Up a steep hill, overlooking a large moody River, my mother was going through a difficult labor. Her first labor had been complicated and resulted in a cesarean. In those days the drugs for the surgery were intense and meant to put you under hard and the experience left her so sick she was barely able to hold her first born for the first few days of her life. She was determined to have a natural birth this time around and made a "deal" with her doctor that she was going to do just that.
But as things moved along and the labor progressed, so did her blood pressure and in one swift decision, the doctor sent the nurses to prep my mother for going under for surgery yet again. Needles were inserted and drugs were being prepped to be administered. Everything was happening in a flurry of activity without any consultation with the woman who was in labor. It is said that in a building rage she yelled out at the doctor, " You said I was going to be able to deliver naturally!" I like to imagine at this point the nurses and doctor abruptly stopped everything they were doing, shocked as my mother grabbed her IVs by their long tubes, yanked them out of her arm and swiftly exited the hospital room, hospital gown flapping open for everyone to see her bare ass, but she did not care. Where she thought she was going, I'm not sure she knew other than out of that damn hospital.....in the peak of her labor. As if a half naked pregnant woman storming down a hallway wasn't already a sight by itself, I imagine the crew of hospital employees chasing her at a full sprint was. They trapped her at the elevator where her doctor took her by the arm and dealt a few insults(I will skip over). After a heated argument, my mother got her natural birth. And I was born out of defiance.
It is said that I began speaking full sentences when I was barely of a crawling age and the things I could already speak and the clarity that I spoke them unnerved everyone around me. My father said strangers would kneel down and talk to me like a toddler and look back at him bewildered and a little freaked out when my responses were anything but toddler talk. Across the backs of photographs I am often quoted saying "I will do it myself" and these words have served both as my pillars of support and my arch nemesis throughout my entire life and I assume always will. They are the cards I have been dealt.
I still visit the wide river where I was born and it flows quiet and slow but the locals know otherwise. You will never see people swimming in it for it is said that underneath the current is so immense that it will drag down and drown the strongest of swimmers. It holds a home to an array of creatures, some that look like they've come from the darkest parts of the ocean. Whatever chance I can, I canoe her but not without a healthy dose of respect that I too could land myself at her bottoms. She has suffered years of abuse and pollution from man but still she remains - strong and defiant.