Moving Forward

First published on The Pulp Zine:

The first thing I thought of when I saw this month’s theme of ‘Growth’ was my kid. To be honest, that’s what usually happens whenever I see, well, anything. You know when you’re like in love right at the start or crushing really hard, and literally everything makes you think of that person? Like that. Well, within reason.

I guess that’s part of how I’ve grown, but it’s more than that. Sometimes I feel like I have actually gotten bigger. My heart has swollen with this intense capacity to love; so much so that it almost makes me want to puke sometimes. My shoulders are broader from carrying the responsibility of a whole person. Time has become more elastic. I fit so much more in a day, get actual tasks completed, because it’s limited now and I don’t have time to sit and watch Come Dine With Me instead of doing a drawing.

Don’t get me wrong – that first year is a blur of feeling absolutely clueless, exhausted, a bit smelly, and trying to be brave and actually (gasp) talk to new people because otherwise, as much as I love him, I wouldn’t get any actual conversation. Every day there was some entirely new experience and that year was mundane, exhilarating, finding-your-feet, and seemed to last forever – but was gone in a flash. But you absorb, and you grow. Humans are good at that.

That part almost seems easy now, with a lovely Instagram filter of ‘hindsight’. Easy isn’t the right word. ‘Simple’ is a better one. He was everything, my entire days and nights revolved around him eating, sleeping, pooping, and learning stuff. And I was his very small world.

Now more growth. Back to a full time ‘grown up’ job. Moo has settled at nursery like a champ and adores it and the people. After a few weeks of crying when I left he doesn’t bat an eye anymore. Suddenly the little person that needed me all the time – for food, for cuddles, for sleep – is ok without me. This isn’t a bad thing – it’s definitely a good thing, just a huge change when you have years of being selfish, completely give everything up, and then… you’re allowed to be ‘you’ more often again.

I’m trying to figure out who I am again. Growing into being a mother, first, but doing things I ‘used to do’, like go out, and be silly with my friends, to create art, and write, and figure out where I’m going. My head throbs trying to figure out how to be all of these things all at the same time. I can almost feel my bones cracking as more versions of myself fit in. Does that make sense?

Growth – I guess that’s how you ‘have it all’, right? Growing stronger, taking on more, achieving more, but then maintaining all the existing selves you have?

Or maybe growth, in my case, is learning to let go of some parts, to focus on others, and know what’s really important.

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