No, We’re Not Getting Married

To All of the Well Meaning People In My Life,

I know you are both excited and worried about me having a baby. Actually, it’s probably more worried than excited, but I understand.

No, my situation isn’t ideal. But sometimes, things happen and hopefully you know me (and my family and/or friends) well enough to know everything is going to be A-OK, or at least, no worse than anyone else you know who may be having a kid.

Many of you have not met my boyfriend. Perhaps that is a little disconcerting to you. He is a mystery and also the father of my baby. I don’t expect you to trust my judgement or to not have an opinion on the matter. But I will say that sometimes things can be unplanned and unexpected, but not, all at the same time. Or in other words, some accidents are happy ones.

The one thing that seems to come up over and over and over again that I would like to make clear is: No, we have no plans to get married at the moment.

For some reason, this is a big deal to some of you.

Maybe it’s because in your mind, there is a logical course of action that must take place in “situations like these”. Maybe the only way we can prove we’re in this together is to make it official in the eyes of the law.

I don’t buy that.

I never have, even before all of this happened. I don’t have to believe it because it’s not true. 100% of people who get married don’t stay together. Not even 70%. Not even 55%. Marriage guarantees nothing, so there’s no need to put everything in writing just because a kid is involved. In fact for me, it’s very much the opposite.

What I mean to say is, I’m very happy to have a partner in this. A voluntary partner. And if for some reason he no longer wants to stay, he doesn’t have to. Because I can’t make him. Because no one and no ring and no piece of paper can.

Having a child is probably the biggest reason TO stay as opposed to anything else, so if this isn’t what keeps us together as a family (and by that, I don’t mean we’ll necessarily be a couple), then I don’t know what would. I’m also very aware that people break up when their kids are young, so there’s that no guarantee thing again.

If you think him marrying me gives any kind of indication of how long we’ll be together, then you know something I don’t about every married couple you’re acquainted with. It must have been really hard going to all of those weddings knowing some of those marriages would end.

Don’t get me wrong: If marriage is important to you and you are important to me, then I fully support what you want. But I’d appreciate it if you didn’t push what you think is important on me.

I’m sorry if I sound defensive, but I guess I’m just a little tired of having to explain myself. If you know me, then you already know my life is not on a typical path and I’ve turned out pretty OK.

Besides, do you really want to have to buy me a baby AND wedding gift?

-Carly

AMA And All That Jazz

It’s official: I’m pregnant.

Actually, it was official back in April when I took two pregnancy tests and then a third a few days later at the doctor’s office.

Now I can scream it from the mountain tops because I’m just past three months and while I know miscarriage can happen at any time, for any reason, I’m no longer in the 25-35% range for such things for PEOPLE MY AGE.

AMA = Advanced Maternal Age, which is anyone over 35.

I may not be the healthiest person and I certainly don’t act my age, but there is something kind of funny about that label. I feel like a grandma having a baby.

Sorry, am I just breezing past all of the details? Are you worried this is going to become some annoying pregnancy/mommy blog? That’s not the plan, though I may write about it here and there.

As for those details…you know how a baby is made, right?

Moving on, so far things have been fairly OK. I mean, I felt nauseous for weeks (but never threw up, so I had it better than a lot of women) and was tired 90% of the day. My pants don’t fit. My hormones were and are still sometimes wildly out of control. I CRY ABOUT EVERYTHING.

I’m worried about things like how we’re going to pay for everything, but it helps to know we won’t be homeless or hungry. I’m also worried about everything else, like, you know, being responsible for another human life for the rest of my life and what all of that entails.

Sick babies. Teething babies. Babies that don’t sleep. Babies that don’t like to eat. Babies that are jerks who turn into kids that are jerks that turn into teenagers that are jerks.

And while you think I’m some kind of expert because I’ve been a nanny for over five years, I’m Not. Not even close. Each day ends and I hand your lovely kid back to you and go on with my life, sans kid. You know, a life of doing whatever I want, whenever I want. A life that is all going to be a distant memory starting on or around January 3, 2015.

But enough about that. For now.

-Carly

We Want You and Your Themes

So Miss Spoken covers a different topic every month. It gives writers somewhere to start, and provides an interesting look into how greatly experiences vary within the same sphere. Also, we love theme parties. Or at least I do. We’ve got plenty of ideas, but we’re curious — what would you like to hear stories about? Please let us know in the comments, or shoot an email to missspokenchicago[at]gmail[dot]com if you’re shy. We can’t guarantee that we’ll use every suggestion, but we will read all of them, and laugh if they’re funny or terrible.

Also, you might have also noticed a small addition to the sidebar: “Currently Accepting Submissions For”. We want you for our August and September shows! You, or your cousin or friend or co-worker, or whoever writes good and has something to share. Here’s our general format. We’ll be posting the upcoming themes regularly from now on, so you can get a jump on that funny/awful/terrifying/ story that fits into a future month’s topic.

Questions? Comments?

-Rose

 

 

Forever Never A Bridesmaid

One of my closest friends recently got engaged. And I couldn’t be happier for her.

Thank god, because honestly I was a little afraid I might feel jealous or irritated.

We had an awesome time catching up about the proposal and gazing at her beautiful ring at “our” diner and then she asked me if I’d be a bridesmaid in her wedding, starting with “I know you’ve always said you didn’t want to stand up in a wedding again…”

The last time I was a bridesmaid was in 2004. A high school friend and former roommate asked me and I was excited to be a part of her big day. It was a little surprising since I ended up being the only non-family member in the wedding party.

She was extremely close to her sisters and cousin and in general, their family was a tight knit bunch. Her fiance was Indian, so the ceremony would take place over two days, Friday the Indian ceremony and Saturday the Catholic church service.

The bridesmaid dress, a purple, full length number, put me out $240, though I was told I could wear whatever shoes and jewelry I wanted. I paid another $60 or so for that.

His family was traveling to India before the wedding and offered to buy affordable saris for the ceremony. I eagerly agreed to have one picked up for me, especially since the cost would be under $40. But when I got it, it was entirely too small. I didn’t want to pay for something I had absolutely no use for and later found out one of her sisters was really upset by this.

When it came time for the bachelorette party, I was not involved in any of the planning except to help find a suitable hotel downtown somewhere. My dad helped me get a Marriott Inn suite for the occasion and I was never reimbursed. The total for the room came out to be around $250.

In a panic that my sari didn’t fit and knowing I’d need it for the Indian ceremony, I went up to Devon and dropped $170.

Bridal shower and wedding gifts came out to around $150.

I had to take a day off of work that Friday and drove myself out to the suburbs, not knowing what the day would bring. From the get go, I was not informed of any of the wedding details.

When I arrived, the bride was getting her hair and make-up done. She looked stunning. The rest of the bridesmaids all sported matching henna tattoos, something they had done without me.

It was time for the ceremony to begin and we all exited the women’s dressing room. I followed along unsure of what I was supposed to do. As we were about to enter the main area, I asked one of her sisters what was going on. She said plainly “Oh, the ceremony is family only.”

I stopped mid step realizing not only would I be sitting with the guests, but I absolutely did not need to be wearing a sari.

The next day brought more attention to the fact that I was clearly not a part of the bridesmaid clan when everyone else showed up in matching jewelry and shoes, their intricate henna tattoos still fresh on their arms.

Wedding photos took too long and I showed up to my boyfriend’s apartment to pick him up, drunk and belligerent. We’d only been dating a few short months and got into a fight, heading to the reception in near silence.

The entire thing was an expensive disaster and aside from a few Facebook interactions,I  have not had contact with her. In fact, I didn’t even see any of the professional photos until years later, again, on Facebook.

There’s a part of me that wished I could have vented all of this to her, but there was never a good time. In general, the whole experience proved that our friendship was already falling apart. Still, maybe it’s unfair that I kept quiet all of these years.

Needless to say, I was burned badly and have since claimed I would never stand up in another person’s wedding no matter how close we were.

But ten years and a very special friendship later, I think I’m finally ready.

-Carly

Individual Compartments

Here’s a story about Halloween, family troubles, and Kids Cuisine. Happy Friday.

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Growing up in the Castro made Halloween fun for reasons traditional and otherwise. The otherwise was funny in the same way a Simpsons episode was at that age: funny for a simple reason then, and a different, more intended reason years later. There were aspects unique to most five-year-old’s experience: three women dressed up like a tampon, sanitary pad, and the box they came in, nuns with stubble, and more than one very tall Dorothy. The last one caused me to blurt “Why do gay guys dress like The Wizard of Oz?” “Because they identify with her,” my mom answered. I nodded. I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about. Like many other things I didn’t get off the bat, I tucked that answer deep in my brain, waiting for a time when the context that comes with age would allow me to understand. My tiny enlightenment about the actress came about six years later, a small exhaled “Ohhh” as I watched Judy Garland’s wide brown eyes look out over the Yellow Brick Road, her voice trembling in awe of a new, Technicolor world.

The more standard Halloween fun stood out too: bobbing for apples. Halloween-themed worksheets, a parade on the basketball court at school. Staying up well past my bedtime to seeThe Nightmare Before Christmas at a movie theater, and getting the Kids Special: a colorful cardboard tray filled with popcorn, gummy bears, and a small soda that was almost as exciting as the movie. Discovering which neighbors gave out good candy like Twix or Kit-Kats, and who gave out the bottom-feeder stuff like Smarties and Bottlecaps, or even worse, animal crackers or fruit. Collecting a giant sack of sugar that lost its allure ten pieces of candy later, and hung out by my desk until it was thrown away in March. My friends hated me.

Show! Tonight!

Just a quick reminder that we’ve got a show TONIGHT! June’s theme is Debt and we’ve got just the ladies to tackle it. Come by Gallery Cabaret at 7pm, we’ll get going around 7:15. It’ll be fun. And a little weird.

When I Feel The Weakest

While it’s been years since my last boyfriend broke up with me, there is some part of me that will still react to the fact that he’s alive and breathing.

I can’t really explain the feeling. It’s just there.

I don’t believe in a “One”. And having been dumped in all of my serious relationships, I’ve come to think a lot about whether people are just not compatible or just not able to work things out because of lack of effort or miscommunication/misunderstanding.

My current boyfriend and I often point to the fact that there were a few moments early on when we fought and could have easily called it quits, but instead, figured it out. I feel like that’s a testament to us considering when you’re in the first few months of a dating situation, it’s much easier to think “Eff this. Bye.” To be scared off by the notion that you just don’t “get” one another.

So sometimes I look back on my last two longterm relationships and wonder if we’d just talked more, been more honest, trusting and open minded if perhaps we would have made it, at least for a bit longer. Or if we just couldn’t do that, either as individuals or as a couple.

I will never forget being told I wasn’t my last boyfriend’s “soulmate” and this was the foundation for him breaking up with me. I didn’t fight back because I believed him, even though I didn’t believe in soulmates. That’s because I was never brave enough to tell him when I was feeling vulnerable or anxious or scared. I wasn’t open about some of the things I thought we needed to talk about and work on. That manifested into me thinking we might not be totally right for one another. And apparently he felt the same.

I’m not sure if a conversation could have solved our problems. But it’s hard to think that an honest discussion about what wasn’t working would have hurt anything. I know I loved him and I thought he loved me. That’s not the end all be all, but it seems big enough to at least try.

And try is what never happened in the relationship before the last one that haunted me for years.

In any case, both of those guys have moved on in one way or another. So have I.

The other day, as I was walking to the bus stop to go to my boyfriend’s house, I came upon a group of people having a yard sale, playing bags. As I got closer, I realized they were right outside my ex’s friend’s condo. And sure enough, there he was.

My instinct was to cross the street. But I felt that was too obvious. Instead, with a racing heart, I walked past them without acknowledging anyone, thankful for sunglasses, but wishing I had my earphones in too.

It’s not like we’re on horrible terms. If anything, we’re on no terms, so a wave hello wouldn’t have been the end of the word.

I just couldn’t.

Because there will always be a feeling of rejection no matter how much time passes. And I don’t need to be reminded that he’s married and happy because in order to be those things it meant not being with me anymore.

I become divided into Old Me and New Me. As good as New Me is, she still can’t seem to show Old Me that things are pretty great now and that that should somehow snuff out the strange humiliation that creeps in when confronted with the past.

I’m thankful for my current relationship. Perhaps I had to go through what I did to get to this point so I could understand what it really takes to work on something. I don’t mean that this is more of a struggle than the past. I mean that I was trying to deal with all of my insecurity by myself, afraid to show my true colors to the person I loved. And as hard as it is to be that open and forthright, it makes for a better, easier relationship.

I just wish that strength could override the coward I become around my exes.

-Carly

Miss Spoken’s First Show – PODCAST!

Hi!

If you weren’t able to catch our debut show or would love to re-live the magic, here it is for your listening pleasure!

A huge thank you to Chris Nelson for the recording, mixdown and editing.

-Carly & Rose

Meet Our Readers

This month’s theme is Debt and we’ve got another awesome lineup to talk about an often uncomfortable and downright verboten subject, be it financial, personal, or mystical (I just finished watching Game of Thrones. what.). Find out more about them below then come to the show on Wednesday.

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Gwynn Fulcher

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Gwynn Fulcher is a writer/performer transplant from Maryland, and is celebrating her 10th year living in Chicago. In her first five years here she did fuck-all, but in the second five years Gwynn has written and performed with the Neo-Futurists, acted with a variety of local theatres, composed original music that is actually listenable, directed a short film, been a guest for music, storytelling and Star Trek podcasts, respectively, and had the great fortune to appear on live lit stages such as WRITE CLUB Chicago, Guts & Glory, The Paper Machete, Collector’s Edition and Story Club South Side and now HOLY SHIT: MISS SPOKEN.

Anne Holub 

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Anne Holub thoroughly dismayed her parents by majoring in English and then following that degree up with an MA and an MFA in poetry. Her day job is pretty boring, but she has a not-so-secret second life as the music editor at Gapersblock.com (she apologizes for not coming to your band’s last show). When she’s not baking biscuits or ordering ham off the internet, she can be found on Twitter at @izatchu.

 

 

Rachel Collins

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Rachel was was born and raised in a small town on Long Island, New York. No she does not have “that” accent, but she certainly can be sassy. She wanted to be a writer for Jane Magazine and then Vanity Fair, but when the former folded she gave up on ever being a “big time writer.” She likes using ellipses, quotation marks on paper (and in the air occasionally) and she attributes her sense of humor to being the small liberal minority in a large conservative family. She used to refer to herself as a hopeless romantic, but now she makes sure to keep the two words far away from each other. She is is sure her soul mate is burly and bearded, even though her dating history does not support this assertion.

Natasha Mulholland

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Natasha Mulholland recently moved back to the Chicagoland area after a few years in the Pacific Northwest. Despite this move, she feels she is a West Coast person by nature and wishes her life were more outdoorsy. Natasha has several whims and believes that following them makes life worth living. She currently goes to school, bakes, does yoga, thinks about auditioning for a dance company, and really, really needs a job. She writes the blog Aviva O’Byrne’s Melting Pot, which is currently being revamped. Have a look in a couple weeks! Most of all, she loves to write and share stories about her adventures.

Siesta Key, FL

15867_183231219683_1411204_nDad, me and my little brother…in matching outfits.

When I was in grade school, my family would drive to Florida in the summer.

We’d stay at a vacation rental spot called “Midnight Cove”.

Right outside of Sarasota, Siesta Key (from what I remember), was quiet and beautiful. The sand really was white. We could walk a short distance and find ourselves on a private beach.

On the drive down, my brother and I would fight over the coveted “captain’s” chair in our champagne colored Dodge minivan, the one that had the cup holders and slot for random books or magazines. My parents would lose their minds, yelling “they’re exactly the same, that’s why we didn’t get the bench seat!” and we’d insist there was a better chair.

One of the games we’d play together was to write down all of the different license plates we’d see from St. Louis to Florida. We’d usually get to the upper 20’s pretty easily, and it was always fun to see something random like Alaska. Aside from this game, it’s the most interaction we’d have, since he didn’t like the water and given the chance, I’d do everything short of drowning him if left alone in the pool or ocean.

We’d have a variety of snacks and my mom would pack us individual sandwiches of our choosing that we’d keep in a cooler alongside their favorite beverage of choice: Caffeine Free Diet Coke. I was rarely the reason we had to pull into a rest stop for a bathroom break, conscientious of how much liquid I was consuming. Dad ALWAYS drove and mom was the perfect shotgun rider, ready to hand you a tissue, stick of gum, pen, or your half of a sandwich neatly wrapped in a napkin. My dad would keep a very accurate calculation of how long it was taking us, how far we’d gotten the year before, and the gas mileage. The ONE time my brother got to sit up front, he accidentally reset the mileage and I think my dad might have momentarily lost his mind. We’d always make a stop, typically somewhere in Georgia, eat a meal and spend the night in a hotel.

The condo had a kitchen, so we’d usually have breakfast in. We’d stop at the local grocery store and pick up frozen Lenders bagels and a multi-pack of cereal. Each morning, we’d devour Fruit Loops and Pops, leaving the chocolate Rice Krispies for my dad and hoping “someone else” would eat the boring corn flakes.

I’d head to the beach with my dad. My mom wasn’t much of a water or sun fan, which seems weird to me now since that was our one big vacation every year. He and I would leave early, an hour or two after the sun would come up. Over the years, we got a little savvier with our beach furniture. Better chairs and an umbrella (or so I recall). He’d bring a book and I’d do my thing, heading straight for the ocean, sitting in the shallow areas, lying on a raft floating around or using it to catch waves and ride into the surf.

We’d come back around lunch time. I’d be starving, always happy to chug a glass of lemonade or eat a piece of refrigerated fruit. Sometimes I’d retire to my room to nap or read. Back then I consumed books like food.

I never really liked being away from home, so it was always an adjustment moving around the condo, with its unfamiliar tile and carpet. The stiff sheets and hard mattress. The strange feel of air conditioning and humidity.

But it was always relaxing. There was a nice rhythm to each day, with small variations like lunch at Hooters with my dad. Yes, THAT Hooters, where one of the waitresses told nine year old me that they didn’t have a big enough kid t-shirt. Some nights we’d walk to a local restaurant for dinner and on the way back, stop and get ice cream.

I miss those vacations in particular. Everything felt very simple and calm.

I’m grateful to my parents for those summers.

-Carly