yesterday ramona took a really good afternoon nap, which gave me time to sit down & start replying to a letter i got a few weeks ago. it was from a long-time pen pal who wanted to discuss zine angst & zine-related situations that make us uncomfortable & unhappy.
i don’t know why i agreed to this line of conversation. i may be forced to rescind, because in my attempts to reply to the letter with some of my own experiences about zine angst, i just got really unhappy, & by the time jared came home from school, i was crying. i guess i have a lot more zine angst than i thought i did. honestly? jared & i are taking ramona to portland next month, to coincide with the portland zine symposium, & i am dreading it. DREADING. IT. i mean, i think the walking around portland with jared & ramona part will be a lot of fun, & i’m looking forward to meeting our airbnb hosts, who are artists with a young daughter. we’re staying not far from grant park, which features a beverly clearly-themed sculpture garden & of course we will be taking ramona there for some ramona-&-ramona photo ops. but i’m dreading the zine symposium.
i just can’t with drama anymore. i cannot afford to get distracted by Feelings when i have a baby to take care of. i can’t be the kind of mom i want to be for ramona, the kind of mom she needs & deserves, if i am distracted by being angry with someone, or sad about some crappy bullshit situation in which some dumbass twentysomething zine asshole without any real-life responsibilities has decided to try to make me feel shitty. i try really, really hard not to think about that stuff ever. even when i’m “off duty” with ramona, i’d rather use my time to read or sew or do something that brings me some measure of peace & contentment than dwell on negative crap that has happened.
in trying to explain why i was so upset last night, i tried to explain to jared that it’s like going through a really rough break-up. like, it’s not enough that you’ve had this loss, & maybe your feelings are hurt & your life is upended in some big ways, like maybe you have to find a new place to live or something. there’s also the disappointment & the embarrassment of knowing you put so much time & energy into this thing that just did not work out the way you hoped it would. the embarrassment factor has always been the hardest part for me with real break-ups, & it’s the hardest part with zines.
it’s kind of hard to explain, because i don’t know where my expectations for zines really came from. obviously when i was a teenager, it never really occurred to me that i’d ever meet any of the zine people i was corresponding with. maybe that’s not obvious? but i lived in a crappy little college town in ohio & lord knows i never expected anyone to ever visit me there. & i didn’t really expect to leave. i mean, i wanted to, for sure, but i had no idea how to make that happen. i did finally manage to get out of there when i turned 20. but the circumstances make it obvious that i wasn’t much of a self-starter: my best friend from high school had moved to portland with her boyfriend, & they were renting a house with an extra bedroom. i went through a super-terrible break-up & when i told her about it, she said, “quit college & come live in our spare room!” & even though obviously the “quitting college” part was a pretty terrible idea, i did. & even though i was moving across the country to live in a spare room offered by my best friend from high school (ie, not exactly branching out socially), it still took me almost a year to do it. not because i was trying to save money or anything. just because i was dragging my feet.
the point is that at some point, part of my expectations around zines was that they could lead to friendships in real life. i guess that must have happened in portland, when a lot of people befriended me because of my zines. but the flip side of that is that sometimes you can be really into someone’s writing but not click with them in real life. or you can really like someone as a person but not be into what they do creatively. so…i don’t know. the whole thing has been pretty uneven & weird, & the realities of how i’m really not all that social or friendly have clashed with this whole idea of “zine community can be real-life community”.
i don’t even know what i’m trying to say.
bottom line? some people are straight up assholes. even some zine people. there are people involved with zines that have been more vicious & hateful to me than the most vicious & hateful junior high bully. & it pisses me off twice as much because a) we’re adults. grow the FUCK up. & b) all this “zine community! we’re all friends! yay!” stuff is bullshit.
i think i handled all of this better before i had a kid. i guess i had more emotional resources then to kind of work things out in my head & deal with it, maybe. now so much of my energy is eaten up by doing child care & navigating my huge new responsibilities. i am incredibly resentful of anyone who tries to give me an extra serving of stress.
& trying to respond to this letter was just huge plateful of stress.
sorry if this makes no sense.
i am also really tired & maxed out today because last night, i got up to pump like i always do. it was like 5am. & when i crept back into the bedroom to go back to bed for another couple of hours, i heard ramona cough. & i KNEW, i just knew that she was waking up & jared was going to say that i’d woken her up by being too noisy coming back in from pumping, even though we have three forms of white noise going to mask the sounds of doors opening & covers rustling, etc. & also even though when a baby wants to be asleep, it will sleep. i mean, ramona has slept through some really noisy shit. but when she’s ready to be awake, breathing slightly more noisily than usual will do the trick.
sure enough, she woke up & jared sighed & slammed shit around getting up to attend to her. & when we both got up for the day a few hours later, he got on my case for “being noisy” coming back in from pumping & “waking the baby”. & i got so pissed. i told him that if he wanted to experiment with male lactation, he was welcome to give it a whirl & give me a break from getting up every single night in the middle of the night to pump like i’ve been doing for SEVEN & A HALF MONTHS NOW. i’d be HAPPY to sleep straight through until morning. & that if he had notes for me on how i could possibly be any quieter coming back to bed than i already am, i’m all ears.
my birthday is tomorrow. i would love to have no petty arguments, no bullshit drama, no reasons to have hurt feelings, no surprise disappointments, no reasons to cry for the entire year than i am 34. or ever again, really.