I had this idea, inspired by a woman coming forward via her Facebook page and posting 18 memes about her life. The hard parts. This.
Bruised But Not Broken. (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bruised-But-Not-Broken/535561503197871)
I put off writing this. Something blue.
I tried 3 ways so far. This is the third. I wanted to do her bravery justice, write as eloquently as she does, make pain into something beautiful so it doesn’t hurt so bad. Like she does.
But I can only be me.
Every time I started to write, I felt a knife in my back, blood running down my legs. I felt what it was like to be trapped in the bathroom. I felt what it was like in the change room at work with a girl scrubbing blood off me with that scratchy brown paper towel while I did lines off the sink.
I felt the shame pricking like the needles at the hospital. I tasted that penny taste of anesthetic. The sinking feelings, the failure, nausea, all of it.
I don’t want to feel those things.
No one does. But, if you are a woman it’s a thing that happens sometimes. Maybe not the scratchy paper towels and the blow. But some version. 1 here, 6 gone, only 3 reported. Apparently only 30% of pregnancies make it to term, a lot less if you count the ones hidden, unknown. Numbers don’t bring comfort.
In Japan there are temples for children that never drew breath. Stillborn, miscarriage or aborted. Mizuko, the translation is ‘water babies’. There are statues and statutes for ceremony and mourning is acceptable.
I want that, a place to be where I can be sad, where I can catch a knowing glance from another woman in the same place for the same reason.
I open my mouth sometimes and the words come out, that my cervix is incompetent (who names these things), I am reproductively challenged, another woman will say, “me too”. Someone will seek me out because they heard about what happened. We talk. Those times feel like weight lifted. Like I don’t have to carry this guilt around like I couldn’t carry them. Like I am not a bad woman. That this happens, not exactly how it’s happened to me, but it does happen.
The rest of the time I am alone.
This woman I know and love, said to me ‘those babies came to rescue you, they left you because you were okay’. This is the only explanation that has ever brought me peace. She is right. I was in places I had to leave, something monumental had to happen to launch me out.
That court case I mention. I got pregnant and fired. I lost a wrongful dismissal case because I had chosen to abort, and not wanting to fight anymore, or EVER see the dude that knocked me up ever again. It was a beautiful place I worked at, but the people around me were toxic on a level I have never experienced before. But I had gotten used to it, like boiling a frog, slowly. I was the frog.
6 babies. To God, to the sky, to the Guf, wherever it is souls go when they leave.
I aborted the rapist’s too. Bullet dodged.
I had a miscarriage at a strip club, mid lap dance. I cannot (and would not) make this shit up. Saturday night, I had an appointment Monday, I was on my 5th day of doubles knowing I would be off work, boyfriend wasn’t working. Surprise.
Poor guy I was dancing for had khakis on and there was a LOT of blood. Another stripper was walking by, saw what happened and grabbed me, grabbed the money, got me upstairs. I have no idea what happened to him. Cocaine was her way of consoling me. Do what you can with what you have where you are (Theodore Roosevelt). I was back at work by Tuesday. We had to eat.
I had a miscarriage at Christmas, in my parent’s house. Didn’t know I was pregnant until I was hemorrhaging. Didn’t want to ruin Christmas, spent a LOT of time in the bathroom. My sister decided I was bulimic and I let her. I had major complications and had to drop out of college. I hated it, college I mean. More of an arrow dodged. He handled it better than any of them.
Another Christmas I was pregnant, in my 30’s, stable relationship, stable guy. My folks liked him. Went to say goodbye to my other sister at the airport. I felt like someone came up behind me and stabbed me. No one stabbed me. I lost that one slowly, over 3 weeks, hospital every other day, ‘baby is surviving but not thriving’. Over and over on a loop. I finally lost it, while at the hospital, small miracles. Immediately sank into a depression that lasted as long as the pregnancy would’ve. Lost my job because I couldn’t function. Fiancé, not so supportive. We broke up shortly after my due date. Another bullet dodged. He was a hitter, just not when I was pregnant.
July, woke up in a pool of blood. He didn’t know.
I knew a girl in high school, god, we were like 15 or 16. She got in a family way. Did the walk of shame down the hallways every day, belly getting bigger and bigger. She was shunned, it was awful. But she stayed strong. She went to Emerg. one night, full term, felt something was wrong. The shunning was not limited to high school. They sent her home. 48 hours later, her baby was stillborn.
I came by an acceptance way back then. Some things were just not meant to be no matter how hard you fight and how bad you want it. Her life was irrevocably changed, twice. There but by the grace of God.
Same goes for me. A rapist, a wife beater, a kid and 2 ‘pimps’ including he who threw me under the proverbial bus. I think I am alright where I am. My man-child watching car shows in the living room. He is gearing up to leave the nest this year.
I can see what my angel lady meant. Wish I knew her then.
So I am saying these words now.
You are not alone.
You didn’t fail.
Grieve, but keep living.
This is my temple.
Come in anytime.