thewren

my forays through love and other gastronomical stories

The Lesbian Chronicles — February 13, 2019

The Lesbian Chronicles

I’m lying on my couch with a bag of frozen beans (organic, of course) placed strategically on top of my right knee and wondering why , on this perfect Valentine’s Day eve that I am without my Beloved, still.

 

Like really? After all this time and all the therapy (hours of talking, Rolfing, and sobbing) all the wishing (on four leaf clovers, on falling stars, and on the magic 8 ball) and still — she is not here.

 Perhaps it’s that I cheated with the four leaf clover, it was really a three leaf clover that I superglued with a separate clover. (My fingers as well, Renaissance woman I am not!)

 Now what about this folklore of when you are least expecting, or not looking love will appear?  Well my friends, I take umbrage with that particular tale because:

1. I am a Libra and we Libra chickies are never quite happy unless we are in love.
2. I am a romantic. (Perhaps 2 should be an addendum to 1.)
3. I am desperate (see 1) but also extremely picky and picky trumps desperate every time.

 Which brings me back to this morning and why I have a bag of frozen veggies on my knee. Lucille, my spritely puppy and I were in the park today for a long long time. She is new-ish, and I Jew-ish, but we both love being in nature and both went a little overboard today. (She is lying next to me as I write this blog, conked out.)

 So I guess I will take a lavender and Epsom salt bath, and listen to some old slow jazz and just be grateful for what I do have: my daughter, my puppy, my friends who love me even so, and send my wish for love up to the stars.

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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.

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.

Moebius Syndrome and Me: Holding my Hungry Child — February 18, 2019
This Is The Place Where I Rest — February 17, 2019

This Is The Place Where I Rest

this is the place where i rest

learning how

to stop

binging

obsessing

freefalling

has been a challenge

for me

beginning with

my arrival

 

no body

there to

soften my fall

so i

fell first

into food

and drugs

and then

men

always looking for

comfort

always looking

for faster and

faster ways

to stop feeding

my pain

as i waited on

the tracks

for the

one train

with faulty brakes

to break me

into ten million

little pieces hoping

finally

i would

 feel

no thing

at all.

 

i knew that

marrying a

man was a sin

against my desires

but i

so desperate for a

tribe of little

me’s and

my family’s

praise

 

failed to respond to

my raging

voice that said

no no no!”

 

this time around

i will let myself

fall

only when

when i trust

myself enough

to know

that i can

safely release

into her

embrace

 

saying no

to anything but

kindness

 

breathing in

breathing out

embracing my

broken

 

over

and over

and over

again.

 

k.a.l.

even now — February 8, 2019

even now

even now

3 a.m
can’t sleep
crying so hard
my pillow has
no dry side.

i read again from
mary oliver’s anthology
that rests permanently
on my
nightable.

‘you do not
have to be good’
writes mary.

 

i’ve tried to convince
my young
inconsolable self
that this might be true
but she
disagrees insisting
that our badness
is what drove Jane
away last christmas
taking the dog along
with her now
broken promise
of a lifetime of
protection.

 

“i just want to feel
safe.” she whispered
out loud to no one,
staring at the ceiling
praying to the stain
in the grain of the wood
that looks like jesus.

 

k.a.l

 

Moebius Syndrome and Me: Please Don’t Call Me Brave. — February 7, 2019
Perpetual Victim — February 5, 2019

Perpetual Victim

Perpetual Victim

Be quiet. Be quiet.

I told you –

BE QUIET!

 

You are weird. You are ugly. You are strange.

Be normal. Be pretty. Be happy.

 

Be nice. Say thank you, even if you

aren’t grateful, especially if you aren’t grateful.

 

Take it – You deserve it – You are a feral thing.

Don’t act like an animal. Act like a good girl.

Act like a good girl.

 

Marry well. Marry wealth. Marry a man.

Money is important. Power is important.

Love is not important.

He yells? So did mine.

He hits? So did mine.

 

You deserve to be choked –

You are making me mad –

You did this to me –

I should die if I’m lying.

 

I have friends, you don’t.

I am right, you aren’t.

Be like me – perpetual victim.

 

K.A.L

The Birdcage — January 28, 2019

The Birdcage

Tell me, is today the day you decide to break free ?

No breaking necessary of course, I know you have possession of the keys.

Maybe you’ve forgotten where you hid them.

I think they might be lying on the bottom of your cage,

underneath all the bird droppings and old newspapers.

I understand. You’re safe in there.

You share the cage with a cockatoo you’ve named Eleanor.

Eleanor shares her crackers, in return you taught her to swear in Gaelic.

You find it strangely comforting when she screams “Gabh Transna Ort Fhein” at the screen while watching Anderson Cooper on CNN.

I understand. I have safety issues of my own. I’m afraid of sudden loud noises and black widow spiders. I wake up most nights screaming after another apocalyptic end of the world nightmare.

Why would you then, want to leave your comfy cozy cage? I shall tell you why –

Because I’ve discovered that despite everything, beauty infuses every part of our world. Beauty is out there for you to claim like a prize, like a gift, sent as a directive from universe to you.

Will you choose safety over discovery?

I’m determined to open myself to the world, breath by breath.

KAL

Mourning — January 26, 2019

Mourning

Mourning

 

I’m mourning the

loss of my family
gone, along with my dream
of sharing a holiday meal with
all my relations.

I’m mourning the loss of my
knee cartilage, no chances now

of running in

the Boston marathon.

 I’m mourning the loss of
my rose coloured glasses which I’ve had to trade in for drugstore specs.

I’m mourning
the last
of all my addictions

leaving me with no place to hide.

All I have left
is this tiny fledgling voice
that whispers

softly into my right ear

“Relax into the void and

let go. Trust life. You got this.”

I’m not exactly certain
how to trust in my life.
Trusting traditionally
has not been my forte.

I can try though, to trust

in my impulse

to wrap my arms around my body

and rock myself gently as if I was my

own good mother.

And for today, that just might be enough.

kal

Missing U — January 25, 2019

Missing U

Missing U
I miss the u that was part of us.
I miss saying 
“I’ll have to ask my girlfriend”
before committing us to
any social engagements.
I miss late night
after date night kisses.
I miss your cat that slept
on my side of our bed.
I miss calling you from
the train to let you know
I’ll be home at eleven,
not at nine, because the
train broke down
in the middle of nowhere, but we
are all safe and I can’t wait
to see you.
I miss your raucous laugh
that annoyed movie goers
and opera patrons but gave
me the courage to live
my life loud.
I miss licking the juice
off your fingers
from the plums that we
shared in the morning
after making love all
night long.
I miss your hand that laid
always so gently on
the small of my back.
I miss the u that was
part of us.

kal

The Lesbian Chronicles — January 24, 2019

The Lesbian Chronicles

Ever since I was a child, I have had difficulty with choice and choosing.

The small town where my family summered had a Five and Dime. Every Saturday, all of us grandkids would traipse up to Main Street with our Zaidy. Zaidy gave each of us a nickel for candy, enough money to get a small bag full of blackballs, Lik-M-Aid, Bazooka Joe bubble gum or my personal favourite, strawberry marshmallows.

While the rest of my cousins were outside happily eating their treats, I was still standing by the counter deciding, because if I bought the marshmallows I might miss out on the Pink Elephant popcorn where you got a prize with every box. However, if I bought the popcorn there was a chance I wouldn’t get the prize I wanted, the coveted diamond ring, and my choice would be for nought.

I would just stare and stand motionless in front of the counter until my Zaidy in his heavily accented English would say “Choose! We are leaving now!” I chose but not without major angst.

Press fast forward on your eight track and jump ahead twenty years, I had just moved into my first apartment. My building housed mostly twenty something’s, where every weekend a party was held. Inevitably I would meet a good boy, along his bad boy cohort.

I would start out talking to the good boy, but always left with the bad one. After a few disastrous dates with Mr. Bad, I would chastise myself for choosing the wrong man. I would then try to date the healthy one, but healthy held no lasting appeal.

 

In my thirties when I awoke to my true sexual nature, I chose to date women exclusively. While this discovery changed my life in many ways for the better, my pattern of choosing the bad broken birdie remained. Intellectually I understood that I should not be choosing the bad and the broken, but the happy and healthy held no psychic attraction for me. Why was this the case?

 

I was brought up in a family where drama and pretense reigned supreme. When I tried to bring them my truth, they banished me, but not before attacking me both physically and emotionally.

So I have until now chosen women with whom I can repeat my family story with. In other words: I chose women who are in their story/ the lie/ the drama, so that when I try to bring them into my truth, they will respond first by punishing me, then by banishing me. I used to call this foreplay, now I just call it painful.

 

Full disclosure here, just yesterday morning I called my mother looking for some solace (I know!!!) and when I was rebuffed and dismissed and set up again, I made the executive decision to not let my own little broken birdie be in charge of phone calls to my mother. The adult Katharine is going to hold my little birdie tight until she no longer needs to choose pain over pleasure, ever again.

 

If I can somehow disconnect from my matrilineal pain centre, and rebuild healthy pathways to women, I will have found a way to share my truth and be free to choose a healthy and happy woman with whom I can co-create a wonderful life together.

 

In the words of ‘ The Little Engine that Could’, “ I think I can, I think I can”!

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