i've always been a bit of a mess

i'm going to be a good mom, despite of and because of my mess.

I’ve always been a bit of a mess. In my early 20’s and 30’s I got spiritual. It was the opposite of a mess. I was devoted to God, serving children, waking up, and healing. There were only two things: spiritual and not spiritual. Spiritual was shamanism and new age workshops and Boulder. Not spiritual was football, politics, my family and life outside of Boulder. I did so many things to become more spiritual: shamanic apprenticeships, reiki trainings, vision quests, solitude, spiritual teachers and almost being exorcized by a ‘healer’ who said the antichrist lived inside me. I took risks in order to transcend and unlearn my conditioning and personality. I didn’t want to be who I was. One of my un-conditioning experiments led me to become a Pixie one afternoon and I hung out on the Pearl Street Mall wearing a pointed green hat with a nest, butterflies, birds and furry pointed ears. I carried a wand and a sign that said Believe. I was self-proclaimed Myth and Mirth. A homeless man on the mall followed with curiosity, “What are you?” “Why I’m Poppy the Pixie from Tir Na Nog! “From where?” “You know, Tir na Nog, not quite here and not quite there!” She blew sparkles on him and marched up and down Pearl Street offering inner child wishes and declaring to children and adults alike, “Believe!”

Word spread about Poppy the Pixie and she was invited to create birthday parties and special celebrations for Waldorf-y kids and grown-ups. They were actually really wonderful. People were really moved and magical things happened. Poppy created improvisational stories and sang songs on the guitar. During story circles, deer approached, butterflies swooped at the perfect moments and a bat came once after being invoked by the story. It was way more spiritual to be Poppy than Stacey Ginsburg, that girl with those problems from upper Michigan. I came from an isolated snaggle of land on the border of Lake Superior. It was one of the poorest, most alcoholic, racist and depressed counties. I’d been a lost teenager who’s daddy died in prison when she was ten and who’d been pregnant and had an abortion by the time she was 16.

Poppy was pure love and joy. She gave me permission to explore polyamory and alternative ways of loving. I had three beautiful lovers. But then I got pregnant. Poppy got pregnant with the man I liked the most, the mystical one –the one I’d felt devotional, ecstatic love towards, the one I’d met on a spiritual retreat two years earlier. It got so messy. The gravity of pregnancy grounded me. We crashed. My wings singed. He fell. I fell. It hurt to fall from Poppy paradise. I was made to have a baby. Poppy was made to guide a child to her destiny, to her star. I was ready to have a baby. But I wasn’t. Something wasn’t right in me –despite all the spiritual work, something in me was still messy. It reared its head during my pregnancy. I was scared to be a mother because I didn’t like my mother. I was scared to co-parent with someone I didn’t really have a foundation with. Especially because he wanted the baby and he wanted polyamory. I wasn’t really spiritual enough. Poppy was, but not Stacey. Stacey had problems. I wasn’t big enough to dive into polyamory and share my baby with his other partners. But if I did it on my own, I’d risk becoming my worst nightmare: my own mother, who had struggled in a small town as a single parent to raise her two girls and wasn’t exactly nice about it. It fucking shattered me. Out of fear and desperation to save myself and my baby girl from a fate that would repeat my story, I aborted her. I felt devastated but convinced that the only thing to do was deal with myself and give birth to me as a woman. Someone who knew herself and wasn’t going to get lost in wonderland.

The abortion sucked more than a little bean of a girl out of me. It sucked out God and mysticism and magic and wonder. It closed my heart and my pelvis and fragmented my mind. It was too painful to be Poppy again or even to work with children in a traditional setting. Who am I if I’m not Poppy and if I’m not going to be a mommy? Who the hell am I and what is wrong with me that I attracted that? I knew I had to leave Boulder when I felt the desire to kill people from my new age communities who said, ‘We are all one” or, ‘There must be something planetary happening, I’m really off.” Or anything that reeked of spiritual bypass. So I said Fuck the Shamans. Fuck the healers. Fuck the therapists that I’m dependent on to find the way. It didn’t work. The new age didn’t heal me. Fuck it. So I went home to Michigan. To the house where I grew up. To face my ghosts. To get real. I’d vowed I’d never live there ever again. I hated it there. I’d hated my mother. I lived in the bedroom where I’d been a moody, suicidal adolescent. I wrote a coming of age memoir and gave that girl a voice for her stories. I let myself get wild and bitchy and mean and real and salty in that salty real place. I survived my stories, and fell in love with my mother the survivor. I saw her and she saw me; I listened to her and she listened to me and that is all I ever wanted. And I fell in love with that place. I fell in love with the lake that is a sea and the birch and the pine and the bluffs and the abandoned mines.

I spent time with my grandfather and his Italian stories and hung out with my vibrant 100 year old next door neighbor. I listened to story after story from the mechanic and the lonely truck driver and the born again Christians and the rough racist hunters. This place and the people I’d judged as not being spiritual became sparkly to me, in the most real, unassuming but magical way.

I eventually came back to Boulder and couldn’t relate to my former new age communities. I’m different than who I’d been. God and the former way of relating to the woo woo is dead. I think that becoming human is one of the most messy, amazing things in the world. I’m still messy and this is okay. There is no such thing as spiritual or not spiritual anymore. What matters now is that I’m real. I have a good partner who is far from normal, and we’re in a traditional monogamous relationship. We’re messy too and that’s okay. And guess what? I’m pregnant! I am going to be a good mom, despite of and because of my mess.

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