Confessions of Harriet the Spy
For one, many of my real-life friends and neighbors know about this blog, so writing about them is a delicate proposition. I can't go criticizing their choices or complaining about them, and even writing about them in a nice way is tricky. Some people probably don't want their exploits described for the rest of the town and the Internet to read.
Then there's the family. There are maybe five people in our combined, extended families who know how to use the Internet. But Darwin's sister and brother-in-law recently got a computer and were asking about my e-mail address just this weekend. Eeek. Since my bloggy beginnings, I've feared this day and purposely kept my family-related posts mild-mannered. The last thing I need is a Harriet the Spy moment.
But it's not just the hovering threat of our Baptist families that keeps talk of boozing, carousing, swearing, sex, religion, and politics to a minimum. It's wimpy of me, but I prefer to remain non-controversial. Other than an occasional rant about litter or pets, I keep my opinions to myself. Maybe this comes from living in Alabama, where my opinions often differ dramatically from the majority. Or maybe it's because some things are too important to me to open them up to attack.
I've kept other secrets for the same reason. But now it's time to reveal my deep, dark inner self … or at least part of it. This was supposed to be lighthearted, but dark and twisty can be fun, too … why else would I love Six Feet Under?
So here goes. Deep breath. Leap!
1. I am infertile. Whew, that’s a bang of a way to start, huh? I mentioned it vaguely once long ago, and during a darker time, I briefly kept a separate blog on the subject. But I found that reading and writing about infertility all the time was dragging me down. I cried a lot, and Darwin and I fought daily about our options. We've been married 4 and a half years and not-not-trying for 3 years of that time with no luck whatsoever. We knew we'd have trouble, so we started early. He's been tested, and yeah, it's me. I briefly and half-heartedly tried some fertility meds, but we haven’t given it a real go yet.
2. I wrote a crappy novel in the summer of 2005. It’s hard to admit that something I worked on vigorously for months turned out to be absolutely horrible, but facts are facts. How crappy is it? In 9th grade, my best friend and I wrote a story about us going on a cruise with our (imaginary) boyfriends; it consisted mostly of us changing into cute outfits and then scampering off to make out with said boyfriends. And yet I think that story might have been better than my novel.
Not much of it is even salvageable, but at least I got it out of my system (they say you always have to write one crap novel first). At least writing the crappy novel got my mind off wallowing in infertility-induced self-pity, and I haven't gone back. Now I have book ideas new and old spinning around in my head, but I can’t get them to sit still. And I’m a procrastinator, but we’re going to pretend that has nothing to do with it.
3. I watch DeGrassi: The Next Generation. I even Tivo it. Some might wonder how that fits into the “deep, dark secret” theme here, but just consider this: DeGrassi is a teenage melodrama a la Fifteen and a Very Special Episode of Saved by the Bell, and I am a 25-year-old woman. This season alone, DeGrassi has had two boys arrested for drag racing, a teen mother try to start a daycare at school, someone get addicted to cocaine, a teen try to get breast implants, a girl become bulimic, a pair get robbed while trying to start a T-shirt business, a paraplegic teen (who was shot in a school shooting) have trouble having sex with his girlfriend, a teen get upset over giving her baby up for adoption, and a girl get caught posting sexy shots of herself on MySpace.
It’s basically a soap opera, and I hate soaps. So why do I like DeGrassi? It’s a mystery too deep to fathom.
4. Sometimes I wonder if a person crazy enough to watch DeGrassi should have children. Maybe I only want a child for stupid reasons, like getting to choose a name and buy stuff from Pottery Barn Kids. Sometimes I don't know if I even want a child. Sometimes I think we'll be good parents. Other times I tell myself, "You can barely parent a dog!" Or I find myself yelling at Darwin or swearing like a sailor or acting exactly like my father, and I think, "What if a child was here watching me?" And if I can’t get myself to work on time, how will I ever get a child to school or dance practice or soccer?
Maybe I am too irritable or impatient or even too fat to be a mother. Maybe my genes suck and I should just stop the madness here. Or maybe they are good, and I am good. It's so hard to know without taking the leap, and once you've leapt there's no turning back.
5. It's not time yet. My mother is already hoarding baby stuff she finds on sale (most recently Christmas outfits for $1.59 at Target), and Darwin's brothers and sisters are all allegedly finished having kids, so now everyone is looking at us and saying, "It's your turn!"
Part of me eagerly joins in the daydreaming. Sometimes when I look at a picture of Darwin, I ache to see a child with his face. Other times I think about adopting a child of another race and wonder about the our families’ reactions.
But another part of me is very selfish. In the immortal words of Cartman, "Whatever, I do what I want!" I want to travel, watch Medium and Six Feet Under and yes, DeGrassi, read Lucky: The Magazine About Shopping, work on the house, and do naughty things whenever and in whatever room I please. I want to visit with the nieces and nephews and friends' kids and then go home to our nice, quiet house. (Which is gone now, anyway, replaced by a house full of Millie barking and Alistair hissing and Henry barreling down the hall and leaping up onto the piano.)
I'm 25 years old, and Darwin is 30. There is no rush. It's my mantra now. There is no rush, there is no rush, there is no rush. We can finish the bathroom and the kitchen countertops. We can rip out the falling-apart vinyl in the kitchen and hall. We and the cats can adjust to Millie. We can go to Venice, to London, to Prague.
Those hand-me-down baby clothes and high chairs can wait.
So those are my five secrets. I don’t feel as exposed as I expected. Maybe because I still have so many secrets left. I’ll save them for another time.
And now I'm supposed to tag 5 more people. How about my favorite ninja, Maryam in Morocco, 1901 House, Greg at Petch House, and John at The Devil Queen.
I didn't check extensively to see if you'd been tagged yet. No pressure.