A couple of weeks ago – feeling emotionally exhausted and broken – I felt an overwhelming need for elder women wisdom. I wanted support and words from those who have been here – where I am right now – and to know what they had learnt from this place. I reached out to my teacher Betty Dodson, my friend Celeste Lemieux, and primarily my own mother. In their own way each of the women gifted me with some of their strength, support and knowledge that it’s safe for me to be myself with them. It was however, by reaching out to my own mother in an open and very vulnerable way, that I discovered shamefully that I hadn’t really seen her before. I had never taken the time or energy to recognize her as a whole human being with physical, spiritual, emotional, intellectual and sexual parts. The wall around myself meant that not only was it difficult to see in, but it was also difficult to see out. By finally allowing her to see me, I was able to see her and in looking discovered that my sexuality comes from my mother.

My sexuality is not separate from myself or my life, but rather a crucial part of my everyday way of being and how I relate to my body. In this sense it can only be truly actualized when the other parts of myself are getting care and attention as well. Looking at my life I could clearly see how my mother has had an affect on my physical, emotional spiritual and intellectual well being – all of which are also a part of and influence my sexuality. In fact it’s impossible to look at my sexuality without looking at these elements of it. It is holistic.

So with overwhelming gratitude I wrote this for my mom.

Thank you mom.
For giving me life.
For breastfeeding me.
For encouraging me to “colour outside the lines” when my doing so was questioned by others.
For feeding me healthy food even though I resented you for it.
For setting up my childhood to always include space for awe and wonder.
For the cross you traced on my forehead when you thought I was sleeping.
For seeking out and following your own spirituality so that I knew that the same was possible for me.
For showing and telling me that I could do anything that I want to in life.
For taking me travelling.
For encouraging me and my friends to be artistic in a way that was unique and authentic to us. You did this by giving us free reign to decorate the cold storage room any way that we wanted to and provided a rainbow of paint colours and tiles to choose from – never once suggesting how we should do it.
For letting me make a mess.
For making me clean up my mess.
For always being there but never hovering.
For being rude to the one boyfriend who was rude to me. I secretly loved it.
For telling me that following my heart is essential but will never be easy.
For saying that you’re proud of me.
For allowing me to make my own mistakes and not punishing me for them.
For teaching me frugality and that joy comes from living with less.
For letting me learn alongside you rather than you doing it for me.
For helping people without judgement of their situation.
For allowing me to witness you breaking down sometimes so that I knew it was okay when it happened to me.
For always getting back up.
For giving me an appreciation of the smell of sweet peas, the feel of bread dough, the taste of homemade cooking, the sound of classical music and the ever present vision of your hands creating, cooking, building, sewing.
My own hands have taught me that no matter what struggles I have, they are an ever present point of connection with myself – my whole self.
Thanks mom.


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