I don’t want to tell you about the rage I felt this morning, how I feel so close to the bone these days that sometimes I’m just a little nub of a thing. I don’t want to talk about the electric current of fear that shoots through my body at 3 a.m. each morning and how I have to talk myself down to sleep again. I don’t want to talk about how being a grown-up feels really hard right now and I wonder if I’m up to the task.
This season of grief looks like that these days – moments of touching into despair and feeling how unsettled and afraid I feel about creating my new life.
Last week I was hiking by myself and the tears started to burn my eyes. I began to cry, then sob. And when others passed me on the trail I would try to hold it together til they went by.
I thought of my friend SARK who, in the wake of losing her beloved partner this year, has been “grieving deeply and living wildly” and I remembered her advice from a conversation we had a few weeks ago. I called her in a mess of tears + she encouraged me to go there completely, to feel it fully, even exaggerate it. She said:
“The fear is that the grief will swallow you up, that you’ll stay there forever. But the truth is, if you let yourself feel it fully, you’ll get bored at some point and think – Okay, now let’s go have a sandwich.“
And so I was in and out of those feelings all day long – letting myself feel the layers of fear. Feeling untethered in the world. Feeling like I’m not strong enough for any of it.
And then it passed.
I’ve been likening the process of divorce at times to childbirth – except that I’m giving birth to a new self, a new life.
And this season feels like the transition period in labor. For childbirth, transition is the storm before the calm. (Believe it or not, the pushing phase is considered the calm) It’s the moment when it’s so painful and difficult you lose all hope. It’s the moment when you feel like you’re sure you’re not strong enough, you’re not made for this, and you find yourself shouting “Just take this baby out of me! I can’t do it!” Or “Just give me the drugs!” Or even thinking that this whole having-a-baby thing was a really bad idea.
It’s the moment when you need the most support and encouragement because (excuse my French) you are fucking exhausted. And the thought of doing it for even one more minute sounds impossible.
But you can’t go back now. It’s all in forward motion and his baby is coming out.
Transition can go on for hours, and feel like a freaking eternity. There are doulas, and nurses, and partners to help, but ultimately it’s your work.
Have you ever been in a season like this?
I could use your encouragement right now. Calling in my metaphorical doulas!
You know who you are.