I have a really brilliant hairstylist. His name is Simon. The last time I went to see him I brought a picture of the bangs I wanted.
Simon, can you do this? I asked.
I can, but I won't, he replied.
Because no man will ever approach you in a bar if you've got those bangs. They're too angular. They're too harsh.
But Simon, men hardly approach me in bars as it is.
And you want to make it harder, why?
I didn't get the bangs. I got pretty darn close. Simon's good that way. Compromise.
Simon knows everything about me. I tell him things that I tell almost no one else. He knows the names of the men I've loved (and the number of other people in the world with that information can be counted on one hand).
He is privy to all of the information too private to share here.
And so we talk about everything. Past lives and bathroom habits and political beliefs and what it is we feel called to do.
This last time I saw him he told me something I haven't been able to stop thinking about since:
There is almost no more traumatic event that the human body can go through than to give birth. And if a person didn't know what was happening they might think they were dying. It is an insane proposition before a woman: growing a child and then pushing it out. And the event of that, while sacred, is violent and bloody and is there anything harder? But it passes. And what comes from that violence and blood and struggle is life. New life. Perfect life. In fact, there is nothing more perfect and good and wholly right than that new life.
And the metaphor of that--the extension of that is that suffering and trauma and what feels like it might be killing us may be the very thing pushing out new life. The moment is just a moment. And when all is said and done few things are more worthwhile than the temporary pain during which it seemed life was ending.
I thought about that as I was on my knees today, praying--and how that thought was both the prayer and the gentle, unfolding response.