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An Old Yoke

Updated: May 30, 2020

My pull to engage verbally and be heard, at whatever cost, flared up sometimes with our young daughter. Now, having found my voice, I could not help letting her have the lashings of one thousand tongues sometimes. A pent up sass, exacerbation, rudeness had built up within me for too damn long.

Whenever we locked horns, I had tunnel vision. My eyes were seeing another time and space. My daughter was not my daughter in these instances. The disorientation that was the shouting matches had started with something in the moment: an eye roll. Yet, as we quarreled with our words, we transported to another place. I could tell we’d been somewhere else because when we came back together, trying to get regulated as well as repair the words shorted it was like we’d been on a journey far, far away.

With a loving nudge from my husband to look at this pattern that played out regularly, and the support of our counselor, I took some moments to self-reflect on how I behaved with our kindergartner. It was something I was not proud of and wanted to change. I was open to acknowledge that she was pushing a button in me and it sent me on fire with as much as a breath.

The counselor gave some ideas of what that button was: betrayal or ____. That’s when an unseen piece of myself smashed its shell wide open and revealed a whole compartment of my past, ripe for the reviewing. The heat of my rage had split-open my heart like a juicy pomegranate.

I felt challenged and it didn’t feel good. I had a voice now and I was doing to push back when provoked. No more tolerating bullying behavior with a smile and a birthday gift. On my own, I stared to tune into my body. What age did I feel when I argued and fought with my daughter? 12. Middle school. Who was the girl I would have LOVED to tell off and have a voice with: “Becky.” Holy Fuck! I could see it now. All the years of being put down, play ideas modified to suit her tastes, shamed for asking for babysitting advice had had their last call. Now, with a strong voice, courage to break taboos as well as disappoint people, or walk away from a toxic relationship, I was D O N E. I saw I had been playing out the “last stand” with my own kid.

There has been a sense of a contract or karma when we’d be these types of fights. Typically, they occurred in the waning days of my cycle before I bled and I was raw to the world and myself. This revelation occurred on the date of a Super Moon in Scorpio, my sun sign. The themes of death and rebirth could not be more obvious.

Once my mind was blown and heart sprung open about the root of my aggression, it became clear to me that I wanted to do physical work. I wanted to feel embodied and preceded to do 1.5 hours of yard work. Bark mulch purchased and spread, while my two-year-old played in the shade on her little slide and with blocks, I felt steady, assimilated. When I showered after, it was more ceremonial than hygienic. Having processed this epiphany while I swatted over the ground and lifted my bucket of mulch, my cells, my nervous system, began to rewire itself. The sweat that washed down the silver drain in the tiled shower also swept away my tethers to a time when I could not stand up for myself. As I caressed my body in the warm spray of water, I imagined the tendrils that had held me, trapped me, when I was 12, let go of me. With love and compassion for myself, and the bully, I witnessed their departure.

I had found, and touched, opened and seen a piece of myself that I had continued to run right into without seeing. I see that piece of my past now and will begin to make efforts to step over it and work to integrate it into my present self. My daughter is not my childhood bully, even when she’s asserting herself. I will practice securing and assuring my twelve-year-old self that she has/had a voice and she and her ideas matter and are of value. She is of value just as I am of value.


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