July was a month of catching up: with myself, with deadlines, with life around me. And suddenly, here’s the middle of August, demanding sleep and reflection and relaxation. None of which I am particularly good at accomplishing on demand, but must negotiate nonetheless.
Yesterday, my parents sent me a beautiful card in the mail. My mind was overwhelmed with lots of feelings and ideas and reflections, and even though I tore open the envelope, I did not get around to reading the card. I bought a candle and a new mug yesterday, knowing that I wanted today to feel more focused and filled with planned self care. This morning, as I started to make my coffee, I saw the opened envelope and remembered. What I read were pure messages of support and love and strength, knowing that the past few weeks have been tough in my world. What a beautiful image of relentless perseverance, pushing rocks, simply to enact one’s own intention. And, somehow, the three items together are a place of pure energy from which to begin the rest of my week.
Let’s sit down with our caffeine, take a breath, and reflect on the month behind and the month ahead. Are you feeling caught up with life, or are there things you are still chasing? What did July rush you through, and what is August demanding of you? What images and items and moments are starting points for your energy lately?
Taking a few sips of the hot coffee, I’d admit that I have yet to fully process everything that happened at the 60th ACNM Annual Meeting: being sworn in as Secretary, wrapping up my time as Co-Chair of the Students and New Midwives Section (SANMS), being totally overwhelmed by how many people recognized me from this blog and said incredibly kind words about my writing, and the new roles in which I find myself on the other side of it all. I absolutely loved writing about the work of the Midwives in Support of Reproductive Health and Abortion (MSRHA) in creating the “Midwives for Reproductive Justice” ribbons at the meeting, and encouraging others to get involved. More to come on my personal reflection of my writing and the recognition of it… Meanwhile, here are a few of my favorite ACNM photos to hold you over
Some way cool people at the Nursing Students for Choice Table.
Me, gushing over the coolness of Marinah Farrell, MANA President.
Amy Levi and Maura Larkin, reproductive justice goddesses.
Incoming Board Members: Lisa Kane Low and myself.
Chicago midwifery love: Judy Schlaeger and Liz Gabzdyl
Friend and girl crush Francie Likis.
Robin of Mindful Midwife, cool new friend, Tara Cardinal of NSFC and Miscarriage Management fame, and Lena of Notes from a Student Midwife
Immediately after the meeting, I was lucky enough to spend 24 hours with one of my closest friends and her newest family member, the adorable-ness of which is not to be ignored.
And, in case viewing pictures of my family doesn’t have you totally distracted from the task at hand of drinking caffeine and being present with each other, here is a series of my mother and I.
Then, I spent a whirlwind weekend in New Orleans with E, drinking heartily and eating beignets and snowballs and absorbing the life.
Returning home, I resigned from a job I have held for three years, only to find out (weeks later, mind you) that my end date needed to be different from that which I had proposed. The details of this aren’t important, but what felt important at the time was the ownership of my body and my work and realizing that a contract with my signature on it meant that I had little control over my own placement in my world. (Hence the card from my parents.) Thanks to the kindness and support of friends and family, I made it through that time with what felt like hands moving me along a crowd-surfing experience. Logistics are worked out and life moves on, like it always does, and now I’m on the other side, which is so hard to imagine in the midst of things.
As part of the weeks of resigning and believing I was finished, I began saying goodbye to the women and families who I have been honored to serve for years. I was unprepared for the responses: from some, an outpouring of gratitude and love and “how do I find you?”‘s; while from others, a curt goodbye and “who will take care of me next?”s… all of which felt appropriate and personal, though jarring and unexpected in their own ways. Another processing for another post, I’m sure.
To complete this circle of thought, I have accepted a job at a new place, which I will share more about as the time comes closer. To say I am thrilled at this new opportunity is an understatement… more to come.
Then, the month continued to rush and pull me forward with it: birthdays, galas, family visiting, friends, and then off for a few days of camping and concerts.
My media consumption has yet to slow down, you’ll be happy to know. Musically, I cannot step away from Reina Williams, Noah Gunderson, and, as always, Brandi Carlile, the latter of whom I saw a week ago for the (third?) time this year. I’m knee-deep in Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, and recently purchased Mona Eltahawy’s Headscarves and Hymens, Brittney Griner’s In My Skin, and Adrienne Rich’s Of Woman Born. In transit to my home is Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me, Emily Nagoski’s Come As You Are, and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me. Lastly, and constantly, Mary Oliver gives me one poem a day to feed my soul. In terms of articles that have been revving me up, you knew there’d be a list… here’s what I’ve been sharing on the Facebook page that doesn’t make it over to the blog:
- 12 Emerging Feminist Gamechangers
- Health worker roles in providing safe abortion care and post-abortion contraception
- Are women’s birth sounds silenced in the hospital?
Another post to come on the multitude of tabs opened on my phone, between Chrome and Safari…
My compression socks from Vim&Vigr are keeping me alive on the long day and night shifts standing with wom@n, friends recently introduced me to What’s App, I recently splurged on a ridiculous number of cards and stationary at World Market, where I finally bought plastic stemless wine cups for patio drinking. Lastly, I finally tried out Rent the Runway and LOVED IT.
In the rush and the bustle, I have neglected many of my inner circle of friends, who, somehow, someway, support me and reach out and love me regardless of my minimal contact. Ellie, Lilian, Kelly, Andi, Francie, Tina, and Paula… I know you all read this, and thank you for that. I love you and will be in touch with all of you so, so soon. Relatedly, I have new and awesome friendships with Missy, Adrienne, Leslie, and… myself. Working on that last one the most. (Also, naming the awesome people in my life reminds me of them, their importance to me, and their realness in a world that feels mostly like technology a lot of the time. Name yours!)
And now, here I find myself with a week off. With all intentions of accomplishing some big writing projects and home cleaning and decorating, I spent 2.5 days floating between the pool and reading and laundry and television, which in no way feels squandered. Now, this morning, I am renewed and reinvigorated and re-intentioned, with tasks to check off the list and music to dance to in the in-between.
So, August, here I am. Caught up mentally and physically, and ready to continue the work I love and by which I am impassioned in all things. I have the strength I create myself. I have the love of my family. I have the beauty of my friendships. And I have the confidence of knowing what is next paired with the optimism to know I can handle the surprises.
What about you?
Until next month, may you catch up and rest, or dance, in the in-between.