Life is funny. Years ago I explored paganism and more recently, Christianity. I even went so far as to do a whole year of Catholicism, including being confirmed, just to see what it was about, to challenge my stereotypical ideas. I find it all so totally fascinating, the parallels between all belief systems and of course the differences. My mother tells me of her Grandmother and of the old ways, all lost now so I know it is in my genes. I just need to remember.
I went through a huge midlife crisis. We live in a very conservative area and my only friends were all homeschoolers who keep their kids out of school due to religious beliefs that their children will be indoctrinated. I sent mine to public school and had to defend my choice more than once. But meanwhile somewhere along the line I lost myself. I did it all and suddenly woke up to the realization I hated it all and guess what? No one even cared! I quit cooking, I quit cleaning and funny, no one even noticed. No one has picked up what I dropped and so my house is messy and I am almost to the point I don't care either, well, except when someone comes over. Then I feel guilty because that is my job being the only woman in the home. All fingers point towards me in my mind.
Guilt guilt guilt!!!
But quitting doing for everyone else BUT myself was a good thing. My therapist told me to quit doing what I hated. "Who said you had to do these things?" she asked me and I realized no one. It was me and my own expectations. Me and my idea of what it was to be the "Proverbs woman". The difference between the Proverbs woman and me is that her husband honored and glorified her. Mine doesn't. Mine expects it and takes it for granted. Maybe if I was honored or thanked or told "geez, that was a good meal" I'd not have fallen so hard. But then again maybe I would have anyway.
My therapist did wonders for me. She too was a new Catholic and yet being in her late 50's she questioned a lot of it, told me to read the stories of Mary Magdalen (Woman with the Alabaster Jar) and the such. She was good for me and was the catalyst to bring me out of my darkness.
The other is Mary. Yes, the Virgin. One of the reasons the Catholic church intrigued me was that they so honor Mary and other women. We aren't swept under the rug like in other religions. I never did "get it" as in Jesus but Mary I got and that was when I started searching into Goddesses again.
Which now brings me full circle back to my Pagan identity. Going through all this has opened my eyes and heart and I realize there is so much we can only see with our hearts and minds. When animals talk to me and I study people to see if my intuition is correct which it often is I know I am on the right path.