I awaken with thoughts of the Mother on this July 4th… and am in wonder at my obvious avoidance of her presence in my midst. As witnessed in my writing, I shun Cancer’s more earthy emotional nature for the transpersonal… “birthing images from the unconscious,” as I wrote to. Yes, anything but the corporeal mother and her smothering ways. And yet there is no getting away from her as I was horrified to discover at the age of 15 when I became pregnant and my body turned alien began to trans~form from the inside out and there was not a thing I could do about it. Blood, pregnancy, birthing, more blood, hormonal swings, and talk about their mood altering effects! Even our moods are not our own but ruled by Her! I know this intimately with my moon in Cancer and being notorious for my emotional ways.
And then there is Mother as food ~ daily, incessant voracious necessity that it is. Three meals a day. What the fuck is that about? The energy involved, from creation to assimilation and finally its waste products in which another huge amount of energy is required to dispose of it. Think of the gross amounts of food that will be consumed this day, most of it poor quality and in excess. And then of course there is the other end of the spectrum with those who have no food and are starving.
Marion Woodman has associated food pathologies with the mother complex. Not enough nourishing love and support from her and we stuff ourselves. Too much, and we avoid it like the plague. And each pathology is unique. My mother didn’t physically or emotionally smother me. (She did spiritually/religiously! A topic for another post.) She gave me lots of physical emotional space. But I wanted none of the life she exemplified. I wanted to be free… to run in my imagination and in my music. I did not want to be imprisoned as she was to not only her body, but everyone elses.
It wasn’t till recent years that I was able to see my own food pathologies through my avoidance of eating and cooking in contrast to my mother’s obsessive compulsive baking-cooking madness. I didn’t care about eating as a child. While my brothers wolfed down mountains of food and developed culinary skills, I had little appetite and later got into raw foods and fasted. Yet, once again, there is no escaping Her. When I birthed three children there was no way to avoid involving myself with the cycles of food. If they didn’t eat, they would die. So a cook I became and cursed my fertility hundreds of times along the way.
So its been three meals a day for 22 years. I know there are some mothers out today cooking up a storm and loving it… while stuffing themselves and assuaging their guilt by stuffing their kids along with them. I look forward to a Star Trek future when essential nutrients can be ingested in pill form… and when you feel like it for novelty and connecting to the ‘sacred ritual’ of eating, cooking a meal for fun! No wonder I have had serious digestive problems.
So yes, my mother. I just returned from caring for her for 3 weeks and this time it was I who fed her three meals a day. She is 96, and finally dependent on others. Just two years ago she was fully capable of feeding herself and everyone else who passed through her door. She was still painting basement floors, organizing the garage, scrubbing down walls and windows and baking hundreds of cookies at Christmas at the age of 94. It was insane! “Mom! When are you ever going to STOP!” And finally she did, suddenly and quite dramatically. While others in my family felt very sad and uncomfortable with her new state, I felt relieved and released.
Now she is dependent on us. It is an incredible experience to care for her so physically, right down to wiping her after going to the bathroom and bathing her after soiling her diaper. It was a lot of work and much more challenging than it was even in January. Her physical and mental faculties are fast declining. I was so relieved when Charles returned. The experience was very similar to caring for a newborn, yet the body was 135 pounds! While at the same time, as is the case with many elders, she has become more childlike. And in that state, I marvel at her simple joys and essence of beauty which has stirred a new love and delight for life.
After getting her up in the morning, I would wheel her to her vanity table where her brush, face cream and perfume lie so she could beautify herself. I never remember my mother beautifying herself. Never knew her to wear perfume, makeup, never had her nails polished. So to see her partake in this ritual takes my breath away.
She is the image of Beauty embodied as a 96 year old!
Yes, I love my mother… and I am letting her go.
This day, I make my declaration of independence from my mother, the Mother!
I liberate myself from the Mother! Though very much still in the midst of mothering my sons, the acts I now engage in are designed to support their efforts to liberate and move them into the next phase of their adult lives. As they are liberated, I liberate myself.
I declare my independence from my impulses to save and nurture the world, choosing instead to embrace a life of the self centered one, which males seem to have no problem doing, while females like the Mother of Exiles who is honored this day have such an compulsive necessity to care for others… “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free…”
I declare my independence from the Mother this day so as to liberate myself from Her devouring unconscious ways which are designed to exploit my individuality for Her own driven purposes.
Yes, I tend her altars… my sons and my human mother ~ yet there is something that I am even more responsible for… birthing and tending, yes, mothering myself and the unique individual that I am into existence. It is time to use her impulses for the greater good… Me!
Happy July the 4th!
(Mother & I & Grandmother)