Michelle Tea: Don't Get Me Started on Fathers

A great Dad is really most certainly amazing, it is also a rarity, and so in 90 percent of the cases having no dad at all beats having a shitty Dad.

May 4, 2012 at 4:30pm | Leave a comment

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So, my plan is to ramp it up with some black market Clomid and also employ a Diva Cup. It feels good to have a plan, especially when I let Quentin know that this last round didn’t take. Again. Am I feeling a little bit like a failure?

God -- know what I hate more than feeling vulnerable, or having feelings at all? Having feelings that are COMMON. 

I always think that having knowledge of what people commonly feel during certain experiences thus relieves me of having those feelings too, as if the intelligence sort of neutralizes everything. I remember when I was in 5th Grade and my parents got divorced. I’d already seen a billion After School Specials about divorce, as well as devoured an additional billion teen paperbacks about divorce, and I was very up-to-date on the bummer feelings an average girl has when her parents divorced, so I figured I wouldn’t have to have any. I hated when my mom sat on my bed and tried to get me to talk about it, because I’d already read the book, and was fine. Fine! Right?

I don’t know if I feel like I’m failing (maybe a little), but I do feel like this is taking a long time (I know, I know, it can take years) and I don’t want to keep dragging Quentin to my house and taking up all of his time without some larger plan. No one is really alarmed at the Clomid purchase -- with the exception of my mom, who is very alarmed, but I am very practiced in ignoring her alarm, so that’s not a problem.

As a former drug addict who sank bunches and bunches of chemicals of unknown providence into her body for years and years, I have a very relaxed attitude about the Clomid -- not to mention a drug addict’s curiosity. I love altering my body. I’m bizarrely wired for it, for good or evil. I feel confident that the fertility pills will not be the most hazardous and irresponsible thing I’ve ever ingested.

I email Quentin about the pills and the Diva Cup and ask him if he’s game for a few more rounds. "If you had me at ‘warm bowl,’ you really have me at ‘Diva Cup,'’’ he responds. "Let me know if you still want to go to Tijiuana for fertility meds ‘cause I’d do it!" Quentin also offers to get his sperm checked before he leaves his office job and loses all health insurance. Yes! What a dream donor!

Reading the comments on my blog, I feel bad for being so flippant about the needs of donor kids. Of course someone wouldn’t want to accidentally hook up with a sibling! I remember a horrible fight I had with an ex who was adamantly against artificial insemination.

"How would you like it if you knew you were born out of a bank? Conceived in a hospital? And you never knew who your father was?!” Honestly, none of that sounded that bad to me. Knowing the massive work that goes into getting preggers in this way, you would know that your parents really, really, really wanted you, and that’s got to feel great. I didn’t see how being conceived in a hospital was any more creepy than being conceived drunk in the back of a busted automobile or in a shabby motel at Niagara Falls or any of the millions of places and ways we all got conceived.

And don’t get me started about fathers. I am convinced that 90 percent are useless. I know, from watching my brother-in-law Walden parent my niece that having a useful, loving, amazing Dad is certainly one of the best things the Universe can grant a person, I’m just saying that 90 percent of the people I know did not get a Dad like Walden. They got a miserable alcoholic, or they got a homophobic republican, or a sexually predatory stepfather, or an emotionally shut-down depressive, or an irresponsible child, or a stepfather who didn’t want anything to do with them, or a crackhead, or a drug dealer, or a rapist.

I’m not tying to be a downer -- I’m just scrolling through the Dads of the people I know and that’s what I’m coming up with. So, while a great Dad is really most certainly amazing, it is also a rarity, and so in 90 percent of the cases having no dad at all beats having a shitty Dad.

I guess I’m going to have to be sensitive to any issues my kid might have around the uniqueness of her conception. I know from my own upbringing how useless it is to compare child’s circumstances to the far worse circumstances other people have, i.e., "At least you never go to bed hungry." When you are feeling miserable about the state of your family, a pantry full of Ramen is a cold consolation.

I guess I’m going to have to let the kid have all her feelings about it, and hope that the biggest feeling of all will be a feeling that of being madly loved, and surrounded with exceptionally wonderful people who dote on her. Or him. Or ze. 

 I hang out with Rhonda and get some news -- our friend Danielle is also trying to get pregnant, and she says that keeping your legs straight up in the air like I’ve been doing is wrong! Sperm are wired to swim upstream! That’s why you want to just lie with your hips on a pillow, to give them a little nudge upward into your vag, not have them swimming toward the exit! Well, I am very glad to hear this! Lying around in a shoulder stand is not comfortable! I’d much prefer this gentle lazing on top of pillows. I try to put out of my head that my posture has possibly ruined four months of insemination attempts.

Days after finding blood spots in my underwear at the gym, my period has not really come on. It’s just -- spot, spot, spot.

"Maybe it’s not your period," My sister nudges hopefully. ‘Take another test!’ I find myself in the odd situation of beginning my morning with two different pee sticks -- one to track my ovulation, just in case this drippy dripping is the fifth day of my period, and then a pregnancy test, in case it’s not. I commandeer one of Dashiell’s tea cups to use for my ovulation dunk sticks, deeming it the Pee Cup. Both of my tests come out negative.

My underwear keeps getting soiled with bits of drippy, brownish blood, and I can feel the unspoken hope of everyone around me. 

 One night Dashiell returns from walking Rodney with a perfect, dead hummingbird cupped in her hand. She brings it into the bathroom, where I’ve just climbed out of the shower, to show me. It’s amazing to see a still hummingbird. It is so small, cupped in Dashiell’s elegant hand. It’s feathers are sleek and iridescent. Its beak is fascinating -- so long and pointed and hen topped, it seems, with a slender proboscis for really getting into those flowers. There isn’t a mark on it, as if its wild little hummingbird heart stopped beating and t just fell from the sky.

Dashiell brings it out into her beautiful backyard, overgown with lilies and fuschia and orchids, with unruly orange and lemon trees dropping fruit all over the flagstones. She buries it while I dry off and try not to narcissistically make the sweet hummingbird’s death into some sort of omen for my condition.

I really identify with hummingbirds -- their smallness and color, their insanely quick darting about. They’re one of my power animals. I’m certain I’m not pregnant. Eventually, my period comes on stronger, confirming this.

 Meanwhile, I switch from the humble dunk ovulation sticks back to the high-end digital Hummers. And they keep malfunctioning! I pee on it, wait for my blinking YES or NO, and instead get a ? - ! What does it mean?

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When it happens once, I figure I just got a bum one. But then it happens again. And again. Did I get a whole bum batch? Or is my body kicking out a bunch of bum signals?

 My friend Dirk the Viagara-popping rent boy lets me, Bernadine and Tali use his vacation cabin in the woods (who says sex work don’t pay?!) to have a work retreat. In addition to being a rent boy, Dirk is also a witch, and tells me one of the rooms in the cabin is all fertility-spelled out. A close friend of his has been trying to get pregnant in it. and he’s laced the room with vibrations and energy, and says I should sleep there. The room does feel great, but Dirk’s whole cabin does, because he and his boyfriend Coyote are such lovely spell-casting fairy faggots.

We build a fire in the wood-burning stove, make hot chocolate and bake cookies. At night I sleep I the room with the African fertility goddess figurines. In the morning I get another ? ovulation stick and learn that my sister is having a boy! How exciting! Not just because we will be able to dress him in little three-piece suits, but if I get preggers with a girl, I will inherit all my nieces’ amazing baby clothes, including the Baby Dior puffer coat a friend of her grandmother gave her!

NEXT WEEK: Am I in love with Dashiell through my own free will -- or is it WITCHCRAFT?