“The Heroine’s Journey for these times is a journey out of the Wasteland. Each of us has our own unique set of stories to tell…  Telling those stories helps us to understand ourselves — not just the place that we’ve come from, but where we might now be heading.” ~ Sharon Black, “If Women Rose Rooted”

For Christmas, Steve gave me two DNA test kits. Both provide genealogy information but the one from 23andme.com focuses on health while the one from Ancestry.com is more focused on information about ancestors. Ancestry.com is also the website where you can sign up (and pay) to put together your family tree.

I’m betting this was a popular gift this year. So many people I know have been researching and putting together their family genealogy for years. I’ve never been interested myself, which is kind of odd, given that I’ve been obsessed since I was a child with finding my birth family and learning more about them.

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horse

 

dog walk

I was the child who climbed up into the cradle of tree branches with a book, a pen and my journal and observed the world from a safe distance. Maybe it’s time to come down and tell people what I saw. ~ Maery Rose

Within the up-down weather confines of February, there is nothing to stand in the way of the twin emotions of anxiety and depression, who run around the room like children who have had too much candy.

And my birth mother died.

I wish I could just say that my mother died but that would be confusing as my other mother has been dead since 2007. It strikes me as funny how I could refer to these two women as “A Mom” for adoptive mom and “B Mom” for birth mom, and so I shall.

I only met B Mom in 1998. With her living so far away, I only spent maybe forty hours total with her. Having to continuously deal with my own anxiety, I didn’t deal very well with being around a similarly agitated person. She made me so nervous and uncomfortable and fearful that we rarely spoke.

So perhaps one would suppose that her death would barely be a blip on my radar for numerous reasons. And yet it has sent me into a tailspin during a month of tailspins that are making it difficult for me to function properly. So forgive me if I say something odd or disturbing or if I seem to be withdrawing from people who have done nothing to make me feel the way that I’m feeling. I sometimes fear I will shatter if you touch me. Perhaps I am just afraid of crying.

Certainly, I will put on my best face, my best funny act, my best macho strut, but there will be breaks in what I can maintain.

horse

 

I was listening to Peter Rollins on the RobCast this morning. He’s written a number of books, including his most recent “The Divine Magician” and “The Idolatry of God.” There were many interesting points in the interview but my ears perked up when he began to talk about why people come to his live events rather than just read his books or listen to a podcast or YouTube video.

“Primary reason people are there is because they feel really alone and they want to be in the room with other people who are on the same journey.” ~ Peter Rollins

With losing my B Mom, I wonder who I can talk to or relate to about what it feels like to lose the mother who gave you up?

My A Dad died when I was 28. My A Brother died when I was 37. My A Mom died when I was 50. And that was the end of the A list.

My B Dad died when I was 51. And now my B Mom has died.

What got me through the loss of the A List is that I had something to do to prepare for the memorial service and I had people to grieve with. With the B List, that hasn’t been the case.

dog

So all the struggle and processing goes on inside at the same time that I’m finishing up a book that includes some of the story of being an adoptee and finding my birth family. But very little of the details of that are actually in the story. The way that the story is about being adopted is what it did to me. How I grew up believing being giving up was about me — about being a worthless, unlovable child. And nothing in my life contradicted that belief. Or maybe there was something, but I couldn’t see it.

Peter Rollins also talked about how we can grow up believing something and then later, as our experiences and our maturing adult minds gather refuting information, we change our beliefs. Yet, when under duress, we don’t fall back on our new beliefs but instead, what floods back with a vengeance are those old minds patterns and habits that we thought we had replaced. I think that is the problem with me right now.

horse

And so I go off into the world, reaching out a hand here and a hand there. Taking a walk. Riding a horse. Making an appointment for a massage. Making hot chocolate with marshmallows. Buying essential oils and teas that promise relaxation.

Thank goodness for Steve who is busy in the kitchen making some kind of something (he’s been into cooking lately and I certainly will not complain). For Luke who is the epitome of calm and quiet and passes that on to me. For Java, another animal friend who does the same. For Latte who does her bow-and-run dance for me and makes me laugh. For a friend handing out free samples of her Naan at Lunds, who has no idea that five minutes with her made me feel better. For a dear cousin who seemed to know I was thinking about her and gave me a call when I needed to hear her familiar voice. And another friend who listened patiently to me on the phone today and has invited me to visit her next week. And a couple other friends who have checked in to see how I’m doing.

horse

Oh, and there was the guy I passed walking his little beagle puppy — that puppy was was scampering through puddles and he made both his owner and I laugh. And one of the guys working at the barn, who told me what a great horse Luke is, “Never any trouble from him,” and who stood and petted Lukes face for awhile before returning to his chores.

Perhaps no one is on my exact same journey or knows exactly how I feel or even that I’m hurting at this time, but a smile, a kind word, setting a minute aside to chat — they do so much to touch a life and to heal.

So thanks to all the people I passed and spoke to in the past week. And for those people I haven’t had contact with, I’ll thank you also because I’m positive you have done something similar for someone else, perhaps without even knowing it.

horse

swans on Mississippi River

swans on Mississippi River

What is it about swans?
They make me think of fairy tales
And magic
And the ugly duckling
who discovers he’s a swan

“But the others did all the could to harass the ugly duckling. They flew at him, bit, him pecked him, hissed and screeched at him… He hid, he dodged, he zigzagged left and right, but he could not escape. The duckling was as miserable as any creature could be.”

swans on Mississippi River

I saw myself as that ugly duckling
so often as a child
I learned to fight
I learned to push away
I learned to hide too
To never show I cared
about anything

“A flock of creatures flew overhead, the most beautiful he had ever seen… Hearing their sounds made his heart leap and break at the same time. He cried back in a sound he had never made before.”

swans on Mississippi River

One would think
I’d be over all that by now
Most of the time
I am
But not always
It doesn’t take much to bring out
that outcast exiled feeling
I just want to belong
somewhere

“And for the first time, his own kind came near him and touched him gently and lovingly with their wing tips. They groomed him with their beaks and swam round and round him in greeting.”

swans on Mississippi River

As lovely as this finding your tribe
and being welcomed in is
it too may not last
There is always change
I’ve learned that the only one
who can give me what I desire
is me
I have to let myself take up space
and say, yes, it’s okay to be
an ugly duckling
a beautiful swan

To be a person who sees a river
that becomes a story
that hold so much more than swans
as beautiful as they are
There is darkness below them
Sometimes light above them
But right now there are only clouds
and snow mixed with rain
But doesn’t the dreariness
bring mystery and magic?

And saying yes to it all
In that lies possibility
No one lives happily every after
We’re all in this for the roller coaster ride
The expectation of going up,
pausing for the view at the top
Then the race down
our stomachs in our throats
screaming as we hit bottom
Then starting the slow climb up again

Quoted excerpts from “The Ugly Duckling” by Hans Christian Andersen
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