A personal essay on surrendering
I wake up in the middle of the night and my heart thuds heavy in my chest. My pelvis feels like it’s been pounded with a sledgehammer. It hasn’t, just feels that way.
My brain starts churning and I land on a thought: I don’t feel like a woman, just a human; and even a little less of a human these days.
It’s 4am and I’m just laying awake thinking about how I’m going to find the strength to push past the big, dark shit that’s thundering through my head again tonight. With the lights off, I feel sort of limitless, without breasts or hips or edges. It’s kind of a relief. And then I think about how it will feel to leave here, someday. Will it even matter when I do? I’m scared.
I reach for my phone and turn on a guided meditation to try to stop the runaway train- maybe fall back asleep. The sweet voice of the man in the meditation asks me to count backwards from 1000 until I drift off, and I think:
“Is that all there is? Is that the only way out of this?”
Then the sun rises. I guess it worked.
In the morning light, again I can see myself. And again I am thrust into the reality of my separateness. God, why were we made this way?
“Here we go.” I say out loud to the aging face in the mirror. I wish I had the chance to say goodbye to my younger eyes before they became all ‘darker and wiser.’ They are freckled and dust-burned and creased, now, and always serious-looking. Men at the grocery store are always asking me to smile, but this is just my face now. I don’t know when it happened, either. And, I know I ought to appreciate the wrinkles. I trust that will come, but today I just feel a little robbed.
I brush my teeth because I should. Just do the next right thing. Gosh, why does it feel like I am rapidly running out of time to figure this out? Maybe it’s impending cancer. Or climate-change. Or hate. Something’s coming for me, I can feel it.
But of course, I know it’s not actually about getting older- the truth behind my sun-scarred blue eyes. It’s: “How, oh how, do I find meaning in a world that feels like its careening toward the fire-breathing sun?”
Maybe God? Is that what they call ‘suspension of disbelief?’ Why does it feel so dangerous?
It’s morning now, though, and my kids greet me with toothless grins and hungry bellies and I am both overwhelmed with love and crippled with fear for their uncertain futures. I made those freckles. What do I tell them? That they can be anything they want? Will that make them feel better?
I feed them, and I think about how I will fill the day with laundry and dishes and grocery shopping and maybe when I eat, it will feel good for a moment. Hm, what will I eat? Maybe something healthy, although, maybe pancakes.
And tonight maybe I will have sex with my husband. But, probably not. I love him, though.
I relent. If nothing else matters, I guess I will make art and I will walk in nature. And maybe my heart will just change; just on its own. I am willing to wait and see.