Romancing the Crone
Anyway, yeah, Crones.
Traditionally, there are three aspects to male life: The Creator, The Protector, and The Destroyer. That is because men used to rarely die of old age and died on the battlefield or being eaten by dinosaurs or whatever. My spiritual path added “Sage,” to this because in theory, men now get older and wiser and can share their guidance to the downline after they finish fighting all the battles and besting all of the dinosaurs. Women, on the other hand, went through the progression of Maiden, Mother, and Crone. That is because they had babies, got old at thirty, and died. Now, there’s this whole series of decades where women have raised their children, are empowered, and know what they are doing before they transition into “Crone.” Our spiritual path called this time “The Diva” because we are regal and strong, ass-kicking, and fully aware of our own needs and ambitions. The Diva phase, quite frankly, rocks. Often, the people around us do not react well to our transition from the Mothering aspect of our lives to the Diva. Mother is very accommodating and nurturing and is a position of basic servitude and duty. Diva…not so much.
I have always been one to push the progression and that is not a good move. I had my first baby at sixteen, so I did not really revel long in the Maiden aspect. I started taking care of my mother’s family at ten, so I rarely got Maiden moments. By the time I gave birth to my sixth child two days after I turned thirty-eight, I aggressively pursued the Crone…too soon. I still needed my Mothering self to be a good mom to a six-year-old, a two-year-old, and a newborn. That was when we developed The Diva, so I had a place to go before Crone.
Now, Crone is closing in and I could not be more thrilled. A lot of women that I know in my age group are very devoted to clinging to past numbers. They are eternally twenty-nine or will not tell people their actual age. I am thrilled with every year that passes. I love getting older and every year, I like myself more. I feel as though I am finally settling into who I was meant to be. I claim every one of my fifty-two years with pride and affection. I did not like who I was at age twenty-nine and have no desire to be back there. There is nothing about my past that I crave. That is not to say I would not change things if I could. As I have mentioned in previous journal entries, I have an overall distrust of people who are my age and say that they would not change a thing about their pasts if they could. To me, that smacks of someone who is either lying to themselves or lying to me. I have a lonnnnnng list of things I would change, mostly about my own behavior and how I treated people. I would be much more plugged in, especially to people I care about. I would take better care of my body back when it was easier to do so. I would take time to be kinder and to listen more, but would also aggressively work to not be a doormat at times when I refused to defend my own boundaries. I would have gone redhead and Goddess-dressing a lot sooner. I would have been a much, much better mother to my older kids. I would have appreciated my jobs more and worked harder at them. I would have talked to my mother and father more and would have made sure to lose the anger I felt for them a lot sooner, before it was too late. By definition, these are all regrets that I would change if I could, but I have made my peace with the fact that I cannot, at this point, change how things happened.
At age forty, I began all of the classic menopause symptoms. I had just finished nursing Nathan and they kicked in aggressively. I had extremely impressive hot flashes and night sweats, had the night restlessness, had palpitations, had a lot of my hair fall out, had the fatigue, had the mood swings, and figured I was well on my way into the last leg of menstruation. In fact, I had everything except the actual “pausing” part of menopause and continued to flow like a schoolgirl. I took Estroven to start with and then switched to Remifemin with great results. All of the symptoms reversed after 2-3 years and when I happened to run out of Remifemin for a couple of weeks, I found I no longer had symptoms off of the supplement, so I stopped taking it.
A couple of years ago, I went through a time of having mild symptoms and a friend of mine who is a nurse practitioner and does all of my actual medical work prescribed the lowest level of HRT for me. Within a week, I felt completely jacked up. I was on edge in a way that is very much “not me.” I had breakthrough bleeding and bled almost constantly. I felt chemically altered, so after 4 months of taking it, I eased off. The first thing I did was to cut my dosage in half, hoping that would dial back the symptoms from the meds, but it did not help, so ultimately, I stopped taking them. The symptoms again went away.
In the past 2-3 months, the symptoms have started up again. I have everything I had when I was forty except the palpitations, but I do know that my blood pressure is a bit higher than usual. I have been taking no supplements for months now, so I went back on the Remifemin, which has a 3-4 month load time (agh), a Vit B complex, chromium picolinate, magnesium, Vit D, flax seed oil, Cortisol support, and a multi-vitamin. It tried a quality thermogenic supplement to increase my fat burning and quickly learned THAT was a bad idea, so it was dismissed forthwith. I also have been taking EmergenC because everyone around me seems to be sick. I rarely get sick and don’t want to have this be the time it happens. I also take a dose of chia seed in two ounces of chocolate milk each day.
This is day #3 of supplements and I do feel much better and my energy level seems to have improved. It took a bit for my body to sort out what to do with this onslaught of “different stuff,” but now it seems to be reacting well. This is the cocktail of supplements that usually works for me and I tend to talk myself into not taking them anymore, much like people who need mood balancing meds start thinking, “I feel fine! I don’t need THESE” and then proceed to piss off everyone around them and wreck their lives. I’m going to stick with this for a while and see if I can get myself straightened out. I skipped a period a couple of months ago and have been on about a 3 week schedule since then. The funny thing is that I do not have symptoms before it starts like I used to. It just is suddenly there. BAM!
A lot of people don’t know this about me, but I was a childbirth and prenatal instructor for almost twenty years. I loved working in the birth field and only stopped because I relocated and never had a chance to start it up again. After awhile, I donated my teaching supplies to a group of midwives in Davis and moved on. That time of teaching and learning gave me a valuable perspective about birth and about our own physical progressions as women. Largely as a result of that experience, I do not see menstruation, birth, and menopause as anything other than natural events that are to be welcomed and certainly not medical events that need to be “managed.”
Yesterday was my worst hot flash day. It really bled the energy right out of me. This has been a high stress time for me, mostly because of issues with my children. One kid was verbally attacked, and I mean a tirade of sailor language and screaming that went on for a while, by a woman in our neighborhood who is clearly mentally unbalanced. My son and two of his friends were going door-to-door asking if anyone needed yard work or other handyman work done because they wanted to supplement their allowance. An elderly man in town has a front door that does not latch from the outside. He yelled at the boys to go around back and they did. When he did not show up in a while (kids are impatient, what can I say?) they were walking back to the front to see if he still wanted them to be around back. She was driving past at the time, stopped her car, and proceeded to curse them a blue streak for tresspassing on his property. She is in no way related to him and was just, I guess, trying to do her neighborly good deed for the day by screaming at my kid. Eric phoned her home to see what happened and went to talk to the older gentleman to confirm Nathan’s story, which he did. The woman showed up again and began screaming at Eric as well! This woman is famous in our town for isolating kids who are not with their parents and screaming and cursing at them for crimes real or imagined. She has already been asked to please contact US directly if she has a problem with our kids rather than going off on them. I am really afraid she is going to do this to the wrong kid some day and a parent is going to seriously hurt her. Already, parents in the neighborhood warn their kids that “Mrs. D is not mentally healthy. If you see her, do your best to avoid her. If you get trapped by her, tell her that she has to talk to your parents, not her, and leave. If she physically tries to restrain you, scream as loudly as you possibly can that THIS WOMAN IS NOT YOUR PARENT and run.”
Delena wrecked her car this past week, which used to be my car and I love dearly. Fortunately, no one was injured, but the car was pretty much destroyed. She is limping it around town to school and work until she can get another one.
My son (31) is between jobs and between places to live, so we are trying to get him settled in somewhere and gainfully employed.
We ourselves have just come out of a period of time where every one of our own vehicles went rogue and fell apart at the same time. We prefer to invest in older vehicles because they are easier and cheaper to repair, but the trade off is that, well, they are older vehicles and as such, more subject to problems, even with the excellent maintenance that Eric provides to them. Like women who synchronize their menstrual months (sticking with a theme here), all of our three vehicles collapsed in the span of a week or so, some with multiple, unrelated issues. It was actually quite impressive to watch. Slowly but surely, we are working our way out of that pit of financial and energy investment.
The world, She just keep spinning.
The Harvest was bountiful and we were well blessed in many ways. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a time of exhausting work. Just because your fields are full of food doesn’t mean that you don’t have to go out there and actually get it and preserve it and exhaust yourself with the effort!
My reward this year is finally feeling the full effect of the croning. In looking for graphics for the banner for this entry, I found some lovely pictures:
I have loved this one for a long time it speaks to me even more strongly now. I love how she is the quintessential Crone, but she is still embracing the symbols of her fertility.
The next one is a poster for a one woman show and its eccentricity really made me smile:
Thank the Goddess there are people who are that creative to entertain those of us who, like myself, are just not. That really made me laugh.
I am grateful to feel good again, even if it is just today. I am grateful to have worked my way out of the most recent Valley of the Shadow. I learned a lot from it and have successfully retrieved my power eggs. The greatest blessing is hearing from so many of you who related to my previous post and are setting about getting back their own power eggs and re-establishing their own empowerment. I want to encourage all of you that this is a process. It’s also a “no fault” process. We all do what we know to do and, as Mother Maya says, “When we know better, we do better.” Well, usually. The power eggs can slip away from us when we get into routines and sometimes fall back into familiar behaviors that are not healthy for any of us. It happens. We can always stop and hit the reset button and get ourselves re-seated back into the healthy place. What’s interesting is that we are the only ones who can do that for ourselves. We have to create our own boundaries and make new, healthier paths to walk. Each time we do it, it gets easier. It’s natural to sometimes wander off of the path of clarity and healthy dynamics. Sometimes, we are asleep at the wheel and don’t realize that we’ve strayed off of the good road until we jerk awake and have to course correct. It’s never, ever too late. We have never ventured too far off of the path to get back. The path is always there, patiently waiting for us to find our way out of the brambles we strayed into and get back on course again.
It’s not too late to say, “No” and mean it.
It’s not too late to say, “I have been thinking about it and I have changed my mind.”
It’s not too late to say, “I did this, but now I am going to do this.”
It’s not too late to say, “I want to change who I am and how I engage the world.”
It’s not too late to say, “This is my boundary and it is not negotiable.”
It’s not too late to say, “I am going to treat myself better and give myself more.”
It’s not too late to say, “I am going to pull in my energy and give less to others so I am not exhausted all of the time. I trust others to do for themselves now or to figure out how to manage their own lives.” This is particularly true if we are constantly working to take care of others who are grown adults and who desperately need to manage their own crises and circumstances. We really, really do not have to control and manage every little thing, especially things that happen to other people. You will be shocked at how much your life changes when you let go of all you do to improve the life of other grown-ups and use that energy to improve your own life. What in the world will they do when (not if) you are gone if they cannot learn NOW how to manage their own lives? How much resentment are you creating in yourself by constantly giving beyond your ability to give and to recover and replenish?
We are not never-ending sources of energy, patience, and time (and money, usually). So often, we choose to give away those very valuable resources beyond their supply and have nothing left for ourselves. I am not saying we should always be selfish and ungiving. I am saying that just like with our financial budget, we have to be very aware of our income versus our output. Think of your flow of time, energy, patience, and money as a business exchange. How well would a business thrive if every day it spent beyond its income and had no resources for its own overhead? It would quickly be bankrupt. If it borrows to pay those “bills,” it is still going to fail because it will be unable to pay back the loans if it already cannot pay for the basic overhead. It will just fall harder when the end does come. This makes perfect sense to anyone with even rudimentary business knowledge and yet how often do we pay ourselves last and take care of our own “business” and “overhead” after we have made sure all of the people in our own care are satisfied?
The trick is, we know no matter how much we give to others and take care of them, there will always be a new need because that’s life. Not only is there a new need for them, we will have our own needs that manifest, so it’s like sweeping a dirt floor; it just get deeper and deeper. Consider this:
There is an excellent reason why every flight safety instruction lecture tells us to “put the oxygen mask on yourself first and then on children.” It’s not that children are less important to airlines. It’s that the parent cannot help the child if they are not themselves oxygenated.
Have you been taking care of yourself before everyone else?
That is Kwan Yin, who is one of the most popular Goddesses and a favorite of many. I love Kwan Yin and have many representations of her in my home. I do not, however, want to be her. Her gig is that she stands outside the gates of Heaven and refuses to enter and enjoy the joy and reward of Heaven until all of her children are safely inside. She has a lot of children and is not above going out into the world and shaking them down and bringing them into the gates kicking and screaming if needed. She will, however, wait until they have all been accounted for and are in the gates. Then and only then will she enter. When I heard her legend, I know my face lost all color.
Kwan Yin has obviously never read the flight instructions.
She is the essence of the Mother. Transitioning over to taking good care of yourself and putting yourself into priority while allowing other adults to be responsible, accountable, and capable is the essence of the Diva. Letting others actually begin giving to you and taking care of you is the transition into Crone.
This year has taught me a lot about being realistic about where I am in my life, about not pushing the process, and about honoring myself as well as others. It taught me to “smile and say thank you” and to accept the generosity of others because most people like to give back. Last week’s entry about taking back my power eggs was a transitional time for me to find my way back onto the righteous path and stop screwing around on the side roads. I’m happy with where I landed and ready to dive into the dark of the year and incubate.