Stepping into the Fire: I See the Father Wound.
Grandmother told me it’s time to have “the talk” — the big one — with my father. The one where I tell him I forgive him.
I close down. All my resistances come out — justification for my lack of forgiveness, empty claims that I do indeed forgive him but he is the one unwilling to listen, he is the problem, not me. With the layers of protection surrounding my inner child standing at attention, I feel weak. I can’t, I won’t.
The father wound is bigger than my personal story. It is the very core of the Western paradigm. It is the unhealed wound hidden beneath the surface in all of us still caught in the old-world paradigm of power over others. It is this wound that we avoid feeling, this wound that ravages the earth and all things feminine. It is this father wound that perpetrates all victimization and oppression.
To protect this wound, civilizations have been built and destroyed. It is the lifeblood of the patriarchy itself.
When I was four years old, a happy-go-lucky, blonde, spirited child, I loved to sing and dance to records spinning on an old player in my basement. This was my happy place, until one day, unexpectedly my father stormed into the room, grabbed my record player and unleashed in a bitter stream of words that he couldn’t stand to listen to my music for one more second.
He snatched the records and the player, leaving as abruptly as he came. My heart shattered that day, and my relationship with my father grew distant.
My dad has never been a yeller, he is a spitter. He spits his anger out in bitter disgust, making everyone around him feel small. Though rarely physically violent, his words and tone can burn. For 32 years, since that day in the basement, I have been burning.
Over the years, I have heard his anger directed at many things, including Grandmother, my sister, the camera, and the traffic. I became silent so as not to become his target. Silence was safe. My happy place, my magic, my medicine had been destroyed; I could no longer sing or dance without feeling shame, could no longer relax into my body, could no longer rest in the love and acceptance of those around me.
Once I learned that love was conditional, it was no longer enough to be silent, I had to become invisible.
I buried bits of myself, piece by piece, artfully reading the adults around me for what was safe to keep and what needed to go. I became a shy, anxious child, with her nose in a book and headphones on. As an adolescent, I raged at authority while desperately conforming to my peers. I focused on my outer shell and controlled how I was perceived by others, all the while ignoring the turmoil within.
I longed to be seen deeply and authentically, but I could no longer see myself.
So, when Grandmother asked me to have “the talk,” every cell in my body reacted. I halfheartedly agreed, yet on the fringe of my own awareness was already concocting a plan of escape. My work with Grandmother has been to release these wounds, to move into Truth, to empower myself into heart-centered, feminine openness, to claim and express the medicine that was lost years before.
My ego said No to the conversation, but my soul said Yes.
All these years I have been hiding my truth in shame and fear. I see this wound reflected in the way Western culture treats women, the way astrology and herbal healing is dismissed as ‘not science’, the way children are to be seen and not heard. I see this wound reflected in the jealousy I feel toward other women and in my own angry outbursts. I see this wound reflected in racism, sexism and heterosexism.
I see this wound reflected in every rape, every hate crime, and every act of violence. I thought I was hiding my truth from a world that was violent and oppressive, but in reality I have been hiding from my father.
As I raged against the patriarchy, I unconsciously raged against him, while day to day I maintained an uncomfortable distance, ignoring moments of blatant hostility, half-smiling at insensitive jokes, and skillfully changing the subject away from politics and religion. Even as I write this, I fear he will read it.
I was not born to stay small or to hide in shadows. I was born to dance in the sacred fire of Truth. For this to be accomplished, I must learn to step fully and fiercely into the fire and into conversation with my father. I am ready.
Elizabeth Jezorski is a wild woman stepping into the fire of her own life through dance, movement, Yoga and meditation. She is currently earning an M.A. through Lesley University in Dance/Movement Therapy, and holds a B.A. in Transpersonal Psychology. Liz has been a practicing Yoga teacher for several years, having received a 200-hour teaching certificate, and actively studies astrology, Authentic Movement, 5 Rhythms, and the ways of ceremony. She believes in the good things coming.