Melissa Stetten on Baby Mama Drama & The Midwest

November 15, 2013 • Love & Sex

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I’ve read too many articles about postpartum depression to actually want a tiny screaming monster ripping its way out of my vagina.  I hate myself after I eat too much, so the thought of having something in my stomach that keeps getting bigger every day gives me awful anxiety.  My encounters with married men have been very discouraging and depressing as of late, so getting married and having children sounds like my worst nightmare.  But, I know it’s what I eventually want.  The more people I meet, the more I realize how important it is to surround myself with good ones because the world is full of demons who will suck your energy out to feed their selfish egos.  Everyone needs to have their own bubble full of amazing people.  Like, metaphorically speaking, Bio-Dome minus Pauly Shore and that religious Baldwin brother.

I grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where it was not unusual for the white-trash girls to get knocked up by guys while listening to Foxy Brown in a basement.  I dodged a serious bullet thanks to being awkward and the least-sexiest teenage girl ever.  I had crushes on the older guys, but my acne and braces were the most effective form of birth control I could ask for.  A part of me is thankful for not having babies and escaping the Midwest, but lately I’ve been fantasizing about what could have become of me had I stayed and gave in to the “American White-Trash Dream.”

The grass is always greener (figuratively and literally in Michigan because it rains too much) but it’s hard to say how high my happiness level would’ve reached if I had never left the Midwest.  Two friends of mine, who are thirty-four and thirty-five, have recently questioned staying in Los Angeles when they could easily move back to the suburbs they came from, buy a house with a backyard, get married, and have kids.  I’m starting to think that moving back to your hometown is the new moving out of your hometown.

I get messages on Facebook from high school friends congratulating me on all the “success” I’ve been having in New York in Los Angeles.  I would not call most of the things I’ve done “successful” but to someone who has lived in Kalamazoo their whole life, it may look amazing.  Yesterday I was at my friend Jed’s apartment with my best friend Lizzy, looking out the window that had a view of the Hollywood sign.  It was unusually hot for November and the warm winds were flowing through his apartment. We were discussing what the point of living in a big city is, when we see people (albeit on Facebook) living really relaxed lives everywhere else.

I looked out the window and said, “Fuck those stupid palm trees and perfect landscaping, I need shitty weather and a house where the gutters get clogged by leaves.”

Lizzy said, “That’s the most jaded thing I’ve ever heard.”

She’s right.  I was in that same apartment eight years ago with her and Jed when I visited Los Angeles for the first time.  I remember thinking, “Holy shit, how cool would it be if I lived here?”  Fast forward to 2013, where the three of us are eating pizza and playing video games again.  Instead of Grand Theft Auto: III it’s Grand Theft Auto: V on a 3D TV.  The future is now.  The once wide-eyed optimistic young adults going to eighties night at dance clubs and downtown warehouse raves have turned into people who get hangovers from more than one beer and miss the quietness.

I know that my experiences outside of Michigan would be incomparable to the ones I would’ve had in Kalamazoo had I utilized my college education in business to work for some shitty corporation.  Maybe I would’ve had two children and an amazing husband by now who would defy the cheating creeps sending me Twitter messages.  Maybe I wouldn’t have clocked in hundreds of hours with therapists to get over my social anxiety and depression.  Maybe I would’ve been happier living a much simpler life where I didn’t date miserable comedians or rely on miraculous residual checks to pay my rent.

I think what I’m getting at is I will probably move to a cabin on Lake Michigan in seven years with my fiancée who knows how to ice fish and have like five kids.  Maybe I’ll even delete my twitter account.

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