Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter! Happy Passover!

What are you celebrating at this time of the year?

I remember being a child and told that Easter is the most important holiday because Christ conquered death and now, believers (Catholics) could live without fear. My small mind was really confused because, although I was brought up in the Church and celebrated Easter, I still had a lot of fear - fear of bad guys, fear of disappointing my parents and teachers, fear of rejection...

"Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over and through me. And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain." ~from Frank Hebert's Dune

Easter and Spring time are opportunities for reflection, regrowth, and rebuilding. And facing fears.

I've stayed quiet during this journey of Becoming Mom because I've had a lot of fear:

Fear regarding my career.
Fear regarding the availability of reproductive care with the current political climate.
Fear of social rejection.
Fear of my body and how she's changing.
Fear of how my child will grow and grow up.
Fear of how my child will journey into the joys and challenges of being a member of society.
Fear of losing control of how my body looks.
Fear of how the health of my body will change.
Fear of perception - that by being pregnant, I'm somehow less of who I was and have become a vessel instead of an intelligent, functioning, active member of society and my community.
Fear of physical vulnerability.
Fear of the vulnerability of this little life growing inside of me.
Fear of emotional vulnerability - as I become more aware of the human condition through the development of this little new person.
Fear of emotional vulnerability - as I become more aware of the changes occurring in and around me.
Fear of artistic vulnerability - putting myself and this changing body in the public eye.
Fear of artistic vulnerability - as my artistry changes as my awareness changes.
Fear of how this new life will effect the life I've created - professionally, physcially, artistically, socially...
Fear of how my relationships will be challenged, strengthened, and changed.
Fear of admitting I am afraid of all of these things... and some I'm sure I'm not ready to admit.

In the past week, specifically, I've received more honest questions about this process - how am I feeling, really? What's it like to be pregnant and a professional dancer? Will I continue to perform?

And while some people have asked "what happened to you?", in the way that their sarcastic personalities allow them to connect with the world, most of the questions have been genuine curiousities. Because of the courage of the the young women who have bravely asked me these questions in the past week, I realize that it's time to face my fears, let them pass over and through me, and to remain.

I missed the Lenten tradition of giving something up or sacrificing. 1) because I'm not a practicing Catholic and 2) because I've been wrapped up in my world of finding ways to protect myself from my fears. During this Easter season of rebirth, I'm going to spend some time talking, sharing, and listening to this journey with a spirit of renewal. It's my hope that through sharing this vulnerable (and yet completely normal, natural, super-human) and embodied journey, I'll open doors for conversation, education, strength, and compassion. But first, I need to face the fear.

Happy Easter! I look forward to learning more about your journeys, adventures, and experiences of embodying the story of Becoming Mom (or Becoming Dad. Or Becoming You).  


  1. love your honesty and your raw expression of feelings that pass over all beings during their lifetime.. warrior mama.. regarding the aspect of bringing a life into this world.. "it is one of the most amazing miracles you will ever see"... love you my sweet dancer..

  2. My dear sweet Jessica, you are beautiful, so beautiful. You have articulated the side of fears, and to a point it is good that you do that. Courage, real courage is facing and the fears but taking no counsel from them. My Ellen said all your fears are valid and in some cases will increase after your child's birth. You will experience great joy and continued fear. I can tell you at 72 that my greatest fear is harm to my three children, and that was a fear growing up with them. Anytime they got in a car...skateboarded on the streets of DC...etc pick a scenario. I can also tell you that no imaginable joy could surpass my thrill at their success as kids, in adulthood, making family themselves, and being my good friends. Life itself offers no guarantees or security. In general we as Americans are more secure than most on the planet. Mr Trump has neither the power nor the mandate from those who voted for him to undertake a culture war. He was elected by middle class Americans to fix their decreasing economic expectations and their lack of sense of security in the US. That is a very slim mandate. Trump is actually more liberal than his conservative opponents, Cruz, Paul, etc. No lectures on politics, you should always watch your back, but I don't think Trump can roll back Rowe v Wade even if he gets another justice...he doesn't want that kind of war in the US. Women in office, in authority, in so many high positions are changing the play quietly and permanently. Even in the military, what you see are the long drawn out finger nail scrapes on the terrain as the Neandertals are losing position and dying off. Women are in top leadership positions in all the services. Nothing that has gone on for long history changes over a weekend. Watch you back, but trust your sisters and have hope that their silent revolution succeeds. Your next big hope is watching so many women with wonderful college degrees entering professional life in huge numbers. It is only a matter of time. Men with courage have no fear of women, they cheer them on. You personally have so many cheerleaders of both sexes. This quiet revolution will succeed before marches I'm afraid. But women are winning (if that means anything) because any thinking person can see it no other way. I have a strong wife and two strong daughters who like you are professionals in their own way, they are leaders, they will not stand for status quo. They are both winning in Red States. They have five children between them. Life is not easy even though one is a successful attorney and the other is a teacher in a private Montessori Academy. Their family situations are not secure, but they are better off than so many. They do have fears and we talk about them and they talk with their so many good friends. Like in that discourse I imposed on you last week, small groups of friends are your sustenance...ask Ellen R. Ellen L said she would be happy to talk if you felt like she could help. Ellen L says she would only academically understand your professional concerns, but I can tell you I know no one who is a better mother and more successful mother still with her three adult children. Anyway know you have friends. You are on my prayer list already anyway just in thanksgiving for knowing you and wanting you protected, You will likely be there as long as I can pray. Trust yourself. Don't take council of your fears. Consult with friends who know. But as you get skittish, seek professional council too. Bless you dear heart. Trust in joy. Trust in life and art. Trust in goodness. Happy Easter. Much love. Blessings and Grace.