Hellena Post - Creatrix

I've tried on so many uniforms and badges that now I'm just me - mother of 8 children and all that entails, flowmad, and human animal parent. Writer of this living book of a blog, philosopher, and creatrix of hand dyed and spun crocheted wearable art. I gave up polite conversation years ago, and now I dive into the big one's.....birth, sex, great wellness, life, passion, death and rebirth.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Every good relationship needs lots of time for personal space doesn't it?


 

After all, there’s so much accepted wisdom from so many different camps about how parents, lovers, children, even pets, need some time to themselves, to spend some ‘me’ time, to work on the individuals goals, spirituality, hobbies, meditate or whatever.  An ex girlfriend of mine gave me a beautiful piece of writing, about how every great love relationship needs some time for the ‘winds of heaven to dance between them’.  Currawong and I have been told by so many people, from so many different paths and spiritualities, and in so many different ways, that we should spend some time apart.  Have some space.  Get some perspective.  Give each other room.  And that’s not all, the same goes for our relationship with our kids.  They all need more space and time away, and we should be sending them off to all the other mandatory and standardized forms of child care that other people do, and inflict many other children of their same age on them, whether they like each other or not, but that’s what we all have to get used to, because you’re always gonna come across people you don’t like at work, and you have to start working out how to get along with them as soon as possible.  Infancy in fact.  

In being so obviously different to mainstream society, as well as being a big family that does everything together in a very ‘life as art’ way, we tend to bump into a vast amount of varied people who want to let us know that they get us or they don’t, or ask us how we do it, or say “Didn’t your lot die out in the 70’s?” and the like, and there are some common things we get as feedback from a lot-a-lot of people.  Like I’ve mentioned before, many people feel inspired by our smiles and love and colourful selves, but in the conversations, a lot of people want to justify their own choices in life, or why they don’t live a life more similar to ours even though they wish they could.  And some of the things we commonly hear are things like “I’d go crazy if he didn’t work and was underfoot in my house all day”, and “I’d love to be the sort of mum who could do homeschooling, but spending every day with my kids would drive us ALL mad” and “Do you ever get some time to yourself?” and “I’d love to stay home with my woman and my kids all day and do what they do, but SOMEBODY has to pay for it all” and “I don’t know how you stay sane with all those kids” and “I’d homeschool too but I’m on my own, and it’s not something that one person can do solo” and the like.  And sadly for me, a lot of women mainly, and men, make the judgement that I’m a domineering, bossy, pussy whipping, harridan, who has Currawong firmly tied to my apron strings (if I wore an apron that is), because there’s NO WAY a man left to his own devices would choose to spend time with his lover and family doing domestic things.  No way at all.  Surely he’d rather be off watching sports, or down at the front bar, or doing blokey things with other blokes, and busily suppressing his emotions like all (Australian in particular) men do.  He needs to be off hunting and gathering, and being a warrior, and bringing home the bacon and the eggs and everything else too, to fulfill his male, lion-like pride.  And me, I should be fine cause I’m a woman afterall, and as a lot of people have decided, also a bit of an ‘earth mother’, so I’ll be okay, but what about poor Currawong?  How is he going to fulfill himself apart from all this ‘women’s business’ he’s trapped in, by my deadly spider like ways and arts??  (Is there a bit of bitterness starting to seep in at this point do you think?  Maybe I should get to the uplifting bit sooner rather than later….)  But just before I move on, there’s been some funny times as well in all this.  Especially when other men have tried to ‘rescue’ Currawong to go and do something ‘manly’, and not noticed his panic stricken face behind them as he mouths to me ‘rescue me!’ Or the time when a big alpha male was talking to me at the market we ran about how there were womens’ places and men’s places, and he thought Currawong needed to come along to his men’s group.  I was just in the process of telling him that we didn’t really do gender roles in our house, and if we did, Currawong performed many of the more traditionally female roles, and I could definitely sometimes be described as wearing the pants in the house.  We were in the middle of talking about this, when Currawong walked up to us and had a huge hissy fit about something or another, then stalked off with the Alpha male looking a bit bewildered, and quick as a whip I turned to him and said….”His time of the month”, with a shrug of the shoulder, and he went from bewildered to totally confused.  HA!  It may be a result of our early sexualisation, or our same sex relationships from the past, but we prove to each other that men and women aren’t so very different after all.  I like to call Currawong my ‘chick with a dick’, and he truly enjoys hanging out with all my women friends, you just try and stop him!

And now the preamble.  I’m only just starting to really get how very different us mob are in how we run our lives and our family compared to a lot of other folk.  You may laugh, but being a freak show isn’t something that’s happened over night you know!  It’s taken a long time full of baby steps for us all to get where we’re at, and it’s like I’ve all of a sudden woken up and realized that to a lot of folk, we’re radical extremists living a really different reality.  And I’m also getting that a lot more people than are brave enough to engage us on the street, are really curious about that life style.  And what it’s like on a day to day basis, and how it works, and what we do and all that stuff.  I’ve come from an extremely conservative and sheltered background, and Currawong’s come from a rough childhood partially on the streets, and identifying for most of that time as a punk, and through each other and our relationship, we’ve morphed/osmosed into colourful, homebirthing, home educating, self taught artisan hippies with a big family………………for want of a better description.  And on that journey, we’ve come across so many different lifestyles, spiritualities, approaches and the like, and we’ve met them all with respect, honoured them for what they are, and accepted other folks versions of reality for being as true as they believe they are.  And I guess I’m at the point where I want to respect, honour, and accept my own version of reality as much as I do other people’s, and give it voice as much as other folk do about their brands of reality.  Cause mine is really different.  And unique.  And largely self created from experience.  And also liable to piss a lot of people off if they take it personally, as in thinking that I’m trying to tell people what they should think or do, and judging them by my particular set of values.  I really want to stress right here and now, that everything I talk about is my experience and reality only, and I totally respect EVERYONE else’s right to their own beliefs and reality.  Sometime’s to levels that other people get all moral at me about, but that’s another story. 


Now, enter stage left my opinion, experience and viewpoint, on the whole space in relationships issue.  I’ll never forget a friend in the midst of the fallout of her long term relationship breaking up, telling me, “We gave each other so much space, that in the end space was all we had…”.  I reckon if the advice of taking space and ‘me time’ was such a good and sound and valid approach, we should be seeing something better in the state of relationships around us.  But I don’t. I see a lot of people in relationships who are busy working and playing and being themselves and bringing up kids and doing all the things you do…..with someone who they used to know and love a lot better, and there’s a kind of sad distance between people supposedly ‘in love’, who don’t have the time or resources to get back to each other.  In fact I see a whole lot of people – men, women and children – who deep down feel very alone, isolated, betrayed by their love and trust in people, and with a whole mess of deep down darks and secrets that they don’t share with anyone for fear of being disliked, and a dream of what they wanted their love to be like, and a rheam of reasons why they can’t or their partner can’t and ultimately why they feel alone in a room full of people.  I think that rather than take space from each other, we need to work out how to step closer to each other, and really let each other in, and teach each other how to truly be emotionally intimate and trusting with ourselves and our loved ones.  There’s an evolution of parenting skills that’s happening in attachment and conscious parenting circles, that I’m finding really interesting.  They suggest rather than punishments and yelling and bribing and all those other vastly outmoded ways of child taming, and even some of the more peaceful ways of trying to get your child to perform, like time out and such tactics……….that you should just hold them close.  That obnoxious, childish behavior that makes you want to rip your hair out, instead of reacting to, you should just hug them.  Hold them.  Keep them close.  Realise that often anti-social behavior comes from the behaver feeling unloved in some way, and break through all the bullshit and prickles, and just swamp em in love. And I reckon inside most of us supposed big people, is a little person in pain wanting some love, for some long ago hurt, and I suspect that deep down we’d all like to be held close, and no matter how many walls we may try to build, have someone knock em all down and give us a hug and love. 

Currawong and I spend nearly all our moments together, and miss each other like crazy when we don’t. I don’t know whether it’s cause our Friesian past connects us like glue, or our miserable childhoods, or the fact that two chameleonic fringe dwellers getting together creates great synchronicity…..but we’re inseperable.  At first we ran our relationship more like other folk – he went off to work sometimes, and went off to the pub on his own sometimes, and I did stuff without him – but it wasn’t long before we fell into wanting to spend all our time together.  We’re both big energy people, and Currawong was in particular very raw in his private inner sanctum, and it took a lot of work between us to let each other in.  We’d both been molested as children, so there were plenty of wounds to heal, and trusts to build, and we were so wrapped up in each other and plumbing each other’s depths, that we soon got into the habit of hanging out together all the time.  Currawong had never really had anyone in that deep before, my poor petal had a lot of acquaintances he thought of as friends before I came along, and I’d been in lot’s of people’s deeps, but never one quite so intricate, who I also got to play sexually with.  And it’s just kept getting closer and deeper and more amazing as we heal and peel off layers.  And now, it’s not a clingy pining thing, but when we’re apart, after an hour or so, we just quietly miss each other.  And usually ring each other to chat.  We make so much sense to each other, and we’re each other’s best mates, and we talk all the time about all sorts of wild and undomesticated things, so that when we’re apart, and when we’re hanging with other people, there’s a big empty space.  Not to mention that the common conversations to be had with acquaintances, can sometimes feel a bit empty and superficial compared to our worlds……  

Which leads me to the question……..which comes first?  The inseperableness or the great relationship?  I’m sure everyone’s heard the stories about dream relationships of people who love each other madly and spend all their time together and spend a lifetime in great love – I know I have – and I never dreamed that I would get to experience it.  And maybe they’re so great because the partners ARE inseperable?  Because they hold each other consciously in their day to day lives and deal with their stuff as it happens?  If attitudes sent towards Currawong and I show a collective attitude towards closeness in relationships, maybe folk are too scared of being consumed by someone else and becoming ‘co-dependant’ (which incidentally is a totally inappropriate term to apply to close relationships, as the term was originally coined to describe the partners of drug addicts who helped their partners to get their fix) to really experience great love. 

To be blunt, I believe our society is so full of ‘space’ between lovers, parents and children, and families in general, that we accept and expect emotional distance as the norm, which allows a lot of us to get away with a whole heap of emotional deceits, inaccuracies, and masks. To hide from ourselves and each other, and just avoid situations that ask for too much emotional authenticity.  There’s all these different compartments – home, school, work, playtime, hobbies, ‘me time’, church and the like, where people can be totally inauthentic.  One person at work, another at home, another at church, another at the pub, another at football, and all the time playing the polite dance of chit chat and social expectations, and declarations of loyalty and honesty, that are all shrugged off as easily as being put on. Situations occur where people build each other up, and almost dare each other into honesty and intimacy, and their dreams and hearts start flying till BANG! One of them changes, or gets scared, or drops the mask, or disappears, or works too hard, and the other is left holding the broken bits and telling themselves that to trust and hope equals pain.  Or they experience great love till they buy into the great western dream of a job and a mortgage and a house and a child or two and all of a sudden that’s all there is.   And there’s no consistent person/observer who is watching us through all the compartments of our lives, and asking us why we said this and meant that, and why we were so different with that person than the other, and how we could live with our lies and hypocrisy, especially to ourselves. 

Except in our family.  And a lot of others too, I know.  We consciously hold each other and our children and our emotional authenticity together all day every day.  We notice when one of us is hiding an emotion, or in need of some extra love, or being inauthentic to who they really are, or doing something amazing that they’re learning.  And it’s not all love and roses, we have humdinger fights that explode all over the place, and we all yell and scream, but we’re always picking over the carcass later on, and apologizing or working out why that happened, and working out how we can do it better afterwards.  And learning from each event that happens and building on what we know and love about each other.  Currawong and I have no secrets from each other.  None at all.  After childhoods filled with secrets, it’s one of the most important elements in our lives to have no secrets at all.  And our kids have followed that tradition, and give us astonishing honesty that we handle with care.   

And I need to take a moment here to speak about money.  We’ve consciously chosen love and family and togetherness over money.  And it’s not all that easy, but is tremendously so all at the same time.  Because we haven’t bought into the mortgage paradigm, or the working one, it’s meant living in other people’s spaces, or travelling a lot, or living in cheap housing which comes with all it’s own compromises.  It’s meant not having enough money for all those entertainment devices that I’m really not sorry we don’t have.  It’s meant living on a lot less than most people in our society are used to having.  And though this paradigm does have it’s challenges, it’s one I can recommend.  A lot of what we can’t afford we wouldn’t want anyway, and our adaptations have made us resourcefull and skilled.  We find joy in the ordinary and each other, and maybe with more money we would have developed more expensive tastes.  It’s funny how often you need a stack of money to make money – to pay for the childcare, clothing, vehicles, entertainments, and foods needed to provide an income. 

And we don’t find it suffocating, or soul squashing in any way.  There’s a huge amount of love between us, and none of it is forced.  When the kids go away for sleepovers we all miss each other, and phone each other to say good morning.  When they get back, the siblings that missed them will tell them, and there’ll be hugs all round.  They’re surrounded by a big family of people that love them best, and are with them through most situations to hold them consciously and look out for each other.  And we’re also all very different and unique, and supported in being ourselves by all of us, and enjoy our social interactions with everyone, knowing that if it ever gets intense, scary, or intimidating, that there’s a bubble of family to escape to and debrief with.


I’m going to stop now, cause I think I’ve made my point, but I’m only realizing now how very much more I have to say about all this, and maybe I’ll just have to save all that for my book.  And other writings that are going to be available for you to buy soon on a stick in their own little crocheted pouches.  I’ll get there soon……

 And by the way......I know a lot of the photo's don't really make sense compared to the writings, but I just loaded a whole heap of photo's on a removable drive, and have kinda been using only them in this period of using the library internet...photo's will get relevant again soon:)










10 comments:

  1. Ah, Hellena, I love your posts! This is exactly how I used to feel in my relationship with my ex. When we first got together we spent all our time together. It wasn't because we were co-dependent but because we truely loved each other and enjoyed being together. And it was when we no longer spent our time together, when he got a job, when we got a mortgage that it all started unravelling. Thanks for putting into words what I always felt.
    x

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  2. Hope it's ok, I linked to this post on my blog.

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  3. Landing in what you have got, what you are, where you are, what you have created.
    I love you guys.

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  4. Fabulous post, it made me cry. I5 years ago I was in a long term relationship very much like your's and Currawongs. However my man listened to the personal space mantra and we grew apart further and further and separated after 23 years, I am now a single mamma and he has so much space his kids don't hardly know him. However the boys and I are still living the close homeschooling life I always wanted and yes we do it as a single parent family.
    This is my first visit to yours but I will be back.
    Love and Light
    Louise

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  5. Thank you for so eloquently sharing your family life, I feel refreshed and inspired by hearing stories of a family functioning in a similar way to ours. I love the way we live but sometimes we feel a little alone with it. Sooo nice to read a blog I can really relate to, makes me excited about the world all over again.

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  6. I, too, am skeptical of "space". Happy you, Currawong and your children have found a better place ;-).

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  7. Well, least important first - the photos are pretty damn relevant to me.
    Mostly, I want to say that reading you is unlocking something for me.
    I'm able to start forgiving myself for things I didn't realize I was holding against me.

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  8. Hey Ariad, I absolutely love that we seem to be on the same groove about stuff, and that you linked to this post....I think you're amazing:) Love you too Ellie:) Thanks for the feedback Louise, and I've seen stories similar to yours a lot in my time....glad you dug it, and huge bravo for doing the homeschooling thing as a single mum:) Unfurlings, I can totally relate, we feel like a mobile zoo a lot of the time, and it's sooooooooo wonderful to connect with other folk who see life in similar ways, even more special to come across other families who do family like us! And rainblissed, thanks:) And Clairity thank you! And what a wonderful comment to make. I've been trying to forgive myself for all sorts of things for years and years, so if some of that can rub off and help other folk do the same I'm wrapped....and you have no idea how having a receptive audience getting into what I write is unlocking all sorts of stuff for me! I reckon I'll just keep going:) Thank you one and all, for all your inspiration

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  9. Hellena......I've read & read, and have fallen in love with your tribe!! Thank you for sharing your life and I hope I can soon begin the blog journey and begin writing again about similiar feelings, joys, and rantings!! You are inspiring!! I've been with my man for 24 years, and the trap of "me time" is truly that: a trap! I now am so very sad that he is away daily and not spending time on his dream. We are working on that...loving and fighting, dreaming and creating; together, not seperate!!

    Blessed Be SiSTar!!
    Kelly

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  10. So Earthdrummer....did you get through the 20 page epic about unschooling?? I reckon that anyone who gets through that one deserves a big gold star and a free something.....steak knives maybe??:) There's so much caught up in men working - enough for a book I reckon!! And in my opinion, it's just not fair that they've gotta work and pay for all the stuff just cause their lumpy bits are in different regions!! The first thing my mum says everytime we have a fight is "He should go off to work!" I beg to differ. We've really had to work hard on not working!!! Not in the more expected ways anyway, with 6 young children we're never not working really.....I'm gonna have to go on a rant about human animal sovereignty on here soon, cause I reckon we're the most domesticated animals on the planet, and we could all use a lot more slack and time to just BE!! And not have to mortgage our souls for a home..... Anyway, nice to make your acquaintance on here Earthdrummer, and look forward to your posts!

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I love your comments, and your feedback......it makes this whole blogging thing worthwhile. Peace and blessings to you!