I am fantastic

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but blogging is really a feast-or-famine kind of thing. You have a great weekend with time enough to think and read a book, and suddenly you have like 6 posts all thought out, including a societal indictment and discussion of good bras. This after the last month where you hoarded and scrimped anecdotes in a desperate attempt to make your life sound interesting, at least to yourself.

Well, I’ve discovered that hoarding good blogging material is a little like hoarding Thanksgiving leftovers — if you don’t use them right away, they go bad. So you might as well whip up a nice tall open-faced turkey sandwich and enjoy already.

Fantastic!
Fantastic!

This weekend was marked on the calendar as “I am Fantastic” weekend. I put it on the calendar so I would take it seriously. There are always things that need to be done, and making myself look and feel good is usually at the bottom of that list. That’s ok short term, but sometimes you need to invest in yourself in order to give as wholly to the other people who count on you. “I am Fantastic” weekend started at 1:30 at Intimacy Copley Place in Boston. I’ve spent the last 5 years pregnant, nursing, trying to get pregnant, rinse and repeat. The body changes involved in that have made any investment in undergarments a losing proposition. That time is now over, and I was ready to invest.

I figured a really good bra would cost about $50. I added $25 on to my estimates to be safe. I had trouble imagining a bra could cost more than $75. The fitting was interesting. My fitter had a zip up dress so she could model the combination she was sporting that day. (In her defense, it looked great on her 10 months post-partum self!) She sat me down and gave me the lecture on proper care of my bradrobe. (I’m not making that word up.) Then she brought out the samples. I figured I’d start with two — one that would work under anything and one that would be very, uh, appealing.

None of the bras had price tags on them. This should have clued me in that I was in over my head.

I got two bras that were — are! Fantastic. They look awesome and make me feel awesome. One is extremely comfortable, and I suspect the other will be once I break it in.

But man, I totally and completely underestimated just how much a bra could cost. I’m pretty sure if I’d been shopping in a less, uh, intensive environment I wouldn’t have bought the more expensive one. I’m pretty sure if I’d seen a price tag, I wouldn’t have tried it on in CASE I liked it as much as I ended up doing. I find myself ashamed to have paid so much for something — this is a kind of indulgence I don’t really feel comfortable with. The more expensive bra cost $180.

I walked out of the store sort of shell-shocked into this mall that takes it for granted. The beautiful people all around me were likely all wearing $200 bras and $500 shoes. I looked around and I felt like I was all wrong: my shoes are a little scuffed, my pants are not designer. I was wearing makeup (unusual for me) but we’re talking Wet-and-Wild folks. My top, which seemed pretty in the morning, seemed dowdy and unsophisticated in the glare of the marble. My favorite courduroy jacket seemed threadbare in the soft lighting. My purse is hopeless — a $20 Target creation overflowing with children’s toys and touched by white wall paint in the corner. I hugged it close to my body hoping no one would notice me. As I hunted desperately for safe ground (aka Starbucks) I hoped no one would see me or call me out or notice how wrong I was. I wondered just what criteria the numerous lurking security officers used for escorting someone out. (One hopes more than a terrible purse.) I felt like there was exactly one part of my entire self that was ok for this place: the new bra.

These environments are set up to make you feel like you are not good enough. They also try to let you know that your failings are not permanent — if you spend enough money, pay enough attention and do the right things, you might perhaps hope to walk those halls between the Prada store and Monolo Blalik with confidence that you are all right. You are presented with the false hope that this is a winnable path to being acceptable.

I choose not to play that game. I vehemently reject the premise that “good enough” has to do with the right shoes and right clothes and perfection of physical attributes. It was a with a great sigh of relief that I crossed the busy street to Back Bay T stop, to a more normal world where I’m a perfectly ok person.

Did I mention I picked up “Twilight” to read during my sojourn? I enjoyed it as I switched from the Orange to the Red line. You see, I know Forks. My father lived there for a year when I was in my late teens. A boyfriend and I on a date had once wandered our way across the Olympic Peninsula, to many of the spots mentioned. I was that love-lorn teenager wishing to be called out as special in that tiny Northwest town. The bits about the sports — Volleyball etc. — ring very true. She must’ve grown up there too. So in addition to being a fun if flippant read, it made me rather nostalgic. Thank heavens I didn’t encounter it when I was 16 or I would’ve thought that FINALLY someone UNDERSTOOD me!

Anyway, on to my next stop. I got off at Harvard Square, with fading self-consciousness, and went to DHR to get my hair cut. Dale did an amazing job — I think this is the best cut he’s ever given me. I opted not to add some clarification to a rather vehement opinion Rob held about the middle ages (see also: completely monolithic society with total control over everyone — so not possible), and switched conversation safely over to “Red Dwarf” instead (they’re huge sci-fi fans).

And I emerged looking fantastic. I went home and had dinner prepared by my husband, got the kids in bed, and finished reading Twilight in the bath.

Truly, fantastic.

Not sure if you can really see the haircut -- I should've used a better backdrop
Not sure if you can really see the haircut -- I should've used a better backdrop

Insanity

A popular definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.

According to this definition, I really will be pregnant forever.

I’ve had lots and lots of contractions this pregnancy. I swear the contractions started before I started feeling fetal movement. I get contractions nearly every time I stand up. Walking up or down stairs (and I live in a 3 stairway house) is almost guaranteed to initiate contractions. Pretty much every afternoon I start getting contractions, and they are worst while I’m getting dinner on the table. By the time I sit down for dinner (nearly every day this week) I’m mentally packing my hospital bag. 

Then they go away. I go to sleep. I wake up the next morning, still very very pregnant and feeling slightly foolish about the night before.

You see where I’m going with this?

SOMETIME in the next, uh, 18 days those contractions will actually be for real. And they will be going somewhere. And I just know that by then I’ll have subconsciously learned my lesson and completely stopped paying attention to the damn things. By the time labor pains get truly unambiguous, it’s really pretty late in the process. With Grey, labor was only for-darn-sure maybe 3 – 4 hours before he was actually born. And second babies come sooner. And this time around, we have to get someone to be with Grey while we’re gallavanting off to the hospital, so we NEED the time more.

So every night, when I get the contractions, I think of saying, “Oh, here we go again.” And then I think, “But what if this IS the night?”

Insanity.

In other pressing, important, critically interesting news, I decided yesterday that something had to give. Something simply HAD to change.

My hair was pregnancy-thick and just past shoulder length. It was heavy enough to laugh off most barrettes and hair bands, but too short to braid.

Now, it is much shorter and rather more layered. I don’t think this is my Platonic Ideal of a haircut. I dare say it looks a touch too mommyish. (What? Just because I have a 3 year old and am 18 months pregnant doesn’t mean I have to THINK of myself as mommyish.) But it is also a vast improvement over what came before.

And yes. I am still pregnant. Yes. Still.