So I’m tempted to write a post about this year. I don’t need to tell you it’s been the most important year of my life so far. Anyway … let’s break this down into months. I’ll include a quote or two from my journals if I wrote that month.
“we watched Seinfeld and fell asleep in each other’s arms”
“I feel like the only person I am important to is myself”
January was an interesting month. I wasn’t aware how acutely interesting it was at the time. I lost one of my best friends to overdose. Not many people know about this, because I don’t like to talk about it. But there it is. Sweet little Grady was conceived at about the same time. I lost my mind a little in Heber after trolling for celebrities at the Sundance Film Festival. I can’t be sure, but I’m pretty sure we saw Heather Locklear. I almost lost my job a little bit. I made this stupid playlist. I started reading the Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir and started to become less “haunted by a sense of [my] femininity.”
“he called me a gem”
In February I still had a dog. A dog that had a few too many intimacy issues to let me brush him, as you can tell by the picture. I had an awful Valentines day. About a week later I found out I was pregnant. I wore lots of plaid and stopped writing in my journal until June.
I blogged a bunch, but didn’t actually say anything. I started going to the lady-doctor, and signed myself up with an adoption agency. Also, I got my amazing new phone. Other than that we’ll have to rely on twitter:
I started allowing myself to knit things for the baby. I started dreading school. And I was vomiting all the time. Not the best month, except for the fun knitting.
I’d say about 80% of my tweets were about my cat Winston in April.
In May I got really into recycling yarn. I remember sitting on my bed for hours, listening to the pleasing tick-tick-tick of a knitted sweater unravel into a ball of yarn. It was a beautiful distraction. I made my first awkward steps into maternity wear. Grady and I got bigger. Looking at that last picture kind of freaks me out. She’s so big now. And I made this awkward video about Winston.
“a soul-crushing love”
“I made some sort of face and turned my back on him”
“In prehistoric civilizations the link between intercourse and birth was unknown – there were no fathers, only mothers and men.”
In June I went back on the radar. I started writing in my journal again, I stopped trying to hide the pregnancy. I was plagued by awful, terrifying, wonderful, sharp and realistic dreams almost every night. I traveled to Boulder, Colorado to attend a conference about the Urantia book – a religion (ish) that I don’t believe in but find interesting. At the conference, someone asked me where I wanted to be in ten years and I couldn’t think of a single honest reply. I kicked up my constant research on whether or not it was even possible for me to keep the baby. I took the Kiersey Temperament Sorter test and found that I was an ISTJ.
“creating really makes me tick”
“baby is very strong and active today”
“I’d like to have a big argument”
“afraid that the pretty part of the pregnancy is coming to a close. Terrifying. I take so much solace in my own vanity.”
“Nothing lasts forever. I’m unhappy now, but that doesn’t mean I’ll be unhappy until I die. However, that doesn’t make the unhappiness – or any present state – any less reasonable, honest, potent, or respectable.”
“What should I do that would be best for her?”
In July I went up to Salt Lake almost every Thursday for a much-appreciated girl’s night with my friends Jennie and Katey. Before these two, I didn’t know how to be around women. I’m still mostly friends with men, but I’m glad I learned how to be a girl this summer. I went to Cedar City to attend press week at the Utah Shakespearean Festival, and as usual I was invigorated by the live art. Their Henry V was particularly spectacular. I also got to visit my favorite thrift store of all time. I grew closer to my dad. I wrote way too much in my journal. I turned twenty. I recieved a much-needed (though short-lived) attempt at reconciliation. I took comfort in bulleted lists. Winston snuck out one night and I spent hours walking the neighborhood in or near tears looking for him. He came home on his own almost as soon as I gave up. I stopped being so angry all the time (temporarily). July was a big month.
In August I attended Great Life – a sort of group therapy seminar thing. And it changed my life. August was the perfect time to attend – I had become a bare live wire before Great Life. I had no confidence, no foundation – I was constantly frenzied. I think If I hadn’t attended I would have lost myself completely by now. But now I still have the confidence and strength I gained in those few short days. I’m really grateful for it. I made my first genuine, important, difficult apology, and initially it was received well. I’m grateful to Great Life for making me a person who values honesty and can apologize sincerely. I also officially decided to keep Grady. I’m grateful for that too.
“I’ll take any stupid excuse”
“I think I’m living in ‘almost’”
“this shows that he actually thinks about me”
“the gentle movements in my stomach take my breath away. I’m so lucky”
“I hate being the one to initiate every conversation”
I wrote so much in my journal that I’m not even going to try to read the whole month’s worth of entries. I got really into researching labor and birth, and was completely committed to a natural birth. I talked to doctors, lawyers, mothers, and the government. I pulled out the big guns in hopes to give Grady the best life possible. In many ways I failed. But I guess whether or not I failed is not for me to decide. It was the first time I tried my hardest at something I really wanted and didn’t succeed – naturally I didn’t take it well. In fact I’m still trying and failing. I felt loved sometimes, but felt attacked and hated for the majority of the month. I was able to attend the birth of my beautiful niece Elsie. I went to Las Vegas and then to Yellowstone. Saw showgirls and bison. And I didn’t go back to school or work like the majority of my friends.
In September I began losing my self-confidence. My belief that I’m worthwhile. I still felt pretty, I still felt strong, but I didn’t feel worthwhile. But I realized that this is completely my fault – and that’s a great thing. Empowering. This continued through the rest of the year. I announced to the internet my intentions to keep Grady. I sleepwalked (sp?) for the first time. I had some happy times, but fully gave in to the hatred again.
“I don’t really know – he won’t return my calls.”
“from the outside of this, I look like (am?) such an idiot”
“can’t wait to meet her”
“the sadness of wanting to create beautiful things”
“it’s so frustrating – being such a low priority”
“she’s going to blame me because I am to blame”
“I am the queen of the one-up”
Need I say more?
“the more frustrated I get, the less love I have to give”
In November Grady and I got more acquainted and comfortable with eachother. Most moms talk about an immediate connection with their babies – as soon as they’re born the mother feels like her entire life is that child. For me it wasn’t immediate. It took a week or so for me to feel what I imagine they’re talking about. I loved her while she was in the womb, I loved her immediately after she was born – but it wasn’t until we were home for a few days before I could catch my breath and really feel the indescribable thing they talk about.
This month I feel like I’ve really hit my stride. Of course, I still get sad. For a while, I went a bit insane almost every night. But now I feel like Grady and I really understand eachother. I’m ready to get back to school (online classes) and work (copy editing and writing from home), and although I still have some pretty bad self-confidence issues, I feel strong and smart and aware. I’m still committed to radical honesty, and I’m proud of myself for that. This year has been the best and the worst of my life. Definitely the most interesting. When I look back on it, I feel grateful. I don’t feel regret. And I feel like next year will be better – because I have so much room for improvement.
(I was going to edit this while I still felt that gratitude and warmth in the last paragraph, but then I foolishly perused the internet first and am now kind of miserable. So my original intention was for this to be uplifting – sorry if it isn’t.)