at six months
dear strong girl,
as you drifted to sleep in my arms, tonight – i scan the short yet magnificent history we have shared together. six months feels like six years in baby time.
you have been resilient since the beginning. i knew this after my first blood pressure scare, and i felt that as i was hospitalized right before you were born. the nurses reassured me that your heart was so strong. it was obvious, even then, you have an instinct to thrive. no matter what.
i have marveled over what a joy you bring into my life. our relationship melts together with innocent attachment. without judgment, we exchange few rules or expectations of how the other should be, except attunement.
you welcome me with those loud shrieks, the raspy giggle, and a smile that forms as if you made it just for me.
there are memories of struggle, too. you are my teacher of patience while i waited for you to finally, again, no – not yet, finally now, please stop crying, and, and not even yet, okay – now, finally drift back to sleep in pitch black night. oh, how i have feared the night, but – there too – you taught me bravery, adulthood, and surrender.
you taught me that we can all have dreams, but the ideal is in simplicity. make time for the simple things, you say to me through actions, and that this will be my path to peace.
you are pure love, as we all have the capacity to be. it’s just so obvious in you. and from you, love pours through me – onward across the universe. together, we bless humankind with hope and strength.
your sassy momma q
Year 22. Saturday.
A new kind of hero’s posture is the theme of the day, I say to myself, and queen kate didn’t even lead us into the pose in a literal sense.
Instead, she finished a series on our planets, devoting a session to our furthest planet – which part of me wishes I could recall which one it is now, but that’s just not how my brain works, so the other part rejoices in my ignorance – I’m smart. NOT knowledgable.
So she guides us through a narrative inspired by that outer planet. Something about inspiring creativity and opportunity. We scan our childhood, our formative years, our adventures and relationships, mirrored by movement. By the end, I find myself in a peak pose – dragon, with knee to ground and the other bent before me. I have to hold a deep lunge for an awkwardly long time. Split, she verbally reminds us of our wholeness, our collective unity, just the way we are …
It’s been a week. And I’m maybe that much closer to hero status. Whole again.
My mind wanders back to earlier moves, the narrative evolving. Kate reminded us to recall the nature of being a child, the stages of declaring what we stand for, and then all the adventures that come from claiming identity.
How do you declare your point of view?
Here. I. Am. I suppose.
I always wanted to be perfect. If I’m honest, I thought this was attainable. Til, maybe age 8. Prior to that, I only let myself speak the words I could spell. Always smiled, denied the memories of mistakes or tantrums and lied that I never started fights with my brother.
I was my own hero. Til, reality became apparent. Discovering you are not who you thought yourself to be, what a betrayal?
Or is it?
As a dancer in only the skeleton of my younger body, now, moving less and lamenting more – I transition my thoughts back into today’s most challenging posture.
I think about mistakes. My recent ones – intending to lead, to be a hero and how very flawed I felt – and I realize, my mission in life is to empower others to accept themselves, and how personally poor that I am at that – finds me most tragically flawed.
I’m not a hero that will do extraordinary things, nor tell people great advice. I’m an imperfect someone who will stew in the moment, taking on tough postures longer than most. Showing up for yoga class, listening to what another hero has to say, journeying alongside them reminds me of a different form of possibility and potential.
I may not be a leader, a manager, a high achiever…but I am honest, willing to stay with something long enough to see the truth, the purpose in stretching, embracing discomforts.
Stay with it now, listen to your teacher, listen to your being. Stay here. Stay here, now.
And that is my hero’s pose.
year 22. middle of the week.
i was forced to hit the scale, today, at the doctor’s office. in the opposite way i get giddy with wondering what weight gain my daughter has achieved since her birth, of course – i want to see what weight i have lost.
i swallowed hard. of the ten pounds i still had to lose, last weigh in, i still have eight.
there are almost daily runs, yoga practices, lunch walks. but there is also fatigue, emotional treats, and lower back issues that have prohibited my favorite intensive weight program (shout out to Body Pump!).
will i ever know my body as i knew it before? my mind would beckon her movements a certain way, and she’d oblige. i’d work-out and her stomach flattened.
i’m satisfied, these days, if i do not feel stiff and there are no obvious signs that the ice cream i decided to eat with my husband led to further onset of postpartum physical surrender.
i’d never be like those women, i told myself.
there was one particular woman that i’m thinking of – it’s the oddest imprint. one of my high school language teachers. she was fit, she was cute. she was everything middle age classy. she just had this sort-of shelf-butt. square. solid. the shape i imagined i could evolve into someday yet it all seemed so – homely.
this is what ballet does to the psyche. never. ever. flat enough.
i had brunch with a girlfriend the other day, mother to three. she looks like she is straight off the runway. and for her upcoming birthday, she wants to ask for gifts that will include more self-improvements.
i feel so dowdy in general, yet hopelessly so by her side. no matter her own appearance, she oozes her own self-criticisms.
it’s a mind game, i suppose. a few pounds here. a square butt there. always room for improvement, if you’re a glass half-empty self-image.
it’s the burden of living in a society where we are supposed to be ageless, slender euro-nymphs. there is a difference in the sensation of knowing i am capable of valuing things other than my appearance or acquired narrow standards of beauty versus, the irony i’d accept my daughter however she evolves while losing grip on my self-acceptance.
between chocolate-covered work hours, sleepless nights, binges over Entenmann’s and the occasional pizza, i am as disciplined as ever. running further, counting calories and saying no to excess carbs. yet, there is worry that no matter the discipline, i may never feel good enough again.
and that makes me sad for me, and so many natural women.
two open views are better than one. photo, Long Island Shelter – Boston 2010.
i’m grateful for someone who was born today. i call her mini, mini-t-rex, michele, my star.
i call her my second longest friendship.
ya know, the kind that has seen you from every angle, and i mean every sloppy, sharp angle, and they still want to call you friend; fine if a few other things. but at least one of them, friend.
and for that, i owe her.
while i admire her for so many characteristics, perhaps – her ability to be honest, to call out my %^* before it gets too stinky, and to ask the same of me in return – well, maybe that is what i admire most about her.
but there is so much more.
we met freshmen year of college. she lived below me in the gothic rockefeller dorm, smelling of dust and books and the way i thought college should (i’m talking about the dorm, people). mini smelled of that sweet reminder she is always active. til that year she lived in the vegan dorm, but i digress. active. that is how i know her, that is how i think of her.
i carry around that first memory, locket to the way we were. auditioning together for a modern dance ensemble. the only freshmen selected, she was part rival, someone i wished i could be more like in both style and ability. and part twin, she too was someone to relate to at a sometimes isolating, intellectually ambitious college.
more petite, more optimistic about her dance career, more flexible, she embodied a lost part of myself, left in studios a decade earlier, maybe never to be seen again except when i watched her move.
soon, we found ourselves inseparable – in the dance studio, to the science library, back to the studio and eventually off for a run together.
running, which I’d been working at for years – she also took to, immediately, and to a better degree. my cross-country coach noticed this too.
so we had more things to do, actively, together.
super. active. nerds. tralalalalaa…………..
if this story sounds familiar, i know i have spoken of my mini, here before.
there are few people i like to be around, move with, sit still beside, imagine alongside…more. it’s a very short list.
i wouldn’t say we’re exactly alike, in fact – we’d find that boring. we move differently. i twirl, she lengthens. have different body shapes. curvy to her straight-and-narrow. we think a bit differently though we share a passion for the rambling, philosophical tangent. and we look different in skin and hair tone, coming from different cultures, religions, parts of the world.
and its these differences that embrace our friendship.
at the precipice of forty, i think about people in terms of who i’d want my daughter to know and why.
mini-t is at the top of that list.
her own person, moving with passion even when the stakes and years and humdrum add up. speaking with soul rather than concessions, she moves forward.
always a friend. always forward, somehow…
it is humbling to think about what we have shared, what we have witnessed for one another. graduations, marriages, losses and more losses, various towns and wide varieties of food. she has gone ahead at times while i have lingered, and sometimes i have gone before her and she welcomes my changes as if they are a part of our collective story.
on her birthday, i reflect on all i have noticed of her – performer, berkeley explorer, runner, biker, chef, reader, lover of Beck, lover of music and art that I never heard of, brave home remodeler, dance partner, cat queen, warrior for the margins, in the spotlight, expressive philosopher, style icon, tita, best friend…and I see only possibilities for this list to grow.
yesterday my yoga teacher talked about Jupiter as inspiration for optimism and how you want to grow. i dedicated that practice to mini’s possibilities. for my friend who – as my yoga teacher also spoke of Jupiter – takes up so much active space. at times I wonder if she is intimidated by her own potential. i’m always here watching with awh.
you go girl.