I shared a post to the facebooks the other day that went a little something like this:
”Got the guilts.
Haven’t been walking my miles like I had been.
Haven’t been doin my morning preggo yoga.
Been enjoying the sugar and the bread.
Haven’t gotten to the post office, the store, the consignment place, or the art shows.
Flaked on more plans than I’ve kept.
All I wanna do is sleep and vegetate and bathe and feel time pass so I can hang out with this tiny dictator, new bff, ball of leaking smoosh, and have this new mom job already.
Ambitious and restless meets ever expanding burning flesh body of winded catharsis means total body disconnect.
Thanks for being my friends still, friends.”
The overwhelming response was that of comfort in the shape of well wishes and “don’t be concerned’s” and alla that is just about being third trimester pregnant. A lot of “listen to your body” and such.
Good advice, love my friends, and yes.
....but.... but... how do I do that?
Except mixed signals. That’s the problem.
The Body is all:
...so it feels like one big organ-ized argument happening inside me all the time.
Anxiousness met with sedation,
heartburn met with spicy pickle cravings,
backaches met with desire to hike,
and nine weeks left to be amazed, befuddled, humbled, and confused. By the time I figure out which part of me I should listen to and when, Nugget is gonna be out and about, serving up cuteness and diapers the likes of which shall bring chaos to my household. I'll be battling hormone drop, baby blues, and bloody diapers of my own.
As for the past week and I'm sure the coming weeks... I don't wanna leave my house, I don't wanna go anywhere, I don't wanna do much, and I don't wanna see anyone. Other preggo mamas tell me (and sourced me) that's a sign of nesting.
"One of the few formal studies, conducted in 2013, found that pregnant women spend more time cleaning and organizing their home than women who aren't pregnant. They're also more selective about the company they keep and more likely to prefer sticking close to home." (link)
But with this internal cocktail of hormones and prozac, I have no idea how to find the root of anything happening inside me anymore.
I have a few theories though... mystical maybe's that might explain the why's.
Why don't I want to go for walks in the chilly sunshine?
(Maybe it's because I'm so over thinking about my life and my failed relationship that I literally can't take anymore so my bodily instinct of emotional self-preservation is taking over?)
But what about a short stroll with friends?
(Maybe because the Nugget Cave feels like a goddamn cannonball in my upper pussy area and every step I take is met by furious gravity?)
Why don't you want people over to comfort and celebrate and socialize?
(Maybe because the flu epidemic is insane and I can only apply hand sanitizer so many times before my flesh falls off)
What about yoga and practicing some of that hypnobirthing meditation?
(It makes me sleepy... and if I sleep in the day I can't sleep at night... and if I can't sleep at night all I do is toss and turn and get up to pee and binge watch Planet Earth II and Gilmore Girls)
I want this blog to thrive, this website to flourish, my mind and body to agree, my soul to be chill, my heart to heal--all these efforts PLUS growing a belly monster means...
**this is a doodle from 400 days ago... when I firmly believed I'd never procreate--ha...heh...uh... ha**
I wouldn't say I've been reluctant...
Nor would I say I've been anti....
Let's just say I've been contently selfish with the course of my existence for all/many of my years. I've led a life full of choice and freedom.
I've worked the jobs I've wanted to in locations I've chosen at times that have suited me.
I've dated whom I've liked and wanted regardless of habit, reputation, influence, or outcome.
I've baked casual, day long meals and desserts from the whim of fleeting taste.
I've laundered at my convenience, showered at my choice, and napped at leisure.
I've hopped in my car, tossed my city in the rear view mirror, and fled town for nights of camping and booze.
It began to dawn on me last night as I climbed into bed at 9pm, but didn't really hit me in the face until I took a long, hot shower at 9am.... in just a few short months, all of my ''when I want to's'' are going to morph into ''when I can's'' and this life of mine that has always revolved around MEEEE is soon to revolve around a Nugget.
There's a'change a'comin'.
I ask myself if I'm ready for it. How can I prepare? How can I learn about the balance needed to continue to honor myself and my needs (while not feeling like a guilty, shitty, selfish mother) and put my Kiddo first?
**This is the part in Sex in the City where the camera pans away from Carrie's column of writing self talk questions and the action resumes, unfolds, happens, peaks and perhaps resolves with a life lesson in tow. Aaaaaaaand... GO!**
I don't have an answer. I'm still preggo with 9 weeks and one day (allegedly) to go--I'm living in a land of conjecture, fear, and hope. It's a constant mash up of all three pieces of crazy possibility pie.
If fifteen years of Burning Man has taught me anything, it's that self-care is important and nobody else is gonna do it for you. Your ass is gonna dehydrate and bake if you don't drink water and put on sunscreen--and your ass will be miserable. And made fun of.
A few years ago I had the pleasure of nannying my youngest nephew. When I began he was a fresh little three month old bundle of little boy love and I got to watch my brother become a Dad instantly and over time. I think the three of us were on a walk and though I can't recall the root cause of the topic, we sort of splashed over into the realm of self-care as a parent.... although, in a very brotherly way.
He told me in his infinite brotherly honest wisdom,
"Look Mal, if I'm holding Wyatt (the bebe) and he's fast asleep and it's taken hours to get him there... but I, Dad, have to take the meanest shit of my entire life... I'm not gonna sit there and hold it for him. I do him no favors holding my shit in, all I do is hurt myself and therefore not be the best Dad I can be. So I'll wake him up, jostle the little fellow, trample to the toilet, and take that massive shit for myself. Gotta put me first. Poops and all."
I hope when my time comes... and I've got Nugget nestled deep in my arms of sleep... I find the courage to take the shit I need, the shower I should, the ten minutes I have, and the offered help of those around me. It's been a pattern of mine to gift over lengths of my personality to the lucky fellow I'm dating and put myself second out of sacrifice and overly generous love. This relationship I've got cooking in my belly is like nothing I've ever been privileged to before....
I hope I can shit.
For me and for Nugget.
10,000+ folks turned out, including Nugget and I,
for Reno, Nevada's part in
the 2nd Annual Women's March.
Not bad, not bad at all.
People are striving for prolonged happiness. We're hoping for joy and hilarity and peace. We relish strength and wisdom and progress. Who can blame us? When it's good, it's good and feeling good feels great!
We live to linger in those positive moments and we exhaust ourselves chasing them... holding onto them... remembering them... recreating them.
But that's just the half of us. Literally. The positive.
Why do we treat the negative like crap? Why do we pretend it doesn't exist? Why is it so hard to honor sadness and sorrow? Why are we so uncomfortable being uncomfortable?
Is it in how we were raised? Is it a societal thing? A cultural thing?
That's a shit ton of questions with no answers. No rule of thumb. No general basis.
I guess all I can do is reflect on my own emotional vocabulary and accountability. Somewhere in between 12 years of Catholic school, being a woman, a sister, a sibling, puberty, and sort of a millennial, being emotional became a weakness. I have apologized for crying most of my life. Actually, I've fought back more tears than I've shed for sheer protest against crying for whatever reason. I grew up only crying in my sleep from dreams that were sad or shocking with no control over the waterworks or my subconscious.
(It's all fun and dream tears until you're in the bed next to someone you may or may not have had sex with and you start sobbing in your sleep only to freak your bedmate the fuck out--true story)
Do any of ya'll have a 'cry movie?'
Yeah, a cry movie.
Like, one you watch periodically to induce crying because it's an unnatural thing to do without prompt?
Well, I did/do.
I don't know how many times over the course of my existence I purposefully set aside 36-48 hours to watch What Dream May Come (yes, that one with Robin Williams that's kinda like Dante's Inferno and he crossed through hell and ethereal realms because he loves his Annie so goddamn much and I want someone to love me that goddamn much). I spend that movie violently holding back tears and eventually sobbing so hard that my eyes swell up like irritated bee stings and I have to chill them with iced spoons for hours later. Hence the 36-48 hours of solo time.
Highly. Highly recommend that movie for cry movie. Oh, or An Affair to Remember.
Another good one.
All the same...
I think it all boils down to how the ''I can do it myself'' "I need no help" "I'm find and unaffected" mentality has overshadowed my ability to ask for help when needed and I guess I thought that's how good character was formed. Sadness became a form of weakness, emotional vulnerability became something to avoid, and strong skin was priced much higher than thin.
Man Oh MAN, this pregnancy... This forced growth--emotional and physical--has taught me that being emotional is not weakness. I've cried so hard this pregnancy, I discovered new sounds I could make wailing into a pillow... or my steering wheel. I learned my eyes don't have to swell if I just don't block the damn exit and let the tears out. I have grown from navigating the pain of being dumped and fallen out of love with... I have learned that I don't break... I have grown in wisdom and humor. I am more well-rounded. I am more stable. I have learned more coping skills, sharpened my tools of processing, and reacquired my big girl panties. I can cry gracefully. I can also cry like a snot wielding mad woman. I can be angry and so filled with rage that my hands turn to pale, white, bloodless fists.
Allowing myself to feel that... giving myself permission to be negative, to be blue, to be red, to be whatever "negative" emotion I am feeling has, in turn, brought me right back around to actually being happy. Letting those feelings fly for however long they need to has not let me down. Expressing emotion is a strength, not a weakness.
Hello, 2018, you saucy, well-rounded, wild thing, you.
I don’t have a lot of company over for social calls, but if I did, they’d attest—Mallory covers her mirrors.
The room I currently live in so happens to be the room I grew up in—bottom floor at Mama Mo’s house. It’s the room where I grew through awkward puberty, picked at my teenage acne, painted pop punk murals upon, and spent many hungover mornings of my twenties roaring and snoring. The room of this current flashback of youth also has those long, full length, 1990’s style sliding closet doors made of mirror. They make for a constant reflection, unforgiving reminder, and inescapable proof of what I’ve looked like through every age, every angle, all the time forever even when I’m sleeping.
It’s hard to pinpoint where things begin when it comes to my shiny negative self-image.
Could it have been seventh grade when Tommy Shanley passed me in the hallway openly gazing at my chest and indiscreetly and aloud mumbled, “my god, they’re huge?”
Could it have been the fact that I had cystic acne throughout high school, played basketball, and didn’t have a boyfriend for four years and was the chubby and funny token friend?
Could it have been the weight battle that ensued after high school ballooning me into the obese realm of 225lbs at age 19? It probably didn’t help that I pierced everything on my face, cut my own hair, and wore men’s clothes in an effort to be rebellious and punk rock.
Whatever the root, where ever the stem, however the growth, insecurity and body dysmorphia has been with me a while. I hate(d) my boobs and my midsection. I spent many nights and days attempting to make plans to go out only to cancel because I hate my (insert body part here). I argued many hours with the few boyfriends I had about their insanity regarding my attractiveness. I painted countless self portraits in an effort to witness myself, warts and all, flaws and wrinkles, scars and lines, into forcible acceptance. I would lay in bed at night unable to fall asleep because tomorrow morning I’d finally change the binge eating, lazy workout efforts, and uncover the mirror to see exactly what I was.
Maybe everyone did this. Maybe everyone’s social anxiety would tornado out the closet and arrive him or her at the art opening only to lose all the oxygen in the roomfilledwithpeoplemustbolttenminutesintothereception!?!
Maybe everyone covered their mirrors and blamed it on the spirit realm being able to feng shui bullshit capture their souls while they slept?
But I don't think everyone covers their mirrors.
I think other people are okay seeing themselves.
It wasn't until last year at the ripe age of 33 that I really began to tolerate myself. I'd lost 50 pounds and rewarded myself with this cool, art deco, under-titty chandelier style tattoo. (Thanks, Nikki at Aces Tattoo) I felt pretty... or at least one or two steps closer to it. I'd started to wear half sets of fake eyelashes on a daily basis because fuckit and was determined to grin and bare it. Fake it all til I made it some. It was actually working--really. I think?
I'd finally started to like and understand my body when it came time to share it.
Like, share it.
Like share, SHARE it.
In short, Nugget and I have inhabited the same vessel for 207 days now. We've had minimal disagreements and she's a pretty quiet roommate. Nugget spreads out a bit in the communal areas, but mostly knows his/her place. I'm okay with the furniture he/she's brought with him/her and, if anything, he/she's already improved my habitation of self greatly. Food tastes better, I eat less, work out more, and am really getting better in tune with my meditative side. I've put some new work into our place and it's starting to pay off.
I tell folks I'm 7 1/2 months pregnant and they look at me like I'm insane. They look me up and down and say, ''no way?" I have to insist and then I sometimes allow them to awkwardly touch my stomach as if the rock hard preggo non-abs will tell the tale I'm apparently not conveying strong enough with words.
My Mother insists I'm carrying Kiddo internally, 'in my back,' and that's why I'm not the show-iest of belly show-ers.
Regardless of where the baby's boudoir is, we're sharing the house.
I think that's why I've lucked out in the negative body image department as of late. With 80% of the mirrors covered in the house and not being 50 pounds fatter with Kiddo OR being the show-iest of belly show-ers.... I haven't had to size myself up as usual. I'm too distracted by crazy shit like kicked colons and vaginal discharge, getting dumped by my baby's father, and what shade of rich dark rose my nipples will finally settle on. Also, not having sex and being single so I don't have to see myself jiggle as I bone down has helped as well. I committed to buying preggo undies and maternity pants early so I wouldn't have to go through the painful elimination process, pant by pant, of my closet not fitting anymore. Right away these tig ol' bitties of mine grew into monstrosities of new bra size letter proportions--36DDD to 40H. I preemptively purchased boulder holders that would fit even the crankiest mammary.
What I'm saying here is... The facts of growth have been ever present.
The reflection of this growth has not.
I'm working on peeling back the mirror veil and appreciating our shape as much as I'm comfortable with... I'm working on positive self-affirmations and not worrying about losing the fifteen pounds of baby weight I've picked up in the last seven months.
I'm working on the mirror veil--as much as I love the beautiful Irish lace hanging over it's surface, it's kinda nice looking into it sometimes and thinking, ''eh... not bad...''
I'm working on myself.
It's a full time gig, self-love.
Mallory Kate is a blogger, artist, single mom and funny girl outta Nevada.
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