Self Love, Selfie

Things are about to get real…ly raw. Love has a way of arcing an avalanche toppling over you just when you thought you were drifting slowly through powdered sunshine rays. The alliances of penetrating enlightenment and requisite hardship are conjoined twins when it comes to loving. Often love is so sneaky that you feel stripped bare, without means to cover yourself in any knowing. Love flood’s you with so much newness. Endorphins that might be chasing your tail race at breakneck speed. Love reflects upon what you think you know and heightens all you never dared to philosophize. Love can rip you open and piece you back together all the same. For all the planning some put into love, it has its own agenda. Uninvited love is a calling card of the most mysterious universal masters.

My idea of an ultimate romantic engagement is the act of consciously conceiving a life. There I could be, Marvin Gaye cheering my every move, with my man to ‘get it on’. Even men have responded to his mere lyrical and musical genius noting they feel they got pregnant just listening to him! Locked in the throes of my lover’s arms, eyes synched to time-pausing eternity bliss and flanked by tree whispers, curling waves mocking our timely tingly lunges in unison we’d both breathe the words at the same time about making a baby. We’d both want it. Together channeling the polar opposite of middle school dregs where relations start to passionate Take On Me ways and part ways in same mere days on rotation like bullets spewing rounds from Cable’s Deadpool 2 arsenal. Blissfully making a human being possible as tenderly as my dad masterfully prepares his perfectly rare steak dinner on the grill, as he did only once when I brought home a sweet sixteen male to my fifteen of which he seemed to highly approve. To me, there was nothing more sacred than two right-minded people wittingly and wisely agreeing to conception.

One summer I became pregnant. I was forty years young. 40. In baby-making terms most would argue my addition of the wording “young”. Women past the age of thirty-two are looked at sideways for the mutations they’re anticipated to deliver, if successfully. It’s an awfully unsupportive theme. I was cautioned every which way. I’d never been pregnant before, although I did take the infamous morning-after Plan B pill twice in my thirties life ‘to be safe’. Abortion is a tough topic for most. It is most certainly not dinner table conversation, family gatherings appropriate, nor happy dating material’s top five list in the least. I’ve been blessed to be given room to have extremely supportive friends through my arduous abortion. I lucked out living in America, as well being an age when all this went down where I could make my own personal choices. This uninvited love was the most difficult choice I ever remember having to make.

I always wanted to be pregnant some day. I melted joyfully thinking about the miracle of a human growing inside of me. The entire nine months process seemed so exciting. I even contemplated becoming a doula at one stage of my employment pondering. I shined as a 24/7 caretaker in my career and it seemed almost logical to translate into that path. Birth, to me, symbolized creation at its most organic, finest, and pure essence. However, I was very clear with myself through high school, college, and afterward that I didn’t want to begin this family part of my life until my mid-thirties at least. I’d used birth control since age fifteen, which seemed to work very well for me without any major scares. As time passed with my age, I refined knowing I wanted to have a natural childbirth near whatever home I had. I even went so far as announcing with my girlfriends that I hoped to give birth in the ocean. My bestie Joanna quickly shared knowledge of some Russian women being known for such. When my sister Lara became pregnant with my nephew London, I remember intimately speaking with her about how I wished I could carry him and give birth for her, as she was not thrilled about the progression period I’ll call it.

The fluky part is the brainy block I had around fertility. Partners came and went and came again (figuratively and literally). At age thirty-three, I went through a body-tuning phase of house-cleaning you might say. I stopped taking the pill, even though I was in a relationship. Two years prior at age thirty-one I’d quit doing drugs of any recreational sort. I’d slowed my alcoholic intake incredibly already, so it was near to nil. I wanted to know my body’s cycle from the inside out by feeling and not by some calendar the pill-box spelled out for me. It took me about three months to regulate my menstrual cycle. The commitment to truly listening to my body opened me to new levels of looking backward on my history, as well as forwards to the future I wanted. What stood out glaringly was an inconsistency I hadn’t given too much credit. By the stroke of Darwinian fate thus far I’d not procreated despite the many moments of missing my pill or failing to use condoms when I knew better. My only daunting assumption was a conclusion I was committed to without proof — I must be infertile.

To give proper context, I could have taken a fertility test. I had not yet done so primarily as my beloved gynecologist refused to buy-in to my mantra of infertility. He told me it was a waste of my money and I should protect myself regularly, as there was nothing he ever saw about me that would indicate I couldn’t make babies, and — as all women who have a gyno know — believe me, he saw it all. I regularly recall asking said doctor for a fertility test year after year during my annual exam. Each time he’d remind me it was a silly request and then he’d ask me if I was having sex and we’d (again) go over protections, especially after I went off the pill. I’d leave confident I could produce a healthy living human when I found a healthy living and willing partner wanting the same with me. My doc even reminded me the many options for childbirth such as sperm donation centers. I’ve usually been resolute with myself on personal matters, and this was no change. I’ve been flexible about my taste in men many times, but not about aligning with men to grow a little man or woman. I knew I wanted to have a baby with a man who wanted to spend his life with me and raising our child.

The precursor to that surf and sun-friendly summer of 2010 is that I’d been away from a serious relationship for a long stretch. I wasn’t at all focused on boys, guys or men. I was paying attention to freelance work where I could acquire it. I was trying new avenues. I was feeling strong and radiant for getting to spend a lot of my summertime outdoors in new places. It is very safe to say that I was in no uncertain terms not paying enough attention to the practicalities of what happens when you insert a penis into a vagina. To add to the miscalculated state of affairs of my immediate forty years at that time, I’d unexpectedly begun freely receiving intercourse from one man I quickly met that summer, who did not turn out to be an upstanding candidate for the long-term haul. Yet, all the while I was flushed with sweeping hormones of the most insatiable kind for another gentleman, who obliged one sweetest day of my life only.

As fortune would chance it, the first man impregnated me. Only, I didn’t suspect it at the time. When my period didn’t show up on time weeks later I waited the usual extra week or two before I started to worry. Menstruation is a mercurial mama. She, like babies, can adjust her schedule at will if the mere rhythm of life suits her or stress settles in, or it’s time for a serious bodily transition. More fuel for my current fire was at the moment of missing my cycle and feeling my tummy area oddly become a tad firm, like a little muscle had been built up from my swimming a lot the recent months, I wasn’t in a location with access to my regular doctor nor any other solid doctor. I was out of the country on an island. I wasn’t scheduled back in the states for a few more weeks. Also, local stores didn’t carry any pregnancy test.

I panicked and called a strongest confident, my sister. During that important and intimate call, we recollected me talking to her before the international jaunt and ironically I’d stated I knew I must be infertile when she likely was teasing me about being careful if I meet any men that summer. We both did the math for both men I’d been sexually active with and realized it seemed possible that pregnancy was the culprit looming. I would be stateside just in time to meet a doctor, do a proper test, and make a thorough decision before the maybe-baby would be too grown for me to even consider my first real Plan B ever. The impending Hurricane Earl and its subsequent thrashing we weathered were a stark comparison to the wildness thumping in my head those days.

Peeing on a stick and watching it turn pink when you’re without a home, a devoted partner, or a consistent career income is one heck of a position to be watching the pretty nurse smile back at you, wondering if she should be jumping with joy or gently offering a hug. I don’t remember much else right after that pink line appeared very clearly, except I do know I wanted to do math again. When the formula produced the word weeks with a big emphasis on the ‘s’, I only had one man it could be. Of course, it was the first man I’d suddenly learned a couple weeks prior had a fiancé, with two children, of which she knew nothing of me and having just heard of her I called it quits fast on anything to do with him further.

Was it crazy that in the mere minutes it took me to wait for the urine test results, I went from only wanting to birth within a family unit to deciding I would keep this child if the latter loving man was the father? Even though I had zero clues what that amazing man would make of news of me being pregnant I felt exhilarated about being a single mom, where before I never wanted to go that alone. The side effects of rationalizing a good versus a bad man for me never seemed saner. After the initial shock wore off, my insides felt like they were unfolding all around me outside. I was hot. I was tired. I felt ill. I lacked respect in myself. I wanted to call my sister, my mother, my gyno, my best friends, all my former therapists — and convene everyone in the room with me to make a decision right then. But, I didn’t. Mostly, as time wasn’t on my side for this one. I needed to decide within the next twenty-four hours whether to keep this child or not for the safety of me and mankind as I knew it.

Morality is a wicked phantom of sorts. Just when you’re defining love by whatever eloquent standards you’ve mustered, morals might come whizzing in murmuring quality reputation soliloquies. This miraculous uninvited love was frying my doubt to a burnt crisp. Would I ever again be pregnant? Would this baby have a chance to be healthy? Could I raise this child without telling the father and feel good about it? What happens when ‘she’ (I thought it was a girl, but never found out the sex) starts to ask about her daddy later in life? Where would we live? What would people say? On and on the montage of eagerness was dashed, while becoming occupied with an impending trance of mental punching matches. Shame was an appetizer side dish doled as ceaselessly as any Vegas buffet.

With no more room for beating around the bush (crass pun intended to lighten my writing mood), I chose to discontinue the pregnancy. I chose to give that little body of possibility back to the ether from which the soul started to connect with mine in this time. I had the best counsel I could never have predicted when a close girlfriend and teacher at that time took me to the clinic. Along the way, she opened up to share her tale of a similar rendition along her way. She told me of having had an abortion earlier in her life. I knew she was a single mother to a strong young man, whom she was very proud to call her son. She revealed to me that in her original thoughts about that first pregnancy, when the man with whom it occurred was unsafe and acting out, she considered it a long time. When meditating about it she was given the viewpoint that this baby’s soul was available to her whenever she was truly ready. It would come back if she wanted. She later did get pregnant again and to this day believes her son was the same who was there the first time. He came back in when she was ready to have him. She offered this belief for me too. I embraced this uninvited thought with all the love of the uninvited moment I could.

To say the written word and therapy have been bedfellows more than men in my life says a lot to my bestest bosom buddies. A tremendous lifetime has passed since I had the opportunity to bring forth a nativity scene as special as baby Jesus is to so many. I would not redo the termination choice. I would redo the man choice if time travel should ever be shared outside cinematic applause. I’ve been working through ideological Escher-pinnacle layers of myself ever since. I’ve afforded myself an illustrious traveling adventure lifestyle. I’ve been trying on men in search for my Mr. I’ve poured my children-loving energy into every young one I’ve ever met. I take enormous pride in my auntie or ‘tanta’ called names, realizations from blood to friends and beyond. I relish dating men with kids and those that are open to hearing my reality of wishing for them alike. I make peace each time my biological clock screams at me when I see a young girl I think ‘she’ would have been like, or a mom raising one in with the whimsy I believe I’d mimic. Uninvited loving is an ongoing evolution. I’m always seeking new alleys in lieu of exits to sourcing my inner worship of self.

Recently I experienced a penetrating vision during a meditation and breathwork workshop. When I lay down to listen to my own breath, situated in a group of loving people doing the same, surrounded with candles and a melodically magic playlist, I’m not planning to experience anything specific. I’ve been taught the serenity in seeing what may appear. The art of not forcing square pegs in round holes wins you the equivalent of Olympic gold. I’ve spent most of my life thinking in visuals. It’s just how I ‘hear’ when people are speaking. This trickles over into my unscripted thoughts, as I ‘see’ what I’m thinking. All routinely show up like mini-movies whenever I relax into the mantra of my heartbeat during a meditation class.

Last week’s gathering was no exception. It was also a cherry atop the supreme sundae smorgasbord of my life’s abortion-reasoning gymnastics. Trying to type words to echo the profundity of still processing the abortion I choose eight years prior is a mind-bender. The delicate wisps of Hallelujah wafted into the air of our room of resting eyes. As soon as I heard this tune kick in, my synapses looped into a revelatory medley. My unborn daughter was dancing and signing to the lyrics. I knew it was her before she told me. By best guess, she was age six. She was jubilantly hand-in-hand with other children, all mixed within a train of a seemingly endless array of other youth twirling, bobbing, and weaving to the music.

As she sang joyfully, she began mentally talking to me directly. She confirmed she was the one in my tummy during that inevitable 2010. Then she blew me away further. She thanked me. She explained that children are the ones who choose their parents. They’re also the ones who manifest couples coming together she said. By not bringing her in at that time, she was able to stay back and make an ace in the hole choice for me in my future. She beamed her biggest smile telling me ‘he’ had children already. Then, sensing I was sorting away tons of partners or options in my past and present, she laughed thoughtfully challenging me to note that could mean the same as me — that he, too, maybe suffered a loss of a potential child in some way, or maybe that she was alluding to the children ‘we’ already had coming to us when I joined my partner in real time. It was all so vividly beautiful!

This vibrational girl declared to me that her “name was ‘Joy’ in Sufi”. Then she sent resounding giggles reverberated into my waking state reflecting the name meant ‘Joy’ in so many languages. When I opened my tear-filled eyes and later began to jog through the labyrinth of this uninvited optical gift, I remembered Sufi was a religion and not of a tongue. I’d gone from surreal to supernova. I felt the Sanskrit for ‘Joy’ resonating strongly. I clutched the angle that I’d birthed a new lease on my living without children and with them all the same. I timidly was moved to share my story with my peers. Men and women reacted with such soothing harmony. There was so much communal identify in my story to others lives. This is often the way when we courageously reach to relate.

Joy is an understatement now. Joy is an atmosphere and a trusty apron. Joy is a bouquet of aromatic ambiance when I’m feeling lonely and a fragrance I carry to dab a pinch onto my reality for punctuated amusement, satisfaction, or exultation.

Don’t always shield uninvited love. Cradle your loves as sweetly as a newborn.

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