As I begin the act of reclaiming my voice, the voice I have heard like whale song under the water all these years, I am stopping. Stopping the incessantly ego driven checking of statistics – do they like me? Are they interested? Is there someone who is receiving my words and do I look okay? The thing I love about a blog – and by now it feels quite old fashioned to be writing a blog – is that I feel safe from being judged by what I (or my house, or my child, or my outfits) look like. You can judge me all you like for my words, and if you don’t like reading them, move along. It won’t hurt my feelings. Because my blog, like my beloved Big Long Open Gash of 2008-14, isn’t measured or compared by likes, by followers, or by any thing other than your eyes. People find it, find something for themselves, or not, and then carry on with their wild and beautiful lives. And the jewel for me? I don’t do this for any one particular person out there. I am doing this for me. I am learning, like all great spiritual teachings tell us, that what we seek is not out there, but in here.
So. I begin again. This writing business. This wringing my heart out and letting the drips fall from my fingertips onto the keyboard. I have so much to tell you. I have so little time before my eyelids start closing and my head begins aching. I am a mother now. I get tired early, much earlier than I used to.
I suppose I feel the person I am writing this to, is the same person I was writing my first blog to (the words of which were immortalized in my second book Heart of Bold), and so I feel like I am writing a letter to a person who I haven’t spoken to for a very, very long time. But then again, I realize a lot of you are visiting my words for the first time and we are meeting here like strangers, but I am telling you everything all at once.
It’s been ten years since I began that first blog, and coincidentally since I moved to America. America. It had this beautiful lustre to me. A kind of glowing beacon from my homeland of Australia. The wild west, the Malboro man, the glittering skies of New York, the purple mountain majesties. I have been here ten years in fact, eleven in January, and as any inhabitant of a country they once dreamed about and now live within, I feel I am a little more worn and weathered for having lived here so long. My fantasies and mind movies have been been experienced, the trails trodden, the ideas in 3D grasped and pulled towards me. Living inside of it, I don’t see it like I used to. And my god I longed for America like nothing else. I know why though, I met my beloved here. Our hearts called us together. My life was to begin here. Who knows where it will end?
But back to being a mother. I really didn’t know how much it would challenge me. They don’t tell you that part in the movies. The part of me it has challenged the most is the writer part. The creative part. The freewheeling part. I was listening to Elizabeth Gilbert speak today on Oprah’s Super Soul and learned that Joseph Campbell, when asked to give examples of a female hero’s journey, said they do not exist. When his students pressed him why, he said it’s because the Hero’s Journey is ‘the process by which a broken person becomes whole, and a woman doesn’t need to take that journey because she’s not broken. She has no emotional issues, and is perfectly whole as is – it has to be that way because she is the divine life giver of the planet, she has one job and one job only, and that is to have babies.’ (paraphrased)
Of course this information is very stirring. Elizabeth went on to say that it’s no wonder women of our generation feel crazy and full of fear. We don’t have 30,000 years of myth behind us (!!!) 30,000 years of stories of heroes doing their most magical and brave deeds, sailing around the world and conquering dragons. We don’t have Odysseus, and Moses, and Gilgamesh or David and Goliath, or any of those role models. We have …. a few women of the last century who have stepped outside of the normalized roles and gone on to live what their heart tells them. No wonder we feel uncertain about stepping out onto this new path. We are the first generation who has felt free enough to do so.
For me, I am struggling with finding role models of women who had multiple children, and had successful creative careers that they had autonomy over. I know of women who had successful creative careers but were managed by men, I know of women who had one child or no children and had successful creative careers of their own design. But where are the women I need? I have spent the last five years fighting for my autonomy back, fighting for a moment to breathe, and think, and see clearly, and tune in, as well as building a business that I, and my family if needs be, can stand on. I have also dealt with what feels like more than my fair share of shame. I notice I went silent when I had a miscarriage in 2013. I went silent recently while struggling with fertility issues. I have struggled to come to terms with the fact that I may not have any more children, and yet a part of me wants to do whatever it takes to have more children, and yet is afraid of what it will do to my newfound autonomy. Because for some reason I have chosen to be a creative person – a poet, an author, as well as a business woman – an entrepreneur, and a mother. My goodness, no wonder I am tired, and it feels like I’m falling apart at the seams.
No matter how much I do about the house, attempting to hold it all together, picking up yet another paper aeroplane or washing yet another dish, there is something that calls me back to writing. Something that tells me I need to be here, putting words on paper and into the world somehow. Why I don’t know, but it is a call I can’t refuse anymore because the pain of living with the incessant call is worse that just sitting down and writing. I don’t know what’s going to come out, but I’ll sure as hell try to let it.
The whale song inside calls me to this. It is my hero’s journey. It is my struggle, my sacred pilgrimage, the gifts from which I am impelled, compelled, to give back to the world. I have no choice, it seems. Or rather, I have a choice, and yet the choice to resist is making me unwell, depressed, weepy, flat, uninspired. Resisting the call, I wither and die. Answering it, and hearing that ancient whale song inside, I am reborn. Made anew. Breathing deeply again. No matter how heavy my eyelids are right now, I know I have made the right choice. The choice to live with what is, to not resist, and to show up on the page. No matter what.