I am finished with my anti-Mother’s Day posts for the week. I might be finished for the year; we’ll see. It could come up again. There are no doubt some lingering blog posts out there that I haven’t yet read which hold within their magic the ability to trigger the things I’ve left unsaid this year. These are usually the well-meaning essays written by biological mothers who wish to grant allowances to all non-biological mothers to make the day more inclusive. You know how it starts, all gracious and mannerly. “Mother’s Day includes anyone who _______________ (insert your favorite concession here). This shit makes me feel violent. But I kept my mouth shut this year. I let the day pass without pissing on the pastel parade.
It was a tremendous help not to have much social media exposure this year, but of course I couldn’t be completely protected from the day’s public observances. My wellness practice included allowing myself to feel all of the feelings which welled up from my fertile depths, and allowing all of them to be present and acknowledged without incrimination. I held them close, these precious, holy, pieces of me.
I seethed in silence as my viable uterus clenched with unreleased rage. My breasts swelled as if pregnant with molten lava. My nails grew a quarter of an inch in twelve hours. Every crevice felt moist. I fantasized about jumping impossibly high and stomping hard enough fill in craters on the moon. My tongue sizzled in my mouth. My hair stood away from skin. I couldn’t get music loud enough. I quite literally turned my face away from the light and sought solace in the dark. Not the quiet safe dark. The haunted forest dark. The damp basement dark. The abandoned church where teenagers have sex dark. Mother Mary sent me to the Morrigan.
I used the day to my advantage. I quietly and privately worshiped the various Queens of Death and Goddesses of Hunts and Battles from cultures gone by. The Night Queens, The Winter Queens, The Hags and Harpies and Valkryies. The chicks who ruled the night sky, the bogs, and the moors, the underworlds and otherworlds. The country cousins of the feminine divine who do not get favored because we’ve been conditioned to abhor their realms and proclivities. And by worship them I mean learned all I could about the most interesting among them, sought out the fragments and parallels and reconfigured figures (Recon Figures) still lingering in scripture. I wrote heretical questions about human death, death as the other half of life, and mourning. I wallowed like a wayward wastrel. It felt more truthful than the national alternative, and for me it is more truthful.
I am not sorry.
These episodes of shifting and re-shifting emotional wellness are important to our practice, and it is for this reason that I break my silence. It is for this reason I made those backhanded greetings you’ve seen posted this week. We all have darkness within, because it is the other side of our light. It’s natural and normal. Every one of us capable of becoming saints are equally capable of becoming monsters. All of us. Warmongers, peacemakers, we are all made of both sets of ingredients. We learn sugar and spice and everything nice, as if salt and sulfur and everything pungent aren’t part of the recipe.
But they are. Yes, they are. Anyone who loves can hate. Anyone who heals can hurt. Anyone who protects can exploit. Anyone who makes life can take it. We can all go too far. We can all snap. We can all lose our shit. We can all be compelled forces, be they martial, spiritual, or conceptual. Human history has shown us what we are capable of accomplishing and capable of inflicting. Madness and saneness are defined by context.
We are taught not to nurture these parts of ourselves; these half-mad cohabitant elements of ourselves. We are taught instead to ignore them, try to purge them in some way, exorcise, dispel, shame, brainwash, or medicate these parts of ourselves because they are bad, evil, sinful, wrong, wicked, unhealthy, unsound, or symptoms of illness. Depression statistics show us the consequences of this; huge segments of our population walking around convinced that their brains are broken because they won’t “work right” or “work the way they’re supposed to” or worse, “work like everyone else’s.” Bullshit. It isn’t that we are so sick. It is that we are not allowed to be whole.
We all have something alive and well in the world that does what Mother’s Day does to me. It could be something far less national or global but whether or not we admit it in public, we all have an emotional demon. We might have several. My big one happens to be Mother’s Day but it could just as easily be something else. It turns me into a werewolf for a day. It makes my blood boil. It makes me irrational and sacrilegious. And in the same way that women have been taught to hate away cellulite or stretch marks or extra weight only to find that hate is an utterly useless and ineffectual tool of achieving perfection, so it is utterly useless and ineffectual to try to hate away the dark side of who I am. I don’t need to be fixed. I don’t need to be repaired or adjusted. I sure as hell don’t need to lie about it.
And neither do you.