‘My daughter my teacher’
The phrase arrives unbidden
Turning it over I find
What was denied
What was forbidden
What was scorned
Though I searched for it with all my heart
What does it mean
To grow up female
Free of being shamed
Free of control and contempt
That sucks joy and creativity
Out of airways
Leaving a void gasping
Not outgrown or filled
And the horror of knowing
It didn’t have to be like this
And it was
Our daughter has been a free, creative spirit from the beginning. I can’t count how many times I’ve said, “I don’t know how this happened.”
How could it be that this painfully shame-driven introverted woman mothered this free introverted spirit who follows her heart no matter what others think?
From the beginning, without shame, she wrote what she heard, saw and felt. She still composes and performs music that come from places I’ve never been—literally, or in my heart.
The truth is simple. I never gave her any of that. That was and is her gift. Her voice. Her creativity. Her vision. Her truth.
And yet, I did give her something. I gave her some of what I was never given. I think it came from my fierce determination to make space for her to be herself and our daughter. All at the same time.
This makes my heart happy and brings a smile to my face. It helps me see some of what I missed growing up. It also gives me a different mirror to consult. The mirror of my mothering. Even though I felt like a bumbling pseudo-mother from time to time.
Thanks for listening!
©Elouise Renich Fraser, 17 August 2018
Photo found at katiedissertation.weebly.com