“No longer possible to manage or regulate…not able to be limited or overpowered…”
The only thing I knew about my great grandmother was that she was crazy and deserted her family.
That was the story. The mother of my mother’s mother.
Excerpt of my mom from the short film "Hers. Mine. Ours." - A Moving Memoir for my sister
(full film is below)
It wasn’t until very recently that I started asking a lot more questions about her in particular that I realized just how important it is to dig a little deeper. I did Ancestry stuff a few years back and the only information I could find on Beulah, my maternal great grandmother, was the divorce papers signed by my great grandfather with the reason for divorce stating, “desertion”. The reason why the Catholic Church granted this divorce.
She was a woman who walked out on her family. A woman who left her 5 (maybe 6…we have a huge family) children behind. Her sons and 1 daughter, my grandmother. What was left out of this story was the fact that she had fled multiple times to another state with her children to save them from her incredibly abusive husband. What was left out of this story was the fact that it was her father (my great great grandfather) who demanded she return home to her abusive husband. What was left out of this story was a woman who had no say in her own safety or the safety of her children that she was unable to save, a woman who has been described as someone who was “probably suffering from undiagnosed schizophrenic / bipolar disorder” during a time when women who stood up for themselves or thought differently or, god-forbid, didn’t “follow the rules” were labeled hysterical.
I don’t know what, if any, undiagnosed disorders were present but what I do know is that this woman was a fucking warrior…and she didn’t stand a chance.
What I do know is that the last time she left, she didn’t take her kids with her. What I do know is that there is no way that her kids were not part of her everyday life; that regardless of what state of mind she was in, there is no way her body did not feel that loss. What I do know is that woman saved herself. That woman chose herself.
…and that woman was known as “crazy”.
What I also know is that my grandmother blamed her mother for her pain. I know that my grandmother was abused (on every level) by her father and brothers. I know that my grandmother had a deep anger towards her mother; the one who left her behind…the one who didn’t protect her. I know that my grandmother went on to have 13 children of her own. I know that my grandmother cherished her 9 sons and was brutal towards her 4 daughters; 1 of them being my mother. I also know my grandmother was a fucking warrior…and she didn’t stand a chance.
My mother would go on to have 4 children of her own; her 2 boys were cherished and my sister and I were held to very different standards.
What I also know is that my mother blamed her mother for her pain. I know when my mother was struggling in her marriage to my alcoholic father (he has since been sober since 1999) and shared these struggles with her friends, she was met with “he’s a good man, he doesn’t hit you, he’s a good father and he’s provided you a beautiful home and life.” I also know that my mother was a fucking warrior…the first divorce on both sides of my very Catholic family that started a windfall of marriages ending. What I do know is that woman saved herself. That woman chose herself.
She gave me a fighting chance.
I have blamed my mother for a lot of my pain and, truth be told, a lot of my pain came from her…but that wasn’t where it originated. It is pain that is dense. It is pain that is loud. It is pain that is stifling. It is pain that is powerful. It is pain that hasn’t been moved or processed or respected or realized or fully felt. It is the pain of abuse, the pain of silence, the pain of fear and the pain of violence.
It is the pain of compounding pain…the denial of self and the hiding of power.
It is the pain we have been told to quiet; for protection…to ensure our “safety”. ...
And this…this is where protective rage comes in.
Because there is divinity in anger.
There is information in anger.
There is strength in anger.
There is history in anger.
We have been taught to “control” this anger…we’ve been told there isn’t space for it or worthiness in it…we have been conditioned to deny its alchemy. We have been taught to fear our own power.
But it’s time to save ourselves.
It’s time to choose ourselves.
It’s time to honor ourselves. It’s time to show ourselves.
It’s time to embody ourselves. It’s time to reclaim ourselves. ...
There is divinity in this fire.
We were burned for centuries by those who didn’t understand our magic, our intuition, our power…
...we are not meant to burn ourselves alive now.
Beulah has been coming to me in my meditations and channeling for the past few weeks and I have been feeling an intense responsibility to recognize her legacy.
The legacy of choice. The legacy of love. The legacy of protection. The legacy of change.
The legacy of light…her illumination and acknowledgment of the abuse she was being forced to endure and her brave act of defiance.
Her reclamation of her identity and her power.
She wasn’t crazy at all…
…she was out of control.
How to Harness the Magic of Fire
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