Unconventional, But Mine

Giving birth makes ruining a marriage seem like having a really bad hangover…

Three weeks ago I pushed out an actual human being that I didn’t want with a man whom I don’t like and is asking me to be someone that I don’t like. There is a clear pattern here, and it all started when I let Deacon use me as a way to get out of a marriage that he didn’t like…

Basically, I hate what my life has become. Dirty diapers, waking up in the middle of the night to a screaming infant, and the fixed schedule of a man who wants a family; Deacon is a pretty nice person but having sex with him was way more fun than living with him. Deacon snores, he leaves his underwear all over the house, and to be frank – he laughs so much that it makes me actually nauseous. This man doesn’t care how miserable I am as long as I’m laughing and smiling with him.

Neither of us really discusses about how I fit into the picture, so my thoughts on him not caring aren’t ill conceived. He has never once queried if I even wanted to keep this baby. This little girl that looks more like him than me, thank goodness, and is the embodiment of everything I have never, ever wanted but he doesn’t know that because he never asked me. Being a mother was the last thing I wanted to do with my life. Again, he has no idea because there was never any talk about what we wanted – only what he wanted.

As for me, I love travelling the world in the summertime when I’m not teaching art throughout the school year. I love buying an excessive amount of alcohol on grocery day. More than anything, easily my favorite thing is being able to pretty much make my own schedule and decisions without really concerning myself with how others feel about it.

Now that there is a child in the mix – I will have to use my travel funds for baby clothes and doctor visits. I’ll have to stop drinking and going out with the girls so that I can buy diapers and feed an extra mouth. Some people in the world have to do these things, of course, because there are a ton of kids needing care in the world. If every single person thought the same way as me then all of society would fail.

I know I can’t continue pretending to be someone that I’m not, though. People who do that for too long can turn into monsters. They can turn into adult babies. I will cry at stupid hours in the night. I will become so lethargic that I will need Deacon to feed me, to comfort me, and to make sure I continue doing what I’m supposed to be doing so that I can fit the standards of those around me occupying the same roles. Eventually I would require an adult telling me how to be “normal.”

“Where is my baby girl?” Deacon shouts before he even gets the front door open. His voice has gone from funnily pleasant to nails on a chalkboard over the last seven months. Being with and around him is exhausting. Anyway, I know that he’s not talking about me so I tell him that Lee is napping in the bedroom. Only when I let him know this does he greet me with a kiss on my forehead that makes me cringe. He also sports a seductive grin that boldly foreshadows his thoughts; “I guess play time is coming early for mom and dad tonight, then.”

Hearing myself be referred to as a ‘mom’ again pushes me over the edge in my already contemplative state of mind; “I can’t do this.”

Watching someone’s face go from ‘excited’ to ‘disappointed’ – I think it is my one true gift to make people feel horrified because at some point everyone I know looks at me in this exact way. Features contort as if a rotten egg has just been shoved into their noses and their mouths, tainting everything immediately. Grandma had this expression when I announced that I was bisexual. My mother did the same thing when I said I wanted to be a teacher instead of marketer so that I can more easily experience everything life has to offer – on my terms, no less. My high school sweetheart – yeah, he definitely looked exactly like this when I told him that I wasn’t interested in marriage conceptually. Truthfully, I do love others very much but at the end of the day I love myself most. Everyone deserves to be happy and I would be much happier not doing any of what I’ve gotten myself into now.

“I am very sorry but I don’t want to be a mom. I don’t want to be a wife. This is life is strangling me because I am not this person.”

Somewhere in the world there is an old woman suffocating with a cigarette on her back porch, arms folded over her chest. Her brows are furrowed and smoke is rolling from her mouth as she zones out, wishing for the life that she could have had instead the one she has lived. That woman resents her husband, her ex-husbands, and her kids; all because someone convinced her that it was her obligation to be a mother and a wife. That woman wasn’t exposed to a world that let her know that she had options.

“You are still young, Natalia. This is just post-partum depression. A lot of women having kids at your age go through this, but I promise I’m here to help you. Together we can get past this and we can raise Lee as a happy family.” Did you hear that, Nat? Did you hear the world trying to tell you how you feel yet again? Deacon is trying to do what everyone does when they don’t support my realities.

So I do to him what I did to all of the others; “Nobody tells me what I want except me. Believe me when I say that I want nothing to do with Lee or with you. I kept my mouth shut about your divorce and I expressed my gratitude when you helped pay for the baby stuff, but being silent has to stop. I hate kids. I only had that baby because you wanted it. Now you have it and all I need right now is to walk out that front door with all of my stuff and never look back.” Deacon seems to be absorbing the seriousness of my woes. Surely his heart is pounding so fast that he worries more of a heart attack than he does of being alone. As the two of us meet in the middle of the living room, it is him who throws his hands in the air. Not that I’m surprised….

Initially, I expect him to yell. To think that anything else would happen after I admit that I hate this arrangement, I would have to be completely delusional. Selfish is not the same thing as ignorant. Nothing comes through his teeth and he just keeps waving his arms, sometimes stopping to rub his chin. My mind shifts to alternative actions he might take – is he going to hit me? Is he going to say terrible things? Is he going to leave and force me to care for this baby?

Deacon breaks the mold, though, by saying something that I’m sure I’ll never hear in the movies; “If you really want to go then just go. All I ask is that if you walk out that door – never come back. This isn’t something that you can fix later. I will not raise my daughter in a loving household only to have a birth mother show up in nine years wanting the life she gave up back.”

Claiming that relief resonates through my body – supreme understatement. Calm courses through my body almost violently in an effort to get rid of any tension; I feel a genuine smile curling my lips. A toothy expression sends me propelling into Deacon’s arms with appreciation. By the time I thank him and apologize for never bringing it up before, I find that I am crying without having noticed. Deacon dries my tears before telling me that I should go and that he will reach out once he’s met with his attorney. I promise to work with him on figuring out the best way to contribute anonymously to him and his daughter.

Because at the end of the day – I was never going to be a mother…

…   ….   ….

A month can do a lot of good for someone. One month, four weeks, thirty days; it goes by faster than a blink in the grand scheme of things. Somehow, though, in that same time frame a person can change his or her life entirely.

I will never know how Deacon spun everything to his attorney but he is releasing me of any obligation to the child. As soon as I got the letter I explained to him that I’ve decide to move to Italy and that his mature acceptance of my desires has encouraged me to pursue something that I needed for a very long time.

My family took the final step in ostracizing me after my revealing that I abandoned Deacon and Lee. Everyone has a line and it just seems that I, Natalia Escotto, have simply crossed it. All is well as Deacon is going to move into my old apartment and assuming the lease. Until my flight next week, I’m just staying with a friend. In six days I will be leaving behind everything that has ever hindered my personal growth.

And no matter what the world thinks of me – I know that this is right.

I finally know how happiness tastes on my lips.