This morning, I spoke with a mama through the amazing Postpartum Support International (@postpartumsupportinternational) peer mentor program who needed encouragement and support.
Some days, truly, I am "over the talking," and the revisiting open wounds. And some days, I wonder what I am doing to myself and why.
And there are days where someone out there needed some encouragement and needed to hear how I got "out of it."
Honestly, friends. I'm not sure where I am most days. There isn't ever going to be a moment where I will wake up and be who I was in the "before." Before the #preeclampsia diagnosis, before the #nicu and #prematurebabies and #ppd
And that makes me both sad and thankful. Who would I be today without the above? Would I advocate so much?
Would I have written my stories?
I also got a chance to speak to Dianna Gunn of Spoonie Author Podcast. More revisiting. More advocating. But this time, she asked what advice I would give to someone who may have disabilities or a chronic illness who wanted to write.
I am a terrible advice giver. But I'd like to think I'm an excellent listener and observer. I love sitting in silence. When people share the heavy with me, I like to think of silences as this enormous pause of relief for the person who unburdened themselves and a chance for the receiver to process what was said.
Pauses are heavy and the silence that follows it can fill us with trepidation.
How will the receiver respond to our burdens?
What if we (the receiver) say the wrong thing?
Or the years, I've learned that most of the time, it isn't the response that we want. It is what we do while in the silence.
I hug in the silence.
I have cried and held someone's hands in the silence.
I have nodded and quivered and sighed in the silence.
So these advice giving this morning, I took a pause and a breath. I tell myself that if it were me on the other side, what would I like to hear?
I want honesty.
Motherhood is hard and it sucks.
Writing is hard and it sucks.
Yeah, we're all in some semblance of this world together but your hard (whatever that looks like and feels like) isn't how my hard looks and feels.
I told the mom this morning that this is just a season. There are probably more thunderstorms than sunshine. And yeah, winter is coming. It's hard. I don't enjoy winter. But at some point, there has to be a break....right? There is hope that this will all just be another hard season we had to get over. I can't promise when this season of hard will be over but I can promise that I can find you tools and resources to hunker down and shelter you from these storms. I can promise you that I have found myself in these trenches more often that enjoying the little bit of sunshine in whatever season I was in. I can promise that you will not be alone in these storms.
As far as for the creatives who wonder how to be a writer in the midst of pain and disabilities - that's the easiest part: write. Write a word. Focus on 2 words...now form a sentence. It does not have to be perfect. It does not have to make sense.
It does not even have to leave the pages of your journal.
Write what you know. And if all you now is pain, explore that. Maybe in the pages, you'll find how brave you really are.
Whatever season you are in, may you find yourself a listening ear......I will say that blank pages in a notebook are the best kind of receivers for the heavy and the hard.
Thankful to have this poem, "this is what I know" added to Lannang Articles' project on culture, identity and language. I had written this poem this past Spring when I attended a session with fellow Pinoy creatives. It was the first time I had been surrounded by poets of diaspora. I didn't even have to explain the meanings of this poem as we took a few minutes after a prompt on language. They knew. They understood what memories and phrases that come to the surface and pop like bubbles meant. Fleeting and magical and for a moment, a crystal clear remembrance of knowing of the native tongue.
I haven't been able to join in other sessions, but it did my soul good seeing Pinoy poets and listening to their stories and poems. I need more of that, please.
Anyway, here it is below:
Here’s what I know:
Usa lang ako. I am one.
I am alone.
Sayap. I am sorry. Words escape me,
And my mother tongue gets duller as I age.
For more of 'Here's what I know, go here: https://www.lannangarchives.org/post/here-s-what-i-know
I drink too much coffee, read too many books, and in between raising miracle babies, I find time to write.
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