Visibility

When I was younger I was always dying to be in the spotlight. I was the first born and first female born on my dad’s side in 45 years. My parents put me on stage at 2, and I never left it. I studied theatre in college and was a bartender until I had Raye. Attention was like a drug to me. I thrived on it. Then with the creation of social media I figured out how to carefully craft uplifting messages throughout the week and post them mainly to get that same high in the form of “likes” and comments.

When I got pregnant with Raye that shifted. With the heartbreak of ending my relationship with Dave I wanted to be a recluse. I didn’t want the attention anymore. I had for so long portrayed myself as a on out and proud lesbian- only to be outed as polyamorous through my pregnancy.

It’s crazy, the lesbian community hates bisexual women. They think that inevitably if you are bisexual you will leave them for a man. That you will never be satisfied with them. For so long I hid in plain sight. Dave was “my best friend” or “my ex boyfriend” to those at the bar. Even though I have a female preference if any of them caught wind that I may still be attracted to him I would never be able to find another girlfriend.

When it became public that I was pregnant (and single) I was thrown into the spotlight more than ever before. I had people looking at me with pity- that I couldn’t keep a man. I had many women outraged that I had been “living a lie”. Others were confused thinking I intentionally got pregnant through a donor alone.

Overtime though, this pity and anger turned into great admiration. I was “so strong” to do this alone. Even though- in my heart I was believing in some fallacy that maybe I’d have her and he’d realize he was wrong and we’d live happily ever after. After I had her, we were nearly local celebrities. Everyone seemed to know my story. People would stop me at dinner and say “is that baby Raye?” I had a ton of support from people I had just barely met. I worked two jobs, with an infant and always had volunteers to watch her.

When I would go out people would buy me drinks and talk about how beautiful my baby was. People I never spoke to would give me their numbers in case I needed anything. People would tell me how nice it was for me to be out because I needed a break.

Then I started dated Jake. Again, I at first, hid him in plain sight. Eventually as we became more serious people learned of him and again I was in a quick fire of questions. “So are you straight now?” “Does he know about your past?” “Are you going to marry him?” “Do you still like girls?” There was never a “How was your day?” “How have you been?” Everyone always asked things that were way too personal for bar friends. No one offered to help with Raye anymore. Now that I had Jake I didn’t need help.

When people learned I was pregnant with our daughter it was even worse. I was getting lectured about birth control. I was getting told at how lucky I was that he loved Raye. I was still getting asked about my sexuality. Once I had Reid people were suddenly judgmental if I went out, or had a beer. I should be home with my kids. I longed for small talk. I was so sick of being in the spotlight, now I just wanted to be invisible.

The social media aspect of it has changed too. If I post pictures of my kids I get over a hundred likes within an hour. My more conservative friends have come out of the woodwork. I keep getting told by family how nice it is that Jake came in my life and “changed me.” I am no longer allowed to be considered gay- or even bi. People in the poly crowds don’t consider me to be poly anymore because I haven’t dated anyone else in a while. And when I do talk about the marriage, people are confused on if I’ll be happy because I “used to be gay”.

It’s crazy. I’m no more gay or straight than I was before. I still am attracted to women. I still am a polyamorous person. The only difference is the main guy I’m with is visible, I have kids, and we are making a commitment to each to each other.

I don’t know how we can be so progressive in so many ways and so ignorant in others. I don’t know why we have to continue to judge relationships and parenting styles. I look back at all those years of dying to be visible and I now wish I could fade into the background.

 

Sometimes you aren’t ok

Last night I finally broke down. I have been telling Jake for a few months I’ve been struggling with the day-to-day things. I felt like I was running out of spoons Every. Single.Day. I’ve been telling him that I could feel my depression come on. Last night he finally saw the beast in all it’s glory.

I have been doing a great job at masking my problems via social media. I can take picture of my girls, or a good meal when I feel the energy to finally cook. What they don’t see if that I haven’t showered in a week. Not because I didn’t have the chance but because I didn’t see the point. Or that I keep wearing the same clothes without washing them. That I continue to cancel every plan because I can’t handle the stress of getting out of my house. That I’m always tired even though my kids both sleep through the night. That I can’t grocery shop anymore or really spend more than an hour away from the house without anxiety. That I cry at the drop of a hat.

I am battling Post Partdum Depression, and lately I’ve been losing.

I have medicine. I could take it, but I’d have to quit breast feeding. Also, it knocks me out so bad the first few days that I can’t watch the kids on my own, and Jake can’t take off work for that. Honestly, Jake had no idea how bad it had gotten until last night. Last night I lost it. I had run out of all my spoons for a week. I had tried to pretend I was ok and tried to take on too much- I took the kids out in public alone (normally not a problem unless you can barely handle taking yourself out in public). I tried to make a picnic for Raye and I and took all of us to the park. Just the meal prep alone was more spoons than I had for the day- but I tried to push through. Then when we got home the kids each had meltdowns, Jake ran late and threw a kink in my plans and it was over for me. I was angry which quickly turned into belligerent crying. And he saw it. He finally saw that I really am struggling.

He took off today. I got some self care. And we all went to the park. Little by little I will conquer this. But it’s hard. And often overlooked. People think just because you have two kids that your life should be out of whack. That you are just a slob. That you are just too busy with your kids. Everyone thinks it’s all the norm and shrug off the clear cut signs that someone is capsizing.

I was sinking but I didn’t drown. I can be fixed. I will fix it- with the help of Jake.

 

 

Always a Mess

My boyfriend just shook his head as he was leaving the house “No matter how much we clean it always turns into a mess.”

It’s true. After I finished feeding Reid (our 11 weeks old) I went to pick up the living room. I began picking up a little frustrated and then I began to smile. Because through picking up the living room I saw the journey my toddler had throughout the day. I saw her counting puzzle that she began putting together until she saw a crocodile in the puzzle, then she began Rawr-ing and running toward her sisters swing. I could see where she had collected the caps of the water bottles we had around the house. I found the dog and sheep ornaments she has managed to keep out of storage because she loves to play with them. I found a sucker stuck into the carpet because she had found a secret old stash of Halloween candy- and the smarties that were half eaten near it. I found a ton of random socks and shoes, only one of each because she kept trying to put different ones on and show me. Near that were her comb, brush, and detangling spray and her baby dolls were laying in the Boppy near it because she was trying to do their hair. I also found the play-dough she snuck into the living room during one of her sisters feedings- I had found the c0ntainer earlier that day and was awaiting the dough itself. It was still in a mound on the coffee table, hidden by a blanket. She had also moved the dog steps so she could climb up on the couch with a bottle of lotion and command that she get a foot rub. (She did-because it was adorable). And the pillows she had moved around on my couch so she could rest before bed.

My living room told her story. And honestly, it was a great one. I’m ok with the mess because it meant she had an adventure at home.

 

Part time work

Last night was the first night of my new part time job. It was a different perspective being the low man on the totem poll. It reminded me of my college retail jobs. One was at a little girls clothing store, one was at a high end women’s retailer. This job fell in between the two. The sales staff more or less reminded me of little girls dressed in their moms clothes and makeup- pretending to be her. The sales girls were fairly stuck up. They were all in their early twenties. Their faces were caked with makeup, but shoddily done. The veteran sales staff were smirking at the flaws of the newbies, but they were not any “cooler”. It was reminiscent of high school, but the popular girls here would’ve only ranked in the midrange of teen hierarchy.

The manager that was filing out my paperwork literally looked down her nose to me while I was filling out my new hire work. The company were part of a tax program where they received breaks from those on government assistance. I was asked to answer questions on the phone and then give them an approval number. I guess I am the only person to have ever received government assistance in the store, because when I answered “yes” to a question I was quickly redirected to a customer service rep and the hiring manager  looked perplexed. At the end of a very long call I recited my numbers back to her and she looked baffled. “I’ve never seen someone have to take so long on one of these calls.” I explained that they asked if I had received government assistance in the past 18 months, and I had, when my first daughter was born and my company didn’t pay my maternity leave. She at first looked at me like I was a charity case, and then a smirk took over her face as if to confirm that she was still secure with her popularity.

The job is selling modestly priced wedding dresses at a large chain store. With both my costuming and retail background combined with my bartender charm I feel confident in being successful at this job. They also allow me to work only one to two days a week. So I will find someplace in the background to just keep my head down those couple of days and make some money.

Last night I realized how much of a turn my life had taken. I used to be those girls when I was younger. I felt superior (to those that were probably better qualified to do my job) because I was young, attractive (or so I thought because I spend hours in mirror perfecting my face), and I was at the top of the workplace popularity. I was the one making snide comments. I was the one with the content smirk across my face. I look at those days and think even though I thought I was happy I wasn’t. I didn’t feel complete. Even though I’m only working there part time, I have a full time job where I currently feel fulfilled-in the role as mom.

 

 

 

Intro to us

Before I really start delving and sharing a ton about our life maybe I should give a little history about us.

Before kids I was a bartender, a pretty good one in downtown Dallas. I worked in the gay-bars, in uptown, and on lower Greenville (hipster-ville). I had sold my car and drove a moped and lived a very free spirited life with very little responsibility. I was a party girl. I went to burns. I predominately slept with girls, but was in a long term polyamorous relationship with a guy who, to the public, I always labeled my best friend. I lived the epitome of a bohemian life.

I went to a large regional burn in Austin with the aforementioned “best friend” and through some intoxicants we rekindled our relationship. Shortly after I learned that I was pregnant. He at first seemed excited about it, but within a few weeks he was scared and told me he wasn’t ready for another child. (He had one from a previous marriage) He wanted to be with me though the pregnancy but wasn’t wanting to be known as “dad” to the new child. I tried to make it work, and finally I decided to walk away from the relationship when I was 3 months pregnant.

I had my first daughter Raye, on my own. I always say it was “us against the world”. I left my job as a restaurant manager because of the hours and went into retail, where I met my current boyfriend.

He kept urging me to go out with him. I combatted with an arsenal of excuses “I predominately date women” “I have an infant” “I don’t have time”. Instead of formal dates he kept taking me to lunch. Eventually I let him into our lives and he fell as hard for my daughter as he did for me. We moved in together at our 6 month mark, and right before Raye’s first birthday we found out we found out we were pregnant with Reid. (birth control folks- if you don’t use it you WILL get pregnant)

We moved to the suburbs got a nice house, I left my job and opted for something part-time and am trying to do the stay at home mom thing and soak in my babies as much as I can.

Motherhood changed me. Don’t get me wrong- I still love a good brunch (carafe of mimosas), I still go to smaller burns, and when they grow a little larger I will probably look into opening my own bar/restaurant. But now I have little free spirits to grow. My goal is to teach that the world is both huge and small at the same time and make the most of your time in it by loving, learning, and having as many adventures as you can.

Mom-ing is Hard

I stare longingly into the coffee pot, hoping my gaze will somehow accelerate the brewing. I have given up my attempt to abstain from caffeine today. I only made it three hours.

In three hours I have: fed my baby, made/fed breakfast with for the toddler, made/fed breakfast for myself, got the baby dressed, got the toddler dressed, got the baby back to sleep, pumped, read 3 books to the toddler, searched for multiple pacifiers, searched for the remote, washed a couple of bottles, changed 6 diapers, tried to have the toddler “go potty” three times (why are we trying potty training? this is way too much work), played in blanket forts in the guest room bed (honestly I let her play and I closed my eyes for 5 minutes and let her climb on me), had the toddler make me breakfast at least 20 times in the play kitchen, brushed the toddlers teeth, sucked snot out of the baby’s nose, rinsed out the toddlers nose 3 times, and now I’m making coffee.

I never even really liked coffee until the second baby. With my first I rarely used my coffee pot. Now I live on it. This entire pot will get drank today- soon, and I will finally be able to clean.

Mom-ing is hard. Much harder than I ever expected. The first child I had my struggles with but we were generally on the same page. The second is only 20 months apart from the first. This wasn’t exactly planned this way- I wasn’t trying to turn grey before 30, but you know it is what it is and I love them both. I am lucky because the second is a very sleepy baby. She sleeps through everything. We have to wake her in the morning and at night to eat. I envy this and am thankful it.

She does have a keen sense for when I get the older one down for a nap, and I hope to maybe lay down a sneak a 20 minute nap in. That is when she decides it’s time wake up and play. Some days I can get a long nap from the big one and shorten the playtime with the small one and still get a 10 minute nap. Most times we play, eat, and then she gets strapped into the carrier and we attempt to pick up all the stuff her sister and thrown about the house. We are usually able to wash at least enough bottles (and pump pieces) to last until dad comes home, and I start dinner (in a crockpot)- or at least the prep work so dinner just has to be thrown on a few minutes before Daddy gets home.

These are all the things that typically happen before noon (or 1). If you were to tell this would be my life 3 years ago I would laugh at you. I was waking up at 1. I was day drinking and brunching at 1. I was having morning sex at 1. There was no way in hell I would have a list of things done before 1.

Some days I miss the old times. Where I had a real expendable income. Where I could fit into anything without trying it on. Where I was always showered, my hair was always brushed, and my clothes didn’t have spit-up or boogers on them. Where even when I was my most tired I was still rested. But then my daughter wakes up from nap and squeals an excited “Mommy! Hug!” and all of this has been worth it.