Sister Goddess Patty, Age 54
I was born in a car in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on my way to the hospital.
In those days (1960), since my mother gave birth before arriving at the hospital, I was considered “contaminated” and had to stay in the room with her instead of the nursery. She had often told me that I spoiled her hospital stay.
It’s interesting to think back on my earliest experiences, or lessons, on what it meant to be a woman in this world. Mostly, I think there were just too many of us for my mother (I’m the second of 7 sisters), and my father worked all the time, so we were left to “monkey see, monkey do” when it came to figuring it all out.
I do remember, when I was around 9 or 10, my mother sat me on the couch and handed me what I think was a Time Life book. She asked me to read it and left the room.
I was a voracious reader as a kid, and so I absorbed this book like any other fairy tale I got my hands on. It featured diagrams and photographs of reproductive organs, sex, and birth – but it never occurred to me that all of this was related to myself, my body, or my own situation with getting on the planet.
One photograph I remember vividly was of a fetus in utero, floating, eyes closed and fingers curled. My major concern was, how did they get a camera in someone’s belly to take a picture of a baby? Also, the baby looked gross, nothing like any of my sisters. I felt a little sick.
That was the extent of my education on sex, reproduction, and the miracle of birth. I didn’t have any questions.
The whole thing seemed as fantastical as a story I was reading at the time called The Borrowers about a world of very little people living right under everyone’s noses and using thread spools for dining room tables and matchboxes for beds.
Around the same time, my father had a stash of Playboy magazines which we knew we were not supposed to read but pored through anyway. I knew that was a magazine for men. I knew that the pictures of women were for the pleasure of men. The people, the pictures, and the places seemed like an unreal world. Once again, The Borrowers seemed more real than anything in that magazine.
Then my parents got divorced and my father moved away. We were left with my mother who was overwhelmed. From what I saw, being a woman meant you were tired, lonely, stuck and broke.
The next few decades were a pretty rough ride.
A series of foster homes in my teenage years, because my mother couldn’t “handle” me and turned me over to the state to see if they could do a better job.
At 19, I took a two week trip to the Bahamas to reconnect with my father, who was working there. Although he left about six months after I arrived, I never did. The Bahamas became my home.
I married at 21 and had three beautiful children. We divorced a few years after the death of our youngest daughter.
I joined a 12-step fellowship that helped me to accomplish what I went there for, but there was little joy in my life.
By the time I arrived in my early fifties, I was doing everything a person was “supposed” to do, yet I was as unhappy as a cat in a room of hungry dogs.
Inside I knew I was missing something. That there must be something, some one thing, that I wasn’t doing or wasn’t understanding, that if I could just figure it out, things would change for me. But I didn’t know what it was.
I really had mostly given up, thinking this is just the way life is. Some people are just lucky and some aren’t. Some get hit with the suffering stick and some miss it all together. I figured that if you were smart, like I knew I was, you just accept it. You just have to try and be the best person you can and get through it.
I actually found out about the School of Womanly Arts through Facebook. It showed up in my newsfeed that someone I knew liked a post from Mama Gena’s page. Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts? Out of curiosity about the ridiculous name, I clicked.
I read the post. Ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. A “School for Womanly Arts”? What the hell would that be? Cooking, sex, makeup application? Why would a person want to be a woman anyway? And even if you did, how could someone teach you that?
Furthermore, who in the hell would take classes from a place called “The School of Womanly Arts”? What kind of woman were you? Especially if you were my age, 53. A woman who didn’t know how to be a woman? Oh no.
To say I was skeptical of this whole Mama Gena business would be a vast understatement. I looked at the website and figured all of the women in the pictures must be actors – all planned, I was sure – on some set somewhere. The pink? The feathers? Ridiculous, I thought, they should have found something less “girly.” The women in the videos, talking about how great their lives were now — good make-up, semi-good acting, and scripted poorly, I might add – who could believe all that? They should have made it more believable.
I just thought it was an outright scam, designed to take advantage of women who were really unhappy. (Actually, women like myself.) I thought it was so blatant. But I kept going back to that Facebook page. I trolled through the archives on the website.
I was attracted and repelled at the same time. There were two parts of me. A large part that said, “What world are these women living in? What woman is like that?” And another little tiny part of me kept saying, “What if it’s true? What if women could be that happy? What if they could be that friendly and loving toward one another? What would it be like if that were true?” That little voice started to crack me a little.
I still wasn’t on any bandwagon though. I went so far as to search the address of the school on Google Earth street view — if it turned out to be a vacant lot somewhere, I knew I’d be on to them. But it turned out to be an actual building. That honestly surprised me.
Then I found Regena’s TEDx talk. Hhhhmmm. That’s more like it. More . . . I don’t know . . . legitimate. In that talk, she posed a question, something like, “When you die and you are asked what you cherished about your time on earth, what will you say?”
That pulled me up short. Did I even have something to cherish about my time on earth? I’d survived. I made it through. I tried to do the “right” thing. That’s what I would have to look back on?
There was a phone number on that ridiculous website, so I called. It all poured out of me. What the hell? I was telling a stranger, some woman I didn’t even know, things about myself people that have known me for years don’t even know. Obviously, I was coming unhinged.
After assuring the woman on the phone that if this was a scam, I knew where the building was, I enrolled. Despite all of my reticence, I needed to get in there before Mastery filled. Because, “What if it were true?”
Right before the first class started I was an anxious mess. What was gonna happen? What would we have to do? Who would I talk to? Who was I going to eat lunch and dinner with? Would I spend all my time being apart from, instead of a part of? I had already done so much work – was this really going to make a difference?
And what about travelling to NY? That is as different from where I come from as night and day. Millions of people, lots of buildings, transportation, the flights back and forth, it seemed overwhelming when I thought about it. I just ended up organizing one weekend at a time. That was more manageable for me.
Once I got in that room and sat in the seat, and Mastery began, I knew I was right where I was supposed to be. Being a part of the community started right away. I made it a point to sit in different places all the time to get to know as many women as I could. These have become women in my life that I could call at anytime and they’d be there for me. And I am there for them.
How am I different since Mastery? Probably would be shorter to say how am I not different.
There isn’t really an area of my life where I am not changed for the better, since Mastery. Relationships, sensuality, parenthood, career, money, body image, self-confidence, community — all are all outer manifestations of what has happened inside of me, through this program.
Sounds like a scam doesn’t it? Or like I’m brainwashed? I so get it – hang with me.
After Mastery, I wished I had been able to take this course in my twenties. My life would have been so different. But I’m grateful I finally got in there at 53. Mastery gave me the tools that my mother, and other women I encountered in my life, never passed down to me. I don’t believe they had these. And I know the word tools sounds funny, but that’s exactly what I got, and I use those tools daily. And I’ll keep using them everyday. I have a wonderful group of women who keep me practicing those tools.
The bottom line is, in Mastery I learned to love myself on a level I didn’t even know I was missing, and definitely didn’t know how to tap into.
- I love my body and I take care of my body now – not sporadically, like if my weight gets out of hand, or someone says something about it, or if I want to impress someone, or if I have an attack of hypochondria after browsing WebMD, but everyday.
- I now see and believe that what I do is special and it has a purpose in this world. My business is changing because I have changed. I am expanding and opening a new business now and I am having fun doing it. I get out of bed excited to see what I can create everyday. When I start hiring women, my desire is for it to be mandatory for each of my employees to take Mastery and for my company to pay for it.
- My relationship with my children is different. I no longer look to my children to fill up some empty hole in me that could never be filled no matter how many achievements they have, how many times they call or visit, or what kind of gifts or time they give me. Because I love myself, the time we spend together is fun and meaningful and they can only add joy to my life, and they do.
- Today I am part of an amazing community of women who are smart, supportive, and beautiful, inside and out. It is hard to believe the real depth of friendship and support in this community. It has to be experienced. I am just not literate enough to find the words to express the quality of friendships that have entered my life.
- Because I learned and came to love myself, I am in a fun, loving, and supportive relationship with an amazing man. Me! I have to reread that sentence, and repeat it to myself again and again. I’m the one who used to listen to things like that and say, “Yeah right, lady. Tell us what’s really going on.”
I wish I could explain how all this actually happened in Mastery. But it’s an experience beyond explanation. And it would be like telling someone what is in the wrapped present before they open it. I want and I wish every woman I know to take that class, with a totally open mind, and a willingness to try. That’s all it takes.
If a skeptical person like me who has had experienced everything from divorce to death of a child, and read every self-help book ever written from the time I was 15 until 53, can have such a shift from the Mastery course, any woman can.
If your life is good, it will get better. And if it’s not so great, it will get better. For yourself and everybody in your life. If you feel it calling to you, do it. Just do it. There’s a reason. You don’t have to know the reason, just do it. And the money — if you extrapolate the cost of this course, out to the rest of your life, it will turn out to be the least expensive experience you’ve ever had, that has made the most difference. Like getting a Picasso at a dollar store.
And if you’re like me, you’re reading all this, browsing this pink website and thinking, “That’s not me. It’s so not me. I’m not that woman.”
It turned out I was right on that. I wasn’t that woman. I’m this woman.
Thank you so much for reading my story, and being a part of this community. I’d love to connect in the comments section!