thefatjewess

my forays through love and other gastronomical stories

Shadows And Light — April 15, 2017

Shadows And Light

Recently  I made a video of myself reading one of my stories and frankly I was quite dismayed. I wasn’t sure who I was looking at, certainly this person on the video did not match up with the image I have of myself.

This was the first time that I had ever seen myself on video and frankly I was more than a little disturbed.  I did not like at all how I looked, or more specifically how I spoke. In still photography I look fine, because I can smile like everyone else, I’m just not able to smile with my teeth showing. On video however, I can see that when I speak I certainly do not speak as most people do.

I have Moebius Syndrome, or Moebius has me. Regardless of the how or by whom, having Moebius means that some muscles in my tongue do not function, forcing me to speak differently than the norm.

In my community which includes healers and therapists; there is a movement to look toward the light, believing that if you are in the vortex of positivity you will be rewarded with all the riches, healing and love that you have been longing for.

I have toyed with these concepts for a while and find them lacking. Here is why –

If I can’t make peace with my flawed mouth then I will have failed and the kingdom of heaven will then be permanently closed.

In my opinion however, this concept of praying away the shadow only forces the shadow deeper underground. I  am a perfectionist. I can never not be one, perfectionism is written in code into my DNA.

Now how can I make peace with not looking perfect?  I can’t. What I can do is this. I can finally make peace with never being normal and make peace with not looking nor sounding like Joni Mitchell (my heroine). Then paradoxically I can relax into me, because I just gave myself permission to love and accept my unyielding perfectionist self.

So I am loving the hater part of me instead of shaming the hater part of me into submission and into the shadows where she has lain waiting, always waiting to find another opportunity for self abasement.

Accepting the all of me just as I am: the good, the bad and the ugly. 

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Forgiveness — September 12, 2016

Forgiveness

 

Definition of Forgive

1: to give up resentment

2: to grant relief from payment

3: to cease to feel resentment

I have had such difficulty writing this piece. I wanted to give all of you something perfect and shiny and bright. I wanted to wrap up my story with silver ribbon and a blue box from Tiffany’s.

Instead you are getting my truth which is not wrapped with a bow but in yesterday’s newspaper, and I didn’t even use the cartoon section for the wrapping, but the obits.

The greatest sorrow of my life has been my relationship with my mother. My first days of life were spent in an incubator in the ICU department of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montréal, where my mother abandoned me for a business trip with my father to Québec City –

” Why would I have stayed with you in the hospital? said my mother
The nurses were there!”

Late this summer when I told my mother I needed to stay with her for two months due to my untimely exit from the apartment I had shared with my now ex – partner Lorraine, her response was less than enthusiastic. I ignored her non response, and proceeded to annihilate what was left of my fantasy mother by asking her to come back with me to Toronto so that she could help me deal with the unpleasantness brought on by my exit from my aforementioned apartment.

“You know I’m not good with that stuff!” said my mom.
“Mommy!!! I need you!! I need you now!!!!” said desperate me

“I need you mommy!” was now looped through my brain and played non stop throughout my day, like an itchy ear worm.

I couldn’t stop myself. I understood intellectually that I did not win the good mother lottery prize but emotionally I was still just four years old, begging my mommy to come to my tea party. She never came and my Barbie’s had to drink their tea with just Ken and me for company.

In my desperation I called a psychic I saw advertised on my Facebook feed. Rachel told me I needed to forgive my mother before I can move forward. Really? This is what I paid five dollars for? ( It was a special offer.)

How do I forgive? According to the Miriam Webster – I need to stop feeling anger toward the person who wronged me.

I have tried repeatedly to do just that. I really have. I have gone to therapy for years with hopes that I could come to some type of peace with my mother. I have talked incessantly about my situation with Jodee, my long time therapist. I thought I was making slow but steady progress, but in Montréal all healing went to hell in a hand basket. I felt unhinged, as if I literally was coming apart. I was desperate for my mother to take my face in her hands and say –

” Don’t worry Katharine, I got you”

I so wanted my mother to create a safe space for me in Montréal, even though that had never happened on the thousand trips I had made to Montréal previously. I didn’t think I was asking for much, just a drawer to put my clothes in, and an acknowledgment that this was indeed a scary and difficult time for me.

As a child, I did not enjoy Halloween, as dressing up in costume made me anxious. I lived with parents that put on masks every day when they went outside our home. Just like the parents who caution their children to use their inside voices during school and synagogue; my parents used their inside face with me, and their outside face with others. The mask they showed to others was so radically different than the one they showed to me at home, that I am still disturbed by masks of any kind, knowing what danger can lurk beneath.

I tried this time, I really tried to make believe that I could calm this frightened fragmented inner child of mine, but I, like my mother before me, threw baby Katharine out to the wolves. I could not console her and I let her rage at being abandoned take me over.

I so wanted my mother to come to my rescue, just this once.

I kept on repeating:

” Mom, you can redeem yourself for all the damage that you have done before, all I ask is that you create a safe place here for me to rest and recoup until my new apartment becomes available in November.”

And each time I begged and each time I pleaded, I lost a little bit of my soul and a lot of my dignity but I could not help myself, so desperate was I to be seen. To make matters worse, as a retired psychotherapist, I understood intellectually that my mother was not ever going to give me what I needed, and in fact took pleasure in seeing her former jappy princess daughter reduced to sleeping on her not so comfy couch, but I was not able to make my brain meet my heart.

Weeks passed in this way, and then my birthday happened, or didn’t happen, to be more accurate.

I had spent the weekend before my birthday celebrating with my close friend Marcus and his family. Before meeting Marcus I had an idea of what familial love should feel like, but did not have a body memory to go with it. Thanks to Marcus and his family, I have experienced love as a felt sense. To celebrate my birthday, they surprised me with a weekend at the splendid Hovey Manor, located in the Eastern Townships.

When I came back I made the mistake of sharing my joy with my mother. If any of you here tonight are familiar with the reality TV show Survivor, whenever the winner of a reward challenge gloats about her reward, the people left behind become angry. I came home so happy, I forget my own rule about keeping my joy contained so as not to risk my mother’s wrath.

Too late.

Now I was to be punished, and since the punishment level was in line with my joy, the punishment was extreme. My mother decided to banish me from her kingdom which meant that my birthday would not be acknowledged.

No birthday cake. No birthday card.

” But I’m sixty, Mommy!! See me! Celebrate me!”

And my shame at my bottomless need to be seen by her, obfuscated my otherwise sound judgment.

And still.. and still.

I’m now back in Toronto, safely ensconced in my new cozy apartment. Every morning before I get out of bed, and every night before I go to sleep, this agnostic Jew prays to the Divine Mother and my Guardian Angels and anyone else I can think of, saying my prayers out loud because I don’t want to take any chances on any unseen helpers not hearing my forgiveness plea.

“I release you mother, and the hold you have on my heart. I am going to do my best to stop blaming you for not being the mother I so desperately wanted, and to try my best to live a life unencumbered by my old friends shame and blame. Please dear Mother God send me your love and healing and if you’re feeling really generous, please send me my Beloved. I am ready to receive her now!”

Hopefully these prayers will help me this month when Chanukah comes around, so that when I light my Chanukah candles sans Maman, I can take comfort in knowing that like the Maccabees before me, I have won the battle even though I have lost the war.

Hot House Flower — October 16, 2017
1. Love — October 14, 2017

1. Love

I have had a migraine for the past five days, and when I’ve been ill like this, my normally bouncy self loses it’s resilience and just lies down flat, void of buoyancy and affect. The only antidote that seems to reboot my bounce are the three C’s: Caring, Comfort and Compassion. I haven’t run into those three C’s often in my life, partly by fate, partly by choice.

In partnering with women who replicated my mother, I enjoyed the negative pleasure of choosing cruel and physically powerful women who could double whammy me in both mind and body.

I’m so over that now. These past few months have brought me to my knees, the pain so deep it excised the anger and resentment I had been storing up for over 50 years.

I feel re-born, re-newed and re-invigorated. Despite my health challenges or perhaps because of my health challenges, I have re-prioritized what is important in my life.

Here is my list:

1. Love

There is no 2. because love is all that matters. Giving it, getting it, creating it.

 

There you have it, my mini manifesto.

Love is Love is Love.

Love Is Who I Am — October 8, 2017

Love Is Who I Am

This from Brene Brown,

‘You either walk into your story and own your truth, or you live outside of your story, hustling for your worthiness.’

I have always been that hustler, that hooker, that looker, offering up my body as a token of my admiration, beseeching her to love me through my trifecta of tools: shame, blame and manipulation.

Always dancing as fast as I can, all the while singing the same refrain stuck on repeat,  “Please love me. Please fill me. Please heal me. Never leave me. I will do any thing and be anyone you need. I will make your every wish come true.”

Hoping always that ephemeral, elusive feeling of safety would land on my right shoulder like a butterfly’s kiss, like a benediction.

But that was yesterday. After a lifetime of yesterdays, on this day of giving thanks, I can walk straight into my story, thankful to proclaim my own truth, which is this:

I am worthy of love. I am inherently loveable. I did not need to change my surname to Love. I did not need to lie prostrate on the floor, begging to be loved. I just needed to know, I just needed to feel, I just needed to own that my flawed and broken self has inherent value in this world. And it does, and I do, and therefore I am, extremely thankful.

 

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Beauty Awakes! — October 2, 2017

Beauty Awakes!

 I’m in my second bath of the night, my bath being the only place I feel even somewhat comfortable, given this is my third day of suffering from a horrible cold.

This afternoon I was pondering why I haven’t felt disturbed that my mother did not called me today to ask how I am feeling, since I had spoken to her yesterday and told her how unwell I felt. This was a novel experience for me, since I’ve been keening for my mother’s love and acknowledgment for most of my childhood and certainly all of my adulthood.

I realized that I did not care if she asked how I was doing, because for the first time in my life, I’m actually taking really good care of myself. Such good care that I finally feel mothered by my own innate good mother who, like Sleeping Beauty has finally awakened after sixty years of slumber.

However, unlike Beauty, I was given the sole task of waking up my good mother self. This has been my life’s work, the challenge I have been grappling with for the last forty years. How do I mother myself when I was never shown proper mothering?

So painful was it for me to be unmothered that I put myself to sleep, allowing addiction to take the place of genuine nurturing. As I was healing my lifetime of disordered eating, I began to understand that my underlying addiction was to my mother.

I have felt totally captivated in her web of cruelty, unable to wrench myself from the negative pleasure I was receiving by repeating my particular pattern of call and response.

After what feels like a lifetime of therapy and self reflection, I have forgiven my mother for her inability to protect and care for me. I am certain my mother didn’t wake up each morning asking herself “Now how can I injure my daughter today?” I’m not saying she didn’t cause me grievous emotional and physical harm, I’m just acknowledging that she did what she did without conscious thought, and should there have been moments of clarity, the impetus to harm was so much bigger than the impetus to heal, that it was impossible for her to stop.

Once I forgave her, I was able to wake up my slumbering inner nurturer and have her take care of my wild beast of a child.

For the past three days I have stayed inside my apartment, only venturing out to get supplies and to take my puppy Lucille for a brief walk. I calmed down little Beastie my assuring her that Lucille will be fine without our daily marathons, and that she can feel sad about staying indoors on three consecutive sunny days, but that this is the best way to get better.

I’ve been feeling so proud of myself that I haven’t need to look anywhere else but here, to receive my own blessings and my own congratulatory responses.

“You are such a good girl!” I say to myself on repeat, and guess what?

I’m actually beginning to believe that.

“And I think to myself, what a wonderful world” — September 25, 2017
“And I think to myself, what a wonderful world” —

“And I think to myself, what a wonderful world”

Today was a wonderful day at Hanlon’s Point🌴,  where clothing is optional. Lucille and I met a lovely couple who shared their umbrellas along with delicious ham and cheese sandwiches. We swam in the warm water, we played ball, and everyone was impressed with Lucille’s fearlessness.
As we were walking back from the beach, I lost one of my insoles. As I began to trace my steps I encountered a comely gray haired man. (Picture a naked Sean Connery.) I asked him if he had seen a lone sole on the beach and he replied in the affirmative. Lucille and I traipsed after him and shortly thereafter my sole was found. I thanked him profusely and he said “When you tell this story, make sure you tell everyone I’m a saver of soles.” And he is, and I have.

Happy New Year — September 20, 2017

Happy New Year

Today is the beginning of the Jewish New Year. It is our tradition to deliver apples and honey to friends and family, symbols of a sweet and healthy year.

Here on FB, in lieu of apples and honey, I wish all my Hebey friends and friends of Hebe’s love, happiness, laughter, joy, health,financial freedom and lastly, but most importantly – mazel. Mazel is the Yiddish word for luck. My wish for every person that reads this particular status report of mine, much good luck for the coming year.

I respect Oprah Winfrey, but take umbrage with her position on luck. Oprah doesn’t believe in it, believing her work ethic has brought her to where she is today. I know many people who have worked hard, just like Oprah, but the opportunities that have been delivered to Oprah, just haven’t materialized for them. I believe Ms. O’s oppurtunties came to fruition through a combination of hard work and good luck. In my opinion, Oprah has had shitload full of good luck. So I wish all of you little shits, a shitload full of good fortune to begin this New Year in style.🍎🍯💩

Pride Goeth….. — August 18, 2017

Pride Goeth…..

When I first moved in to my teeny tiny apartment my tub was not painted properly, there were nicks and splits and the paint was all bubbly.
Management called in these two lovely men who spent hours repairing my tub.
They were so proud to give me this beautiful shiny new bathtub and I was happy that they cared so much about their work, and happy to have a sparkling bathtub redo.

But….of course this story comes with a but… but, there was one small problem with my new sparkly shiny tub, there was no traction. It was now super shiny but it was also now super slippery. I kept telling myself I needed to get a rubber bathmat but I didn’t like the idea of my bum sitting on the uncomfortable rubber. I take multiple baths a day and through the night as sleep often eludes me and the warm water offers comfort, and comfort did not include rubber bath mats.

The tub was particularly precarious when I would put conditioner on my hair, and with my wild beast mane of hair, that happened at least once a day.

What I would need to do to get out of the shower safely was to get down on my hands and knees and grab the rim of the toilet seat and hold on as I carefully hoisted myself out.

Yesterday something went awry. I think I got caught in my shower curtain and somehow slid and fell backwards into the tub, hitting my shoulder in the process.

As I gingerly made my way out of the tub I stood in my bathroom for a moment, just letting the enormity of what could have happened sink in.

This fall could have had ended very differently, and who would have known if I fell and had hit my head? My dog Lucille of course, and I’d like to think her barking would have alerted someone, but Lucille leans toward the loud every day, so I’m not certain anyone would have been concerned until it was way too late.

I took myself to the hospital to have my shoulder examined. I thought it was just badly bruised but didn’t want to take a chance that I was wrong and needed the assurance of the professionals.

This was the first time in a hospital that waiting for hours didn’t bother me. Yes I was in pain, but I WAS ALIVE!!!

I was eventually seen and diagnosed with just a bruised shoulder as I had initially surmised, and sent home with a prescription for pain meds which I promptly threw out as I am more terrified of feeling out of it than I am of pain.

On my way home I stopped at my local dollar store and bought this burgundy bath mat which I am presently sitting on in my bathtub, shoulder doused with arnica cream, writing this note to all of you. See More

I Am Here, Right Where I Belong. — August 15, 2017

I Am Here, Right Where I Belong.

I have worked so hard to get myself here. Where is here? Here is where I am. I don’t mean to sound like a Buddhist koan, but I’m feeling rather Zen- like lately. 

It’s not just about losing the extra twenty pounds I’ve carried around like armour, and the dissolution of 46 years of an often debilitating eating disorder; more important is that I am changing the way I react to life.

I have been swimming daily, taking my little barkalicious puppy to the park, often for hours at a time. I am constantly checking in to see what my body needs as opposed to wants, and most importantly, I hold myself emotionally responsible for creating my best possible life.

This is not the life I had imagined as a child when I would come home for lunch every day from school and watch The Hollywood Squares and imagine the day when I too would become famous.

I would hold the ketchup bottle as a mic and rehearse my Oscar acceptance speech. I had a special shout out to Gordon and Cheryl, two kids from my grade school who were making my life a special kind of hell. “Look at me now, losers! I’m a star!”

I wasn’t sure exactly how I would achieve this acting accolade but I had my priorities straight from the start – from my perspective, it was all about payback.

Fortunately for the viewing public, my acting career never got off the ground, and instead became a therapist; but payback or restitution never really left the forefront of my mind.

I could help others but never myself as I was perpetually stuck in revenge mode.

Then the day came where I became too ill to work. I was diagnosed with Moebius Syndrome, a condition with multiple symptoms, one of them Chronic Fatigue. I could not work anymore and moved in with my partner Marian, who reluctantly offered her home up to me. .

Of course I was grateful, but her unwillingness to share her life and her body with me was extremely triggering and I found myself acting out in ways that mimicked my Borderline Personality mother. Part of me was utterly ashamed by my behaviour, but my actions felt automatic, and felt bigger than I could consciously control.

Marian was then let go from her job, and our relationship went from bad to worse. I tried so hard to be kind to her, but her declining mental health was terrifying for me to witness and I felt trapped by my own reactions. I tried to find somewhere else to live, but I had no where to go, no family to take me in, and no money of my own to sustain me. I should have tried harder to appreciate what I did have, an apartment that I was allowed to live in gratis; instead my lifetime feelings of restitution became my downfall.

Last August when I was visiting friends in Montréal, Marian called the police and told them I had tried to kill her, and was afraid for her life. This gave her the opportunity to oust me from her apartment and her life, in one fell swoop.

There was never any attempt on her life,  but I did throw a glass of water in her face. I remain totally ashamed of my behaviour, but all I could think about in that split second was retribution for her cruel comment the moment before, and all the years of gaslighting and torment that preceded.

Now officially homeless, I had to scramble to find a place to live. I sold my Rolex watch,  then had enough money for one year’s rent, and found a teeny tiny apartment to live.

I had always been afraid to live alone, telling anyone who would listen that I was not a living alone kind of gal.  All that has changed.  I have been so grateful to have this year to heal and review my life. I could see that being constantly resentful with what life was offering up to me was undermining my peace of mind, and had destroyed my relationship not only with Marian, but with all whom I encountered.

I joined a wonderful support group for women who suffer from eating disorders. They have provided comfort and concrete ideas for me to move from resentment to emotional freedom.

I am not certain what will happen to me when this year is up. I am on the wait list for subsidised housing in a small hamlet outside of Toronto, but that will take up to three years to come to fruition as they have torn down the existing structure and are building a new one.

I do know that whatever happens, I will great my life with gratefulness.

 

You are loved — August 7, 2017

You are loved

Good Afternoon my WordPress friends!
May the wings of the Shekhina, the divine feminine, enfold and protect you, reminding you of the great whole of which you are a precious part. May gratitude for life expand your heart and extend to every corner of your world. May any and all resentments dissolve and forgiveness take root in your heart like a healing balm. May you rest in the knowing that you are loved.

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