She’s Carrying The World

Babies & Their Bellies

 

womanpregnantbelly
Chayene Rafaela|Unsplash

I have this thing for pregnant bellies. I love them! For as long as I can remember, I have been drawn to the wonder of a woman’s belly — how it can be home to a miracle growing inside. Currently, at work, there are two co-workers who are pregnant. Both are carrying boys. I have an army of boys in my family, little soldiers who get into mischief and carve out places in this world with their seeking fingers. I connect with children, even while in their mother’s womb, we bond.

A few weeks back, my co-worker (the one who is due in May) was walking up the hallway toward our front desk and I was heading back from the radiologists’ reading department and we sort of met in the middle. I calmly asked, “May I?” as I pointed to her belly and she smiled as bright as anyone could and almost shouted, “Sure!” I placed my right hand just above her navel and began talking to her little one, granting him blessings straight from my heart. I thanked her and shortly after when we were both settled back into the groove of our positions, she called me to let me know that her little one started to kick as soon as she walked away.

I laughed, then smiled. At the end of my shift, I welcomed a few tears. The beauty of something as monumental as bringing another human being into this world hit me without my knowledge. I said softly to myself, “I wonder if they know that history is beginning in their bellies — they’re carrying the world.” I think of how things would have been had I brought my own little one into this world — if I ever could and a variety of emotions hit me at once, from every angle. I used to think that I was useless, that if I was not giving this world a part of me, that I did not matter. I used to believe that without a child of my own, I was not fit to be called “woman.”

Now, when I see this co-worker, she smiles. I ask her, “How’s the little one?” and she always says, “He’s busy growing. He’s good.” Her belly is shifting from a basketball to a combination of a football and beach-ball. She’s all belly, at a quick glance, nothing else seems to be shifting.

My other co-worker has baby written all over her. The sweet boy growing inside of her is making his presence known. It seems as though the little one is saying, “Get ready, world! I am going to be nothing you expected, but something that you need!” I have not given her belly a talking to, not yet, but I will — if allowed. I look at my own belly, wondering if it is fit to grow a miracle like most women — if it can create change. And, I think it can, it is the completing part of it all that I am told would be problematic. I want to reach out and call to the little soothsayer, sage, or savior nearing what will be my co-worker’s last trimester. I want to tell him to be all that he can be and so much more.

I watch her, my co-worker (her due date is sometime in April), she races about our work-place on a mission. It is hard to catch her in slow motion. She has so much energy and I cannot help but feel like instead of exhaustion and swollen feet and frequent bathroom breaks and odd tastes in food, her little one is far more mature and is simply settled in the womb until he is called away. I have never seen someone still as active for ten straight hours at six months pregnant before. She is nonstop. I feel as though her little boy is saving the best for his debut. He will be a reckoning. He will be a force.

We better get ready.

Both of these women are doing something I have chosen not to, that I, in the grand scheme of things, cannot. To say that I am moved each day that I get a chance to see them would be an understatement. I have an incredible amount of respect for them. After all, they are carrying their own little worlds inside. Each of them preparing for motherhood at their own pace.

Each of them preparing to share with all of us, the gift of life.


Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.

I Want My Mom

Picture of Hamoudi spreading like wildfire.

The following story that’s being shared here is that of a Middle Eastern 14-year-old effeminate boy who was viciously murdered by a heartless adult based on his appearance. I cannot… My heart breaks over and over reading about instances like this all over the world. Hate is too damn real and it needs to be extinguished. When you can put it in your mind to murder someone based on their appearance or any differences from you simply because you do not like those differences or appearances, you have no heart. YOU HAVE NO SOUL!

Hamoudi’s last words were, “I want my Mom.” Authoritative officials are not doing anything, conducting an investigation into this child’s senseless murder is on their back burner. Beliefs, patriarchy, old ways and traditions are their focus points, not the lives of human beings and the basic need for respect and acceptance. 

A young boy died because a man thought that he was too effeminate to deserve to live. The man stabbed him repeatedly in the gut, and then taunted him while he bled to death.

I want to honor his memory and help infuse his short life with meaning, but I want to think about people closer to home too.

I write a lot about LGBTQ equality. I write a lot about violence committed in the US against LGBTQ people. I write a lot about how violence rates have been rising dramatically over the past two years — ever since Trump came to power.

I’ve been working hard to promote awareness and to educate people. Some of the responses I’ve received from fellow Americans are unspeakable. I’ve been told point blank (and repeatedly) that transgender women deserve to be raped in prison.

I’ve been told that murders of gay youth aren’t important. I’ve been told that rising rates of violence are funny. Fellow Americans have sent me animated gifs of cartoon characters laughing.

So please don’t anyone think I wrote this article to condemn violence in the Middle East in particular.

I Want My Mom by James Finn https://link.medium.com/2qhN5oa8lR

The link above will lead you directly to the full write-up about this travesty by James Finn, a fellow Medium Writer. James does not tire of fighting for equality and LGBTQ rights. Share this, please. If you believe that a person’s life means more than their sexuality, their beliefs, their appearance, and anything else that should not be a determining factor for hate and maliciousness, then please send your words out into the ether. 

There are many instances happening right now in the States that are putting many connected to, affiliated, and associated with the LGBTQ community in grave danger, and causing many more to commit suicide. 

THIS IS NOT LIFE!

Whatever happened to love? Where is it in these times? Why doesn’t it always show its head? Be love. Be open. Know that your ways are not the only ways. 

You are not judge, jury, and executioner. You never will be. 

The Blood Of Old Souls

Part V: Opal

The Old Witch, Baba Yaga: Courtesy of An306/DeviantArt

She presses the steamy pot into a hole in the ground outside her log cabin. There are canned tongues, eyeballs, and lips curing inside. Opal has been waiting for this day to come. 

The Day of the Big Feast.

Her goal is to devour ten children in less than three days.

She fasted all Winter, storing up more than enough fat in Autumn to be able to excel accordingly for this challenge. Hazel, her nemesis, is the only witch in Gutter Way who has eaten nine children in two days. Opal knows that in order to be Top Witch, she must beat Hazel. In the pot is a blend of lizard toenails, butterfly wings, owl eyes, vinegar, seaweed, bear jawbones, water, and wasabi. Not only will she beat Hazel this year, she will beat her for years to come.

Or so, she thinks…

Opal summons the forces of the ancestors before her, casting a spell that only she could reverse. Her intent? Poison Hazel and gather all of her spells while garnering a vast reward from the Witching Panel. The stew stews, sending a luring cloud of steam into the direction of Hazel’s cabin. Before it finally reaches her door she opens it and counters Opal’s attempt with a secret MASTER reverse spell.

“Gutter Way, beware. Witches drenched in jealousy will fall to their own spells.”

Hazel blows the cloud back to Opal’s cabin, spits another spell behind its steam, and closes her door. On her table lay a plump, little boy with his mouth stuffed with an apple and his belly glazed in pig fat. He is Hazel’s fourth meal of the day. Opal stirs her pot some more and tosses a set of twin toddlers into the stew. The ancestors toil and bubble. In the girls are the souls of Hazel’s Aunts–popular witches of Gutter Way from two hundred years ago. They awaken as soon as the bodies touch the heat.

“Your life is on the line. Our blood will carry on. Of this, you can be certain.”

Opal stirs the stew, sips it heartily, then begins to lose her balance. Her eyes bleed, her tongue splits down its middle, and her hair catches fire. In less than two minutes, ashes lay near the stewing pot. In the quietness of the fields of Gutter Way, Hazel can be heard agreeing with the Ancient Aunts,

“Our blood will carry on. Of this, you can be certain.”

The Blood of Old Souls

Part III: Cherish

Cherish
The Sick Child: Courtesy of Edvard Munch

Trigger Warning: This short story, fictional work will be semi-graphic in nature regarding pedophilia/familial child rape, death & dying, and choosing to end the life of one’s child. If this is something you think you should not be reading, please, do not continue.


Marci sits at her daughter’s bedside. Tubes, lines, beeps, buzzes, and everything else that disrupts the child’s rest is alive and doing its job. She hangs her head slowly, embracing the trembling hands of her only daughter — peace is nowhere to be found. The room smells of overcooked death and analgesics. Every doctor within their specialty has had their say — they plead with Marci to “pull the cord,” to let her youngest go in peace. A rare form of bone cancer, Ewing sarcoma, is having its final say on their daughter’s life. Marci thinks about the decision, her husband is opposed. She whispers to Cherish, letting her know her pain.

“It’s a decision I never wanted to make. What mother wants to kill her child? What mother can? Your Daddy — heavy in his groveling, begs me night and day not to let you go. But, is this living? Cherish, are you alive in there?”

Cherish turns her head but her eyes remain closed. A small breath of air leaves her chapped lips. She tries to speak, but nothing comes forth. Marci continues. She is praying to her daughter’s trembling hands instead of the God she has known for forty years. She is praying to the monitors, to the adjustable bed, to the sanctity of this very moment between her and her daughter, but not to her God.

“Cherish, sweet baby, if you can hear me, squeeze my hand. Squeeze Mommy’s hand. Just one squeeze and I will know what to do. Just one squeeze, please. Please, baby.”

There is no response.

No hand squeezing, not even a faint understanding of what is being said. Cherish is dwelling in two worlds — caught up between the souls of the ancestors of Marci and the ancestors of her father, Lincoln. They are arguing over the young girl’s soul — who gets to have it when she is gone? Marci continues, the room in its quiet reveal, suddenly becomes noisy. Lincoln walks in with their son Colin. They come bearing flowers and a teddy bear. Cherish stirs in the sterilized bed, twitching her feet, and slowly moving her head.

Something is wrong.

“We stopped at the gift shop for Cherish. Colin picked out the teddy bear. I picked out the flowers. How’s our fighter doing?”

Marci picks up on Cherish’s reaction to Lincoln’s entrance to the room. She is squeezing her hand. A mother knows. A mother always knows when something is wrong. Colin has noticed that his sister is having what seems like a fit — the last functioning conversation without words before… before she dies.

“Mom, what’s going on? Is Cherish trying to live? What is happening!?”

“I don’t know, honey. I think she is trying to tell me something. I think she is trying to say something important.”

Lincoln steps closer, he swipes the bit of hair hanging on his daughter’s forehead to the side. Softly, he leans in and places a kiss on her cold cheek.

“Daddy’s here, baby.”

Cherish’s vital signs spark, then plummet. Her body convulses, the room darkens, and everything not bolted down swirls and hovers about the family for five seconds. She squeezes her mother’s hand again. She squeezes much harder this timeA child dying to get away from a perverted father. A child begging for death to come as an escape. A child, with no words, only the squeeze of her mother’s hand.

“I hear you, baby. I hear you.”

Marci kisses her daughter, looks at Lincoln with undefinable rage, and before he can utter one word, she pulls the bedside monitor’s cord. She pulls every tube, cord, and PICC-line sustaining her daughter’s life. Marci is unsure, but as she looks at Cherish one last time, she thinks she sees her smile. The ancestors fighting over her daughter’s soul appear, not only do they take Cherish—

They come for Lincoln too.


Originally published on February 111, 2018, via Medium.

7 Words: How?

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My baby cousin, Caison. He’s much like a best friend of mine. For his arrival, his existence, I am so grateful.

How did God
know
I needed you?


Author’s Note: I found myself in and out of bouts of sadness, wondering when I was going to be happy again, wondering why I was so sad. My cousin gave birth to this incredibly handsome little one this past October and since his arrival, my heart has grown five sizes bigger. I am happier. I feel a sense of deeper connectivity to the Earth, to my loved ones, to God. Just when we think to give up on ourselves, on who we have become, reminders appear. We are only human. We fall, but we aren’t meant to stay down.