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.

Advertisements
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.

Letting Go — October 21, 2018

Letting Go

So hard for me to let go of resentment. I like to taste it, let it ruminate, and return to it again and again like those rainbow candy necklaces I use to love as a child.

I assign each coloured candy a different slight. Blue, she did me wrong. Pink, she broke my heart. Yellow, she took my parking spot. White, she stole my soul.

I’ve always believed it best to speak my truth, easier to then let my resentment go.  Lately I’ve been thinking that oft times it’s best to not speak my truth, but so damn hard to know when to go for it and when to just rest in the grrrrr of it.

I’ve always believed that the one most in control wins, and how I love to win!

So I’ve decided for the time being to just grrrr and bear it and try my best to let myself marinate in my feelings.

Shall I pour some hot sauce over my resentment or would I have more success with an cool glass of ice wine? I think right now I’ll just finish off my candy necklace, I’ve always bitten off more than I can chew, and tonight’s not the night to start something new.

I Am Loved. I am Loveable. I Am Capable Of Loving. I am Here. — October 13, 2018

I Am Loved. I am Loveable. I Am Capable Of Loving. I am Here.

‘The opposite of addiction is not necessarily sobriety but connection.’

As a sexual/physical and emotional abuse survivor, I abandoned my body long ago and have spent most of my life in the ethers. I have used food as a way to tranquillize, and shoplifting as a way to energize.

Often it’s how people in our lives respond to our telling of our abuse that changes our narrative. I told numerous members of my family who not only denied my truth but sided with my abusers. What choice did I have but to internalize my shame and blame? I needed to survive with these people, therefore I had to believe I was bad and that somehow, I was deserving of their abuse.

Truthfully for many years I acted according to their beliefs, as in “You think I’m fucked? I’ll show you fucked!” It has taken years of therapy and work on healing my wounds (every single minute of every single day) and though part of me will always feel bad and weird and wrong, slowly I am coming to feel that I just might not the bad person my family believed me to be.

I’m working on reparations where needed and finding support with other survivors. To my fellow survivors, you are not bad. You are worthy of love. You matter.
If anyone reading this wants to talk, please message me. I am here.

Moebius Syndrome and Me: I’m Almost There. — October 8, 2018
Moebius Syndrome and Me: I’m okay with not being okay. — October 7, 2018
October 4th, 2018 — October 4, 2018

October 4th, 2018

Since my ex’s surprise coup, I have been sleeping on the familial couch, and though I am exceedingly grateful to have any place to rest my head, I have turned into a somnambulant.

Last night my mother was in Stowe, Vermont with my sister (i.e The Chosen One) for a quick break and though I was miffed at first, because I always cast my vote for the all-inclusive, I took solace in that for the first time in a very long time, I would be able to sleep in a bed.

And so I did, and even though it was not my bed, and therefore did not come with my posturepedic pillow, nor my comfy down blankie, or my Bose stereo set on CBC Music to put me to sleep, I had for one night only, a bed.

I went to bed exhausted at 9 pm and woke up at 6 am refreshed and awake, ready to take my puppy Lucille on her daily search for squirrels. Now, before my little fork in the road on my journey toward enlightenment, aka ‘The Search For The World’s Best Bagel’, it would never have occurred to me to be grateful for a bed. But now it has and I am.

Go fourth! and Be Brateful.

4.10.18

October 3rd — October 3, 2018

October 3rd

October 3.
On this day over one- quarter of a century ago, I was a little pregnant and a whole lot overwhelmed for I was committing to a man that I did not love, wearing a dress not of my choosing and marrying in the very same synagogue where I had lost my faith years before.

But then there was that moment….

That one perfect moment just after those enormous wooden double doors of the sanctuary opened and I began my slow descent down the long red carpeted aisle, when I heard a collective gasp from the crowd and for a few fleeting seconds I felt like a real Princess Bride.

Next in the procession came my parents, walking down the aisle to meet me halfway where we would walk a trois together towards the Beemah.

As I reached out to hold their hands, I tripped and all of my princess beauty collapsed into a heap in the middle of that red carpeted aisle, my true self exposed for all to see.

Then there was the matter of the groom, which requires more words here than I am willing to share.

And even though it ended with violence and vitriol, it was worth it all for those few glorious seconds where I actually felt in the deepest down part of that I was finally being seen as the perfect princess I so longed to be.

What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger. — October 2, 2018

What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger.

How time goes by!! As some of you know by now, due to circumstances beyond my control, my puppy Lucille and I have landed up living here in Montreal, on my mother’s couch, after being unceremoniously thrown out of my now obviously ex- partner’s apartment with literally nothing except the clothes I was wearing and an overnight bag.

I was out of town visiting friends when she changed the locks and told the police I was trying to kill her. It does sound dramatic, and it was, but underneath the drama lie themes of poverty and mental illness. When those two themes collide as they did with us, the inevitable happens.

I’m here in Montreal while I wait for affordable housing in Collingwood, a beautiful resort town two hours away from Toronto. I miss Toronto every day and my heart longs to be back in Ontario but there is a reason I ended up here in La Belle Province.

I am here to learn the lessons I needed so desperately to learn. Gratefulness, humility, appreciation and discipline. It took strength I didn’t know I had to stay calm and contained despite the chaos, making the decision to walk six miles every day, and working through my food issues by staying present to whatever emotions arose whenever I ate a meal.

I’ve recently made the decision to chose positivity, instead of my usual sarcastic slant, as a way of life moving forward. Living with Honey has been the hardest, yet in so many ways the most rewarding experience I have had in my life so far.

One of the gifts of living with my mother is finding old photographs. This is me and my daughter almost 26 years ago, I believe right before my birthday. My dad had the best sweaters and I had ‘borrowed’ my favourite for this photo. He has been gone for over twenty years but I feel his (and Nietzsche’s) tenacious spirit urging me on, encouraging me to be the best me I can be.

The Lesbian Chronicles: Relationships — September 27, 2018

The Lesbian Chronicles: Relationships

Here is my relationship theory. We live out our relationships in hologram style. An example – If a hologram of a rose is cut in half and then illuminated by a laser, each half will still be found to contain the entire image of the rose.

I believe this is true for each of us. This is my understanding of relationship as well.  Let’s imagine Ruby. Ruby is seven years old. Ruby’s parents are both attentive to her needs. Ruby’s dad stays home with Ruby while Ruby’s mom works outside the home as a barrister. Attachment theory dictates that you need both availability as well as responsiveness to be fully met. Using a scale from one to ten on the attachment scale, let’s posit that Ruby’s mom is a 7.5 on the attachment scale and her dad is an 8.

My theory is Ruby will be one lucky girl in life, because chances are Ruby will be attracted to women (if she’s really lucky!!!!) who will treat her as her parents have, with love, kindness and responsivity.  Conversely, if your parents, like mine, scored low on the attachment scale, then you will probably spend your life with women or men who replicate the opposite of healthy attachment.

So where does that leave me? Fucked ten ways to Denmark. I know that last sentence doesn’t make any sense but I like it and it just demonstrates how truly fucked up I am.

Yours Truly, Katharine.

Longer — September 24, 2018

Longer

All I have ever wanted, as far back as I can remember, is to be someone’s wife. I understand that’s not an aspirational dream for most women but truly, all I have ever wanted was to belong to someone, to look across a crowded room and allow my eyes to rest on Her, my person, my bashert, my safety net, my beloved.

I have spent my lifetime chasing hope through heartache, always believing I would find Her when I was thin enough or accomplished enough or normal enough.

Perhaps if my Moebius Syndrome issues, (gifting me with my crooked smile and eyes that can only focus straight ahead) had magically disappeared, leaving with a dazzling smile and an ability to wink at Her in line at Starbucks, then maybe She would have showed up long before.

Oh how I wish I could wink!

Lately I’ve been reflecting on love, vis a vis my past relationships. It seems I was always only halfway in, never fully trusting in our love, always doubting my choice, always hyper alert waiting for my ‘true’ love. The one that could make my heart vibrate like a tuning fork to her personal heart song.

I’m sixty-one. I’ve given away my virginity, my innocent heart, and my declarations of love, but there is one thing I’ve kept for ‘Her’ and his name is Dan Fogelberg.

Are you confused with my last sentence? I’m saving a man for my potential wife? Before you get too excited, I’m not into threesomes or any other sexual variations other than Her and me. I’m saving a song from Dan Fogelberg. That’s correct, a song.

Way before I understood that I was a woman loving woman kind of woman, I loved music. I came of age in the seventies and fell in love with James Taylor, Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Dan Fogelberg. They weren’t just singers, they were modern troubadours.

Dan in particular spoke to me, his songs of love and longing resonating deeply with my soul. One song Dan penned stood out amongst all the others.

The first time I heard ‘Longer’ I was in my father’s copper coloured ’65 Caddy that was so large it had foot rests in the back seat. I had borrowed his car to go to my favourite record store in Montreal. It was downtown on Parc Avenue and it was a challenge to park my dad’s boat of a car on the street, but I was determined to buy the new Dan Fogelberg album ‘Phoenix’ that had just come out on 8 track tape.

I made it safely to the store, bought the tape and ran quickly into the car so that I could listen to Dan in private, and in stereo.

I was a little disappointed in his choice of material until track number 7 came up. The lyrics to ‘Longer’ made me literally sit up straighter in my seat so that I could listen more intently.

‘Longer than ther’ve been fishes in the ocean,

Higher than any bird ever flew,

Longer than ther’ve been stars up in the heavens,

I’ve been in love with you.’

His lyrics and accompanying music were simple, elegant and moved me to tears, which was a rare experience for me as I had closed down my heart years ago.

I knew that this would be the song I would play for my beloved when I found Him, because I still did not understand that my true nature had a more sapphic bent.

Time passed; I had boyfriends, got married, then divorced, met a woman, had my heart broken, began dating again, had other girlfriends, and all through these relationships I held off playing the song for any of them. Something somewhere deep inside of me told me that they weren’t the One worthy of ‘Longer’.

I have upgraded from 8 track to cassette, and now the song has been saved on my iPhone. I have been tempted only once over the last almost thirty years to play the song for this devastatingly sexy woman named MJ, but I restrained myself, and restraint does not come easy for me.

I am a true romantic and so want to give my beloved something I have held onto for thirty years to share with her alone.

I have come to the final chapter in these Chronicles, still single, often struggling, but coming to know my own heart better and better.

I’m trying as best I can to keep my heart open, so when that still devastatingly sexy aged dyke finally enters my orbit, and we are entwined in her bed, I can turn to her and say “Darling, I have saved something for over three decades that I need now to share with you.”

‘Je pense que vous avez toujours.’ — September 21, 2018

‘Je pense que vous avez toujours.’

Many years ago when I was young and almost beautiful, I spent a summer in Europe meandering through towns and villages. I went shoe shopping in Florence, found this tiny cafe in Paris that served the most delicious croissants, and even visited the oldest synagogue in Rome, where I sat quietly feeling the prayers of the thousands who had come before me.

Eventually I landed in Monte Carlo where I was to meet up with my mother Honey.Honey liked to go out clubbing and so after a late night dinner, we went to Jimmy’z where I would dance all night long.

It was there that I met a Russian magnate named Harry who proceeded to wine and dine my mother and me the entire week that we were in Monaco. Harry owned a conglomerate of hotels all over Europe and happened to show up in Monte Carlo to scout out possible new locations for his growing empire. I liked him well enough, and certainly enjoyed the flowers and gifts he would bring me each night, but I did not want to live in Europe (nor be straight, but that is another story all together) and so bid him adieu.

Months later a postcard came in the mail. It’s interesting to me that I still remember this moment so well, when so much of my life I have forgotten.The front of the postcard featured two white persian kittens, on the back was written a single sentence, ‘Je pense que vous avez toujours.’ (I think of you always) no name, no address. I had a feeling the postcard came from Harry, it was stamped from London, but I had misplaced his number so I could not respond.

Flash forward many many years later, September 21th is the birthday of someone I loved very much a long time ago and though we do not speak anymore and she is not a Facebook fan, so will more than likely not see this posting, ‘JC. Je pense que vous de temps en temps, Joyeux Anniversaire’

%d bloggers like this: