Academic Equals

So, I fell in love hard when I was 17.

His post-modern punk music taste in the basement Bourke street Pancake Parlour caught me. We started our professional future together – with wide eyes and open hearts. We were equals, he and I. Best friends before we were lovers. Both from the suburbs. Both itching to get out. Somehow, we completed an undergraduate and stepped hand in hand into the professional world.

With a lot of fancy looking letters added to our names.

I can’t remember much of my twenties. I was there. I’m in the photos. So was he. We worked hard and played harder. He was always at my side. We learn’t together, grew together, challenged the system together. A mortgage application turned into a Brunswick Californian Bungalow with an outdoor toilet and 3 fish.

Our connection was strong.
Our playing field even.
We understood the roles we played.

But then I had a baby.
And then another. And then another.

While he sat an exam.
And then another. And then another.

Until gradually, it seemed we were not so together anymore. He immersed in his career. Me immersed in school lunches.

Sometimes days would go past were there were words.

But we didn’t seem to speak.

As a mother, I emerged from the fog of babies to the question – What next? As a woman, I emerged from the fog of being at home to the question – Where next? As a lover, I emerged from the fog of forgotten memories to the question – Who next?

So I picked up some hours of work. And then another. And then another.

But as I tried to follow my lover back on the career trail, I realised the goal posts had shifted somewhat. And while he continued to move forward in his direction, I had started outsourcing school lunches.

And was contemplating a cleaner.

It rained so hard on Tuesday night. Our tin roof an obtuse alarm at 3:00am. We lay under the storm, my lover and I, for the 25th year together.

I told him I didn’t feel so equal anymore. I was trying to keep up but felt I was falling by the wayside. Dropping so many important things as I tried to learn again with him. Grow again with him. Challenge the system again with him.

He hugged me then, folding me as he can into his heart. And from the warmth and strength if his soul said simply, “Why don’t you let me take care of you?”

Think backbends, standing open twists and nadi shodhana.

When we speak, it can be a means of extending our consciousness. It can be hard to do if you feel that your voice isn’t worth being heard.

Under the rain, I realised that I married an equal who has kept on growing in his career. It made me stop chasing him. And in stopping the chase, I stopped running. And in stopping the run, I could be still.

For a very, very long time.

And in that stillness, there is strength. There is power. There is oneness.

As a mother, as a woman, as a lover we can be torn between the person we thought we were going to be or the person we were told we were going to be.

But in letting go of the path we had planned, we allow for the path that we have. And on that path, the person that we are.

Have strength in your unpaid career. Have strength in your softer voice. When we speak our truth, our minds come a little closer together. We shift a little clearer into our hearts.

Into our equal, open hearts.
Where we can be heard.

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