Writing the Next Chapter

Sometimes I feel like Enkidu in the Epic of Gilgamesh, who traveled to the Underworld with knowledge of everything right to do while he was there and yet who did everything wrong. Or maybe I’m more like Persephone, tricked and trapped by a dark figure in a dark land.

I am a very different person than I was when I wrote here last, two years ago, because I have emerged from that darkness. For a long time I lived in dreams, elevated just inches above the earth, never quite “here”; then I roamed around, traveled with a dark figure whom I should never have trusted, and sank below the surface into warm, cloying subterranean depths. I mistook being loved for being abused for a long, long time. I thought that to love, you have to suffer deeply. I can’t believe how blind I was.

I’ve returned to the surface, happy and whole. I am so happy that I persisted, that I didn’t just accept the dark fog that I was smothered in, but sought warmth and sunlight. Thanks to my persistence, I am very happily engaged and two months pregnant! It seems a miracle when compared to those dark days, when I thought I might never be capable of bearing children, and had so little hope and so little will. I barely had the will to dream.

I’m not disappointed in myself. I have come a long, long way. While I don’t believe it is at all necessary to suffer to learn (at least not anymore–I certainly used to believe that!), there are some lessons that I apparently needed to learn this time around, this incarnation. My children will, unfortunately, suffer for various reasons in life–maybe from loneliness, or an illness, or rejection, or the cruel world of early adulthood crushing their ambitions. (In my hormone-addled state, just the thought of their suffering brings tears to my eyes!) But it is not necessary for anyone to suffer. There is joy and there is light and there is a freedom out there that we have only ever briefly brushed our fingers upon since getting stuck in the seemingly-neverending samsara cycle. It is what I am seeking now, for myself and my children. I’m dreaming of, and I will help to produce, a better world.

Being pregnant marks the end of the first chapter of my life. Now I just see blank pages ready to be written, and I eagerly pick up the pen to write them.

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