Monday, November 14, 2016

Dear Small Boy #4

Dear Small Boy is a series of letters about perinatal depression. To read part one, click here

Dear Small Boy,

I think a lot about footed baby pajamas.

The other day, our prenatal class instructor asked all of the moms and dads one thing that they were looking forward to doing with their baby in the hours after the birth. They said things like:

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Dear Small Boy #3

Dear Small Boy is a series of letters about perinatal depression. To read part one, click here.

Dear Small Boy,

Sometimes making you makes me feel so, so bad. I get so angry. I get so sad. I feel so worthless. I feel so scared of losing everything. It happens so fast and I feel like I'm being pulled down, down, down into the undertow and I'm going to drag everyone and everything I care about down with me.

When making you makes me feel so bad, the rest of the world seems dim and hazy. I feel like I'm walking in a dream. I look around and see so many good things, but I can't believe that the good things are real because the bad things feel so much real-er. It's scary because I can't tell the difference.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Dear Small Boy #2

Dear Small Boy is a series of letters about perinatal depression. To read part one, click here

Dear Small Boy,

When you go to therapy you get treats. This is your mother talking.

Kids and adults both need treats sometimes, especially when we do something hard. Therapy is hard because it makes me feel really, really, really bad for a while and then better later. It's not your fault, it just is.

I still don't know what to say to you, but last night I played you some songs. Up until now, our musical diet has been a mainstay of gangster rap and the cast recording of Hamilton. Hamilton is still rap but decidedly less gangster. Last night, though, I held my phone near you and played "The Book of Love" by Peter Gabriel and "Don't Think Twice It's All Right" by Bob Dylan. They are songs that make me feel big things by men that feel big things and I hope you will be a boy and a man who feels big. I don't know if feelings are teachable, but if they are, I think Bob Dylan is a good start.


Your Mother

Friday, October 7, 2016

Dear Small Boy #1

Dear Small Boy is a series of letters about perinatal depression. 

Dear Small Boy,

I am lying here alone after work, trying to finish my book, but you are kicking and kicking.

The light is streaming in from the kitchen window on to my book, it is quiet. The book is Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. I like to read.

You kick and you kick, Small Boy. You are twenty-one weeks inside me, kicking, and I have not spoken to you yet because I don't know what to say.

Your father knows what to say. He has plans and ideas and words of love. He has songs and stories and nicknames and last week, when he was talking to you, you kicked so hard he felt it and he cried tears of joy. Already you know each other.

Do you know me? I am your home. I am who you are kicking. I am your mother.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Tattoo

I have always been very into rainbows. They're pretty AND orderly! It's basically a dream come true for a little OCD kid, like a times table chart but prettier. When I line things up in RYOGBV order I feel calm and in control.

So while I still love rainbows, they're always this weird little reminder that mental illness has touched every part of my life. My likes and dislikes, my experiences and activities, my relationships, my body.

I don't believe that mental illness is a blessing in disguise or a gift bestowed upon me. I don't believe that I am required to be grateful for it making me stronger or more empathetic or creative or whatever light and fluffy garbage Upworthy is spouting to try and make us feel better about the fact that the playing field of life is grossly uneven. I wish our culture wasn't so hell-bent on trying to find the good, and instead we could lean into the pain and grieve and keen for what we wish we had, or wish we hadn't lost.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Comedy Pissing Matches: A Love Story

If you are lucky enough to be part of a couple who has received the lowest accolades possible in the comedy world, but still find themselves hilarious, you may end up here:

Steven makes a joke
Steven: That was funny.
Shantini: Nope, it wasn’t.
Steven: Yes it was.
Shantini: I’m pretty sure it wasn’t.
Steven: Well, ONE of us is paid to do comedy, so I think that’s the person whose opinion should be taken as fact when discussing whether or not that joke was funny.
Shantini: Right! I forgot! How WAS that improv show for the 7th Day Adventist New Years Party?
Shantini: And how about the Christian College’s Women’s Soccer Fundraiser Luncheon?
Steven:…it’s next week.
Shantini: Right. Must be so satisfying to be paid for comedy. For me, it’s not so much about the money, but about the art. For instance, if we knew anyone who had been featured on the front page of Huffington Post Comedy, that would be impressive. Do we know anyone like that?
Steven: Yeah, maybe.
Shantini: Because I would think, someone featured on the front page of Huffington Post Comedy, next to Bill Burr and The Muppets, would have an indisputable handle on whether or not a joke is funny. We’d just have to take that person’s expert opinion.
Steven: I suppose.
Shantini: Right. So I guess that’s settled.
Steven: How much money did you make from that video again?
Shantini: I don’t want to talk about it.