The Beginning: On New Year’s Resolutions & Unexpected Pregnancy

On the last night of 2016, I sat at a rickety table in a basement in South Philadelphia, passing a bottle of vodka back and forth with friends. It was as happy a night as it could be, knowing what was coming in the New Year. We didn’t say his name. We toasted each other and hip-hop and poetry and new beginnings, upcoming shows, our friend Chris’s plan to start a tutoring program, my upcoming move back home to North Carolina.

But as the night wore on and my brain grew loose and discerning, two truths loomed out of the darkness at me:

  1. I was not going to be able to stand Trump. The sheer daily knowledge of his presence in the White House could be enough to threaten the stalwart happiness I had built for myself.
  2. I was not going to be able to stand the Land of Facebook in the Era of Trump. Diatribes of those I both agreed with and didn’t already lit terrible fires in my heart every day. I had to find somewhere else to go, to hold what Facebook, for me, couldn’t.

I was 28, doing teaching gigs and working at Whole Foods while waiting to hear back from MFA writing programs, and I realized in that moment that I needed to do something, a project. Something less serious than my novel, which slumped in and out of productivity, but more serious than drinking in a basement, awaiting the apocalypse.

A blog. I needed to start a blog. A collection of brass, unapologetic vignettes flattening Trump into the ground. That was how I pictured it.

“What should I call it?” I asked my friends, the countdown to midnight nearing.

“Perfectly sober!” our friend Zo shouted, drunk.

Perfectly Sober. Maybe because of the liquor, maybe not: I liked it.

Five, four, three, two, one — and the New Year began, my resolution intact, my hopes ever-so-briefly high.

Three weeks later, on the eve of Trump’s inauguration, that blog still an eager ghost in my mind, I sat trembling in my bathroom, staring at a plastic stick. The last words I could possibly have expected in this, 2017, tore through my brain:

You’re pregnant.

I was single. I was a week away from moving. I was hoping to start grad school in September, the same month, I realized now, as my due date.

My due date.

Two weeks later, I sat by a river in North Carolina, nibbling Cheerios, trying to keep the morning sickness at bay. I had arrived at what could be called a decision, though the specifics were still terrifyingly unclear. Now, the same sickening rush of worries that had flooded me in the bathroom was washing over me again: is this the wrong decision, will my dad ever forgive me, will I have enough money, will I ever be a writer again, and what will I write, and when, and will I ever finish my novel, when all I can truly imagine writing about is THIS, now, this moment, this river, this wild, treacherous decision —

Which is when I recalled, suddenly, my blog. Perfectly Sober.

I nearly laughed out loud. The name wasn’t sarcastic anymore. I was perfectly sober. I would be for a year or more.

This, then, was the blog I was meant to start. A blog about everything and nothing, but mostly, a blog about the fear and joy of diving into an unanticipated thing, hoping the decision is the right one.

Thank you for keeping me company along the way.