I married an optimist. If you, like me, are a self identified pessimist, I highly recommend this as a life strategy. Sure, some days your optimist will annoy the every loving fuck out of you, but other days you will find yourself rubbing off on each other in the best ways. I don’t believe in moderation in ALL things, but maybe in this most basic part of our outlook, a little moderation can be a great help.
I swell with pride and joy when I see my wife, staring down a situation that she once would have barreled into with a smile and “everything will work out for the best, people are basically good!”, stop and proceed cautiously.
And I’ve also become a bit more willing to sigh and admit that it probably WILL work out just fine in the end. I guess that’s a good thing too.
I went into pregnancy with A Really Great Attitude. I thought my Really Great Attitude would shield me from the horrors, I thought I would be able to laugh stuff off because I was so HAPPY about the BABY. As it got worse, and worse, and worse, I kept up my relentless positivity. Surely next week will be better. Surely the next trimester will be better. It’s not SO bad, I just have to keep my spirits up!
But it was so, so, so, bad.
One night, I really wanted to have sex with my wife. It was scary, the very idea if sex, because my pregnant body was a foreign and unpredictable place. Anything could happen. But I wanted to. And she wanted to. And it had been so long. And I thought, you know, you can’t let fear stop you from doing things. You have to be brave. You can do this. Stop assuming it will go horribly, what if it goes great?
So we did it. And I was a little nauseous. But for once I managed to put my nausea out of my mind, and that was a gift. It was a good time. It felt like reconnecting with a part of myself I was afraid I had lost.
Immediately afterwards, when we should have been cuddling, I started to cough. Then I doubled over and started violently puking all over our bed. The force of the puke spasms made me pee myself. The pain made me sob. I couldn’t see.
There I was, in the dark, with my beautiful wife, pissing and puking everywhere, crying my eyes out, wishing I was dead. I hated that she had to see me like that. I hated that she would have to clean up the mess. I cannot describe the level of shame and wretchedness. If you know it, you know it. If you don’t, you can only look on in horror and pity.
So, you know, fuck positive thinking.
I don’t write about him much, because it makes me uncomfortable. He was my boyfriend. He was my boyfriend and he was a master manipulator, skilled in the fine art if gaslighting. I was young. When we first started dating me, he told me that he always lied, that way he could tell the truth sometimes, and nobody would know. He told me that he loved to control people, but that he would never do that to me because he loved and respected me.
I didn’t know which parts to believe. I believed the wrong parts. That was the point.
And he was a hippie. We would sit up late and have these Deep Talks. You manifest your own reality. You manifest your own reality. You make the world in your own image. If you put out positivity, the universe will bring positivity back to you!
So he did what abusers do. He isolated me from my family and friends. He did his best to keep me confused. I hated being with him, but I was afraid to leave.
But I kept trying to manifest positivity. You make your own reality, afterall.
It was a really great way to make it all my fault.
You guys, sometimes things just suck.
So a friend asks why things always seem to work out for me, and I’m torn. On the one hand, I love my life. I am grateful for so many of the wonderful aspects of my life, including my beautiful marriage, my delightful cats, my growing son. On the other hand, if things always seem to work out for me, it only seems that way because I’m a liar.
I’ve learned how to carefully edit my life for the internet, I’ve learned it so well that it’s automatic now. So you see that time I made those really amazing cookies.
But you don’t see me crying, puking, and pissing all over myself at the same time. You don’t see me have labor flashbacks during a transvaginal ultrasound. You don’t see me meekly filling out the postpartum depression survey and admit that yes, I think about death every single day. You don’t see me get do anxious every time I have to make a phone call that I don’t get any of the therapy I need. You don’t see recoil from the infected c-section incision. You don’t see me battling the landlord over the cockroaches. You don’t see me finding out that my abuser moved two towns over and live in fear of running into him for WEEKS.
But hey, I made cookies!
Obviously, or maybe not obviously, both things are true. There is light and there is darkness. It’s all true. I have postpartum depression and PTSD and anxiety. I’m poor. I’ve had some really really hard times in my life, many of them in the last year. But I also have an amazing baby and I’m figuring out how to make a living off of The Written Word and some days I bake cookies. Some things are really really good, y’all. I have a roof over my head. My baby just learned how to bang two toys together to make them make a sound.
But things aren’t good because I’ve manifested so much positivity in my life. Things are good because sometimes I get lucky. And sometimes I don’t get lucky.
And that matters too.
So I guess just enjoy the good parts. Enjoy them as hard as you can. And if some sick fuck tries to blame the bad parts of your life on you, well, it might be my ex boyfriend. Tell him to fuck off.