To Be A Hundred Women

I birthed a daughter in December. If you are reading this, the likelihood that you already know this is relatively high. This means, you also may already know that it was an extremely difficult pregnancy. It exhausted me, quieted me profoundly, made me vulnerable in ways that I typically do everything in my power to avoid. Physically speaking, I had a much easier time carrying my children when I was in my 20's.

The birth was a powerful experience. The most wild and intense birth of my life. I was a woman on her hands and knees howling, the kind of guttural, primal scream that we all suppress because manners. I am grateful it was my last, as her birth will forever be carried in my heart with clarity. I had planned to write about it here at some point, but, like most of my "plans" regarding my "expression", I haven't really set aside time to do that. Or found time. Or understood time. As I may have completely lost track of time for good.

I have come to understand how I am ABSOLUTELY a woman of wind and water. I cannot, at least not from an organic place, follow a plan of how my day will unfold. It's not who I am, it never has been. Add five kids to the mix and Oh my glob how could anyone think they control anything about their life? I mean, seriously.

I recognize I am slightly neurotic and I am not at all ashamed of it. I am a creative woman living a domestic life. I have so many women inside me: a nursing mother, another mother taking stock of her environment: if it is safe, clean and warm for her brood, there's a woman with a notebook jotting down the poetic melancholy of the winter sunset, another woman who wants to chug a beer and sit on her laptop and write out the life she sees happening to a character she's created in her mind, the healer who is praying for her friends and family and also thinking of workshop venues and ideas, the student, the chef, the lover on fire-- they are all there at once, existing inside of me as I'm driving to dance practice and basketball practice, and appointments and family gatherings and OF COURSE I AM SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC.

That's a lot of voices.

Don't you have voices, too?

We have spent so much time stifling our voices, surrendering to unnatural rhythms and I hate it.

Okay, I don't totally hate it. For example, if making sure I know when it's 4:30pm on a Wednesday means that I can drive my teenage daughter to her solo practice and watch her express herself as the artist she is, then, yes, I will gladly pay attention to the time. I recognize that it is both a privilege and my responsibility as her mother to curate an environment that comforts her and allows her to bloom, too.

So there's this balance, this dance and this weirdness to me, I guess, that comes through. Because I will do the thing! I will get to the practice! I will clean the toilets! I will fold the never-ending laundry created by 7 people, holy crap! But, I'm going to be spacey at times, maybe moody, and I might have to write down a deviation from the schedule (like a nonrecurring meeting) in a hundred different spots because I will forget it otherwise, and that's okay.

I always find it baffling, when someone comments on how I have it all together, because it means they aren't really seeing me. They are seeing the fruits of my labor, yes, but they aren't recognizing how unrelentingly exhausting and sometimes difficult it is on me to constantly quiet all the other voices that want to sing, over the voice of my children's mother. Because, ultimately, parenthood, is a choice. I couldn't live with myself knowing I had let my children down the way my parents let me down. I don't want them to struggle with feeling utterly alone. I wasn't able to learn an instrument or do extracurricular activities because I had to work. My "after-school activity" was waitressing. If I didn't cook myself dinner, I didn't eat. If I didn't clean the bathroom, it wasn't clean. I never really got to be a kid.

My kids will not spend their childhood in survival-mode. At least not while I can control it. But, I am also who I am, right? So, that means, they have a flightly, sometimes distracted mother. But I show up. So, yeah, schedules, even a writing schedule or a blogging schedule, it's just not going to happen right now. I am going to float where I'm meant to float during the moments I don't have to hold down the fort.

Today? I'm blogging about all of this. Yesterday, I made lip balm. Tomorrow? Who knows. And I like it that way. I am a hundred women and a new woman every day. I'm okay with that. I am also, probably, a little post-partumy (I'm prone to it), and that's okay, too! Let's stop pretending we have it all together and recognize how much we are expected to shoulder.

I want to share something with you that my ex-husband shared with me a few days ago when we were discussing the madness of this life. It's only 11 minutes. Please watch until the end.

"Most people are just numb."

That is one thing I am not. I feel it all.

I am alive and grateful.

Even with the voice of a hundred women inside me, or maybe especially so.


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