Yoda was Right (of course she was)

My therapist and I have been using Star Wars metaphors for my inner healing and awakening throughout our relationship. She being a child of the 70’s, me being a child of the 80’s, and this being THE movie series of our childhood, it works.

In these metaphors she is always my Yoda and I am always trying to find my fucking way out of the swamp towards my place of truth and purpose.

Something Yoda told me early on is that growth is comes with loss, it is always accompanied by loss. Because growth is change and to change means on some level things will be different, there is loss in that.

Part of the loss for me, and for many people experiencing their awakening, is in relationships. There are some people who will not show up in this with us. Sometimes it was relationships stepping away from me, sometimes it was me stepping away from relationships. What I can tell you is that the loss makes space for the gain, I have experienced major gains as a result of doing my soul work.

Something else Yoda told me about how me growing will impact my relationships is, while yes, some people will step away because they are not ready or willing to look in the mirror and my truths will be painful for them, others will rise with me. Me giving myself permission to rise will have a ripple effect and those who want to rise will accept my invitation, they will give themselves permission too.

My husband is an example of this truth, we are rising together. One of my best friends I feel is another example, that girl is rising and coming home to herself in the biggest ways right now.

I am having trouble finding my words to share this next part because my truth is, I never thought I would be speaking them..

I think my mother is rising. 

It has been gradual, so much so that I was not fully aware of the minuscule shifts happening, now looking back I can see it all more clearly.

Now as I am standing in my truths every day and giving myself all the permission needed to be BIG, to take up space, to be SEEN and HEARD and hold all of me sacred — She is seeing and hearing me. She is bearing witness to what permission to live a BIG life looks like and it feels like she wants in.

The BIG shift for us was deep truth speaking post Soul Camp that led to deeper, truer connection, the likes of which I have NEVER experienced with her.

Today we did it again. That first day was not a fluke. We can do this.

We can be heard and seen and speak truth with each other. We can rise separately, side by side.

My mother and I shared our truths about some of our parts that are hard to love. We shared our truths about our darkness. She told the truth about how she pushes this part of herself away, the way she disconnects from herself and self-sacrifices in order to be in her relationships. I told the truth that her truth made me sad and that I believe her darkness is lovable because I love my darkness, and it looks and sounds like hers. I told her my truth about darkness, it does not make us unlovable, it does not make you unlovable Mom.

We are dealing with generational trauma in my family and for the first time I feel like I can say – We are dealing with it.

There was no broom, no rug being lifted. There were two women, connected by DNA and love telling the truth. The dark, painful, sacred truth.

We can do this. My mom and I, and you – you can do this. I cannot promise you that your mom or your spouse or your child or your boss or your best friend or your partner will show up in it with you; that person may not accept the invitation to rise. That will hurt. It may even rip you open. YOU CAN STILL DO THIS. You are all the mother, spouse, child, boss, best friend, partner you need. You are the connection and belonging you are searching for in those relationships. It has always been you.

In my writing I rarely shift the focus from me to you, this is about my soul’s journey home, AND it’s not. It has never just been about me. If you are reading this you must know, it has always been about you too.

Take the invitation. You are here, you are reading this, you are in relationship with me by bearing witness.

Rise. It might just surprise you who will accept your invitation to rise right along side you.

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You Are Ready

Two weeks ago my mother and I did something I never thought possible in our relationship, we practiced truth speaking.

It was HARD.

AND —

It was SO good.

 

I called her a few days after soul camp to wish her a belated happy Mother’s Day and check in. Early on in the conversation she cautiously asked if I had done the work I needed to do around my relationship with my brother in order to be able to step back into the relationship.

I told her I had done work around the relationship, Yes, AND I was not ready to return to the relationship. I asked her if she wanted to discuss where I was at with it and Why, she did.

I told the truth.

He abused me growing up. It was not “siblings fighting” it was abuse. Shattered bedroom door, holes in the wall, bruises on my body, strangulation until I passed out –  I was terrified and it was abuse.

I was holding up a mirror she had been avoiding for a very long time. She had failed as a mother and my truths were the proof.

The truth speaking continued like this – me making room for her to be an imperfect mother, me letting her know I can love her and I will not reject her in this, AND truth speaking about my place of injury in these failures. I understand now it was never her failures that hurt, it was her rejection of me when she failed. By not owning her imperfections as a mother she was rejecting me every time she got it wrong. She was rejecting me because she could not hold the truth, that she was not the perfect mother. She rejected me because I was a reminder that she was not a perfect mother.

I told the truth that I am AS IMPORTANT as my brother, I am MORE IMPORTANT than my relationship with my brother, and I am MORE IMPORTANT than our family being whole. I AM IMPORTANT.

I told the truth that I will no longer carry my brother. I will no longer hold anything that is not mine to hold. I will not hold her pain over her failures, I will not hold my brother’s pain, I will not hold the pain of my family. I will ONLY HOLD MYSELF.

I told the truth that my brother is still spiraling, it just manifesting in different ways. He is still that 13 year old boy in his trauma. He has not showed up to hold his pain, rescue the parts of himself he has abandoned, and he is not loving himself well, if at all.

I told the truth that these truths about my brother make him feel unsafe to me and I will not expose any part of myself or my family to this.

I spoke my truth that I love my brother and I miss him, but not more than myself. I come first.

My mother asked questions and spoke truths as well and held her pain. It was hard and it was good.

For the first time in the history of our relationship I felt seen and heard in my pain and truths. The rug was lifted and we survived.

It was hard and it was good.

When I recounted this experience with my therapist she said one of the best things she has ever said to me; You are ready to have a girl. 

I knew exactly what she meant.

I am in my power. I have done the work. I am saved and I am the one that did the rescuing. We are past the trauma because I am the mother of this vessel and the parts therein, I am safety. Because I now hold myself and my truths sacred and in deep deep love I am able to show others how this is done, including a daughter if one chooses me.

I came home and told my husband what my therapist said and his reaction filled me with so much joy.

I did it. I am on the other side!

There will always be work to do, the tree is never done growing until it dies, but I am done going back. Now it is time for me to find my way forward.

I know I still have some work to do related to my past but it is different now. It is from a place of power and love, not victim mentality and fear. Once these last few parts are scooped into my lap I will be unstoppable. This is what it looks like when a powerful woman rises.

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Making Space and Counting Gratitude

We are in the process of doing a deep cleanse of our home; we have been going through rooms one by one and taking inventory of our “stuff”, anything that no longer holds meaning, or a purpose, or serves us in some way is being released to make room for what comes next – whatever that might be.

We are also creating a home that works for us as we currently are. That means having a dedicated play area for little bubby that is separate from where he sleeps, a guestroom that has room to store baby things for possible next baby, a living area for adults (namely my husband and I) that is clear of baby things, and a dedicated art space for momma and family to create in.

We are getting there.

Tonight my husband is re-purposing a bookshelf from the guestroom as a toy and art supply storage shelf in the sunroom turned playroom and art studio. I am looking forward to setting up this room officially and finding a spot for everything.

While I create art throughout the week as I have snatches of time – during little bubby nap time, in the evening before bed, on the weekends when my husband is spending daddy time with little bubby – Friday night is my dedicated time for art each week. My husband plays table tennis every Friday night once little bubby is in bed and I have the house to myself for 3 or 4 hours to set myself free quietly creating.

I look forward to Friday night each week. I love that my husband and I both have something outside of each other, outside of parenthood and the responsibilities of life, that belong just to ourselves.

I am sitting in a lot of gratitude this morning. Gratitude for the ways in which little bubby’s arrival into our life and our home has created such intention in the way my husband and I are living as well as how we are choosing to show up in the world. His birth put so much into perspective for us. I am grateful for my husband who is always ALL IN with me. I may lead the charge but he is always ALL IN and we have experienced so much amazing growth together as a result. I am most grateful for this life I get to call my very own. I cherish it and all the love it holds. It is a good life, so so good.

 

All of Me is Here

This morning I am sitting in a quiet home relishing the morning sun shining through windows of the sun room. This is a pre-little bubby feeling. It is a reminder that I am still me and all of me is here, no parts of me have been excluded from my new life since his birth.

I received another reminder of this yesterday.

My husband and I went out for date night, our fifth since little bubby’s birth 9 months ago. We went downtown to two bars we would occasionally patron before little bubby was born. Even with all of the changes and growth we have experienced separately and as a couple since little bubby’s arrival this still felt fun, and comfortable, and familiar. I still feel connected to my partner and best friend, I still look forward to and enjoy dating my husband, we still enjoy deep conversations and walking hand in hand in a crowd.

The second bar we visited has been relatively unchanged since I first began going there 15 years ago. Same decor, same crowd (a bit older maybe), same 80’s music, same energy of acceptance and freedom.

I like this bar because they play my favorite 80’s music and has been a constant downtown when everything else is ever changing. We like this bar because the people who go there give themselves permission to be seen, to be vulnerable, to be real.

We were talking about that last part while we watched people swaying on the dance floor to Tears for Fears. There is something happening at this bar that is not happening at any other bar downtown, not at this level at least, it is the feeling of freedom that comes from giving yourself permission to just be.

We were both sitting in our gratitude that there are places in our community where this kind of safety exists, we were grateful to be witness to it, to be part of it.

I am a mother now, I stopped drinking 3 years ago, I am more grounded than the girl who played downtown over a decade ago AND I all of me is here and part of this life I actively creating with this man I love.

I felt the parts of me who love to dance, the parts that like to be silly, that parts that want to get into mischief, the parts that want to be seen. All of me is here, what has changed is the time and my relationship with these parts. How I care for myself, how I honor my needs and wants, the way I connect within and without.

Last night was fun, this morning is peaceful. Nothing and everything has changed and all of me is here to be part of this. This is a good life, more than I even knew to dream for, and I am grateful.

Kisses Can Hurt

The story will be told in parts because that is all I have had for so many years, parts, not the whole. I am working my way back towards the whole, I am working my way back to being whole.

I don’t know how or when I arrived at my high school boyfriend’s home. I do remember laying on my back across the width of his bed staring at the ceiling, disconnecting, as tears rolled down my cheeks. The light was out, it was night, his room was dark, everything was dark and stayed that way for a long time.

He cried when I told him. I don’t know what I told him. I don’t think I had told my mother yet so the decision about the abortion was not yet made. I could have the timeline wrong. I just don’t know.

I do know that he did something that broke of a piece of my heart.. He brought his crying face down onto my belly and kissed it.

……I need to pause…..

 

 

 

 

He fucking killed me when he did that.

Up to that point I was actively disconnecting from my body and this reality AT ALL TIMES. There was no denying this truth when he did that.

For one excruciating moment this was true, and we were an accidental family, and I was a mother, and he was a father, and this was our baby.

I remember nothing after that. Nothing.

The curtain came down hard and all I had was the safety of my ability to completely disconnect from this.

I see now how I dishonored this life. He existed. I do not get to deny him that. My boyfriend acknowledged him immediately. That was the first time I did and it was only because my boyfriend’s action made it impossible for me not to. I could not handle it the truth though and I immediately turned everything off.

The only other time I acknowledged this life was the day of my abortion. I do not remember waking up, I do not remember getting dressed, I know my mother dressed me because I do remember what I wore. I do not remember seeing my brother, what lie had they tole him about this day? I do not remember seeing my parents at all until my mother is ushering me into the building passed the protesters.

That morning I am sitting in living room in the dark, it must have been early. I am alone on the couch and I am nauseous. This is my acknowledgment that life exists here. I am eating a saltine and I am with my baby, aware he is with me too. I can only be with him in that dark. This has always been true – until now.

I am getting closer now, closer to love and connection in this place of darkness and pain. I will find myself, and my babies, and hold it all in love. I know I am getting close because it hurts so bad, which means I am finally feeling it. I have to feel all of it to feel the love. I am getting close.

I buried the piece of my heart that broke off when he kissed my belly and forced me to acknowledge my baby and this connection. I am ready to bring that piece home. I want that connection back.

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1 in 3

The summer of my 16th year was a blackout that only in recent years has begun to resurface for me.

Three things happened that summer:

I lost my virginity and became pregnant
I was confirmed into the Catholic Church
I had my first abortion

In that order.

These things did not belong together. I cannot be Catholic AND be a teen mom. I cannot be Catholic AND be a girl who had an abortion.

I do not get to be both, and I HAD to be Catholic to belong to my family, and I HAD to belong to my family.

There was no other way, so half of me was left behind. 16 and pregnant. 16 and a childless mother.

I disconnected from myself so hard that I lost my memories. This is a skill I learned in childhood. I have talked before about our magnificent minds and the lengths they will go to in order to protect us from painful, frightening, devastating realities.

I told myself; This is not part of my story. This never happened. The level of disconnection I experienced was severe, complete-loss-of-self severe. I was lost for a long time, and I only became more lost in my twenties.

I remember sitting in the gymnasium of my church the summer of my 16th year, unaware of the change likely already taking place in my body. I was sitting on a metal folding chair between two girlfriends from my CCD class, we were listening to a guest speaker. This speaker was warning us of the danger of premarital sex. This speaker was impressing upon us the importance of abstinence.

This speaker was not telling us about consent, or affirming our rights to our bodies, or empowering us to make choices with our bodies from a place of being informed and connected. Our bodies did not belong to us, they belonged to God or the Church or our parents or our future husband’s or something?

It was clear that sex was dangerous. I remember the speaker recited a statistic meant to scare us, something about 1 in 3 of you girls will end up pregnant out of wedlock or something. The statistic is not what stands out, what I really remember was looking to my right at my friend Megan, then to my left at my friend LeeAnn, and thinking Well I know it won’t be me.

It already was.

My patron saint was Mary Magdalene. It was my way of thumbing my nose at the church. I had always felt other-than, their rules had always chafed me, felt like nonsense. I had questions that could not be answered. I had questions no one appreciated me asking. I always felt wrong.

I chose Mary Magdalene because my Catholic brain saw her as the persecuted whore, I felt sisterhood with her. I was struggling with the fact that only weeks before I had lost my virginity, I needed someone in my corner and she seemed like a good someone to me. I liked that no matter what society said about Mary Magdalene, she and Jesus knew she was inherently worthy; that she was part of the divine, that we all are. On some level, even in my darkest corners, I have always known too.

This truth is why I did not stay lost. In my Found place I know I am worthy, I am whole, I am enough. I know this because of my connection to the divine.

This part of my long walk home is not just about picking up that mother and her babies and welcoming them all back in love; it is about the repair of my connection with my own sacred holiness.

I have to unravel from the untruths I learned about belonging and worthiness. The Church does not get to define these things for me just as they do not get to withhold them.

 

Cry Cycle

Every 28 days or so, with the shift of my body’s tide, I have a major cry.

Before birthing little bubby I experienced the intense emotional upheaval that comes with shifting hormones most women experience during their body’s monthly cycle. Back then, I did so with complete disconnection from myself.

For most of my life this experience, that is actually very natural, has felt anything but to me. It has felt scary, unnatural, and wrong. As a result,  I have spent most of my life either in a wild spiral or fighting against being sucked into that spiral. Either way I have not allowed myself to experience the healing release that my body and female spirit need.

Last month my moon cycle started flowing again for the first time since becoming pregnant November 2017. Once again my emotions swelled, and once again I fought against the wave. I was reluctant to give in and allow myself to experience the ecstasy and relief of the release.

I cried and fought and resisted one whole night until the wee hours of the morning at which point my husband, unsure how else to support me, encouraged me to show up for myself however I needed to and then rest. He agreed to take care of little bubby and go into work late the next morning so I could sleep to recover.

I stopped fighting and allowed myself to cry. I allowed myself to flow through my emotional state freely, without fear or judgement. The next morning I slept and that day, after waking slowly and quietly, I was gentle with myself.

This was a different experience, and it felt better.

I had allowed myself to surrender to the release and much like menstruation itself, I was able to shed all the emotional debris that I had collected over the course of that month (and truthfully the 16 months prior).

Last week I felt the familiar build up as the wave of emotions started to peak. I knew I was scheduled to begin my next moon cycle and all of me was crying out for release.

Last month’s cry cycle was dedicated to my mother. This month’s cry is dedicated to my body and everything she has held; life, pain, lies, physical and sexual abuse, joy, love, all of it.

I have decided I am done fighting against my divine feminine nature. Each moon cycle I will allow myself to flow with the changing tide. As I begin to flow so will as many tears as are needed to release what my body, heart, mind, and soul have been holding from that cycle that are ready to be released. I will not fear this flow, I will not fight it. I will allow myself to be held, I will float. I will not sink, I will not drown. This is natural, this is sacred, and I am safe.

Each month I will be gentle with myself. I will rest. I will honor this sacred time and hold myself sacred and worthy.

Love is so different on the other side of healing. Love is so expansive when everything is allowed to exist as it is meant to; together, in connection and love.