The First Decade: 0-9

1467296_10152082797143746_86987810_nShe was delivered by the sea, to the Sisters of Mercy, on the Immaculate Conception of Mary–December 8, 1963–her due date; conceived out of wedlock to a woman who had given her first born to adoption the previous year.

She would be a perfectly average child, reaching each of her milestones, as expected, but never ahead of schedule.

By the age of 2, however, she was 30.

These are the things her mother told her.

As the first of a fourth generation in the same home, her days were spent with adults–aunts and uncles, grandparents and great parents, all giving orders, which she mirrored back.

She even bossed the Sisters of Mercy who had delivered her, when she accompanied her grandfather on his rounds.

Her first home was a castle. A stately brick home with white columns and green ivy; set on the avenue between the ocean and the bay, just across from the white steepled church where she would go to Sunday School and return home to her Nana and her Poppop.

Her next home was the trailer park where she lived with her mother while her father finished school. She talked incessantly. Her mother gave birth to a younger sister.

When she was 4, they moved to Philadelphia, to the highrise built for the medical students with families. Her mother walked her to school each morning, 4 city blocks and back again.

When she was in the first grade, she walked through the park, and across the city streets to have a quiet lunch at home. Only her mother wasn’t pleased. “How did you get here!?” she said.

(She never came home for lunch again. Or cut her own bangs.)

Second grade was spent in New Port News, Virginia, where her father did his internship. This is where she became less than average. She went her pants in the lunch line, and she couldn’t ride a two-wheeler. When she tried, she split her knee open and her father sewed it up in the kitchen. Though below average, she was still adventurous. She’d walk to the railroad tracks and lie down upon them. She’d even lie down in the middle of road; but to be fair they lived on a quiet cul-de-sac; and what she was really after was the smell of the hot tar after the rain.

540342_10152082792808746_907869917_nAt 7, she returned to the castle for an entire summer, and her life was… HEAVEN. No parents, no sisters (she had two now.) Just her and her grandparents.

She spent her days at the beach or around the block or at the yacht club, and was able to walk just about anywhere she wanted, on her own, as fast or as slow as she wanted to go.

The world was hers. The castle was hers. Her grandparents were hers. Her life was hers.

Approaching 8, she was turned back into a child, exiled from the castle, by 2,000 miles.

The flight attendant ripped her from her grandparents arms, and later slapped her across the face so that the plane could take off without her sobs.

She was given golden wings when they landed.

Her family met her at the airport in Denver, but they were no longer familiar, and her place among them had vanished in the months apart. A dog had been chosen. A house. Bedrooms. A garden planted.

She created a club. They held fundraisers, community service projects, field trips, variety shows and fairs. She got tape across her mouth from her third grade teacher, Mrs. Campbell, who was very, very pretty.

Her best friend lived next door, but they went to different schools because Trisha was “mentally retarded.” Years later, when they moved to New York, Trisha would fly to see her, and years after that, when they were both grownups, Trisha would call and tell her about her boyfriend and her two small children.

Just before she turned 10, the family bunny was decapitated by Trisha’s dog, who couldn’t be blamed because of the puppies.

She would gather her club mates around the dead bunny to bring it back to life. They would hold hands and pray. Praying  had worked when she desperately wanted to keep the black kitten they found in the sewer; and also she had won a stuffed frog each week on the bus to Sunday School until they gave her a huge frog and asked her not to memorize any more verses.

She read the Bible every night. It was her own. It had a green leather cover. She still has it.

But the thing was, there was only one book with a girl’s name; so as she came of age, she read Ruth again and again and again, admiring her dutifulness, but always hoping for more…

~

more from the FU 50′s:

The Hardest Decade? 10-19
Turning 20
30′s Retrospective
Tribute to the 40′s

Tribute to my 40’s

Fuessli, visipix.com
Fuessli, visipix.com

The 40’s were a radical decade for me. When I look back, I feel exhausted. And relieved. (Thank GOD those changes happened–and are behind me!)

This was a decade that took me from having no idea who I was and what I wanted–to a depth of knowing I couldn’t have imagined.

From little, if any personal pulse, to an almost constant contraction of creative expansion.

It’s a decade that started off with a bust, but then banged out a new life from the inside out…

Here are the highlights:

2003: My big 40th birthday bash was snowed out. So instead of dancing the night away, I spent the evening with 2 babies, 4 children and a handful of brave souls who ventured onto the roads and helped consume an inordinate amount of cake.

2004: Watched all 6 seasons of Sex & the City while my husband finished building our very first home.

2005: Ended a decade of nursing. Downsized to a queen bed. Welcomed my husband’s vasectomy. Joined Curves.

2006: Hit bottom. Took a 3 month life sabbatical.

2007: Became a YogaDance Instructor.

2008: Explored avenues of self-employment. Began seeing repetitive numerical sequences of 1’s.

2009: Wrote memior #1. Became a blogger, a Facebooker, and a Twitterer

2010:  Wrote memoir, #2. Resumed outside employment. Began struggling with depression (or awakened to the fact that I’d always struggled with depression.)

2011: Began traveling for work–with trips to Chile & Japan; went to NYC as an NGO delegate to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

2012: Earned my yoga teaching certification. Surpassed the longest I’d ever lived in one home with 8 years in our house.

2013: Reignited self-employment. Began Memoir #3. Celebrated 20 years living in Vermont. Sent my first-born off to college.  Started listening to my vagina.

I’m not sure what to expect for the next decade. Maybe each chapter of life is this BIG. I’m okay with big, but this time around, I also want gentle. Special, but soothing. Expansive, but grounding. Thrilling, but simple. Amazing, but easy. You know, that kind of thing…

Tell me it can happen…

(or turn back to: The 30’s Retrospective and: Turning 20 and The Hardest Decade:10-19)

Preparing for the FU 50’s

“Is there an odyssey the female soul longs to make at the approach of fifty?”
(
Traveling with Pomegrantes, Sue & Ann Monk Kidd)

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After a decade of anticipation, the time has come to prepare for my crowning. In some ways, I’ve began ten years ago when I read that audacious article, The FU 50’s; But officially, I began my preparations in January, (or they began me):

January: Personal winter writing retreat week by the sea to open up work on a longing to be birthed memoir: Lila~Reclaiming the Divine Feminine.

pomegranatesFebruary: Began listening to Traveling with Pomegrantes, a coming of age memoir of a woman in her 50’s (and her adult daughter), who I should add, travel to Greece, where I meant to be in 1986, but instead came home for my sister’s wedding, where she made me wear a red satin cowboy had, and had my heart broken; and then fell in love with my husband; so all these years later, I’m revisiting the idea of Greece; which was the location of  one of my favorite films of female awakening: Shirley Valentine, which was a originally a play that I took my mother to in Cape May when we were both coming of age, like the author and her daughter.

AAAAA-vagina-book-coverMarch:  Began my first full reading of The Vagina Monologues. (Several more silent readings required before I can say the C word out loud.)

April: Created a virtual book group to begin reading, A Year to Live (How to Live this Year as if It was your Last), by Stephen Levine. A book I purchased and began reading after my mother died at age 57 (periously close to my own age now that I’ll be 50), but never read more than a few chapters. Until now.

dance-of-the-dissident-daughter-book-reviewMay:  Began reading The Dance of the Dissident Daughter~A Woman’s Journey to the Sacred Feminine, by the same author of the book that goes to Greece. Realized that the memoir that I was writing was not just about loss and coming of age, but about reclaiming the Divine Feminine.

June: Writing retreat in the Green Mountains (assigned to the Twain Room);   Plus my first born graduated highschool; PLUS we attended his college orientation (during which I covertly wept; even though I’m not “that” kind of mother); Then I visited the Jardin Botanique for the The International Mosaiculture Event where I communed with the stunning Mother Earth sculpture garden (pictured above. It’s there till September. Go see it if you can! It’s an afternoon that will keep on giving.)

576830_10151643786293746_589416037_nJuly: Dedicated writing weeks. Pond swimming. Moon communing. Fire circles. (If the rain ever stops.) Launching of a 7 week, online, chakra-writing journey for women. Also, visited my naturopath (OB/GYN ) for the THIRD time this season, making me question if I’m needing a midwife for this book I’m birthing.

August: Brought my vagina to church. 

Delivered my first born to college.

September: Realized that my memoir was not only a story about personal loss, but also a work that claimed, explored and awakened to the Divine Feminine.

October: Launched a 7 month on-line writing circle for women:  Journey of the Voice.

November: Participated for the first time ever in NaNoWriM: 50,000 words in 30 days with the last section of my memoir: Lila: the woman, the writer & the goddess.

December: FIFTY! An overnight retreat with family & friends, celebrating women with ritual, dance, food & connections.  Recorded my first spoken word poem.

What’s next… ???

Kelly Salasin, 2013