Remnants of motherhood are scattered around my cream “Debbie Does Dallas” leather sofa. Don’t judge me too harshly, it was the floor model and more than half the price of the chocolate one I wanted. A Biddy Baby American girl doll named Rachel, whose black painted on hair is scratched and worn with the love I hoped for her as I gleefully clutched my Lady babies first American girl doll bag- is surrounded by an entourage of Disney Princesses. She in all her brown haired, brown eyed baby glory runs doll land in this house. The dolls are leftover bits of an imaginary game of school from before bath time.
I can feel my eyes water a little as they always do when I am cleaning up the last bits of the day and come across an abandoned game. It’s why I don’t push so hard for these last two kids to pick their shit up. I love that overwhelming rush of love and heartbreak brought on by loving these wild animals.
I feel the soft smile that comes directly after the tears. The smile is a ploy to try and push away these sweet tender tears because something about them makes me feel weak.
Girls who want to kick the worlds ass shouldn’t be crying, or at least that’s what I hear my eleven-year-old self say in the back of my mind, but she’s been snickering since we started this stay at home gig. How can we be a bad ass woman and spend our life being a wife and mother? We are still figuring all that out her and I. Finding ways to merge reality with this hyped up sense of being a feminist.
As I walk away from the mess- too moved to clean it up, I can feel my breath settle somewhere below my heart. The breath reaching up to surround the heart but never quite making it around. Instead of an easy passage, I clench up in between my shoulder blades making an advance for the air impossible. I’ve just noticed this today walking by this mess of half-dressed dolls with wild hair.
I know I’ve been doing it for a while now. Stopping the flow of beautiful energy coursing through me, but like most things I think I’m not doing I can shrug them off. They sit in this invisible que waiting for an aha moment to burst forth.
At yin yoga my teacher with her bubbly, optimistic soft voice mentioned that the heart was a three dimensional organ.
Well duh, of course your heart is three dimensional.
This simple fact that feels like it should have been taught to me as soon as I was old enough to be learning the difference between types of penguins -that I most likely will never see in real life, blows my mind.
All the tension in my back sprouts from the place I could access my heart in. All this clenched up suffocation is about my heart.
So many things I feel I should know but don’t arise, but I know shame is a filthy thief, so I forgive myself for being a dumb shit and absorb the fact that I’ve long ago closed my heart off as I sit in pigeon pose for five minutes.
I’ve learned this past year that when I see myself doing something I don’t really want to be doing, like living with this never-ending tension in my back. I have to dig into that tender broken spot and let how I feel break free. The worst part of all that is admitting there is anything there at all. I am hero you must know by now, so there’s never anything wrong.
I have also learned that when I need to free something that makes me feel like a weak little bitch I have to get really quiet and let whatever comes up be. That means doing meditation, and in the middle of one when I’m crying from finally figuring out what I’m holding in that space I am also rolling my eyes with shame while trying to be nice to myself.
I put on the hero costume long ago, and I like it. I had no idea I was a hero of course. That aha moment came when I meet my OBGYN. I love him for being the first person in my entire life to say in a loving not annoyed voice – “Janika, you don’t have to be a hero all the time.” I think if he hadn’t said it was ok I would have never started to ask people for help when I needed some during my last two pregnancies and deliveries. I also wouldn’t have learned the hard lessons that come after you start asking people for help.
I do love being a hero though, I like feeling strong, moral, reliable, and stubborn. Instead of abandoning these parts of this personality that I put on to survive I have started to change my definitions of what being strong means.
I can fall apart and still be a hero, I mean shit, even Jesus cried, and Buffy was constantly a hot mess while she was saving the world.
If you have a hero in your life please know they hurt hard, and cry over discarded dolls on a sofa. They cry a lot over lots of things you would never even believe a person can be hurt from, because they are sensitive as fuck. They just don’t’ know how to be strong and vulnerable outloud.