A Journey of Sovereignty & Spirit

Rebellious FROM Birth

I dressed and looked like a good little girl, but I was a tomboy, a wild thing since a babe; curious and daring; a good little troublemaker. My mother called me precocious and too smart for my own good

This about sums it up. Sticking my tongue out, in a pretty dress that my mom sewed herself.

This about sums it up. Sticking my tongue out, in a pretty dress that my mom sewed herself.

I was always cooking up wild schemes, tearing my dresses, and getting mud on my face. I could also read people like a book. As a result, I always knew how to fit in, even though I felt like an outsider myself. I got good grades and knew just how much I could get away with rocking the boat.

Until my mid-twenties, my life was filled with trauma and drama, oppression and repression. Our family knew how to survive, but not how to thrive. No one loved themselves; self-love was a luxury.

Depression an repression manifested as addiction and the family curse took its hold. 

A respectful potential trigger warning: please note that the following tale will contain stories of domestic violence, addiction, and emotional abuse. If you find these upsetting, you may wish to exit my story here.

However, I hope that by sharing my own tale with a deep honesty, it will ultimately help others. I have dug deep to be as true and vulnerable as I can, and for me that meant sharing both the ugly and beautiful moments with raw honesty.

 

An Old Soul Grows Up Early:
A Family "Curse" Begins

My mom and bio dad.

My mom and bio dad.

When I was almost six, we had just moved back from my biological father's military station in Germany. My youth there in German schools had created the background for much of my childhood.

One night I woke up to my parents' yelling. Which wasn't entirely uncommon, but there was a different tone this time.

I stepped out of my bedroom and into the hall; I had a straight view into the dining room. I sleepily caught the motion of my father as he threw my mother's Nikon to the ground; it made an awful cracking sound. She cried out. My heart fell. 

I knew how much that plastic, metal, and glass meant to her, as it did to me. I'd been so inspired as she explored photography, letting me tag along at the dark room with her to develop photos she had taken of me posing in the pretty dresses she would sew for me.

But that wasn't the last of it. He then grabbed her by the hair, pushed her against the wall and began to strangle her. My grogginess quickly subsided and I ran down the hall, yelling for him to stop over and over again at the top of my lungs. He finally did and stepped away, clearly ashamed.

He stormed out of the house and loudly drove away in his sports car. 

My father's alcoholism had gotten worse in the years since we moved back from Germany, as had his abuse. But this was the furthest he had ever gone. 

I walked into the dining room, where my mother was crumpled against the wall, still in shock. Next to her was her battered camera and a tuft of her hair.

She finally rose. I followed her into the bathroom in a daze. I watched in horror as she inspected the red ring around her neck in the mirror. I quietly asked if she was okay and if I could help.

She looked down at me, too shaken to cry, but clearly emotional. "You're so grown up." Then she hugged me and said, "Just don't ever let anyone ever treat you like that, okay? Promise me."

I promised. I meant it from the bottom of my heart.

That incident seemed to be the impetus my mother needed to get a divorce. In later years she admitted she did it less for herself and more to make sure that I never fell into a similar trap.

My mom, a few years before she had me. One of the few pictures of her smiling.

My mom, a few years before she had me. One of the few pictures of her smiling.

After some time spent in women's shelters and with helpful friends, she found her way within a difficult single mother lifestyle: working three jobs, hiring babysitters whenever friends couldn't watch me, bringing me to photography and biology classes when that failed, and making great strides on a Masters in Chemistry all the while.

She was always very busy and hardworking, between night shifts as a well-loved bartender, mornings grading papers, and afternoons at the school lab. I missed her a lot. I was also greatly inspired. I always felt encouraged to follow my curiosity and held to a high level of excellence in all I did, thanks to her example and instruction.

Because my mother had a lot to tend to on our behalf, I was further encouraged to be strong, self-sufficient, and find relief from boredom within my own private curiosities

I cherished my time as a latch-key kid, making my own way and entertaining myself when the babysitters fell through, even as I often felt lonely and missed my mother's company. I relished the nights she would return home after a long day's work and miraculously have just enough energy to talk philosophy, psychology, culture, and religion with me into the wee hours of morning, until she exhaustedly shuffled me off to bed so she could get some sleep for the full day ahead.

We were best friends for a long time. Growing up was a cherished as well as challenging time for me.

All the while, I continued to do my best to stay aligned with the expectations of teachers, of friends, and of my mother. She had enough to deal with... I didn't want to be a bother. I wanted to make my smart, talented, discerning mother proud.

And she did hold me up to a high level of perfection. When I complained that she didn't give me compliments like other parents when I shared my work with her, she said, "It's because I want you to do the best I know you are capable of." It was difficult at times, and I still sometimes hold myself to too high of a standard; yet, this level of excellence and belief in my best has always kept me exploring, pushing my own envelope, and looking to give my best to everyone. As challenging as it could be, it's something I am thankful for.
 

Facing Intolerance & Stereotypes

Growing and living up in Mississippi was tough for a kid who had lived a few years abroad in a comparatively enlightened Germany, as it was for my mother. Neither of us could comprehend the exclusion, lack of cultural acceptance, religious intolerance, or racist tendencies we witnessed daily there.

My dad came to visit us in Portland in 2015. We're still great friends to this day. 

My dad came to visit us in Portland in 2015. We're still great friends to this day. 

When I was nine years old, my confusion at the state of cultural tendencies went deeper when my mother married my stepfather, a man with the sweetest temperament and most delightful sense of humor who had been by then living with us a couple of years. My to-this-day Stepdad (in heart if not in legality) who I just call, "Dad."

Oh yes, I forgot to mention, he is black. And we lived in Mississippi in the 90s. It wasn't against the law, and not entirely uncommon anymore at that point to see people in mixed marriages, but it was still frowned upon by many whites.

When they married, many people changed their behavior toward us, and naturally I noticed the injustices my father experienced at times because of his skin color.

The first big confrontation I had was when I noticed that my best friend's mother stopped letting her spend the night at our house. One of my most devastating memories is of confronting her about it. In a cold tone, she told me that mixed marriages were wrong and God didn't approve.

But I knew better. I suspected that I had a much better God than she did, one who put love above dogma. Of course, I still cried my eyes out, yelling at her for her lack of compassion and sense, only to be dismissed coldly by her as an emotional child who didn't understand right from wrong. This coming from a woman my mother had respected and trusted as a friend for years.

On a trip to visit my dad's family. My dad is playing cool after doing something to send me on a giggle fit.

On a trip to visit my dad's family. My dad is playing cool after doing something to send me on a giggle fit.

The behavior we received as a family was naturally cruel and unjust at times. It was made all the more baffling to me because, well, he was my real dad to me. My German upbringing had taught me the value of human dignity and that we should only be judged for our actions in life. Besides, the standard was heavily and unfairly skewed: he had always been there for me in ways my white, abusive, absentee biological father never had been. 

He played soccer with me and helped me buy my school clothes. He taught me about computers and made sure I had my own: to write, to learn code, and to play with graphics software. He made me laugh when things were rough at home. He always went to bat for me. Always.

 

The Band Grade Incident

One of my favorite memories in my childhood was when we moved cities; I had to start at a new junior high school. I was sad to leave my old friends, but excited by the new opportunities that awaited me in a new school district, especially the amazing arts program that awaited me there and was to accompany my remaining K-12 years.

The one thing that went downhill was my band experience. My previous teacher had been amazing; the new teacher was awful.

Rockin' the band uniform at my middle school.

Rockin' the band uniform at my middle school.

My kick ass junior high look at my new school.

My kick ass junior high look at my new school.

I had been at the new school about a month when midterm grades arrived; the gross, misogynistic band instructor gave me a "C" for the whole term because he was admittedly too lazy to look up my grades from my previous school... Grades that lived within the filing cabinet of the current school's office, just down the hall.

When I confronted him about the "A" I had earned and deserved, he completely dismissed me. Which was a common behavior he had with the girls in his class; thanks to my mom's influence, I was sensitive to sexism and felt all the more incited by his treatment.

I went home and told my dad. He was livid, too. While he could have probably just scheduled a normal parent-teacher conference, he decided to take it to another level to make sure I got the respect I deserved. In the most brilliant and hilarious way.

Perfectly aware of the stereotypes that people often threw against him, he decided to play on one on my behalf.

He had a regular gym regimen, ate well, and took good care of himself; he'd developed some admirable muscles by that time.

The day we were getting ready to go to the teacher meeting, I watched him walk slowly into the living room with a muscle-revealing white tank top and a pair of jeans. He put on a stern look, slowly donned a pair of sunglasses, and crossed his arms.

I giggled like crazy at this hilarious act. He held out with his Arnold Schwarzenegger impression for a few more moments, and then he giggled, too.

Later, I resisted the urge to laugh as I watched him walk into the school office slowly and deliberately, a remarkably convincing yet alien-to-me flinty look on his face. The band instructor looked like he was going to wet his pants.

Dad simply asked about the grade with as few words as possible and a slow crossing of his arms; the blustery band jerk thumbed awkwardly through the filing cabinets and found my "A." Then he wrote it on my report card and handed it to my dad in a nervous rush, who took it with a deliberate motion and replied with a simple, stern, "Thank you."

Dad and I laughed the whole way home about how ridiculous it all was. My dad was never prone to machismo. He was more likely to spend several quiet hours in front of his computer writing code or using his many goofy talents to make me snort milk from my nose. 

A beautiful moment of ridiculousness, captured for eternity. This is how Dad and I rolled.

A beautiful moment of ridiculousness, captured for eternity. This is how Dad and I rolled.

My dad's support and encouragement of my deservingness of respect as a young woman made a different impression on me than my mother's angry, man-hating rhetoric had.

These moments of fun are bright spots throughout a difficult adolescence and increasing home drama.

My mother was increasingly serious and joyless, troubled more and more by her own disruptive inner world and the past that haunted her. My dad helped me maintain my sense of humor and individuality in the midst of the many troubles that were to come.
 

My Mother's Decline:
An Empath's Cry for Help

In junior high something began to shift in our family dynamic as my mother had begun falling pray to the same vice that had led to her life as a victim: alcohol. By the time I reached high school, I had become accustomed to angry outbursts at friends, being woken with yelling at three in the morning, and worse.

Now, in my adult life with my adult knowledge, I realize that her inclination to drink was actually an instinct to shut off her intuitive signals; signals that didn't always bring the best messages or energy.

Since she was young she had heard voices, seen ghosts, felt flashes of divine spirit, and often had a sense for the true intentions of others. She had a knack for dream interpretation. Like my grandmother, she got feelings and impressions and sometimes seemed to know things she shouldn't have known.

The thing was, she had no tools to manage her gifts. Tuned into the negative thoughts and feelings of everyone around her, she didn't know how to create healthy energetic boundaries and find relief from the constant barrage of other people's negative energetic spew.

It didn't help that she now worked at a job full of political, gossiping women with few ambitions in life. It was probably the worst place for an inquisitive, thoughtful, creative woman to be.

As a result, high school was a tough time.
 

The Infamous Greece Trip

My mom took this photo of me on a school trip to Greece. A brief moment of connection between us that was to be one of few to remain. She posed me deliberately for this image, just as she had when I was a little girl.

My mom took this photo of me on a school trip to Greece. A brief moment of connection between us that was to be one of few to remain. She posed me deliberately for this image, just as she had when I was a little girl.

My senior year of high school, my mother joined me on a two week school trip to Greece. Grumpy from alcohol withdrawal as she tried to keep face, she behaved even more deplorably to my teacher and fellow students for the entire trip than if she'd had alcohol. I had some beautiful, spiritual experiences, but I was ready for it to be over. The last night of the trip, when we were due to leave at 3am to catch our flight back to the states, I awoke from my brief slumber to see a dozen little empty booze bottles in the trash can.

A half hour later, as we groggily met the class in the lobby and closed our hotel bill out, she went into a drunken rage about being charged for what amounted to a fifty cent phone call that she claimed she didn't make, but that I had indeed heard her engaged in while I was half asleep. 

She yelled at the hotel receptionist for awhile, stormed off to our hotel room to grab the maid's tip, came back down, yelled some more, threw money in the guy's face... and wouldn't stop, even as he begged her to leave and forget the money, even as I calmly kept trying to get her to back off.

I was used to drunken outbursts and had an uncanny ability to distance myself from her behavior. "It's her problem," I'd tell myself. "It doesn't matter what they think. It doesn't reflect on me." 

However, this outburst had gone on for almost an hour and was at a potentially great expense to so many people. The teacher was begging me to do something; we and the fifteen other students and parents were on the verge of missing our flight back to Mississippi. I kept trying to talk my mother out of her rage, but she continued to yell and throw things at the receptionist. So I did the last thing I could think to do: in my desperation to act on behalf of the greater good, I slapped her.

It did indeed stop her. In her tracks. She shut down immediately and was silent the entire fourteen hour flight back home.

Until we got back to the airport in Mississippi. After the class group had passed us in the hall, she turned around, slapped me, and threatened to break my nose if I ever touched her again.

We went back home. It was mere days after my seventeenth birthday; I'd made the transition on our trip. I'd hoped the drama would eventually subside like it usually did, but for several days after, my mother threatened to abuse me in increasingly alarming ways; I knew it was only a matter of time before she did hurt me, badly. In many a drunken rage for two years prior, she had told me we were no longer friends; now she told me I was no longer her daughter and would not receive any support from her from now on.

I thought to myself, "If there is no comfort for me here and no safety, if I truly am essentially a stranger in this house, then why am I here at all? What do I gain by staying?"
 

History Repeats Itself

Ironically, it was my memory of my mother's strength in leaving my biological father that convinced me I needed to be in a safe place and find my own way. I had to keep my sacred oath, even if it was my own beloved mother who was the source of the abuse. 

By that time, my dad had been emotionally beaten down by my mother to the point that I didn't feel like he had the emotional resources to help me. We had both become prisoners in our own house, drifting apart as we each often hid in our rooms to escape my mother's ire. It wasn't his fault. We were all doing the best we could with what we knew at the time.

So, in the middle of the night, I packed my things. The next day I hid in the bushes, pretending to catch a school bus, while my parents drove to work.

The universe had a sense of humor; there were two slugs on a rock in front of me, copulating the entire hour that I had to wait for my parents to leave. I found myself giggling at the absurdity of it all.

Finally they left and I walked to the library to call my school counselor. Weeks before we had discussed a halfway home for teenagers as a possible option if things got bad for me; she made some calls that day and discovered that, because I had just turned seventeen, I no longer qualified.

I spent the day thinking through my options, trying to find a way out; I couldn't give up yet. I wouldn't go back to that house.

I had a co-worker friend whose mother and sisters also worked at the same grocery store I did. I called them as a last resort and asked for their help. It was a difficult decision, but they agreed within a couple of hours to let me live with them for the summer. The mother picked me up from the library and we made a quick trip by the house to get my things. 
 

A Fresh Start

Mere months away from my chosen college, I was blessed to have a scholarship with full room and board waiting for me; at least that was taken care of and I didn't have the burden of figuring out how to pay for my schooling on my own. 

When the next semester finally rolled around, I relished in my independence. After years of oppression at home, it was an incredible feeling to have my days filled up with my own curiosities and dramas. It wasn't as if my family drama had entirely left me; I still ended up having strained contact with my mom and dad (who I later learned did all he could to protect me from my mother's ire and outbursts so I could focus on school). But it was refreshing to come back to my dorm each evening and only have to look forward to the problems and joys I shared with my beautiful, bestie roommate, rather than drunk shouting matches and threatened violence of my addict mother.

I dealt with a lot of difficult emotions over the following years, but found a way forward with the help of school therapists, teachers, and friends. And somehow I managed to keep my grades up despite the regular drama and distraction that my mother would bring into my life.

A couple of years into school my dad — seeing that I was going to be okay and no longer needing to protect me from my mother's emotional abuse — got a divorce from my mother, a decision I fully supported. However, with no one to keep her grounded, within a year she had increased her drinking to such a degree that she began acting more and more irrationally at work, and was ultimately fired. She stopped paying the mortgage and the bank tried to evict her; she never left, instead squatting in the house, hoping that no one showed up to kick her out. Somehow she found the funds to keep the power on awhile longer... and replenish her supply of vodka.

Eventually she did try A.A. and went into an inpatient program of her own volition. I was hopeful and made an effort to spend more time with her, to support her efforts. But it wasn't to last. Not long after she returned, she began drinking again and pushing everyone away.

I was taking photography in college and decided to do a series about my mother. I captured this image after she had just returned from an A.A. meeting. A wan smile is the most I ever got from her, and this was one of the rare ones at that time.

I was taking photography in college and decided to do a series about my mother. I captured this image after she had just returned from an A.A. meeting. A wan smile is the most I ever got from her, and this was one of the rare ones at that time.

Despite my many attempts to reach out to her, she was not able to find her way out of her addiction. When things got particularly bad and she had turned our once family home into a place of complete squalor, when I saw she was spending most of her days laying in bed and drinking, I saw no other path but to work with the state to have her committed, hoping beyond hope that the steady environment would give her space to have the internal shift she needed to get on the healing path.

I was only twenty at the time. 
 

The Dream that (Sadly) Came True

Mere weeks later she was let out; supposedly because she would be fine with outpatient treatment, but likely due to lack of insurance and her own resistance to getting well. She hated being there and refused to cooperate. 

It was Christmas of my junior year of college. I told the nurses that she would die if they released her. That she wasn't just an alcoholic, but a deeply depressed and suicidal person. I was told I should look up the word "co-dependent." (I was very familiar with the term; between therapy and Al Anon I had done much inner work in this department. But, like many times in my life, my intuitive senses were dismissed as emotional rambling.) 

One fall day in an art history class, not two weeks after her release from the hospital, a police officer entered the back of the room. "Is there a Theresa Pridemore here?"

Everyone turned to look and became deathly silent when they saw the source of the voice. The teacher pointed to me. I stood up and went to the back.

I already knew what had happened, but I asked anyway. The officer only replied, "You need to call your mom's employer."

I walked into my teacher's office, picked up the phone to speak with the one woman who had stayed in contact with my mom and tried to help her. "I'm so sorry, Theresa. The mailman found your mother dead in the house today. He noticed the door was open and had been for many days; he was worried, so he went in to check on her. She was laying on the couch, in front of the stove to keep warm...." She stopped to choke back tears. "She had been there awhile." 

I was numb. All I could do was tend to whatever came next. The following morning, I drove back to my hometown and visited the coroner, who advised me not to view the body. She told me my mother had likely passed two weeks before from alcohol poisoning. Essentially, she drank herself to death. A slow suicide.

What had I been doing two weeks before? I'd gone back to my apartment to take advantage of a break between classes to get in a nap. I'd had a disturbing dream and awoken with a panic; in it I'd seen my mother's spirit leave her body, breathing out her pores like fairy dust as she laid on the couch. I remember rushing out of the room to share it with my boyfriend of the time, telling him with dread how real it felt.  

It wasn't the first time a premonition had come in a dream. However, I didn't ever fully let myself believe they meant much when I had them. Now I can recall many dreams before and after that spoke of things that were to come. It was that incident, however, that really taught me to take stock in the things I felt and saw in those images.
 

Mourning and Processing

It was tragic and heartbreaking. I mourned for all the world had lost when this intelligent, gifted woman committed her slow suicide. But my feelings of mourning the loss of my own mother were more complex.

The truth was that I had felt like I had been living with a person who was terminally ill, possessing a sickness of both body and spirit, for a long time; I had already mourned the loss of her years before her body actually died. It was the loss of my friend, the loss of my mother that I had deeply felt for years. She had truly turned into someone else, someone I couldn't recognize. It was a kind of possession.

I had my final encounter with my mother the last time I'd visited her at the mental hospital, where I'd had her committed. It was there that she was to share her final words with me and turn away in silence until I had no other choice but to leave.

"You betrayed me. I hate you." 

"Well, I love you," I'd said. "And I don't believe you hate me."

Whatever spirit resided in her body when she passed was no longer her own. I knew in my heart of hearts that my mother would never believe such a thing; my mother had held my face too many times in wonder, in true love, telling me how dearly she treasured me and the person I had become. My mother would always believe the best of me and want the best for me. My mother knew I had nothing but love for her, even if the person in the hospital would never be able to see or receive that love.

I mostly remember being confused that she had made such a choice to die, in the end. I wondered what could have led her so astray that her curiosity could no longer sustain her. I mourned in my own way, processing the loss of our relationship, grateful to be free of my own torment at the hands of her addiction, and sad that we wouldn't get any second chances.

I learned that mourning isn't straightforward or simple; we can have complex feelings ranging from relief to despair when someone leaves us, willingly or not.

I learned a deeper level of self-acceptance at that time, and for many years this experience taught me a different appreciation for people's challenges that made me a better listener; able to give space for complicated feelings that may not always be pretty to most, but are real stages on the path to healing and acceptance.
 

Second Chances

I found several rolls of undeveloped film in my mom's things after she passed. It is one of the most beautiful photos of my mother I've ever seen, capturing her innocence and love. It felt like she was waving to me from the other side when I found this treasure.

I found several rolls of undeveloped film in my mom's things after she passed. It is one of the most beautiful photos of my mother I've ever seen, capturing her innocence and love. It felt like she was waving to me from the other side when I found this treasure.

As I enjoy the beauty of my current life, there is so much I know my mother would have enjoyed. Yet, I still feel her presence with me to this day, and hear her voice sometimes, making jokes or sharing her wisdom with me. And I know that her spirit took a difficult journey to learn its own lessons, and to teach me in the process. Of course, it still hurts to have never witnessed my mother truly happy in all my life. But I accept that this was her path at this time, and that she chose to release this life and see what the next would have to offer her.

Even after this saga, I remained hopeful for my ability to heal my wounds and create a life that would make her proud and give me joy.

I worked hard in school, received an illustrious internship with LucasArts over one summer, and learned everything I could about design, websites, photography, animation, and video. My curiosity for creating and experiencing technology was insatiable. I was blessed to live a life entirely devoted to the exploration of my gifts. 

My 2002 graduating class, fellow design students and friends.

My 2002 graduating class, fellow design students and friends.

Eventually, though, I graduated college and was blissfully able to move to the Pacific Northwest, where I sensed my true heart lie. After a brief visit to check Portland out, I immediately fell in love. I felt at home. After years of being careful about what I said, getting called out as a weirdo, a rebel, a heathen, I felt, "Maybe, this time, I will find a place where I truly belong. Where I can relax and be myself. Where my weird is normal."

And I did. I found my tribe, and I found the place I would uncover my freedom, inside and out.

Portland, you give me wings.

portland-dusk.jpg
 

My Inner (and Outer) Promiseland

I believe things happen for us, not to us.

I spent several years trying to understand all the turmoil and pain that I had experienced living in the south, and all I had watched my parents go through.

I know that my own mythic path in life was to enter into a dynamic exploration of individuality, creative living, radical self-acceptance, and deep tolerance. I was also meant to explore my gifts as an intuitive, empath, and healer, within the context of the arts and technology. To understand deeply what victimization looked like so I could choose a better path; abandon the martyr syndrome and truly find lightness, connection and joy in my daily life.

I lost my way a few times due to my own science-loving skepticism, a desire to impress or appease partners, and poor guidance from well-intentioned mentors. However, over and over again, life gave me unwavering evidence of my powers as a manifester, a creator of my own experience, a healer, and a seer. I found intuitive teachers (thanks especially to Liliana Barzola of Lotus Lantern Healing Arts) and Tarot, unfolding my own gifts bit by bit. Learning to finally believe in the magic I had always been so curious about growing up.

theresa-ritual.jpg

Skepticism led to discernment, and ultimately acceptance. I couldn't ignore all the magic in my life anymore. I had to embrace it to find the happy life that had eluded my mother and my biological father. I had to put my wonder and sense of humor to use and create a life of play that I had always believed was my right, even in the midst of all the challenges I'd endured.
 

The Victorious Sorceress

I've spoken many times to my passed mother and now grandmother, my dearly departed pets, and guides that pop into my life as I am able and willing to hear them. I've witnessed periods of synchronicity and divine alignment that have made me giddy with wonder. To get here, I know I had to travel an unconventional path, to see the pain that conformity and a victim mentality can create and to decide, "Enough's enough. I am creating something new."

Every day that I was able, I chose to be a victor, a mythical creator, a sorceress, a sovereign spirit.

My capacity to love and accept is great; my desire to be present with others is deep; my drive to celebrate the unique gifts and passions of everyone is relentless.

I remain inquisitive and ready to learn. Thanks to my dad, technology is a realm where I hold some magical sway; I've simply touched misbehaving computers for others and magically repaired their ailments.

I continue my technological arts outside of my business, creating everything from Tarot cards to short films in my spare time.

Having fun and traveling with my sweetie. My proof that I took my promise to my mother to heart. A playful and loving relationship that I sought thanks to my dad's positive influence.

Having fun and traveling with my sweetie. My proof that I took my promise to my mother to heart. A playful and loving relationship that I sought thanks to my dad's positive influence.

Moreover, I have learned to see myself as deserving of love, something neither of my biological parents or my mother's mother actually got a chance to see of themselves. After many difficulties (self-imposed and otherwise), I have found my way into a happy marriage, with a deeply supportive and accepting husband who appreciates my gifts both subtle and tangible and honors the goddess within me as I see the god in him.

Now I live a full, embodied, and deeply connected life in this beautiful city of bridges — a city ripe with misfits and visionaries of all walks. It is here that I finally found my tribe and my true voice. It is here that I have learned to share all of my gifts: without apology, victimhood, or scarcity.

It took all of these life experiences to show me that the only true path is one of self-realization, self-expression, and unabashed self-appreciation. More than that, the world needs the healing that we as sovereign spirits can provide by being willing to be visible for all we are. Perhaps in another lifetime we might have been burned at the stake... but in this one, it is our time to shine and put our trickster to work, letting go of the martyr that has tried to repress us for so long.

There's a beautiful life and an incredible sense of inner peace waiting on the other side. I am grateful to have had all the lessons that have allowed me to experience it. And I am grateful for the life I live now, in the company of a myriad of beautiful collaborators, co-creators, friends, and chosen family. 
 

A Closing Question & Call to Magic

It's here that I will share my biggest question in life, and encourage you to ask yourself:

  • Do you know what you desire?
     
  • Will you allow yourself to desire it without judgment or expectation?
     
  • How could your life change if you lived the truth of your desire?

You don't even have to believe it's possible, not yet. You just have to allow the desire, deny that old fear of simply hearing it to hold sway over you any longer. So many people in my lineage were too scared to face their own desires and their own inner knowing because the thought of not receiving their desires was too painful to bear. So they sat day by day in quiet denial, doing what was expected of them to appease those they thought they were supposed to appease. There were moments of brilliance and heroism. But, on the whole, their true desires were pressed down, deep inside of them. 

My grandfather lived a life of secret bisexuality, venting his personal frustrations in the form of absenteeism and abuse on my grandmother, mother, and her brother. 

My grandmother worked menial jobs and lived with abusive men; she never wrote those plays she had been thinking about, or painted another oil painting, or wrote that children's book

My mother lost herself to perfectionistic ideals, especially about what she thought she needed to be as a mother; she never became a lab tech at a prominent research facility, as she'd always dreamed.

They all taught me that an unwillingness to listen to that inner voice can kill you inside. None of them died happy. They were all overworked, exhausted, and lonely people who had trouble seeing the gifts around them. 

Every one of them left the world with something repressed within them, some deeper truth unexpressed. They kept face to appease everyone else, to take care of their family, to do what they must. They ultimately managed to deeply hurt everyone around them, but most of all they hurt themselves.

Repressed desires leave a trail of pain in their wake. They are the rejection of life, of our spirit, of our living essence.

You can choose the path of a slow, internal death, of not living in your light. However, what is lost in simply acknowledging your desire? Acknowledging your right to creativity? To your spark? To your intuition?  

How could you live differently in the acknowledgement of your passions? Would you finally be in charge of yourself and your own destiny in some core way, even if you couldn't figure out how to realize those passions yet? What if the answers could be simpler than you imagined? What if you could hold space for an easy transition into that next step?

This simple (yet sometimes difficult) acknowledgement is the seed of sovereignty. Not in what you see outside of you, but what you will allow yourself to see inside.

That's where all the magic starts. Sovereignty is where we find ourselves, and find our deeper service to others. 

When you become the victor in your own heart, you have hope to manifest all the beautiful truth living inside of you. Bit by bit, day by day. When you live your passion in every way you can, be it small or large, you give the gift of life to those around you. 

Yes, your sovereignty is a gift to us. When you shine your light, when you radiate that warmth, you not only sprout your own seeds, but you nurture ours, as well. Your willingness to be in a dance with life and your own gentle urges gives us courage to do the same.

This girl had it figured out.

This girl had it figured out.

If you had told me when I was a young girl that this passionate, embodied life of daily play would be mine, well... I would have believed you then! The truth is often more obvious to children. It's somewhere in the middle that we lose our way... 

After a few false starts, I now believe. My capacity to believe in the quiet rumblings of my own heart have grown with the passage of time.

I can say from much experience—it's the truest magic there is.

And, with that closing, I send you all my love. And I hope, sincerely, that you will listen to your own heart's quiet voice and choose to use that voice to cast your own wonderful spell.

We're all waiting for what you have to teach us. We're all waiting to bask and grow in your light.

In love,
Theresa

My home altar. 

My home altar.