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.

The Lesbian Chronicles — January 20, 2019

The Lesbian Chronicles

Lately I’ve been thinking about boundaries. Growing up in a home with a mother that never met a closed door she would not try to pry open, I did not have many opportunities to witness healthy boundary making.
As an adult, I let women in too easily, allowing them to colonize my body and my soul, often without my conscious consent. I need to build better boundaries inside and outside of my body. I need to become cognisant of where I energetically begin and end, and learn where other people begin and end as well.

A tandem issue I am grappling with is regulating my emotions, since it is difficult to maintain healthy boundaries while feeling overwhelmed. Often when I am with a group of people, I am not sure when to speak. I start to feel stunted and stilted and stuck. I then feel hijacked by my somatic experiences because these felt experiences feel stronger than what I am seeing or what I am hearing.

Because I am so sensitive to energies I have a hard time staying present. I often feel as if I am the pinball in a pinball machine, left to the mercies of the players. When faced with rage or hostility or someone simply having an off day, I take their energy into my body and I experience their anger as a strong uncomfortable feeling in my body. I believe that they must be angry at me so I shut down or I blurt out something inappropriate; so hard for me to just stay present with myself.

 

Inside of me lives a very young girl that has feigned dead for most of her life. That little girl stayed silent to protect me, and for decades she has worked hard to keep me safe but now the grown ass woman part of me needs to be present to hear what she has to say; she can stay hidden and silent no longer.

 

To combat these issues, I have started taking yoga classes, senior classes to be specific, me and all the other alta – kockers. which is Yiddish expression meaning old and decrepit. As the session winds down, the instructor puts on soothing music and we are asked to lie still and breathe. While lying prone and allowing my body to relax I hear a voice whispering to my younger self:

“Katharine, trust in life, trust that life will support you.”

As the late poet Mary Oliver wrote ‘You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.’

Ruminations On Restitution — January 19, 2019

Ruminations On Restitution

I understand that gratefulness is the way in and through. The Buddhists, the Jews, the Christians and with special mention, the New Age gurus all preach about gratefulness.

Keep a journal – keep score – keep counting your blessings.

 

 I get this. I really do. There is a large part of me that is grateful for all that I have, and I have a lot. I have a great dog, a stalwart daughter, two true friends and my thick curly hair. But what about that small part of me? The non-grateful bitchy pissed off part? The part of me that says “Really? God/Spirit/Universe/ This is all I get? This is your best game plan for me?”

I am pissed. Royally totally pissed. I WANT RESTITUTION!!! I’m not sure exactly what my restitution should look like, because my wanting (love, safety, and a good and present mother) is and always has been unbearable to hold, let only to look at, hence my headfirst dive into substance abuse.

 

My family was very wealthy. We were in that exclusive 1% club. We had a huge house in the city, and an even larger one in the country. We took semi – annual vacations to exotic locations. My sister and I had the latest clothes/cars/toys. I dated in my station (Jew, upper middle class) and had a big showy wedding.

 

Then it all went to hell in a handbasket. When my daughter was just six months old, my father, the only member of my tribe who loved me, had a major stroke and shortly after, passed away. My husband unbeknownst to me, started taking steroids for his Crohn’s condition, that made him act out so violently that the police had to be called to our home.

I had always harboured the illusion that when I needed my family they would be there. Admittedly, this was truly an illusion, since they had never been there even in the easy times, but I still had harboured the hope that when push came to shove, my mother/extended family would be there for the tough.

 

I was feeling overwhelmed, dealing with the police, the lawyers, and my daughter VJ. I just wanted to give my daughter some happiness during this tough transitional time. VJ’s 10th birthday was coming up. Her birthday happened to fall on a day that the Toronto Raptors had a home game. I asked my uncle, a season ticket holder, if he would mind giving me two of his six tickets to the game. He replied in the negative. Wow. I was shocked. Actually still am. But I was the demon daughter/niece, and I was born to be denied. I had almost resigned myself to that fact, but my daughter?

According to my family, I was the demon seed. Why demon seed? I did not follow ‘ The Rules’ without question, and I questioned constantly the status quo, and didn’t I know good girls should be seen and not heard? Clearly I did not get that particular memo. In my family’s collective mind VJ and I were a package deal. She was the daughter of the demon seed, and that was that.

 

So I let that go (right? clearly not!) and focused on my divorce which was dragging on and turning nasty. This time I turned to my mother for help with my mounting legal bills. When my father died he had left my mother millions of dollars from the sale of his business. Surely she would help me out financially with the lawyer bill? Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero. She told me she had ‘been advised’ to not help me. By whom? Her accountant? Her financial advisor? More than likely she spoke to my sister and her Machiavellian husband for guidance, who probably said “Don’t give her anything! Katharine can’t be trusted with money, who knows what she will spend it on!” The probable thinking on his part? More money for him and my sister when my mother eventually dies. Good for them, sad for me.

 

So I was on my own, and did the best I could go given my abilities. VJ, despite my mothering and her lack of fathering (her father had performed a disappearing act long ago, right after our divorce) is doing well now, working hard to fulfill her dream of becoming the next Don Draper.

 

So if all is mostly well in my world, then why am I dreaming of restitution? Because ironically the healthier I get, the more I sink deep into the safety of my own body, the more old memories come up for release. Here is the truth that I hid from myself until only a few months ago. I was not a great mother to VJ. I tried my best, but given my abusive childhood and cruel mother, I was not able to ‘hold the space’ for VJ, to allow VJ to be her own person.

I wanted her to be a little me, a fey flower child wisp of a girl, but she wasn’t. She was strong and bold and clear about her needs. Often, I couldn’t hear them for my own little girl unmet needs were always drowning out hers. I am so sorry for all my hurt that landed on my beautiful child. I have apologized to her for all the pain I caused her both intentionally and inadvertently. But what is done is done. I am calm now, I can separate my needs from hers, but the damage is done. I have produced another generation of unmothered untethered daughters. My fervent wish is that I have healed myself in time for VJ to have a good enough mother, so that she can mother in a way that I was not able to.

 

I still want a good mother. I need a good mother. Someone to wipe my brow when I am fevered, someone to cheer me on when I feel like giving up, a mother whose eyes light up when I walk into the room. And that will never happen. Ever. The absolute finality of that statement sends shivers down my spine as I write these words, because I can’t seem to reconcile this truth with my profound need.

 

I feel moored in the muddiness of my young unmet needs. It is in this deep dark place, where the howling beast part of me lives, that I now must travel to rescue beastie and hold her tightly to slow her howling. Then with all the gentleness I can muster I shall bring her into the light of the world. I need to show her that beauty and kindness can be found in our world, and inside of her.

Rilke wrote “Perhaps all the dragons in the world are princesses who are only waiting to see us once, beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being, something that needs our love”. With Rilke’s advice in mind, I will do my best to love the beast with the big sharp teeth that is my deepest wound and my ultimate salvation.

Brought To You By The Letter R — January 17, 2019

Brought To You By The Letter R

 

I have healed all my addictions; to food, to cigarettes, to shoplifting and to making up stories that would inflate my life, but I have not been able to heal this one place:

My name. This addiction is proving to be my very own personal kryptonite.

Twenty years ago, my friend and mentor Jan Barrett came over to my home and said “My name is now Andrea Villanelle Christophe, Jan is dead.” While I did not think it was a good idea to kill off a part of one’s self, I got it. My parents gave me a clunker of a name ‘Rhona’. I had never taken to my name for many reasons, and when Jan, now  Andrea told me what she did, I was instantly on board.

Does anyone remember the show ‘Queer as Folk’? There was a scene in it that has not left me since I first watched it decades ago. In this scene the actor Peter Paige was in a cemetery and was talking to an older man wearing a fedora who told Peter that in the end, all that you have of your life is your name.

I have tried for over twenty years to re-name myself. I have spent thousands of dollars on I.D bracelets, beginning with gold and then when I realized I could not stop at one (or twenty) I graduated to silver, thinking perhaps if I could see my name written on gold it would solidify the name in my body.

Did I not just last week engrave Charleston on a copper bracelet purchased from a sexy white haired woman who opened a pop-up in a store down the street from my mother’s apartment? I did. I have now come up with severest rationalizations to justify the name of Charleston, none of which would hold up scrutiny to a six year old.

But still, I persist.

I have changed my name legally twice, first briefly to Cassandra after the Greek myth, and when that didn’t feel right, I changed it again to Katharine after my favourite actor, Katharine Hepburn, and Katharine Clifton, my favourite character in my favourite book, Michael Ondaatje’s ‘The English Patient’.

I have been stopped at the border on my way to Florida for having an expired passport, where they held me in a small room with no windows for three hours, which was not good for this extreme claustrophobe because I even though I had changed my name legally, I hadn’t felt comfortable transferring it to my legal documents.

I was a pack a day smoker for over twenty years. The day I found out I was pregnant I stopped. I have gone from disordered to ordered eating and from slothful to neat.

I have changed my behaviour from crazy to calm, and still and still this one fucking elusive thing eludes me to this day. I thought that once I was published in my first anthology, somehow seeing my name in print would inspire me to end my obsession.

It worked for about a week, when I walked by a magazine store that carried Harper’s Magazine and then the thought unbidden came, hmm… maybe Harper?

Fuck me and my mother! I truly thought I was healed of this naming insanity. Clearly this is much bigger than little conscious me. I get it. Intellectually a name is not going to bring me a good mother, or safety or a wife, but still I search.

I am sharing this here because I want my friends and strangers both to know that I am flawed and fucked but always, every day trying to be a better, happier, healthier, transparent version of me.

So this is me, trying to be transparent so that:

A. My writing might help someone.
B. My writing might help me.

My little hopeful obsessed self is slightly aroused today. This morning when I realized I was out of coffee I went to my local Starbucks to purchase a bag of beans. This Starbucks is situated in an upscale ‘hood, where they had a specialty limited offer coffee. I felt compelled to buy it because it was small and cute and came with the letter R on the front. “This is my letter!”  I thought

Once again I was carried away into my story. In the Jewish tradition of baby naming, we name our children after someone that has passed. I have been praying to my late grandmother Mary for help in finding my true name. Perhaps the R appeared on the bag of coffee beans because my parents named me after my great- grandmother Ruchel.

My favorite ex once wrote a short story about us, and in her story gave me the name Rome. I shall give myself that name today, and pray I can stay Rome for more than a day. I will do my best to not go into the pop-up and request a Rome bracelet.

My slogan for 2019 is: I can do hard things, and this, claiming my name is proving to be the hardest.

But…

Maybe it’s not about being Rome, or Remington or Veronica. Maybe it’s about breathing into all my grief that little Rhona never got a chance to have a happy childhood, and maybe, just maybe, even if it’s for just seconds at a time, I can feel my deep sorrow, then perhaps I can then imagine Katharine holding little Rhona‘s hand, telling her “I got you, kid. You’re safe with me.”

If I can do this very hard thing, perhaps Rhona will be able to rest in Katharine’s arms, and finally Katharine will be enough.

Free To Be — January 8, 2019

Free To Be

 

I’m finding out that allowing my people to be exactly as they need to be without my expert advice (read control) quite difficult. Intellectually I understand that I have no agency over another, but my old dino brain says “Perhaps I need only to ask one more time ever so nicely, and if that does not work, then not so nicely. Go for it!!” So I listen to my now hoarse screaming dino voice and go for it.

Surely one of these tactics/antics would get said person in question to change, right? Non, c’est incorrecte. All that my outsized behavior does is create resistance on my people’s part and create pain in my own heart.

Now I find myself between the proverbial rock and a hard place. If I allow the people closest to me to just be themselves, then who will I be in relation to them? Since I have long played the role of agent provocateur, giving her up feels like losing the me-ist part of me. Somehow, someway I must give her up, because today in my newest shiniest incarnation, all I want is peace .

Peace in all my relations, peace deep down in my body, and especially piece in my fractured but not broken heart.

So once again and not for the first time today, even though it is only 11:30 in the morning, I will forgive my morning’s transgressions and begin again the process of allowing everyone to be free to be.

Peace Out My Peeps!

No Apologies Necessary — January 2, 2019

No Apologies Necessary

In the autumn of 2016 I had enrolled in a program with Sistering that offered free memoir writing courses for low income women. I could not afford to take the five hundred dollar a semester writing course that the University of Toronto was offering, so I was thrilled to have this opportunity to learn the craft of memoir.

The semester that I had enrolled was unique in that a local gallery wanted to showcase our pieces and sent a professional photographer to take our pictures.

The show premièred two years ago today, January 2, 2017. My experience that evening felt both powerful and painful. Powerful because it was the first time I saw my words and photograph in a show, and painful because no family member, (even after much pleading) showed up for the event.

Today is January 2, 2019. I have learned much in these two years, unraveling decades of addiction whilst exploring the benefits of discipline for the first time in my life. Because I am now able to bring more containment to my emotional life, I have resolved to never again beg anyone to show up.

Begging is what I have done my whole life, begging the people that should have loved me to love me. I was schooled in the ‘Pay for Play’ version of love. If I was normal and acted properly (emphasis on acting) then I would be rewarded with their praise and attention. Never love though. Because you can not mandate love, and my family didn’t care enough about me to even fake it.

I told myself I didn’t care, but I did. I did, and their lack of love and insistence on my badness led me down the addict’s hole for the last forty years. I’ve just now clawed my way up, the dirt still embedded under my fingernails.

I have asked for forgiveness from everyone that I’ve harmed in my forty years in the hole, and hope they believe that I will repay them in word and in deed.

As for the others; I’m sorry that they could never see my light, only my darkness. I’m working on forgiveness, certain that I will be working on forgiveness for the rest of my life, so fucking hard to truly let go of grievances real and imagined. I keep reminding myself that forgiveness is for me, not for the people that have harmed me.

This is my year to find my tribe. ‘Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe’ so the saying goes, and I have worked literally 24/7 these past two years, to embrace the broken but still beautiful light that is Katharine Angelina Love.

I am worthy of love. I am worthy. I will find my people and they will show up on their own volition, no pleading required.

New Year’s Day — January 1, 2019

New Year’s Day

Ever since I can remember, come January 1st my mother would say to me “Katharine, today I start my new program!”
My mother and her best friend Mimi would then take themselves to the Y.W.H.A where they would slowly saunter around the track for 10 minutes before retreating to the sauna. My mother’s program would continue for a few days along with the ubiquitous black coffee and grapefruit before complaining about feeling weak and insisting my father take her to Moishe’s for a steak dinner.
When I was in my twenties my girlfriends and I were always trying the latest diet craze. I was 5’2, weighed 115 pounds, and I thought I was fat. Not just zaftig, I actually believed that I was heavy and ergo, undesirable. We starved our way through The Cabbage Soup Diet, The Scarsdale Diet and my personal favourite, The Lemon Juice, Maple Syrup and Cayenne Pepper Diet.
I would mix all the above ingredients with water and force myself to drink 8 glasses of this mixture each day. This concoction was supposed to cleanse my body and bring it back to purity and alignment.
Whilst in the midst of one such cleanse I went on a date with a woman I desperately desired. She chose the venue, a sleek Asian/Fusion restaurant. As she ate I stared ravenously at her rainbow trout filet instead of gazing into her intense green eyes. My date asked if I was hungry, I insisted that my hot water and lemon tea would satisfy. Suffice to say that was our first and last date.
As I approach senior citizenship, I am still riding that streetcar named self-abnegation, hoping when I eventually disembark, I will step into my very own lavender land of Oz. My mother will great me with a bouquet of purple roses, the Mayor will give me the keys to his city and K.D Lang will give me the keys to her home.
However, everyone knows what happened to Dorothy when she landed up in Oz. Dorothy needed to learn that there is no place like home and that she had the knowledge all along – yada yada.
So what is this lesbian Jewess to do?
I know for sure what I won’t be doing:
I will not be starting my new program.
This is the first time in my adult life that I will not be starting the New Year with a resolve to diet. I am done with diets forever. I believe there is a reason the word ‘die’ is in diet, for each time in the past when I began a new diet a small part of me died. I am cooking meals for myself for the first time in my life. Healthy meals, not steamed kale and air cooked fish, but fried chicken with baked sweet potatoes drizzled with olive oil and brown sugar.
I have now come to realize there is no There, there.
No mythical land to travel to, no good witch to give me ruby slippers.
There is just here and just now and just me.
I am the only one that can give myself any lasting benedictions.
Beginning now, I am going to try loving my aging wrinkled womanly body and be grateful that my body allows me to walk with my puppy Lucille at Kew Beach in Toronto, the very same body that allows me to feel pleasure when I eat fresh red snapper at Milo’s in Montreal, and pancakes at The Ritz in Palm Beach.
I shall enjoy eating delicious homemade donuts, while rejoicing that I am now eating mindfully. When I check in with my body I realize that eating two donuts is actually okay, the donut police will not come and take me away.
I am profoundly grateful that despite all the abuse I have heaped on my body I am still here to delight in long slow delicious kisses, grateful to read the new J.M. Redmann novel in front of a roaring fireplace with a soft blanket covering my always cold feet.
To reiterate:
No more New Year’s diet resolutions, resolutions are so passe!
Here is my New Year Mantra:
Be kind to myself. Be kind to myself. Be kind to myself. Be kind to myself.
Thin or heavy. Happy or sad. Productive or sloth like. Brilliant or dull. Beautiful or plain. Single or coupled.
Just be kind to yourself, Katharine.
And if you are still here with me –
please be kind to yourself as well.
Moebius Syndrome and Me: Happy New Year’s! — December 31, 2018
Moebius Syndrome and Me: Merry Christmas — December 25, 2018
This Is Not Your Typical Love Story — December 23, 2018

This Is Not Your Typical Love Story

This is a story about poverty. This is a story about violence. This is a story about loss. This is a story of inter generational trauma. This is not your typical love story.

This is my final posting about my mother and me. As the new year approaches I know that if I want to be healthy (and I do) I need to accept, as the Serenity Prayer advises to ‘accept the things I cannot change’, and my mother is one of those things.

All I have wanted, all I want, is to be loved, to be believed, to be cared for and nurtured by my mother. She is my drug of choice, my personal opiod. My wanting my mothers love has proven to be an insurmountable habit to break, like trying to cure a dog of her incessant need to bark, or demanding a lefty to only write with their right hand.

Wanting my mother’s love has been my constant, my north star. Somewhere inside of me lives the knowing that this need shall never be met but I have not been ready until now to connect to this important and life saving piece of knowledge.

Now I know I shall never find solace with my mother because she is not that kind of mother. She is not that kind of woman. She is not that kind of human.

Repetition has been my only source of agency, but I’ve exhausted my supply of defiance and supplication. I cannot, I simply cannot plead for her to love me One.More.Time. There are no words, no slurs no screams no nothing that can make her hear me.

That my mother has abandoned me again when I most needed her protection should not have come as a surprise, but it has.

She shocked me with her negligence, her cruelty and most deeply disturbing, her apathy. She really does not care for and about me. Perhaps she chooses not to, perhaps she is incapable of caring, perhaps it’s bigger than her.

I should not have been surprised then, but I was, I still am, and will probably always be, that when I was at my weakest and most vulnerable, she could not rise to the occasion and help me.

Last year when I first moved in with my mother I kept telling her “Mom, I’m so grateful you let me stay with you until my apartment becomes available. Now we can be different together than we have been before. We can do this! We can be bigger! We can rewrite our story!”

But she had no desire for a rewrite or a redo, nor a plot change.

What is truly shocking, and what shocks me still, is how much I needed to believe in a happy ending for the two of us.

Plot twist– there is a happy ending, just not the ending I had imagined or envisioned but a happy ending none the less.

I choose me. I choose me. I choose me.

Moebius Syndrome and Me: Solstice — December 21, 2018
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