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 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.

keeping count

IMG_3511I was too skinny and my mental health was suffering. I had just turned 18 years old. I knew little. I did know there were feelings I had never felt before and I sort of knew they were not what I wanted to be feeling. There were some major transitions coming in the summer of 2000. Two of my best friends were heading West to better their English skills, others were off to cool adventures with family or boyfriends. I was so lost.

When I loaded my life in a few luggage and embarked on that bus, I took 3 or 4 Gravol. I wanted to sleep the entire way to Toronto. Perhaps I did not want to wake up. But I did. I woke up. At Union Station with the content of my life spread around my legs and those of my mind spread across thousands of kilometres.

My children are nowhere near the age where they want to pick up and go on an adventure. In fact one of them claims he will never marry and live with us forever. At this point, I’m ok with that. I however understand how my parents must have felt. I was to be gone only a few months; a year maybe. Today marks my 16th year as an Ontarian.

It is nearly impossible to remember the first feelings. The first few months living in Orangeville with my aunt and trying to figure myself out. I learned the language and was hired by an airline. I worked, made money and began travelling. As time passed, the world opened itself to me and my views broadened with each experience.

I have found it helpful and encouraging to count each additional year since my big move. However, this time around, it doesn’t bring me as much joy. I am not sad or angry, simply indifferent. I am counting the 5 more years before I graduate, which will mean my eldest son will be 13… a teenager. I am counting 2 more years, where I will have lived here as long as I lived in my home town.

The thing is, those year are passing much too fast. The months, weeks, days, hours, minutes… There is always so much to do and not enough time. I want to hug my kids and play in the creek with them. I want to sit outside with my man and talk about our lives and our dreams. I want to spend time with my beloved friends and all the love they share with us. I want to read all the knowledge I can absorb. I want to make space for all the feelings I am digging up working so hard at becoming a psychotherapist and be able to help people some day. I want to write all I feel and think and one day, look back at this amazing life we made for ourselves and let my mind travel through the beautiful memories. All because I did wake up.

I woke up and the sun rose again. Some days are a little darker but one thing for certain, the sun will shine again.

From here on, I’d like to quit counting and revel in the days, bright and dark. Because I know now, after all the diapers and colic and sore nipples and scratched knees and tantrums and soccer  practice and piano and swimming lessons, I am fully and blissfully awake.

Love,

Maman M.

i am fat

You see, I am fat. There are no other way to say it. I am not exactly curvy as standards would have it. I am not voluptuous

fat-catunless my husband is concerned. I am simply FAT. The scale says it. My BMI says it. Everyone one on my Facebook feed says it.

You see, I am studying to become a psychotherapist. Some of my work is a VERY intense training group which makes be dig up all the hidden ghosts in my imaginary closet. The thing about being a psychotherapist is having little to no judgement. AT ALL. Toward others AND toward yourself. FAT CHANCE! Thankfully, I have 3 more years of this work to do.

Let’s get back to the fat. I have been wired to feel that, the fat cells on my body, the ones people see and judge, are like penalty cards to my intelligence. My place in the world and my entitlement. Entitlement to opinions, feelings, bravery, etc. I am FAT therefore, I have less of an impact on others and the world.

In the last few years, I have had a few “free” passes. The last 8 years, I have been either pregnant or nursing. I suffer from a thyroid problem that makes it that much more difficult to lose the baby weight. I am on an anti anxiety/anti depression med that makes me gain weight. WHAT-eh-VER. I AM JUST FAT.

For my body to become smaller, I must starve, have emotional ups and downs, work out until I throw up and live like I am a different person. All because I need to be a certain way so I am seen a certain way!

My weigh and my appearance are a constant reminder that I am worth less than the common human being. People who bullied me had a right. People who didn’t like me were justified. People who looked at me differently were allowed.

My boys are 8 and 6. They know. They know that my stomach, which isn’t quite like the flat stomach of this other mom with 3 kids, isn’t “normal”. HOW. How do my children know and feel like my stomach should be flat and not protrude from the seam of my yoga pants?

Will my little girl know what it feels like to be FAT? Feeling fat is a complete other topic and please visit this article my friend Dawn posted which is brilliant and she is totally freaking gorgeous, inside and out.

Will my girl OR my boys get my genes? Will they feel what it feels like to be FAT. Will I have ingrained enough power and self awareness into them so they know they are magnificent, regardless of size, color, race, gender, etc.

You see, we are not wealthy. We are not wealthy because my main focus is to ensure they know who they are inside. We are not wealthy because I spend, or my guy is willing to invest, 8 plus thousand dollars a year in my self discovery so I can help people one day  love that they are FAT and smart and compassionate and generous and aware.  That the size of their asses has absolutely nothing to do with who they are as people of this world. And we, can do anything and everything. We are worthy or everything and anything: Friends, husbands, children, no children, families, friends, network, communities, faith, God, love. LOVE. LOVE. We are WORTHY of LOVE. ALL THE LOVE. Your size is utterly unrelated to the level of love you’re able to give or entitled to receive. LOVE WITH ALL YOUR HEART. AND LET US BE LOVED.

LOVE,

Maman M.

 

 

 

 

 

that shameful thing

Mindsight_LGI think overall, I am a decent parent. I feed, I love , I clothed, I listen, etc. I question my every move. Each decision, each comment, every little compliment is weighed. Whether before it is verbalized or after. My eldest son’s favourite come back now is “we all say things we don’t mean when we are angry”.

A very important notion in our family is that emotions are allowed, granted and celebrated. Not only the ‘fun’ emotions. All the emotions. If my children are never angry or sad, they will never be happy. However, in spite of how strong an emotion gets, the consequences of our actions live on forever. An insult to a beloved brother or too much talking back to a parent. If it makes the journey from your brain to your tongue and is delivered, it is out there. We must all live with it. Yes, it is physiologically known that when we “flip our lid” (Siegel, 2011, p.27) as Dr. Daniel Siegel explains so well in his book ‘Mindsight’, the brain connections working to regulate emotions don’t exactly fire properly. Still, it has a 99.9% chance of hurting someone we love very much.

So, I preach. I preach kindness and auto regulation. I preach to them, but I mostly preach to myself. Because when I ‘flip my lid’ (Siegel, 2011, p.27) and the ‘limbic lava’ (Siegel, 2011, p.27) starts to boil, I scream. I feel I must put it out there for the whole world to see. I am a screamer. Those sweet babies whom I nursed and cajoled and baked for all these months, they get the worst of my hot blooded self. My  wonderful psychotherapist likes to remind me I have European blood and I am ‘unique’ in certain aspect of personality. However, accepting my failure in keeping cool is oh so difficult. After all the neurons reconnect, I look at their little tiny faces and my heart sinks. I want to cry and hold them tight. I apologize for raising my voice but maman is just so tired and a bit frustrated repeating the same thing 100 times. School has been on for 5 months and when I ask them to get dressed and brush teeth in the morning, they look at me like I have 2 heads and they have never accomplished that task before.

So, I put heavy blame on myself and my ability to raise these little humans. I put more money aside for the therapy they will one day need. I watch from the corner of my eyes all the other mamas dropping off their kids at school and whispering sweet nothing to them. While I get out of the car, weary and filled with guilt because of another morning I didn’t handle with poise and calm. And, I know I am not alone.

There, I said it. This mothering business is difficult. It is a test. When I kiss them in the hall and watch their little backs walking away from me in to a life of their own, I wonder if they are happy and if they remember the apology that came shortly after the loud words. I pray they remember how much they are loved and utterly brilliant beings.

I will try again. Every. Single. Day.

Love,

Maman M.

References
Siegel, Daniel J. Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation. New York: Bantam, 2011. Print.

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.