When I was about 6 years old I found a branch with at least 50 caterpillars living on it.  I lovingly collected them and put them in a not quite empty Folgers coffee can. I was enamored, and I stayed awake that night certain that in the morning I would open the can to a flood of butterflies.  As you can imagine, I was heartbroken the next morning, This was obviously going to be a much more involved process, so I gathered some leaves for my caterpillars to eat. I gave them some twigs to play on.  Once in a while I’d let them have a little sun or dribble some water into the can for them. I was a very dedicated etymologist and butterfly tamer.

For three days I repeated this ritual of throwing myself out of bed and running to meet my butterflies, only to be horribly disappointed that they were still caterpillars.  I didn’t want anyone to know my experiment was failing, so I never told anyone about the can full of caterpillars under my bed. Nature, however, is a tattle tale, and eventually a not quite empty coffee can full of caterpillars develops its own unique perfume, and the jig was up. What I was doing, it was explained by my mother, who sat on my bed holding the festering can while trying not to breathe, was not how it worked.  I couldn’t coax nature to do my bidding with some twigs in a coffee can. What I was doing was bad for the caterpillars, many of which had stopped moving, obviously because they were exhausted from working to become butterflies and needed to rest. After a few tears and a promise not to hoard living creatures under my bed ever again, I released my little captives back onto the tree from which I had harvested them.

The caterpillar experiment taught little me a few important lessons.  It taught me that you can’t take something out of its true nature, its home, and expect it to thrive and be what it is meant to be.  It needs the symbiosis of the world to which it belongs. It taught me that it was greedy and selfish to take the caterpillars in order to have butterflies from myself.  They did not, and could not belong to me. It taught me that, in trying to force the caterpillars to be what I wanted them to be I was ensuring they never would. Because I was trying to force them to go against their natural chrysalis I was slowly killing them, depriving myself and the world of the butterflies they would have become on their own.  

Think about this for a minute.  If it’s a lesson on caterpillars, it’s a lesson on people.  It’s a lesson on love. It’s a lesson on life. It’s a lesson on self worth and the stress we put on ourselves to be what we, by nature, were not meant to be.  A short after releasing the caterpillars back to their world there were butterflies. All I had to do was be patient and trust the world around me to do what it’s been doing all along.

My question for you today is this. What chrysalis are you holding back, and where are you hiding your caterpillars?

Aloha

Go now, set your butterflies free!

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I’ve survived as well as I have because of my empathy and intuition. Early on I learned to navigate the world by following body language and following my gut.  In fact, it’s been the times I let overthinking drown out my intuition that I’ve been the most damaged, and a recurring life lesson for me is “listen to your intuition and stop talking yourself out of shit!”.  

Empaths generally deal with anxiety in some form.  We’re easily overwhelmed until we learn to block out a lot of the random energy and emotions that day around on a daily basis.  We become accustomed to feeling and seeing things before those around us, and because they’ve yet to realize their own feelings, we’re often left feeling mislead.  We’re told “it’s not like that”, “you’re overreacting”, and worse. It’s not that everyone we meet is lying to us. It simple means they’re not yet aware of their own feelings.  Nonetheless, this leads to more questioning ourselves, more anxiety, and repeating patterns we start believing we’re broken and crazy. We start ignoring our intuition. We start worrying instead of manifesting.

But something else happens when an empath learns to use their intuition early in life. We begin to rely on it, and this can be dangerous, because there are days when it’s just anxiety taking over. Blind trust without examination can lead to some dark places. We start to develop what I call “anxiety Hubris”.  We trust our empathy without question, and we start telling people we know better. We know whats really going on. You can’t hide your true feelings from us. Friends, this has ended quite a few relationships. Not only does it make the empath a bit paranoid, it also makes them look like an asshole. Believe me, I’ve been that asshole. It also doesn’t address the anxiety and real fear behind it, so it continues to build until the inevitable meltdown hits.   

The flip side of that coin is that we tend to stay in relationships way longer than we should, because our empathy can see through the toxicity to the human beneath the damage and abuse. We feel for them even as they hurt us, because we can feel their pain. We’re sure it’ll get better. They just need someone willing to give them a little more time. Then, once we’ve been through this a few times, we begin to push people away because anxiety has made this reality in everyone we meet and we mistake it for intuition.  It’s an ugly cycle, and if you can’t find a way to break it, it will break you. It’s that simple.

I’m getting better at realizing when my empathy is actually anxiety. I’ve started to take these days to get to know myself and my world without empathy, without intuition, without being plugged in.  It’s a time to replenish my resources and take a step back, a time to examine without hidden messages, and a sign from the universe around me that it’s going to be ok. I don’t need to save the world today. I don’t need to solve all the problems this minute. I’m allowed to just be and trust that life can handle itself for a little while. This existence without intuition is an important skill to hone. I can tell you right now, it’s saving my sanity and helping me live my now.  Without it I’d end up completely burnt out and completely unable to navigate the loud anxiety days. It’s definitely not easy, but I can see the change in how I process and react to my empathy and work through my anxiety.  

So these are my words of advice.

Love your empathy instead of seeing it as a burden.

Examine your intuition before you act on it.

Learn to appreciate disconnected days.

Own your anxiety so you can work past your fears.

Breathe. Keep going.  You’re doing a great job.

 

Go now, take a deep breath.

Aloha

The original title of this post was “Compersion Myths Discussed”, but it dawned on me how inherently negative that was, and my intention here is to write about positivity.  For this one I asked my community about what lessons they’ve learned about compersion through experience.  The results were diverse and educational.

Compersion: The feeling of joy one has experiencing another’s joy

In my experience, I struggled with compersion for a long time.  I have a lot of abandonment issues, and worse, fears that I won’t be left but merely set aside and humoured once in a while.  I have only had one relationship in my life survive a new partner, and that’s been my marriage.  I held my breath through NRE widow periods when I just ceased to exist.  I was expected to understand and smile and wish partners well when their new love wasn’t poly and couldn’t accept me.  I dealt with gradual ghostings where there was just less and less time for me.

I held a lot of these painful experiences on my shoulders, and they became me responsibility.  Who was I to write and speak about poly if I couldn’t find absolute blissful joy for my partners when they found new love?  I felt broken.  I felt like a fraud.  I felt lost.   I started to hide my anxieties.  Anyone who suffers from anxiety will tell you, hiding it and swallowing it only allows it to fester.  Oh and it festered, until it infected everything.  Then something amazing happened.  I found a partner who heard me.  He listened to my concerns and anxieties, and he didn’t tell me I was bad.  He didn’t tell me I was wrong.  We didn’t fight; we talked it out.

Something amazing happens when I feel safe, loved, and heard.  Compersion.  Something else happens.  Sometimes the anxiety, the insecurities, the real life logistical concerns don’t go away, and I’ve learned that it’s ok.  Compersion doesn’t replace needs.  All these things can coexist, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  It doesn’t mean I’m “failing poly”.  It doesn’t make me a horrible partner.  It makes you human.

So, I’ve been mulling over this for a few months, and it’s still something I go back and forth with, but I’ve started to do a few things.

  1.  I look at the situation and figure out if I’m really jealous of the time spent with someone else or that I’m stuck at work and they’re out doing something fun.  Usually it’s the latter.
  2. If I am jealous of the time spent with someone else, why?  Am I having a bad day?  Do I have a need I haven’t realized?  Do I merely miss my partner?  Being so far away from all of my partners means sometimes I just miss them, and I worry about the distance meaning I’m the last for them to find time with me.  I know this isn’t the reality of the relationship, but my brain is a jerk, friends.
  3. How can I resolve this feeling?  Is it adding a cool new item to the list of things to do when I see this person?  Is it voicing a need?  Is it reminding myself that we have tons of amazing memories and liking all the awesome pictures of what they’re doing on Facebook?  Usually it’s a combination of these things for me, because once I’ve sorted this I can appreciate the time they’re having.

This question lead to a few really interesting discussions, and I appreciated everyone who gave their perspective.

Here are a few:

Sometimes compersion isn’t feeling joyful or happy about your partner with someone else, sometimes it’s just acceptance.

Someone else responded here that “joy” is in the definition of the word compersion, and it’s true, but OP said something else that struck a chord.  Sometimes just the contentment of being able to accept something brings its own form of joy with it.  For some people, becoming aware of that step, or being able to find peace in a situation they might not feel comfortable or happy with, is a huge weight to release, and that is definitely a moment to revel in.  I remember the first time I gave Hubby’s girlfriend at the time a Valentine’s Day card thanking her for making him so happy.  It was a huge step and a freeing experience.  Even if she and I didn’t particularly get along.  Even if I didn’t agree with the way she conducted her relationships.  Even if I felt she intentionally sought to cause problems.  None of that mattered.  I was able to  be grateful for his happiness and accept her role in it.

You can grasp the concept AND still need to work to feel it.

Hallelujah! I’m glad someone said this, so I didn’t have to.  I’ve said it before in discussing the trials of newly opened relationships.  You can do all the reading.  You can do all the discussing.  You can learn all the buzzwords, and you’re still going to be caught off guard by emotions.  This is also one of those lessons.  Understanding compersion doesn’t mean you’ll master it on the first go any more than YouTube videos can teach you to swim.  You might be a natural.  You might get lucky and have a good first experience.  You might hit the water, feel it run up your nose, and panic.  And you know what?  Next time is going to be completely different, because no two days in your life are the same, and our experience is often flavoured by outside influences and conditions.  See above:  Am I having a bad day?   My advice.  Keep working.  Talk about it.  It’s worth it.

 

 It is in no way mandatory to feel compersion to be “real” poly. And sometimes, even if the majority of the time you do feel it, you’ll have moments where you don’t, and that’s okay too.

I’ve learned that compersion can’t be forced. And if you don’t feel it right away, you shouldn’t be hard on yourself. It’s hard for your head to understand that feeling sometime, and you just have to allow yourself to adjust.

The point here, is to not be hard on yourself if you don’t feel it.  This isn’t a free pass to be a jerk to your partner, but it is an opportunity to open up discussion.  Believe me when i say avoiding it all together is not a good idea in most cases.  Talk. Talk. Talk.  Do some internal searching. Talk some more.  If the opportunity is there, maybe spend some time with the other person involved.  I’ve found that learning the real person behind the outlandish abstract of infinite horrible worst case scenarios is a big help.

I admit, when they are on the verge of a new relationship, I still tend to get a little jealous, but once that feeling passes the compersion is definitely there. I think it’s adorable how excited they get talking to a new person and seeing them happy.

This is a really important thing to remember.  Compersion doesn’t have to be instantaneous to count.  Read it again.  Compersion does NOT have to be instantaneous to count.  Sometimes it takes some processing.  Sometimes it takes some discussion.  Sometimes it just takes a little exposure.  For the love of ice cream, don’t give up.  Did you see that second part?  It’s amazing!

You find it in the damnedest places and about the oddest things.

This is one of the most amusing things about compersion to me.  I can spend a month agonizing over how soon it’s going to be before I’m toast, then something clicks, something absolutely random.  For me it’s always been hearing that the other person mentioned me in passing.  An example of one of my random A-ha! moments of compersion was hitting Six Flags with Hubby and his new girl, which was also my birthday and the first time I’d ever met her, and watching her attempt to ride all the roller coasters with him.  I cannot, and will not, ride them, and seeing him find someone who would suck up her own fears and make it a personal challenge to ride ALL OF THEM was heartwarming.  Did I still have some anxieties after that?  Of course I did, because compersion is fluid.  Still, that was the moment I could see it, feel it, and enjoy it.

Feeling positive things for your partner comes back and improves all of your interactions.

Plain and simple, it does.  It reminds me every time why I chose poly.  It reminds me that I, too, can be open about new experiences and connections, and of how much love and support my partners give me when I’m on the other side of compersion.  It’s a helpful two-way street for me.  I find compersion by remembering that when I make a new connection none of the other fades, and that I am still madly in love with each of the partners in my life.  If I can do it, why should I be afraid that someone who has been good for and to me can not?  The joy this feeling gives me is one of the most fulfilling things a heart can experience, being grateful and surrounded by love, knowing that each of my partners still chooses me and that I am a part of a big beautiful web.  It leads to almost a reignited NRE feeling, and I’ve long since stopped having partners that make me an NRE widow, because that’s not healthy poly.  If I need time and assurance, I ask for it.  If they’re not willing to give it to me?  I decide if that’s behaviour I can accept.

I don’t feel jealousy often at all. I get envious of time spent sometimes, but most often, I experience compersion for anyone who is feeling loved and happy. I love love. I want to hear stories of love, good and bad, and I enjoy the energy people give off when they’re in love.
I am also a major introvert and I enjoy my ME time. Although I’ve been single for about 5 months, I am hardly ever without things to do. I’ve learned to love my time alone. So, when I do have a partner, and if they’re off with someone else, I will most likely find something to fill my time.

Hubby hates spicy food, and his partner, who lives with us, has some unfortunate food allergies.  Them being out means I can cook what I want.  With so many people in our small house, quiet alone time is rare.  This is how I first found at least a hint of compersion.  I found a hobby I would only do when Hubby was out with his girlfriend a the time.  In time, I came to look forward to their date nights.  It’s a little different now that my job and our living situation has changed, but there are ways to find a silver lining even when I might want to be out with them or feel lonely.

I am not really a jealous person, it’s just not something I often feel. I also don’t tend to feel possessive of my loves.
So with my partners, compersion is often finding joy that they are happy, loved, and fulfilled no matter what they are doing or with whom.
And I also admit that I enjoy the 20% when they are out and I get me time to do whatever as well.

It’s true.  There are people who don’t feel jealousy.  Good on them, really.  I realize this doesn’t mean they are without needs or anxieties.  Emotions and reactions manifest differently in different people.  I have a few partners who don’t experience jealousy, and for a while, again, I took it to mean there was something wrong with how I feel in a relationship.

 

Some additional comments from my people:

  • For me it’s a sign that you truly love someone… That you want them to be happy. Compersion is never about yourself. At least in my opinion.
  • That falling in love with the love someone has for someone else is both bizarre and absolutely wonderful. That you can get butterflies, for them.
  • It is good in the beginning hard then and ends up very good
  • Feeling compersion is great and comes easily to me, but I also experience sorrow when someone’s relationship is going through trouble. I try to fix things so they can be happy again, and so can I. And sometimes that just doesn’t happen.
  •  I’ve experienced it, makes me happy when I see him happy. Even if it isn’t me that is making him happy, why wouldn’t I be joyful for him?
  • I’ve never been jealous or possessive and i like to see people in my circle happy..it genuinely feels good to see . Always been that way.
  •  I get super excited when they are happy and talking about a new person…I find it just adorable! I don’t get jealous…the most I will get is envious of they are doing something that sounds fun that I would like to do but I am always happy when they are happy
  • I get all giggling and school girl like, and am like “tell me more, tell me more.”  I wanna know all the things. As my eyes are big and smile awaiting to hear so much more.
    Sometimes, though, if I feel a bit insecure in a relationship, I may not have as much compersion. That is when I rely on my partner to assure me of my place and value.

 

I think the most important line in this entire post is “at least in my opinion”.  There is no right or wrong way to feel, find, or work on compersion.  I , and a group of my friends, can only give you the words of experience.  Compersion, in my opinion, is one of the biggest hurdles in poly, and no one or nothing can make it happen.  Keep working.  Keep loving.  Keep moving forward.

 

Go now, find your joy.

Aloha

The idea of kitchen table poly has always appealed to me.  I was an only child, and having a chosen family structure is an imperative part of my life. That being said, the key word here is”chosen”, which implies a choice, and by placing an “ideal”on something we strip away its choice.  Here’s the rub.

In many cases it’s a fairly simple equation. My partner and I have a loving relationship.  They and their other partners have loving relationships.  I love people who make my people happy.  Come to my table!  Sometimes, however, people don’t get along.  I can’t force anyone to like me.  I can’t force anyone to want to get to know me.  I can’t force anyone to want anything to do with me.  In that same vein, I can’t force my partners to get along.  Ideal vs free will reality, and with free will reality comes a choice.

Do I cling to the Rockwellian portrait of poly I’d love to see or so I adjust expectations and keep my heart, and the seats at my table, open? 

Enter The Community Table.

It’s possible to maintain the spirit and ideals behind Kitchen Table Poly and adapt to free will reality, you just have to tweak perspective a little.  As a kid, my parents were divorced, and those households treated dinner very differently.  At my Dad’s house dinner was 1700 every night, Hell or high water, and it was expected that everyone would be there every single night.  To this day, if you call that house at dinner time someone better be dying. My mom, however, ran things a little more fluidly, depending on schedules and when people were hungry.  If she cooked and you weren’t hungry, you could sit and chat.  If you were busy with homework or something else was happening, as long as you respectfully let her know what was going on there was no harm done.  My friends knew there was a seat for them at our table, on our couch, in our home, whenever they needed it, day or night.  Two tables. Two very different ways of approaching the same experience.

I’ve recently started to see the images in my mind of the ideal situation change to incorporate my mom’s adaptable Community Table approach to my life in general, not just my poly.  If you’re a part of my Ohana there is a seat for you at my table, regardless of whether or not you ever use it or want it.  The people of my people are also my people, and in times of need nothing else matters.  My mom didn’t necessarily approve of all of my friends.  I know for a fact there were a few she couldn’t stand, but if they were hungry they were welcome.  She might not choose to eat dinner with us, but it didn’t mean I had to send them away.  The Community Table gave all of us an open invitation, a place at the table, and a choice, and this is what poly, what family, is about for me.

The Community Table leaves the lines of communication open and supports the opportunity to build relationships without pressure or finality.  It authenticates freedom of choice by allowing every day to be a new choice, and it gives us all the room to grown and adapt as the table changes shape and size.  The Community Table becomes the access point for my life and my Ohana, where no one is pressured or sent away, and that’s my “ideal” situation.

Aloha.

Go now.  Find your seat.

2015-02-23-EatingTogether

It’s no secret that words have power.  How we speak to each other and ourselves changes everything.  Telling our stories helps others heal.  The words we use to do so make all the difference.

It took me years to be able to use the word “rape”.  Longer to say it out loud.  Sometimes it was as if saying it conjured it within me.  Others I felt judged, like people were going to make me prove it every time I formed the words with my lips.

In order to find my “no” I had to first be able to formulate “rape” instead of softening the blow with words like “sexual assault” and “he was rough with me”.  It wasn’t.  I was raped, a feeling that can only be articulated in the sharp stabbing word that it is.  In order to find my “no” I had to have the conviction and confidence to say it, so that instead of it conjuring it would expel the trauma from me.  The fear.  The questions.  The nightmares.  The regret.

I feel myself there again, and I hate it.  Choking on my own words like I’ve forgotten how to say them.

He raped me. 

 

And just like that… my NO. 

 

Aloha

Go now, find your “no”.pexels-photo-279013.jpeg

Every year I write about Brighid and what a healing experience the time between Mabon and Imbolc is for me.  This year, as I felt my next chrysalis, Sammhain hit me like a bonfire that fed on every last bit of emotional detritus left inside me.  This was going to be a big step…if I survived the firestorm.

For three months I spent trying to extinguish smoldering embers and salvage what I could from the rubble of my health, my family, and my job, and what i came out with was a collection of what’s actually important in my life, mere handfuls of priorities and commitments that were struggling to speak in the cacophony of what I’d let dwell inside me for too long.  It took a lot of work. Internal, external, interpersonal.  It was exhausting, and there were times I wanted to give up, but I’d fought too hard to get where I was to throw it all out.  For the first time I wanted to pull through and shine, and this is the true testament to the work I started years ago; this is the real victory.  It’s not that nothing will ever be this difficult in my life, again because I’m sure it will, but the fact that I was able to identify what needed to be done and keep doing it no matter how shattered I felt was the big inhale just before the big jump.

Ironically, I thought Imbolc would go by this year with not even a ritual to attend.  I figured I’d have my simple solitary blessing and the wheel would turn just fine without me.  Life was busy, people were sick, and the to-do list read like a Stephen King novel.  That day we were on our way to another event, and we were late.  Everything seemed to be telling us not to go, but we were still trying.  About halfway there, Hubby turns to me and says “do you want to have a fire tonight for Brighid?”  Um…yes!

An hour later we had tools gathered, food prepared, an a celebration on our minds.  Once again, the earth had other plans, and it began to rain on our circle space.  A quick regrouping and a lot of simplification later we were clandestinely huddled in my mother-in-law’s attic with the rain tapping its rhythm on the roof over our heads curled up in  blankets because it was at least 25 degrees outside.  It was perfect.

We sat in the tiny space around a candle as I whispered the quarter calls, then everyone settled onto piles of sleeping bags as I softly led them on a journey I’d quickly jotted in my journal, but didn’t need, as Brighid led me herself.  It has been a long time since I led a group journey, but it was powerful.

It was 2am when we finally crawled out of the candlelit attic, reeling from the journey we’d just taken, each of us having a different experience with Brighid, but each of us knowing we’d pull out of the darkness together with the help of her flame and the support of family.

Go now…heal, and walk through the fire.

Aloha    and Blessed Be      imbolc2

Friends, I know I’ve been quiet and sporadic for the last year or more.  Honestly, I was having a lot of problems on this side of the keyboard, and I felt like a fraud trying to write about poly and spirituality and living your fullest life when my own was failing in all of those aspects.  I kept telling myself I’d be back once I had all my ducks in a row, but eventually I saw the ducks for what they were, not mine to control or organize.  If the ducks are alive and well they’ll never be in a row long enough to do anything.  So, I’m back if you’ll have me.

With that…the recap.

The healing from Good Girl was amazing, and still rippling its way to the surface every day.  I’ve seen it manifest in the way I handle toxic relationships, breakups, new experiences, and how I make change in my life.  Late last year I started writing a second show, and it dawned on me how much more freeing, but also scary it is, to be doing it on my own this time.  My Power of One family got me through some rough turbulence, and I’ll always cherish the experience I had with them.  Now, however, it’s time to be independent and trust that doing things my way is just as powerful.  You see where I’m going with this?  It’s been time for a while to tell my Imposter Syndrome to shove it for a while now.

I’ve spent a better part of the last year in the hospital or recovering from various ailments, and it’s really had me feeling mortality, but I also started three beautiful relationships and met a whole tribe of people who have reminded me what it is to live, and how much easier it is to heal with people by your side.  In May I had an experience at a burn where I actually lost consciousness, and it felt like a part of me was left there in the mud.  A part of me that had been clinging for so long I didn’t even realize it was still dragging me down.  I was a new me, and I was unstoppable.  Ducks!  Row! For about 5 minutes.

In November I had an experience that not only tested the healing I’d been doing for the better part of three years, but also the integrity and clarity  I promised myself years ago I would always carry with me.  What’s worse was how it tore apart my tribe and almost shattered more than one of my relationships.  Worse than the one day of physical trauma was the lasting affects it’s had on my life, and I’m still not back 100%.  I couldn’t write, I couldn’t read, I couldn’t listen to music.  I lost my outlets, but I was able to doodle, and from it came a whole new form of healing expression and communication.  I couldn’t form verbal words to work through the trauma with my partners, so I sketched them.  And from this, growth.  From this, love.  No, not everything can be repaired, but what is has been fortified and continues to push me forward every day.

The last 90 days have taught me to breathe through the painful moments, talk through my fears and anxieties, and communicate on deeper levels with my partners.  I’ve learned to forgive myself and those around me, even the ones who have hurt or turned on me.  I’ve taken some risks and made some life changing decisions for the better.  I’ve expanded my art and jumped into my writing again.  I’m learning to find hope and optimism even in uncertainty, and to trust in the love of those around me, even when they are hurting and quiet.  I’ve learned to hold on to my community and coexist with those who hold tension with me, and to stay open and available to them should they ever need anything from me.

If the last 9 days have taught me nothing else, it’s that I’m not an imposter for having failures or for not having all the answers, and that sharing those moments as well as the victories is just as important to sharing my life experience, sometimes even more so.  So, yes, I’m back.  Flawed and struggling but growing and brave and becoming more myself every day.

Aloha

Go now, be beautifully flawed

 

 

 

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, with October 15 being a focused day of remembrance.  My story is well know, so I’m not going to go into detail here, but I have lost 7 pregnancies in various stages with various conditions.  I’ve talked it out, and I’ve actively been working on the internal work it takes to truly heal, not just cover up the pain until next year.  It’s true, there is some loss you never completely heal from, but every year I get closer and closer to not being completely derailed by my PTSD and depression.

This year it came on early, and the initial onset was more severe than i can remember it being in years.  Flashbacks.  Night terrors.  Blackouts.  But something changed this year.  My partners didn’t look the other way and wait it out.  They circled around me, and when I emerged from myself they were still here with open arms and warm smiles.  Most of the month has been peaceful.

On the 15th I managed to get through the day that, while physically busy, was spent in quiet contemplation and somber remembrance.   Today was spent in the presence of community.  My Ohana checked in on me, and friends who have similar stories to mine shared space with me.  You see, I realized one of the hardest parts of this for me every year is not being able to share my memories or grief with the fathers of my babies.  I’m not sure any of them give the loss a second thought, if they even remember.  So the feeling of isolation multiplies exponentially as I feel alone with my loss.  This is what I shared to my Facebook the night before:

For a long time I was told I was not allowed to mourn my loss because my babies never breathed. For years I was told my blighted ovums were not real. For years I have accepted it when mother’s day goes by. But every October I remember those anniversaries. Every October my body throws me a cyst, an infection, or a new blighted ovum, as if even my cells remember what it felt like to feel the world end…not just once, but over and over.

But I AM a mother. To all of them. It’s a hurt that doesn’t go away, and it’s a pain women don’t talk about because we feel like failures, because we are being told our loss is invalid, because I was blamed by doctors for each and every one of them…as if I killed my babies. Because when you lose a baby as an unmarried 20-something, people say some ignorant hurtful shit. Because I waited for a rainbow baby that never came. Because every time I hear someone is pregnant I wonder how they can be so excited so soon, rather than terrified. Because each belly or ultrasound post on FB is a stab to my heart. Because I am constantly asked if I have kids, if I want kids…and because I’m constantly being mistaken for being pregnant (it happened just yesterday). We need to talk about this because we grieve silently, feeling alone, feeling broken. Every day more women experience this loss and don’t know how to cope in a world that tells them what they mourn never existed. I’m here to remind those women in my life that those little lives do exist. That their feelings are real. That their pain is not selfish or weak. That they matter, and they are not alone.

This is real shit

Today marks the anniversary of one of my losses.  I talk a lot about William, because he changed the course of my life, but I don’t often share the stories of the others.  I do, however, mourn an honour them as their mother just as strongly.  Today I didn’t hurt for me and what I will never have.  Instead I ached for the lives they never got to lead.  The people they never got to become.  The adventures, heartbreaks, joys, failures, and achievements they never got to experience.  It’s a part of the grief process I’ve never processed before, and it dug up a lot of hurt and anger and sadness I didn’t know was still down inside me.  So…another fantastic (is that the F word we’re going with?  oh…ok) opportunity for growth and forgiveness.

You see, this is an experience I have to go through every year as I, in one way or another, relive my Octobers, starting with my rape on the 1st.  Going through the stages of grief, albeit somewhat of a Reader’s Digest version, but also the stages of forgiveness.  I learned long ago that in order to let go of my anger for my rapist I had to forgive him and give myself peace.  Holding hate didn’t hurt him, but it was killing me.  Reliving the event and feeling the hurt I feel for William digs up a lot of that emotion, and in my heart I have to not only let go of my grief anew, but also forgive anew.  Let me tell you, it’s not easy, but every year it takes less convincing.

This is how I heal.  This is how I remember.  I’ve still got a lifetime of work to do, but I know I have a strong foundation and an amazing family by my side.

Go now…and forgive.

Aloha and Mahalo

 

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It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here.  There’s been a lot of change, and it’s been good, but I didn’t feel prepared to really put it all down on “paper” until I had come through the brunt of it, and as you know if you’ve been playing along at home…Mabon is generally “the brunt of it”.

The last year of my life has been nothing short of a chrysalis for me.  Last October found me shattered, heartbroken, and frankly, fed the fuck up.  I haven’t spoken up much about my ex, but what I thought to be a turning stone turned out to be my last mountain to summit.  He was the fist relationship I’d started after Good Girl and the healing the entire experience brought to my life.  It felt healthy and full and open…but it wasn’t.  It was manipulative and extremely unhealthy for both of us.  After the dust had cleared I realized it was a final test to see if I’d retained any of the lessons at all.  Or maybe it was the final fire I needed to really get rid of all the emotional rubbish I’d been harbouring.  In any case, the fall of that relationship was the avalanche that got the momentum started.

A year later I can say I’ve had an amazing journey around the wheel.  I committed to a partner in one of the most beautiful commitment/family blending ceremonies I could have ever imagined.  I have new relationships that have shown me what it is to be loved, respected, and trusted.  My failed relationship showed me where I needed improvement, and these new partners have been nothing but supportive of my growth.  We communicate in ways I never would have before.  I am safe.  I am healthy.  I am improving my physical and mental health.  My marriage has become a home again.  I’ve stopped keeping people in my life who drain me, and I’ve stopped feeling guilty about letting them down.  I’ve started stating my boundaries, asking for what I want and need, and finding creative ways to compromise.  All because, frankly, I was fed the fuck up, and it showed me how much I betray myself by sacrificing her for people, jobs, anything that isn’t healthy for her.  I owe myself better.

In comes October, my emotional PTSD boss level with all its painful anniversaries and reminders of loss and hardship.  It’s been said that my seasons turn in such a way that I plant my seeds in the fall instead of the spring, and it’s always been true, but before seeds can be nurtured the detritus from years past must be torn out.  October.

I can’t say I have it all figured out.  I can’t say this is the culmination of anything really.  I’m sure there’s another test.  Another transformation.  Another period of growth.  Honestly, I hope there are many, because this is how we live and shine and become better humans.  This year feels different.  I feel stronger spiritually, and I look forward to the path ahead of me.  I’ve taken on the role of a mentor and teacher, and for once I feel like people actually acknowledge that I do carry some wisdom and experience.  I’m not a child.  I’m not a newb.  I’m not by any means at the end of my learning path, but I can contribute to my tribe.  As I mature in my Mother phase, I feel my Crone calling to me, and that’s something I’ll talk about more in-depth later, but I feel ready.  I can embrace all of it and keep moving forward.

I hope you’ll all stick around to see where the journey takes me.

Go now…then come back when it feels right.

Aloha.

 

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This Ostara comes on the heels of an extremely trying winter.  A breakup, health issues, household stress, and the constant feeling that nothing I attempted to nurture would ever thrive made it almost impossible to focus on much of anything at a time of year that is generally when I’m the most productive.  As we approached Imbolc things began to lighten just a bit, but it was enough to give me enough hope to ride the waves that seemed to be carrying me way deeper than I thought I could find my way back from.

Then I was asked to be a voice.  I was invited to speak to a small group of women about my experience and the lessons learned doing Good Girl and how my life has been changed by it all.  I talked for a long time, and I’m sure I said a lot of useful things, but the one thing that stuck out in my mind was the very first bullet point.

Healing is not a one time event.

Let me repeat that.  Healing is NOT a one time event.  

Well, hell, guys.  For a year I’ve been beating myself up because I thought I was failing, convinced that all the progress I thought I’d made was a lie, when really I was learning how to live again in a whole new way.  I needed to cut myself a little slack and acknowledge how far I’d actually come, even if it seemed like I’d been stumbling and bumbling my way through most of it.

I tried to keep that in mind as Ostara approached, and yesterday as the sun rose around my plane I felt it filling me with a new energy I’ve never felt before, and it dawned on me. I haven’t been failing all winter.  I haven’t been fallow.  I haven’t neglected my seeds.  For the first time in my life I went deeper into the dark season than ever before, and when I emerged I was truly transformed.  I was taken to the brink, and yeah, I had to die a little to really complete my chrysalis.  What Ostara brought me this year was not just new light or new growth but new life, new eyes, and new  breath.

Is all the stress and pain gone?  No, that’s real life.  Healing and lessons and growth don’t wait until it’s convenient for mundane life, but the choice is mine to focus behind me on the cold darkness of winter or look ahead of me to the bright warmth of the coming seasons.  The dark will return as the wheel turns, but I know I can not only survive it but pull from it the lessons of my deepest fathoms.

No, healing is not a one time event, and I don’t in any way believe it’s all over, but along with that healing I have grown to a new level of awareness and empathy, of intuition and intensity, of passion and power.  I have claimed my place in the universe.  I am ready to use the stardust with which I was born.

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