what are we going to grab by the balls?
nic is talking me through my afternoon collapse.
the baby is asleep, and nic calls for me, wondering where i am. where i am is slumped on the bed, staring at nothing, glassy-eyed. i feel dead on the inside. like a whole wide beautiful world exists and i am paralyzed inside of it, unable to participate. i am nothing.
it doesn't happen every day anymore. it has gotten easier and shorter. but it's still very real-- the emptiness i feel.
it's not about melby. it's about what melby's existence and the space i have taken for us, accordingly, brings up. it is those old bones.
nic knows that i've secretly, fearfully, always wanted to do something big. he can feel my antsiness, my need to explode outwards. he needs me to do something big, not for him, but because he can tell my energy necessitates it. and so, he says, i need to grab something by the balls. i need to live big. and he will help me. what are we going to grab by the balls? (i was going to make my drawing into me grabbing something by the balls, but it seemed... inappropriate.)
i want to do something big.
i don't say it, maybe because i don't know exactly what it is. but also, really, because i've spent most of my life convincing myself to be small.
i know i don't seem small. i'm loud. i'm demonstrative. i'm very very open. i'm silly. in many situations, i naturally emerge as the leader. those are not traits of a small person. but a lot of my big behaviors are actually coping mechanisms for feeling small. it is a means of defense to assert myself early on.
if i am honest with myself, i know i am not small. but i feel like, somehow, i've been trained to be. not to dream too big, not to ask for too much. to make sure i'm pleasing, to make sure i'm approved of. to be cautious and totally sure before making any moves, to tread lightly. i don't know WHERE that shit came from. i was so loved, so supported, so encouraged as a child. but through some combination of temperament and life experience, i ended up this sniveling creature, when a sniveling creature, i know, at my heart, i am not.
i am big. I AM BIG.
i want to take up space.
but i am terrified of it. i'm terrified of change, of risk, of possibility. and for a miraculously long time, i had structured my life into this super controlled, regulated, predictable, busy construct that made it feel, ostensibly, quite safe.
melby has upset all that enormously. she does not care if i decide that something shouldn't be happening because it's not what she "usually" does. she doesn't care that the books say she's supposed to be a certain way, that it's the middle of the night, that i'm tired, that i just can't anymore, that it pushes me, that i'm hungry, that i wanted or needed things to look a certain way. she does not heed ideas of control, regulation, or predictability.
and now, because of it, my world is tumbling. i am flailing.
and it's really really hard.
and guess what?
i think it's probably the best thing that's ever happened to me. i needed to unravel.
and in the unraveling, my secret emerged.
i want to do something big. and i'm not sure what it is.
the thing is, it's this. it's writing and drawing and getting raw and trudging my way through the shit and magic that is just living every single day.
and people say, why don't you try to write for someone?
which is it, but not it. i don't want to write anything for anyone else. i don't want to do anything but exactly this. and i ask myself, honestly, if it's about making money from it then. like if someone just said, beth, i will pay you all the money to write your blog and draw your drawings, would i stop feeling like i needed to lay on the bed and stare into space in desperate wonder?
and maybe i would for a while, but it's not that either. that's too vacuous. that's just a different version of doing the same thing i've always done, which is working to make money, to survive. i need to make money. i would like to do something i love in order to make money, but it's not about money. i am not satisfied by that.
i want to do what i'm doing, but i want everyone to do what i'm doing too.
i want to be a big bleeding heart and i want everyone else to be a big bleeding heart too.
does that make sense?
i want to connect to people.
and i get glimpses of it in doing this.
the small part of me is embarrassed. i know i horrify some people with my transparency. the small part of me wants to apologize for it. but the big part of me does not give a shit. and that part clearly wins, because here i am.
i want to be a big bleeding heart and i want everyone else to be a big bleeding heart too. it makes me feel alive. it pulls me out my head and connects me to the world around me. it extracts me from that paralysis and makes me feel like the world is one throbbing, vibrant, interconnected, glorious, painful, electric, magnificent place. i want that. i want to feel alive by sharing my life with other people.
someone wrote to me last night to say that because of the way i talked about my experience with yoga, she has decided to start yoga herself. someone wrote me from another continent to ask about my relationship with nic, to say, how does your heart manage these things that, to me, feel so terrifying. women all over, women i haven't talked to in years, wrote to me about their postpartum experiences, their own fears and trials and collapses. several asked me about my birth experience, as it might inform their own. people offered diapers and massage therapy, grocery runs and baby holding, meals and words of solace. a friend texted me and said, this person you don't know reads your blog and says she feels like she knows you. and should know you in real life.
and when all these things happen, i feel energetic and alive. i feel connected.
when i am open, people open up to me in return and THAT FEELS BIG.
and the thing i want, the thing i can't quite figure out how to manifest, is to make that happen on a larger scale. not just between me and one other person, but to do something that ripples.
what do i do?
how do i make a career out of fully living life, of doing it fearlessly, of feeling and embracing fear when it comes, of loving other people, of celebrating how human and connected and vulnerable we all can be, how powerful it is when we let ourselves?
that is not TOO terribly lofty as a career goal, is it?
i feel stupid saying it. small me feels stupid. like, wouldn't everyone just like to talk about themselves endlessly and have that sustain their existence?
but big me says fuck it. big me says, this is possible.
i want to draw cartoons. i want them to be funny and sad and relatable. i want you to laugh or cry or say i've been there when you see them. i want to make them into cards that you'll buy your weird boyfriend when you, unmarried, have a baby with him and are so in love and also so fucking annoyed because you're tired and it's all true, because one doesn't cancel out the other. i want to write all these words and the people who want to read them will read them and we'll talk to each other about our similar and shared experiences and that will make life easier, because there is levity in sharing. i want to connect with real people with hugs and movement and touch. i want to have communal dinners, because cooking for yourself or just a few people every night is bullshit, because there's joy in the mundane when we do it together. i want to take walks and laugh and sometimes lose it, because we need one thing or the other. i want to do yoga with other people around and have it be hard or easy or strange, but to feel it in the same space and not compare ourselves to each other but to enjoy how we all have such different strengths. i want to be alive, with other people. i want to grab life, all of it, by the balls.
i want to grab life by the balls and be big.
i don't know what it looks like yet. but i know it's imminent, whatever it is. i know that i have to live this, so that i don't die inside. my body is refusing to be small anymore. i am refusing to be small.
i want to be big. i want us all to be big.
help me, please.