how to use the F word

How many times are we told to forgive a transgression? Like it’s a prescription. It’s supposed to make us better or so the story goes.

The point being what? Enlightenment? Brownie points in heaven? Feeling good inside? I wrote recently about how yoga has made me feel more vulnerable and more forgiving towards myself and sometimes others. It’s true. I mostly feel more open and aware of my own heart.

It’s also unlocked some deeply buried pain.  Pain most especially from the men in my life who haven’t just hurt me but keep coming back to hurt me again.

And again.

And I have let them.

And let them.

(I take responsibility for that, for the record.)

Recently in yoga, my teacher said, “Yoga stirs things up.  It brings out the darkness and the light.”  It does.  Life does.  As a reflective person, I’m realizing how important it is to truly honor all the parts that come up.   She said, “Namaste means honoring all the parts of us.  The light.  The dark.  The demons and the demigods. ”  I gave a very emphatic Namaste in class that day.

This is the work.  Honoring all of it.

But as a “good Christian woman” I was only taught the forgiveness part.  I wasn’t taught about boundaries.  I wasn’t taught how to use the F word.  Wasn’t taught to say FUCK YOU nearly enough.

I wasn’t taught to draw some boundaries around myself and my own psyche with an energetic sword.  With my tongue.

In the past, I’ve received negative feedback about having a sharp tongue.   Guess what?  I no longer give a fuck.  I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how I say something; if the person who did something hurtful doesn’t want to be held accountable, they will push against whatever words are spoken.  After years of therapy, I’ve learned that it’s really okay to speak my truth and ask for what I need.  That’s how trust is built.

I can forgive people but not let them off the hook.  Amends need to start being made for bad behavior.   We are doomed to keep repeating old patterns until we stop the cycle.  Sometimes the cycle is stopped by a good, solid FUCK OFF.

Today,  I honor my demons and demigods.  I honor my Mars in Aries self.  I didn’t come here to fuck around.  I didn’t come here to play small.

So I won’t.

The glorious Helen Mirren was quoted as saying,

“At 70 years old, if I could give my younger self one piece of advice, it would be to use the words ‘fuck off’ much more frequently.”

I find myself wondering how different things might have been for me in my life if I had been raised in a culture where women were encouraged to draw boundaries more often.  I wonder if so many women would have fallen prey the abuse from Harvey Weinstein if we were encouraged to speak truth to power and expect to be listened to instead of told to forgive and carry on or worse, threatened for doing so.

So, lovelies, now you have permission.  Like most powerful tools, use it judiciously but use it all the same.  I did recently and guess what?  It felt amazing.

we mend (and love) what is within our reach

I’ve taken to daily mediation walks. It’s nourishing to my spirit and helps ground me to my purpose. I walk for 30 minutes then journal until I feel complete.  Here is today’s reflection:

A cat visits, twining itself around my legs for a while. I pet it and also just let it be , allowing it to enjoy the feeling of its fur on my bare legs (I enjoyed that too).

A little girl in a black, velvet dress rocks gently in a swing. The kind of swing with a back. She smiles. I tell her she looks peaceful. She nods.

Three older girls are playing on the hill above her. In the dirt. The kick it up then oddly dust themselves off. Then get dirty again. I want to tell them it’s okay to be dirty. To get dirty and messy and stay that way.

A hummingbird flies straight up into the blue sky. Like an elevator. I am in awe not only of their abilities but their ability to fill my heart with joy every time I see them.

This moment is saturated in peace and yet I want to leave. This is always true for me. I have such a restless soul. When something is peaceful and beautiful, I appreciate it but then want to explore something new.  I’ve come to accept this about myself.

I move a small snail off the pavement. It’s dry and would take a long time for it to reach the grass. It’s a small act of kindness.  It will die anyway. Maybe today. Maybe by a small child climbing the enormous cedar tree I placed it under.

But we do what we can, we tend to what is in our reach.  Reminds me of this quote by one of my favorite teachers:

“Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.”  ~Clarissa Pinkola Estes

bricolage project day 22 [world]

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“has materiality and thus dimension”

The randomly-chosen word of the day is world from Stand Still Like the Hummingbird by Henry Miller.  I’m going to offer the entire paragraph that it came from because it’s so fantastic.  It will serve nicely as today’s quote:

Frankly, if we must play with this idea of saving the world, then I say that in making an aquarelle which pleases me–me, not you necessarily–I am doing my share better than any cabinet minister with or without portfolio.  I believe that even His Holiness, the Pope, little as I believe in him, may be doing his part too.  But then, if I include him I must also include such as Al Capone and Elvis Presley.  Why not?  Can you prove the contrary? (p. 83)

  • I cannot prove the contrary.  In fact, I think it’s true that we’re all doing our best, all learning from one another, all have our part to play in each other’s unfolding.  The world certainly doesn’t need saving but we do.  We need more love and appreciation and less condemnation.   More patience and tenderness.  More play and delight.

Continue reading “bricolage project day 22 [world]”

bricolage project day 21 [others]

Today’s randomly-chosen word comes from the Tao Te Ching.  I picked up a copy at a used bookstore yesterday to use for blackout poetry and decided to use it for our word which is others (from book one XX).

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I don’t have much to say today.  I just wanted to paint with my blood again , create a bricolage by assembling the ephemera that has come me of late, and feel.  I’ll let Carl Jung speak instead.  Today’s quote is from The Red Book.  (He always has a lot to say about others.) Continue reading “bricolage project day 21 [others]”

bricolage project day 20 [Artemisia]

Today’s randomly-chosen word is Artemisia as in the Warrior Queen and comes from The Daring Book for Girls by Andrea J. Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz.  I really love that my finger landed on this name rather than a more mundane word because I love her story!  In fact, I might weave her story into the play I’m writing with my daughter.   This has been the biggest gift of the Bricolage Project thus far:  Not only allowing me to stretch creatively but also helping me see how my gifts, interests, and the mysterious synchronicities in life are woven together, how they inform one another.

Today’s post is informed by writing this at 1:30 this morning:

I awakened from a dream.  No, I was the dream.  I awakened with blood between my legs but didn’t want to get up.  I wanted to feel it there.  This could be my last blood.  It has been three months since my last.  I want to cherish it.  Put it in a cup.  Paint with it.  Feel its stickiness on my fingers.  Smell it.

So I drifted back to sleep and began to hear their voices.  The voice of my friend Courtnee talking about women who are losing their lives and having their fertility taken from them shortly after their first blood.  She was like a wraith in my dream.  Haunting but not unwelcome.

In my dream I go upstairs and encounter a woman who was coming out of our bathroom.  I know her from work and she talks about how important it is that we talk about all of it as women—all of our bodily functions including our bleeding time.  That we need to be acknowledged for our earthiness.

I know this is in response to him saying he thinks women should hide things like farts and burps, that’s it’s not “feminine”.  Fuck that noise.  I’m not interesting in hiding parts of myself.

I woke up again a few hours later with more blood pooled underneath me.  Yes, I’m writing about this because it’s a beautiful part of my life and my heritage and I truly will miss it when it’s gone.  Maybe it’s shameless.  Maybe I don’t care.

Shame is pretty overrated.

When I ended up choosing the word Artemisia this morning and reading about her I thought about how it must have been for her, a warrior queen, to be commanding a ship.  Her fierce heart but soft body with a moon cycle to deal with.  Did she also wake up in a pool of blood?  How did she handle it?  I feel so connected to women and to the earth when I’m bleeding and, as my therapist pointed out this afternoon, it’s also a beautiful reminder of the gift of giving birth to two beautiful girls.

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This piece is an assemblage that uses a page from a sketchbook that I created in Larry Calkins’ class at Pratt several years ago and some more recent items including a perfect crow feather I found while walking to therapy today and this morning’s fresh blood.

Today’s quote comes from Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés from her audiobook Seeing in the Dark.  I was listening to it in the quiet of the morning today and realized it contains the intention of this piece and the entire Bricolage Project quite well:

“For most artists, they do create out of angst but they don’t sit in the complaint and the condemnation.  They create their way of out if they draw it, they paint it, they write it about it, they dance it, they sculpt it, they do any number of things to express what has happened…so that others will be protected and healed also.  That is one of the greatest ideas that I know behind the creative force is that you use every disappointment…everything is used to create from.  Taking all that is in shadow or the feelings that we don’t belong.

Of course we belong.  Of course we can create out of darkness.”

Yes we do and yes we can.