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.

 

 

 

 

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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.

learning to land

Scan 10There are so many elements of my training in becoming a psychotherapist. I attend lectures weekly and lecture seminars monthly. There are the odd days when graduates share their most recent papers on the Oedipal Complex or Winnicott’s concepts. A very important part of this program, which few people understand, is a very intense, 4-year, 440-hour Group Therapy session.

In order to be a therapist and manage to support patients on a daily basis, a clear and profound awareness of self is necessary. Not only to help others, but to maintain sanity and survival. As a first year student, I am learning the ropes. Sharing my trials and tribulations and being able to sit and hold myself while reaching places within I would rather not attend to. Often, others’ sharing is the most enlightening.

Other than Freud’s Psychoanalysis Lexicon’s MANY terms and definitions, psychotherapists employ a jargon of their own. Much like educators or administrators, we develop a language of our own. For the actions of our work carry such meaning, they need terms or expressions. I am quickly learning my way around them. Although cerebrally processing words like “coming in” or “taking it in” and “holding” isn’t too difficult in the context of daily life or group, applying them is another challenge in itself.

This week, I had an epiphany on the word “Land”; to land or landing. Obviously, landing could mean arriving somewhere or at something. In this case, landing grabbed my attention in a way I have always wanted to understand and reach.

I detest conflict. I have difficulty facing a situation which may result in anger toward me. I rather walk away when I notice others heading to an argument, heated or not. I immediately reach flight reaction and fear danger. When faced with adversity, I have a tendency to hide. It is more comfortable to take the blame or pretend than having a needed conversation with someone. My fear of rejection wins. This week’s session shone a very bright, concert worth, light on my issues facing negative feelings and conflicts.

Landing. Making space for emotions, conflicts, etc. Allowing all these to land somewhere allows one to take ownership; to hold these situations in the basket with all the other parts of us.

I have noticed myself become increasingly assertive. The fears associated with speaking on uncomfortable topics or situation are slowly, very slowly dissipating. I have even been able to say “no” at times.

Amazingly, making space for all these things to land some place safe, instead of keeping them in, deeply nestled in my super critical self, has allowed the better parts of me to take more space. Clearer, neater and safer mind.

This is going to be a journey. A winding road I am learning to face. Small steps toward feeling worthy and entitled to those ugly and terrifying confrontations. Because, most times, the outcome is made so much scarier in my mind, than it actually is.

I want to make space for a smooth and bump-less landing of self. To grow to the best and most wholesome self I can offer my future clients. Much work; much work.

With love and hope.

Maman M.

 

 

 

Remarkable Women Series ~Intro~

When the journey from my home town to downtown Toronto’s Union station finally ended, I was 18 years old. My mother and father had just thrown a grand surprise party  for my 18th birthday!! Complete with picture collages, songs, all my friends, lots to drink  and a car. During the previous months, I had managed to lose at least 40 lbs and become someone unrecognizable. Emotionally and physically. I remember eating fruit salad morning, noon and night, walking over 90 minutes a night and canceling plans with friends or not even showing up. This person was not me.

The decision to open my wings and fly away was not heroic, as many like to describe it, it was survival.

So much has happened over the last twelve years. I have held many jobs, done many adventurous things but most importantly, I have met women of remarkable standing!

Some of them, unfortunately, have drifted out of my life, temporarily I trust, others, thankfully, have been around for twelve years, some less, with the same incredibly infectious greatness.

In this series, I want to highlight some of these ladies. People with whom I have friendships. People I admire and respect gratefully.

I have been blessed by each and everyone of them and I want to honor them, my way.

Love,

M.

Wholesomely

Once every few weeks, I leave the chaos of our evening routine, get in our red mini van, and drive the 60 or so kilometers to Toronto’s Fashion District. I have been doing so for almost a year now.

Eight years ago, it was simply a few minutes walk.

Parking is readily available, I press the numbers on the key pad and wait for the door to click unlocked. The elevator ride still makes my heart flutter. I am welcomed with warm organic teas, something sweet and always, chocolate covered Goji berries. She knows me.

Virginia and I have a connection. Always have.

I am broken. I am strong. I will be whole again.

She spends overtime listening to me and facilitating the conversation. She empathizes, sensitizes. She is a lifeline.

When I return to the road and make my way back to the delicious chaos of our home, I review it all in my mind. I want to print screen my brain; Evernote my thoughts. I want these excruciating and enlightening minutes to be captured and synced forever.

I share with my husband. That helps refresh and store the details.

God gave us all a marvelous psyche. Perhaps the messes we create on earth are a way for us to long for Heaven that much more. I do believe in being the best creation I can possibly be. For myself, for my children, for my friends and family.

Exploring the deepest of my gray matter has been an incredible journey. It has helped control the panic attacks before I am out of control. It has been such a blessing in raising my very spirited and sensitive boys.

I have learned so much about myself, the cause and effects of my behavior. How far can I go? I cannot wait to find out!

I will be whole, again.

Love,

Maman M.