Tonight it was just me and the baby and I kept looking at him and getting really sad. He’s becoming more of a person and I know to say I feel a little bad about that is so morose it’s funny, but I do. He is starting to get preferences and to want things, more and more, beyond food. He’s wildly happy most of the time but sometimes he will just stare quietly and look sad if I ignore him and I want to cry. If I put him down for a minute to pee or to get a glass of water or god forbid, eat a meal, he gets so spastic and scrambly when I pick him up, his arms tight around my neck, all of him gasping and kicking. Babies do not “play it cool,” haha. Dustin thinks he is learning to miss me, though everything seems to say that he won’t develop that for a couple more months (separation anxiety). “But remember, our baby is a genius.”
My son loves me so much, is what I’m saying, and it’s making me sad, reflexively. I love him too, and it’s like, Oh god, ok, all this and love, too? Just when I thought there wasn’t room for anything else. Dustin and were talking about baby love the other day, and I was trying to say how it feels very close to romantic love for me, minus the sexual attraction obviously, but like the physical need to be close to / affectionate with him is more similar than I would have guessed. The idea that I once felt this with my own mother is wild to think about, and really sad because where is that now? I have faint memories of loving the way she smelled, too, and of wanting to rub my face on her upper arm, or remarking on how soft her skin was. Does she still feel that way with me? I can’t even think about it.
As the baby moves from alien intruder who could slip into death at any moment to person who is funny and needy and beautiful and charming and alive, the intimacy is intrusive and surprising. Sometimes he looks at me across the chasm between his barely-there personhood and my own, and I am shocked. And a little creeped out, to be honest, like he must be a ghost or God or some universal something or other, communing with me on the changing table.
It’s been wild to experience new love alongside the, for me, intense personal transformative shit of becoming a mother. They should be one and the same I guess and maybe they are. But on the one hand I feel this wild desire to be alone and to think and to write. I feel a stronger Self than I ever have, almost as a defensive move I suspect, as I feel like the world wants me to give it up. Catholics talk about “dying to self” when you get married, and certainly when you have kids. I am worried someone is going to snatch my Self out from under me, so I’m scrambling and kicking my legs and wrapping my arms around its neck.
And then my baby is reclining in his Boppy and staring at me and his face breaks out into a smile and we laugh together and I think, Oh fuck, dude, you are really in for it, out here with us. I am so so sorry.
Wow this is great.
"White feminism" does not mean every white woman, everywhere, who happens to identify as feminist. It also doesn’t mean that every "white feminist" identifies as white. I see "white feminism" as a specific set of single-issue, non-intersectional, superficial feminist practices. It is the feminism we understand as mainstream; the feminism obsessed with body hair, and high heels and makeup, and changing your married name. It is the feminism you probably first learned. "White feminism" is the feminism that doesn’t understand western privilege, or cultural context. It is the feminism that doesn’t consider race as a factor in the struggle for equality.
White feminism is a set of beliefs that allows for the exclusion of issues that specifically affect women of colour. It is “one size-fits all” feminism, where middle class white women are the mould that others must fit. It is a method of practicing feminism, not an indictment of every individual white feminist, everywhere, always.
There are no events but thoughts and the heart’s hard turning, the heart’s slow learning where to love and whom. The rest is merely gossip, and tales for other times.
"Such dinners for one don’t just keep loneliness out. They provide a lesson in being happy at more crowded tables. It is impossible to eat well in groups if you cannot eat well alone. I think this is true of anything — if it’s not what you do when no one’s looking, it will never be truly what you do. An hour spent tasting, watching, hearing only the rustle of your own observation, allows for a certain perceptiveness to arise, for the I to be sharpened.”
Bad news at work today meant the thought of going home to my empty room was overwhelming. I drove in the opposite direction and found a restaurant along the highway, a tacky all-you-can-eat place with a name I can’t remember. I slid my green plastic tray along the buffet line, flanked by clamorous families, and filled six plastic plates: chocolate mousse and cheesy bread and caesar salad, french onion soup and foccacia bread and brownies, muffins and black bean soup and another salad. I ate everything, and then I ate more, sitting in the vinyl booth and licking the mousse off my fork.
To the extent that you can, err in the direction of kindness. Do those things that incline you toward the big questions, and avoid the things that would reduce you and make you trivial. That luminous part of you that exists beyond personality — your soul, if you will — is as bright and shining as any that has ever been. Bright as Shakespeare’s, bright as Gandhi’s, bright as Mother Teresa’s. Clear away everything that keeps you separate from this secret luminous place. Believe it exists, come to know it better, nurture it, share its fruits tirelessly.
Could anyone figure it out, to a finality? So why spend so much time trying.
If you have to outlive a great love, I can’t think of a better way to do it than being everybody’s hero. Suddenly I’m exalted, instead of being this goofy old lady, which is what I feel like.