Right now I should be prone (well almost) on an exam table, having my IUD removed. Call my crazy, but I was really, really looking forward to this moment. For 22 years, minus the brief lapse of time when I was pregnant with my children who are less than 1.5 years apart in age, I have allowed my body to be artificially regulated. Ironically, it is a childbirth (not mine of course) that has prevented my appointment from being met today. So I wait, a little longer, to return to the cycles of the moon. I have my tea before me, in the beautiful mug gifted to me by my mother-in-law for my 41st birthday, which is occurring on Saturday. Having my IUD removed as my gift to myself.
Instead, I am sipping my decaf. green tea, having forgone the luxuries of the occasional black tea, as well as the other “bitters” that my body doesn’t care for me to consume (per Julianne’s advice, read more below), while I think about Mary and the eyes that pull me into the sepia ghost of the photograph.
My great-grandmother, Lizzie and twin to Kate, is on the left, but it’s the mystery of Mary that calls to me. Look at her expression, do you see it too? I see age beyond her years; I see an understanding of the soul.
My grandmother, daughter to Lizzie, used to tell me that I reminded me of her aunt and her grandmother (also named Mary). When I had my Vedic birth chart done by Julianne Victoria of Through the Peacock’s Eyes, she told me to research the maternal side of my family and I would find women like me.
According to my grandmother, and Mary’s grand-daughter, with whom I’ve recently connected, Mary “knew” things. She could foretell events before they occurred. There was always something about Mary that made her different from her sisters. I wonder how much she “knew” and didn’t tell.” I wonder what stories she held inside.
I think she must have held some of them back, especially in her earlier years, when we are most afraid of our voices and our truths. I know I did. When I look at this photograph, I see what else I share with Mary, as well as her sisters. Bring your eyes down to their throats, and you will see they are all enlarged. The sisters shared the goiters of untreated thyroid disease, another legacy passed down on the maternal side of my family.
It is a legacy of silence and hidden truths. My great-grandmother, Lizzie, a tight-rope walker in the Skerbeck Circus in Wisconsin, fell for a married man when she was, herself, unwed and birthed my grandmother month’s later. She held the secret of her daughter’s father until she died at the age of 99. I don’t know about her sisters’ secrets, but I image they all had them. Don’t we all? Especially those that harbor power?