I’ve really been getting into my beginning yoga practice. I started with a book I had, and then I began to buy some DVD’s. These were much more helpful as you could actually see and hear what an expert yoga teacher wanted you to do. Of course going to a class would most likely be the best, but time and money predisposes this option for me. So for now I am content with slowly building my practice this way.
One of the teachers I am enjoying was so amazing that I began to watch her on some YouTube videos. Not only did I watch her doing yoga, but I have been listening to her at some conferences also. There was one in particular that struck me and I’ve been contemplating it ever since. I believe the combination of yoga and having new ‘teachers’ in one’s life, allows an opening for unexpected and maybe buried feelings, thoughts and emotions to bubble to the surface. Maybe we have been working on these things in our subconscious without knowing it and suddenly now there is a light in which they can shine their way into our mindful awareness.
And so this happened to me. Her talk didn’t directly help me come to my epiphany, but it pushed me there I believe. It was partly about how our self talk creates situations especially between us and other people. For instance, we may believe that we are having bad relations with a family member and may be putting blame on that person. Maybe we think that person keeps attacking us or avoids us or doesn’t accept us for who we truly may be. But what my yoga teacher said is that if you delve into your own behavior, you may discover that you may actually be creating the situations with this person that makes them act the way they do.
I certainly realized this about my older daughter. She is always extremely defensive with me. We seemed to constantly get in fights every time we spoke on the phone. Even if I had the best intentions, it always turned out poorly. But when I recalled our last huge fight, I had to admit that I did press a button rather than avoiding an issue. This happens with my mother too. So I wrote my daughter an email to say I was sorry. I’m trying to change that story.
But this all lead me something much deeper. And it all came to me quite suddenly as these things often do. It’s all rather personal and I’m not sure how much I will actually be able to share. It’s quite cathartic to share so I will try. It revolves around my difficulties with my relationships with men and intimacy.
I’ve mentioned in my blog before that I am adopted. In fact, there is a whole section related to this so I won’t go over it. But I will mention again that I wasn’t adopted until I was 18 months old. This I feel is significant. I personally am one who believes that much of our important growth happens in the first two years of life. What we imprint during this time may have some significant impact.
When I was about 50 (I just turned 57), I rushed down to Florida because my adopted mother had a fall. I knew only bits and pieces of ‘my story’ up until this point. I’ve had no contact with my birth family ever. My mother was in a vulnerable position after her accident, I took advantage after I helped her heal, to find out what more I could. And this is where I learned a most crucial part about my life.
I will abbreviate it here, but when she found out about me at 18 months, I was living in a whore house. My birth mother was a prostitute and I was being raised by many of the woman there. Supposedly she wanted out and to leave and start a new life in California and needed the money to move. This was New York City in the 50’s. She was Italian. I also learned that I was the ‘lure’ to get the ‘Johns’ to come into the place. I’m not exactly sure what that meant, but I took it to mean: a cute baby, toddler whatever. Apparently, I was somehow ‘rewarded’ for being nice to the men. So I was taught it was my ‘job’ to be a ‘man pleaser’–even at this tender age.
My mother told me I didn’t appear to be mistreated and seem fairly well-adjusted. There were a few quirky things. I have no pictures of me as a baby or very young. The adoption did go through, but there were some hitches and there is a lot more to story. But those parts are not the point to this story.
On hearing this all at first I wasn’t completely surprised. The way my mother had told the story before, even though it had been disjointed, I could almost guess. But some parts of it made my blood run cold. Suddenly all the parts of my life that had gone wrong or that I had struggled with and continued to be a puzzle to me became crystal clear! Now all the parts fell into place and I got it.
The promiscuity with men that haunted me my whole life while having no real satisfaction from most of it now became so obvious. A very large percentage of these men would tell me that I was special that way, how I knew how to ‘please’, that I gave myself over so fully and honestly and from my heart. Men would call me years and years later to tell me this and I wouldn’t even recall the event. I would have dark places in my brain where these memories should have been. It’s almost as though I had somehow assimilated a prostitutes ability to disassociate from the act; that somehow I learned this is how sex was suppose to be. And of course, I had learned that it was my ‘job’ to please these men.
I was rarely satisfied during these times, but that never seemed the point. Somewhere deep in the recesses of what my brain and body ‘knew’, it wasn’t suppose to be about me. Sex was about the men, wasn’t it? Always about the men. They would come to this place and visit then go. There would noises and movements of sex, and they pay and would leave. But the women would stay. The men never stayed. And this is the story that has lived with me, inside of me all these years! Like a flash, this came to me the other day. And so this is how my whole life has played out thus far: no man has ever stayed!
I have lived this story over and over. I’ve played it, created it, shaped it and breathed it. It was in me–a part of me. So much so, that I couldn’t even see it or understand it until now. I’ve put blame on the men. I’ve put the blame on me. I’ve wondered about my sexuality. I’ve wondered if I was just meant to be alone. I’ve been unraveling it for a very long time. And the parts of it have come to me very slowly. They came to me when they could. Maybe I couldn’t have handled them sooner and I know my mother couldn’t give me the information sooner. In the end, I believe it all comes together when you are ready. There is no blame anywhere. It was just the story. But now it’s time to change the story.
No longer do I have to live this story. While it’s true that woman have always stayed longer in my life and they have always been the ones I trust more, it doesn’t mean it has to be like this forever. I realized too, this really wasn’t totally my story, but one that I played in. I didn’t choose this story but it was thrust upon me. It would not have been one I would have picked for me or my child. So I can now say goodbye to it and go down a new path.
I’m grateful for those who cared for me and thank my birth mother for her bravery for trying to make a better life than prostitution. It had to have been hard to give up a child to save yourself, but I understand it. I did something near to it when I got my divorce. And she knew I was safe when my adopted mother came for me. She must have cared for me fairly well while I was with her those 18 months, along with those other women who were part of ‘the oldest profession’. I feel blessed to have been in the company of so many women–it takes a village sometimes.
I wonder where they all are now and if they ever think of that little blonde girl. I thought of my birth mom this July 1st and wondered if she thought about me on my birthday (if she’s still alive). She’d be 78. We are never too old to change our stories so maybe someday she will decide to change hers again and look me up. Until then, once upon a time…….