I’m looking back through the old scraps of writing I have saved over the years in order to write this.
And in the detritus of keystrokes, here is what I find: lines about my mother and watching her die beside me, lines about the family I used to have in all its discombobulated beauty.
Thoughts about the baby boy growing inside me and the little girl who would kiss my big old moon belly. Sarcastic strike-throughs to hide the fear I felt during those months and the boredom that followed when I would spend my days watching shadows crawl across the ceiling.
Notes about the man who would bring me Klondike Bars in the middle of the night when I was eight months pregnant, a paragraph or two about an occasional date at the sushi place down the street, lines that offer no real insight into what would go wrong just a few short years later.
And then: Essays to cushion my crash-landing in Israel, a decision I only half-made as part of another half, that never was quite whole. “Where did I go?” I used to wonder when I would circle the kibbutz where we lived, pushing a stroller around the perimeter of the gate, too afraid to walk down the main road and get beyond myself.
I wrote for my life, through the boredom, then through the bitterness of not being with my kids through a too-long winter, then finally through to that light at the end of a very long tunnel where I found myself, torch in hand, waiting on the other side.
The writing is clumsy and self conscious–like falling in love, and expressing it for the first time in a dark room lit only with shifting candlelight.
But now, with living and learning, it’s getting easier to write what I feel without relying on metaphor like a black lace push-up bra and ambient lighting every single time.
(Although metaphor and black lace push-up bras do have their place.)
Because through living and learning to trust my own mistakes, I now see there is something pure and exquisite about standing naked in the white light of the sun where every dimple, every line, every shred of evidence of a life illuminated in the middle of living shines on in vulnerable perfection.