“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