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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ask a Dead Baby Momma: Sugar Egg Sensation

Dear Dead-Baby Momma,

Yesterday I was out with a bunch of people and slipped into a total dead-baby funk. Why didn't everybody sense that, drop what they were doing, and come over to give me a group hug, those insensitive fuckers?

Funked Out Amid Insensitive Fuckers

Dear Funked Out Amid Insensitive Fuckers:

Dead Baby Mommas understands. You, alone and funked-out inside your head while the rest of the world spins convivially and unaware. I call that the Sugar-Egg Sensation.

Remember sugar eggs?

A hard decorated sugar-shell surrounding an edible panoramic scene made of hardened frosting, usually involving something juvenile like bunnies or ducks (how often I have tried unsuccessfully to explain to others what sugar eggs are and why they are cool!). The Sugar-Egg Sensation is simply when the outside of your body is like a hard sugar shell, and the inside is a totally different hidden scene that few people can detect. And your inner scene isn't a pleasant one of ducks and bunnies either: more like grumpy little trolls eating handfuls of mud and glaring at one another.

And yes, Funked-Out: few people can - or will - detect that unsavory inner scene.

But there is hope!

Let me digress into a brief, related anecdote. Not long ago, I was at a happy hour gathering with friends from work. One guy's mucho-prego wife came along, her belly popping out at the seams. We were all drinking sangria and munching on Spanish tapas while sunlight poured through the tall open windows. From the corner of my eye, I kept noticing the mucho-prego wife having these contemplative, intimate moments that I recognized: those miraculous instances of feeling your baby kick you hard on the insides. She was in her own sugar-egg world, the mommy-baby-connection-world that nobody else has access to, stroking her tummy and gazing out the window with a slight smile on her face. I got that, remembered it.

When the entire group conversation suddenly drifted toward this woman's belly and the subject of "what it feels like to have a baby move inside you," everybody was instantly excited, because blossoming babies are a community interest, an intriguing and much-loved subject by all. The mucho-prego wife's eyes lit up as she explained the sensation, imitating it, punching someone on the upper arm to show what a foot or a knee or an elbow feels like against your inner walls. Again, I got that, and I couldn't bear to look in her direction, the reminder too visceral, sudden sadness too intense. I could almost feel a baby moving inside me, the magical "whoosh" that I'd felt so often during my drive to work that summer, two years ago, or standing up in front of students. A shadow cast itself instantly across my mood, consuming me with the barren sense of being alone inside my sugar-egg world. And yeah, my little funk went unnoticed to *most* people at the table (*most* is a key word here; keep reading).

Now back to you, Funked-Out. What to do about it?

Let's start with what NOT to do about it: expect those "insensitve fuckers" to change, or resent them for not seeing into your world. In their defense, allow Dead Baby Momma to gently point out: most people in the world are neither "fuckers" nor "insensitive" in the truest sense (and if they are, you shouldn't be hanging out with them anyway). Most people are rightfully too busy tending to their own psychological worlds to notice your internal (and totally valid) shit-storm, and quite plausibly may be wrestling with their OWN Sugar-Egg Sensations to which others are equally blind. So forget that.

Instead, let's focus on what you CAN do. Dead Baby Momma recommends a patent-pending, two-step strategy.


The first step is the hard part - akin to swallowing a vegetable that you hate while singing the Chinese national anthem: respect your internal world, while respecting others' internal worlds at the same time. That is: as you peer out at the world from your lonely hidden sugar-egg scene, you embrace your dead-baby funk (for fuck's sake, you lost a baby - or a baby-like entity- and funks are to be expected! If you didn't have funks, Dead Baby Momma would be concerned for your psychological health!) and - at the same time - be a gracious member of the human community, one with dignity, wisdom, and empathy for others' conditions. Say something nice to the prego woman at the table, even if it hurts. Fake a smile if you have to, or politely excuse yourself to use the restroom.

By practicing this skill, you learn to let go of the things you can't change; namely the fact that the world moves on, even as you still get stuck in your Sugar-Egg scene. Plus, you take your traumatic past and channel it in a positive and outward manner (okay, Dead Baby Momma has no idea what that second part means, but it sure sounds good).


This is a very important step, so listen up, Funked-Out. There are very likely one or two (or more!) keenly perceptive people who know you, who get it, whose sensitivity and ability to understand things beyond their own worlds far transcend what others are capable of. They sense your retreat into your Sugar-Egg world and try to reach you there (even despite potentially grappling with their own internal turmoil), letting you know you aren't alone. Once you know who they are, cull them deeper into your life and don't let them go, and be sure to let them know in clear, blunt terms how grateful you to have them nearby. They're a rarity, and they will help keep you safe and sound as you continue down this strange, lonely, funk-laden road of grief.

Dead Baby Momma recognizes steps 1 and 2 aren't always easy. Quick return to my happy-hour funk at the Spanish tapas bar, just to illustrate. I would give myself...oh...about a C+ in achieving Step 1. I tried to be a good sport - man, did I try - but this particular funk was more of a doozy than what I was used to, blindsiding me. Next time I'll do better. As for Step 2, I was lucky to have two such friends at the table - M and S - sensing my funky little retreat into my own head, and just being there for me in a subtle, real way: a knowing kick under the table, a hand on my forearm, a glance into my eyes, an abrupt and strategic attempt to change the subject. They got it, and they were with me in my universe when I most needed help. Although I couldn't bring myself react or jump all over their presence, being too consumed by my own self, I am ever-grateful to have such friends in my life. They're those hoard-worthy types you never want to let go of. I don't think I ever mentioned to either of them how much those gestures meant to me (which would lead to a grade of about B-), but I will.

So there's what you do, Funked Out. Oh, and there's a Step 3, too: go out and find a sugar egg and buy one, so that you can revel in the pleasure of breaking apart the outside, eating it and getting your face all sticky with pure sugar residue, and then biting the ass off the bunny on the inside. Zany pleasure!


Catherine W said...

Good advice. Humanity as a vast sea of sugar eggs, what you see usually isn't what you get. I like.
I'm especially keen on step 3. And that sugar egg is just too beautiful and yummy looking!

m said...

Awesome post. Even though I am now craving a sugar egg and have no idea where one even buys one of them. Thanks M (except for the craving part.)

Jasmine said...

Good advice. Enjoy your zany pleasures.

Inanna said...

My sister kept one of those crazy things for YEARS. Literally years. I always wanted to eat it (I did lick it a few time) but was afraid of what she'd do to me if I did. I was always fascinated with that inner world... so separate and secret. It's an apt, although, as you note, a bit zany, metaphor. :)

Monica LeMoine said...

I'm not sure where you can buy sugar eggs anymore...I know they're available during Easter in a very select few drugstores and specialty candy shops. They're a secret treasure!

Coming2Terms said...

You've captured perfectly this awful experience perfectly, Mon, and offered wise, knowing counsel. Thanks for taking the time to put these ideas into words.

wifey said...

Thanks for your sage (as always!) words. I just wish I had a few of those frinds in my life. Alas, the closest I get is a friend who, whenever the subject of my IF comes up, laments the fact that it took her THREE WHOLE MONTHS to get knocked up with her youngest. Oy. That's why I have the internets.

Cara said...

Off topic comment: You ARE a sugar egg and because of it ALL types of grievers love to read you. The hard-shell profanitiy bashers and the sweet-sensative center eaters alike.

Um...been on vaca. Did I miss a song in the music series?