Tuesday, March 29, 2011

on not that kind of belly

I have been offered a seat on the subway three times in the last week. You'd think this was a good thing, a generous thing, a sign that chivalry is alive and well in New York and that men just offer their seats to standing women for the sake of it.  But no, I have been offered a seat three times in the last week because three strangers thought I was pregnant.  In my defense, or theirs, the coat I was wearing had a high waist band and the material below the band tends to bulge out with air when I stand a certain way...did that sound convincing?

This is a delicate situation.  I have offered a seat to a woman before thinking she was pregnant, only to realize that she was just overweight.  It's a horrifying wish-to-crawl-beneath-subway-seat-and-disappear moment when you realize you just outed a fat person.  And so, when these sweet people assumed I was with child, I didn't want them to feel the wish-to-disappear embarrassment moment and so a part of me wanted to say, oh thank you, yes, I'd love to sit.  I have a flair for dramatics, evoking the role of pregnant woman would be kind of fun.  I'd hover my hand above the air pouch as if there was something beneath it, lower myself into the seat, and sigh in the way only someone who is pregnant and been on their feet all day sighs.  I'd smile up at them in gratitude, maybe coo at the baby in the stroller next to me, give the baby's mom a knowing look.

But instead, I thought it might be bad karma for some future pregnant moment so I coolly said no thank you, smoothed down the jacket, stood up a little straighter, and didn't make eye contact with any of them for the rest of the ride.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

on letting go and getting back

We were married, went on a 5 night honeymoon to Mexico, and as soon as we landed in JFK a text came in from Mike's sister about selling their mom's house and next steps--the honeymoon, quite literally, was over.    Mike started teaching a few days later, his first time in front of a classroom as a student teacher and was responsible for three freshman global history classes.  The pressure was overwhelming, the expectations the supervising teachers had for him were unrealistic, and no one seemed to care that he was a student, not getting paid to teach, and outside of work was being forced to handle one of the hardest things life would ever throw at him. 

I took if all on with him, and it showed.  I started cooking only comfort food and baking cookies on random weeknights for no apparent reason, pretending that I would bring in the leftovers to work, but then there never were any leftovers.  I made excuses for us to not have to go to the gym and instead did everything I could to wrap Mike up in safety and goodness, even if it meant we became the laziest, heaviest versions of ourselves. With our hair turning grayer by the day (not an exaggeration) and our bellies pouring out over our waistbands, we let ourselves go.

And now we need to find a way back. It has been too many months; we ache and are tired of being out of breath at the top of the subway stairs and tired of not feeling like ourselves.  So enough is enough.  Now to figure out how to begin. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

on goodnights

On our way home from Wappinger’s Falls Saturday night, twisting down the Taconic, I watched out the window as the moon, ducking in and out of the trees, on her* side, half in the dark, followed us.

When I was 13, I went to sleep away camp for a week.  Just a week, seven days, and yet I acted like it was a year, crying into my sleeping bag that first night as if I would never see my parents again.  On the third day I received a letter from my Dad.  I still remember the novelty of it, Dad, writing me a letter from all of 20 miles away, to say hello.  He wrote that he thought of me the night before as he was walking the dog, and looking up at the moon he said goodnight by it, and told me to do the same, to think of it as a telephone of sorts.  In the bunk hours later, I found the moon through the slats in the roof and, whispering goodnights in some Walton-esque fashion, I ran through the list of people I loved.

And so Saturday night, on our way back to the city after a few hours with the sisters and old friends, I thought of everyone I still have, and I said goodnight to them by her.

*I’m not trying to be all hippy dippy here, but the moon in my book is most definitely not an “it”. It has to be something more than that and since I never believed in the man in the moon (surely it’s a woman’s face up there) that brings me to “her”.

Friday, March 11, 2011

on loss and a wedding

Yesterday our post ran on A Practical Wedding. It still feels strange to share so much with the vast internet world, but since it wasn’t terribly received, I thought it would be a good place to start.

"..And so we had a wedding. And that's what mattered. That in the midst of the saddest week of our lives, we were joining our families and friends to say: this is hard, but there is still joy....And we've learned that a wedding is not just 'your day', it is a day to celebrate the lives you were born into, the ones you've made, the ones you continue to build.  I am so thankful we were there..."