Archives for category: childhood
Happy New Year! 2013!

Happy New Year! 2013!

“To burn with desire and keep quiet about it is the greatest punishment we can bring on ourselves.”

― Federico García Lorca, Blood Wedding

REFLECTIONS

Happy Half Way Point for The Other Woman Blog!

I’m back home now, in a self-imposed, silent retreat. Candles burning, fresh flowers before me and very loud rock music blaring. Something about the sharp contrast between the serene and the wild is feeding my soul today. I am going to try to unearth the purpose of my addictions…my over-indulgences with food and British Mystery Series. Let me be clear. I had no desire to write about this. But I made a promise when I began theotherwomanblog, 6 months ago…that whatever topic presented itself to me, on or around the day of writing, I would be courageous enough to write about it…no matter how uncomfortable it made me. Today is New Year’s Eve…now New Year’s Day! (I began yesterday but made little progress…I was like the class clown, who uses humour and silly antics to avoid work…after several hours with no discernible progress in my writing, I closed my computer and watched a British Mystery while eating chocolates-the realization that I was finally coming close to understanding my addictive tendencies, made me giddy, but afraid.) 

The following incident brought today’s topic to me through the magic of synchronicity, where an innocuous event in the external world has unexpected significance to me and me alone! Often though, once explained, others, too, may understand. 

I had no sooner finished last week’s post, on Christmas Eve, when this week’s topic landed in my lap, literally. This synchronistic event occurred during Christmas dinner, which I was spending with two of my tall, thin girlfriends( of which I seem to have an inordinate number). After cooking for hours, we made our way to the candle lit table, set for 3, each place adorned with a pretty red Christmas Cracker…neither the chair nor the Cracker was pre-assigned. Once seated, we 3 crossed arms and pulled on each other’s Christmas Crackers, until 3 snaps were heard …in the flurry of noise and ripping Crackers, the gifts flew about…the other women located their cheap little games on the table before them, but my trinket was no where to be seen. In seconds though, my gaze was drawn down…and there, on my chubby lap, lay a well constructed, heavy duty, TAPE MEASURE!  COME ON UNIVERSE! This was supposed to be a celebration. I reluctantly snapped 2 photos, for the Blog Post, I knew I had to write.

Survey Time ! Who has ever received anything useful in a Christmas Cracker? I have tried to embed a survey in this Post. If it did not work, blame my Editor, who has gone out for New Year’s Eve…I’m not whining…I chose this…I needed to concentrate…self-imposed silent retreats are a priceless luxury, especially after 2 weeks of fun and frivolity. 

PLEASE TAKE SURVEY BELOW…TICK YES OR NO

My Analysis of Addictive Tendencies

Maybe watching British Mystery Series doesn’t warrant its own branch in the 12 Step Recovery Program, as Overeaters Anonymous does, but I am definitely a British Mystery Series-aholic. My definition of addiction is broad-based but non-judgemental. If I engage in an activity that makes no sense, but I do it anyway, then I feel I am dealing with addictive tendencies. Easy to apply this definition to heroin, more difficult with food and British Mystery Series. You may say, “What’s wrong with a little entertainment and the odd treat?” Simply put, nothing. But when life is so precious, why would I waste mine watching others perform? In addition, when I have worked so hard to become healthy, why would I jeopardize this by eating sugar? I’m neither stupid nor lazy, although it has taken me years to end these judgements… so what drives these self-destructive, punishing, tendencies? What bottomless pit am I trying to fill? What am I really yearning for?

 The opening quote by Federico Lorca gave me my clue. What have I deeply desired in my life, but have not experienced? More than anything, I have dreamed to live from the depths of my spirit, feeling confident and free to express my views and observations, feeling confident and free to follow my intuition, my instinctual drives…using my skill, talent and intuition in the creation of my life. But this has not been my experience in the least. Instead I felt constrained and defined…socialized to the point of dispiritedness…listlessness.

I started theotherwomanblog when I became aware of feeling contained as a woman in today’s prescriptive culture…”Do this, don’t do that…Look like this, not like that…Feel this way, ignore your instincts, your intuition…” As with us all, this process began in childhood, when I was compulsively instructed. Yes, I was given choices, but was I ever given the choice to do nothing or to do whatever was my heart’s desire?  It was as though my parents feared I would become a cretin, devoid of any natural desire to be productive or well behaved, without their prescription for a productive life.

Aspirations for Week 26 of 52 

Changing My New Year’s Resolution

Just like Dorothy, from the Wizard of Oz, I am trying to find my way back home, the home of my soul, so that I no longer yearn for that ineffable yet desirable life. I am starved for a meaningful existence…not as defined by others but that is defined by me. In fulfilling my deepest wishes, my yearning will lessen and I will no longer attempt to satiate a need for a soulful life with the illusory, momentary fix of a British Mystery Series or food.

So for Week 26 of 52, I resolve to design my life, relying on my intuition and instincts, having faith that I have the skills and drive to make it happen!

Finding My Way Home

Finding My Way Home

REFLECTIONS

There can be no transforming of darkness into light without emotion

-Carl Jung

As I move towards the longest night of the year, I am compelled to walk into the inky starless sky, where I fear goblins under bridges and sea creatures under black waves. Feelings deep in my core perturb me…panic ensues and I try to run, but not wildly with the wolves, but cowardly with the jackals. What is this place I meet every year, in December? An internal war begins. Plans for the celebration of Christmas… singing carols, drinking Gluhwein, meeting family and friends… compete with an overwhelming urge to dig myself into a hole, lying in pain, in the dark. So I write a poem…

The Dark I Fear

 You are the wave I cannot stop.

You wash over me

You drag me under

You engulf my very soul.

 You are the wound I cannot staunch.

You bleed my pain

You ooze my libido

You thief of joy and hope.

 Your presence surrounds me like a gas.

I have no choice  but to inhale.

 Beaten

I

Succumb.

 forlorn

forsaken

diminished

bereft

 I weep the tears of the broken.

-Between2Marys December 2012

This fall, in an effort to create the life I desire, I put out a feeler to see if other writers in my area wanted to form a group. I wanted to meet with fellow ‘scribblers’ who shared my passion for creating, using the written word. Happily, I had a group of 8 almost instantly. My expectation was that we would be an encouraging and supportive environment.

After our first meeting in November, I happily added this group of writers to my list of those I alert via email, when I have launched a new post. I began this mailout in July 2012, a few weeks into The Other Woman Blog, for 2 reasons…first and most importantly, I wanted to share the real me with my friends, in an effort to end the life I had lived, under the umbrella of the persona. This was a huge risk, as I was ‘coming out’, vulnerable and naked, without the veneer of bravado and pretence. The second reason was less personal, but equally important to me. I wanted an audience, so I began to create a readership. This number has tripled in size since July when I began…WOW! (although if I only had 2 readers then, I’d have 6 now)…Conclusive statements from statisticians can so easily mislead…( NOTE as soon as I veer into the left brain, waxing on about  ‘statisticians’ …get suspicious, I’m avoiding…I’m more comfortable here than in the pain of existence) I’m embarrassed to admit how a trivial trigger spiralled me into the world of the dispirited, the disheartened, the disenchanted.

Here is the trigger…one comment I received back from my mailout to my writers’ group contained 8 simple words and a period. “I would rather not receive your blog updates.”

These 8 words and a period hurt my feelings deeply. I was drawn back to my sighting of the Canada Goose, shot through her foot by an arrow, that I had encountered on a walk in Week 21 of 52. When I had come upon her in the grasses, I had identified with her desperation but at the time I could not understand why. In my anthropomorphisation of her, I imagined her soaring alone with ease and confidence, doing what she was born to do. I then imagined her shock at being assaulted by the arrow of a heartless hunter. With her foot thus impaled, her demise became almost inevitable… By chance she was struck and by chance she might be saved.

I wanted to ignore the comment’s impact, by laughing it off or retaliating. I tried to prevent my tumble into the dark by listing everything I was grateful for, and when that didn’t work, I tried distracting myself with a French Mystery Series while eating calming carbs… but eventually I succumbed to the negative power of this force. In this black hole, I give up on my life…I stop writing and creating art, I stop having fun, and certainly stop all encounters with D! I pretend to be living. I smile, I talk, I act quite involved…but the real person has disappeared. I stop expressing from my heart and soul. The soaring bird has been quelled.

Injured Canada Goose

Injured Canada Goose

Why would this simple request from a fellow writer send me into a dispirited and hopeless place. It would only have this power if it was reminiscent of a deeply hurtful time in my childhood.

Childhood Memories

Childhood Memories

In December I feel vulnerable, as this season opens the ‘yet to be healed’ wounds of my youth, where my expectations for family joy and harmony were crushed by the dark reality of family unpredictability and chaos. Although The Other Woman Blog has allowed me to return to the soulful and hopeful person I once was, by letting me express aspects of myself that have remained buried beneath a pile of human dung, flung from adults behaving poorly, at this moment I am susceptible to judgement.

ASPIRATIONS FOR WEEK 23 OF 52

CHANGING IN THE DARK

I am in the dark right now, feeling the pain of the shunned soul. So now I will freely shed the tears of the child, knowing I will be comforted by my stronger self and all the other souls on earth who have felt like misfits in an incomprehensible world.  Wounding words of judgement, hurled by the weak, are flimsy barriers to our wildly creative selves. So for Week 23 of 52, I will let my painful emotions surface, having faith that through this release the darkness will lift, permitting the lights of Christmas to shine.

Emotion-Bringing Light to the Dark

Emotion-Bringing Light to the Dark

REFLECTIONS

A month of productivity and joy and then yesterday, Saturday, was a day on the couch watching yet another British Mystery Series. At 7:30pm I drank 2 glasses of Malbec, ‘fell asleep’ and missed the 7.7 earthquake off the west coast of Vancouver Island. Sunday morning is now upon me, and I pause to ask ‘Why?’ and not to the reason for earthquakes, but the reason for my melancholic state. I know I will not evolve into The Other Woman, if I say to myself, “One day of laying around, eating poorly, having a couple drinks, is nothing, you deserve a break, some down time.” I am aware that I have a super charged work ethic when it comes to ‘Personal Growth’ and relaxation and fun are therefore, valuable experiences for me. But what I did yesterday was not fun or relaxing. The feeling I had throughout the day was one of disquiet and self loathing. This is the feeling I have whenever I try to burrow my consciousness into the bowels of the earth. The season of blooming is finished and I am descending into the dark. What lies beneath the surface? What faulty belief have I internalized, that begs to be revealed and subsequently released, allowing me to live closer to my heart?

I was then startled from this reverie by the ‘ping’ of my iPhone, alerting me to a new message…and here is the miracle of the Universe’s guiding hand! Below is the poem delivered via GoodReads….

The day misspent,

the love misplaced,

has inside it

the seed of redemption,

Nothing is exempt

from resurrection.

             -Kay Ryan

Kay Ryan, the American Poet Laurteate, reminds me that there is nothing more exquisite than the feeling of having the burden of oneself borne off by a poem…not the self, just the burden…just for a moment. She writes in her PJs too!

Creating in PJs

What am I to redeem from that misspent day? that misplaced love?

First I will reflect on my week’s virtual chats with men. A mere 7 days ago, I had not spoken to any man other than my husband and male friends, for 20 years. Thanks to Plenty of Fish, that has changed. Boldly, honestly and clearly, I have spoken from my heart. Amazingly, only one man out of the 11, has stopped writing to me. I have promised nothing, use only my pen name Between2Marys, and decline requests for my name, email address, phone number or coffee dates. I am creating a new me vis a vis men. I have liked the positive, ‘low-key’ attention from men. So why then did I collapse into a tiny ball of angst? Heavy sigh, deep breath….preparing to be honest…my life long lament…I’m not attractive enough for a man to love me for who I am, so I must transmogrify, from the Loathly Lady, into the lovely princess. Only then will I be loved. What this means for me, is, that I must subjugate my desires and attend to ‘his’, as a compensation for my physical lack. Sadly, I have believed this behaviour necessary, even when I was young.

Naturally this perception of the price I must pay for love was born out of my relationship with my father. I loved yet felt intimidated by him. He was unpredictable. I believed I had the power to lessen the parental tension in our home, by being desirable in my father’s eye. I believed that my father’s behaviour towards my mother and my brothers might improve, if he felt pride over his creation of me. I tried to be any and everything I thought he might value. My father was a man’s man, a good looking ‘bad boy’. My mother married him against the advice of her more refined family. He was not a philandering husband, except for his Irish lass, during the Second World War. But, he made no effort to stifle his ‘appreciation’ of a women’s exterior. His entire life, he whistled  with reverential glee at women who epitomized the 1940’s ideal; a thin hipped, well endowed, blond haired bombshell…as I remember him saying…again and again…oblivious to me standing before him with dark hair, average cleavage and above average hips.

Bad Boy Stan, My Dad

I could never have achieved his idea of physical perfection. My physical appearance, demoralized me from age 12, when he counselled me with the following bit of unsolicited, soul crushing, fatherly ‘advice’. “My dear, no man likes a woman with hips as big as 2 battleships.” Being a Navy Officer, he liked to use nautical terms, to drive a point home!

Me around 12 with my Brother

I never again looked at my strong, muscled thighs with any feeling but betrayal or derision. So began my efforts to compensate for my looks. I became attentive to the whims and desires of men, at the expense of my own.

This painful, yet liberating insight, is what I have redeemed from my misspent day, my misplaced love.

 I went into a funk, because I faced a dilemma. Can I continue to speak of my desires as boldly and freely as I have written them?  Or will I continue to compensate for my hips, by cloaking my desires in niceties and placations? Or more likely, will I avoid the issue entirely by burying myself in another British Mystery Series?

ASPIRATIONS FOR WEEK 17 OF 52

CHANGING FROM THE LOATHLY LADY 

 In the Fairy Tale, ‘Sir Gawain and The Lady Ragnell, the loathsome Lady Ragnell, bargained with King Arthur. She agreed to tell him the answer to the riddle, “What do women desire above all else?” in order to lift the spell over his life. In exchange, she desired to be married to his nephew, Sir Gawain. He was known as the most handsome, skilled and compassionate knight at the Round Table. Sir Gawain willingly chose to marry the Hag Ragnell, so that his King’s life would be spared. The spell cast over Ragnell, had turned her into a loathsome Hag for half of each day, but left her as a lovely princess for the other half. When Ragnell asked her husband, Sir Gawain, if he would rather she be beautiful by day or by night, when she is alone with him in bed, he wisely gave her the right to choose, having learned that above all else, women desire the right to have sovereignty over their choices. Sir Gawain understood the greatest dilemma of any woman’s life. In giving the Hag Ragnell the right to decide when she would be beautiful, the spell was lifted, and she was beautiful all day long.

So now, in Week 17 of 52, I must have the courage of Lady Ragnell. She was transformed, not by the kiss of a handsome Prince, but by the pursuit of her own needs and desires. Ragnell symbolizes the journey all women must make to achieve a self-determined and therefore, fulfilling life. To this end, I will talk(on the phone) with a man, as myself, hips and all, maintaining the confidence I feel in a virtual conversation.

I want to acknowledge the wisdom of the Analyst, Polly Young-Eisendrath. For a more comprehensive elucidation of this topic, read, ‘Women and Desire, Beyond Wanting to be Wanted.

REFLECTIONS

-the bloody stubbornness of getting

someone born.

Rowan Williamson, the Archbishop of Canterbury

Last week I laid to rest my loveless marriage. It now lies deep, at the bottom of a lake, absorbed into the surrounding beauty of trees, singing birds and majestic mountains. It will decompose, change shape and one day, become part of something new. And after this burial, I sat and wept the cold, cold tears of grief. I didn’t stifle my sound, nor care about how I appeared… for once I let myself sink deep into the sorrow of my unfulfilled dreams, sink deep into the agony at the loss of the husband I love. I had to surrender to what is, and not continue to cling to my desire for the life I had planned. I have had to feel and observe the unsightliness of death.

It does me no good to choke back my tears nor numb my pain with alcohol or food. That just postpones what is inevitable. As I young child I cried openly, whenever I saw injustice, but by age 10, I cried alone… hidden from the ridicule of older brothers and the judgement of parents. I’ve had to relearn the cry of the soul. The cry that mourns the injustices of life, the cry that rejoices at the  miraculous…the cry of an unencumbered child, who breaks into sobs when a robin crashes into a window and drops to the pavement below. The cry of the soul is different from the cry of the child in the supermarket desiring candy, or the cry I had when my beautiful Italian candlestick broke into pieces. These tears are rooted in the desire of the known, the tangible, the material world. This cry is more temper than soul. This cry will not see the heaving chest nor the sobs that interfere with breathing, leaving the crier gasping for air.

But my cry at the shores of the lake was the cry of a broken heart. It was the cry of the soul, the cry for which there is no consolation. It was the cry of me surrendering.

THE WEEPING OF SURRENDER

This week, Week 13 of 52, marks the 1/4 point of my year long project of my transformation into The Other Woman. It’s fitting that I am at the point of surrender. I’m surrendering to what never was… I’m surrendering to what never will be…and I’m  surrendering to what is. I have felt relief after this week of soulful tears. And every time I chastise myself for not surrendering sooner, I remember that I had to be strong enough to bear the weight of such a staggering grief.

In the deeply felt experience of grief, I acknowledged the finality of my dream. Gone is the dream that one day he will gaze into my eyes and say, “I love you!” and I will feel the truth of these words. Gone is the dream to walk through the streets of Europe, hand in hand, sharing our observations, our humour. Gone is the dream to grow old together, watching the next generations as they stumble upon life and love. Gone is the dream to lie side by side after death, entering the realm of the unknown, somehow together. What’s done is done. What’s gone is gone.

goodbye

ASPIRATIONS FOR WEEK 13 OF 52

CHANGING FROM NEEDY TO SELF-SUFFICIENT

Last week I believed to be true, that which I have most dreaded. My husband doesn’t love me. In a tyrannical rage, I have hurled this accusation at him countless times, praying he would refute it, being mollified when he did. Thus was the collusion of our marriage. Ending this collusive agreement, meant facing the truth of what is. It meant pain, upheaval, loss and eventually, maybe, transformation.

In the hopes of becoming The Other Woman, I have been dissecting my notions of love. Not agape, the diffused love and good will towards all humanity, but the love shown towards one man or one woman, at close range. I believe all humans need love, but how is this need for love different from being needy. When I met with my husband a few days ago, I timidly said my mantra of the week, “You don’t love me.” Having only ever yelled these words, I wanted to experience the impact of just saying them.

(BTW A mantra is a collection of words that is considered capable of creating transformation)

Unexpected Dialogue #1

Me: You don’t love me.

Him: Do you think that was love you showed me or just behaviour born out of your neediness?

Me: (demoralized) Good point, maybe you are right – my sacrifices and thoughtfulness, and the love I felt for you existed just because I was in desperate need of your love. Hmmm, maybe that isn’t really love. sigh

…some silence…followed by a heightened alertness in the core of my body…leading to a surge of anger which resulted in assertive behaviour in defence of myself…

Me: Yes, I was needy and I was loving. I can see now that a person can be both. But my neediness blinded me to the fact that you refused to share your heart with me.

Unexpected Dialogue #2

Him: But I gave to you! I cared about you! Don’t you see that as a manifestation of love. Isn’t this what you just said you did? What you gave to me?

Me: (not quite as demoralized)You did give to me …but you gave material goods; a beautiful home, exotic trips, a BMW, a Rolex watch, an Armani suit to name but a few. There is an element of control though, in materialism. You decide how many dollars you want to spend and when you will give. But in a gesture of open-hearted love, the giving comes from a different source. Through your open heart, you access the unified field of infinite energy. So a gesture of love that costs nothing from your wallet, becomes a source of ever replenishing joy, inspiration and fulfillment. This priceless gift, I never received from you.

Him: You are right, I never gave you that. 

Finally I spoke from my heart, without rage or self pity. I spoke clearly about my experience of not being loved, without regret or expectation. I also accepted that having love in my heart for him, is not a guarantee of reciprocity. And in fact, such a belief can eventually contaminate the purest of loves.

So for Week 13 of 52, I will be receptive to love while I learn the art of being self-possessed, remembering that a needy woman is a blind woman.

A Needy Woman is a Blind Woman

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