With my manuscript out on pitch, and my baby due to arrive at any moment, I have been thinking a lot about the power of surrender and living life in this great in-between.
I have always been one to embrace change and never look back, but this has been the first time where my life has felt like a held breath, an excruciating pause before a more definitive statement.
As far as the baby is concerned, I have received lots of well-intentioned advice to sleep while I can, go see a movie, go on dates with Rhys and celebrate the old me before I martyr myself into the world of motherhood. I understand this logic, but most of the time it feels uncomfortable in practice, as if I am on death row. Then there is the reality that I am not the old Amy anymore, I am acting out the habits of a person I no longer recognise. Growth doesn’t happen all at once when the baby is born. It is incremental.
There are a few things rooting me to that Amy still – writing, reading, and music. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I am gravitating towards songs from more reckless days, songs burnt with cigarette stubs and stained with red wine. They remind me of a wildness that burns within me as I settle into a quieter life.
Still, I started feeling frustrated earlier this week at the lack of control I have over everything. I can’t shake off this state of inertia on my own. My baby will arrive when its ready and the book I have worked so hard on now has to prove it own merit in a highly competitive market. I have done my absolute best to prepare both.
This pushed me to a turning point. To constantly analyse, wait, strive, bargain and try is exhausting. What if I just surrender? What if I just believe that everything will turn out the way it should, without me pushing my weight behind it?
When I was a hyperactive toddler, I ran into a door and sliced my head open. My mother rushed me to hospital, both of us hysterical. Not only was I in pain, but I couldn’t understand what was going on. She says the most painful part was when the doctor laid me down to stitch me up and I started randomly reciting every word I knew – dog, cat, flower, light, mama. I was trying to show him how good I was so he wouldn’t hurt me.
I look at my social media feeds sometime and I see a similar sense of desperation. In the act of self-promotion, I think we feel driven to needlessly and helplessly recite the things we are good at. Look how accomplished I am. Look what I did today. Look who I know. All in the hope of remaining relevant, or being seen in the first place.
Wouldn’t it be a relief to just surrender?
So, in my own life I am going to let my novel speak for itself, and trust that my baby will come when he is ready. I’m going to get stuck into a good book and feel the expansive potential and hope of the great in-between.
I’ll see you on the other side.