Why I Hate Mothers

CUTE KID ENVY

I hate mothers. There. I said it. Why? A) I’m not one. B) I’d like to be one at some point. C) That some point isn’t here and probably won’t be anytime soon.

When I see cute kids, I don’t think, “Oh my gosh, that kid is adorable. Good job, mother of cute, adorable kid.” I think, “Why the heck is that kid not my kid? Why is that your kid? What did you do to get/have/make that kid?”

The same is true for engagement rings and new houses and horses and miniature pigs. If you have those things, I probably don’t immediately think happy thoughts when you post a picture of them on Facebook or tell me about them. And that’s okay.

It’s okay, especially at 30, to be okay with not being okay. As a woman, there is so much pressure to conceive and to have a family, and when it doesn’t happen in your early twenties and you live in Southeast, Texas, well, you start to feel sort of faulty.
I’m saying “you,” but I mean “I,” and I’m obviously only speaking from and because of my own personal experience as a non-mother.

STORIES ABOUT YOUR CHILD POOPING

In the same way that my “mom” friends idealize my “freedom,” I idealize their ridiculous “you-wouldn’t-believe-what-baby-so-and-so-did-the-other-day” moments. Your kid shits on the rug. Funny. My dog shits on the rug. Gross. Your story is cute. My story is just sad.

BIRTH HORROR STORIES

For those mothers who had a kid the old-fashioned way, I am grateful, however, for the relief of not having something growing inside of my body like an alien. The one, singular thing that frightens the poop out of me about natural birth (See what I did there? Because that can happen!) is what it may do to my body. When you are creating a human and becoming a host for a giant parasite that is, in a sense, going to be stealing your life force for the rest of your life, the body suffers. The stress of birth, the stress of worry, the stress of worrying about the body after the birth, these things are all going to be there, sitting on my hips. Hanging onto me, hanging out of me. And though it sounds like a horror story, I’ve heard that if you have too many children, your bladder starts falling out. That’s right. Your. Bladder. Can. Come. Out.

Also, having a baby isn’t a miracle. If it is, I never want to witness a miracle again. I was there in the room for my nephew’s birth. What happened in that room was one step removed from Dead Alive. Keep your miracles to yourself. Jesus. Christ.
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Do I still want to hatch one? Okay. I guess. I think so. Maybe. One day? Three years from now. After I go for my PhD? After I live in Costa Rica for a year. No. I think I’ll adopt. Only if it’s an accident. No. Yes. No. OF COURSE I DO. Tonight!

SELFLESS OPTIONS

See. Here is the other problem I have with mothers. If you are a good mother, you’ve probably already started to limit your personal options. You drink less. You cook more. You’ve quietly and neatly and selflessly started closing off certain paths with child-proof safety locks, fastening those doors of opportunity from the inside. I’m a little annoyed that you now have a plan that consists of raising your spawn right and trying not to screw that up. I’m stuck with arrows that point in five hundred directions. My future is one big question mark. My sister is 21. She had my nephew, Alexander, at 19. She is one of the best, most energetic mothers I’ve ever seen. When she tells me things like, “Well, one day, when you’re a mother, you’ll understand,” (To be fair, she’s only said this once.) I want to run face first into the nearest wall. At least if I’m knocked unconscious, I don’t care about all those mommy perspective secrets, and I don’t care about not having something to care about.

FREQUENT LIES

Mothers lie. That’s the truth.
At first I think it comes from a good place. Santa Claus. Easter Bunnies. Tooth Fairies. I get it. Your mom always wants you to see the magic in the world. I’d rather my mom have told me about Leopard Seals. Those things are cooler than any princess or fairytale. See: http://www.ted.com/talks/paul_nicklen_tales_of_ice_bound_wonderlands

No, but really. My mother lied to me all of the time. I could walk in the kitchen with an oversized Korn t-shirt, a mouthful of braces, and play hackey-sack, and my mother would commend me on my talent and my style. She’d drop pearls of less than convincing wisdom as she balanced one of my sisters on her hip and opened a pack of Ramen Noodles with her teeth. She called my moles, “Beauty Marks.” LIAR.

All of this is weird to me. I want to tell my kids the truth. The first one being that they were hatched out of eggs by dinosaurs on another planet and then sent to me by the mail.

CHEETO FINGERS

At my sister’s high school graduation party, I watched something so horrific I almost threw up. It was a two-year-old eating Cheetos Puffs. At the time, my best friend was watching my face. She said, “If you ever look at my future child that way, I’m going to punch you in the face.” She is now a mother. At her beautiful daughter’s birthday party a few months ago, I watched her grab what she thought was a piece of tape from her daughter’s finger only to find that it was a booger. I repeated my look. We are still friends.

SUPER POWERS

I know you have them. All of you.

Lastly:

YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR KID WILL LOOK LIKE.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you ladies that kill me with inspiration! I hate you. (but love you too) (a lot) (more than you know)

Here are some pictures of my Mom. I hate her the most. I will never be able to live up to this beautiful woman who raised five kids with so much love and compassion. ❤
Hot Momma

I love her face.
I love her face.

Love,
Non-mother, Ashlynn Ivy

Visiting The Magician and His Wife

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When I was 19, I fell in love with a poet. When I was 23, the relationship ended, and I was left with a deep-rooted friendship, a head full of lovely words and experiences, new interests, poems, books, films, and most importantly, an extended family that gratefully asked to keep me. For the past ten years, Stella Jane and Ken Meaux have let me stay in the inner circle of their light, a magical place where we all sit in a cozy kitchen in Kaplan, Louisiana and talk about ghosts and life and recipes over strong coffee. It’s a relationship that has evolved into something that I can’t quite describe in words. For me, they exist as the physical embodiment of mystery. They fill my heart up with stories. Each visit is a release, a renewal. Confession is a long drive followed by cake and coffee. Communion is a bowl of red beans and rice. Salvation is a blanket in the sun encircled by the hymn of birdsong. Mr. Ken, also known as “The Great Boudini” (Google it), still performs magic shows on the weekends and is slowly perfecting his performance for his last “BIG show,” an event that will be held in a small haunted cabin in the woods.

THE HOUSE ON GOLDEN GRAIN ROAD
Eight miles East from Kaplan on Golden Grain road sits an old house with a rusted tin roof and boarded up windows. It is guarded by an angry rooster and a pair of chickens. The small field across the street is littered with white tombstones. It’s a forgotten cemetery that is always bright and baking in the sun. For the past nine years, on each visit, I make a special trip past the rice and crawfish fields to see this house. I take pictures of it from every angle, always trying to get a glimpse inside through its exposed beams. I’m not sure why I’m attached to it or why I keep going back.

I hope it’s always there.

FOR THE BIRDS
Stella Jane calls the blackbirds “Mardi Gras Birds” because they shine “an iridescent golden blue, green, and purple in the sun.”
“How do they sound, babe?” She asks Ken.
“Like glass dropping,” he replies.
“It’s like rusted hinges,” she tells me, mimicking the sound. “To him, every blackbird is a crow,” she says. “But there are so many different blackbirds. Red-winged Blackbirds, Starlings, with their speckled bodies and yellow eyes, Grackles.”

It’s obvious how their son became a poet.

GHOST STORIES
“Kenneth had a show at an old house near Evangeline. I was standing up and I felt two small taps, like a small child’s fingertips pressing against my back. I asked Kenneth if he had touched me, and he said he hadn’t. Kenneth spoke to the owner of the house, and he said his family had moved and that they now lived in Houston, but he still stayed in the house when he was in town. He said at night that there were always sounds upstairs. When they lived there, his daughter’s room was also upstairs. He told her if she ever needed anything, to call him, and he’d come get her. He didn’t want her falling down the dark stairs at night. One night, he woke up, and she was in the bed with he and his wife. He asked her why she didn’t call him, that he didn’t want her coming down the stairs on her own. She said, ‘But Daddy, you carried me.”

This first night I couldn’t sleep. I tried to force Annie to cuddle with me. She wasn’t interested.

CARDBOARD
I’ve always believed that my purpose in life has been to craft meaningful relationships, to try and be a benefit to someone else’s life, to create something beautiful out of my connection with other human beings. I know that even for my closest friends this can be unsettling. I get too wrapped up in the problems of others, have too many relationships that I can’t live without, become a beacon of anxiety. Empathy can be a curse, and sometimes I feel like I’m plowing through emotional war zones in my tank, armed with what I think is goodness, but in the end, the tank is made of cardboard and my bullets are just tears, and the only power I have is to carry weight, not lift it. Sometimes though. I think I’m getting it right. I just keep hoping all this cardboard is stronger than I think it is, and that all of these interesting and strange relationships I’ve made are perfect. And even if cardboard isn’t strong, with enough imagination and a bit of mystery, I can make my cardboard tank a boat, a house, a time machine, maybe even a spaceship. See. There is enough room for everyone.

*I would have loved to have ended this post with the poem that Kevin Meaux once wrote about his parents called “The Young Magician and His Wife.” I wish I had it at my fingertips, but my poetry books are all packed up from my last move, and I can’t remember it word for word. Samantha Meaux (always understanding and lovely wife of Kevin Meaux, if you read this, post it for us! Secretly. I know he probably still hates all forms of social media.)

Read This Valentine’s Day Story About Poo

The future scares the shit out of me. In fact, right now, this very second scares the shit out of me. There. A Valentine’s Day post that starts with something straight from the heart. Here’s my love story.

I can’t remember who said it, but a few months ago a friend of mine made a comment on a picture that I posted on Facebook that said something like, “One day, when I grow up, I hope my life is as exciting as yours.” Hold the phone. Cue the music. My real life doesn’t look anything like my Facebook timeline.

I hope that this is no surprise and that most of you feel the way that I do about social media. It’s a perfect distraction from feeling anything too deep. It keeps our heads on straight, filter-perfect. When I’m scrolling through all of my friends’ posts, I don’t have to think about much. It’s just a stream of non-thinking amusement, sometimes horror, sometimes sadness. Mostly though it’s just a dead-pan, zoning out thing I do to keep myself from thinking and actually doing anything productive.
It can be great.

And then there’s the posts and status updates. My BA and my MA are both in English, so I can generally use words to get a certain feeling out of people that I want. Now that I think of it, it’s sort of manipulative in a way. Adrienne, one of my best friends and bandmates, once said that I could post about poo and would get 100 likes on Facebook. If I could, it would only mean that I wrote about poo in a way that others found somewhat captivating. While they were doing their version of a zombie-Facebook-dance, I cut in and dipped them back. That’s how this shit works. Pun intended.

Also, I know I’ve met many of you in various bands that I’ve been in. Whether it was a solo project or singing with Mad Maude and the Hatters, some of you only know me through music endeavors. My actual day job, however, is as a Marketing and Communications Coordinator. I spend eight hours each day perfecting how to most effectively craft and sell a message, a mission. At this point, I’ve raised over half a million dollars for a nonprofit that I love, so I guess I’m okay at it. So keep that in mind if I ever write a poo post that gets 100 likes.

And let’s not forget about vanity. My grandmother and my grandmother’s sister died of lung cancer, my great-grandmother died of throat cancer, and my mother is a respiratory therapist. You know why I quit smoking? Because I don’t want wrinkles. So, if you see a cute photo I posted. I probably took twenty. I probably made my friend take twenty and then put a filter on it.

So, why do we play pretend? Well, because life isn’t so pretty. Take this photo for example:

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If we would have taken this photo an hour before, you’d have seen my head in Hattie’s lap, screaming and convulsing. This was the day that I had watched my brother fall back into the hands of addiction. For eight months he tried like hell to stay clean, but addiction is a daily, irrational beast to battle, and sometimes the problem feels like the solution. If you would have taken the photo at 2 a.m., you’d have seen me in a t-shirt, choking on tears and rain in the middle of the street, calling out for my brother. At 3 a.m., it would have been a calmer scene. Perhaps a black and white of the two of us, my brother and I huddled together on the porch, crying, wishing we could both fix each other. Loving each other at our worst.

That’s real life. Real life, real love isn’t always pretty. These raw images aren’t the kinds we’d want others to “like.” We all have them, tucked right beneath the surface. The worries. The doubts.

As I mentioned earlier, my fear of the future is debilitating. I’ve always tried to find a way to control it. I buy those Dollar Store planners and try to fill in every box, every day with an event, a future dinner, a coffee date, a talk with a good friend, a Rockets game. Worse than not having a plan, you see, is not having a plan and being alone. Filling in the spaces makes me feel complete. This process helps to curb the anxiety, the uncertainty of the future.

In terms of relationships, I’ve spent the last nine years of my life with three men who I tried to box into a plan. If they didn’t quite fit the part, fulfill every single need that I’d dreamt up, I left. At times I thought that it was a wedding ring, a kid that looked like me, or a move across the country that would have made the plan work.
During this search for the perfect future-version of my life, however, I forgot to see that the plan, that greater “future” that I had no control over was working.

I found out that I was about to turn 30. That I had built a world of relationships with people, co-workers, family, strangers, best friends, crushes, ex boyfriends (even ex boyfriend’s wives) and new semi-boyfriends that made me appreciate the hell out of Valentine’s Day. So, here’s to real life and real love.

I’m going to end this post with a few PARTY TIPS from Andrew W.K.
1. Doing what you love = partying
2. If you need someone to be your Valentine tomorrow, you can count on me.

Andrew W.K. playing his pizza guitar. Pizza=love
Andrew W.K. playing his pizza guitar. Pizza=love