On a hot August night I came reluctantly into the world with the aid of a medical device rarely used in births these days, and I was affectionately referred to as “a forceps baby.” The short-story version of my birth is that I almost killed my mother, her doctor should have made an executive decision and performed a cesarian section, but he did not. Labor and Delivery persisted then for over 70 hours, my mother was hospitalized for 2 weeks following my birth. The whole process wasn’t easy for me either, though I have no memory of the event, only the memories of this story being told at family gatherings from as far back as I can remember. The forceps that they used to forcibly remove me are like glorified pliers, except they are made for the head of a baby! That’s right, they grabbed my infant head, with pliers, and pulled me out. They also placed the forceps on the front and back of my head, smashing my nose and causing it to sit to the left of center on my face, where it remains today.
Such was the swelling and damage my mother tells me that she actually covered my face with a blanket, so that she could prepare my dad before he saw me for the first time. I was actually so ugly when I was born that my mother covered my face. I had a face that only a mother could love. The punchline of so many schoolyard jokes was actually a reality for my first days in the world.
I begin my story here, not only because it is the beginning, but also because it serves as sort of a metaphor for the rest of my life. I have rarely chosen to do things the easy way, often needing to be pulled into motion. I’ve allowed being a punchline to influence much of how I’ve responded to others. I remain deeply insecure about a number of things, and many of my experiences are shaped by this reality. My insecurities have led me to be dishonest, to be someone that I’m not, to allow the expectations of others to shape me (in conformity and rebellion), and have prevented me from living my life to the full. Pulling a blanket of sorts over my face to conceal what’s really going on.
I’ve been told that writers shed their sickness by writing. I hope to share some of my story, and to do so honestly, this is about saying out loud what I’ve been to afraid to share before. It is my sincere hope that this writing will help others to find solidarity and connection with my story, but I have a selfish motive too. I want to learn about myself more completely in this process. I know that it will at times be painful. I know that I will need to have some conversations with the people mentioned in my writing, and revisit old wounds along the way. I will not allow these reservations to prevent me from writing though. I’m still learning to push through my insecurities and realize the abundant life that I desire, to be honest about my doubts and fears, and to choose belief and trust, in spite of all the questions that loom large.
Welcome to the car crash, feel free to rubberneck as long as necessary, and remember to buckle up for safety.
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