Do you believe in miracles?
As a general practice, I don't. In spite of my love of unicorns, sugar, and bright colors, I tend toward the sensible side of things. There's part of me that doesn't want to dream too big, doesn't want to let my hopes get too high, doesn't want my heart to be too open, because not if but when I am disappointed, it is going to hurt. In some ways, living like this is not so bad: I do in fact save myself from disappointment. But I also keep myself from living to my fullest potential, because I dull myself from feeling not only the lowest lows, but also the highest highs.
But over this last holiday season, something happened.
For various reasons, I began to suspect I might be pregnant. Now, without going into too much detail, this would be a highly unlikely, but not impossible prospect.
So I bought a test and I took it. At first it showed up negative, but after about 10 minutes a thin little positive line wavered into view. By 20 minutes, it was a light but definite positive. This wasn't something I had been actively working toward or trying for, nor had I been lax about protection etc.
I thought I was experiencing a miracle.
Suddenly, for the first time in what felt like a long time, I believed. Miracles could happen! The world seemed to be unfolding in front of me. I felt everything: love, sweetness, fear, disbelief, euphoria, annoyance at the prospect of Christmas without wine. But under it all was an unwavering certainty: I can do this. I felt touched by the miracle.
It was just about the most excited / nervous / alive 24 hours of my life. Was I maybe having a craving for dairy? Was that nausea I had felt this morning? What kind of names would we both like? The next day, I got my period.
At first, I was in disbelief. This wasn't happening!
I took another test, and this time it came out negative. I learned that the first one was technically not accurate because I had read it outside of the boundaries listed in the instructions, and the markings were possibly what is known as "evaporation marks", where the indent where a positive would be slightly shows as the liquid on the test evaporates.
So I was faced with the possibility that either I hadn't been pregnant at all, or that I'd had a very early miscarriage, or a "chemical pregnancy" wherein (my synopsis after reading) your body tries to make it happen but it doesn't. All these possibilities were excruciating.
I do want to have a child or children. While quite frankly it probably wouldn't have been the best moment, when is? I figured. So I had been overjoyed about the prospect of a baby.
But what hurt most is that I felt tricked. I felt that my miracle had all been a lie.
I'm not 100% sure if I can express the pain and embarrassment I felt at the prospect of my miracle being false. That I'd had the audacity to believe in miracles. I had been foolish, I had let my hopes go up, I had opened my heart so much in such a short amount of time, and now everything was crashing around me. I was less than zero here: I had gone from believing in miracles to being plummeted into a deep, dark, personal hell.
I remained in that hell for several days, crying at the drop of a dime, getting in my car and driving with the music loud so I could scream, sitting in the corner curled into a little ball and staring at the wall, sleeping 12 hours a day. This cycle was repeated several times over, with me washing my face and getting myself out only when I had to, maintaining an "I'm OK" facade for the short times when socializing was required. Other than a couple texts to my partner, I really didn't talk to anyone about it. I felt alone in my suffering, and I was too embarrassed to tell anyone.
This period (no pun intended) of time was exquisitely painful, and it brought me back to the darkest days of my eating disorder, when I was suffering in silence, right around all sorts of people who I knew would be ready and willing to help, but feeling unable to reach out to them. While I noticed an up-tick in my rigidity about diet and the temptation to count calories multiple times a day, I didn't do so bad in terms of exhibiting eating disordered behaviors. But sitting with the feelings was just as bad, because there was no tangible thing to roll them neatly up in, like having an eating binge.
After several days, I felt myself begin to come back--it seemed like while it still hurt, I had transitioned to owning the pain rather than it owning me.
Then, we went out to dinner and upon politely asking the server about her holidays, she said "Well, I found out I was pregnant so that's just about the best Christmas present I could imagine!".
To say I lost it would be a massive understatement.
The server had lodged a completely unintentional arrow right into the center of my heart. I plunged right back into the depression. I became a downright crazy person, thinking that I was being punished or cursed. I went to bed early, keeping a lucky sea stone on top of my heart to try to absorb my pain. Wondering how dare I think I am important enough to warrant a miracle. I felt weak and wrung-out.
I even tried talking to god, not something I often try to do. Mainly, my conversation with him went like so: "WHY?". I imagine a New Yorker cartoon version of god, listening to the same old message on his machine, rolling his eyes, and saying "not again".
More time has passed, and I have come back to life. I am no longer in the pits of depression. But most importantly, I am trying to find the silver lining on this whole miracle thing.
Now, it felt quite awful and terrible to go through this largely self-created thing. I do feel like I was able to get to the root of a lot of deep-seeded fears during this whole episode. I feel slightly older and wiser, beat up but still standing. But could this have been a treacherous but necessary growing pain as my heart re-opened to the world? Is it possible that somehow, in the face of this miracle, all of my frustrations and not being good enough and "you're not listening to me" and so on, all the way from childhood, had been rolled into a big huge black ball inside of me, and that finally I had been able to release it all?
Maybe that means it was a miracle after all, but not the one I thought. Maybe the miracle was that I had gone through this massive transformation, facing so many fears and tangled-up feelings, feeling them all, in a huge way, so that I could move on.
In that case, my work is noble: to make a conscious decision and effort to not let my heart close and harden again. To relish in the lightness of letting things go, and to keep a sense of love, light, faith, and belief in my life.
Life doesn't always dole out what you would like or desire, but that doesn't mean your life is awful. By adjusting your relationship with your own life and place in the world, being happy with how it is now rather than losing sight of it for the always-seemingly-sparklier future.
So, I choose to think of this as my lesson in miracles. And rather than close up and feel disappointed or jaded or like good things only happen to others, I choose to move forward with this New Year's resolution: