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and I hope you do, will.

I was 19 year old when I went to that doctor.
He scanned my uterus and told me I was pregnant with twins.
Walking down the street some minutes later Mother Earth spoke to me. See, I wanted to be a rock star and/or a detective journalist “but girl, I have other plans for you” she said.
It was the first spiritual experience I identify as a spiritual experience.
Previous spiritual experiences had simply been just life. Reality.  Sure. I´m experienced. I´ve seen all kinds of crazy but that time on the street it was different. So clear.

Sometimes I hear people speak of Mother Earth but I don´t think we´re talking about the same identity. To me she is not “nature” or “the planet” or some golden crystal consciousness. She just is.
Kind enough to let me know that my whole life would change, I would change, but it was all right because she had plans for me.
I was not senselessly drifting, wasting my life, no, I was to live a thousand lives in one life, I was to suck out the marrow of life (as one poet puts it)

Ever since then change has been more than my middle name. Deprogramming. Deconstruction. Building. Formatting.
Ever since.
Always.

Victoria is visiting us for a couple of days. A while ago she decided to become an adventurer. Now she´s working for a company in Holland who builds pirate ships and transports rum. Fairtrade. Emission free. She´s building a sailboat, maiden voyage in march, she won´t be home for christmas. Viking warrior.
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My daughter, the lovely, is exactly the age I was when I discovered I was pregnant with twins and Mother Earth spoke to me. And my son, thunder boy, has these apple cheeks that constantly remind me of the past.

Becoming a mother at a young age means that you are, per definition, in opposition, on the defence. People are going to spend a lot of time judging you, watching your every little move. So I studied Rudolf Steiner waldorf and made  cotton angels, hung them in the window, I made all of the food for my babies myself and when I went babyswimming with them to stimulate their senses or yadi yadi I would juggle two fat babies in my tiny little arms and all of the other mothers would hate me. For having the energy, for being young, being capable or whatever.
That´s the first time I realised that you can´t win.

They are going to dislike you if you are a bad mother and they are going to dislike you if you are a good mother.
The minute you stick out from the pack the pack will look at you the wrong way.
This is why you need to make your own pack, a flock, your clan.
It´s basic protection.

It´s almost twenty years ago now.
So much water have run under the bridge since then.
I regret I didn´t take my children to the forest earlier. It would have been better for them. I regret that I spend so much time trying to make the other mothers like me. I´m proud that I turned my sinking boat around and got to work as a child psychologer, I´m devastated by the fact that so many of our children are broken. I´m mesmerised about the fact that I grew these human beings. I´m shocked to realise that as they leave home I have to deal with me.

And I can´t seem to wrap my head around the fact that as I grow old the daily chores of my womanhood does not seem as impossible as they once did. In a way I wished my children were around to see my shiny newly washed floors, eat my surplus cakes, enjoy an organised closet or hang out with me by the fire ( I only have thunder boy left), I have the time now, you see, I´m not running around, headless chicken, I FIGURED IT OUT.

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I hated the chores. Jeppe and me have argued non stop for the last four years since we moved into the wild, our genders have been constantly clashing. My job was to keep the family full and happy. His job was to take down trees and rise structures. Which is, basically the same thing, it´s just that I really hated to do the dishes and wash the clothes and he didn´t really hate his jobs which naturally led to my envy and frustration. “You have to HATE doing it otherwise it doesn´t count” as if my sacrifice was defined not by my work but by my own feeling of subordination.

We talked about firewood yesterday and I realised that taking down trees, chopping them up, transporting them to the cabin, feeding the fire is the same kind of constant work as the dishes. You can´t really see the effect of your work other than in a sense… of things being organised, your home being warm.
And it never ends. You have to keep doing it and doing it and no one will really appreciate your work until the work is NOT done and everyone gets cold and/or can´t find a clean platter for their food.

It´s basically the same and my sacrifice is not bigger than his which means that I can´t even cling to my martyrdom anymore.
Horror. Maybe I even like the housework!
Everything is new.

So two things.

Mother Earth spoke to me again. I think I heard her laugh. I think I heard her telling me to go on.

As for the other mothers (you can say they became a metaphor for my general distrust of other people) I read two stories recently which made me think a lot.

The first one is this one by Ben Hewit. He describes how his wife Penny and he lived in a tent 20 years ago, they wanted to build their own house and raise their children free.

The other one is by artist Catrina Davies who lives in a shed.

Both stories made me feel, on a deeply fundamental level, that I am not alone. That I am not weird. That there is nothing wrong with me. That others have the same dreams and aspirations. That others have the same struggles. That stories can always be told from at least two angles. I´m not alone. I´m not alone. There´s nothing wrong with me, no.
It´s just that I´ve been oriented towards the wrong pack. Turns out that there are more.

 

23 comments on “Packs

  1. Pia says:

    I used to bitch too much about housework too, I’m trying to quit the habit. Really, feminism has brainwashed us just a little bit as patriarchy used to. I’m trying to find a middle ground now, in everything, and disregard any kind of outside conditioning.

    Like

    1. I think that in a way you´re right. The disregard for housework being somehow “secondary” to “real” work in a factory (read: a capitalistic oppressive society) was promoted by feminism and the red socks however inequality remains a fact even in our day and age so I consider myself a feminist…. I just think that feminism is really a political and societal issue (being fought in the private sphere) which makes it almost impossible to talk about… but we should. And we should also do whatever we want to even if it means housework. Absolutely! 🙂

      Like

  2. Antoinette says:

    Har hørt om dig, Andrea og dit eventyrliv.. Og det er så skønt at læse, at vi er flere og flere, der springer fra – springer ud og lever.. Bare lever..
    The Møn-Pack

    Like

    1. Så skønt at høre fra andre flokke rundt omkring. Velkommen til!

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  3. Tres Jolie says:

    As we say out in our country “Boy Oh Howdy!” which is a way of saying “Wow”. So boy oh howdy, you, girl, are not even alone and that’s a fact! I have more to say but I have to go now and feed the animals. I just wanted to say one thing which is this: I heard that the Chinese have a saying “If a nail sticks up, pound it down.” How do you like that?

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  4. Eumaeus says:

    “This is why you need to make your own pack, a flock, your clan.
    It´s basic protection” Oh, aye. This is why I have been gathering forces. THIS is why I have been calling.

    “Have to deal with me” Yes, it always returns to this. I try not to forget. When the children are raised. When the debts are all gone.

    Life figures itself out. (If you don’t think about it and the problem disappears, then it is not a real problem – it is just a thought. Or so the wise man says.)

    You ARE not alone. You ARE not weird. There IS nothing wrong with you.

    All MOTHER EARTH WILL DO IS LAUGH
    UNTIL YOU KNOW
    THE TRUTH

    This is the path that the pack is on

    Lets see that the quarry does not double back on it’s own trail this time… Let’s end this hunt

    Let’s eat tonight!

    Like

  5. Tres Jolie says:

    OK back from feeding animals… being the poet you are you have probably figured out that Chinese saying is not a construction technique. The Chinese are quite poetic themselves. I have found out long ago that it hurts to be hit on the head. We sticky-out nails definitely do have to band together. When there’s so many of us the ones with the hammers don’t know which one to pound first! Or they pick one but because we’re all sticking out together it doesn’t have such a strong effect.

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    1. I have a different kind of affection for nails now…. first year in the forest, first cabin we buildt…. we wanted it to build it entirely out of natural materials which we did the only thing we actually bought were 7 inches iron nails from Finland. I remember so vividly the sound of Jeppe and the kids hammering on these nails, that sound hanging low over our valley in the autumn. It was beautiful. I like nails. All kinds of them! 🙂

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    2. BeeHappee says:

      I thought the meaning was: take care of the problems while they are still small. But I like your interpretation much better!

      And Andrea, did I tell you – loved the piece by Catrina Davies!

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      1. Yeah, it´s a wonderful piece. It never seizes to amaze me the amount of talent out there! (as well as how many people thinking the same kinds of thoughts, it´s truly…. yes, amazing!)

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  6. BeeHappee says:

    Lots of inspirational thoughts here Andrea. I have to go feed my little animals and maybe pound those nails that stick out, so maybe more later, but yes glad you are realising you are not alone. Check out http://www.katiespring.com that beautiful family lives in a yurt in Vermont. There are many others. I know quite a few families in Lithuania building straw and clay houses without running water or
    electricity.
    Try to switch with Jeppe for a couple of days and you chop the trees while he does the dishes. And compliments on your neat house! Please share your secret on how to get there. I what I do I just take off my glasses and all looks nice and clean, dust dissapears. Easy peasy.

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    1. Everything is good here, these are just musings…. (and we can´t swift because of my back pains and all that) That blog with the couple living in the yurt- so inspirational! You have so many great links, Bee, thank you for sharing!

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  7. Hehe, taking off the glasses… what a great idea!
    I know. More and more people. Lots and lots of us!

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  8. ncfarmchick says:

    Another weirdo here, another nail sticking up, another one who has tried to find more members of the tribe (outside my own immediate clan I live with) only to have reflected back to me how weird everyone else thinks we are. Oh, well. We aren’t alone even if some members of this clan will never meet face-to-face. And maybe that’s OK if we’re all out here on our own little corners of the globe and somebody is taking note, even if we don’t know it, and that may have far-reaching effects we may never see. Thank you for writing, Andrea. I hear you, I really do.

    Like

    1. Nice to hear from you. Hallo o o o o shoutings all over the world 🙂

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  9. BeeHappee says:

    Andrea, ok I am back after feeding and tucking in little animals. Thank you for sharing the article by Catrina Davies, it is great, I will have to read that a couple of times. Good one. Your kids are gorgeous, and brave. You are an iron lady, twins at 19, that is some courage and “on the job” training there. Other mom’s judgements, yes, no one can escape that, you are either too good, too bad, or too mediocre. I just learned to think this way: they are trying to be helpful since being a part of an extended family/teaching/nurturing is a female nature. So if you attribute all the comments to their goodness, it does not bother you as much. 🙂 You are not weird at all. Shame you did not find “your pack” of friends when doing the whole Waldorf thing. My best friends come from the Waldorf day circles.
    You really have a lot to be proud of, I bow my head! Viking ships and rum – that sounds perfect. 🙂
    Ok now that I got all the compliments out of the way 🙂 – I did mean them!! – down to business.
    I read your post on the relationship issue a couple weeks back. I read your post on female emancipation and the new apron from March 8th (looks great, the apron and the lady!). Emancipation or whatever that word is supposed to mean in the modern society, I hate it. Hate it, because a modern woman is anything but emancipated: most often employed outside the home and at home, forced to give birth in hospitals, told how to raise their kids and what chemicals to put into their bodies by institutions, pressured to look certain way, and in America, worst of all, affords only 6 weeks of maternity leave, and no security for medical care. I could go on, but I will stop. I worked with high level female executive vice presidents, marketing chief officers, they are brilliant, powerful, but their families are broken, children abandoned, spirits defeated, and I do not see happiness or peace in their faces. That is a hell of a price to pay for emancipation. I truly believe a woman in some small Iranian town feels more power and control over her life than an American woman.

    Your chores. The saying goes “Man may work from sun to sun but woman’s work is never done.” Most studies show that when men believe household work is 50% 50% it is actually closer to 80% 20% – you know who gets the 80%. 🙂 But it is not necessarily a bad thing, I think. I totally agree with Pia above, women are so brainwashed on this emancipation bs that they do not enjoy the house work anymore, and see it as a chore rather than process of beauty.
    And then there is the threshold issue: http://phys.org/news/2013-11-division-household-chores-mess-tolerance.html That’s when the no glasses trick comes in handy. Or the do it tomorrow trick.

    A friend recommended Hope Springs to me a year ago, http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/hopesprings/ which is saved in my video library and I had not found the mental courage to watch, although I love Meryl Streep. Not sure if relevant to you, but thought I would mention. I have been married for almost 18 years, kind of, sort of, de jure. I will watch that movie when I by some miracle convince myself that it is worth saving after all, one of those days. 🙂 But you go ahead, save it if it worth saving, if it is just about the shelves and the toilet and the chores, piece of cake.

    The nice lady commentator in your previous blog mentioned a date night for you and you said it would not work. How about just finding some playful things in everything you do and taking everything with a grain of salt? Companies bring the teams together once a quarter to do some team building. Team building between spouses – there are some fun team building games (I mean in addition to what goes on in a TeePee). Or one of my favorite books, Playful Parenting http://www.playfulparenting.com/ has many recommendations that can be applied to couples. In other words, have fun whatever you do. Little silly things. Keep on thinking and smiling.

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    1. Yes sir! 🙂 I really like these exchange of thoughts. Keep them coming 🙂

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      1. BeeHappee says:

        Yes ma’am. I am totally out of deep ideas, so here is some Disney wisdom for you, from my kiddos: http://youtu.be/6FJyMwYB2yw
        🙂

        Like

  10. Angie says:

    I love reading your words and thoughts…they are so often what has gone through my mind. (I also discovered I was to be a mother when I was 19 – and seriously, I heard that same voice!).

    Like

  11. CassieOz says:

    We forget that having children at 19 is only out of step with the most recent of human existence (mostly urban existence). Not so long ago 19 would have been considered full, mature womanhood, ideal childbearing age and nothing out-of-the-ordinary. It’s only out of step in places where mothering has become ‘forumarised’ (if that’s even a word, you know what I meant, like only one way or out of a textbook) and where we are divorced from our roots. Bravo for raising such brave and wonderful children at the time that was right for you, and for raising then resilient enough to rebound and stick up again when their sore nail-heads get hammered by the mainstream.

    Like

    1. This is so true. It seems somehow wrong that getting children at 19 should be considered “wrong” when everything in the body is “right” for doing exactly that…. giving birth, raising children. There was another mother aged 40 who had twins, we met in a group for mothers of twins. She was so exhausted. Not mentally but psychically. Next year I will be 40. If I got twins now I would DIE. So hard it was… seriously. It was hard.

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