Wednesday, January 11, 2012

No Title

I think it rained all night long. It is still drizzling now. This is so good, the slow, steady watering of our earth here. We need it so badly.

It has been a week since we left Cozumel and still, unbelievably, the effects of that water, that place linger. My anxiety has been almost non-existent and when I do feel it begin to creep up, I can replace it with the images in my mind, the words, "Just Be."
Just be.
It is not mine to change the tides or the moon's path in the sky nor even the life of one other person on this earth.
It is only mine to take care of what I have and myself, as well, and that is comforting.

I keep thinking about that article I linked yesterday about the freedoms which should be allowed a seventeen year-old girl. When I was seventeen I was about the most responsible person on this earth and took care of my younger brothers sometimes for a week or more while my parents traveled (this would never happen today, would it?) and made mostly A's and mostly followed the rules and then how, when my mother discovered that I was on the pill, she lost it completely and threatened to kick me out of the house and told me that the idea of me "screwing" my boyfriend was ruining HER sex life and threatened to have the doctor who had prescribed birth control to me (he was a saint) arrested and shamed me to the point where if there had ever been a chance in hell that I could have anything near a normal sex life of my own after having been sexually abused by her husband, it slowly dissolved in front of my eyes.

I loved that boy I was having sex with. And I want to rush in here and say, "Or I thought I did," because I was only seventeen, you know? but dammit, seventeen-year olds can love and what I felt in his arms was safe which was something I never, for one second, felt in my home.

I had yet to even begin to untangle what had happened to me as a child in reference to my own sexuality but I had been taught, inadvertently as it was, that my sexuality was powerful and as I have pointed out before, there was a great cleansing in the choosing on my own who to use it with.

So when my mother found out that I was having sex and shamed, shamed, shamed me, it was like being abused all over again in some ways. If she could suss out that I was having sex with my boyfriend why the hell couldn't she have figured out that her husband had abused me, twenty feet away from where she was? Why hadn't she shamed HIM? Why?

Why, all of a sudden, was I an evil person when before I had been the good girl, the BEST girl, the star student, the talented actress, the Girl Scout who won awards, the little mommy to my brothers?

It's still tangled in my head.
And I will say now that my mother is not the same person. She is as sensible about sex as anyone. She discusses it with her granddaughter!
And I have no real knowledge of how horrible those times must have been for her. Her husband was not only a child abuser, he was insanely evil in his way and emotionally abused her and everyone in the family. Constantly. Living in that house was being unable to take a full breath. My youngest brother had a friend who told him that he could truly imagine coming over one day to find everyone in that house murdered- that's how strong the fear vibe was. My mother was caught in the web too.

Well. These are just things I am thinking about on this drizzly day. How seventeen year-olds can be stronger than we imagine and we need to remember that. That normal ones need and deserve some autonomy. As hard as it is to let them go out the door, we have to let them.
Yes. They will make mistakes. They will make bad choices. So do we.
But if we have raised them right (or even if we haven't!) they will be able to learn from those mistakes. If we give them our trust, they will mostly appreciate that.
If we recognize that they are human beings, just as we are, we have to let them be free enough to make those choices, those mistakes.

No, I would never allow a seventeen year-old who was living at home to stay out all night. There should be rules. But to shut the door on all negotiations, all compromises, is to invite activities behind the door that we really don't want. It is to assure that the door will be busted down eventually instead of swinging back and forth, the way it should, to allow entrance as well as egress.

Because once I got out that door of the house where I lived, I knew I was never coming back. Whatever it took, I was not coming back.
And I never did except for very short visits. And my relationship with my mother, as changed as she is, will never be right.
I wonder what would have happened if, when she had found my birth control pills, she had said, "I wish you weren't having sex, Mary, but since you are, I am glad you are doing it in a responsible way."

Instead, she made me feel like a slut and a whore.
Well. She tried to.
I knew in my heart I wasn't.
Just as I knew so much in my heart that wasn't true but which I had been told was.

Deep thoughts for a Wednesday morning. But dammit, a person, especially a woman, should be able to own her own sexuality. Even if she is just on the cusp of being a woman.

I have tried to recognize that in raising my own children. To realize that there are parts of their lives which ARE NOT MY BUSINESS even if I am the person who gave birth to them.
I don't even want those parts to be my business.
Just like there are parts of my life which aren't their business.
I think it all boils down to a matter of respect. I really do. And if I can't and don't respect my children as their mother, as a fellow human being, how can they respect themselves?

Happy Wednesday, y'all.

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. Wow that certainly is one way to wakeup a WEdnesday morning with such a deep discussional topic... I have had five children and whilst I mainly knew what they were getting up to, never for one minute made them feel like your mother did to you.. I realised that we are all on a path that was ours alone, and whilst I could organise a structure for them to feel safe and measure themselves against, I didnt choose the discuss in too deep a fashion... Although I did make mistakes, one of which was letting my daughter feel it would be better if she moved out into sharing with the boyfriend as I couldnt stand her coming in early in the morning and not telling me where she had been all night... it was obvious,I did lose my rag.... however I never said anything to make her feel lesser person.. We are such great friends to this day and she has made a lovely family with that boy, even though now after 22 years they are getting a divorce as he found another person to get close to.. Being a parent you fly by the seat of your pants, no one tells you how its done... lucky you if they are all still talking to you in later years!!! I dont know how I managed, but mine are all close to me and I see them often..except the ones in Australia and Canada, but the internet is marvellous at keeping them all up to date too.. It is hard to imagine how a parent can close their eyes to bad things going on in the home, but maybe its too deep and hard for them to face.. so difficult to imagine,but they do make choices.. My first husband came from an abusive parental relationship and his mother clearly agreed that she had chosen him as the eldest to take all the brunt of his father's anger so the rest of the family would not suffer in the same way... which as you can imagine traumatised him completely and still does to this day, but she made that choice coldly to save the rest of them...However I could never condone that kind of decision, if I had to decide, I would have left and walked the streets to save my kids from that kind of harm, either mental or physical... You seem to have turned your life into something lovely and positive and I commend you for that... a little love goes a long way, and you obviously now have a very loving family and relationships, so good on you, and hope that your day tomorrow is a whole lot better!!

  2. Fuck.

    We're living in a world now where some people realise that sex should be celebrated. That women have power and sexuality that is to be nurtured and wondered at.

    What damages us is the blows to our self esteem. The girls who get pregnant, or beaten, or worse, the girls who settle for something that's not good enough for them - all because their self esteem was crushed and they didn't believe themselves worth caring for properly. This is what parents need to be working on, not shaming or over protection.

    Heh, my daughter says 'you have a big comment'. Sadly, true.

  3. Janzi- First, thanks for reminding me that it is WEDNESDAY, not Tuesday. I'll be using a walker by tonight, I'm sure. Anyway, lots of good points in your post- parents are NOT perfect but we do our best and yes, keeping communication open and staying in a place of respect is sometimes the best we can do. Thanks so much for commenting.

    Jo- Why not big comments? This is a conversation, otherwise I'd close comments and I would NEVER do that on a regular basis.
    You are right. Women are still afraid to ask for what we need, to know and respect ourselves enough to demand that. How we raise our daughters will have a lot to say about if and when that changes.

  4. I'm scared of the mistakes I'll make raising BabyGirl.

    Ingress is the opposite of Egress, but... I digress.

  5. I think our mothers had very great fear all their lives. Pregnancy before marriage was a huge one. That was why the romances were so popular - the women were "swept away" - so overwhelmed with "love" were they. They couldn't admit to being just horny. Most of us had to be both in love and responsible. And those of us abused were messed up anyway.

    It's better now. My mother is also more relaxed. Since my father died - I have to believe even though I loved him better growing up, he is partly responsible for her anxiety.

    I agree that parts of my children's lives are none of my business. Even when one child wants me to get into another child's face over something (even now that they are adults). I'm pretty sure they thought I have been too lax and permissive. But what I did was make them make the correct choices. They were all told early on that they were on their own when I wasn't there. I could forbid something but when they were on the line and out with friends, it was still them making the decision because I was not all powerful. So they had better make up their minds to make intelligent choices beforehand because sometimes those choices could affect the rest of their lives.
    I rarely set curfews. It was my rationale that they would only stay out as long as their friends did and anything they could get up to after 11 pm, they could get up to at 3 pm, so what was the point? I also let them know they could phone any time day or night and I would come for them, no questions asked.

    My daughter says it sometimes sucked. The kids whose parents were strict would arrange to spend the night at a friends when they partied and got so much more hammered and she ended up taking care of everyone.

  6. Magnum- You'll only make one-fourth of the mistakes I made! Look at it that way! Thanks for pointing out my grammatical misuses. I could use an editor...

    Jeannie- We all parent differently and we are all parenting different people so, there you go. I do think and agree with you that the harder you push, the harder they push back. Don't we all? And yes, we always made sure they knew that we would pick them up anytime, anywhere, no questions asked. SAFETY FIRST! Always.

  7. This blew my mind, so powerful. And I hate that you even feel like you have to explain your mother's side of it. Holy fuck to her response, seriously? Especially the you now ruined her sex life part. Wow, so WRONG and fucked up. Damn it all. Ugh. You are a miracle, really.

  8. Amazing how the things that happen to us via the people we are supposed to trust the most are the things that set the path for the rest of our lives.
    As human beings there are no true guide books to life, only choices that we make from what we know. We do what we know, and hopefully when we know better we do better.
    I carry a lot of guilt over the type of mother that I was for part of my daughter's life, but know that I really did do better when I knew better and learned to actually show her that I loved her unconditionally, even though no one ever showed me how.
    Uncovering the good from beneath a mountain of bad, I'm glad you were able to do that.
    Thanks for this post, obviously from the length of my comment, it stirred something deep inside. Will be thinking on this most of the day, am going to go call my daughter now lol

  9. I think that it was a different time for sure. And your mother was repeating what she had been told. Her denial, well, that is one that is hard to take. But I know that every day there are many, many people who refuse to see what is right in front of them. I am glad that there are strong women who do teach their children to not be ashamed, to be honest and to look the world in the eye. Those are powerful messages. You have done well and learned from your tribulations what not to do as a mother and a person.

  10. Remember that time May was in high school and she had a bunch of girls and Casey up in her room and dad said, "In my day, teenage boys weren't allowed up in teenage girls' rooms alone without a parent?" and you said, "Oh, Glen, Casey is so. gay." and that was the end of that.

    Heck, when I was 17 I moved out of the house and in with my girlfriend. The joy of having a bedroom door! (haha)

  11. I was reading Dr. Rosemund's response rather literally. I didn't agree that if a teen was doing something anyway then by having a house rule it is same as micromanaging.
    I agree with everything you have written here.
    It seems as though when you were growing up everything you did was viewed by your mother as an extension of your mother. For ex., your good grades were a reflection of her and was her. And in case any siblings are reading your post, this is your Truth. It does not sound like there was love for the actual authentic you. You have no idea how I can relate. And thank goodness for good 17 year old boys who made us feel loved and for whom we could love back. :-) And for being smart, loving, resilient and strong young women.
    P.S. We have talked to our kids about how we may seem old, but we remember so much what it is like to be a teen and that if they are ever in a situation we too will pick them up to get them safely home--and how much some things have changed such as gone are the days when a cop would give you a lecture and let you go after drinking for example.

  12. Yes Mary, your mom was abusing you. It doesn't matter if it was out of ignorance and dogma and conditioning... The reason is not as important as the fact that the way she treated you was abusive. I'm acknowledging this purposefully because I think it is important.. Even though I am only little ole me.

    You have done so very much with your life to not pass on what you experienced to your children and they are some of the finest people I know... and fun! As are you and Glen.

    You are also correct about the respect issue. There is very little of that anymore in our culture. The real kind that is not based on fear, but on trust and love and just plain consideration.

    I love you and respect you, always,
    xo pf

  13. You know those statues of ancient earth mothers? That's what you are, Mary Moon. I love your mothering so much -- and the place in your heart where it all began.

  14. This post and the comments on it are so full of thought and love and history and mothers and daughters.
    I wish I had grown up in an open environment like we have today. I wish I had better understood how to help and understand my own daughter when we ran off the rails. And I hope with all my heart that we do not return to the dark days of being cornered by our biology and considered 2nd class citizens.
    Thank you Mrs. Moon for bringing all of these thoughts into my day.
    word verification: "prolib"!!!!

  15. My god, yes, Mary Moon. I wish I could be more articulate about how powerful your post was for me, is still and I'm twice seventeen, but such shaming, such an owning of one's own body, your intuiting, knowing that there are some parts of our children's lives we are separate from, that need to trust that we did, in fact, give birth to humans who are as deeply affected by the world around us as we are, and who are wholly separate from us: all of this is exactly what I needed to read tonight. Thanks.

  16. There's much to ponder here, and most of the comments have said what I want to say about this powerful post.

    I'd like to add that there are also needs in a parent's life, in which the children should not much any say-so. My children are warning me about dating. I guess I am retroactively the Virgin Mary.

  17. Bethany- I realize now that my mother's boundaries have always been a bit shaky. We laugh now at how she'll talk out loud anywhere about certain things but really? It's just a continuation of what has always happened. It's strange to finally realize that.

    tiffany- My point exactly! Love unconditionally, do the rest the best you can with what you have. We do not always have the right tools and must form function to fit with what we have.

    Syd- It is very true that I did learn a few things NOT to do. And I try to be compassionate about how my mother acted. I try to remember some of the why. I try.

    DTG- Haha! I do remember that! As if Casey was going to take all of those girls on. Bless that time in our lives. I loved it. And hell- at seventeen, you were grown. Grown enough to go off and do what you needed to do. Learn what you needed to learn. I love you, baby.

    Michele R- Thank you, baby. Thank-you for understanding.

    Ms. Fleur- Oh, baby. Thank-you. For understanding and loving. Always.

    Elizabeth- I got it from somewhere. And maybe even some of it from my mother. Who knows? Not me!

    Denise- Slowly, hopefully, things will change and women can be the fierce creatures we are meant to be. We are part of that chain of links...we have done our best. We did not follow the rules and I think because of that, we have done better. I hope.

    Sara- Lord, that makes me feel good. Thank-you, sugar. Thank-you.

  18. I'm in the thick of all of this of course, in awe at the wisdom that my children have. I'd like to take credit of course. It's one day and then the next and a lot of grace and hope. But love first. Unconditional.

    I hope you keep getting enough from your mother that it makes up for some of it. I know that 's not what you want or intend, but I know it matters. I do.

  19. Ms. Moon, I know. I know. My parents told me that I would be ruining my career because I took a vacation to Europe with my boyfriend. I was 25, self-supporting, worked for an international news service. It is so laughable now, but it wasn't at the time. It was part of the shaming and sadly, it affected me. I went anyway, but their words colored my trip and contributed to some other mistakes I made that took years to unravel.

    This was in the mid-70s but they were from a different time and held fast to their beliefs despite what was happening around them. They could not see that things were changing.

    I finally was able to let it go. As I know you have. And talking about it doesn't mean we haven't. It is a good lesson and a reminder not to allow that to happen to others. Because it still does. And it is wrong to do and to accept.


Tell me, sweeties. Tell me what you think.