Wild Woman – Another Thing I Miss

Besides just missing my mom in a general sense, the next thing I miss the most is the ability of asking her questions. Every day I need to work on being ok with never having certain questions answered.

Women Who Run With the Wolves – Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype – is a book that I found in my mom’s library. And one of the books I placed a sticker on the inside page: “From the library of Anne-Marie Merle”. And for some reason, unknown at the time, I took this book, with no real reason why, and put it on my bookshelf. I think I knew I needed to read it, without being ready to read it yet.

But now I am. I started reading. And I know this is the third book of words that is carrying me through my spiritual journey. My mom made notes in this book – I adore her handwriting – and she also flagged passages. Someday I will write about what I am learning through this book, but for now, as I go along, I will just highlight the passages that she flagged. This connects back to me needing to be content with never knowing. Why did she flag this paragraph? What did it mean to her? Why did she feel it was important? I can wonder and hypothesize. And then I just re-read the words again. And find peace in reading the pages my mom did, and holding the book as she did, and breathing in her breath that she would have left within.

Passage One

Additionally, I detail for you some of the craft – the experiential and artful play – that helps women retain the numen of their work in conscious memory. These last two are taken from my workshops on emergence of our wildish natures. As I hope you will see, they are tangible ways to soften old scar tissues, balm old wounds, and restore old skills in a down-to-earth manner.

Image 2 Image 1 Image

My Friend’s Mom Is In A Cookie Jar

I was at a dear friend’s house this weekend. Even though we have been friends for ages, we always seem to spend time together “out” or at another friend’s home. So this was the first time I had ever been in her home.

Her mother passed away before mine did and we connect through our similar losses. I love being in the My Mom (or Dad) Is Dead Club, because those of us in it, seem to have this different level of humour and understanding of death. It’s like we have a secret handshake, but don’t really have one.

So it was completely normal for me to notice the urn on the mantel and me turn to her and say, “Is that your mom?” And she said, “Yup. That’s actually a cookie jar.”

And then we laughed and chatted about it a bit more. And then that was it.

Albatross – Weight of Living, Pt. I

Nope. This post isn’t about my cat named Albatross. It’s about another Bastille song. “Another one???” Yes, another one. Haven’t I told you that their album is unreal??? It’s unreal.

So. The song Weight of Living, Pt. I is another song about letting go. Read these lyrics.

There’s an albatross around your neck,
All the things you’ve said,
and the things you’ve done,
Can you carry it with no regrets,
Can you stand the person you’ve become,
Ooh there’s a light [x2]

[CHORUS]
Your Albatross, let it go, let it go,
Your Albatross shoot it down, shoot it down
When you just can’t shake
The heavy weight of living

Stepping forward out into the day
Shrugging off the dust and memory
Though it’s soaring still above your head
It is out of sight and none shall see
Oooh there’s a light [x2]

[CHORUS]
Your Albatross, let it go, let it go,
Your Albatross shoot it down, shoot it down
When you just can’t shake
The heavy weight of living
When you just can’t seem to shake
The heavy weight of Living

It’s the sun in your eyes, in your eyes [x4]

[CHORUS]
Your Albatross, let it go, let it go,
Your Albatross shoot it down, shoot it down
When you just can’t shake
The heavy weight of living
When you just can’t seem to shake
The heavy weight of Living

The Weight of Living [x4]

So what does this even mean? Well, albatross is a bird. But also it’s a metaphor – the Wikipedia definition is “The word albatross is sometimes used metaphorically to mean a psychological burden that feels like a curse.”

So obvi my albatross was letting go of my mom’s death defining me. And don’t these lyrics speak to that? Each line can have a connection to how my life was during that time. “It’s the sun in your eyes” – I wasn’t able to see the rest of my life when I still held onto my albatross.

But now even though that I have shot it down, I still have more albatrosses. Just because one of them was let go, it’s doesn’t mean that I am “cured”. We always have ways to better ourselves and grow and learn. But I think we each have that big one. The hardest one to let go, and we can’t move on until it’s soaring above our heads, but out of sight so none can see.

I needed to let go of my mom’s death so I can move on and start to better myself in other areas of my life. And I am excited and proud of myself to get to this point.

So what is your albatross? And what do you need to do so it is soaring above you?

This Is Why I Hate Being A “Good” Mom

Nick and Arrine are spending time in Sylvan for Easter. And I have really been struggling with being away from her for this holiday. It’s so very hard to not be there with her this weekend. So that just added to my sadness surrounding this morning.

Arrine has discovered gum. So this morning when she asked for a piece, she agreed when I told her she could have a piece after she ate her breakfast that Nick had for her to eat in the car. But then during her trip to the loo before the road trip, I asked her if she wiped and she said, “Yes.” But I am a mom and I know when she’s not telling me the truth. I asked her if she was being truthful and she said, “Yes.” Another lie. And then she tried to flush the evidence away by holding the toilet seat down!!! I was so upset with her! She asked for her gum and I told her that she isn’t rewarded with gum for lying. And then the tears came. I tried to have a talk with her about it but she couldn’t settle down. So then Nick is trying to leave and I am trying to say good-bye and she wouldn’t hug or kiss me. So then I started crying. I knew that I was doing the right thing by not giving in and letting her have the gum (right??) so that she would stop crying. But my heart was breaking as she was leaving me sad, and I was sad, and it was just sad all around. So they left.

And then I put on a coat over my pi’s and threw on some flip-flops to quickly head out in the snow before they left and I tried to talk to her again. But she was still crying. So through my tears, I told her that I love her and I didn’t want her to leave sad and it made me sad. And that was it. There was nothing else I could do.

I hate gum.

Direct Corrleation

Remember that Oath that I wrote and sometimes repost for an internal reminder to adhere to it? I’ve learned that lesson again.

During the time I was going through my significant observation about my grief and recognizing that I was using my mom’s death to define me, and the need to let that go, I also found something that I haven’t really written about yet. I filled the void that was created in letting my mom’s death go with spirituality. Female spirituality. Mother Earth. Goddess. Priestess. Crone. And it changed me. I tapped into my inner strength and power that is within us all. I plan to write about this more in detail in another post when I know it’s time to share, but my initial way to practice this, is simply to read. Read books that my mom had read, and that her Sisters had suggested I read. And I did. And I felt content. And my friends made observations about me, in that they saw a change in me. And how I needed less of other “things”. And then the reading slowed when I started a new book that I couldn’t connect with right away. And then the old ways slowly showed themselves to me again.

But this was a lesson I needed to learn for myself. It’s like someone I know who is on meds for his mental illness. He takes the meds, feels well again, stops the meds and soon becomes sick again. I stopped taking my meds. But now I know that I need to always find the time for my relationship with the internal me. My meds. And then I will always have the support I need that is created by knowing my own strength and power.

I am writing this less for you, and more for me tonight. As a way to hold myself responsible for the choices I have been making and scolding myself for it. Because this isn’t who my Mother knows I am.

Who is our Goddess?

Behold, she is ourselves.

How Did Your Mommy Die?

Arrine and I got home later than usual today after work and daycare. We stopped at the grocery store for a few things before getting home. So while I was making a quick supper and putting away groceries and tidying – yes, my life is multitasking – Arrine was watching a bit of Frozen.

My hand was halfway to my mouth with a piece of roasted chicken when Arrine turned to me and said, with no previous discussion, “How did your mommy die?” I stopped. Put the chicken down, paused Frozen and went and sat by her on the couch.

I asked her why she was asking, and she just said that she forgot how she died. So I told her that my mom was sick and had a disease that the doctors couldn’t make better with medicine. And her brain was sick. And that’s how she died. And I told her that I missed her very much and I loved that she was asking about her. Because I love talking about her. Arrine then asked to see a picture of her. So I showed her some. And then I asked her if she had any other questions and she said, “No.” And started to hug Alby and that was it.

I am so blessed to have her as a daughter. I adore her. So much that my heart hurts.

Tickle

I found my journals that I kept while in the hospital with my mom and then for a few months after her death. I always love re-reading them. I always hate re-reading them.

Never before have I written out what are in these journals to share. Today I think I can.

Here is something I wrote on Wednesday, April 22, 2009. Entitled Tickle.

Tickle

Watching over her.

A tear swells from her eye.

It slowly moves along her soft cheek.

Towards her ear, where it collects with

the others that have hardened into her hair.

Normally I would brush it away for her.

Because I know the feeling of tickling tears.

 

While watching over her, I do not cry.

It isn’t until I am home.

Lying on my back, as she lies on hers.

Then a tear swells in my eye.

It slowly moves along my soft cheek.

I let it move on my own.

Feeling what she feels.

I can imagine the thousands of tiny feet

the tear has to manoeuvre down my face.

Each tiny foot leaving a streak behind, drying

into a crust. A crust that is so easy

to wash away, when the reason behind it

will never leave you.

 

I let as many tears fall as I

can handle.

Each one finding the path of least

resistance.

Like raindrops on the car window when

driving on the highway.

 

But then I wipe them away.

They tickle too much.

As I would wipe them away for her.

Image

 

Flaws (You Post One Pic Of Yourself In Your PJs And Everyone Goes Crazy)

I have a jumble of thoughts in my head, all connected…somehow. So here goes, writing without a plan or clear thought process.

I saw the most amazing show last weekend. I saw Bastille at Union Hall and it was by far, one of the best live shows I have ever seen. And I have seen a lot of bands play. It was the energy the band demanded from the crowd. And the crowd delivered. It was like we each had a private conversation with the band for the entire show, while being surrounded by hundreds of people. When they played Flaws, Dan walked through the crowd. He. Walked. Through. The. Crowd. And since then, I have had this tune on repeat. Literally, repeating on my iPod in the car and at work. It’s now a part of me. And it has made me really think about my Flaws and what I do with them. Are they on my sleeve? Or do I bury them? I wear my grief on my sleeve when it comes to this blog. And that has caused concern and judgment. I wear my openness on my sleeve when it comes to certain things I post on social media. And that has caused concern and judgment.

Regarding my grief, I have only censored myself when writing, when I felt I needed to respect other people’s privacy, or it was moments that I cherished and I really wanted to keep them as something special that only me and my mom knew. But this openness, and seeing into my life in one aspect, was an easy way for friends and family to worry more about me than they needed to. Looking back, I really was struggling, but it was what I needed to do for me to get where I am today. And I received more feedback, thanking me for sharing so deeply, as it helped others with their journey through losing someone. So I felt that I was doing more good than bad with my honesty.

Regarding social media, I censor myself A LOT! The thoughts I have sometimes I surprise myself. Where some would be quick to post, I keep those ideas private. Or I only private message my closest friends who I know would understand me and leave judgement at the door. Because they are just as weird as I am. But I still do post things that others find ease in quickly labelling me. And I know this happens, and I don’t think about it much, because I know that the friends and family who really KNOW me, like see me in person and actually interact with me, don’t attach those labels to me. And that’s all that matters to me.

And then this happened. I was mistaken for a stripper. Read my dear friend’s post here explaining what happened. I laughed really hard about it, but again, didn’t give it much major thought. The labelling came through a friend of a friend that I didn’t even know. Not a concern to me.

But then I shared a pic of me from a photo shoot where I was wearing my pyjamas. It is tasteful and beautiful and the photographer is a true artist with her work. But the pj’s show off my butt a little bit. But sharing that caused another discussion amongst my friends about perception. (Nic – I adore you.) And I was quick to defend myself, but at the same time taking their views to heart. Which made me think of Flaws and being a stripper. Is this connecting for you? It’s connecting for me…all over the place.

When my mom was in the hospital, she said she needed me to share her story so others learned from her experience. I felt I did that, but then it morphed into me sharing my story, so others could learn from my grief. Now that I have made such great progress with letting go of her death, I am still wrapped up in feeling I need to share myself  - to provoke and expand and challenge. In other ways besides my grief.

I am a mom. And I am proud of my motherhood. But I also like to drink beer. And get dressed up and go out and have a fab time with my friends. I am a professional, overseeing projects worth millions of dollars with teams depending on me, as well as maintaining the safety of people, property and the environment. But I also pole dance. I am a daughter, sister, cousin and daughter-in-law with defined roles in each of those. But I also like to look good, because it makes me feel good. And sometimes looking good, means there being pictures of me in my underwear, taken by a gifted photographer, floating around out there.

But of course I am not labelled on my mothering, career or character. I am a partying pole dancer who is more risqué than she should be. This is where I would love to go on another tangent about society’s views on women – successful, good-looking, strong women, but this post is already all over the place. Instead I will try to wrap this all up.

Flaws. I feel I wear my flaws on my sleeve. That being my grief. That being a mom who still makes time to maintain my identity as an individual a priority which is easily judged. But are those really flaws? I wouldn’t think so. Maybe? I think they are things that make me me – and are just things that people have strong opinions on.

So where do I go from here? Do I censor myself more with social media? Do I completely retreat? Do I still fight the fight I feel I live daily, breaking the ideas of what a female engineer with a child should be? (Again, that needs an entire other post).

For now I think I’ll just take some to reflect on this. Decide what is important to me. And how those decisions can affect my family, personal life and professional life.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Carole Radziwell, NYC writer and featured on RHONYC. It seems very appropriate here, don’t you think?

“If you’re going to talk about me behind my back, at least check out my great ass.”

******************

Flaws – Bastille

When all of your flaws and all of my flaws
Are laid out one by one
A wonderful part of the mess that we made
We pick ourselves undone

All of your flaws and all of my flaws
They lie there hand in hand
Ones we’ve inherited, ones that we learned
They pass from man to man

There’s a hole in my soul
I can’t fill it I can’t fill it
There’s a hole in my soul
Can you fill it? Can you fill it?

You have always worn your flaws upon your sleeve
And I have always buried them deep beneath the ground
Dig them up; let’s finish what we’ve started
Dig them up, so nothing’s left unturned

All of your flaws and all of my flaws,
When they have been exhumed
We’ll see that we need them to be who we are
Without them we’d be doomed

There’s a hole in my soul
I can’t fill it I can’t fill it
There’s a hole in my soul
Can you fill it? Can you fill it?

You have always worn your flaws upon your sleeve
And I have always buried them deep beneath the ground
Dig them up; let’s finish what we’ve started
Dig them up, so nothing’s left unturned

Oooooh
Oooooh

When all of your flaws
And all of my flaws are counted
When all of your flaws
And all of my flaws are counted

You have always worn your flaws upon your sleeve
And I have always buried them deep beneath the ground
Dig them up. Let’s finish what we’ve started
Dig them up. So nothing’s left unturned

Oooooh
Oooooh

All of your flaws and all of my flaws
Are laid out one by one
Look at the wonderful mess that we made
We pick ourselves undone

 

Let Me Check My Chart…Yes. You’re Barren.

Ok, so those weren’t the exact words that the doctor used, but that’s what I heard.

I love being a mom. I love it so much it hurts. I feel the love and joy to my core. I actually feel the happiness through my veins because of Arrine. I enjoyed being pregnant. I loved the female strength that surged through me and the beautiful natural birth of our daughter. The reading and preparing and mental challenge pregnancy and birth presented me was such an empowering time. So naturally I would love to experience that again. And have more babies.

Because I am not in the position to have another baby right now, but know that I would want another one, I spoke with my family doctor last summer about fertility options. At the time she put my name in for a referral. I did my own research, thought about it a lot, and as the months passed, I came to accept that I wouldn’t pursue the fertility path. But when I got a call from the clinic almost 5 months later, I decided to still go to the appointment. So half a year later, I found myself being tested and tested some more. All because I know I will ache for another baby one day. And every time I was reminded that my partner needed to be at the appointment, I would reply, “It’s just me.” And usually they would pause and take a moment before they responded. I could imagine what they were thinking during that pause, but I pushed those thoughts out of my head.

After the tests, I had to wait another 3 months for my follow-up appointment. So last week when I went in (“Yes, it’s just me. I don’t have a partner with me”), I realized I had already been mentally preparing for the worst news. Because that’s what I seem to do in these situations. But even though I was expecting the worst, I was still shocked when the doctor reviewed my tests, wrote some notes in my file, and within a few minutes, looked up at me and said, “I wouldn’t recommend we proceed with any treatments. Your tests don’t show results where we would expect success.” And the tears came. He followed up by saying, “I’m not telling you that you can’t get pregnant naturally, it’s amazing what the body can do. Just the results aren’t positive enough for us to continue.” And in my head all I am hearing is, “MODERN MEDICINE CAN’T MAKE YOU PREGNANT. WE CAN PUT A MAN ON THE MOON BUT NOT KNOCK YOU UP.” And he said it again, “I am not ruling out a natural pregnancy.” But that didn’t stop the tears.

And that was it. What else is there to say? It was like an awkward break-up. But I asked him to write out what he just told me, the detailed medical lingo, so I would have my own copy of the information. And I thought that is what my mom would have done too. And the doctor apologized. And I said it was ok, it wasn’t his fault. And that was it. I walked out through that waiting room, with all the other nervous and anxious couples (two people, no single people), eagerly looking up to see who was coming out from seeing the doctor, being so hopeful to see happy results. But I hung my head and let the tears fall and let them see my pain. I wasn’t going to censor myself for them.

And then the memories of crying in a hospital came back full force. It took me to the times I would be walking out of the hospital in NB, just crying. Like it was a completely normal thing to do in public. And I did not care if people looked longer or felt pity for me or wondered why this girl was just openly crying while walking to her car. But I needed that at the time. Just an open release of emotion, otherwise it would have stayed inside and consumed me.

So a week has passed, and when I told my therapist about it today, he gave me some great things to reflect on.

1. Don’t Rationalize – Telling myself that another child just isn’t meant to be or wasn’t in my life’s plan, won’t allow me to properly grieve. I need to acknowledge that these feelings I am having are not misplaced and go through the process. Which led to the next point:

2. This Is A Real Loss – You can experience a loss of something that hasn’t actually happened. Meaning that even though I haven’t lost a conceived baby, it am feeling the loss of the idea and further plans I had for children. So I need to allow myself the time to grieve. Because so far, I have been rationalizing and setting aside the grief.

And that’s when I made a great observation. When my mom died, within a few months I was pregnant and I set aside my grieving process, unknowingly, to focus on my pregnancy and new baby. It wasn’t until Arrine was around a year old, when I started to have time to my thoughts again, when the grieving kicked in. And that’s what I had started to do it again. Put the loss I was just told aside, making excuses being busy with work and Arrine and my own personal life, and not allowing myself to really think about it. And feel it. I haven’t been letting me feel it.

So now I am going to feel it. Let it hurt. Allow the tears when they come. Go through the grieving process. I have the strength to do it, so I will.

Here’s a major difference between this situation and my mom though. I have hope. There was no hope with my mom. The disease was what it was. It wasn’t an illness where there was a chance of recovery. But I have hope that one day I will have a new little one who will fit in my arms perfectly. And as the doctor said more than once, he wasn’t telling me that I couldn’t become pregnant naturally.

PLUS – My mom didn’t start getting white hair until her late 50s!! And she aged beautifully. So I hope her genes that carried her youthfulness are a part of me now, and even if my results don’t show the ideal numbers for modern science, they are more than enough for what our Goddess needs.

Toddlers & Tiaras vs Tiger Woods

This question has come up a few times in the last few months when I have been chatting with other parents:

How do you know the difference between pushing your child and teaching them to follow through with their commitment?

For example, Arrine is in gymnastics and dance classes. The majority of the time she is excited to participate and listens and looks forward to class. But I remember a specific gymnastic night when she just wasn’t into it. She wouldn’t listen to her coach and kept coming over to me. And I told her, “If you don’t listen and behave, we will just go home.” And that we did. After a few tears and judgey looks from other parents, we packed up and headed home. She was tired and moody and I wasn’t going to fight with her on it. Nick has had a similar experience with dance too. Again, these are very rare occurrences, but when they do happen, how should we handle it?

I have vowed to never be a Toddlers &Tiaras mom, where I am pushing my daughter to participate in things she really doesn’t want to do. But what if I register her in dance next season and half way through she decides she never wants to go again. Do I just allow her to stop going? How does this teach values of commitment and dedication and being accountable? I do realize she is only four, but at what age do you need to be forceful with this? And I do really see promise in her as a dancer, and so does her instructor, so is Arrine really the best judge of what’s best for her right now? Since she is still just a young kid?

Then I think of Tiger Woods. His father was dedicated to his golf when Tiger was so young. I am sure there were days when Tiger didn’t want to practice – like c’mon, he’s a kid – but how did his father know to stay committed to his son? And how did he accomplish it without creating resentment between golf and Tiger and himself? You want your child to learn the importance of finishing something, but at what cost? Do you become a Toddlers & Tiaras mom and force them to finish out the season? And then try something new when the commitment is over?

Is it seeing the love of the activity within your child and knowing that sometimes they will have an off day and let it go? Is that what we need to know to keep pushing? Maybe it comes down to their age and what’s an appropriate expectation? 

I think this is the post where I have asked the most questions and never actually answered anything. So this is a good spot to stop writing.

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