montmartre | July 23

By | journal | 3 Comments

Today is full of wonder. I feel like I’m born again in each moment, fumbling about the room with new fingers, feeling everything for the very first time.

When I was fifteen, my family traveled to Paris for a week during the Summer. The three of us stepped off of a tour bus in the Montmartre district, and I remember opening my eyes a second time, it seemed, since my eyes were already open. Like when you go to the eye doctor and they click the little lenses against your eyebrows and ask you, “A, or B?”

“Well B, of course, it’s much better,” you say, and it seems like such a silly, simple change, though you’ve been living with A your entire life.

I unfolded. The dusty lenses that had been hanging over my eyes clicked up, revealing the hill before us, all cobbled streets and bright awnings and pots of flowers and ferns that looked like they had been there for a hundred years. Folks kicked back in chairs along the pathway and sipped tea and ate slowly. I bought a painting of a bike, and my father elbowed me in the ribs and asked, for the fourth time, “Do you see this place?” His wonder matched my own.

It’s much easier for me to lift the little, dusty lenses from over my eyes these days. It doesn’t take a village in Paris or an hour of meditation. Sometimes I simply wake and think, My God! what a beautiful life we have! 

I am amazed by the way my eyes are open. The way my breath paints the morning air. I brush soft lips against my husband’s skin as he sleeps and know that every inch of freckle-peppered arm and leg and shoulder is a miracle.

I am marvelous. I am a wonder.

I am neither in my body, nor outside of it, but somewhere in between. When I close my eyes, I’m not far off, making lists and plans and wondering what if, what if, what if. I’m just here. And it feels quite like home.

This is how it should be, I think. This is what it means to be enlightened. I used to image it was something quite grandiose and unattainable - like living every day somewhere beyond your body, halfway between Ether and the Afterlife.

But maybe it’s this. Like opening your eyes and seeing the world – really seeing it! – for the first time. A childlike amazement. An endless wonder.

Cradled in every moment. Every breath.

I was terrified, yesterday | July 22

By | journal | 7 Comments

I spent the better part of yesterday absolutely terrified.

Of birth. Of death. Of dying during birth. Of being raped and poked and prodded and taken advantage of by rubber-gloved men and women in the Hospital. Of needles and little liquid bags that drip poison into your veins and tables that are too short for my legs, so I have to lean back and balance on my elbows while my feet dangle and kick over the edge.

Terrified of everyone who would tell me, “Oh, it’s fine, dear, as long as mother & baby are healthy.”

As long as the baby is born.

As long as the baby is fine.

Terrified that I won’t know what to say, that it’s selfish to speak, “But what about me? I don’t want to reach the other end of this beautiful, strange thing as a broken mother.”

And because I was terrified, my blood pressure was high. I put on some old trunks and a sports bra (because my swimming suit doesn’t quite complement my new curves) and walked barefoot across the steaming asphalt to our apartment complex pool. I used to only swim when there was no one else around. I’ve become that introverted, I suppose. But yesterday I was open to the idea of sharing the space, and I smiled at the four, bobbing, splashing children that ruled over the water with neon floaties and squirt guns. I dipped my round belly into the pool and closed my eyes.

The littlest boy kicked over and thrashed in the water next to me. He was supporting himself on a blue foam noodle, and his hair was wild and sticking up in the back.

“Is there a baby in your belly?” he asked, and before I could answer I heard his mother yell, “Jesus, Dex! I’m sorry!” from one of the reclining chairs near the fence.

I laughed and told her it was fine. “Yes, there is. A little girl,” I nodded at the boy. He dipped his face down towards the water to inspect my stretching skin.

“Momma, there’s a baby in her belly!” Dex yelled at his sun-baked mother, and she shook her head.

I was terrified, yesterday, but then I met Dex. I helped him to adjust his goggles, and he showed me how he could swim with both his arms and his legs. His sister paddled over and asked if we could be friends. I told her that would be alright. I watched them both and knew that they weren’t worried about tomorrow, or the next day, only about how the water felt, how hot the sun was on their backs, how long they would get to stay in before their fingertips wrinkled up like old grapes.

I was terrified, yesterday, but then I remembered that I have no idea how my child is going to journey Earthside. I don’t know if, on that day, or that night, my blood pressure will be high. If I’ll be induced. If I’ll be strong enough to ask for what I want. What I know that I need. If I’ll feel alone, or loved, or euphoric, or terrified.

Like all the other things I’ve forgotten lately, I’ve lost track of how to be mindful. I’ve forgotten what it’s like to dwell entirely in the magic of the moment. Until, that is, I met Dex. Until I lowered my belly in, my breasts in, the water all the way up to my chin, my nose, closing over the crown of my head. Until I stopped allowing myself to feel terrified, at least for now, because here, in this moment, it doesn’t matter.

The only thing is the sun on my back. The water moving my belly side to side. The deep wrinkles slowly forming on my fingertips.

the things we talk about in the car | July 21

By | journal | One Comment

It’s funny, the things we talk about on our way to the grocery store. We can sit side by side all day, knees touching, reminding each other of silly, little things. Commenting on the weather – the sun is quite like us, you would say, hiding under a thousand clouds, too comfortable and warm to come out and socialize with the world.

But when we sit down in the car, our destination only five minutes down the highway, this is when the Universe unfolds, heavy from our lips.

“I found out more about the guy that killed himself,” you say, pulling out of the parking spot.

“Your friend?”

“Yeah. He was just at home with his wife. They went to sleep, and he got up and said he needed to get some air. To go outside or something. And she woke up later to the gunshot.”

“Jesus. He had kids?”

“Yeah. I think. One or two.”

I cracked the window and waited for the air to get lighter again. “Don’t kill yourself,” I said, as if telling you that would make any difference.

You laughed and grabbed at my hand. “I used to think about it, actually. Not lately – since my dad, I know I would never – but when I was a kid. I had a midlife crisis when I was eight. I used to think about dying a lot, and because I was so afraid of it, that made me hate life even more. I always wanted to be one of those people that were really happy, loving life, but I wasn’t.”

You pulled the car between the white lines and switched off the engine. “Don’t worry,” you said, “I’m not going anywhere.”

I nodded and thought about how I should be sad, or concerned maybe, but instead I was again and always and forever more and more in awe of your ancient and beautiful soul.

a necessary death | July 20

By | journal | 3 Comments

I am overwhelmed. Or maybe underwhelmed. I can’t tell which. And I’ve been forgetful. Not over the little, petty things that the hormonal fog of pregnancy seems to entail, like where I left the keys, or whether I remembered to set the oven timer after putting in the bread. But big ones.

How to write.

How to breathe.

I feel like I’m quickly forgetting how to be myself.

Perhaps life began spinning a little too quickly. There was too much happening too soon and I was tossed from the rocky surface of the Earth, past the clouds and the blue of the sky and the thinning outer layer of atmosphere, into weightlessness. Emptiness.

It doesn’t feel hollow, exactly, like you would imagine the void of outer space to be. But it’s silent. And warm. Kind of sad, and kind of happy, and kind of everything and nothing all at once. This feeling is what I imagine dying must be like. Or, perhaps what it will be like for my daughter to come into the world for the first time.

And in a strange, gestational sort of way, I feel like this is a nessecary death. Like my little body, all bones and blood and ashes of memories and experiences past, is ready to peel away and make room for a greater, more cosmic form.

Maybe this is what it feels like to truly let go. To change.

I’m uncomfortable here, wherever this is, this place that I’ve been sent by the Universe to hibernate. There’s a hint of pressure, a great whisper of things to come, an urgency, a tightness, a pulse. I feel like holding on. Like reaching out for something! Anything! My hands fumble up and out and my fingers search for a solid hold in the nothingness.

And yet…

I think that once I stop holding on, I will remember. For it seems that the more desperate I become, the darker this place becomes, and the darker this place becomes, the farther I drift away from the Earth.

I just need to rest here a little longer.

I just need to try a little easier.

After all, I’ve only been clawing to be free of my own, worn skin. Searching on the outside for something that’s within.