Don’t Try – Friday August 1st

poem1982-06-11-the_old_big_timeIn anticipation of getting pregnant, many women take prenatal vitamins, get their body in shape, and do other shit I don’t know about.  I imagine there is a lot of sitting beside windows flooded with sunshine while holding their bellies and feeling serene.  They probably get professional photos taken of themselves and get pregnancy massages.

I act out.  If my acting out was described as a mathematical equation using literary references instead of numbers it would be something like  <<Hunter S Thompson + Oscar Acosta (Dr Gonzo) raised to the power of Bukowski divided by Tim O’Brien = One scared white lady about to jump off a really high cliff>>

Obviously Oscar Acosta’s disappearance shouldn’t be ignored.  And I use Bukowski instead of Hemingway because I think his demise was both incrementally spectacular and more subtle than Hemingway.

I am very grateful to be loved by a group of people who monitor my behavior without making me feel oppressed or weak.  I am already usually in a state of embarrassment and horror about the things I do.  The embarrassment isn’t just about the all apology notes I owe to people who were sucked into and then spat out of my acting out storm system.  It’s about the disparity between what people see in me and what is really there, underneath.  Close up – if I let them – a few people can see the sloppy stitches and the too many layers of White Out.

If something goes wrong there’s no escape hatch this time.  Hazel is here, and she and Tom need me.  I can’t disappear, or have a nervous breakdown, or.  I kept my shit together last time because I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel after one tragedy.  I’ve got too much pride in my intellect and understanding of the human condition to really consider calling it quits after I lost my son.  I might have felt differently if I knew what was in store for me and my family in the years that followed.

But this time, I do know.  I know I could lose another child, I know that if the pregnancy is successful it’ll be painful and scary and complicated, I know that Tom and I both work too much, I know that the things I do to help my children could be the things they think are the most annoying about me, I know the child could arrive in the proper time frame but still not be healthy, and worst of all slash I finally understand how little control I have over any of it.

And so I keep letting the water flow through my gills.  I tap into to a level of excitement and joy and love that a lot of people find overwhelming.  I let myself be as down and dirty depressed as I need to be, but only for a specific amount of time prearranged between me and my brain.  Unfortunately grown up life keeps happening at the same time, and sometimes it all gets a little sloppy.

Soon the scales will tip and Tom and I will want a living sibling for Hazel more than we’re afraid of what we know. And then, like all the creatures on the planet capable and desirous of procreating, we’ll figure it out.  Even if the worst happens (my personal definition of “the worst” changes by the hour) I already know I’m sticking this out.  I won’t lose my shit.  I’ve lived through pain, I know it doesn’t kill a person…but I didn’t know that until I was pretty old.  Hazel needs me around at least until she has to find that out for herself, and there’s no way that I’m going to let my absence be the thing that teaches her about pain.

That last sentence is staring me in the face.  It’s mocking me, it’s saying -”You know trying to have another baby introduces the real risk that you will not survive the gestation or birth.  It’s not a huge risk, but it’s real.”  It probably makes sense to apply some Joseph Heller to the aforementioned mathematical equation.













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