One of the bloggers I read, Joy in the Journey, has a project she calls Life Unmasked. “Social media makes it easy to create fake portrayals of ourselves,” she says. “While it’s possible to share too much, I grow weary of all the “I have it all together” super-people posts.”
I’m not sure I could be accused of writing too many “I have it all together” posts. If anything, Mike sometimes intimates that I do the opposite too often.
But I like Joy’s project and how she encourages people to “share slices of real life from the previous week… the real, un-photoshopped, deal.” Plus, to be honest, I’ve had a crappy 24 hours and I feel like venting and this framework allows me to believe that maybe, just maybe, that venting is not completely self-indulgent.
Where to start?
Maybe with the short conversation I had yesterday with Mike. He’s been gone since Monday morning, two days drive away down near the Cambodian border. Between his work commitments and my baby commitments we haven’t managed more than a 15-minute conversation all week.
“I’ve got to run in a couple of minutes,” he said, “but how’s your day been?”
“I’m stuck,” I said. “I’m totally spinning my wheels in a big mud puddle over these writing decisions I need to make and I’m getting nowhere.”
“So the genie didn’t show up today,” Mike asked.
“The genie’s dead,” I said.
“But the baby’s alive,” Mike said, mustering the forced cheerfulness of someone who’s having a crappy day themselves but is trying to be there for someone else.
“Yes,” I said grimly. “The baby is alive and the genie is dead. Do not ask me this afternoon if that is a fair trade.”
I knew I didn’t (totally) mean this even as I said it. Mike knew it too, which is why he laughed.
So writing sucked yesterday. Writing is sucking a lot at the moment. I try to remind myself that I have a healthy 11-week old baby, that I only get time to myself in a couple of 45 minute chunks every day, and anything writing-wise that I manage to accomplish is icing on a chubby, smiling cake. This doesn’t always make me feel better.
Then came yesterday evening after I’d been in the house alone all day. Yesterday evening at 7pm when I desperately wanted to just sit down in front of the television with a drink in hand and try to find an English speaking station. Any station. But I had a tired, grumpy baby on my hands. A grumpy baby that I was trying to bathe alone for the first time…
Which was going OK until I turned the water pressure up too high on the hose as I was filling the baby tub on the bathroom floor. The hose reared out of the tub and started to dance, spraying cold water all over everything, including me and a naked Dominic who was lying on a towel a the entrance to the bathroom. Dominic was not impressed.
When he finally went down for the night at 9:30 I knew I should go to bed myself, but I couldn’t sleep. Which is why I was still awake at 11 when Zulu started up with a flurry of angry barking downstairs. That little dog has the bark of a fully-grown Rottweiler. Most of the time that’s a good thing. Not right after you’ve settled the baby.
I definitely wasn’t awake at 3:30AM when Zulu began doing exactly the same thing all over again (except this time right outside our bedroom door). I was certainly awake afterwards though. And so was Dominic.
Dominic never really went back to sleep and finally started to demand food at 4AM. It was not a peaceful nursing session. He attacked my nipples the same way a trout goes after flies. He lunged forward, latched on with a fierce intensity, sucked for a while, and then pulled off and made a face that let me know he wasn’t a fan of the beverage on tap at present. Sometimes this grimace was accompanied by a shriek of protest. (To be fair to him, this is probably because I ate chili yesterday in a meal someone cooked for me – a mistake I will not repeat anytime soon.)
I finally managed to get a full feed into him, then he threw up what seemed like most of it into my hair.
He was leaking out the bottom, too, so I pulled a pair of pajama shorts out of the dirty clothes basket to add to my tee shirt so that I’d be semi-decent if any of the neighbors happened to be up and peering through our un-curtained windows across the hall.
I noticed the first burning sting right as I was undoing Dominic’s diaper. I should have stopped right then and there, moved him back to the bed, and disrobed with all haste. I didn’t. If you cull any life lesson from this post, let it be this: When there are ants in your pants in the tropics, don’t put off taking action in the optimistic hope that there’s just one wandering around down there. That is a reckless optimism indeed.
And that’s life unmasked, folks, bought to you by seven ant bites, a needy baby, a barking dog, and an absent husband. Oh, and a dead genie. Yeah.
What about you? Got any life unmasked stories to share from the last week?