Speaking of the Feminine in my last post, reminded me of studying the feminine and how that had me take a closer look of my first model of the feminine, my mama. My relationship to my mother was a tumultuous one. If you’ve read my prior posts, you know she was an addict. Not only was she an addict for most of my life, she was an addict long before I was born. My mother migrated to the US with her mother, father and four siblings at the age of six from Puerto Rico. They landed in Spanish Harlem and my grandparents spent their lives in the hustle, living paycheck to paycheck. My grandfather was an alcoholic who from what I was told, would often verbally and physically abuse my mother and her siblings. They were poor and his drinking problem quickly spiraled into a gambling problem and he would often come home having gambled away his earnings for the week. This left my grandmother to have to go to work to make sure the rent was paid and there was food on the table. My mother wanting to escape her reality turned to the streets. Anyone who is either from a low income urban neighborhood or who has watched enough movies knows the streets, especially at that time in the late sixties and early seventies were harsh.
My mother was tough, she had to be of course. I mean the kind of tough that you rarely saw in a woman in those days. She literally did not give a shit about what anyone thought about her. Interestingly enough, it was one of the things I loved most about her. Unfortunately, that tough exterior also led her to believe she was indestructible and she fell victim to drugs. By the time she was thirteen she was addicted to heroin. I’ve been told from members of my family, that from the age of thirteen until her early twenties, my mother was in and out of rehabs or in the streets. At the age of twenty-two, she met my biological father, they fell in love and my mother found out she was pregnant with me during her last detox/rehab stay for heroin. This, I recently found out when I was reunited with my biological father after 38 years (more on that later).
So, my mother then began substituting alcohol for the drugs she felt she could no longer do. My biological father left us when I was three, my younger sister was 1. My mother quickly rebounded and settled down with my step-father (who also drank a bit more than normal), and had two more children. Long story short, from that point until age thirteen, my childhood consisted of almost daily fighting, in which I had to jump in and separate them before someone was killed. In addition, I was caring for my siblings to make sure they were calm and also didn’t get hurt. The cops knew our home, as domestic disturbance calls were the norm. My mother was a bad drunk, I mean nasty. When she drank, you could literally feel her disgust for her life. Of course, I had no idea at the time what that meant, nor did I care to be honest. She was my mother, what she needed or wanted was irrelevant to me, unfortunately that’s just how it is, no one tells us different. One day she was especially infuriated and drinking, I had taken a dime from my stepfather’s dresser, unaware that it was a part of a collection. My stepfather unfortunately thought it was funny to piss my mother off and would often do this when she was inebriated. This particular time, she was more angry than normal. She grabbed me by the throat held a butcher knife to my neck and threatened to kill me if I didn’t tell her the truth. I have to tell you in that moment, I literally believed my mother would kill me, I was 10 years old. She didn’t hurt me other than the tightness of her hands on my throat. However, I never felt safe again, not that I ever really had, but that had done it for me. I hated my mother growing up, because I thought she hated me, why else would she allow this to be our life?
Fast forward to my early thirties, just before my marital separation. I had signed up for this course in Atlanta at The School of Humanity & Awareness, one of the best things I have ever done in my life! After the first course, I signed up for multiple courses and a theme started to become very apparent to me. Our teacher kept referring to the Feminine in many of her teachings. Now, I had no teachings about the Feminine growing up, so here I was at 33 trying to figure out what that meant to me. Was this something I acknowledged, valued and honored in my life? Throughout this exploration, I realized that I had rejected anything remotely Feminine my entire life. The color pink, Barbie dolls, any magical fantasy, anything traditional, and being ladylike. Yes, that bad ass identity I mentioned in my first post, had a reason for existing. Such a mind fuck, I was relating to my mother as Feminine because she was “a mother” so I didn’t want to be Feminine because I had defined mothers among other things as Feminine. However, I had literally morphed into my mother sans drug/alcohol addiction. Having come upon that realization, I had to come to terms with the fact that subconsciously, I rejected the Feminine. Now given this information, not only did I have to redefine the Feminine for myself and educate myself on what I believed and what I wanted to teach my children, I also had to redefine my relationship with my mother. Life is funny though, these realizations came to me after my mother was no longer with us, she had passed away the year before of liver failure. So, I had to figure out my relationship to her, without her. It wasn’t easy work by any means, I had to face some hard-core truths and even cough up some delusions I had made up about my mother to make my life right in some way. It was both freeing and painful, like a breakdown to breakthrough.
The beauty in this story is that I was able to forgive my mother from deep within. I realized she did the best she could with what she had to give. Healing or studying your relationship with your mother truly provides access and freedom to how we hold the sacred Feminine. That healing will look different for all of us of course, there is no one way to do anything I believe. As for me and my mom, I had forgiven her in life before she passed away. She spent her last eight years sober with me and her grandchildren, which was an absolute gift. However, I hadn’t forgiven her deep down inside, and that was reflected in how I held and valued the Feminine or lack thereof, prior to doing the work I had done. Needless to say, I had an opening. An opening with which I could now redefine the definition of the Feminine for myself, free of my childhood and free of my past. I also had the ability now, to truly teach my children, especially my daughters what this means. Thankfully, it wasn’t too late. PS, it really never is.