Posts Tagged ‘women’

What Witches Know

June 6, 2009

Photo and Story © 2009 http://www.psychscribe.com

 

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WHAT WITCHES KNOW 

by

Psychscribe

 

     My grandmother, just before they burned her, said this to my mother: the only difference between them and us is they don’t know they have it.  She gestured with her chin at  the bonneted, jostling women, who far out numbered the men in the seething crowd around the stake. Her own unbound hair snapped in the wind as they lit her.

     Afterwards my mother fled to this secret, wooded place that welcomes our kind.  The curse they call a power spills like gentle sunlight upon the bears  and other wild things that feed from our hands. The beasts of the forest are kin to us.

     I had no father.  She grew me, all on her own she liked to say. I never asked her for the truth.  I knew he’d met the same terrible fate as all the others, the ones who came after. 

     We never knew how they found her here.  They would just appear between the trees, squinting and searching, as if sucked from the great open spaces by a hungry wind.  Raking her fingers through that thick, viney hair, she would sigh so deeply you could feel the cottage tremble.  I trembled too.  For them and for her.  Go away, she would whisper.  Not again, I would pray. 

     The gods did not answer. The men did not hear.

     She tried to warn them.  I’ll hurt you, she’d cry.  Leave while you can.  They never believed her.  Princes and farmers, hunters and noblemen, even the friar thought he could save her.  They never said from what.

     Save yourself! she would shriek.  They only chased her more.

     She looked safe enough. Layers of violet gauze robes hung from a tall, fragile frame, concealing tiny breasts and skin so pale it seemed as if she might vanish at any moment.  They must have thought they were chasing a fairy.  How could they know what she was?

     What they hunted, hell-bent, was their own annihilation.   They would forget to eat and drink, or wash, or even sleep, and laugh in delight when she called it to their attention.  See what you do to me, crooned the hunter to his prey.   See what you do. 

     And each would whisper his dream of wholeness and nothingness, the dream we’ve been hearing since time began, the one that sends them from their churches and wives’ beds and into our damnation.

     Did she love them?  Almost, always almost, she once said.  But as soon as I can smell the fear in them the feeling is replaced by something else, something I can’t name. 

     Sooner or later she would grow tired from the hunt.  How long can you run from water when your throat is parched?  But she never succumbed, not at once anyway.  Breathless and laughing, she would toss the suitor her robes and the promise of tomorrow, disappearing into the cottage and bolting the door.

     Witch! they would shout at her naked, fleeing form, angry yet smiling in a way I did not understand.  Burn her! Burn her! the wives left behind cried out in their dreams. 

     In the morning, still naked, she would unbolt the door and open it wide, her dark hair coiling and writhing, lifting toward the sun.  I could feel her heat from where I lay in my small bed.  She would not close her eyes when she made what they called love . They liked that at first ( ah… spirit! ) arched triumphantly over her like bows and staring into the depths of what they fancied to be their souls.  They always got to the point, of course, where they needed to close their eyes on what they saw. But by then it was too late.

 

     We keep a little piece of them.  Not because we are evil but because it is our nature.  What we take are their shadows, their dark, howling secrets.  If you’ve ever seen a squirrel skinned alive then you know what it is like.   

     They live through it.  They go home to their wives, their hearths and their children.  But a man without his shadow is never sure he’s really there.  He looks at the ground and sees nothing beneath his feet.

 

     The witch hunts come cyclically, just like the seasons.  We know it is time long before we hear the pounding of hooves, the blood-thirsty cries.

     The man who led the hunt for my mother was probably the most enamored of all her lovers.  And the most tormented.  He brought his wife, a small, plain  woman with flat brown eyes.  She’d known, of course.  They always know.  He’d offered her first torch when they found the witch.

     There must have been forty men.  You could smell the lust in the air when they stripped her.  I sure would like a taste of this one before we cook her, one of them said as he grabbed at her breast.

     Don’t touch her! I’ll kill the lot of you! screamed my mother’s lover, aiming his musket at all of them. The wife paled at his outburst.  She swayed on her feet like a sapling in a winter wind. My mother reached out a hand to steady her.

     A look passed between witch and wife that can hardly be described.. It flickered brighter than the torchlight in the air between them, a fusion of forces human shaped and witch radiant, so brilliant, so strong, that the men had to turn their faces from it. 

     She passed her torch to my mother, then gently wrapped her cloak around my mother’s bare shoulders.  Piece by piece she flung the rest of her garments at the men, laughing and spinning herself into the frenzy that is older than time.

     The men dared not say a word.  The husband could not.

     Embracing the stake like a lover, she wrapped her naked arms and legs around it as my mother lit the pyre.  Not a hand was lifted to stop it. 

     Afterwards he carried my mother home, belly down on his horse.  He married her and got his shadow back.  It was said, for a time, that he’d never looked better.  My mother, of course, died the death the wife had chosen for her.  It was slow, and a terrible thing to see.  First they bound her hair, then they put bonnets on her, and in time when he looked into her eyes he saw nothing.  Nothing at all.

     A witch without her magic is like a man without his shadow: useless both of them, and damned anyway.

A True Confession About Friends

May 20, 2009

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Artist: Diego Rivera

 

As I get older, I’m becoming more and more of a loner.  That is to say, I prefer my own company to the company of others. Given the choice of a visit with a friend, or reading or writing or creating, I will always choose the latter.  I’m going to say what is true for me, even though it sounds awful. After about a half hour visit, I get bored. Yes. I get bored. Because my mind drifts away to my interior landscape from which my creativity springs, and I want to get back to it. To whatever medium I’m working in. I don’t want to listen very long to  somebody’s daily travails or about their their kids or daily lives.  I feel trapped,  a captive audience.  Phone calls are the same for me. Maybe even worse. Because they have to be returned if I want to have any friends at all.

So why do I want them, you may be asking yourself.  Well…because I love them! And I care about them. And when the chips are down, they’re there for me and I’m there for them.  I think maybe  its just that in this fifth decade of my life, my identity is morphing into an artist and I have no patience for daily minutiae.

Also, the more I think about it, a man would never even write this post or have these thoughts. Men don’t chat about their daily lives. Most of the ones I know are very much bottom line kinds of people. Phone calls serve a function, as in : where are we going and what time are we meeting? Men do things together. Women seem to talk about things more. …A cultural thing, I guess.

 How could Psychscribe admit to such mean thoughts? Because it is my truth. Does this sound really awful?

There’s More to Lupus Than You Know

May 15, 2009

Lupus causing extended suffering

May 12, 2009

My previous post was tongue in cheek…but now, this is living hell…the constant itching is actually painful…dr has increased my antihistamine to the point that it knocks me out…when i wake up there is a 1 hour window (now) before i can take my next dose…i have to choose what feels like induced coma, or suffering…the lupus is making me suffer, exacerbating and extending the allergic reaction

UTI- Sick Humor

March 16, 2009

1.5 – 2 million Americans have a form of lupus

February 7, 2009

Do you even know what lupus is ? You should. It can kill you or a loved one. 

If I Had My Life to Live Over

February 7, 2009

 

This is a well known column by Erma Bombeck, a very popular writer who was syndicated back in the days before the internet and died in 1996.. (Yes children, there once was a world without it when people couldn’t live without their paper newspapers!) 

Anyway, I thought I’d post it for anyone in younger generations, or other countries, who missed it. Its quite wonderful, I think. Hope you will too. Its called “If I Had My Life to Live Over”.  She writes:

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the ‘good’ living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television – and more while watching life.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.”

There would have been more “I love yous”..  more “I’m sorrys”…  but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute…look at it and really see it…live it…and never give it back.

by Erma Bombeck 

About Erma from Wikipedia: “Erma Louise Bombeck (February 211927 – April 221996), born Erma Fiste, was an Americanhumorist who achieved great popularity for hernewspaper column that described suburban home life humorously from the mid-1960s until the late ’90s. Bombeck also published 15 books, most of which became best-sellers.

From 1965 to 1996, Erma Bombeck wrote over 4,000 newspaper columns chronicling the ordinary life of a midwestern suburban housewife with broad, and sometimes eloquent, humor. By the 1970s, her witty columns were read, twice weekly, by thirty million readers of 900 newspapers of theU.S. and Canada.”

Do You Think She Needs Counseling?

February 3, 2009

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I Am Not Yours

January 17, 2009
 
by Sara Teasdale
 
I am not yours, not lost in you,
Not lost, although I long to be
Lost as a candle lit at noon,
Lost as a snowflake in the sea.

You love me, and I find you still
A spirit beautiful and bright,
Yet I am I, who long to be
Lost as a light is lost in light.

Oh plunge me deep in love—put out
My senses, leave me deaf and blind,
Swept by the tempest of your love,
A taper in a rushing wind.

Words on Women & Strength

January 9, 2009

If I Were To Die Today (Part 3- Relationship with Self))

December 19, 2008

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Image copyright Jupiter Images 2008

Myself? I’m happy with who I am and what I’ve done in this life.  It took me a long time to grow up. Very long. Through one marriage and into the second, where I finally, finally grew my wings. (Thank to the snuggy, supportive nest my Alph made for me.)

I went back to college  pregnant with my second child and delivered her between semesters. Twenty five years later that child became my colleague and partner in our  psychotherapy practice. Imagine that?!! The joy I feel from this is beyond measure or description.  But more than that, I love that we are able to give our services to those who cannot afford it.  Kind of like Robin Hood. We get the max from our affluent clients and give it back, time wise, to our less fortunate ones.

I’ve learned to enjoy fun. I never played at all until a few years ago when I looked at some application which asked me to list my hobbies. I didn’t have any. For me, an A type, learning, seminars, learning, work were all I ever wanted to do.  (Tightly held secret: we shrinks rarely apply to ourselves the very things we try to teach our clients.)  It so bothered me that I thought: what have I always wanted to try? For me?  That turned out to be decoupage. Hours and hours of learning how to do it, but playing, enjoying the process, the creativity. Creativity had always been what sustains me, but I’d put it aside in my quest for achievement. Now I’m making jewelry. Another joy in the process. If my efforts produce lovely results, great! If not, I still had fun.  I’m also  waiting for my new camera to arrive (thank you, Amber, for putting the bug in me!) because I’m longing to express myself by capturing the other love of my life: nature.

If I should die today, my career goals would have been accomplished. I would die knowing  that I became the therapist I always wanted to be, who  helped a lot of people. The ones whose heartfelt thanks cannot begin to be measured and who I will never, ever forget. The ones who trusted me with their pain and their wounds, who inspired me with their courage, and who taught me so much. 

Have I become the woman I wanted to be? Well that, too, was an evolving process.  First I wanted to be a homemaker and stay at home mom. When that changed and I wanted to get an education and a career, the trouble started in my first marriage. That’s not what he signed on for. And in all fairness, that’s not what I’d originally agreed to.  We were so young. We just couldn’t navigate these choppy waters. We were only 21 when we married for goodness sake! Babies! What did we know about relationships? Giving?Flexibility? Growth and change? Nothing. Nothing at all.

It was a very painful divorce. Volatile, yet so sad. But as Carol Burnett once said, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. 

My onset of lupus and subsequent stroke have actually been blessings too. Not a life lesson I would  have chosen, but they were not exactly electives in the school of my life.  I’ve had to learn to rely on others which has been a humbling experience. A giver all my life (parentified child) it has been hard to learn to receive. Also…very nice…and quite beautiful.  And, of course, having come so close to death, I’ve learned to appreciate every moment of every day, and to thank God for the gift of my life. 

I read somewhere once that we’re bound by our fate only as long as we accept the values that determine it. I never forgot that. In fact, reading that, and getting it, is probably what changed my life. I got rid of my culturally imposed role of what a woman should be, and I learned to define myself. My self. MY self.  

I learned that personal authenticity is my primary value, and always will be. 

So if I should die today, I would die happy with my journey. Happy that I died as ME.

Therapist! Practice What You Preach!

June 23, 2008

What a weekend! Major issues with my sister that grew into a full blown cat fight in the middle of a restaurant, with both our husbands ducking for cover. I kid you not. She even flung a napkin or something that ended up at another table, much to the delight of those patrons…it had to do with all kinds of chick stuff the grist of which fuels the book and film industry not to mention Lifetime Channel… Anyway I write this as a fairly anonymous confession…we  therapists preach non-reactivity but even we lose it sometimes!!!!

My Alpha Has Done it Again

March 14, 2008

Flowers for no reason. Not a birthday, not Valentine’s Day. Just tulips (my favorite flower) delivered to my office. With a romantic note that I will not share here, but reminded me instantly of why I fell in love with him.  I know he’s not sounding so alpha these days, but I want to balance the picture by telling you that he plays war games on X-Box with his sons and buddies.

When the Woman in Your Life is Crying

February 26, 2008

I just ran across this wonderful piece by lirone.  Please, men everywhere, do read what to do When the Woman in Your Life is Crying . Women should read it too, both to feel validated and maybe to send it to your man.

Psychscribe Quote #18

February 25, 2008

“Don’t compromise yourself.” Janis Joplin

Psychscribe Quote #17

February 22, 2008

“I call up my names: Woman who has been born in the arms of a woman and welcomed home. I shout truth teller, silence breaker, life embracer, death no longer fearing, woman reunited with her child self.  I sing woman who is daughter, sister, lover and mother to herself.   I hum woman planter, gatherer, healer.  I drum woman, warrior, siren, woman who stands firmly on her feet, woman who reaches inward to her center and outward to stars.  I am woman who is child no longer, woman who is making herself sane, whole. ”  Andrea R. Canaan

Would You Have Cosmetic Surgery?

January 23, 2008

When I  was in my 30’s I swore I would NEVER, EVER get any “work done” as they say. It was a big political thing to me…and actually still is…the way the culture promotes…demands…. youth and beauty…. particularly for women… Its as if you’re really not worth anything without it.(Hollywood movies are a perfect examle of this). I loudly defied that value to everyone i knew…I loudly rejected it…not ME i said, blindly looking into my distant future…

Well now, 20 years later, I can see how much I’ve internalized that value…and to be brually honest with myself, I wish with all my heart that I could do the very culturally induced and encouraged medical mutililation (cosmetic surgery) that I protested and none the less inernalized! I cannot risk any unnecessary surgery due to my lupus, yet not a day goes by that I don’t lift my jowls and pull back my neck and think oh! How much better I woud look!

I read a quote somewhere like “Being beautiful is only difficult once you lose it”…I couldn’t agree more….

(This post is a response I made to a post in  Amberfireinus’s Weblog.)

Are You an Alpha Female?

January 20, 2008

I know they exist, and I know I am one. I tried to find some objective definitions of alpha females but couldn’t find any. So my working definition is that an alpha female is strong, confident, and a leader.  The problem is that many people of both genders really can’t stand alpha females  I think this is because they feel threatened.  A man who is a strong, confident leader is an alpha. A female who is a strong, confident leader is a bitch. What do you think?

Psychscribe Quote # 11

January 17, 2008

“Don’t hide the lines in my face when you photograph me. I suffered too much to get them.” Anna Magnani

Lupus – I confess

January 16, 2008

Well, anyone who follows my blog has probably figured out by now that I have lupus.  I hide behind my screen name on this because I’m afraid my clients will either not want to work with a therapist who has a chronic illness, or feel like they need to take care of me. I realize the word “confess” in the subject line sounds like I feel like I’ve done something wrong. I don’t. I just mean I confess to the truth  that I’ve sort of, kind of, been hiding in my blog. There are some patients of mine who have the link to this blog. These are paients I have a longstanding relationship with who I trust will not draw back in horror. And who I trust are healthy enough to handle this infomation.

I think I’ve chosen to come out of the closet on this because there is a stigma about having it, much as people whispered about someone having cancer when I was growing up.   Or else people don’t know what on earth it is, or have heard only horror stories. I will tell you my story in a subsequent post. I want to raise public awareness about this disease and as of this post, I’ve had a defining moment! And it feels good.  It also feels good to me because lupus affects mostly women,  and I have always been a champion of womens issues.      To be continued….

Alpha Male: Working Definition

January 6, 2008

I’ve received quite a bit of interest in my posts on the alpha male. I’ve now realized, in talking with my daughter, her alpha male fiancee , and his artistic brother, that a working definition would be nice for any further discussion. To start with, we all agree that the alpha male is a “man’s man”.  Always a leader, confident, some might say arrogant. Not interested in the creative arts and doesn’t care if you think he should be. This is the guy you’d want with you if you were lost in the jungle because he would keep you safe and get you out of there.

I think its important to note that I see two types of alpha males. One is the type who is high on his own testosterone. He gets road rage, abuses women and children, and fights with guys in bars.  This is clearly the undesireable alpha. The other type is an evolved alpha. He is a leader in business, a commander in combat, the strength of his family, and a loving partner. He loves very feminine women, “girly girls” but also wants intelligence and independance in a woman because he wants an equal, not a subordinate. A true alpha is not threatened by strong women. He admires them.

I would love to get my readers more involved in this discussion.  What do you think?

The Gift I Gave that Everyone Hated

December 31, 2007

Our kids gave us a surprise party last month. All our friends and family came, and everyone looked really great. You’d think that would be obvious since they were so  decked out and all. I mean, thought they looked great. So I printed and framed a photo of each couple for Christmas, and managed to apparently traumatize each and every one of them. Well, truth be told, it was the women who were traumatized….

Responses ranged from polite dismay, to “Omigod, I look terrible in that picture!” to “Do I really look that fat?” to my sister’s most memorable response. She opened the gift, exclaimed “But I look so old!”  and began giggling uncontrollably….which caused our mother to start giggling with her…till they were laughing so hard that tears were streaming from their eyes. (In all fairness to me, she wore a silly hat the night the photo was taken, which did not flatter her, but I figured she must have liked how she looked or why would she have worn it, you know?)

The moral of the story: I will never, ever give anyone a photo of themselves again. People always think, hope (?) that they look better than they actually do…why would I want to be a buzz kill ?!

How I Do Not Define Myself

December 23, 2007

So how do we define ourselves?  I posted that question when I started this blog. I asked if it was by our roles, our relationships, our work… I didn’t get many responses and I can see why – that’s not exactly an easy answer! Sounds like it ought to be the topic of a term paper.  So I think its only fair  to muse a bit on this myself…

When I was a child,  of course it was by relationship.  I was a daughter.  An extension of my mother and father and my wonderful extended family.   I was also an avid reader and writer from the first day I learned to sound out my phonics. Later I became a friend,  a wife, a mother, and a Christian. And those relational definitions of myself satisfied me for many years. But then depression crept in like a cold dark fog,  and with it a long, long search for my own identity. I wanted a definition of myself created by myself,  not one that I had blindly accepted from my culture.  I began to feel that  those roles did not define me…they described me. 

So then I went through a phase of believing you are what you do. I mean I really did believe that.  I went back to school , pregnant with my second child, and  I was also a student. And that satisfied me for a while. I felt a lot better about myself, because I am an intelligent person and I liked that label. I defined myself as a learner. I also had to read and write a lot, which was what I’d had a passion for from the age of six.

But sooner or later, I had to graduate. And off I went into my occupation, degree in hand, a “professional”.  Now I know who I am, I thought.  When the buzz died I continued, and continue, to take more postgraduate training.  And I still get that buzz from learning.  The only thing is….I’ve also  learned that my occupation does not define me either. I am not what I do. True, the occupation I’ve chosen  says some things about the kind of person I am, but it doesn’t define me. 

All I know for sure is that I am a wife, a mother, a friend, a therapist, a  learner, a writer, an artist, a soul searcher, and a Christian.  But none of those define me. How can they? Isn’t the human soul  greater than the sum of its parts?

Do You Love an Alpha Male?

December 21, 2007

I posted a love note mine sent me…would you be willing to tell us what you love about yours?

Alpha Male Love Note

December 18, 2007

This is the email he left me this morning. This is the man I love.  I love what he did, how he said it, all of it. Bottom line is its nurturing and protective and we all need this in our relationships:

“Your car has a lot of ice on it.  I cleared the windows but do not put on the wipers until the car has warmed up.  You might want to go down and turn it on and leave it running for 15 min or so before you leave.   Watch for ice coming off when you are at speed.

Love you”