I've never had a perfect mother. By perfect, I mean, one whom I could say anything to. Of course, all mothers say to their children: "You can tell me anything." But they don't really mean it. That anything can be hurtful.
In my waking this morning, I saw that - like everything else - I don't really need a perfect mother. She is the Earth. She is, what Jung called, the collective subconscious. She is this new, second voice in me.
It is so nice to talk to her. Especially after a lifetime of trying to talk to "God" and hearing only silence. Finally, there's a voice. While it comes from inside me, it's not my own. I don't know how else to explain it.
This voice pulls ideas out of thin air that I've never thought before. This voice does not share the same color as my logic. If anything, this voice is VERY logical. We all know that I am not. This voice likes me, and a hell of a lot more than I like myself.
I have been swimming for thirty minutes. I have reached my twenty laps. I want to stop. The voice inside me says, "Ten more." I say, "But I don't feel well." The voice replies, "I know. But do ten more laps anyway." And I do ten more.
I am tired. I want coffee. I want chocolate. I want french fries and ranch dressing. I want Pizza Hut pizza. The voice inside me says, "But then, you will feel sick. You are worth it to feel well. Drink some green tea instead." And I do. And I bounce back.
After a few months of this, I had to come up with a name for the voice. I started calling her, Gaia. That's the Greek name for Mother Earth. I didn't have to think too hard on it. That's the name that came to me first. That's what she wanted to be called.
Gaia works for me, because my Catholic upbringing has me associating the supposed higher power with some heavy strong-sounding G-word. And while I've stopped believing in God over the last year (shockers!), I do believe that nature has a heartbeat. That heartbeat has a spirit. That spirit has a voice.
So eventually, I got to the deeper, soul-searching questions.
Today, at dawn, half between sleep and waking, I asked Gaia: Why does everyone like me better when I don't talk? Why does the room go quiet and uncomfortable when I speak? Why is it that when I speak, volcanoes explode, streets crack and crumble and bubble up with blood, winds pick up livestock and blow cattle off farms, and people run away screaming?
All of my life, I have the same answer for this question. Simply, I'm an idiot. I'm socially inept. I'm a dumb-ass who needs to keep her mouth shut.
Gaia replied differently. She said, "Because you have a powerful voice."
This is something I would NEVER say to myself.
Out my bedroom window, I heard a rumble. A plane gutted the sky overhead.
"Hear that plane?" said Gaia. "That's how you should learn to speak. Be like a plane moving through the sky. It makes noise as it passes through air. As should you make noise when passing through life. Speak when it's NECESSARY."
Then, I cried a little. Cos for the first time, everything was starting to make sense.
I got out of bed. The hallway smelled like my sisters' skin. I inhaled, wondering if their future husbands and children will notice it, or appreciate it like I do. It's a lovely smell. Not fresh, but not dirty. A little sweaty, dewy, summery. It's just bits of them, bits of their cells, loosening up into the air. It's the sweat of their dreams. Air prayer.
When they wake, they are too dopey to smell it. Distracted by the day ahead, they wonder: Where are my glasses? What time is it? Where is my phone?
But if they took a second to linger, could they smell it? Or is it like knowing the sound of our own voices, the look of our own expressions? We are buried too deep in the caverns of ourselves. It's impossible to truly know how amazing we all are.
We need a mother to tell us.