Forest lost his shit yesterday and head-butted a friend in the face.
I realized last night that he needed me to put on the mantle of authority in a way that I never have.
(And somehow let my love for him and my certainty of his good heart prevail over the dark forces of shame and horror I felt in the assistant principal's office. Why is that always such a scary place??)
This morning I wrote down a schedule for our day and three main things to focus on:
- Respect me
- Respect the rules
- Be loving and helpful.
It was weird to write down "Respect the rules." I'm a progressive rebel witch. For the most part I think the rules suck ass.
Plus right now the myth I'm living and getting ready to teach starts with the heroine letting go of trying to win love by obeying the rules. Which I think is a pretty fucking healthy thing for our culture right now.
But a six-year-old boy with no respect for the rules is a danger to himself and others. This I have come to understand.
But here's the thing...I am not "The Man." I will never be "The Man."
I am "The Woman."
I will not enforce my rules by yelling, but neither will I allow myself to be ignored or violence to prevail. Over and over today, I was down on my knees, my face inches from Forest's, my voice slow and low, saying "Respect me now. "
This is core strength. This is strength that comes from badass multifidus muscles, deep abs... muscles that stop pain. (And, by the way, open the door to pleasure, no?)
With this strength, it feels like I can hold at the same time my revulsion for so many of the rules that are in place now – the ones that build power on a foundation of racism and misogyny and matricide, by which I mean violence against our Mother Earth – I can hold that revulsion and yet still believe in a right-sized authority that springs from respect for life and the land.
A couple of things helped me with that today.
First, we went to the creek together. I needed Acer to show me how to be strong and deep today.
And second, I am reading Rick Bass' book, "The New Wolves." It is filling me with an elemental (as in earth, air…) sense of right and wrong. It's a little nerve-racking, actually. I distrust fundamentalism. But when he writes about the reintroduction of wolves to the Southwest, he speaks the things that I believe and with such clarity and depth that I am filled with cold water and stone. I am made heavy with my convictions.
Listen to this:
"The law of the land – of rock and earth – says that the wolves will be back; and that the bison will be back, too, or a thing more like bison; and fire will be back also. And from all this, surely, will human culture or cultures more like those old ones-less fragmented, more connected to, and more grateful for, the land's resources."
And as I face the troubles and sometimes heartbreak of motherhood, I can't help but notice that these currents and eddies that surround me and my son are the same ones that surround every part of our culture.
Those forces that say Fight! (Football) Drift! (Red wine) Numb! (Netflix) (I know them all well.)
Fear has never given me the strength to fight them. Not for long. But love has... Love does. Now.
For the land... for my son...for the sacred, inviolable pleasure of life...
I am "The Woman."