A Letter to Me, May 2005, (I am 8 months pregnant, Amelie is 2yrs, 8 mos and I am almost 31 yrs old)
The patterns on my thighs this morning from the pillow I had wedged between my legs, had impressed the deadness of my sleep upon me, stamped out how motionless my large body had been for hours. These patterns fade and then reappear on my pants later in the morning, as my daughter’s naked bottom scooting and shifting across my lap leaves abstract flower petals of diaper cream which refuse to fade, marking me partly as a slovenly housewife who has let herself go and partly as a strong woman sporting a badge of pride that I can let go of such details, that I can wear white socks with black pants because these socks are the fluffiest clouds of cushiony softness ever invented.
Letting yourself go… or letting go period?
I can escape what is expected of me and be something smarter, more relaxed and at ease with this whole crazy ride called womanhood, motherhood. The metamorphosis required is shocking. How many women with less resources, less community, less genetic good fortune have waged this battle that seems so perilous, so easily lost, and come out the other side, perhaps battered and saggier, perhaps greyer and wrinkled, but shining. Not that unconscious youth glow that the young don’t even know they possess, but the hard shine of a woman who smiles knowingly, chooses her words carefully and forgives her enemies once she has stripped them of their power to harm her or her protectorate. My ideas of strength have changed.
My ideas of succeeding as a woman used to be:
- aging with sex appeal and style
- building a meaningful career and progressing into some high position
- financial security, making smart investment choices
- being a good mother
- being a good wife and choosing a good husband, not allowing him to talk down to me
- having confidence and self respect
- owning a house and creating a beautiful warm home
- throwing killer dinner parties
- creating a magical garden
Now I think all of those things still appeal to me, but my goals have become more nebulous… deeper.
- believing the things I tell my girlfriends, hearing and validating my own complaints and finding solutions to them.
- respecting myself, feeling entitled to my emotions and to treats and special treatment
- seeing myself objectively without blame or pride, acknowledging and forgiving my weaknesses while making progress, never ceasing to become a better, happier person.
- finding a path around bitterness
- finding passion for my work, having the discipline to follow through, mining my vein of talent
- avoiding depression and anxiety, learning how to handle myself
- handling anger in a healthy way (whatever that means), resisting the urge to cut into people in anger and yet not remaining silent and internalizing all the dark stuff
- not hurting my children’s feelings or sense of self confidence
- not missing out on each wonderful stage of life while wishing that the next stage would arrive, appreciating the moment, relaxing into it and allowing it to happen
- hanging onto my marriage, never giving up and continuing to find ways to reinvent love and connection
- finding a way to be naturally beautiful and sexy without falling into the Western trap of self body hate slated for women
- never getting to an age where people feel the need to lie and hide things from me
Perhaps this list will keep changing as I age and my experience changes.