Last fall, I participated in a ritual that led me to renounce my ties to the past. My reason was that they were holding me back, binding me, keeping me from evolving and moving forward. My thought at the time was about my ties to Texas. I felt I needed to let go of those so that I could move forward with the family that I had found here in Michigan. Although I still say things like, “back home in Texas,” and I probably always will, I think I have done a good job of this. This place, here and now, is my home. Of course I will always hope to move “back home,” especially since it will mean being back with family and probably being in much less pain, but it is no longer the first thing in my thoughts.
Since this spring, I have been following Loki’s charge to find myself and my place in the community. This is looking like a neverending path, with lots of twists and turns, nooks and crannies, interesting glades and steep mountains. I made some progress…and then I got stuck. It is as though I was following this path, and suddenly my way was blocked by a spiderweb made up of ties leading back behind me. In order to go forward, I have to figure out how to get past this obstacle. I can’t just cut those ties, because my life blood flows through them, the blood of my family.
Suddenly, I got another call: Find the old contract you made with yourself, one which no longer serves you, and end it. I started having dream themes that I hadn’t seen since my first children were born, dreams of piloting a plane, dreams of passing by ripe food to chase after something I can’t even remember. Instead of dreaming of highways and road trips as I often do, I kept dreaming of being stuck in enclosed spaces, always trying to find my way out and yet always coming back in, like living in a tesseract.
This morning, I think I found my contract, the source of my bonds. It is the one I made when the triplets were born. I felt so guilty about becoming a stay-at-home mom, even though that had always been the plan and there wasn’t much choice with triplets. I felt so guilty about no longer bringing in money, and I remember the day when I struck this bargain. The triplets were still in hospital, and I found myself ironing shirts for Brian and scrubbing the kitchen. I had decided that this was my job. The house was my job, my way of earning my keep. I would be the mother and housekeeper, the housewife, and cook and clean and care for the babies.
Right then, it started getting in the way of mothering, because it kept me away from the babies in the NICU while I finished up laundry and things around the house before heading up to the hospital. It has kept me from peacefully relaxing at the end of a day, while I worry about the house not being clean, or not having made lunch for Brian to take to work. It has kept me from enjoying the fruits of my garden, as I worry about picking up or finishing lessons instead of harvesting while the produce is ripe. It has kept me from enjoying my babies as they grow, while I worry about whether all the assignments are done and the budget is balanced.
I started out with this ideal of the 50’s housewife. I always wanted to be a mother, but I made this impossible contract with myself to be in charge of the clean house, the nutritious cooking, the perfect housewifely duties. I don’t know what made me think that was part of my destiny. I’ve never been a clean, neat person. My room growing up always looked like a tornado hit it. But I got this idea of “housewife” being my job stuck in my head, and then proceeded to feel inadequate. I’ve felt inadequate over it for the last 14 years. When people compliment me, tell me they don’t know how I do it, tell me how amazing I am, I feel like a fraud.
It’s time to let that contract go. Nobody else expected this duty I assigned myself. Nobody else ever told me I wasn’t doing enough. Nobody else ever demanded that I earn my keep or be abandoned. Nobody else ever told me my worth was determined by how clean my house was. Nobody but me. And I can change that. I’m the one who formed this barrier, made up of my bonds to my family and blood. I can change it, from a barrier to a stream, a flow, an energy source to push me forward, fill my sails, support me, help me float, move along with me.