Saturday, May 22, 2010

Dipping My Toes in Crazy Lake

This morning I heard the bells of the church across the street ring five times. What that means is that I was awake prior to five, most likely opening my eyes for good sometime around 4:45. This has been my pattern of late -- falling asleep on the couch before 9, and then rising way too early -- and I don't know how to get out of it. Going to bed late does not mean I will magically sleep until seven.


I'm feeling way dysthymic. Blogger doesn't register that word, and so as I type, it remains underlined in red, driving me mad.

For those of you with little knowledge of mental health terms (be grateful, really), this means I'm about knee-deep in a depressive funk. I've been that way for several weeks now, coming out here and there, but mostly remaining in it. I sequester myself, hurrying to and from events, wanting to get out and simultaneously dreading it. I try to force myself to do things, chanting my pathetic mantra: I will do this, I will do this, I will do this. But it all seems too much.

This morning, my daughter's preschool is having a fair. I volunteered to make something baked, and you have no idea, it was like I signed up Dinner Impossible, and my task was to scour a forest for ingredients and then create an entire meal for a wedding party of 200. And I'm like, what the fuck can I make with tree bark?


Sometimes I think I should be in therapy. Except there really are no issues. So it would be a tragic rehashing of the story of yet another relatively privileged, lucky person, expressing their discontent.



Therapist: So what brings you in to see me?

Me: What do you call it when you don't ever feel like doing anything, ever?

Therapist: Laziness?

Me: Dude. Ouch.


I wish this dysthymia came along with zero appetite. During my last major depression, I got down to 116 pounds. It was great.

Wait. No it wasn't. Because I couldn't leave my bed. Forget I mentioned it.

You should have seen me yesterday, mopping up the brownie batter left in the mixing bowl. I used strawberries to do it.


My husband is already outside, putting me to shame with his industriousness. I had a load of clean laundry in the dryer for a week.


If you meet me out and about, and I seem fine, go with it. If you meet me out and about, and I start crying uncontrollably, I give you permission to slink away and pretend you don't know me.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Happy Birthday, Hannah

I realized it as I stumbled to work one August morning. Coming out of 30th Street Station, making my way down Market Street. I was lightheaded, and uncertain I could make it to Penn. I leaned against one of the buildings along my way, out of the flow of pedestrians in a hurry. I was listening to Bjork, and she sang in my ear,

"It's not up to you....oh, it never really was."

Oh my God. I was totally and completely pregnant. Totally. Completely. Pregnant. That's where I was when I realized it: Market Street, Philadelphia, PA, August of 2002.

7 years ago, I'm not sure what was happening. It was such a long process, getting her out. The midwife who first examined me that August must have been a jokester, telling me I could easily deliver a 9 lb. baby. And I believed her, because have you seen my hips? I have a pelvis, people.

7 years ago, there was something called membrane stripping (um...ouch!) and castor oil, which is the midwife way of getting your baby out by first forcing you to poop uncontrollably for several hours. There were lots and lots and lots of those things called contractions, which feel like the turning of the Earth has come to a halt and at any minute, you expect to be hurled across the room at the speed of light, only to be reduced to the basic building block of everything. Your atoms, everywhere. Contractions feel a lot like thunder sounds, loud and ominous. Except they're not really ominous. It's hard work, getting a baby out.

7 years ago, my husband turned white as a ghost, and somewhere within his not particularly emotional soul, I know he worried about the outcome. He stood beside me, and behind me, rubbing the small of my back as I rocked and rocked and rocked.

7 years ago, there was a hospital transfer, and all the interventions I had tried to avoid. It wasn't working. My body, fickle and stubborn. My baby, positioned awkwardly.

7 years ago, my own mother stood by. She had pushed me out 27 years before, and now here she was, watching the baby she birthed birthing another.

27 hours. A fever. A scalpel. A girl. My girl.

She was lovely from the start, with very fine wisps of light brown hair and eyes so bright and blue I knew they wouldn't change color.


It's crazy. One egg. One sperm. One particular combination creates one person you love so much. One person you'd go to war for. Face fire or bullets or a hulking tank. One person and so much love.

We got her a bike for her birthday. It's seriously the cutest bike I've ever seen, absent of all things Princess or Hannah Montana or any other passing phase. It's truly a big girl bike, for a big girl.

7 years ago, she was still inside me, all balled up and feeling the pressure of wanting out. And now she's here and big. She runs and jumps and slides and sings. She loves to watch Paula Deen cook, and watches shows about tornadoes. She used to want to live in Hawaii, but now she's settled on Maine. (Does Maine get hurricanes? she asked me one day.) She wants to own and operate a bakery that serves free coffee on Tuesdays. She wants to make wedding cakes. She also wants to be a teacher and a singer and a poet and a mom. She wants two boys and two girls. One of the boys is named Marco.

I've told her she'll be busy. She always tells me that I can help her. And she's such a delightful person, I couldn't decline. I'm so glad she's here, and that she belongs to me.

Happy Birthday, Hannah!

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