I took this retro-selfie at Hawks Cay resort in Duck Key, Florida. The girls and I were waiting for the resort tram outside of a Pirate Ship waterspout park. It was very very hot out.
After I took the picture, Mila asked if she could see it. I said no, this wasn’t that kind of camera. She took it in her hands, turned it around a bit, and looked up at me like, ‘Why are you busting my balls, mommy?’
I bought a disposable camera because immediately upon arriving at our suite I texted my family ‘goodbye for now’, canceled my instagram and Facebook profiles, and locked my phone and laptop in the safe for the weekend. I had to live off the grid for a few.
Because this was about a week into finding out I was pregnant with Jack, THE love of my life and as I’ve mentioned before, your eventual world leader. Don’t be fooled by the provocative, youthly abandon in that sweaty face up there. I was not, not at all, happy about being pregnant.
To say that my life was a roller coaster up until then is like saying that Woody Harrelson is cool. Woody Harrelson is not cool. He is the force behind Mickey Knox, the second sexiest character in cinematic history. (Second? Yes, the first is Die Hard’s John McClane. I’m uninterested in hearing your rebuttal.)
It took quite some time to feel human again after my husband and I separated, quite some more time to get on my feet with a good job/apt/life crap. It will take forever until my deep breaths aren’t spiked with anxiety lightning, but I was ok with that because I was, for the first time, on a real path to healing. Until BAM–I got pregnant.
Tanha is a Buddhist term for craving, or desire. The need to separate from pain and latch on to pleasure. It’s believed to be the principal catalyst for anxiety and suffering.
As a professional run-away-er, I get that. I have a NASA grade back-of-the-mind lockbox for bad memories, and I mantra my way through making good ones. If I get to witness my daughter’s brilliant no-worries smile, I’ve got a nanosecond before I have to check over my shoulder to make sure that hell’s door hasn’t opened in the floor of my living room. I’m not kidding–I am BFF with imagined catastrophe, and let me tell you: she is a BITCH.
Before this trip, I was drowning in despair. Any love I’d developed for Rich disappeared, even though he was the most amazing man I could’ve hoped for. It was one big step he took from bachelorhood to parent, but he did it quicker than you can say ‘I’ll never get to hang out with my friends again.’ He’s a rock star.
I just couldn’t take it. There were so many reasons to be upset, I didn’t know how to be happy. What I stressed about the most:
having three kids and two dads
still being married
Rich seeing my pregnant thighs (it’s like seeing the boogeyman in person, but with way more cellulite)
failing as a mother
failing as a daughter
Here’s the thing: none of this has f*ckall to do with the actual situation. Each of those stress points was external–I didn’t realize it then, but I was consumed with how the world would perceive me. I was hitched to tahna, my desire to escape the past and keep hold of my footing, and it was taking me over the cliff.
Please forgive me, but I actually considered terminating the pregnancy. To think about that now makes my eyes explode, but it’s true. I was so, so, so in over my head.
***My heart to women who feel forced to make that choice. The steps to it must be excruciating, and I imagine it’s a lifelong scar. I am lucky to have a support group. I know many women don’t.***
But I didn’t, and things eventually righted themselves. I try to remind myself of that time and it’s omnipresent despair. If we could let go of our tahna, the manifested fireball of what we think we want, we can hit the ground running when things get better. Because things do get better.