I’ve decided to come right out and get the following down. I’ve been agonizing over how to word it, how to do the experience justice, how to stylize my prose. But in the end, all that is stopping me up, so I’m going to recount my Dr. Carolle visit best I can without engaging the inner editor.
As I said in a previous post, one of the first things Dr. Carolle said to me is: “I am woman.” She told me that phrase kept popping up in her subconscious when she thought about me, and I knew just what she meant. I’ve traditionally had a tough time asserting my personhood, my womanhood, my self-hood. In fact, I often say that I don’t know who I am, and that’s the damn truth. I don’t have a real sense of myself, which is probably one reason I like to write — to hold the mirror up and see what’s reflected back. But before I could say those things, she affirmed them first: Conviction, she said. No fear. Let the light shine.
Easier said than done.
For me, anyway.
And what does this have to do with my physical problems?
That’s where it got interesting.
My ambivalence about myself and my womanhood manifests in physical ways centered around my femininity. So I suffer from what some people call “PMS” or “Perimenopause” (which are only a constellation of symptoms, Dr. Carolle said, and just because we label them, that doesn’t get us very far…because we forget to look at the issues that set those symptoms in motion). Every month, my “higher self” reminds me to stop ignoring my issues. And I bleed, and I hurt, and I brood, and I swell, and I muddle through…
Now in my 40s, my body is saying “STOP WASTING TIME!” “Be a woman!” “Be strong!” “Be you!” “Be FREE!”
But how to be free?
Again, it’s interesting.
It’s different for all of us, but my freedom rests on forgiving my mother. See the theme? Femininity. Womanhood. I have a hard time knowing who I am as a woman and a mother because I was so conflicted about my first female role model: my mother. My mom and I had a lot of tension in our relationship, a lot of ambivalence, a lot of unrest. I continue to live that and need to let it go, something I’ve never done effectively. THEN, I can begin to see myself clearly. Out of the shadow of my mother issues.
But I’m not sure I want to forgive, I told Dr. Carolle. My mom is no longer alive. She can’t bear witness to my hurt. I want her to know. She needs to know how she hurt me.
Then you’ll always suffer, she replied.
I knew she was right. See, when we first began to talk, she asked me to tell her about my mom and I couldn’t do it. I hadn’t realized before how VERY profoundly I was affected by my relationship with my mom. It’s deep and entwined and wraps around me. When I couldn’t get the words out to talk about my mom and I, Dr. Carolle taught me an energy balancing trick to center oneself: tap above your eyebrow five times, tap below the eye five times, take a deep breath, blow it out and say “I am free.”
Soon enough, I began to talk. I discovered some things I’d always “known” but couldn’t see for myself, something that happens when you’re out of balance and your inner self isn’t able to speak. Or if it does, you don’t hear it.
There’s more, but this is the center of it all. My homework is as you’ve probably guessed: forgiveness. Not only my mom, but my dad, and myself. Dr. Carolle has a system of forgiveness she shared with me and I need to do this and move on. This is what I’m to do:
1. Write down everything you feel the person has done wrong to you. Get it all out.
2. Practice telling the person everything you want him or her to know. If the hurt was done to you as a child, then the confident grown-up you — who is not afraid of that person — takes the shy, scared child onto your lap and has the child tell it all.
3. Write down the positive things that the person who hurt you has done for you. If there are none, that’s OK.
4. Lastly, practice telling the person that you forgive him or her, because they did not know any better.
In her book, Mind, Body, Soul and Money: Putting Your Life in Balance,” Dr. Carolle shared a powerful story of her own forgiveness, which has inspired me to do the same.
At this point, the work begins. Once I free myself from the anger and resentment associated with my mother, I can begin the journey to becoming a mother myself. Dr. Carolle told me that she felt so many of my hormonal issues peaked when I was 37 — right after the birth of Booger — because I now knew that I was irrevocably a mother — it couldn’t be taken back — and I didn’t know how to be a mother. I wasn’t sure how to proceed because my mother mirror reflects back too much ambivalence. Also, because motherhood is such a large part of my identity now, it’s important to know who I am as a person too. How can I be anything until I know myself? But I don’t, I don’t, the mirror cracked at some point and the pieces must be found and put together.
That’s how I am to proceed.
To be fair, this post barely grazes the iceberg’s tip. Of course, I am to be proud of who I am, be positive, free from worry. Know I am worth it. And so, so much more. But I think this is a good start.
Learn more about Dr. Carolle on her website. And if you live in San Diego, she does a thing called First Thursday Evening Tea with Dr. Carolle, which promises to be eye-opening. Dr. Carolle also does sessions over the phone, so you can benefit from her insight from anywhere in the world.