Monday, March 14, 2016


*I've been writing a lot lately, essay-style, mainly. All for myself, not for consumption yet. I wanted to share this one with the blog-world though, for my few but beloved readers, who have watched me reach this point all these years. I'm writing poetry, lyrical things that are different for me. I'm kind of loving it. I'm in a good place, in general, all the way around.

I'm going off to find myself, some will say. I'm going off to blind myself, be kind to myself, unwind myself on a beach or the woods or a mountain far away. Climb, swim, move, be, stop, think, go, be still. Still. Still you're lost until you're found, looking in the mirror on a Tuesday with red eyes. Hello, you say, touching your lips: I've been waiting for so long.

"If you have kids, you'll see that....." Her laughing voice keeps speaking though for me it's become little more than white noise. That filtered air that cycles through an airplane, humming in your ears, as you try to not let your arm touch the stranger beside you. I'm sure I kept smiling and nodding. I'm sure I said the right things back.
As my 34th year comes to a close, and I still don't have my proverbial shit together (or do I?), the If's keep coming. 

To be fair, I started using the "If's" first. This was mostly a defense mechanism, to tell myself that hey man, it's cool. Things happen or they don't. I'm a survivor. I don't need anyone or anything--and IF things go my way or they don't, I'll land on my feet. And what is "my way" for that matter, anyway?
2007: "Just wait, when you have kids you'll learn" as I looked in half horror/half intrigue at the ice pack compartment in my sister's underwear after she gave birth. "Can I have these sexy things when you're done?" I say to her laughing and she glared at me and declared them "fucking wonderful."
In 2007, everything was still a When. I was in my twenties, and there was still a list in my childhood toy box of the names--first and middle--I'd assigned my ten (!) children. I used to dream of them--dreamed of the family I would have. Everyone got along. The husband in these scenarios was always faceless, nameless and pretty much irrelevant to this love-fest I was having with my quiver of children. 

Even as a child, I knew that was weird.
As an adult, here in 2016, that list is long gone. The conversations around this particular topic have become less sure and more urgent at the same time. The high chair is still in my parents' kitchen, even though the babies in our family have outgrown it and there'll be no more unless they come from me. If they don't, well. That high chair, and the Pack n' Play and extra sippies will join the yard sale assembly line some distant summer, where they'll trade ten dollars for the end of an era.
Two letters. There's no "I" in Team but there sure as hell is an "I" in If and I alone am the holder of answer on if I'll add a teammate, if you will. The days keep coming and the snow falls and the snow melts and spring creeps in.
I overheard a conversation in Panera once, standing in line before work one morning. Two women, late forties/early fifties. One casually said to the other, "You know, I was telling So-and-So the other day...Sometimes my greatest regret is never having children, and yet some of the best, most meaningful things in my life came from not having them." "Ma'am. Ma'am!"  I was rooted in place, reeling on a regular day, staring after them.

What if these babies don't actually happen....and if another world opens? I'd genuinely never considered the possibility of an alternative until now that time has forced me to do so. And what if it's....great?
When has become If and my world has gotten a whole lot less certain.
It feels jarringly, unexpectedly, free.



liv said...

Oh my God, SJ.

This was the truest and most beautiful thing I have read in a very, very long time.
It was a gift.

What is inside of you, what you have just shared, is what a woman is really made of.
I am humbled that you shared it.

I love you.

SJ said...

Thanks woman!! I love you too :) Thank you for always being so thoughtful and nice about my writing -- we both know its like cutting our wrists and showing the wounds sometimes. We seriously have the best blogging community in the world!

Ms. Moon said...

So- you've been writing? Yes!! And it shows. This is so beautiful and so true and so real and so you! I have never in my life thought that having children was the most important thing for all women to do. Ever. There is so much for women to do which can change the world and bring them joy that have nothing to do with reproduction. It's that great creative juice that matters. I personally think that you would be an amazing mother but if that's not what happens I know for a fact that you have and will channel that energy into people and work that will make such a difference in this world. I love you, woman. And your life is yours, no ifs ands or buts about it.