Fuck. Here it is. I have a newsletter now. You know, something else I will now be subservient to. Over the past 6 months, I have mentally compiled a list of reasons why I shouldn’t do this. It is scary to claim a sliver of space on the same internet we have to share with her; it is scary to think about how strangers may perceive you, but most of all, it is scary to claim your authenticity. So you know, with all that said, perhaps this means this newsletter is worth doing. Here it is. This also really helped.
Last night my son and I watched Luca on Disney+. We didn’t finish it, we only got through the first 25 minutes or so, which is what the attention span for most 20-month-olds will allow. In the movie, there is a name for what they call the voices in your head, and when said voice appears they shout Silenzio Bruno! I love to feel seen in a kid’s movie. To see two kids name the thing that gets in their way and then consciously push through it. In my adult years I find myself consistently succumbing to this bullying voice, or at least allowing it to throw me through a mental spiral of unrealistic realities. It’s another small reminder that children should be the advisers to the world, not adults. Something happens to us in the growing-up stage; maybe it’s the post-pubescent stage or the dreadful college years. Whenever it happens, there’s a point where we are taught to relinquish any vulnerability and curiosity within ourselves by the time we reach adulthood. If you ask me, I’d like to unlearn this.
My son’s name is Oliver but at home, we call him Bobbie. It started as a joke. Sometimes we’ll say to him: Hola Papi! so as a test, we started saying Hola Bobbie! to see if he picks up the difference. We are wondering once he starts school what name he decides to take with him. It’s something I’m looking forward to finding out.
So this is what I decided to call this thing I’m now subservient to, Bobbie. In a way, it’s a nod to him, but in another way, I’ll treat it similarly to my experience with Motherhood so far. Raising my son has taught me a lot about consistency, compassion, and confinement (The triple C’s). However, there are not many things throughout my short tenure with the title of Mother that I’ve done the same. Everyday is a test, another experiment, another back-to-the-drawing board. But when it comes to the repetitive stuff, it can throw me on an emotional rollercoaster, depending on the day.
I fully own the space I’m in and would like to bring it to Bobbie; Motherhood, my marriage, my observations on my life like Why are we such pieces of shit? or rather, Why is there so much good in the world that we are taught to hide? It is vast yet rigid, my writing can take many forms, but it will all fall under these familiar umbrellas.
My son has completely changed my perspective on all things, even the smallest things, especially the smallest things. It is a thankless love that will go on for as long as he’ll have it. I want to kiss his feet until my lips dry out, I want to melt into his widow’s peak, I want to bottle up his morning breath to smell it throughout the day. My love for him has surpassed any kind of expectation I’d attempted to draw up when I fantasized about Motherhood. It has surpassed my ego, everything I thought I knew is now a reminder that I have known nothing until he showed up. But, all of this rendered my other emotions secondary. And like any dictatorship, sometimes I miss the way it used to be. I miss the person I was, the possibilities that may no longer feel tangible since I tend to a tiny diplomat every day. Was losing the old me a necessary loss to get to the final destination of self? What does that even mean?
Twelve years ago Tumblr was the only place I could truly call “home.” I started a blog called Cheaper than a Vibrator and it did much more for me than it did for anyone that read it. It was a place for me to unabashedly relish in memes and self-deprecation (both things that were at their peak). I gave myself advice, I documented the big move to NYC, and I wrote about body hair. In hindsight, I wrote a lot about body hair. In which that topic absolutely deserves a lot more unpacking. Stay tuned.
Bobbie is clarity, or my desire to reach it, even process it enough so that it takes a different shape. It is formatted through personal essays like the ones I did for Thought Catalog about raising an emotionally competent son against the odds of society or feeling truly seen in the aisles of Home Depot, or this cute attempt at trying to tackle the bitch that is ~feelings~. I am hopeful to be in your inbox once a week.
There’ll be discussion threads once a month to dive deep on a cluster of things. Like the below quote from a book that I’m reading, for example. It could take different forms too, like daily experiences with how the bodega man refers to you that could lead into the existential question of identity and how we want to be perceived, or the way that we are now dissecting the goods and bads of our parental figures and the repercussions its having on us in our own parenthood, or something small that our kids do that makes everything make sense.
I’m 33. I’m growing up; I don’t always feel the need to shave my armpits, I don’t always feel the need to combat intrusive thoughts, I’m proud of the inner circle I have that is based on ~feelings~, I don’t pay mind to what my thought-stricken IG captions do to you, but if it resonates with you, then that is a JOY. Joy is so many things, but amongst the large pile of things it can be, it can be a paradox: it can be the days we force ourselves out of bed to endure the repetitive reckoning of the mundanity, it can be being on the receiving end of other peoples projections and trust that it says more about them than it does about you, just like it can be sitting on the beach with sand in your hair and the waves crashing into you a little too violently but it’s ok, cause it’s reminders that we’re alive and in no way should our complex selves ever dwell too harshly on anything for too long. We are enough, exactly as we are and exactly as we decide to share it, and that is joyful.
To become a mother, I feared, was to relinquish your status as the protagonist of your own life.
This line probably wouldn’t have done anything to me while being pregnant. There wouldn’t have been any way to anticipate the change my life would soon endure when my son was born. No matter how many Babylist roundups I read, or how many holistic quotes I tried to tack onto my daily mantras, when my son was born I became second. Period. I began to experience my identity take a huge shift, there were days I felt relinquished of even having one.
The moment I knew I wasn’t the protagonist in my own life, and that it would take a whole lot of adjustment and strategizing in order to make it so, was when it came to breastfeeding. For me, breastfeeding was the equivalent of being shackled to a chair in a straightjacket, barely having permission to eat a meal or even less, use the bathroom. I would sit and look out the window while strapped to a pump, olive oil on my nipples, and watch ~life~ still ~living~. People hurriedly en route to their destinations, workout groups on a lawn stretching before their long run, bumper-to-bumper traffic, cars completely at a standstill. Did you get that last part? I mean, I was jealous of sitting in traffic! I can look back at it now and be proud of my sacrifice, pushing forward despite going through a tough recovery and deep emotional shifts. In hindsight, we are stronger after any kind of sacrifice, whatever form that may take for you, and for that women will always remain the superior sex.
The biggest sucker punch of Motherhood so far is to still find a way to pave a path for myself, despite our little diplomats and their big needs. My needs, they matter too.
What does this line mean to you? What memories does it stir up?
I’m so happy you’re here!
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