fear

During your mother’s pregnancy, I thought about her dying every day. Sometimes I dreamt about it. Not because it’s something I wanted, but because I was desperately afraid.

Afraid she’d die but you’d survive and I’d have to not only go on living without her, but would also need to somehow learn to be your father and somehow teach you how to become a person.

Afraid you’d die in the process of being born and what that would do to us, to me, to your mother.

How would we survive all of this?

And so I was afraid. Afraid of death and dying, of being left alone as a survivor, of living through such a shattering experience.

I don’t know why this is where my thoughts first raced to, and continued to race to.

But it’s why when you were born I wanted you to know that I was not afraid anymore. And I’m not.

I’m probably still not ready for you, even though you’re three months old, and maybe I never will be, but I’m no longer afraid of you.

i’m not afraid of you

You’re over two months old now, and you’ve not made it easy on us. You wailed through the days and then on through the nights. If we weren’t holding you, you were screaming. Even when we were, you didn’t always top. You wore us down and down till we were threadbare and frayed, till we asked for help, begged for it, and even then you kept on.

It’s not that parenthood is difficult–everyone says so, though it’s hard to understand what it means until you have a child who seems to love screaming more than they love you–but that it’s all the time. We woke up every two hours–both of us–to feed you, to comfort you, to just be with you. And you would only fall asleep in your stroller’s bassinet or your rock n’ play.

It’s not that parenthood is difficult, but that it’s transformative. Not in the way so many people mean–but also in that way–but, for me, it was striking how odd it is to do anything at all. To have a job where I needed to disappear for hours at a time to do something that was other than be with you. And I’m luckier than most in that I work from home, work close enough to hear you crying, how your mother cried with you. But it was so odd to come to understand that my life would be defined by you, but also by all the space that was not you. That I would continue to live on a schedule that meant nothing to you, that was completely at odds with the rhythms of your bodily needs.

And this kind of strangeness was revelatory, in a way. We live such artificial lives. We force ourselves into such strange geometries. Such a bizarre constant calculus to continually live in this fragmented world that has us all living according to a clock that wasn’t even established in a fixed way until relatively recently. It’s strange to think how only a few hundred years ago, clocks in neighboring towns could differ, sometimes more than you’d think. So each little place had its own little bubble of time. Its own timezone. Maybe only a few minutes off from the next town, but maybe as much as an hour off. But now we’re all–globally–onto the same clock, picking the same hours of our relative days to spend away from our life.

Because what is a life? To me it’s always been about choice. And yet we choose, in a sort of coerced way, to spend so much time doing something we probably don’t want to do. Something we may not even care about. And so I lose hours from you to do…whatever it is I do to make money.

Something happened, or began to happen, about a month ago. You stopped crying so much. You even began to smile. You’re still colicky, and will be for at least another month, but things have calmed immensely. In a matter of weeks you went from sleeping 2 to 3 hours at a stretch to sleeping 9 straight hours overnight.

As a result, our lives have normalized a bit, though I still spend much of my day away from you–even if only in our attic, where I can still hear you. But I believe we’re coming to know you. Sweet boy that you are. But it’s so strange to know you, because, really, we haven’t met yet.

You recognize us and smile when you feel like it–sometimes at us–but you’re still so small–well, 15 pounds already, so really quite a large little boy–and you’re still sort of trapped in a body you can’t control, in a world you don’t understand. And that’s perhaps the strangest part of life. How we begin so impossibly ignorant of everything, yet so whole, and how we never really learn, but manage to dissolve and fragment and corrode as we age, forgetting that simple perfection of constant tears broken up by smiles, by sleeping, by pooping, by suckling at your mother’s breast.

But one day I will know you, and even after all this, I’m not afraid of you. I’m not afraid.

I’m excited. Sometimes overwhelmingly exhausted, but excited nonetheless.

hello again

It’s been over a year since I’ve posted here. It’s been an interesting time, especially since it’s been nearly two years since I posted with any kind of frequency.

In that time I’ve removed myself from every social media platform, excepting instagram and goodreads. You can find me on those if you care to. It really depends on if you like to read my book reviews and/or see pictures of my cats. And I suppose I keep those because I don’t get stuck in them. They don’t lead me to hours of wasted life and frustration.

There’s been a push in me to sort of erase my digital footprint. You can blame that on any number of impulses, but it’s primarily for my own wellbeing. I think the world right now can be divided into two people: those who can use social media and those who can’t.

Chelsea has no problem using facebook. She doesn’t get stuck inside it. She can open it up, browse around, shut it down, and then just keep on letting it remain shut down.

I can’t really do that. Never could. It’s a bit of a sickness, I suppose, or at least some kind of neurological defective aspect that causes me to get stuck in the algorithm getting more and more annoyed and frustrated with what I see there. I think it’s something common to people who are writers, really, because, even when we say we’re not, we’re desperately seeking an audience, approval, and social media thrives on that kind of neurotic and narcissistic impulse.

In this time of digital erasure, I could go on about how my life actually did improve. How I feel better and less mentally drowning in the detritus of all the things that never mattered to me. It seemed so utterly positive to me in part because I lost that need or desire to just share. Share endlessly, compulsively. It’s strange to be so reticent with my personal life and so willing to share any thought that pops into my head so long as there’s someone out there able to read it, give it attention.

It turned this site into a bit of a wasteland, one I was somewhat lost over. I had lost my desire to share my thoughts online, lost my desire to be found online at all, and yet…this site is a mausoleum for nearly a decade of my randomly sketched out thoughts about so many different subjects, ranging from suicide to drone wars to why I love ballet, why it comforts, consoles, and fills me with life.

So I’ve considered quite often that I should just delete this all, and yet there’s a bit of nostalgia for it all. It’s unlikely that I’ll ever read many of my old posts, and I doubt anyone will ever comb back through ten years of stupidity to wonder what I thought about kimchi during the summer of 2011 when I was constantly sweating in Gwangju.

For better or worse, I’ve decided to pick this up again, to begin writing on here. Not for me, but for you, Fritz.

There were once people who used to actually come to this site to read what I wrote down. I can’t imagine why anyone would bother to do something like that–I found it almost impossible to read the blog posts of anyone else, even dear friends. But those people are likely long gone, and there’s no reason for them to return here–a year of absence is a good tactic, I suppose, for defeating any kind of fandom that might arise from what you did marginally well.  And so now there’s only you, though I doubt I’ll ever show you this. Ever admit to any of it. Ever let you read what I once thought–all the embarrassments, tragedies, and harrowing recklessness of my 20s.

Letters to you, Fritz.

My son.

I get chills even just writing that down. Son. You are my son. I have a son.

I suppose this is an introduction for no one, to no one. Maybe not even to you, who I just said this was all for.

So I’ll just finally write down those first words I said to you when your mother was asleep, when no one else could hear me.

I’m not afraid. I’m not afraid of you.