Tuesday, August 28, 2007

square peg

We're staying with my husband's parents for about a week before we head off to Japan. We've actually spent the whole summer at home in Michigan, shuttling between his folks and mine, which is a glorious kaleidescope of memories and tensions. I love the humidity, the fireflies, the blueberry picking; I hate not having my own house, my own groceries, my Sunday morning paper, privacy... but these are things I willingly sacrificed, so no complaining.

We're in the suburbs now, though, which makes me feel even more like a square peg than usual. What is it? The uber-green lawns, the chatty gossip, the quiet sameness? In general I tend to dislike the things that large groups of people like (or are supposed to like) -- if there are large groups of people heading in one direction, I'm more likely to veer off the other way. I say this not to be self-righteous, but to somehow figure out where I belong. Here, it's sort of a process of elimination: for example, I know I don't belong at Target or Ikea on a Sunday afternoon with the rest of the hoardes. What ever happened to Church?!

I also feel it -- the square peg-ness -- acutely in the "pregnancy/child care" section of the book stores when my curiosity gets the best of me and I have to browse. I remember going through the same thing when we were planning our wedding: the sudden crushing pressure of glossy-paged advice from an industry defined by trends and categories like "bridezilla" and "anti-bride." Spare me! It just doesn't have anything to do with my life.

Granted, most pregnancy books have useful medical information, but that says nothing for the dearth of "pregnancy journals" and "planners" and "your changing body" books -- you know, the ones featuring a genteel-looking white lady on the cover, usually wearing all white and holding flowers. I've sort of come to expect that mainstream media like this won't really reflect my lifestyle or the choices I'd make, and I realize most women probably feel left out of the generic stereotype too, but that still doesn't keep me from being annoyed by it. Best to just avoid that section altogether. Talk to real people.

I'm almost 11 weeks along. I read that the embryo becomes a fetus at this time, an exciting graduation, but still not a whole lot of sensation within me. I'm one of the lucky ones that is not suffering through morning sickness (halelluia for my prenatal vitamin), or debilitating headaches, so some days it's easy to forget I'm pregnant at all.

Next week we depart for three months abroad, in Kyoto, my enchanted city. My husband is working for a Study Abroad program, and I get to tag along, explore and make art. We lived there for a year and a half, from early 2005 to mid-2006, and ever since our repatriation I've been campaigning for visit. The gods have listened and have granted us a full-length tourist visa stay. Cheers! I can't wait. It's much easier to feel like a square peg in Japan.


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