Tonight, I sat in a Callanish circle, and Janie The Wise said “I think one of the biggest myths in life is that we can write, control, know our scripts.” She went on to talk about how the scripts we cling to for dear life, the ones that guide our decisions and upon which we chart our lives can be ripped from us at a moments notice, can be smudged or erased or obliterated all together, and how we so often cling even afterwards, how we cling so deeply, with such fervour to a script that no longer exists.
For me, that script was about babies, a pregnancy written into post-PhD life. From me, cancer tore that script into a million pieces.
And here I sit, piecing together another script. One born out of pain, out of buckets of tears for the babies my oncologist forbid, out of a body that forgot how to function with estrogen in it. It isn’t the script I imagined, and for that I grieve. For those characters, those scenes, those intermissions.
It’s not any kind of gift. But I”m writing another script. It’s broken and burned and incomplete. I don’t know where it ends and where it begins or how it turns out. But I do know there are twins written into my script, twins another woman is writing into my play, a merging of our scenes. I do know there are incredible friends who write songs with me, dream with me, sit with me, wonder at the world with me. I do know that this script will unravel.
I can’t yet know how. A year ago, it was still wound tight, this pieced together, good enough script. I screamed into the forest and bawled my eyes out to Janie about the babies I thought I’d never have, because my script was torn from my hands. But it came. I unraveled. I pieced together a new script.
We’re still writing. I’m in awe of this new script. This one that isn’t entirely unfurled, that’s filled with “that’s not what I imagined,” that doesn’t match up with where I always knew I’d be, but that one that is still mine. The one I’ll keep writing, because what else is there, but onward?
I keep thinking of this camp song, Oh I want to be strong… to be strong as the land around me/ I want a heart that’s as WIDE as the sky! I want a spirit like a moving mountain stream…./I want to look people straight in the eye!
I want that song in my script. That song and babies, and art and old friends, and theory and meaningful work and yoga and summer afternoons and fizzy water. And so I’m pricing it together, one piece at a time, unwieldy, unbelievable, yet so unknowable. Not what I thought. Something else. But mine, all of it, the good and the ugly and the hard and the weird. It’s all mine. I get this life, every inch of it, every moment in it, every surprise and hurdle and pain and laughter. It’s not the script I imagined, but it is all of it, my own.