How do I feel, right now?
First, my feet tingle, waking back up after their doze from when I was sitting cross legged, one foot tucked under my thigh –
why do I sit like that?
My legs fall asleep every time and it’s always a miniature agony for them to come back to life. But it feels so cozy to cross my legs, tuck myself in, self-contained, keeping everything out, an origami folding (intricate), a yoga pose (graceful). But pins and needles are never graceful. The pained look on my face, the willing it to go away, the inevitability, and finally the lessening and passing and ease again. I can always feel it when my legs are going numb. That would be a great time to unfold, but the numbness is a special feeling, too. The absence of feeling. The exit of feeling. Feeling draining out and what’s left is a vacuum, an empty space, a breath held out. And the inhale will have to come, and soon, but that gap has its own potential.
I’ve been thinking this week about how I look back on the past 11 years and I feel like I’ve been asleep, in a way. Claire was born four months after I graduated from college, and I wasn’t fully formed then. There was still more unfurling I needed to do. But she was born then and I switch-tracked into motherhood, a place I never really imagined myself inhabiting but never really imagined that I wouldn’t inhabit, either. I was happy to take this path, though. I didn’t have any other plans yet, just some vague dreams that seemed far off anyway. And this was so real and here and in my arms. A baby. Something I created. I see a lot of people cozy into motherhood so easily. Of course, up all night is easy for no one, but I was tangled up in a lot of self-doubt during Claire’s baby days, and to be honest, all of their baby days. Claire, Eliza, Ruth, Rose. Rose is three and a half now, and for the first time in 11 years I don’t have a toddler and an infant or a pregnancy. And so a little bit I feel like I’m unfolding. Or I want to unfold.
My limbs have been bent inward for years. I’ve been sheltering something, keeping everything else out, protecting myself from everything I fear. I think right now I’m at that point just before inhale. I’m empty. I want to take a huge, slow, expansive breath but I’m afraid it’s going to hurt. Does it always hurt to wake up? It’s terrifying to admit how little I really know, how fragile I really am, how shaky my confidence really is. I’m so afraid that I’ll unfold my limbs, and when the feeling comes back I still won’t have anything to say. And I’ve always wanted to have something to say.