“A spell is a story we tell ourselves that shapes our emotional and psychic world. The media, the authorities tell a story so pervasive that most people mistake it for reality… The counterspell is simple: tell a different story. The counterspell for fear is courage: facing the possibility of the worst and then going ahead with what you know is right. The counterspell for despair is action in service of a vision. The counterspell for paralysis is stubborn, persistent passion.”
Starhawk Starhawk’s Tangled Web
What in hell is a Crone you might be asking? And why is this one groaning? Don’t look it up in your dictionary becasue modern dictionaries don’t have a clue. Why not? Because they were written by men, silly.
OK, I admit it, that was a low blow. I retract that slam at my male audience. I’m not a feminist. Seriously. I got kicked out of Nebraska chapter of NOW in 1977 and I’ve been anti-feminists ever since.
I wasn’t enough of a feminist for them because I was a stay at home Mother who ran a daycare in her home and baked her own bread and canned her own vegetables. I dared to say raising my children was probably the most important job I would ever do. Then I dared to say that I thought men got shafted by the current system as much as women did. Actually, back in 1977, that meant I wasn’t a feminist at all. Now that Gloria Steinem has said it, it’s gospel. I should have written it down and taken out a copyright on it when I said it. ooops.
I consider myself a humanist. I want equality for all people and men are people too. Right? Right??? What’s the point of being at war with them. It seems to me that the best way to achieve quality is to convince men that it’s a win-win situation. I hate–OK maybe hate is too strong a word but I seriously dislike femni-nazis.
A Crone is a Woman (yes, I know I wrote woman with a capital W) of a certain age who has come to a point in her life where she has skills she can teach to the younger generation and wisdom to pass on. I realized I was nearing the age of a Crone when my daughter began asking me for my recipes for certain things I cooked and I had no recipe to give her because I had been making it for so long I just did it by habit. I had become my Grandmothers.
I claim Cronism with pride. I’m not a Pagan like Starhawk although more than once I have done very elaborate spell type ceremonies because I believe that ritual and symbology appeals to something fundamental in the human psyche that may be genetic. Whatever. It has been helpful to me in the past and I don’t discount it. I just don’t claim that there is any supernatural reason for why it helps.
Frankly, I think Starhawk has the magic answer in the lines I quoted above. I have spent more than half of my life telling my story to various head doctors who get paid enormous sums of money to listen to me weep as I abreact when I tell them about the various crimes my father and mother have committed against me. It is through telling our stories that those of us who are the walking wounded learn to heal. We reweave a tapestry of the past into a cloak to wear into the future.
But it is in my dreams where I have finally and truly found closure. In my dreams the little girl I once was became larger than life and took control of the situation. I became the parent who taught MY parents the milk of human kindness and how to play nice. In other dreams all of the vicious and demeaning things they had said to me over the years were magically changed into loving tributes about how intelligent, clever, and well-behaved I was. Their heavy-handed physical abuse became gentle hugs. Their sexual abuse became innocent loving caresses.
I told a different story to myself and took control of my life. In If It Ain’t One Thing It’s Your Mother, one of my sister blogs, I’m telling the final story of the abuse I survived and have triumphed over. This is the most painful story of all, the betrayal of my mother.
I groan because I am often in heavy duty pain due to an auto-immune disorder and a bad back caused by a mild case of scoliosis, a bad car accident when I was seventeen, and a really nasty fall two years ago. It doesn’t help that I have been making it a habit of falling lately and reaggravating those injuries. I tend to be very stoic about the pain I am in because that was the way I was raised. Cry and I’ll give you something to cry about.
I groan because life is hard and it isn’t fair. But you know what? Life simply isn’t fair for anyone. What is, is. Some days the sun shines and some days it doesn’t. Some days you get diamonds, some days you get gold and most of the days you get coal. You didn’t know the day you made that appointment to go get your teeth cleaned which day was going to be fair or which day was going to be cloudy; whether it would rain or snow or be fair, did you?
Life is what it is. You might as well learn to enjoy every moment you possibly can. There are going to many you won’t enjoy at all; even more that you will just have to slog through and hope you make it to the other side with as little damage as possible. You might as well try to find the silver lining in the clouds because there will be clouds.
It is the theory of some doctors that the symptoms of some of these diseases–fybromyalgia, arthralgia, scolisosis, autoimmune disorders etc and the pain caused by them can be traced to the most primitive part of the brain at the base of the skull and may be related to injuries cause by severe trauma or repeated abuse to that area. I am intrigued by this theory and would tend to agree that it might hold clues to what ails me. Smack a kid little kid around enough and you will do permanent damage psychologically and physically. My groaning reflects my pain in both respects.
But mostly groan rhymes with crone and I liked the alliterative effect. Plus groan can also refer to complaining about this or that and I might just do a lot of that as I talk about my daily life here at the Three Threes. Mostly I like living downtown(you can read about my love affair with Madison in Living In the Edge of Madness) but nothing is perfect and there are certainly drawbacks to living in the midst of this complex mixture of souls.
Despite my groaning I am considered a happy person. You’ll have to trust me on that one. I hope it comes through in these words because I am. Life is funny. I laugh a lot. I mean a lot. A friend/acquaintance who shares my childhood religious experiences told me the other day that his biggest gripe with me is that I am not bitter or at least not bitter enough at the church we were raised in. My earth mother persona and happiness grate on his nerves although he likes to be around me because being around me makes him forget to be unhappy for a while. But he doesn’t understand how I can be so happy given everything that has happened to me.
I tell him I choose happiness and so can he. He does not believe this is possible. There is no way to convince someone that they can be happy just by choosing to be happy. They have to try happiness on first. It really does feel strange and for some of us intolerable. I faked it until I made it. I trusted the process of therapy and slogged through until it took hold. I found some old Crones who had gone before me.
Crones are the keepers of the knowledge of past generations and they pass this knowledge on to their daughters and Grand-daughters or even to young women they have no blood bond with. They pass it on to their sons and Grandsons. Perhaps someday I will be blessed with a Grand-daughter who will want to know how to knit or crochet or sew and I will guide her young fingers. Perhaps my grandson or granddaughter will be as fascinated by words as I am and I will teach him how to use a dictionary and a thesaurus. Perhaps I will pass my knowledge on to young women and men who need to know they can make it through the pain of recovering from child abuse. Perhaps I can pass it on to you.
(Bairbre Sine is the Irish language equivalent of my real life name. I’m inexplicably proud of my Scots-Irish heritage.)