My friend Maia is a shooting star hurtling five thousand light-years per second towards the sun where she will most likely land and grow into a flower that becomes so large it can support new life and becomes a community of linen-wearing babes sporting combat boots, eating sprouts, and changing the form of the solar system as we know it. People will look back and tell their grandchildren what the earth and the solar system were like before Maia, but their kinfolk won’t believe it. “It is not possible that there was life before Maia.” It is something that many people can attest to, and that she may not believe. It is something I did not understand until I could barely feed myself and Maia showed-up to be my mother.
There was a moment when borrowing her car, that I saw a list on the backseat that I have recalled many times -- especially over this past year, when I have needed a constant reminder of how far from self-care I have strayed. Wake Up. Feed Yourself. Walk. Library. Take Bath. Read. I mocked this list endlessly. This is not to-do list material; these are natural movements through life. The things you do to prepare for the actual things to do, which include but are not limited to: meetings, work, contributions to 401k, paying student loans with paycheck from work, dealing with patriarchy in the workplace ( i.e. a conversation about hiding the box of tampons in the bathroom so “people” do not need to feel uncomfortable), loathing the life you live but ricocheting so fast through it that you barely have time to stop and think about how much you are contributing to the problem, start a family, switch checking accounts. I am humbled to admit that I have been wildly wrong for the majority of my life.
When Maia decided it was time, she took her own braces off with a pair of pliers. This is something that I feel is very indicative of her character. It is time for this thing to be over and it is within my control to end it. Some may say this is foolish. I think it is the attitude I have been lacking my whole life. I would have kept my braces on for 23 years without understanding what they were even invented to do, or how they would change my body and inevitable functioning. I would it chalk it up to patriarchy trying to silence me in yet another way but tell no one that this is something I think. I would die with the braces on, angry but silent. Maia would be screaming from her bleeding mouth that she has had enough.
About 8 months ago, I returned home to my parent’s house with one car full of possessions, my head hanging down, after leaving a good job and a mediocre partnership and fell into a dizzying fit of self-destruction. I threw myself into another 9-to-5, moved in and out of another terrible living situation, and fell madly in love with a man who is as beautiful and broken as I am trying to believe I am. I started purging, again. At one of my lowest times, joking about how sick I had become and how much I lacked the ability to do simple tasks like lotion my legs, Maia came to my rescue and took it from there.
We have walked together through faltering partnerships, sick babies (hers), learning how to love and nourish our bodies together and separate, booze fueled mishaps, and infidelities (mine). I let Maia paint my weak frame, in half-sleep/ half-wake, trying, and struggling, to get out of bed, and she let it lay front and center at her communal art show. I have again quit my job, my stable, full-time, job in the “creative” realm because the patriarchy became too strong. I write this with no plan, beyond working as a Barista, one day a week, at the cafe my partner manages, squeezing orange juice and making Decaf Vanilla Soy Lattes (“to-go”). I have no plan but sitting with myself and figuring out who the hell I am, at age 25. I have begun to eat, and lotion my legs, and attending anonymous meetings to feel okay with both of these.
At a time where I was feeling incapable of caring for myself, I thought surely this means, that in five to seven years, when I decide to bring a beautiful soul into this world, I will not be able to feed or care for that person either, because I cannot do anything. Maia, again, came to me with wisdoms that immediately set to work mending my troubled thinking. Again, she showed up to be my mother.
From a text message I received in late October. From Maia:
“I am a woman with a million mothers and each of them love my love.” You know how to do this.