A change is brewing. Imperceptible to external human observation, but ever-so tangible to me. If my brain is this active performing an acrobatic act of tying and untying the knots of various thought-strains, it makes me again remember that so much of what we see in another person is entirely our perception; that we know very little of their magnificent or mundane brain activity. May we be given keen third-eyes to see the true alchemy of others; I feel this gift would make us so much more gracious and compassionate with each other. Or maybe Christianity is correct, that we are born depraved in need of saving. Either way, we'd see it and we'd finally know.
The change I speak of is my transition from the very simple, almost bored thought-life of my first trimester to a new time of rich and complicated thoughts and situations. My brain is stuck in the thick of things. It isn't angst-ridden, I can shut it off, and I can say that I take much pleasure in deconstructing my feelings and unraveling my thoughts (it's a hard-fought for skill - thank you, Therapy), but it seems to be a large onslaught of thing after thing after thing and I'm quickly realizing it is certainly not just myself stumbling through these thorny thickets.
I'm just going to wander through them for a bit and pray I don't bleed to death:
One of my closest friends recently received a blow to her soul, and is trying like mad to re-stabilize from getting the wind knocked out of her. Her mother, entirely healthy not 6 months ago, has rather suddenly found out that she has stage 4 pancreatic cancer which has already metastasized to her liver. I am watching my Red behave so remarkably - marveling at her newly-discovered strength of purpose. This woman is a warrior, and this soulless American dream of a life had recently left a gaping existential hole in her heart. Her many gifts were seemingly rendered useless. She felt weak, sick, and lost. However, it is THESE moments for which she was made, as horrific as they are. Something about her, otherwise scattered, is coming together and forming this magnificent being. I almost feel the need to step out of the way, for surely the light exuding from her head, eyes, mouth, belly, hands and feet will disintegrate my cells - for this is not what I was made for. For now, I hold her heart for her with the other heartbeats inside of me - as it has pounded right out of her chest and broken her human body in two. I will care for it well, for in this, my purpose is revealed. Though she may lose everything she once knew as everything, she will never have to worry for her heart. I'm a good watchman. She fights. I watch.
Ever since the viewing of my child's profile via ultrasound this week, my heart has felt seven sizes too big for my rib-cage. If this is the result of each ultrasound and every subsequent viewing of this kid, I am going to choke on my own love as it spews out of me. It very well may kill me, but I think that's the natural way. There are several mes inside waiting to die and be brought back newly evolved; my being is making way for this child in so many more ways than physically. It, like the physical pregnancy, feels wonderful and horrible all at once. There is a softening. I am uncovering insecurities about motherhood, pregnancy, and parenting I was positive I'd never encounter. I find myself alone in the most profound sense. Joel and I are so interconnected and similar about most other things that it feels strange that his belly isn't growing daily, that his thoughts are not all-consumed with researching cribs or whether or not we'll feed the children organic everything or not (we completely will, by the way). It's harder than I thought it would be to allow him his own path to attachment. It feels wrong to be so much more advanced in connectedness to the fetus, but biology is biology. He is here to care for me as I care for the child. He does this very well. I felt sorry for myself that I wasn't given a husband TOTALLY crazy about having a baby, but then remember how vastly superb a father he will be to them for the rest of their lives. My sister, thank the gods for her, said this, "I feel alone all the time. The weight of motherhood is a perfect balance between servitude and worship. No one will ever feel what it feels like for you to carry this star. It is your soul connection to your child. It's a tad lonely and quite a bit of work but it bursts your soul at the seams...the cosmos has declared this is your journey. So define it and relish it for it will never occur again." I blink back tears of the supreme wisdom in these words every single time I read them. I think I expected others to help me carry this, and i'faith - it is mine alone. I am up to the task, I assure you. I just need a second to adjust my attitude.
I have recently had to fight for a friendship that has never required anything of me. We've always been so in sync and respectful of each other's privacy, and in this instance, it has failed us. We erred on the side of not communicating and in turn, realized we were both carrying worries and doubts about the future of our friendship. I have abandoned a worldview she ascribes to and one that is most likely responsible for our initial bonding, and I made the mistake of keeping the journey to myself, partly out of confusion, partially out of shame - full well knowing the pain it would cause most people I knew. This week, I forced myself (for her sake at the time, but I'm realizing the benefits to me now) to succinctly write out the 10-year process of deconstructing my previous worldview. I realized also that I was viewing anyone still ascribing to it as unenlightened, under-educated, cowardly, and lazy. Through her kind and long emails, I discovered how haughty this was of me and how inappropriate it was to advise her in my own worldview.
This theme has returned to me several times this week. I made the mistake of reading some mother forums, and realized how doggedly opinionated parents can be, and read some very atrocious scare-tactics regarding attachment styles (ie..."If you don't pick up your child every single time they cry, they will never learn to trust you). I've done a lot of my own research and have known how I will be proceeding in this matter for some time, so you would think I would be confident and unflappable in my choice. However, I awoke to realizing that this simply uncovered an insecurity at my own choices as well as my pride at being judged, not to mention my anger at the ignorance of this statement - not because it's wrong per say, but because it is not fully-informed, not scientifically well-researched by this mother. Taking time to explain your choices to someone willing to listen to you, someone who loves you, and someone who asks in the first place is one thing. Justifying your choices to strangers and haters and offering your supreme unsolicited advice is something I must find a way to refuse to do - no matter how RIGHT I feel I am. It's an unwise use of my precious little energy.
Why do we assume that we have the market on the best way to live? How arrogant of us. Humans, though descendants from the same biological substance, are vastly different in countless ways. Without the ability to truly feel compassion, without realizing that "you never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view...Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it," we cannot assume that our answers will behoove someone else. Thank you, Atticus Finch. I believe we are here to learn from each other, not correct each other.
I am quite full-up of humble pie, served to me generously this week. It has done me so much good, throwing me into continued realizations that I am a spec of a spec of a spec of a spec in this vast and terrifying cosmos. I read a bit of Carl Sagan this week, "Cosmos is a Greek word for the order of the universe. It is, in a way, the opposite of chaos." It is organized and beautiful and unfathomable, and my insides are all of these things, as well as entirely nothing. I am nothing at all, and I am every atom ever made.
Sure, I am in the thick of it. But I have never felt this peaceful before.