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.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Ermintrudes Tree Cosy

There have been a lot of interesting developments in our lives since I posted My Truth the last time.  Quite enormously huge in fact.  All good of course, and rather miraculous.  But I'll tell you about that another time.  

Because I've had a realisation.  

A big part of my creative explosion for many years was having an audience.  When I started to crochet, we were starting a market, and every kooky thing I made had an audience every sunday, where people would come to see what I'd made this week, and I worked hard to impress.  An audience is a huge motivation.  And my audience has dwindled these last years, relegated to the unsuspecting visitor, who I'd drag to my studio to unpack box after box of pretties for to dazzle.  But the ethers connected just the other week, and I realised that I have YOU dear reader!  You who faithfully come to my blog to see what's happening over here, and it may not be in person, but with the wonders of digital technology, I can show you what I'm making over here!  I get to start showing off again.  And to honour that fact, I thought I'd tell you a story.

Ermintrudes Tree Cosy

In late pregnancy with my twins, I entered a group exhibition at a local gallery called Red Poles in Willunga.  It was called 'Unraveled', and part of the criteria, was to get a jumper, pull it apart, and then knit or crochet it into a tea cosy.  I went down to the local op shop, and found a green and white striped jumper, and pulled it apart.  I wish I could find the photo of the original jumper, but for the life of me I can't, so you'll just have to imagine it.  I was thinking of making something fairly ordinary, but not long after it was all pulled apart and neatly in balls........the idea of making a tree struck me.  It almost formed itself, using crochet and wrapped wire, and I just enjoyed the ride.  And when it was done, I thought it was a masterpiece.  And it reminded me very much of the trees that littered the landscape of the 'Magic Roundabout', an animated cartoon I watched as a kid. I had a bit left over, so I made some flowers.  And finished it with barely any yarn left over, as often happens.  And called it Ermintrude's Tree Cosy.  Because Ermintrude was a Friesian cow who ate flowers in the "Magic Roundabout".

And the women running the exhibition were awesome, and they told me to bring everything I had, and had racks for my clothes, and my work looked very gorgeous and professional there.  I had belly dancing outfits, and skirts or ponchos on wrapped wire and wood, and crocheted teddy bears spun from the same fleece as stuffed with, and hats on tripods, and all sorts of stuff that I'd put hours and energy and creativity into.

And it all looked pretty swoosh.  And you know the funniest thing?  See those three wool bags on the wall, stuffed with coloured and raw fleece?  That took me about the least amount of time and creativity of everything I brought there?  That I made initially to use as bags for holding my stash, and then used as stage props.  Guess what.

Those wool bags were the only thing I sold.  For more than I'd ever sold anything, and more than I'd ever asked for a piece of clothing.  And I only had a high price on them, cause I loved them hanging round the house, and didn't really want to part with them.  The irony just cracked me up.  And poor old Ermintrudes Tree Cosy went largely unnoticed.  Hanging out on various surfaces in the houses we lived, and then stuffed on top of my mothers bookshelf.  We liberated it on our recent visit to S.A., and brought it home.  

Till a day not very long ago, when it was sitting primly on our table, minding its own business, when Currawongs drum beats drew two darling women up the hill to our house.  One of them, stunning Yollana, noticed it straight away, on her way out to the drumming, and when I told her it was a tea cosy, she said, "No it's not, it's a hat!" And proceeded to laugh, and twirl, and giggle, and chortle her way out to the drummer and our other guests.......wearing it on her head.  Also happening to be in the completely perfect outfit to compliment the colours of Ermintrudes Tree Cosy.  

Where another beautiful woman had been dragged by the beats, and made busy bringing flowers to adorn the gloriously laughing tree fairy that Yollana had seemed to become.  Wanda is a hero round these parts, for her dedication to our mother the earth, and the complete heart that she puts into actions to defend her from miners in particular.  Wanda puts the sexy into protest.  And these two gorgeous women were dancing in our garden, playing with my creation, and moving to the rhythms of Currawongs beating drums.  And yet another wonderful woman Lauren Fisher was already here with us, and all this beauty filling up our space was just totally infectious!

Of course Spiral-Moon had to be a part of it too.......  And this gorgeous little photo shoot kinda just happened, and it was all just so, and I felt all Hugh Heffner again, gushing bout how gorgeous it all looked, and how PERFECTLY stunning Yollana was, and how like a regal tree fairy, with her priestesses Wanda and Spiral devoting their worship to strewing flowers......and yes it can all sound very airy fairy, but the funny thing was, that it almost really felt like that.

We conjured all kinds of magics for what we could do with the photos, but the funnest idea was to make a calendar of the women of Billen.  Cause they're gorgeous.  And we seem to keep colliding with me and a camera, and them wearing my creations, around the dam near our house.......

Special moments that include all of us, and enrich our souls and our love for each other and our broader community.  That drip lacy bubbles of art and beauty around us.  

So this is a little story about a yarn that started very far away, and came through my hands to be turned into a tree cosy, and then visited an exhibition, and travelled around, before coming up here to live with us and be in the right time, and the right place, to nestle on the head of the beautiful Yollana.

And prepare itself for the next leg of the journey, the next spin of the yarn, the next turn of a tale.  

There's something in that for all of us.  

I think.  

Sunday, December 2, 2012

My Truth

I’ve been banging on for a while now about everything being perfect, a microcosm of the macrocosm and the like.  About how even the imperfect bits are perfect, cause they’re who I am.  And form part of the body of my experience.  How everything is conscious, and in balance, except for us humans.  How we’ve got to make peace with and own our shadow selves. And if you’ve read my blog for a while, you’ll also know that I think we should all tell each other our authentic truths, so we can get over the fear of rejection and judgement, and get onto working out how we can all let each other be, and help each other out.  Talk about birth, sex and death, and all the other wows of life. 

But I should really take my own advice.  And step out from behind my fears and judgments, or rather my judgements about other people’s judgements, and stop omitting the bits I know that others might have a problem with.  Stop letting people get about with the idea that I’m some kind of earth mother, hippy, attachment parenting, unschooling, homebirthing, peaceful parenting, organic eating, wise thing.  Cause I’m the culmination of all of those labels that I’ve taken for a test drive…….yet none of them completely.  In fact the only label that I can be counted on to own, is that of Hellena Post. 

Cause I know that I’ve tried to let people only see the nice parts of me, just like you try to only let people see the nice sides of you.  And I know that I say “ I’m fine!” when there’s a morass going on in my head, and problems too deep to talk about, and I know that if I’m part of a stereotyped group, I’ll try my best to show only it’s good aspects to the world too.  And I know that I’ve been nice to someone, and then had a secret bitch with Currawong about them in the privacy of our home, and I know that when I feel judged, I will often judge back, and I know when I judge others I’m also judging myself, and I also know that the energy needed to manage such games, could be used in far more creative ways.  I’m using judgement as a conscious tool rather than a sword more these days…..

And I’m guessing that there’s people watching me from afar in my nice little blog, thinking I’m some kind of wonder woman, to have all these kids and still be creative.  Thinking I’m one of those people who have got their shit sorted.  Just like I thought that just about everyone else had themselves more together than me.  And I kept up the game, and I kept trying to please, even though I thought that deep down I was pretty messed up, and if anyone ever really knew what was really inside me……..they’d curl their lip and walk away. 

I suspect, from life experience, that we’re actually all children.  Some in small bodies, and some in big, but essentially we’re all like children inside.  Children running round in adults bodies and buying the myth that when you’re an adult you’ve ‘got it worked out’, even though most of us feel confused, and wonder who in the hell we really are.  Children in big people’s bodies who think that the world revolves around us.  And unfortunately, children in big bodies who sometimes do to other children what was done to us.  Unless an effort is made to go against imprinting, and create behaviours more healthy.  So we put on our socially acceptable masks, and our polite routines, and don our uniforms, and play our adult versions of the games that children play.  The bullying games and the name calling games, and the fear games and the two faced games.  The judging games.  Except as adults we think they’re justified, and important adult business.  And many of the games revolve around hiding who we really are. I like instead to acknowledge my bad tempered, tanty throwing child within, and let my kids have the same freedom.  Within reason that is. Us big kids have worked hard at repressing ourselves, and we try to insist on the same from our children.

So enough.  I’m outing myself.  As a human.  And maybe even a bit like you.  I don’t feel a need to play the game anymore.  I’m ready to own my whole self.  The shadow and the actress.  The mirror and the everything.   I’m finally getting to the point where I believe in my head and my heart that I’m perfect……just the way I am.  Even the dark bits are good.  Cause they’ve kept drawing my attention to areas that needed work.  Some healing.  Some light shone.  Or they’re just damn gorgeous how they are, cause sometimes depression can hurt so good, and pain can make love even stronger, and hate can bring issues to a head, and embarrassment can create a humble apology. 

I get grumpy.  And I yell.  I’m like an attack terrier when there’s an issue.  And I can be really good at freezing someone out.  Sometimes I get irrationally angry, and will snap at the drop of a hat. But I’m also good at unraveling the seeds where my bad moods come from, and then talking them out and explaining them to others.  I’m especially good at apologizing for them.  Sometimes being in a bad mood is a good excuse to just have some time out.  Some of my angriest moments, have also been the cause of some of my greatest insights.  Usually pushing me against some kind of boundary or fear, where I’ve learnt a tremendous amount about who I really am.  And as I come to accept myself and others more, the bad moods are easing, and lightening up, and quickly dealt with. But I’m actually glad that they’re there, and don’t think they will ever fully go, cause they’re the down to the up that can get so very high!

And I can also whirl everyone up in a story or giggle, and turn tantrums into games,  have the patience of a long term mother, and smooth over and help heal emotional and physical wounds.  One of my particular magics is turning any space into a cosy home.  Even an unlined shed can be glittered into liveable with crochet nets and swathes of material. 

I swear a lot, (and so do the kids, but they know not to do it round people who will be offended), drink cider and mead and other fine draughts, and smoke hand rolled cigarettes and the odd spliff.  I know all the reasons that all these things are ‘bad’, cause I’ve had them told me often, and I’ve told other people them myself when I’m going through my regular cycles of not doing any of them. (except swearing….that’s a bit of a constant since the encouragement of my beautiful ex-punk swear bear).  But at this point in my life, I’m actually on good terms with all of them.  They’re my friends, and my homeopathic stress relief, and my little time out.  I would even call them sacred.  Hey, remember this is my reality that I’m creating, you can create your own :)

I’ve been known to get addicted to really naff computer games.  And obsess about them.  Haven’t had the time for it lately, since 4 little boys under 4 take much energy, but my ability for compulsion is vast.  When I’m in a crochet creating or spinning cycle, my ability to focus on it and it’s birth only is supreme.  And often in retrospect, I’ve noticed that these little times out were like a pregnant pause.  A seemingly inactive phase, while I’m obsessing about a game or a creation, where stuff seems to be boiling round, just beyond my conscious reach, and when the obsession is over, I jump to a new idea, or concept, or time frame. 

Whilst eating mostly local and organic foods, cooked by my lush man, and keeping processed foods to as low as we can, we also love our hot chips, and the odd splurge into fast food, junk and sweets.  Instead of apologizing and shaming myself about this, I believe that we’re experiencing balance.  Everything in moderation.  And I know that what I feel about my food is almost as important as what it is.  We also eat meat.  Free range wherever possible, but the other as well.  Even though factory farming is horrifying, and I believe in the consciousness of everything, I also can see the sense in the Paleolithic, or Nurturing Traditions diet, and meat has been needed for my pregnant, birthing and breastfeeding body.  I’m aware that this is paradoxical and hypocritical, but I’m good with it, within my own consciousness and reasoning.  And have many ideas about where I’d like my food to come from in my future.   It’s a journey only harmed by judgement. 

I’ve had more sex than you could poke a stick at, from friend sex, to getting to know the secret you sex, to party sex, to being abused sex, to deep and meaningful sex.  And learnt a shitload in the process.  I’ve had affairs with married men, and been ‘on’ with more than one person at a time, been molested by family and raped by women, and had two abortions….even though I swore I’d never have one, and had huge judgements about people who did.  I’ve fucked people through their sexual blocks, and studied the art of being a great lover, while hiding the fact that I couldn’t physically feel anything.  And faked all my orgasms.  A lot of the early sex I had was disempowered, and through my choice of keeping on throwing myself into the fray, I managed to transform it into empowering.

Sex is a journey.  Not a destination. 

And through all of that, and because of it, I find myself now in a 13 year old monogamous relationship, with my heart and soul mate, and the father of 7 of my 8 children.  It took us years and nasty fights to show each other our flawed bits, and accept and love them in each other.  And we’re in the process of a journey into sex and love that rockets beyond all my previous expectations.  I’ve not only healed my sexual hurts and helped him heal his and vice versa, but we’ve travelled together into a world of lust for each other that leaves me breathless.  We have the kind of sex that I thought only happened in movies. Or  erotica.  And our love and acceptance for ourselves and each other keeps growing.  In fact it’s never stopped.  Every time I think it can’t get any better than this it does.  But it didn’t start perfect, and we’ve had to work hard to stay present, and it’s not hearts and roses all the time.  We still have humdinger fights, though as we learn about ourselves and each other more, the intensity and hurt decreases.  I like to think of our fights as shining a light on an issue that needs some attention.  Our relationship is an effortless magic that we work hard at.

I’ve got an STD.  Herpes in fact.  And ironically, I didn’t get it from my years of predominantly unsafe sex with numerous people, but from my monogamous 13 year relationship.  This was a hard one to come to love and accept, because when I realized I had herpes I felt very mortal and old.  I’d always believed that I’d never get an STD cause I’d dissolved my sexual guilt. So getting it was a bit of a kick up the bum of my arrogance and judgement.  But I see it now as a reminder of sexual pain, and an indicator as to how my health and immune system is.  When it comes, it comes with lessons.  Just like everything else about our shadows, to do with birth, sex, life and death. 

I love my body, and the baby making and pleasure it can do, and am so greatful that it’s taken me through life so effortlessly.  But have spent large amounts of my life thinking it ugly and fat, and wanting to hide it away.  Through my time with feminism and other women I worked hard to break the beauty myth, and learnt how to wear my big boobs proudly without a bra.  And through my baby making years my weight has vacillated, and I've strived to keep loving myself and seeing my ample bosoms and belly and body as life giving and nurturing.  I had a real moment at the market we started in Adelaide.  There was a group of 7 women or so who were in the regular crew who were absolutely STUNNING!  As in drop dead gorgeous, and women that you'd see in magazines.  And one night after market I asked them how they felt about their looks.  And ever single one of them thought that they weren't very beautiful, and were flawed.  At that point I realised that I'd never feel good about myself in this society, and to be down on myself was just too much of a cop out, and giving my power to silly standards.  It's taken a while to really believe it, after employing the old 'fake it till you make it' method, but I'm proud to report that I'm actually there!

I’m not often into other people’s kids, unless they’re really lovely.   And I’ve been known to growl at them when they touch my spinning wheel or precious things.   I’ve witnessed lots of kids do what we do as adults, and be sweet and innocent to the people that matter, while being little arseholes to everyone else.  I love my own kids to distraction, and have fierce loyalty and protectiveness towards them, but sometimes they can just be evil.  We have a pattern in our home of the older kids picking on the younger kids, that usually starts when a new kid is born and displaces them, and it’s been quite distressing.   Poor little Zarra, unless constantly watched, has three little boys who will stomp on his hands or whack him or try and pick him up by his neck.  Shit seems to roll downhill.  But I see this behaviour in many other kids, and if you wanted to compare us to other mammals and the tumbling games their babies play……. Griff can whack and kick and hit, and sets the theme for the other kids.  But he can also do stuff like come home with a mate after a weekend of X-box and Nerf guns, and the first thing he’ll do is pick up Zarra, and kiss and hug him and hold him for a while, while his mate has to look after himself for a bit. And there was a moment when a boy started picking on Lilly cause she was a girl, and she started hitting back, and then they had a glorious time wrestling and fighting, and he was totally won over by her and sad when she left.  She wouldn’t have been able to do that if she hadn’t been prepared by Griffyn.  She likes being able to hold her own.  I’m coming to realize that it’s something we all do in our own ways.  Love and unlove in equal measures, circuiting their way through the whole cycle.   Or maybe love and unlove are actually parts of the same thing…….

I’m aware that we’ve taught our kids a lot of bad habits and behaviours by modeling them, but also a lot of good ones as well.  I also know that there is a lot of a person who just is who they are, from the moment they are conceived

When I really like someone….I take on some of their characteristics.  So do my kids.  We all acknowledge this, and talk about who we borrowed them off, and whether they work for us or not.  Actually, we talk with our kids about all of it.  Our patterns.  Our triggers.  Our bad moods.  Our reactions.  And the big kids give us awesome and fair-minded feedback.  They tell us when we’re acting like children, or like each other, or like idiots.  I love my kids.  They tell me about what they really do.  The naughty things they get up to.  The secret kid conversations about sex.  They’re like my kid spies, who tell me what it’s like in the children’s underground.  And they’ve told us often, that we’re not like other adults.  They love that we can relate so well to that feeling you get as a kid when you know nobody is going to take you seriously…..cause you’re a kid.   And they love that we take them seriously.  And ask their real opinions. 

Even though I’ve lotus birthed (two) and homebirthed, and co-slept, and demand breastfed, and continuum parented, and carried my babies……they’ve still cried inconsolably, and been grumpy and irrational, and had tantrums and been angelic demonspawn.  And frustrated me, and pushed me to my limits, and made me feel like I was going crazy, and very occasionally made me want to throw them out a window……but I never have.   And just cause you trust their instincts, doesn’t mean that they’re not going to fall into the Yarra River just after you’ve been talking about the ideas in the Continuum Concept.  Or tip Tea-Tree oil in their eyes.  From my experience, I need to trust their instincts, but keep a parents eye on them nonetheless.

I’m very aware of all the people and institutions and belief systems that tell a person, and especially a child person, that they are flawed and wrong.  That they have to do more of this, and less of that, and change this, and grow that, and behave themselves in this way or not at all.  I also know that all the grooviest things and people and places that I’ve been to and discovered in my adult life……..were never mentioned to me as a possibility when I was a child.  And all the things I was taught, had to be unlearnt sometimes, or transformed, in order for me to learn the things that I really needed to navigate my life.  Our memories are associative.  And all of my best knowings and tools come from experiences where I’ve learnt things for myself in my own way.  It’s taken me so many years to feel like I’m unburdening myself of other peoples expectations and becoming who I really am…..that I’m loathe to try and tell my children that they have to be anything but themselves. 

So we keep our children with us instead of giving them over to others to instruct.  Being unable to find an institution or community that would teach our children that they are born completely perfect, with consciousness and awareness within their DNA and every cell in their bodies, that will lead them to everything they need and desire in life…….we’ve opted to keep them at home.  And expose them to as much varied life as we possibly can. We tell them how much we love them, and regardless of how annoying certain behaviours may be, how they are all perfect, exactly as they are.  And we see all of life as a learning experience.  Everywhere we go, and everything we do, we’re talking.  Noticing the intricate details that surround us all the time in the natural and human made worlds.  And everything is questioned.  Why is that happening?  What could be the reasons for it?  Who would be benefitting from that being that way?  Where in your experience can you find a parallel for that one?  How does that work?  What do you think? 

It hasn’t taken long to realize that my children can teach me and themselves far more than I could ever teach them, and to be truly amazed and enthralled with the genius thoughts and lateral and logical thinking and perception that they exhibit.  And I’ve also learnt that the very best thing I can do for them is to tell them my truth.  About how I tried on other peoples traits, and lied, and hurt others, and stole, and was naughty. Our biggest aims for our family, is that they like themselves and each other by the time our main parenting is done.  And have the confidence to be who they are in the world, and chase their dreams.

Which doesn’t mean that I don’t also yell, and threaten, and control, and bully, and bribe.  I’m into boundaries, and consequences, and being accountable for your actions.  I like my kids to have manners that come from the inside, and model it for them by being respectful to everyone we meet, and seeing everyone as equals.  And I’ll also prompt them to be polite, not mandatorily, but when I know that someone has just been very generous or kind, I think it’s reciprocal to say thanks. From the very start, I’ve thought it important to teach my kids enough about societies expectations, that they can be loved and welcomed wherever they go.  I never wanted them to be the kinda brats that come round to your house and you think “Oh no, that horrible kid’s back, quick, hide the valuables!”  I never wanted them to feel that from other people.  And the most predominant feedback we get about our kids, is how well mannered, behaved, beautiful and helpful they are.  They’ve spun many a place and person out, when they stay behind to help clean up. I wont let my kids beat each other up beyond reason, or other people’s kids.  And if they bite me, I bite them back.  I also count to 10, and in very extreme situations will give them a flick. And through all of it we talk, and we apologise if it’s needed, and we dissect it, and we try and work out other ways of doing it.   We learn from it, and see it in other people, and relate with others on the sliding scale of behaviours, and sometimes if we’re really really lucky, we get to see the miraculous event of a habit, pattern, or antisocial behaviour being transformed, understood, and reintegrated as a valuable tool. 

While I think that ‘the system’ as it exists is a bit sick, I never mistake ‘the system’ for a human.  I’m not anti mainstream, I just think we could all do a lot better by ourselves and our planet. I think that we’ve collectively had to get as distanced from ourselves, each other, and the planet as we are, to push the boundaries, and learn the lessons that can only be learnt at the edge.  We always treat officials and beaureaucrats and police folk and the rest with openness and respect.  And end up having amazing conversations and even hugs, cause they’re wrapped that they’re not being grumped at or stereotyped.   And we’re very greatful for the government monies that help to support us.

I’m glad for the ‘bad’ things that have happened to me.  Because there can be a place, where the great hardships of life, and the suffering, and the death, and the murder, and the rape, and the evil intention, and the cruelty, and the senselessness, and the pain, and the illness take me to that 'other place' where women in birthing often go, where very sick people go, and where mourners of death go, and it HURTS and I GRIEVE and it feels kinda timeless, and the ordinary world around me drops away, and time seems to slow or stop, and I search and seek for other people who can understand this parallel world with me and talk about it, and in the midst of the deepest aches I start to feel the equal and opposite reaction. The fierce love for my people, and the vow to protect them and love them and tell them how much, and to nurture them and do my very best to be the best person I can and change my part of the world or inspire so that the pain will decrease for some.......yet at the same time, that pain and suffering has become my muse and great lesson, and I learn some more qualifications about how to navigate the seas of our society and discern people and situations that work for me or not. The gifts and lessons of the shadow can't really be replaced by sage unicorns and rainbows speaking wisdom in forest glades. It's the battles and senselessness and pain that teach me the deep lessons of balance. And flexibility. And change. And chaos. And harmony. And adaptation. And then sometimes the pain feels less piercing, and the evil has taught me, and it all seems kinda perfect...….

I'm perfect in my imperfections.  I've got a crass sense of humour, but only when it's safe to come out, and most of my mistakes have led to great lessons.  I learnt so much from raising my first daughter, because even though I thought I was doing it so differently to my parents……I repeated a lot of the patterns that they taught me in different ways.  And I fucked up in lots of ways.  In others I was awesome.  But I learnt from it all.  And through all my mistakes, and my flaws, and my habits, I've been pushed into areas and concepts and realisations that I never would have, being a nice girl doing nice things.

I reckon that’s about it.  I reckon I’m done.  I’m out of the closet as a human.  This is my offering to the alter of honesty.  And I can tell you now, that this has been the longest transition to birth, of any post I’ve written.  There’s about 10 drafts that lay languidly uninvolved.  I’ve found this the hardest post ever to write.  Cause I don’t want to offend.  But I don’t want to omit my truth.  As scared of outright rejection and nasty criticism as anybody else.  I tried writing it poetically and cryptically and mystically and metaphorically and none of it really worked.  I ended up with huge preambles and justifications that sounded like I wasn’t proud of who I am.  Nevertheless, I finally got here in the end!  So now you  know that I can really tell the truth about who I am, and be in love with myself even so.

This is me. 

And I’m owning it.