Speaking of the Unspeakable


I think almost every woman I’ve ever encountered rants about trust – with their eyes ready to be narrowed and an almost imperceptible head roll that warns you to keep your mouth shut. It’s almost a sort of bonding ritual. And it binds them all to continue to mistrust. We all dutifully hang our heads because we’ve all been untrustworthy before and they think “mmhmm. Another douchebag.” at which point we’re second guessed forever because we have a penis, or immediately fucked. Or both. It’s an exhaustive Sisterhood cult thing that no one is allowed to say anything to. Because we’re all guilty. 
It also doesn’t give us permission to rise above our pasts, or the past of the jerk who was jumping up and down shouting “HI!!! I’M A BAD BOY!!! THROW EVERYTHING YOU ARE INTO ME TO PROVE YOU’RE LOVABLE EVEN THOUGH I’M OBVIOUSLY NOT INTERESTED IN GOING THERE!!!” …or something like that. 
Stop it. As long as the bonding through the Coven of Unjustly Brokenhearted keeps up there is no looking at what’s really happening that could change EVERYTHING…
Take some time.
Reboot your relationship with yourself.
Take baby steps getting reacquainted with your intuition.
Because somewhere along the way of redoubling your efforts at loving the bad old way it got misaligned and not to be trusted because you needed Sir Dumptruck to stay. So you batted that little voice down that told you he was full of shit. Traded away another piece of integrity for his presence. Now, horribly askew, you growl at anything wearing brown cowboy boots and are annoyingly repulsed by and drawn to varying versions of the same old shit.
Make friends with yourself again – or for the first time.
In an alternate universe – right next to you – people trust until you give them reason not to and it’s not a reflection on their worth or value. Because they like themselves.

Smother’s Day

Smoking my morning cigar on the deck I saw a butterfly light, appropriately enough on the butterfly bush across the yard. I said quietly to myself as much as to the universe, “Hi mom.” If you’ve been to my house you’ve seen butterfly ornaments tied at various points around the yard and in the house. My sister has a huge wall piece in her living room near our mother’s ashes of butterflies springing off the wall. It was her thing.
Mother’s day is difficult for me. I had three mothers in my life. One that birthed me, gave me up and after tracking her down ultimately blamed me for my sister’s murder because I couldn’t save her from 400 miles away, before she herself stole all the money from her mother’s trust. One who raised me, who was abused horribly in her childhood, who was neglected and beaten and abandoned by hers. Who spent our life fighting depression and persecution complexes. Who didn’t defend or protect me when I was raped as a small child. Who was a master at the insult/compliment. And one who clearly endured the rest of us with a church smile barely containing the lemon she was biting into during group outings because her family adored my sister and not much else.
Being well entrenched in the recovery community I am surrounded by folks who’s mothers rented them for drugs, beat them, openly resented them, used them as pawns to seek revenge against their exes, neglected them and lashed out at them as the reason their life wasn’t what they’d dreamed for. An old friend of mine once said that she started becoming a better mother the moment she admitted to herself that she hated being a mother. I thought that was absolutely courageous.
Yesterday I posted something from a writer who gave voice to all of us who struggle with today and got hammered for it. It hurt. A lot. Because fuck you, that’s why. You didn’t have my upbringing. Perhaps you aren’t any of my mothers. My post today isn’t for you. It’s for the rest of us. Please stop reading and scroll on to a Mother’s day post that better mirrors your experience. Or unfriend me here and in person. Any rude or hostile commentary to this post will be deleted. Because I won’t be shamed one more time for having feelings that are less than glossy about the most significant relationship most of us ever have.
Over the years those dysfunctional relationships effected every relationship I had with the opposite sex. From abject terror of them, to making them all pay for the harms done me, to playing doormat, to domineering, to being loyal when I should’ve run with my hair on fire, to being utterly incapable of being faithful. My compass spun all over for lack of a true north. There came a time however when I finally needed to be my own man. This came in stages; through the steps I was able to sort out what was mine from what was theirs. Therapy helped me sort out what the steps weren’t designed for. And ultimately a living amends to the woman who raised me, however haphazardly, by teaching her how to treat me. (by no longer making her pay for my childhood and no longer acting like I was 13)
By making peace with my past I came to see how truly fragile she was and how much she had risen, given her own circumstances. It meant calling her out when she acted meanly while standing by her side. Sometimes it meant spending less time with her. It meant telling mother number three to kick rocks when, one more time she talked badly about mom as if she wasn’t there during another endured ‘family holiday dinner’ and letting everyone know that the charade was over. I protected mom.
That was the turning point for me. Not that she changed. She tried. But she was close to 80 at the time. What changed was how her unfinished business no longer effected me.
Someone described to me recently that early wounds are like a giant black spot in a bowl. The spot never actually goes away. It only gets smaller by comparison to all the other moments and experiences I add to the bowl. This came as an epiphany to me at 30 years sober that I had not actually failed for some reason because days like today still hurt. Because a butterfly wandering into my yard still makes me smile wistfully, for who mom was and wasn’t.