After watching the movie “The Secret Life of Bees” and in the midst of sobbing, I told my husband that I wanted a mother. He replied that I should find one – only half jokingly. Where do I find a older than me (age 66), wise, loving woman who would consider adopting me for the rest of one of our lives? I really am not joking. I need a substitute mother – like the three substitite mothers that Lily found in the move.
My husband and I watched the movie “Secret Life of Bees” a couple of nights ago. It is, of course, based on Sue Monk Kidd’s novel. We had seen it about four years ago when it was first released, but I did not have a clear memory of it. I don’t recall being particularly taken with the movie then – or especially moved by it. This time I was crying through a lot of the second half of the movie and sobbed for quite awhile after the movie was over. I really, really identified with Lily, the 14 year old “star” of the movie – when she said that she had a large hole in her where her mother was supposed to be. If only I could have been as wise as Lily when I was 14 years old. And, if only I could have found loving substitute mothers- as Lily fortunately did. It appears that I’ve changed a lot in the past four years. At least I’m crying now and recognizing my own grief and am less numb. Again – if only I had been wiser at a younger age! Evidently that was not possible…
I’m asking myself if there is a way I can begin to transmute the anger and grief that I feel towards my mother. She did not love me – her first child and first daughter. At present, it’s not as much anger at my human mother as intense grief for how her behavior affected me as a baby, infant, young girl, teenager, young woman, adult woman and even now into my old woman years. My life was so much smaller than it might have been – and I can never change that.
Sue Monk Kidd writes that rage needs to be changed into “outrage”. “Outrage is love’s wild and unacknowledged sister. She is the one who recognizes feminine injury, stands on the roof, and announces it if she has to, then jumps into the fray to change it. She is the one grappling with her life, reconfiguring it, struggling to find liberating ways of relating.” Kidd also quotes Clarissa Pinkola Estes saying that anger becomes a “fire that cooks things rather than a fire of conflageration” and goes on to say that a fire which cooks things can feed you as well as many other people. Is it too late for me to find a way to cook with my anger and create some form of nourishment and nurturing for myself and even for other women?
I’m reading “Traveling with Pomegranates” by Sue Monk Kidd. It’s a nonfiction book about her travels with her 22 year old daughter and their changing relationship. There seems to be a strong and binding cord of love between the author and her daughter, as well between the author and her mother. In a strange way, it’s reminding me of the PBS series “Call the Midwife”. We recently watched the first season. It’s set in the East End of London in the years after WWII. Many of the families are very poor, many are also filled with love and I often cried while watching the series. I’m again realizing that I did not have the love of my mother – even as a newborn and infant. On one hand, that’s a very ordinary type of wound that I share with many other humans. On the other hand, for me, it’s a huge scar at the center of my being. I can understand my history more and more and understand my mother and have deeper insight into what happened. I can learn not to treat others badly and unconsciously. I can “heal” my wound to some degree. But, I can’t make it go away – ever. It’s there in my body and soul forever – at least in this human lifetime. I can do my best to live as well as I can and grow “wholer”. But – the wound and the scar tissue over it – are not going to disappear. I can, as psychologists say, learn how to “parent” myself – and that is a good and valuable thing – but the wound will be there. I have to accept that the wound is not going away and I must, in some sense, live around it. I am certainly more than my wound, but it is there always at my center and I must respect it and acknowledge the enormous effect it has had on all areas of my being.
A friend was telling me about another spiritual-type workshop that she was going to next week. It did sound fascinating! She’s told me about numerous spiritual and/or Jungian workshops and groups that she’s attended over the past 5 or so years – many in New Mexico. I started feeling jealous that I can’t afford to go to such groups. I actually said that I was a little envious of her and she replied that she did feel luckey that she was able to attend.
As I was driving home, I realized that I don’t actually feel jealous or envious. It was an old pattern – an almost automatic reaction to hearing her news – definitely not a real response. I remembered that I often don’t feel comfortable in such groups or with their leaders – particularly as I get older. I don’t want that type of structure right now. I need to be guided by my own “Self” as best I can now and talk with others on a more informal basis. And, not be as ready as I used to be to assign “authority” to someone else. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I have all the answers, but I am trusting more and more that I will be led where I need to go and that I will have the money to do what I “need” to do. Or, as Helen Luke says – to do what is “essential” for me to do.
I regret saying that I was envious, but perhaps I had to say it out loud before I could hear myself. Then, I could understand that I am changing.
Selected definitions of “home” (American Heritage Dictionary):
A place where one lives.
One’s close family and one’s self.
An environment or haven of shelter, of happiness and love.
The small town where I’ve lived for 12 years is certainly “a place where one lives” and “one’s close family and one’s self”. There is a haven of sorts here and shelter and certainly love and happiness in our house (although certainly also, at times, human annoyances and strife and such).
But, I think what I am longing for is home in a more spacious sense – a community and landscape that I might cherish; a place that I would feel fortunate to live in; an environment in which I could find beauty and joy – even in times of difficulty. In fact, an environment that might ease difficulties by it’s beauty.
It’s easy to ignore my strong feelings for such a community and to instead tell myself that I am lucky to have a pleasant house that is paid for, a husband that I love, and good health. Surely that should be enough in one’s sixties… It’s so easy to criticize myself. It’s so easy to tell myself that “one” can be happy wherever “one” is, or to “grow where you are planted” and countless other cliches.
This is one of my core questions and quests right now. It seems that a lot of my inner work in the near future will evolve around this issue.
No answers right now.
Yearning for water. During the 12 years I’ve lived in my small town, there have been long periods of drought. The past year has been extremely hot and dry – like much of the central part of the country. 2013 appears to be continuing that aridness. Astrologically, I have most of my personal planets in water. Living here at times has felt like my own alchemical retort – my psyche being heated up and then heated up more. I will acknowledge that’s it’s been a necessary part of my inner journey. And yet, I still dream of water – ocean, lakes, rivers, streams, rain, snow and even ice. Some very strong part of me wants to live near water. Living here has been valuable, perhaps vital. But still – “This is not my home”.
Re-reading what I just wrote – it sounds superficial and I don’t know how to “say” it differently yet. Hopefully, insights will come.