I’ve just finished the very deep, very excellent Staked, by Kevin Hearne. He provides so much food for thought and material for this blog, that I am very grateful to him. In the character of Granuaile, the Fierce Druid and ladylove of the Iron Druid after whom the series is named, Mr. Hearne contemplates emotional wholeness and the obstacles that stand in the way of achieving such balance. While Atticus, the Iron Druid, is over 2000 years old and has worked out most of his emotional angst, Granuaile is a brand new Druid and is only in her early thirties. She’s got lots of baggage to unpack, and I can relate to almost all of it.
In this installment, Granuaile goes after her stepfather—a man who openly disdained and dismissed her, leaving a very wounded inner child behind. As Granuaile determines how to resolve her hurt feelings, she suspects that most people have someone in their lives like her stepfather, “a person who is standing between who you used to be and who you want to be, guarding the wall and proclaiming that you shall forever be imprisoned by their expectations and obligations.” I suspect that she is right.
As you know well if you’ve been following my blog, the person guarding that seemingly impenetrable wall for me was my mother. Until she died, I could not become who I truly wanted to be, although I was able to move toward that goal to some degree. It is very difficult to heal the wounded inner child inside each of us when the perpetrator of those wounds is still around and is still hurting us. At some point—much too late I’m sorry to say—I learned to stop giving my mother the rock she used to hit me upside the head. She still lashed out, but I no longer provided the weapons. I also learned to stop showing my hurt to her, as that just added fuel to her fire. But her fire has been fully extinguished since July 2013, and my life has been the better for it. I’ve finally been able to scale that wall and experience the freedom and joy on the other side. The view is a lot nicer from here.
I’ve been shocked to see how much I’ve changed since my mother’s death. I had worked so hard to overcome my dysfunctional childhood and be the woman I wanted to be. I thought I’d gotten over defining myself purely in terms of “not my mother.” I also thought that I had ceased taking actions according to my shadow teacher—She Who Taught Me What Not To Do. I had a brief moment of regression when my children were born, and I was blindsided by the realization that a mother could do to her child what mine had done to me. As a mother myself, I wanted only good things for my children. My love for them was so visceral, I almost couldn’t contain it. But I got past my disbelief, and in the last decade of hey mother’s life, which roughly correlated with my forties, I believed I’d moved beyond needing her approval or fearing her disapprobation. I was wrong.
When she died, as her parting shot of nastiness, she left a maximally hurtful and divisive will. My brother and I haven’t spoken since a month after her death. She succeeded in ensuring we would never get along by playing to weaknesses she’d been responsible for generating. She incentivized my brother to behave badly, and she knew I wouldn’t be able to get over his behavior. Beyond the viciousness of her will, however, her legacy is over. And in her death I discovered that the wall separating who I used to be and who I’ve always wanted to be had come tumbling down.
In Staked, after she’d confronted her stepfather, Granuaile decides to be an active warrior for Gaia, using her Druidic craft to rid the earth of polluters and the machinery of burning fossil fuels. She sees such a becoming as the apex of her life’s calling, even before she became bound to the earth as a Druid. In the same way, one of the first things I was able to do when my mother passed was to start this blog and begin to express myself as the writer I am. I could admit to the world my love of paranormal smut (although the Iron Druid series has precious little sex to recommend it—please get on that, Mr. Hearne) and begin to share my deep thoughts while reading vampire porn. I can’t imagine writing this blog when my mother was alive; I would never have wanted her to know this much about me (apparently, it’s OK for strangers to share this level of intimacy—Ijust not my mother).
I’ve also been able to deepen my spiritual exploration and my connection to the Divine. Maybe I have more of a sense of balance in the Universe, now that she is no longer here to cause me to doubt that God exists. Maybe it was that there was so much grace around her final demise; at every turn of her death and the subsequent activities, including her horrible will, there was the unmistakable hand of fate, guiding what occurred. Maybe it’s that I’m more at peace and better able to be still and listen for that which is greater than myself, offering the direction and guidance I certainly never received from my corporeal mother.
Now that the wall is down, I’m more comfortable in my own skin; there is no one out there telling me I’m as far from enough as one can be. I have learned to like and value myself in a way I could not achieve when my mother occupied the same time-space continuum. I am at peace at a level I’d never before imagined, much less experienced. Harmony rules my world much more so than it used to.
And the poor, wounded little girl that dwells in my heart has finally been able to heal. It took some doing, to coax that scared, sad child out from under the piano where she used to hide from everyone and everything because the primary emotion that overshadowed everything was fear. But once I was able to assure her that ding, dong, the witch was dead, she was able to learn to smile again, and make up for lost time playing and finding joy. In turn, my previously wounded inner child has become a strong source of inner strength and intuition, a resource I’ve come to rely on almost as much as my five senses. What a blessing this healing has been.
I was quite moved by Granuaile’s description of what happens when we scale, leap, walk over or somehow get to the other side of that wall. I will repeat it here for you, just in case you need any additional motivation to climb your own wall: “I am light and free and my path ahead is smooth and wide through a land of burgeoning promise.” Amen, Sister. Can I get a “Hallelujah!”?