Wordgame: Armchair

A symbol of modern Western comfort.

We all live in a magical world. But there are different kinds of magic. Those of us lucky enough to sit in our armchairs every day if we like are inherently more subject to a certain, and altogether intoxicating, kind of magic. A magic of instant gratification, world at our fingertips, all our tiny wants fulfilled, delivered to our door. It’s positively glamourous. And so we are naturally mesmerised by it. Naturally inclined to…recline.

I have been sitting in my metaphorical armchair rather too often these past few months. I’ve barely gotten out of it recently, if truth be told. I have known it, and I have been too apathetic to remedy it. Frankly, I have been enjoying it too much to quit. The magic show has been too compelling; too impressive. And I have been unwilling to tear my eyes away.

But the magic show is empty. It’s gloss and glitter in the cracks. It doesn’t touch any real part of me. It doesn’t nourish me.

It makes me feel safe, that’s for sure. But it doesn’t truly make my life any less precarious. It doesn’t change anything, in fact. It just lets me forget. It lets me relax. It lets me succumb. I don’t have to be strong when I’m watching the show. I don’t have to face the darkness. I don’t have to make any difficult decisions. I don’t have to live up to my potential. It’s all so very comfortable.

But I don’t want the life I’d have if I keep sitting in that comfy, cushioned, atrophy-inducing chair. I want a life of exercised power. I want to create my own sort of magic.

So go on then, Yve. Up with you.

Nola

Motherhood, for me, was a calling that revealed itself in early adulthood. Prior to that, I was somewhat ambivalent to the idea, primarily because I doubted my ability to be a good mother. That didn’t stop me from constructing a very specific fantasy of living on a smallholding in Grizedale in the Lake District, with my two sons Jacoby and Delano (father pending), but I was very distinctly disconnected from any concept of what it would mean to be a mother.

When I was twenty-three, however, my perspective jumped quite suddenly when I had a strange dream. It was all blackness, and out of the blackness stepped an old man. He handed me a baby girl, told me her name was Nola, and said “remember, she’s not yours.” And then I woke up. It felt important, and I found myself reflecting on its meaning for a long time after it ended; on what it is to be a parent and raise a child; on what preconceptions I had been carrying with me in my life thus far; on what would happen if (or maybe when) Nola was made manifest; on how parenthood now seemed inevitable for me.

A few weeks later, I fell pregnant. I wasn’t using birth control but I was tracking my cycle and should have been a good week away from ovulating. There was a moment during sex that I suddenly knew, but I told myself I was crazy until a little pink line corroborated my story. It was Nola. The world was magical.

The first flush of joy, however, gave way to a sort of desperate depression after not too long. I wasn’t ready to give a child what they deserved. My partner wasn’t ready to give a child what they deserved. At about eight weeks, I felt my connection to Nola waning, completely outside of my control. I felt her slipping away. I blamed the depression I couldn’t snap myself out of, and the fact that my relationship had declined to the point we were sleeping in separate bedrooms. But I couldn’t shake the sad suspicion that it was over. At twelve weeks it was confirmed I had miscarried, although my body refused to give up on being pregnant.

I had failed. I had failed her. I wasn’t good enough to be a parent.

One day, though, I would be good enough. One day, I would be ready to give a child what they deserved. I had to be. And this was, for whatever reason, part of the journey to get there.

I won’t comment on whether that was a healthy meaning to take from the experience; it was simply the one I took.

Three years later, my body, my mind, my soul were insisting it was time to have a child. To the extent that, a few times, despite the fact I hadn’t had sex in probably a year, I wouldn’t have been surprised if I’d peed on a stick and it told me I was pregnant.

Then I met someone. Someone who liked the moon that my cycle had now synced up with. Things got a little bit reckless from there.