Shakespeare Quotes That Reflect My Mood
A love that makes breath poor, and speech unable.
Beyond all manner of so much I love you.
Oh, I have bought the mansion of a love,
but not possessed it! And though I am bought,
not yet enjoyed.
Doth not the appetite alter? A man loves the meat in his youth that he cannot abide in his age.
But wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied?
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Okay so I really hate Mother’s Day. I am coming down firmly on that. I’ve been sort of wishy washy in my hatred of it for the last two years but this year I am coming out loud and proud to say: I fucking hate Mother’s Day. I think 364 days out of the year I feel mostly (and in this order) gratitude, joy, pride, and wistful regret regarding my adoption situation, but on Mother’s Day I fucking hate it. I really do.
My coworker at the restaurant sent me a text message the other day saying: “The Saturday before Mother’s Day which this year is the 11th is national birth mother’s day. That my dear is your day and a day we will celebrate and you will be proud of.” I love her for doing that. People in my life are so supportive. It was such a nice gesture that I didn’t have the heart to say that yes, I know about birth mother’s day and no, I do not want to celebrate it. But then I remembered that I would absolutely use it as an excuse to get shitfaced so fuck it, sure, let’s celebrate me.
Those plans got completely torpedoed when our work schedule for the week went up. We offer Sunday brunch, and Mother’s Day (both brunch and dinner) is one of our busiest days of the year. Turns out I will be pulling my first ever double shift, working 12 hours in the kitchen. I have only worked brunch once, a year ago, when I was trained to do it. It’s an entirely different menu and okay the specifics don’t count – what matters is that it’s going to be a hard, stressful, terrible, rotten, no-good day. My thoughts about it happened as follows:
1. God damn it there is no way I can get shitfaced blackout fall-down drunk on Saturday night if I have to work a 12 hour shift at 10 am Sunday morning.
2. I don’t want to work on Sunday AT ALL it is my least favorite day of the year and I just want to do what I do every year which is put on a prom dress and feel sorry for myself while eating ice cream.
3. No, wait, this is a blessing in disguise. I will be running around like a crazy person in a very busy kitchen – there will be no time to feel sorry for myself! I won’t have a moment to think about it! This is the best thing that could have possibly happened! Minus losing my ability to get drunk the night before.
4. Wait, shit, the restaurant is going to be full of mothers with their families celebrating motherfucking Mother’s Day. We give out flowers to moms. Brunch will be all old people and I can handle that but dinner will be young couples with their babies celebrating their first or at least early Mother’s Days and I have issues with tearing up when I see a baby in the dining room that looks even remotely like Danger.
5. Oh my god, I’m going to cry in the kitchen. I never cry in the kitchen. In fact I pride myself on not ever, ever crying in the kitchen. This is bad. I am going to be openly weeping all day and there is not a thing I will be able to do about it.
I had all these thoughts in the span of about 90 seconds, while out at the bar with all my coworkers. Everyone knows about Danger, so I looked up from my beer and said, “Hey guys – I’m going to be openly weeping in the kitchen all day on Mother’s Day, and it’s not because I will be stressed or it will be busy, but because I am really going to miss my son and there’s nothing I can do about it. So I need you all to just ignore it, okay?” And they all sort of looked at me funny for a second, took a moment, and agreed (well, most of them said they would probably not completely ignore me but try to hug me in any spare seconds we might have, which was appreciated). I feel like true colleagues and friends are the ones that understand that you just need to weep sometimes.
I continued my tradition of sending Linda expensively passive-aggressive Mother’s Day gifts. It will pass, and everything will be fine, and I will go back to my strange-but-mostly-positive feelings about my adoption situation. But I say right now, to you all: I fucking hate Mother’s Day.
I was thinking about people who have children either through surrogacy, donated eggs, or both. What is the emotional attachment there, and what is the stigma vs. the attachment and stigma of women who place their children for adoption? I’ve never been a surrogate or donated eggs, but I wonder how similar it would feel to my situation with Danger. Do I love him so desperately because he’s of my genes or because he’s of my body or because of both?
Is egg donation just like sperm donation, emotion wise? You donate, you get paid for it, your basic genetic information goes into a bank and then people can choose your genetic material out of a manual? (That’s sperm, which is of course more common – I think eggs are a bit more specialized and personal and certainly a much more invasive procedure, medically, so I suppose ladies rarely donate eggs just to go into an egg bank as opposed to donating them to a specific person.) Should you feel attachment to a child with your genetic makeup, but one you didn’t carry and won’t raise?
And then what about surrogacy, with somebody else’s eggs? How could that feel? Do surrogates feel less attached to the child they birth, because that child is of their body but not of their blood? Do they even feel less attached at all?
These are actual questions I have. Is handing over a baby you carried as a surrogate as hard as handing one over that is of your blood and you’re placing for adoption? If so, why? If not, why? Where does that undying, can’t-breathe-without-them, desperate maternal attachment come from, exactly? Blood? Womb? Genes?
These are just things I’ve been wondering. I’d be super interested to know everyone’s thoughts – even if you’ve never been in that situation personally, and it’s all speculation, I’d like to know your thoughts on the subject.
So, I got into grad school. Twice, actually. I got into the MLitt program at Mary Baldwin College here in Staunton, and I got in the MA Individualized Study program at NYU. And now, decisions.
Here’s the thing: I’ve already done NYU, and I loved it but I hate New York. NYU is twice as expensive as MBC, not to mention cost of living expenses and the fact that Mary Baldwin offered me a scholarship not to be sneezed at. MBC works closely with the theatre, so I could keep my job – which I LOVE. I already have an apartment, a social circle, and a second job. Even without all of that, if everything was equal, the program at MBC is just hands down qualitatively better for what I want to do.
But everything isn’t equal, is it? Because Danger is in NYC.
If I go to MBC, that’s another definite two/three years in Staunton, and a foot in the door to a real position at the theater. I will have two jobs and be a full time student who still doesn’t know how to drive, in a town where the trains run three times a week (and even if I learn to drive, which I swear I will, I can’t afford a car). I will no longer be able to just take a week off every other month to sojourn up there. I will see Danger, realistically and if I’m lucky, maybe three times a year. That’s nine times in the next three years. That is not enough. Not for me.
If I go to NYU, I have all of these visions flitting around in my mind about getting to see him ALL THE TIME. I mean shit, when I lived in Brooklyn and he was tiny and new I saw him like twice a month. And soon he’s going to be old enough to know me and you guys, I could BE THERE. I could be there IN HIS LIFE, regularly. I know Paul and Linda would be receptive to that – the only limitation on the number of visits we have is logistics, they’ve made that clear – and my head is full of tantalizing daydreams of playing with him in the park every weekend and being there for his first day of kindergarten and shit.
For better or worse, I placed him for adoption and he is not mine. And for that reason I had to stop putting him first all of the time, because he has parents and I am not them. So I moved to Staunton and took that internship because it was a great opportunity and I never dreamed I’d stay here this long, let alone indefinitely. There was a time where I thought I could move anywhere and not worry about him, but that soon turned out to not be true and I knew that this distance is my limit. Can I live at my limit forever? I have the opportunity to go back, and oh ye gods I want to take it. But remove Danger from the equation and no way no how do I have any interest in going to NYU.
What’s a birthmom to do? You know, we’re trapped in this weird limbo – people say, “You gave him up, stop trying to be his mom, you signed away that right” and I get that. And then they say, “Just because you’re not raising him doesn’t meant you can just abandon him. You gave birth to him, damn it. You’re just going to walk away? What’s wrong with you?” and I get that, too. I’ve accepted that I will live in that limbo forever – but how do I decide just how much of myself to give up to be near to him?
I wish I could ask him what he wanted. But he’s two, and the answer will probably be trains and ice cream.
I leave Staunton tomorrow for Danger visit and NYU scouting. Of course I will be in the city for that ONE MAGICAL WEEK out of the year where everything is beautiful and in bloom and you forget all the reasons why New York is the worst and you fall back in love and never want to leave. Add that to a happy little Danger bouncing around me and I might lose sight of everything I’ve worked for the past two years to build. DAMN IT.
But hey, at least I got in to grad school! Yay!
So I changed my mind about everything. I don’t want to leave Staunton, and Max Power and I are never ever ever getting back together. He came down to visit on Valentine’s Day, and we just looked at each other and realized it’s not going to work. He’ll never move back down here, and I don’t want to leave. We love each other, but mostly because of Danger and because being together would be easier than having to explain this situation to any other potential life mates. We’re friends and we’re fine, but once he left after that I knew I probably won’t ever see him again except at visits.
I was applying to grad school at NYU (and I still did so because why not) but I realized mid-application that I was trying to create a program at NYU that already exists, fully formed, at Mary Baldwin (the university that the theater works closely with here in Staunton). And that I like my job at the theater – I got promoted to Education Artist so I’ve actually been teaching a lot – and I like my job at the restaurant, and I have friends for the first time in my entire life, an actual social circle of girls who like me as a human and whatever, I could go on, it doesn’t matter, the point is I’m not leaving, I don’t think.
This has raised a number of problems, but for the most part I think it’s probably one of the better decisions I’ve made. I’m way too far away from Danger, but that will force me to learn how to drive, god damn it. I know Max Power and I broke up a long time ago, but I don’t feel like we really broke up until this most recent go-round, and I’ve gone balls-crazy being single (which is sort of terrible in a small town, as everyone knows everyone knows everything, which I’m not used to, but I’m working on it) and though my disastrous abusive romantical problems are persistent, I’ve also found some nice, normal ones that I’m thoroughly enjoying. I’m being safe and having fun and enjoying myself and my body. I’m studying my butt off for the GRE, which I’m taking on Monday. I’m still depressed but I’m doing better. I did not go back on my meds, so consequently my low moments are lower and my higher ones are seven different kinds of manic, but I’m okay. I’m working and learning and paying bills on time.
Hopefully Max Power and I will see Danger in April, when Paul and Linda return from an overseas vacation. I love that they are showing him the world. Funnily enough, my parents are also abroad. In Istanbul. For fun. Because they can. I hope one day I’m in a financial position to be like, “Fuck it, let’s go to Istanbul next month.” But for now, I’ll content myself with paying rent without selling drugs or myself. Baby steps.
I’ve been trying to cheer myself up, which isn’t easy, so I sat down and made a list of all the wonderful things I’ve done to remind myself that I’m a worthwhile person who deserves to live and breathe and be on this earth. And I didn’t even give in to the self-indulgent temptation to make an “awful things I’ve done” column, since I know that one would be a lot longer.
Yeah, it’s a short list. In fact it’s a very short list. In fact there’s only one thing on it: Danger.
I spent a little while rereading the posts I wrote at the end of my pregnancy and the very beginning of Danger’s life, and it’s funny: all my anxieties about the relationship with Paul and Linda and what our open adoption would look like and the more practical concerns about how my accidental prenatal drug and alcohol use would affect Danger – I can actually laugh about all of those anxieties. And it’s nice to laugh down here at the bottom of this pit of despair, so I’ll take whatever laughter I can get.
I can get down on myself, and will continue to do so. And I can battle my disease and deal with the suicidal ideations and general despair that I know are symptoms of said disease and not actual, real feelings (not to diminish them or say such things are mutually exclusive – but I know that when I feel suicidal, it’s because there is something wrong with my brain chemistry and not because I actually want to die, and this helps me to, you know, not kill myself, because “symptoms” are easier to deal with than “feelings”). And I am very angry at myself these days, and angry at the decisions I have made and am making. We all know those times when you lie awake at night and think about a conversation that went poorly, like, five years ago, and you get super mad at yourself and think things like, “WHY did I say that to her? WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?” and you toss and turn and feel all tortured and anxious about this interaction that does not matter and cannot be changed and also did I mention it happened five years ago? So I do that a lot, and I also get angry at myself for being lazy and complacent, for not living up to my full potential, for the lives I ruined being cavalier and Iago-esque in my thinking (“Haha, I will do this terrible thing JUST BECAUSE I CAN”) which is also a big part of my current disastrous romantical problems, and so before I drowned in this mighty sea of negative thinking I needed to take a step back and say, fine, if you’re so awful and useless and terrible and Iago-esque, then look at yourself honestly and say there’s no single good thing you’ve ever done.
And guess what! I couldn’t. Because Danger. Because Paul and Linda. Because he is perfect and they are perfect and I MADE THAT. I did it. Me. I am taking full credit for that because quite frankly I really, really need to take full credit for something positive today. So while I understand that a lot of people had and have hands in making our situation as positive as it is, SHUT UP because today I am taking the credit.
My parents, so wonderfully involved in this open adoption, remind me frequently of what a good job I did picking Paul and Linda. And I just reread the post I wrote about them when we first met, and honestly at that point I would have matched with Charles Manson if he’d been nice to me, so I shy away from taking credit on that because I feel like it was just luck and Spence-Chapin and good timing but you know what? FUCK YES GOOD JOB ME, they are awesome and I picked them and so good job me for picking them.
People tell me all the time how beautiful Danger is, and I know that’s a thing you say to something about their children and I know that Paul and Linda aren’t exactly objective observers so when they say things about how bonkers good his development is or what an amazing little human he is I try to take it with the appropriate grain of salt but you know what? NOT TODAY. I made that human and he is THE BEST HUMAN and I today I am taking full responsibility for that.
I know some credit has to go to Max Power for his genetics and his support but guess who the fuck chose Max Power? That’s right, bitches: IT WAS ME. I asked him for a light in front of our student housing, I insisted he be friends with me, my ovaries made the eggs that trapped his sperm, I carried his baby, I chose him to be my life partner. As somebody who historically makes HORRIFYINGLY TERRIBLE romantic decisions, I chose right the only time it has ever mattered that I choose right. So today I am taking credit for Max Power.
A lot of work goes into our open adoption. A lot of credit needs to be given to a lot of people for it working out so well. But fuck that shit because today, I give all the credit to me. Because I really need something to put in the win column. So good job, me. Way to do that one good thing.