May 15, 2010

The Dark Side of the Moon...

This post was supposed to go on my other Uncensored blog and not here, since this one has become associated with matters pertaining to Iraq. But it got published here by mistake and I shall leave it here, because that is the way it was meant to be...

A couple of days ago, it was mother's day in the West, here that "special day" takes place on the 21st of March and not on the 13th of May.

So it got me thinking about mothers again...mothers and motherhood. I want to tackle motherhood in this post, the concept and the myths surrounding it...

For there are many myths surrounding motherhood and what it means to be a mother...myths that give birth to way too many emotional expectations that are DETRIMENTAL to relationships.

By the same token, I would like to tear down these myths and I am doing it with two purposes in mind 1) so women can start taking responsibility for their own actions and STOP using this motherhood thing to get away with murder and 2)so that mothers start being looked at, in a realistic manner instead of this see-saw vision, one minute up on a pedestal and one minute being taken down into the pits...(as every shrink will attest...)

Hence the title - the dark side of the moon.

I chose this title because the moon is traditionally associated with the Feminine,and all of its aspects, motherhood being one of them...and the dark side of the moon is those "shadow, negative" elements of the Feminine and motherhood is not exempt from them...

Moving away from archetypes and social issues, such a socialization, education, oppression of the feminine, class distinctions, etc...I want to concentrate on the current myths glorifying motherhood and mothers...

I am not saying this glorification is a bad thing, after all mothers give Life, but it does take a father too...and sadly fathers are always relegated to a second place and that is not necessarily a good thing.

Furthermore, the majority of the stories one reads about broken childhoods almost always revolve around the "terrible, horrible, brutal father"...and while it is true that men resort to their most basic instincts, their egos -- regardless of the welfare of others, it is not always the case....women, mothers (and I will use these two terms interchangeably) ALSO play a great part in family dynamics and in broken childhoods...

For the sake of convenience, I will eventually concentrate on Mothers in the East, by East I mean Eastern societies in general...even though am very aware that what am about to describe applies across the board to other societies as well...to Western societies even though there are sets of "social problems" in Western societies that are not typically found in Eastern ones - like mothers with addiction problems, drugs, sex, alcohol, etc...

But I really don't want to get bogged down in all of these social issues wherever they may be present...I really want to get to the core of the subject, and I do realize the difficulty in separating the environment, the culture, the background, the history from the individual -- but I also believe that there is a core essence in each that surpasses all these "limitations" and this is where the concept of "responsibility" comes in...

Eastern and Western societies glorify motherhood -- the mother and child image that remains stuck in every psyche....the image of unconditional love, unconditional sacrifice, tenderness, affection, attachment, nourishment, etc...and of course women/mothers by virtue of their biology are predisposed to fulfill that image...up to a point, up to a point when the child is dependent on them...

There is a great narcissism in motherhood, and this is where the dark side comes in.
I have heard countless women say "I, we made a beautiful baby" - I used to hear that among Western women - because their co-creation is not attributed to some God power moving inside of them....they like to think that they "made it". This for me is preposterous to say the least...In the East the narcissism manifests itself differently...but the end result is the same - a drunkenness with power.

And who says power says manipulation, abuse, neglect under its different form, control, humiliations and also physical violence...and yes these are present and they are perpetrated by women/mothers on their children and in particular on the female child. And thus the vicious cycle sets in...from generation to generation...

This dark side of the moon is seen and felt in family dynamics, whether this mother is a mother in law, or a wife...the sine-qua-non condition is that she must have born kids herself...and this is where the power is derived from - the act of creation.

Contrary to popular belief and stereotypes, mothers in the East are very powerful, within the domain they control best - the family.

Stories of mothers poisoning family relationships are plenty, mothers who would not let go of their sons and pit themselves as competitors with the wife, mothers who intrude in the private lives of their adult children, mothers who manipulate with illnesses, emotional blackmail, martyrdom, sacrifice, selfless giving and even love...to get their own way, and retain control and power...these are common...so common...

Yet none of the literature and the myths that this kind of literature carries points to these dark aspects, none...mothers are always glorified as these selfless creatures who would sacrifice it all...and in many instances it is true, but there is always a price tag, and the price tag is and can be hefty...and those who bear the price the heaviest are the children...always.

I am sure everyone has heard these famous lines -- I have sacrificed myself for you, I have given everything I had, I had to go through so much pain, I...I...I...
Guilt and shame are another form of manipulation. Children young or old, are left with this sense of complete indebtedness till the day of Judgment for all  these "sacrifices" - as if they have asked for them or have asked to be born...

In parallel, all these myths have contributed to much misunderstanding and conflict in male/female relationships...the classical one being all these men expecting to be unconditionally loved by the women in their lives, regardless of their behavior and acts -- a state of total immaturity, of infantile expectations - derived from their obstinate holding on to these myths of motherhood, thereby abdicating all emotional responsibility for themselves...

This essay is by no means conclusive nor exhaustive, there are too many other aspects I have not covered such as mothers under occupation and wars, mothers impoverished by ruthless economies, mothers with no access to health care nor education, mothers socialized into being perfect self less beings and wives, mothers who are denied their own individuality and have remained stuck in motherhood and biology...

I am aware of all these aspects, but am also aware of something that goes beyond these limiting aspects and it comes from a simple observation -- a very simple one.

It does not take a genius to get pregnant and you women have no control over your ovaries (contraceptives aside). What am trying to say really is that the Genius does not stem from yourselves, but from Life and the Creator of Life. Meaning that women are vessels of Life, recipients of Life and not givers of Life...

This is an important distinction...and because women are vessels of Life, they have every good reason to start defining themselves in broader terms, a broader Motherhood not just limited to biology and giving birth...hence for me it is imperative that women reconnect with the Universal Womb from which they are issued and find that core spiritual center in themselves, liberating themselves unto Life and setting others free in the process...