Festival of Light

by tamarjacobson

Early this morning I dreamed that some kind of power surged through my chest and two large, orange snakes sprang out to attack people who I felt were not friendly towards me. I tried gathering them in my arms and pushing them back into my chest, but they were flailing about wanting to be free. Afterward, I lay awake for a long while thinking about the color, texture, the very nature of those snakes; the concept of power springing out of my chest like that. If only I was an artist I would paint them, so vivid were they, alive in my brain.

This weekend, discovering relatives and a family tree that extends back to 1610, I felt excruciating pain and anger. In fact, at one point, while I was watering my plants, I became doubled over and just stood there for a long while, sobbing. Was it vindication I was feeling? In my mind I pictured little Tamarika years and years ago searching to belong, guilty for being a prodigy of my father for the pain it constantly seemed to cause my mother. Her disdain for his people, accusations that all my Tamarika-ness came from "them." All that heritage tarnished and hidden away in shame. As I started to feel vindicated and proud to be my father’s daughter, I wondered why he had kept his story such a secret from me. I found myself raging at what I had missed and why he had not protected me from mother’s wrath and name-calling. Why had Dad been, in fact, so unavailable to me emotionally? So withheld. I had spent the rest of my life looking for men who would be withholding and unavailable emotionally. My sobbing became deeper, unbearable, and I had to sit down. They took from me my birth right. More than anything I raged about how my power, that is, being myself, had been perceived as trouble, a danger, harmful to everyone around me.

On Saturday at breakfast with friends we had all been sharing early childhood stories. I described mine in a nutshell: "I was born between two families and could never find my place. De facto, I was left out of everything, wills, history, people coming to my graduations, financial help during hard times. Mostly I felt like an ugly duckling whose egg had landed in the nest by some terrible accident." My friends nodded understanding as one of them had just told a similar story. I continued, "But the worst thing is when I explain these facts, I am told that I have no right to feel these things. Not only are these facts untrue, according to the family, but I have no right to feel them. It goes something like: here, we take from you what is rightfully yours (love, acceptance, inclusion, inheritance) but you are not allowed to feel bad about it. The bind is complete."

I wandered into the living room in the dark and plugged in the lights of the Christmas tree. As the room became bathed in the soft, gentle twinkly light, I realized that those snakes represented my own power within. I thought about the dream, replacing the word and images of snakes with power. It sounded like this: "I tried gathering my power in my arms and pushing it back into my chest … "

Summing up my story clearly for my friends felt good. Sobbing with rage early Sunday morning had been cathartic indeed. All day yesterday I felt empowered and free. So much of what Bob the therapist had been telling me all these years was right there in front of me, as clear as could be. I got it! Freedom and empowerment. A Festival of Light. Out of the darkness of ancient pain and rage, I become bathed in light. It is never too late to feel that Tamarika, now grown, is also a Child of God, Tony Trischka.

A year ago at Tamarika: Somewhere out there …