Post coitum omne animal triste est /“after sex every animal is sad”. (written 2005)
What is it that keeps us awake at night or early morning before dawn, skin damp with sweat, heart doing silly flip flops or pounding on the door to get out? I lie beside you at 6:15 and put my hand on your chest. It falls over your heart and I catch its rhythm, a little irregular, but beating steadily the way it should, but I know you are tired before you even begin the day, the way I know by just looking that it is not a good time to bring up the subject of bills to pay or dogs to walk, or moving out west. So I hover my hand over your heart and pray that today you will take each breath at a time and not run ahead of its rhythm, and that I will stay close to those cantering horses, slow them down to a quick trot, not gallop all day like a wild horse in a field full of gopher holes. Ready to break my neck at breakneck speed; god speed -- that’s the speed we should walk at work at, a gentle breathing pace. I soothe myself with this thought, before I sit up to meditate.
My fears about my mother’s drinking, over 25 years sober, celebrated her golden sobriety, but suspected of sneaking sips just before Dad died; the deep shadow buried in the cave of my worries. Sinking pit in the stomach feeling, fluttering with unease, yet I function in spite of it. Wind howling around the ears, narrow escapes through windows in my dreams, my body under ice drowning, trying to get to what buried treasure?
Old lady, look at my life, I am a lot like you were.
Addicted to the adrenaline of stress, pushing too hard then collapse, fuel gage on low. A bit manic compared to last year’s lethargy.
Want to recoup, withdraw the lines of energy binding me to everyone else. Kids already align themselves with their father, a good sign, release the stranglehold of motherworry I project on them. We all seek freedom, equilibrium. Learn to sit still and listen.
Deep in the body, transcendent, the feeling you get when love making is genuine: threshold, a rite of passage, betwixt and between, a transition phase like death or birth, from out of a dark moist place, the eclipse of the moon or sun, the diving into the darkness and noise of sex, a rollercoaster ride, into the tender light of morning.
Coming out of the castle of chastity into the world of nature, life, undoing the wound of childhood, regaining its purity.
Tuesday morning, I sit with the ball of anxiety in the pit of my solar plexus, see myself running forward, turning back now at half way point to catch up with my self. Look back to retell the story of how I got this far, reframe it as myth, or fairy tale.
Feel the center folding in, collapsing. The little tyrant trying to hold it all together, fear of this falling but can’t carry the ball anymore, it’s as heavy as Atlas’s globe. No way for it, but in, underground, past the scary bull dog Cerebus, down like Innana, stripped of jewels, headdress, necklace earrings clothing –the trappings of beauty, head shorn and bare, exposed throat open to the knife.
My own unnamed fears and anxieties throttle me. To dive from this height -- pull back in fear, trembling. Yet only one way to lose the fear, jump. Exhilaration of that long swan dive, the younger self catches up to the swan self and we re-integrate, heal the split. I left her behind, repudiated her, now I can reclaim her, embrace her wickedness, her rebellious, annoying belligerent exuberance, her painfully loud anger, and growling refusal to buy into complacency,
My shit disturber fighter-of-injustice self, my stand up and be counted fire-breathing dragon, galloping goliath fighting little Sheba/David. Protector of innocents, wielder of the shield of Hope, pitting herself against authority and high school tyrant teachers and principles – the muckraking journalist–thorn in your side student. ....Who am I kidding? I left the leftist leaning hippie behind and morphed into the corporate hand kissing middleclass homeowner with an executive lifestyle – split again – between high class and no class. So what is the real person doing in the middle of these identities? Who is she rooting for?
So I let down the armour, admit to being human, release the burden of harsh self-judgment. When I say no to my kids, I feel the weight of the monster that judges herself for being too strict, some confusion between the philosophy that brought me this far (on parenting) and the one I will discover.
As far as what I want to do with my life, I don’t know yet what I want to be and maybe I don’t have to be a ‘famous’ anything, maybe my gift is just to be myself, be happy with that. I can do so many things, why be only be one thing? And why does it have to be like that forever? That you decide now and become something-- why not lay down that terrible burden of trying to be something.
Lay down in the grass and let the sun shine on your back, lie prone on the ground, receive the sun’s heat and ask the burning questions – (for me) what is the value of a mother?
It’s not a break-down, but a breaking open of the heart, that’s what tears do. The drum of the heart beats a great heat through the body to melt the fear-armour, split the hull of self-deceit and protection.
The mothering we need: to be shown how to do things, how to eat, cook, do laundry, we need to be shown how to love, recover from heartbreak, hold the neck of a new baby, change a diaper. Le mal de mer – not seasickness, but mother sickness, missing mothering, the tender rocking of waves.
musemother, notes towards acceptance