Category Archives: Domestications

Fresh air.

I was born in the beginning of October, which means that I’m a Libra. Libras fall under the heading of “air sign.”

I don’t know much. But I know that.


It’s 4:30 in the afternoon, and I’m lying in bed, fighting my carpal tunnel and/or arthritis in order to type. It hurts to grip a pencil and to open a bottle of medicine and to reach for my kids. But that’s what I’ve been dealing with the past few weeks.

The nannies have been on vacation because I expected to be in NYC by now and I didn’t want to rearrange their plans just because we’re not abroad. My brother’s been a big help just by looking after the boys for 30 minutes each day so that I can shower—but that’s all the help I’m getting. It’s just me, a 34-month old, and a 10-month old. I clean the five-bedroom house we live in, cook three square meals a day, and take care of the kids. It’s not easy, but it’s gratifying. I’m beyond proud to be able to say that I’ve gotten control of this domestic life within a couple of weeks.

School-wise, I’m at a stand-still. I decided months back that I would take a year off. I was supposed to take the kids back to NYC asap because Rob’s mom has stage four cancer and would like to see her grandsons before she dies. Only thing is, we’ve hit a lot of snags. Problems with paperwork and red tape. Drama that would make your head spin if I got into it.

I don’t know what the future has in store, if we’ll end up going or not. Right now though, my plans don’t include going home any time soon. I want to get my dual citizenship taken care of asap so that I can work at a call center and save money. Due to my grandma’s death, Rob’s car accident, Riley’s hospitalization, and other factors, finances are beyond tight right now; I’ve decided that I’m going to pay for my tuition from here on out.

Not Rob. Not my parents. Not Rob’s parents. Me. No loans or borrowing or credit cards. I’m going to pay for the rest of my nursing school education out of pocket. I’m going to pay for my own tuition, and all of the expenses that go with it.

Also: I’m going to pay for Riley to go to daycare, and for clothes for the kids, and for a life that’s closer to the one that I want. I’m frustrated at my circumstances and need to feel in control of something.

I need to feel like I’m getting a kick-ass nursing education, and that I’m good at what I do. I need to feel like I’m an amazing mother, and honestly, only now, after being a stay-at-home-mom do I feel that I can claim that title. I need to feel that I’m in a relationship that works. I need to regain faith in myself and the future; I keep on fumbling the former and I’m afraid I’ve permanently lost the latter.

I’m angry at Rob for being so goddamn hard to communicate with.

I’m anxious about my health because I haven’t fixed any of my problems, haven’t gotten my skin biopsy or cervical biopsy, and haven’t taken thyroid meds or consulted specialists or gotten answers.

I’m sad because of all the death that’s been surrounding me, and because of my parents’ shortcomings and how they affect me and my own family.

I’m tired of making lemons into lemonade. I think I’m just going to suck on some lemons and see where it takes me. I can’t deal with pretending to be happy all the time just for the sake of other peoples’ comfort.

I am learning to be brief and concise. I am learning to be ambiguous, and to not share as much of my life as I would have done before. I am learning to keep to myself, to let the internal workings do their thing, and to trust whatever is in me.

Point blank: I’m not in an easy place. It’s not a bad place, per se. It’s just terribly difficult. My plate is full of worry and anxiety and frustration. I want to get to the next stage, to a place where I already have my BSN and at least one finished manuscript that I’m damn proud of. I want to kill my board exam and pass the NCLEX with flying colors. I want to add on to my family and move back to NYC and feel… different. I want life to be easier and fun and happy.

Because this? This lack of money, lack of power, lack of control? This overthinking that I do? These expectations for myself and for others that I have? They’re too much. It’s all just too much for me right now. And the more I try to fix things and realize that I just muck up the gears, the more frustrated and angry I get.

I need a break from everything that is unnecessary. I need to strip away the stuff I don’t need and get to the bare essentials.

I’m working Maslow’s hierarchy, one level at a time.

I’m climbing it, trying to get to self-actualization.

And taking as many deep breaths as I can on the way up.

My glass is 1/3 empty.

It all started a few days ago, when I texted my ob-gyn to tell her that I was mulling over the idea of having Micah delivered at Makati Med instead of Asian Hospital. Those are the two hospitals with which she’s affiliated, and though Asian Hospital is the one I’m more familiar with (I’ve been seeing her there + Riley’s pediatrician is there), I’m open to changing up the game plan if Makati Med is just as nice and cheaper. [NOTE: The thing is? It’s not as nice, and though it is cheaper, it’s only slightly cheaper. (I think. I still have to speak with Asian Hospital’s cost counselor to make sure.)] 

So, yeah, like I was saying: A few days ago. I texted The Doc. I let her know my thoughts, and she was all, “Yeah, yeah, sure, sure, I’ll see you on Thursday.”

I figured, since I’m 9 months along and seeing her every week, I’d get my appointment over and done with, get a tour of the facilities, and maybe even take a gander at the paperwork I’ll have to sign when I give birth.

But, no.

None of that happened.

Instead, I spent a lot of money on gas. Then, Bro got lost on the way to the hospital. This prompted him to catch a major attitude with me even though I was in my usual bright and chipper mood and couldn’t give two flying ducks that I was probably not going to get half of my to-do list done. I looked at his road map, told him where to turn, and he deliberately went the opposite direction, which got us going in circles for almost an hour. Again, I didn’t really care and resorted to texting Rob because I figured Bro knew where he was going. It would’ve been A-Okay, only, the whole time, he was snipping at me and giving me lip and generally being an asshole.

So I snapped. I just couldn’t take it anymore. I mean, for real? I drop a lot of cash on gas and food and whatnot, and YOU’RE THE ONE who gets us lost and decides not to take my directions, and you have the balls to be mean to me? At this time? When we’re supposed to be building bonds because you’re slated to be the only one I trust while I’m giving birth? FOR REAL?

I cried and ruined my makeup. All the while, I gave an empassioned speech about how he’s supposed to be my advocate, and instead he’s been being craptastic to me, which is making me feel like it’s Me Against The World.

By the time I got to The Doc’s office, I was upset and itching for a reason to knock somebody out. The office was located in a circular rotunda, and I ended up walking around it several times before realizing, “Oh, wait! I’ve seen this same snotty little girl four times already!” The actual office was built like a railroad car, so that you had to go through a tiny hallway in order to get to the actual office, which made me go, “HUH?” I mean, really, you expect pregnant women to waddle through a hall that’s barely big enough to accomodate my not-even-two-year old?! It didn’t help, either, that one of the ladies behind the front desk was giving me the side eye. I filled out a form, then slipped out to look for the ladies’ room, which was the size of a shoebox. By the time I got back to the office, overwhelmed with a sea of emotion and catching my breath, a nicer lady from behind the desk asked to take my BP. I obliged her, but mentioned also that I hadn’t had time to relax, so she might want to wait. She didn’t understand English, so she took my BP. Then she proceded to ask me questions that I’d just answered on the chart.

I saw The Doc, and all we did was TALK. And I had to pay her to talk to me. Not about my health, even, but about money. Because that’s what happens here in the Philippines, where there are no clear divisions on duties and hospitals only have ONE cost counselor.

I got home, expecting Riley to greet me with his usual “MommyMommyMommyMommmy!!!”, but instead, he barely batted a lash. Turned out, he hadn’t had a nap. So I spent some time with him. Joy and I gave him a bath. Then I lay down next to him and let him sleep.

Now it’s barely 9 p.m., I’m sweaty and tired as all hell, and even though this is THE PERFECT time for me to relax and unwind and watch my kiddo sleep peacefully, instead I’m going to work on a school project. Because, let’s face it. This right here? It’s also the perfect time to get lost in schoolwork without feeling guilty that I’m not spending quality time with Riley.

I’m feeling worn out, on edge, and agitated. I’m worrying that Micah won’t love me because I’ll be too busy with a million other things to take care of him. I’m remembering how my own mom didn’t spend time with me as a baby/toddler because she was always too busy working, and how she and I didn’t develop a close relationship until my late teens/early twenties. I worry. A lot.

But those are the chances I’ve taken, and this is the lot I’ve drawn, and, really, what can I do now but make the most of my situation?

Tomorrow is a new day and another chance to get things right.

Some lessons learned.

Today I tried to finish everything on my plate and ended up breaking ground on every morsel – but without finishing anything. Now, it’s a quarter to midnight on a Sunday night, and that means I’m going to get four hours of sleep (or less).

Strangely, I feel good about this.

I’ve already done the hard parts: buying all of the necessary components, setting them up, and even starting off each project. It’s the completion that’s easy. I’m a hop, skip, and jump away from several finish lines and feeling like I’m making good headway. I’ve only got three days of classes to contend with, then a killer dry-run to do to the hospital on Thursday. (I’ve decided to change the venue of my labor and delivery.) I can rest on Friday.

Some bulletpoints, if you will:

  1. I had an argument with my ob-gyn yesterday that’s left me resigned to having my next biological child born in the States (even though I’d had my heart set on getting pregnant again in time for a May 2013 due date). Lesson learned: Always read ahead. You’re less likely to bindly follow suit if you’ve got some edu-ma-cation up in yo’ head.
  2. My nesting instinct has kicked in like crazy, and all I want to do is organize and clean everything in sight. I ended up emptying all of the drawers in the master bedroom and organizing the hell out of them. Even though there’s still a lot of residual clutter from the material upheaval of knick-knacks and whats-its galore, there is a calm in my soul from having fixed something tangible. Lesson learned: Tidiness is next to sanity.
  3. The two maids need some real breaking-in and teaching – especially since they’ve had a role reversal. (Tess will be Micah’s nanny and Jana will be the housemaid, instead of vice verse.) I’m a little worried about this arrangement for several reasons, but living here has taught me to work with what I’ve got. Lesson learned: Do the best  you can with the hand you’ve been dealt.
  4. Probably the main reason why I’m okay with not completing anything? Because I spent that time taking care of me and my family. I allowed myself an afternoon nap. I played with Riley on and off the whole freakin’ day. I touched base with Rob really often. All this, in spite of the fact that I could’ve been a speed demon, ripping through my to-do list without nary a twitch. Lesson learned: Do whatchu gotta do, but never forget why you’re doing them, playa. Family comes first.
  5. Speaking of Rob, he landed a job! It’s not exactly an ideal job, and we’re hoping he can land another one asap, but it’s something, and that’s all I need to know. He’s also looking into online degree programs and seeing a shrink to enhance himself. I’m sooooo unbelievably proud of him, and I can’t wait for him to unfold his wings and be the gorgeous, soaring butterfly I’ve always seen him as. Lesson learned: Commitment is a bitch, but it’s worth it if you’ve put your chips in the right corner. Stick to yo’ guns.
  6. Also: Thanks to my homie, Jess, I ended up writing a pitch to a New York magazine. I’m not exactly holding my breath that I’ll land the article, but the idea behind my pitch has given me a much-needed breath of fresh air; I’m working on it even if it doesn’t get picked up. After the article is finished, I’m gonna shop it around and hope that it gains some readership. Lesson learned: Be true to yourself, and you’ll get the help you need to shine. You’ve just gotta have faith.
  7. School isn’t gonna be done with any time soon. I have SIX quizzes tomorrow, which means that if I was’t pregnant, I’d be studying like a madwoman right now, cramming as much in my head as possible and hoping that it all stays put. Instead, I’ve read the notes and done some highlighting; when I wake up, I’ll make study sheets and the prerequisite acronyms and mnemonic devices. Then I’ll relax, show up on time, and do my best. Lesson learned: Stressing out doesn’t make you more likely to succeed. Trust yourself.

I’m sure I’ve got more to say, but I’m exhausted. The doc says Micah could be making his appearance any day now, and she’s given me some herbal supplements to ensure that’s the case. I’m hoping for the best, stretching and walking as much as I can, and being as anxious and excited as possible to be a mom of two!

Mom leaves tomorrow.

She’s been here two weeks. In that time, I started another semester, we got two new maids, Riley got spoiled ROTTEN, we went “malling” every.freaking. day (yes, “malling” is a word here), and I got NO studying done.

Tomorrow, we’re bringing mom to the airport and I’m going to be absent for the first time since the semester started. Tomorrow also happens to be the first of two days with wall-to-wall quizzes. And did I mention the zero studying that I’ve accomplished?

I’m exhausted from all the driving, malling, shopping, eating, et al., that my mom’s vacation has entailed. Good news, though: I’ve made real headway on the business poster and nailed a couple of editing gigs, Rob’s thisclose to landing a job, and Baby Micah could be as little as TWO WEEKS away fom making his grand appearance. I’ve got most of his stuff ready for him, and I’m excited for the rest of what’s to come.

For now, this is the thought ringing in my exhausted mind: So what if I end up being absent and missing out on three of the five quizzes? I’ve only got one mom and I intend on spending as much quality time with her as possible.

I want us to be *that couple*.

Not the Disney couple that’s so sugary-sweet you can feel your teeth enamel melting off every time you see them.

Not the abusive couple that makes headlines.

Not the plain/uninteresting/boring couple that has everything they could ask for and yet no problems to speak of.

I want to be the couple that’s so bizarre and novel that we take up your thoughts in the middle of the night and make you wonder, question, and acknowledge perspectives you’ve never before noticed or had always believed to be wrong. I want us to defy and redefine everything you know about Love, and in so doing open your mind to my reality: the one where we are all free to Love as we want without having that love invalidated by others’ opinions of what Love should be. I want our love to be the kind that proves my hopes and wishes to be true, even if I’m not entirely sure what those hopes and wishes are.

Maybe I need to know that there is someone out there capable of loving me while I inevitably grow and change and redefine everything I’m about. Maybe I need someone who redefines my every notion of what my soulmate should be like, and in so doing overwrites a large part of my psyche. Maybe I need to bolster my self-confidence by going through hell with someone, knowing that our relationship could very well be falling apart right before my eyes, and yet scrounge up an insurmountable amount of faith.


All I know is, I’m in this thing, ride or die.

Virginia, Part Two

It was just last month: April. My paternal grandmother had just celebrated her 89th birthday, and because we’d spent an entire day at her house, my mom asked us to show her mother the same courtesy. The next day, a Sunday, we drove out to see my Grandma Virgie.

It had been raining on and off, and as the tires of our SUV sloshed in the mud and we approached her house, I remembered the first time I’d been there. I must have been around 12 years old. My Grandpa Willie (my mom’s dad) had just died, and my mother, my brother, and I had flown to the other side of the world to… pay our respects? Go on vacation? Have an excuse to miss school?

I’m sure there must have been a serious agenda, but I was too young to recognize it. My mom has always had a very complicated relationship with her parents, and that complication had estranged me from them. By the time my Grandpa Willie had passed on, my maternal grandparents were a dirty joke that my dad told to make light of the problems between he and my mom. I only saw them one a year, if that. Sometimes, two or more years would pass without laying eyes on them.

By that rainy April afternoon, we hadn’t seen my grandma in a month or two. The moment I laid eyes on her, my nursing student brain knew there was something wrong. She’d lost a lot of weight, so that her skin was sagging around her neck and upper arms. She seemed even less talkative than she usually was, which meant she was damn near mute. Most damning of all was her skin, which had gone from being the enviably pale and radiant shade of the pulp of young peaches, to the ruddy and dark orange hue of mashed sweet potatoes.

I asked the maid if my aunt (my mom’s only sibling who lives in the Philippines) had seen my grandma. The maid said she had, and that she’d written off the symptoms as “things that happen to old people.”

I knew better.

Jaundice usually meant organ failure, and from the looks of things – pumpkin skin, yellowed eyes – she definitely had jaundice. (Later, my aunt would say that a doctor had overruled me, saying that Grandma Virgie’s pigment had simply changed.)

I looked at my grandma, who was lighting up with joy at the sight of Riley. I saw her face glow. I saw life in her eyes. I saw a willingness to be happy. And then I remembered the facts: No one ever visited her anymore, except to get money from her. Her hearing had diminished substantially, so that she didn’t bother attempting to hold a conversation. Her days were spent on her own property, either gardening or crocheting. Her lifestyle was solitary and sedentary, and as I watched my son hugging her, talking to her, and smiling at her, I knew I couldn’t let her last memories of life be a mundane loop of loneliness.

I resolved right then and there to have her live with us.


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I manage my workload, and it seems to me that if I were a CEO of a major company, my skills would be lauded as if I were the magna cum laude of Success University. Because I use my skills for decidedly less glamorous purposes – my family, household, small business, et al. – people look down their noses at me. That’s not okay, but I’ve learned to accept it. People see what they want to see, and I have no control over that, so I’d rather spend my time working on me than focusing on them.


I’ve assumed for the longest time that being on the grind automatically translates into keep on going/don’t stop, don’t stop!/push yourself harder/don’t come up for air/work your ass off until you feel spent and insecure and totally empty. This isn’t true. Keeping on your grind means continuously pushing yourself to improve, yes. But doing so shouldn’t be at the risk of your sanity and well-being. I realized this today, when instead of bogging myself down with my 1000+-page health assessment book and studying like a fiend all day, I allowed myself time to relax between classes.

That “relaxation time” translated into studying physics, doing problem sets in physics, and talking with classmates about nothing in particular. I ended up de-stressing while simultaneously doing things that I needed to do anyway – and I hadn’t even planned on it. I ended up acing a quiz, learning new skills, establishing baselines for relationships, and feeling refreshed and rejuvenated by the end of the day. Now, here I am at 3 a.m., not feeling the slightest bit pressured to study, but feeling the itch nonetheless. Here I am, knowing full well that after I study, I’m going to do a million other things that I have to do – and yet I’m not stressed.

I’m not checking my to-do list or worrying about outcomes or comparing myself to others or trying to live up to others’ expectations. I’m just doing what comes naturally to me, and liking whatever I get.

And, somehow, the world isn’t falling apart.


It’s a little past midnight, Rob just called to ask what size of sneaker Riley wears, and I’m debating going to the kitchen for a snack. I feel like, the second I leave the room, Riley will wake up and go crazy searching for me, which has been going on a lot at this hour. I’m not sure if he’s suddenly more clingy because he senses that another baby is coming, or because I’ve been less available lately, or because he’s rebelling against toddlerhood and would rather stay my little baby for as long as possible, but I’m simultaneously tickled pink and getting salty at the thought of carrying him around forever.

These are my thoughts right now: I want to turn on the light to study, but we learned in class that sleeping with a light on increases your risk for a specific kind of cancer, and seeing as Riley is half Rob, and Rob’s mom’s side is riddled with cancer, I don’t want to risk it. I wish I remembered which kind of cancer lists “sleeping with a light source turned on” as a risk factor.

In truth, I feel myself slipping in my schoolwork. I’m not caring as much about getting high grades, and it definitely shows. I feel as though I’m not on top of my studying – not as much as I usually am, anyway – but when I step back and compare my studying habits of today to those of three months ago, I honestly feel like I’ve improved. Maybe the stuff I used to do just doesn’t cut it anymore, what with all the other priorities that clog my mind at any given moment. Or maybe the exams just got harder. (I’m leaning toward the latter.)  All I know is, my grades have fallen a bit and I’m positively aching to leave school the minute I step foot there. Point blank: I’ve been really salty when I’m anywhere but home. I just want to stay home, turn on the air conditioning, read, hang out with Riley, and focus on myself and my pregnancy for a bit.

Micah has been kicking like crazy, and I noticed that he kicks even more when I’m at school. My brother says that it’s because I’m the most stressed when I’m at school, which means my body temperature goes up, my blood pressure rises, my respiration rate also rises – pretty much all of my vital signs soar. This, in turn, causes Micah to go, “What the fuck, Mom? Get your shit together.”

Honestly, guys, I’m really wondering if I’ll make it to October. It’s not that I don’t think I can accomplish all of my goals – give birth to a healthy baby, bond with him for a week and a half, peel myself away from him to return to the grind, balance motherhood with work and school, launch a big promotional campaign for my editing business, learn about the dynamics of having two young kids, keep up communication with Rob, stay in touch with loved ones, manage a household, do lots of editing, take a full class load without failing any classes, have my first semester of hospital duty, and manage to SLEEP – cuz, strangely, that stuff? I know I can handle all of it – except for that last part. Sleep? Forget about it. Sleep and I are going to be distant acquaintances until October.

I tell myself that the next semester starts on June 14th, and then there’s approximately four months from that point until I’m on vacation again, and that four months is no big thing. But, really? Really, what I foresee in my near future in my hair a mess, my eye bags down to the floor, my appearance all kinds of unkempt and dissheveled, and my self-esteem plummeting because of that fact. Basically, I don’t see myself having any time for Me. For the myriad of responsibilities that I have to everything and everyone else? Yeah, no sweat, I’ll make the time. But for myself? Nah. I just wouldn’t be able to keep up the juggling act if I had to take care of Me, too.

I’m aware of how awful that sounds, and I really don’t intend on playing the martyr. I figure, in October, I’ll turn 27, and I’ll get a haircut and color, and buy myself some new clothes, and start doing aerobics on the regular, and I’ll feel better about myself. In the meantime, I’m fine with letting my grades slide from “uber-spectacular” to “better than average” if it means keeping my sanity intact.

That small bit of reprioritizing – giving my ego a rest from feeding on my “I got the highest grade on the exam!” high – is making all the difference. These days, I’m enjoying the hell out of every second that’s not spent in the classroom and making the most of my time in the classroom (usually by writing lists and making studying outlines). I’m learning to finagle the system to my liking, and that makes me feel like everything’s going to be okay.

From the outside.

So, last night happened. And in the wake of the fight I had with Rob, I blogged. I blogged to vent and to gain perspective and to answer questions I didn’t realize needed to be asked. I blogged to be courageous and communicative and to express ideas that needed to be expressed. And then I sent that post to a bunch of my closest friends and waited until replies came in. And when I read those replies, I realized why I wrote that post in the first place.

I’m as far-removed from my old reality as I ever could be, and in the year and a half that I’ve been living in the Philippines, all of my closest friends are busy changing. We touch minds every so often, but until I read replies from my message, I hadn’t realized just how much I’d changed. I’ve changed more than I’d like to admit, and with that realization came a lot of hard truths, like: Writing that post was one thing, but sending it out to everyone was another. I shouldn’t have done it – not to all those people, at least.

All relationships have their ups and downs – on a pragmatic level, we all know that. Once someone starts giving voice to the downs, though, people tend to focus on them and forget all about the ups. It makes sense, since in giving voice to my relationship fears and doubts, I’m in essence shining a spotlight on an area that many of us find fascinating and downright gossip-worthy; we’re all opinionated when it comes to love, and finding out about other peoples’ love lives gives us license to pass judgment and let our own experiences color their lives.

There’s nothing wrong with sharing the details of our days; sometimes, it’s the only thing that tethers us to sanity. A talk with a good friend, an email, a text – communication keeps things in context and helps us grow. But when you’re in a relationship and making a life with someone, all of a sudden the rules are different. Because sharing the details of your life ends up being sharing the life that the two of you have created, and you realize that some things are too sacred to share.

There were several things I noticed after letting my previous post sink in:

  1. Some of my closest friends just don’t get me anymore.
  2. The shit that used to fly in NY no longer applies.
  3. I will probably never feel really safe with Rob, and that might be okay.


When someone tells you something you don’t want to hear, it’s easy to put on blinders and stick your fingers in your ears. When I read the comments that people made to the effect of “It doesn’t sound like it’s working out between the two of you. Just call it quits already”, I had to stop myself from reacting; I didn’t want to put up the blinders.

I took a step back, took a deep breath, and looked at things objectively. Then I realized that they didn’t have the whole picture; they didn’t even have all of the important parts of the picture. All they knew of my new reality was the little that I’d written in the post, and it dawned on me just how little we know about each others’ lives. That’s when the most painful truth hit me: In the past 19 months, I’ve unintentionally pared down my circle of besties.

It was inevitable, I guess, but still painful to admit. There was a time when these people knew my life backwards and forwards. There was a time when they really got me. Now, everything needs a three-hour back-up story. And even though I’m more than willing to sit down and write them a long-ass email, it still sucks that we’re not already on the same page. I miss what we used to have, and I hate to think that we’re losing track of each other.

But stewing in that post made me realize something else that’s very important: All of the question marks that used to float around me have been replaced with other question marks. I guess this means that I’ve unknowingly figured out who I am and what I want in life. I’ve spent the last 26 years learning all of that, and now that my quest for answers is over, all that’s left is the actual doing.

These days are not at all like the ones I had back in NY, and I have to start living that truth. I have to stop living in the past. I have to recognize what I have now and be grateful for all of it.

All this time, I’ve been foraging and gathering and hunting for parts of my life. I’ve been wracking my brain, experiencing a slew of different lives, going through all of that so that I can decide which belong to me. Now that I’ve made my decision, I feel like a kid opening the birthday presents I’ve been begging for. I know what I’ve got, but I don’t know what I can really do with all of it.

That analogy definitely applies to Rob. I feel like, I’ve been fighting for him, for us, and for our family for a really long time. Now that I really feel like it’s all mine, I’m just now getting used to what that means.

Maybe I don’t feel protected when I’m with Rob, but maybe I don’t need to feel protected by him. Maybe the whole point of being so careful about defining my life and picking out its parts was so that I had the confidence to pick a partner who gets me more than I get myself, and maybe my partner is right. Maybe I don’t let anyone take care of me – not in the conventional ways, at least. Maybe I let my partner take care of me in the ways that I need to be taken care of, and that’s okay even if those aren’t the ways I want to be taken care of.

All I know is, this exchange of feelings – the blogging, the messaging to friends, the talking to Rob – is what I needed to feel secure in what I’ve got. Strangely, it took focusing on the downs to get back on an upswing.

On being a pregnant nursing student with diarrhea.

The last few days have been a warm-up to the difficulties that await me. On Tuesday night, after eating brown rice and beef with onions, carrot sticks, walnuts, and lots of other healthy fare the whole day, I suddenly felt like I was going through labor. A really bad bout of diarrhea sent me to the bathroom faster than a 5-foot rat with rabies could’ve had me running. Also, I was exhausted after having a tiring day at school, and contractions wracked my body. I really thought Micah was going to be born a premie, and I kept on saying to him, “Not now. Mommy’s not ready yet. I don’t have your bassinet or your diapers or even the money for your delivery into this world. So, please? Not now. Give me at least two more months, and everything will be set. I’ll even love you more than I love your brother. Deal?”

That last part, of course, wasn’t serious.

I don’t think…

Anyway, the pain was getting unbearable, to the point where I couldn’t hold a cell phone to my ear while getting hit by contractions. (Rob and I were talking on the phone at the time.) Luckily, though, my ob-gyn had prescribed some pills to ease pre-term contractions. I took one at 2:30 a.m., and just as I was about to get some shut-eye, Riley woke up. So I woke up Joy. Then I quickly ran back to the bathroom and planted my ass there for what seemed like an eternity. By the time I was done, my butthole burned and I remembered how, after I gave birth to Riley, I’d had my first-ever case of hemmorrhoids and kept on thinking Ya know, this isn’t a walk in the park on a perfect Spring day, but it’s not like I’ve been caught butt-naked in the park and tourists are oggling me while a monsoon is tearing up the place.

Right after that thought hit me, I had an epiphany. Because hemmorhoids? They’re pretty fucking bad, and if I don’t remember that fact in all of its clarity and actually think that diarrhea-ass is more painful, then I must’ve been too high on motherhood to make an objective assessment of the situation.

And that made me think of the future. Because in about three months, I’m planning on popping out a baby as naturally as possible, bonding with him for no more than two weeks, then returning to the same old rigorous routine of school, family and running an editing business. And while I have help with Riley and the household, I still often feel drained and tired.

I had to ask myself: Can I really handle all that?

I wish I could say that a resounding HELL TO THE YES! screamed from the emptied bowels of my… umm… soul, but instead, I shrugged. Because the truth? The honest fucking truth? It’s that I don’t know if I can handle all of that. I don’t know what the future has in store, or what might come back from the past to bite my ass. I just know that I’m willing to stick it out, try my best, and make the best out of whatever comes. No matter the challenge, that’s what I’ve got, and I’m okay with the outcome, whatever it is.

Even if it burns my ass in the end.