Change. What does it look like? Is it merely something that affects your locale? Your mind? Your heart? Is it all of these things? Change for me has been full bodied. A significant change has been with my daughter, sharing my life with a little creature that blows my mind on a daily basis. I’m actually responsible for someone else beside myself. Her laughter, her smile, even looking at her teeth- they just… grow there!- she has changed my relationship with my own body. Post partum had me not wanting to see scars or breasts or swollen legs. I wrapped myself up in bandages the color of my skin. I never looked in the mirror. I felt ashamed and embarrassed that my body didn’t function as I had wanted it to – as nature had intended- instead I had to have a c-section. I was a disappointment to the Universe, to God in nature, to myself. Somehow, eventually, at some point, these thoughts softened. My daughter’s existence showed me the gift I was given and the way in which she entered the world is somehow part of her purpose.
These are all experiences that have changed me and the way I think about the world, the way I think about myself and what I want from this life that I have with her. Now I think about how that extra glass of wine might slow me down that night or the next day if she needs me. Now I think about how certain cries make me want to absorb every last bit of pain and discomfort she will ever have in her life. I also think about how other cries make me want to scream and walk out the door because there is no way I could possibly help her.
That’s one change. The other change is in environment. We moved from a 1500 square foot house to an 800 square foot apartment in a matter of weeks. We moved from a Northeast suburb to a liberal West coast city. We moved away from so many wonderful friends. This change has been physical. Physically taxing: packing, moving, driving, visiting relatives one ‘last’ time, a concept both impractical and simply un-true. This change has been mentally exhausting- keeping the baby happy, checking in with my husband on the West coast to be sure he’s happy, checking in with the realtor to be sure she’s happy, sharing the baby with relatives that ‘last’ time to be sure they are happy, arranging finances to be sure creditors and the like are happy. And that cat- is the cat happy? Managing the happiness of others is also taxing and, upon reflection, ridiculous. Yet in some instances necessary or unavoidable.
Change brings pain. Pain is necessary. Pain is what brings us closer to ourselves and to our purpose. For me, suffering brings revelation and betterment. Pain is not the only thing that guides me to this, but it is the most significant in doing so. It’s painful leaving behind friends and family in another time zone. It’s painful to think of myself as less than when the stress builds up. It’s painful when I don’t feel beautiful, smart or useful. I feel pain in fear and disappointment. It’s painful to realize what will not change. Accepting a certain reality and truth is painful. Feeling vulnerable is painful. I still feel all of these things, no matter how self-assured and confident I am in my current state of existence.
Change brings beauty. Beauty for which I am grateful. The beauty of having my family together again. The beauty of my daughter’s face when she sees her Papa in real life and not through a computer screen. The beauty of knowing my partnership gets stronger with adversity and not weaker. Contained in all of this beauty is happiness. Contained in that beauty is the ability to create more happiness and memories. My daughter, my husband and I, we are a Clan. This is happiness. This is the upside of change. We as a unit have this unique experience to alter the course of our lives as a family, as a Clan. We can build on it, share it and create a whole new existence for ourselves. What used to be late night ruminations between my husband and I are now tangible outcomes. If we want it, we can have it. We will make it happen. We will keep changing.