Late autumn is the season of death. I can very well remember my previous deaths. Caring for a baby this autumn is a totally new way to die. The best one so far, I’d say. You truly have to kill whoever you used to be. The new you needs none of your former selfish endeavors. The new you has no time to waste. The new you is just happy to be of service.
I’ve read some of my former writing pieces and I wonder if I’m ever going to be that good again, if ever again I can focus on something else than diapers, breastfeeding and the lack of intimacy in what used to be a (more or less) romantic relationship. And still, as I’m writing this, I feel it’s not entirely accurate. It’s just that I’m going through changes and until the storm has settled I cannot find my new voice (too much noise to hear myself write). Old structures are falling, new ones are being erected and all this time I’m taking long good looks in the mirror.
“Look at you”, a friend says when she comes to visit, “You don’t even look like you’ve given birth! You’ve lost so much weight!”
And yes, that’s so comfortable. I put on very little weight during pregnancy and in the first few days after delivery I quickly went back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I do feel somewhat attractive, but still feel my whole body is just being used by this growing creature, losing its former glory and attractiveness. Nevertheless, it has gained tremendous force trough birth, I think. And a newly found respect for its wonderful strength and endurance.
“You’ve really got someone now, you’ll never be alone again”, she continues as we’re walking out of a shop late in the afternoon, in the noise of the crazy rush hour traffic.
Then what’s with the lump I keep feeling in my throat? What’s with the chest pain? What’s with the longing? I wonder… There must be something wrong with me. Where is my beloved? Who am I still waiting for? What/ who is still missing from my life?
It’s nothing, love, it’s just baby blues. Yes, again… You should be glad it’s not postpartum depression, my inner shrink goes off as soon as I’m quiet again.
Fuck it, I break out. I’m tired of this. Fix me already! Am I not over this already? I’m getting bored of this shit. I feel too much.
I decide to end my blog post here, but I open my pdf copy of Forty rules of love at page 300 (I decide it’s the number for October 30, my and my son’s birthday) to see what Elif has to say about it:
“The town had finally gone to sleep. It was that time
of night when even the nocturnal animals are reluctant to
disturb the reigning peace. It always made me both
immensely sad and elated to listen to a town sleep,
wondering what sorts of stories were being lived behind
closed doors, what sorts of stories I could have lived
had I chosen another path. But I hadn’t made any
choice. If anything, the path had chosen me.
I remembered a tale. A wandering dervish arrived
in a town where the natives didn’t trust strangers.
“Go away!” they shouted at him. “No one knows
The dervish calmly responded, “Yes, but I know
myself, and believe me, it would have been much
worse if it were the other way round.”
As long as I knew myself, I would be all right.
Whosoever knows himself, knows the One.
The moon showered me with its warm glow. A light
rain, as delicate as a silk scarf, began to fall on the
town. I thanked God for this blessed moment and left
myself in His hands. The fragility and brevity of life
struck me once again, and I recalled another rule: Life
is a temporary loan, and this world is nothing but a
sketchy imitation of Reality. Only children would
mistake a toy for the real thing. And yet human
beings either become infatuated with the toy or
disrespectfully break it and throw it aside. In this
life stay away from all kinds of extremities, for they
will destroy your inner balance.
Sufis do not go to extremes. A Sufi always
remains mild and moderate.”
As I’m bouncing on the fitness ball with him in my arms at 3 am this morning, I’m going through my memories of labor again. He’s one month old today. I take one more look at him and all my complaints fade in the face of his perfection.