This one is kind of tied to motherhood but its roots are deeper than that. I was raised United Pentecostal and taught my whole childhood that women are the servants of the home. She has to submit to her husband and the home is pretty much her responsibility. I was also taught that women should be silent in church and I watched all the women around me doing the grunt work of running the church while the men took all of the glory. Now I’ve been a feminist witch for a long time and I do not still believe these teachings are right, at least not on a conscious level. That being said I do see how these teachings crept into some pretty hard to get to cracks of my mind. When something is taught to you from such a young age you often spend much of your adult life finding the remnants and trying to get free from them.
This letting go is about freedom and taking the time to serve myself. I feel that having a fresh empty nest is a good time to work on this. I have space now to focus on my needs and ambitions. I hope that no one thinks I’m trying to be selfish, it isn’t about being selfish it is about creating balance.
I know that my attitudes regarding all of this had a big effect on how I worked within the pagan community before I left. I came at it from a place of servitude. How can I serve the community? It did not take long for that to turn into me being taken advantage of. I can’t really blame myself, I was doing what I thought was right. Now if all things were equal and everyone had an attitude of service it might have been ok. It became about what I could do/provide for them and not about what I could get in return. All that giving is what burned me out. In the end, I was left with an empty cup. Now as I ponder rejoining some kind of pagan community I know my approach will be very different. I’m not going to be anyone’s servant. I will put my shoulder to the plough when it is needed but I will not do it alone.
All the blogging and journalling I have been doing about this is really helping me to gain clarity. I’m heading towards Samhain with a very good vision for what I need to release and what I want to bring in.
I know that I will always be a mother and I love my children very much. Motherhood has been a huge part of my identity and at times it has eclipsed everything else. I’m not saying I’m ready to shift into cronehood, it more that I’m ready to shift into queendom. It is time to let go of full-time motherhood. I spent 25 years having minor kids at home and now my nest is empty. Thankfully the goddess has helped me prepare for this and because of that, I’m handling it better than expected. I can only vaguely remember my life before motherhood. It exists in this dream-like place that is pretty hard to access. Now standing in my empty nest I can clearly see the daily sacrifices I have made. They add up to a mountain of time and compromise. I’m proud of the work I have done. At times I ache inside because I don’t feel like my kids see me or know who I really am. I think some of them are still in that selfish stage of life. I wonder if other mothers wish for their kids to see them as human and not as the superhuman role that is the mother. Letting go of this part of motherhood means daring to be who I’ve always wanted to be. I have no more excuses about being tied to raising children. So much is bundled up in this. I can wake when I want and sleep when I want. I can create in the midst of feverish inspiration. I don’t have to be home or away. There is much to unpack here. Some of the reason I want to let go of this role is that my kids need me to be different now. Plus they can be a rather judgemental lot, everything I do is scrutinized and analyzed. Do we think mom should be doing that? I know that some of them worry about my political activism and are worried that I might get hurt. They worry about what kind of job I’m going to take and how it might affect the family. Just as they need me to step back and let them make mistakes and live their life, I need to start living my own life. This means daring to do the things they might not approve of. It means living for me for the first time ever.
I’m going to do some blogging about Samhain and letting go. The first thing on my list is fathers. In the simplest form, my father and all of the things he did to hurt me during my childhood and young adulthood. My father loved me, of that I have no doubt, but it was a very selfish kind of love. I feel like I have dealt with most of my issues with him but there is still a bit of work left to do. There are still ways in which I see his influence in how I see myself and my value. He was the first man to abandon me and because of that time and again I sought to find men who would do the same thing. Within my shadow lurks my father telling me time and again that my value is my beauty and that my intelligence (perhaps the trait I value most in myself) only exists because of him. I’m smart because I’m his daughter, I’m physically strong because he taught me to be, and I’m pretty because he was so handsome. Nothing came to me because of my hard work or because of my thoughts, that belong only to me. With this Samhain, I hope to root out the last of that pain and finally be able to no longer hear his voice in the back of my head. This is deep shadow work. My dad influenced both the things I like best and the things I like least about myself.
After all that it is time to turn my attention to my kid’s fathers. Looking back I see them as choices made from a place of desperation. Both of them brought destruction into my life and they both continue to lash out at me. They have been backseat drivers with regards to all of the work of parenting. Not around to do any of the heavy lifting (or spending) but always there to comment on my appearance and whatever life choices I might make. If the kids had success it was in spite of me and if they had troubles it was because of me. I have made a pretty big effort to remove them from my life, but still, they sit on the sidelines and heckle. My goal is to really let them go now that all of the kids have left the nest. I’m done receiving child support from them and so that cord is cut. Like my father, this is a rooting out of the last remnants of their influence. When they say things about me that are hurtful or untrue it still stings. It may be asking too much for that sting to go away but I’m gonna try.
All this matters so much because I’m stepping into a new phase in my life. No more kids at home and freedom to choose what I want to do and with whom I want to do it. Shadow work is afoot but I’m not worried, with the gods and my ancestors on my side I know I can do anything.