Full disclosure: technically I’m not really motherless given that my mamma is alive and kicking.
But sadly, her capacity for mothering never developed that well. The loving, giving, selfless put-my-kid-before-myself stuff isn’t really in her repertoire, and she’s emotionally unavailable in many ways. Sure, if I need money it (might) be given, but as for open arms to curl up in when my world is falling apart… not so much.
She’s too busy still dealing (or rather, not dealing) with a lifetime’s worth of her own grief and rage. In some ways, she’s still a seventeen year old girl having her child taken away from her and always will be. But she’s a motherless sod, too, having had a pretty poor example of a mother to call her own. So there’s no room for anyone else’s emotional needs to be addressed in my mother’s world. I’ve mostly accepted that these days…
But as a result I’ve been on my own in many ways for most of my life. A street urchin. Raised by wolves, I was. I really don’t know any better about lots of stuff.
I’m painfully aware of my lack of motherly nurturing, and have been for quite some time. My self-mothering skills are super-lame, although I’ll mother the heck out of my friends and loved ones. I’m more than happy to over-compensate in the outward direction but generally have little patience for my own needs.
Which makes sense really, since those needs were pretty much ignored as I went through endless mistakes in my teen years (some of which are documented on this blog).
However, it’s pretty difficult to turn that sort of street urchin-ness around. Why should I suddenly take up caring for myself when no one has in the past? I’ve survived this long as-is, so why should I change? Right?
But if like me, you’ve noticed all this and wanted to make a change… how does a semi-wild critter like me even begin to learn what’s needed to develop a self-nurturing instinct?
Here’s how it works for me: I’ve gotta have a damn good reason. Motivation. Something important has to be on the line to make it happen.
Now let’s just say that last weekend I was feeling pretty crappy. Not only had I just received a scary diagnosis from my doctor – with precious little in the way of actual information about hypothyroidism, thanks Doc! – but I also started my monthly cycle the very next day (apologies to any squeamish people/men-folk who might be reading).
When you’ve got stupidly low iron levels and you start bleeding, basically it’s like PMT on steroids: it blows. I had a three-day headache, my body ached and pain-killers gave no relief. My misfiring hormones were clearly having a merry old knees-up at my expense and I wasn’t invited. I was emotional, devastated at having a brand new “thing” to deal with courtesy of PTSD, and I could barely move. I slept through most of Saturday.
Somewhere in there I remembered that I actually know some really amazing people, like a friend of mine in the US who is both a GP and a naturopath. I emailed her and she very quickly gave me some awesome advice, including what questions to ask my doctor. The other part of her advice was to cut gluten and sugar from my diet, and to buy this book:
On the Sunday, I had to pull family duty: Mother’s Day, which is sadly not one of my all-time favourite days of the year. I slept most of the time I was at my sister’s place, too. There was some conversation about what’s going on with me but my mother accused me of “keeping them in the dark”.
Heh. I wasn’t, actually. It’s just that when you don’t talk to or see people on a regular basis, you tend to be less inclined to volunteer personal information about your health. Especially when you’re just trying to come to terms with it yourself!
But anyway, there was a point to this post and it’s about me getting another clue. So here it is…
This diagnosis of hypothyroidism is not as horrible as it first sounds. Well sort of. I do NOT subscribe to the standard western health model, so just because there’s an accepted “treatment” – aka synthetic hormones for the rest of your life – doesn’t mean that I have to lie down and take it.
And holy Shiva, I’m a yogi! But in my panic and fear, I forgot myself. I forgot my yoga and I forgot my relationship to the Goddess (Ma, Mary, Parvati, Kali, Durga etc). My patron Goddess form is that of Kali – who isn’t really as scary as she looks and/or is made out to be.
My lady Kali, she takes everything a part so it can be rebuilt. Become purified. Stronger. More refined. But first she takes you down to the bare bones, past whatever you think of as the possible end to it all. It aint easy, but in the end it’s a good thing. And her work is done with compassion and 100% motherly love.
This illness isn’t another reason to feel bitter, resentful and pissed off at my lot in life.
Rather, it’s a call to arms from the Mother Goddess, disguised as a really REALLY good reason to get my self-mothering act together.
It’s almost shamanic, the way this has come to a head in response to my statement/question: “I don’t know what to do next”.
The answer is this: get my health sorted out and develop my ability to self-nurture. Coz that’s important in the whole physical healing thing.
And if I’m EVER gonna kick my Grand-Bold-Stupid-Reckless-Awesome-Totally-Kicking-Life-Plan into action, then I need to be firing on all cylinders.
I suspect this next phase in the healing process aint gonna be easy. But then, nothing has been to-date, right?
Regardless, my hat is in the ring for this one because after everything I’ve been through, I’m sure as hell not giving up now!
P.S. The fiery warrior Svasti is back in the house!