The Red Pajamas

Maybe it’s because I turned 60 years old a few weeks ago, or maybe it’s the recent meteoric (at last!) rise of women in politics, but I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how brief our time here is, and about my desire to use my time wisely and in alignment with my most authentic self.

When my work moved into the more expansive theme of the reclamation of the primordial (meaning “existing at or from the beginning of time”) feminine, the desire arose from my own journey. I felt compelled to move in this direction — as if I simply must do it.

When you feel compelled to do anything, you can bet you are in total alignment with your passion.

So, you may be wondering where do the red pajamas come in?

My mother-in-law, Julia Ann Crew, died on January 11, 2010 of lung cancer. She had been a chain smoker since her late teens. The last photo I saw of her before her death was of her sitting on her bed dressed in bright red, silky pajamas. I’m sure that when I saw it I immediately smiled. It was completely unlike who I knew her to be.

Since you didn’t know Ann (as she preferred to be called), you might think that wearing red pajamas on her death bed meant that she was a woman who loved to dress up. But she didn’t.

In the 26 years I knew Ann, I don’t recall ever seeing her wear jewelry. I’m not sure I ever saw her wear make-up. And I certainly didn’t see her wear silky, satiny fabrics or bright colors. She was practical, organized, and . . . harsh. She didn’t go for frills, ruffles, flowery prints, or anything you might think of as traditionally “feminine.”

In the last year of her life she developed a shocking affinity to Hello Kitty merchandise, which I found delightful. I bought her several Hello Kitty branded items. Thanks to the miracle of technology, I just looked up my orders on Amazon from 2009 and I see that I sent her:

  • 2 Hello Kitty Coloring Books with Stickers
  • Hello Kitty Tiara
  • Hello Kitty Pen

It was the first time I ever witnessed her giving herself anything that appeared frivolous or was solely for her own joy and pleasure.

What I make up about Ann in these final months and days of her life is that she — at last — gave herself permission to be more of who she knew herself to be on the inside. And part of her pure, authentic expression of joy was Hello Kitty and red pajamas.

Do you relate?

Ann’s story, and the story of so many women I’ve worked with over the years, is the story of struggling and often failing to honor and to express who we really are — our authentic self.

To be who we know ourselves to be. To say what we are really thinking. To do what we want to do.

How long can we put it off, delay, or bargain with ourselves? Forever. But please don’t wait that long.

Part of the backstory of The Radiant Threefold Path is my own journey to authenticity — moving beyond the losses and disappointments of the past and into the full expression of who I am, doing the work I am meant to do. It is an ever-evolving process.

And even in these early days of offering this new path, I’ve faced resistance and disapproval.  And you will too when you begin showing up as your most authentic and embodied self.

You — and all women — get to choose.

You can stand for yourself as your fiercest ally, or you can bend (or break) to the wishes of others, or stay stuck in a toxic cocoon of nurturing your wounds in a misguided effort to receive the validation, empathy, and love you are deeply longing for.

What choice feels good to you?

My wish for you is that you discover who you really are, that you stand for yourself as your fiercest ally, and that you become deeply intimate with what lights you up. And when you do, you will be illuminated from the inside out, and offer to the world what only you — in your most authentic form — can give.

 

© Vicki Tidwell Palmer (2021)

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The deepest experience of the creator is feminine, for it is experience of receiving and bearing.”

Rainer Maria Rilke