Notes from the Road
Part Five: Boston
It’s snowing again.
It’s snowing. Again.
It’s. Snowing. Again.
I think I may be living in an episode of The Twilight Zone. Like, the punishment I get for booking a great job is that I have to do it for the rest of time and the rest of time will be snowing.
When I was pregnant, a woman I didn’t know except on social media (we’ll call her Jess, because that’s her name) approached me with the idea to have a “Mommy Blog.” She thought that my voice and perspective would be good to add to the infinitely increasing din of women yelling into the void about their experiences raising Cody and Conner and Braden and, I don’t know, Ralph. Or whatever. There was potential to get paid in advertising dollars and free crap that the baby industry would throw my way so that I would blog about how great the newest baby monitor is that not only tells you if your kid is still breathing, but also tells you what their aptitude for math will be and what colleges to start applying them to. At the time I was pregnant, procrastinating on writing a show I had been commissioned to write, and worrying that I would never work again, so I thought the blog thing was a great idea.
Jess very generously set up my website (I paid her a little), and I think maybe we had an agreement that she would get some portion of my advertising revenue. We launched the website, I put out a couple press releases, wrote a pretty stellar piece about finding out I was single and 10 ½ weeks pregnant, and then basically blogged once a month if the mood struck. Jess explained that if I wanted to get anywhere with my Mommy Blog, I was going to have to increase my output to at least two entries a week.
I have this thing where I don’t really want to share writing with the world unless it’s thoughtful and has, like, a point? I know that’s not necessarily obvious by looking at some of my output, but I try. I looked at other Mommy Blogs and I wasn’t really sure I had anything to add to that conversation. I’m not interested in being another opinion in the “which smart stroller is best for your Mommy and Me Walk-Off-The-Baby-Weight classes” debate, or in barking about whose fault it is that a baby fell into a Gorilla habitat (It’s the zoo’s fault because animals shouldn’t live in confinement.), or being another voice in the outcry for sensible gun-control, LGBTQI2 rights, or against racism, etc. (there are far better and more informed people already doing that.).
One of the annoying things about success is that you’re supposed to exude an air of success while you’re trying to become successful. We love hearing about people’s struggles only after they have come out the other side of it. It’s rare that we take a journey with someone in real time through the shit and end up on the red carpet with them. And the truth is, despite a hormone high for the first five months of Monty’s life, I was going through the shit. I was a full-time mother which was something I never wanted to be. Monty, it turns out, was really easy, but no baby is easy while you’re going through it. And I was immeasurably lucky that I had a co-parent who understood and respected my biological need for sleep. My brain short-circuits if I don’t get enough sleep (“enough” is a relative term…). And about five months in to being a new parent, I had a massive hormonal crash and needed to get back on the anti-depressant I had gone off of during pregnancy and nursing so Monty wouldn’t grow fins or a second head or something. I remember sitting in the glider (The Super Deluxe Great Gilder tm from Gliders R Us! Only $8000 if you mention this blog!) one evening, waiting for Kurt to get home, trying to get Monty to go to sleep, singing “One for my Baby”, and crying because I was sure that no one was ever going to cast me again because all of Broadway thought that I had a baby just to cover up the fact that I was an untalented has-been (this is your brain on baby). But I couldn’t share that in a blog. Firstly, I couldn’t muster the mental acuity or will to write a blog at that point, and secondly, we are all supposed to have the next five years of our lives completely mapped out with one job after the other, right? And we're DEFINITELY not allowed to admit publicly that we feel like a fraud.
And we all know that none of us has the next five years of our lives mapped out with employment (except maybe for Audra MacDonald because she is a literal queen.), but we can’t admit that. And we all know that we all feel like frauds at least some of the time (even, I bet, Audra MacDonald, who, despite being a literal queen and a goddess, is also a human being), but we can't admit that. Yes, secretly, when we run into each other at Rite Aid on 8th avenue we say things like, “Trying to figure out how to pay the rent!”, but publicly we’re supposed to act like the walking embodiment of talent and unavailability.
And then there’s this thing where I don’t want to be like, “Oh, my god, you guys, my life is AWESOME! I’m working and creating, and having all the sex, and I never go to the gym and my body is slamming, and Monty is the best kid that ever existed, and my skin is clear!” when those things are happening (which, believe it or not, they do happen to me…), because, gross.
And, as we all know, I suffer from depression and anxiety, which is another thing we’re not supposed to share while we’re going through it (nor, really can we, because... depression). I have plenty of times where I’m not going through it and life looks something like that last paragraph (to varying degrees of awesomeness), but I tend to be more of an Eeyore than a Tigger (to use a metaphor from a book I never liked. I know, I know, I’m the only one on the planet that doesn’t like Winnie the Pooh.), and there’s only so much belly-aching one can share before their audience is like, “Uh, you suuuuuuuuuuck.”
So, for those of you keeping score, I’m not sure how to generate two blogs a week between the not wanting to lie about how successful or happy I am, not wanting to brag when I am successful and happy, not giving a shit about which brand of baby bottle warmer you should buy, and not wanting to weigh in on the latest garbage mess our country is in. And it's not that I want to make money from my blog, necessarily, but I would like to publish more often (and I'd like to get a book deal...) Also, to be fair, I spend time writing other things that aren’t for immediate public consumption. Maybe there’s a way to do that? Ideas and suggestions are welcome.
Meanwhile, Jess has gone on to create a successful company and doesn’t need my Mommy Blog revenue. Thank “god”. ‘Cause there ain’t none.
Hey, what do you know? It stopped snowing.
I have a troll that lives in my head. I'd like to think that it's male, but I keep thinking of it as a she. It's not that I like thinking there's a dude living in me. Monty is the only guy I'd ever let live inside me. And I evicted him over two years ago. But a male troll seems more likely than a female because people who have trolled me online have mostly been men (except for that one chick who was angry at me when I was angry at her for trolling me because, you know, that makes sense.) Plus, I'd hate to think there's some shithead woman in there just being shitty. I'd like to think that if there were a lady living in my head she would be an awesome, bad ass chick with great hair who knew about metaphysics and could explain black holes and where the universe is and stuff. Not some crusty twat who tells me I suck.
So, anyway, there's a troll of indeterminate gender that lives in my head. It tells me all kinds of awful shit. Mostly it's versions of trolling nonsense I've read about myself online. Which I shouldn't admit because isn't that what a troll's goal is? To get in your head and knock you down? But there it is. So, good job, trolls. You won.
When I was in the deep throes of postpartum depression and I would sing to Monty the troll would whisper in my ear (I realize I said it lives in my head, so it shouldn't have to whisper in my ear, but that's what I'm going with.). I would be singing "I Will" and I would hear, "I feel bad for Daisy Eagan's kid, having to listen to her awful voice all the time." Isn't that amazing? Alone with Monty and some schmuck is poisoning my brains. It's also completely the opposite of things I actually have read online. Which is not to say I haven't read really mean things about my voice online. Just in regards to singing to Monty I've read nothing but lovely things. It's basically like my brain troll crossbreeds various quotes and creates new versions that I can use to feel shitty about in specific moments.
The troll also tells me that everyone in New York hates me, which I KNOW for a fact isn't true. First of all not everyone in New York even knows me. But even if everyone in New York did know me, why would they all hate me? I'm not that bad. I'm sure there are one or two people here who hate me. And that's cool. I hate a few people myself, so, you know, it all comes out in the wash. But also, the main thing is, people are not thinking about me nearly as much as I think they're thinking about me. And that's a huge relief. Relative anonymity.is a comforting thing.
Except when my troll takes my relative anonymity and turns it into "No one knows who you are and no one cares and no one's reading your blog anyway. Nana nana doody."
It would appear that my brain isn't equipped with a block button. I'll be all, "Block. Block. BLOCK. Blockblockblockblockblockblockblock!" and the troll is still prattling on some nonsense. But, if I'm very quiet and wait for it to shut the fuck up, sometimes I hear another troll. A smaller, awesomer troll. That troll is going, "Hey, hey! I think you're scared. It's okay. I get it. Guess what. We're all scared. You're doing great! Some people love you! Some people don't! Some people like you! Some people tolerate you! Some people don't even know who you are! Isn't that great?! Sing louder! Write more!"
And then, if I'm really, really quiet, she says, "We are all just energy. Black holes have something to do with gravity. And the universe is everywhere and nowhere! Isn't my hair awesome?"