When the truth landed, it hit me with piercing agony like a dart in the spine. It said, “this relationship will end, that is all.”
The funny thing about truth is that it has a presence. It is a simple standing structure immovable and unapologetic. Once recognized it is the measure upon which all else can be weighed. I imagine it like a giant concrete wall dropping from the sky, –BOOM! – into a pristine lake. The size of the waves it creates and the quantity of the sludge stirred depends entirely on the fabrications your lake holds. When truth lands you have two options: A) What wall? Everything is fine here! Or, B) Oh, fuck!
I’ve decided to go with Option B – for better or for worse.
By taking a closer look at the ripples and mud coloring my current reality, two questions have emerged:
- Do I really want to be a mother?
- Have I been waiting to be rescued?
I recall passing a neighborhood park in San Francisco. Joyful children bundled against the fog were eating cake, chasing each other and bouncing in an inflated castle. Their parents huddled together and looked on. I imagined their topics of conversation: the funny things their children had said and done, the birthday party next week where they’d once again convene, the unseasonably cool weather. They looked bored.
As I surveyed this scene, the feeling that arose was not, when will it be my turn? or even, those children are so cute with their fat rosy cheeks and colorful scarves. The feeling that arose was, thank gawd that is not my life. Thank gawd I’m on the other side side of this fence on my way to get a taco. It occurs to me now that my sentiments were not exactly indicative of someone who is dying to procreate. As I watched the children stuff their faces with sugar and run around unhinged, I felt resigned. One day I too would be spending my weekends caring for and catering too rather than attending to my own desires. I too would back burner my dreams for this new priority.
I had been ready to jump on the baby train because I believed that, at the age of 35, it was now or never. My aging eggs would soon be useless. But the prospect of pending mommyhood felt like death. Take that last breath of air, enjoy those final moments of sunshine, you’re about to surrender. And the funny thing is, I actually thought I was excited about this.
How eagerly I told ALL my friends that by this time next year I would be pregnant.
How quickly I stopped exploring Berkeley and Oakland, fearful of discovering something new that would make my plans impossible
How easily I abandoned friend dates and projects and began tying my life into a neat and tidy package. No loose strings for me.
Among these subtle disengagements, I did not feel joy at the thought of beginning this new chapter. I felt dread. And, isn’t that a problem? Isn’t that the first sign something is not adding up? But I refused to acknowledge it.
Somehow, miraculously, someone had chosen me, me to create a home and family! I was being swept off my feet, carried to the promised land of fulfillment and fullness. How fabulous! But I couldn’t shake that what I really wanted was to be put back down, firmly in the place of my choosing to carry on with the stealing of chocolate-covered pretzels from Berkeley Bowl, glittering myself before dance classes, texting when I should be working, plotting my next blog post and learning to teach dance. I wanted to keep my life alive. I was not ready to surrender.
I had been so ready to abandon it all, and why? I blame Disney. I blame the rhetoric that women must wait to be chosen, wait to be carried to the castle for their lives to truly begin. After being selected we will joyfully spend our days brushing our long flowing blonde hair, singing to our children and looking in the mirror. This is what happiness looks like.
When the truth landed, it rippled the fantasy. It said, “Do you choose the dream or do you choose the life you’re already living? Do you choose to remain disconnected from you heart or do you choose all of you?” I looked at the truth’s solidness, smelled its earthiness and felt instant relief. It hadn’t just landed, it had been there all along. How simple. How silly. How incredible!
This doesn’t mean I’ve given up on motherhood. I just know that I’m not the kinda gal who will do anything to make that possible. I will not be inseminating myself, abiding in a contractual relationship or relinquishing the things that make me me simply for the hope of tiny hand to grip my own.
I choose what already is – my unbridled, fertile, real, unbound, freeing, pulsing, alive, accepting, forgiving, demanding existence, with or without the baby, with or without the man. How about that Disney? I choose the wandering star life of a writer and dancer dreaming to be seen and heard. And from this place, if I’m gifted with a toddling fatty I will rejoice and shower her with love. I will encourage her to reach for the moon and choose her own path to get there because this will then be my truth.