Thoughts while showering Christmas morning.
Passing a new baby from woman to woman must be a tribal rite of passage. I turn the shower water knob to the right, until I can feel my shoulder skin cells tingle, to the right again. Then I flip the knob to the left, and slam the brain with ohgodwhatthehellishappening. Exhale rapidly, thump my chest, curse. And push the knob back to hot. Whew. Temp change good for immunity.
This baby passing is perhaps my anxiety number 1. Why discuss? For readers, maybe it’s a broken record. You have anxiety, we get it. Fragile father syndrome. But for me, the mental mania is still live. And this thought was born while shower thawing recently ice-water-shocked shoulders: every anxiety must be a teacher, the wisdom of evolution, a survival mechanism. It must be. If the theory of evolution means anything. In my case, I think my mom dying suddenly and traumatically has given me an irrational phobia and paranoia about relinquishing control of my daughter when she’s at such a vulnerable age. My irrationality, or disproportional fear, though is still a teacher, and the tried-and-true remnants of evolution.
I tell myself this story. That the hyper protective father—especially following a trauma to the father which endangers his sense of safety and security—ensures the passing on of his genes by never leaving the nest. Compared with the fathers who take a stroll by the river for a few minutes here and there, this hyper vigilant father takes no chances, and thereby guarantees the security of his offspring. The instinct is both evolutionary and noble.
I showered for 10 minutes, maybe 15. Just to steam out this mental conversation. I figured if my actions/mindset has evolutionary origins, then so must the women’s (almost always it’s women rather than men who ask to hold the baby, or put their fingers to her face) request to hold the baby. I’ve got a theory on these tribal baby grabbers.
Maybe wayyyy back, the passing was a means for the tribal woman to inspect the new member of the community. To say ‘yes’ to the new female, the new future really. Or maybe the baby was passed from woman to woman to expose the child to different energy vibrations. Or different germs. As a way to steel her immunity. Maybe the touch of many was an insurance policy in the event of parent death. Touch is often the first bond for a baby. Maybe the hot-potato baby game resets the community mentality, a mythical mindset shift back to the miracle of life. A prescription drug dose of perspective.
Recognizing this evolutionary dance somewhat minimizes/d my anxiety. I think it’s a balance. Like: sure, hold the baby. Great. Evolution whatever. But okay it’s been 2 minutes now give me my child back. If you’d like to hold longer, have your own kid. Or if you’ve had your own kid already, well then you’ve had your own kid already, let me enjoy mine. Brutal I know. But hey. I said you get two minutes. All about compromise right? Or if you’re so keen on holding babies, get a job in a day care.
Regarding Colorado cookies’ ability to dissolve anxiety and offer creative outlook on the baby holding inquiry. Temporarily altering consciousness does seem to offer a boost in creativity (the evolutionary/myth musing) but doesn’t seem to neutralize anxiety. I think the anxiety I’m dealing with (maybe the anxiety all of us are dealing with) is a really deep, really deep rooted. The cookies are good for what they’re good for, but for anxiety, I think it takes time and patience, spin-inspecting the Rubix cube of a teacher that’s knotted tight in your/my chest cavity. It’s a patience game, I think. Can I/you/we be patient enough and intellectual enough and clear-sighted enough to dig deep and look and see what these anxieties are telling us about the world and about ourselves?
Clearly, but not so clearly, because I’ve been thinking about this for six months and just know got this perspective—clearly I have some sort of resistance to community. Which is really good I think. Communities’ need people like me to separate themselves and be visionaries or seers or artists or prophets. And these people like me who are like oh god don’t hold the baby probably need the community to pull them back from the fringe, because the fringe is the cliff edge which is a very dangerous place to be. Which is why these wireless Bose headphones I got for Christmas are going to be used, instead of returned or sold for cash like I normally would because I’m such a capitalist. I’m gonna keep these ear-covering beat badboys because it’s all a dance, a back and forth, a push pull. A push pull.
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