It’s been just over a month since I performed in my last burlesque show for a wee while. I’m currently 20 weeks pregnant, and I am very much missing being on stage, especially connecting to an audience and creating something magic that only exists in that time and place with other performers. I stopped performing during my pregnancy as I dealing with exhaustion and dehydration brought on by severe nausea and vomiting. I’ve had a lot of well meaning people advise me along the lines of “Don’t worry about having an awful pregnancy, it’s all worth it in the end”. I know people are trying be kind and reassuring, but the honest truth is I’m loving my pregnancy, even if it seems at odds with how ill I have been. I love speaking to the little soul inside me, thanking her/him for choosing me to be it’s Mummy. I’m loving seeing how my body is changing day to day. I’ve also come face to face with how much I have actively turned away from joy in my life and how comfortable I have felt in the murkiness lows of emotions. It’s no coincidence that this is all happening at the end of my first Saturn Return, a culmination of dramatic changes. Respecting all that has come before without discounting the past. Honouring all the experience that has created me so far, and allowing what is not working to fall away, like leaves that shed and in turn, fertilise the soil.

Sure, if I could choose, I would of loved to not of had such severe nausea that rendered me bed bound for a significant chunk of April, May and June, that still makes itself known and has significantly affected my work. (And yes, I do take ginger!) It is what it is. It’s all held by a universal love that I am constantly reminded of as my stomach and bosoms bloom, my hips widen and I feel the wee babe flittering inside me like a butterfly.

Performing with my bump at The Gilded Merkin. Image by Martyn Boston.

I’m in a period of transformation. Not only I am pregnant, I am also leaving Europe after almost 10 years to move to back to New Zealand. I’m really curious as to why we as humans can be so uncomfortable with feeling many feelings at once. I don’t have the answers, but it is an interesting place to poke around.

I personally have never felt 100% certain about anything in my life. Maybe that has engendered in me a certain ease in the calamity of life? You may see that uncertainty as anxiety or faithlessness, yet I feel there is always room for opposing forces to be held together without being at war. I have the line in my head from Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar where Esther is discussing with Buddy how she wants to live in both the city and country and Buddy calls her neurotic.

“If neurotic is wanting two mutually exclusive things at one and the same time, then I’m neurotic as hell. I’ll be flying back and forth between one mutually exclusive thing and another for the rest of my days.”

In agreeance with this statement, I must be neurotic! I feel very comfortable at the moment at once adoring my pregnancy yet not loving the sickness that has come along with it. I am really excited to move back to New Zealand, be near my family, the heavenly beaches and buy sheets in bundles (seriously UK, you need to adopt selling sheets in bundles, there is money to be made and time to be saved!). And at the same time, I am mourning leaving London, a city where I thought I would live for the rest of my life, where I ADORE the thriving performing arts scene, the culture (I never saw art by masters like Picasso or the blue of Vermeer painting until I moved to Europe. I saw Louise Bourgeois’ Spider at the Tate last week and it moved me to tears as I studied Bourgeois’ work at university. Seeing a work of art front of you as opposed to a photograph in a book is so powerful), the supportive spirituality community, the pub culture, how eccentricity in accepted without hardly a raised eyebrow, not least the wonderful friends I’ve made here. There really is no place in the world like London. And yet when people ask what I will miss about London, the UK, Europe and I share these things, I’m finding people are quick to console me. Likewise when asked about my pregnancy and I share how much joy it brings me, I’ve been meet with puzzled looks. I truly know this desire to sooth and smooth comes from such a good place, yet I’m curious if it is evidence of how uncomfortable we are with sadness and joy, the extremities of feelings.

In short, I’m in no rush to sprint through these sad feelings of leaving my home city for the past nine years, or to quash my feelings of excitement about moving back to NZ because they are both held by a deep sense of joy. One of the best pieces of advice I have been given is “Don’t wish away your pregnancy”. I’m also not going to wish away all the complex feelings around leaving one phase of life and country I love and moving to another phase and another country. I’m letting a life unfold instead of forcing life to be the way I think it should be.

So here’s to feeling seemingly opposing feelings at once. Here’s to Queens of the Stone Age for my current mantra “Transforming is becoming on me” from their song ‘Misfit Love’. Here’s to being in the flow instead of swimming upstream.

I’m sure it’s all part of being human, right?

With all the love possible,

Sophia X