Tuesday, July 6, 2010

michael, may you now be at peace: a reflection (no. 61)

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"visions come to me in my sleep/i closed my eyes to see what GOD is showing me..."

sometimes we only go as far as we allow our vision(s) (or dreams) to take us... and sometimes that is not very far. we awaken due to a disruption (the buzz of an alarm clock, the call of a full bladder). much of the time it can be attributed to our fears: of rejection, of failure.

"nothing comes but sleep to a dreamer..."

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i woke up from a dream where you appeared. it was set approximately in 1980 or 1981. you made a surprise appearance at a diana ross concert. as she was singing a leon sylvers-inspired tune you jumped in, ad libbing and playing off of her rhythms. the crowd went crazy; they clamored for more but in a flash you were gone. i didn't even see you leave... all i saw was a queue of men (most likely your security) all dressed in black, running behind you. the next thing i saw was a shot of the crowd in a state of pandemonium as the orchestra (which you could not see, as they were behind a bunch of rafters) played on.

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and then i woke up.

"and when you wake up, the dream has gone away."

even though it was not a continuation of the same literal dream; when i woke up i wondered if they had the same connotation- you know, the one dream i had that one time (when you were still physically here) where diana ross was there too... it was at a huge arena, and i, my sister and a friend sat so far up top everything on the stage looked like ants. after the show ms. ross led me backstage (the friend and my sister had left, then came back), where you were. you were just serenely sitting at a table, all by yourself. you were dressed in your blue sequined costume (the one you wore to the grammys and when you went to see the reagans). i didn't want to disturb your moment of serenity but you helped me along by giving me a warm hello. at the time of the dream i was in the midst of heavily writing the book so inevitably i carried a lot of anxiety. because you were the umbrella through which the book was written you had the opportunity to be the recipient of a non-stop barrage of disjointedness. you gently stopped me, took my hand in yours and held it in a parental gesture. "you know what to do" was your response.

and then i woke up.

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but you've heard this all before... maybe i'm just reading too much into a possible connection, but i see one, between the two dreams. because a lesson is involved in both.

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there are two different issues which have been eating at me in different ways: children and technology. and yesterday i had to confront both in ways i really did not want to.

the older i get my desire to be a mother grows. at work i see so many children- babies born just days and weeks prior, toddlers who have found the joys of exploration- and i feel this immense emptiness inside my soul. i am driven by this fear that i'll never get to experience that because... i have absolutely no desire to give birth. i know, i know, it's extremely contradictory. i recall you stating in an interview something similar in the early 1980s, how you yearned to be a father but didn't really want to be a part of the birthing process. when i saw that i thought, SOMEONE UNDERSTANDS...

again, seeing that many may think this has to do with you not wanting to continue your gene pool (and further, after the birth of the children you eventually did have, that you didn't want black children). i cannot make assumptions about why you said what you did; all i know is that when i saw your comment i felt as if i wasn't alone. i know for me, it has nothing to do with either one... i just never really had a desire to give birth. as beautiful as the process is, to see a life growing inside someone and after this long gestational period anticipating the result; i personally just don't want any part of it.

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and i get a lot of grief for this. "well, you don't want a child bad enough then" they say. but i do... I DO! it kills me so much that i cry at night sometimes. i want to watch a child grow, say the first words, learn to walk, form lasting friendships, become independent... the older i get the nurturing side of me grows. i live with a lovely cat (who, if anything were to happen to her it would devastate me to no end) but frankly it's not the same. it's like, as much as you loved bubbles (or muscles or louis or rosie or mr. tibbs, etc.), the role bubbles played could not compare to the first time you saw your first born son. i mean, it was so much that you even allowed the press into your life, to document the event of his existence.

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looking at images of you over the years; it amazes me how much you lit up when you were around children, as if they were your one link to life. even when you performed on stage (which you felt safety from, and where the microphone was sort of an umbilical cord) there always seemed to be tinges of anger or resentment. the 'angry dancer' description astaire gave to you rang true. but when you were around children it was the only time i can say that sadness departed from your eyes.

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what upsets me is that there's a degree on how much i desire to have children in my life... i don't know if i were a man who wanted a child, if people would be critiquing me because i didn't want to father one 'naturally'. is giving birth such a symbol of my womanhood that the only way to test my being a competent mother is if i gave birth? i don't think that's what people are saying but at times it feels that way.

what they ARE saying is that there aren't too many options i have, if i really want to be a mother; as i don't want to produce a child 'naturally', and i don't have the money 'required' to adopt a child. i could, of course, be a nanny, but that's not the same as full on motherhood, as being a nanny does not guarantee watching the child grow for years on end.

a couple of friends commented that my lack of desire to give birth may stem from some sort of trauma; either in a past life (where i died stillborn), or in this one (where my childhood was so painful that i don't wanna see the gene pool continue). i would think that if life was so bad for me as a child i would WANT to give birth so that it would be proven that abuse does not run in our blood.

it's difficult for me to explain why i have never wanted to give birth. if it ever ends up happening it's not going to be the worst thing to ever happen in my life; but i really hope that's not something i even have to consider.

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if anything i have a huge fear of, not the child being stillborn, but me not surviving the experience and never being able to see the child grow. i have a huge fear of suffering from depression during pregnancy, and after. i have thoughts of being really ill throughout the experience- more than the typical morning sickness, or cramps.

and if i actually did survive the pregnancy i'd be afraid that i'd reject the child. as beautiful as i think the experience of childbirth is, i also find it to be extremely violent. for a child to be born (pushed out!) into this world today is very cruel. and some of the things we subject the child to during that gestational period are cruel as well. they come into this world after all this time of peace, and we instantly place our aspirations, our fears, our assumptions onto them.

and with that, as much as it's killing me right now that i am not a mother, at the same time i hate the fact that i want to be one.

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i also have an intense fear about being a mother right now, because i don't want to do it alone. i long for the 'traditional' life in many ways... a companion to raise a child with. but how many people do you meet who love children but also don't have the desire to do it 'naturally'? for men, there are more options.

but not really. because how many men who want to be fathers shy away from the idea of an 'heir' to continue their bloodline? i recognize the value in this with older agricultural or nomadic societies... but where exactly does this translate today? how much more value does a child which continues the bloodline have, as opposed to a child who is adopted? wouldn't both children be loved the same?

i know that i'm not ready to be a mother at this moment; i still have a lot of healing to do. the sentiments of "not getting any younger" tick away at my spirit as i begin to approach my mid-30s... people telling me "you'll make a good mother" does not help. it's not my womb which is feeling empty; it's the feeling that i'll never be a mother which dictates that emptiness.

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and so we are onto the second issue i am having- the fear that i'm living in a world where everything is abbreviated, and rushed. that even these conversations i am writing here to you are too lengthy. the more we adapt to all these technological 'advances' the less time we have to spend with each other, and form lasting relationships.

you, being on another plane are able to sit and decipher where you want your energies to go... you have so much time to do this. we on this plane have been neglecting our abilities to do the same exact thing. more and more of our relationships appear to be based on what someone can do for us, as opposed to WITH us. or as a friend said yesterday, "the three-minute sell".

i am having so much trouble getting on in a world like this. it's difficult for me to be stimulated by all the sounds, all the instant pictures and flashing lights. it's been building up to this environment for years, but now the idea that computers can become a substitute for relationships of living beings has become a reality for some.

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and with that i reluctantly signed up with these 'social networking' sites, in order for me to find people i lost connection with (some of this did happen), or to discuss important socio-political issues (this has happened as well). overall, the experience has left me unsatisfied, because there's only so many places in these connections/communications people are willing to go.

you see, i don't like small talk (i'm sure you could tell). and this is what to me, much of this 'social networking' amounts to. it's as if any critical thought ruins the party. again, i totally grasp why you were a man of few words.

and i personally don't like talking too much, but i love writing. and so much of this 'social networking' culture is an extension of 'talking' culture... it a method of formulating ways on how to win people over... and that's not necessarily easy to do when you are involved in intense dialog. in many ways 'talking' requires taking sides, as opposed to seeing many sides of a situation. these days so much of the 'taking sides' is due to lack of information. because we receive so much information at accelerated rates (via links) there becomes less and less time to study or focus on one or two things. it's as if diligence is no longer a part of our interactions and cultures. study, and "to thine own self be true..."

diligence is the only way to truth. again, part of this truth is questioning the lessons, and the teacher who grants the lessons.

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and so, in my diligence i continue to make attempts to navigate and use these networking tools to spread your teachings, in the hope that others are learning as well.

"visions come to me in my sleep..."

i gather that you have appeared in my dreams again, briefly, as i am in a mode of self-confrontation to let me know, as you once lovingly told me, that i "know what to do."

love,
jamilah

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2 comments:

Becky Chiao said...

Blogging is a good way to use social media when you like to write.

I'd be happy to share my no fuss childbirth experiences with you if you ever want some reassurance.

the one woman apollo! said...

thanks becky, i'd like to hear that.