by robilee mcIntyre
lode, Mother tongue, Mother land, Mother Earth. Mother cell, Mother
of invention, Mother ship. Mother-in-law, Mother house, Mother may I?
Mother. The center of it all, the originator, the core of things. The
core of each and every one of us, the core of every living thing, the
core of our planet, universe and personal truths. Mother.
thing can be traced to Mother. The spring grass around methat
already needs mowingwas sourced from an older plant, mothered
if you will, by this older plant. The sunset is birthed, in a sense,
by the planet's rotation. It is in this movement too that the moon is
born. Without the constant movement of the earth these luminaries would
be lost to us. Sisters that never meet. The sun moon and stars and all
of the things that we know rely on a constantthe assurance and
the presumption that life continues on, blessed by birth, regrowth,
and propagation. Mother is the story of life, the food chain, evolutioneven
extinction. We all need to be brought here by the one who came before
us. No more Mothers, no more daughters. Man traces this remarkable mother
chain to the ends of his family, the ends of humanity, the ends of the
galaxy, and ultimately, perhaps, to divinity. A male figurehead for
the ultimate female process. Mother.
I find mysticism in the loop of chain just ahead of mine, knowing that
secret doors and corridors leading to the freedom of my own soul are
captured within it. The love of her is there too, waiting in symbiotic
union with the dark hurts and fears that bring her to life. She is of
course, inextricably linked to the loop ahead of her. All that she is,
and all that I am is woven throughout her core, a gift from the most
powerful influence of her lifeher same sex parent. Mother.In that
Mother word we are lost and found. Pushed free, we are sent into the
world alone and yet intrinsically forever linked to our source. Mother.
you were led into another family by forces beyond your control, let
go in order to fly. Finding love and parenting, chocolate chips and
snuggily bears, ending in a search for the birther. Mother. Perhaps
you traveled alone the two of you, fatherless and full of adventure.
Doing things the hard way, forging bonds and singular devotion. Maybe
violence was in the den, abused abuser, reliving the lies of the lives
led before you came along. Repeating patterns without consciousness
or true intention. Perhaps it was indifference that followed you into
premature adulthood, a blind eye. Do-it-yourself pioneer spirit, Big
Girl while momma careered and developed her own life. Maybe it was domination.
My way or the highway mommy dearest towering personality. Then again,
it could just as easily have been love. True love as clear and uncomplicated
as the crystal mountain stream flowing without effort along the mountainside.
Love incorporating it all, finding pleasure and pain, the fear and freedom,
support and wings. Love without condition, love of you as you are. Gay,
straight, fat, thin, artistic, mathematical, brave or nervous. True
love, a love that lets you be who you are as you are.
she gave it her all, this parenting thing. Perhaps she gave it nothing,
intuiting and reliving the ways of her ancestors, motherhood passing
through her simplychanneling the previous voices into physicality,
linking you to her as she is linked to her own mother. As many variables
in style as genetics, we are all woven together in stings of womanhood.
Each link a mother and a daughter both. Like the yin and the yang not
one existing without the other. Maddening and infuriating, the chicken
and the egg question. Which one is the mother? Yet, there is no mother
without the daughter. No daughter without the mother.
our selves. Teenaged angst drives us away each from the other. Battles
for the freedom of a newly independent spirit rage. We are rebels, vowing
to erase her and every ideal and value stemming from her completely
from our psyche. Developing traits designed to push her particular buttons,
we test her limits and step our toes over finely drawn boundary lines,
sometimes inadvertently vaulting ourselves out of the nest with weak,
newly-feathered and pubescent wings, burning her from our very thoughts
we fly as close as we want to the sun with no remembrances of her tales
of the mythical Icarus.
we fall, needing to be caught. Sometimes we are illuminated, needing
to be grounded. Sometimes we are candled, impurities visible to the
world, needing to be comforted.Knowing that she couldnt and didnt
do anything right, we forged solidly ahead, burning our bridges, forging
our paths, choosing our lives. Denying any connection to her at all,
we stumble ahead, wondering how she could be as she is. How can she
see with such blind eyes? What on earth drives her to make the choices
she makes? We can't see her in our own mirror. We fight a righteous
battle, reading our own stories in the stories of others, denying the
connection, pretending that the link isnt therethe emperors
new link if you will.
day comes. And it does come, for us all. In a reaper-like stealth, she
creeps up on you without ever moving a muscle. She is suddenly there
where she really has been all along. Mother. Someone says, Gee
you sound so much like your mother. or You look just like
your mother. or OopsI thought you were your mother!
and there is a tremendous rush, a silent vortex streaming past you flushing
who you thought you were out of your head and dragging the version of
you as an independent spirit out through every orifice in your face.
The world as you have carefully crafted it has come whooshing past you
and there you are, rushing to the mirror looking and listening for the
evidence that has been there all along. Similar jaw line, copycat cellulite,
a crows foot radiating from the corner of your eye at the exact angle
of hers. And there you both are. So on a reconnaissance mission you
go. Meeting, ostensibly for lunch, you dine, surreptitiously looking
for the evidence. Aghast at the waiter's suggestion that the two of
you are actually sisters, you run to the restroom.
at the thought, you peer for the sixtieth time at a face at once familiar
and yet now, completely alien to you. You do see her there. You hear
her in the lilt of your voice. As she is showing you the pictures from
your sister's wedding, you see in colorized proof the same upturn of
your nose, and then you see it again in her mother's face. Your nose.
A piece of your equipment right there on someone elses face. Is
it really your nose at all? What is really yours after all? Have you
only borrowed everything from the women before you? Reeling with astonishment,
you begin to source out the clues to who you are.
back, Polaroids spread all over the kitchen table, you find a version
of you is living there in every one of them. And in each of them is
the connection to the other. All linked by something or another, it
begins to become remarkable reallyall that fierce independence
and denial of who she is suddenly thwarted by an undeniable genetic
link to each other. Unimpeachable sources, these photographs witness
the journeying of mother to daughter, to mother to daughter, to daughter
to mother. Daguerreotypes, tintype, sepia-toned truths of our mothers
ourselves silently bringing you into the fold, and there is comfort
there, familiarity in those lined faces. Even when they were unlined
and as rebellious as you were. There you are, linked as always to your
mother, as she is linked to her mother as the links continue on, falling
backwards and forwards into a circle of life. Even in mothers and daughters
who never meet, the link is there. We can choose not to become mothers,
we can re-parent and not duplicate some unpleasant personality traits,
but we have to embrace her entirely before that personal selection process
can begin. We need to see how fully within us she is.
impossible to deny girlswe are all our mothers our selves. There
is comfort in that. Frightening as it is to confront it in living flesh.
We are the heritage of our sisters, we have a responsibility to our
daughters and ourselves. Our Mothers may not be the mothers we would
have dreamt theyd be, but we are linked. For the millennia. She
is there in everything we do, like it or not. Forgive her for that.
Forgive yourself. Move ahead, blossom into your own best version of
the women in your family. Live, love, thrive. Because as the sun rises
to meet the moon, the cycle of life includes you and your mother. In
loving her, you honor your self.
is an artist, creator extraordinaire, and all around Renaissance woman.
She lives the intentionally happiest of lives in Reems Creek with 86
nipples, the love of her life and pro-chick inspirationallygraffittied
1951 ford pick up truck called Edgurr.