The only way I can survive re-reading the following stream of consciousness that I wrote in my iPhone’s notepad is by holding my breath and scrunching my shoulders up around my ears and squinting my eyes until I can barely read the words on the screen.
I am desperately in love with him. I write and delete sentences about how it feels to love him so much I could burst into flames. It’s the depressing stuff that I can’t remember is real or not; I’m just trying on a personality like the time I leaned against the back of my parents’ bathroom door in high school, slid down to the floor slowly and dramatically and held a Lady Bic razor to my wrist with absolutely zero intention of dragging it across my skin, or when I called girlfriends “hon” on the phone. Mostly I was just so, so tired. I wrote it down to let it out and then I deleted it to forget it. And now I share it.
It’s New York Fashion Week and I’m laying perfectly still in a small apartment that rattles because of its proximity to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and I’m wearing a milk-soaked plus-size top by Jessica Simpson and elastic waist leopard-print pants that are bunched up around my knees. Twelve years ago I interned at Vogue with sparkly, interesting people, some of whom have become television celebrities, internationally known editors, wardrobe department icons and acclaimed novelists.
I should be napping because the baby is but I drank a large cup of extra strong coffee when it looked like he was going to be awake for a while. He fell asleep fifteen minutes later. Obstacles in the way of a nap are: maniacally repeating “you should be napping” over and again in my brain, wanting a shower, a stack of unsent (fuck: unwritten) thank you notes, a sink full of dishes and the inability to stop sweating.
There is a patch of sunlight on the baby’s face from the window and I am still laying here in silence wondering if he’ll wake up when I move the blinds. Does it even matter if I can’t take a goddamn nap? How many times per day is it acceptable to hide from your baby when he opens his eyes?
Most of the time seconds after he falls asleep my heart aches from how much I miss him. My body feels foreign to me when he’s not in my arms. Is this left over from pregnancy? Ours is the most codependent relationship I’ve ever had and believe me that’s saying a lot.
Staring at the random tufts of hair on the back of his head is the same heartbreaking feeling as watching an old man eat cottage cheese out of a cantaloupe by himself in a diner. I kiss him on the mouth a thousand times a day with a lump in my throat wondering who he’ll kiss in this life besides me and if I’ll feel as much like killing myself as I do now. I sob thinking about how he may live to be one hundred but I won’t be around for one hundred more years to see it. He is six weeks old.
A goat-like whimper follows the heavy flicker of his veiny eyelids and he’s nursing again; supply edges out demand, as always, in our give-and-take.
He’s six weeks shy of a year now and he is heaven. I don’t know what compelled me to document the bad thoughts then, but I’m moved to be honest with the universe now: in stark contrast to what I share and truly feel in my heart today, once these thoughts were a part of me and a part of my motherhood.