We were working on an activity called Invisible Writing – it’s where you sandwich a piece of carbon paper between two sheets of paper and write blindly using a stick or stylus of some sort. The trigger word was Promise.
And this is what I wrote:
I made a promise to my daughter before she was conceived – that I would always love her and keep her safe. But how could I do that with myleomengicle? How could I protect her from her own body? The unspoken promise I made as a parent was tested in the most horrible and painful way. How do I save her from a lifetime (however short it may be) from surgeries, tethered cords, brain damage, and chronic pain narcotics couldn’t dull?
Promises sometimes take you down shady back street alleys that you never thought you’d visit.
But, I also promised her that I would not let this define me – ruin me. I promised her I would continue, persevere and live. I will not live in the past.
I only cried one time while writing it, but I think the anxiety of sharing it was what really freaked me out. Do I share? Or do I keep this experience wrapped up inside of me? I have never felt anxiety like this before. Never ever ever. I am a showboat. I like to perform. No, I love to perform. But this different. This wasn’t me putting on an act for everyone to laugh at. This was me showing my scar.
Yesterday, I wrote my ABC’s. The first time, I wrote A is for Abortion in large letters, and then crossed it out. I force myself to use that word because I don’t want it to have power over me. I feel like Hester Prynne in The Scarlett Letter – except in my case, I’m not an adulteress, I’m an abortionist. She claims that A, makes it her own, and gives it another meaning.
I knew driving in to the class today that I’d have to make this decision soon. I am nothing if not authentic, and I was going to write about something that would make SOMEONE feel uncomfortable sooner or later. So what do I do?
Even when the presenter asked us if anyone wanted to share, I still didn’t know. All I knew was that my stomach was flipping and I was physically trembling before. I wanted to speak, but I didn’t know if I physically could.
I couldn’t even pay attention to what the other people were sharing – I don’t even know how many people shared before me. But the presenter, the kindly man from Minnesota who tried to make lefse when he was a kid,made eye contact with me. I wish I had had him as a teacher when I was younger. And before I knew it, I whispered the words, “I’ll try.”
I thought it had gotten lost in a sea of other conversations and smiles. Did I dare attempt to share again? No. I’ll let it pass. That was my attempt. But people had heard my halfhearted attempt, and the man with the kindly eyes looked at me again once the conversation had passed.
“Do you want to share?”
I did. I really did, but I couldn’t read it myself. So I asked my table mate if she would read it for me. And she did.
I have no idea if she knew what she was really reading. And here we are, with thirty minutes of time designated to write, and the majority of the other participants have left the room. Did they leave because of me? Because they can’t stand to be in the same room as a woman who murdered her child? Will my table mate even want to sit next to me when she returns? And why do I even care?
After she was done reading my piece, I thanked her, and I thought I heard her thank me as well. But I’m not sure.
Maybe I’m just being too hard on myself in thinking that people are repulsed by me and my decision. Maybe I don’t give people enough credit.
When I was doing my homework this morning before class (bad student, I know!), remember reading that the future global world will need people who have the “ability to empathize, to understand the subtleties of human interaction, to find joy in one’s self and to elicit it from others, and to stretch beyond the quotidian in pursuit of purpose and meaning.”
And this is why I shared this morning.