“There is a life meant for you that is truer than the one you’re living. But in order to have it, you will have to forge it yourself. You will have to create on the outside what you are imagining on the inside. Only you can bring it forth. And it will cost you everything.”
Her tone of voice changed in those final moments, or at least what we all hoped would be the final moments. Her usual sweet, relaxed nature morphed into an urgent cry. My strength was nearly gone and fear was settling in to stay, “Charissa, you’re the only who can do this! Now go! Go get your baby!”
And with that I pushed and screamed channeling every last drop of energetic courage I had left in my body. Then, a warm, gooey, fleshy babe slipped out into the world. I collapsed, shaking violently, bleeding a river, and wet with sweat. Equally traumatized, my son, refused to be quieted for those first 30 minutes.
We women, whether we’ve experienced childbirth or not, hold these types of labor stories close to our hearts because I think we innately know we will need them again and again throughout our entire lives. To remember. To remember what we’re here for, what we’re made of.
I cannot count the number of times I have found myself in this position- sweating profusely, waiting in agony, grunting, and groaning, and yet clinching with hope and screaming with joy. This time it is the wild experience of my own becoming. A hopeful attempt to push out into the light of day the parts of me that are too often ignored, silenced, or unwelcomed.
Surrounded by multiple midwives, such as the wise and timeless voices of poets, artists, authors, and of course Spirit, I explore new-to-me paths and traditions. Crossing barriers and thresholds that I assumed would destine me for darkness or call me “out of the fold.”
My journals are raw and messy. They reflect my primal wanderings. They show my attempts to sort through old stories and piece together parts of me I am too scared to face.
No well-intentioned, level-headed midwife can do the intimate work of birth for me.
There are no guidebooks to flip through or foldable maps to send me in the smoothest direction.
And perhaps, most surprising of all is how Spirit refuses to take over and instead serves as a witness to my transformation.
I am learning to revere my aching body, the blood and exhaustion, and the splitting pain. If we’re honest, life is mostly a sacred mess. All I can do to remain sane is to breathe deep, stay open and soft towards every experience, and let loose a few gutteral wails when I feel more of myself wanting to push herself into the world.
It serves me well to stare intensely into the mirror each day and remember- “There’s no running away from this Charissa, there’s never been another way to grow and transform, you must go inside yourself and bring it forth.“
“What you are, the world is. And without your transformation, there can be no transformation of the world.”
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