This time last year we were in the wonderful slow phase of life that I preferred to call Spring retreat @ Home. We slowed right down and took time to listen to the birds sing and watch the trees heave with the weight of the blossoms on the boughs. We enjoyed the pleasures that the Earth had to offer, but we are so often too busy to notice. Today I am still living at a fairly relaxed pace, but it was a hectic 24 hours as we tried to prepare 65,000 leaflets for delivery by the Royal Mail. It is a bit of an oxymoron, on Earth Day, to package up thousands of leaflets, and then travel hundreds of miles in total to move them from A to B. I did enjoy my run down the south coast of Ayrshire, to the small town of Ballantrae, to drop some off to a wonderful man, who is fully commited to the Freedom cause. Let’s hope people read them and take action, to get our lives back to some sense of normality.
With the election just 3 weeks away, my writing is going to take a back seat for now. Today I spent the day with another candidate for the South region of Scotland, hoping to win votes for the Freedom Alliance party, a brand new political party put together without any politicians in it. It is people power. We the people have had enough. It is going to be a challenge, but whatever the outcome I will be able to say that I tried my best to do what is right.
This is not the planned post that I was going to write, but I have just come across the blog Psyche Cafe that had the image of the book The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk MD on it. This is the next book on my list of books to buy, as part of my research to write my own story of healing, and so I diverted my attention away from writing, onto reading. It’s what we adoptees do, think of doing one thing and end up doing something else. Ask my husband.
I read “Adoption said, I’ll label this one as mine and handed me a mask. Don’t worry honey. It will stretch as you grow. Put it on. And keep it on. And we won’t talk of this……..I’ll tell you when it’s safe to take the mask off.”
And so I thought pensively about the mask that I may have been handed and worn for much of my life. I was often accused of being funny at inopportune moments. It was like I couldn’t tell what was comedy and what was tragedy. My brain had been wired differently to others. I laughed out loud at my sister’s funeral, as the ladies of a certain age discussed picking up an aerosol cannister thinking it was hairspray only to discover that pledge doesn’t hold the curls quite like swartzkopf does.
And so my mind wandered to what the world has been doing for the past year. Governments and society have been trying to tell us when to wear masks, and more poignantly, when we can take them off, and like the average adoptee, I have rebelled. They cajoled us with “face coverings” it didn’t need to be a mask, you just had to cover your face. Now as someone who has years of experience working on an infectious diseases unit in a past life, masks when an infectious disease is concerned are contaminated clinical waste, and are disposed of and sent for incineration, not scrunched up and put back in your pocket or handbag, nor is it worn under the chin when outside for ease of pulling back over the breathing orifices when required. If people could only see the mites that might be crawling on their skin, they may think about not cradling their chin with a chin warmer, before replacing over their nose and mouth, to breathe those microscopic critters in. I resisted, I resisited to wear a paper mask, and a cloth one, a glittery one or even one that turned itself into a necklace when not needed to cover the face. Thinking about it that might be preferable to perching it under the chin, I would need to see the risk assessments done on the two designs to compare.
No I resisited because the logic and science says that masks don’t work in a respiratory virus, and yet still the people wore them. Nor did it seem logical to introduce mask wearing when they did. We weren’t told to wear them at the beginning, although advised, we had the choice. I chose not to. Then after 3 months in the UK they told us we needed to wear them when going to the shops, it was mandated unless you had an exemption. I do. I have panic attacks when I think about putting a mask over my face. I wore a mask for many many years, I now chose to show the world the real Joy, maskless, smiling communicating with the whole of my face. Is my body keeping the score of the mask that it wore for years.
The mask of “put a brave face on, don’t let others see that you’re not coping”, whatever coping means. Can I still feel the imprint of that mask that I wore for so long? Is it imprinted on my Soul in the same way as the primal wound is imprinted on it? Recalled but not remembered. Now I so want to buy the book to see what Van Der Kolk MD has to say? Where’s my credit card? Is it hidden under the mask in my handbag, that I bought back in Summer 2020, just in case?
Blessings and Joy, Joy
PS Go check that blog out and read more of what Psyche Cafe had to say.
My thanks to Lance Greenfield of Write to Inspire , who has introduced me to the blog Carrot Ranch. This is my first attempt at writing from their flash fiction, a story in 99 words.
Trapped within the confines of her cell, the muffled sounds of Christmas songs came through the walls. She was head over heels in love with her captor unfortunately. They provided her with food and took away the remains and her waste. They soothed her with music and soft words and played with her mind. They spoke in a foreign language, they said it was best for her.
On a cold January day, she was prepared to make her escape. One short journey with twists and turns down a tightly packed tunnel, head first, landing between her mothers’ straddled legs.
How did you enjoy that? Made a change. Back to writing about my journey with Flourish tomorrow, with my refelctions of what we did in our most recent meeting. We reach the end of the first quarter with the last meeting in March.
My blog posts have been a bit short recently on the whole adoption topic. That is because I have been spending a lot of time on my book outline and chapter development. This is how well it is going!
I have started to expand those chapters, add the details of my story under the chapter headings, and the therapy that helped me to heal as I went. Still work in progress. It’s taking longer than I thought, but it will be worth it.
So for now my posts are going to be short and sweet. I have a deadline of 19th April to get a book proposal in.
Have a great weekend. If you are in the UK, remember that the clocks spring forward tonight. 1 less hour in bed 😦
A year ago today, I had plans to be on an aeroplane, en route to Brighton to do the second part of my Upledger CranioSacral course, part two of five, CST 2, having already done CST 1 in November 2019. I had brought this one forward from June 2020 to March. Well we all know what happened don’t we? On 23rd March 2020 BoJo put the country into lockdown, despite the SARS Cov2 virus having been downgraded by the WHO to a level of a lesser significance on 19th March 2020. You work that logic out?
Ironically 2020 was the first year in my 59 years of life that I had my whole year planned out, with two of the five courses in my diary interspersed with holidays. I was expecting by the end of 2020 to have three parts done, with only parts 4 & 5 to go. But as my daughter would say “It is what it is”. So on the anniversary of me not getting to do my CST course, I will reflect back on the past year.
I spent the first 40 days doing an online dessert soul retreat with the Community of Mystic Healers. I preferred to call the enforced house arrest as a Spring Retreat @Home. We had regular zoom calls throughout the day, and deepened our spiritual life, immersing ourselves completely in a way that only lockdown could have allowed us. Life took on a much slower pace. It was peaeful around us as there was no traffic to drown out the birdsong, and we could hear the babbling brook which runs at the bottom of the garden. We took daily walks through the park and noticed the huge amount of blossom that was so heavy that the boughs touched the ground. My husband and I started the day with coffee in bed, then elevenses together, lunch, mid-afternoon tea, in-between meditation, contemplation and yoga. My left frozen shoulder got more attention than my right one did years ago.
At the beginning of the year I must admit to having been a teensy bit scared and a little paranoid. I wasn’t scared of catching Covie, I have a God created immune system that would take care of it, but I was concerned about isolating for ten days and not being able to get to the shops to purchase food, if either my husband or I were ill, so we cooked batches of curry and froze them. I even made a Christmas cake in March as I was convinced that the shelves would be bare later in the year when I usually make it. We could and we did. I made a second cake, as the first one was split between my husband’s birthday and our 10th wedding anniversary.
In July I took part in the Hay House 7 day writer’s challenge. I have been planning to write my life story for a very long time, but really didn’t know where to start. This hour a day for 7 days taught me so much. It asked questions like “Which 2 books would you like to see your book sandwiched between on the shelf at the bookshop?” Wow I had never even thought of what books were already out there. So I researched books on adoption, books on psychology and memoirs. I bought many books to read.
I discovered that my birth father went back to his wife, and was living with her even after I was born. I applied for a copy of their marriage certificate and I discovered that they got married just a few days after Chrismas in 1956.
I discovered Anne Heffron’s book “You Don’t Look Adopted”. I bought the book, I connected with Anne, I joined the Flourish Family and found 25 other adoptees that I could commune with and be understood. I joined facebook groups and had my eyes opened wide to the whole world of adoption. I learnt that there is an adoption symbol, which I have my own thoughts about. I heard about adoption disruption groups (which I didn’t investigate, they sounded far too angry) I watched DNA Family Secrets and identified with some of the people on the programme. I asked same sex couples if they’d thought about the possibilty that a baby might need more than just love? That loving a baby doesn’t answer the question it may have about it’s roots, it’s culture and it’s heritiage. I have set up a facebook group, Finding Joy Community, to help other adoptees heal.
I celebrated my 60th birthday with the news from Nicola Sturgeon that we were to go into another lockdown at midnight on 4th/5th January. So I went from planning a cruise for my 60th, to three nights at Gleneagles, to a dinner reservation, to not even being able to go out and buy a fish supper! I never liked celebrating my birthday anyway. It’s an adoptee thing!
And inbetween all this I continued to sign up for CST courses only to have them cancelled on me. The most recent was at the beginning of March this year. I did manage to get onto a virtual CST2 course, but I do need to repeat it in person when I can. I have received an email to say that it is happening in July in Brighton, fingers crossed.
So reflecting over the past year, I must be grateful for all the lessons. I have learnt so much about myself, my history. I have met so many amazing creative people through zoom. I have discovered the creative release of writing and I have posted for 60 days continuosly therefore setting a habit of writing daily that I now feel able to start the process of writing my story. I have the chapter outline written.
Today I discovered that I can leave the UK for studying purposes, which is welcome news as it may mean that I can continue my CST training faster than previously hoped as I can travel abroad to courses that are being held in English. All in all a succesful ending to an eventful year.
In yesterday’s flourish group we were asked “What comes up for you, when you think of yourself as erotic?”
This came on the back of a quote from Audre Lorde from her paper Uses of the Erotic, The Erotic as Power, delivered at the Fourth Berkshire Confence on the History of Women, Mount Holyoke College on the 25th August 1978.
This is a small excerpt:
“There are many kinds of power, used and unused, acknowledged and otherwise. The erotic is a resource within each of us that lies in a deeply female or spiritual plane, firmly rooted in the power of our unexpressed or unrecognized feeling…….For women, this has meant a suppression of the erotic as a considered source of power and information within our lives.
For the erotic is not a question only of what we do, it is a question of how acutely and fully we can feel in the doing. Once we know the extent to which we are capable of feeling, that sense of satisfaction and completion, we can then observe which of our various life endeavours brings us closest to that fullness.
The aim of each thing which we do is to make our lives and the lives of our children richer and more possible”
Damn this is hard because I honestly feel more erotic when I am on my own. Then I can truly engage with all my senses. I can sing and dance, dress in my flowing skirts and feel with my whole body when I am alone. Only then can I dance as though no-one is watching. When I am on my own I am in total control of things, where I am going, what I am doing, what music I listen to, what film I am going to watch. I reclaimed my power whenI left home and I don’t plan on relinquishing it any time soon, as I was relinquished so easily at birth.
When I was around 16 my grandmother came to stay with us over Christmas. On the day she was being taken home, by my parents, my brothers and sisters who were still living at home were asked what they were doing that day. Me it was “Joy get in the car” I didn’t want to go, it was over an hours journey back to our old home town and then a return journey and I had college work to do whch I had been putting off over the holidays. I argued that I wasn’t going, that why did everyoe else get asked, but I got told. It was a turning point in my life and it was probably the first time in my life that I didn’t do as I was told. But at 16 I had no idea who I was. My home had been filled with other people’s choices. With me being the youngest of five, and with only one TV and one record player in the house, I watched and listened mainly to what other people put on. In the 70’s I listened to my brothers and sisters record collection and musical tastes. They had paper-round money to buy records, I did not, so their tastes became mine by default. Even to this day I spend very little money if any on music. My clothes growing up had more or less been hand-me downs. Dresses hung up in wardrobes just waiting for me to grow into them. When my sister went away to boarding school, material was bought to make her summer uniform dresses. Extra material was bought and dresses were made for me despite there being absolutely no intention of me going to the same school, after all she was eleven, I was three. I didn’t develop my own dress sense, I had everyone else’s. I’m still not sure if I know what mine is, I still feel as though I am just copying.
When I left home I subsequently had boyfriends who then made the decisions about what we did, where we went when we went out together. I had not developed my own mind in that respect, that wasn’t to come until much later. It started in 1989 when I emigrated to Australia. I mean how powerful was that? Emigrating to the other side of the world knowing almost no-body. It was the start of my metamorphisising although I did not know it at the time. Over 30 years on, I still haven’t learnt how to fully harness my power with relationships whilst allowing others to retain thiers. I’m trying really hard, but I don’t find it easy to be with my husband or daughter and fully engage with what they want to do or watch what they want to watch. I am learning to negotiate, but I am blessed to be living in a house which has two TVs that I don’t have to worry too much about it. I can binge watch box sets, or write my story, in one room whilst my husband does his thing in another.
This topic needs more reflection. I would only really know if I was totally integrated with everybody if I could totally immerse myself in shopping with my daughter. I think that may take another lifetime around.
Today the daylight and night hours are of equal length. We celebrate balance today, the light and the dark, the inner and the outer, the joining of the unconscious to the conscious. As I continue my journey with my Flourish Family, I am working hard at bringing the unconscious to the front of my mind, so that I can acknowledge and then heal the dark parts of me. It has not always been an easy path to travel, but one that is reaping it’s rewards.
It is also the first day of Spring in the northern hemisphere. We went for not one walk but two today. The first was a few miles from home and the second was round the park at the back of the house. The sun was not out quite as much as it had been in past days, and so the lighting was not great to take photos, but I managed to capture the spring flowers and blossoms, all of which remind me that summer is just around the corner and despite what has been going on globally, we don’t have to go too far from home to appreciate the beauty of nature and that it continues regradless of the actions of the humans on the planet.
The lovely Esther Chilton over at Esther Chilton’s blog sets a challenge every Thursday, to tell a story in 5 words. I share my offerings with you in 5 Word Friday. This week’s word was “Pyjamas”. Here they are:
Pyjamas or Pajamas, Atlantic divide. Hygge day, pyjamas and duvet. School run. Raincoat over pyjamas. Christmas pyjamas. Santa’s mistletoe kiss. Pyjamas versus nightdress. Bedtime decisions. Bananas in pyjamas. Fruity nightmares. Snoopy pyjamas, hot chocolate, memories. Need pyjamas? Checks M&S website. Colonial days brought us pyjamas. Bury me in my pyjamas!