A pregnancy cliche, perhaps, but perhaps one born of reality. I feel raw. Overexposed. Vulnerable. And not in control.
For so long, I’ve wrenched my power — my strength and my pride and my sense of self — from the paradox of voluntary vulnerability. I have turned humility into a source of pride, weakness into a form of power, by choosing the when-where-how of coming out: as crazy, as queer, as fat, as broken, as a self-injurer, as an often-crappy parent, as an entirely fucked up individual — and I demand, reclaim, respect regardless. I light my torch and expose the dark-dank-dangerous secrets, and thereby steal their power to harm me. I get naked, and live the nudist’s life, happier for my exposure — not the anti-conformist’s pseudo-uncaring defense is my aim, but the non-conformist’s carefree disregard.
But it is by my choosing. From that comes the power, the strength, the resilience.
Now, though: I feel scraped raw, denied my coverings, outed against my will. I couldn’t even tell you why: is it the increasing visibility of pregnancy? the increase of inward-loving-quiet hormones? a quirk of my always-quirky neurology? I don’t know. I only know raw, exposed, not-like, run, dark, hide. I only know the feeling of pulling armor and protection around me: the timing is not-mine, the exposure is not-mine, the experience is not-mine, so I pull away, put up barriers, protect myself.
I blog less.
I delete social media apps from my phone.
I stop tweeting.
I cry, uncontrolled, but when it happens in front of others, I cannot talk about it after.
I yell, and I yell at myself for it, feeling ever more hopeless and helpless.
Is this depression? Maybe. But it’s something more, qualitatively different if not quantifiable. An in-down-bury-safe that turns sour when I and because I resist it. But give in — give up? — and… what? Stop writing? Stop doing? Stop being the who-I-have-made-myself-to-be? Stop being who-I-understand-myself-to-be? Return to desperately unwanted unproductivity? Declare the gender essentialists correct, and do naught but gestate? Or — scary hard oh gods not again — adjust to this way of being, come to know this new who-I-am, and… live. Practice the kindness and compassion for myself — scary hard! — I’d wish for others. Circle down, adjust expectations, protect the self, until, safe warm ready strong, I again step out,
Just… not yet.