Saturday, March 21, 2009

Full of Myself

I have not been on this blog much lately. I haven't been writing. My time has been spent dealing with lawyers, doctors, work people, etc. Won't get into what it's about because it's probably not prudent. I'm still too angry about it and fifteen years of anger about this issue has now turned into righteous action. It could have all been avoided if they'd just kept things the way they were. But it's a good thing, or it will be. In the meantime, the stress of it all and the consumption of time of it all has kept me from my stories. I hope to get back to them soon. And I'm not sure how coherent this post will be, so I apologize ahead of time.

On the fun side, I kicked off the Old Mermaids Tour here at The Gathering Thursday.

I had been looking forward to this Gathering and talking about the Old Mermaids, but all week I'd been dealing with the above and people weren't returning calls and people were sending weird emails and behaving in crappy bureaucratic ways, so by the time it got to Thursday, I was exhausted.

I dragged myself to the library and put together the room for the Gathering along with a friend of mine. I had asked the women to bring found objects, and I'd said I would tell Old Mermaid stories about these objects. By Thursday, I was thinking, "You said you'd do WHAT?" I'm very comfortable in front of a group—more comfortable than I am one on one actually. In fact, I excel in front of a group. But this was standing in front of a group of people and making up stories after looking at an object I'd never seen before. That was nuts. I was exhausted, I was sad, I was weepy. Who was I kidding?

We started the Gathering by eating. (Potluck.) Twelve women showed up. I said, "Just one more and we'd have the 13 Old Mermaids here." In the middle of the dinner, one more woman showed up. Everyone cheered.

We went around the table and introduced ourselves, since a couple of the women were new. We each said our name and where we came from originally. I began to relax as I listened to each woman's story. When it was my turn, I said, "I was born in Louisiana because my dad was in the service, but I was raised in Michigan. I've lived in the Pacific Northwest longer than I've lived anywhere, and I love it, but I'm often very lonely here." My voice broke as I looked around at these women. "I still miss Linda so much that it breaks my heart. And my mother died last year and I just can't seem to get my bounce back." I never say these things out loud. I write about these things. But I rarely actually say them to anyone.

But on this night before Spring Equinox with this group of women, most of whom I'd known for years, I said what I was feeling. I could see the compassion on their faces. This was what the Old Mermaids did: They spoke truth to one another. They listened. They created a sacred container with their attentiveness, with their presence.

After everyone had a turn, they looked to me, because I was the host for the night, and I began talking about the Old Mermaids. I talked about community and how the Old Mermaids and the novel were about not creating "the other." Especially during difficult times. We needed to create community and not make people who were different from us—even people who crossed an imaginary political line—become the other.

It was time for me to tell stories from the found objects. I'd never done this before. I picked up one object. It was a piece of stone with curves and ridges on it. I ran my fingers around it, and then I said, "I can't be sure, but I think Sister Ursula Divine Mermaid found this in the wash right after the Old Sea dried up..."

And then I told a short story. (Maybe I'll write these stories up later. I haven't decided.) The second story was longer. I stood up for this one. Went to stand beside the woman who brought the object. I began telling the story of the Old One-Eyed Whale and how the Old Mermaids missed him, especially Mother Star Stupendous Mermaid.

As I was telling this story, I felt transformed and transported. I felt like myself completely. I could see the joy on the faces of the women, and I felt as though this story was flowing into me, like a wonderful stream of energy. And I felt joy. For the first time in such a long while, I felt joy fill my body. I was bringing this story to life. I could feel the story in my body. I could feel the truth of this particular story.

I felt truly and absolutely full of myself.

When I told Mario about it later, he said, "I wish I could have been there! You've got to do it again."

But wasn't this a crazy thing to promise people: To stand in front of them and tell stories? Not stories I've planned. Not stories I've written ahead of time. Not stories I've heard somewhere else. Just stand and trust that the stories will come?

Yep, it is crazy.

"Okay," I said. "I'll do it at the next stop on the Old Mermaid tour."

It's scary and it's exciting. We'll see if I'll sink or swim the next time.

Naw, I won't sink. The Old Mermaids will be there swimmin' along with me!

1 comment:

Robert said...

Hi Kim,

Bees seem to be everywhere the past few days. At our Ostara ritual last Friday we each made an offering to the bees. Maybe that's why...

Still hope you make it out AZ-way on the tour for a southwestern gathering.


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