29 weeks, 6 days.

This morning I felt your back against my hand and the
bump, bump, bump
of your body vibrate as you hiccuped again,
and again,
and again,
and again.
Your father felt you, too.

And then on the other side of my belly, suddenly your foot poked up and I held either side of your tiny foot pressed against my skin.

You're magical.
You give me butterflies.
You make me feel the depths of my soul I had forgotten about–not realized were there.

My fingers tap these keys, writing, and there you are.
thump.
thump.
thump.

Your tiny, little hiccups.

you're the only one (for me).

You're the one I love when the storm clouds are thick and grey.
You're the one I love when water pours into the boat.
When the waves feel sixty feet high, you're the one I love. You're the one I crave.

You're the only one I want to fall down this mountain with. 
You're the only one I want run across this desert with.

You're the only one who makes my heart beat and fills my lungs with air.
You're my Jupiter up in the sky, and you're my hand to hold at night.

Tangled in blankets, shivering, wrapped around each other, hoping, praying.
"I don't know,"
you say.
"I know,"
I reply.

You're the only one I love amongst so much unknown.

Still, you're the only one who sees the beacon in the distance and rows with all his might.
You're the only one that sees the rain and builds a dam to withhold it.
You're the only one who hears the word no and turns it into a yes. 
You're the only one who keeps his eyes open amongst the hail or  dust.

You're the only one I love. The only one I crave.

This is why I love you.

This is why I love you,

because when I lift up my skirt to show you the new stretch marks forming across my thighs–spider webs intertwined with one another–your eyes light up and you see the universe in my thighs. You see planets and bright starry galaxies and a world where anything is possible and everything is beautiful.

 

This is why I love you,

because when I lift up my shirt to show you my growing belly–a mountain growing out of the earth–you see a fortress, a castle, the home caring for your daughter, the vessel making room for change to come and inhabit our lives, something we've longed for for so long.

 

You love me for who I am, what I speak, the things I do and think, the woman I am. You see me not as the world sees me, not how the world makes me see me, but as both your equal and your other half. You see my flesh and my soul, the deepest parts of my being, and you still love me. 

 

I do not entirely recognize this body I live in. It changes each day and aches in new ways. And while sometimes I feel lost in myself and I can only see the new blue veins forming across my chest, you see rivers and setting suns, moons and wild flowers. The moon flickers back in your eyes, and you remind me of who I still am. 

Rest and restoration.

I've been in this weird creative rut lately; perhaps it's not a creative rut but simply that there are a lot of changes going on right now. Normally, change is when I find myself writing, but this time, this time things are different.

But suddenly when I woke up, I felt inspired in the way I only feel at this time of year. It's cold. It's dark. You study the light glowing through the window and realize how sacred it is. You pull you socks extra high, tuck in your undershirt and sip on a cup of tea. Things are sleepy and a bit gloomy, and I suppose it's in this meloncholy I find both rest and restoration. 

My relationship with photos is different than it used to be. I feel less inclined to capture the moment and more inclined to simply gaze at the moment and breathe it all in while it lasts. The credenza in my living room, the plant that sits on top, the spinning record and burning candle. It's a still life that I can photograph to remember or it's a still life I can sit in front of and contemplate the reality of its existence, my existence. It is here. It is now. I am now. 

Which brings me to words, and why I love words. They aren't digestible in the way photographs are, the ones we see on Instagram and mindlessly scroll past, catching only a glimpse of life here and life there. With words, you can't scroll past. They either don't exist and are merely dark shapes and negative space, or, they become an entire new world. 

Here in my home, I create an entire new world. I learn to play the ukulele and even pick up our old guitar. I play piano on my iPad until we find both the money and space for a real piano. My office is no longer my office, but a new room, slowly filling with new things for a new human I have yet to meet and yet who knows me possibly more intimately than I know myself. 

It's the time of year where things slow, things quiet, things sleep. The solitude and the silence: space created in order to let new things grow. But first, rest. We rest.

So the story goes.

So the story goes,

the house hums: the heater.
steam rises: a cup of tea.
words float; melodies dance: a record plays.

So the story goes,

he types; i type: we're home.

Our Home grows.
my belly Grows.
rain keeps us inside and you stay inside, too.
and when the rain stops and the flowers bloom,
so, Here, You will be.

and then, 
I don't quite know how the story goes. 

the house will still hum just in a different way.
my tea will probably be cold by the time i get to drink it.
words will still float and melodies will be dancing. 

he'll type; i'll type; you'll be asleep.

maybe you'll fall in love with the sound of these keys, 
the way i have.
maybe you'll fall in love with the sound of the rain, the way he has.
maybe i'll hear you type one day and i'll watch as you create another world in our home.

And so the story goes.

Change

I wake up, I turn on a record.
I feed my dogs. I feed myself.
I pray to God for strength.

My life is so far from perfect, but it's just the way I like it. The cold grows stronger outside and the leaves begin to fall and die. But so much life grows inside of me. It's both exhilarating and frightening. I feel taken over. I'm not myself. My body changes in ways I'm uncomfortable with. The nausea, the mood swings, the aches, the cravings, the disgust, it's all so new and so out of the ordinary. It's no longer about me, but then again, it should have never been about me.

This child is very wanted. This child magically appeared one morning after almost two years of doctors saying it was unlikely to happen. This child is very wanted.

The change in me is so strange, though. It's so far from picture perfect that I can't take photos of it–of me. Of the change in me. But I can write. I can write to remember.

People told me to undo the top button of my pants and use an elastic band to keep my pants together. But it made me feel fat and everything still dug in and hurt. So I bought maternity pants yesterday that go all the way over your belly, up through 9 months, and at only 10 weeks and a few days, they already fit. This is change. Perhaps it's minuscule and superficial to you. But to me, my body, my self, it's change. 

Soon, my office will be no more and soon, it will become your room. Although I think I'll keep my desk in there and replace my laptop with paints that you can use one day. I've wanted to start painting again for so long, too. I've wanted to write children's books. I've wanted to illustrate. I've wanted to get back to that daydreaming place where anything and everything is possible. Maybe as I help you become big, you can help my mind become small again. 

Some days, the change is lonely. But he always comes in, the bright light he is, and wipes away any sorrow. He tells me the change is good, it's normal, it's a season, a season that will pass. He tells me I won't always feel this way or ache and that if I'm growing, it's okay. He listens to me sob about not wanting to take another sip of ginger ale and even seems to understand. He makes me soup and buys me groceries when it's late. He rubs my back or gets me Tums and when I can hardly keep my eyes open at 7:30pm, he gets into bed with me. We watch movies until we fall asleep, and even though the early nights have him waking up at 4 or 5am, he lets me sleep until 8am and I really do sleep that long these days. It's all so tiring.

People tell me I'll feel better in a few weeks and that I'll even miss being pregnant one day. I wonder if I will, but I hope that I do. 

For now, I pull my sweater closed and listen to the wind whistling outside. I love this dark and gloomy city. And inside, here inside of the house, music plays and lifts spirits into the air. And I pray to God for strength. 

The day I met you (four years ago).

aug 30 2013 eric kimberlin sutro baths

I remember this day like yesterday. You picked me up in your friend’s car. I came outside, you got out of the car. You walked around to my side and wrapped your arms around me. But I didn’t know it then. 

 

We drove. The hills were steep, the fog started thick. I was a bit nervous and tried to stay calm. That day was the first day of the rest of my life.

But I didn’t know it back then. 

 

We parked the car. Your hair was crazy. You put your red beanie back on. You still have that blue shirt. I thought I bought you that blue shirt. I wondered who you were.

But I didn’t know you quite then.

 

We walked. We talked. Our conversations were deep. We climbed down the dirt path and into the light. The fog was lifting. The air began to warm. 

And that’s how it all began.

 

I despised the fog, the cold and the gloom, but things always felt brighter when I was next to you.

 

I offered you a piece of fruit, you took it. You ate it. I smiled as I ate mine. The first gift. First exchange. 

 

You handed me seven spoon rings. I didn’t know I was to pick only one. I put them all in my pocket. You smiled and you left. It was late, I went home. You fell asleep sitting on a bench, waiting for the train.

 

Kate asked me how it went. I told her you were nice. I played you off cool, but we never stopped talking after that day.

 

Day after day, you and I have grown together.  

 

We laugh, we laugh a lot. We argue. I guess that’s how it goes. But one thing I know,

is that my love for you grows deeper

and deeper

and deeper 

than I’ve ever known any love to grow.  

 

ek sutrobathsaug302013

I didn’t know when you got out of the car and walked around to my side that I was really holding my husband. I had almost given up on meeting you. 

 

But I remember how your arms felt. They felt like the arms that wrapped around me in a dream I had when I was only 16 or 17. 

And I knew, upon waking from that dream, that though I didn’t know what you looked like, I would always remember how you felt.

 

You still feel the same, my love.

29

Am I supposed to feel different? 

This is my last year in my 20s. For awhile,  the thought freaked me out; however, now, I feel indifferent to it. Perhaps it’s that I don’t have the same energy as I used to, that is, to “age” and be excited that I’m becoming the person I’ve always dreamed of becoming. The person I always wanted to be when I grew up. Now I’m simply grown up. It isn’t this distant desire; it’s just my day to day. 

Plus, it’s just a number and I’m still me. Never again will I be a young adult, but I also don’t want to go back to those days. I am much happier and I'm content with who I am, now, at 29 (tomorrow).

But, being the last year of my 20s, how do I make this one count? 

I want to stop caring about what people think about me, or as others might say, I want to not give a ____. Apparently, I do give some _____ to not type the word ____, but it's my own personal preference and not because others expect me to say/not say something.

I’ve always been a worrier, and I spent so much of my 20s worrying. I knew, even at 22, that if I kept on worrying, one day, at 29, I’d regret it. Sure enough, I regret it. I regret how much I worried. A lot of the worry was to do with my future–if I would marry my dream guy, if I’d find a career that made me happy, stuff like that–but a lot of my worry was also about what others thought of me. I’m a people pleaser, perhaps a curse of being an INFJ, but these past few weeks it’s suddenly dawned on me: I don’t have to please people. I don't have to care whether people like me or not. I don’t have to give any _____. I can just be me.

It’s not that I don’t want to care for people or be sensitive to how my actions affect others, that’s not it at all. In fact, I want to continue being vulnerable, with myself and with others . I want to love deeper and have more compassion. What I don't want is people pleasing controlling my life, jeopardizing who I am, what I stand for and how I wish to be. 

I think about all of my years as a ballet dancer, standing in front of a mirror, watching my body move. I realize this discipline made me so aware of how I appear to others that, unbeknownst to me, I became obsessed with it and it ruled my entire life. It has caused me to hold back parts of myself, instead of allowing myself to dance freely as a child, the child I was before I cared about what I looked like in a mirror/to others. 

So, here’s to the art of simply being me and not caring about the judgement of others.

Here's to the art of not giving a ____.

Here’s to not worrying, and letting life happen how it’s going to happen.

Here’s to being  my honest self, my whole self, my flawed self,  my wandering self.

Here’s to being me, and giving me all I’ve got. 

"It's Not About Communicating, It's About Connecting," or, "What 548 Days of Marriage Have Shown Me."

Sometimes I get scared about writing publicly about my marriage (okay well to the maybe two of you who might read my blog, but that’s still a lot to me) because it’s so sacred. Before I was married, I always knew marriage was sacred, and I think I even knew why it was so sacred, but I didn’t fully understand just how sacred it really was, and how much you have to do to protect it. Marriage is both the easiest and hardest thing I’ve ever done. Everything is exacerbated in that everything you do affects another human being’s life so intimately and the until death do us part side of things also adds to that intensity. And yet, marriage is so freeing and beautiful, so easy. I am entirely myself with my husband, feel entirely safe next to him and being married to him is simply so much fun.

We’ve been married for exactly a year and a half, to the day. That is such a crazy thought to me! I spent 27 years of my life unmarried, and now here I am married and it’s only the beginning and yet it already feels like I’ve known my husband forever. How did that happen?

I’m a huge self-help book junkie, so much so that in the past month I’ve had two individuals come up to me and ask if I could specifically recommend some self-help books to them (ha!). The one I’m reading right now is called “Keep Your Love On!” by Danny Silk and both the title and the cover image are uber cheesy but this book is incredible. It’s a religious one, but not overly religious and I would recommend it to anyone whether they’re religious or not. There’s so much you can learn from it. The part I’ve been thinking about this past week went something like this:

1. It’s my job to control myself. I do not get to control other people.

2. My number-one goal and priority in relationships is building and protecting connection. 

My husband and I are really great at fighting, and I share this while laughing at the same time, because one, it’s true, and two, I never thought it would be true and yet here we are. The thing that’s great about fighting is that it means two people are standing up for themselves and what they believe in, even if it’s hard. In my past relationships, my exes and I didn’t fight at all and guess what? It’s because I never stood up for myself and was always lying about how I felt. It ended up making things worse and thus we broke up. With my husband, we are entirely ourselves, 100% of the time, and while this is one of those freeing aspects I described above, somedays it can make things hard, causing us to get into arguments. 

I’ve read it over and over again, communication is the key to lasting relationships, but I don’t entirely agree. It doesn’t matter how great you are at communicating, life is still going to happen and things are going to come up that cause tension. The key to getting through hard times isn’t about proper communication, the key is about remembering your connection, and that means letting stuff go, even without a resolution.

This means that my love for my husband and my priority of connecting with my husband are more important than who is right and who is wrong. It means connecting with my husband and protecting our love and connection is more important than coming to a conclusion or settling a matter. It most definitely means that we will probably agree to disagree (and not with pride but with acceptance!), because often it’s not about what the issue is, it’s about how we will choose to get through the issue together. That how being us choosing to connect, rather than continuing to debate an issue. 

Pride so often gets in the way and I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been arguing when we both realize we don’t even know why we are arguing, we’re just being stubborn and prideful. This pride often blocks my ability to love my husband and show him that he is my priority, not the dishes, or bills, or health concerns, or whatever. It’s him and I, together, that matter. One night, instead of continuing to argue, I told my husband that building and protecting our connection is more important to me (cheesy, I know, but you should have seen his face light up). He’s told me the same thing a few times during heated discussions. Almost instantly, the problem dissolves and we’re back to focusing on what really matters: our love and connection.

This part of the book was so beautiful, too:

Each display of love, no matter how seemingly small, is a powerful act of spiritual warfare that removes anxiety from the environment, replaces it with freedom and safety, and invites each person to bring his or her best self forward in a relationship.

Religious or not, I really do believe that love is a spiritual connection. It’s something that we cannot necessarily see but instead, we feel it intensely. Love is sometimes not even something we feel, but something we choose, much like faith. It binds people together with a belief in something greater, Love. I’m reminded of all the times my husband has shown me small bits of love, and how much they’ve meant to me. The big bits of love obviously mean a lot, but the small bits are almost more meaningful. They show me that he cares despite everything else going on. He remembers me. He chooses me. He loves me. I’m reminded of how those tiny acts of love and kindness have drowned out my self-doubt or insecurities. It doesn’t take much to fill someone’s cup. It can be small, but the consistency of these small amounts of love add up.

So that is that. I cannot control my husband, or anyone else, but I can control myself and how I react, and I can choose to react in protecting and building my connection with my husband, and those else around me. 

The past 548 days of marriage have been the best days of my entire life (even the feminist side of me agrees). I have learned so much in the past year and a half and I just feel so grateful for it all. I know life is a rollercoaster and we’ve barely dipped our toes into marriage. Thus, I don’t have a conclusion, just snippets of what I’ve learned through this journey so far. A journey I am so blessed and excited to be on.