Monday, September 20, 2010

Lies My Pregnancy Book Told Me

Dear Bloggers,

If there has ever been anything that's consistent with me, it's the fact that I'm a planner. I've been a planner my entire life. As crazy and neurotic as this sounds, the first thoughts that go through my head the MOMENT I wake up is: "Okay, so what do I have to do today? When can I do it?" Then, I break everything down by the time that it could possibly be broken down, and then prioritize it, and set it up by hours. For example: Breakfast from 9:00-9:30, showering 9:45-10:15, editing blank's assignment 10:30-12:00, lunch 12:30-so on. So, these are the crazy thoughts that go through my head, but it's so natural to me. Then, to top it all, I also factor in 28% of human error in my planning (what if I oversleep my alarm clock? What if Ed wants a big breakfast? What if I get sidetracked from that America's Next Top Model episode that I taped on my DVR?). I do all this to give me leeway so I'm never too caught off guard.

So, the moment I found out I was pregnant, I called my sister Amber. Amber, whose ADORABLE baby boy is about to turn one in about a month seemed like the perfect candidate for questions as I was preparing to go through this large change in my life. I got even more excited when she sent me a pregnancy book that she told me really helped her plan.

The moment I got the book in the mail, I opened it up like it was a gift on Christmas day, and started reading it ferociously. Hanging out with Ed, I was listening to him (kinda sorta) and reading. Talking to my mother, yep, I was reading. Watching America's Next Top Model? I'm sorry Tyra, but teaching girls how to "Smize" isn't helping me to push a baby out my woo-haa, ya know what I'm saying?! So, EVERYTHING came second place to that book, and I read it repeatedly to make sure that I got all the information down correctly. However, when began to go through things that only pregnant women went through, I WAS PISSED!!!

I did all this reading, all this planning, all this mental preparation, and I was SOO unprepared for my symptoms!! I wasn't expecting to feel so tired that standing up now seemed like an extreme sport to me!! I didn't realize that showering was going to now become painful because of the water pressure on certain... mammary appendages... Who knew that unlike swimming, I had to wait FOUR HOURS to lay down after eating, because even THIRTY MINUTES before that could cause me to run to the bathroom vomiting?!?! Oh, and the vomiting... WHO KNEW YOU COULD BURST FIVE BLOOD VESSELS FROM THE PRESSURE AND STRAIN THAT ALL THAT VOMITING PUT ON YOUR EYES?!?!?!?! Eyes bulging out, like I'm a character from "Reefer Madness..." ARE YOU KIDDING ME, PREGNANCY?!?!?!

Regardless, no matter how unprepared this... [expletive] book got me, I'm still happy that I'm going through these changes. As bizarre as pregnancy can be (me three weeks ago: "period of renewed health my [expletive]...") I know that life needs a larger percent of human error factored in than I could EVER plan.

This week, let's discuss!!


Friday, September 17, 2010

That Perfect Connection with an Imperfect Person

Dear Bloggers,

It's very hard to explain when you feel like you have found that perfect person, for the small fact that there are NO perfect people. No matter who is in your life, that person runs the gambit of disappointing you, from parents, siblings, friends, and significant others. After seeing so many of the people that are close to me being hurt by people who claimed that they loved them, I started thinking: "Why in the crap am I going to do that for?! A guaranteed hurt...? SCREW THAT!!" So, for years I resolved to think that in the future, it would be me, my adopted Cambodian daughter (little girls in Cambodia sometimes get sold into prostitution in childhood by their parents because poverty is epic there) and my cute little cat in my nice big New York loft.

For years I would get into relationships with guys fully knowing that I didn't love them, I never was going to, and I would NEVER walk down the aisle with them. Some would propose marriage, and some would declare love, and I wouldn't know what to say, so I reciprocated, thinking that one day, maybe I could learn to love them... or at the very least, tolerate them for the rest of my life. But, I knew that when all was said and done, it would be me, that Cambodian little girl, and a cat by ourselves, very happy. Honestly, I just didn't think that there was anyone out there for me, and I was fine with that.

My friends and family members used to try to convince me, "NO!!! THERE'S SOMEONE THERE FOR YOU!! HE'LL FIND YOU!!! DON'T WORRY!!" But the thing was, I wasn't worried. I was happy being single, and no one could tell me otherwise. Each relationship I previously was in ended, and one ended with me in therapy for emotional issues and an eating disorder, so why would I ever think that relationships worked? I knew that true love existed, I just thought that it didn't exist for me, and I was FINE WITH THAT!!

At the time I first became knowledgeable about my future husband, I thought nothing about him. I work as a publicist and book editor for Prioritybooks Publications, located in St. Louis, MO. I was living in Minnesota working another job, but doing freelance things for Prioritybooks. I was writing press releases and back covers at the time, and my husband and his aunt just released their second joint book "Caught in the Net of Deception." His aunt, the CEO emailed the book to me so I could read it and write an accurate press release for it. I read it, wrote the press release, emailed it back, and thought nothing of the young co-author.

When I moved back home, my publishing boss got me another job, on top of publishing that put me and my husband together (the afterschool job). On my first day, I had to interview my husband for a newspaper article I had to write on him to get more publicity for his latest book. The interview turned into a conversation, and I had fun talking to him. On our way to work, we continued our conversation, but I still didn't think too much about it though.

During our free time he would ask me things about myself, and, like this blog, I was completely open. Offering information about myself that could potentially drive him away. Letting my skeletons out my closet, removing bandages off of my wounds, and releasing all negative thoughts that still haunted my mind. Sure that all of this over share would scare him away, he kept on coming, asking more, and we continued to talk.

As I continued working at that school, and the people I worked with continued to be conniving and backstabbing, I felt like more and more of my negative side was coming out of me. You couldn't have told me otherwise that he wasn't going to run in the opposite direction!! But, on the contrary, he continued to run towards me.

After a while, I was TERRIFIED!!! Why wasn't he running?! Why didn't he just use me for my money?! The girl next door with the stupid glasses that begged for me to smack them off of her face seemed so desperate to be with him, why not just go with her?! Didn't he see me for who I was?! All the cracks, and jagged edges?! Didn't that scare him, and why in the heck not?!?! I began to realize that I was beginning to like him a lot, and that meant that he could hurt me, and if he did, could I recover? No one has ever affected me the way he did, so I wouldn't know how to handle him disappointing me,

One day, while talking to my sister Kelli on the phone about it, she told me: "You know, the same way how he has the potential to hurt you, you have that same possibility. You're not perfect, and you've hurt people too." For some reason, that really helped to alleviate some of my fears. As I knew that I was falling in love with him (how cheesy does that sound?!), what if I did something? What if I let him down?! What if a facet of my personalty shows that he wasn't expecting, and it hurt him?! I ran that same gambit.

Even today, every now and then I would get scared that he could hurt me, and the marriage could fail. I worry about letting him down, and not being able to be with someone I feel like I can't live my life without, even though I've lived soo many previous years without him. I'm terrified of being so vulnerable, and thinking that at any time it could be used against me.

But I learned that like my blog, no matter how many times I re-read, and edit (even though I'm slowly being known as a top book editor in St. Louis, thank you very much) there will always be mistakes. Cracks in the veneer to prove how imperfect I am, even though I try to be as immaculate as possible. Through it all, I still have people to read the blog, and I still have my husband. Imperfections and all. As we both try not to hurt each other, we both love those imperfections the other has, and that makes our connection the only perfect thing in my life.


See you Monday!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

It Couvade Happen to You

Dear Bloggers,

If there is something that I cannot stand, it is when a person is being talked about because of his/her physical attributes. If you sit there and really listen to people and when they verbally attack someone, they'll usually go after something that the defensive person can't help. Now, if they were to talk about a person's hygiene, or inability to match clothes, okay. It's still immature, but that's something a person can help. They can wake up earlier, brush and floss their teeth a little better, and try to avoid mixing stripes with plaid. However, making fun of a person about their skin color, facial formation, or weight can trigger something in me.

Now, this is probably all attributed to the fact that I am a recovering bulimic (two years going strong!!). It really didn't seem that long since I was binging and purging, and when I was, everyday seemed like an eternity. I used to wait and pray for the hours to go by, because the more time I was conscious, the more I was aware of the way I was harming my body.

Even though that was a very difficult moment in my life, I successfully overcame it, and not only do I have someone who loves me in any capacity, I now love myself. Pregnancy also helps with this transition, because I know that anything that I do now affects my baby, so that helps out a lot when I try on clothes that no longer fit, thanks to my growing body.

However, my body's not the only one that's growing. My husband is going through sympathy pains, or technically known as "Couvade Syndrome." Couvade syndrome can make men go through symptoms that are similar to their pregnant mates'. Those symptoms can vary from emotional pains, irritability, nausea, and weight gain. My lover is suffering from the last symptom, however, every single person we know keeps on pointing it out to him.

Whenever a person points out this perceived imperfection, I immediately get upset and want to point out their flaws. Being such an empathetic person immediately makes me put myself in his position and I begin to remember how I felt with people in my life began to point out my weight gain when it happened, which caused me to want to binge further.

Driving away from the imbeciles, I turn to my husband enraged and ask him if it bothers him. He usually laughs at me and tells me no. Regardless if it bothers him or not, it bothers me, and I find that I need to bite my tongue to not remind the perpetrators that they wouldn't be appearing in any fashion magazines anytime soon.

One day, while venting about it, Ed just turned to me and said something so simple, I felt like an idiot for not thinking of it. "Kendra, we eat a lot of fast food. I'm starting to gain weight, let's slow down on it." I realized at that moment that being mad at people for pointing out the obvious (I mean, COME ON, PEOPLE!!! PEOPLE KNOW WHEN THEY'RE GAINING WEIGHT, DON'T POINT IT OUT... JERKS!!), I'm just as culpable for suggesting fast food whenever I don't feel like cooking, or cleaning the dishes (because honestly, he cooks dinner, I just hate washing the dishes. Just keeping it real, ya dig?).

We've introduced a healthier eating style to ourselves (and the fetus, you're welcome, Baby), and started working out. Even though at this moment, my thighs still hurt from our two mile walk up and down some gnarly hills, I feel good knowing that my husband feels the same way he makes me feel everyday.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Prison Cell Built for Two

Dear Bloggers,

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, when you get married, you have a chance to learn more about yourself within those first few years than you might have in any other moment. Now, that might not be true for others who are not married, or who might not ever plan to get married, but it is definitely true for me.

While in college I was a Sociology minor and felt like my eyes were opened to all the injustices in the world. Learning how the world sees people along the lines of race, social status, gender and sexual orientation infuriated me. I began to participate in protest rallies about these injustices, and I would find my views broadened with each demonstration I attended. I decided at that time to make sure that whenever I saw an injustice, I would speak up, or at least try to do something in my power to help. However, I learned while I was married that the ones you speak up for could run the gambit of being hurt.

My husband and I initially secretly eloped. One day when both of our families thought we were working, when we actually had an off day, we ran to the courthouse and got our marriage license. Thinking that once we had the license, we were officially married, we went out to dinner and then back to his grandmother's home to hang out. During the late hours of 10pm in the next night, my growing hunger craved a McChicken, and he and I jumped in the car to satisfy my craving.

While driving, I noticed that he kept on looking behind us. Ed and I come from different backgrounds. I used to live in an upper middle class house, where each lawn was full with lush foliage and you could see your neighbors jogging at all hours of the day and night. When at Ed's grandmother's the sounds of gunfire was normal, and after a while, it became normal to me. So, when we noticed that we were being followed by the State police, Ed immediately started saying; "They're about to pull us over." I looked at him, thinking that he was being paranoid and I remember thinking: 'Why would the cops stop us? We didn't do anything wrong.' Right when I was about to relay that message to him, the State Boys turned their lights on behind us.

Still thinking that they were just trying to get pass us to stop a crime that had to be going on I pulled over. Before I knew it I heard a loud, booming authoritative voice yelling: "TURN YOUR CAR OFF NOW!!" Panicked, I told Ed to hand me my purse, which was in the backseat. "DON'T YOU DARE MOVE!! LOOK STRAIGHT AND DON'T MOVE!!"

I was shocked!! Every time that I've had an interaction with the police, it was always pretty positive. I associated them with helping me to find my way when I was lost and temporarily living in North Carolina, having a drink with me at a bar in Minnesota, and waving at me while I went jogging in my parents' neighborhood. But, at that moment, while they came towards my car with their hands on their guns, I realized that helping me to satisfy my Mickey D's craving was the furthest thing on their minds.

Afraid that they were going to drag me out of the car and slam me on my pregnant stomach, crushing my developing baby, I decided to be as charming as I could. Smiling as they shone their flashlights in my eyes, they asked me to step out of the car. Trying to be as nice as possible I stepped out, with my smile frozen on my face. My sister was in town, so I dressed up because we went to dinner earlier. Feeling glad that I wasn't wearing my pajamas, and that I didn't fluff out my afro, the cops began to talk to me as if I was a person.

After complimenting me on my dress, and my Thelma-from-Good-Times "adorable" afro puff, within the same breath, they asked me where I was heading. I told them, and then one cop went to the other side of the car to where my husband was. Hand back on his gun, I heard him yell for him not to move, while the other cop guided me away from the car and whispered to me that I hadn't really been stopped for a traffic infraction, but that they were the State police, and were interested in narcotics and firearms. Thinking how nice he was for sharing something about himself and about to reciprocate ("Well, I like rainbows, and watching movies...") he ask me if he could search my car.

Looking at the tiny economy car I drive, and wondering how the cops could mistake that for an artillery shop on wheels, I got alarmed by seeing my new husband handcuffed. "Umm... Sir, what is going on?"

"It's just a precaution. May we check your car?"

Wanting to read him the riot act of racial profiling, demand his badge number, and go to the cameras that I am all too familiar are in cops' cars (from too many hours of watching "World's Wildest Police Videos") and give a speech about how police should be helping to make a neighborhood where gun fire is the norm better, rather than harass a couple heading towards a fast food joint, I just said: "Sure, Sir. Check my car."

I knew there was nothing in the car, but the only solution that I could think to get my husband out of his portable prison was to allow them to check my car. As they found nothing, they took the handcuffs off of him, told me to be safe with driving to McDonald's, but hinted to the fact that I probably wouldn't get stopped if my husband wasn't in the car, and they and their backup drove away ("Wait... when did that other police car get here?!")

I promptly dropped him off at his grandmother's, and went to fulfill me and my baby's craving. The rest of the night, we talked about it. Ed found it normal, siting other times he suffered this injustice, and laughing at it. Through my bites, I announced how upset I was, but realizing that if I would have acted any way other than courteous, he probably would have been in a jail cell.

As we continue to drive, and I notice cops getting very close to my car, entering in my license plates for ANY reason to pull us over, I still get upset. However, I know that my inner vigilante needs to rest, because by being quiet, I'm actually protecting my husband more than any words I could ever say.


Monday, September 13, 2010

The Adventures of Baby and Boo-Boo

Dear Bloggers,

To be completely honest with you, the idea of marriage seemed as unattainable to me as winning a triathlon. Both of these feats seemed impossible to me, for my fear of being submerged but in two very different senses. I only have two big fears in my life, and those two were falling in love, and drowning. Both require a lot of trust in yourself, and your surroundings, a sense of letting go and knowing that there was no guarantee that things will go as you planned. Hoping that if you go too far deep, there could always be someone to pull you out, but as the five almost drowning events in my life proved, lifeguards aren’t always paying attention.

However, life delivered someone who made me want to forget about my fears, and dive in, head first, and cast all of my fears aside. But once I jumped into those waters, my normal fears surfaced, and I was worried that I would drown.

Though there's danger, I’ve been able to swim through the current-less kiddy pool and progress into tumultuous waves, and the man I fell in love with became my husband. But, as I continue to swim with him, feeling confident that he will be there to save me when I began to falter, or when my limbs feel too heavy to continue, we’ve come across multiple islands in our own personal ocean.

Marriage introduces you to a host of different events, that reveal more about yourself than you would ever know if you were not married. Things that seemed so normal to me, required explanations to my husband. His actions held so much logic to himself, but was fodder for a long stream of questioning from myself. As we approach each island, we continue to learn not only about ourselves, but how strong our bond is.

But as each island can feel me with a sense of overwhelming dread, hearing him call me “Boo-Boo,” and responding with “Baby?” helps me to know that nothing is unattainable for me. As I face my fears through this new transition of life, I realize that happiness is within grasp, as long with (at the very least) finally competing in a triathlon.

This week, let’s discuss.


Monday, February 1, 2010

Breaking the Shackles

Dear Bloggers,

Happy February 1st, and welcome back to my blog!! Now, February marks the start of Black History Month. As I look in the mirror, and see my proud heritage through my skin pigment, I am reminded of how far African Americans have come.

Along with pride, my reflection shows me a woman who still finds herself under captive, and like my forefathers/mothers, I crave freedom. Freedom from the petty things that keep me enslaved to worries and negativity.

Don’t get me wrong. My life is drastically different than it was not only the last time I blogged, but years ago. I’m currently in a relationship with a man that makes me crave to become a better person. I look at my boyfriend and see someone who is knowledgeable of life’s injustices, but doesn’t let them curtail him.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I do like my neuroses. I mean, if Woody Allen can prosper from his, why not keep mine? I’m just saying…

However, like my boyfriend, I would like to be able to put them into perspective. This week, I attempt to break the shackles that have kept me hostage for too long.