Thursday, April 24, 2008

simple things

last year i read a book titled 'mothering without a map.' i read a review and thought that it might be helpful for me personally. the book is about women who have had painful relationships with their mothers, and how they can go on to be good mothers themselves. i wasn't thinking of becoming a mother. mostly i was thinking that perhaps the book could give me better insight into the painful relationship that i had with my mother in my wish to heal. here is a bit of what has been written about the book...

'every woman longs to be a good mother. but what about women who grew up 'undermothered' __whose own mothers were well-meaning but unavailable, absent, distracted, or depressed? how are they to become the good mothers they aspire to be?
in this beautifully articulate book, Kathryn Black offers affirming news: ...there are other paths to discovering the good mother within; here she offers real-life examples of women who have transcended the patterns set in their childhoods to lead richly satisfying lives.'

i was thinking that i could possibly transcend my painful past with my family and try as best i could to learn to love and nurture myself. this book was incredibly helpful.

i thought of this journey that i have been on to love and nuture myself because of a really simple thing that i did this morning. i went out and bought many of the things that i need 'in abundance.' you see when i was a girl much of what i needed i had to ask for. i was lucky enough that when i did ask my mom would give me the money to buy them. (dad was not around) but what i think i learned from this experience is that i waited for the need to arise before i could do something about it. but what has happened because i am learning to care for myself is that i am old enough and hopefully wise enough to anticipate what i may need and prepare for and fill that need ahead of time. you see i am learning to work more so from a place of abundance as opposed to need. and fortunately many of us are privileged enough to do this. i am simply talking about goodies like soaps, and deodorants and cremes and girl stuff in general that we should have on hand to care for ourselves. in general when i run out of something, i replace it. over the years and through the tears that i shared regarding my relationship with my parents, i never taught myself many of the basics that we do learn from our parents. i am learning now that thankfully i can do much of these sweet things for myself. i no longer have to mourn the love and nurture that i did not have. i can do the best i can to love and care for me myself.

and it is a sweet surprise to find that i am really enjoying it. now that i know that what i missed is still available... i enjoy deeply walking into a shop and choosing sweet soaps and cremes that are not only necessities but remind me that i am so deeply worthy of not only being cared for physically and emotionally, but that i myself am a big girl now with a big heart and i can share love with myself.

so often as bloggers we may wonder 'how much is too much information?' but i wanted to write about this because i had mentioned to n. once, that when i write things out i learn so much more and more profoundly. plus, i am fortunate enough that those of you who pop in on this blog have been kind and friendly. i feel grateful that i can share and grow in this space...


My Castle in Spain said...

Dear Audrey,
I went on your blog this morning (Spanish time) and actually didn't have time to leave you a proper message (was in the middle of an urgent translation)

So I'm coming back now after midnight.

I was really moved by your post because of course it's very personal but also you're tackling quite a delicate subject.
For me anyway. I too didn't have a good relationship with my mother. I too never wanted to have kids for fear of not being a good mother.
Things are now smoother with my mom and I would say with time and distance, we gradually got on better terms.

It took me a lot of time to understand that we actually have to be our own mother and father and as you say, nurture love for ourselves.

I am really happy to read that you have found your path.

I think this is what psychologists like Boris Cyrulnik call the "resilience" effect, the ability to rebounce after a sad event or an emotional unbalance or in other words to make ourselves another skin to heal.

You make me smile when you mention your beauty shopping..I used to do the same !

I realize my comment is far too long but I thought your post deserved something else than "good point" or "yeah I feel the same"....

Have a great week end !

ps: it's always a pleasure to visit your blog

Le Tigre in France said...

It's only recently that me and my mother are starting to get along (that huge mass of water between us seems to be helping). But for years our relationship has been emotionally abusive and toxic. I still haven't really forgiven her, nothing can take away all those bad memories, but at least we fight less now..she seems to have become more rational now she's on medication for a medical condition she has. I remember reading a book called 'Women's Inhumanity to Women' which addresses was a really difficult book to read, another one I read called 'When You and Your Mother Can't be Friends'. But instead of helping me move on it just made me more bitter and angry because it dreged up so many memories for me.
I'm glad you've been able to move past some of these feelings and appreciate the daily pleasures in life (you really remind me of Amelie in a way!).

l'air du temps said...

Dear Lala, thank you so much for the kind and sensitive words that you have shared with me. i'm glad that you did come back after your translation work. (hope you were able to get it done;)

just as you said, with time and distance things are improving with my relationship with my mother. i've needed to distance myself from her for my own well being. and i find that my heart is a whole lot lighter. sorry it has to be this way, but at some point i had to face reality and find a way that is beneficial for me.

it also took me a lot of time to come to understand that i can be for myself what i feel that i missed from my parents.

you mentioned Boris Cyrulnik's idea of the resilience effect and us making ourselves another skin to heal. i find that i need it since my original one was so bruised. i have been thinking these days that i want to be careful in my efforts to protect myself that i don't keep out the good people and the good things.

thanks for taking a moment to share such profound ideas, and my heart jumps in reading that you enjoy my blog space. i try to make it a pretty place for growing and smiling. until soon...

l'air du temps said...

hi le tigre, it really surprises me to learn that i am not the only one who has not had an ideal relationship with my mother. i guess i thought most people have the perfect relationship like in the movies (or hollywood movies). you mentioned that your relationship was emotionally abusive and toxic. mine too. i recently learned that this kind of abuse is more harmful than physical abuse. it is said that the hurt is buried inside and hard to get to. i always thought since i had food and a place to live then i should not complain. it has taken me a loooonnnng time to understand the damage that was done to my self esteem and sense of self worth. i find that i am digging myself out of a hole. and i hope to pay more attention to the good feelings i have when things are going well.

it's nice to hear that little by little you and your mom are having a better time at it. i think these bruises take a long time to heal or at least to not hurt so much. i read about your ups and downs there in metz on your blog. i am inpsired that you are finding your way and i am inspired that you have found love and are making a new life for yourself.

for myself, i hope to open up and stop running and hiding so that love can come in.

i really appreciate what you said about me reminding you of Amelie. this is a sweet surprise for me. i never thought about it. now that i think of it i do remember being so tired of being sad that i just wanted to look for, find, and share the beautiful side of life.

i think when one has been down, on our way up all the pretty things seems so vivid.

my apologies too that this message is so long. but you and Lala have helped with your words and insights, i really appreciate it.

Lavinia Ladyslipper said...

This is a very touching post, well written, and sensitively handled. You are quite perceptive.

I hope you continue to nurture yourself in special ways; I agree, beautifully scented soap is one of life's pleasures.

I use Scottish milk soap, and it smells so luscious, it makes my sleepy mornings come alive in the shower.

Our relationships with our mothers, is so complex. It changes, decade by decade. I have been fortunate to have a supportive mother; not to say that we haven't had conflict...

It sounds like you are moving forward, past the old hurts....I thank you for your candour; there are many, many women out there who are trying to come to some sort of terms of acceptance regarding their childhoods, their mothers, their first families. Your words should serve as a comfort, or guidepost to them...


l'air du temps said...

dear Lavinia, the words and ideas you share are inspiring. i had not thought about the changes that occur over the decades... this is quite true. these days my relationship with my mother is changing in a more positive way. i think i have noticed only unconsciously. i notice i remain distant, though not cold. i guess i am afraid to allow my heart to open again with expectations of friendliness. this is my privilege and task to navigate in our efforts to connect. i appreciate your insightfulness and kind words...

Relyn said...


This is a beautiful image and a heartfelt post. I am so glad that I found my way to you via Lala.

The longing for a good relationship with our mother is such a universal longing isn't it? The ache to be a good mother is, too. I admire you for being open and honest about your struggle and your journey.

Blessings on you and yours.