Goddess Liberation

Hi all,

it’s day four of me being bald, and I’ve had some time to catch up with my heart. Because I’ve had a horrible cold, I’ve been home most of the time, not doing much at all. This has given me the time and space to feel into the new me. I’ve been looking into the mirror a lot. It’s always strange. Never seen me like this before. I’ve had very short hair twice before, in my early and in my late twenties. I remember on both occasions having this same feeling, like wanting to let go, making a new start. But I’ve never been bald. This one was radical. During the last days my scalp felt odd – very sand-paperish – not a nice feeling at all. Today it’s feeling a little nicer, a bit like dry moss on an old rock. When I now look into the mirror I feel good, really good, about myself. Not only did I achieve to raise over £2,000 and quite a bit awareness for A Band of Brothers in only 21 days, but I also received so much kindness, so many wonderful messages, and my husband has been looking at me in awe for the last 4 days (sho shweet). Wonderful. I did it for me. I needed to let go of the beautiful hair when it looked its best. Seems bonkers, I know. But I am on a self-healing path; finding my growth edges and  shedding layers is what I do. It is very important to me that I walk my talk, that I’m an integral, authentic person. As someone who supports people to let go of old patterns and habits I need to lead the way first and be an example. Right?

Today I was asked twice if I wanted my long hair back. And twice I replied, “I don’t think so, I like myself more like this. It is more me.” The long hair was pleasing others more, in hindsight. To be quite honest with you, long hair felt like a pain to me. The washing, the conditioning, the combing, the hair in my face (urgh – hate that feeling), especially when walking outside with the wind blowing, also the pony tales (not very flattering and giving me headaches), and not being able to wear a hat when having a pony tale. Annoying. All that just to look feminine? Nope. I think I’m done with it. I am feminine. It’s not my looks that make me feminine. It will be interesting to experience how my new look will change people’s perception of me. I think they will see me better. The hair was kind of in the way between me and others; like a barrier.

Anyway – I’m a happy girl. And besides – this whole hype was in order to raise awareness for ABoB. I am so proud that I have done something for them. Because of them my husband is a lot happier in himself, has male support; has more access to his needs and emotions; is able to talk feelings with me and his ‘brothers’; has created deep, long-lasting friendships with some of them; and last but not least he has become an even more amazing partner to me. After 2 years with them he is now ready to mentor younger men and will soon attend another ABoB quest weekend. I am so very proud of him and blessed to love and be loved by him.

All I want with every fibre of myself is to motivate and encourage others to also be bold, courageous, brave. I do believe that if you don’t play you won’t win. Yes, it can back-fire sometimes. But without giving it a go you’ll never know. I certainly have landed on my bottom a few times in my life, but I far more often felt like winning the jack pot. Do make sure, though, that you have created a support network around you first. It’s important to be held by your community of like-minded people. It can feel very lonely if you do a courageous act and have no one to cheer you on, back you up and hold you during the transformation.

bald, bold, brave, courageous, Silvia Siret, OxISC, change, positive change

Silvia, the liberated Goddess

PS: Huge thanks to Amanda Tracey, who did the shaving and holding space for me. She’s my big hero. Her page www.goddessliberation.com is worth checking out. Lots of great events on offer for women.

Advertisements

I’ve done it – I’ve gone bald for ABoB

Here is the evidence:

You can still donate here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SilviaSiret

The night before I felt shaky and tearful, realising I’d lose my beautiful hair. I was visualising my looks and how people would stare at me, but I was also starting to grieve the loss of my hair. My husband soothed me and kept telling me how great I was going to look and feel. My sleep was full of dreams of hair shaving and things going wrong. But in the morning I felt calm and ready. Ben Cole, who is producing a film about A Band of Brothers, had interviewed me the night before, and he was filming me while the hair came off – that was all exciting. A few friends and family came to the event, which was so comforting and encouraging. Amanda Tracey (www.goddessliberation.com) did the shaving and the head mandala for me. The whole process took over an hour.

Here is the video about the mandala:

Later I gave another interview to Ben, and we wrapped it all up. I’ve been receiving a lot of support in every way, and I feel so grateful for it all. The day was so beautiful.

Today, the day after, I’ve unfortunately got a cold, but I do feel liberated and at ease with my baldness. I look odd, yes, the bald patch feels cold all the time, and the mandala is gone now, and where my hair was is now a white patch; but I’m happy I’ve done it. My hair has grown just under 1 mm already, and it feels quite rough, going over it with my hand. The strangest thing about it is that when I touch my head, it feels like I’m touching someone else’s. Very weird.

My husband has been the most amazing friend and companion to me. He even got his head shaved two days before me, just to show his support. Isn’t that sweet?

I am now looking forward to talking more about A Band of Brothers, and raising more awareness and money for them.  But I also look forward to having some hair back and starting the hair growth journey again. It’s strange when people stare at me, I’m getting all self-conscious, but I respond with a big smile and remember that it’s still me. I guess this chapter is not over, I’ll have to get through awkward situations and funny short hair in order to get to a point where I like it again. Maybe I’ll actually keep it short. It has its benefits.

My last year has been all about letting go, releasing and finding my true self as well as raising money and awareness for ABoB. It’s self healing, and it’s not easy. I’m shedding a lot of tears; but I also feel more and more whole. It is such a blessing to have my husband by my side, but also the full support of the rest of my family. My children and bonus children have been nothing but supportive and cheered me on. Fantastic! My close friends have also been amazing. It’s so important to have a support network. Without you guys I couldn’t have done this.

Thank you!

My work life

I’m at home with a sniffy nose, a lot of coughing, a painful stomach and a headache. I chose not to go to work this morning. I always think I should not call in sick – feeling guilty and full of shame for being not well. Anybody else feeling like that? Also, when I’m ill, I feel so very ill and so very upset and low.

Anyway, I wanted to write about my work life.

2 years I’ve been with this department now. The time for change has come, ….. I thought. I’ve just had a radical haircut, which is usually an indicator for change in my life. Two years is enough. Isn’t it? No, don’t get me wrong. I love (most of) my colleagues, and (most of) my job. It doesn’t pay very well, but – compared to other reception/admin jobs – it pays pretty well. There is no obvious reason why I should leave. Well – that’s not quite true. It’s the city I’ve got to commute to and from; it’s loud and full of tourists and students – overcrowded, I’d call it. At least I’ve changed to three full days from five half days. But still, a minimum of 2 hours commute on a work day? Okay, it gives me time to read (on the bus). And – really – an hour to work is not that bad. Is it? It’s like I’m looking for a good enough reason to change jobs. My husband calls me a job junky. I think he’s right. Maybe I’m just addicted to changing jobs after it has become routine. Maybe I’m just addicted to change anyway???

I’ve been looking, locally, but nothing compares to my current position, neither the pay rates nor the stuff I’d have to do to earn my wages. And – will I ever find such a lovely team of colleagues again? I’d be taking quite a risk.

There’s something else bugging me, if I’m honest. When I came to this country, in the beginning of 2005, I did not intend to work in admin much longer. I’d had enough of it when I left Germany. I actually hated being a PA/secretary/admin assistant. The whole admin crap – I didn’t want it anymore. And here I am – still doing admin. I wanted to be a full-time therapist. That’s what I wanted. In eight years I have not managed to earn a living from being a therapist. I am now not earning a living from anything I do. The part-time job in admin doesn’t pay enough to live – at least not in an independent way. I’m contributing to the bills, that’s it. The other days I’m spending hours and hours trying to get my name out there and trying to convince the public that constellations are fantastic and that I am a great therapist.

Drawing a balance: I failed.

Is that the deeper reason I’m at home, feeling pretty grim? I think I feel sorry for myself. Yes. I feel sorry for myself. “Poor little Silvia! You are a loser! Let’s face it. But I do feel sorry for you, I really do.” Is that what I need?

Wuh, – – – wait!

No, no, no, no, no, no, no. I am not a loser. And I have not failed. Let’s face THAT, shall we?

I have changed jobs a lot, because I was never happy in them. I finally found a job, in which I am feeling happy enough to stay. I may only contribute to the bills and not earn enough to make a living, but I could if I wanted to. I don’t need to earn more than I currently do, because my husband and I have an arrangement. More than the income I need the time to build my therapeutic practice. And that is what the 2 other workdays are dedicated to.

I learned a lot on my way, and I learned that it is important to give energy into the things I’d like to grow. I also learned that I have most of my energy in the mornings. I know I haven’t made a rocket start; I’ve taken – I had to take – the little side roads, and I still am. On the way, I got to know exciting, supportive people, and slowly but surely I’ve been getting my name out there and still am. Don’t forget: I had to adapt to a new country. I left all my friends and family behind and had to start all over again. I’ve built friendships, strengthened my relationship, was a mother and bonus-mother to five children. I fostered two young people and I looked after dogs. I simply had no time to make a rocket start.

I know what it is: I’m sitting in this space that is empty. My kids are no longer here, the dogs are gone, too. I caught a bug. I’m feeling crap. That’s why I get this sense of emptiness. I misinterpreted it as failure.

I’m not failing. I never failed. I only ever did as best as I knew at the time.

There is so much to learn, still. But I’m on my way. I may not be the rocket therapist, but I may be the one who has been there, done that. And – once this bug has left my body – I’ll be my old sparkling self, inspiring and full of kindness and love.

Watch this space!

Letting go

It is one month ago that my second daughter flew the nest. It is only now that I can write about my emotions around letting her go. The process started a good year before, when I had a strong sense of having to let her take her own decisions and not being the first person she would go to when she wanted to share something, happy or sad. I could feel how she was maturing into an adult. At that time I was attending a psychodrama group with the wonderful Philip Halmarack, so I took the opportunity and worked on letting go of my daughter. It was very painful, but also insightful and transforming. I realised how very important it was to set her free and that I actually wanted her to move on and live her own life. When it came to the day one month ago, it was still painful, although also joyful, because I am so happy for her, moving in with her boyfriend, whom I really love. She received my full blessing and she knows I’m always here if she needs me.

She has left a big hole in my life. I miss her presence, even though we hadn’t had much time together anymore. I miss her hugs, the chats with her, the fun we had at the dinner table, I miss her coming home from work and sharing her day.

What am I filling this hole with?

At first, I just felt sad and sorry for myself and therefore filled this hole with negative emotions. Then I felt trapped (left) with my husband and the dogs and was quite vile at times, feeling I had no sense of duty anymore. Having a great support network, I worked through those phases quite quickly, though. Slowly but surely I stopped ‘pestering’ my daughter with texts and chats. Instead, I now consciously focus my attention on the things I have to do or I always wanted to do, e.g. writing another post on this blog. I am filling that hole with new projects: Our new house, which we move in soon; new ideas for workshops and how to use our ‘Magic Room’ – a nice little workshop space – in the new home.

I want to find dog sharers, so my husband and I can go away at weekends to explore new things together.

One door closes, another 10 open.

On Mother’s Day I received such a lovely card from my second-born: She appreciated that I struggled to relax into the new situation and she said she would never let go of me and that I’d done a good job, being a mother. Quote: “Well – Look at me!” 🙂

I am very proud of her, being so independent and grown up at the young age of 18 and experiencing a great love that has huge potential. I have my share in her being able to be happy. That I am proud of, too (tapping my own shoulder).

She has been a shining light in my life, and somehow I know she always will be. It’s wonderful to have a close and loving relationship like that. I never had that myself, although I feel it has changed over the years. My relationship with my mother is now so much better than when I was young.

I want to mention my first-born daughter here, too. I had to let her go when she was only 5 years old. At the time, I wouldn’t feel the real pain, I simply couldn’t. I was only ready to feel it when I worked on it a year ago in another psychodrama session, which brought up the relation to letting go of my second-born. Before that I never felt complete; and I experienced a lot of sadness, but never allowed myself to feel the real trauma the early separation caused. It takes a good supportive network to carry one through such re-lived traumatic experience, and I am so grateful that it was there and I was ready. Having her back in my life is a great blessing.

I like the song line from Sting, which says: “If you love somebody, set them free!” That’s what love is all about. But, like everything in this life on Earth, it’s a process, it can’t be done just like that. It involves grieving. Without mourning, there is no letting go.

Right now, I’m going through the process of letting go of my old life. I feel like growing. Sometimes I feel the growing pains, but I know that it is only temporary, and that I will come out the other side like a butterfly; and I will spread my wings…

…and – finally – fly.

Bless you all!

A lost friend

I distanced myself from my closest friend half a year ago. The realisation of not having this relationship anymore comes in little, painful steps. Soon, I’m going to visit the town where she lives. Normally I would now make arrangements to see her and I would get all excited about it. She felt more like a sister to me. When I saw her the first time it was like a reunion. That was about eighteen years ago. I just fell in love with her – her looks, her energy, her aura, her innocence. I could talk with her like with no-one else. She knew everything about me, and I’m sure I knew more than anybody else. The only thing was, that it was always a bit one-sided in terms of putting effort in keeping and maintaining this relationship. The balance wasn’t right. Often I would call her many times before she would call me, or I would invite her so much more often than I was invited back, especially when her family was involved. I often felt abandoned, left out. When she was in love she would make herself very rare, and I would not be the first to know either. I’m sure she loved me in her own way, though, and had her reasons to act like she did.

The last few years I was more of a listener and supporter to her, as she was going through a never-ending crisis with her husband. I would call her minimum once a week to find out how she was and would listen to the same story again and again. Last summer I met her and told her that I felt our friendship was a bit one-sided and that I wished she would sometimes want to listen to me, too. She hadn’t realised I had been feeling like this and apologised, and we spoke about me for a change. She is a good listener, too, and it helped me to talk about my experience and short comings. I thought, our relationship was going to be more balanced from then on. I spent a lot of time with her during my stay.

One day I bumped into her husband, when I visited her at home, quite unexpectedly. I thought he should have gone to work by the time I arrived. I wanted to avoid him, knowing what I knew about him. But there he was, saying a friendly ‘hello, how are you’ to me, so I answered back friendly and asked him about his work, as nothing else seemed to come to my mind – Small Talk. Unfortunately, I hadn’t realised how sensitive this topic was for my friend. A minute into him talking about his job my friend interrupted him harshly and reminded him that he should know that his job arrangements (working away 4 days a week) were a big cause of the troubles they had, and that he should kindly not talk as if everything was alright. Before they could go into an argument, I said: “Stop, I’m sorry, but if you are going to have a domestic, I’d rather stay out of it.” He got up and left quite quickly after that. I didn’t think much of it, although I did see my friend was a bit stressed, especially with her two young children afterwards. We had quite a nice time together, and I stayed over and spent the morning with her, having breakfast, before I left.

A few weeks later I received an email from her, in which she accused me of having been insensitive when I had started talking about his job with her husband and not sticking up for her when she had a go at him. She felt betrayed. I could not believe what I read. Reading that felt like a stab in the back. That was too much for me, that tipped the boat over. I was furious, and as a result we had a rather nasty email exchange, which felt like poking in each others wounds. I wanted to hurt her.

Why did I do that. Why? I should have just apologised to her about my thoughtless conversation with her husband. Instead I stood my grounds and explained what happened for me in that situation and that I didn’t see myself doing anything wrong or selling her out. Does it matter, who is right? We were not able to leave it at that and move on. She kept her emails short – I was writing essays. At one point, I realised this was so going nowhere. I decided to distance myself from her. I felt not acknowledged and not seen as the person and true friend I thought I was.

But since, I have been grieving and missing her so much at times. It is a big loss and I don’t feel like having benefited from my telling her my ‘truth’. I think about her often, and there are times when I am very close to writing an email to her or calling her. I looked her up on Google and found she had opened her own practice as a complementary therapist. I thought: “Wow! Finally, she’s done it.” (she had been talking about wanting to do it for such a long time, I had actually lost faith). And I felt happy for her. I sent a message on Facebook about my discovery, hoping her daughter, who’s connected with me there and might see my post, would tell her about my wishing her well.

When I think about it now, I know that our friendship, as it was, belongs to the past and is an example of a rather neurotic one. I needed her more than she me, or maybe in a different way. Maybe one day our paths cross again. I think I would like that.

In the meantime, I feel I need to do some forgiveness work. But – to be honest – I am quite stuck with this issue and will most certainly need some help from a systemic constellator or a psychodrama facilitator, in order to clearly see what is going on underneath; but mostly in order to step into her shoes. But I won’t touch the topic for a while. It scares me like hell.

Farewell, my friend, my soul sister! I miss u. There is no replacement and never will be. I will try and keep the good memories alive, and maybe one day I will go to you with an open heart and try to re-connect. Or, maybe you will?