To me, the grotesque Thala-sirens who gave Luke his daily green milk had a bizarre beauty when I first saw The Last Jedi on the big screen. Still pregnant with my daughter, I was aware that I would take on the same thankless task they carried out with bloated stoicism. As Luke pressed on the patient creature’s teat, took a swig from his flask and grimaced, there were sounds of amused disgust from the audience. Confirmation that a good portion of people would rather separate the udder – or breast – from their own chilled beverages.
Flash forward a few months to where I sit now, tapping this out on my phone as I feed Lorelei, I share even closer kinship with these aliens. I feel comical to myself with a baby hanging off my boob at any given hour of day or night. When the ritual has knocked bathing to the bottom of my priorities, I feel a little grotesque too. But watching The Last Jedi at home, creating an infinity mirror as I fed my daughter yet again, I rediscovered their beauty, and mine.
In keeping Luke alive on a small island, and doing so with the merest groan of complaint, they are part of Ahch-To’s grand life cycle. A warm refuge, peaceful on the jagged edge of a cold cliff, they are part of the Force that life creates, and so am I.
Being able to breastfeed is beautiful – even when some, and my own tired, sore and less-than-fragrant body would say otherwise. Thank the stars for space sea cows, and those familiar weary eyes, for helping me see their misunderstood (mis-udder-stood?) grace in myself.