Category Archives: identity
A comment from the swimwear post made me think out loud about my own insecurities regarding leg shaving:
How many of you are leg non-shavers?
I’m a recent non-shaver. I know. You’d think by now I would have let my hairy freak flag fly way before now, but I stopped at the beginning of my pregnancy, and just never started back up.
Now, I’m not a hairless wonder, so my unshaven legs are obvious. I don’t have fine, blonde, sparse hairs that no one notices anyhow; I have dark, black, man-hairs. Rumor has it that eventually, time will turn them into thinner, lighter versions of themselves, so I will just have to wait and see. In the meantime, I’m finding myself incredibly self-conscious, especially wearing shorts around other shavers: during kiddo playtime with other kids, at the spray park, at music class, etc. When RR’s favorite thing is to stand at your legs and hold onto one of them, it’s hard to think that people don’t notice.
My wife doesn’t care, she says, and I believe her. She, however, is a hairless wonder and could go for years not shaving, and no one would notice. Not even her leg hairs.
I used to shave mostly because I was in a band with straight boys, and oftentimes, we’d have practices in the summer, and no one wants to wear pants all the time in Virginia during July. So my shaving routine usually surrounded band practices so that my mates wouldn’t judge. Well, especially that one, fashion-forward, drumming mate.
But now, with no one to judge (well, no one to judge AT me), I’m embracing the world of the non-shaving, but I’m having trouble shaking that other people a) notice, and b) care. It’s kind of like when I change into gym shorts at the gym and I’m wearing boxers. Are people noticing my underpants? And if so, do they really care? Probably not. And PS, stop looking at my underpants!
But I notice… but do I care? I might? Will I care when I’m 50 and I’m looking through RR’s baby pictures and the first thing I notice in the picture of us at the spray park are my legs, and not her tiny tookus in a two-piece?
I’ll need to eventually either a) stop caring or b) shave. I wonder which one…
I start back to work on Tuesday of next week, which means I have to take between then and now and do a serious wardrobe assessment. Or, shall I say, reassessment. Seeing how I’ve now just been able to wear pants that have a button (thanks, C-Section scar!), I’m about to dive into a five-day workweek, which will insist that I wear pants with a button, I’m sure. Hell, pants, period! Thanks to having a summer baby, I spend most of my days in gym shorts. Hot stuff, I know. I’m not sure how my wife keeps her hands off me.
I have a love/hate relationship with my maternity clothes. Well, “love” might be a strong word. Weeks after RR was born, I gleefully stood at my closet doors, throwing my maternity pants, shorts, sweaters, shirts over alternating shoulders while laughing maniacally. When I realized my C-Section scar was going to fully heal sometime around when RR starts driving, I pulled out my maternity shorts in defeat. At least they’re kind of stylish? OK, who am I kidding. They can sort of pass off as a cargo short, though. You know, as long as you don’t wear them with heels.
Long gone are the sweaters, though. No more bright colors, thank god. No, really. Thank. God. There at the end, I hardly recognized myself in the mirror – between the huge belly, sausage fingers, swollen nose/eyes/face, and brightly colored shirts, it’s a good thing I was preoccupied being so uncomfortable, otherwise, I would have just continued posting about my hatred of all things magenta.
In preparation of being an actual contributing, dressed, member of the working world, I bought a few new polo shirts to take the edge off of showering before 5pm every day. I will say that I’m one of the few percentage of people who actually used being pregnant as a method of losing weight. RR, the ultimate parasite. I weigh ten pounds less right now than I did when we got pregnant. Of course, even though there’s less of it, it’s all relocated in different places now, which makes things even more exciting. And by exciting, I mean challenging. And by challenging, I mean awkward, and sometimes hateful.
I’m still the same polo shirt and jeans size, but I have yet to tackle my khakis or work shoes, which have remarkably less leeway. I can’t wear jeans and sandals all the time, I suppose. So this weekend will be one of wardrobe reassessment, and boxing up the maternity clothes to keep (you know, in case we get a crazy idea to do this again), to consign (periwinkle, magenta, I’m looking at you), and give away (huge man-sweaters and poorly made 3/4″ sleeve shirts).
Despite this week’s unusually hot weather, I’ve been wearing my jeans when I leave the house. It’s really the first time since I started to show when I was pregnant that I feel more like myself. I’m still trying to reconcile looking like someone in between a scary dyke (you know, cammo shorts, backwards hat, unshaven legs, permanent scowl), and someone’s mom. I think the in between is actually me, and I’m just waiting for the pendulum to stop swinging from both extremes long enough to get my bearings and go shopping.
Why hello, the person who Googled “40 weeks pregnant yesterday cleaned everythink today very tired and moody” – this is a blog you oh-so-obviously need to read. Were you looking for help? Advice? A cleaning service? Perhaps a free Cymbalta trial?
Today, apparently, is the first day of the next four (to potentially five!) weeks of unwelcome (although not unfriendly) stares by strangers, co-workers, and passers-by. And no, it has nothing to do with the ice cream bar in my hand. I don’t think? As if they’re wondering when my due date is, or if I should be frequenting the lunch spot that only serves cold cuts. Breakin’ the law, breakin’ the law. At least I know that I’m not longer a contestant on “Fat or Pregnant?”
Today, I feel largely pregnant and more feminine than I would ever like to admit, and more than I ever have before. The cargo pants and Crocs can’t even help me. Maybe I should put on my baseball hat right now, go outside and spit. Yesterday, I was having daydreams of wearing the wardrobe of my old self. I sighed as I thought of jeans, a belt, my black boots with laces, and a polo shirt. SIGH. I know it’s “almost over.” I also know that the moment Vegas pops out and greets the world will NOT be followed by the day I can wear all of my pre-pregnancy gear. Believe me, the veteran moms are ever so helpful in reminding me that I’ll be dedicated to this wardrobe long after my 40 weeks are up. Thanks moms!
Instead of being a grumpy Gus, I’m trying to be here not letting my spirit get killed, which is a side-effect of the last month of pregnancy, says my friend. You know, spirit-killing… and hemorrhoids. A couple of weeks ago, when I walked into the pet store and had to ask for help buying a 40 lb bag of dog food (and getting it in my car), I felt like I finally had embraced my pregnancy limitations. At the time, I didn’t feel bad about it either. But now here in the days of the “will I even FIT in that booth?” followed by watching my wife be the order-waiter, drink-getter, tray-carrier, I long for my old days of auto-chivalrous behavior. I’ve been demoted to activities like sitting on the porch with my feet up, drinking lemonade, while my wife mows the lawn. The humanity.
Once upon a time, my wife had ankle surgery that put her out of commission for two months. The first two weeks, she was confined to the bed, then she slowly moved into crutching along, using a Roll-A-Bout, or a wheelchair, depending on the activity. Then there was physical therapy. Did I mention that our dog puppy was only 3 and 1/2 months old when she went under the knife? Being the sole caretaker during that time drove me to therapy. Literally. The dog walking, the breakfast/lunch/dinner cooking, the water and pain pill fetching. Therapy. No, this doesn’t mean that I’m due mine. But it does mean that I completely understand how the next four weeks could easily kill her spirit just as easy as it could kill mine. This doesn’t get me any closer to preventing it from happening, but acknowledging it is important, I think.
So hey wife – thanks for opening the doors, walking at my glacial pace, mowing the lawn, weed-whacking, walking the dog, scooping the cat boxes, driving, keeping the A/C on, drilling for toggle bolts, cooking us sensible dinners, sleeping through my tossing and turning, and not mocking my demands for ice pops, reassurance, hugs, and witch hazel. Love, and sitz baths – your wife.
Ahh where to even start talking about last night’s childbirth preparation class. One down, five to go, right? The class itself was super informative – basic anatomy, dilation, effacement, how something that big comes out of a space that small, relaxation techniques… you get the idea. I’m more fixated today on the identity crisis it launched inside of me last night when apparently, when the instructor says “OK, ladies?”, she’s actually referring to me.
We’ve touched on parts of this before, but never have I wanted to be less referred to as a “lady” than in a room full of “ladies” with their husbands/boyfriends/knocker-uppers, who have clearly dragged some of them to the class in the hopes of getting some sympathy and more foot rubs. When the instructor says, “OK, now, guys?”, she’s not talking to me. In fact, she’s talking to my very ladylike wife. It’s like we’re in Bizarro World.
One thing about living in The South means that a good amount of the other dozen or so couples in the class are good ol southern locals. No, not the locals who are joining CSA’s or going to the Saturday morning farmer’s market prior to hitting the Whole Foods. They’re more the ones who, when asked what they’d normally be doing instead of being at class, answered “fishin’.” Maybe it’s the neon orange hunting hat that gave you away, sir. Or the parking lot full of V-8 diesel trucks parked in the “compact only!” spaces. But I think we knew when we walked into the classroom that we’d be the only lesbians. Duh.
Being the only lesbians normally wouldn’t be a problem. We’re often the only lesbians. The saving grace is usually that I can stereotypically pair up with the “husbands” and talk about beer and football. But even in this class, I would be out of my element trying to socialize with the husbands, who are comparing local fishin’ holes over styrofoam cups of lemonade during the break. But instead, I’ve resorted to throwing my ladylike wife to the orange-hat-wearing wolves.
Much like how I often feel like the dad, I also feel like the husband, which apparently is not a problem any given day, unless I’m trapped in a room full of husbands. Then it’s awkward. Cause then I’m soooo not the husband or the dad. And all of the sudden, my wife is the husband and the dad. Of which she’s not. She doesn’t need to be told what a kegel exercise is, what it feels like, and how to do them. She doesn’t need to be shown how hard it is to put on her shoes while pregnant by doing so while holding a folded pillow in her lap. She’s not my silly, fishin’ husband who is detached from my pregnancy, and needs to be taught how to take care of me. She takes pretty good care of me as it is, thanks. And in fact, I can take care of myself in a lot of ways still, even, that don’t require me to subscribe to the thinking that all of the “ladies” need to be waited on hand and foot. It’s like those parenting books we lit on fire took back to the library immediately when it assumed that all expectant dads were insensitive TV-watching douchebags.
I know we’re in the minority, and I might actually feel more uncomfortable if the instructor made everything gender-neutral simply for our sake. It’s not like we’re in a huge metropolis swarming with pregnant lesbian couples. We can give her a break. My inner struggle is reconciling that, by being the pregnant one, I’m lumped in with the moms. That’s not to say that I’m not a mom – we’re not set on, “OK you be the mom, I’ll be the dad.” It’s sort of like when ignorant straight people want to know which part of a lesbian couple is “the man.” It’s an awkward, terrible-tasting cocktail that is managing to make me feel less like who I actually am.
I told my wife last night, as we were debriefing, that I feel like I’m running out of good cheer. Now, I’m usually well-stocked in good cheer (despite my overuse of the word “fucking”), and am ready to repeat any positive “Hey, things will be OK” mantra to myself and my wife, whenever we find ourselves having hard times. Maybe it’s served as my coping mechanism all of my life. But somewhere in between an overwhelming to do list, physical discomfort, raging hormones, and committing to a six-week class chock full of pre-attendance pep-talks, my supply of good cheer is slowly being depleted. I assume that Vegas is stocking up as we speak, which bodes well in the long run for us as parents, but is leaving me just short of bone dry of my usual contagious happiness.
TLDR: Childbirth classes, though informative and useful, kind of suck when you’re a butch, pregnant lesbian.
OK, so here’s where things might get a little inappropriate. NSFW, even! I know.. me? NSFW? Who knew?!
As we’re poking around registries and baby websites (I know, maybe we should actually meet with the OBGYN first, but who’s judging?), we’ve stumbled onto these playpens called “Pack ‘N Plays,” which not only makes us giggle outright, but may require us to refer to them by another term (um, playpen?) if only because, before this prenatal life of ours, a “Pack ‘N Play” used to refer to something oh so completely different.
Lesbians, you know where we’re going here, I trust? Straight folk, brace yourselves. See, the Pack ‘N Play (here’s where we’re NSFW) we were formerly familiar with is a type of silicone penis used to pack with (as in, tucked in your pants) and play with (as in, well, no longer in your pants, but ideally in someone else’s). As you can see, talking about adding a Pack ‘N Play to our registry not only makes us laugh out loud, it makes us wonder if we’re even slightly fit to be parents.
I’ve been home all week nursing this flu. I feel a little guilty about being out of work for a week, but I know it was the right decision, for both me and my co-workers. It’s sick people like me who go into work and make other people sick, making viruses like this spread like wildfire. I like to feel like I’m helping put some of the spread to an end. Or, rather, at least keep it within my household. Sorry, wife.
On a completely unrelated other note, I had two adventures out into the real world today, both of which involved people sir-ing me. Now, I am no stranger to being sir-ed. I practically grew up being referred to as my mother’s son by strangers in public. I don’t actually even mind, as odd as that might sound. I did get a free coffee once out of it when a Starbucks lady apologized profusely after mistaking me for a man. I even had some therapy a few years ago, where I came dangerously close to transland, complete with picking out a prospective male name and all. Here in the Fall/Winter time, it’s no surprise that cold and rainy weather equals big coats and hats, thus increasing the chance of being sir-ed. Today, in store number one, a worker asked me if they could help me with anything, sir; in store number two, a lady warned her aisle-hogging husband of me, that fella behind him (me) trying to scooch by. As much as I don’t really mind, there’s something very weird and perverse about being sir-ed and pregnant. Maybe I should change the name of my blog.
I told a friend of mine, whom I’ve known for almost 15 years, the other day over a series of facebook messages back and forth, which originally started as a rant about drummers. He’s a newish dad (and veteran drummer), courtesy of his soon-to-be ex-wife whose biological clock was ticking out of control a couple of years ago, which led to his son who was born almost a year ago. He spent this last year talking to me about how having a kid was all her idea, and how he hoped when his son was born, a magical dad-switch would come on, and he would feel differently. Nowadays, he’s moved out, signed papers, seeing someone new, though is very much in love with his son, a potential future drummer. I wondered when I told him if he would see me as another baby-hungry ticking vagina. To my delightful surprise, though no congratulations, he seemed okay with the prospect, and gave me some words of wisdom: That I was “hosed” if I had to nurse (moreso than my wife) and to warn me that “it’s gonna get girly.” I assured him that our decision to do this after living in a new town for only a year was for the best, as we haven’t grown close enough to anyone local who would realize how preposterous me in pregnancy jeans is.
I don’t think I’m prepared for the girly, and being a sizable girl to begin with, some preliminary search of clothes has left me just shy of panic-land. Plus sized + maternity, minus huge scooping necklines, cardigans, swishy fabrics, clingy fabrics, 3/4 length sleeves, short-short sleeves with a slice of the fabric down the middle, bright colors, black pants = not a whole lot leftover. Yep, it’s gonna get girly.
When I was younger and less-traveled, complaining about my lack of visits to non-East-Coast states, my mother would tell me about how I went to Ohio once. When she was pregnant with me. I insisted that said Ohio visit didn’t count. Well, tomorrow night, tiny itty bitty growing baby will have his/her on-stage rock show debut, something that I will always insist definitely counts.
A few things have been on my mind about the show. Last week, we had a band practice on Thursday night. Practice started at 7pm, and the two hour drive in the rain to the practice site allowed no time for stopping other than a quick pit stop for gas. I got home from work, changed clothes, grabbed my gear, and headed North, already running 15 minutes late. And when you’re paying $20/hour at a rehearsal space, time is money. I pulled into the parking lot at 7:30pm to find most of my other bandmates also running late due to the bad weather. There I was, setting up my gear quickly, when it hit me how exhausted I was from the rainy drive, and during all of the hustle, had forgotten to eat anything or pick up any water. Meh, I thought. I’ll grab a bite to eat afterwards. No worries – I’ve done that before dozens of times. A few songs later, and I found myself lightheaded – I politely excused myself, hurried to the bathroom for an opportunity to sit down, and drank some water from the bathroom sink. On my return, the drummer was munching on some trail mix he brought to practice – he offered and I ate, to a drastic and immediate improvement. What a difference a few peanuts and a dehydrated banana chip makes. We finished the set and called it a night around 9pm, and I headed home, via the Burger King. I apologized when I got home… “Honey, I’m sorry I fed your baby a Whopper Jr.”
It was definitely an awakening about how I need to really listen to my body, and even when it’s not saying anything, make sure it’s rested, fed, and hydrated. It’s working hard in there – it’s the least I can do, really. It’s not like my symptoms are obvious. It’s not like I have sneezing or coughing or chicken pox or something that someone would notice and say, “Hey, you ok?” My body is relying on me to say, “Hey, you ok? No? Yes? Okay, let’s sit you down anyway.”
Fortunately, tomorrow’s rock show has a lot less rush to it, which will definitely allow for more physical care-taking. Load in is at 9pm, which allows for plenty of time to pack up, head out, get dinner, and rest up before we hit the stage. Mind you, we hit the stage at 10:45pm. Approximately one hour and 45 minutes after my normal bedtime. Approximately two hours and 45 minutes when I’d like to collapse to the bed, but politely stay up one more hour. No doubt, it will be a long night. We’ll play until about 11:45pm, after which I’ll be hopped up on the adrenaline rush of being on stage. We’ll load out, and I’ll drive to my bed for the night at a very-hospitable-friends’ house. That’s the plan.
This is probably the last rock show for a good long while (well, at least seven/eight more months), so if I can make it through tomorrow night, it’s smooth sailing from here on out – no more long practice drives, no more late rock star nights. I’ll have a story to tell him/her about performing for 150 people, and pictures as proof. And as much as I’ve enjoyed the rock and roll lifestyle, I already can’t wait to get back home on Saturday and nest a little with my wife, our dog, and itty bitty rock star.
Let me clarify that, taking into consideration my appearance description in the previous post, I am definitely not as butch as they come. I have long since retired my leather jacket and chain wallet. My hair has never been particularly short. I’m not stick-thin with bound breasts. I do, however, open doors, lift heavy things, wear a baseball hat (all the time, often backwards), kill bugs (especially in the middle of the night), connect the tv/cable/playstation, drill holes for toggle screws, and drive 93% of the time. I’m also in a Rock Band. No, not the video game. An honest-to-goodness rock band, complete with late nights, smokey bars, shots of Jager, pints of beer, and jumping around on stage. I’m the singer, the front-woman. For all of my life, I have been “one of the guys.”
So as much as a mere wardrobe change seems daunting, believe me that there is much more going into maintaining my identity while being pregnant. I’m sure my mother waiting patiently as I grew up, hoping that one day her tomboy daughter would embrace (or, rather, willingly accept) wearing a dress.. a skirt.. perhaps a shirt NOT from the men’s section? Here we are, 32 years later, and I think she’s finally given up hope. But here we go, folks. Maybe it should be butch versus pregnant. Round one. Ding ding!
I’ve never felt so much like a unicorn in my whole life, something that, I’m sure, will become more pronounced as my body and emotions start to change. I’m so incredibly fortunate, however, to have my partner by my side. We’ll be our respective unicorns together, looking for relevant community, support, and information, perhaps even reluctantly pushing our own envelope.
Let me paint you a picture. In the summer? Khakis, polo shirts (striped, short-sleeved), white undershirt (always an undershirt) North Face shoes, baseball hat. In the winter? Crisp, ironed button-up shirts, earth-toned sweaters (or maybe a sweater vest), North Face shoes (all season wear, as you’ll learn), jeans (reluctantly from the women’s department thanks to my feminine backside). My hair is long (scandalous!) but always tied back into a low ponytail. Always. Well, except when I’m sleeping. Or showering. But otherwise, always.
This morning, the long stick with the blue handle and urine-dampened end told me in record time and digital letters that I was, indeed, pregnant. This evening, for further confirmation, the long stick with the pink handle showed me two clear, pink lines. In a matter of time, my jeans will involve an elastic band, my shirts will have an area making way for my growing belly (sadly, not from my beer habit), and my ankles will swell. I will soon be at the whim of Target’s maternity section. God help me.
This was all planned out, mind you. Tests, x-rays, blood work, donor-choosing (one that looks like her), IUI101, day counting, day after day of sneaking the ovulation test into my work bathroom promptly at 11am, ovulation … ovulationing, try #1 (no go), start all over again, no drugs, no trigger shots, but try #2 (success!), and here we are today. My wife is beautiful and radiant, and I’m sure if you would have asked us that day when we exchanged vows barefoot on the beach in the early evening on a windy day of March which one of us would bear the would-be children, we would insist (laughing!) that she would. Well, folks – here we are. I’m not fluent on all of the acronyms, but all I know is that today is the first day I’m walking around my house stunned that here we are. Here I am, butch… and pregnant.