Thursday, May 17, 2007

Turning points

I know I said I wouldn't spend all my time blogging about being pregnant, but I'll just say this: I had NO IDEA how completely colonising it would be of my brain and body. Awake at 3am chucking up, it's hard to think of any other topic to talk about. Contrary to an earlier comment, I can see some purpose to this helpless nausea and exhaustion - it is already turning our child-free couple into a family unit. Lovergirl is increasingly solicitous of this newly dependent me. When I couldn't rouse myself from supine on the couch to do the dishes after yet another delicious meal she'd cooked, she said, 'It doesn't matter. We're really going to have to lose this share-house equal division of jobs thing we've had going.' As a statement of commitment to the interdependency of our relationship, it almost made me cry (this is happening alarmingly easily at the moment) and so much more real than vows of true love uttered when I'm glowing and healthy and made up to the nines, standing in front of a crowd in a $4000 dress (not, I hasten to add, that I'm averse to that either)

I'm spending a lot of time reading. I've just finished the Post-Birthday World by the prickly Lionel Shriver. If you haven't heard of it yet, the basic plot is: stable partnered woman gets crush on a friend, a dangerous, sexy man. There's a turning point early in the novel, on his birthday. Then the novel splits into two, Sliding Doors style. In one, she kisses him and there is the fallout from that, over the next ten or so years; in the other, she resists kissing him and goes back to her comfortable, sensible relationship and its trajectory over the next ten years. The interesting thing is that, in Shriver's hands anyway (and I suspect it's true), there is no right decision - each path has its pitfalls and rewards.

It was engrossing. I like Shriver's style, although she seems to have a bug with feminists in this novel. Her protagonist thinks things like, 'Feminists wouldn't approve, but Irina had always preferred sex doggy style' (I never said anything of the sort!) (that's not an exact quote by the way)

It got me to thinking about turning points and how my life would be different if I'd made different decisions. A lot of the decisions in my life don't feel like real turning points, places where my life could clearly have taken another direction due to my own choice. It's overall been more a case of one step after another. Obviously this pregnancy is a huge turning point, but it's not a single choice I have made - mostly it's been out of my hands. Deciding on university courses, moving states - they've all felt like incremental, inevitable changes.

There is one place, though, that feels like a real turning point. Although I hasten to emphasise that I have been a lesbian since I was 21, when i met Lovergirl I was having an affair with a man. He was in another city and another relationship, so was keen on being discreet; so it was easy for me to 'pass' as a lesbian where I was living without anyone catching me in rampant heterosexual activity in a restaurant. He was smart and interesting and very political, and there was a lot of stuff I really enjoyed about dating a man. Holding hands in public without scoping out the surroundings; the ever so slightly different response of waiters to a straight couple canoodling over canapes; and the way men don't really get into long discussions of every detail of your feelings, I found incredibly refreshing.

So when I met Lovergirl I agonised for three weeks. She gave me an ultimatum; I ended it with him. It was impulsive and rash. I'd known her three weeks; I'd been seeing him three years. But for a long time I did have that eerie sense of a possible parallel life running alongside me. A life in which I chose him, other woman and all, and became an adventurous, sophisticated mistress like those fabulous muses of old, maintaining my independence while still having a witty and sexy companion for special occasions. A parallel life that demonstrates what my life would have been like as a straight woman. Of course, sometimes in the parallel fantasy he realises he is about to lose me and gives up the Other Woman. A parallel life in which I get pregnant easily (even though, in real life, he is against having children), am part of the approved nuclear family, and my parents breathe a sigh of relief - despite a protracted period off the beaten path, at last Mikhela has brought home a man.


Katya said...

Thankyou for sharing all those well - expressed thoughts. You don't appear to be suffering yet from 'pregnancy brain', which isn't as debilitaitng as the following 'breast feeding brain'. I remember reading soewhere this woman saying that when she breast fed her brain became a milk-soaked sponge.

elsewhere said...

Could that be the storyline for my next script?

I have a good mind to send that quote of yours to Lionel Shriver!

Mikhela said...

You can have it El, if I can produce it when it's done!

JahTeh said...

At least you can still read intelligent books. My ex thought it would make me laugh to read about a foetus called 'Eggbert' in between throwing up in a bucket.

Congrats on twins. I would shout the good news on my blog but I won't expose you to a commenter I have who doesn't like homosexuals having children.

elsewhere said...

It's a deal, tho I have to warn you I'm not big on direct mimesis once I get going. Could you send me the links for film newsletters,etc?

my email is: elsewhere07[AT]

Darlene said...

Does that mean you don't think you were born a lesbian (if you didn't become one until you fell in love at the age of 21)?

What do you think of the label queer?

I think sexuality is much more complicated than gay, straight and lesbian, although they're are people that fit perfectly into those categories.

Congrats on the impending births.

Mikhela said...

I don't think sexuality is dichotomous. I identify as lesbian because I'm more often attracted to women than men. While there is Johnny Depp in the world I can never eschew men completely! I don't identify as bisexual because for me bisexual implies the opposite - you're basically straight but not averse to having the occasional relationship with the same sex. Also I think sexuality is heavily socially constructed - not just who we fuck but also how we do it, how many partners are allowed, monogamy, how we talk about it, what images we find's hard to know what preferences are innate and which are just products of/ reactions against what we are taught.

Queer I'm not so fond of - it's too broad to be meaningful for me - surely everyone has some predilection that would put them in this category? But if it works for people I won't march in the streets against it. I don't really see a need to organise around the fact that I'm a shoe fetishist, or whatever.