when Hillary visits my dreams

imageAs a mother of three, I don’t sleep much. I also *should* be using a CPAP machine but that is a confession for another post. Few hours of sleep means dreams are few and far between.

I have only in the last 2 years begun analyzing my dreams with my therapists. Freud’s theories on dream were enlightening and have helped me greatly in understanding the inner workings of my unconscious.

Most of the winter, I dreamt of Canada Geese. Broken ones. Angry ones. Dirty ones. I somehow began reading Mary Oliver again. Then, through On Being with Krista Tippett’s Poetry Project, I spent an hour long commute with Oliver and Tippett. And she read Wild Geese.

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscapes,

over the prairies and the deep trees,

the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.

-Mary Oliver

These geese in my dreams, I am them. Broken. Angry. Dirty.

Since the disaster of last U.S. presidential election, Ms Rodham Clinton has made a few appearances in my dreams. She speaks softly. She wipes away my tears. She is all done up as she was at campaign rallies. Crisp pant suit, hair sprayed to a halt and perfect make up. Often time she is still Secretary of State. Other times she is president. And I am there with her. And she loves me. I gather this has little to do with Hillary Clinton. Aside from the admiration I still hold for her determination, her intelligence and her great support for intersectionality. Aside from the slight ressemblance to one of my profs. I know this is about me. I am HRC! She is me.

The strong female spirit I see in Ms Clinton is one I wish to unleash for myself. Let the geese fly away and migrate out of the unconscious; into the conscious. Take hold of the tissue and wipe away my own tears. Use a soft voice to care and address myself instead of the harsh critical superego. She is an amalgamation of the geese flying alongside me through this journey. My school mates and my professors. The ones that have no doubt in my abilities. The ones who have buoyed me through the last few years, wings spread wide, keeping a safe space under them. Those who have helped me believe I could because I am.

The power of women allies is stronger than ever. The role I play in other’s lives is a privilege I may take for granted. At times, we must move aside so the light can shine on another sister. It is a very bright light and changing position will not take it away. The greater light and awareness is shed on all female is a step toward a brighter future for our daughters and sons.

Along Hillary and Mary I listen to the geese, announce my and your place in the family of things. I vow to listen to your despairs, yours, and I will tell you mine. I will fly high and head home again! The future IS female.

 

 

 

 

when the sound of bombing beats in our hearts

qdfyp8ktBana Alabeb is a 7 year old Syrian girl living in East Aleppo. She and her mother Fatemah joined Twitter in September 2016. Since, they humanized life as a child living through the horror inside Aleppo. I have a 7 year old. I see the sparkle in his eyes when he is happy and the sadness that takes over his little soul when he is troubled. In his world, his worries may never get bigger than the ones he has to face today. In Bana’s world, tomorrow may never come. Her mother uses the platform as a political tool begging world leaders to help civilians. She tweets as her country and her family waits for death.

My family happens to celebrate Christmas. As the holidays approach, children will receive presents. A few years ago, I became disgusted by the amount of material items my offsprings received from us and loving family members. We narrowed the list to 4 things: something to read; something to wear; something I want; something I need. While writing their letters to Santa, each year, they are unable to think of something they need. My children, and I think a lot of the children in the city in which we live, although not ALL and that is very important to remember, go without a single NEED throughout the year. A shoe falls apart, we are able to go out and buy new ones. A mitten gets lost, we are able to purchase a new pair. Sometimes without even looking for the lost item. I have to say they are somewhat aware of that privilege. But this year, in particular, this fact makes me want to throw up.

I have an inner fire burning so hot with anger. Anger about the hate and divisiveness which has been prevalent especially in the last year. Anger about the white privilege we see and experience much too often. Last night, in Southern Ontario, the sky was covered in light fluffy Christmas snow. I used to LOVE the sound, or lack, of falling snow. It is so quiet and so peaceful. After my children went to bed and before the Barfing Explosion of 2016 occurred, I put on my husband’s oversized boots and stood outside just to listen. I tried but couldn’t hear my usually endearing and silent falling snow. All I heard the bombingd and screaming children across the world. Some of whom have NEVER in their entire little short lives known or heard silence and peace.

Global News put out a piece: How does Toronto compare to Aleppo. It is definitely worth watching. Also quite chilling as the reporter eventually walks off screen… as there would be nothing left.

Somehow, God decided that I was to be born here. Meet this great half Dutch half Filipino man and raised 3 multi racial children in a safe, socially and economically sound country. They did not get to choose this. Neither did Bana and her family. The predicament they are in is tragic. If they survive, the psychological damage with which these children will have to live is insurmountable without great intervention, which I doubt they will ever get.

In ten, twenty or thirty years, terrorism will most likely still be alive in the world. Will we still ask ourselves how it happened? Will we still blame others? The hell Syrian children are living through is in no way, shape or form caused by their choices or their behaviour. But it is shaping the adults they will one day become. We will not be able to blame them for that.

The year 2016 has been one of the most difficult year for me, psychologically and emotionally. I will welcome 2017 as a fresh start but the fire is more alive than ever. In the Silent Night, if you can hear the bombing across the world, join me in fighting the War on War not so much the War on Christmas.

Much love and some peace this holiday season.

Maman M.

 

when we feel so very sorry

At the top of her concession speech, Hillary Clinton apologized.

“This is not the outcome we wanted or we im-sorryworked so hard for and I’m sorry that we did not win this election for the values we share and the vision we hold for our country.” Hillary Clinton, Nov 9, 2016

It was reported that, in modern history, she is the first presidential candidate to apologize in a concession speech. This is not surprising. As all women, she took the world on her shoulder and felt apologetic for letting people down. I understand. I, for one, am a chronic apologizer.

When I began having a good enough handle on the English language, its many expressions and confusing rules, I gratefully picked up “I’m sorry”. I had found a perfect, short and sweet description of my feelings being in the world. It became so familiar that friends grew annoyed with my constant apologies. While at times, it is a handy catch all phrase, it can be rather unnecessary. In my case, it was more than being a courteous Canadian.

In my short and very unscientific study, men don’t use the three word contracted sentence nearly as much as the opposite gender. Why? Why do women feel sorry so much? Not all women are as liberal with the apology. Some go through life sure of themselves with no real doubt in their abilities. They are a minority.

One morning, sitting with a friend at a small awkward table, I apologized for something I had not cause or had any control over. The friend with whom I was having breakfast confronted me: “Why do you apologize so much?”. In a fleeting moment of vulnerability, the first and only thought crossed my mind: “I’m sorry I exist!”. I have to admit it was the first time I put thoughts together and understood for what I was apologizing. Fear of being an inconvenience. Fear of being “too much”, taking too much space. Fear of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Fear of taking in too much air. My case may have been extreme but, isn’t there a part in each of us that perhaps feels way?

The mental pressure we put on ourselves is invasive. Between kids, work/school, homework, marriage, relationships, volunteer hours, pets, extended family, holiday preps… (I could go on for an entire blog) there is little brain power left for ourselves. As we get spread thinner, the feelings of accomplishment are few and far between. Then, we begin apologizing for not doing it all or doing it all well. I’m sorry I didn’t buy the right kind of cereal. I’m sorry I don’t have the energy to talk. I’m sorry I can’t meet for drinks. I’m sorry you can’t go to the 3rd birthday party this week end. I’m sorry I cannot meet this deadline. Like Hillary, as much as she hoped to uplift women and finally giving us the ultimate voice, I’m sorry I cannot change the world.

At nearly 35 years old, I am, most of the time, no longer sorry I exist. I try to take some space. I make a point to have my voice heard. In the last couple of weeks, I have met and heard from so many women whose eyes get wet when we discussed what we almost had or at the lingering ache from the punch in the gut. The future seems bleak for women and minorities. As the White House administration gets filled with older white males, it may feel like 1966, not 2016. I find myself angry most of the time and looking for a way to channel the anger into something positive. I want to help. I want to be an active member of society. I want to be heard and seen and I want mine and all the little girls to feel like they CAN exist. I want them to celebrate their existence and NOT apologize for being who they are: humans with super powers.  *Nasty Women*

My pledge: I will try to apologize less. Speak up and speak out for what is right and what feels wrong. For me and for others. Fear cannot get the best of me now. I aim to be a fearless leader so my daughter and sons will know what a privilege is being woman .

Love, Maman M.

when the fire is burning

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8am. Nov 8th, 2016

I sit at my kitchen table, listening to Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, looking back at a week no one could have ever expected. This is where it all lies: Expectations. I remember going out on a Saturday morning with my three year old daughter. I left behind independent boys and my husband. While I was away, I fantasized about how much he would get done around the house. I was imagining a clean kitchen, tidy play room and shiny floors. When I returned home a few hours later, the house was upside down, just how I had left . At first, I was very angry. I couldn’t think why it had not been cleaned. I stayed with the feelings long enough to realize it was rooted only in my fantasy. In the expectation that my husband would take the opportunity to clean the house. I had not asked him or communicated my wish for a clean house. Therefore, the anger had to be directed at my expectation NOT at my husband.

In the weeks leading up to the 2016 US Presidential Election, I found myself emotionally enthralled. I watched all of Hillary Clinton’s rallies. I compulsively researched controversies and conspiracy theories right wing reporters gratefully spread. I listened to podcasts and read her books. She, as all of us humans, has made some mistakes. Some greater than others. I watched polls closely and anxiously waited the moment the glass ceiling would shatter. When girls and women could look to the future as bright and endlessly possible.

Last Tuesday evening, I made myself a stiff drink and sat in front of the television waiting for the results to roll in. Once Florida and Ohio went red, I went to bed. Through the tears, I whispered to my husband: “They always win.”

I spent the last week in mourning. Feminism got a great big blow to the teeth. Equality for women was pushed off the playground. Sexual abuse, racism, bigotry and bullying has, once again, been normalized. “They always win.” But it didn’t win. SHE won. More people in America voted for a well prepared, intelligent, well spoken and experienced woman. I try to find solace in that.

I also decided to remove myself from Facebook after I noted a friend’s post claiming Canadians are to remain without opinion; we don’t get a vote. Let us be very clear: we will NEVER quit speaking the truth and point out abusive behaviour.

Today is Sunday. The only tear I shed was over Kate McKinnon’s rendition of Hillary Clinton singing Hallelujah. I am still heart broken over what was lost. NOT who lost.

To the Trump supporters: the election is over. You won. There is no benefit in resoundingly reminding us of what has happened. We saw. We heard you loud and clear. What we are doing is making some space for the sorrow and the loss. We are not “pearl-clutching” or dwelling. We are devastated. Devastated that over 50 millions Americans felt they needed to remind all women, African American, LGBT, and other minorities not to think for a moment we are equals. What we are doing is tightening our bra straps, protecting our vaginas and looking inside our deepest selves to channel the anger. When we are ready, we will get off the floor and fight like hell. As poised Hillary reminded us in her most difficult and gracious concession speech, “never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.” 

To all the women who saw themselves in Hillary, I get it. I understand the transference. A brilliant woman losing to a rich white man who says whatever crosses his mind. I understand how watching him lurk behind her during the second debate triggered old feelings. How the mention of grabbing women by the genitals being dismissed as “locker room talk” is a reminder that it is easier to stay quiet. Well, I am DONE. I will not be quiet anymore. I will speak up. I will act. I will fight.

Let’s give ourselves time to heal. Let’s keep an eye on those whose healing might not come and let us help them. Let us love. Let us love those who are not so easy to love. They most likely need it desperately.

To Hillary Rodham Clinton: Thank you. Thank you for lighting my fire which was put out so many years ago! This election was personal for many of us. You proved we are worth fighting for.

I am Nasty. I am raising a Nasty girl and some Nasty loving boys. Love WILL prevail.

Maman M.

 

When “It’s quite enough work to go on living.”

My heart is shattered. Much like what would have been the historic glass ceiling, had things not gone so wrong on Tuesday night. 

I cannot find the words to write at the moment. Therefore I read other, stronger women who have been able to find their voice. 

Lena Dunham did it. Right here http://www.lennyletter.com/politics/a608/dont-agonize-organize/

Go on, my loves. Let us feel all the feels. 

when democracy becomes the trigger

clinton-trump-debate2-1476064278If, like me, you possess a wonderful pair of very sensitive antennas, this may ring true.

In a group setting, I am aware, at all times, of everyone’s state of mind, at every moment. I observe, take mental notes, look for changes in position or face expression. I am an expert at reading my audience. I am hyper vigilant. Over my years of hard work, I have been able to remain vigilant without the gnawing feeling of danger, at every moment.  Especially with my husband. After 12 years, my nervous system believes my heart that a threat is inexistant.

In one on one interaction, although not as consuming as having to “watch” numerous people roam around a room, the “watching” is more intricate. Eye movement, placement of hands, level of interest, etc. It makes the focus multi facetted. It can also be highly distracting.

As I said, with MANY years of work on inner life, I am able to relax with people I know and trust. The antennas retract slowly as confidence grows that danger is not so imminent. However, my antennas are not to be fooled. Triggering situations are often unprecedented and they happen when I am least prepared for them. Like, when I sit on my couch to watch a political debate, on television, affecting a neighbouring country.

As I watched the pre debate news coverage, my hands got cold and clammy. Mo mouth became dry. As it began, I reached for the wine I had bought for Thanksgiving dinner. Conflict is definitely not my favorite situation. But, like most of us, I haven’t been able to look away from the train wreck. As the wreckage went on, and DT began walking behind, following his opponent and luring behind her, I became highly agitated and  worried about her safety. Although she remained cool, collected and visibly unaffected. Her self control is astonishing. I am afraid anyone having suffered attacks may not have enjoyed watching as his body language spoke heavily.

I do not wish to speak of politics in this post. I do wish to bring to awareness to the largely ignored, quieted and very present threats we, as women, face daily. Because not all of us are able to be as strong, as confident, as aware of our strength and weaknesses and mentally able to take on tasks such as speaking out about what we believe. Especially when society tells us to smile and look pretty, when often time, we may be dying inside.

Sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual trauma or any given situation where we are made to feel anything but exceptional human creature is just NOT OKAY. Not ONE person has the right to tell us how we should feel. Not ONE person deserves to be quieted.

At this point in my life, I think about my children. My two boys and little girl. I hope my boys will be in that locker room to shut down ANYONE who attempts to denigrate women. I hope that my little girl will remember how her father treated her and me,  like exceptional creatures, and stand up to the less thans who don’t celebrate and applaud her, simply for who she is.

I hope that I will be able to utilize my antennas in the near future to be a great psychotherapist and help those who were treated less than by the less thans. I hope to uplift every girl, woman, lady, mamas I have the honor to celebrate because, not all super heros wear capes. We do have SUPER powers. The power to lead, power to change,
power to celebrate, power to care, power to carry life, power to stand for each other and the power to LOVE.

Here is to my young self and all the young minds of today, girls AND boys.

Love,

Maman M.