thewren

my forays through love and other gastronomical stories

The Lesbian Chronicles: You Reap What You Sow. — November 28, 2017

The Lesbian Chronicles: You Reap What You Sow.

I am co-habiting here in Montréal with my Mother due to a confluence of events much too complex to write about today, better saved for that proverbial rainy day blog.

Here is my mini version:

Years ago in a different time and place I was a practicing Buddhist. When the day arrived for my naming ceremony I felt quite hopeful, as I was attempting to rename myself from my given name of Rhona and my adopted name of Katharine to something else altogether.

I entered the temple and waited patiently for my turn, and hoped the Buddhist Name Goddess would be kind. My teacher gave me a blessing and named me ‘Sawjack’. I asked my teacher what my name meant and was told ‘You reap what you sow’. (This is where you insert that creepy music from the movie ‘It’ when the clown is about to do something very very bad.) At that time I didn’t understand the ramifications of reaping what you sow, today I most definitely do.

I have up until recently chosen only powerful but cruel women. Truth be told, their cruelty turned me on, but only in limited quantities. When they acted according to their character, I demanded that they treat me with kindness instead of cruelty.

“How did that work for you?” You might ask. “Not so well!” I answer. So here I am, living in Montreal with my cruel and powerful mother and certainly reaping what I have sowed which to be honest, is mostly manure.

C’est la vie! I have learned a lot and continue to do so. I am one of those irritatingly optimistic people who believe what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

‘Till next time,

K.A.L.

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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. 

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.

Baby Rosebud and Me — June 20, 2018
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough — June 19, 2018

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

Early this morning, I walked over to Westmount Park just a hop and skip away from where I am living, Lucille-less. I needed to be in the moment, breathing the fresh morning air unencumbered by  pup, who is loyal and loving but needs constant supervision. Lucille feels her personal mission is to eradicate every single one of those pesky squirrels that scamper freely in the park, and doesn’t understand why she has to be on a fahstinkinah leash.

I  am terrified of large dogs, so I rarely go to this particular park even though it is just two blocks from my mother’s apartment, because this neurotic lesbian Jewess does not think it is at all relaxing to be jumped on by large loping roaming free dogs despite their owner’s protestations that Rover is super friendly.

However on this particularly beautiful almost summer morning, I thought it might be worth the risk, praying to God (which is after all, Dog spelled backwards) that my doggie neighbours would still be fast asleep in their doggie beds.

So off I went, down the still damp  grassy hill that brought me directly into the park and then, boom! sun glorious sun and wide open space and no one there but me and I was so happy and so grateful to be alive and whole, arriving here
to watch the sun rise on this glorious day.

 Just then the song ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell came up on my IPhone and I began to dance with abandon, singing gloriously off-key, opening my heart once again to the magic of our world.

Moebius Syndrome and Me: Letting Go Of Blame Is A B***h. — June 18, 2018
ocean — June 17, 2018
Happy Father’s Day —

Happy Father’s Day

Somewhere over the rainbow, wherever souls who have passed from this earth reside, harbours the soul that was known here as Joe Greenbaum. I am not sure of the exact location of this place and what their communication system is with the earth, but one thing I do know for sure is they must have the internet up there so Dad, when you have a chance to read this post I want to thank you for giving me my weird slanted sense of humour, my sense of place, and my sense of knowing who I belong to in this world, which will forever be to you, Joe Greenbaum. Happy Fathers Day Dad, I love you.

Moebius Syndrome and Me: The Opposite of Love — June 15, 2018
charmed — June 13, 2018

charmed

charmed

all my life

i’ve collected

would -be mothers

like charms

on a bracelet

each charm weighing

heavy on my wrist,

childlike in my hope

that the

pull of those

charms

would help me to

feel my ground.

 

every morning i

would carefully

scan my horizon

looking for another

more luminous

than the last

searching for

a glimmer

of my past

that never

was

and never

would be.

 

late last tuesday

just as dusk was

approaching,

i felt her before

I saw her

walking down

my street,

her aura

shimmering

with kindness

and grace.

 

i brushed up

against her body

carefully, casually

wanting to experience

the soft touch of her hand

on my shoulder

as i

breathed her scent

into my body,

a heady mix of

cinnamon with

cardamom overtones.

 

“ i am so sorry” i say.

(i will lay prostrate in the gutter for you)

“it’s all right my dear” she says.

(she has no subtext)

 

my real life

mother,

is the antithesis

of yielding

all hard lines

and cool planes

no give there –

her absence of

warm space

has left me feeling

perpetually cold,

frozen from the

inside out

a fragile icicile

always waiting to be

broken.

 

i woke early today just

in time

to witness the

sunlight

dance through

my heart- shaped glass

mobile

that hangs above

my window.

the moment lengthened – as

a thought leapt

through my mind

trilling like a tiny

hopeful songbird.

now is the time

to warm myself

out

of my frozen stupor,

leaving

my charmed bracelet

of mother’s behind.

i’ll tuck it safely

into my indigo

velvet pouch,

sharing

the space

with the

clay paw imprint

of my beloved dog’s gucci’s

paw.

 

something has

shifted

for me

this morning,

perhaps it was the

tilting of the light,

for i do

now  believe

that i can

someday –

embody the mother

i have spent

my lifetime

searching

for.

k.a.l.

Moebius Syndrome and Me: Late Fragments — June 11, 2018
Please Watch!! We All Have A Need To Be Heard! —
Please Watch!! We All Have A Need To Be Heard! —
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