“I like you hair cut.” He lifts his eyes from under his Misfits hat. “Rockin.”
“I wish I were cool enough to do it by choice….cancer.”
“I didn’t want to ask.” Pitty face, shoulder shrug.
“Life…it’s pretty fun.” I murmer.
“Yeesh! Not when you’re alone.” He said, “There’s a lot of monsters out there.”
He turns his head with a sheepish smile and I look into his eyes. There it sits, plastered across his boy face; the battle of light and dark. One eye - hazel an entrance to the depths of the inner world; and the other - ice blue, frozen, the iris almost offensive, harsh.
His manner, child like. He is pure. Yet, I see the struggle in his eyes, he is caught in something. Ensnared. A shiver squiggles down my spine. Simultaneously, I want to take his hand, skip, and run.
“That’s why I like cartoons, there’s always a Hero. Do you like cartoons?”
I gaze to his face and smile. Holding eye contact, I exhale, the tension dissipates. Let's play.
In the quest to piece myself back together, I arrive to the hardest step. Looking into the mirror. From all that repulses, to all that makes me wiggle with glee. I am all. All is me.
Becoming whole, means becoming the parts of me I most fear.
For weeks, I have walked around wondering, how do I separate myself from the monsters? How do I differentiate?
Send it away! Get out of here! SKAT!
While all along I have been eating myself from the inside, out.
To vilify things outside of myself, it makes it easier to play the victim. As victimhood ensues, the savior soon follows suit. The triangle exists around the dot. X marks the spot.
Watching the dichotomy of the world in front of my eyes; I peek for a moment what is at center, that which is whole. Oneness. Truth. So close I can taste it.
And the spiral begins again. As I learn to trust myself, my truth, it is no longer a guessing game. No longer vulnerable to the ugly that lies in the corner and waits. Because it isn't so scary when you have seen it from far away, or when you see it peering back at you.
In this way, working, attuning to what is OUT THERE. The body leaves its signs. Learning each twitch, hop, skip, stance as I turn them into clues. How to navigate this existence. Now. In this skin.
A teacher once told me, “There are predators out there, but they feed off the broken ones. You must trust yourself and your light.”
I am my own monster, but I am the creator and the destroyer.
I am the dragon AND the knight who has come to fight for the Light.
Next step, just get to the next step is how I coach myself through. During chemo, the strength is almost invisible. A superpower that takes over. Then it all stops. Swooped off your feet, wrangled around and then thrown back to Earth. What is the next step in the progression because going BACK is not an option.
No one tells you the after effects, or they do; you are just too busy getting yourself through to HEAR. Afraid one more drop in the bucket will throw the delicate structure off balance, and all will come crashing down.
I have struggled for the past two weeks. Hardly able to believe the body I see in the mirror, but I hang on to the me I see in my eyes.
I imagine the women trudging out of the hospital like zombies. Gown tattered, dragging their feet, lookin like they’ve been run over six times by a Mac Truck. Drooling and in a haze. The walk from the trenches.
The nurses asked if I wanted to ring a bell. Not wanting the attention I decline. Half way not wanting it to be over, half way not believing it is over. A blink in time, or did I just block it all out. If this is the end, that means there is a next step. I don't dare let the thoughts of "did it work" fall in. Now the work is up to me.
My body betrays me. Anafalactic shock beats a bell…true Leo fashion.
The final straw, I know that it is time to STOP this. My body says ENOUGH. Circumstance forces movement and transition is hard, even if it is moving OUT of pain.
I am in the “angry woman” phase. I hear myself and I get tired of listening. I feel like it seeps into every part of my being. This is the poison cancer is made of.
I can get lost in the venom. I can think of a million and one reasons to be unhappy. And I am ALLOWED to be. IT IS O.K. I am glad I haven’t posted in a while because what is NOT O.K. is to let that venom spread into the world. And it is NOT O.K. to be stuck there. I am ABLE to sit with it and MOVE IT THROUGH.
Feeling the venom helps lead me to honey. My eyes will not be jaded. And knowing what poison tastes like, pushes me to find the nectar of life.
I met with my doctors, my acupuncturist, my chiropractor, and myself. I will rest now. I will take the next month to RESTORE myself and my body before moving on. Giving space to heal. My wish is to be INTACT. My only goal in any interaction, is that I may leave with my spirit whole. That I stand in my power, and not feel taken for.
In the storm that is the after effects of chemo; I will hold my ground. I will decide how I heal. I will decide how I piece myself back together. Now the roots will grow.
I will find my prescription for Joy. For Happiness.
My medicine is ME. Turn inward. Soothe and smooth it all out.
Is there a finish line? My mind trails as my feet hit the sidewalk. Is there an end in sight?
When do I get to sit down and look back? I find myself holding on to the HOPE, the LIGHT; the thought that…this will be over, right? But it feels more like a check list. OK, done. OK, done. OK, done. Ok, DONE. Except there is no end.
Life doesn’t stop for anybody. We all have 24 hours in a day. Life is created in the space between. Waking and sleep, we live on repeat. The answer, a little tweek. The same dream with an alternate ending.
I had a waitressing nightmare the other night…those in the industry know the depths to which these reach:
People filling the bar. they are speaking and their words have no meaning. Retaining orders on a paper that cognitively escape. My mind screams, "JUST MAKE THE DAMN GREY HOUND! YOU KNOW HOW!" The result, a bottomless glass that will never be filled. Everything out of my control. People screaming, unsatisfied and the pressure builds.
Vodka - Grapefruit. Replace the vodka with gin, salt the rim and you’ve got yourself a Salty Dog.
Turn on the stove, boil the water, add the bone broth, boil more water, make the coffee, take the supplements, brush the teeth, sit and read, drink the coffee, make the smoothie, add the protein. Ahhhhhhhhh, peace.
I have assembled what I need to LIVE day to day; a simple break down of what it is I feel to be sustained. Nourishment. Movement. Creation. Satisfying Work/Production. Sleep. Repeat. The place not important, a transient swirling around gathering my things; each falling into their place. The spiral.
I see that EACH DAY is a ritual, a ceremony. The opening of the eyes, and closing.
On the most basic level, all bodies function the same. We are living in BODIES. A body being the most dense form. A science. A cause and effect. A chain reaction. Regulating the nervous system is finding a solid base, a balance. Establishing equanimity is finding a way to maintain. Easy…right?
Navigating the veils is not an easy task. Who ever said, “FEELINGS ARE MEANT TO BE FELT” was a masochistic lunatic…
I blame it on the astrology. Twas the month of the extreme emotional upheval. Under the Virgin Moon on the Supreme Eve when the Gemini was overriding Uranus down the hall
…it was me…I said it. Along with every other new age hippie chic selling sage, crystals and her new E-Book
[coming soon -- Working title: Spirituality - Chasing the High.]
Have I changed so much that the woman who occupied this body is invisible now? How do we measure our own growth?How do we know what we are made of? Revealed in the actions and thoughts of the present.
I saw the ex who haunts my past, twice in one day. Nothing is a coincidence in life or sleep. He didn’t see me, never mind I look nothing like the me he knew. For a moment, I found myself hurting. But it wasn’t a wanting for him; it was a longing for her.
She was so hurt, so frail, so fragile. She begged for anyone just to see her. She would do anything to be held. She would bite when they got too close. A safety mechanism, to protect her brittle bones. No man ever stands a chance against the inner masculine, who is protecting a wounded feminine.
And immediately, I caught myself musing over the idea of long luxurious hair. What? If only I had the guise, I could hide behind the coquette of luscious locks. A seductress, a gimmick, all the shiny things, ones that work every time.
AHA! The snare!
Knowing good and well I’ve done every thing I could to destroy her, the future riding on if she could just fade away. It is easy to go back to what feels safe in the moment I am deprived. When I am not full. When I don’t trust myself, when I feel undeserving.
But the body I am in presently doesn’t allow me to linger. It forces me to be strong. Emotionally. Mentally. Physically. “I am beautiful. I am bold. I AM WORTHY. I love you, thank you.”
Life spirals in upon itself. The end slapping the beginning in the face. “Did that happen yesterday or tomorrow?" Tomorrow explains back to today.
Dizzy, I grab for the railing, grasping for anything to guide me through. An anchor to the Earth.
You’ll be back in the body soon. Seguimos adelante. Gracias por estos pies en este tierra. Gracias por al alimentación de este vida. Gracias por guiarme.
The promise is the sun will rise.
I am empty….in the best way.
I have spent my time cozying up to silence.
Not trying to FILL. Not busy or distracting. Just allowing. Just being. Observing….my body, my emotions, my energy, my actions, the actions of others, the words of all, the birds, the water, the moon, the sun.
It isn’t all beautiful, but I can’t broadcast the tears as vulnerability is still a bounty being sought. Those moments, too sacred to share. The moments that are raw and scary are also the moments where I meet strength….and SELF.
It is easy to GO OUT when I feel good or write when I have something to say. It’s not so easy to GO IN. Into the menagerie, the inner workings where every step must be taken with care, with affection. Where there are no absolutes, no guard rails, no securities of what I may find.
Entering. Holding her hand while she shuffles past the shadows on the floor, as she finds her way. While she configures how she has arrived to this place. While she unboxes grief. While she tries on an old rag, a scream; when she slips and falls into a puddle of anger at her feet. While she peeps under the lid of a smile. Or when she touches joy under the wing of a blue king.
Lately, the path has been inhabited by many moments to be experienced. I have been taking my time. Learning how to proceed without FEAR and in FAITH. To look up, and be ready to greet the raw and unfiltered as it materializes.
There are no labels, there are no names, there are no formalities. There is no outside, no picture to fit. Everything is free game. And it is there that I have SEEN; in those moments, under the emotion…stands TRUTH.
A strength so potent, a softness, that doesn’t need to be proved. On this path, finding my feet for the first time. And the confidence to STAND. A strength that is a LOVE. A LOVE for this BODY, this SOUL, and this LIFE. One that can not be seen when covered with costumes, things to do, and places to be.
I haven’t lived this hard, this intensely, this passionately in a long time.
I haven’t cried this hard. I haven’t screamed this hard. I haven’t laughed this hard. I haven’t loved this hard.
A loving friend asked me the other day, “Who is the female inspiration on your journey in this moment?”. Caught off guard, I had to feel into it. I close my eyes and a huge grin grows across my face, “Truthfully...it’s me.”
I feel the heaviness in the heartbreak of my woman’s story. I turn back and see them all coming to gather. Peering through the line, managed by time, seen beyond space; I look to a deep grieving, long in the face. They rattle their cages and beg to be set free. The grey lusts to be flush with the sweet heat of passion, ravenous for life. They are calling back to the heartbeat once lost. The beat of the Earth, the pace of the moon. The story must be re-written soon.
My story. OUR strory. HERstory.
The Story that starts at the core, the pit that has formed. At the void that craves to be filled. It started when playing in the field was no longer fun, and harvesting failed to cultivate reward. It started where all was barren, yet overgrown. Where it left with a wanting; the life sucked from the Earth. A doom, when the wives tales were no longer TRUTH. It started when her hair became tight, and her lip taught.
Captured by chore, robbed of spirit in the name of production. Her softness bound by a cloak of survival. The story re-lived in each moment until granted pardon to leave.
A story fueled by fear. Not being enough. Not perfect. A story of complacency. Only what was expected of her. Aligning to the photo instead of the life. Ignoring her roots, her intuition. Disconnected from her truth. Creating a haze to live behind so as not to experience the grief; the loss of HerSelf over and over and over again.
Now left with a deep yearning to create, what has not yet been found.
A child. Naturally, what is meant to be. Pour into the babe the same vacant wanting. Grasp the un-known. A quest to match a love untold. A love so profound. A love so bold. But NO.
It is the Journey to meet Self.
The pieces spread out on the floor. Collected in piles, waiting to be sorted. The process messy. She picks through meticulously, intentionally. Set out to bring organization to the chaos. To establish a structure in which she can dance. To find a space that allows her to be SHE.
A softness craving to be free without fight. A strength without bite. To find a courage to dive beneath. A place where she touches the world, unrestricted, and WHOLE.
She weaves the twigs with stray hairs, bone, feather, honey and clay. Assembling a space to hold creation. Constructing a comfort where she can roost. She wiggles in, and takes a seat. The muscles twitch, and the bones shake. A spark that resounds. Her shoulders move unbound. The skin separates as the wings penetrate. She births HERSELF.
Life begins with Death.
Things must die to re-new. A constant creator and destroyer or our own stories, of our reality, of each moment. The third act awaits. REBIRTH. Within the cycles we are FULL, WHOLE. Complete in the release. The STORY was never anyone’s to OWN.
We are round. We spiral up, we spiral down. We are WOMAN. Unfiltered, raw.
“To love pleasure takes little, to LOVE TRULY takes a hero who can manage her own fear.”
- Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D.
Women Who Run With the Wolves
I throw the duvet aside and hop to my feet. Taking a deep breath, I wiggle my toes. One, two, three…ten; all there, I am here. I stretch my arms over my head, a sensation shoots through my fingertips. Good morning, we meet again. Another 24 hours, what will I do with this day?
Business as usual; the trajectory of others doesn’t cease. As the quietness settles, there is nowhere else to go but in.
Caught between opposites, emotions waiver to extremes. My giddy and my grief gather at my feet like the petals of a little girl’s dream; he loves me, he loves me not. I sit in silence, picking at the rose as the days merge with the nights.
Today I woke up and ate cheesecake, then went back to sleep. Today I cried. Today I couldn’t even look at my phone in fear that someone would be on the other side. Today I let the fear consume me.
But how could that be? Yesterday felt so sweet.
Each moment, each day marks its own destiny. Gratitude. Hope. Anguish. Helplessness. Joy. Anger. Release. Sadness. Ecstasy. Devotion. Strength.
Life, in all of its heaviness holds the beauty simultaneously. As much as I try to compartmentalize each aspect, trash and treasure; the more I notice how inseparable they are. Swirling together, there is the opportunity to SEE.
As I weed out the clutter and distraction; my vision clarifies. The stronger the urge is to run away. A dance whose steps have been memorized.
I said I wasn’t afraid of much anymore. That was I lie, leaving little room for the truth; a disguise. I am most afraid to see myself. To see it ALL. To see the mess, to see the ‘ugly’, to see the shadow, to see the imperfection. To see the beauty. To see the strength.
I am afraid of the MERGING. Afraid that it could be possible. What if it’s too beautiful to hold?
IT is not to be held. It is to be given, and to be received. There is no goal. No point A to point B. How do I get from FEAR to FREEDOM?
The path is LOVE. The steps are tethered by COURAGE.
The courage it takes to TRUST yourself, to LOVE every bit of yourself. To hold hands with the shadow, to nurture her too. To accept her. To allow her to surface, to allow her to be. To eat cheesecake, and smile because IT is so SWEET.
Today, I will not look away. Today, I will arrive at my own eyes. No goal, no plan, I will come as I am.
Today I will LOVE fearlessly. Me.
[2017 -- Minca, Colombia]
The fog rolls in from the left, rider of the night.
Alerting the coming of her highness.
Creeping down the mountain’s thighs,
touching each crevasse, the tongues flip to the sky above.
She reaches towards the light,
the warmth of the Sun.
He beckons her,
a beacon for her.
Taking their time.
Learning about one another. Seeing each other.
Taking turns fanning their feathers.
Spreading their wings.
She paints herself thinly around his core,
wrapping him in her cloak.
She retreats, allowing him to chase.
He peaks his head over the horizon once more,
Then becomes heavy,
and fades fast asleep.
She reaches out to tuck him in.
They stand at opposite ends.
Together for just one moment.
If only we could freeze,
But now it is her time.
And she must hold her ground.
Standing strong in the chills of the night,
she watches while everyone sleeps.
She releases her wisdom into their dreams.
She speaks through pictures, and paints the truth.
Her ancient wisdom soothes.
He illuminates her dark corners,
the Moon shines as an ode to his soul.
They face one another.
They reflect one another.
They forever chase one another.
Dancing in circles they spiral in
to complete one another.
I guide my mom to a parking spot, and we walk out to Access 40. She remarks, “Hah, funny I never come down to this part of the beach”.
Hah funny, this is where we grew up….
This was our problem solving spot. No matter what was going on we would drop everything for each other, jump in the car, make the rounds, and head to the conference room. This was the spot where we could let it all spill over. The spot where we cried, where we cursed to the sky, where we laughed till our bodies were sore, where we gazed speechless over the grandedness of the ocean.
Nothing else mattered. We had each other, and we knew it would be alright. We had something to anchor to, through breakups, rough spots, boys, divorce(s), cancer(s), death(s)….you name it; the sea saw it all. She held it, while we held each other tight. The footprints left in the sand felt a little lighter on those nights. It always ended with gratitude: for our friendship, for our ocean, for our home, for release.
“What do you need to solve tonight?”
Absolutely nothing. I just need to come and be. I need to feel her breathe, I just need a moment that will fill me.
I need to feel life coursing through my veins. Prana.
We sit silent in the hollow of the night. Only the stars and the bouies mark the difference between sky and sea. Beacons, signaling the line.
No limits, no rules. How liberating, and how scary.
It seems that there is no more planning, just perfectly timed conversations and series of events. There is nothing more to distract with…my planner is empty, my computer dead, my mailbox vacant. No more tasks, just time. Time to sit, time to feel, time to think. Time to make friends with myself again; the task I have kept at the bottom of the list.
Now, to observe the highs and lows of the process. You never know what you’re going to get; the treasure or the tyrant. Here! Take the keys, I am just along for the ride. She sticks her head out the window and melts into the breeze. Delighted by the turn of the leaves. Lives at EASE.
I thank the miracles and honor the troughs; I hold on at each bend because I know there is another side, no matter how much it hurts, just hold on. Eyes glued to the horizon, find the beacon, the light as your guide.
The days can fly or they can drag; a second equals a minute, that equals a meter, that equals a millennium. Time holds you captive to “the plan”. There are no more limits, there are no more rules, there is no more plan.
Enjoy. Live. Simply. Release.
I close my eyes, I breathe in the semi sweet, semi salty air of the cool porch night. The moon beams overhead. I lay my head back, kick my feet up, and let go.
It feels like it will not end…the touch and go. I almost made it through half way, but there is also another half to know. It doesn’t feel like a success point, or a resting point. It feels daunting. It feels too big. It feels unbearable. The last one took me out. Humbled me. Reminded me of the poison pumping through my veins. My body throbbing in a pain too deep to explain. I can feel my organs going into overdrive. I gaze in the mirror, the muscles retreat. What is left, is soft and lumpy, hanging off the bone.
Almost overnight my body morphed into something foreign. The outside beginning to match the sickness. Reality coming into sight. And a fear creeps over me. A fear that time will stop. The fear reassured by what feels like deterioration. Not now. Too soon. I am sad, I am ANGRY. I feel like something has been STOLEN from me; my youth, my maiden AND my motherhood, my fertility, my cycles. That which is SACRED to me, that which I have longed to feel and embody; that which aligns and connects me. The blood that is my RIGHT, the blood that anchors my fight.
And the moon still smiles. Holding the light in the night sky.
Swiped by circumstance, stolen time. There are no backsies. But that is life. Life is NOTHING like I thought it would be. Life is REVEALING itself TO me; despite the constructs of my mind, of my projections.
Is this even REAL?
Real is that I have NO CONTROL, real is that the ledge is a scary place to teeter on, real is looking into the unknown, real is not a time-line, real is shaky, the real is…NOW.
My heart tells me not to be afraid, because living in fear only breeds fear. My heart says, “you will be fine”, my heart says “you can do the hard things”, and my heart says “you are STRONG”.
I trust my heart. Im not sick…I am healing. It is a process, that has layers; each building on the next. Each door waiting to be unlocked by the hidden key, a level up.
This life contains a menagerie of cycles and patterns. They are here to be SEEN. I am the scientist and the experiment. I am the exhibitionist. I am the student and the teacher. The classroom — in front of my eyes.
As I flip through my journal skimming the pages, my eyes fall on these words written weeks ago. The words that were tucked away until TIME was right.
“Today, I stood, proud of myself. Proud of the woman I have become. Strong to my core. With the ability to shift and to flow. To give myself what I NEED. To listen to my body, to know when I need a place to rest. To know that I don’t have to PUSH IT to the max to prove anything to anyone else. I felt a strength surge through my being. There was no effort to convey. I feel absolutely beautiful, even bald. I feel so confident in the two feet I am standing on. I hope this vulnerability can translate to a soft strength. A key, a peep hole. To encourage other women to be raw. To be REAL. Not to hide.
I am not perfect. And that is perfect. I stand here in the buff. Baring it all, and none of it is perfectly designed. It is messy. It is a process. It is work. I stand here holding on to this moment of pure strength so that I can remember what it feels like when I am fighting in the depths. These moments bring light into the darkness that moves in waves through the days and nights. They spiral together. They dance. They are one in the same.”
Goodnight MOON, you have my HEART, my CYCLES are yours now.
I was getting ready to go out the other night, I looked in the mirror, checking to see if everything was “in place” — best foot forward. I grabbed the tweezers and began plucking away. The yelps ensued, “TRAITOR, TRAITOR, TRAITOR!” they accused.
I stopped, shamefully; reminded that WE (the brows and I) have a pep talk, joined by the eyelashes every morning, “YOU HANG IN THERE! We’re in this TOGETHER!”. I felt like I was failing them. I concede. Yes, any place on the face is the “right” place, I guess; live where you please.
The air hurts my skin, the blanket swallows me whole. There is no in between, one second I am freezing, the next it’s as if Satan has grabbed hold of my bones and is blowing fire from top to toe. Hot flashes are officially UNDER ADVOCATED for, it is HELL ON EARTH.
Nothing seems to be JUST right, there is a constant fluctuation. The true test of stability….can you ride the tide?
Today, I head into my third treatment. The wave of panic promptly started last night, and was expelled by 10:30 this morning. Not bad my friend, not bad…every time learning.
I can smell them coming when order grabs the reins of my domain. Aligning, touching repeatedly; needing everything to FIND ITS PLACE. Then the mania. One hundred and sixty miles a minute, the winds whirl. Within the mania, the blackness, blank space; the vast nothingness in my brain. Then the exhaustion from the storm, my eyes can not focus, disconnection from the body. Wanting to take leave.
I went to get my port accessed, and realize I forgot the numbing cream. One of those hints they HINT TO in all the blogs, but you don’t understand the validity until it’s your reality! The sheer penetration of needle to skin sends shudders through my body and tears emerge. The nurse try to comfort. And I try to explain, it’s not the pain. These dew drops are the icing on the cake, they just need to escape.
The cherry? The NOTEBOOK, or lack thereof. I travel with baggage, to be exact — three totes, at least. Within those totes are smaller bags to compartmentalize it all. My world, my thoughts, my creation.
Somewhere resides the list below:
an old journal (to be transcribed)
a new journal
a medical journal
a food/medicine journal
a daily calendar
an additional quick look monthly calendar
a medical notebook (seperate from medical journal)
a business notebook (also separate from business journal -- that is the flip side of medical journal)
Each holds different materials and ideas. Also, there are different pens to write in different journals, but no need to bother you with my TOTAL neurosis.
On this day GOD FORBID the medical journal has escaped. LITERALLY the ONLY DAY that he is needed, when he gets his moment to shine. That jerk called in sick to the doctors’ appointment. Oh what a luxury, the balls on THAT guy…
That was it. The moment of sheer panic. The small scale of the bigger theme at hand. I lost a piece of me in the structure that I felt held all in place. Keeping order. The escapee mocking my failure to CONTROL.
Not an easy task, my heart peels back as I extract a sheet of loose leaf paper from a binder. I grit my teeth as I find the pen to do the deed. I coach myself through the steps that will come next. You will go to the appointment, you will meet with Dr. P, you will write your questions on this sheet, you will write the answers below. Then you will put it directly in the Waiting File (an actual file that holds the papers waiting to be worked on, and receive a gold star when complete) then, you will transfer it to its home.
Whew life becomes bearable again. There is a solution. There is a form. There is a way. Now I can navigate. I can breathe.
I feel the exhaustion in my body, the energy it takes to call myself back to act. To rationalize. I place both feet on the ground and feel my rib cage expand. I place my hands on my thighs and feel the breath puddle into my pelvic bowl. Gently filling my belly, massaging my sacrum and organs inside.
I close my eyes and look a dentro, where I find the little fear child. Actually, I catch her by the hem of her dress as scurries away. My darling, wait! I need you here. Come sit, and watch. I will hold your hand. We will do this together and then you will understand. There is nothing to be afraid of, we can do scary things….but we don’t have to be scared.
“To reclaim the soul we must start with the body. Suppressed for so long, being what they told us to be, what they wanted us to be, being less than so THEY could handle us. She lies dormant, awaiting her time. Patiently, she slips hints, clues-- like breadcrumbs to lead us through.”
I wrote these words six years ago. Reading my old journals, I cry, I smile, I swoon. I have been writing a love letter to myself for the past decade. Sending these words into the ethers; just waiting for her to find them, to bring them HOME.
What does it look like to be, ME? The picture is not the one I drew.
Each step has its own challenge, but with each layer you encroach upon the woman behind the eyes. You would think it doesn’t hurt as bad when you know it’s coming. Why am I still surprised when I catch eyelashes falling into my eye. Or waking up to see the patchwork of stubble draped over my skull. Each time there seems to be something more revealed. A secret unlocked. No one said the breadcrumbs wouldn’t hurt. They actually forewarned that nothing comes without a price.
Freedom is the bounty. Freedom from the facade. Freedom from what they told me a female should be. Should look like. Should feel like. Should act like. The hair was the shackles.
I feel like I am cheating myself, even when I wear a head scarf. I feel like I am missing an opportunity to walk in my own skin. The scarf feels like I am covering something up. Maybe it’s the shame of being ‘UGLY’. Or not the norm. I didn’t think it mattered that much, but the truth is….it does. But then, there is the thrill of being poked onto the plank. SHOW IT ALL or ELSE! I’ve never been one to take the easy way.
In this time, there seems to be a disconnect between what a woman looks like, and what a woman FEELS like. I want the essence, not the brand.
I want to know the Goddess. The one whose wisdom runs deep. Threading back through the nimble fingers of great grandmothers. Feeding from the fire of a humble kitchen. Coming from the hands that fed a family of twelve. I want to taste the salt of the sweat of the woman who worked from dawn to dusk to provide a place for the Earth to thrive. To find the will of the woman who’s tears stream in mourning for the loss of more than one child; and to touch the strength that kept her going. I yearn for the genius of the woman who turned dirt into clay, and clay into pots to keep the maiz. For the sabiduria of a woman who cooks the herbs and heals the home. For the woman who holds all of the connectors in place. The grandmother spider at the center of the web, keeping everything protected and everything in order. I dream for her. I FEEL her close. She rests at my side, whispering secrets of the past, as she pokes needle and thread, gathering small pieces of cloth; patching together to make one. A safety net, a quilt covered in time.
I have spent years on the search for what it means to be FEMALE, for what it means to THRIVE, for what it means to be ALIVE. This path has lead me all over the world, drawn to women and their children, to communities, to SPIRIT, and ultimately BACK to MYSELF. Here I will share my most recent adventure, navigating a diagnosis of triple positive BREAST CANCER and each step of the way I figure out how to be a little more ME. I am Catherine-Ayer Gresham a 30 year old woman