This is what I know:
Spirit Whispers her voice into my ear often. Daily. Sometimes in the night. When I ask her for what she knows, she tells me. Sometimes I have to hold the questions longer. I don’t always like what she tells me. I ignore her. Sometimes I don’t trust what she tells me. I abandon her. I tell her, I hear you, but how do you know?
She doesn’t tell me how she knows what she knows. She just wants me to trust it, damnit! Sometimes she feels so small and invisible when she is ignored and then she goes away because she doesn’t think I truly care. She is my moon, my inner Moon. Her knowing was seeded into me before I was born. Before mom was born. Before Geraldine. Before Adele. She grows inside the ovary Moon of the mother line. Her eggs are her intuitive, psychic, Clairvoyant babies. They are fed when we listen to them. They come from the blood. They return to the blood. The blood of remembering the gift of the motherline strengthens them. Girltruth. Psychic knowing. Remembering. These are a few of their names.
Women always walk in two worlds. Born into the ‘Adam’s world’ of culture consistently ‘named’ from male life-experiences, we find ourselves with language and categories that do not fit or name our experience as girl children or female adolescents. We early come to know ‘girltruth’ which is experience without a language.Elizabeth Dodson Gray
I didn’t know what it was called until recently, or that it was something I might temporarily disconnect from. Mine was spunky and full of voice. It got me into trouble in Catholic school on numerous occasions. The first time was a declaration at age nine, that there is no such thing as heaven and hell. I said, quite matter of fact, “Heaven is what you make it and so it is different for you than it is for me. ” The Catholic school teachers looked at me as if I had just told an enormous sin.
I also got into trouble for crossing each of the angels off my sheet. We were supposed to ‘be good’ each week of lent. If we sinned, we were to cross out an angel. They sent me to the principle’s office and I declared, “but you gave me original sin! How am I supposed to keep my angels if I’m bad because I was born?” I don’t recall what they had to say.
Girltruth gave me full-belly permission to be equal to boys. It made sure I knew I was smart, athletic and talented. It encouraged me to compete with boys in contests, races and spelling B’s. In my fatherless family, my Italian grandfather treated boys differently than girls, in a way that felt like a secret handshake to a club I wasn’t invited to attend. In Catholic school, boys seemed to have a privilege that I wasn’t allowed to participate in. Girltruth was my first revolutionary ally.
I decided to create my own clubs with secret languages and handshakes. I challenged the boys to races and kiss-or-kill games. I ran for class president and won at age 9 because girls have a right to be president. I was the only girl on the boy’s Little League Team. I could make as good a fort as any. I jumped out of trees in winter. I went alone into dark places retrieving treasures.
My girltruth declared freedom to my mother and nonna, assuming that they knew nothing of it at all. Their black-and-white womantruth was explosive but often defensive and rigid. They often referred to church, God or politics in a way that made authority seem dangerous, punishing, and judging. No matter. For a brief time, girltruth was a wild warrior child questioning every rule, boundary and limiting statement such as “Children should be seen and not heard.” “Only boys can be altar boys.” “Kissing will give you babies.”
My girltruth believed in magic and imagination. She knew you could learn a lot from trees and that you could know things ahead of time without knowing how you knew. She knew that just one person in the magical space with a cranky attitude was enough to kill the magic for everyone. She knew that the church didn’t feel magical, but nature did.
When I reached puberty and it was time to be confirmed a young adult by the St. Sebastian Catholic Church, I tried naming myself after my favorite saint, Saint Francis Xavier of Assisi. I wanted to shorten it to Xavier because I thought it would be cool to have a new name that began with the X on a pirate’s treasure map. I also wanted to be as important in the eyes of the church, to God as boys. Why is God a man? Why did a woman grow out of a guy’s ribs? Why did woman tempt man? And why do I have original sin now because of it? My opinions and questions embarrassed the priest. “We just don’t do it that way. You cannot have a boys name, that is not acceptable.” I pleaded but had to settle on the name Monica. The wind in my sails died and my fire got blown out. Although I didn’t realize it, I felt a dangerous poison take seed in me. I was now confirmed in the eyes of God a girl becoming a woman, a possible temptress, a sinner, maybe pure and untouchable if I strived to be like Mary, but forever shamed with original sin, descendent of women, who are original sin makers.
My girltruth closed itself tightly inside of me around puberty and slept for a long, long time. Was she scared? Had she given up? Was she a victim? Or like Persephone descending or Sleeping Beauty lost in a 100 year sleep –was this an essential part of the transformative story of her becoming, separate from what church or some other authority deemed an appropriate rite of passage?
Without her I felt a victim to the status-quo world around me, split temporarily from the effortless knowing and spunk that had been my compass. I felt tricked into relying on authority while rebelling self-destructively in secret. I had to learn to navigate a world with rules that often didn’t make sense.
Occasionally girltruth opened herself like the eyes of a sphinx, in between the spaces surrounding the oppression of a perfectly valid and beautiful coming of age voice, identity and wild womanness. She would witness me, eye me up and down, and ask, before closing her eyes, “Who are you? What do you know, girl, what do you know?”
Girltruth and I grew into each other in the wild and primitive forest and nature playgrounds in upper Michigan when I was eight. My girltruth sprouted like from a trillium seed, took root and grew delicate and wild in the forest between pine trees, oak, birch, fern and moss. She has been plucked and overlooked. Sometimes she wilts, and sometimes she is preserved. She waits quietly in the dead of winter. Every spring, when she returns, she wants us to know: she is an important endangered species.
I want to protect and honor the vulnerable strength of girltruth. Girltruth and trilliums have taught me the true meaning of a trinity. Because of this I have more courage to walk in the world as I know it –a gentle warrior father holding the fiercely compassionate and revolutionary hand of my inner mother so that my inner child or girltruth can continue to blossom her living experiences into wisdom.