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.

 

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Sending Out My Whisper

I am understanding as I do my work towards growth and healing that there is purpose in all of it. Purpose in the pain, purpose in the healing – it is mine, my purpose.

None of this is accidental. None of it is arbitrary. All of it is connected, all of it is mine, and from it I step into in my most sacred truth and work; my purpose. The whole reason I am here, what all of this has been preparing me for.

I am know who and what I am now. I know the purpose of all of it. I know my purpose.

I am still working with my small parts, they are afraid of the BIGNESS I know I am.

I am BIG and my purpose is too.

So for now, I will let this post be my first whisper out into the Universe.

I know what this life holds for me now and please hear me loud and clear when I say: I am ready and I want it.

I know who and what I am, I know where I am going, I am open to receiving everything I am meant to receive in order to get me there. I understand this is not a place I am going as much as a life I am creating; I am ready for this life, I want this life.

I promise to honor all of my sacred gifts. I promise to honor who and what I am and share it as I am meant to. I promise to honor my purpose. I will not waste this one wonderful existence where I was called here to do and be this.

I am calling it all in. I am ready to be BIG.

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

In the Way of Beauty

Little bubby and I take a walk everyday, weather permitting. It allows a few things to happen at once; exercise for momma, outdoor time for both of us, quiet time for both of us, and connection.

I was thinking of my husband today as we walked; when we walk we take the long way – the super long way. My husband would say our route is the most circuitous and would think it completely impractical, he would not be wrong.

Cheryl Strayed talks about putting yourself in the way of beauty in her book Wild. That is what our walk is all about. The beauty of being in my body and feeling good, the beauty of being outside together, the beauty of the quiet, the beauty of connection. Knowing this, my question is, why rush it?

We walk one block too far on the way home on purpose because this is where the yellow house is with the hanging orchids and wind chimes. We love the sweet tinkle of bells and to see which bloom has popped, so we put ourselves in the way of beauty.

We turn one block too soon because that is where the bare oak lives with the little bird’s nest. We hope one day to see little babies resting secure inside, so we put ourselves in the way of beauty.

We don’t turn right and instead go down another block because on that same street is the sage house with the coral door. We love to feel the peace radiating from this home’s foundation, so we put ourselves in the way of beauty.

We turn left at the next block so we can walk by the old house with no fence surrounding the backyard. We love to gaze in at the millions of azaleas bursting off the bushes, so we put ourselves in the way of beauty.

Then we arrive at the park next to our home. Sometimes our walks run over and it is time for the next thing on our schedule, be it bath, or baby food, or story time. Somethings cannot be rushed though; like the sun setting on the pond, or watching squirrels eat their dinner in the grass, or listening to the mockingbird sing his song. The grass calls to us, invites to sit and stay a while, and we do, so we can put ourselves in the way of beauty.

in the way of beauty

My Channel is Opening

One aspect of my vision board this year has to do with my intuition and how I commune with the Universe.

My spirituality is grounded in love and is practiced through my relationship with nature and my connection to the Divine/Universe which I understand is both inside me and around me at all times. There is no name for my beliefs, I simply call it all my Sacred Truth.

I see symbolism and signs all around me. Since making the declaration that I want to be big, feel my pain, and heal in love, the Universe has been showing up for me in major ways letting me know I am supported and on my path.

Last night this came in the form of lightning bugs.

When I was a child I always dreamed of seeing and playing among these magical insects because to me that is just what they were, magic. I never did see one growing up though. It wasn’t until I was in my thirties and visiting my husband’s home town over the summer that I finally saw my first lightning bug.

We were sitting on the back porch of his parents home at sunset. I was watching the sun go down over the corn field next to the house when suddenly – blink. Then again – Blink. Blink. Blink.

Bubby look at that!!

My inner child came flying out, overcome with joy and wonder. They were as magical as I always imagined they would be. We sat for sometime watching the blinks of light in the darkness.

Last night I let Lu our dog out before bed. As I waited for her at the backdoor I stepped out into the cool night air, looking for the moon. I found her in the western sky, half full, sending me the message; you are halfway there, but there is more work to do. As I communed with the moon I caught a small blink out of the corner of my eye. I looked in the direction of the blink, and a moment later there it was again.

I was stunned – it can’t be.

Blink.. Blink. Blink.

It is!

Two little lightning bugs shining their light in the darkness and still of the night.

I have lived in Florida my entire life and this is the very first time I have ever seen lightning bugs here. This was certainly a sign; Keep shining, you are in the dark now, just keep shining and your light will grow.

I have been so supported. The Universe is sending me all kinds of sacred signs and symbols to let me know I am not alone in this. I do belong somewhere and my place in the order of things is sacred.

I am grateful for the support. I feel my channel to the Universe opening. I feel my truth of who I am and my purpose rising. In the darkness of disconnection I have been experiencing, I also feel the light of connection to bigger things – that is where I belong, among those big things because I AM BIG.

communing with the universe

 

 

Getting Creative: The Beginning

My water broke on a Sunday. I was standing out in backyard under the old Nana oak tree communing with the full moon when the contractions that I had been experiencing for two days grew in intensity. A few hours later it was time to go. While my husband packed the car I slipped into my closet, where my alter is set up, and took a quiet moment to ground, call upon the Universe for support, and pull a few cards for my labor and delivery.

labor and delivery support

Typically when I pull cards for support I pull three from my Self-Care deck and one from my Mother’s Wisdom deck who’s energy rules over the other three.

I was not surprised by the cards that came forward to support me, with the exception of Creativity. I did not see where she fit. Peace I understood as a way for me to keep my calm in the storm, to surrender to the confusion, let go of the need to control and have peace. Truth I understood as staying connected to my own sacred truth through the process, speaking up when needed, and staying connected with my body as she experiences this awesome release. Ocean which represents the Source I understood because for me Motherhood has always been represented by water. Even the image on that card appears to represent a woman flowing with her body which is what this experience is all about. Creativity felt out of place but I accepted the support and the sign from the Universe none the less. As soon as little soul crossed over and joined us I began to understand this message.

Now almost 5 months in I laugh about how right on this card is. Motherhood is completely about tapping into your deepest source of creativity! From hour one it seems we have been having to think on our feet, get outside the box, and embrace every possible (and impossible) option when it comes to parenting, self-care, honoring and nurturing our marriage, etc. Tapping into creativity is a daily practice for us now, we would not be doing as well as we are without our ability to get supremely creative.

Lately it has been taking the form of creative ways to play and interact with little bubby. Today we played in momma’s scarves, feeling the texture of each one, seeing how they all move differently when swooshed through the air, looking at all the different colors and patterns. We played with plastic blocks in water, splashing and grabbing. We unrolled a roll of toilet paper to see how that works. Yesterday we went out front and I sat in the grass with bubby in my lap letting him reach down and experience the grass for the first time. With each new experience he starts slow, taking it all in piece by piece.

I am having so many personal take aways from this part of being creative.

It is allowing me to tap back into my inner little who is wise in the ways of play and joy, she is leading the charge.

It is allowing me to let go of the need to control things. I have a part that manages things to keep our home peaceful, stable, and functional – this is not her party. In this space I am only responsible for the introduction to the new thing, he dictates how he wants to experience it. For example, when I introduced water in a tupperware with his blocks I expected him to go straight for the water because he LOVES water. Instead he spent the first 5 minutes exploring the outside of the actual tupperware before ever getting a finger wet. All of this is new and fascinating for him, who I am to say the water is more interesting or should take precedent over the vessel holding it?

It is allowing me to see life through new eyes. Imagine if every single day you woke up you experienced 20 things for the very first time. He touched an orchid today, he has never seen an orchid before today, let alone touch it. Amazing. He played with a ribbon, before today he had never felt satin, never experienced what a frayed thread from a uneven cut feels like. Amazing. 

Each day I am watching this little being grow on so many levels. It is amazing. I am not only baring witness to his transformation, I am an active participant by mindfully providing opportunities for him.

I feel my own perspective expanding, my practice of daily gratitude is reaching new heights.

There is more to be written on this message I received around creativity, it is a powerful one that is certain.

Today I am grateful for the ways I was able to show up with bubby in my creative energy and connect with him.
I am grateful to be home at Adding to Nine writing again.
I am grateful for the connection I experienced with my soul family around the topic of creativity.
I am grateful for a life partner who embodies the spirit of creativity along with me.
I am most grateful for this life that I am actively and intentionally building with these two hands, and my heart, and my soul, along side my deepest truest love, and the sweetest little soul who chose us and whom we chose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Labeling

light and dark

This theme has come up quite a bit within the last week or so. This might be the first of multiple posts on this topic because I feel the direction I want to go is only half-baked, I may have further insights at a later date. Let’s call this a first draft.

It came up first when discussing an ex with other women who were also discussing ex’s. One of the women labels her ex a narcissist and while she and I discovered similarities in how we both experienced our ex’s this is one place where we differ. I do not label my ex anything other than an ex. Maybe that is not true. I label him a liar, and a manipulator, and a betrayer of sacred trust, and a phony, and insecure – AND at the end of that sentence I say: Me too. If I label my ex I do so knowing that anything he is, I am too.

I did not express this to her because I felt no need to. People have different reasons for why they do or do not choose to use labels, my truth about this belongs to me and I felt no real need to voice it in this instance.

Later we talked one on one in further detail, her separation from the ex is recent so I know she is still processing. My separation occurred over a decade ago. I am still processing as well but my processing is coming from a different place. My processing is less about him and more about me. There are unresolved emotional wounds from that relationship that have been left unresolved because:

  1. In the moments where I was experiencing his darkness I abandoned myself.
  2. I was not yet ready to experience my own darkness that I brought to the relationship.

So now my work is going back and picking up all those pieces of myself that I left behind and have not wanted to see because they feel/felt unlovable AND now loving those parts of myself well.

It is not about the other person, it is about the pieces of you that you left behind. This is my truth and my first reason for not labeling him in this way. Because at this point it is not about him so what difference would a label make? None.

Here is my bigger underlying truth about labeling:

Labels are used for lots of different reasons. For example it feels to me (I could have this wrong) that the woman I have been speaking with is using a label with her ex because it is helping her detach and make sense of what she experienced with him. Labels can absolutely help understand something that feels confusing.

Related to that detachment is another reason I believe people use labels, to create a sense of separation. Us and them. In this case narcissist and empath.

This is where I get uncomfortable. I do not believe in us versus them. That concept eliminates all the possibilities that exist in between and that is just not my truth about the world at this point.

I do identify as an empath. That is a label I choose for myself, that does not automatically make this person who I was emotionally wounded by a narcissist though. He is no more narcissist than I am and I am no more empath than he. We both possesses qualities of each.

In that relationship we both experienced the darkness of the other. Empaths are not just beings of light. They are not only as capable of manipulation as narcissists, they are masters of it. That is what comes with the power of feeling others on this level, you can misuse that power and go into a shadow space with it. There is this notion of a divide between empath and narcissist..

That divide says:
One of us is good and the other is bad.
One of us is the abuser, the other is the victim.
One of us is light while the other is dark.

I am sorry but I call bullshit on all that. It is just not my truth. Narcissism is a real thing, absolutely. And if you have ever been the victim of a narcissist than you know how painful their darkness can feel. I am not meaning to minimize anyone’s trauma or experiences. I only mean to underline one of my personal truths and that is: in adult relationships we ALL show up in both shadow and light, some of us lean more one way than the other, sure, it is always both though. I know individuals who have been emotionally wounded by diagnosed narcissists, I am not trying to take that experience away or make it invalid; I am merely trying to bring to light a fuller picture which includes those who have been emotionally victimized by empaths as well. If you think that is not a thing I know my ex would disagree with you.

Another place where labeling has come up recently relates to how labels can make us invisible. I am going to continue with this example of my ex and the label narcissist to avoid outing the other people I spoke to about other labels they experience in their lives. It all applies just the same regardless of the example I use.

So relating to labels and how they make us invisible:

Calling someone a narcissist allows us to strip them of their humanity rendering them invisible. He is no longer (insert name here) he is my ex the narcissist. The moment I say that I no longer have to experience him as a complex human being made up of both shadow and light, I get to detach all of that truth and see him just as a monster. Well I do not believe in monsters. And my truth is if one person in this world is a monster than we all are. Whatever one person is capable of, we are all capable of.

The reason labels exist in the first place is to help sort and understand commonalities. It is not black and white though and that is why it is so important to never lose sight of the person.

Think about all the different labels you identify with- truly take a minute and bring these labels up in your mind – now imagine if you were only seen by everyone else through that lens:

I am someone’s wife AND I am not just someone’s wife.
I am a social worker AND I am not just a social worker.
I am someone’s sister AND I am not just someone’s sister.
I am manipulative AND I am not just manipulative.

I am light AND shadow.
I am grateful AND entitled.
I am you and you are me AND we are no different AND we are completely different.

It’s all of it, everything in between and then some. There is more than one way to add to nine, the possibilities are infinite, and one measly little label will never be able to contain the vastness of a human being. That is my truth.