To encourage writing more when inspiration strikes, despite whatever state (of inebriation) I may be in at the moment, I have reverted back to jotting quick thoughts down into a notebook. Most are trivial observations: I just gave Mimi a bully stick that was bent at a 90° angle… who hurt him? or the sexy new line cook does not appear to have any outstanding felonies in Richmond or surrounding counties and the five-minute-later-update of well, that may be because I spelled his name wrong, but I don’t feel like doing this fucking shit again tonight!!!!!, but who is to say those won’t turn into an award-winning article?
This may seem like a resignation to deevolution considering that I spent $1400 on the world’s fanciest “notebook,” but there’s no great loss if I knock a beer over onto a notebook — it is probably for the best that most of my drunken thoughts are smeared or washed away — and something about putting words on paper reduces the (however uncalled for, but still existent) pressure that accompanies the formal undertones of sitting down in front of a computer with the intention to write not only something, but a piece of quality, and takes me back to when I simply maintained a diary to organize my thoughts. I had no one to please; I wasn’t writing for an audience; truly, I’d be humiliated had even a close friend peeked at one of the pages.
(Plus, haven’t I read that most writers keep a notebook on hand at all times? Surely, this is still common with journalists, even during the age of ubiquitous cell phones… Unless everyone else is far more productive and capable and devoid of my particular debilitating habits, which could explain why they are legitimate “journalists” and I still don’t feel comfortable admitting that I’ve risen even a notch above the rank of “person with a diary.”)
Introduction aside, a recent entry was a complaint, formulated as an inquiry into the void, regarding my Instagram explore page’s perplexing invasion by women whose entire existence is ruled by their (unfortunate to them, I gather) inability to conceive children.
The thesis was obvious: What the fuck did they have to do with me? How they hell did they get there?
The grid on my page will contain a photo of woman’s “baby bump,” one of a newborn next to a handmade “THE BEST 40K DADDY EVER SPENT” sign, Megan Fox and MGK’s most recent paparazzi shot (ok, that one I did to myself), a woman brandishing ultrasound photos and an enormous smile, a woman brandishing ultrasound photos and a frown and teary eyes, Clown from Slipknot’s newest rendition of his mask (someone help Clown!!!! Pull him away from the hoes!!!!), and a gorgeous selfie from a woman that seems innocuous enough… until I read the essay-length caption about how after six attempts at IVF, they think this might be the winning one, but are trying to remain calm for obvious reasons.
I mean, I get it — I can’t get pregnant, either — but that’s due to a crippling laziness and overall disenchantment regarding the process of finding someone to have sex with me, and believe me, that’s for the best: My sister and I both intend to see to it that this (heavily diluted by alcohol) shitty bloodline ends with us. I would rather suffer through a root canal than “explore” that particular layer of social media Hell, and I can only assume that I brought this psychological warfare on myself by occasionally hate-lurking a girl from high school that my ex had a crush on while we were broken up in 11th grade. She’s a total Instagram-lifestyle-mom and recently had a fucked up baby… and I am sorry to her for my acrimony and to her fucked up baby for being born fucked up (he is doing fine, don’t yell at me), but I enjoy gawking at the unfathomable dichotomy between her life and mine: It always leaves me oscillating between feeling relieved by the freedom of my debaucherous existence and like an unsalvageable barbarian who will never know true love.
On the bright side, neither of us ended up with my ex.
Now, motherhood is a delicate subject that, aside from being a woman, I am severely underqualified for discussing and run an extreme risk of sounding like an insensitive, jaded asshole even commenting on it (when I have already really pushed the limits with that fucked up baby comment), but hear me out: I completely understand why women would want to become mothers. Perhaps they came from generations of big, welcoming families and know no better than to follow in their footsteps, did not grow up in a loving home and wish to rectify their parents’ wrongdoings by bestowing a child with the life they dreamed of, or live comfortably enough to easily ignore that the world is growing more and more unfit for and unfair to humans with each passing day. (Jokes aside about my fear that I will never find a suitable partner to mate with and wouldn’t be able to quit smoking and drinking for nine months even if I did, that’s my personal reason for birth control.) Plus, whether we like it or not, we are also heavily influenced by the inherent desire in all walks of life to reproduce: If that intrinsic need is not why you ended up with six children by the time you were 28, it is at least why you waste hours of the day aimlessly scrolling through dating apps, or (if you’re me), stress yourself out brainstorming ways to tell the new line cook at work that he looks so good in those damn pants… without outright saying that he looks so good in those damn pants.
One of the saddest things to witness is someone who doesn’t know when to give up or accept that whatever idea they or plan they made, they were wrong; I deal with it everyday that I clock in at my restaurant job, come home exhausted from speaking all day that I have lost my stomach for words, write nothing, and find no offer for a book deal in my email inbox. I only even ended up in the service industry because all I ever wanted to be was Courtney from the metalcore band Spiritbox, but I can’t sing, and while I have no genuine justification for exactly why I hate lurk the Instagram mom I haven’t seen since graduating ten years ago, it gives me the willies to know that the kind of women who were suddenly teeming my explore page probably gaze at her profile and feel inadequate, dejected, ignored, and overwhelmed by the belief that they must have done something wrong to not have that life, which couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Sometimes you just may have to give up, redirect yourself, admit that something is not meant for you, and search outside the (spirit)box for what your true calling may be. I might never be anything more than a good server who can write a story about a shitty or peculiar customer with decent vocabulary, proper punctuation, and perfectly timed/placed humor, and while that’s a bit disappointing and a bad portent for my knees, that’s ok: I did my best; I have a hobby that I adore. These women have thousands of followers, constant encouragement and reassurement from all sides, and clearly enough money to afford multiple IVF treatments, which are not cheap… so I hope it works out for them, truly; I hope they get everything they so desperately want because it is far better on the psyche than having to accept that you will not — you cannot — for reasons out of your control.
(I mostly hope that my Instagram recalibrates or uplifts whatever curse was brought upon my logarithm, because while I may have approached this subject with all the kindness and objectivity that I could muster, my original casual, informal, pressure-free, etc. drunken notebook scribbling was a plan only a cross between an evil genius and incorrigible dumbass could conjure up: I would perform a gonzo-style journalistic investigation, where I pose as a married woman who is having difficulty conceiving (kind of like the girl who recently went undercover as a fascist). After assimilating myself into that…. er, community, for however long it takes to garner thousands of sympathetic and like-minded followers, I will post that I didn’t know that you had to have sex to get pregnant, and so me and my husband gave it a shot, and as it turns out, his jizz is loaded, ladies! His spunk is as overcrowded as Scott’s Addition in Richmond, Virginia or any of these music festivals that keep happening as if the global pandemic has not! Sorry for the confusion! I’m already pregnant! Maybe y’all just need some new men. Best of luck! Xoxo! Also, have any one of you selfish, neurotic fuckers considering adopting one of the gazillion children in this world that no one loves?
….But I just can’t see that working out well for me or my “career” or “reputation.”)