It’s a balmy summer Sunday in Omaha, in 1974, and my dad and his new, Liz Taylor-look-a-like wife load up the neighborhood kids into our two Kingswood Estate station wagons. There are 14 of us in all, including my three new step-siblings. During my short visit, I’ve already fallen hopelessly in love with Jack, the Catholic, bronzed-skinned boy, who lives conveniently around the corner. I’m visiting my father and his new family for the summer, a contrast to the quiet bungalow I share with my bookish mother back home on sleepy Bainbridge Island.
I’ve already given Jack my first kiss and now he holds my warm hand covertly, on our weekly outing to Skateland. I like how he smells. I’ve just turned 12 and I’m feeling pretty and eager to start my period, to become a woman. I’ve prayed to God to let my breasts grow larger than my mother’s barely-there, A-cup, and it appears that I’m on my way.
Help me, I think I’m fallin’ in love again…
Joni Mitchell serenades us as we skate in circles, the darkness punctuated only by red, blue and green spotlights. Romantic songs play as my nervous hand sweats, my mouth grins and my blue eyes sparkle. I use the restroom and wiping myself I see bright, fresh, red blood on white tissue. Elation sweeps over me – a woman at last! Babies, mothering, becoming a wife, feelings of lust and passion and surprise rush over me – this is the day I’ve been anticipating.
I stuff clean tissue between my legs and tell my step-mom the news. She gives me a big hug and says, “Honey, that’s wonderful! Congratulations.” I return to Jack, an even bigger smile on my face, holding back my secret. Back at home, my step-mom orients me to the hall closet where she has stocked up on all the “sanitary” supplies and provides me with a thorough explanation of everything – pads, belt, tampons…How to deal with laundry, how to secure the long pads to the metal clips on the belt. The next night at dinner, we celebrate my initiation into the woman clan.
At age 30, I embraced everything about being pregnant, and joining the mother clan. I’d been out as a lesbian since meeting a sexy butch cocktail server at Omaha’s Stagedoor Lounge at age 21, and it never occurred to me I wouldn’t have children. And now at 30, I’d been one of the lucky few to get pregnant on the third try with sperm that had arrived home in a tiny vial nestled in dry ice in a squeaky Styrofoam container.
I felt empowered as never before, giving birth naturally, trusting my body and the process, even in the face of immense pain. And after I’d surrendered to the process and let go – and had spread my legs for five strangers in foam green scrubs as well as my family and in-laws, I felt that nothing could ever hurt me again. Giving birth transformed me and I became newly strong and less sensitive to what others thought of me. And in fully shedding my inhibitions during that rite of passage, and in realizing what my body could do, I lost my previous self-consciousness, and no longer gave a shit what anyone thought, any more. Free. Easy. I became mama-wolf fierce, and I felt I could accomplish anything, even masterfully presenting my thesis after the baby had thrown up on me the entire night before, following weeks of sleep deprivation.
Now the baby boy is 19, and twenty years have passed. At 51, and in the same month of June that this woman-journey began, it now begins coming to a close. I have a 10 day period, then no period, then a two day period. Anemia. My belly grows two inches in a month (What. The. Fuck.), and I discover chin hair, and lose my patience. Fears bubble up, aging, facing my own mortality, feeling more deeply the loss of my parents, who recently passed. Grateful for my health and vitality, yet finding myself in some weird, dreamy, moody, craving, sexed-up-shut-down, distracted, second adolescence. I’m sensitive, so sensitive, words wound me easily. I need tenderness. Understanding. What the hell is happening? Is this what they mean by mid-life crisis? I thought that was for men. I’m not enjoying this one bit.
Then I gently will myself to surrender to this inevitable process just as I did childbirth, and let it sweep through me, leading me into a birthing of my new woman-self, a blue moon phase, no blood yet still all woman, more woman, stronger, kick-ass, completely myself, loving myself, loving others. Accepting my new found sensitivity and empathy, I am open to new healing paths and deeper connection, the real intimacy I so crave.
Embracing this new found awareness, I wake up. I say NO to relationships that don’t honor or embrace the complexity of who I’m becoming – tears, anger, love, calm, passion, little girl, Kali, wise crone. With conch shell in hand, I look up to the full moon and like a she-wolf, call one in that will. Then I let go.
Help me, I think I’m fallin’ in love again….
In a flash, I, a manifesting, powerful, self-possessed, peri-menopausal woman, call in my twin flame, my mate, my wise-woman-partner-for-life. Holding hands, in love, and skating again.
We whisper. Yes. Yes. Yes.
Alisa K. Moore is a 50+ years’ young lesbian mom, who lives, works and loves in the sunny SF East Bay. Since being initiated into the practice of T.M. at the age of 11, Alisa has been fascinated with metaphysics, alternative healing and psychic arts, and eastern spiritual practices.
Alisa is a painter and writer, and draws spiritual and artistic inspiration from the lives and work of Amma, Pema Chodrin, Maya Angelou, Sonia Choquette, Rumi, Gertrude and Alice, Joni Mitchell, Mary Gaitskill, and Wes Anderson…
Check out her book: Behind the Scenes: How the Universe Conspires to Support You and her practice: August Moon Healing