When You Chose Plastic Over Me

The first time I left you alone you were lying milk-drunk
against the soft flesh of my mother’s chest.
I had taken one of the samples from the changing table,
its color too bright yellow,
its compact shape too round,
its label screaming epitaphs,
“More DHA!”
“Better for brain development!”
“Easy on sensitive stomachs!”

I felt the pale mounds under my baggy, frumpy tee –
two sponges, ripe with nerves.
I showed my mother how to prepare the formula.
I thought briefly about staying.
I thought briefly about canceling my appointment.
I thought briefly about throwing my breast pump
and every failed attempt along with it
right out the broad bay window out front.
I focused instead on restraint.

And five hours later,
when my breasts roared with leonine intensity
and solitary arms ached to feel your weight in them,
I lifted you to me,
nuzzled you close,
and you turned

away.

© Laura A. Lord, September 2018


Thank you to MindLoveMisery’sMenagerie for their prompt.

Crab Mentality: Women v. Women

You’ve heard of the phenomenon known as crab mentality, surely.

Let me give you the literal picture.

Have you ever seen a bucket of blue crabs?

One crab, on its own, can easily climb up and get out of the bucket. However, just as this one crab reaches the rim, the edge of escape and gets a whiff of the sweet smell of a successful, freeing climb, the other crabs pull it back down – dooming the crab to suffer their collective, miserable fate.

Now, picture women as blue crabs.

Uh huh.

crab mentality

The reasoning behind crab mentality is actually pretty simple: envy and competition.

“If I can’t have it, neither can you.”

Some women are just not capable of allowing another to get ahead, to better themselves, even for the greater good. It happens in the workplace, in education, and – in my own experience – in social environments.

I stopped going to PTA meetings a very long time ago. Why? It’s not because I don’t support education or my children in their learning environment. I do. Emphatically. It was the moment I realized the room was full of women who forgot to leave their “mean girls” back in high school.

They carry their designer bags, wear their designer watches and sunglasses, and smile at each other while sharing only the stories they want you to hear. Then they retreat to their cookie cutter homes, drink wine, play bunco, and stab each other in the back. Sometimes, they even punch each other in the face for ridiculous reasons, breaking a nose.

True story.

Another day in suburban paradise. No thank you.

I’ve been out of the workplace for a very long time but found the same scenarios of envious game playing. Instead of putting a bug in the ear of a neighborhood peer about someone’s drinking problem or extramarital affair, information gleaned in a mock-sincere heart to heart, the boss is made aware and regardless of of how well one performs their duties, THAT is the information that sadly sticks.

Success and failure dictated by the company we keep is ridiculous. Why does there have to be a better or worse than? Why do we secretly (or not so much) revel in other women’s failures?

If you begin to succeed and find yourself in the company of women who continue to drag you down, it’s time to make choices. This isn’t always easy because sometimes we have to leave people we love behind. However, we need to surround ourselves with other women who, though they may not always agree, allow and respect choices and opinions, are constructive in their criticism, and don’t hold us back with back-biting, petty jealousies.

True friendship and genuine camaraderie is found when the other women around you not only support you when you are down but celebrate you when you are succeeding.

It is very important that you find out who you share your bucket with.

Men compete with brawn but will most times leave the fight in the ring, shake hands or give that ridiculous bro hug and move on.

Women are less forgiving and social isolation is their weapon of choice.

Crab mentality is real. I won’t sit here and proclaim innocence, as if I’ve never participated in the act. Unfortunately, I think it’ the nature of the beast. The curse of the double X chromosome.

However, I have made a conscious decision to do my best not to participate. As a human being, of course I envy and I’m competitive. But, I now see other’s successes as motivation to do work harder, do better. BE better.

I compliment the work and achievements I admire. These women have worked hard and who am I to demean that?

If someone is flailing I don’t revel in it. I offer to help. It’s called getting by with a little help and we all need it.

Most importantly, I try to be a role model for my children, especially my daughters. Crab mentality will never disappear but it can diminish. I’d like my girls to realize that we rise by lifting others up. Not tearing them down.

It’s time to let the crab climb out of the bucket.

Mother of Imperfection Profile

Sandy is a wife/mom/cheerleader/chauffeur/tutor/referee/psychologist/nurse to five kids: hers, his, and theirs. When she’s not on a sports field or court of some sort (or the laundry room), she can be found writing about life in it’s sordid reality at Mother of Imperfection.

You can also follow her crazy life on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.

Heartbeat

heartbeat

We expect so much from our bodies. I mean, if I get sick, I expect my body to do its part in fighting off the germ that’s invaded it. I expect my lungs to suck in and breathe without me consciously thinking about it. I expect my skin to stay in place as long as I’m careful not to peel it off by running into sharp objects or tripping down stairs. I expect my heart to beat.

I expect a heartbeat.

As a woman I expect even more. I expected, as a teenager, that at some point I might actually grow a pair of boobs. I expect that once a month I’ll turn into the poster child for every man’s idea of PMS. I expect these things because of my sex. Because I’m a woman. Because that’s how women are made.

I expect to be a partner in the creation of life. I expect to provide a safe, nurturing environment for that baby to grow. I expect to be capable of carrying a child. Because I’m a woman, and women get pregnant and have babies.

Logic has nothing to do with expectations. Not one damn thing. The fact that there are women who physically will never be able to become pregnant is irrelevant…because at some point they had these same exact expectations. The fact that there are women who have lost every child they carried does not matter here…because they carried the same beliefs and confidence in their body at some point.

We expect from our bodies.

I expect a heartbeat.

And so when our body fails us, and when something deviants from the “plan” we had in mind, it becomes difficult not to blame the machine. Logic takes another back seat. Common sense goes out the window, and you’re left in a hospital gown, in a tiny room that every one keeps using as a storage closet, with your underwear around your ankles and hands all over you as you are poked and prodded and stuck and photographed in the most invasive of ways just so five hours later the doctor can come in and tell you

There’s no heartbeat.

And so they give you shots and lists of things to do and everyone keeps giving you the mantra:

It happened early…there was probably something wrong with the development.

It’s nothing you did.

It’s not your fault.

You can try again.

And I listen to their chorus of logic and common sense as I watch the man, the protector in my life, the one who is always there to fix everything, and I watch as he realizes he can’t fix it and he can’t make it better and he can’t protect me because it’s in my body

And there’s no heartbeat.

I have to watch everything else break around me and everyone keeps asking:

How is she?

How are they doing?

What’d the doctor say?

I can answer that. She’s in pain, physical pain. She’s in the middle of a process that can last for weeks and it hurts. As if the mind needs to be challenged further, the body must prove its endurance to pain. They? They, as in my husband and I? We’re hurt. We’re dodging people and making each other laugh, because that’s what we do. We laugh to cover it up and we mourn when its dark and no one is around to hear us. What’d the doctor say?

There’s no heartbeat.

We expect so much from our bodies, and when it fails us it becomes the traitor. It becomes this thing we are fighting against.We let in a little hope to strengthen our resolve and then battle against something we can’t even begin to understand because logic is gone and hope can be false. It can be cruel. It can show up when the woman refuses to turn to the screen and show you the picture. When she ignores your questions even though you’re lying there naked save for a thin little blanket while she pushes a machine inside you. Hope is there telling you its okay. It’s there when the doctor comes in and she was so friendly before and she thought she saw it. She thought she saw the flutter but she wasn’t sure and she asked for more tests and she sent you to that bitch who wouldn’t answer you questions…and hope was there right up until she said it and you knew it was over.

And you knew the world shifted because he couldn’t even stand up.

And there was no heartbeat.