There is a Sex in the City episode that takes the girls into a raw food restaurant where they blech the food, but Samantha, the insatiable sex kitten, ends up meeting the man that finally stands with her toe to toe. Much, much later, at the very end of the series, when Sam has cancer and is stripped of everything she knows, including her own sexuality, Smith remains with her, covering her rawness with his love and devotion, not caring about her lack of hair, appetite, sexual desire or even that she keeps trying to shove him out of her life; he remains close, loving her. Loving her.
Each of us finds our raw places throughout our lives. For some of us it is during our births when we are so vulnerable and open - our vaginas, our rectums, our mouths, our eyes, our noses - every orifice oozing fluid as loved ones and, very often, strangers, watch with awe (or indifference).
Some of us are raw when we are raped and everything we know was ripped from us when we least expected it. We thought we were safe, yet someone came and shoved their penis/hand/instrument inside of us and took our power and left us with shame and fear and a shivering huddled mass crumpled on the floor.
Some of us find our raw places purposefully in therapy. We gently lift the cloaks we've used to cover the wounds all those years ago - or, on the contrary, some rip the bandages off fast and furiously and just watch as the skin oozes blood knowing the new flesh won't have anything to do with that old crap the ripped flesh represents.
Others of us just plug along and get raw off and on for a variety of non-descript reasons. Living on welfare here, son's in jail there, sister's a whackie bo-bo, perhaps mom died when you were 7 and it just never found any resolution in your life. Who's to know what makes some of us more raw than others and then, looking at the Smith Jarrod side, how do we heal from our raw-ness? How do we cover our raw places? Do we artificially cover them with alcohol, food, cleaning, shopping or drugs and allow that to suffice? Do we live a life on medication and believe that is helping or is that another way of simply smothering the pain? Is there ever re-growing the burnt flesh or is it forever scarred and pulled tight and shiny, a reminder of the excruciating pain of the moment of terror that caused the rawness in the first place?
I am raw.
I have not been able to write because I am so raw I simply have not been able to put my words out there to be seen/heard. The very difficult births, the wedding of my child, the precariousness of my own mental health, the incredibly sad near-death of my business are all pushing me to the most raw place I have been in a very long time. Since last November, probably. Or longer.
But, the last few weeks of raw-ness have been a time of growth and a time where I am being forced to see where I can lick my own wounds, put salve on my own pain and move to where the fire isn't quite so hot under my feet. I am used to my partner taking on a lot of my healing for me, but she is so busy making money so I can keep practicing midwifery, I can't bug her with my trivial emotional issues. I have to stand on my own this time. I've cried enough on her shoulder already. And on my apprentice's. It is time to stand on my own and stop being a baby about everything.
I've written before (long ago, in the old blog) about how hard it is to have a business and I am telling you again: NEVER own your own business. It is THE hardest, least rewarding, MOST painful, MOST obnoxious, MOST expensive endeavor one can ever attempt in this universe. Unless you have BUCKETLOADS of money you can toss to the wind without concern, make that SHIPLOADS of money, I HIGHLY discourage you from thinking a business other than a one-woman midwifery practice will be easy or fun or profitable. Please don't sit on any high horses and think, "You didn't try X Y or Z," or "You didn't try hard enough," or "You just didn't know what you were doing," or anything mean like that because 18 hour days times 3.5 years and over 1.5 million dollars (you read that right), I believe, constitutes trying hard enough.
In the last month, an exodus has occurred and I am left with a bare-bones staff, including leaving me as the only midwife. I have never been the only midwife at my office and it feels especially weird. I feel exposed. Every chart is mine now. (They were before, but this is different, somehow.)
Because of the exodus, I am in the position of needing to find money for the office to keep going to find it bloody fast or we are going to lose the business. And it would be a mess of untold proportions. I would still be a midwife, but... just take my word for it, it would be a huge mess to untangle with insurance payments out, 9 offices of furniture to tend to... just a lot of crap to deal with.
Nice that y'all like my photography. I really appreciate it. Off and on over the years, I've been paid to take pics of people, including births. Some good money at times, too. I am not a schooled photographer, but I am pretty good without knowing the math parts of F-stops and shutter speeds and all that stuff. (I actually understand ISO... how is beyond me, which gives me hope I will eventually get the rest.)
I thought I could do some crazy themed fat girl topless dancing or do some photograpy with a natural bent and the photography won out.
So, in the weeks since I have been quiet and absent, I have been reading voraciously (and sleeping and staring at walls thinking and processing) about photographing kids and having a photo studio and learning how to use my Canon D20 better and better for the entire endeavor. I've approached trusted clients who are THRILLED with my idea and who want me to do their pictures and who are going to help me set up the studio with drapes and props and such. I'm going to focus on pregnant women and attachment families, with a focus on nurslings since there aren't many photographers out there who are comfortable photographing a nursing toddler - much less a pregnant woman nursing a toddler! The props I am going to have are things like baby slings, cloth diapers, wooden toys, things we'd find in our attachment parenting homes - books, natural toys... things like that. I don't want to make a Sears Portrait Studio type of picture, you know? I want pics of kids whining, crying, suckling while smiling, pulling mom's other nipple while mom laughs... dad playing with the baby's toes as the baby nurses. All these things I want and can see.
I want to save my business. Or at least die trying.
Please, if you pray or visualize or think positive thoughts for people. Please do so for my business. She needs help NOW. It is dire. I don't ask for help often and am not asking for anything but thoughts and love. That's all. I need help to cover her raw-ness. My raw-ness.
My heart hurts because I am so close to losing something I have worked so very hard for and because so many will laugh about if the doors close. I don't want to be laughed at. I want to keep standing proud. I want to keep changing, transforming, growing. Trying. Working.
I need to live.
If I repeat it enough, perhaps my psyche will hear me?
I hope so.
I sincerely hope so.