A Conversation

I’d like to negotiate a non-maternity leave.

I need to birth something.  Not a kid.  I need to birth a thing.  It’s a thing I need to make.  And here’s the best part (for you anyway):   It won’t get sick on a school day later!  Sure it may kill me with its demands but at that point you would replace me anyway.  Who knows.  Maybe it will call me away.  You know I hope it will.

I need three months to bring a thing into being where I don’t have to be here everyday at 8.  I need to sit and think and type and sing to myself and say things out loud and run lines without people suspecting I am insane.

Because I am not insane.

I need to cry.  Crying is how I know things.

I need to wake up with puffy eyes and not care.

I want to stay up all night if I need to and nap at weird times and wake up with ideas that I wouldn’t have had if I’m staring at Microsoft Outlook – a creativity killer unless you are making jokes about Microsoft Outlook.

I need to bring something into being.  That means I can’t wear biz cas.  I can’t.  To quote Dita  Von Teese, “It chafes me.  If not physically then emotionally.”

I need to pile my hair on top of my head and wear streaks of mascara and bib overalls and white tshirts without a bra because actually, I think that’s when I’m my most beautiful.

I make better stuff when I feel beautiful.

I need time to make food that isn’t “ON THE GO SNACK IDEAS FOR DEPRESSED PEOPLE”

I dislike granola bars.

And yogurt.

I want to meet up with collaborators at 10am on a Wednesday after I pick up some good coffee.  Not 7:30 pm after I’ve slapped myself awake and eaten a granola bar.  And yogurt.

This is not a vacation.  I want to work.  Hard.  Harder than I’ve ever worked (I’ve worked hard.)

I want to see my husband while I’m bringing this thing into the world. Imagine.

I don’t want to fit this in.

I don’t want to find time.

I want to lose track of time.

I want to see daylight.

The thing might not be great.  It might be terrible or weird or wrong or injured or sick.  But it won’t be the best it can be unless I can just be.  I have to be so it can be.

I need to be able to say yes.

I need to be able to say no.

I need to be able to do nothing for a day and then so much the next that I forget what day it is.

I don’t want to find out more interesting ways my body exhibits stress.

I need to breathe.

Maybe only breathe.

I haven’t been breathing very well.

I am so tired.

Creativity is messy and completely impossible to explain to those who do not engage in it, or maybe even fear it a little. (I am still not insane. Everyone is creative.)

I need three months.

I need to risk that in three months, I may have nothing.

And yet I will have something.  I just don’t know what yet.

I just don’t know if I am brave enough to ask.


What’s in YOUR Bag?

In the realm of “stupid little things that seem to chill me out”, I love nothing more than one of those “What’s in Her Bag?” articles you find in, say, a fashion rag or a Pinterest post.  The heavily styled, yet seemingly random dump of perfectly packaged, curated, and unused status-minded items that people who apparently have their shit together seem to find essential.

I eat this shit up with a  spoon (a spoon covered in old oatmeal and lint.  From my purse).  The marketing is so great.  I fall for it every time.  Olivia Palermo (A woman UK Glam refers to as “irritatingly perfect”) needs Elnet Hairspray and SK-II treatment mask in her purse (a mask??) AS DO I.  Karlie Kloss likes L’Oreal BB Cream? Well that’s so weird because I just realized I do too, Karlie Kloss we have so much in common.

I remember back in 1998 Seventeen dumped out Katie Holmes’ bag and in it, amidst the pink and green Maybelline mascara (this mascara is the WORST by the way.  I don’t know why people keep featuring it in “What’s in your bag?” articles and Best of Lists) and the Kiehls Number 1 lip balm (that was a real trend item in the 90’s) and Hard Candy nail polish, and probably something quirky like a Blow Pop, and  LOADS OF WB CASH,  was a full bar of Dove soap.

In her bag.

Because of this, I bought so much Dove soap.

I didn’t even watch Dawson’s Creek!  I just love a list.  And items you can buy at a drugstore.  It did not occur to me at the time that Katie Holmes probably does not carry around a full bar of Dove soap in her purse for God’s sake.  Her Mom, however, shops at the J. Crew my sister used to work at so NW Ohio represent!  We Ohio women (as Katie Holmes is by birth) do not, however,  regularly carry around full bars of Dove soap in our bags.

Still, I’ve lived in Chicago for 11 years now so maybe that caught on.  Reminder to text my sisters to ask.

Anyway, as I was cleaning out my OWN bag today (allergy season…the kleenex.  My God.  The Kleenex.)  I thought hmmmm…this is a fucking disaster.

There’s no old timey camera.  No Louis Vuitton. No weird European facial oils.  NO MOZART ARIAS (see above)…
Okay.  There is sheet music.  I have an audition.  But it looks like shit and there’s what I hope is chocolate on it.

There’s no cashmere.  What are you fucking kidding me, cashmere?  I couldn’t keep a piece of paper in decent shape.  CASHMERE?  That shit has to go on my actual person or stay at home.

Is that a whole apple just by itself?  I tried that with a banana once.


Wait.  In that top one.  Is that…a polaroid of herself?

I kind of respect that.  Very Memento.

There are expensive sunglasses in every one of those examples.  I am not responsible enough for expensive sunglasses.  I spend around $30 because my optometrist said that’s about what you have to spend to get the right sun protection because I have a thing on one of my eyes under the lid that would HORRIFY you.  He told me that he’s only seen it in farmhands and me.  I assured him that I don’t lift things or do any sort of labor at all.

Maybe it’s from hauling around this bag.

(He says it’s from dust.)


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SOME of the actual contents of my own bag:

  1.  ALL the tampons.  All of them.  Yeah that’s right super plus.
  2. a map of the New York subway system.  It should be noted I live in Chicago.  I am currently in Chicago.
  3. A used Kleenex with a melted Twix bite in it.  (OH.  Okay so it probably IS chocolate on my sheet music.)
  4. a full thing of the world’s least chic deodorant:  Lady Fucking Mitchum
  5. Ventra card.  NOT, I repeat, NOT an MTA card (although there is a used up one of those too.)
  6. Keys.  Not mine.  My friend’s.  Where are mine?  I don’t know.
  7. Wide tooth comb I bought for camp before fifth grade.  I carry it around because what are the damn odds?
  8. Pen from the Ritz Carlton.  A red herring meant to distract from used kleenexes and super plus tampons. As if someone from the CIA is going to look in my purse and think,”Well, gentlemen.  It looks like we have an interesting character here…”

Other items not pictured because I couldn’t fit them in:

Dr. Scholl’s blister pads because this is real life.
A gris gris bag from New Orleans that my husband bought for me.  A fine tooth comb because volume.
An inhaler
Kleenexes because so many fucking Kleenexes
An umbrella
A hard copy of The Goldfinch that I bet my friend Nick thinks he lost.  Well I have it.  And it’s great.  And there might be chocolate on the cover.
A journal
There SHOULD be a pair of sunglasses.  I have no idea where they went.

What’s the moral here?  I don’t know.  Because I WILL buy something just because Kate Winslet or Lupita Nyong’o has it in her bag.  (Have they done one of those features?  I need to know.) If it was rumored Marilyn carried it around?  Throw ‘er in.  I don’t carry a handbag.  I carry a TRAVEL TOTE.  That’s right my every day bag is a damn weekender.