In 49 BCE, Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon, a river in the north of Italy, with one legion of men, initiating the armed conflict that eventually lead to him being declared dictator of the new Roman Empire.
In the intervening years, the phrase “crossing the Rubicon” has come to represent the moment at which a series of events is set in motion that cannot be undone. To Cross the Rubicon is to pass the point of reconsideration. Once you have crossed it, you’re committed.
My Husband suggested it as the name of my blog on writing, motherhood, and other relevant topics for a simple reason: on the day we decided to have a baby, we crossed the Rubicon and entered a new period in our lives, one I’ll be exploring here. Note, we didn’t cross the Rubicon the day we had a baby, we did it before that, back at the point where we decided that being parents was something we wanted to do. At that point of decision, we would always see ourselves in those terms — “parents”, “not yet parents”, “people who wanted to be parents and weren’t”. From that day to the day I delivered had an air of inevitability that was both comforting and annoying. It felt like I was on hold, just waiting for the next thing, for my foot to land on the other side of that decision.
While sitting on hold, I thought about what my New Normal would look like. I’m still thinking about it.
For the last few years, I’ve been an avid amateur writer. I’m happy being a non-professional writer. I write when I want about what I want without having to satisfy anyone other than myself. Writing is my own selfish thrill. Early in my pregnancy, I lost the urge to write on all levels. There were no new ideas, no energy to find them, and no time to scribble them down. I experienced, and am still experiencing, the temporary death of my creative spark that so many women writers have described.
When I read Woolf’s essay A Room of One’s Own, I never thought it would happen to me. It isn’t intentional, I’m not being purposely prevented from entertaining my creative light. It is merely…the nature of things, somehow. And that’s the worst of it, the way that as a woman, I simply…lose it. Not by anyone’s effort, but by noone’s effort. As my keyboard gathered more and more dust, I realized that my writing was something I had to fight for, not merely work at.
I’ve spent the last months drawing up plans for what sort of parent I want to be, what sort of child I want to raise. Included in those plans is a plan for myself: I promised myself a room of my own in which to write. Not necessarily the best prose, not necessarily steadily, not necessarily fiction or non-fiction, but simply to write. I will not start out my child’s new life with the death of my interior one. To do so would be beyond irony.
So I establish this weblog as my own room. Initially I was torn as to whether I wanted to write about being a new mother or being a struggling writer. In further analysis I am both of these things, so I should write about both of them, along with all the other rampant identities I claim or have pushed upon me. I will allow myself to write about a wide variety of things, anything that seems worth writing about. I hope to even write fiction again one day. But for now, this blog will focus on my day to day: the mundane trials of getting out of bed, the miracles of bonding and breastfeeding, the constant search for a story worth reading or writing or hearing.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for observing as I change from just me (and my Husband), to just me plus one. We’ve crossed the Rubicon, the rest of the story is before us.