekend. Am I way off base?

****
My Mom and stepdad, whom I love very much, are kinda crazy. And they have this big thing about synchronicity. Basically if you keep hearing something, the universe is trying to tell you something. When they first started talking about it I remember the thing they kept seeing was monkeys or something equally ridiculous. To this day I wonder what the fuck they made of that. Uh, we should take up sign language? No, we should climb trees. Mmmm, maybe it means we're totally batshit crazy.
Despite thinking this is ridiculous I always notice when there is synchronicity in my own life. So today on 2 different blogs there was talk of putting tampons in glasses of water to show their effectiveness. Definitely not normal blog chatter. Mmm, what could this mean? I'm going to start my period after over a year and a half (God, I hope not). I need to soak up something. This is a good way to teach kids about tampons. No, that can't be it cos this seems kinda weird. Oh, wait it reminds me of that scene in Kids where Casper puts the tampon in the Koolaid and sucks on it (yuk!). Ooh, I hope no one has AIDS. Ok, I got nothing.
****
Maggie has started doing this really great thing where when you stand up from the rocking chair to put her in her crib she starts screaming and crying. I love it. Cos what cuts to the core like your baby crying? Why does she do this? She only cries for a minute or two (Thank God) but still, it's the really serious crying. Like I poked her in the eye or something. Not that I've ever done that, but one can assume that being poked in the eye would cause much screaming and crying.

Monday, July 13, 2009

30 before 30

Inspired by Mighty Girl, but also needing a time limit, I have decided to create a list of 30 things I was to experience/achieve before I turn 30. Since I am 27 I don't have a ton of time and also R and I are planning on being rather broke for the next 3 years. Point being I can't include major travel plans like going to Greece and Italy. :( But there are many things I still would like to accomplish so here it is.


1. Hear my beautiful daughter say,"I love you, Mommy." Oh my goodness, that will be a great one.
2. Plant something and keep it alive. I'm not sure what, maybe some flowers or maybe food or spices (? is rosemary type stuff spices?).
3. Get back to my pre-pregnancy weight/fitness level. I do not believe that this is impossible.
4. Completely set up my house. Have furniture in the right places and everything is functional.
5. Paint every room in my house.
6. Get all new hardware for every room in my house.
7. Dance with R in public (dance lessons don't count).
8. Plan and throw a house party.
9. Plan and have a dinner party.
10. Throw a big wonderful happy 1st birthday party for Maggie.
11. Continue blogging even if I'm the only one reading it.
12. Take Maggie on 1 vacation per year.
13. Decorate my house for Christmas (I've never done it before.).
14. Learn one new activity per year (golfing, swimming, painting, etc.)
15. Change out all my light bulbs for the good energy-saving ones.
16. Pay off all credit card debt.
17. Go on a vacation with R.
18. Have a big city fancy schmancy hair stylist create a hair style I can wear with very minimal effort every day.
19. Sand, prime, paint, etc. a piece of furniture.
20. Make a plate for Maggie every year.
21. Put Maggie's plates on the high shelf thing.
22. Start making those stepping stones with Maggie's handprints, footprints on her first birthday.
23. Let go of old crap and have fun.
24. Have a compost pile. Or make one. Whatever the correct terminology is.
25. Create Christmas traditions for our family like watching certain Christmas movies, making cookies, singing carols.
26. Go out at least once every other month. This includes getting properly dressed, wearing make-up, drinking, laughing, having fun, etc.
27. Go on another sister vacation. Elaine and I have gone to Vegas twice and San Antonio once. We always have lots of fun.
28. Go on a road trip.
29. Join a mommy group and go at least once a month for a year. (ahhh!!! that makes me nervous.)
30. Join a book club and go at least once a month for a year.

Wow this was way harder than I thought. I have been writing this for a long time. When you know you can't do the big stuff (go to Paris, see the Great Wall) it makes it a lot harder. But here it is.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Hi, I'm Carrie. And you are. . .

I read somewhere, maybe at Notes from the Trenches, that the only difference between a blog and a newsletter is comments. So. . . I am requesting comments. Here. On this post. And/or all the other ones. Come on, Internet. I know people look at my sight. And yeah I know it's like 5 people, smartass, but still.

Hmm. . . it just occurred to me that calling a reader a mean name (like, say, for instance smartass, or something like that) and also in the same breath requesting something might not work out so well. (By the way, sorry about the whole smartass thing. I should be so lucky to get 5 comments. I see now that you were right and I was wrong. Not to mention, I mean seriously, what's so wrong with being a smartass. In the words of the little brother in Sixteen Candles (I HEART JAKE RYAN),"Would you prefer I were a dumbass?" So, I conclusion I am sorry about the smartass comment. Let's never fight again.)

Uh, where was I? Yes, yes, comments. Leave comments. I have noticed that, for me, it is much, much, much easier to leave a comment when I am answering a question. So:

1. Have you ever touched it?
2. If you answered Not Sure. . .

Ha! So funny! Get it? From Sixteen Candles? I love that. Like the most common answer to have you touched a penis is not sure. It might have been a penis but it also could have been an elbow. How great is that?

Ok, serious question:
(Drawing a blank. Thinking hard. Feeling stupid. This should be easy. Feeling panic-y. What if question is stupid? Uh, um, well. . . Hey, I know, thanks Sixteen Candles.)
1. What is your favorite 80s or 90s movie(s)?
2. Do you think it's harder to be an adult or a kid?

The second question is actually the reason I titled my blog what I did (re: Who knew this was the hard part?), which is a post all on its own (that I will write at some point).

Ok, at least one person (Elaine) must comment or I will feel very sad and pathetic (think eating by yourself at lunch in junior high-oh my god, I actually felt real and genuine pain just typing that) seeing as how I've written an entire post begging for comments.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

He's Just Not That Into You

So, R and I have been together for a year and half (not to mention the years when we were separated by 1,000 miles or so) and, of course, we have our daughter together. I feel like we should be discussing marriage. He disagrees. This puts me in a pretty bad spot.

When one half of a couple thinks they should take it to the next level and the other one doesn't want to talk about it there are only so many options. The first and most obvious is that this couple obviously aren't meant to be together and should go their separate ways. And if we didn't have Maggie I would definitely be in this camp. I have no desire to be boyfriend-girlfriend for 8 years. If we had decided we weren't getting married but we were committed then fine. But we both believe in marriage and want to eventually get married (to someone). So, the obvious question, how long should it take for someone to decide whether or not they want to marry someone?

I have a friend who was in a long-term on-again/off-again relationship for several years. Once while we were having some drinks he said to me,"I have never been head over heels in love with her. Is it wrong for me to want to be with someone that I feel that way about?" I guess he decided it either was wrong or just wasn't possible because a few years later they got married and have been married for almost 6 years. And, truly, how sad is that? She pushed and pushed for marriage and she got it, but at what cost? I don't want that for me. I don't want to have to push at all. If R doesn't want to marry me I want to leave and find someone else who will want to marry me. But how do I reconcile that with the fact that we have a daughter together?

My guess is that the answer is. . . well, there isn't one. (Picture me doing a big, slightly sad shrug.) If I won't leave because of our daughter then I guess that's that. And maybe when R goes and has a few drinks with his friends, he'll lament,"I've just never really been in love with Carrie. Is it wrong for me to want to be with someone I feel that way about?"

Monday, July 6, 2009

Meds Gone Wild

I realized last night that my anti-depressants aren't working anymore. And haven't been for a long time. This simply amazes me. How the fuck did I manage to miss this? I have struggled with depression and its ugly effects for as long as I can remember. How did I not notice the signs?

And now that I have realized this, I am noticing 2 distinct emotions: relief and all-out fear. Relief that, hopefully, a medication change can help. Fear that a medication change won't help. Just writing that makes by stomach turn and my chest tighten. This is my constant fear: What if the meds don't work? I know I can't beat depression on my own. Believe me. I tried for years. I tried everything I could think of and nothing worked. Why medication never occurred to me until I was 25, I'm not sure. But it did work. It worked until I got pregnant. Since then it's gotten less and less effective. I have no idea why.

And the fear creeps in. Will meds eventually stop working completely? Will I have to change meds and be in limbo trying various meds until I find a fit over and over? How many times? And these questions have no answer. Well maybe they do but I am afraid to ask someone who could tell me. I am afraid the answer is that meds can stop working. That they can need to be changed often. The thought of slipping back into depression now, when I have a daughter, a boyfriend, a home, a career, is terrifying beyond words. The thought that my own brain could rob me of my life. . . what else is there to say?

Depression is a beast. It is a cruel disease. When your brain turns on you, what is left? I no longer have the lifestyle my depression created for me. I used to live alone. I tried not to leave my house except to work. I minimized contact with people. I hid out. I didn't bathe or take care of myself. I just sat and zoned out. But medication fixed that. I became a person. I fell in love. I finished school and started a real job. I had a child and bought a home. If it came again what would I do?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Starting Out

I'm a teacher and at the end of school I was talking to the mother of one of my students. She was remembering back when her son was little and she and her husband had just bought their first house and they had everything in front of them.

Which is exactly where I am. Which is pretty cool. I have Maggie and R and we have our first house. Our whole life is in front of us. I look at Maggie sometimes and think she's going to be our oldest child. This little baby will be a big sister (I hope). It's such an amazing feeling. How often in life can you feel like you're on the right path and happy where you are and where you are going?

And it's also a little funny. When I was pregnant I literally started figuring out how old I would be when Maggie was 18. Like, how long do we have to do this. And now I imagine all the steps along the way. The themed birthday parties. The ballet classes. The other babies. The life we'll lead and the family we will be.

What to do?

Ok, so now that I'm a Mommy and I love it and think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread, I want more. Many more. Like as many as is possible and R can bear. But here's the hard part. First, I would like to adopt all the rest of our children. I did not like being pregnant and I am more than happy to skip that part and still have lots of babies. However, R does not want to adopt any children that won't look like us (ie white). When he first told me this I was completely shocked. I am fine with any color, sex, etc. and assumed that R would be the same. I even found out how the process goes and that once you are ready, you can have a baby within a few months. But the majority of these babies are not white.

When I first told R about all of this he told me that he did not want children of any other race than white. Let me tell you, I was shocked. I thought this guy I've known since I was 14 and love a whole lot is a freaking racist. How did I miss this? On top of this, he refused to discuss it. So I kept bugging him until he explained. It turns out that he is afraid that if we adopt children that don't look like us he will not be able to bond with the baby. This seems ridiculous to me but I'm not sure what I can do to change his mind. Or that I should even try. Which is a bummer but not the end of the world.

So since everyone and their damn dog wants white babies I don't think that's gonna happen. Although who knows? I've done a little research on this and found that it's not as hard as people tend to think. Also, not as expensive (which annoys me--why do I have to pay for a white baby but the state will practically pay me to take a minority baby--WHAT IS WRONG WITH US???). There are many, many ways to get the government to help out. One site said up to $19000 can be paid for in grants (?) or something, which leads me to the scary question, "Uh, how much does adoption cost?" Either way I guess this door is still somewhat open.

Then there is of course the old fashioned way. We have our own little babies. I am not a fan of this course of action. For starters I hated being pregnant (which sucked because I had always looked forward to it). I was super sick and fat and icky. No fun at all. It changed me in ways I didn't even realize until months after Maggie was born. Pregnancy completely changed my personality. I went from being a confident, self sufficient woman to a vulnerable, scared little pregnant lady. It was awful. I was constantly bawling in the bathtub and breaking up with R. My weight ballooned, I had absolutely NO sex drive at all. Like none. I hated my job, my coworkers, my students. I had no energy. I didn't clean or organize or, really, anything. I was in bed by no later than 8pm pretty much my entire pregnancy. And even when I was well rested I had no motivation to do anything but sit and read or stare out a window. And I didn't even realize how bad things were until a few months AFTER Maggie was born when I started to switch back. And I still have physical problems from the birth. I'm still losing the baby weight (oh God that makes me want to curl up in a ball and cry). I still have trouble remembering words (You know the word, the one that means blah, blah. No, no not that. . . you know um, like, uh. . . ) and I forget everything. People tell me things and they go right out of my mind. I'm constantly getting people mad at me because I told them I would do something and then forgot. Or didn't show up. Or double booked.

The point being I don't want to be pregnant again. I don't like these changes at all. We're talking about over a year of being this way. And at first I tried to tell myself that knowing these things would make another pregnancy easier but I'm not so sure that's true. Part of it maybe, like the irritation and vulnerability and the weight. These thing could maybe (and that's a big MAYBE) could be lessened by knowing that they are a byproduct of pregnancy and not necessarily real. But really I think I would have to deal with all the same shit again and I just don't know if I can do that.

So then what are my choices? I don't know. Maybe I should convince R to adopt no matter what by reminding him of the massive weight gain, the refusal to clean or organize, the sadness, the constant breaking up and demanding of counseling, the sleepiness, and (my Ace up the sleeve) the complete and utter lack of sex. I feel that this combination of reminders could help me get my babies and never have to be pregnant again.