A few weeks ago, while I was pumping gas and thinking through about a million and one different things on my way into work, the man at the car next to me yelled out, “Smile! It’s Christmas! You look mad.”
I ignored him because, like I said, I was *thinking,* plus, I didn’t like his tone. This only caused him to yell out again, louder and more aggressively the second time around, as if by right I should have answered him. (Note: this sort of thing happens to me– and the many women who dare to spend their time THINKING instead of SMILING– all the time. And it drives me particularly crazy.)
Normally, I would have just given in: flashed him a quick smile to shut him up, and probably found myself apologizing for not smiling in the first place during the process…
But I’m going to be a mom. And there’s like… a LOT that comes with that: a certain responsibility, a certain strength; the desire to pee every 90 minutes but also a newfound instinct to kick ass. So I stood up and said, “Actually, as a woman, that’s really offensive.”
I went on to say, “I’m sure you were just trying to be friendly” (which I didn’t mean one bit) “but it’s rude to go around telling women to smile.”
He apologized and said he “didn’t know” which I totally didn’t believe but it was better than being called a bitch (which is a more typical response) so I told him to have a nice day.
(Yes, I told him to have a nice day because he *didn’t* call me a bitch. That’s how low the bar is set.)
Afterwards I thought of all of the better things I could have said, like “Would you have told me to smile if I was a man?” or “I don’t exist to be pretty for you, mothafucker!” or the slightly more civilized “If you were really concerned that I was mad or having a bad day, you could have just asked how I was doing- one human to another- instead of telling me to do something to make me conform to your version of femininity” but hey, baby steps.
(Especially because I’ve never actually uttered the word “mothafucker” in my life and had to look up just how how to spell it the cool way…)
Anyway, speaking of baby steps, I’m pregnant.
We made the requisite Facebook announcement back in October, ordered the requisite Christmas photocards in November, and coined the requisite baby hashtag earlier this month but I’ve been remiss in updating my blog– and, frankly, in coming to grips with being pregnant.
I’ve always known I’ve wanted to have kids but I was never all that sold on having kids biologically until I met my husband and, well, suddenly I found myself wanting to have *his* kids.
Fast forward to this past summer when we had “the talk” (A: We’re not getting any younger and I am NOT doing fertility treatments so now is our best shot, B: If we want to do this, we’ve gotta pop out a kid during the summer break because I’m an adjunct and adjuncts don’t get maternity leave and finally, C: I’ll be ovulating in a few days so let’s do this).
We got pregnant like 20 minutes later (seriously, first try) but I didn’t realize it until the weekend of my birthday when, in less than 48 hours:
- PIC took me out to dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant to celebrate. There, my parents treated us to a bunch of happy hour drinks, my brother and his wife sent a bottle of wine over to the table, and the staff comped us a round of after dinner chocolate martinis (or maybe it was limoncello? All I can remember is that I spent the rest of the evening tripping over myself and singing the theme song to Hood Adjacent which is just “Hood! Adjacent… Hood! Adjacent…” over and over again…)
- I then met up with a bunch of girlfriends (who also have summer birthdays) for brunch, which was (of course) BYOB. We spent the morning drinking mimosas followed by improvised cocktails made from whatever alcohol we had left mixed with made-from-concentrate juice bought at the local convenience store. #Classy
Following all of this, I went over to my friend Katie’s apartment for a production meeting before we had to head off to rehearsal and I found, to my surprise, that I absolutely could not concentrate on the rehearsal schedule or perform even the simplest of budget calculations in my head, which is kind of crazy when you consider the fact that Katie and I actually run a successful dance company that has operated in the black for five years now…
Was it the alcohol?
Or was it something else?
Three pregnancy tests later, I had my answer.
Next came the googling (had my weekend of drinking irrevocably damaged my baby? Was I already a bad mother???) then the excitement (I didn’t mean to wake PIC up at 2:00am to tell him… but hey, if I couldn’t sleep, why should he?), then the abject horror, which struck the next morning precisely as I found myself trying to fix the flapper valve on our downstairs toilet for like the fourth time:
How could we bring a baby into this house when we couldn’t even get the toilet to work?
And how could bring a baby into this WORLD when we’ve got this asshole in the White House, dangerous levels of climate change, white supremacy running rampant, rape culture, late-stage capitalism, transphobia, homophobia, xenophobia, and fucking football fans losing their minds when someone dares to take a knee?
I hung my head over the toilet and sobbed. Big, snotty, ugly sobs.
What were we doing?
But then a little voice in my head said, “Get over yourself, white girl. People had babies during slavery. People had babies during the Holocaust. You have this baby and you keep trying.”
So here we are, heading into the third trimester: our A is for Activist ABCs book, Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls (or boys!), and a brand new set of Black History Flashcards Vol. 1 at the ready (Santa was woke AF this year).