The muscles tug at my abdomen.
No, wait, it is my ovary, releasing a withered elderly egg, waiting for a derby hat and an old corsage of a sperm to present itself.
Keep waiting, sister.
The eggs are useless. I think. They have been useless since I decided to stop using them. No, wait, it is the new moon coming. Everything shed. We shed tears. We shed lining. We shed emotions. We shed anger.
I feel fat and bloated and look pregnant. I want to punch people. Stop smiling at me in that stupid, hopeful way. I am not carrying twins. I am just menstruating.
It is a small death, the blood reminds me. The death of possibility this month. And every month hereafter. We are comfortable not having any more children. It is too risky, and besides, we have no more drawer space. I don't mean to be glib, but sometimes we have to be practical about space and money.
The moon woke me for three days in a row. I had a dream the first night that I was hiding in small dark places, and someone with a flashlight kept finding me, but it was just the moon, shining in mine eyes. Last night, I dreamed I found a crystal ball, then a large metal gazing ball, like in certain yards.
I stuff crystals in my pillow case to dream. But nothing comes. Nothing but dreams of the moon finding me in small places and of being a magpie. I like shiny things. Pecking and gazing. Pecking and gazing. I've been going through this magical sabbatical process. I am turned inside out, open and raw, and also open and raw. The first is a state of mind, but the other the welcoming of ideas, the absorption of technique and magic. I am melding with oils and potions and astrological phases. It is all welcoming, yes. And safe, but still the outer world has been raw and hard. I am sensitive and unsure of myself. I lay it all out there, though, even as I withdraw. I whisper and worship. That is my way of being right now. I try things I have never tried.
Last week, we mixed anointing oils. I tried to follow the spirit to guide me into a scent I needed--sandalwood, and ylang ylang, and other things that eventually made it smell like sweet death. I poured it down the drain, caught the little kyanite, pietersite, and smoky quartz I saved for just such an occasion. I felt stupid to not smell in a discriminating, intricate way. It felt like a philistine and a boar.
I become a student. That is an identity and way of being, but still, I am not sure what I am. And that is a painful, strange place to be. Alice--too large for a room one minute, and much too small to accomplish anything the next. I work on trusting myself to discern, to know, to feel, but it is a groundless country. A nation without footing.
The truth is I ask too many stupid questions, and also I am a know-it-all. And so I am both at the same time. Where I grew up, they used to say about people like that, "Now there is the heva hava who thinks he is the farmer." When I talk to my sponsor about someone who upset me, she always tells me that if I "spot it, I got it." In the last six months, I only spotted self-righteousness and know-it-all ism. The self-righteous know-it-all ticks off my self-righteousness, competitive right-ism, and know-it-all-ism. I began trying to change it. To mantra the phrase, "Would you like to be right or happy?" Keeping my mouth shut makes me cry. I feel powerless again. I feel emasculated. I feel impotent.
All these sex terms for feeling frustrated, but that is where I am. Fucking frustrated. It is good place to finally realize something like that before you are insufferable for ninety years, but it is also painful to change that behavior. To always be a student, and not say everything you know when saying what you know is all you know.
I spent my late teens and early twenties saying yes to any experience that came my way. I thought it would make me a better writer later on. I had many conversations with an array of colorful people--junkies, conspiracy theorists, communists, eco-terrorists, criminals, prostitutes, crack addicts, vagabonds, homeless kids, runaways, murderers, heiresses, poets, cops, jazz musicians, laundresses...and now, I feel funny saying, "Yeah, me too. I once cliff dove. I rode in a helicopter to a glacier. I shot an AK-47. I was a rock climber. I smoked Chesterfield Kings." No one really cares. It's not about me. They just want to tell their story, and really, I just want to listen.
Know-it-all storytelling is a habit that I'm finding difficult to break. And being a student that trusts myself.
What habit are you trying to break?