Now~ a sort of poem about healing the mother wound

Now

my mom greets me like a small child. Her eyes light up and she is filled with such love for me. 

This is what flowed beneath the layers of suffering that was my mom- that was our relationship. 

I hated her a lot. And I believed she hated me the same. 

We must be careful who we deem unworthy of love but worthy of hate and abandonment. We must not dismiss a family as dysfunctional or a person damaged and leave it there as if it/they held nothing else. 

Now

I really know this.

For there were many necessary years I felt anger and betrayal- sometimes rightly so- and the only way I could function in our dysfunction was to protect myself. 

And yet, now…

I feel I am a good daughter for sticking with her- for staying in the process, the journey that is ours. 

Now

I understand I needed to love her but couldn’t and wouldn’t and instead exchanged vulnerability for codependency (unknowingly of course). 

Now

I continue to play this out within my marriage. 

And yet, now

I see the possibility that what flows beneath the wounds of my suffering might redeem me

Maybe not quite now but eventually. 

In this moment…

I don’t understand why any of us are cruel 

It’s super bowl Sunday 

I drive to the store. Not for snacks, but for donuts and coffee. 

I think of my mom. Likely not an actual lover of football, although she claimed to love the Vikings. But more like just wants to be a part of life, of whatever is going on. 

Today she may or may not have the super bowl on. And if it is, she won’t watch. 

My mom has dementia. She sits alone—except on the days some of us in the family get to visit her. 

I reminisce about past super bowls. It was all a party to her. I cry for the woman she was. The woman I lost. 

I get my coffee. My donuts. I find when I get home, I don’t want them as much as I did before the tears fell. 

Walking through the front door of my home, I understand I feel, something I have noticed lately. I feel. Tears fall, and not from a place of pity for myself or cyclical suffering, but from somewhere real. 

Driving home from the store, I understand I can feel something other than what has come from a 33-year relationship (perhaps, we will get into that another time).

The year 2021— it said to me: I will be bittersweet. 

Already, it most certainly is 🌸

Self-Betrayal to Self-Love

The dominant culture, which is mostly reactivity from unprocessed trauma, tells us that we aren’t supposed to let people hurt us. But the truth is people do hurt us. 

My mom hurt me today. And there’s been plenty of other days as well. As her young child I was constantly hurt. I learned to cope and self-protect through a variety of ways. As a child, it was through art, music, books and my imagination. As I grew older, other ways were through perfectionism, OCD and controlling behaviors and the big one: codependency.

Today, I stopped taking her hurt. I set a firm boundary. And then I let myself be hurt. When our mothers hurt us it’s the ultimate betrayal. If the hurt is constant and consistent, we will learn to betray ourselves. We will make choices and create an entire life and get involved in relationships from this deepest wound.

If we are brave and committed to change, we will begin to awaken to our life built from self-betrayal, and we will feel shattered. At the very least, bruised. And, this is the place where we learn self-love, self-compassion, and forgiveness of self and others. It is a deep and holy space of grief, surrender and heart opening. We will learn self-love and begin, little by little, to create a life for ourselves painted from the womb of our rebirth and our deepest reckoning with ourselves. 

We will recognize that we no longer need to protect ourselves from hurt. We will come to experience our heart as strong, worthy, willing and ready to feel feelings and remain stabilized. We will learn the difference between self-betrayal and self-love. We will see setting boundaries and making conscious choices as our gateway to creating new experiences, experiences based and waged in self-love. 

To continue on this self-love journey, my self-reflective practice for the month of November is this….to explore, experience and learn:

What does self-love look like in my relationships…..

Beyond relationships, what does it look like for me in my life…. How do I paint and create my experiences through self-love?

I am excited to begin experiencing this.

~The Soul Reporter

Dear Mom, Why Can’t I Love You?

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I was in a workshop, my mother sitting a couple seats down. I am looking at her and I hear this question, Why can’t I love you? This question lived within me for the next several days—and then I sat down and wrote her a letter.

Dear Mom,

Lately, I especially notice I cannot look at you. I notice when I am around you who I truly am shuts down and I become broken and numb. But when you aren’t looking I do look at you. In these moments I feel sad for you. I wonder what it’s like to be you right now. Are you lonely? Are you afraid? I want to hug you. I want to tell you I love you.

I know one day you won’t be here. Or maybe I won’t. Either way I know there will be no one else in my life like you. No one to get on my nerves like you do. No one to give me newspaper clippings about the newest eyeshadow color or my birthday horoscope. No one to ask me how I am that actually wants to know and no one who will look at me like you do or give me a bag full of presents—some bought, some taken from your own shelves for my birthday. There’s no one like you.

And, yet I throw away those newspaper clippings. I criticize your bag full of goodies. I reject the look you can only give and the words to me you only say. I do all this while knowing someday you won’t be here. Mom, why won’t I love you. This letter is my attempt to at least try.

I love you mom.

The past is over. Who you’ve been to me, these reasons I’ve told myself why you aren’t worthy of my love are not real. With the past in the past, the present and the future now have the possibility of me having a new experience with you. I am open and ready for this. I invite you to be also. Thank you for listening.

~Nikki

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What I realized from writing, and than sharing this letter with my mom, and later that group of people at that workshop is I was relating to my mom from the past and the future. I was using stories I created about her from the past, even ones I worked through about her not being available for me to justify not expressing love to her because I fear a future without her. Isn’t it funny how we think creating distance with ones we love will somehow protect us….

I’m opening to a new experience with my mother because I know living a life of survival and protection from the past and the future is a small and isolated way to live. I do not want to have regrets and I want to experience another possibility with my mother.

Thanks for being a part of this exchange with my mother,

The Soul Reporter.

Have You Ever Wanted To Leave Your Family?

I left my family.

How many of us women, wives, mothers have left? How many want to? Need to?

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It was only for a couple of days. I went to my mother. The irony. Our past relationship is one of the reasons I have walked through the world protecting myself from the need to need anybody. But, I’m growing up. I went to my mom—anyway— and she was there.

She opened her door—could hardly believe her eyes I was standing in front of her. It felt good to be there. By day two, crawled up in a blanket she put on me, I began to feel a twinge of guilt. I was away from my own family and the guilt was probably a sign I was doing something I had not done in a while—take care of my self.

I don’t know all of the reasons I left, but my guess is any woman, mother, wife reading may know a reason or two. What I did discover: the pain that caused me to pack a bag and look into my husband’s eyes and say, “I’m leaving” was no longer seeing my reflection, the essence of who I am in my family—the one container I have put everything in to.

To put it another way— I lost myself in my family and not received a dividend for my investment except depletion and resentment. I desired them to fill me up as my cup ran dry, believing this reasonable, and I resented they couldn’t or wouldn’t. And when the water in our new home stopped working due to a frozen pipe, I had to leave.

For years I endured far worse than a frozen pipe. But, somehow this broke me.

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It was this pipe that brought me back home. I had to let the service technician in. The water is flowing again. As for me, I am restored enough to see with new eyes, remembering my gaze is needed here in this home because a mother and a wife is what I am. It’s what I have chosen to do. But—my gaze is also needed to stay within my very own soul, a place I must return again and again for restoration, peace, clarity and wisdom.

The Soul Reporter