Bullies and Totem Animals

Sunday, December 27, 2009


I have a thing about bullies. I don't do well with them. I am generally a strong, willful and independent girl. It has scared off men in the past, so I know it is a loud quality I have! Unfortunately, I have discovered, if I know and trust you and you are a bully, I will probably let you bully me.


Yet, I think I was born into a group of people with a high number of bullies. Granted, there are eight children. That ups the odds. Plus, I am last, the youngest. So I guess there is birth order at play as well.

One of my siblings stopped talking to me about 10 years ago. I guess it wasn't just that, he actively began ignoring I existed. Over the years, he has perfected the art of NOT looking at me. His anger has spread to my children as well. They have spent nearly every holiday that requires family to gather in one place with food, being ignored by one of their uncles, his wife and two children.

I have tried to be the picture of grace. I just tried to be sweet and patient. I came to the realization several years ago that maybe he just needed to be angry with someone about his childhood. I was there. It was weird. I will give him that. So, I figured, I can be that person, it doesn't bother me that much.

I admit, it was hard sometimes. It hurt sometimes. Yet, every Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter...I arrived, hope in my pocket, wondering if it would be easier. It never was.

This Christmas, was like all the rest. I spent the early part of the day in the kitchen, cooking for my family. I wanted to do that, I like feeding people, it feeds me...But it when my brother arrived, the tension began.

Long story short, after ten years of being ignored, I finally stood up to my long time bully. I simply said, "I exist." However, he was intoxicated beyond words. When he looked at my sister for help, she just told him it was time to hear this. It wasn't graceful, it was raw and years of hurt spilled out of my mouth. His wife, whom I believe all along has been the instigator, pulled him out saying this was not the time and place. "Really?" I shouted, "Because this is the place you have been doing it to me for TEN years! This seems like the PERFECT place."

I looked at my other siblings and said, "I have never said anything, I have allowed this for years, and so have all of you..."

It is the Holy Nights and I think this confrontation has helped me shed the first bullies in my life, the bullies I just packed up and carried along with me all of these years.

I spent a first Holy Night in a fitful sleep. I was racked with guilt for not being full of grace; I was embarrassed. I awoke at 4am, ran a bath and spent two hours soaking and crying. When I emerged, I drove over to a friend's house. It was the wee hours of the morn. The most spectacular dawn was lighting the earth. As I drove, in a stupor, I watched a skunk do his wavy walk across the street. Could that be a totem animal? A skunk? When I reached my friend's warm home, I consulted Grandmother Google. This is what I found:


SKUNK

I will not tolerate abuse in any form.
I have power!
I will not let others use me.
I am a divine child!
I will sift out friends, keeping the good.
That is my responsibility!
Like the skunk, I will learn when to be disagreeable.
That is my right!


Sensuality, Respect, Self-Esteem

The skunk is a very powerful totem
with mystical and magical associations.
It teaches how to give respect, expect respect and demand respect.
This totem helps you recognize your own qualities and assert them.

Skunks are fearless but very peaceful.
These are two wonderful qualities which you can learn from your skunk totem.

If you have skunk medicine will find that the use of fragrances will elicit dynamic responses
in the people around you.
Your sexual response will be heightened
and you will have a greater ability to attract people.

Individuals with a skunk totem must learn to balance the ability to draw and repel people.
Skunks remind us that there is a time to be with people and a time for solitude.

The skunk's stripe is the outward sign of kundalini or life force.
When you receive a skunk totem, your kundalini or life force activates and amplifies.
You must learn to use this force effectively.

Skunks are silent animals and through their silent, they teach us not to brag --
it will push people away rather than attract.
People will notice you without any help.

When the skunk appears, opportunities will open to bring self-esteem and respect.
There will be increased sexuality:
physically, psychically and spiritually.

So there we have it! Oh, family, thank you for all of the gifts! Thank you for allowing me to stand up. Thank you for allowing me to see that the rest of my family just watched this happen all of this time. They NEVER made him stop. They allowed it.

From this writing on, my family are those I hold dear, that love and respect me for who I have become, for what I stand for...Some of those people may be relatives, but this does not mean because you are my relative, you are my family. Family loves you, respects you.

So, now I have relatives and I have family. Now I know, the two are not necessarily the same...

4 comments:

Mary N said...

Puanani,

You are a strong, beautiful, and graceful person. I'm so glad you stood up for yourself and your kids; no one should be treated like that. Your brother must be a very angry and sad person. It's ironic that if he had welcomed you in his life, he might find some much-needed brightness and peace.

Mary

Christopher Guilfoil said...

A sequence of poems for my friend P.:

PROMETHEUS BOUND

P.B. Shelley

An end to words. Deeds now.
The world is shaken.
The deep and secret way of thunder is rent apart.
Fiery wreaths of lightning flash.
Whirlwinds toss the swirling dust.
The blasts of all the winds are battling in the air,
And sky and sea are one.
On me the tempest falls.
It does not make me tremble.
O holy Mother Earth, O air and sun, behold me.
I am wronged.

FROM: FOUR QUARTETS, EAST COKER, PART III & V T.S. Eliot

O dark, dark, dark. They all go into the dark.
I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you
Which shall be the darkness of God.
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope,
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought.
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
.....
Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise.
In my end is my beginning.

All the best my stinky, striped friend!
Chris

Christopher Guilfoil said...

These skunks will make your day any old time:

http://www.zooborns.com/zooborns/skunk/

~Chris

Circe said...

Dear heart-- groans of sadness, growls of outrage, nods of understanding, tears of sadness, tears of joy, cheers of Good for YOU! These are just the chapter titles... I won't fill up the spaces, though I'd easily.

I am so grateful you shared this;I know I can relate. As the youngest of 7, the odds (ha ha) you speak of speak to me and my family. I am so happy you stuck up for yourself, and yet so sad that no-one did before now. I never counted it so lucky before that my sibling who causes me so much strife will often keep away when most poisonous (though often after doing much damage); I can't believe he had the gall to come to YOUR home for so long and treat you in such a manner.

What a blessing your skunk!

My heart is literally reaching out to you- couldn't stop it if I wanted to-- and sending you big hugs. Peaceful sleep and rising, dear.

xo