Let me explain the natural order of things: When a child is born, an angel gets their wings and the corresponding adult becomes a carcass only capable of uttering whale sounds and dropping salt shakers.
People don’t tell you about the meat suit in their preamble to parenting, filled with infants swimming breaststroke and eating whole bananas. They will tell you about the longest shortest time. They will show you an arsenal of cooing noises that will allow your baby to be the happiest on the block. Scratch that — the happiest in the world, to infinity. But nowhere in this commencement speech do they turn to you and say — YOUR BODY WILL BECOME A HOLLOW SKIN SUIT FILLED WITH THE BIOLOGICAL NEED TO LINE UP TV REMOTES. They don’t mention that everything will go, from your eyesight to your hearing to your ability to enjoy crafts. They don’t mention that a wine-and-paint night might trigger you to walk into a Michaels and smash all the ceramic baskets.
It’s quite shocking how little sleep us meat suits can get by on. Each night, you imagine that you will not survive. Your sad, lifeless body will be discovered in the morning, covered in baby saliva. But the meat suit lives on, unsure of its place, and suddenly loving the TV show, Teenage Bake-Off. A meat suit only needs enough sleep to be able to make lists of errands that are later found in their baby’s diaper.
People are fooled when they see a meat suit participate in something human, like a dinner party. The mouth part is moving, but the head part is a collection of rattling bolts and phrases like, “Remember to buy hummus" or “Is it Tuesday?” A meat suit’s calendar is day/night, day/night, and not sure.
“Can you make an appointment to get your child’s teeth cleaned?” your marriage-roommate asks. Meat suit hears but needs McDonald’s biscuit first. Making an appointment is finger punching, mouth moving, time understanding. Meat suit clock is sleep o’clock, eat o’clock, and almost night o’clock. Meat suit only has attention span for phone scrolling. But fingers tired now. Meat suit would fold the laundry but has forgotten shapes.
There should be a special introduction for meat suits, so that people understand our impediment. “Hi, this is my friend Lily. She recently had a child and is now a meat suit.” That way people wouldn’t be confused when you go into their kitchen and come out eating their string cheese. Meat suits are powered by string cheese and sandwich crusts. If you invite us to your home we will find and mouth-capture these foods like a homing pigeon, but with less personality.
Being a human meat suit is not without benefits, though. As a meat suit, no one wonders why you are wearing a nude bra over your shirt. They don’t blink an eye to find you kicking a tree you named “Husband” in the middle of the day. They no longer invite you to pool parties so you don’t have to get drunk in an inflatable doughnut; you can just do that in your own living room. No one asks you what you want to do with your life because, as a meat suit, you are essentially living off the grid. There are people who work, people who go to school, and people in meat suit colonies. But meat suits don’t give a flying Fig Newton. Meat suits are emboldened by their anonymity. They have completely cut ties with society and fly above the world untethered by people’s judgments. Meat suits quietly make plans to create a birthday cake business or write bestselling books titled, Dropping Salt Shakers, because nobody expects anything from a meat suit. Meat suits are the ultimate dark horse in this thrilling race of life.
“Coming in first or last? Who cares? Number forty-two! MEAT SUIT!” shouts the announcer who is you.
Someone should really tell future parents about this phenomenon, so people can make an educated decision on whether to bear offspring. It might be off-putting, but who knows? I’m writing this to you from the inside of a meat suit and the water here is fine. It’s filled with wine and hope and spiky toys. And in a minute, meat suit will hold baby, make whale sounds, and feel completely human.