Reawakening My Mother

Mother and daughter reunited

Mother and daughter reunited

Persephone yawns and stretches from her slumber. The trees respond with kisses of green bud promises. The flower bulbs planted in the autumn reach out to impress her with their dazzling array of colors. Coaxing her to return, beckoning her to shed the grays and browns of her winter clothing and cloak herself in their kaleidoscope prism.

 

The birds sing in accordance with Demeter’s joy of her daughter returning. The birds, the animals, the people engage in the renewed mating rituals of the season. The winds whisper, “She is coming. Persephone returns.” And the mother responds to the words with rains of happy tears and dabs the scent of rejuvenated earth to entice her daughter closer.

 

My nature heeds the calling I hear as the Wheel turns from icy winter winds that left me breathless to the return of the daughter to her mother.

 

I was estranged from my mother for over 18 years. By my own hand, I severed the cord between us, rejected her wisdom out of spite. If the words came from her, they were lies and falsehoods in my mind. I despised the idea of her loving me because, at that time, she couldn’t love me the way I needed her to and I couldn’t give love to her.

 

The parting of ways was vicious, brutal, and in written form. I wrote a letter describing why I no longer wished her to be a part of my life. I called her out on her behavior toward me as if by doing so she’d fall at my feet and beg forgiveness. Maybe, I expected her to do that. What I hoped to accomplish by writing that letter was to instill guilt and shame with my anger and rejection. I slapped her face and walked into the underworld with my eyes closed to her love.

 

I attempted, half-heartedly, to re-engage a relationship with her twice in that time. Neither of those times was I ready to see her as anything but a cold woman who withheld affection if I wasn’t perfect. I expected her to be Demeter, the ever loving mother. I held her to such an impossibly high expectation that anything less was not acceptable to me. And so I slept for years without dreaming in the darkest years of my life.

 

My anger towards her was so venomous to my heart that I plotted her demise in short stories I’d write, a play, a painting, a drawing, and with each creative endeavor, I found nothing. Blank canvases and gray washed depictions of my denied roots, my lost heritage falling behind me in hateful words and actions.

 

I embraced my lover Hades with such completeness that I lost myself in the darkness. I surrendered my heart to injury, accosting my own heart without thought to the consequences because those, too, were unbearable. I moved through the thickness without finding the light of hope within myself. Where I was had no winds to herald my rebirth for, in a way, I died.

 

I became a daughter when I realized through the boy I had placed in my custody, just how powerful the love of that child was in my heart. For every bad choice he made, my heart ached and I cried tears of longing for the connection to my own roots. I, before then, had not understood the sacrifices a parent makes to love a child.

 

I suddenly found the world becoming brighter. A light was dawning, calling me. I could hear the birds telling me to return home. I could see the flowers lined up for inspection against the concrete wall enticing me to return. The smell of my mother’s kitchen haunted my heart. I could feel her reaching out to me. I could feel my shame and guilt that I’d so carefully placed at her feet reminding me that I’d burned that bridge. I could still smell the smoke of that fire I’d set 18 years before.

 

But I ignored the lies I told myself throughout my time in darkness. I set down my pride in a heaped up pile of scrap at the curb of decision. I reminded myself of her smile, her laughter, her conviction when she saw injustice. I changed how I saw her. The winds shifted and I could hear her calling my spirit with her own. I picked up the phone and physically called her.

 

That first call was naked. I stood before her shedding my anger, refusing to give in to my fears of rejection, dropping them to the floor like the rags they were. We bonded by being mothers together. I confessed my darkness to her. I explained the reason I’d buried myself in the world. I discarded my shell and reached out my fragile tendrils seeking a grafting to my family tree. She watered my efforts with careful tentative tears of rejuvenated faith in me.

 

Without anger there was no longer pride or anxiety to hold us apart. For the first time I saw her, not as my mother, but as a woman. I saw her with scars and wounds, some healed, others healing and she was beautiful. I’d forgotten just how lovely she is. I transitioned from plotting her murder to embracing the human woman. I released the winter of my life and embraced the floral scented breezes of spring.

 

She told me, that although painful, the bridge that I’d set ablaze had been extinguished not long after I started it. She waited hopeful, like Demeter, for my return. When I rediscovered the bridge to return to my ancestral lands, I took out my ropes and my trees and I began working on reparations. I started at my side, she started at hers. When we’d reached a point of understanding and completed the walkway towards one another I sobbed with relief and ran the distance between us with cautious steps, careful words, and noticed the bridge had been reinforced with her love.

 

After our reconciliation, I returned to Michigan, my home state where my mother lives with my dad. On her 65th birthday, I sat at her dining table in her welcoming kitchen and I drank Kawphy*, ate homemade blueberry buckle (my great grandmother’s recipe), and loved my mom with such a deep sincerity that I tear up writing about it.

 

After breakfast, she and I went downstairs and onto her patio. She produced the letter I’d written in ancient tongues of a wounded woman/child. I read it and felt ashamed but she wouldn’t allow me to linger on the past. We hugged tightly, cried, and then, together, we lit that letter on fire and let it burn. It was one of the most profound moments of my life.

 

Not a day goes by that we don’t speak, email, or post something on each others Facebook walls. Our relationship has become a key part of my identity. I know that someday I won’t be able to call her, but to me, that makes what I have with her now so valuable and precious that I can’t imagine taking it for granted or discarding it again. My roots and heritage are found in the wisdom and love of my mother. My only regret is that I took so long to remember I love her.

 

Spring returns. Persephone has found Demeter once again. I, the daughter, found my way home and together with my mother, we rejoice in rebirth and reclamation of a woman’s wisdom.

*(Kawphy, in my family is a sacred ritual. It is a time of sharing, conversation, and the exchange of ideas that flow like the warm beverage between familial spirits)

NO MORE

I wrote this for an event on April 5th, 2014 for The Crisis Center of Bristol’s Clothesline Project. The Crisis Center consistently works to educate the community and heal victims and survivors of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. WARNING! Because of the nature of this material, it may be triggering to some.

Warrior

Warrior Goddess

I am here to clarify and specify the people I’m attacking.

To call to task the people who tolerate violence distracting

The patriarchal matricide of what it means to be a woman

The homicidal tendencies, rejection of mother’s bosom.

The apathy displayed

at the outspoken woman’s rage

as yet another woman gets shuttled to her grave.

I’m sorry. I apologize. I’m a woman. I was born this way.

I’m sorry that I state my proclamation too loud

while I passionately protect, my sisters in this crowd

from your persistently prejudiced voice that proclaims we’re not permitted

to make decisions about our lives, our histories un-acquitted.

That who we are as women is despicable and dirty

My vagina becomes a battle ground, my body judged unworthy.

I’m sorry that being, my poor addle minded self,

that I don’t understand why I must be put upon a shelf.

That having my future cornered off in a pretty gilded cage

should make my fate far easier, tamp my unfettered rage.

So I become like a caged animal

to be poked with many sticks

by people claiming they know me best

my wants and needs dismissed.

No More.

I’m sorry that my activist actions against you prevent you

from laying a h-a-a-a-and on another dis-empowered female

She who huddled in a corner away from flying fists and vomited words

of your hateful acts of terrorism that were thrown at her with such violence

she vanished

became an invisible statistic.

No More.

I’m sorry that your actions made her into what you demanded.

I’m sorry that your angry words on her your hatred branded.

Maybe next time she’ll react fast enough when you tell her she’s a whore

until that day when she finds her voice,

and whispers the words

“No More.”

I’m sorry that the CLICK CLACK

of the hammer you held tight against her ear;

The gun you bought to protect her

from this world you fear;

was too LOUD for you to hear her screams of protest:

“No More.”

I’m sorry that I can’t lay down and allow you to strip away my being

in hopes that maybe, someday, I’ll be worthy of your seeing.

Instead, I’ll take your shaming and your poisoned disregard.

I’ll stand against your anger, my body battle-scarred.

Because unlike you, I hold the key

to your future immortality

in my womb of possibilities

I’m more than reproductive charity.

I’m telling you.

“No More.”

I apologize for the inconvenience to your misogynistic behavior

that tells me I’m at fault, that criminal is my savior

If I’d never spoken up, HIS life would not be ruined

You speak in “Boys will be boys” and other excuses fluent.

You accuse me of being a wouldn’t, a couldn’t, a shouldn’t, like I’m the one at fault

by being born a woman I gave permission for unwanted assault.

Hear these words:

“No More.”

I apologize for not remaining submissive

while you coerced me into a silencing prison

of remaining without a voice

while you, SIR, made the choice

to release my violator on the unsuspecting world.

And while you sat in judgment of MY actions and MY life

He repeated his offensive on a sister and a wife.

The entire time you gave permission

Forcing me to falter my perdition

By setting him free

and prosecuting me.

“No More!”

I apologize, no more.

I am a woman that won’t concede the fighter’s ring as a victim

of Domestic Violence or Sexual Assault.

I won’t wear the stigma of harlot or weak or unchecked.

I won’t don the robes you give me that are stained with your judgment

against MY character and MY life.

I won’t lay prostate on the canvas and beg forgiveness for a sin I didn’t commit

but HE did.

No. I won’t do that.

“No More!”

I may lean against the ropes and modify my breathing

but don’t think the final bell has rung while I’m still out here swinging

My eyes may be blackened. My lip may be bleeding

My muscles may be ragged, but I’ll still stand here screaming:

“No More!”

I stand here with my fist raised without fear with the scent of victory

dripping off of me like the shadows put on me by those who tried to defeat me,

and lost.

I stand here declaring myself, not only the winner, but a survivor

with a power you can’t take away

and a fearless woman’s voice raised up stating:

“No More!”

I am and I matter.

I am one woman and I count.

I am a woman who will no longer apologize for being who I am meant to be.

And I am not alone.

I am one of a billion names.

I am a woman. I was born this way.

We are women whose light cannot be dimmed.

We are women who hold out our hands with a resilience that can’t be squelched by hatred.

We are women who encourage outrage against this war on our mothers and daughters.

We are women who should no longer apologize for dancing with abandon

to the music of our spirits.

We are women who move our hips, our hands, our feet, our hearts to the rhythm of

“No More. No More.”

We are women relearning to love every part of ourselves;

Embracing and lifting each other up.

We are women who offer our voices as a refuge of strength

and a unified stand declaring,

“NO MORE! NO MORE!”

Raise up your voices with me,

“NO MORE! NO MORE!”

Move your bodies, join me in declaring,

“NO MORE! NO MORE! NO MORE!”

Living Out Loud

Queen of my own Life

Queen of my own Life

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Live your life out loud.” But we’ve also been told to “Keep it down”, “Don’t cause ripples”, “Work hard”, and “That’s just the way it is.” The mixed messages we get while we traverse our lives make it difficult to figure out exactly what we’re supposed to be doing. Parents want us to do this, friends want us to do that, society puts its expectations on us to be productive members. It’s all so confusing.

One of my “gifts” that I learned at a later age that serves me well is to be whom I am with no excuses.  I don’t have to be a stick thin woman. I don’t have to dumb myself down. I don’t have to hide my past or try to be someone I’m not. If I want to wear kitty ears, pirate hats, or super-hero capes when I go out in public, why the heck not? It makes me happy, harms no one, and brings a jolt of the unexpected to a world that lingers in melancholy.

But, how did I get to this point? How did I get “brave” enough to be me?

It happened on accident. “I” snuck up on myself. Most of my life was spent trying to do what I was expected but it never quite fit “me.” I’m loud. I’m bawdy. I love to eat, raise hell, and laugh a LOT. Without arrogance I can tell you I’m wicked smart, have great ideas, and apply my skills in unique and creative ways that don’t always coincide with the expectations of my occupations.

Every job I’ve ever had, with few exceptions, didn’t last long because I just couldn’t stay still long enough. Once I felt I’d mastered whatever it was, I wanted change. Sometimes it was voluntary and sometimes it wasn’t when I left a job. My least favorite positions were those where I wasn’t trained properly but expected to perform circus tricks with information that didn’t apply to the job at hand. My favorite positions were ones where I not only satisfied my creative needs but was allowed to be “a little off-beat.” Being a radio DJ, copy writer, and producing commercials satisfied all of those needs and although my reasons for leaving that position are complicated, I was in the process of moving to Tennessee to take care of my nephew.

When I was very young, I was constantly performing. Plays, jokes, being a mosquito, writing fake cursive on notes that I expected my younger brother to “read.” My Aunt Lizzie used to say that I marched to the beat of a different drummer only my drummer played the tuba. I loved wild clothes and climbing trees. I participated in nearly everything with all of me, unless it meant being in public. I didn’t much like that.

I got lucky enough to find a couple of people that showed me a fascinating truth about myself. Shanna Harris started it. One day she was a gas station attendant, the next moment, after my soul recognized hers and hers mine, we were inseparable. We had long talks, longer walks, and lived in a town that was too small for the both of our wild ways. By wild ways, I mean that we liked to be loud. We liked to be bawdy (me more than her), we liked to live out loud. But, as fates would have it, I moved away to a couple of places before I settled in Show Low, AZ.

At first I was doing a boring office job selling a product I didn’t care about for a ridiculously low salary of 100 bucks every two weeks. Anyway, opportunity knocked when the local radio station was looking for weekend help. I immediately applied.

I became a monkey pushing buttons to make sure shows ran at the times they were supposed to on the station they were supposed to run. I wasn’t good at it at first. In fact, I got reprimanded about a month into it being told either get it right or get out. I buckled down because, dude, I worked at a radio station and how cool was that?

It wasn’t long before they discovered I could write. When they did, I started writing nearly every commercial that came out of the station. When I figured out production, I added that to my skills. When they needed a substitute for the morning show, I stepped up and gave them banter. When they wanted remote talent for broadcasts, I’d either work the studio end or head out to the place they wanted to promote.

When football season came around, I played a game with the announcers. I’d give them a topic before they went out to the field and they’d incorporate that into their broadcast. Let’s say the topic was fish. For every reference to “A whale of a play” or “They look like they’re stacked like sardines in that tackle” they’d get a point. It was a lot of fun.

I made friends. LOTS of them, but my core posse was Carrie, Stephanie, and Bean. We went and did everything together. The more outrageous I got, the more they cheered me on with their own ridiculous hats and jokes. We sang loudly, drank more, and laughed a LOT. They forced me to realize that my oddities were exactly what made me so much fun to be around which in turn made me realize that maybe I wasn’t so bad after all.

So when I say “I” snuck up on myself, I mean it in the sense that once I realized that being me made me happy, once I accepted that who I am is a pretty cool person to be, I was able to explore what I wanted to be and how I wished others to see me.

Yes. I’m eccentric and off-kilter and I don’t always see things the way other people do, but I also realized that my voice is necessary to make changes in the world. Just like you, I doubted I was important. I didn’t believe I was worthy. I didn’t think people would want to hear the voice of a woman who likes rabbit ears in July. But you know what? They do.

People want to hear the truth even when society tells them to be this or do that. They want to see that being unique can be accomplished. They want to know that their own oddities, even when in private, are okay. How do you live out loud? You do what makes you happy in the biggest and best way because that, my friend, is the greatest gift you can give to the world, YOU!

A Prayer For Humanity

Temple of Anjana

{Source: windling.typepad.com} {Source: windling.typepad.com}

 

Bless my home and my family wherever our journeys wander. To bring prosperity and comfort to our daily lives, I believe with everything I am that I am at peace with my spark of divinity that has passed generation to generation through my ancestors.

I believe that I am strong enough to accept my passion as my way of life, to build others up to where they understand their own gifts given to them in the name of humanity. I ask for the blessings to flow equally out and into our home. What we receive, let us give as much in return. Provide a place for us, oh Spirits, to rest amongst the chaos. Let our Spirits commune in holy prayer towards one another. Let our judgement not be clouded by emotion, but by practicality, not without compassion. I pray that intolerance towards my way of life…

View original post 667 more words

Retrieve the Wild Woman

A common missing soul link

Once, when you thought no one was looking, I saw you open your heart so wide that the earth fell in. Once, when you thought no one was listening, I heard you sigh so deep that the oceans roared with support. Once, when you thought no one was around, every atom in this universe rushed forward to embrace you. Again. Thank you for existing so intensely.” –Sera Beak

When we are young girls, we’re told we can be anything or anyone we want to be. We’re encouraged to explore the world, to be inquisitive, to engage with wonder the nouns we’re exposed to every day. But then we hit the “tweens” the rules change dramatically. We’re told that we can no longer do this or we can’t do that. We’re chastised for being who we were told we could be, who we are. We’re told to keep our voices down, not only by the older women of our clans but by our peers and by society. We’re told that we are expected to dress this way or behave that way because after all, who wants a wild woman? Behave yourself, ladies. It’s about to get bumpy.

When we reach the age of dating, the rules shift again as we learn how to act around the alien species that we remember swimming with bare chested down at the swimming hole for endless summers past. But at this point, we’re expected to catch his attention with guile and grace that awkward teenagers don’t possess. We’re taught that by watching society, media, and our familial matriarchs we should already know these things. Even when we seek guidance from our peers, we’re mocked for not understanding how things work even though, sincerely, the other girls don’t know either.

We can no longer play in puddles even if it’s our deepest desire to do so because girls just don’t do that. We can’t strip off our shoes and socks and go wading into the murky depths squishing the untamed silt between our toes. We can’t jump into the gathered waters to cause a gratifying splash because that’s unladylike. We become tamed and complacent in our lives because that’s what we’re supposed to do. We’re coerced, instead, to step around the puddles and even to avoid them while looking regretfully at the unmarred reflection of what could be flying water.

Then the age of marriage, children, relationship issues, and responsibilities inundate our thoughts and who we were fades into a small bubble within our spirit that is nor more noticed than our own shadow. Meanwhile, our Wild Woman just floats along behind waiting, staring longingly at those mud puddles, swimming holes, and endless hours of laying in the grass staring at the clouds drifting by in the blue. It’s that Wild Woman, that didn’t have boundaries for exploration, inquiry, and engaging the world as our adult selves are required to have. It is the part of us that’s starving to be noticed, begging to be reintegrated into our daily lives.

I’m challenging you to jump in that mud puddle. I’m challenging you to make the ripples. I’m asking you to take the time to watch the skies. I’m asking you to be a rebel, a Wild Woman. I can hear the brakes in your mind going off. I can hear the thoughts of “But what will other people think?” Let me tell you why what “they” think doesn’t matter.

A study done by the National Science Foundation claims that people have on average 50, 000 plus thoughts a day. This means that even if someone thought about us ten times in one day, it’s only 0.02% of their overall daily thoughts. That’s a pretty powerful.

One way to understand this statistic is the more we think and worry about what other people think about us, the less time we have to think for ourselves, to follow our own path, to speak about what matters and is valued by our spirits. To embrace our inner Wild Woman as a place of solace and contentment, liberty and freedom of our wonderful souls is where personal contentment can be found. But that sounds pretty selfish and we’re supposed to be self-sacrificing, right?

Let’s approach it a different way. You love the color blue, but everyone else claims that they love the color green. When you can no longer pretend that you love the color green you tentatively reach out to those closest to you and you say, “I love the color blue more than green.” Some may reject you outright because that’s just not how it’s done; EVERY one MUST love green. But then, there may also be some of like mind that will say, “I too love blue.” And another creature may hover around your groups saying, “I don’t like either of those colors at all. I love yellow more than any other.”

Standing up for what you believe is right is not how a lady should behave, right? That’s not a Wild Woman practice, right? Oh, but it is. It’s saying that you’re not content with the way you or your fellow Wild Women are being treated. It’s standing up and saying, “I love blue, not green.” It’s demanding that your opinions, thoughts, and beliefs hold water like that splashy fun mud puddle. And you know what? You’ve jumped into the middle of that puddle by valuing your own opinion, by finding worth in what works for you. Pretty awesome, right?

Do you remember laying on your back in the green grass, staring up at the clouds as the sun warmed your skin? If you haven’t had the pleasure of this activity, I highly recommend it. And if you haven’t, imagine what it would feel like. The sounds of the breeze rolling through the trees as they wave at you with life flooding their branches. Inhale the scent of the earth and feel it filling your body until you’ll nearly burst. Can you hear the birds singing you a lullaby of complete contentment because they already know they’re birds? Can you see the clouds gliding the sky with their shifting watercolor painted beauty? Close your eyes and ingratiate yourself to the feeling of just being or keep staring up to the heavens filling your spirit with life.

So what do these simple activities have to do with retrieving your Wild Woman? How can these possibly make your life easier or happier?

When you allow yourself to embrace your own personal likes, dislikes, opinions, ideas, thoughts, you’re allowing yourself to tap into the Wild Woman soul. When you acknowledge to yourself, as used in the example, that you love the color blue more than green, you’re honoring yourself. You’re honoring the Wild Woman. The one your ancestral tribes glorified with natural movement dances around a fire while howling at the moon with the complete understanding that they were women and they had power.

When you jump into the puddle and publicly declare that you love blue more than you love green, you send a ripple of rebellion, a whisper of “What if…?” a passionate plea for others to embrace what and who they love as well. You’re giving permission, not only to yourself, but to other Wild Women hidden in the confines of “Don’t do that.” When you take off your shoes and socks and dip that toe back into the puddles of things that matter, you’re shaking off the oppressive ideals of who you are supposed to be and can then allow your heart to open so wide that the whole earth falls in.

When you take time to contemplate, feel, surround yourself with beauty, as in laying in the grass watching clouds, you’re cherishing the most valuable person you know, yourself. You’re giving yourself permission to rest. The dishes will be there when you get done. The bills will still be awaiting your check and stamp. But making time to just be who you are with no labels is becoming that Wild Woman that stands up in a banana skirt and declares she loves blue more than green. It entwines your passions and desires into a solid form that can be nibbled upon or swallowed whole. When you remember to make time your own, you become the ruler of your own oceans whether those oceans be blood, sweat, or tears; you matter.

The Universe is bidding you an invitation to glorify you in your natural state of being a Wild Woman. Be still and listen. Do you hear that in the wind? Do you see that in the sun or moon or stars or lake or leaves? It’s everywhere and it’s calling for you to be who you are. It’s beckoning for you to jump into those puddles, cause the ripples, stare at the sky and dream, because YOU are worth pulling in those gifts that float around you like confetti, bring them home, you Wild Woman you!

 

The statistic was found in an article found at: https://medium.com/life-hacking-2/46bf86584c95