Night Owl

Working for the man, napping when I can.




This winter almost killed me, and I didn’t know it until it was over.

Winter is usually my favorite.  I love the quiet, the sharp dry air that hurts when you breathe it in.  I love decorating for Christmas, and fireplace smells. I have always loved doing outside things in the snow, sledding and whatnot, and even running in the cold is one of my favorite things.

I have to assume all of those things still existed. I haven’t heard or read anything on the internet that says they didn’t, but I didn’t see any of it. Is it cool if I take a moment to put partial blame my baby? This is a safe space, right? Woof, being the parent of a baby when it’s cold outside is the pits. Oli was born in August so he wasn’t NEW new when the cold set in but my point still stands. Winter was full of screaming while putting on layers of clothes (but not too many, lest the baby be catapulted from the car seat!), and then hauling 40 pounds of crap out to the car and then screaming when we are at our destination because the layers are causing over heating.  Rinse and repeat.

I stopped going places with him. I was working in a dark room for four nights and then coming home and being alone with the baby in a dark old house for four days. I was battling Oli’s slow weight gain, breast feeding forever and waking up even when he was asleep to pump. The food I was eating was supposed to increase my supply. The tea I was drinking was supposed to increase my supply. I was fading away, into the dark.

Being married is hard with a baby. Every fight and issue is compounded by the fact that you two now own this guy who is pretty dependent on the both of you. Every “this fucking sucks” is a now a run on sentence of “oh god this fucking sucks but if I left would I take the baby and if I did how would that work where would I go but the baby can’t stay here shit shit shit”. Under the very best circumstances I imagine leaving your baby all night for work would be hard.  When you are fighting with the partner that is taking care of him on those nights it’s even harder.

I realized I was losing myself. I wasn’t running, I wasn’t doing things that I love. I even stopped listening to podcasts because…I don’t know… maybe hearing other people be funny and happy was too much? I didn’t realize how sad I was until some things started changing and it was like the curtain was cracked.

I like to tell myself that most of this was weather related, although this post isn’t about sweeping the hard part under the rug now that the sun is shining. I’m beginning to think postpartum anxiety was is involved. There is counseling going on, and a lot of talking, and the fact that we have the best baby in the known universe is helpful. Plus, you know, writing.

It’s so hard to see it when you are in it. I am working my way out.


Whether or not to stay in the shadows

I work at night and one of my favorite things about it is running on my lunch break.

Lunch for me can be anywhere from 11pm to 4 in the morning.  It is dark and cool and quiet.

My workplace isn’t in the best part of town and so to ease the concerns of (nosey) coworkers I run in a parking lot across the street from the building.  It’s an event space parking lot, the kind that’s sectioned off by letters on poles that have huge floodlights at the top. Sometimes when I run the floodlights are on and sometimes they are off, I think it just depends on when my lunch is and what events are going on that night.

The lights are supposed to make it safer for me, but I prefer the dark.

When I run in the light people see me, which seems obvious enough I guess. The light is supposed to keep me safe because the good people can see and intervene if the bad people try anything.  The argument is that in the dark no one can see me if I get nabbed, stabbed, or any other horrible thing.  I understand the argument, although running with the lights on makes me way more nervous.

With the lights on every car, bike and person walking on two legs can see me.  I’m an easy target.  It’s easy to throw loud, mean words out of the window of a car at the 30-year-old woman painfully jogging in circles under bright pools of light. It feels like every car slows, and every passerby stares. The good guys may not see me in the dark but the drunk assholes don’t see me either. In the dark I feel lighter, I feel more free.  I can run and not worry about how I look, sucking my stomach in, keeping my head  up. Being in the light makes me a target. Makes me feel like a target.

Writing on the internet feels the same to me.  This blog is the floodlight shining on my dusty desk.  Yes, hopefully it will attract good people who will hold me accountable, but it may also attract jerks.  It is easier to write when no one is reading it, when it is not open to critique.

Except I wasn’t writing. I was fooling myself into believing that clever tweets and thoughtful responses to other people’s writing counted, coming up with excuse after excuse as to why I couldn’t possibly write about my life on the internet. Lately I’ve realized that it doesn’t matter what people’s responses are because when it comes to writing I am my own drunk asshole. Let’s be honest, no one is going to be as mean to me about writing as I am to myself.  So here I am.

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