I cannot see my toes—my child is hiding them. She’s nestled sweetly in my womb, tucked away from the outside, patiently awaiting her exit. I know it’s a girl—I can feel her. My fingers are stretched across the bulge of my belly; it’s soft, warm, and incredibly large.
Suddenly, I’m consumed with warmth as a man wraps himself around the width of me, threading his hands beneath my fingers. I can feel the softness of his whiskers as he rests his cheek against my temple. I know these hands.
I close my eyes, overcome with love, lost beneath a resounding peace, as he whispers “I can feel the heartbeat.”
And then I’m awake.
I’ve had this dream approximately four times in the last two months; a favorite. A quick Google search will reveal that pregnancy dreams, which I frequently have, are indicators of personal growth or development, and metaphors for a carnal desire to create. As an artist, my trend report shows I typically dream of bulging bellies during the onset of new projects.
As a July-born Cancerian with a predisposition toward nurturing and all things maternal, a pregnancy dream, or four, is nothing new. It’s my recurring equivalent to arriving to school pantless, or having teeth come loose, minus the stress.
But this particular illusion—the man, the child, the love—isn’t a metaphor for creation. I’m knee-deep in projects.
It’s the result of life unfolding around me, feeling left behind, and wanting something I cannot have.
The shift happened quickly, and all at once.
Over the course of two months, two of my very best friends accepted proposals from two loving men. A third is on the cusp of engagement. One accepted his dream job. Another purchased a home, with a baby on the way—his second. And amidst the fervor of wedding planning, house-buying, job-accepting, and baby-growing, I found myself struggling to accept that my accomplishments were as equally exciting as theirs.
But somehow, despite knowing better (and I do know better), “snagged a freelance job,” “redesigning my website,” and “training for a 10K” didn’t feel as significant.
“I cannot pull myself away from romantic notions of adventure, marriage, children. I cannot side-step my unfulfilled ideas of intimacy and love. So, I sit with all of it. And I’m scared wondering if I’ll attain the sweetness I crave, and the love I expect for myself. All of this amplified by the happiness and forward motion of those around me.”
—Just Keep Swimming, 3.23.15
It was a bad day. But it’s over.
Time’s relentless passage combined with my failure to address my struggle produced a very intense, very human moment. And I know I’m not alone here. After uncapping my fine-point black Sharpie and working through these emotions with a few pen strokes and a good cry, I’m back to feeling settled and equal.
Truth be told, life is being unbelievably kind to all of us, and I’m overjoyed by their blessings. I’m honored to play a significant role in each of their milestones, and I’m lucky to surround myself with such supportive friends. Friends who delight in every achievement, large or small, because that’s love.
With billions of beings comes billions of ways to do life; all nuanced and imperfect, all tailored for the lives that live them.
I am comfortable with my pace, and secure with the notion that the things I’m accomplishing now are the things I’m meant to be doing. I am certain that my tremendous down payment was destined for a car, and not a house. I am certain that my singlehood will proffer love when I’ve learned and grown as much as possible on my own. I am certain that marriage and motherhood will follow.
“I will admit that, despite my monumental strength, it is so hard to keep believing that life has a plan for me too. That something, someone, is coming. That marriage and motherhood will arrive in time.”
—Just Keep Swimming, 3.23.15
And in my moments of humanness, I will remind myself of all of this, and be thankful that I am here, right where I’m supposed to be.