Thursday, April 05, 2012

facebook vs. the elusive woodland creature

People keep getting pregnant. This is not news. It’s probably also not news that one of Facebook’s main functions is to make members feel like pathetic puddles of nothing-much in a sea of award-winning, best-selling mothers of adorable babies who sleep through the night. Nevertheless, yesterday’s ultrasound picture with its witty, self-deprecating caption did its thing to me. It probably didn’t help that this is Squeakies Death Anniversary Week, and the week I turned 35, meaning that if I was pregnant, I would officially be an “older mother.” (Adopting only slightly hushes one’s biological clock. I would still like to not die when my kids are in college, you know?)

But beneath the flurry of outraged texts and emails I sent to people who are tired of getting texts and emails on this particular topic, there was a tiny glimmer of something. I think it was the Option To Not Be Sad And Full Of Hate.

It was hard to see, because it was underneath the woodpile of sadness and hate that I’ve been sifting through for a year. And trust me, if there was a way to get there any faster, I would have. That option was absolutely not available to me a year ago. A year ago, thinking anything remotely like, “Well, that’s nice for her, but that’s not my life, and my life is fine” would have felt like self-delusion, because I knew—KNEW!—that my life was not fine, and the Posters Of Ultrasounds* were WINNERS and I was a LOSER, and the only thing worse than being a Loser was being a LOSER WHO THOUGHT SHE WAS ALLOWED TO HANG OUT ON THIS FANCY WINNERS’ CLUB PATIO.**

My intellectual and spiritual worldview are completely in opposition to this line of thinking: I believe God loves us all, we are all God, we are love, we are not separate, and most of the things we try to take credit for are just the random luck of genetics and neurological pathways created by experiences we had no control over.

In my emotional worldview, though, I was a Loser. I mean, I kind of still think I am. I’m still eying that Winners’ Club Patio. But I’ve been looking for a third group for a long time. It’s possible that I’ve found them online, in the form of a really great adoption support group of people who are like, “Ugh, ultrasound pictures;” who get it but who are (mostly) over it.

But the place where I need to find that elusive third thing is in my mind. It’s a secret garden, it’s Dracula mist, it’s a woodland creature that hops away the minute you look at it head-on. It spells winner and loser in lowercase, and doesn’t really speak in words at all. But it’s undeniably gorgeous. It is not to be confused with Pretending I Don’t Care or Trying To Declare This Woodpile I’m Standing On The New Winners’ Patio. I would tell you more, but I can barely make it out in the fog.


*Dear Posters of Ultrasounds, I don’t mind if you read this. I like some of you very much. If I were you, I’d post my ultrasounds too. It’s just that if you’re allowed to publicly share what’s in your uterus, I get to publicly share what’s on my mind. (And to my other 45 inevitably pregnant friends, I also hate not knowing, so you really can’t win, can you? If you want to let me down easy, just send me an email. If you really don’t give a shit because this is about your joy, not my delicate feelings, good for you. That’s how it should be.)

**My middle school had an actual patio where only eighth graders were allowed to hang out. My high school had a “senior walkway” that ran alongside the everyone-else walkway. Only varsity cheerleaders were allowed to wear fitted sweaters; all other pep squad members had to wear baggy, unflattering sweaters. At cheer camp, varsity girls got to shower first. And we wonder why I am the way I am.

8 comments:

Claire said...

The patio and senior walkway probably would have done me in. Damn. Fortunately my school was so small we didn't even have cheerleaders.

And those oh so elusive neurological pathways... seems impossible to build the ones you want.

Sending good thoughts to you and AK.

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Cheryl said...

C: Yes, that's the whole thing about neurological pathways: We get no say. I heard a thing about it on the radio. It's scientific and stuff.

Phil: Are you saying my readers are drunk drivers?

Raardvarks said...

The third thing sounds lovely! Perhaps one day we will find it... or make it on to the patio.

Jesi said...

i often wonder when did my friend's facebook page turn into their kid's facebook page? i'm happy that my friends' kids can pee, poop, smile, dance, dress themselves, eat, sing, etc etc but i'm not friends with thier kids. i want to know about them.

anyways, reading this makes me feel better, hopefully it will make you laugh. i love tracy moore's posts.
http://jezebel.com/5900833/the-terrible-twos-where-cliches-meet-high+five-and-go-off-on-a-bender-together

Anonymous said...

Can we have drinks on that patio?

Meehan

Cheryl said...

R: I know it's no good for me to covet the patio, but I secretly still do.

J: I actually get that FB is probably great for moms of young kids who really needs to commiserate with other adults. So it's not the kid posts I mind so much as the pregnancy ones--those just seem braggy.

M: Yes. Make mine a double.

Cheryl said...

P.S.: Jesi, that column is great, though.