It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on this blog. That means no creative work and that brings me down, making me anxious and edgy. As a friend recently put it, “I need to do something creative everyday.” And I hadn’t done anything creative on my blog for a couple of weeks, with no end in sight.
Now, not blogging doesn’t really mean that I’ve stopped being creative. I’ve been writing a lot and have recently been very focused on a great little book I’ve had for a few years, called Wreck This Journal. It’s been a great outlet for my pent up creative energy and an expressive way for me to work through the latest sadness over a recent setback on the fertility front. But, generally speaking, it’s been a couple of weeks of feeling emotionally down and creatively unproductive.
The other day, my frustrations, anxiety and resentment just got too suffocating and unbearable. So, I did the one thing that always helps my mind and soul decompress: I went for a long afternoon walk.
There’s a path nearby, just up a hill where I love to take walks. It overlooks the school, dog park, condos and houses that make up my little neighborhood. It’s just high enough to have the ocean and the Hollywood sign as its two distant bookends, and low enough to pass right under Loyola Marymount University’s huge LMU sign. And although it’s in the middle of a fully developed part of Los Angeles, it really can feel wild and woodsy and remote enough to remove you from the hectic hussle of the city surrounding it. It’s one of the most peaceful and mostly undiscovered spots around.
My afternoon walk did not disappoint. As soon as I turned into the path and got into a brisk walking rhythm, my breathing got deeper, my heartbeat more pronounced and my consciousness sharper and fully awakened. I began to turn my thoughts away from the to-do lists, the incessant what-if’s and the relentless sense of fear and panic I live with as a woman who’s been grappling with infertility for more than six years.
I focused on all that was lovely and natural around me: hikers walking playful dogs, who chased lizards; lizards who were sunning themselves and doing funny push-ups in the dirt; cotton-tailed bunny rabbits busily crossing the trail back and forth, while eyeing me to figure out whether I was a friend and or foe; and all the beautifully bright birds, chirping and singing as I tried to find peace and a respite from the chirping of my own mind. I let my eyes focus on shapes and colors: yellow flowers dotting the hills; green speckled wild squashes growing on vines all around; and shadows of tree branches high above me against the bright blue skies. It was simply magical. I was finally able to get out from underneath the weight and importance of my life and my worries to just be in nature and take in life in its simplest and most beautiful forms.
Feeling energized and gaining a spring in my steps, I was renewed and so were my hopes. I was fully aware that nothing had changed in my life. I was still infertile in a world that seems to procreate at a rate that constantly mocks me and my empty womb. And I was still facing loneliness, doubt and uncertainty about the future. None of the things I escaped from while frolicking among the bunnies, lizards and slobbering dogs had disappeared or dissolved from my life. And yet, none of that was able to stop me from being present in that moment and allowing the beauty of my walk to improve the quality of my life. Nothing could stop me from enjoying that moment in time. I took comfort in that– to still possessing the ability to look beyond my confusion and pain, and simply enjoy life.
I was feeling better, my thoughts were less harsh and life seemed less daunting. And just when I thought I had gained all I could from my afternoon walk, Mother Nature sent a visual aid to teach me one more lesson about life.
The trail, while mostly a dirt road, has a few paved patches along the way. And as I turned around and began to walk back, I found a little green spot right in the middle of the gray asphalt coming up ahead of me. As I got closer, I saw that it was just an wild plant growing right out of the pavement. A weak, inconsequential weed with an iron will to grow and live and exist, even if it had to fight its way into the world through layers of hard, man-made ground. It seemed so small and powerless, until you actually contemplated where it had come into being. How powerful this little weed’s instinct to live and be had to have been to have broken through hard gray asphalt and to have ever come to life! But there it was. And there I was. And there was the lesson I was supposed to learn.
It should not be surprising to hear me admit that I’ve had serious moments of doubt about whether I should keep going in the quest to birth and have a child. How could anyone go through multiple rounds of infertility treatments, suffer three miscarriages and watch herself age year after year without experiencing any doubt or second guessing? This journey has tested not only my resolve, but my sense of self, my identity, my life’s purpose and my femininity. I won’t try to explain how fundamental, instinctual and all encompassing this chapter has been for me and those millions of others who struggle with infertility when their fondest wish is to simply become patents. It’s a futile task I’ve given up on for many years. But, surely it’s not difficult to understand the instinct of wanting to simply give up in the face of deep, continuous and irrevocable loss and sadness. Simply let go. Simply stop. Simply not be anymore.
And it was in this frame of mind that I came face to face with this little tiny weed, breaking through and living despite it being so hard and arduous. This little weed would go unnoticed by another’s eyes. It would be of no consequence to someone with less sorrow. But, this little amazing weed was my teacher and salvation that afternoon. It was the sign I needed to find more inner strength and courage to keep going, to keep being, to keep fighting and to keep hoping.
What a walk! What a weed! What a life!