What I Know About Writing

What I know about writing is that it’s a complex simplicity of time and effort.

Sometimes the words flow easily and sometimes they are impossible to find.

What I know about writing is that it is soothing and frustrating all at the same time. It is healing and thought-provoking and time-consuming.

What I know about writing is it is isolating and connecting. It is a solitary activity but once shared it becomes part of someone else’s awareness; someone else’s story.

What I know about writing is that it is intangible, and yet printed words hold a magical power. You can not see words, or hear them, or touch them, but when placed together in an article or a book or a story they come to life.

What I know about writing is it is too heavy and too light and sometimes just right. My silly inconsequential posts seem so insignificant when I go read an article written so beautifully that it moves my thoughts; changes my perspective.

What I know about writing is it is powerful, necessary, and, to me, the very essence of all-encompassing simple complexity.

Letting Go

I am terrible at New Year’s Resolutions. Truly terrible. For a long time, I just stopped making them.

I could do with the traditional ones. I could probably stand to lose some weight or manage money better or eat healthier, but I also don’t really feel enough passion in those areas to follow through.

This year I have seen a wonderful trend of not choosing a resolution, but instead choosing a word.

I have thought and thought about a word to embrace this year, and I think I found two.

Let Go.

This year, I think I want to focus on letting go of things that are not positive in my life.

I could choose to let go of some weight, but instead I’m going to choose to let go of my negative body talk.

I am choosing to let go of relationships that aren’t positive.

I want to let go of expectations or ideas of how things “should” be, and instead I want to embrace what they are.

I really want to try to let go of Should.

I want to let go of past hurt that I have been hanging on to, and move forward into more positive interactions.

I want to finally let go of the guilt and pain I have been holding onto from my birth experience.

I may even try, a little bit, to let go of my need for a constantly clean house. It is kind of an exhausting thing to keep up with a toddler after all.

As we move into the year 2013, I want to work on letting go of the negative in my life, and re-introducing myself to all that’s positive.

It will be my year of letting go.

What is your word for 2013? 

*Did you know that Elated Exhaustion just celebrated it’s one year anniversary? To celebrate, I am giving one of YOU a Starbucks gift card and some chocolate! The giveaway is still open through this weekend. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post. Good luck!*

I Am

I Am

I am strong and hopeful
I wonder if everything really happens for a reason
I hear laughter
I see tomorrow
I want to be happy
I am strong and hopeful

I pretend that I have it all together

I feel lost

I touch my toddler’s sticky fingers
I worry about how it will all work out
I cry when I allow myself to let go
I am strong and hopeful

I understand that life is never what we expect
I say that I can handle it anyway
I dream for all the pieces to fall into place
I try to focus on the moment
I hope that one day I will KNOW I made the right choices
I am strong and hopeful

*This poem was made with the I AM template through Mama Kat’s writer’s workshop. It’s funny the things you discover about yourself when you are given the right prompt. What would you discover if you tried?

Mama’s Losin’ It

Get Over It

A few months ago, while visiting my mom, she brought up something she found on Facebook.

“Oh, Julia, did you see that funny picture on Facebook? Of the pumpkin in the labor and delivery unit for Halloween? Wasn’t that hilarious?” 

“I saw the picture. I didn’t think it was that funny, but I thought about you and thought you might like it.” (My mom used to be a labor and delivery nurse.)

“You didn’t think it was funny? I thought it was hilarious. I thought you would like it!”

Why is she pushing me on this?

“I guess I’m still just a little sensitive about my birth experience. That pumpkin is obviously having a vaginal birth, and not everybody gets to do that, so I guess I just didn’t think it was that funny.”

“Julia, you just need to get over it. And the sooner you do, the better,” my mother said in a tone that rang in with a combination of a sigh and finality.

I sat in stunned silence from the sting of those words. Get over it. Get over my birth experience.

Having a baby is supposed to be the most wonderful experience of your life. You are supposed to feel awe and wonder at the amazement of your child. You are supposed to fall into a complete immersion of love as soon as you give birth and lay eyes on this new little person. You are supposed to say that having a baby changed your life, was one of the best days of your life, and you can’t imagine your life being any different.

You are not supposed to say that you had a terrible birth experience. You are not supposed to say that after 7 hours of natural labor and 5 hours of labor with an epidural, that the emergency c-section you had to have made you feel like a failure. You are not supposed to say that you have no memory of meeting your son because you were so over-medicated. You are not supposed to say that you had pain in your incision for 6 months following your son’s birth, because you should be healed by then and that seems like complaining. You are not supposed to say that even though you always thought you would want more kids, that experience makes you never want to be pregnant again. You are not supposed to say that even though you love your son, the day of his birth was one of the worst days of your life. You are supposed to “get over it.”

I grieved that comment for a long time. I grieved comments made by my mom and others in my family who have been insensitive to me about my birth experience. I am aware that the end goal of a pregnancy is a healthy mom and a healthy baby, and I am extremely grateful for the amazing gift of my son. But doesn’t the experience of giving birth matter?

Having a baby is a life changing event. If you have a positive birth experience, it can be awe-inspiring, spiritual, and life affirming (I’ve heard.) If you have a negative experience, it can haunt you, dishearten you, and devastate a piece of your heart.

My mind ran through a list of comebacks, but I choose to say nothing. I chose to sit there in silence and look out the window. I choose to dismiss the comment.

There was nothing I could say to make her understand, in that moment, the impact of those words. There may be nothing I can ever do to make any one else understand the way my birth experience has affected me.

My grief over my birth experience does not detract from the joy I have for being a mother. I feel truly blessed and honored to have my little boy. But I can choose to grieve and process my experience in my own time. It’s ok for me to have these feelings. It’s ok for me to gather the pieces and process the puzzle in my own way. I think that when a profound event happens in our lives, we never really “get over it,” but rather find that it holds less intensity with the passing of time. As a dear friend once told me, “There is no time limit on grief.” I couldn’t agree more.

Pending

Do you ever feel like your life is pending?

Sometimes I find myself at that place. That place of wondering, of stalling, of waiting. Waiting for the unknown.

I have been at these places before. My life was pending at the end of my pregnancy, when I was just waiting for a delivery, but had no control over how it would unfold.

My life was pending during the match process for my husband’s residency, where we could have been placed anywhere in the country, and we just had to wait until Match Day and a piece of paper to find out how we would spend the next four years of our lives.

Sometimes I feel like some of my relationships are pending; not really that bad and not really that good, just pending, waiting to see what will happen in the future.

The hot topic issue of having another child is pending in our house, since the hubs and I disagree on this very sensitive subject.

Most recently, I have been handling pending insurance claims and financial bits of life, and even though that is extremely insignificant in the grand scheme of things, I find the stress of constantly dealing with it seeping into my contentedness.

Sometimes, I even apply that word to myself. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I was a nanny and a teacher and now I am a stay at home Mommy. But that too, will come to an end when he starts school in a few years, and I’m not sure what direction my life will go in then.

So I find myself here today feeling like I’m on hold, just waiting for the next thing to happen. My life is not bad, or overly exhilarating, it is just there….

Pending.

Words

Words

We’ve been told that sticks and stones may break our bones but words can never hurt us.

But that’s not true is it?

For my bones remain untouched by stones but these words continue to haunt me.

I’ve been told it’s because I’m a woman and I’m too sensitive

But I think it’s just because I’m a person

Who has a memory and a heart

And whose past bleeds into my future.

I think I’ve never seen you throw a stone or wave a stick maliciously,

But I’ve heard your voice behind the words that left me standing vulnerably;

Exposed into the darkness of the daylight and the brightness of the night.

And I see those words encircle me and invade my very self.

I have to remind myself to say “excuse me” and find my way out,

For these days are long and these years are short and your voice still finds ways to follow me.

Even after the sticks have been picked and the stones have been gathered

I find myself here, choosing to break the words back down into letters and cast them away into the alphabet

That I sing to my son every day

So that he may learn words.

But not yours.

UETju: Love in Letters

UETju he spelled with multicolored refrigerator magnets, and exclaimed excitedly, “I made a word!”

I smiled and showed my excitement and then he read it to me. “It says ‘love Mommy,'” he explained while pointing his fingers over the letters, left to right, just as if he were really reading.

I scooped him up in a hug and told him it was beautiful and I was so proud of him. Because it was, and because I AM.

He was thrilled at his accomplishment and thrilled at my approval and I was honored to be his word.

I could have held him there forever but there were more brightly colored letters to be arranged. There, in the middle of the refrigerator, UETju turned into XmEO. And so began another story, arranged by little fingers, told by a little voice, and adored by a nearby Mommy.