don’t think i’m not embarrassed

i gained an ungodly amount of weight while i was pregnant. probably mostly due to pre-eclampsia, judging my how quickly it came off after i gave birth, but also due to generally being pregnant & lazy. by the time i was put on bed rest at 32 weeks, i had gained about fifty pounds. i had ramona a few days later. she weighed less than five pounds. imagine if i had actually made it to 40 weeks! or beyond! i’m kind of morbidly curious about how much more i could have gained.

i don’t own a scale so i have no idea how fast i dropped the baby weight. i know i was back in my pre-pregnancy jeans (though they were a tight squeeze) within a week or two, & i was in my pre-pregnancy wardrobe full-time within a month (though i do still sometimes wear my black maternity t-shirt when all my other black t-shirts are dirty…though it is WAY too big now). at my six-week check-up, i was like five pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight.

i went back to the doctor yesterday to see about these weird dizzy spells i’ve been having (diagnosis: low blood pressure; treatment: drink more water) & am now ten pounds under my pre-pregnancy weight. i’d like to credit a healthy diet comprised of nothing but ginger newman-o’s, pepperoni calzones, deep-fried samosas, chocolate malts, & duck fat fries. this is seriously how i eat. the truth is probably that i take ramona out of walks all the time because it breaks up the monotony of taking care of a baby around the house all day…i don’t know what i’m going to do when winter comes, especially if it’s as bad as we’re being predicted (by hippies who are like, “i’ve been seeing a lot of this one specific worm species, which a harbinger of deep snowfall”). but let’s worry about that when the time comes.

so, is it just me, or was this blog kind of turning into an anti-jared burn book there for a while? jared was driving me crazy there for a few weeks! everything he did annoyed me. & then i would be even more stressed out & irritable because i felt bad about being annoyed.

at the risk of sounding like a giant worm-observing hippie, i read this thing somewhere that said something like, “it takes two seconds to get mad but only one second to smile.” or something like that. i’m embarrassed to admit that it made me think. well, that in combination with how i had a terrible lost weekend of reading old journals.

can i just say, reading those old journals was terrible? there was this one where everyday for like a month, i wrote something along the lines of, “person X seems to be upset with me,” or, “i get the feeling person X is upset with me for some reason.” (the same person, by the way.) every day i was like, “i wonder if i should try to clear the air with person X,” “have i done something to anger person X?” etc. after a month of this, i wrote an entry that was all, “person X & i had a huge fight today! i have no idea where it came from! i thought we were cool!” so apparently i was observing person X’s anger or whatever on a daily basis & then immediately forgetting about it. like, why even keep a journal if you’re going to exercise that little self-awareness?

even worse were all the entries where i was like, “i had another tortured social interaction with person Z.” (this is a different person from person X.) “here’s why i think i allowed it to happen.” next day: “another tortured social interaction with person Z. why? i think this is what’s happening: (insert same explanation as day before).” next day: “i had another tortured social interaction with person Z.” LATHER RINSE REPEAT. FOR LIKE…FIVE MONTHS OR SOMETHING. what the hell, ciara? it was the same (pretty accurate) explanation every time, but did i learn anything from it? do i make any real effort to stop the usual tortured social interaction in its tracks when it started to happen again? day after day after day? no, i did not. i just complained about it in my journal like it was in any way new or notable. i think the way that “friendship” (such as it was) finally ended is that the social interactions started to reach new dizzying highs & terrifying lows & we finally just stopped speaking. i bet that if we hadn’t, here we would sit like ten years later or whatever, & i’d be writing in my journal, “had another tortured social interaction with person Z today. what’s that all about?”

anyway, reading all this crap made me think: can you just simply choose to be happy? or relaxed? or content? or whatever it is that would make me not so aggravated with jared all the time? let’s find out.

so the next time something happened that made me want to get grumpy, i instead just chose to be chill about it. & it worked. & i had a really good day. i tried it again the next day & the next day. it’s now been over a week of total contentment.

this has paid major dividends. not only am i happier, but jared seems happier too. & even better, he seems more in sync with my moods & observant of my feelings. like, the other day, i made a pretty big mistake while i was sewing my newsprint skirt (because i am, after all, still learning) & i was really distracted, thinking about how on earth i was going to fix it. & he observed me being all off in another world & was like, “did you make a mistake with your project & now you’re obsessing about fixing it?”

i mean, maybe that’s just illustrative of how we have been dating for six & a half years & are familiar with each other’s activities & related thought patterns. but i thought it was really awesome that he just got it & i didn’t have to explain anything.

we’ve also been spending more time together as a family, taking ramona to the park or whatever. & we have been spending more time together talking or whatever after ramona goes to bed in the evening.

you know how sometimes you start dating someone new & you’re really into it & you find yourself kind of spacing out on your actual life & daydreaming about them & maybe even, like, unconsciously trailing your hand along the wall while you walk because you’re thinking about them or something? i actually found myself doing that the other day! that i was feeling that way about someone i’ve been dating for over six years, with whom i have a child, is pretty impressive, in my opinion. & i credit this whole “choose to be happy” thing. well, & also the fact that jared is not a dick. obviously it would be a lot harder to “choose to be happy” if he was, like, having an affair or pulling some other dick move.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

2 thoughts on “don’t think i’m not embarrassed

  1. Nursing/pumping = best weight loss plan ever. All other pros and cons aside (all 3 million of them, including the prereq of pregnancy, or at least pregnancy simulating hormones), you have to figure breast milk itself has about 22 calories/oz (average, from full pump/feed) – so at 30 oz/day, you’ve just won at LEAST one chocolate malt, and maybe even a bonus fried samosa. And that doesn’t even count the work your body puts into producing the milk – or the fact that otherwise you would clearly, if nothing else, be sleeping more.

    1. people say that, but i feel like i’ve known a lot of people who didn’t lose any weight breastfeeding/pumping. though i do remember being crazy hungry all the time for the first few months after giving birth. maybe because of expending all those extra calories on milk? i probably am still just as hungry but now i’m used to it. it’ll be interesting to see what changes once ramona is weaned.

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