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.

 

Mother and Child, Together We Go

I am in the middle of major healing right now. This statement has been true for years, and every shift I experience feels like THE shift. I do not want to minimize one ounce of the growth I have experienced, it is all sacred. With each rescue mission I perform, inviting another abandoned part of my soul home, I feel closer to my source, to who I am and why I am here. I now understand how important it was for me to learn how to hold myself in love. I had to know how to do this before I could perform the rescue mission I have been working towards for years; the mother.

The mother I was, and never got to be, at 16 and 19 years old. This rescue mission is not just about the mother, it is the mother and her babies. They were all left behind. They had to be. There was no room in the small existence that was my life for this mother and her babies. This truth was too big and I was too small.

No more.

I am not small.

I am not small and I am a mother and I have been a mother and these are my babies and I will no longer stand outside of these sacred truths for anyone else’s comfort.

As I get closer to holding these truths and these abandons parts, I have been feeling the pain. It has been slow, I have been peeling back the lid ever so slightly, trying not to overwhelm myself with the power of the grief that was never allowed to be felt. To grieve would have been to admit a loss, that was not allowed.

In my crying an image keeps surfacing; the me that I was 19 years old, a mother for the second time. Devastated in her reality. The image is of my ex-boyfriend’s closet, me laying half in and half out, on my stomach crying. I never wanted to be there; once I was, I thought I would never be able to surface again and rise.

I am a woman rising.

This is why this rescue is so important. That girl is still back there, laying half in and half out of her shattered life. I have to show her there is light and love for her here, she can rise, resurface, she belongs here in this love, not back there forever tortured by loss.

In that place she was never truly feeling the loss, just the fear. In this place it is safe to feel the truth. There is room for love, AND grief, AND connection, AND anger, AND disappointment.. There is room for all of it and more, everything is allowed to be here, it all belongs.

The days of unbelonging are over.

This girl who was told the lie of being unlovable, now gets to experience truth in the form of love, connection, and sacred belonging.

I am all of those things for myself. It has always been an inside job. I am done being a part from myself, I want to be whole. I need her for that. I need my babies, all of them.

Forward we go, together.

20190506_153006

 

Belonging

There are places you belong, where you will find your belonging. It will be in arms, in love, in hope, in security. Sometimes it will be in people, sometimes in places. One thing is clear – you NEVER belonged there.

You the know the there I speak of – the place where the pain is.

In the bed of the man who raped you. In the hands of your brother as he attempted to squeeze the breath from your body. In the church that told you every Sunday how wrong you were. In the car bleeding. The clinic having life removed forcefully from your womb.

You NEVER belonged there.

Yet there you were. Putting on your brave face. Struggling to survive it. Abandoning yourself to save yourself.

There is no shame in our efforts to survive.

I know where I do not belong now. I will not go back to those places now that I am finally saved from them. I will not stay anywhere I am not meant to belong. I was never meant to be long there – I have already stayed too long; in my pain, my shame, my struggle. Too long.

There are places I want to be long – there are places I want to be forever. I am off to find my belonging and I am sure at this moment it is deciding that it is off to find me too.

invitation art

I Will Not Look Away

I have been tangling with judgment lately. I have been trying to untangle. These roots run deep.

I am self-righteous. I judge. I still project my pain.

Projecting is so easy and it feels so good.

I don’t want to feel my insecurities around mothering so I will look at what you are doing and find flaws. 
I don’t want to address my own unhealthy habits so I will fixate on yours and feel superior.
I don’t want to admit my fears so I will criticize yours.

I like it when it is all about you and never about me. I like getting to be the right one while you are over there being wrong. I like being superior. I like being big.

I am not big here. This is not my BIG place. When I create any kind of disconnection from love I am certainly not BIG. This is me being small.

I am not meant to stay small.

We all struggle. Instead of seeing someone else’s hard time for what it is, pain and struggle, I am wanting to use it for my gratification.

If I am willing to see the truth about the pain and struggle of others it means I have to be willing to hold my own truths about my pain and struggle as well.

This is being BIG.

Being BIG means not looking away from pain. It means loving someone in their struggle and pain. It means loving myself in my pain and struggle.

Projection feels so good, it is so easy. Deep love takes work, it is hard.

I can do hard things. I am not small. I am BIG.

I choose love and all the hard AND goodness that comes with it. I am ready to set down my judgement and self-righteousness to pick up LOVE. I will not look away from pain.

I choose love every time.

i choose love and joy and peace

 

 

What is Holding Your Pain for You?

A major part of my journey towards growth and wholeness has been unlearning, or as I call it, Unraveling.

Over the years I have coped with my pain in harmful ways. Harmful to me and harmful to others.

I had trouble holding my pain so I tried to gift it to others through projection.
I have had a long affair with food as a way to numb pain.
I used alcohol at times but it was never my numbing agent of choice.
I also dabbled with certain drugs, again, not my go-to though.
After I was raped I actually used sex to numb because I thought it would help me feel back in control, it didn’t.
My number one harmful coping device was shopping though. Above all else I LOVED to shop.

Shopping was great because it did the job of numbing the pain so I didn’t have to feel my feelings AND it is a socially acceptable action so no one would be trying to intervene and raise concerns. Yep I flew under the radar for years, I was just another woman with a closet full of clothes.

My shopping addiction had been riding shot gun with me for years by the time my husband came into the picture. This is when it started getting complicated. He was the first person to ever energetically hold up a mirror and say, I think we have a problem here.

I had been avoiding that mirror for over a decade – Now this guy shows up and wants to love me and care for me by telling the truth? Who the hell does he think he is?

Even with his compassionate honesty and my coming to terms with a really uncomfortable truth, it still took 6 years to get a handle on my unhealthy relationship with shopping. What I learned in the process is that it wasn’t just the act of shopping that I had to address, it was my deeply unhealthy relationship with money in general.

Since the age of 18 when I got my first job I had been using money to hold my pain for me. Just like I used food, and alcohol, and drugs, and sex, and even other people through projection. I was doing everything I could to run from my truths and NOT hold the pain they carry.

Last year I worked on my relationship with money, that work continues, and it has changed everything. It is part of what got me to the place of actively wanting to hold my pain, I know now this is the only way to the other side.

I have had a few epiphanies since unraveling my relationship with money. One being that less stuff actually brings me more joy and peace. Another a-ha moment was paying attention to what I spend money on when I have a more connected, intentional relationship with money – art supplies. It is not clothes or shoes or bags or anything to impact my appearance, it is art which is one way my soul communicates.

So, like the alchemist I am, I am turning my pain into something beautiful to share through art. My healed relationship with money is going to support me in this venture, so are my own words from this blog. I understand now that nothing and no one is meant to hold my pain for me AND it is okay to allow myself to be supported. Money can support me, my writing, my art, those whom I love – they can all support me as I hold my pain.

I believe I am stepping across a threshold into the life I was meant for.

This is BIG.

I am grateful for the knowledge that love heals and I no longer have to run from myself. I can hold my pain and all of my truths in love and be WHOLE.

 

what is holding your pain

Are You My Mother?

This week started with me caught in the current of the river rapid I have long called mother. After the flood of emotions, I once again stabilized my vessel by freely accepting love from my husband and calling in my support from soul family and friends.

The week has carried on calmly.

Yesterday I started to make my plan for how to address the transgression that led to the emotional upheaval. In doing so I decided to call on the Universe and my own intuition for guidance and support.

I pulled cards from three decks – Self-care, Mother’s Wisdom, and Work Your Light.

My over arching question being what should I be doing about my mother?

The messages were clear. One in particular was clarity that I desperately needed.

While I have unraveling my attachment to my family of origin, specifically my mother, the feeling of being a motherless child has continued to rise and it is painful. That child does not want to be motherless. The world does not feel safe without a mother. My truth is, for so long my mother is part of what has made the world feel unsafe.

Still, this child has been searching. She does not want to be without a mother. Her question is, Who is my mother? If it is not her, than who? We have to have a mother!

I have felt like the little bird from the book. Abandoned and scared in my nest, then deciding – I will go find my mother. I search everywhere – in other relationships, in food, in shopping, in drinking, in work.. All along asking, Are you my Mother?

Are you the thing that can replace her?

Are you the thing that can bring the comfort I so long for?

Just like the bird I have discovered over and over the answer is No.

My husband is not my mother.
Ice cream is not my mother.
Clothing is not my mother.
Alcohol is not my mother.
Work is not my mother.

None of this will replace her. None of this will heal the wound she created. None of this will fill my void.

The card I pulled to answer the question, Who is my Mother? was Pachamama.

The words I read washed over me bringing me the comfort and truth I had been searching for;

You are within her and she is within you. You are inseparable from Pachamama. Sitting among the trees you can feel this bond. 

This is a truth I have known. I possess the mothering comfort I am seeking and it is all around me.

Our Oak tree’s name is Nana for a reason. She is maternal, she is comfort.

What I seek is within me as well. I do not need to look outside of myself for the love I am needing.

I am sitting with each message I received and the truth they are leading me towards.

I am grateful for guidance and support in all of it’s forms.
I am grateful for eruptions that bring deeper  connection to my truth.
I am grateful for the reminder that I am what I am seeking.

pachamama.jpg

Losing You Was My Becoming

Last night I struggled.

I was triggered during the day by something my mother said in passing and by bedtime I was unwound. I was face down in my husband’s lap balling. It did not stop there. I cried when we went to bed. I woke up an hour after going to bed and cried some more. My husband held me and talked me through it as best he could.

This morning he let me sleep. He got up with little bubby and handled the morning routine. Two hours later I came out to a quiet house. Little bubby was taking his first nap, my husband was sitting on the couch watching the news on low volume. I was greeted by his smile and by the wagging tail of my excited Lucy.

I pat Lucy’s head and crawled into my husband’s lap.

I have been holding in all the pain and grief. I have been trying so hard to remain functional. The lid is off.

I asked to feel my pain and The Universe obliged. I am in pain.

I have decided to attempt to talk honestly with my parents one last time about our dysfunction and working towards healing as a family. If this message falls on deaf ears, as my previous attempts have, that is it for me. I will not subject any of my babies (internal or little bubby) to this swamp.

I am raw and reeling and trying desperately to keep my head above water. AND there is a deep sense of peace rising from my power center because this is the decision that has been waiting to be made and finally I am here.

I never wanted to be here AND somehow I have known I was coming.

Right now I do not feel big. I do not feel much like a hero. I am though and even if I don’t feel it, I know it is true.

Because here I am, going through it, not running. I am doing hard things. It is so hard.

I am scooping everyone into my lap and I am walking out of this place we do not belong…

And I am not afraid.

losing you was my becoming

Running Through an Open Door

My lightening bolt hit almost immediately after finishing my last post.

Killer still hurts because I am trying to belong somewhere I no longer belong.

My family of origin is Catholic Republican. I grew up surrounded by the following messages:

No sex before marriage.
Your female body is inherently shameful.
As a woman you have no power.
Any woman who has sex out of wedlock is a slut.
Your female body is inherently wrong.
As a woman you belong to your father or husband, never, not ever to yourself.
Your female body is inherently bad.
The only thing worse than sex out of wedlock is pregnancy out of wedlock.
The only only thing worse than pregnancy out of wedlock is abortion.
Women who have abortions are KILLERS.

HOLY SHIT. Literally. This is religious, men-making-rules-that-disempower-women, bullshit.

I am NOT Catholic. I am NOT Republican. NONE OF THIS IS MY FUCKING TRUTH.

I would never believe any of this ridiculous bullshit about another woman, so why have I been carrying around these lies about myself?

I do not belong here, in your untruths, in your religion, in your politics. I do not belong anywhere that sees me as less worthy. I AM WORTHY. I AM MY OWN. I AM POWERFUL.

I release my need to belong in this place I do NOT belong. I am picking up ALL of myself and walking through that – now open – door to LOVE. I am no longer on the outside looking in.

I am not empty. I am not shameful or wrong or bad. I am not a slut. I AM NOT A KILLER.

I am a mother. I am a woman full to the brim with my sacred power. I am the owner of all of me, no one owns me. I am BIG. I AM BIG. I am the fucking hero of this story – I will always do the saving.

Come on sweet girl, you do not belong here anymore, we are going home.

my baby saved

When You are Ready I am Here to Hold You

I have been sitting with myself following my last post.

A lot came up for me after sharing my abortion story.

One of the first things that came up for me is the fact that I did not use the word abortion.

My pain related to my abortions is ever present. I love the part of me that experienced this trauma AND my unraveling is a work in progress. What I have learned is that I cannot unravel and come home to my truth without holding myself in love as I do it.There is something I want to unravel once and for all and now that I am loving myself openly, freely, publicly, TRUTHFULLY, I feel BIG enough to step through my fear and start this work.

Two years ago I attended a healing retreat with my soul family. It was powerful.

The healing work I did had to do with words and how they have been used in my life as weapons, as a way to keep me small, as a way to keep me disconnected and standing ever on the outside of love.

I shared specific words with the group that have caused harm, things that have been said to me or messages I have energetically received. There is one word I left out.

It is a word I have tortured myself with for two decades. Anytime I have ever thought I could love my darkness, stand fully in my color, be BIG – this is the word that knocks me back down.

I still was not ready to say this word out loud.

After the exercise I shared with one person, my soul friend who participated in the exercise with me, my truth that I was still holding on to one word that causes deep shame, disconnection, and smallness. She asked what the word was..

Killer.

This word has always been the door slammed in my face.

Me on one side, love and all the goodness of life on the other. There is no AND big enough to create connection. I am here in the dark, a killer, I do not get to experience light, love, sacredness, my true essence, holiness, color.

I want to unravel.

First I need to start with the function of the word, what is it being used for?

To keep me small.
To create and maintain disconnection.
To keep me enveloped in shame, in fear.
To keep me empty.
To keep me separated from love. Love of myself and love of my babies.

None of this is my truth any longer. So it would seem Killer is not doing its job.

I am NOT small. I am NOT disconnected. I am NOT enveloped in shame and fear, and when they come to visit I now welcome them into my lap to be heard and loved. I am NOT empty. And I am absolutely NOT separated from love. I AM love.

So my question is, if all of this is true, why does Killer still hurt?

Is there a place I am not being honest with myself?

Why does the word abortion hurt?

I am missing something, a piece, a part. Something or some part of me is hiding behind a curtain afraid to stand in the light. I am not here to force anyone or anything forward, just to send the message that my lap is open when you are ready to be held.

I want to feel my pain. I want to feel openly, freely, publicly, truthfully. I want to release my fear of my story. I want to be BIG.

Home in My Truth

I want to share with you one of my most sacred stories.

 

It is a story of pain. of grief. of fear. of shame. AND it is a story of love.

It is time. Time to LOVE myself openly. Time to feel any and all things that I feel about this OPENLY, FREELY, PUBLICLY, TRUTHFULLY.

With my hand at my heart I share with you something precious.

I was sixteen years old when my relationship with motherhood began.

I was afraid.

I wanted to be small. I remember that specifically.

I wanted to be small, a child, innocent, not capable of creation. I wanted to hide, I wanted to be saved, I wanted to disappear.

I was afraid.

I told my mother. I stared at the blue of my bed, tears in my eyes, and I slipped away.

She told my father.. I am not mad, I am disappointed.

They made the decision for me. I was a child, their child. They were saving me, I was letting them. I said nothing.

I was not saved.

My father was noticeably absent. He dropped my mother and I at the clinic and left. My mother dressed me that day. Like a child, she picked out my denim overalls and pale pink shirt, and my hat. It was important that I wear a hat so she could hide my face from the protesters. She was saving me.

I was not saved.

A woman took me into an office and talked to me about sex, how the female body works. My mother asked if the talk was necessary, she thought I was too young to be hearing it.

Years later looking back at the parts of this story I consciously remember, it amazes me how powerful denial can be.

If I treat her like a child and dress her like a child, she will be a child again and we will make this go away and she can be my baby again.

I am sorry Mom. I am sorry we had to experience this together. I am also sorry that I can no longer carry the burden of these untruths for you.

THIS HAPPENED.

I was not given anything for pain or comfort.

I know that I felt everything but I remember almost nothing.

I remember feeling empty.

An indescribable emptiness. The floor opened up and ate me up whole. This is where my largest void was created – in this room with my feet in stirrups where I was made empty.

This is where I became hard, rigid, AFRAID. This is where I was made empty.

I could not love myself anymore. The darkness enveloped me. It did not creep in slowly, it swallowed me whole in one gulp. Then I was gone, all that was left was empty.

Empty and shame and fear.

There are so many stories in this story. This pain is so layered there were times I never thought I would be able to unravel enough to tell any part of this story with clarity. I will start here, with this truth; when I was sixteen I became a mother, a mother who would never hold her baby.

This is my start. My BIGGEST moment. I am allowing YOU to see me in my most naked state of truth and love and pain. I do not know who you are, I do not know if you are safe.

What I do know is that I AM SAFE. I am safety.

I am no longer empty. I went so deep into myself to rescue this mother who was abandoned. I love her without exception. Without fear, without shame. I am in love with her and this is not dangerous, it is one of my most sacred truths; I love my darkness.

Nikoli