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

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This is All I Get

My father popped in to say hello to little bubby and I. It was kismet because I was actually preparing to call him.

I miss him. He has always been the the closest thing to a calm in the storm of my family for me. He is the only one who has ever felt even close to safe. I have never doubted his love.

He held little bubby and we chatted casually for a few minutes then I told the truth.

Dad I don’t know how to communicate with Mom and I do not know what else to do. I do not mean to drag you into the middle of our relationship issues but I am at a loss, I do not know where to go from here.

Then he told the truth and it broke my heart wide open.

If you are waiting for your mother to take responsibility for anything, you will be waiting the rest of your life. It is never going to happen, it is not who she is.
She is not interested in having honest, difficult, uncomfortable conversations even if it would mean deeper connection, healing, and growth.
She does not want to lay anything out on the table and deal with it.
She is not okay with what you are doing.
You have to accept her for who she is and stop fighting for something different; this is it, she is never going to be different.

I am 35 years old. For 35 years I have been fighting with this woman. I have been energetically and directly/verbally begging to be seen, to be allowed to be who I am and that be okay and enough. I have been DESPERATE for connection.

But this is it, this is all the mother I get, she is never going to be different. It is time to stop fighting.

I am devastated.

I feel ripped open. I feel orphaned, motherless. The loss is immense.

I do not hate her for this truth. She cannot give me what she does not have, she has never been able to. My mother was wounded by her mother and I believe that her hurt is so great that she simply does not have anything left over for me. She cannot give love she does not have to give, and I know now that there is a difference between someone telling you they love you and them actually loving you. I know what love feels like now and she is not it.

All of this true AND I am still devastated. My pain is so deep and so vast, I feel I could cry every minute of everyday for a whole week straight, and not be through it.

She has always been the raging water and I have always been trying not to drown. There is a piece of me that wants to slip beneath the surface now and sink. I have been fighting for so long for something I know now will never be different. I feel defeated.

I will not drown in my mother’s rage. To do so would be to agree to carry this pain with me forever. I will not. I will not pass on my mother wound to those I love, I will not.

I will feel my pain. I will grieve. Then I will rise off this branch and fly. I will stop trying to fit somewhere I do not belong.

After my talk with my dad, the pieces of me that want to play small showed up and tempted me with numbing habits I like to engage in to avoid my pain. Here eat this, go buy yourself something nice, watch TV all day, call someone and gossip.

No. It is time to feel the pain. I have been numbing for 35 years, no more. Someone has to take care of me, I am that someone. I will not destroy myself as a way to avoid my pain.

After my conversation with my father I felt closed in being in my home. I needed some space to process. Little bubby and I ran an errand together to accommodate this need. While we were out I was seeing cacti everywhere. On blankets, bowls, bags. Cactus symbolizes self-love for me; it is a plant that relies heavily on itself – even when there is a “love drought” the cactus can survive because of the inner supply of love.
I appreciated the reminder but did not connect too deeply with the message because cactus are in fashion right now, this is less of a message and more of a fluke.

Wrong.

The Universe showed up for me twice in my pain. Driving home from our errand I looked out the window while at a red light and there was a single cactus plant growing alone on the side of the road. Message received. The love I am longing for is my own.

Then at the end of the day little bubby and I went outside and watched the most dazzling sunset I have witnessed since his birth. The sky was on fire. Reds, oranges, pinks, peaches, purples, and deep magnificent blues. There was one solitary star in the middle of it all shining its light bright enough to be seen even in the midst of this glorious display of color. Again, I see this as a message that I am okay on my own. I am enough, I always have been. My love will sustain me and once I have felt my pain and am freed from this burden I believe my love and light will shine so bright that I will be that star.

This gaping wound was caused by lack of love, it will be filled and healed with love, that is the only way I know. I will love myself, I will give love freely, I will accept it gratefully, without shame. I will be love.

I will close this difficult post with the same words I used to hold myself after my last post because I understand it is my job to hold me now, that will never be her job again.

I am my own salvation. I will use these words to rescue/save/heal/connect/love myself.

I see your pain. I am here. You are not alone. This was NEVER okay. I will protect you. We will get help. This will not continue. 

I love you.

You are lovable.

You are loved.

And once more.. I love you. You are lovable. You are loved. You are love.

 

You Could Lose Yourself

These words came back to me after my recent drowning dream.

My mother said these words to me about being a mother before I ever became pregnant.

My mother never went to college. She was a straight A student, great at math, intelligent; she did not go because she did not see a point. At least that is what I intuit from her story. She talks about how for the longest time she was not able to dream of a future, for her it was just black – nothing there. I understood her meaning. I used to have this problem as well.

My mother says had she gone she thinks she would have been an architect. I can see this alternate reality where my mother had followed this dream. She has a gift for drawing floor plans, she created the floor plan for the house she and my father live in as well as the floor plan for my Aunt and Uncle’s home.

I wonder how different my life would have been if I had not only seen my mother wings but actually seen her use them.

My mother plays small.

She struggles with scarcity, she is driven by fear. I do not think she ever healed from her own childhood trauma and as a result she is playing out her hurt over and over and over on herself and those she claims to love.

I think that is how pain works. It is a spiral, the more we try to run from it, the more it comes circling back around presenting a new opportunity to be felt/experienced. The thing is, I think when we stop running and agree to feel it, that is when we are finally free from the cycle.

My mother told me you can lose yourself in motherhood. Lose your sense of self, your identity. I believe that is her truth, I see how that is true for her. My mother does not understand autonomy, separation of self in relationships. So yea, I am sure she does feel lost. I believe the reason she struggles with separating herself from the people she is in relationships with is because her mother physically abandoned her without warning. As a result I believe my mother experiences even the slightest separation as abandonment.

Her children growing into adults and becoming independent felt like abandonment to her so she did what she could to infantilize us so we stayed dependent.

My father and I have next to no relationship outside of my mother because to her that feels like exclusion and to her exclusion feels like abandonment.

When my son was born I said something about soaking up the moments with him because I know he will grow up and be big and life will take him exciting distant places. My mother’s response was that we would have to find a way to keep him here.

No. 

I will not limit the people I love. I will never ask anyone I love to play small. Our love will be secure enough that physical distance will not minimize it.

I will show my son my wings, I will not only teach him to fly – I will actively encourage it!

With each passing day my path forward is becoming clearer. With each passing day the road I leave behind me seems easier to walk away from.

My mother lost herself in mothering, and for me it feels the opposite – this is the place where I am finding myself.

Hostage

Yesterday I agreed to be part of a girls day with a few family members, it was the most exhausting experience I have had in months. It was a stark contrast to the rejuvenating experience I had with a different group of women Friday at Red Tent. In one scenario I left feeling grounded and inspired, in the other I left feeling completely drained and resentful.

There is definitely an AND present here, it was not a terrible experience on the whole.

I really enjoyed being with these women in my family AND it was too much. Too much stimulus, too much time, too much giving without enough receiving, too much of my mother, too many different energies clashing. Just too much.

There is a family wedding approaching and the bride wanted to attend a bridal show at a local hotel. This is not my scene. I went to one of these things when I was engaged and was overwhelmed. I have not seen the bride in  months though and she went with me when I went before so I agreed. I figured it would be a few hours of being over stimulated but that trade was worth the time I would get to spend with her and the other women in my family.

My first mistake was not getting all the information. I agreed to something without understanding what I was agreeing to. What I thought would be a few hours was over 7. My entire day was consumed by this and I had no out. I was at the mercy of the group.

That is really what made this day hard, the length of time.

I can handle my mother complaining about her life and only talking about my brother and his family without ever asking about me and mine in small dosages, not for 7 hours.
I can handle being in an over stimulating situation in small dosages, not for 7 hours.
I can handle superficial conversation in small dosages, not for 7 hours.
I can make allowances for boundary violations, especially during special occasions, not for 7 hours.
I can handle postponing a meal, not for 12 hours.

I ate breakfast at 8am and then did not eat a meal again until 7:30pm. During that 12 hour window I ate one bite of wedding cake, a mint, a handful of goldfish, and edamame.

When we finally left the bridal show everyone was starving. The group decided on a Chinese restaurant, I immediately spoke up and reminded my family that I cannot eat Chinese food due to a food allergy I have. I was told the same thing I am always told when it comes to eating out with my family: you can order a salad.

This right here is one of the main reasons I no longer go to restaurants with my family.

What if I don’t want to eat a fucking salad? What if I am starving just like you and want to eat something more substantial? I don’t see anyone else ordering a fucking salad, yeah it is because you are fucking hungry and lettuce just won’t do it!

When we got to the restaurant I discovered that my allergen is used in the salad dressings and the marinades for the meat. If I ordered a salad I would have to order raw vegetables with unseasoned meat in order for it not to make me sick. And you know, there are times when I do eat that way and it is okay but I had not eaten all day and that was not going to cut it. I ended up ordering edamame to hold me over and decided I would eat dinner at home with my husband in a few hours when I was finally released.

Everyone around me ate rice and chicken and vegetables while I sat there with my edamame and hot tea. My mom kept trying to feed me her fried rice and I kept having to tell her, No it will make me sick. I was supremely frustrated. Please stop waving your delicious food in front of me, yes I would love to eat it but I don’t feel like shitting my pants today.

I did finally have an opportunity to share some things in my life I am excited about right now but soon after I was given the floor it was taken away again. Interruption after interruption. Me trying to tell my story quickly became someone else telling theirs. I did get to finish but only because I redirected multiple times.

I love my family AND they are not my people. That is my truth.

I live a life they do not understand. The way I live, the way I communicate, the things that I am passionate about, are not valued in my family, even among the women, so I am silenced.

I have nothing to contribute in the way of gossip, or complaining, or what I like to eat at the newest chain restaurant. And they have nothing to contribute when I talk about the sacredness of a space like Red Tent other than side ways glances at one another and concerned questions.

I love my family AND they are not my people. That is my truth. A truth that once made me feel isolated and lost. A truth that now makes me feel liberated. I can love them AND live a life outside of them that is not for them. I do not have to belong to my family in order to belong. Family is not the most important thing, connection is. That is my truth.

On Friday I spent time with strangers, sharing a meal I could eat, talking about things that excited me and made me feel heard and understood. I left that gathering of women feeling completely connected to myself and these women. I knew who I was.
Yesterday I spent time with women I have known my entire life, watching them share a meal I could not eat, listening to them talk about things that frustrated me and made me feel invisible and outcast. I left that gathering of women feeling completely disconnected from myself and these women. I felt sick with the over exposure to this energy field.

When I finally got home my husband came outside with my sage already lit and brought in some groceries I picked up for our dinner while I cleansed myself in the driveway before entering my home. We ate together and talked about things that mattered to us and I felt connected again.

I love my family AND they are not my people. That is my truth. I have so much gratitude to be able to stand in that truth with love rather than fear. I have so much gratitude for the places I do belong. I have so much gratitude for the inside connection I have built that allows me to stand in my truth and be free.

ecstacy maxfield parish