Having my daughter was one of the most difficult experiences of my life. My water broke somewhere before midnight, two days before her birth. As my husband and mom ran around the house like frantic maniacs, I cooly timed my contractions and made sure our items were checked off the list. Within an hour my contractions had sped up and we headed into see the midwife who informed me that I was 1/2 cm dilated. It was going to be a minute. 24 hours of a posterior labor later and it was time to push… for 3 hours. But it was sometime around hour 20 that we had discussed moving me to a hospital. In that moment, of no real sleep, a bit of a morphine hangover, moving from the tub to the shower and back again maybe 20 times, to walking outside, laying on the bed, moaning in my husband’s lap, watching the look of defeat on my mom’s and hub’s face, I had a deep feeling that if I was moved to the hospital I would literally die. So I sat reverse on a toilet and had a moment with God(dess). My prayer was very simple: I have gotten myself into a situation that I have NO IDEA how to get myself out of. And even though it took another seven-ish hours of the most grueling pain of my entire life, I birthed one of the most powerful creatures I have ever met in my life.
My birth team could hold my hands or hold my legs, but it was only me and my little creation that could go through that birthing process.
I look at much of emotions this way.
For most of my life, I have spent a lot of energy stuffing my emotions. I got pretty good at it too. I mean we all have, right?! We just have to stay busy enough. Distract ourselves enough that we never have to sit with ourselves. And if we never have to sit with ourselves, we don’t have to come head to head with the emotions that are icky and painful and grueling. The ones that take us to our capacity. The really painful (good) ones that want to help our souls birth some powerful creations.
If we look at the divine feminine, we find answers. The divine feminine is emotional. It”s creative. It ebbs and flows and has an intuitive process. It’s wild and untamed. And it’s tragically inconvenient for a patriarchal society. So it must be numbed, eased, dulled.
Our mental health system as well as our modern day maternity system are built from the patriarchy. There have been plenty of arguments out there already on the maternity system within hospitals and the history and validation of midwifery so I won’t elaborate much other than to say when we argue, as women, about which system is better, we further feed the patriarchy. It is in this very system that started the divide between us as sisters when our midwives of the mid-century were burned at the stake so that medicine could be led my men and a formal education system.
Now let’s talk about mental health for a minute. Let’s talk about why depression, anxiety, suicide, chemical dependance, loneliness, and self-mutilation are at an all time high and nobody has a fucking clue about what to do about it, other than minimize or cheerlead.
I want to be very clear on something in this illustration: I had my babies like I have my meltdowns: unmedicated. I feel it all. This says nothing about me (and therefore you) other than, I don’t have a full-range scope in my human experience of the other side of either one and I don’t believe that either are bad or wrong when used the right way. I do believe that we live in a world where they are misappropriately used. I do believe that there are some times and with some souls that you can gain greater clarity without the distraction of so much pain. The key here is using your intuition to determine the right usage for you. I react awfully to substances, so it’s best if I steer clear. That’s not the same for everyone and I support your intuitive guidance on that.
First and foremost, we are all living with a lifetime (and lifetimes) of trauma that needs to be healed. Trauma is far more than the gruesome life events we hear of. Trauma is quite simply any life experience that was not emotionally validated. So if you grew up in a family where emotions were brushed under the rug, well you have layers of traumatic experiences from childhood. But we all do. So don’t worry. Every single one of us is walking around with boatloads of trauma. So this whole act of trying to show up like we don’t is just asinine. Can you imagine the relief you would feel if you didn’t have to fake it anymore?? But let me go ahead and note here: that does not mean we all walk around like hot messes. No, no. We are resilient. And we are brilliant! We are both! We are both tragic and beautiful all the time. Filled with glory and wonder… and trauma. So you don’t have to pretend anymore that you are all former without the latter.
Second, the great American tragedy is that we are living out of alignment with our souls’ purpose. Keeping up with the Jones’, chronic consumerism, a culture of hustle, incessant hate and intolerance… all of this stems from patriarchy. I know I have mentioned patriarchy a number of times already so let me be super clear: patriarchy is not equivalent to men/masculine/male. It’s not tied to a religion or race either. However, it has stemmed from the toxic control of a predominantly White, Male, Christian philosophy that values greed. It’s a culture, not a person. White, male, Christians are not the enemy. A culture of exclusion is. I could (and maybe should) write an entire book about this, but I will allow you to dive deeper into your whole self to identify how this system is creating lack inside of you and therefore a discontinuity in your emotional well-being.
And third, and probably the most important for the sake of this article is that we, as a society, have no space to hold emotional fluidity. What do I mean by fluidity: the highs and lows of emotions. We fear the low. We push them away. We view them as weak. We may say, “I get it. Been there, I’m here for you,” but I live in the South and this very much has a “bless your heart” undertone to it. We value the high - the happy, the positive. So if someone is sad or mad or even lower than that - depressed - we don’t know what to do with them. We give suggestions for things people can do, we encourage them to change their mindset. We say, “Hey, please don’t end your life. Just call me.” Yeah. No. Most people would rather end their life than deal with the agony of picking up the phone and continuing to feel less than, broken, and ashamed. I know we do this because we don’t know what else to do and we really do care.
The answers once again lie in the feminine because in the feminine we have the capacity to hold the unknown, the wild, and the untamed. In the feminine we know that she holds everything within her to work through the agony and birth her creations. We just hold the space, hold her hands, hold her legs. We let her and her creation find their way. We know that the painful isn’t shameful. We know that it’s merely a shadow seeking the light. We know that in every moment every individual is both brilliant and a hot mess in her own capacity. We know that’s normal and human and beautiful.
I recently started writing more and more about my emotional range. I had been reluctant for years. Not because I was ashamed but because I dreaded people’s reactions. I dreaded how uncomfortable I know that it made people. I dreaded the comments and messages asking if I was alright. I dreaded the I’m here for you’s.
I valued the simple emoji hearts, I know you have the capacity to work through this and birth your creations but I stand with you as your sister. I hold your hand. I hold space for your light. I see your shadow and I’m not scared of it. I know you are strong and brilliant and worthy even in your shadow. I valued the messages that said, damn I’m in it too or the comment that says, I feel this deeply and together we could just hold space for the suck of it all.
As I have grown more connected with my shadow, I have been able to do an immense amount of healing and growing. Through the allowance of my deepest, darkest shadows, sometimes my creations or manifestations are professionals. I have worked with additional healers and teachers. Sometimes we need someone to shine a light on the blind spot. Other times it just feels damn good to not walk it alone. The coolest part about this is that the healers and teachers I have worked with have sometimes been my friends or just women that I feel more kinship too. There’s no hierarchy. No lack. Just literally, a light holder, or as we refer to them, lightworker.
If you’re like me and you have spent most of your life teaching yourself how to contain your emotions or busy yourself to ignore your emotions and yet this is all speaking to you, I encourage you to just start to sit with your emotions. Meditate. Ask for the guidance. Ask what they are here to teach you. Sit in the hot, sludgy discomfort of it all. Allow the pain to birth your next creation. Your next evolution of yourself.