on control

‘my heart is an isolationist, and isolationism never helped anybody.’i wrote this phrase months and months ago. 
still, it haunts me, leaping to the forefront of my thoughts, a whisper in my ear. 

and here i sit, months and months later, my heart as closed, as rigid, as stubborn as ever. 
i feel sorry for myself, sometimes. ride the train, wailing ‘nobody likes me,’ round and round, but maybe the truth is this: 
i don’t like anybody. 

i am too self-focused to get to know anybody 

i

i

i

i

this is a hard pill to swallow, realizing you are the common denominator in your struggles, you are the tsunami sweeping over land, devastation in its wake. 
you are the problem. 
(i am the problem)

i have a barrel of excuses. 
excuses as thin as not having enough time, 

as vast as having too much fear, 

as complicated as past trauma and anxiety. 

but
at the end of the day

this one thing remains:

they are excuses. 

words designed to keep me safely ensconced in my comfort zone, to ward off hurt or embarrassment, and to keep my world comfortably small. 

manageable. 

controlled. 

and that’s what it comes down to, isn’t it? 
control. 

the ugliness in the world, by and large, is derived from an unchecked urge to always 

always

be in control. 

love, compassion, empathy, generosity require the loss of control. 
forgiveness, too. 

and maybe i need to realize:

i was never really in control, anyway. 

on mourning

mourning takes on many faces. the loss of a loved one. 
a prized possession.  

hope. 

either option, this election, felt ugly. 
felt impossible. 

a or b, a or b, a or b. 

but don’t you know there are another 24 letters? 

‘no. a or b.’
my dread is probably regarded as irrational. 

but as a woman, i am afraid. 
afraid my voice will never matter. 

afraid of being objectified, tossed aside, treated and regarded as an afterthought, a trinket, somehow subhuman. 

i am afraid the ugliness i have been raging against for the past five years was just reinforced, reinvigorated, confirmed. 

you don’t matter. 

you are a body. 

you are not a soul, not a mind. 

your only value is the perk of your breasts, the tautness of your ass. 

how you can service the needs of men. 

a glorified prostitute, without the consolation of a paycheck. 

but. 
we move forward. 

we press on. 

and we do our best. 

in this moment, my best is this:
keep speaking my conscience.

raise my son to regard women as his equals, partners, friends, to put love and compassion first, to view all lives as powerful, sacred, valued. 

raise my daughter to stand her ground, to believe in her worth, to fight like hell to be heard…and to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. 

cultivate a practice of kindness, of love, of acceptance in my own life, in my own day-to-day. 

remember to breathe, surrender, and remember,                               ‘this too shall pass.’

this, too, shall pass. 

on two.

before iris came along, i worried.
so many articles and books i read talked about fear of not having enough love for a second child.
this was never my fear.
instead, i feared loss.
i feared losing my connection to and bond with eli.

i knew another baby meant not devoting most of my time and attention to eli.
i knew another baby meant not all of my milk was for him, not all of my affection was for him, not all of my attention was for him.

some of that fear was for his sake: how would he react? how would he cope? was i being selfish?
foolish?

cruel?

much of that fear was for my sake. i liked our dynamic. i liked our rhythm. i liked where we’d ended up. mornings to myself, days with eli, evenings with mario. we’d hit our stride, and we’d gotten comfortable.

we’d been happy.

another baby didn’t mean we’d lose our joy.
of course we wouldn’t.
but it would (and did) mean finding a new rhythm.
a new harmony.
a new dynamic.
an entirely new and entirely different stride.

as expected, it has been hard.
more than expected, it has been hard.
nursing two children simultaneously has frequently left me feeling burnt out and frustrated.
not being able to play with eli and give him my undivided attention at a moment’s notice has been…in a word?
heartbreaking.
having to say no to affection, to undivided attention, has left my heart aching and my throat raw.
i love my little girl.
i love my little boy.
i love my husband.

but i am struggling, a bit.
i am overwhelmed, a bit.
mothering eli has not come naturally to me. it has been a long process, and one that still leaves me as feeble-legged as a colt, sometimes.
that aspect of me–my mothering–has not changed.

much of my journey has.
i am not drowning in anxiety.
every tiny cry does not send panic spiraling¬†into my throat, my heart dropping into a bottomless pit, dashing through my soles and straight into the earth’s core.
i can breathe easier.
i can smile easier.
but i can also cry easier.
i can feel more deeply.

and i suppose that’s where i am: every new moment still feels raw, uncharted, and uncertain. my heart is smashed and knit back together what feels like thousands of times per day, and i am still not sure how to devote ample time to each child, while not losing my mind, myself, from a complete and overwhelming lack of solitude.

i still ache to work–something i’ve not done for months, and has left a gnawing itch in my chest and mind.
i still ache to leap back into teaching, into my practice, into the parts of my life that are mine, just for me, away from everyone and everything.

so for now, i am waiting.
navigating this season as much as i can from a single moment to a single moment, an adventurer leaping from stone to stone, scaling a cliff face, holding on for dear life, but still–blessedly–managing.