Let me just begin with the requisite: It's been a long time since I first got down.
Because, I mean, it has. According to my archives, it's been a little over four years since my last blog, but let's just say that I have some pretty solid excuses, two in particular.
But I'm back at it and it's pretty major. I'm happy to be here and I've missed you.
From what I can gather, Mercury Rx (if you're into that sort of thing and if you're not, maybe it's time to consider your cosmos) is not the super scary monster we've all made it out to be. But in fact, a great time to review - and in my case, rewrite.
So, in the spirit of spring, rebirth, renewal and return, I've got a little story on a big edit.
Luna was born into the legend of Rafi's birth. She rewrote all I had known before her and brought understanding into a place wrought with confusion and frustration, loss and a deep sense of failure.
Before Rafi, mostly what I knew about my body was that if I tried hard enough, I could basically do anything I wanted to. I've always been unafraid to push myself, so naturally, when I got pregnant the first time the only imaginable outcome I was working with was a healthy, joyful and magical vaginal birth. I took a 12-week course on natural childbirth into which I submerged myself, and because of what I knew about my mother, who had always described both of her births as magic, I just assumed that there was no reason that mine would be so very different.
But it was.
Before it finally ended in an emergency c-section with a side of blood transfusion, we went through nearly 48-hours of ups and downs and twists and turns. And after our wonderful Rafi was born and everyone and I mean EVERYONE, said to me in an effort to console me, "what's most important is that you and the baby are healthy," I was not consoled. Let's just say, even with the best intentions, their words rang hollow and thud onto the floor. I was hormonal and exhausted. I felt broken and alone. I was a mess, and it took a very long time to put myself back together.
And trust me, putting yourself together at all even under the best of circumstances after having a baby, is a lofty goal in it of itself.
Because writing is my medicine, nearly a year after Rafi was born I was in the bath thinking about my scar. Traversing that wild first year of her life and her wild passage into the world; I wondered how I would ever tell her about her birth. My Rafi, for whom I am grateful for every moment of the day. Her heart that holds us all so close, her empathy that understands humanity far beyond what we would ever expect, her humor that is so unintentionally hilarious, and her curiosity that inspires her to wonder about everything inside and outside of her world.
How could I not celebrate the moment she came into our lives?
But then, slowly, before my eyes, the lens began to change and in my mind, I started to craft the exquisite story of her birth, free from shame, and full of glory. What began to emerge was the version that would hold us both, the story that was full of love and determination, fearlessness and ultimate selflessness. And from there I dreamt up my beloved birth-story writing service called Bear Tales, from the belief that there are other women like me who want to tell the incredible story of their baby being born, but desire to reframe even the most difficult parts and hold them to create a version that illuminates the beauty and triumph, even during the most difficult times.
And when I finally sat down to write my own, it was as cathartic as it was healing, and our story was epic.
So when we found out just a little under two years later that I was pregnant again, I knew immediately that in order to prepare my mind and body to try and do things differently this time, some deeper healing was still in order.
And for the remaining months, I went all in.
Luna arrived on June 13th, 2016 and with her came a healing so great, she wrangled a certain chaos into calm that I had been carrying with me since Rafi was born on October 25th, 2013. Her little body, like a candle burning, brought a glow, and when I hold her, I feel at peace - even during my stormiest days, and even when she is doing her finest impersonation of a feral animal.
I wrote Luna's Bear Tale as a birthday present to us both just before she turned one. At the time we were approaching, with trepidation, the halfway mark of a terrifying first year of this atrocious administration. My heart was weighted down for the future of this country, and for all of us living here.
But Luna, my little light in a dark sky, with her warmth, depth and fierce little spirit, has this way of brightening up the dark path ahead, just enough so that I am always hopeful that we might find our way through the shadows, despite how lost we might be.
Her Bear Tale, like everything I write, was long and detailed as I did my best to capture the magic of her birth. The pictures placed throughout the story captured my pregnancy, the three of us before Luna, and the four of us, complete with her. I gave it to her on her first birthday and it sits sleek and strong on a bookshelf in our house, holding the tale of one the two moments in my life that have defined me most as a woman, guiding me into my most cherished role: being a mother.
So, a few weeks ago, when a very female-experience focused online and in-print magazine that I follow, posted a final call to submissions at 3 pm on a Friday I rushed to my computer and dug out Luna's Bear Tale and another piece I had recently written on a completely different subject: #metoo (more on that another time).
When I brought her Bear Tale up on my screen it took me right back into every fiber of that experience and it was glorious. I swept the doc for tiny edits to make sure it was in tip-top shape before I hit send and did the same for the second piece. And because life is never particularly spacious these days, I moved onto to something else almost immediately.
The next day I woke up to an email from an editor from the magazine telling me they loved both pieces and asked if I could edit Luna's, which was over 3,400 words, to 1,200, their maximum word count.
If you didn't know this about me already, I'm in a deep relationship with editing - it's pretty serious and, well, we're soul-mates. I work with businesses and individuals all the time on taking their first drafts into final drafts, perfecting their messaging and writing so it's at its best out there. I love this stage in my Book Doula work and love it when I get to deep dive back into my own writing. And what I've learned is that often there is little else in this complex, frustrating and gorgeous world we live in than editing, that takes to do-overs with as much grace.
And in the spirit of one of the most symbolic edits of my life, I dove in and sculpted, shaved and scrubbed one of the most significant stories I've lived into a smaller, but still robust, version of itself.
So, a little shout-out to editing for getting a bad rap often for being the tattle-tale and sometimes black sheep of the writing family, when really, it's the hero.
You can read my piece, By the Light of the Moon here, published in Harness Magazine.
And tell me, if you're an editing enthusiast like me, what do you love or find most frustrating about the process? I'd love to hear all about it...