Bothness

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In a series of grueling experiences, I’ve had to learn how to sit with cognitive dissonance.

And just the other day, I was sitting in the car realizing just how good at it I’ve become. I’m the opposite of myself–or opposites exist within me, just… no longer oppositionally. 

Collection

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It’s 5:24 am and it is unclear whether or not i have actually gotten you to sleep. You have a noises I don’t yet understand, but it’s a good bet that every grunt belongs to the effort of somehow wrestling your hands to your face.

Baby, you love your hands. You use them as shields, as clasps, as antennas, as feelers. You need them near your face, preferably above your face. I thought I was going to love your feet most, but Hudson, it’s your hands that define you. 

Hudson

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So, I made a baby. He’s resting up against me, propped up with pillows, after he fell asleep during a feeding.

I made his feet. I made his tiny hands, I made his lopsided ears, and my heartburn made the healthy layer of hair that covers his whole body and gives him little sideburns. For 39 weeks, I sculpted and created this specimen. Last night I realized I recognized this boy on the outside to be the same boy as the one on the inside. He’s the same boy that didn’t kick much, but instead dragged his foot across my tummy like a matchbox car while I chased it around with my fingers. This is the same boy that I made.

All That I’ve Met

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A few days ago, I brought Maeby inside from a morning piddle and found my grandma with her arm around my father singing, “My home’s in Montana, I wear a bandana, my spurs are silver, my pony is grey! When riding the ranges, my luck never changes, oh yippee ki, yippee ki, yippee ki-yay!”

She’s commissioned the entire family to learn it while she stays with us this winter. Recently, we were all indulgently singing along, and my father pulled up a quiet Youtube video of ambulance sirens which could only be heard by Maeby. The sirens prompted Maeby to howl along while the rest of us were Yippee Ki-Yaying. We all giggled happily afterwards, but there was a subtle profundity to the experience too.

Share

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I woke up this morning in, what I realized too late, is my very favorite place in the entire world. I’m actually still here. I have to soak it up, because I’m here for the last time.

I’m in the middle of my bed, snuggled in between my husband, who’s arm is tucked under mine like a teddy bear, and Maeby, who has been grunting lately when she doesn’t get her way. She just let out an expressive groan when I dove (gently) under her belly to find my cell phone so I could capture this moment with words. Technically, there’s a baby in the middle with me too. He’s doing little flips in my tummy as we speak. 

Hard Things Can Also Be Good

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Tonight on my way home from tutoring, I saw a hardened old, grocery store clerk snarl at another employee while arranging a strange winter display of watermelon outside the storefront. And just when my mind was made up about said curmudgeonly store clerk, I watched him secretly slip an ice cube from his watermelon display to an aging golden retriever passing by on the street. It was a quick reversal of thoughts–from resenting this old man for yelling publicly at a coworker, to loving him for sharing an ice cube.   Of course as frequently happens when a pregnant person experiences two emotions too close together, this little gesture made me tear up at the crosswalk between 92nd and 93rd street. 

Kangaroo Testicles

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“Good luck, sweetie,” my mom told me, “I’ll rub my kangaroo testicles for you.”

She said it so off-hand, as though this were a perfectly normal thing to do for your daughter.

Of course I spluttered back, which I am sure was gratifying for her. Apparently my mom’s friends from Australia sent her a pair of Kangaroo Testicles, the Australian equivalent of a rabbit foot?

“I love them,” she admitted. “Sometimes I hang them from my chandelier to see if the ladies during my book club notice. Here, I’ll send you a picture.”

She forgot for a few hours but then finally did send me the photo of her good luck charm. I felt strangely–so strangely–comforted. Maybe Kangaroo Testicles would do just the trick.

I’ve never been one to believe in luck, to be honest. I believed in hard work, and grit, and sure things. That’s part of the reason why I went into teaching. Teaching was a defined path with a clear outcome–one that could be obtained by hard work and grit. And I think, save for a few tired weeks, I was mostly a good teacher.

I’ve dreamed up blog posts where I offer up an explanation the hiatus I’m taking from teaching, but I’ve agonized about how to write them. Ultimately I realized that I don’t really owe anyone an explanation, and what’s more, I couldn’t give you a great one except that taking a break felt like the right thing to do. And Un/Fortunately, taking this break has forced me to take a little step onto an unknown ledge. A ledge that I’ve always steered far away from.

I’m learning what it’s like to sit in uncertainty, and I’d be lying if I said that it wasn’t deeply uncomfortable. What I will say for myself is that I’ve gotten much closer to a part of myself that I’ve always liked maybe even more than my teacher self-my writer self.

I’ve done some great freelancing in the past, but I’m hoping to break into more professional writer circles, so I’m looking to pick up a few more freelance gigs. I’m looking for leads. I’m going to (gulp) network. Here I am, on the edge of discomfort, asking any of you for leads.

I think I am going to need my own pair of Kangaroo Testicles.