The Mother and the Whore : emotional processing

Processing…all of this may be bullshit, or none of it, or both. The truth will distill out but we must start by bringing it to light.

THE START : ‘Giving away’, or ‘selling’ my body to another being, something in me feels horrified and disgusted by imagining this now, whether it is to a baby or man (and often those lines blurred; I recall the men who wanted to wear nappies or suckle on my breasts like an infant). Mixed with this disgust is a deep kind of grief that I have ‘sullied’, ‘ruined’, ‘missed out’, ‘lost’ what actually was also a deeply feminine experience of surrender to a mode of being that is bigger than my own self.

Motherhood always felt like a given, a phase of life that was as natural to ‘hit’ as puberty or death. Growing up, I was told by a woman I loved and respected that I was developing ‘child bearing hips’ – my very form promising that transition. My parents told me I would be ‘ok when they were gone’ because I would have my own family and children. I remember feeling a guilty relief that unlike my friend with a genetic infertility, I would still be able to have children; even then as a teenager it felt like a ‘feminine failure’ not to be able to do so. In my modern-day arrogance it never even occurred to me that you might want to be a mother, be able to be a mother, and still not have it happen. At the same time, I was never a girl that was determined to be a mother – I wanted a good relationship first and foremost, and a dog. I went to a girls school that made upper academia or career success the imperative – girls can do it too – and I succeeded well at school. I always wanted to be a veterinary, work with animals, until my insecurity about my capacity to get the grades mixed with an off-hand comment from my dad resulted in my giving up on that whole plan – in an instant that shocks me when I think about it now! I wish I had help, support, mentoring, examples from other women to help me find my way. I wish I had more confidence and faith in myself at that age.

My initiation into sexuality, while well-meant on the side of the boy, was for me a fumbling and traumatic dissociation in the dark, more than I was ready for or understood. It created a hard line in me between ‘full sex = rape’ and ‘anything else done to me does not = rape’ as a coping mechanism, along with a sense that ‘putting up with’ unpleasant touch was part of the course to attain love and closeness. It took many years to heal from that. The main healing around my own sexuality was through pleasure with a female friend of mine at school; but that created another split which was my capacity to enjoy sensuality and orgasms separate to being in a loving relationship. For I was ashamed too by what I was doing and kept it hidden, and more than that didn’t love her more than as a friend.

Those two things together – the dissociation of sex and meaning (‘it doesn’t matter what happens to my body’) plus the dissociation of sex and love/intimacy – along with a big dose of spiritual exploration and other strange adventures set me up nicely to become a ‘tantric priestess’ / ‘dakini’ / ‘sex worker’ / ‘whore’…. selling sexual experiences for money, no matter how much sacred wrapping and justification I put on top of it. I kept this secret from my family and old friends, forming a new identity in the shadows and edges of society with the others who live there. I enjoyed being in those dark places, and I still daydream about going back to them, or miss the allure and power of it, the consuming nature of it, and perhaps most of all the lack of questioning about my future because I was on some level enjoying being consumed and gradually destroyed.

In 2012 at the winter solstice I manifested my Death, and it was almost irresistibly compelling, a path of cocaine and desperate addiction, whoredom that was no longer even trying to be sacred. The only thing that stopped me from that was love of another for me, and my love for a friend, and a call for all my spiritual allies to help me, and a promise that I would not ever try cocaine again unless I was ready to kill myself in it. I did not have enough love for myself at that time.

I have never felt so confident in my sexuality, sense of self as a woman, enjoyment of my own pleasure, sure of my role in the world, as I did when I was being that dakini woman. It has taken me a long time and lot of hardwork to earn even close to what I could bring in financially. as when i was running a ’boutique sensual massage service’ which gradually lost all boundaries and became, sometimes, sex for money. I absolutely knew I could support myself by what I was doing, even if just in the short term. And most of the time, it felt good. Addictive even. Despite that, unseen to me for a long time, I was damaging the world around me, my family life, my capacity to have meaningful intimacy, and my own body. When I took off the Mantle of Lilith – something I felt had been bestowed on me unexpectedly during a ritual – what shocked me the most was a return to an insecure, sexually shut down teenager – as if all the power, confidence, and most of all EASE had not even come from me. That the so-called healing had actually left no real transformation, I was back where I started, but with the memory of a time of significant pleasures and confidence. This loss has affected me to this day, for I still don’t feel I have reclaimed the sexuality I want.

On another path, I would have either been consumed by that lifestyle and died (physically or spiritually) before 35, OR transitioned (somehow) into the Mother phase than I felt had always been a promise. I did make a clear and intentional choice to have a relationship with a man, knowing it meant not becoming a mother, but that did not prepare me for the massive grief that came from my womb and heart over not being able to create life with that man. It took me a long time to work out and name that if I couldn’t have his child, I didn’t want someone else’s, and leaving that path I was on to rush off and become a mother elsewhere was unthinkable.

I stopped being a Whore, and I did not become a Mother, and neither did I go into academia OR become a career success in the world.

I am pissed off, upset, lost and tired of being alone in working this out. I struggled to pull myself from the underworld dimensions to form an identity that was accepable and visible and fitted nicely into insurance systems and polite Canada. But this world of light does not feel like my home and I am done with it. The best concept I’ve come across is being an ‘Edge walker’, I think my zone IS the transitional space between those worlds, and others.

I have struggled intensely and still have no clear sense or answer for how to embody feminine identity (- or perhaps just embody myself for I have masculine strong in me too). I want a Role I can feel confident and proud in, that is valued and valuable, respected and authentic, in and by a community that is my real tribe.

Even more than that, I want a Role that feels true to my soul… with a big sense of caution because the Dakini-role felt like that, and without perspective or guidance that became something very different. So perhaps I am old enough now to admit not only am I tired of carrying the burden of figuring it all out myself, it’s also not always a good idea , and that we all need mentoring and some good challenging before rushing headlong into things.

What I don’t want, and refuse to do again, is go back into a mindset where I am ‘giving away’ or ‘selling’ myself, my own nature, body, mind. It seems idealistic to think there is another way to frame what I do and who I am in a capitalist system – but if ever there was a time to work that out it would be now. THE END

"There's nothing you can do that's more important than being fulfilled. You become a sign, you become a signal, transparent to transcendence; in this way, you will find, live, and become a realization of your own personal myth." – Joseph Campbell

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    Catherine Wildfox Written by:

    I'm a woman who is passionate about people claiming healthy, vital living on their own terms. I help people reconnect with and trust in their instinctive wild self & body - this is the key to making health changes that are enjoyable and sustained.

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