In the midst of this - a new year just begun, a baby now six months old whom I have never been away from, a marriage about to turn two years old, finishing an eighth year working as a domestic violence educator, a nearly-written screenplay gathering dust in my computer bag - I need a new voice. My familiar identity seems to have deflated and is lying on the floor of the closet like an old prom dress that I still like to have around, even though it doesn't fit by a long shot.
My dreams the past two weeks aren't making sense. One night, baby Noah is in the hospital and the snotty nurse won't allow me access to information about the medicine he is getting, the next night Brad Pitt has come to dinner with his new infant and we are talking straight-faced about Brad's facial structure while my husband Matthew cooks.
My old familiar loveys - my journals, poetry notebooks, phone calls with my best friend - aren't keeping me in touch with my essential self. Words, that I love so much, are piling up in my head, untapped. When people ask me how I'm doing, I know that they are interested in how my dear baby is doing. Even if they are interested in how I'm doing, I answer similarly each time "Great! I love being a mother. Noah is wonderful." Huh??? It's all true, but something has clearly gone missing.
When I began law school 13 years ago, I kept a small sign on my computer in a cheap plastic stand-up frame that said "poet lawyerette." A constant reminder of my bi-polar identities at the time. Back when I was still considering law school, my father sent me a cartoon from The New Yorker which showed a bohemian-looking woman and man sitting in a restaurant talking, and the woman was leaning forward saying "Yeah, law school is really inspiring my art!" I've never forgotten it.
Now, ten years past graduation, I am in a marriage I never thought I would be so lucky to be a part of. I have a beautiful, healthy baby who seems a true Eighth Wonder. I am working for slightly more than beans educating community members, police, and anyone else who will listen, about domestic violence and how to create social change around this unbelievable topic. And what I really want to be is a writer.