Posted in Uncategorized

The Spiral Staircase

The fall out of a fractured divorce:

The Motherless Muse

I was surprised to find myself referenced in the lines of the obituary. Somebody was mindful, maybe the parent of the other 3 step-grandchildren though I’m not sure who they are.

When the deceased and I first met, I was already a young adult so I don’t know that I ever considered her a step-grandmother, though perhaps some if not all of my younger sisters did. I find myself touched to be included all these years later, to be considered family, even while the ground beneath that sentiment shifts, inviting closer inspection…

My “step-grandmother” was an elegant woman or maybe graceful better captures her, but a grace born of self-composure, more than wealth or finery. Despite her graciousness, however, she stung me once, irrevocably, and all these years later, it comes back to me, when I am the age she would have been then…

My father, the surgeon, began sleeping…

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Posted in Fragile Life, Takes a Village

Get Thee to Therapy

Many years ago, an extended family member challenged my passion for therapy, saying that he had no interest in digging up stuff from the past and miring himself in it.

I understood. Therapy was heavy lifting. Men especially seemed afraid of the effort and fierce vulnerability required which is why I introduced my sons to therapy young so that they would have it as part of their toolkit–for health care and wellbeing–like yoga and dentistry, chiropractic and energy work, dance and art and nature, diet and bloodwork.

At the time, I offered the reluctant relative a car metaphor, explaining that therapy was how I kept my windshield clean–so that I could move forward–with a less obstructed view.

“Rather than weighing me down,” I said, “Dealing with the pain of the past frees up space for more joy in the present.”

He nodded, taking this in, but I suspect his past was too weighty and his present not light filled enough to warrant the risk, particularly if he was only considering the benefit to himself.

It’s tricky this living, nourishing both the present and the past, not to mention the future–our own and that of the next generations.

For women, the consideration of the next generation is embodied; they literally live inside us, affected by our minds, moods, emotions and consumption.

I first went to therapy in my mid-twenties after I became a parent for a sibling in crisis. Around the same time, I got involved in Al-Anon, wanting to offer the family I hoped to have, a lighter load than the one I’d received, which was doused in alcoholism, cruelty and neglect.

We all see the same therapist now, myself, my husband and our boys. It’s a bit awkward, today for instance, knowing that my son is (hopefully) talking about the grief I gave him last night and this morning to the woman who has been my most trusted ally since he was born.

Friends, especially couples, doubtful of this therapeutic relationship will ask, “But whose side is she on? Whose story does she believe?”

Alas, I’m not looking for a referee, or someone to point toward who is right and who is wrong, though I would like to amend the adage:

“Do you want to be right or in relationship?”

Because what I most desire for myself (and my loved ones) is to be in “right relationship” with self.

Rather than acting as judge, our therapist bears witness, creating more space between us, as we navigate our shared and individual paths.

When I feel particularly sensitive to the load my sons inherited from me, I sing the song other women passed along as I became a mother:

Posted in Insight, Mother to Crone, Takes a Village

For the children

Photo 610

See the line.

How do we trust a man who capriciously oggles, touches, kisses, grabs, rapes women; a man who has had a string of wives with whom he has been unfaithful; who sexualizes his own children, speaks of his baby daughter’s legs and breasts, says to others–Isn’t she “hot,”–agrees with the radio host that his daughter “is a piece of ass,” claims that he would “date” her if she wasn’t his, and boasts that if his third wife wants another child, it’s fine, because he won’t have anything to do with it anyway, that’s a wife’s job.

How do we trust such a man with children, let alone a country?

How do we have faith in an administration who hides children in windowless warehouses and defends the absence of sleeping accommodations, toothbrushes, toothpaste, showers, soap, towels and dry clothes?

“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay? It’s like incredible,” he says of himself.

Meanwhile, he threatened, demonized & exploited 5 teenage boys, citizens of color, for decades, for a Central Park rape they didn’t commit, writing: BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY–a sentiment echoed by Pat Buchanan who called for the eldest of the five, a 16-year-old, to be “hanged in Central Park,” while the other boys should be “stripped, horsewhipped, and sent to prison.”

And yet, when another woman, #22, comes forth with allegations of rape–against Trump–in a dressing room instead of the park, the bar is already so low (and his privilege so high), that it barely registers.

Psychologists say of infidelity, which I suspect is true of all offense, that once you get close to the line, it’s easier to cross because it’s harder to see.

See the line.